Greenland The Kingdom Of Ice & Wolves
Over Water Luxury
Vive La Différence Cruising The Baltic With Ponant
From The Maldives To Tahiti
TAKING BITES FROM THE
THE ULTIMATE HYDERABAD GUIDE
TRUMP SOHO STOCKHOLM’S MISS CLARA
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10 EDITOR’S NOTE
elcome another issue elcome to to another issue of JETSETTER, JETSETTER , Asia’s of Asia-Pacific’s dedicated experiential leading experiential travel luxury travel magazine. I’m writing this from the busymagazine. sales floor of the and lifestyle International travel Luxuryis,Travel Asia (ILTM) 2014, Experiential to us,Mart about getting the region’s premium showcase of luxury travel off the beaten path, testing boundaries experiences, held each year in Shanghai. This year’s and challenging conventions. And as you packed exhibition, a collection of lavish events and will see in this packed business issue, that doesn’t nose-to-the-grindstone appointments that mean you over have 500 to be physically welcomed buyers (an 11remote percent– increase) 19 be countries, remains a trustedtowards thermometer of itfrom could as simple as steering Asian luxury travel scene innot general, and of China’s atheneighbourhood you’ve explored specifically. before, trying a style of hotel that’s a little different, or testing your palate with A report released at ILTM and commissioned by its something organisers new. Reed Exhibitions and luxury consumer
authority Hurun Report, delves further into one of the In thisimportant issue lookmarkets out for three takes on the Big most for luxury hotels and Apple, travel as I explore the New York neighborhoods companies. Outbound travel increased by in at the chic Trump Soho, a hotel that’s of Harlem, West Chelsea andfrom SohoChina on food and check almost 18 hospitality percent in 2013, 98that million, report found, making it the largest redefining in theto city neverthe sleeps. I also head to Greenland, a landoutbound of stunning market in the world. With 2.9 the million in China, number that’s increasing 3.6 landscapes that’s set to be nextmillionaires big thing in Arctic acruising, and cruise the by summer percent per annum, it’s a positive time for the luxury travel scene, both regionally and beyond. waters of the Baltic with French cruise line Ponant. In this issue GayatriBhaumik heads to the for a spot in of this pampering Farm,from and Asia. to tropical Mauritius rum under We Philippines have a little something issue forat allThe travellers We escape to littlefor Lord Howe the sun,anwhile Sakshi Kaushik gives us of the low down onhead her home town, climes Hyderabad. We also Island, isolated paradise off the coast Australia; and for warmer at Shangrilook at one of the most popular of luxury travel: the overwater bungalow and check La’s Villingi Resort & Spa, one of icons the Maldives’ most luxurious resorts; before delving into the in redevelopment of London’s historic King’s houses Cross precinct, the city’s most ambitious project to to some of Montreal’s coolest boutique of slumber. In our regular Lifestyle section date. In Phuket we visit the regal Regent Cape Panwa on the island’s ruggedly beautiful east read about the growth of small batch mescal thanks to the smuggling efforts of one die-hard coast; visit the home of luxury hospitality with Langham London, and give you the low down on fan; travel inspired by the humble coconut, get your fill of contemporary art on Shanghai’s Asia’s best adults only resorts. Gayatri Bhaumik luxes out in France and Bangkok, while Divia West Bund and slip behind the wheel of the new-look Bentley Continental W12 GT Speed. Harilela gives us her favourite haunts in Tokyo in The Guide. In our regular Lifestyle section, we travel the world with mint-themed experiences; sample craft-distilled spirits from Down Whether travelling theand firstget time or are regular jetsetter, whether you’re waking Under; eatyou’re our way through for Lima; behind theawheel of Lamborghini’s newest supercar. familiar territory or taking one of those fortuitous random turns, we hope JETSETTER informs inspired all life’s little journeys. Whetherand you’re new toon experiential travel or are a seasoned jetsetter, we hope our latest issue informs and inspires you, where ever you’re headed. Safe travels.
Safe travels Nick Walton Managing Editor Nick Walton Managing Editor
cONTRIBUTOR’S Having lived in Hong Kong, Australia, India and Scotland, Sakshi Kaushik has a passion for travel and loves to explore new cultures and learn its history. In this issue of Jetsetter, she gives us the lowdown on her hometown, Hyderabad and how to make the most of its cultural has offerings. Divia Harilela been working in fashion and 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 tonguein-cheek, Debra is pleasing palates across Asia with her fresh take on the world of wine. In this issue, she argues the merits of diminutive bottles of vino. www.jetsetter.hk
lifestyle media for over a decade and recently held the post of Fashion Editor at the South China Morning Post newspaper, where she remains a contributing editor. She has often been quoted as a leading authority on fashion in Asia, and can be found navigating the cobbled streets of Paris in her Rupert Sandersons or interviewing design luminaries such as Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani or John Galliano. In this issue she explores Tokyo for our regular The Guide section.
10 EDITOR’S LETTER
PUBLISHER Denis Fahy PUBLISHER email@example.com Denis Fahy firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING MANAGINGEDITOR EDITOR Nick NickWalton Walton email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org DEPUTYEDITOR EDITOR DEPUTY GayatriBhaumik Bhaumik Gayatri email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR ART DIRECTOR Herbert Nunag email@example.com Herbert Nunag firstname.lastname@example.org TRAVEL INDUSTRY RELATIONSHIP DIRECTOR TRAVEL INDUSTRY TammyDIRECTOR Fong RELATIONSHIP Tammy@channel1hk.com Tammy Fong Tammy@channel1hk.com BEIJING SALES MANAGER: Louis Chu email@example.com BEIJING SALES MANAGER: Louis Chu firstname.lastname@example.org SALES MANAGER
Fatima Cameira SALES MANAGER email@example.com Fatima Cameira firstname.lastname@example.org JETSETTER is registered as a newspaper & periodical. JETSETTER is registered as aJETSETTER newspaper is & published periodical. by Channel One Communications JETSETTER is published by JETSETTER is printed by Channel One Communications Channel One Communications SuiteJETSETTER 402-3, Hong isKong Trade printed by Centre 161-167 Des Voeux Rd Channel One Communications Central Kong Centre Suite 402-3, Hong Hong Kong Trade 161-167 Des Voeux Rd 616 Corporate Way, Suite 2-5706 Central Hong Kong Valley Cottage, NY 10989 USA 616 Corporate Way, Suite 2-5706 Valley Cottage, NY 10989 USA www.jetsetter.hk
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When on assignment, JETSETTER’s editorial team use Nikon professional cameras.
ROOM WITH A VIEW Aqua Allure
24 HOURS Island Time in Mauritius
VIVE LA DIFFÉRENCE Cruising the Baltic with Ponant
PERCHED ABOVE PARADISE The Birth of the Overwater Bungalow
APP WATCH The Best Travel Apps
GREENLAND The Kingdom of Ice & Wolves
HOTEL REVIEW Stockholm’s Miss Clara
FOOD ADVENTURES Going Nuts for Coconut
NEW YORK Taking Bites From the Big Apple
TURNING LEFT End of an Era with Korean Air
RESTAURANT REVIEW Seasons by Olivier E
AUTO Breaking the Speed Barrier
BUDAPEST CHRISTMAS MARKET
November 27 – December 31, 2014
Taking place in quaint Vorosmarty Square, the Budapest Christmas Market transforms the town into a cheerful hub of festivities. Traditional Hungarian delicacies of meat pastries and roasted chestnuts tempt crowds, while the rich fragrances of honey-cinnamon cookies and mulled wines lure onlookers from afar. Arts and crafts, such as unique pieces of woodwork, make enticing last-minute holiday gifts, while well-beloved carols add to the magical experience. www.budapestchristmas.com
Where to stay: Nestled into the bustling shopping mecca of Váci Street and only minutes from the Danube River, Estilo Fashion Hotel is clean, chic, and friendly. The boutique hotel is close to countless landmarks and great restaurants, an excellent stop for foodies. www.estilohotelbudapest.com
DUBAI RUGBY SEVENS
December 4 – 6, 2014
Adrenaline levels will be sky-high for the 44th Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens. Not only does the event feature world-class sportsmanship and athletic camaraderie over three days, but the city becomes a display of bluff bonhomie as 50,000 spectators watch the action in a party-like atmosphere. The Rugby Village satisfies all through food and drink, activities for children, and the Rugby Rock concert, guaranteeing a funfilled weekend. www.dubairugby7s.com
Where to stay: Opulent and convenient, the Media One Hotel lives up to the city’s exacting standards. Providing exceptional Middle Eastern hospitality and panoramic views, this boutique hotel does justice to the Dubai experience. www.mediaonehotel.com
GOURMET FOOD AND WINE EXPO Toronto, Canada
November 20 – 23, 2014
Toronto’s foodies are set to be thrilled as the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo cooks up a fiesta of flavours to tempt the taste buds. With celebrity chefs and master sommeliers, the Expo features culinary highlights from around the world, and over a thousand wines and beers ready for sampling. Sign up for a Tutored Tasting session and learn the art of food – there’s no better place to be spoiled with deliciousness. www.foodandwineexpo.ca
Where to stay: The Windsor Arms Hotel redefines luxury with Molton Brown products, deep soaker tubs, and musical instruments in each of its 28 suites. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in The Spa, which uses pure organic Argan oil in all its relaxing treatments. www.windsorarmshotel.com
Photo by: www.Rukes.com
December 27 – 29, 2014 EDM is at the forefront of Asia’s largest music festival, which transforms Goa’s beaches into the hottest club. The Sunburn Festival hosts hundreds of DJs who helm the decks and spin a captivating soundtrack. Get your pulse racing with adrenaline-fuelling activities like bungee jumping and zorbing, or let the music wash over you as you take in sights of the Arabian Sea. East, sleep, rave, and repeat, and make this the ultimate pre-New Year’s party. www.sunburn.in
Where to stay: Meaning ‘whispers’ in Portuguese, the Cochichos Resort is a great beachside choice, offering cool sea breezes and the perfect seat from which to watch magical sunrises and sunsets. Friendly and extremely welcoming, guests will feel right at home. www.cochichosresort.com
154th Melbourne Cup Carnival
Photo by: Getty Images
Melbourne, Australia November 1 – 8, 2014
Known as ‘The Race That Stops a Nation,’ the Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s most anticipated equine event. The celebration spans four thrilling races and peaks with the Emirates Melbourne Cup, encompassing world-class talent sure to have all racegoers on the edge of their seats. Away from the tracks, the Carnival thrills with glamorous fashion, celebrity-spotting, and a party-like atmosphere. Showcasing the best the sport has to offer, this is one race not to be missed. www. melbournecup.com
Where to stay: The Hotel Windsor retains 19th century Victorian charm in its grandeur and regal décor. Brimming with luxury, the hotel is famed for its lavish afternoon tea – a perfect accompaniment to the sport of kings. www.thehotelwidsor.com.au
Fine Art Asia 2014 Hong Kong
October 4 – 7, 2014
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Fine Art Asia 2014 will transform Hong Kong into a mecca for all things art. Attracting thousands of collectors, dealers, and enthusiasts, the gallery hosts 100 distinct collections featuring ancient Chinese antiques alongside Himalayan bronzes, classical French furniture, and contemporary art. Demonstrations and lectures will analyse artefacts, breaking down the cultures and philosophies behind the art. One of Asia’s largest art platforms, Fine Art Asia is the perfect place to sate one’s artistic appetite. www.fineartasia.com
Where to stay: There’s no better place to soak up the essence of Hong Kong than in Hotel LKF. Overlooking Hong Kong’s legendary party district and set in the heart of the city, the hotel is vibrant, chic, and boasts various luxurious amenities. www.hotel-lkf.com.hk www.jetsetter.hk
20 ROOM WITH A VIEW
ROOM WITH A VIEW 21
ime stands still when youâ€™re watching the world from one of Conrad Maldives Rangali Islandâ€™s sumptuous Retreat Water Villas. The sun climbs and descends silently through a vast, empty azure sky; baby sharks and infant rays play in the pristine turquoise lagoon below; and elegant Maldivian staff cater to your every whim, here in your private, overwater recluse. Perfectly suited for couples looking to escape from the world, each thatch-roofed Retreat Water Villa features captivating sea views, a private spa treatment room, a mini gym, ample sun decks, a large whirlpool, and direct access to the warm waters of the lagoon. Spend your days diving with whale sharks or pods of bottle-nosed dolphins in the lagoon, or indulging in authentic Maldivian wellness at the nearby spa, and evenings soaking in a star-lit sky with a romantic in-villa degustation.
As if the remote Indonesian island paradise of Sumba wasnâ€™t enough to get photographers packing their kit, luxury Robinson Crusoe-esque retreat Nihiwatu will host a sevenday documentary workshop with National Geographic shooter Sebastian Suki next month. From October 23 - 30, Suki, a photographer of exceptional technical and artistic talent, will lead a group of aspiring photographers on a journey dubbed The Essence of Traditional Life in Sumba. Suki, who now calls Bali home, is already crafting images of Sumba and its people as part of a new editorial project, so workshop guests will be able to not only benefit from expert tutelage, but also from Sukiâ€™s established relationships with the island communities, allowing for a unique culture immersion into the village traditions and festivals, including colourful local horse-racing events (pictured). Priced from US$5,499 per person including accommodation, meals, drinks, transfers, and activities. www.nihiwatu.com
Journeys of Luxury Travel company Abercrombie & Kent has introduced a portfolio of luxury small group journeys that is set to debut in 2015. The collection of 48 tours rounds up the best of group travel including luxury accommodation, boutique camps and lodges, small-ships, and exclusive locations. Each trip is limited to between 12 and 18 guests, and includes one complimentary laundry service, scenic cocktail hours, and private airport transfers. The new itineraries include far-flung destinations across the globe, from Africa, India, Europe and Morocco, to Costa Rica and Alaska. www.abercrombiekent.com
Panda Encounters Get up close and personal with Chinaâ€™s iconic pandas with the new Pandas and Sacred Temples of Sichuan tour by Backyard Travel. On the six-day, five-night trip, travellers will be immersed in the rich culture, natural beauty, and fiery cuisine of this region in southwest China through visits to the Sanxindui Archeological Site, the Wenshu Buddhist Monastery, the worldâ€™s largest Buddha statue, and authentic local restaurants. The highlight is a scenic walk where travellers can assist in caring for pandas and see first-hand how a research centre is helping to protect these endangered animals. From US$1,259 per person. www.backyardtravel.com
Chasing Powder Take the ultimate winter break with The Storm Chasers, a new adventure itinerary by Kicking Horse Powder Tours that takes skiers on an adrenaline-fuelled trip through the interior mountain ranges of British Columbia. Guests will travel the region in a luxury touring coach stopping at places like Kingfisher Heli-Skiing and Valhalla Cat Skiing, with opportunities for backcountry skiing also on offer. The seven-night trips include all skiing opportunities, accommodation, The Storm Chaser Rig transport, some meals, and professional guides. Trips depart February 21 and March 7, 2015. From GBP3,500 (US$5,720) per person. www.kickinghorsepowdertours.com
Stylish Strolls Newly-established firm Walk into Luxury is offering guests a new way to explore Western Australia’s southern coastline. Guests can walk the Cape to Cape Track from Cape Naturalist, past Margaret River, to Cape Leeuwin, exploring pristine beaches, limestone cliffs, granite boulders, and coastal bushland along the way, while enjoying exclusive extras like post-walk massages, gourmet food and wine, and luxury accommodation. On offer are itineraries of different lengths that include six to 12 kilometres of walking each day; options for private guides or self-guide; daily canapés; exclusive tasting menus with wine-pairings; and gourmet hampers. www.walkintoluxury.com.au
Indigenous Experiences Australia’s Lirrwi Tourism has introduced two new tours to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, allowing visitors to experience indigenous traditions and culture as part of a long-term tourism strategy for the area. Guests will stay with Yolngu people on their ancestral lands while learning about their customs, skills, and ceremonies and taking part in practices like fishing and food gathering. Homeland Adventure, Yolngu Dhukaar focuses on language, story-telling, art, and dance traditions; while Women’s Tours, Gay’Wu offers insight into the levies of Yolgu women, including their philosophies, kinship, weaving, painting, cooking and medicine. From AU$4,000 per person. www.lirrwitourism.com.au
Egyptian Enchantments Insight Vacations returns to Egypt with a series of four exciting new itineraries set to launch in January 2015. On the journeys, which range between nine and 12 days, guests will explore the country’s unique culture and history with visits to iconic sites like the Giza Pyramids, Luxor Temple, Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel’s Great Temple, and Temple Hatshepsut, and experiences like sailing the Nile and Lake Nasser. Those yearning to explore the region in more depth can opt for the 12-day Egypt & Jordan voyage, where they’ll also see Amman, Jerashj, and Petra, in Jordan. www.insightvacations.com
26 HOTELS & RESORTS
Luxe Meets Midtown
Opening this month on the British capital’s South Bank, the Mondrian London, the group’s first hotel outside the US, delivers Hollywoodesque energy to the city’s iconic Sea Container building, an anchor of the revitalised precinct. The new Tom Dixon-designed hotel’s 359 guest rooms and suites take their cues from the golden years of Transatlantic ocean liner travel, and boast views across the Themes River, lavish linens, and chic colour palettes – we love the River View Balcony Suites. Downstairs, look out for innovative tipples at Dandelyan, where acclaimed mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana reinterprets classic elixirs - taking inspiration from the botanical wilds of the British countryside – that are best enjoyed during the summer months on the exclusive rooftop terrace. Also leave time for dinner at New York chef Seamus Mullen’s signature restaurant, or a visit to the Agua Bathhouse & Spa, home to six decadent treatment suites and matching Spa and Glamour Lounges. www.mondrianlondon.com
Pairing cutting-edge technology and sublime interiors with one of the city’s best locations, the highly-anticipated Park Hyatt New York has opened opposite historic Carnegie Hall. With just 210 rooms, including 92 opulent suites, the hotel features some of the largest guest spaces in the Big Apple, with entry-level rooms measuring 44sqm. Designed by world-renowned Pritzker Prizewinning architect Christian de Portzamparc, the hotel is part of a 90-storey mixed use tower. Interiors are the brainchild of Yabu Pushelberg and are described as “gracious glamour”, with rich, elegant fabrics and a host of design elements exclusive to the hotel, including leather trunks that double as room safes. With no conventional front desk, guests are transported to a second floor lounge by personal attendants for a speedy digital checkin. The hotel’s technological credentials continue with late model Nespresso machines, high-speed WiFi connectivity, and inroom Intelity iPad minis standard throughout. Book ahead for a table at The Back Room at One57, an American grill where chef Sebastien Archambault continues his commitment to local, seasonal ingredients. www.newyork.park.hyatt.com
Business travellers bound for one of China’s busiest commercial hubs will love the new Shangri-La Hotel Tianjin, which has opened on the banks of the Haihe River at the heart of the new Hedong District. Home to nearly 300 Fortune 500 companies, Tianjin is a bustling business destination that is only 30 minutes by high-speed rail from Beijing. Catering to both business travellers and the city’s many leisure visitors, the Shangri-La’s spacious guest rooms and suites range from 48sqm Deluxe River View rooms through to the regal 240sqm Shangri-La Suite. All feature river views, while executive level rooms and suites also benefit from access to the luxurious Horizon Club Lounge on level 32. Additional business facilities include a conference capacity of 1,800 pax and a 1,965sqm pillar-less ballroom. After hours, the hotel also boasts a 24-hour fitness centre and indoor swimming pool, as well as two outdoor tennis courts, steam and sauna suites, and an indulgent signature wellness haven, ShangriLa CHI The Spa. www.shangri-la.com
HOTELS & RESORTS 27
Queen of the Vines South Africa’s Mont Rochelle Hotel and Mountain Vineyard has joined Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition collection of indulgent hideaways. Located amidst the internationallyrenowned vineyards of Franschhoek, South Africa’s gourmet capital, and just 45 minutes from downtown Cape Town, Mont Rochelle boasts 22 luxurious guest rooms, a unique hilltop setting, and a private vineyard encompassing 39 hectares, and has emerged from an extensive refurbishment to make it the belle of the winelands once again. Sixteen bedrooms and six plush suites boast warm, organic tones, coupled with modern technology, and when guests have had their fill of local wine and food tours, they can relax in the hotel’s own wellness centre, with a massage, a dip in the Jacuzzi, or a swim in the outdoor pool, surrounded by the vines. www.montrochelle.co.za
Glamping With Big Cats Perfectly timed for the northern winter months where adventurous travellers set their eyes on Africa’s wild landscapes, Asilia Africa has opened its newest camp in the Serengeti. The luxurious yet intimate Namiri Plains offers one of the most exclusive experiences in the Serengeti, with just six classic safari tents set 70km from its closest neighbour camp. Nestled at the heart of a wildlife preserve that has been closed to tourism for the past two decades to help encourage sustainability, the camp is ideally suited for travellers looking to spy an elusive cheetah, with the area now boasting an exceptional population of big cats, including one of the highest densities of cheetah in East Africa. The camp’s six spacious tents each feature king or twin single beds, crisp linens, ensuite bathrooms, flushing toilets, and hot bucket showers. Be sure to take time out of your big cat gazing itinerary, which includes twice-daily game drives, lunches on top of nearby kopjes, and surprise picnics, for a bush bath using Ecoco Natural Therapy products, made with organic essential oils. www.namiriplains.asiliaafrica.com
Lakeside Luxury Acclaimed Queenstown lodge Matakauri has unveiled a lavish four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage, ideally suited for families looking to enjoy the wonders of New Zealand’s South Island in style. The 465sqm property, by New Zealand’s Virginia Fisher, offers some of the most spacious accommodation and spectacular views in the South Island. Accommodating up to eight guests in four suites as a four-bedroom reservation (and also available in a two-bedroom format), the freestanding residence is a home away from home for affluent guests, and features six separate outdoor spaces, including a fabulous courtyard and private outdoor jacuzzi. There is also a full kitchen for self-service or private chef meals, and private balconies with views of the Remarkable Mountains and Lake Wakatipu from each guest room. A tariff of NZ$12,000 (US$9,980) per night for four rooms also includes full breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and canapes, dinner, complimentary in-suite refreshments, WiFi, and use of the Lodge facilities. Matakauri is sister property to acclaimed golf lodges Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers. www.matakauri.co.nz www.jetsetter.hk
FARM TO CITY Located at the heart of Mayfair, the 91-room Ham Yard Hotel has opened in London’s chic SoHo precinct. Bright, playful, and intimate, like its sister Firmdale properties, the newest member of Design Hotels is the brain child of hoteliers Tim and Kit Kemp, and features 24 residential apartments, a day spa, 176-seat movie theatre, 1950s styled bowling alley, and a rooftop terrace that’s loved by local celebs during the summer months. Set against a mini village complete with 13 retail boutiques that sell everything from Brazilian bikinis to French loafers, the hotel’s signature restaurant serves a modern British menu under the stewardship of chef Phil Kendall. www.firmdalehotels.com
The Glamour Returns Set behind the prestigious façade at 25 Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, a 100-yearold legend has returned after two years of meticulous restoration. Opening its doors again next month, the elegant building housing Hotel Zoo, a member of Design Hotels, was originally built in 1891 as a private residence for an affluent family and was converted to a hotel in 1911. The return of this Berlin landmark heralds a renaissance of the old-time glamour of 1920s Berlin Bohème. Showcasing the building’s original brick walls and soaring ceilings with a restoration at the hands of Hollywood art director Dayna Lee, look out for 145 grand yet intimate guest rooms and suites, a dramatic rooftop with sweeping views, and original signage that looks out across the city’s iconic Kurfurstendamm boulevard. www.designhotels.com
Icon Revival Rub shoulders with Sydney’s well-to-do from November at the newly opened InterContinental Sydney Double Bay. A stark contrast to the city’s other Intercon, which towers over Circular Quay in the heart of Sydney, the new property, once the iconic Ritz-Carlton, is nestled within a village-like, harbourside neighbourhood that offers serene tranquility but is still easily accessible from the city centre. Reviving the bygone era of the Ritz days, with plenty of new technological additions to boot, the hotel will boast just 140 guest rooms and suites, each of which feature Italian white marble bathrooms, European-fashioned balconies, and lavish interiors. For a true splurge, book the Royal Suite, with its floor-to-ceiling views of Sydney Harbour, and leave time between shopping bouts in Double Bay’s boutiques for a dip in the rooftop infinity pool. www.intercontinental.com
INTRODUCING 31 With touches by style icon Karl Lagerfeld, a historic preserved facade, and 134 lavish guest rooms and suites, the new Sofitel So Singapore delivers Gallic elegance married with an eclectic design persona to the Lion City. With designs by MIAJA Design Group, including a light-filled atrium, distinctive Parisian accents, and So Hip and So Heritage themed accommodation wings, the unashamedly modern hotel is housed in a landmark Robinson Road
A Legend in The Making building constructed in 1927 and lovingly renovated into a bastion of contemporary luxury. Look out for signature MyBeds lit by light box ceiling installations, iPad minis in every room, a gold-tiled rooftop pool, and bathrobes embossed with Lagerfeld’s Lion’s Seal emblem, designed specifically for the So Singapore. On the ground floor, the Xperience Restaurant offers guests a chance to create their own menus, while the poolside cabanas on the rooftop are set to become the city’s most coveted hotspots during warm Singapore afternoons. www.sofitel.com
32 24 HOURS
The Indian Ocean paradise of Mauritius boasts plenty of captivating natural attractions and reminders of its colonial history, discovers Gayatri Bhaumik.
ake home base the Constance Belle Mare Plage, a gorgeous beachfront property in the island’s northeast that’s tucked into a sheltered bay on a pristine stretch of sand. While taking a break from exploring Mauritius, you’ll be able to relax with luxury spa treatments, indulge in a range of water sports, or play the two 18-hole championship golf courses. Check into one of the 20 spacious Villas with Private Pool, where you’ll enjoy your own wall garden, plunge pool, poolside pavilion, and access to private beaches outside, and an Apple Mac Mini, Wii Station, and other exclusive amenities inside. Be sure to leave time for a lingering international buffet breakfast at La Citronnelle. Belle Mare, Poste de Flacq; +230-402-2600; www.bellemareplagehotel. constancehotels.com
Spend the morning getting up close and personal with local wildlife at the expansive Castela Nature and Leisure Park, a 140,000sqm reserve that’s home to some 1,500 animals, including birds, lions, zebras, and monkeys. Explore the park on your choice of transportation, including quad bikes, segways, safari vehicles, and even ziplines. Thrill seekers will love the two ‘canyoning’ circuits, where you’ll abseil down waterfalls and swim along rivers and canyons, as well as the chance to encounter the park’s biggest attraction, its big cats. Walk with lions, tigers, and cheetahs, or for the more timid, drive through their domain or observe from the safety of a viewing platform. Royal Road, Cascavelle; +230-452-2828; www.caselayemen.mu
After the excitement of the morning, head to the Bois Cheri tea factory for a history lesson and lunch. Named for the town it’s located in, Mauritius’ first tea plantation dates back to 1892. Visit the tea museum, which charts the history of the local tea industry, then take a tour of the factory floor. Complete the experience with a visit to the property’s charming hilltop restaurant, where you can sample teas or indulge in a spot of lunch while taking in sweeping views of the lush surrounding areas and lake. Société Usinere de Bois Chér, Bois Chéri; +230-617-8902; www. boischeri.restaurant.mu
For something a little stronger than tea, head to the Le Saint Aubin estate, which houses a rum distillery, a vanilla plantation, and an arboretum. Made
24 HOURS 33
Mauritius’ most popular attractions. How this naturally-occurring phenomenon came to be is unknown, but the sand dunes hold seven different colours and it’s said if you take a random handful of the sand, they will eventually separate into like-coloured layers.
8PM Towards the end of the day, wind down at Le Barachois, a unique, secluded dining concept at the luxurious Constance Le Prince Maurice Resort. Kick off the evening with an aperitif at the Barachois bar, which seemingly floats above the crystal waters of a private lagoon, before walking the lantern-lit gangplank that winds through mangrove trees to the Le Barachois restaurant, home of fresh local seafood and a great wine selection. Choisy Road, Poste de Flacq; +230-402-3636; www.princemaurice. constancehotels.com Clockwise from left: Most resorts on Mauritius offer stunning Indian Ocean views; Mauritius remains a major rum producer; Saint Aubin Plantation; Le Barachois restaurant at Constance Le Prince Maurice Resort. Below: The Seven Coloured Earths
from sugar cane grown onsite, the estate’s rum is a highlight of any visit. After touring the ‘rum house’, adjourn to the tasting boutique and sample the range, which includes aged rums and variations infused with local vanilla, coconut, and spices. Make sure to end the visit with a meal at the 19th century colonialstyle plantation house, where chef Christopher Kridge whips up authentic local cuisine, including his specialty, Vanilla Chicken. Saint Aubin, Riviere des Anguilles, Savanne Road; +230-6261513; www.saintaubin.mu
7AM This morning, check off a bucket list item by taking to the open waters to swim with wild dolphins. Set out for the southwest coast of Mauritius, where dolphins frolic in Tamarin Bay and the Black River on their way out to deeper waters. Jump aboard a speedboat with JP Henry Charters’ Lagoons Discovery tours and over three and a half hours you’ll cruise open waters chasing Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins, before snorkelling the warm, azure waters. Black River; +230-483-5060; www.jph.mu
4PM Appetite sated, cruise over to Chamarel, a largely unpopulated village that is home to a host of scenic locations and natural attractions. Start with a visit to the Black River Gorges National Park, a UNESCO-listed site with dense forests, marshy heathland, and 60 kilometres of hiking trails, then make for the Chamarel waterfalls. Formed by the River St. Denis, the 83-metre falls are surrounded by untamed greenery and exposed cliffs. Close by is the Seven Coloured Earths, a geological oddity that is one of www.jetsetter.hk
The Maldives’ luxurious Anantara Veli recently opened the decadent Sundari Ayurvedic Spa, which marries ancient Ayurvedic practices with organic ingredients to replenish the body and rejuvenate the mind of sun-weary guests. Whether it’s a one-off treatment or a multiple-day programme, the new spa, which is located within the resort’s existing wellness haven, begins spa rituals with an examination of the body’s impurities, which allows the resident Ayurvedic doctor to prescribe a personalised exercise and dietary routine. Pairing the consultation with deep massages and herbal essences to soothe the skin and ignite good energy from within, the Sundari Ayurvedic Spa promises to be a new holistic haven in one of the Indian Ocean’s favourite playgrounds. www.anantara.com
Boutique luxury hotel Trump SoHo New York has teamed up with Natura Bissé to provide award-winning skincare procedures at its resident wellness haven, The Spa. The treatment menu introduces a cuttingedge Hawaiian Whitening & Brightening Facial, which uses Natura Bissé’s diamond whitening system to replace spots and pigmentation with clear and radiant skin. The Alternative to Injectables Facial offers a healthier – and less painful – approach to anti-ageing treatments and restores the skin’s supple texture while reducing lines with gentle skin lifts and deep massage on the pressure points. With classic massage rituals and sauna therapies also available, The Spa is a must for all Big Apple-bound spaophiles. www.trumphotelcollection.com/soho
For a Good Cause
In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the majority of Mandarin Oriental hotels around the world will be introducing the new Inner Strength ritual at their spas. Available until the end of December, the 80-minute treatment features a full-body massage with the specially-created Inner Strength Oil, a fragrant blend of clary sage, frankincense, cardamom, rosemary, and geranium which encourages tranquillity in the mind and body. An additional foot reflexology treatment will awaken the sense and restore a positive state of mind. With ten percent of all proceeds from the treatment going to various cancer research institutes, you can be indulgent and philanthropic at the same time. www.mandarinoriental.com
Love is in the Air
Pathways Spa at The Sarojin, Phuket has unveiled a new romantic spa experience for couples, through which they can embrace peace and intimacy with massage and body sculpting techniques derived from ancient Thailand. Be pampered with the three-night Spa Lovers’ Package, a series of five spa treatments per person that includes a Thai Herbal Compress, which focuses on the body’s pressure points, and a Shirobhyanga Head Massage, with natural aromatic oils and herbs such as ylang ylang and sandalwood to alleviate stress and calm the mind. End with an exfoliating tropical fruit body scrup, and leave totally detoxified and refreshed. www.sarojin.com
SPA PROFILE 35
PARIS TO MARRAKECH Located at the opulent Shangri-La Hotel Toronto, one of the group’s newest North American properties, the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris is just the ticket for Asian travellers looking to escape the city’s chilly winter evenings. Infusing traditional Middle Eastern hammam and gommage treatments with state-of-the-art technology and refined interiors that take their cues from Paris, Marrakech, and Istanbul, the spa’s roots are in Bordeaux’s first Vinothérapie Spa, and incorporates many of the signature treatments – from a crushed cabernet scrub to a honey and wine body wrap – that made Caudalie Paris a byword for indulgent wellness. After a long day scouring the city’s café scene, treat yourself to the 90-minute Voyage to Marrakech, which includes both hammam and gommage sessions, as well as a 30-minute personalised massage, and a Miraj Orientale manicure, or for something quick and effective, the 45-minute Hammam, Gommage & Rhassoul Clay Body Masque de-stresses with high and low intensity steam, invigorates with eucalyptus-infused black Moroccan soap, and stimulates with rich mineral clay. www.shangri-la.com
36 BUSINESS TRAVEL
Macau’s New Oasis Plaza Premium Lounge has opened a flagship space at the Macau International Airport, giving jetsetters leaving ‘Asia’s Las Vegas’ a comfortable pre-flight retreat. The 403sqm space is the brand’s first in Macau, and boasts luxurious facilities including exclusive VIP rooms, and 130 ergonomically designed seats. Travellers will be able to sate their appetites – or quench their thirst – with healthy and tasty food options and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; stay connected using the complimentary WiFi; and read a selection of international newspapers and magazines. www.plaza-network.com
Safety First AirlineRatings.com has released a list of the ten safest airlines of 2013, and topping the list is Australia’s Qantas, which boasts a fatality-free record that’s remained unbroken since 1951. Qantas was awarded the coveted full seven-star rating for its safety operations and the quality of its inflight products. Asian airlines dominated the list, with Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Eva Air also making the top ten cut. Last year was also listed as the safest year in flight history since 1945. www.airlineratings.com
Qantas Stays Connected Qantas passengers can now use personal electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets for the full duration of each flight. The airline received approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to revise its personal electronic device policy, allowing passengers to use their gadgets as they wish, as long as they are switched to flight mode once aircraft doors are closed. Qantas is also working on allowing customers to use their devices to access the airline’s on-demand entertainment system. The service is expected to sync with Apple products first, before being rolled out to laptops and Android devices.
BUSINESS TRAVEL 37
Bean Town Bound May 2015 will see Cathay Pacific expand its North American offerings with the addition of a four-times weekly service between Hong Kong and Boston. The airline’s fifth US destination will be served by a Boeing 777-300ER catering to 275 passengers over six First Class suites, and Business, Premium Economy, and Economy cabins. Flight CX812 will depart Hong Kong at 1800, arriving in Boston at 2013; while the return leg on CX811 will leave Boston at 0145 and arrive in Hong Kong at 0535 the next day. www.cathaypacific.com
Smooth Arrivals Etihad Airways has unveiled a new arrivals lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport, a luxurious, stylish facility that’s a global first for the airline. Catering to First and Business Class passengers, the exclusive space is located immediately after customs, and offers complimentary 10-minute clothes steaming, and “Shave by Etihad Airways,” a complimentary wet shave service. Also on hand is ample comfortable seating; a wide variety of reading materials; ten private shower units complete with luxurious amenities; and caféstyle refreshments freshly prepared by a dedicated culinary team. www.etihad.com
JAL’s Suite Dreams Japan Airlines’ aircraft will soon boast chic new interiors and added passenger comfort with the unveiling of the new JAL Sky Suite 787 design that will debut in December on the airline’s Tokyo – Frankfurt route. Highlights of the new design include larger windows, higher ceilings, better cabin pressure, and the addition of a premium economy cabin featuring 35 seats; 38 fully-flat business class seats, each with direct aisle access; and a more comfortable 2-4-2 configuration in economy, where passengers will also get an extra 5cm of legroom.www.jal.com
The Sea’s Your Oyster Silversea has unveiled details of its 2016 world cruise, the Venetian World Odyssey 2016. The exclusive 115-day sailing will depart Ford Lauderdale on January 5, travelling through six continents and 51 destinations, including Tahiti, Australia, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Jordan, and Greece, before its final destination of Venice. Passengers sailing the full itinerary will also enjoy a pre-embarkation reception dinner, and stay at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, as well as a masked ball in Venice, lunch on a private island in Sydney Harbour, and a chartered jet to the Taj Mahal for lunch. Onboard the Sea Whisperer, travellers will enjoy elegant suites, sumptuous dining options, and a host of entertainment. From US$56,950.
The Best of Europe With its recently-announced lineup of 2015 European itineraries, Uniworld is set to offer cruise passengers the largest selection of all-inclusive luxury European river cruises. In all, 33 itineraries and six new programmes are on offer, as are 45 more departures on the cruise line’s popular Rhine and Danube River itineraries. The new cruise journeys include the eight-day Holland & Belgium at Tulip Time; the 10-day Delightful Danube & Prague and Eastern Europe Explorer; the 13-day Jewels of Spain, Portugal & the Douro River; and the 22-day Ultimate France. In spring, Uniworld will also launch its new super ship, the S.S. Maria Theresa, named for the former Austrian Archduchess.
Seaworthy Celebrations Crystal Cruises will celebrate its 25th anniversary on an exclusive 13-day cruise hosted by the line’s president, Edie Rodriguez. Departing Lisbon, Portugal, the cruise will sail up the east to west of Spain and France before its final port of Dover. Along the way, enjoy three days in Bordeaux to sip wines and visit chateaux, stay overnight in St Malo and visit Mont St Michel, and enjoy two days in Honfleur, with the option of a quick Paris getaway. The cruise will sail aboard the recently-redesigned Crystal Serenity, which caters to 1,070 guests over 535 luxurious state rooms, and houses a range of enticing entertainment and dining options. www.crystalcruises.com
Sweet Treats at Sea
A sweet new offering from Princess Cruises, Chocolate Journeys is a collaboration with master chocolatier Norman Love that’s set to thrill guests with an impressive array of onboard chocolate indulgences. Six sumptuous chocolate experiences are on offer, including Decadent Desserts, a range of 15 custom chocolate desserts; Chocolate Libations, specialty concoctions including the Chocolate Bacon Bourbon Bliss; and the Chocolate Indulgence Body Treatment at the Lotus Spa, which features a chocolate renewal scrub, whipped chocolate body mask, and chocolate massage oil. The indulgent experiences will debut aboard the new Regal Princess during her inaugural Caribbean season, and will be rolled out across the rest of the fleet over the next year.
Pearl of the North New small-ship luxury operation Pearl Sea Cruises is offering ten, 11, or 14-night itineraries through the Canadian Maritimes, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence Seaway, with Caribbean journeys set to begin from 2015. Cruises are operated on the 335-foot Pearl Mist, which made its maiden voyage in June on the Maritime New England cruise, with new ships set to debut soon. The six-deck vessel caters to 210 passengers with 108 bright and airy state rooms, each of which comes with its own balcony, wireless internet, and flatscreen TVs, and also features six lounges and a spacious dining room. Onboard, passengers will also enjoy nightly musical entertainment and pre-dinner cocktails, while on land, they’ll explore destinations on guided shore excursions.
Exotic Luxury Scenic Tours has launched its first Small Ship Luxury Cruising program for 2015, a lineup which includes seven itineraries that explore far-flung destinations. In partnership with French cruise operator Ponant (read more about Ponant on p42), Scenic Tours is offering guests the chance to travel to some of the world’s most secluded ports, including the fjords of Chile and Norway, and Alaska’s Inside Passage, on luxury cruises that visit Central America, Dalmatia, the Adriatic and Aegean, and the Nordic and Scottish coasts. Each all-inclusive cruise takes in the history and culture of the destination with Zodiac excursions to see glaciers and wildlife, deserted islands and hidden beaches, and the authentic onshore experiences that are synonymous with Scenic Tours.
40 BOUTIQUE & BEAUTIFUL
CANADIAN CHARM The city of Montreal is an engaging unison of modernity and old Québécois charm, a quality that’s obvious in the city’s elegant boutique hotels, finds Gayatri Bhaumik.
Lowes Hotel Vogue Montreal
Located at the foot of Mont Royal, part of the Monteregian Hills, this stylish hotel is perfectly situated for enjoying all Montreal has to offer, whether it’s active pursuits, world-class museums, leading restaurants, or upscale boutiques. The hotel recently emerged from a US$10 million facelift which saw the lobby revamped with architectural flair by Majaleca Enterprises. The 142 guest rooms, including the 16 suites, were given a contemporary makeover by Ebenisterie Architecturale, with soothing neutral tones, modern furnishings, and a sleek, indulgent aesthetic; the oversized marble bathrooms boast jacuzzi tubs, Comfort Zone body products, Davines hair products, and the signature ‘Ultimate Doeskin’ robe by Chadsworth and Haig. For a treat, book the Empire Suite, which features a separate king bedroom and living room, a full kitchenette and dining area, a dry sauna, and large windows with views over the city. After a full day on the town, spend the evening at Le Société Bistro, the hotel’s sleek eatery, where a hardwood bar and glass dome ceiling dominate. Choose a tipple from the impressive wine cellar – the bar here also whips up a sinful cocktail – and indulge in a spot of people watching on the intimate outdoor terrace, before allowing chef Sean Reeve to serve up his bistro-inspired cuisine bursting with fresh, local ingredients.
1425 Rue de la Montagne; +1-514-285-555; www.loewshotels.com/montreal-hotel www.jetsetter.hk
BOUTIQUE & BEAUTIFUL 41
Hotel Le Germain Montreal Set in the heart of downtown Montreal, this luxuriously modern hotel offers guests easy access to a host of popular attractions, dining experiences, and boutiques. Walking in, guests are greeted by the intimate lobby, complete with cozy fireplace and cappuccino bar. Stylish yet functional, the 101 rooms and suites feature contemporary décor with clean lines and a simple colour palette, along with environmentallyfriendly furniture sourced from around Quebec. Guests are spoiled by sumptuous amenities like manchester from Marie Saint Pierre, goose down duvets and feather pillows, Molton Brown toiletries, and technology like 42-inch flatscreens, iPod docks, and Nespresso coffee makers. Check into the Apartment Suite, a spacious duplex boasting a deluxe bedroom, a separate lounge with a fireplace, a large sunken tub in the bathroom, and a fully-equipped kitchen and dining room. If you’d prefer to entertain away from your suite, book a table at the property’s LaurieRaphaël restaurant, where chef Daniel Vezina works with regional producers to whip up enticing Québécoise cuisine. 2050 Rue Mansfield, +1-
Le Place d’Armes Hotel & Suites Situated in historic Old Montreal, opposite the NotreDame Basilica and just steps from the Old Port, this charming hotel combines urban sophistication and luxurious comforts across three gorgeous 19th century neoclassical buildings. Interiors are an eclectic blend of old Montreal charm and modern aesthetics created by local design firm Camdi, and the 133 well-appointed rooms and suites feature high ceilings, old stone walls, and heavy dark wood furniture alongside contemporary lighting fixtures and bold colour and texture accents. Treat yourself to one of the five Penthouse Suites, each of which boasts a king-sized master bedroom, a separate living room with electric fireplace and dining table, two 32-inch LCD televisions, a home theatre system, and an expansive bathroom with a walk-in rain shower, soak tub, and amenities from Essential Elements by Gilchrist & Soames. The Terrasse Place d’Armes rooftop bar is the perfect spot for watching the sunset over Old Montreal and downtown while enjoying a signature Raspberry Mojito, before deciding whether to indulge in modern brasserie-style cuisine at the urban Suite 701 restaurant, or to feast on Izakaya dishes in the industrial-feel Kyo Bar Japonaise. 55
Rue Saint-Jacques West, +1-514-842-1887; www.hotelplacedarmes.com www.jetsetter.hk
42 BALTIC CRUISE
Le Boreal has the sleek sports car lines of a luxury yacht.
BALTIC CRUISE 43
Despite fascinating ports of call, crisp service, and a fleet of beautiful ships, boutique French cruise line Ponant still has room for improvement, discovers Nick Walton.
44 BALTIC CRUISE From left: The fine-dining Gastronomic Restaurant; the forward lounge is perfect for port arrivals; The amber markets of Gdansk.
mall, sexy, and with a raked bow and a sleek red racing stripe down each flank, our ship, Le Boreal, looks more like a Ferrari than a cruise ship – although being a distinctively French vessel belonging to an oh-so-French cruise line, I suppose it would have to be a Bugatti. Nevertheless, the effect is the same on the Neva River in the heart of St Petersburg, where we berth, dwarfed by other “small” cruise liners, within a shot glass’ throw of the world-famous Hermitage museum. The French are known for their flair and their sense of style, and both are found on the vessels of Ponant, a four-ship company (a fifth ship is about to enter service) that’s blurring the lines between luxury and expeditionary cruising. Le Boreal, catering to just 264 passengers, splits its endless summers between adventure cruising to the Artic and Antarctic circles, and more conventional destinations like the Baltic, where she offers French cruisers the comforts of home, and non-French a unique take on small ship cruising. Le Boreal’s distinctive lines and charcoal-on-cream paint job come in handy in Stockholm, where my wife Maggie and I are set to join the ship on an eight-night cruise clockwise around the Baltic to Copenhagen. I spy the ship berthed beside the fashionable restaurants at Skeppsbrokajen, some distance from where the cruise ticket and our hotel concierge’s confirmation says it should be, leading to a small debate in the back of the taxi. The logistical dilemma isn’t a great way to start a cruise in a strange town (and when we mention the discrepancy to the ship’s officers we’re met with smile and congenial sigh reminiscent of a maritime Pepe Le Pew), but we’re soon onboard and enjoying the view from our cabin over the red, yellow, and terracotta dollhouses of the Old City. Le Boreal has everything you would expect from a luxury cruising yacht. Cabins are smaller than other ships positioning www.jetsetter.hk
themselves in the boutique luxury segment, but are distinctly more contemporary in their décor, with flatscreen televisions mounted on ash coloured walls, and silver, white, and red linens on the bed. Our Premium Stateroom’s bathroom, always an exercise in efficiency on any ship, is split, meaning more privacy but airplane-esque confines. However, the balcony is spacious, there’s plenty of storage space, and the room is more than comfortable for a couple on a week-long cruise. Our cabin shares deck five with a modern fitness centre and a small spa that offers salon treatments and indulgent scrubs and wraps, while deck six boasts the Grill Restaurant, a buffet eatery with alfresco seating, and at the bow, an elegant if rarely used cocktail bar with access to a forward open deck that’s perfect for port departures and arrivals. On deck four is an intimate theatre, with the main bar on deck three, and the fine-dining Gastronomic Restaurant on deck two, dressed in champagne and cream. We watch Stockholm glide past from an observation deck on level seven to get the best view as the ship makes its way east into the Stockholm Archipelago, a 30,000-strong clutch of wooded islands that is very much a cruising destination in its own right. We pass towering brick mills that have been converted into luxury apartments, sleepy coastal communities of brightly painted homes, and the grand estates of Stockholm’s dynasties, before entering the wild scenery of Ängsö National Park. The evening sunshine, bright well towards midnight at this time of year, glistens off the water and onto the sleek lines of the ship. It’s a magical experience. We’re not alone on our first night cruising to Helsinki, with a trio of towering cruise liners following in our wake, weaving their way between the tiny rocky islands and into sea mists that form as we enter Finland’s Archipelago National Park. The thick fog slows our progress and we arrive in cool, grey Helsinki a little behind schedule, leaving us just three hours to discover the
BALTIC CRUISE 45 Photo: Nick Walton
Finish capital. It proves to be time enough to soak in the simplistic beauty of the Helsinki Cathedral, which stands watch over the city’s port district, and to visit the lively fish markets on the quay, where visitors can buy everything from local caviar and cured salmon to meringues the size of softballs. The weather has cleared as we navigate the entrance to St Petersburg’s Neva River, a fascinating industrial landscape of brutish-looking icebreakers and battered-looking submarines. We berth at the Blagoveshchensky Bridge, the first permanently saddling the city’s main river and one of 800 that span its many canals and tributaries. Beside us is the C-189, a floating submarine museum, and across a street crowded with commuter traffic, a stunning Russian Orthodox church studded with golddipped domes that catch the morning sun. Excursions are where Ponant seems to struggle. At each port, guests not on official excursions have to fend for themselves, with nothing in the way of signposting or ground staff to help point the way. While this initially leads to a little camaraderie and plenty of confusion (four guests almost missed the ship in Helsinki trying to find their way back, the gangway already lifted
from the dock when they arrived), it also gave the sense that Le Boreal is simply a floating hotel, its staff having little interest in what happens beyond the ship’s gleaming hull. Once through passport checks in St Petersburg (guests on cruise excursions don’t need a Russian visa but are restricted to the approved itinerary) our group of four English speaking passengers and a group of eight French guests are hustled into a minivan we promptly nickname “The Ashtray.” The French guests insist on using the microphone, despite the cramped confines, and after several knife-sharp glares and bouts of “shhhh!” from the French contingent, our sheepish guide Gregory gives up trying to give any commentary as we brave the afternoon traffic. The camaraderie, it seems, is gone. The stunning beauty of The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, a St Petersburg icon marking the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, helps make up for the discomfort en route. Despite its gilded interiors being packed with summertime cruise passengers from across the globe, the intricate craftsmanship of this mesmerising chapel, with its 7,500sqm of bright blue mosaics and its deep-set domes towering above the crowds, www.jetsetter.hk
46 BALTIC CRUISE is a highlight of any visit to this beautiful city. Across town, St Isaac’s Cathedral is equally busy but equally astounding. The largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city and the fourth largest basilica in the world, its interior is ablaze with golden light, the air filled with the resounding echo of a thousand excited visitors. Gregory whispers the history of the Auguste de Montferrand-designed cathedral to our little group as we stand 100 meters below the gold-plated dome and pose for photos before the towering bronze gates.
cohabitation, and our party of four is led by a fearless young guide named Larissa, who answers all our questions during the 40-minute drive out to the royal village of Pushkin. After the narrow confines of the city, the countryside opens up around us in a patchwork of green and yellow under a blazing summer sun. The ornate, regal homes of Tsarskoye Selo, the royal commune at Pushkin founded in the 18th century as a summer residence, peek out through copses of silver birch trees as we arrive at the Catherine Palace.
Back at the dock, the few staff on the ‘Russia’ side of the passport office know nothing of the ‘free time’ described in the itinerary, of the ‘nearby flea market,’ or the ‘shopping opportunities on the banks of the Neva’, all prescribed in the tour details. Reluctant to be caught ashore where we shouldn’t be without a Russian visa, we head back on board disheartened.
Designed by architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1752 for Empress Elizabeth, the Palace’s 300-metre long baroque façade is almost as impressive as the equally long line of cruise passengers waiting to enter. Fortunately, Larissa weaves our tiny group through the queue, whispers to a host at the entrance and we’re in ahead of everyone, to explore the Palace’s cavernous, gilded ballroom with its towering mirrors and ceramic chimneys; intimate drawing rooms filled with fascinating antiques; and to bath
We have better luck the next day; “The Ashtray” is replaced with a modern coach with room enough for linguistic
in the warm hues of the famed Amber Room, a tiny chamber decorated with semi-precious stones. We’re greeted with clear skies and glorious sunshine in Tallin, the ancient and picturesque capital of Estonia, where we join our last booked excursion, a fun but clumsily-led bicycle tour through the Old City that quickly has us as public enemy number one among drivers and pedestrians alike. In beautiful, intimate Visby, on the Swedish Island of Gotland, we soak up the sun at a local beer garden, Le Boreal looking right at home among the super yachts berthed in the tiny harbour nearby, but in Gdansk, in Poland, we’re again marooned at an industrial pier far from the city, with no information on the destination or how to reach it. Fortunately, the local cab drivers love to play tour guide. Of course cruising the Baltic, with so many historic ports in close proximity, is all about the destination, and life aboard
Photo: Nick Walton
Photo: Nick Walton
Le Boreal reflects that. There are few activities on offer when the ship is sailing, and even fewer announced in English (only about 60 percent of all announcements on our cruise are translated to English). The post-dinner dance troop performances are not bad considering the confines of the theatre and main bar, but the lounge acts that play during the day are agonising, ensuring we make the most of our comfortable cabin, the gym, and the spa between meals and shore visits. Dining also plays a central role on a Ponant cruise, as you might expect of a French line, which is why it was so surprising how average the food of the Grill Restaurant was. Despite great service from a band of charming Balinese waiters, loosely-themed lunch and dinner buffets (the food on the “Asian” night even made the crew snicker) reminiscent of a boarding school dining room or corporate cafeteria play a very poor cousin to the more refined cuisine of the Gastronomic Restaurant downstairs, with its chatty sommelier and crisp service. Although the culinary team does very little to reflect the destinations we’re visiting in the evening fare, dinner in the elegant dining room is always a highlight of the day.
Photo: Nick Walton
As a committed cruising fan, the Baltic’s thriving ports of call are the perfect destinations to experience by ship, and Ponant’s sleek Le Boreal is an elegant vessel on which to do it. But if the company is truly intent on attracting more passengers – including nonFrench speakers and loyal cruisers from other lines – it might want to take a leaf from French finance minister Laurent Fabius, who recently told the French people they need to be more hospitable to foreigners. And in the case of Le Boreal, that means on and off the ship.
Travel Essentials Ponant next cruises the Stockholm to Copenhagen run over 8 days on June 25, 2015’s Treasures of St Petersburg, starting from US$4,080 per person. http://en.ponant.com
Left: The gleaming interiors of St Issac’s Catherdal, St Petersburg From top: Harbourside in Stockholm; a standard cabin aboard Le Boreal; a grand welcome at Pushkin. www.jetsetter.hk
48 THE LIST
The Heritage Club
Protecting culture and history one site at a time, Unesco’s newest preservations range from ancient cities in Myanmar to China’s historic Silk Road.
ranslated as ‘Burnt City’, Shahr-i Sokhta flourished almost 5,000 years ago as eastern Iran’s first complex society. The scorching heat, combined with the arid weather has preserved artefacts and ancient housing quarters beautifully, giving raw insight to the development of civilisations thousands of years ago. Standing in the scenic landscape of the Irrawaddy River Basin, the Pyu Ancient Cities in Myanmar date back to 200 BC and embody kingdoms that prospered for over a 1,000 years. The three citadels in Halin, Beikthano, and Sri Ksetra are marvels for their irrigation management structures, some of which are still used today. The Silk Road Route through the Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor encompasses 5,000 kilometres of lush valleys, bustling cities, and ancient pathways. With an extensive cultural exchange through trade, technology, scientific knowledge, religious practices, and arts, the network is famed for having connected China with Central Asia and the rest of the world. Wine is deeply rooted in Italian culture, and the Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: LangheRoero and Monferrato represents this tradition with its rich history and produce. Here, cultivation of the grapes and wine has been an art form since the beginning of the Roman Empire. Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the list’s 1,000th site, a natural wonder filled with green plains and a unique climatic system that supports the thriving ecology. The delta is vast and expansive, and is home to many endangered species of mammal, such as the white and black rhinoceros, cheetahs, and lions. www.jetsetter.hk
An experienced athlete with four triathlons, 16 marathons, and 20 half-marathons to his name, Head Concierge Stephan Mehlhorn shares his love of running with guests of The Regent Berlin. He gives Gayatri
Bhaumik the low-down on the city’s best running experiences.
THE RUNNING MAN Which are your favourite places in which to go running? In Berlin, I really like to go running along the river Spree. I think the Schlachtensee in the southwest and the Müggelsee in the southeast of Berlin are fantastic lakes for a stressreducing run. I also love running the boulevard Kurfürstendamm at night – it’s one of the most legendary streets in the world, and at night, it’s a very special experience.
We want to get in a morning run. What time should we head out so we also see the city waking up? I think 6am is the best time for a morning run. There is no traffic in the streets, there’s a wonderful atmosphere, and the view of the city at sunrise is fantastic. And it’s a really good start to the day. You can finish your run with a small breakfast at Café Einstein on Friedrichstrasse – try a cappuccino and a cup of yoghurt with berries. Delicious!
We’re pressed for time. Can we squeeze in some sightseeing while out for a run? Start your run along the famous Unter den Linden boulevard and go through the
Brandenburg Gate, from where you’ll be able to see the German parliament, Deutscher Reichstag. Continue your run along Straße des 17. Juni, and ahead of you you’ll see the Siegessäule, a victory monument commemorating the ‘unification wars.’ Finish your run by going back along the Schloss Bellevue, and you’ll have covered all the major sights in our beautiful city. Make sure your run also crosses the river Spree by taking one of the bridges – depending on which bridge you take, you can choose between a five, seven, ten, or 12-kilometre run.
Where’s the best place to go running in nature? I’ve seen a lot of beautiful outdoor spaces in and around Berlin, but I would say the best place is around Müggelsee in southeast Berlin. It’s one of the biggest lakes in the area, and is very well known. It’s also where I live – the lake is right in front of my house – and I run 12 kilometres there nearly every day. Sometimes I also go cycling in the area for up to 100 kilometres.
Where’s the most unique place in the city to go running?
consider the most beautiful place in Europe it’s best known for the architectural trio made up of the German and French cathedrals, and Schinkel’s concert hall. Go on to the Unter den Linden, a magnificent boulevard, where you’ll cross the Siegessäule. Finish up around Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin’s largest palace and the only surviving royal residence in the city.
Any tips for marathon?
You have to start at least a year before and run between five to ten kilometers every second day, then gradually increase your distances. Try to run a half-marathon before you apply for a real marathon. During the last three months of training, it’s good practice to do five big runs of at least 25 kilometres.
What other outdoor activities do you suggest we try in Berlin? Cycling is my second favourite sport to practice in Berlin. The city is a fantastic place to go cycling because there are lots of lakes, parks, and green spaces, giving you plenty of options with great views and stunning nature.
Start at the historic Gendarmenmarkt, which I www.jetsetter.hk
50 OVERWATER BUNGALOWS
Above Paradise Few icons of the travel world are as seductive as an overwater bungalow in some far off island locale. But these hallmarks of tropical luxury have much humbler origins, discovers Nick Walton.
One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
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52 OVERWATER BUNGALOWS
ext time you’re sitting on the sundeck of your overwater bungalow in the Maldives or Tahiti, your feet dangling above the turquoise lagoon below, spare a thought to the three American playboys who made the world’s most indulgent hotel rooms a reality. Overwater bungalows have their origins in French Polynesia, a place so tropical, so remote, and so exotic, just saying its name at this time of year brings out the faint odour of coconut tanning oil. Americans Don “Muk” McCullum, Jay Carlisle, and the late Hugh Kelley, later to be known as the “Bali Hai Boys,” had moved to French Polynesia after being inspired by James A. Michener’s novel South Pacific. They adapted traditional coral stilt homes on a reef in front of Bali Hai, their tourist village on the island of Moorea, after failing abysmally at vanilla farming. Later, the nearby Hotel Bora Bora, now an Aman Resort (but presently in its 6th year of renovations), built their first luxurious overwater bungalows based on the Bali Hai model, giving birth to an
accommodation style that’s transfixed the world’s jet set. “The overwater concept had been used by the Polynesians for several generations, building their grass huts on iron wood stilts on the lagoon’s edge,” says Monty Brown, who worked at the Hotel Bora Bora when the bungalows were first constructed and is now an area manager for Aman Resorts. “The idea of a tourist sleeping out over the water, with the moon reflecting off the lagoon, private sunbathing, and the multitude of fish that are attracted by the lights, made the experience unforgettable and the boom was on.” Tahiti became synonymous with these luxurious cabins perched above the lagoon and now several luxurious resorts offer them, including the Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa; the St Regis Resort Bora Bora, which hosted the wedding of Nicole Kidman and Keith Richards; the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa; and the iconic Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa.
OVERWATER BUNGALOWS 53
From left: Four Seasons Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji
“Overwater bungalows are the ultimate honeymoon splurge,” says St Regis general manager Stephane Delamotte. “Imagine waking up to the surreal colour and clarity of the lagoon filtering through your windows as you await room service breakfast delivered by canoe, or counting the fish swimming under your lounge as you enjoy the sunset with a glass of Champagne. You will remember this experience for the rest of your life.” It wasn’t long until another exotic locale on the other side of the world started to adopt the overwater bungalow, as resorts in the Maldives cast their rooms far from the beach, connected by long boardwalks and re-labelled as Water Villas. Protected by reefs, with ample marine life and a government open to luxurious, sustainable tourism, the Maldives became another “floating” destination. Today, more than two-thirds of the world’s 5,000 overwater villas can be found at the heart of the Indian Ocean, at resorts that range from three to five stars.
In the Maldives, the water villa concept plateaued through the 1980s as resorts catering to mainly European travellers built the pre-requisite lagoon accommodation but skimped on the innovation. It wasn’t until properties like One & Only Reethi Rah, Gili Lankanfushi (formerly Soneva Gili), and Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, all popular with celebrities flying in for a spot of Indian Ocean sunshine, started upping the ante, that the Maldives really started to push their unique take on luxury. Outdoor showers, multi-tired sun decks with steps down into the lagoon, transparent panels in bath tubs and showers, sun pavilions accessible down private piers, and private plunge pools all became standard for the world’s most romantic locale. Resorts continue to open across the archipelago, striving to offer even more indulgence above the water. The new Cheval Blanc Randheli features stunning, expansive Water Villas with private pools and shaded dining salas; the Ocean View Villas at the new Kandolhu Island feature extensive use of glass to capture the www.jetsetter.hk
54 OVERWATER BUNGALOWS
Left: Constance Halaveli Resort, Maldives
Suitably seduced? Here are some of our favourite overwater bungalow resorts:
Song Saa, Cambodia
With just 27 villas, Cambodia’s first private island resort features one and two-bedroom overwater suites with private pools and views of the Gulf of Thailand. www.songsaa.com
Likuliku Lagoon, Fiji
The first and only resort in Fiji with overwater bures, expect traditional architecture and stunning South Pacific views from the bath tub. www.likulikulagoon.com
Constance Halaveli, Maldives
One of the archipelagos’s most sought after retreats, the resort’s spacious Water Villas have private pools, separate living rooms, and outdoor showers. www.halaveli.constancehotels.com
most of their sublime surrounds; the Viceroy Maldives’ Duplex Water Villas feature private pools and a second floor loft living space; while the newly opened Velaa Island features eight chic, sunkissed villas perched above the lagoon, each with expansive bathrooms which open onto a private terrace and plunge pool. Of course, the concept isn’t limited to French Polynesia and the Maldives any longer. Fiji’s Likuliku Lagoon Resort’s ten luxurious bures (the Fijian word for hut) feature traditional architecture, private decks, and access to some of the Pacific’s best deep sea fishing, while on Panama’s Caribbean Coast, the Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge’s nine overwater cabins are constructed using locally sourced materials including native wood, clay, and bamboo, and offer stunning view across the Bocas de Toro archipelago. The newly opened Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa features the first overwater villas in the UAE, each boasting glass floors and views over a manmade beach, and Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island in Jamaica is about to launch its first overwater suites on Montego Bay. www.jetsetter.hk
Angsana Velavaru, Maldives
The truly unique two-level In Ocean Pool Villas at this luxurious hideaway offer expansive private pools, shaded sun pavilions, and restricted access from the main island. www.roomsvillas.angsana.com/maldives_velavaru
Four Seasons Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Check into an Otemanu Over-Water Bungalow Suite with Plunge Pool for the very best of Tahitian living, complete with vaulted-ceilings in the living room and a pool that runs the length of the villa. www.fourseasons.com
Anantara Kihavah, Maldives
Some of the most luxurious in the Indian Ocean, the Over Water Pool Villas at Kihavah boast wraparound sun decks, see through bath tubs, and world-class service. www.kihavah-maldives.anantara.com
INDULGE YOUR SENSES The Chedi Sakala, Bali, a new luxury resort managed by GHM,
THE CHEDI SAKALA, BALI WELCOMES YOU
is ready to welcome guests. Located by the prestigious Tanjung Benoa Nusa Dua beach, a former fishing village, The Chedi Sakala offers guests a more relaxed and tranquil atmosphere
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where the beauty of Bali may be rediscovered. Whether for work
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level of service will give guests the freedom to experience Bali
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A STYLE TO R E M EM B E R JALAN PRATAMA 95 TANJUNG BENOA NUSA DUA 80363 INDONESIA T (62) 361 77 5216 F (62) 775 168 email@example.com
56 APP WATCH
There’s An APP FOR THAT Travellers are increasingly turning to apps for vital information and inspiration whilst on the road. Sakshi
Kaushik gives us some of her favourites.
Lounge Buddy If you find yourself about to spend an extended amount of time at an airport, you might as well do it in style. Many airport lounges accept travellers even if they’re not travelling in first or business class, the art is in knowing what lounge you might have access to, and that’s where Lounge Buddy comes in. Once you’ve completed an online profile, which includes airline, hotel, and credit card loyalty schemes, the app will locate the most suitable oasis for you to settle down in comfort. The app details the amenities of each lounge, from work spaces to shower facilities, and also indicates if there are time restraints or additional fees incurred. Great for: travellers bound for unfamiliar airports
FlightStats If you’re meeting someone at the airport, anticipating delays, or hate leaving things to chance, FilghtStats not only allows you to monitor selected flights but also check on how busy an airport is before you arrive, and check a destination’s weather forecast. Customise the app and set alerts for arrival and departure information, and read airline and airport reviews to discover their perks and weaknesses. Flying doesn’t have to be hard when you know what to expect, and FlightStats is sure to help you out. Great for: nervous and frantic travellers.
Mile Blaster Collect and organise all those loyalty membership numbers with one handy travel app. Mile Blaster helps you collect and spend those hard-earned travel miles wisely, from hotel points to air miles. The simplistic but effective app updates travellers with the latest deals and miles-to-rewards conversions, and can even calculate the best awards you can get given your previous and current flying data. Think ahead and transfer, upgrade, cash in, or even win free tickets with your collected miles. Great for: points junkies with plenty of memberships
The Kingdom of ICE & WOLVES
Cruise Greenlandâ€™s remote west coast with expedition company Albatross Travel and explore the distant lands that are set be the next big thing in Arctic cruising. Words & Photos by
“Now that’s one view I never tired of,” says our Danish captain as the first wicked black peaks of Greenland come into sight far below. In a rare opportunity in post 9-11 aviation, I’ve been invited to the cockpit of our Atlantic Airways charter flight midway between Copenhagen and Kangerlussuaq on Greenland’s west coast, and arrive in time to see the ice floes that mark Greenland’s south eastern territory drift past, replaced by the three-kilometre thick icepack that cakes the vast interior. It’s an awe-inspiring view that has all 53 guests on the flight glued to the windows as we descend towards the former US airbase of Kangerlussuaq. I’ve always wanted to explore Greenland. As a child gazing up at a world map pinned to my bedroom wall, I’d marvel at the vastness of Kalaallit Nunaat, as it’s known in Greenlandic, and would try to curl my tongue around place names like Kangilinnguit, Eqalugaarsuit, and Ittoqqortoormiit. Decades later and we touch down at tiny, dusty Kangerlussuaq, a WWII bomber town that’s home to Greenland’s largest airport. In the distance the ice pack can be seen, defiant against the mid-20s temperature and the fleeting summer season, when an increasing number of adventure tourists make the journey to this far off land. At the end of the runway, packs of impatient Greenlandic sled dogs howl at a US Air Force transport as it lumbers into the sky. Behind fences for the summer, the wolf-like dogs pine for the great open spaces of their homeland and yap as our special offroad mini buses pass. After soaking in the view of the icepack from a nearby peak, we lunch on whale carpaccio, whale blubber sashimi, cured musk ox, and nips of fiery local cloudberry schnapps at Restaurant Roklubben, a local institution on the banks of mirror-like Lake Ferguson. With wild flowers blooming in the heather surrounding the pure lake waters, and a robin’s egg sky above, criss-crossed with trans-Atlantic contrails, it’s certainly not the icy desolation I was expecting. We catch sight of the Sea Explorer, the daring little adventure cruise ship chartered by Greenland travel experts Albatross Travel, from high up on a bluff, the ship a tiny speck of blue dwarfed by high, ancient valley walls on either side; Greenland is a destination that regularly humbles travellers by its sheer scale. The Sea Explorer is the perfect vessel for navigating this unique landscape. With an ice-strengthened hull that comes in handy when shuffling through the ice at the base of glaciers, and room for 114 passengers, Sea Explorer’s staterooms are spacious and elegantly appointed. Panoramic windows welcome the summer nights’ lingering twilight and timber accents and spacious ensuites make cabins more than comfortable. The homely www.jetsetter.hk
touches can be found throughout the bar, lounge, library, and main dining room below, and are complemented by a well-trained international crew. I greet the dawn early the next morning as we arrive at Sisimiut, our first port of call as we cruise north towards Disko Bay. The second largest town in Greenland, Sisimiut is perched on steep hills overlooking a bustling harbour lined with vibrant red, blue, and green stilted homes, a stunted timber church from 1775 watching over the entrance to the port. A family, their youngest children enjoying the warmth of a summer morning, mends traditional kayaks at a harbourside workshop; while a boutique sells clothing made from qiviut, the soft inner wool of the musk ox. Closer to town, at an artisan’s workshop, whale bone is used to make traditional Greenlandic jewellery, and nearby, a local supermarket has specials on seal, whale, walrus, and musk ox meat, fresh from the hunt. I spy my first icebergs the next morning. Rising at 5am to glorious blue skies, I take in the stunning landscapes of Disko Island’s thousand-metre high mountains in the distance as jagged chunks of ice, some the size of suburban homes, others the size of SUVs, drift past, brilliant in the intense sunshine. We anchor outside tiny Qeqertarsuaq, a town of 800, and make our way up towards the former whaling hamlet’s unusual eight-sided church, known locally as “Our Lord’s Inkwell”. Across the tiny settlement of brightly coloured cottages perched on bare rock slopes, massive chunks of ice bob in the shallows, caught on the sand until the winter comes. I follow a village elder named Akku to his home overlooking the harbour. Dressed in white fur with black boots and with a jolly face behind a tiny mustache, Akku shows me polar bear skulls from a hunt when he was a teenager, and his collection of traditional harpoons, before serenading our group with Greenlandic love songs. “Tourism is all we have now that the young people have left,” sighs Akku as he absent-mindedly strums his guitar and sips from a steaming mug of coffee. “The winters are hard in this place but we still find beauty in all the seasons. Being this remote you have to.” He reminds me of a pint-sized Elvis with his guitar and soft, crooning voice, and the visit is nothing short of magical. Like opening a set of Russian nesting dolls, we visit Niaqornat, a community of only 60 people, perched on the tip of a finger-like peninsula. The ship’s zodiacs crush their way up onto a beach of tangerine-sized stones worn smooth by the sea. In the distance, Greenlandic dogs on chains bark and wrestle beside an inlet lake that reflects the village’s brightly coloured homes in its chilly
waters. We walk down dirt paths and past stacks of faded sleds and drying seal pelts, beneath the village’s whale and fish drying racks, to a narrow beach, where elders have caught a seal. It’s my first time seeing a seal, and certainly my first time seeing one butchered as the men of the village skillfully dance knives between skin and meat. Every part of the animal is used, the dogs howling in anticipation of their meal. Blood soaks the stones red but is quickly washed away by the sea. It’s an awakening for the passengers of the Sea Explorer but a part of the circle of life in many remote Greenlandic communities where traditional living continues untested. It’s late morning the next day as we nudge and grind our way towards the dramatic face of the Equip Sermia glacier www.jetsetter.hk
in northwest Disko Bay. Throughout the morning, the presence of icebergs in the bay has increased until the ship is forced to slow and maneuverer through a patchwork of blazing white and turquoise blue that reaches to the icy cliffs of the glacier in the distance. We travel as far as the captain dares before lunching on the outside deck surrounded by a sea of ice. In the afternoon we follow the floes, some as large as the ship, south into the bay. It’s almost midnight when the Sea Explorer berths in Ilulissat, the iceberg capital of the world. It’s been slow going; the entrance to the harbour was tightly packed with complacent icebergs, and the captain needed to wait for a departing ferry to chart a path through the everchanging obstacle course. The fire engine
red ferry steams past us, gaining speed on its way to the next remote berth and the Sea Explorer eases into a port populated by fishing boats and tiny whaling vessels. Thrusters clear smaller bergs from beside the pier as passengers wrap up warmly for a guided midnight hike. The sky is bright as we depart, the air crisp and beautifully clear. Children play football on a community pitch as their mothers watch from the sidelines and we walk through sleepy 4,000-strong Ilulissat towards its Unesco-listed Ice Fjord. The sea mouth of the Kujalleq Glacier, one of the few places where Greenland’s icecap reaches the sea, the 95-kilometre long fjord is so clogged with icebergs that have failed to navigate the shallows at the mouth of the waterway that it looks like a glacier
itself, an expansive white landscape of gullies, chasms, and fractures. We enter the Unesco site following a boardwalk to the coast where signs warn of tsunami waves generated by iceberg calving – the glacier produces more ice, approximately 20 billion tons a year, than any glacier outside of Antarctica. The view across the ice is mesmerising, the midnight sun painting the world a golden yellow twilight as we laze in the wild grass and sip champagne. The air is thick with the scent of salt and ice the next morning as we navigate the ice fjord in a tiny converted fishing boat. Trawlers toot their horns as they pass between us and icebergs the size of shopping malls, their white faces reflecting off the seas as they creak and roll. It’s like
we’re cruising through the world’s largest gin and tonic, the silence only split by a red tourist helicopter periodically cruising overhead. Our final stop on the journey back to Kangerlussuaq is Sarfannguit, a tiny settlement nestled at the base of mistshrouded mountains. Sarfannguit is immediately my favourite outpost; a beautiful, colourful clutch of weather-worn cottages on steep cliffs overlooking a protected bay in which falcons and kites glide silently in the thermals. At the village school we’re a thing of fascination to the local kids, Greenlander pups nipping at their tails as they try to keep up with their young masters. The ship far below looks like a toy in the shadow of the mountains, a chilly wind reaching up the valley telling
of the winter months to come as our group descends to the pier and our waiting zodiacs. Greenland is a place of welcoming locals, of rich traditions, and of stunning, otherworldly scenery, and after ten days exploring this formidable locale, as the ship sails away down the valley and Sarfannquit is swallowed up by the sea mists, I join the Greenlandic dogs of Kangerlussuaq in pining for her vast, unexplored expanses.
Travel Essentials Albatross Travel offers seasonal cruises along both Greenland’s west and east coasts, with charter flights from Copenhagen. www.albatros-travel.com www.jetsetter.hk
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The Sailing City’s
o celebrate its first 100 days in operation, The Westin Qingdao held an exclusive Op ening Hundred Days Celebration on July 11, in the property’s expansive Westin Grand Ballroom. To celebrate the summer’s biggest sporting event, due to come to an exciting conclusion the next day, the event carried a FIFA World Cup theme. On arrival, guests at the event were invited to pick a flag representing the country they supported from among the final eight teams of the FIFA World Cup, before enjoying cocktails and music from the live band. The ballroom was a tribute to football, not the least of which were the eight long tables representing the top eight football teams, which were set up with national flags and figures of the teams’ best players. During the event, guests got to put their own skills to the test in a penalty kick competition against the 2014 FIFA World Cup mascot. Those who scored won ‘Room Experience’ vouchers from one of eight Westin hotels, while other gifts included White Tea Candles, Westin Jing Tea, Heavenly Spa Amenities, macaroons, and Westin napkins. Offering vibrant cityscapes of the heart of Qingdao, The Westin
Qingdao aims to inspire wellbeing and bring an invigorated energy to this captivating Chinese City. Located in the central business distric, Qingdao’s newest house of slumber stands ready to offer refreshing travel experiences for guests, and aims to inspire them to sleep, eat, move, feel, work, and play well. Ensconced in one of China’s most livable cities, and offering an unsurpassed location at the foot of Lao Shan Mountain, easy access to the Yellow Sea, and just a short walk from attractions like May Fourth Square, Wusi Square, Seashore Sidewalk, and the Olympic Sailing centre, the 54-storey hotel is perfectly placed for the Westin Wellbeing brand concept to come to life. The hotel encompasses 321 contemporary guest rooms and suites that fully embrace the Westin brand’s promise ‘For A Better You.’ From the soothing nature-inspired colour palette to the sleek, streamlined décor and subtle mood lighting, no detail has been overlooked when it comes to ensuring a moodboosting oasis for guests. Each room comes fitted with a Westin signature Heavenly bed to ensure guests get a good night’s sleep, along with an expansive work desk and ergonomic chair. Spacious marble bathrooms, enclosed by glass doors, feature separate rainforest showers and bespoke Westin Heavenly Bath amenities such as White Tea by Westin bath salts.
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Encouraging the wellness theme is the Westin WORKOUT fitness centre which is fully-equipped with state-of-the-art cardio equipment, strength machines, and free weights, as well as a heated indoor pool. Rounding out The Westin Qingdao’s energising wellness offerings is the first Heavenly Spa by Westin in the Shandong area. The sophisticated urban sanctuary complements modern hydrotherapy with treatments inspired by ancient Chinese teachings, and offers an extensive range of rejuvenating therapies designed to banish fatigue and encourage balance.
plenty of fresh seafood, along with private dining rooms that are the perfect venue for intimate gatherings. The breezy Lobby Lounge provides a cozy environment for afternoon tea or after-hours cocktails, while The Tea Bar allows guests to experience real Qingdao tea culture first hand as they sample local green tea, traditional Chinese tea, and Westin Jing Tea. The Westin Qingdao also offers the brand’s SuperFoodRX menus, which have been specially designed to nourish and replenish the body, and allow guests to eat well while on the road.
The hotel’s fifth and sixth floors play host to the dedicated public dining and entertainment areas. Over these two levels, guests will find Seasonal Tastes, the signature restaurant, offering all-day dining and nourishing, compelling menus. At Five Sen5es, expect sumptuous, authentic Cantonese fare showcasing
Combining convenience and practicality, the property also houses a number of amenities catering to business-minded travellers. The 54th floor Executive Club offers majestic panoramas of the city, along with internet access, meeting rooms, deluxe breakfasts and cocktail hours, and personalised service. To
help guests stay productive, The Westin Qingdao also boasts more than 2,000sqm of versatile meeting spaces, including the pillar-less Westin Grand Ballroom. All function spaces are equipped with the latest technology and high-speed internet to ensure productive off-site sessions. Other business-orientated services include a Concierge service, a wellequipped Business Centre, and a fleet of environmentally-friendly Lexus ES300hg cars. From October 13 through December 31, The Westin Qingdao is offering two exclusive deals to encourage guests to check into the city’s newest landmark. Guests will enjoy 10 percent off the Best Available Rate with up to two daily breakfasts; or 20 percent off the Best Available Rate with up to two daily breakfasts for stays longer than two nights.
Scene Team in the City Words By Sarah Thompson
Photos by Steve Herud
Des Gunewardena and David Loewi made their name crafting Londonâ€™s dining renaissance. With South Place Hotel, they are forging a new revival and following a lifelong calling. www.jetsetter.hk
ith such iconic London restaurants as Quaglino’s, Le Pont de la Tour, and Coq d’Argent in their portfolio, Des Gunewardena and David Loewi are old hands at the game-changing art of transformation, and specialise in converting run-down buildings into world-class eateries. Gunewardena and Loewi have since turned their Midaslike attentions to the hotel world, opening their first, South Place, the city of London in 2012. Situated between Moorgate and Liverpool Street, its location a final white-collar frontier before the hipper shores of Old Street and Hoxton beyond, the hotel is in an exciting part of town. On the site of what was once an unremarkable office building, South Place reflects the city streetscape with its glass and metal columns; its glazed frontage at street-level—like the glimpse of a stocking—suggests the building’s true, more playful function. Eighty bedrooms, a bustling diner, and an elegant rooftop restaurant are all decked out in classic-cool furniture and contemporary art. Envision midcentury Scandinavian armchairs given a true-Brit makeover in classic tweeds, huge deconstructed mannequins dressed in bowler hats and suspenders, and model Spitfire planes hanging from the chandeliers—and you start to get the picture. “It’s a very indulgent hotel,” says Gunewardena, “for us as much as for our guests. There is more of David and me in this hotel than anything we’ve done before. We have an in-house DJ and a ‘spy’ theme—all of the meeting rooms are named after secret agents, and our members’ club is called Le Chiffre, after the James Bond bad guy. We’ve been a bit like boys let loose in a sweet shop!” It is unfortunate for posterity that the Des Gunewardena and David Loewi collaboration didn’t come into being during a legendary dinner, the deal sealed in the small hours of the morning on the back of a coaster. Instead, like all the best relationships, the partnership crept up on them, an obvious and practical pairing born out of years working together and a mutual respect for one another’s talents. “David has always had great personal skills,” says Gunewardena, “and the importance of being good with people grows as a business gets larger. We needed someone who could manage other senior people, and David was always the obvious choice for that. He also has more patience than me—I love giving attention
HOTELIER 67 to the details, but not if it slows me down. I’m the entrepreneur, always looking for the next opportunity.” The pair came to the hospitality industry with very different backgrounds. As a young financier striking global property deals in the 1980s, Sri Lankan–born Des Gunewardena had a flat full of Habitat furniture and a keen sense of style. Still, it wasn’t until 1989 that he met Sir Terence Conran (who founded homeware store Habitat in 1964), when he joined the then Conran Holdings as CEO and began the epic journey that would see him take a starring role in the transformation of London’s restaurant scene during the 1990s. Hotels were an integral part of David Loewi’s world even as a child; his father was a scientist who travelled the world, and his mother was a culinary star of the Lausanne Hotel School in Switzerland. “It was wonderful to travel abroad back then; the food was so much better than in the UK in those days.” He recalls the joy of eating lemon cake with his father in Swiss bakeries, and the immaculate service ethic of the great Swiss ski hotels. “It seemed like a fabulous sort of life,” he says. And one he was quick to sign up for when it came to choosing a career path. A thoroughbred training followed: his education completed in Switzerland, followed by time at Claridge’s in London and Hong Kong, the Savoy, the Wolseley, and even cruise liners. “It was a lot of fun for a year,” he says. “People were fed incredibly well in huge numbers—witnessing the organisation that that took was quite something.” In 1995, Loewi was recruited by Sir Terence Conran to open the groundbreaking Mezzo, on Wardour Street, where he met Gunewardena and their partnership was conceived. They worked together for ten years on and off before eventually buying out Conran’s restaurant concerns and setting up D&D London. “We come from very different places,” says Gunewardena. “David’s from the shop floor, if you like, and I’m the financier, but there is this constant, very detailed dialogue between us, to the point now that our roles have really blended and it is hard to know where one of us stops and the other starts.” This story originally ran in Design Hotels’ Made by Originals book. www.designhotels.com www.jetsetter.hk
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A NEW POINT OF VIEW
on the other, making it a paradise for nature lovers; while Xinghai Square itself houses the Xinghai Convention and Exhibition Centre, a bathing beach, a huge indoor tennis court, a swimming pool, an aquarium, a bungee tower, myriad restaurants, and even hosts popular events such as the International Beer Festival.
Ideally position, the Grand Hyatt Dalian is the only international five-star hotel in the city to have direct access to Xinghai beach, and the sea, but the hotel also offers guests access to a host of local attractions that bring the city’s rich heritage to life. Swallow Nest Hill takes its name from the black swallows which settle their nests on this outcrop of rocks and cliffs; Binhai Road gives access to panoramic coastlines on one side, and dense forests
The Grand Hyatt Dalian features chic contemporary interiors designed to showcase the brilliance of the surrounding natural environment, and draw eyes to the stunning views seen from all over the hotel. Spacious interiors, high ceilings, and calming natural tones come together to create an oasis in the city’s bustle. Each of the 370 guest rooms, including the 28 exquisite suites, feature stunning seaviews through floor-to-ceiling windows. Styled with natural textures and rendered in a light green colour palette inspired by the sea, the well-designed, high-tech rooms feature 46-inch flatscreens with cable and satellite channels,
ffering guests a unique position that allows access to urban and natural adventures, the recently opened Grand Hyatt Dalian is the newest house of slumber in China’s ‘Romantic City.’ Set in a coveted harbourfront location, surrounded by a serene natural environment, and enveloped by a captivating centuries-old culture, Dalian’s landmark new hotel soars above prestigious Xinghai Square, southwest of the city centre.
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cordless phones, high-speed WiFi, and automatic curtains. The expansive ensuite bathrooms continue the high-tech motif with Japanese-style automatic toilets, along with full-size bathtubs and rainforest showers. The Grand Hyatt Dalian is also set to position itself as a dining destination in its own right, with a host of highquality food and beverage outlets and an emphasis on using only the freshest ingredients. Says general manager John Lee, “We want to introduce the renowned Hyatt F&B concept restaurants to create truly enjoyable and memorable dining experiences in Dalian.” Show Kitchen is an interactive, all-day dining experience in an alfresco beachfront setting, where diners are entertained by the visual food
displays in the open kitchens that serve Chinese, Japanese, and Western cuisine; while Smoke House, the unique, cookit-yourself barbecue concept lets diners cook marinated meats and seafood on tabletop barbecues. The real draw card, however, is the three-storey The Chinese Restaurant, a specialty eatery dishing up northern Chinese cuisine, fresh Dalian seafood, and succulent Peking duck prepared in traditional wood-fired ovens. The top floor of the restaurant is the rooftop The Bar, which mixes up delicious cocktails alongside magnificent vistas of the city, ocean, and Xinghai Square. Rounding out the offerings at the Grand Hyatt Dalian are several wellness amenities that offer guests true relaxation. Swim in the 20-metre indoor heated pool,
work up a sweat at the fully-equipped fitness centre, or indulge in some serious pampering at the zen-inducing spa. A wellness destination on its own, the hotels’ Mi Spa embraces the local culture and offers an array of rituals, each inspired by the legacy of Chinese medicine and the seasons, and designed to soothe the senses. With elegant accommodations, tempting dining options, and a convincing lineup or wellness options in an unparalleled location, the Grand Hyatt Dalian is set to be the newest landmark in Dalian. Grand Hyatt Dalian, No.33 C3 Zone Xinghai Square, Dalian, China 116000, www.dalian.grand.hyatt.com
70 HOTEL REVIEW
A STUDY IN STYLE Stockholmâ€™s newest boutique hotel combines warm Scandinavian hospitality with organic architecture, preserving one of the cityâ€™s most historic buildings while offering a thoroughly contemporary experience in the process, discovers Nick Walton.
HOTEL REVIEW 71
t’s early on a Wednesday morning, and the few pedestrians walking past the shopfront façade of boutique hotel Miss Clara in Stockholm are wrapped up against a particularly chilly northern summer. Inside the bistro-styled restaurant, with its golden lamps over burgundy bench seats, ballerinas pirouetting on the walls, it’s toasty warm as the hotel’s culinary team prepares a distinctly Scandinavian breakfast spread that’s heavy on fresh bread, berries, and strong coffee. Miss Clara, designed by architect Gert Wingårdh, with plenty of input from its entertainment and hospitality guru owner Alessandro Catenacci, is one of the newest members of Design Hotels, having opened in April. It epitomises the
contemporary European boutique hotel to a tee; simplistic, historic, efficient, and intimate, there is nothing superfluous, nothing that isn’t in itself another chapter in the Miss Clara story. Minimalism has been embraced, but not so much for minimalism’s sake as for the sake of that which remains. Sister property of local success story Nobis Hotel, Miss Clara is housed in an Art Nouveau building on the king’s road of Sveavägenthat was built in 1910 and was once the Ateneum Girl’s School. The hotel takes its name from the school’s first principal, Clara Strömberg. Sitting at the reception’s long bar, I find it easy to imagine the echo of excited girls’ voices in the main stairwell, which, along with a former chapel that’s now an intimate suite, remains preserved from the building’s previous incarnation. At first, our Superior Room, one of 92 rooms and suites, looks stark and empty. A Bed Factory bed with a bentwood headboard takes up most of the well-lit white-on-chocolate space, with a row of windows that overlook Svevägen street standing above an oak window bench that houses a minibar, a pull-out work desk, and extra storage space. The bathroom features a shower, and is decked out in glazed Swedish limestone and marble, accentuating the feeling of natural light that’s offset by dark fishbone oak parquet floors and double-height ceilings. A wardrobe is replaced with a series of hooks on a wall, beside a chaise longue that seems a little out of place. That said, the space was quiet, warm, and elegant in its simplicity. A curved chair back attached to the end of the bed doubles as a valet stand, while the Egyptian bed
linens are luxuriant. There are touches of Sweden throughout this unique property, from leather works by local environmentally-friendly tannery Tärnsjö, through to the delicate wood work of local artisans, which punctuates public spaces. In the hotel’s 80-seat restaurant, which is decked out with stone floors and soft leather, master chef Daniel Guest infuses an international menu with touches of Scandinavia, from locally-sourced ingredients to traditional cooking methods – look out for a signature dishes from the ever-changing seasonal menu that represent different regions of Sweden, lovingly recreated in the big city, from herring boquerones in lemon and olive oil to Swedish porchetta. Most hotel guests only experience hotel restaurants at breakfast, but throughout our stay, we found that it was during this first meal of the day that the eatery shines; a buffet of artisianal breads, local cheeses, cold cuts, and seasonal fruit, complemented by efficient and friendly service, prepares any traveller for a day on foot exploring the Old Town or Stockholm’s many galleries and museums. After your long day of exploration take time out to visit the hotel’s sauna and intimate relaxation room, the perfect place to recharge, or indulge in the hotel’s elegant cocktail bar, an aspect that we’re sure would have been appreciated by Miss Clara and her faculty from time to time. From Kr1500 (US$213) per night, twin share. Sveavägen 48, Box 1616 111 34 Stockholm, Sweden. www. missclarahotel.com www.jetsetter.hk
THE HEALTHLY ROAD
Gayatri Bhaumik visits The Farm at San Benito in the Philippines and discovers how an unassuming property in an unlikely destination has made a name for itself.
don’t consider myself particularly wellness orientated, so it’s probably a good thing that my first retreat experience is at a property that’s become something of a cult favourite in Asia. The Philippines isn’t an obvious choice for a health retreat, but The Farm at San Benito, a quiet, unassuming wellness resort about two hours from Manila, has won awards for its cuisine and accolades for its medical services, allowing it to stand out in the Asian health scene. My initiation into wellness starts at the property’s ‘Alive!’ restaurant, where all vegan, mostly raw cuisine is designed to kick-start the body’s internal rebalancing. ‘Living’ cuisine is the driving concept here, so specially-designed dehydrators are used to ‘cook’ raw ingredients without destroying their nutritional value and enzymes, allowing diners to reap their full health benefits. www.jetsetter.hk
which also supplies the raw materials for coconut-derived ingredients at the restaurant. The next stage of my initiation takes me to the Clinic, where I, admittedly nervous, am scheduled to try one of the medical treatments The Farm has built a strong reputation for. While some wellness retreats offer medical services, few integrate them into the experience so completely as The Farm, where they are central to the overall concept. The Clinic, overseen by well-qualified professionals, offers colon hydrotherapy to acupuncture and everything in between. Most guests spend quite a bit of time time at The Clinic, viewing the medical services as a necessary element of their overall health. I opt for a nutritional microscopy, a treatment innocuous enough for a newbie, where a drop of blood is put under a microscope, and the cells are analysed for insight into the patient’s health. Not that I expected different, but it was comforting to see proof positive of my good wellbeing.
The food is fresh and creative, no doubt the reason it’s won many accolades, and although the sudden, drastic change in diet was, for me, initially a shock to the system, I adjusted quickly. The pasta carbonara helped; a menu staple featuring ‘bacon’ made from coconut, swimming in a sauce of cashew butter and coconut milk, and finished with ‘cheese’ and walnuts, it was almost as heavenly as the real thing; accompanied by a glass of wine, I almost forgot I was ‘eating healthy’. Many destination retreats boast about using local produce in their cuisine, but The Farm takes this a step further by growing their own ingredients on site. Everything
from tomatoes and okra to avocado and snow peas is grown in the extensive Organic Garden next to the restaurant, while the Kitchen Garden provides a host of fresh herbs like tarragon and basil. Even wheatgrass, a popular crutch of health aficionados, is grown onsite in a dedicated Wheatgrass Bungalow. Later, when I visit the Healing Sanctuary – the spa – for an afternoon of pampering, I discover that The Farm also creates an array of products using ingredients grown on site. The fresh coconut grounds and cold-pressed coconut oil used in my treatment are crafted from coconuts grown in the property’s working plantation,
Few would think of the Philippines as a wellness destination, yet with steadfast dedication to purpose, The Farm at San Benito is consistently ranked among the best retreats in Asia. Its much-lauded healthy, enticing cuisine; its perseverance in growing as much of its own fresh produce as possible; the use of home-grown natural products in spa treatments and throughout the property; and a comprehensive lineup of integrated medical services are just some of the features which have allowed The Farm to make a name for itself. Coupled with its lush environment, wellappointed accommodations, roster of daily activities, and oasis-like spa, it’s no wonder dedicated followers of wellness flock here.
The Farm at San Benito, 119 Barangay Tipakan, Lipa, Philippines, +63-2-8848074, www.thefarmatsanbenito.com www.jetsetter.hk
Special Promotional Section
A New Way of Wellness To enhance the rest and relaxation of their guests, Constance Hotels and Resorts has revamped its spa offerings and launched U Spa by Constance, a brand new wellness concept, across all six of its Indian Ocean properties.
Special Promotional Section
The Philosophy Designed to help guests achieve a state of contentment and balance in body and mind, U Spa by Constance is a personalised experience that focuses on maximising wellness, enjoyment, and vitality. Through the luxurious new wellness concept, guests will enjoy an updated range of indulgent treatments that incorporate the latest developments in the spa world, and a delicious new range of natural U Spa products inspired by the Indian Ocean. The program is overseen by corporate spa manager Dr. Chase Webber, who ensures that any U Spa ritual looks at the whole person and creates a holistic wellness experience.
U Spa Classic Treatments A wide range of opulent treatments that soothe and pamper the skin and body are on offer through the new program, including the U Spa Classic massages, facials, and body treatments. The real treat however, is the Signature U Experience Massage, Facial, and Body Treatment, which will leave guests thoroughly relaxed and rejuvenated. Experienced therapists employ a variety of techniques during treatments, each chosen to suit your body’s requirements on the day, and to help heal skin, ease muscles, and encourage blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, and the nervous system. Guests can also choose massages with a specific goal in mind – to relax, rejuvenate, detox, or recover after sports. Each massage has been specially developed by the spa team, and uses a different, targeted body oil from the U Spa product range. Also on offer are a range of international rituals such as Balinese, Ayurvedic, or Swedish massages,
while fragrant scrubs and wraps work to tone and repair the skin while offering a taste of the tropical Indian Ocean islands. An exclusive Kids Spa menu for guests aged between six and 16 allow parents to bring their kids along on their wellness journeys to indulge in specially-tailored massages, facials, manicures, or pedicures.
U Spa Deluxe Treatments Along with its Classic treatments, U Spa by Constance also offers exclusive specialist treatments from some of the best international spa brands around. Shiseido’s popular holistic face and body treatments, designed to balance the Qi in the body, are available at three properties, Constance Belle Mare Plage, Constance Ephelia, and Constance Lémuria. Guests of Constance Le Prince Maurice in Mauritius can pamper themselves with rituals from two exclusive brands. The Brice Nicham Collection, a range of treatments combining medical chiropody with glamorous pedicures and manicures designed by the podiatrist to the stars, is available exclusively at this property, as are the exotic phyto-aromatic Sisley treatments which use highly effective top-grade essential oils and plant extracts and combine aromatherapy and massage techniques from across the world. A lush range of expert antiageing treatments designed by Swiss cellular cosmetic experts Valmont are available exclusively at Constance Halaveli in the Maldives.
U Spa Products
To further heighten the experience, a series of innovative spa products of aromatherapy massage oils, body scrubs, and creams, have
been developed to be used in treatments, and to allow guests to extend the experience and results at home. Inspired by the fruits and plants of the Indian Ocean, each product combines 100 percent natural botanical ingredients with scientific technology, and incorporate either ylang-ylang, vanilla, coconut, sweet orange, frangipane, or aloe vera.
U Spa Wellness Experience Rounding out Constance’s holistic wellness experience are a range of fitness activities, along with specially-concocted cuisine. Held either outside in the fresh sea air, or in one of the properties’ fully-equipped gyms, the U Spa program offers Bodyweight Training, Yoga, and Personal Training activities to encourage guests to stay active. The activities are complemented by the ‘wellness cuisine’ concept which provides guests with healthy, innovative meals that are irresistibly delicious. Look for the ‘W’ symbol on the menus for these special dishes that incorporate natural foods high in essential nutrients, beneficial omega fats and soluble fibres, and healthy proteins, while leaving out added sugars and processed fats. Guests can expect to feast on fresh fruit and vegetables, and sumptuous meat and seafood dishes that are flavourful, fresh, and prepared with healthy cooking methods.
76 THE GUIDE
City of Pearls Known as an ancient diamond and pearl trading centre, today Hyderabad celebrates its unique blend of culture and modernity with gusto. From the historic sites of Golkonda to the mayhem of Charminar, it’s no surprise that locals call it ‘the lion city’, says Hyderabad native Sakshi Kaushik.
Hyderabad’s Charminar Market
THE GUIDE 77
78 THE GUIDE EAT You’ll never go hungry in Hyderabad as eateries can be found in every nook and cranny. Barbecue has taken the city by storm, and the best place to sample the craze is at Absolute Barbecue (www. absolute-barbecue.com, +91 40 3091 1222) in Jubilee Hills. A meat-lover’s paradise, the barbecue joint is greatly praised for its exotic meat range which includes rabbit and emu, and at the eatery’s Wish Grill, guests can choose their meats, veggies, and sauces, then step back and let the grill-masters do their thing. Tender churrasco beef with pineapple is the signature combo here, but leave room for the selection of international and local desserts. AB’s is popular, so be sure to book a table at least five days in advance. For those wanting to satisfy their Italian cravings, Olive Bistro (www. olivebarandkitchen.com, +91 40 6999 9127) is the top choice. Located in the lush Durgam Cheruvu National Park, and overlooking the nearby ‘Secret Lake’, the restaurant is known for its tranquil ambience. A calm alternative to the bedlam of the city, it’s the perfect place to unwind over hearty Italian cuisine with a slight Indian twist. Try the Flash Baked Thyme Rubbed Stuffed Chicken, packed with walnuts, smoked scamorza, and spinach, and served with herbed linguini, pan jus, and chimichurri. A cosy little gem hidden away in a small side street in Jubilee Hills, Ulavacharu (1299/F, Road 68, Jubilee Hills, +91 40 3192 1114) produces the city’s best linup of authentic dishes from Andhra Pradesh - served on banana leaves - and takes full pride in its signature dish, the Rajugari Biryani, a rice dish packed with succulent pieces of mutton marinated in yoghurt and spices. The menu also features fish dishes cooked in an authentic spicy sauce that’s sure to leave the mouth tingling. Finish with the local sweet treat: rich, badhushahs finished with pistachios.
SLEEP Known as one of the city’s most luxurious hotels, the Park Hyatt Hyderabad (www. hyderabad.park.hyatt.com, +91 40 4949 1234) in upmarket Banjara Hills provides www.jetsetter.hk
sophisticated rooms, excellent facilities, and an unparalleled dining experience. The stylish 110sqm Park Suite King boasts neutral tones and quality German linens, and features a spa-inspired bathroom with a marble bathtub, signature products from The Spa, and a 17-inch television. The hotel also maintains a reputation for fine food with its famous Tre-Forni Restaurant and Bar, which marries flavours from
northern Italy with hints of southeast Asian spices. For a one-of-a-kind experience, check into
The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace (www.westinhyderabadmindspace.com, +91 40 6767 7676). The hotel’s central location in HITEC City is reflected in the elegant atmosphere of all its suites, highlighted by bold splashes of modernity,
THE GUIDE 79
Clockwise from top left: the sumptious Taj Falaknuma Palace; chefs cook up a storm at Absolute Barbecue; contemporary luxury at the Park Hyatt Hyderabad
bright colours, eclectic furniture, and high ceilings which invite a sense of space. For the ultimate high-life experience, grab a private cabana by the pool, or savour a sundowner cocktail from the grand outdoor terrace. For a more culturally rich experience, look no further than the decadent Taj Falaknuma Palace (www.tajhotels.com, +91 40 6629 8585). Situated on a ridge overlooking the city, the Taj is bedecked with shimmering Venetian chandeliers, and elegant 19th century European décor influenced by graceful Nizam architecture. Check into the Grand Presidential Suite, a lavish chamber finished with custom-made Turkish upholstery and antique colonial furnishings with access to a private swimming pool and jacuzzi.
PLAY Hyderabadis love a drink, so it’s only natural that the city is a playground of great watering holes. Fashioning itself after an English pub, 10 Downing Street (www.10downingstreetindia.com, +91 40 666 29323) in Begumpet is suitably laidback, doing full justice to its British heritage through its rustic milieu. Fondly known as ‘TDS’, the pub is a popular place to wash down a few pints of local Kingfisher beer or pitches of icy sangria laced with fresh fruit. With a kitchen that whips up delicious gastropub fare, you must sample the mouth-watering shepherd’s pie, laced
with subtle hints of masala. Great food, great drinks, and fabulous themed nights throughout the week; what’s not to love? Sheesha, known locally as ‘hookah,’ is almost a way of life in the snazzy Banjara Hills district, and the one-ofa-kind Sheesha Sky Lounge (www. sheeshaskylounge.com, +91 40 6579 7565) celebrates this lifestyle with a passion. An assortment of popular flavours – green apple and peppermint are house favourites – to puff over low-rise tables surrounded by plush cushions in Arabicstyle tents makes for the perfect place to relax with a group of friends. The charming ambience is completed by the delicate aromas emanating from the Mughalaistyle kitchen, where the chefs serve up platters of grilled meats and fried titbits. Don’t leave without trying the chapli kebab. The city’s hottest party destination, Bottles & Chimney (www.bottlesnchimney.com, +01 40 8587 0000), is set in Begumput and guarantees the ultimate clubbing experience. Priding itself on being one of Hyderabad’s first nightclubs, the space features trendy lounges, top DJs at the decks, and massive LED screens lighting up the dance floor. The bar offers a range of classic cocktails and spirits, and uses premium labels such as Gordon’s, Grey Goose, and Bacardi. Looking, as it does, like the scene for a boisterous Bollywood dance number, it’s no wonder that this is the city’s most popular spot for local celebrities.
The best way to see Hyderabad’s rich history is to visit Golkonda (www.hyd. co.in, +91 40 2351 2401). Meaning ‘Shepherd’s Hill’ in Telugu, the district was legendary for its medieval diamond mines which unearthed the priceless Koh-i-Noor and Hope diamonds. Rising well above the city’s skyline, Golkonda was once home to a distinguished 16th century sultanate and boasts a massive fort rendered in a gorgeous Indo-Islamic architectural style that reflects the city’s cultural diversity. Whether you’re visiting the court grounds of the Kakatiya dynasty, the Qutb Shahi’s palatial gardens, or Aurangzeb’s pavilions and victory gates, Golkonda is teeming with history. Despite having a reputation for being a hub of heavy industry and finance, Hyderabad is also a mecca for the arts.
The Ravindra Bharathi National Theatre (www.ravindrabharathi.org, +91 40 2323 3672) prides itself on hosting some of India’s finest displays of South Indian culture, including Bharatanatyam dance, Kathakali drama, and Carnatic music. With concerts and performances held nearly every night on the theatre’s grand stage, the opportunity to experience some of India’s rich cultural heritage should not be missed.
Charminar (www.aptourism.gov.in, +91 40 42545454) acts as Hyderabad’s proud centrepiece and really captures the true essence of the city. Built in 1591 and intended to function as a mosque and school, the monument features classic Islamic architecture and religious Persian calligraphy; the fluted minarets which soar above the metropolis are joined by grand marble archways, and provide excellent views of the surrounding neighbourhood. However, mention Charminar and people think of the hustle and bustle of the adjoining Laad Bazaar. With roughly 14,000 stores, the bazaar is well-known for its exquisite lacquer bangles, vibrant saris, and world-renowned pearls. Boasting excitable vendors and frenetic crowds, the bazaar’s cheery, colourful chaos will give you a taste of the true Hyderabadi experience.
80 NEW YORK
Three bites of New York, Soho, High Line, Harlem
Nick Walton explores three New York neighbourhoods and discovers a fascinating metropolis thatâ€™s constantly evolving. www.jetsetter.hk
82 NEW YORK
t’s early, very early, on a sublime New York summer morning and I’m alone in Far West Chelsea. This city is famed for never sleeping, but the reality is it does take cat naps, and here, with only a few flower delivery trucks and a garbage crew for company, I feel like I have the Big Apple to myself as I walk between crumbling brick warehouses bathed in maple-coloured sunlight towards the Hudson River. Surrounded by some of Manhattan’s coolest communes, including Hell’s Kitchen (the new name, Clinton, just doesn’t cut it) to the northeast, NoMad to the east, and the celebrity nightclubs of the Meatpacking District to the southwest, the western fringe of Chelsea is enjoying a steady gentrification, spurred on by the recent opening of the second segment of the revitalised High Line.
One of these is the Chelsea Markets (chelseamarkets.com), which is housed in the sprawling former National Biscuit Company, where the Oreo was created. Head inside for breakfast delights at Eleni’s Bakery or Amy’s Bread, or graze through the many olive oil, cheese, and artisanal salt stands, before carrying your prizes across to the nearby Chelsea Piers (chelseapiers.com) for a picnic beside the water. Alternatively look out for local sensation New York Burger Company (newyorkburgerco.com) a local West Chelsea institution on West 23rd Street. These historic piers are located on the Hudson River a stone’s throw from the High Line, and were once a busy cruise line hub where ships like the RMS Lusitania embarked (the Titanic was
with tours downtown to the 9/11 memorial and the newly opened “Freedom Tower”. Chelsea is as fascinating by night as it is by day; high rents in SoHo has led to an emerging contemporary arts scene in West Chelsea, with galleries like Gagesian, Gladstone, and the Haunch of Venison turning heads within the arts community. Chelsea also has a thriving nightlife scene, with bars like The Tippler, D Bar, and Bathtub Gin. Unlike West Chelsea, SoHo is a neighbourhood that needs no introduction. But that doesn’t mean it’s not changing. One of the most recent additions to arguably New York’s coolest enclave is the Trump SoHo, a boutique hotel that’s already a huge celebrity magnet in a
This historic elevated train line winds down through the neighbourhoods of Manhattan’s west, and once delivered livestock and milk to the city centre before lying derelict for decades, the city growing around its rusted columns, it’s people all but forgetting this once proud mark of industrialisation. Saved by popular consent, revitalised and developed into an urban park and walk way, the 2.33km High Line Park, modelled on the Promenade Plantee in Paris, has become a major attraction in West Chelsea for tourists and locals alike. It’s an easy walk at this time of day from my hotel, the Trump SoHo, to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, where I climb stairs wreathed with ironwork to the start of the Line. Under a pale blue sky the path, popular with joggers, is striped with beams of sunshine slipping between new apartment blocks. On either side of the Line, the final extension of which will link 30th street with the steadily redeveloped Hudson Yards when it opens at the end of the year, wildflowers bloom, and New Yorkers begin to emerge from their remodelled row houses to sip coffee in the sun at the park’s many sitting areas. There are also viewing platforms looking out at the Hudson River and even tunnels through some of the district’s most historic buildings. www.jetsetter.hk
to arrive at Pier 59). The piers are now home to a major sports and entertainment complex that includes a driving range and golf clinic, an Olympic pool, gym, and sun decks; as well as the Chelsea Brewing Company (chelseabrewingco.com), a new craft brewing setup at Pier 59. The famous Circle Line (circleline42.com) cruise tours leave from Pier 83, as do Bike & Roll (bikenewyorkcity.com) bicycle tours, which take advantage of the bike-friendly lanes that run down the banks of the Hudson
precinct that’s regularly star struck (read more about the Trump on pg 85). As those same artists left SoHo for Chelsea (art lovers take comfort, the area is still bristling with galleries and workshops), their lofts and studios were replaced with chic boutiques as high fashion moved into the National Historic Landmark-listed cast-iron buildings. I walk SoHo’s Belgian stone-paved side streets at lunch time, the pavements packed with models and
NEW YORK 83
Clockwise from top: Chelsea Piers; live music in Harlem; iconic murals on Harlem Hospital
other leading luxe brands, but head out on foot to discover the likes of Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, 3.1 Philip Lim, and Balenciaga, with new boutiques opening every week. If you’re still intent on a culture fix, SoHo is still home to more than its fair share of galleries, from the iconic Artists Space (artistsspace.org), which has been nurturing new SoHo talent since 1972, to Peter Blum SoHo (www.peterblumgallery. com), which has hosted exhibitions by Robert Ryman through to Alex Katz; and Team Gallery (teamgal.com), which actually moved to SoHo from Chelsea to showcase the works of artists like Cory Arcangel and Ross Knight. Also, film buffs need to head to the Film Forum (filmforum.org), which regularly shows art house flicks from Cannes, Venice, and Toronto’s film festivals.
starlets clutching shopping bags and toy dogs, one gallery playing punk rock that echoes in the rafters of its vaulted ceiling. On one corner, I spy fashion designer Calvin Klein photographing a shopfront and discussing it with his advisers. Named for its similarity with London’s SoHo, and for the fact that it’s south of Houston Street, SoHo is a shoppers paradise, with major brands lined up on the main thoroughfares like Broadway
and cool local labels taking up space on the backstreets. There’s something for everyone in this once Bohemian enclave; on Canal Street you’ll find flea market stalls and emporiums of fascinating (and often pawned) curiosities, and great book stalls and locally made jewellery on Prince Street. Then you have the major labels, from wallet-friendly Topshop to Britain’s All Saints, through to iconic Brazilian shoe brand Galeria Melissa. Sure there is Chanel, Prada, Tiffany, and
All this culture is bound to create an appetite, in which case head for one of SoHo’s many eclectic bars or its A-list restaurants. The Antique Garage ( a n t i q u e g a ra g e s o h o. c o m ) , d e s p i t e serving Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, and Brooke Shields, remains understated and cool, with a well-curated wine list and live jazz, while at Aurora SoHo (auroraristorante.com) chef Riccardo Buitoni serves up elegant modern Italian fare amidst rustic, distinctly urban surrounds. If you’re set on spying some of SoHo’s local celebs, head for local icon Balthazar (balthazarny.com), a favourite for lazy Parisian-style weekend brunches and busy weekday power lunches; the Blue Ribbon Brasserie (blueribbonrestaurants. com), where razor-sharp service meets sublime raw seafood; and newcomer Charlie Bird (charliebirdnyc.com), a pintsized culinary mecca off King Street that’s already turning heads. www.jetsetter.hk
84 NEW YORK or play on the smooth stone steps of the yellow and auburn brownstones on Strivers Row, home to beautiful examples of 19th century architecture by some of the city’s leading designers. From the open windows of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, gospel music dances above another mural, this one listing citizens’ rights when dealing with the police. We collectively peek in at The Shrine Bar & Restaurant (shrinenyc.com), a local live music institution, before stopping in for a bite at Sweet Mama’s Soul Food, only because Sylvia’s, a local soul food institution down the road, is packed with residents new and old.
Things move at a different pace in Harlem, where I head on one sunkissed afternoon to join a Free Tours by Foot (freetoursbyfoot.com) walking tour conducted by local guide and historian Derrick Edwards. Harlem, the historical capital of black American culture, has always been a fascinating neighbourhood and one of the city’s most diverse. It’s also one that’s seen a steady gentrification, especially in central Harlem and to the west, with chic restaurants, great live music joints, and popular event spaces complementing some of the city’s most iconic establishments. Our group meets outside the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which includes a fascinating exhibition of black culture through mass media. From the centre we set out on foot, the historic murals on the façade of Harlem Hospital Centre brilliant in the afternoon sunshine. Derrick plays period music from a portable speaker as he explains the heritage of Harlem, children race past on bicycles
There is much more than just nostalgia taking place in Harlem. As it’s brownstones draw in new residents looking for space and are content to head north of Central Park to find it, the neighbourhood’s fortunes are rapidly changing. Harlem’s live music credentials are being supplemented by new restaurants and lounges opening in once shuttered storefronts, especially between West 118th and 131st streets. Home to some of Manhattan’s deepest sidewalks, the alfresco people-watching opportunities are abound and an increasing number of locals and tourists are aiming north in search of innovative and authentic cuisine from the likes of wine bar Barawine
(barawine.com), intimate French eatery Chéri (cheriharlem.com), rum-focused speakeasy La Bodega 47 (labodega47. com), and BLVD (boulevardbistrony.com), where chef Carlos Swepson dishes up modern takes on American soul food. Our tour ends at the Apollo Theatre, at the heart of Harlem’s new-found fortunes. Nearby, former president Bill Clinton’s has his offices, chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster restaurant (redroosterharlem. com) is serving up a storm, an urban bucket band plays beneath a statue of pastor and politician Adam Clayton Powell Jr, and crowds flow in and out of Gap and American Apparel boutiques on 125th street. Without the massive postdepression development of Midtown or the industrial real estate of SoHo and Chelsea, Harlem’s wide avenues seem exaggerated, the spaces lit, the sidewalks as wide as freeways. It’s just another take on a city that never sleeps and never stops evolving, but also never fails to fascinate the intrepid traveller content with letting their feet do the navigating.
Clockwise from top left: the Apollo theatre in Harlem; family-run Italian restaurants in SoHo’s Little Italy; Harlem remains a centre of black culture www.jetsetter.hk
TRUMP SOHO 85
THE CITY Trump Soho brings touches of seduction and blissfully understated luxury to to downtown New York, discovers Nick Walton.
86 TRUMP SOHO
ew York is a funny city when it comes to hotels. There are three distinct styles: the huge, iconic edifices, decked out in gold and steeped in history; the cool boutique properties that boast just a handful of rooms and are hidden away in emerging enclaves; and the non-distinct cookie cutter ‘others’, the houses of slumber that are a necessity rather than an experience. Then there is the Trump SoHo, quite possibly the coolest hotel to open in the Big Apple in a decade. With a name like Trump attached to it (the property is managed by Trump Hotels Collection but not owned by the group), you might expect a downtown facsimile of the brand’s flagship in Midtown, a highbrow, old-school, luxurious landmark in the making. But the first (and only) AAA Five Diamond hotel to open in SoHo is a distinct departure from the group’s other properties; the brain child of Trump children Donald Jr, Ivanka, and Eric, the 46-floor, 391-room Trump SoHo is a creature all of its own, with the feel of a boutique hotel, the amenities of a flagship, plenty of celeb appeal and all the cool sophistication of its surrounding fashion mecca.
My first impression of the Trump is on an early morning in spring as I gingerly pass through a gaggle of paparazzi camped out at the entrance. Located on the corner of Spring and Varick, on SoHo’s western fringe, the Trump was an immediate success with celebrities, with the likes of Stephen Baldwin, Olivia Wilde, Jessica Alba, Will Smith, and William Fichtner all spotted inside, not to mention countless international models and athletes visiting while in the Big Apple. Photographers, convoys of tinted Escalades, and shadewearing security are regular sights outside the hotel but inside the intimate lobby, celebrities and mere mortals alike can feel right at home. Here, amidst sexy yet understated interiors by the Rockwell Group, which used oxidised bronze, walnut screens, and highly finished leather to create a warm, calming space beneath a double-height conservatory-style atrium by Handel Architects, Old World service meets contemporary expectations. It’s a beautiful amuse bouche to a guest’s hotel experience as they make their way up to their condo-style guest rooms, in my case one of 132 opulent one-bedroom suites.
Intelligently designed and beautifullyappointed, my suite features an expansive work space with high-speed WiFi, a kitchenette with Nespresso coffee machine and wet bar, a separate guest bathroom, and custom furnishings by Fendi Casa, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows with staggering cityscape views that are unlikely to be cluttered for decades, thanks to prudent investment in neighbouring air rights by the building’s owners. My utterly addictive Trump Home bed features a luxurious leather headboard, Bellino bedding, a Serta mattress, and a comprehensive pillow menu, and is complemented by twin 42-inch LCD televisions, and a Control 4 Suite System controller connected to the air-conditioning, window blinds, lights, and televisions. The marble and Turkish Marmara stone-lined bathroom comes with a standalone rain shower, sexy coppertoned taps, and a deep soak tub with views across the Hudson River. I quickly start making up excuses why I should never leave my suite. If you’re looking to splurge during your next Big Apple sojourn, the hotel’s guest rooms range from 63sqm to 185sqm, and include two dedicated spa suites, two two-bedroom SoHo suites, eight two-
TRUMP SOHO 87
the lobby level. Here, a menu of classic Japanese dishes is infused with Californian imagination (the flagship is in LA). Signature dishes at this celeb favourite include Koi Crispy Rice, a nugget of sweet fried rice topped with tuna tartare; silky miso cod that would challenge Nobu’s famed dish; and a Kobe filet mignon that melts in the mouth when paired with the extensive Californiaheavy wine list and the resident mixologist’s cocktail suggestions. Alternatively, the juice bar adjacent to the Spa becomes Bard’Eau with the evening, when the beautiful public ascend for cocktails on the 557sqm terrace, with its mosaic-lined pool and fullsized Bocce court. As you can expect, being so popular with the stars and starlets of both the big and small screen, room service has been given a real breath of fresh air; there is a special menu of 15-minute bites for those in a rush, as well as an extensive selection of breakfast sets themed on countries of the world, and every dish is made with organic and locally-sourced ingredients.
bedroom penthouse suites, and a lavish two-bedroom duplex penthouse with its own expansive terrace, ideal for those private Boston Legal moments. I sneak into the penthouse for a peek and gaze up Manhattan to the towers of Midtown, the sun setting behind New Jersey to the west, the lights already twinkling over in Brooklyn. Naturally if you’re staying in one of the penthouse suites, you’ll also enjoy a host of additional amenities, from daily inroom breakfast to private airport transfers in a Bentley or Maybach. The Trump also has a touch of urban resort in its blood, evident on the pool deck, where a seasonal swimming pool is complemented by an elegant juice bar concept and a wellness hideaway conceptualised by Ivanka Trump, based
on her extensive travels to the world’s holistic centres. After a long day exploring SoHo’s boutiques and galleries on foot, I delve into the Spa at Trump, located on the seventh and eighth floors. Designed by DiGuiseppe Architects, the expansive spa boasts nine private treatment rooms, as well as dedicated wet rooms, a modern fitness centre, and access to the sunkissed terrace. With a distinctive Turkish feel, the Spa at Trump is home to the city’s first authentic luxury hammam, and an afternoon being doused with warm water while lying on heated tiles is the perfect antidote to the rat race on the streets far below. The Trump SoHo’s understated luxury extends to the Koi SoHo restaurant, one of only five in the world, located on
If you do hanker to eat outside, just turn to your very own Trump Attaché, a designated in-house concierge that helps with everything from private shopping trips and after-hours museum visits to dinner reservations and champagne-laced picnics in Central Park. Mine helps me source hard-to-find bottles of Bakon Vodka from a New York City distributor, boxing the bottles in preparation for my flight home. Guests can also make the most of their proximity to SoHo with the Trump SoHo Shopping Card, which provides insider access and exclusive discounts at some of the neighbourhood’s top boutiques and artisans. Finally if you need some down time, the rarely used Library on the second floor is decked out with fascinating books by TASCHEN and offers a great view of the front door, perfect for timing those paparazzi-free departures. Trump SoHo, 246 Spring Street, New York, Tel: +1 212 842 5500; www. trumphotelcollection.com www.jetsetter.hk
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START YOUR ENGINES
THE SUNCITY GROUP 61ST MACAU
Grand Prix Races Into Town
om humble beginnings, the Macau Grand Prix has established itself as a significant event on the city’s calendar. The inaugural Macau Grand Prix was held on October 30 and 31, 1952, and was originally intended as a club race for local motoring enthusiasts. Over the years, the city’s Guia circuit was redeveloped, a permanent concrete grandstand for spectators was constructed, and more and more races were added to the lineup. This year, the Suncity Group 61st Macau Grand Prix will see more than 200 competitors and thousands of petrol-heads descend on Macau as the world’s leading Formula 3 and touring car drivers, as well as road and endurance racing motorcycle riders, take to the track. Between November 13 and 16, a host of home-grown and international racing talents will go head-to-head in a series of thrilling races.
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As has become tradition, the headline race will be the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup, which will see 30 drivers from various national championships compete for the top prize. For the tenth year running, the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) will stage its final rounds at the Macau Grand Prix, while the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix will return for its 48th edition in what’s become known in motorcycle circles as one of the most demanding street courses in the world. Other events include the invitational Macau GT Cup, where competitors will try to end Edoardo Mortara’s three-time winning record, as well as the CTM Macau Touring Car Cup, the Macau Road Sport Challenge, and the Macau Tour Car Series. This year also sees the debut of a new race at the Macau Grand Prix, called the Chinese Racing Cup. Featuring drivers from Mainland China, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Macau, the race will provide a new platform for the four territories to compete on the track while promoting the values of sportsmanship and friendship. The 2014 Macau Grand Prix will be held at Macau’s Guia Circuit, the same track which has hosted the event since its inauguration in 1953. The Guia Circuit is 6.3 kilometres in length, has a minimum width of just seven metres, and features no less than 19 sharp turns. While the track bears many of the same hallmarks as other street circuits around the world – narrow, bumpy, and with limited opportunities to overtake - there are two distinguishing features: varying altitudes and long, straight stretches. More
than 30 metres separate the highest and lowest points of the circuit, and cars can reach speeds of up to 260km/h on the extremely long main straight. The combination of hill-climbs, sharp corners, and long straights make the Guia Circuit one of the most demanding. For more information, please visit www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo
14th Macau Food Festival Macau’s annual food festival returns to the peninsula from November 7 to 23 in a nearly month-long celebration of all things food. Held around this time every year at Sai Van Lake Square, the delicious event attracts locals and visitors with a tempting array of Asian, European, Mainland Chinese, and local delicacies in a series of street stalls, booths, and tents. Along with live entertainment, games, and beer competitions, visitors will enjoy an uninhibited, welcoming atmosphere.
28th Macau International Music Festival From October 3 through November 1, Macau will experience the return of its annual showcase of musical artistry. As much a platform for musical experiences as it is for promoting cultural exchange, the festival invites regional and international acts to perform in a variety of musical genres, schools and styles. This year’s lineup is heavily Opera focused, with performances of Bellini’s Norma, Rossini’s Petit Messe Solennelle, and Martini’s Il Don Chisciotte, but there are also musicals – Hairspray – and international bands like the Dominic Miller Band (Argentina) and the Aaron Goldberg Trio (USA). This year, the festival also pays tribute to Macau’s heritage with a performance of Portuguese music from the 17th and 20th centuries.
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END OF AN ERA KE0082 New York (JFK) to Seoul (Incheon) Nick Walton travels from New York to Seoul in Korean Air’s Prestige Class, only to find poor first impressions and slipping service levels on a once great carrier.
Pre-Flight Check-in at JFK’s Terminal 1 was smooth and efficient, despite a scowl from staff when I requested a window seat. After 30 minutes passing through chaotic security with surly and bored-looking TSA staff, I made my way to Korean Air’s lounge at JFK, which is also open to Priority Pass members as well as Aeroflot, LOT, and Saudia premium customers. This must be one of the airline’s most underwhelming spaces (save for the travesty that is the KE lounge in Hong Kong). Korean Air’s A380 service features 106 premium seats, ensuring the lounge was always packed to capacity. With tired décor, stained seats, few power points, an abysmal food and beverage selection, and a strong pervading smell of instant ramen throughout, the lounge is a poor way to start any business class journey.
Inflight I always opt for an upstairs window seat on the A380 because of the brilliant additional storage space. The 21.6-inch wide Prestige Class Sleeper Seat, in a 2-2-2 configuration, offers ample space between rows and 180 degrees of lie-flat bliss when in bed mode. A 15.4inch LCD monitor gives access to the plane’s entertainment system but cheap, non-noise reduction headphones, which looked strikingly
like those in economy, were a disappointment. Staff distributed Davi of Napa amenity kits that included face cream, lip balm, and and an eye mask, but curiously no ear plugs – the A380 is quiet but not that quiet! A cabin attendant said they were unable to offer champagne before takeoff as it was “sealed”, and gave a rather overdone expression of apology before taking both lunch and dinner orders. Our flight left JKF on time and after reaching cruising altitude the same attendant did bring me a glass of Perrier-Jouët with another, more sincere apology. As friendly as the crew was (and they were charming compared to the Seoul - Hong Kong crew) there was a distinct impression that they were overwhelmed, and the result was business class seats and premium economy service at best. Meal service lacked finesse despite the fact that, as an afternoon departure, there there was no pressing need for passengers to sleep. Lunch consisted of a seared scallop with paprika puree followed by smoked salmon carpaccio and a choice of Korean bibimbap; bulgogi beef with rice; roasted rib eye; or roasted seafood with linguini. The bibimbap was delicious but its presentation on KE has really slipped, and the overall impression was that of a quick regional flight meal service.
After a 15-minute wait for crew to man the Celestial Bar at the rear of the top deck, I enjoyed an Absolut cocktail with view of Hudson Bay’s ice floes below, before making the most of my Sleeper Seat and catching several hours of shut-eye under comfortable blankets. I wasn’t woken for the second meal service (nor was the passenger beside me) despite having already ordered, and the crew asked us both 35 minutes out from Incheon if we would like a meal, knowing quietly that it was virtually impossible. The same sucking lemon expression of apology.
Summary It’s truly sad to see a once great airline allowing its service levels to slip. On all four KE flights I travelled on that week, service was a shadow of previous KE flights (one was downright infuriating) showing that having state-of-the-art hardware is no replacement for good service, consistency, and attention to detail, especially in Asia’s ultra-competitive airline industry
Note: The author travelled on a paid business class ticket without the knowledge of the airline. www.koreanair.com www.jetsetter.hk
92 TURNING LEFT
Nick Walton takes one of Dragonair’s most popular routes, Beijing to Hong Kong, in the regional carrier’s elegant yet practical new business class cabin, and finds even on short flights, like KA903 from Beijing to Hong Kong, the Dragonair crew know how to charm.
I had already checked in for my flight to Hong Kong online and received a text message as I was approaching the airport three hours before our 7.30pm departure, advising of a 50-minute delay of KA903. This is par for the course in Mainland China, where the international airports of Beijing and Shanghai are among the world’s worst for on-time departure.
It’s always a pleasure to fly Dragonair, in any class, thanks to young, positive, and cheerful staff that give their CX brethren a run for their money. A handful of these smiling, upbeat crew met me as I made my way past the empty First Class cabin (on Dragonair, Cathay’s brilliant long-haul Business Class product doubles as a First Class seat) to my seat, 12K. The crew assured me we would arrive in Hong Kong in time to catch the last Airport Express train into the city, and quickly shifted passengers around in the half-empty cabin so everyone had an empty seat beside them. As the pilot apologised for the delay, the crew quickly prepared the cabin for flight, distributing glasses of champagne and taking dinner orders. A crew member told us that no menus had been delivered so it was back to the old days with a choice of “seafood on rice, beef on rice, or duck on rice” but they handled the hiccup with finesse.
Fortunately, Dragonair and its sister airline, Cathay Pacific, share a spacious lounge on a mezzanine level only five minutes’ walk from security. The lounge is situated under the airport’s soaring main roof, with towering windows down one flank, ensuring plenty of space and natural light. Decked out with timber, stone, and marble accents, the lounge has a very ‘CX’ feel to it, with armchair settings, a signature ‘long bar’ table, workstations with PCs, and a private lounge for groups at one end. Two self-service stations served approximately 30 passengers, offering chilled sodas, bottled water, a handful of spirits, and a rather dubious looking Chinese wine called Dragon Seal, which was surprising given the efforts both airlines have made in terms of world-class food and beverage service. In chafing dishes to one side was curry beef rice, steamed siewmei, prawn congee, and a beef soup with dates. The siewmei and curry beef tasted better than they were presented, and diligent staff ensured that plates and glasses were quickly removed after use. www.jetsetter.hk
economy class seat, would be a great addition. But despite this, the 21-inch wide seat is both a great work station and a great armchair, with an ample dining and work tray that slides from beneath the monitor, a six-way headrest, an inseat power point and multi-connector to sync with Apple products, and a single plug point for headphones – no more fiddling around with adapters so you can use your own noisereduction headphones. The meal service was prompt and efficient; the appetiser was beautifully presented but no one was entirely sure what it was, and in turn it was followed by what we suspect was a very good pepper beef on rice with steamed choy sum. Staff couldn’t do more to make passengers comfortable, dimming the lights after service and turning the business class cabin into a mini movie cinema as passengers explored the new Studio KA entertainment system.
The latest regional business class product on Dragonair is both intuitive and comfortable. Streamlined and minimalist, it makes up in comfort and practicality what it lacks in storage space – the pocket beside the 12.1-inch monitor is perfectly sized for iPhones but was way too small for my Samsung phone. There is additional storage space at the feet and down the side of the seat, but it’s also easy to forget that things are stored there at the end of the flight. A subtle little tray beneath the monitor, similar to those found on the back of Cathay’s
Dragonair has a tough job; with short flights, frazzled travellers, and plenty of logistic difficulties to encounter, the airline has done a tremendous job maintaining quality at 33,000ft. Thanks to dedicated staff and constant innovation, that means KA will be a regional leader for years to come. www.dragonair.com Note: The author travelled on a fully paid business class ticket without the knowledge of the airline. www.dragonair.com
THE OAXACA OUTLAW MUSINGS ON MEZCAL
SPEED BARRIER Bentley’s New Look Continental
A TOUCH OF THE EXOTIC
Going Nuts for Coconut
Chef Fabrice Vulin RAIL TRAVEL READS
SEASONS BY OLIVIER E
94 FOOD ADVENTURES
FOOD ADVENTURES 95
Coconut oil has recently gained worldwide attention for its many health benefits, and with its connotations of tropical vacations, a fresh scent, and a sweet taste that’s neither overpowering nor cloying, you’re likely to encounter the humble coconut wherever you’re travelling to, finds Gayatri Bhaumik. Immerse yourself in the world of coconut with a visit to Thala Beach Lodge, near Port Douglas in Australia’s Far North Queensland. Against a stunning backdrop composed of the translucent Coral Sea and verdant, dense Daintree Forest, you can improve your coconut knowledge with the property’s Coconut Odyssey tour. Held on the onsite coconut plantation, the two-hour tour is led by passionate coconut advocate Carl Johanson, who discusses everything from coconut’s history and worldwide usage to its health benefits over samples of fruit grown on the estate, from young green coconuts to the little-known ‘coconut apple.’
reached new levels of decadence. Based on former chef Robert Carter’s grandmother’s recipe, the dish first appeared on the restaurant’s menu on Valentine’s Day, 1997, and has since won praise from The New York Times and Vogue, as well as becoming a must-have for Charleston brides. The Peninsula Grill Ultimate Coconut Cake® - yes, it’s registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office - is a 12-layer tower of delicate pound cake with liberal lashings of light, fluffy cream and butter frosting, all of which is infused with fresh vanilla and coconut, and then finished with a thick covering of toasted coconut.
In the heart of Hong Kong’s SoHo, innovative cocktail bar Quinary, known for its creative tipples and helmed by noted local mixologist Antonio Lai, has recently teamed up with celebrity-endorsed coconut water Jax Coco to create several unique coconut-laced cocktails. The one to try is the Jax Colada; creamy and frothy, the drink is a sweet combination of Jax Coco, white rum, coconut cream, and fresh pineapple, all topped off with mini Jax Coco ice balls. Autumn may be here, but this cocktail will make you feel like you’re lazing on a sunkissed beach in the Caribbean.
Head to the Duniye Spa at Veligandu Island Resort and Spa in the Maldives, where the Maldivian Island Paradise ritual harnesses coconut’s restorative properties to leave guests with lustrous hair, soft skin, and a deep sense of relaxation. The luxurious 120-minute treatment begins with a signature footbath, before your choice of a Balinese or Oriental massage with warm coconut oil. Muscles melted, a coconut mask is applied to your hair and worked in with a head massage, before your skin is subjected to a thorough cleansing with a freshly ground coconutvanilla body polish. After rinsing off with an aromatic tropical bath, an application of coconut body lotion will ensure the heavenly smell lingers long after you leave, and you’ll finish with a tropical refreshment. www.veliganduisland.com
America’s south holds coconut cakes close to its heart, but at The Peninsula Grill in Charleston, South Carolina, this southern favourite has
96 CHEF PROFILE
A Touch of the
After honing his skills at some of the best restaurants in France and flavouring his experiences with stints in Morocco, Fabrice Vulin brings his culinary expertise to Caprice at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. He speaks with Gayatri Bhaumik about cooking dreams, team work, and his use of North African spices in traditional French cuisine.
Photo: Nick Walton
CHEF PROFILE 97
How did you become involved with culinary endeavors? When I was a young boy, I spent a lot of time in my Grandma’s kitchen as she prepared meals for family gatherings. The patience and precision she displayed through her cooking, and the respect she had for the ingredients she used, inspired me to learn more.
How would you describe your culinary style? It’s classic Provençal cuisine done in a contemporary style, and flavoured with a Moroccan twist.
Where do you find inspiration for your dishes? I find inspiration everywhere, whether it’s speaking with my suppliers and walking through the markets, or the things I read and the places I travel. Sometimes, ideas will even come to me at night, in a dream.
While visiting the local markets in Morocco, I was introduced to an abundance of spices and local produce. Naturally, I wanted to make use of them by experimenting with the unique spices and produce in different recipes.
What do you like to cook? I like to cook fish because it’s one ingredient that offers a wide variety of choices, each with different flavours and textures. I also love to prepare vegetables and play with the vibrant colours they offer.
Do you have a signature dish? Caramelised Pigeon Breast with Moroccan Spices and Raz el Hanout has been my signature dish since my time in Morocco. I use a mix of Moroccan spices, which really helps bring together an exotic flavour. I really love it!
How do you stay innovative How has your time in in the kitchen? Morocco influenced your For me, it’s crucial to stay very close approach to cooking? with my team. I appreciate the exchange
I have with them, and it’s a wonderful experience when we go out together to try local food because this inspires the team to create new dishes together.
You’ve worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants. What have you taken away from these experiences? It comes back to teamwork; attributes like being humble and respectful of those around you are all crucial. But other things are important too, like having respect for and knowledge of your ingredients, and feeding your clients’ interest in discovering new things. Paying attention to all of this has brought me to where I am.
What do you hope to achieve at Caprice? I want Caprice to have great energy. When the team works as one, it reflects well on the restaurant. Everyone, from the kitchen staff to the service team, works very closely to make sure our guests feel comfortable and at home.
The Oaxaca Outlaw
Mezcal was, for many generations, regarded as tequila’s poor brother, but it’s now enjoying a renaissance as brands like Ilegal put this rustic spirit into the limelight, reports Nick Walton.
he story of Ilegal Mezcal is as much about Mexico’s most underappreciated spirit as it is about the luxury liquor industry. Back in 2004 John Rexer, owner of Café No Sé, an international watering hole in colonial Antigua, Guatemala, would travel to Mexico and bring back bottles of his favourite unbranded mezcal from Oaxaca, a spirit rarely certified for export but one that quickly formed a loyal following among his patrons. “I would never use the word ‘smuggle,’” he says. “Let’s just say there were river rafts, bribes, disguises, and late night drop points. I’d prefer to say I was a bar owner with a supply problem who became a bit creative.” This creatively included once dressing as a priest to get 50 bottles across the border.
Ilegal Mezcal has gone legit now but the colourful stories behind it, as well as some innovative marketing in important markets like New York and Los Angeles, has elevated the brand to cult status. “Ilegal has texture and is not diluted and polluted by an industrial process,” says Rexer. “It’s like old hand-tooled leather versus cheap pleather. It’s seductive. People from all walks of life long for the difference. Ilegal is a way of thinking and wanting to live as much as it is fine liquour.” But the spirit is more than just fancy marketing; made in Oaxaca by a fourthgeneration mezcalero passionate about keeping a 500-year-old tradition alive, Ilegal Mezcal is made from espadín
agave that is baked in earthen pits before being stone ground, naturally fermented, and distilled twice in small batches. The process is an art, resulting in a beautifully balanced spirit with just a kiss of smoke, making for the ideal new innovation for imaginative bartenders. Three styles include the unaged Joven, with notes of anise, red pepper, and light fruit with a smooth, heated finish; a Reposado, aged four months in American Oak barrels, with a more caramalised flavor and notes of chocolate, butterscotch, subtle heat, and a longer finish; and an Añejo, aged 13 months in American Oak, French Oak, and bourbon casks, with bitter-orange notes and hints of maple and clove. The spirit isn’t widely available in Asia yet but bartenders in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore are already experimenting with mezcal and it’s just a matter of time until the bad boy of the market heads to the Far East.
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Wickens & Co launches OnlineWineHongKong.com
Wickens & co , one of Asiaâ€™s premier fine wine merchants has created a seamless online shopping experience with a wide range of wine focused on the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy & Champagne as well as countries including Italy & Australia . Benefitting from the same careful sourcing that our main wine list receives these are certainly not bin ends and this gives you the opportunity to purchase single bottles of legendary wines such as Petrus, DRC and Krug without the need to pay high retail prices . With over 20 years of fine wine experience Stephen Wickens is delighted to be offering so many fine wines by the bottle online for your every drinking requirement . www.onlinewinehongkong.com compliments the traditional fine wine merchant model that has seen so much success for Wickens & Co as we bring delightful wines to client dining tables everyday . Catering for dinner parties, corporate and seasonal gifts Stephen & his team are always ready to give personal advice as well as to source those hard to find bottles . Please donâ€™t hesitate to contact us for all your wine requirements.
Wickens & Co Ltd Tel : +852 3590 3618 www.wickensandco.com
The spirits on our wet bar this season run the gamut from rich artisanal sipping tequila and vintage cognac,
Perfectly timed for the wave of popularity highend tequila is now enjoying in Asia, keep a
The world’s demand for artisanal gins continues, and London remains the ancestral
sharp eye out for Don Fulano Tequila, an artisanal tequila that’s taking the spirit’s conventional markets by storm. Made by a family-owned company that has been distilling tequila for four generations, the spirit is organic, estate-grown, and additive free. For a true treat, try the añejo, a beautifully French limousine oak aged tequila that is neither overly sweet nor overpowered by wood. A blend of different aged tequilas of a minimum age of 30 months, expect intense agave characters, complemented by spicy notes and touches of chocolate fudginess, baked banana, and a fine mixture of dried fruits, almonds, and roasted coffee beans.
home of this ancient spirit. The City of London Distillery, a partnership between
owner Jonathan Clark and master distiller Jamie Baxter, of Chase Distillery fame, has returned gin to Fleet Street, once home to several famous distilleries. The distillery (which has an adjacent working bar with one of the most complete collections of gins available in London) uses state-of-the-art Christian Carl stills to produce a gin that is full of fresh lemon and grapefruit, with touches of juniper and liquorice. Controversial from the start (the bottle design is remarkably similar to existing brand Hayman’s), the resulting City of London Dry Gin is perfectly balanced for chilled gin and tonics or tall gin cocktails. www.cityoflondondistillery.com
As the seasons shift, spoil your palate with a vintage cognac from the Fins Bois region of Cognac, known for its floral and fruity eaux-devie. Jean Grosperrin is as boutique as cognac houses come – they only employ eight staff – and their collection of vintage cognacs, which are made from only one percent of all cognac production, include landmark drops from the region’s best harvests. The perfect gift for cognac lovers, the Jean Grosperrin 1975 Fins Bois is a limited-edition cognac limited to just 60 bottles. With an above average ABV of 58.1%, expect a heartwarming spirit with vanilla and caramel followed by intense spice. With a rich toffee hue and a long, lingering finish, it’s the perfect expression of the vintage cognac art. www.lagabare.com
to 30 year old Islay single malt and revived rye whisky, the perfect seasonal tipples for autumn evenings.
Once the predominant brown spirit of the US and the inspiration behind some of the world’s most famous cocktails – from the Whiskey Sour to the Old Fashioned - rye whiskey is enjoying a comeback as spirit fans branch out from traditional tipples like cognac and single malt whisky. Produced by Lawrenceburg Distillers in Indiana, and carefully selected and bottled by Bardstown Barrel Selections in Kentucky, the Redemption range of rye whiskies are aged in new charred oak barrels and bottled in small batches, allowing the spirit to mature and develop fuller flavour and colour. Look out for the Redemption Riverboat
Rye, a spicy rye spirit that’s a little twist on traditional American spirits; skipping the chillfiltering stage ensures more fatty acids in the whiskey, delivering plenty of freshly crushed grain backed by herbs, spice, and fruit with a long finish of mint and anise. www.redemptionrye.com
Poland has given Russia a run for its money in the premium vodka game, consistently producing top spirits that can be found in the back bars of the world’s top mixology haunts. Named for the native Konik horses of the Bialowieza, Poland’s last remaining primeval forest, Konik’s Tail Vodka is a small batch, super-premium spirit produced in accordance with uncompromising Polish vodka-making traditions dating back over six hundred years. Handcrafted under the watchful eye of Pleurat Shabani and Bernadeta Ejsmont the Mistrz Ceremonii (Master of the Cellar), a unique blend of three grains - ancient spelt wheat, golden rye, and early winter wheat – as well as a specialist silver bitch charcoal filtering process, is used to create a vodka with a rich complexity designed to be enjoyed neat. www.konikstail.com
For a single malt with true pedigree, Port
Askaig 30 Years is a refined, noble Scotch whisky from the northeast coast of Islay. Not for the faint-hearted, the 30 Years is the third release by Port Askaig and the first to be bottled at cask strength (51.1%ABV), ensuring a rich, complex spirit with unprecedented depth, and a smoky, sweet flavour. Look out for a beautifully soft mouthfeel with hints of citrus, pepper, and chilli, followed by honeysuckle and sugared almonds. The slow fade with its lingering spice, makes it the perfect tipple to share or to give to friends who enjoy true whisky heritage. www.portaskaig.com
102 RESTAURANT REVIEW
Seasonal Selection By Nick Walton
Innovative, imaginative French cuisine has a new home as celebrated chef Olivier Elzer opens his own restaurant in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay. By Nick Walton
ith elegant décor that includes a spacious ‘greenhouse’ and a moody, sexy main dining room, Seasons by Olivier Elzer is a refreshing change from the chain restaurants which dominate Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay. The first fine-dining French restaurant in the city to be hosted by and named after a three Michelin-starred chef, Seasons by Olivier E marries elegant décor with modern cuisine and just a touch of Asian inspiration. Themed on the changing season, the voluminous Lee Gardens restaurant features plenty of wood, stone, and marble accents, from the autumn-inspired main Dining Room, with its Chef Table
equipped with its own open kitchen, to two private dining rooms, a glass canopied Green House ignited with natural light at lunch service and by the lights of the surrounding towers by night, and an expansive Garden Terrace, ideal for after work drinks and seasonal cocktail parties. It’s a fitting stage for the culinary innovation of 35-year old French chef and co-founder Olivier Elzer. Inspired by his grandfather, who was chef to the last of Russia’s Tsars, Elzer was mentored by the likes of Joël Robuchon and Pierre Gagnaire before stints in Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong, including Mandarin Oriental’s Pierre and L’ Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and France, where he was named amongst the country’s top 22 best young chefs by French culinary
guide Gault Millau. Part of a new breed of French chef that believe tradition should be embraced but not at the expense of innovation and invention, Elzer’s creative vision can be seen in the refined, intelligent combinations on Seasons menus. From the play on textures that is seared tuna belly with a secret five-spice crust on a silky bed of shiso-laced guacamole; and the zesty chilled tamarillo gazpacho with basil ice cream and brousse cheese; to succulent bites of Maine lobster on fluffy black squid ink risotto with a burst of freshness thanks to a lemongrass foam, each dish is a symphony of flavours and imagination. Dishes are complemented by an extensive wine list, 80 percent of which are French. www.seasonsbyolivier.com
104 RESTAURANT REVIEW
A new fine-dining addition to Hong Kong’s foodie scene, Vasco brings a touch of Spain to the heart of Central. By Gayatri Bhaumik
ucked into PMQ, the newest design, art, and dining hub of Central, is a new restaurant concept featuring two spaces, Isono Eatery and Bar, and Vasco. While we liked the look of the open-plan Isono, a more casual tapasstyle eatery, we head to the seventh floor to Vasco, the fine-dining alternative where chefs Paolo Casagrande and Martin Berasategui dish up a taste of Basque cuisine amid sophisticated, modern interiors. The restaurant seats up to 60, but thanks to two private dining rooms and well-designed shielded booths, we barely saw any other diners although the restaurant was busy. While diners can order a la carte, the highlights here are the eight-course Chef’s Menu, and the five-course Tasting Menu. After settling on the Tasting Menu – the staff were flexible about substitutions www.jetsetter.hk
our meal began with a selection of unique, small amuse bouches, and a selection of flavoured butters – mushroom, spinach, beetroot, and tomato – accompanied by warm, fluffy breads, of which the pancettalaced brioche was a firm favourite. What followed was a succession of beautifully plated dishes which, while sometimes laced with flavours surprising for a Spanish restaurant, were portioned well enough for us to eat everything and leave feeling comfortably full, not overstuffed.
strawberries and ‘yoghurt snow’ that was just the right side of sweet.
The first course – essentially cubes of raw tuna with accompaniments – while delicious, had a distinctly Asian flavour to it, and came off as the food equivalent of a third culture kid; but the third and fourth courses – roasted scallop and roast lamb rump respectively – were cooked to a perfection that attested to the culinary team’s skill. The meal finished with a light raspberry almond sponge with glacé
While we enjoyed the experience of dining at Vasco, there was a sense that this is very much an ‘occasion’ restaurant which could all too easily fall into the trap that many restaurants here do: believing too much in its own hype.
Vasco’s menu might not be hugely extensive, but it’s well complemented by a massive wine list that would appease even the most critical oenophile, despite the eyebrow raising prices. Surprisingly, only a select few wines were served by the glass, but the 2006 Valenciso Reserva Rioja we chose was just the thing to accompany our meal.
Vasco, 7/F, Block B, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, 2156 0888, www.vasco. com.hk
106 TOP TABLES The foodie scene of Macau has taken a significant shot in the arm with the opening of Soho at City of Dreams, a dedicated dining street inside the Cotai Street development that takes its cues from a Big Apple backstreet. With a distinctly urban feel thanks to touches of graffiti and brick veneers, Soho at City of Dreams boasts 16 restaurants covering the world’s culinary traditions. Diners can catch televised matches and cold beer at the 777 Sports Bar; authentic Asian cuisine at Asia Kitchen; Taiwanese xiao long bao at Macau’s first branch of Din Tai Fung; Korean ginseng chicken soup at Hongjiade; lobster and champagne at The Lobster Bar, and even Tex-Mex at El Pinball. Look out for street artists and entertainers at this little slice of cosmopolitan New York in Macau. www.cityofdreamsmacau.com/soho
Appetites in Autumn From Michelin-starred fine-dining French, to playful Italian-Japanese fusion, these are our favourite dining experience for the season ahead. The eponymous Wan Chai restaurant of acclaimed two Michelinstarred chef Akrame Benallal has introduced a new menu that showcases the ingredients of the changing seasons as well as the innovations of his flagship Parisian kitchen. Opened in late 2013, Akrame Hong Kong is the chef’s first restaurant outside France. The chef cut his teeth with the likes of Ferran Adrià and Pierre Gagnaire, and opened his first restaurant, Restaurant Akrame, in Paris in 2011 at the age of 30. It was awarded a Michelin star within the first year, and received a second star in February 2014. Ideally suited for lunches or dinners to impress, highlights of the new menu at his intimate Ship Street restaurant include grilled cauliflower with almonds and orange blossom; crab with pepper and coffee, and a beer granite; razor clams with grapefruit jelly and green beans; fillet of lean fish with quinoa and a parmesan and lemon emulsion; and verbena cream with mango, lime and pepper ice-cream. www.akrame.com.hk
For true connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine, Rozan, a hidden gem on the Hong Kong culinary scene, has created a new seasonal Omakase menu under the direction of acclaimed master chef Masataka Fujisawa. The new menu is laced with delicate, innovative dishes steeped in Japan’s culinary heritage but with distinctive twists of creativity on the part of Fujisawa and his team. Catering to just 12 lucky souls at a time, Rozan’s cozy wood-lined dining room wraps around a preparation kitchen where the likes of Kinmedai and yellowtail sashimi; filefish with liver sauce; dried bottle gourd sushi; and mouthwatering strips of Wagyu beef are prepared with military-like precision and are matched with a selection of boutique sakes. Book well in advance for the various set menu options as Fujisawa has a loyal following. www.ginsai.com.hk
TOP TABLES 107 Cynics could be forgiven for not expecting much from a restaurant opened by a luxury watch brand, but Francesco by Franck Muller, one of two restaurants to open in the brand’s new Causeway Bay flagship boutique in Hong Kong, is already turning heads and changing perceptions with its playful, innovative menu of modern Italian-Japanese fusion dishes. With a bright main dining room that boasts both elements of Japan’s and Italy’s culinary heritage while taking eye-catching cues from the watchmaker’s iconic Colour Dreams collection, Francesco offers good value, crisp service, and a truly enjoyable dining experience. Dishes like the Alaskan king crab or the octopus sucker salad are not only aesthetically pleasing but are constructed with finesse and a respect for ingredients. Other highlights include a miso black cod with lobster risotto; a Moorish spring chicken stuffed with mushrooms; melt-inthe-mouth miso pork loin from Okinawa; and a baked chicken casserole that truly fuses Italian and Japanese flavours to perfection. www.francescofranck.com
Acclaimed Big Apple-meets-Fragrant Harbour chef Harlan Goldstein has made his first foray into Asian cuisine with Sushi To, a lavish Japanese restaurant perched atop Soundwill Plaza II in Causeway Bay. Boasting intimate wood-clad interiors, separate sake and sushi bars, a private dining room, outdoor terrace, and stunning harbour views, Sushi To (which takes its name from the chef’s long term friend and business partner Simon To) brings to the table innovative yet delicate Japanese fare prepared by executive chef Norihisa Maeda but with distinctly Goldstein twists. Signature dishes from the extensive menu, which features teppanyaki, robatayaki, and sashimi bit es, include abalone with sea urchin served in a flaming bowl, and Funky Maki rolls stuffed with “magic mushrooms” and are complemented by jet fresh seafood and a stellar sake list of over 30 labels, as well as an enviable Japanese whiskey selection.
The highly anticipated Bread Street Kitchen & Bar by Gordon Ramsay has opened at Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong Hotel. The celebrity chef’s first venue in Asia, the 90-seat Bread Street introduces signature British dishes reinvented by the multi-Michelin starred chef and presented by head chef Gilles Bosquet amidst eclectic vintage meets modern interiors. Bosquet is no stranger to new Ramsay eateries, having opened Gordon Ramsay Doha and Opal by Gordon Ramsay at the city’s St Regis Hotel. Highlights of the new restaurant’s menu include king crab with apple and pink peppercorn; honey-glazed beef short rib with pomelo and scallions; and roasted veal carpaccio with truffle crème fraiche. Diners should also look out for the restaurant’s lively cocktail bar, where mixologists shake up a storm of innovative concoctions for up to 30 guests at communal tables. www.diningconcepts.com www.jetsetter.hk
108 THE LIST
CLASSICS WITH A TWIST Restaurants around the world are mixing things up with modern approaches to traditional cooking, creating daring and appetising new dishes. Here are our five favourites.
angkok’s Gaggan gives traditional Indian dishes a makeover with molecular gastronomic wizardry. Using smokes, foams, and liquid nitrogen, influences from chef Gaggan Anand’s internship at Spain’s now defunct elBulli, the restaurant’s signature dish, Chowpati Year 2050, is an imaginative spin on papdi chaat, where spherical yoghurt ‘eggs’ on a deep-fried puri are doused in tamarind chutney and herbal foams. www.eatatgaggan.com
Riviera, in downtown Los Angeles, brings lonchera-style dining to a recognisable dining format. Diners can expect food carts careening through the restaurant, serving modernised Latin dishes like Pastrami Tacos with pastrami, sauerkraut, and ballpark mustard; and Peruvian-Japanese Gyoza with red chilli pulled pork, lime-roasted pineapple salsa, and huacatay salsa. www.
rivierarestaurant.com A decadent fusion of African and Dutch gastronomic ancestry, De Volkskombuis is a sly nod to traditional South African cuisine. Dishes drawn from Cape Town’s culinary heritage are given a bold makeover, like the bobtie, traditionally made with beef, which is made here with fresh fish and Cape Malay spices, then baked with a glazed egg and milk custard coating. www.
volkskombuis.co.za Gary Rhodes’ Dubai eatery, Rhodes Twenty10, gives quintessential British fare a flavourful Middle Eastern twist. The signature dish, Oxtail Cottage Pie, replaces the traditional lamb with oxtail; while the pan-fried cod is infused with local spices, including fennel and cumin, and served with saffron curry risotto. www.rhodestwenty10.com The Four Seasons Hotel Budapest offers a scintillating fusion of French, Italian, and Hugarian flavours at its Gresham Restaurant. On the menu are two foie gras dishes – a French staple – that have been given a dash of Hungarian flair: one is marinated in a local Tokaj wine; the other is pan-seared and dressed with local ingredients like pickled pear, walnuts, and dried grapes.
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Into THE Deep
Tough and practical yet stylish and sophisticated, these three new watches look as good on land as they do underwater. By Gayatri Bhaumik
The latest addition to Bulgari’s arm-candy lineup, the Diagono Ultranero Chronograph series presents four distinguished timepieces that are utilitarian and efficient without conceding refinement and elegance. The contemporary watches feature a 42-mm round steel case with diamondlike carbon treatment, making it resistant to heavy wear and tear, completed with a screw-down crown. The deep black dial is completed with different coloured accents in each model – red, yellow, white, or gold – and super-luminova coating to enhance readability, as well as tricompax subdials and an outer chapter ring. Each timepiece is powered by a manufacture-made Calibre B130 selfwinding mechanism, and with a rubber bracelet sporting stainless steel links and ardillon buckle, is waterproof to 100 metres. www.bulgari.com
In 2012, filmmaker James Cameron collaborated with Rolex on a 3D National Geographic fiming expedition into the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans. Rolex’s new Deepsea D-Blue Dial diver’s watch is a tough-as-nails celebration of the expedition and its resulting footage. Based on Rolex’s Deepsea Sea-Dweller, the most unique feature of the new timepiece is its dial, which features a blue-to-black colour gradient, mimicking the fading of light towards the ocean’s depths, a green ‘Deepsea’ marking, in tribute to the explorers’ submersible, and easily-distinguished Chromalight hour makers in white gold. A sapphire crystal-protected dial, a screw-down “oyster” case, and a caseback in grade 5 titanium ensure this new model is water-resistant to 3,900 metres. www.rolex.com
Luxury swiss watchermaker Alpina has partnered with the Race for Water Foundation, an organisation championing water preservation, to release the limited-edition Alpiner 4 Chronograph “Race for Water.” Limited to just 400 pieces, the sturdy timepiece boasts exception style and unparalleled performance. The stylish silver dial features dual chronographs, a blue counter ring, luminescent hands and markers, and is ensconced in a robust 44mm stainless steel case and bidirectional bezel, and covered with scratch-resistance sapphire crystal. Mounted on a black alligator leather strap, water resistant to 100 metres, and boasting antimagnetic and antishock properties, this watch is made to be active. Best of all, part of the profits will benefit Race for Water. www.alpina-watches.com
A RIVETING REINVENTION
The latest offering by Jaeger-LeCoultre is a tribute to the fine art of watchmaking and a stunning new interpretation of one of the brand’s icons. By Gayatri Bhaumik
art of the brand’s exclusive Haute Joaillerie line, the new Master Grande Tradition Grand Complication watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre is an eye-wateringly intricate study in design, technical construction, and exquisite craftsmanship. This intriguing new timepiece incorporates three complications – a minute repeater, a flying tourbillion, and a zodiac calendar – each of which has been built according to the latest watchmaking standards.
with two crescents of baguette-cut sapphires, brilliant-cut diamond hour indicators, and a hand-guilloché lacquered disc indicating months and zodiac signs. The watch also features a flying tourbillion orbiting the dial, helping to display a 24-hour indication, and the days and months, which appear on a circular scale around the dial. A sapphire crystal top, framed by the domed bezel, protects the fine work of the dial, while below it sits a manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 945 movement.
The classic round case, rendered in 18-carat white gold, features a motif formed by 294 baguette-cut diamonds that accentuates the distinctive architecture that characterises the Master Grande Tradition. Arranged in a meticulous pattern on the bezel, the diamonds wreathe around the watch face, while two rows of gems extend from both sides of the crown, adorning the sides of the case and descending towards the lugs.
Another unique feature of this watch is its ability to provide an ondemand audible indication of the time with an innovative minute repeater. The resonant sounds are produced by a cathedral gong – produced in-house in 2010 – made of a special alloy and manufactured as one whole piece. By pushing a slide on the case-side, the wearer can admire the mechanism in action through the sapphire crystal caseback.
The immensely detailed dark blue aventurine dial features a zodiac calendar on the rim, with the month indicator depicting the position of the constellations at any time of the year, along
This masterful timepiece is set on elegant alligator leather straps with a gem-set folding clasp, and has been produced in a limitededition series of just eight pieces. www.jaeger-lecoultre.com www.jetsetter.hk
Bring out the ball gowns and pair them with Dolce & Gabbana’s new Kate Collection pumps. Designed to have identical colours on the body and sole for that striking quality, the collection is available in an assortment of materials ranging from fluorescent patent leather to leopard-printed pony hair and Chantilly lace on patent leather. With the slim and pointed shape, joined by D&G’s iconic stiletto heels, every woman will feel like she’s on the catwalk. HK$7,000 (US$903) www.dolcegabanna.com
With a certain crispness in the air and leaves falling away from summer’s proud trees, you know autumn has arrived. Check out these designer favourites, sure to set you up in style for the season. By Sakshi Kaushik
Prolong summer’s vibes with PORSCHE DESIGN’S Cosmobag. Made in Florence with fine Saffiano leather, the CosmoBag comes in two sizes and embodies a classic, sleek design with a spacious interior with multiple compartments. The large size (pictured) accommodates a section for laptops and tablets, and features galvanised silver fittings and a signature engraved pendant, making it the perfect complement to a businesswoman’s organised agenda. Available in five colours, from 1,390 (US$1,867) www.porsche-design.com
These recent additions to DAMIANI’S D.Icon collection are the perfect accessories to wear for a night out on the town. Each glossy black ceramic hooped earring is encrusted with glittering diamonds set in white gold bases and features the brand’s signature capital ‘D’ shape for artistic detail. Completed with an easy clip-on-and-off mechanism, these ear candies are an absolute treat for glamour aficionados. SG$1740 (US$1,392) www.damiani.com
Be the proud owner of Tom Ford’s newest accessory, the Alligator Bifold Wallet. Made in Italy and designed by Tom Ford’s most talented artisans, the wallet is fashioned from genuine polished alligator skin, and comprises eight credit card slots and one compartment for notes for the ultimate ease of access. Finished with intricate but neat stitches and a signature logo, it’s the perfect gift for the stylish male traveller. US$1,620 www.tomford.com
Montblanc pays homage to legendary actress Rita Hayworth with the Rita Hayworth Limited Edition 46 fountain pen. Based on Hayworth’s famous poster from the 1946 release of Gilda, translucent emerald lacquer is married with an 18-carat solid gold guilloche on the lid to represent her curvaceous cabaret figure and fiery red hair. With exquisite diamonds lining the edges and a mother-of-pearl crest at the top, Montblanc’s finesse and masterful craftsmanship makes the tribute to the celebrated actress a prized collectible. HK$289,200(US$37,316) www.montblanc.com
Oakley has partnered with Ferrari to create the Scuderia Ferrari Collection of sleek, sporty sunglasses, which includes the Carbon Blade. Inspired by the technology used in Ferraris, these sunglasses are made from ultralight, ultra-durable carbon fibre with titanium hinges for ultimate comfort and functionality. With dashes of signature red on the streamlined frames and the Ferrari emblem on the precision-crafted polarised lens, style has never been so effortless. Starting at US$160 www.oakley.com
Lifestyles of the
In 2011, multi-hyphenate Jessica Kirkpatrick – she’s a competitive polo player, luxeloving globetrotter, and mum – left a high-flying career in finance to found Sydney-based Luxe Houses, an exclusive holiday rental company for the well-heeled. She talks to Gayatri Bhaumik about her career change and the new trend in luxury travel. What drove you to start Luxe Houses?
to live right across Europe. This opportunity fuelled my ambitions – I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth – and drove me to achieve success. The billion-dollar industry of luxury homes is a long way from the country town I grew up in. One of my most memorable travel experiences was with Aman Resorts in Bhutan. The design, architecture, and privacy of the hotel were flawless, and this inspired me to create similar experiences in unique locations like private houses.
Why do you consider there to be a need for ultra-luxe holiday rentals? People want privacy and space, and many hotels simply can’t offer this. Many resourceful homeowners also see the benefit of the shared housing trend, and simply want to share their beautiful spaces with others.
Luxury homes and architecture have always fascinated me, and living and travelling through Europe instilled a strong drive for aspirational luxury travel. There’s nothing better than loving the space you’re in, and for me that’s a beautiful home with every possible creature comfort. Many people from my banking days either had houses for sale, or travelled a lot and left their homes vacant, and then three years ago I started renting my own house and realised there was a strong business concept. That’s where Luxe Houses started.
Given that Luxe Houses’ customers could afford to splash out on the flashiest hotels, what’s the appeal of holiday home rentals for them?
You’ve personally done a lot of luxury travelling. How have your experiences translated into Luxe Houses?
Why have you made a point of including concierge services with all your properties?
At a young age, I was selected for an exchange program in Zurich, Switzerland, and went on
We want to give our guests the most luxurious and private holiday possible – the dream
It’s being able to have the ultimate in private, exclusive luxury holiday experiences, a space where you can leave the rest of the world behind and not deal with busy check-ins and checkouts or limited food and beverage options. Many travellers are choosing the bespoke experiences that come with a private residence.
house and a decadent journey, all delivered seamlessly. Our clientele expect all this and more. A concierge is really important in providing access to everything, like the best tables at restaurants or the best tickets to a concert. Our guests want to feel and be treated like a local, and being able to open all these doors for them ensures that.
Some of your properties have celebrity connections. How did this come about? Celebrities in particular prefer – and often need – private holiday experiences. We’ve received many enquiries from agents looking for longerterm rentals that suit their A-list clients while they’re in town for work commitments. Gerard Butler took up residence for three months while filming Gods of Egypt at Sydney’s Fox Studios, while Redfoo [from band LMFAO] is currently in residence while filming the Australian production of The Voice. A stay of that length would be tedious in a hotel suite, and we also pride ourselves on our discretion and confidentiality, which suits celebrities concerned about their privacy.
At the moment you’re active just in Australia. Do you see potential to expand to other markets? Our latest offerings are beautiful New Zealand properties spanning from the South Island to Auckland. And yes! We will absolutely be expanding globally. Right now I’m curating several of the world’s most coveted destinations; these properties and the attached concierge services will be live very shortly. I love that the business is a continual evolution. Like travel and property, we remain fluid.
116 CARRY ON
Style To Go Laptop bags are essential for the busy executive, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish too.
new Orian laptop bag, designed to carry a 13-inch laptop and 11-inch tablet, features a classic style with padded interiors to prevent scratches, and multiple compartments to organise documents. Fashioned from durable and waterproof pebble-coloured cowhide leather, the case is paired with a detachable and adjustable leather-padded shoulder strap for extra carrying comfort. £269.95 (US$455)
Knomo’s Par Briefcase from the brand’s Balham Collection, has enough room for a 15-inch laptop in a cushioned compartment, as well as an extra zip-locked section for phones and back-up batteries. The sturdy and waterproof canvas exterior features a leather bridge lock, fastened with a magnetised antique brass clasp, and is topped off with a leather-clad handle. £99 (US$167) www.knomobags.com
Sandqvist’s Mats - Green Multi laptop bag. Made from green, black, and orange Cordura fabrics, designed to resist tears and scuffs, the bag’s main sleeve is padded to hold a 15-inch laptop, while two outer pockets feature buttoned closures, and an inner zippered compartment has space for larger notepads and other personal items. €159 (US$213) www.sandqvist.net
118 BEAUTY TRAVEL
Step out of a Salon, Not an Airplane No one wants to look like they’ve just spent the last 14 hours on a flight, so here are our top three secret weapons to prevent that tired, airplane look and ensure you arrive looking like the belle of the ball.
If you have room for just one last thing in your purse, it should be a pack of Dolce & Gabbana’s AUREALUX MASKS. D&G’s latest complex of Gold Silk Sericin and specially sourced Italian olive oil, enriched with Vitamin B3 extracts from natural wheat, gives the face a delicate golden glow whilst strengthening the top layers of skin. With non-woven hydrophobic fibres that stretch to fit the contours of the face, the masks are ideal for your prelanding spruce up, giving the skin a quick moisture and radiance boost.
Chanel’s HYDRA BEAUTY NUTRITION Nourishing and Protective Cream for Dry Skin and Nourishing Lip Care combination is the perfect antidote to dryness on an airplane. Using the intense hydrating agents from camellia seed oil and fragrant waxes from blue ginger petals, the rich textures of the cream and balm will coat the skin and lips with a protective layer of plant lipids to seal in moisture and increase elasticity. Apply a quick layer before and after your flight, and be done with parched skin once and for all.
Cabin pressure kills your youthful shine, so check out Jurlique’s ROSE MOISTURE PLUS Daily Moisture Balancing Serum to get back that glow on your face. The rich antioxidants in rose hip oil and green tea extracts will reduce tightness by smoothing outlines and cracks for a more balanced and toned look, while Omega-6 fatty acids in the evening primrose oil address signs of dehydration. A few dabs of this serum will make you feel so fresh, no one will know you’ve been jumping time zones all night.
Bentley has infused new levels of luxury and technology into its family of grand tourers, including its new-look Continental W12 GT Speed, which marries supercar performance with unrivalled refinement, to become the marque’s fastest production model ever, discovers Nick Walton.
entley’s Continental family has been at the forefront of the brand’s iconic style; big, elegant, and lavish coupes manufactured with precision and technology, each of the timeless models are revered as a mark of luxury. But a recent refresh has set the 2014 Continental GT Speed, available as both a coupe and a convertible, in a world of its own. Beneath that long, elegantly domed bonnet lurks a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine tuned to deliver 625 horsepower, five more than the model’s Supersports brother. Despite its luxurious brand positioning, speed in ingrained in the Bentley experience, and the new Continental GT Speed’s eight-speed all-wheel drive transmission is at the heart of the new model’s stunning performance capability, which includes 100km/hr in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 206km/hr. The new
W12 engine and power train is more responsive at lower speeds than its predecessors, and is coupled with a revised Electronic Stability Programme, a new chassis tune, and lower suspension for better control at higher speeds. A 12 percent improvement in fuel economy allows for a commensurate increase in tank range. Of course Bentleys aren’t muscle cars; the new dynamic performance is complemented by elegant styling, including discrete side skirts, a sharp front splitter, and dark tints applied to the 21-inch Speed wheels, headlamps, and tall tail lamps. A completely new colour split within the cockpit is reserved exclusively for Speed models.
From HK$3,880,000. www.bentleymotors.com
GO WEST YOUNG MAN The sprawling Yuz Museum has joined the growing arts scene of Shanghai’s West Bund. Sakshi Kaushik looks at the museums that are defining Shanghai’s newest art district.
The Yuz Museum Housed in a converted airport hangar, the Yuz Museum Shanghai recently opened its doors as the city’s newest contemporary art gallery. Chinese-Indonesian art collector Budi Tek has expanded his collection from his museum in Jakarta to showcase and promote a vast display of Chinese and Western contemporary art to the public. Whether you’re interested in viewing Ren Jian’s acrylic on canvas Stamp Collection from 1991, or musing at the irony of two airplanes tied together in Adel Abdessemed’s Telle Mere Tel Fils, the whopping 9,000sqm space has been transformed into a mecca for contemporary art. www.yuzf.org
The Long Museum The Long Museum West Bund is China’s largest private art museum, and showcases a selection of the nation’s grandest antiques as well as revolutionary and contemporary art. Wealthy and passionate art collecting couple Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei branched out from their museum in Pudong with a venue that spans four floors featuring high ceilings and whitewashed walls. The gallery features exquisite pieces of Chinese furniture from
the Qing Dynasty, bold woodcuts by Li Hua, and abstract oil paintings by Wu Dayu to show the evolution of Chinese artwork over time. www.thelongmuseum.org
Rockbund Art Museum The Rockbund Art Museum is highly acclaimed for showcasing the works of both Chinese and international contemporary artists. Architect David Chipperfield renovated the original 1932 museum building with a simplistic and graceful layout whilst maintaining some of its Chinese heritage in the calligraphy that paints the rustic-looking exterior. The museum prides itself on its education programmes and engages with the public through lectures, seminars, and research screenings. Look out for a variety of interactive media, which can encompass anything from a lecture on the role of tea in history and modern culture, to a performance of experimental and contemporary music from Vietnam. www.rockbundartmuseum.org
Save precious battery power with the YotaPhone 2, a sophisticated smart phone which not only features a standard LCD touch screen, but also an always-on Electronic Paper Display (EPD) on the reverse side, used to update the user with new messages, reminders, and emails. Made by Russia’s Yota Devices, the new double-faced smartphone uses the Android operating system with over 50 hours of runtime. Users can now respond through the 4.7-inch EPD, which is lit with a built-in light, without having to wake the more battery thirsty five-inch AMOLED colour LCD screen.
TECH FOR TRAVEL From double-faced smartphones to portable music systems and state-of-the-art headphones, this season’s cutting-edge gadgets make travelling easy and entertaining. By Nick Walton
Harman International Industries has created the JBL Voyager, the world’s first portable speaker with an advanced subwoofer docking system. Perfect for regular travellers, detach the portable speaker and it becomes a wireless Bluetooth, go-anywhere, hi-fi speaker with a built-in SoundClear echo and noise-free speakerphone. An aux-in audo jack and USB port for charging smartphones and tablets makes the device even more user-friendly, while the the portable speaker features custom drivers, and a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that gives five hours of uninterrupted playtime. www.jbl.com www.jetsetter.hk
The new CX range of universal in-ear headphones from sound pioneers Sennheiser offer great value, with incredible performance, integrated mics, and in-line remotes for use with both Apple and Samsung devices. Building on the success of the highly popular CX 300 II, the new CX 3.00 (pictured) headphones offer even more detail and enhanced bass and are available in white, black, and red. www.sennheiser.com
Delivering breakthrough design and packed with the latest HTC Sense 6 experience, the HTC One (M8) delivers an unparalleled smartphone experience for 2014. The ultimate evolution of the award-winning HTC One (M7), the new M8 smartphone boasts a high-quality metal unibody with a fiveinch full HD (1080p) display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor running Android 4.4, Kit Kat. Completely redesigned with a cleaner, more striking visual style, the M8 features a Duo Camera that boasts HTC’s innovative HTC UltraPixel module, with a dual flash and full 1080p HD video recording.
Running out of battery half way through a day’s exploration of a new city is now a thing of the past with Sony’s pint-sized CP-V3 portable charger. With eye-catching designs, these tiny but powerful chargers feature a capacity of 2800mAh and a high power output of 1.5A that ensures a fast recharge for smartphones on the go. www.sony.com
Packed with power and technology, the new Nokia Lumia 1520 not only features a six-inch 1080p full HD display, but its 20MP PureView camera is the perfect accompaniment on any journey. With enhanced sensor technology, oversampling, and zooming technologies, a new camera integrates the most popular imaging modes into one seamless picture-taking experience. The new Nokia Storyteller collates a fascinating chronological picture journey using GPS, while Microsoft Office onboard ensures this phone is as ready to work as it is to play. www.nokia.com
124 PAGE TURNER
The invention of trains brought new experiences to travel, allowing for quicker journeys, access to more places, and the ability to really discover. In this issue, Gayatri Bhaumik looks at three books that explore the impact of trains on the travel industry, and the world at large. SLOW TRAIN TO SWITZERLAND
Diccon Bewes Nicholas Brealey Publishing In June 1863, a young English lady embarked on the trip of a lifetime when she took Thomas Cook’s ‘First Conducted Tour of Switzerland.’ The The diary of Jemima Morrell, this intrepid Victorian-era adventuress, was compelling enough to spur Bewes into retracing her footsteps through sites like the Eiger, the Giessbach Falls, and Lake Lucerne. The result is this compelling account of the changes wrought on the travel industry – and Switzerland – in the time between the two voyages. Through excerpts from her diary, the satirical Morrell gives us a glimpse of a slow-moving backwater where trains are in their infancy, chocolates aren’t yet being made, and money is scarce; Bewes gives us perspective on change with great use of juxtaposition, like when he notes that the Mer de Glace ice sheet near Chamonix, which Morrell crossed in crinoline, has shrunk to less than half its size. Bewes’ well-constructed narrative is artfully set-off with historical anecdotes and vintage advertisements and images, providing descriptive and visual contrasts that make this a fascinating read.
TRAIN: RIDING THE RAILS THAT CREATED THE MODERN WORLD – FROM THE TRANS-SIBERIAN TO THE SOUTHWEST CHIEF
Tom Zoellner Viking By ingeniously weaving the history of the train into the entertaining story of a real-life train journey he took around the world, Zoellner has managed to chronicle how trains have changed civilisation. From its birthplace of Cornwall, England, Zoellner’s journey physically traces the history of the locomotive, through the frozen paths of the Trans-Siberian railway and along the antiquated yet stunning Indian Railways, while examining the mechanics of these behemoth machines and the impact they have on the societies through which they run. In particular, he presents a compelling case for the concept of nationbuilding through trains, arguing, quite eloquently, that, “America’s trains transformed a country of small farmers and shopkeepers into an industrial powerhouse, forged a sense of nationhood, and inspired some of the country’s most memorable art and literature.” Interestingly, Zoellner’s narrative comes in peaks and troughs that mimic his journeys. The account of his trip from New York to Los Angeles on a succession of regional trains is almost lyrical in its casual philosophising, while the chapter on his Trans-Siberian journey is somewhat awkward, marred by drunk soldiers, and a bite from a feral dog that cut short his trip.
THE RAILWAY ANTHOLOGY
Deborah Manley Trailblazer
Crudely described, Manley’s tome pulls together thoughts and musings on the subject of railways and train travel from the works of more than 50 notable figures. Manley introduces her compilation by reflecting on the large part trains have played in her life – travelling from India to England just before the outbreak of World War Two; going to her parents in Vienna while on holidays from boarding school – but for all her waxing lyrical, it’s not quite a convincing premise. Luckily she leaves the real work to the experts. The book consists of excerpts from the writings of an array of authors, a list that reads like the crème de la crème of the literary elite: Agatha Christie, T.S. Eliot, Lewis Carroll, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain are just a few who have written eloquently enough on the subject – in poem or prose – to be included in this anthology. The best part of Manley’s collection is the expanse of time and area it covers. The book is divided into several sections – Great Britain, Continental Europe, Asia, North America, and ‘Further Afield,’ which includes Egypt and Oceania – and spans a timeline that begins with a 1842 story about Queen Victoria’s first train journey, and ends with Bill Bryson’s contribution from 2000. If you don’t finish convinced trains are the only way to travel, go back to the beginning and start again.