Exotic Places • Interesting People • Intelligent Travel
Couples Therapy Adventure Honeymoons
Houses of Slumber The Best Sleep of Your Life
Boutique & Beautiful Best of the Deep South
Where the Sky Meets the Sea
Vanilla Adventures // Spirit of Speed // Rio de Janeiro // Rumboat Diplomacy
10 EDITOR’S LETTER
Luxury travel is a balancing act...
PUBLISHER Denis Fahy email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR Nick Walton firstname.lastname@example.org
t’s all well and good to settle down by the pool of a luxury resort, perhaps a cocktail in hand. After all, you’ve earned the break. But what’s important is that we don’t allow ourselves – as travellers – to become cocooned by comfort. Many an affluent traveller will look at the adventures enjoyed by budget travellers – not the roach hotels and endless bus trips – but the exposure to people and places they enjoy on a regular basis, with a little envy, and for good reason. It’s very easy to visit a destination but never really explore it; have it stamped in your passport but not in your memory. Fortunately JETSETTER is dedicated to helping you achieve that balance, and in our summer issue we have a little something for everyone. Lovers planning their big day will enjoy our adventure honeymoon feature, offering a host of adrenalin-pumping activities for those en amour. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, try checking into one of our best sleep hotels, houses of slumber dedicated to a great night’s sleep. The Seychelles is a red hot destination for travellers from Asia thanks to a new route from Hong Kong to the paradisical Indian Ocean nation, but if you’re looking for something a little closer to home, disappear with our favourite China hideaways. Of course, our Journeys section will also help you escape the pool and the spa and delve into the local scene in comfort and style. JETSETTER is more than just a travel magazine and in this issue you’ll meet Thai sensation chef Bo Songvisava, learn about southern Italy’s best drops, see how luxury rum is changing the palates of Asia, and revel in the mastery that is the new Rolls-Royce Wraith.
Master of Wine Debra Meiburg is a celebrated wine journalist, TV personality, wine educator and in-demand speaker. With a serious tongue for wine, but a little tongue-in-cheek, Debra is pleasing palates across Asia with her fresh take on the world of wine. In this issue, she looks at southern Italy’s revitalised wine regions.
EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Gayatri Bhaumik email@example.com ART DIRECTOR Aileen Lino TRAVEL INDUSTRY RELATIONSHIP MANAGER Tammy Fong Tammy@channel1hk.com BEIJING SALES MANAGER: Louis Chu firstname.lastname@example.org sales manager Fatima Cameira email@example.com Jetsetter is registered as a newspaper & periodical. Jetsetter is published by Channel One Communications Jetsetter is printed by Channel One Communications Suite 402-3, Hong Kong Trade Centre 161-167 Des Voeux Rd Central Hong Kong www.jetsetter.hk All rights Reserved: Copyright and distribution rights are reserved exclusively for Channel One Communications, their partners, associates and affi liates. All materials published remain the property of the publisher. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission. All information contained in this publication is from a reliable source. Channel One does not make any guarantees to the accuracy of the information contained.
An avid traveller always looking out for her next adventure, Gayatri Bhaumik took her first flight at 10 days old and has hasn’t looked back since. After 12 years in Bangkok and seven in Melbourne, she is now based in Hong Kong where she makes use of her many globetrotting adventures and interest in writing for titles like Jetsetter, Explorer and Elite Traveler Asia.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Katy Lam enjoys discovering the far flung corners of the world and is fascinated by cultures that differ from her own. Passionate about travelling, she has visited most Asian countries, including a six month spell in South Korea. In this issue she gives us the low down on the perfect headphones for regular road warriors.
Hong Kong-born Johnny Ng has a strong interest in writing and travelling, passions which have inspired him to move into the field of travel journalism. This issue, he checks out the best new restaurants and bars around Asia.
When on assignment, JETSETTER’s editorial team use Nikon professional cameras.
I N S P I R E D B Y PA S S I O N
hotel EXPERIENCE by Constance
The magical settings fuel our Passion to create for you
The Ultimate Hotel Experience Begin the U-experience: call (230) 402 2772/73 or visit us at www.constancehotels.com
contents 12 CONTENTS
24 Hours Scandinavia’s Home of Cool
Road Warrior Susanna Soo: Modern Designer
Boutique & Beautiful Delving into the Deep South
Adventure Honeymoons Couples Therapy
China Hideaways Hiding in the Middle Kingdom
Best Sleep Hotels The Best Night’s Sleep of Your Life
contents 14 CONTENTS
Villa Living Solitude for Two
Food Adventures Cortés’ Sweet Spice
Inside Rio City of Marvels
Chef Profile Bangkok’s Bo Songvisava
Seychelles The Land Between the Sky and the Sea
Auto The Spirit of Speed
+ Fussa Tanabata Festival Fussa, Japan August 2- 5, 2013
Japan’s Fussa Tanabata Festival is one of the most eagerly anticipated festivals of the national calendar. For more than 50 years, this festival has been held during the peak of summer to celebrate Tanabata, the once-a-year meeting of two lovers separated from each other by the Milky Way. The festival encompasses a variety of parades, character shows, ninja performances and folk dancing, as well as plenty of irresistible food. www.fussa-tanabata.com Where to Stay: Located in the west of Tokyo, Forest
Inn Showakan offers guests a luxurious and tranquil hideaway with stunning views of the expansive Showna-no-Mori forest. www.showakan.co.jp
Montreal Fashion and Design Festival
Montreal, Canada July 31- August 3, 2013 Held on McGill College Avenue, the Montreal Fashion and Design Festival brings leading international fashion labels and renowned national designers together with a series of exciting musical performances and special fashion-themed events. Parades, catwalks and other street activities will take place during the city’s most glamorous festival, which offers fashionistas a chance to get in touch with the latest and sassiest trends in fashion and design from Canada and beyond. www.fashiondesignfest.com Where to Stay: Ranked among the top 10 luxury hotels in Canada, Loews Hotel Vogue is an inviting retreat boasting142 newly redesigned guestrooms bursting with luxury and old-world charm. www.loewshotels.com/Montreal-Hotel
+ T in the Park
Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland July 11-14, 2013
Join the biggest party in Scotland. Entering its 20th year, this year’s T in the Park music festival promises to offer visitors the ultimate international music experience, with a lineup that features over 100 well-established acts, including Rihanna and Mumford and Sons, as well as plenty of local acts. These stars will play over nine stages to a frenzy of festival goers from around the world. www.tinthepark.com Where to Stay: For an authentic Scottish baron’s country house
experience, the Solsgirth House boasts 12 intimate yet luxurious bedrooms of grand proportions. www.solsgirthhousehotel.com
Lan Kwai Fong Beer and Music Fest
Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong July 13-14, 2013 Enjoy the biggest beer party of the year in Hong Kong’s entertainment hub with this vibrant and colourful festival. All along the streets of Lan Kwai Fong, bars and restaurants will be serving specialty beers and cocktail specials, while the crowd is entertained with live music performances and street artists. Don’t forget to stick around for the annual Miss JulyFest pageant. www.discoverhongkong.com
Where to stay: Hotel LKF By Rhombus provides five-star
accommodation in the heart of the entertainment precinct. www.rhombushotels.com
+ Singapore Food Festival Singapore July 13- 22, 2013
Each year, the Singapore Festival attracts over 300,000 foodies with an appetite for traditional food from Singapore and Malaysia. This food fair showcases the city’s signature local dishes and mouthwatering cuisine like satay, chili crabs and laska to gourmands from around the world. You can also head home with secret cooking tips thanks to regular cooking workshops and demonstrations held by talented local and international chefs. www.singaporefoodfestival.com Where to Stay: Formerly a shop-house, Hotel 1929 is a chic and
high-end boutique hotel featuring 32 individually designed rooms with retro furniture. www.hotel1929.com
Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza
Mammoth, USA August 1- 4, 2013 There is no better way to soak in the mountainous beauty of Mammoth Lakes, California, than with blues and brews at the 18th Annual Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza. It is the biggest event in Mammoth Lakes and one of the premier events in the USA. Spanning four days during summer, the festival showcases the best craft breweries and the top blues performers from across the country. www.mammothbluesbrewsfest.com Where to Stay: Being the most recently renovated boutique hotel in Mammoth Lake, Mammoth Creek Inn Hotel & Spa offers 26 beautifully-appointed rooms and suites just minutes from the lakes. www.themammothcreek.com
20 ROOM WITH A VIEW
starry starry D
rink in the atmosphere of the African night under a dazzling canopy of constellations in one of the truly unique star beds of Loisaba Wilderness in Kenya. Situated on raised hand-crafted platforms, the Koija Starbed sits above the lingering Ewaso Nyiro River, while the Kiboko Starbed is perched above a local watering hole. Both sites are popular with nocturnal wildlife, giving guests an up and close encounter thatâ€™s out of this world. In addition, both mukokoteni beds come with the ultimate wakeup call as guests capture the first rays of the sun as it chases away the darkness and heralds another day in this fascinating landscape. www.loisaba.com
ROOM WITH A VIEW 21
anjong Jara Resort in Malaysia has unveiled a selection of new and exciting marine excursions led by Quiver, the resort’s new award-winning dive operator. The dive itineraries take full advantage of the 99-room resort’s ideal location, close to the pristine islands of the Terengganu Marine Park – with the park’s southernmost island, Pulau Tenggol, located a mere 45-minute boat ride away. Here, guests can revel in aquamarine waters teeming with aquatic life. From brilliant nudibranchs to clown fish, spotted rays to black tipped sharks, and often even the graceful whale shark, these waters are a diver’s dreams come true. A typical excursion during the March-October dive season consists of two to three dive or snorkelling stops, with a sumptuous barbecue lunch on the beach at Tenggol Island in between. The range of marine activities operated by Quiver at the resort includes snorkelling, discovery scuba diving, fun dives, and a variety of PADI courses. www.tanjongjararesort.com www.jetsetter.hk
Malt Adventure Orient-Express’ acclaimed Royal Scotsman luxury train will offer a unique whisky-themed itinerary this September, in conjunction with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Travelling from Edinburgh’s Waverley station on September 9, 2013, the itinerary will be guided by an ambassador from the Society, who will lead guests through several tastings of rare and exclusive malts at acclaimed distilleries along the route, including Glenlivet, Glen Ord, one of Scotland’s oldest, and Tullibardine. On board, guests will also enjoy the train’s famed white glove service, with gourmet cuisine laced with locally-sourced Scottish produce and perfectly matched with the stunning Scottish highland scenery. www.orient-express.com
Framing South America Amateur photographers will have the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with nature, with a new five-day wildlife photography safari from Tierra Patagonia. Led by renowned Chilean wildlife photographer Pia Vergara, a Patagonian flora and fauna expert, as well as wildlife photographer and marine biologist Rodrigo Moraga Zúñiga and veterinarian Cristina Trugeda Harboe, a professional trekking and horseback riding guide, the itinerary searches for the elusive puma through some of Patagonia’s most stunning scenery. The five-day photography expedition features visits to the spectacular sites and landscapes of the Torres del Paine national park, including Laguna Amarga, Cañadon Macho and the acclaimed Laguna Azul. Along the way, guests will have one-on-one photographic tutorials so they can capture the very best of this unique landscape. Departures include September and October 2013, and April 2014, with the trip priced from US$4,700 per person. www.tierrahotels.com Icy Encounters Adventure specialists Peregrine have created a series of in-depth Antarctica itineraries for the 2013 summer season. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the remote Falklands and South Georgia islands, get up close with icebergs and Antartic wildlife, and share the unique experiences of the White Continent with fellow intrepid travellers. Itineraries range from 8-11 days, and come with the option of flying instead of sailing across the famed but often turbulent Drake Passage. Peregrine’s four Antarctic vessels – the Akademik Loffe, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, Sea Spirit and Sea Adventurer – provide comfort and technical prowess for safe and stress-free navigating of the unpredictable Antarctic waters. Off the vessels, passengers can enjoy the rush of setting foot on the ice, paddling kayaks in the midst of whales, and spending the night camping on the continent itself – an experience few can claim to have accomplished. www.peregrineadventures.com
To The Heavens For one of the best star-gazing experiences available on the planet, would-be astronomers should head for Explora Atacama’s Hotel de Larache in the heart of Chile’s Atacama Desert. The desert resort is located near the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the largest radio astronomy observatory in the world, and shares the desert’s unique star-gazing conditions. Guests can search the skies with the lodge’s own five-metre dome-shaped observatory, which features a powerful Meade telescope, enabling guests to experience a once-in-a-lifetime view of the moon, stars, constellations and galaxies. A special mounting for a digital camera makes for some spectacular astrophotography. Three-night packages at the hotel start from US$1,980 per person, twin share. www.explora.com
To New Experiences A new bespoke luxury travel company, dedicated to unique wine and spirits travel, has launched in Asia. Founded by former spirits broker Julien Mameaux, The Experience Company offers a stunning showcase of truly rare travel experiences, with a distinct leaning towards whisky and fine wine encounters, unique wine spas, luxury driving holidays and golf itineraries. From prime tee-off times at Scotland’s best golf courses, and behind the scenes tastings in acclaimed distilleries, to rare glimpses of Spains’s top wineries, Ferrari adventures through the vineyards of Italy, and indulgent treatments at winethemed wellness centres, the Experience Company creates completely customised itineraries for Asia’s new elite travellers. Sample itineraries include coveted rounds at Europe’s best golf courses, degustation meals with leading wine masters, private jet tours of key wine, cognac and sherry locales, and nights at regal chateaux otherwise closed to the public. www.theexco.com Into the Wild With a season that runs from June to September, Venture Co has created a new itinerary that explores gorilla habitats by foot and canoe in search of mountain gorilla clans. The trek starts in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, before heading by 4X4 for the Mgahinga National Park, just across the border in Uganda. Travellers then set out on foot to tackle the three peaks of Mount Sabinyo, the point at which three mountain gorilla national parks converge, and along the way will encounter ancient rainforests and breath-taking drops into gorges in Rwanda (on the left) and Uganda (on the right). Walkers will experience two guided gorilla trekking encounters in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the first with the Nshongi group and the second at Nkuringo across the Kashasha River, before returning to Kigali. The journey is priced from GBP2,256 per person and includes all board, transport and permits. www.ventureco-worldwide.com www.jetsetter.hk
French Luxury at Sea French flagged cruise line Compagnie du Ponant has released its line up of winter cruises between 2013 and 2014, with 21 different itineraries to Asia, Antarctica, Africa and South America, including journeys on the fleet’s newest vessel, Le Soléal. Launching this month, the brand new 132-stateroom yacht-style expedition liner will embark on her maiden sailing season, joining her sister ships Le Boréal and L’Austral on 50 departures between October 2013 and April 2014 ranging from six-night cruises in South America, up to 15-night itineraries to Antarctica and 17-night journeys in Asia. Highlights of the winter season include a breathtaking 13-night cruise between Valparaiso in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina; a 14-night cruise from Recife in Brazil to Cayenne in French Guyana; and a 13-night itinerary between Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Colombo in Sri Lanka, with port visits in Thailand and Myanmar. www.ponant.com
Wild Cruising Home to more than 600 islands and the largest area of rainforest outside the Amazon, Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s last frontiers. Each year between October and December, adventure cruise ships like True North offer refined and uniquely different adventures to only the most pristine areas of West Papua and Papua New Guinea. This year’s line up includes a 12-night West Papua Dicoverer that visits the Raja Ampat Islands; an 11-night Sepik Soiree itinerary and a 10-night Bismarck Bonanza cruise, both of which visit the mighty Sepik River and the volcanoes of Bagabag Island; and the nine-night New Adventures in Paradise, which cruises the Bismarck Sea to the beautiful Louisiade Archipelago. The purpose built vessel caters to just 36 guests and features a crew of marine biologists, naturalists and adventurers who use the ship’s helicopter and zodiac fleet to roam far beyond the beaten trail. www.northstarcruises.com.au
Europe’s New Gem Leading river cruise line Scenic Cruises has launched its seventh vessel with the unveiling of the Scenic Jewel. The latest of the line’s river cruising ‘space ships’, which have helped set new standards in luxury on Europe and Russia’s rivers, Scenic Jewel accommodates 169 passengers in 85 cabins, many of which feature the line’s signature Sun Lounge, a private walk-out balcony that can be converted to all-weather lounges with the touch of a button. Each of the ship’s spacious cabins also feature queen-sized ‘slumber beds’ with a comprehensive pillow menu, 32-inch high-definition televisions, Egyptian linens and an upgraded wi-fi system. The Jewel also offers a selection of unique amenities, including five dining opportunities raging from the intimate Table la Rive to the Italian-based Portobello Restaurant to 24-hour room service - all of which offer complimentary premium wines, beers and soft drinks as standard. Scenic will introduce an eighth ‘space ship,’ Scenic Gem, to the fleet next year. www.scenictours.com www.jetsetter.hk
Ships & Safaris Next year, river cruise line AmaWaterways will offer 22 itineraries across Europe as part of its 2014 season, with journeys on the Rhine, Seine, Danube, Main, Rhone, Douro and Moselle rivers in addition to the waterways of Russia, the Mekong in Indochina and exciting new cruise-and-touring holidays in Africa. The line’s fleet will increase to 17 with the introduction next year of the 164-passenger AmaSonata and AmaReina. Both vessels will feature twin balcony staterooms and suites, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs culinary creations, complimentary fine wine and beer at lunch and dinner, multiple dining venues, a heated pool with swim-up bar, free internet and infotainment in every stateroom, and a fleet of bicycles for guests to use. The new African adventures centre on the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen (pictured), which sails the Chobe River in southern Africa. The Stars of South Africa itinerary, for example, includes three nights in Cape Town, a four night safari cruise, two nights at Victoria Falls, one night in Johannesburg, and finally three nights at the Kruger Park. www.amawaterways.com
Yoga Under Sail Tall ship cruise specialist Star Clippers has added four new dates to its programme of yoga and meditation-themed sailings for this summer. Yoga expert Christel Vollmer will offer free daily Astanga yoga and meditation sessions on board the 170-passenger tall ship Star Flyer on cruises in the Baltic and the Mediterranean. The yoga sessions will be available on the six-night cruise between Travemunde and Hamburg departing August 18; and two seven-night Malaga round trip cruises departing October 5 and 12, visiting Casablanca, Tangier and Gibraltar. Yoga classes on all sailings take place in the open air, under thousands of square feet of billowing sails – the ultimate relaxation for body and soul, enhanced by the fresh sea breezes. Each cruise will begin with an Introduction to Yoga class and every day thereafter, two classes will be held: 60 minutes of power yoga in the morning and a 40-minute wind-down class at sunset, followed by meditation. www.starclippers.com
A Wine Old Time Luxury Silversea Cruises introduces a new collection of 11 Wine Series voyages ideally suited for travelling oenophiles. On each wine cruise, discerning travellers will have the opportunity to enjoy great vintages and learn about the tradition and art of winemaking in special tastings and lectures conducted by wine professionals, vineyard owners, and winemakers. Depending on the itinerary, guests may also have the chance to explore some of the world’s most celebrated wine regions on optional guided shore excursions. On board each of Silversea’s luxurious cruise ships, guests also enjoy an extensive complimentary selection of fine red and white wine pairings with both lunch and dinner. Itineraries include Silver Shadow’s Vancouver to Tokyo run on September 12; and Silver Cloud’s December 20 cruise between Beunos Aires and Valparaiso. www.silversea.com
28 HOTELS & RESORTS
Alila Villas Soori has unveiled the Soori Estate, a luxurious villa located on Bali’s southwest coast. The expansive private property spans 5,250sqm and is the ultimate location for lavish celebrations, family gatherings, or group retreats. The villa comprises 10 bedrooms, all of which offer uninterrupted views of the peninsula overlooking the Indian Ocean, and can easily accommodate 20 adults. Outside, there are multiple sundecks, shaded pavilions, and terraces. The wooden patio is bordered by a 230sqm infinity pool, which has stunning views of rice terraces, mountains, and a volcanic black sand beach. Indulge in the private treatment room, work out at the in-house gym, and lose yourself in a book at the private library. With a private chef and wedding concierge available, and the ability to showcase entertainment like fireworks, the Estate is also a fantastic location for your dream wedding. www.alilahotels.com
The recently opened Mandarin Oriental Pudong boasts the largest and most expensive Presidential Suite in Shanghai, spanning 788sqm, and featuring a garden terrace. Situated on the east bank of Shanghai’s Huangpu River, in the new Harbour City commercial development, the hotel has 318 guestrooms and 44 suites designed by renowned architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica. Each of the luxuriouslyappointed rooms exude elegance and comfort, and feature original artwork, cutting-edge technology and luxuries like Frette linen, along with panoramic views of the Huangpu River, the Bund, and the Shanghai skyline. The hotel’s restaurants offer a range of epicurean experiences, including contemporary French at the Fifty 8˚ Grill, and Jiang Nan Chinese cuisine at Yong Yi Ting. Those looking to stay healthy during their sojourn can choose to indulge at the hotel’s luxurious spa, swim in the 25-metre indoor pool, or workout at the fitness centre with a personal trainer. www.mandarinoriental.com
Housed in the regal 16th century Palazzo Papadopoli, the new Aman Canal Grande occupies prime position along the banks of Venice’s main waterway. The hotel boasts 24 suites which maintain the villa’s gorgeous historic frescoes and reliefs while employing a sleek, contemporary furnishing scheme. From the cavernous reception hall, a sweeping staircase leads to the hotel’s two dining areas. Under ceilings painted by famed 18th century Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, diners can choose from Italian or Asian cuisine while enjoying spectacular views of the Grand Canal and the resort’s garden terrace. Ample space is provided for guests to relax in, most notably, the Salon, the Stanza del Tiepolo games room, and the three terraces and gardens. For the healthminded, the resort also houses an exclusive spa and gym. www.amanresorts.com www.jetsetter.hk
HOTELS & RESORTS 29
Little Tubu, little sister to the Tubu Tree camp, has opened in Botswana’s Jao Concession, offering luxury accommodation for just six guests in three rustic tents. They might look traditional, but the tents feature modern facilities including an en-suite bathroom and outdoor shower, and private decks with spectacular views of the grassy plains. Elevated dining and main decks are shaded by a tree canopy and have magnificent vistas over a seasonal floodplain which attracts a variety of wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, blue wildebeest and leopards. Take a day or night game drive, ride in a mokoro – a local canoe – or go fishing. www.wilderness-safaris.com
Situated in the heart of the city, the recently opened Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna is the result of nearly three years’ of restoration by a trifecta of Vienna’s best – architect Boris Podrecca, architectural firm Hayde Architekten, and designer Jean-Claude Laville. Near attractions like the Burgtheatre and the Sigmund Freud museum, and within easy distance of the airport and Westbahnhof railway station, the heritage-listed building houses 152 rooms and suites over seven floors, as well as 17 private apartments, two restaurants, two bars, and Vienna’s largest hotel cigar lounge. The guestrooms feature signature Kempinski touches like modern furnishings, marble bathrooms, cutting-edge entertainment systems – including iPads – Nespresso machines, and a comprehensive pillow menu. Be sure to try the traditional Viennese afternoon tea at the Lobby Lounge and Bar, and hit the wellness themed-mezzanine level, which features a spa and fullyequipped gym. www.kempinski.com
A new Club Med resort in Giulin, China has opened amid one of China’s most picturesque landscapes. The expansive property features 284 rooms – including 46 luxury rooms – but the most striking feature is the magnificent lakeside sculpture garden, which showcases 150 pieces by artists from 30 countries. Thanks to the lush natural surroundings, the resort offers a number of exciting activities that can’t be experienced at other Club Med locations. Adrenaline junkies can hike the Karst mountains, go bungee-jumping, or spelunking in limestone caves, while the more sedate can play the nine-hole pitch and putt, or enjoy the spa. Guest can expect the brand’s familiar all-inclusive packages, with three main meals of Chinese or international cuisine, snacks from the noodle bar, drinks from four bars, and nightly entertainment included. www.clubmed.com.hk www.jetsetter.hk
A Legend Reborn
Since 1932, Kuala Lumpur’s Majestic Hotel has been a beacon of colonial pomp in the Malaysian capital, a benchmark for luxury and style, and a home-away-from-home for visiting dignitaries and fashionistas. Now the legend has been reborn after a painstaking seven-year renovation that has seen the original heritage-listed building beautifully restored, and the addition of new luxurious guest rooms, meeting spaces and a world-class spa. Located at the heart of the thriving capital, the 300-room hotel is just minutes from the airport express train and some of KL’s leading shopping precincts, a plus if you can drag yourself away from the 47 decadent Art Deco suites of the original Majestic Wing. Perks of this intimate hotel-within-a-hotel include dedicated 24-hour butler service, a complimentary town car service, and complimentary wi-fi and minibar. Gents will love the old school pampering of luxury barbershop Truefitt & Hill, located below the distinctly masculine Smoke House bar, while the fairer sex have already made high tea in the elegant Tea Lounge – or even in the coveted Orchid Conservatory – one of the city’s hottest reservations. www.majestickl.com
Bringing sophistication and luxury to the emerging hotspot of Sanur, the new Regent Bali has opened, introducing all-suite splendour on the Island of the Gods. Nestled within four hectares of lush tropical gardens, the lavish Regent Bali features 95 exceptional suites, each of which boasts contemporary Balinesestyle interiors, spacious living rooms, and sea or tropical garden views. For the ultimate indulgence, opt for the ultra-luxurious Regent Villa. The two-bedroom beachfront villa features a private pool, a jacuzzi, and an individual spa treatment room with steam room for two. Spend your days cooling off in the 55m infinity pool or pampering your mind and soul in one of five single or two double treatment rooms at the Regent Spa, and evenings feasting on pan-Asian cuisine at the Nyala Beach Club & Grill, or on local delicacies at Layang Layang. www.regenthotels.com
32 INTRODUCING W Hotels has brought its unique take on luxury to Southern China with the opening of the W Guangzhou. Boasting 317 guestrooms and suites and a coveted address in the heart of the Pearl River New City development, the W features a dynamic and eye-catching exterior of sleek black glass envisioned by architect Rocco Yim, designer of the city’s Guangdong Museum, as well as a 19-metre high welcoming waterfall created by WET Design. In turn, W Guangzhou’s guestrooms and suites have been designed by award-winning agency Yabu Pushelberg to be a retreat from the hustle of the city. Each eyepopping room features signature W beds, Munchie Box minibars stocked with exclusive treats, 46-inch LED HD televisions, and plug-and-play sound systems. Downstairs, the city’s beautiful will be found in the WooBar, where mixologists and resident DJs set the mood with chilled drinks and chilled out tracks, while three innovative restaurants include Yan Yu, a collaboration with acclaimed chef Jereme Leung that serves up a symphony of Cantonese dishes. Also look out for China’s first Away Spa, with its menu of playful signature treatments. www.whotels.com
On the sun-kissed island of Corsica, La Plage Casadelmar, the epitome of simplistic luxury, has opened overlooking the white sand-fringed bay of Porto-Vecchio. The Design Hotels Member, which seamlessly blends creature comforts with the laid-back elegance of the Mediterranean, was created by designer Jean-François Bodin, who also created nearby sister property Casadelmar and is best known for his work on the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris. Bodin’s use of natural materials like stone, volcanic rock and 300-year old oak blend the 15 elegant rooms and suites into their unique setting, with the understated interior hues balanced by the bold blues of their surroundings. This simplicity extends to the uncomplicated gourmet cuisine of the shaded terrace restaurant, where market-inspired menus showcase excellent local produce and subtle Mediterranean flavours. www.designhotels.com
A Corsican Affair
34 SPA PROFILE
Spaophiles have reason to rejoice with the opening of the Mulia Spa at The Mulia Bali, the island’s most ambitious and luxurious resort complex in years. Boasting 20 luxuriously-appointed treatment rooms – including the award-wining and state-of-the-art Wellness Suite by Sweet Spa - the Mulia Spa is an oasis of wellness that combines ancient practices with sophisticated technology. From Hammam tables to Finnish wood saunas scented with eucalyptus fragrance, to Asia Pacific’s only Ice Fountain (pictured), the Mulia Spa heralds new levels of luxury wellness to the Island of the Gods. Have your chakra cleansed with a chromatherapy session, increase your metabolism with hot and cold plunge baths and hydro-tonic pools, or welcome the dawn with a private yoga session, followed by fruit infusions at the dedicated juice bar. www.themulia.com
I N S P I R E D B Y PA S S I O N
resort EXPERIENCE by Constance
The magical settings fuel our Passion to create for you
The Unique Resort Experience Begin the U-experience: call (230) 402 2772/73 or visit us at www.constancehotels.com
From indulgent new products to the latest tropical retreat, treat your body and soul to these sublime spa experiences this summer.
Spas for Summer
by Gayatri Bhaumik
1 New to Asia Chuan Spa at the Langham Place Mongkok, Hong Kong, has partnered with British skincare line Oskia to introduce the brand’s range of bespoke signature treatments and products to Asia. Oskia products are designed to improve skin health, and feature high-tech active ingredients to fight aging, lifestyle factors and environmental concerns. The Oskia Signature Glow Facial (HK$1,400/US$180) is a particularly luxurious and effective 90-minute treatment which leaves skin feeling refreshed, hydrated and yes, glowing. The icing on the cake is the quick arm, neck and back massage tagged onto the facial, which makes this a truly relaxing experience. www. chaunspa.com.hk 2 Nature’s Remedy Catering to the chemical-free wellness trend, the Oriental Spa at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong has teamed up with Australian skincare line Sodashi to offer spa-goers a range of spa treatments using completely natural products. Made from all-natural ingredients and combining biochemistry, aromatherapy and ayurvedic principles, Sodashi’s products harness the regenerative and antiaging properties of plants to leave skin nourished and revitalised. To complement the new range of spa treatments, the hotel’s MO Bar will be debuting an all-natural afternoon tea made with 26 ingredients specially selected to create a holistic natural journey. www.mandarinoriental.con/landmark 3 Signature Makeover Wynn Macau’s Spa at Encore, one of the city’s leading wellness hideaways, has unveiled an innovative range of new signature treatments designed to leave spa-goers thoroughly relaxed and refreshed. One to try is the 168 Treatment (MOP3600/US$450), a 168 minutes long ritual where, guests are treated to the attention of three therapists who administer a full-body Himalayan salt scrub and aromatherapy steam, a fourhand massage and facial, a hydrating paraffin hand treatment and a soothing reflexology massage. www.wynnmacau.com www.jetsetter.hk
4 4 Lion City Oasis St Gregory, the recently opened spa at Parkroyal on Pickering in Singapore, offers spa-goers a calming respite from the city’s bustling CBD. Featuring four treatment rooms and a couples’ suite, all dressed in soothing colours, and featuring partially outdoor changing rooms with water features, Singapore’s newest spa is an exclusive, tropical oasis. A comprehensive treatment menu includes everything from massages to aromatic baths, and even features ‘executive treatments’ designed for the time-poor business traveller. All treatments use exclusive products from the Elemis and Tha’lion skincare lines. Try the signature Elemis Wellbeing Massage (SG$180/US$145), a 75-minute full-body massage that begins with a light body brushing, and combines several Eastern massage techniques. www.parkroyalhotels.com
Special Promotional Section
Wine, Wine &
All Things Fine
New luxury travel specialist The Experience Company offers affluent travellers bespoke and indulgent wine-themed holidays across Europe.
ine is increasingly a reason affluent travellers hit the road; their love affair with their favourite chateaux, and a thirst to experience new wines and the vineyards in which they are born has inspired leading luxury commentator Julien Yung Mameaux to create The Experience Company, a truly unique luxury travel specialist that offers elite travellers unprecedented access to the world’s leading wine cellars and vinotherapy spas, and allows them to immerse themselves in the lifestyle of the world’s top wine regions. Says Julien, “We believe today’s elite deserve new discoveries, and only tailor-made experiences can bring a new dimension to travel.”
Grapes From the Gods
Travelling with a tailored Experience Company itinerary, guests will find themselves tasting the finest vintages from the most exclusive wineries in France, Italy and Spain. From Chateau Margaux and Dom Perignon, to Burgundy and Provence, and further afield to the Rioja region of Spain and the charming wineries of Chianti, Italy, distinguished travellers will visit some of the most coveted vineyards in Europe, and will have the chance to meet the talents behind the world’s leading labels. Elevating trips to exceptional levels, The Experience Company shapes any itinerary to cater to guests’ personal interests; for foodies, Gourmay offers wine and food pairings, chef experiences and Michelin-starred dining. Aesthetes will revel in the sensory delight that is the Artaste selection, which focuses on wineries noted for their art collections, architecture, and heritage, such as Il Borro, owned by the Ferragamo family. Alternatively, the Wine Way collection has car enthusiasts behind the wheel of leading marque models, including Lamborghinis and Ferraris, as they race through the vineyards of Tuscany.
Wellness from Wine
The Experience Company’s tailor-made travel odysseys are not just limited to tasting and learning about great wine. The ultimate spa and wellness experience, Sparadise is a collection of relaxing itineraries which allows guests to visit some of the best winery spas in Europe and indulge in treatments which harness the benefits of the humble grape. Bordeaux’s Les Sources de Caudalie is a pioneer in grapebased aromatherapy, while Rioja’s Marques de Riscal, in Spain, is an arty Frank Gehry-designed winery and spa which specialises in vinotherapy. A truly decadent experience which also encompasses Champagne and the French Riviera, Sparadise itineraries are the ultimate girls’ trip for the jet set. “Harmoniously arranged for busy urbanites, these pampering experiences will make you fall in love with life all over again,” says Julien. The Experience Company crafts each journey according to individual preferences. Contact them to discuss your holiday over a glass of wine. The Experience Company, Tel: +852 2179 3307; Email: Contact@TheExCo.com; www.TheExCo.com
38 Business Travel Macau Moments
The Grand Hyatt Macau has opened an exclusive Grand Club on the 37th floor of the Grand Club Tower. Consistently voted the city’s best business travel hotel, the Grand Hyatt’s new Grand Club offers a tranquil retreat, private dining and meeting rooms, plus other exclusive privileges for Grand Club guests. The lounge features a stylish, contemporary design, including black walnut wood and marble accents, inspired by Macau’s unique Portuguese heritage. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase spectacular views over Cotai, while a spacious seated terrace is perfect for alfresco lounging and dining. The Grand Club also features its own interactive open kitchen, and four elegant private dining rooms, and offers complimentary cocktails each evening, daily breakfast and an hour of meeting room access per guest. http://macau.grand.hyatt.com
Arriving in Style
Garuda Indonesia, the country’s national airline, has introduced complimentary limousine services for its Executive Class passengers arriving and departing in Brisbane, when the airline recommences flying to the Australian city in August. Guests travelling in the airline’s business class cabin will benefit from a seamless door-to-door service of up to 20km (fees incur for additional travel), a useful service given the airline’s 40kg baggage allowance in Executive Class. The airline’s service to Brisbane, which commences August 1, will operate a B737-800 Next Generation aircraft with 12 Executive Class seats. www.garuda-indonesia.com
Stylish New Digs
The new Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou is the latest five star hotel to open in China’s southern capital. Located in Tianhe, one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods, the new Mandarin Oriental features 263 sumptuous guest rooms and suites, as well as a close proximity to the high-speed rail link to Hong Kong and the city’s metro system. Business travellers will enjoy the hotel’s state-of-the-art meeting spaces, which include the 750sqm Grand Ballroom and the 200sqm Tian He Room, as well as the Oriental Club, a dedicated executive level that offers private check-in, daily breakfast and evening cocktails. The hotel also features a range of world-class restaurants, including Ebony, an elegant steakhouse, and innovative cocktails in the Loft (pictured). For after hours relaxation, a comprehensive wellness centre features six individual spa suites, three couples suites and a 25m temperature-controlled outdoor pool. www.mandarinoriental.com www.jetsetter.hk
BUSINESS TRAVEL 39 Jetset Destination
Private jet travellers bound for the Maldives, including incentive groups, will rejoice with the opening of ShangriLa’s Villingili Resort & Spa’s private executive airport terminal. Located at Gan International Airport in Addu Atoll, the terminal is for the exclusive arrival and departure of the resort’s guests, including those on commercial flights to and from Malé International Airport, and is just five minutes by speedboat from the resort. With two lounges and a VIP room, a private lounge is reserved for guests arriving by private jet and offers onestop immigration, custom and baggage screening services for a seamless arrival experience. www.shangri-la.com
American Airlines has amended its cabin baggage policy again, this time in favour of travellers with none. In a move that hopes to board passengers faster and get jets into the air quicker, American Airlines will give priority boarding to domestic passengers whose carry-on luggage can fit under the seat in front, leaving the roller bag brigade to board after. The airline’s carry-on baggage allowance is already very generous (up to 23kg versus many airline’s 7kg limit) but passengers who have refined their carry-on luggage packing to avoid hefty checked luggage fees will have to cut back even further if they want quick boarding and their favourite seat. www.aa.com
If you’re a business traveller who has trouble with packing, a revolutionary new carry on case – The Flyer – is due to launch in the UK offering easy packing solutions and instructions to boot. Compatible with the hand luggage restrictions of most worldwide carriers, The Flyer includes five colour coded internal ‘drawers’ to enable easy packing, and a fully airline security compliant see-through cosmetics case. It also comes fullyequipped with colourful and easy to follow packing instructions, including how to efficiently fold shirts. The Flyer is also equipped with a reinforced frame, doubling the case as a strong seat, capable of supporting weight up to 136kg. The ‘seat’ can also be used to support the weight of additional baggage if required. The removable drawers not only help with prioritising luggage, but also help reduce creasing and are waterresistant. www.londonbelleltd.co.uk www.jetsetter.hk
40 24 HOURS IN OSLO
Forget Copenhagen and Stockholm, Oslo is now the home to Scandinavian cool, with new restaurants, food markets, opera houses and museums ready for the long days of summer, discovers
Home of Cool www.jetsetter.hk
24 HOURS IN OSLO 41
9am Having arrived the night before on one of SAS’s connections to Asia, which include Bangkok and Beijing, you’ll wake up to spectacular water views at the newly opened boutique beauty The Thief. Located in the heart of Tjuvholmen, an area of the city’s waterfront that was once a den of thieves – hence the name – and is now being revitalised as part of the new Fjord City project, the Design Hotels member boasts 119 rooms and suites decorated by the likes of Antonio Citterio, Bruno Rainaldi, Tom Dixon, Anne Haavind and StokkeAustad. Spoil yourself with a stay in the Oslo Suite; named for Sir Peter Blake’s unique art project, it features its own private roof terrace, the perfect spot from which to enjoy the splendour of summer on the Oslo Fjord. www.thethief.com 11am After an innovative breakfast created by executive chef Kari Innerå at The Thief’s Fru M restaurant, explore the canals and waterways of modern Tjuvholmen, home to
chic galleries and trendy restaurants, until you reach the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, which recently moved to a new Renzo Piano-designed home on the cusp of the fjord. Dedicated more to outstanding, eye-catching, thoughtprovoking and sometimes outright scandalous pieces of art than to entire movements, art lovers and newbies alike will love the thoroughly visual collections. This summer, look out for the photography of Cindy Sherman in her collection titled Untitled Horrors, on display until September. www.afmuseet.no
1pm Follow your tastebuds down the tramline from the waterfront to Oslo’s bohemian heart, Grünerløkka. Located only minutes from the city, this is one of the capital’s fastest emerging districts as its former warehouse and factory buildings benefit from some much needed TLC. The high street – Thorvald Meyers Gate – is home to quirky boutiques, tea emporiums, kitsch furniture collections and streetside cafes. Hidden away in a former metal mill, Mathallen, the city’s newest gourmet food market, recently opened and has become
42 24 HOURS IN OSLO
the place for the indecisive and intrepid to graze. Home to 33 mini-restaurants, many of which focus on authentic and innovative Norwegian cuisine using the finest local produce – including Stangeriet, home to arguably the world’s best chicken sandwich – pick and choose from a variety of culinary trends and then eat collectively under a canopy of steel beams and chandeliers. www.mathallenoslo.no 3pm Walk off your meal among the captured creations of the Vigelandsparken Sculpture Arrangement, which lies at the heart of expansive Frogner Park, a beautiful greenbelt made up of long walk ways, fountains, bridges and of course, sculptures. The park is an Oslo must-see in any weather, but as the sunny months arrive, its shaded parklands become a hub for locals, while the sculpture arrangement, the largest in the world by one artists, sees between one and two million visitors a year. Wind through the 212 human figures sculpted by Gustav Vigeland and marvel at the Monolith, a crowning sculpture of humanity carved from one piece of stone that reaches 14 meters into the sky. If you’ve got an eye for sculpture, the Vigeland Museum is located a five minute walk away. www.vigeland.museum.no
6pm In summer, the days are long in Oslo, and the views over the fjord are fantastic in the golden light, so order something zesty and take a perch on the open air terrace of the Ekeberg Restaurant. An icon since 1927, the restaurant is located high up on a peak overlooking the city and offers spectacular views across the new Fjord City development and the city’s breathtaking new opera house. The menu is modern Norwegian, with the likes of locally-caught lobster ravioli with fennel and dill; and Holte Farm chicken breast with sweet corn cream, married with an enviable wine list. Be sure to book ahead for a coveted terrace table. www.ekebergrestauranten.com 9pm For the city’s best live music experience, head back to Grünerløkka and Blå, an iconic venue that hosts electronic, hip-hop, pop, and rock concerts, but is best known for its jazz nights. Dimly lit and thoroughly industrial, expect appearances from some of Europe’s top talents as well as plenty of up-and-coming local artists. www.blaaoslo.no 9am Hit the pavement early with a takeaway coffee and a brisk walk to Oslo’s new opera house. Even if you’re not seeing a performance here – and you should – the angular architecture makes it a marvel for the eyes, especially as the first rays of sun reflect off the fjord
in front. Cut through the leafy parklands surrounding the ancient Akershus Fortress, once a castle and now used for formal occasions by the Royal Family, on your way back to the waterfront. 10am Get an early start with a ferry from near your hotel across to Bygdøy, on the far side of the Oslo Fjord. The peninsula is home to some of the city’s best museums, including the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, the Norweigian Maritime Museum, and the Kon-Tiki Museum, dedicated to the expeditions of Thor Heyerdahl. Be sure to take your swimming trunks for a dip before lunch at trendy Hukodden Beach Restaurant before diving into the fjord’s rich history with a visit to the acclaimed Viking Ship Museum. www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk Travel Essentials Getting There: SAS connects Oslo with Tokyo, Beijing, Bangkok, Shanghai and Singapore (codeshare with Singapore Airlines) via Copenhagen. www.flysas.com Where to Stay: The Thief has rooms from Kr1,650 (US$287) twin share; www.thethief.com Word to the Wise: The Oslo Pass is a great way to explore the city’s many museums and attractions. www.visitoslo.com Must Buys: Akvavit – or akevitt in Norwegian – is the local firewater and has been produced from spices and herbs like caraway and dill since the 15th century. It’s best bought in duty free stores.
ROAD WARRIOR 43
How often do you travel? Due to the nature of my work, I travel to quite a number of places each year for fashion shows, tradeshows, sourcing, production, and to seek inspiration. Most recently, I’ve been to Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia and Bali. How do you keep yourself entertained on long-haul flights? I like reading books on my iPad mini or Nook, and watching inflight movies. I also sleep a lot…I’m pretty good at sleeping on any form of transportation! Do you have a fail-safe cure for jet-lag? The professional way would be to plan early morning meetings and appointments that I can’t miss, along with a big Americano. The better – and more fun – way would be to plan dinners and nights out with friends. What would we find in your carry on? My iPhone, iPad mini, skin care products and credit cards. How do you cope with the demands of a busy schedule? I use a great set of online applications to keep track of my schedule and to-do lists so I can stay on top of things. But really, my team saves my day. In your opinion, what makes a good hotel? I think great staff is really important. Hotel staff that always manage to put a smile on your face, are welcoming, and have a feel-good attitude beat all the upgrades and add-ons you could possibly get. Which are your favourite cities for shopping? I think Hong Kong has some great shopping. I also really like Bangkok, New York and Tokyo. As a clothing designer, which city do you think has the best-dressed residents? This is a tough one. I think many cities have a lot of stylish people who To follow her dreams, Hong Kong designer Susanna Soo spent 12 dress internationally, yet still retain references from their own cities and personalities. I find that really years in New York, where she attended the famed Parsons design fascinating. You used to only see amazing style from school and honed her craft at Diane von Furstenburg and LaRok. the fashionistas of New York, London, Milan and Paris, but with the new social media channels, we After an apprenticeship with Parisian couturier Anne Valerie Hash, get to see great fashion from Russia, Shanghai, and she launched her own label, S.Nine, in 2009. Beijing, for example. And hey, many fashionistas are also global citizens!
By Gayatri Bhaumik
What differentiates Hong Kong fashion from fashion in any other city? I think Hong Kong fashionistas are probably some of the most sophisticated. We’ve been exposed to luxury brands from so early on that we’ve already gone through the simple logo and basic brand shopping habits. Whether they’re well known or not, thanks to people like the legendary Joyce Ma, we are exposed to all sorts of amazing international designer labels in Hong Kong. The fashion savvy here are great at mixing and matching, high and low fashion, attention to detail, and adding edge to basic looks.
44 BOUTIQUE & BEAUTIFUL
Delving into the
DEEP South New Orleans has bounced back since its stormy days and now continues to charm visitors from around the world with its laid back ambiance and ‘anything goes’ mantra. Here are some of the best boutique spots from which to explore this colourful locale.
Hotel Mazarin One of the city’s newest boutique hotels, the 102-room Hotel Mazarin features spacious guestrooms and the precinct’s most elegant European-inspired courtyard. Located close to Royal Street, home to some of New Orleans’ best night time entertainment, check in to the Fleur de Lis Suite, a sumptuous space on the second floor that boasts two separate living areas, 43-inch flat screen televisions, a dining table for six, a full kitchen, a king-sized bedroom and beautiful crystal chandelier lighting throughout. The view from the private balcony over Iberville Street can’t be missed, but nor can the vintage cocktails – think Negronis and Manhattans laced with Snap moonshine – of the Prohibition-era inspired 21st Amendment bar downstairs, a popular hangout with the city’s musicians. www.hotelmazarin.com
Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel One of the city’s most historic houses of slumber, the Renaissance was opened in 1925 and remains one of the most luxurious hotels in town. Despite its 272-rooms, the Renaissance boasts a boutique, intimate feel, with a stellar location near Bourbon Street, a popular Creole restaurant downstairs and the popular MiLa lobby cocktail divan shaking up a storm each evening. Our pick of guest rooms is the spacious Club Level rooms, which not only come dressed in elegant, welcoming hues, but also offer access to the hotel’s dedicated Club Lounge. This is a great spot for a leisurely breakfast or cocktail hour with friends before hitting the town. During the summer months, the hotel pool is the perfect place to cool off and reflect on your New Orleans adventures. www.marriott.com
BOUTIQUE & BEAUTIFUL 45
Bourbon Orleans Hotel Located at the heart of the city’s iconic French Quarter, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel recently emerged from a multi-million dollar restoration that retains its regal charms while preparing it for today’s modern traveller. Located steps from the St Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, the Bourbon’s guest rooms are elegant yet practical, but the only way to truly experience the liveliest part of town is in one of the lavish French Quarter Suites. Our favourite is the Bourbon Balcony Loft Suite, which is located on the third floor and features a loft layout across two levels, including a living room with wet bar downstairs, a queen bedroom upstairs, and a large private balcony, perfect for evening people watching. If you’re looking to recover from a night on the town, there are also in-room wellness services from La Jardin Spa. www.bourbonorleans.com
Hotel Le Marais Unassuming from the outside, Hotel Le Marais is a journey for the senses as soon as you step inside. An effortless amalgamation of classic and modern touches, the Le Marais is a favourite with visiting artists and fashion industry insiders, who come for the modern mixology of the courtyard Bar Vive, and for the hotel’s bright vibrant rooms and neon lit public spaces. Be sure to book ahead for one of the Premium King rooms, which come complete with private balconies or courtyards, French Quarter views, spacious work areas and deluxe bath amenities. After a hard night soaking in the city’s jazz scene and Cajun cooking, cool off with a dip in the garden wreathed hotel pool, a favourite with New Orleans’ chic set. www.hotellemarais.com
46 HOTEL REVIEW
The Great Barrier Reef remains one of Australia’s most popular attractions and in the sleepy city of Cairns – the gateway to the GBR – one hotel balances business and pleasure to perfection. Background Overlooking the city’s chic Marlin Marina and the entrance to the Coral Sea, the Shangri-La Hotel The Marina Cairns is as much a business hotel catering to the city’s commercial sector as it is a leisure hotel for reef and rainforest bound travellers. With spacious, well-appointed guest rooms, an envious position, and the vibe of a boutique hotel, the Shangri-La leads the city’s luxury scene.
The Room Opt for one of the hotel’s Horizon Club Marina View rooms. Arguably the best guest rooms in town, these spacious suites feature modern bathrooms with deep tubs and separate showers, king or twin configuration beds, a lounge space and a deep balcony overlooking the restaurants and pleasure boats of the marina. The rooms are located on the hotel’s upper floors offering stunning views, while affording guests access to the exclusive Horizon Club, Shangri-La’s executive lounge. Be sure to ask for a room close to the Lounge; the low profile design of the hotel building means some rooms can be a long distance from amenities.
stunning array of snacks and delectable nibbles created by the hotel’s culinary team. Breakfast is also a great chance to visit the Lounge, with a selection of newspapers, high-speed internet, and dedicated staff ensuring your day starts on a high note.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, head down to the water’s edge and North Food & Wine, one of the city’s leading restaurants. Located at Marina Dining Promenade, North specialises in modern Australian cuisine with Asian and Mediterranean influences. Start off with a cocktail at sunset in the Bá8 Lounge Bar, home to Spanish-style tapas that makes the most of locally-sourced ingredients, before making your way to your alfresco table at North for stellar cuisine matched with Australia’s best wines.
The Horizon Club is another highlight of the Shangri-La and is a home away from home for all travellers. Cocktail hour is a great chance to meet fellow guests and is complimented by a
Pierpoint Road Cairns, Queensland, Australia,Tel: +61 7 4031 1411; www.shangri-la.com
HOTEL REVIEW 47
Arguably the best guest rooms in town, these spacious suites feature modern bathrooms with deep tubs and separate showers, king or twin configuration beds, a lounge space and a deep balcony overlooking the restaurants and pleasure boats of the marina.
We’re going out for a night on the town, where do we start? The W’s signature Woobar has a chic selection of music and talented mixologists that’ll mix you up creative cocktails using gastronomic techniques like infusions and fermentation amid glitzy décor inspired by Muay Thai boxing. Levels, Hyde & Seek and Quince are also hot right now. Time to hit the clubs. Where do we go? LED at Grease is a brand new four-floor venue in Thonglor’s Sukhumvit soi 49. It’s a huge space that plays a range of great dance music, including dubstep and breakbeat. The low-ceilinged rooms are enchanting, and with their interactive LED surfaces, laser lights and plethora of mirrors create a very cool club ambience. What should we be sipping on? Definitely try the Thai Sabai. Made with Mae Khong – a local liquor – basil, sour mix, and soda, it’s a bitey cocktail that you can find at many stylish bars in Bangkok, including Quince, Hyde & Seek and Moon Bar.
It’s the morning after and we need a coffee, where’s the best in Bangkok? I love Roast, a specialty coffee roaster and American bistro situated at Seen Space, Thonglor soi 13. This coffee shop offers a wide range of fresh coffee beans from around the world, including Brazil, Indonesia and Ethiopia. We’re all fueled up, and ready to zip around Bangkok on tuk-tuks. What’s the best route? Start from the King Rama V statue, roll down Ratchadamnern road, grab a drink on the famous Khaosan road, check out the historic Grand Palace, and finish up by ditching the tuk-tuk and walking around Chinatown for some quirky shopping.
Armed with degrees in hotel management and mixology, Thaithep Raroengjai has worked at some of Bangkok’s top hotels, including the Sofitel Silom and Le Meridien. The Chief Concierge of the new W Bangkok talks to Gayatri Bhaumik about cocktails, coffee, and motorbike escapes. www.jetsetter.hk
How about a city escape? When I have some free time, I always ride my Ducati out to Ayutthaya. Just an hour from Bangkok, the ancient city is a former capital of the Thai kingdom, but it’s the UNESCOlisted Ayutthaya Historical Park that draws visitors. The ruined city is full of history and ancient architecture, and is definitely worth visiting.
50 ADVENTURE HONEYMOONS
If you’re looking for something distinctly urban, how about touring one of Asia’s most dynamic – and busiest – cities by vintage Chinese military motorbike sidecar? Shanghai Sideways specialise in fastpaced, adrenaline-pumping guided motorbike tours of the Paris of the East. From the frenzy of Nanjing Road, to the bustle of the Bund, see this amazing city from a whole new perspective, and with room for just two guests, it’s perfectly suited for couples looking to break up the romance with some adventure. www.shanghaisideways.com
Copyright Patrick Wack
Honeymoons were traditionally about romance and connection, about stunning sunsets and long lie-ins, but today’s newlyweds are increasingly in search of adventure, from close encounters with nature, to the daredevil activities of the adrenaline set, discovers Nick Walton.
ADVENTURE HONEYMOONS 51
Yee-Haw! Ever wondered what it would like to be a cowboy (or girl), and to work on a ranch, ride horses and bring in the cattle from graze? Creative Western Adventures in Canada offer a unique range of cowboy adventures, including their cattle drive experience, which has city slickers cattle tending, fence mending, pasture checking and of course, enjoying plenty of romantic sing-alongs under the starry sky. They’ll even swap the camp hooch for champagne. www.creativewestern.com ▲
In the far north of Australia, an hour’s drive outside Darwin, Bamurru Plains has proven a popular spot for the romantically-inclined looking to get close to some of Australia’s famous, and often ferocious creatures, including water buffalo, wild brumbie horses, magpie geese and of course, salt water crocodiles. The luxury wildlife lodge is located on the cusp of one of the region’s largest flood plains, best encountered aboard the Lodge’s fleet of air boats, which skim across the flooded landscape, allowing an up-close and personal Aussie experience. www.bamurruplains.com
Land of Ice
Iceland’s volcanoes may have caused plenty of trouble for frequent flyers in the past but they’re still popular spots for the adventurous. The Vatnajökull Voyager is an adventure-packed day trip to Skaftafell and Vatnajökull National Parks offered by Extreme Iceland. Well suited to couples that may not climb often but are looking to mark their nuptials in style, the day trip takes in the largest glacier in Europe, guided ice hikes, and a zodiac cruise through the massive icebergs of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. www.extremeiceland.is
Exploring deepest, darkest Africa has always been one of the ultimate adventures and honeymooners still love to head to the bush to see the stunning and unique wildlife of this amazing continent. The Zululand Safari Lodge, located in the Ubizane Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, offers luxury accommodation in the middle of the stunning savannah, but also driving, horseback and walking tours to view white rhino, giraffes, wildebeests, zebra and over 350 species of birds. Nearby Hluhluwe Game Reserve is the oldest in Africa, and is famous for the big five – lion, elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo, and leopard. End the day with a private champagne dinner under a canopy of stars. www.zululandsafarilodge.co.za
Heating Up in Sri Lanka
As part of its new Reserve collection of unique itineraries, the happy couple can ride elephants through ancient jungles at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphange and spy wild leopards on Peregrine’s 12-day Journey Through Sri Lanka. Starting in Negombo and ending in Colombo, the journey takes in the island nation’s rock fortresses and bustling bazaars and even visits the oldest historically documented tree in the world, the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, the perfect spot for romantics at heart. www.peregrinereserve.com
52 ADVENTURE HONEYMOONS
Jelly Fish Lake Located in Palau, a tiny archipelago nation east of the Philippines, couples are increasingly taking the dive into a truly unique environment. Fifth Lake (or Ongeim’l Tketau in the local tongue) is located in the centre of Eil Malk Island, one of the nation’s famed ‘rock islands’, and is home to millions of golden jellyfish. The jellies, which have evolved to be completely stingless, migrate across this picturesque lake with the sunshine, and intrepid swimmers can glide through the water with them in complete safety.
Queenstown, in southern New Zealand, is one of the world’s best known adventure capitals, and one that’s no stranger to honeymooners looking for thrills and spills. Over the Top helicopter company offers a truly stunning day out that includes a flight over the Southern Alps, a walk through an ancient rainforest and finally, a glacier landing, complete with a private champagne luncheon in a hidden goldminer’s cottage. Just radio the chopper when you’re done. www.flynz.co.nz
Land of Kings
Mongolia remains one of the world’s untouched locales and one increasingly popular with adventure travellers, who love its unique culture and colourful festivals, including the ancient Naadam festival, an annual celebration of wrestling, archery and horse racing. Cox & Kings Travel take private groups to see the best that Mongolia has to offer, from the Gobi Desert to the snowcapped mountains and endless grassy steppes, with visits to local villages, nights in traditional yurt tents (they might even have a Honeymoon Yurt) and front row seats at the most important festival events. www.coxandkings.co.uk www.jetsetter.hk
Fly direct to the Maldives Hong Kong . Beijing . Shanghai
www.megamaldivesair.com Photo: Shangri-La, Maldives
54 china hideaways
Hiding in the
Middle Kingdom BANYAN TREE LIJIANG
Hidden deep in China’s Yunnan province, the Banyan Tree Lijiang is modelled after a traditional Chinese village and features 122 villas and suites richly decorated with traditional russet and gold tones and native objets d’art. The Deluxe Pool Villa is the ultimate romantic hideaway; built in the traditional Naxi style, it features an ebony marble bathtub and an outdoor heated pool. Explore the water canals, quaint bridges and cobblestone streets of the city once dubbed the ‘Venice of the Orient’, or get the most out of Yunnan’s stunning scenery on one of the resort’s 11 private day tours, which visit the likes of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Tiger Leaping Gorge and Lashi Lake. For those looking to relax, the resort’s award-winning spa employs the Chinese Five Elements philosophy for a truly blissful experience. www.banyantree.com
China is not all chaos and crowds. Scattered across its picturesque countryside and nestled in its mountain ranges are some truly spectacular retreats, ideal for a weekend away from it all, discovers Gayatri Bhaumik
china hideaways 55
Set in a serene valley and boasting stylish suites and private villas, the InterContinental Hotels-managed Huizhou Resort exudes luxury in its smallest detail. Each of its 220 rooms – including 21 suites – is bedecked with the latest creature comforts, including high speed internet and lavish linens, making guests feel right at home. Executive rooms come with a daily cocktail hour, a full entertainment system, and personal valet service. Golfers can perfect their swing on the resort’s scenic 18-hole golf course, while bargain-hunters will be fascinated with the curious bazaars of nearby West Lake. The market is set on a 500-year old street on which stall holders hawk bronzeware, Chinese jades, wood carvings, and traditional Chinese paintings. www.ihg.com
ANGSANA FUXIAN LAKE RESORT
Located in Chengjiang – often called the ‘Hawaii of the Highlands’ thanks to its year-round good weather – the Angsana features 81 contemporary guest rooms in a picture-postcard setting an hour from Kunming. Nature enthusiasts will love the views of tranquil Fuxian Lake and the pure mountain air while hiking up Maotian Mountain, and for those so inclined, an adventure park is connected to the property by an underground tunnel. On weekends, feast at the resort’s outdoor lakeside barbecue parties and spend evenings lounging in the outdoor jet pool of your elegant Lakeside Suites, complete with stunning water vistas. www.angsana.com
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Secluded in a valley on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Amanfayun comprises 47 dwellings, many of which still retain their original century-old structures, surrounded by tea fields, natural forest and bamboo groves. Opt for one of four village villas, which, with 204sqm of lavish space and the added benefit of private massage rooms, are the ultimate couples’ retreat. The resort’s fusion of contemporary comfort, ancient architecture and stunning scenery provides a magical retreat from today’s busy world; visitors can experience local culture with visits to nearby Buddhist temples, botanical gardens and pagodas, while shopping enthusiasts in particular will enjoy wandering around Hangzhou’s famous silk and shopping streets. www.amanresorts.com
With breathtaking lake and mountain views, this hideaway’s guest rooms allow travellers to be totally immersed in the Jiangnan terrain and provide a soothing, tranquil hideaway from city life. Boasting 70 rooms and 12 villas, the resort masterfully blends Southern Song-era architecture with modern aesthetics. A sojourn at one of the lakeside villas – complete with its own private garden, terrace and outdoor pool - provides an idyllic retreat overlooking the lakes and mountains of Jiangnan. Nearby, an exclusive on-site 18-hole golf course weaves through working tea plantations and hugs the waters of West Lake. www.fuchunresort.com
TENGCHONG HOT SPRING SPA VILLAS RESORT
Tucked away amid a stunning landscape of volcanoes, hot springs and volcanic lakes, Yunnan’s Tengchong Hot Springs Spa Villas Resort is a restorative refuge of spa villas and hot spring pools. Each of the three or four bedroom villas has an open kitchenette, a private terrace with day beds and spring pools, and 24-hour butler service. Set near the entrance of the Tengchong Volcanic Geothermal Park, the resort enjoys access to a host of natural hot pools and lakes. After some relaxation, geology aficionados can explore a volcanic area – home to an astonishing 99 volcanoes – and the Huoshan Gongyuan Volcano Park, while bibliophiles can get lost in China’s oldest library in He Shun. www.slh.com
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NAKED STABLES PRIVATE RESERVE
A collection of luxurious villas and huts hidden at the foot of the bambooclad Monganshan valley – a protected nature reserve – Naked Stables takes a holistic approach to wellness through diet, treatment and exercise. The retreat offers mountain biking, horse-riding and hiking within the surrounding forests, while its restaurants prepare healthy dishes with fresh locally-sourced ingredients. Several hours from any major city, guests can slip blissfully off the radar, especially when secluded in one of the unique Hilltop Earth huts. Perched on hilltops and commanding gorgeous views of tea plantations, these hideaways come with private decks, outdoor showers and a personal concierge service. www.nakedretreats.cn
BRILLIANT RESORT AND SPA KUNMING
Concealed in the highlands of Yunnan Province, next to the calm waters of the Yangzong Lake, this retreat is a delightfully restful hideaway about 45 minutes from Kunming city. Set in landscaped gardens and with access to numerous hot spring pools, visitors are treated to spectacular views of the lake and Emerald Hill while indulging in restorative Chinese spa therapies or learning the ancient art of the Chinese tea ceremony at the property’s Pu’er Tea Club. For a truly zen experience, hole up in one of the Lakeview Pool Villas, which features a private garden and lake frontage. www.brilliantspa.com
ONETHOUSAND ISLAND LAKE RESORT
Nestled on the tranquil Xian Shan Peninsula, two hours from Hangzhou, this remote resort boasts 255 guestrooms, each of which overlooks the spectacular Thousand Island Lake or the resort’s magnificently landscaped gardens. The Lobby Lounge offers a decadent afternoon tea in the midst of dramatic scenery; for the active, the property has an 18-hole golf course and a yacht club. Surrounding natural attractions include mountains, caves and abundant flora. For the best hideaway experience, stay in one of the 15 oversized suites. Spacious and luxurious, each boasts panoramic views of the lake, private balconies, a tropical rainforest shower, and valet service. www.ihg.com
58 BEST SLEEP HOTELS
Catering to jetlagged and sleep deprived travellers with hectic schedules and endless itineraries, hotels around the world are devising ever-more innovative ways for their guests to hit the hay in style, discovers Gayatri Bhaumik.
of Your Life
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Milestone Hotel London
Designed to ease the fatigue of stress and jetlag, the Milestone’s Sound Sleep Experience is the ultimate in snooze therapy. You’ll have a one hour consultation with internationally-recognised sleep therapist Tej Samani, and a relaxing treatment in the Kensington hotel’s Spa. A gift bag includes Samani’s Alpha Sleep Pod - a device which emits sound waves matched to the frequency of a healthy sleeper’s brain waves aromatherapy oils and a lavender eye-mask. At night, choose from a pillow menu, and get tailored sleep tips during your turndown service in the hotel’s most luxurious suites. A healthy breakfast the next morning leaves you full of life. Available until December 31, 2013. www.milestonehotel.com
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The Benjamin Hotel New York
At this chic Big Apple hotel, a sleep concierge will email you prior to arrival to discuss your sleep habits, and recommend a selection from the hotel’s pillow menu. If you really like her choice, you can even buy the pillow online after your return. Whether you get the midnight munchies or need to relax before bed, the hotel has you covered; the sleep concierge can organise a bed-time snack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – on indulgent banana bread – or a sleep-inducing massage at the hotel’s spa. Either way, by the time you hit the sheets – Egyptian linen by Anichini – you’ll be ready for a restful slumber. www.thebenjamin.com
AKA Central Park New York
Sleep under the stars on the 1,000-square-foot terrace of each of the hotel’s two luxurious penthouse suites. For the ultimate glamping experience, each terrace can be transformed into an outdoor bedroom, complete with queen-sized beds, wood-burning fireplaces, and state-ofthe-art-telescopes. Lose yourself in the 360-degree view of New York City and take advantage of the terrace’s unique offerings. Read campfire stories in bed with the provided e-reader; fall asleep to a selection of classic horror films; and indulge in a host of night-time treats, including s’mores – marshmallow and chocolate-biscuit sandwiches, a camping staple – Champagne and cheese. www.stayaka.com
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The Swissôtel Berlin
Designed in consultation with somnologist Dr. Michael Feld, the Deep Sleep package focuses on a combination of factors which contribute to a good night’s rest. The most high-tech feature is the mountain air generator, which emits crisp mountain air at regular intervals. Before you sleep, you’ll sip a calming drink while being treated to some aromatherapy rituals. In the morning, you’ll indulge in a breakfast buffet – along with an energising power drink - and finish waking up with an innovative bright-lightlamp session, which uses bright light to reset your circadian rhythms. If at any point you feel fatigued but aren’t quite ready for bed, you can take a nap in the hotel’s PowerNap Lounge. www.swissotel.com
Lorien Hotel & Spa Alexandria
Located just outside Washington DC, this chic boutique hotel offers a fully-loaded Dream Services Menu that is sure to send even the most determined insomniacs into a blissful slumber. The menu is divided into four sections, each of which presents different ways of getting a great night’s sleep. Sense uses aromatherapy, with a choice of two types of reed diffusers, and Drift allows guests to select from a range of pillows, while Unwind has more practical sleep aids, like sleep masks, fans and humidifiers, nightlights, and a library of books. The best part however, is the Indulge selection: treat yourself to the classic milk-and-cookies combo, cuddle up with a teddy bear, or pamper yourself with the Kerstin Florian lavender dreams kit, which includes a body scrub, eye pillow, body spray, body oil, and mineral bath. www.lorienhotelandspa.com
Anatara Kihavah Villas Maldives
The remote Maldivian resort’s slumber guru has created a special couples-only treat, designed to ensure a good night’s rest for you and your special someone. The evening begins with a scrumptious dinner at the resort’s signature under-and-over-water restaurant, Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky. Sated, you’ll head back to your villa for a silky milk bath, before getting a massage on your over water terrace - complete with relaxing lavender and ylang ylang essential oils. A bed-time treat of herbal tea or hot chocolate and homemade cookies will satisfy any lingering hunger pangs while your pillows – chosen from a comprehensive menu – are misted with a calming scent. www.kihavah-maldives.anantara.com
62 THE LIST
With many unique and exciting exhibitions taking place throughout the summer, Paris proves once again why it’s the centre of the art world. Here are our picks for the city’s must-see seasonal cultural offerings. - by Gayatri Bhaumik
xploring social and individual expression through grooming habits, Beloved Hair: Trophies and Trifles, at the Musée du Quai Branly until July 14, presents paintings, sculptures, and photographs showcasing hairstyles through the ages.
resented at Les Invalides Military Museum, site of Napoleon’s tomb, Napoleon & Europe: Dream & Trauma features an extensive collection of era art, uniforms, firearms and other significant artifacts, assembled from over 50 European institutions. The exhibition, on display until July 14, offers insight into the emperor and his domination of Europe, often from the perspective of the European nations which supported or feared him.
fresh perspective on the Jardins Tuileries, the André Le Nôtre Walk is a Louve-curated display featuring signs, historical documents and collections of sketches and paintings which allows visitors a better understanding of what inspired the garden’s designer, André le Nôtre.
y choosing natural light and colour over the dominant neoclassicist and romantic styles, a group of rebellious 19th century artists became the innovators of modern Italian painting. The Macchiaioli 1850-1874: Italian Impressionists?, an exhibition on display at the Musée de l’Orangerie until July 22, showcases important works from this group, often called the Italian Impressionists.
et a unique perspective on the works of Auguste Rodin at the Rodin, Flesh and Marble exhibition. Hosted by the Musée Rodin until September 1, works like The Danaid will show why, despite being derided by 19th century critics, Rodin has become one of the most lauded sculptors of his era.
Special Promotional Section
Have a Ball Recently founded in Asia and dedicated to affluent travellers looking for truly unique, bespoke travel encounters, the newly launched Experience Company offers the inside track to an exclusive array of Scotland’s finest golf and whisky experiences.
or many avid golfers, the game of golf is so much more than simply a sport or a recreation; it’s a way of life, a religion, and the perfect rationale for indulgent holidays to the world’s great golfing destinations. The Experience Company, recently launched in Asia by seasoned luxury insider Julien Yung Mameaux, specialises in superb golfing, wine, wellness and whisky holidays for the travelling elite. From tee-times at some of the Scotland’s most coveted courses, to behind-the-scenes tastings at some of its greatest distilleries, The Experience Company creates completely tailored journeys to the home of golf and whisky that will truly thrill the senses of the jetset traveller. On Top of the Game Golfers travel for the love of their game more than any other sports lover, and for good reason; much of the charm and challenge of the game is playing legendary, never-experienced courses, especially when you’re following in the footsteps of the game’s greatest stars such as Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus. The Experience Company offers its exclusive clientèle special admission to the best courses across Europe, including Scotland’s most coveted fairways, from St Andrew’s Old Course to Gleneagles and the Castle Stuart Course, home to the Scottish Open. “Golf and whisky are the two major pillars of Scottish culture and both have royal and noble connotations that make them appealing to affluent Asian travellers,” says Julien. “Our access to the most exclusive courses in Scotland and beyond, as well as to the many luxury activities these beautiful destinations offer off the course, are huge draw cards for our distinguished patrons.” The Experience Company has privileged access thanks to Julien’s own experience and long-standing relationships, both as a luxury connoisseur and as a passionate golfer himself. VIPs enjoy secured coveted tee-off times, PGA and European Tour professional coaching and a host of prestigious facilities usually restricted to VIP members such as gourmet restaurants, accommodation and wellness centres. The Experience Company can even arrange for golfing greats to
host rounds at the most famous 18-holes. Julien and his team also create the ultimate golfing itineraries, ensuring affluent but time-poor golfers can focus on perfecting their swing instead of juggling with logistics. A Wee Tipple Scotland is also synonymous with whisky and The Experience Company offers its select clientèle the ultimate treats in the tasting lounges and barrelling halls of Scotland’s finest distilleries. Julien’s extensive luxury spirit experience gives clients exceptional access to the inner sanctums of whisky’s leading names, as well as the opportunity to meet the individuals which have made the illustrious gaelic water of life so famous. “We have access to the most iconic whisky houses and buried treasures as well,” says Julien, “including Strathisla, where Royal Salute Diamond Jubilee, the GBP100,000 per bottle whisky created for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, is made, Ballantine’s, the golf trophy brand, or The Glenlivet, which offers whisky lovers a truly remarkable single malt experience. Along with the photograph of their drive shot on these mythical courses, our guests can source their very own personalised bottle of whisky, and dine privately inside the world’s largest whisky collection – the absolute nineteenth hole.” Delegates can fly out to remote distilleries by helicopter or arrive by classic sports car, enjoying the landscape and roads made famous in the recent James Bond Skyfall film, before sampling rare malts under the tutelage of experienced master distillers. Guests can then retire to regal country manor homes or exclusive castle hotels for world-class cuisine and the opportunity to revel in the Scotland’s ancient traditions. To design your golf and whisky experience in Scotland and Europe, contact The Experience Company, Tel: +852 2179 3307; Email: Contact@TheExCo.com; www.TheExCo.com
64 VILLA LIVING
Solitude FOR Two
t’s not every day that you have a beach to yourself, especially in over-crowded, always-heaving, never-sleeping Asia. And I don’t just mean a strip of land between buildings and boats, but the kind of idyllic coastline you could see from space, a 100 metres deep, five kilometres long, and completely deserted. But that’s just what intrepid travellers looking for a slice of solitude will find at the new Banyan Tree Lang Co outside Danang, Vietnam. Like many hotels these days, Banyan Tree has eased into its newest destination, watching as sister brand Angsana sets the tone next door, and allowing only the most intrepid of affluent travellers to sniff out the serenity that this new beachfront setting affords. Vietnam is by no means a new destination. If anything it’s one that plateaued through the Asian economic crisis, its moment in the limelight shattered by the meltdown and its come-back hindered by new-found stability in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. But
it’s also a place of promise, especially for travellers looking for an affordable weekend far from the subway stations and skyscrapers of the city. And Banyan Tree is just the brand to ease people back into the Indochine vibe. Located outside the sleepy seaside village of Lang Co, an easy hour drive from downtown Danang, Banyan Tree Lang Co is just what the doctor ordered; a paradisiacal stretch of tout-free yellowhued sand, luxurious lagoon and ocean view villas with plunge pools and butler service on tap, pristine turquoise seas, a Banyan Tree signature spa, and a golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo. The Banyan Tree touches are everywhere, even if the guests during our visit weren’t. Manicured gardens, attended by a small army of conical non la wearing gardeners, wreath the high walls of 49 private pool villas – our pick is the ocean view villas for a real sense of place, although ours, the last in the line, had its privacy compromised by the multi-level Agnsana next door. Each stylish
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Nick Walton makes the most of his time at the new Banyan Tree Lang Co in Vietnam, before the masses get the memo. villa is decked out with polished timber floors, regal furnishings, and bold gold, green and chocolate tones. Spacious bathrooms boast deep soak tubs and out front you can choose to soak in the glass Jacuzzi, the private plunge pool, or the East Sea. If you can drag yourself from your villa (and no one says you must thanks to high speed internet and in-villa dining) there is plenty on offer. The resort’s main pool is wreathed on one side by the beachfront Med-inspired bites of Azure, and on the other by shaded sun lounges. A wedding chapel perched overlooking the beach caters to destination weddings, while high above the resort, Saffron serves royal Thai cuisine in a staggeringly beautiful dining room decked in dark timber and gold. An innovative program of local cultural excursions mean you can still immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture, with village visits, fishing trips, temple tours and foodie forging in the Lang Co village and beyond.
However, like other Laguna developments, golf is a massive draw card and for good reason. While the nearby Laguna Lang Co Golf Club has a little teething to get through until they’re up to Asian headturning standards, Faldo’s 18-hole par-71 championship course is a delight to play, with knowledgeable caddies complimenting narrow bunker-strewn fairways that wind through valleys and across rice paddies, and greens surrounded by lush jungle. Finally, to ease out the stiff post-round joints, few spas have the household name of a Banyan Tree Spa and the wellness retreat at Lang Co is no different. Drawing on time-honoured Asian wellness rituals, treatments utilise locally-sourced aromatic oils, healing herbs and fresh tropical fruit to ease muscles and minds. Rituals like the Royal Banyan, 150 minutes of heated herbal pouch and oil massage bliss, or the Thai Ginger Healer, a body scrub that leaves guests floating, are the perfect escape from city life. www.banyantree.com www.jetsetter.hk
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House of Divas
Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre
espite having only opened in October 2011, The Royal Opera House Muscat has already played host to some of the most notable musicians in the world. Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo opened the theatre with a performance of Puccini’s Turandot, while Andrea Bocelli and Yo Yo Ma have also performed.
aria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti are just two opera greats who have graced the stage of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. La Scala, as it’s affectionately known, was once home to writers like Verdi and Puccini. A concave channel under the wooden orchestra floor is an intriguing design quirk which is often credited for the theatre’s spectacular acoustics.
Evoking the elegance and glamour of a bygone era, opera houses around the world are symbols of power and prosperity. Here are some of our favourites. - by Gayatri Bhaumik
et in London’s famed Covent Garden district, The Royal Opera House served as a playhouse for its first 100 years, before staging its first opera season in 1735. George Handel, creator of this first season and writer of The Messiah, went on to write and premier most of his operas here.
endered in stunning Neoclassical style, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre was built between 1821 and 1824. The theatre was damaged over the years through fire, war and revolution. Miraculously, many parts survived; its latest incarnation is the result of a six-year renovation which was completed in 2011.
anish architect Jørn Utzon was unimpressed with the final design of the Sydney Opera House – the building’s iconic overlapping shells were a far cry from his original designs, despite the international icon status the building enjoys today. The building actually has several theatres, each one panelled in different woods to enhance the acoustics.
he most striking feature of Paris’ 9th arrondisement, the Palais Garnier is a resplendent display of the Beaux-Arts and Second Empire architectural styles. The theatre cemented its cultural-icon status when it became the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1911 novel, The Phantom of the Opera and its later film and stage adaptations.
68 INSIDE RIO
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70 INSIDE RIO
Eat Brazilian cuisine is a fusion of flavours from around the world, and the restaurants in Rio showcase all the different cultures that have ended up here. Japanese food has been the most recent import and Sushi Leblon (www. sushileblon.com, +55 21 2512 7830) has some of the best Japanese cuisine in town. The gastronomic spot to see and be seen in Rio, check out the gorgeous glitterati while dining on a sumptuous variety of sushi and fusion dishes like salmon and foie gras marinated in miso, and udon noodles in light curry and coconut milk. With a slatted teak façade and resin chairs Zuka (www.zuka.com.br, +55 21 3205 7154) offers up seasonal Brazilian specialties in a chic, minimalist setting. Under head chef Ludmilla Soares, the darling of Rio’s fashionable Leblon neighbourhood is anchored by an open kitchen which sends out a mouth-watering array of dishes, a popular favourite being the daily selection of grilled meats. The dessert and cocktail menus are punctuated with interesting items like roasted bananas in sugarcane molasses and lychee saketinis. The hottest table in the barrio – or neighbourhood – of Santa Teresa is at Aparzivel (www.aprazivel.com.br, +55 21 2508 9174) where diners eat in tree-houses while gorging on breathtaking views of Rio. Start with a caipirinha cocktail laced with local cachaça, a sugar cane liquor – the restaurant is known for them – and feast on reinterpreted northern Brazilian cuisine like grilled prawns with saffron rice, or mustardsmothered filet mignon served with a spinach and potato pie. The Amazon is synonymous with Brazil, and Espirito Santa, (www.espiritosanta.com. br, +55 21 2507 4840) located in the hills of Santa Teresa, will have you daydreaming of sailing up the mighty river in a paddle boat steamer. Brazilian flavour and Amazonian flair spring to life in dishes like the caranguejo com pacovao, mouth-watering dollops of crab-meat on plantain chunks, and the namorado da caboa, fish with shrimp sauce and Brazil nut rice. A piece of Naples in the heart of Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood, Duo (www. duorestaurante.com.br, +55 21 2262 1180) is helmed by Michael del Monaco, formerly of the Relais & Chateaux Michelin-starred Il Pellicano restaurant in Porto Ercole, Italy. The woodfire pizza oven used is an authentic Neapolitan touch, but fresh dishes like the succulent lobster carpaccio, and the gnocchi www.jetsetter.hk
with asparagus and seafood are the reasons why this restaurant has earned a reputation for dishing up some of the best Italian food in Rio. Wine aficionados will appreciate the extensive wine selection which makes Duo’s cellar one of the finest around.
SLEEP Rio’s hotels run the gamut from celebrityfilled icons to tiny, boutique hideaways. The grand dame of Rio hotels, OrientExpress’ Copacabana Palace (www. copacabanapalace.com, +55 21 2548 7070) is a legendary art deco landmark. A celebrity favourite, everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Fred Astaire to the Rolling Stones and Beyoncé has stayed here. Sample the feijoada, a traditional beans and meat stew, at the poolside Pergula restaurant, and soak in the uber-romantic atmosphere of the famed Hotel Cipriani restaurant.
It took three years of extensive renovations to turn a derelict colonial mansion into the Hotel Santa Teresa (www.santateresa.hotel.com, +55 21 3380 0200) one of Rio’s best boutique hotels. Each of the 44 guest rooms is a modern oasis with traditional touches, and features indigenous Brazilian art, tropical wood furnishings, and balconies with commanding views of the bay, the Organ mountains or Corcovado. Be sure to try the selection of Brazil’s best rums at the Bar dos Decasados, the hotel’s rustic lounge, which was recently named Rio’s most romantic bar. The first Philippe Starck-designed property in Brazil, Hotel Fasano (www. fasano.com.br, +55 21 3202 4000) is a sophisticated sanctuary overlooking legendary Ipanema beach. The rooms have Starck’s touch all over them, from Daliinspired mirrors to yellow onyx lamps, but the ten suites are the ultimate for peoplewatching, as all have balconies overlooking
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Ipanema’s Station 8 beach. Feast on delicious Mediterranean fare at the hotel’s al Mare restaurant, and catch cocktail hour at the rooftop bar in time for Rio’s spectacular sunsets with the likes of Fasano fans Gisele and Madonna. Euro sophistication meets Brazilian warmth at Mama Ruisa (www.mamaruisa. com, +55 21 2242 1281) a tiny boutique hotel in Santa Teresa. The seven elegant rooms combine old travelling trunks, drawings by Jean Cocteau, and pictures of Colette and Maria Callas with all the expected modern conveniences like crisp French linens and cable television. Take a dip in the pool, a heavenly tropical paradise of palm trees and birds which helps retain the feel of the colonial mansion that the hotel once was. At La Maison (www.lamaisonrio.com, +55 21 9423 2636) each of the five elegant rooms has been designed to reflect different parts of the world: with ornate reds and golds, Shanghai is an ode to the glamour of the city in the 1930s, while Ganesha recalls the maharajas of India with its rich hues and canopied bed. Tucked up in the chic residential neighbourhood of Gavea, the hotel is only 10 minutes from Ipanema, but you’ll feel a world away.
PLAY Cariocas – Rio locals – know how to party, and with some of the most dynamic clubs and bars around, Rio is the ultimate playground. Brazil’s greatest musicians perform at Rio Scenarium (www.rioscenarium.com.br, +55 21 3147 000) a huge venue in Lapa, a barrio filled with dance halls. Covering three floors over four buildings, the club is rendered in a traditional Brazilian style with ornate balconies and huge windows and is quite simply, gorgeous. Grab a bite to eat at the restaurant, then hit the dance floor – just try not to bump into the antiques lining the walls. Brazilian cachaça liquor is celebrated in
style at the Academia da Cachaça (www.academiadacachaca.com.br, +55 21 2529 2680) which has two locations in Leblon and Barra da Tijuca. Kitsch yet up-market, the walls are lined with an impossibly large variety of cachaça bottles, fitting since the Barra da Tijua location was originally built to shelter the more than 2,000 bottles in the collection of Ulisses Vasconcelos, a local journalist. Try the Cocada Geladinha, a decadent and creamy concoction made with coconut flesh, coconut water, and of course, cachaça. A Rio institution since 1956, Jobi (www.facebook.com/barjobi, +55 21 2274 0547) has long been frequented by journalists, artists and intellectuals. The bar pours what may very well be the best chopp – Brazilian draught beer – in town, while the kitchen serves up delectable empanadas. Only two blocks from trendy Leblon beach, this neighbourhood bar sells over 10,000 beers a week, not surprising when you see the crowd spill over onto the pavement. Once called Bar Veloso, Garota de Ipanema (Rua Vinicius de Moraes 49, +55 21 2523 3787) changed its name to pay tribute to the famous song that was written here. The Girl from Ipanema is a jazz standard now, but in 1962, it was at this bar that Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes were inspired to write the song by a passing local beauty. Cool off with a chopp or caipirinha after a day at the beach, and if you’re hungry, the kitchen serves up some great grilled meat dishes. With a selection of over 2,000 wines, Cavist (www.cavist.com.br, +55 21 3875 1566) is a wine connoisseur’s dream. Although there are now three locations, the original in Leblon is still the best. Marvel at the sheer number of bottles that are on display – not just products from traditional wine-producing countries, but offerings from places like Morocco, Japan and Greece. If you’re after something a little stronger, there is also a variety of vodkas, grappas and whiskies available.
Get under the skin of the city by trying a few things you won’t experience anywhere else in the world. For the active, RioXtreme (www.rioxtreme.com, +55 21 8806 0235) has a fantastic series of hiking tours that explore some of Rio’s stunning scenery. Hike to the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain for gorgeous views of Copacabana, Guanabara Bay and Corcovado, or see Rio’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in a new light on a hike that takes you from the rainforests of Parque Lage to the top of Corcovado Mountain. If revelry is more your thing, experience the party of a lifetime at Rio’s infamous and annual Carnival (www.rio-carnival.net, +55 21 3559 3583) which next runs February 9-16, 2014. The festivities kick off with the crowning of the Fat King, who is presented with a huge silver and gold key by Rio’s mayor. Feel the spirit of the cariocas come alive in this lively celebration of everything Samba. Don’t forget an extravagant costume and your dancing shoes. Voluntourism is becoming increasingly popular and New Zealand-based International Volunteer HQ (www.volunteerhq. org, +64 6758 7949) provides the most comprehensive volunteer program in Rio. Whether you want to teach English for six months or build favela houses for two weeks, the program offers a selection of projects to suit any time frame and interest. If you want to participate in Rio’s famous Carnival, time your visit between October and February, which is when the Carnival volunteer program is run. For the soccer-crazed, Rio is the place to be for the 2014 FIFA World Cup (www.fifa. com) a fierce month-long competition between the finest soccer teams in the world. Qualifiers have already begun for this huge sports event, which runs from June 12-July 13. This time round, the legendary Brazilian team has homeground advantage, and you can bet the Samba Boys, as they’re affectionately known, will go all-out to win their first World Cup since 2002. Rio’s favelas, or shantytowns, are infamous, but Favela Tour (www.favelatour.com.br, +55 21 3322 2727) provides one of the best – and safest – favela experiences around. Not only will you visit Rocinha, Rio’s largest favela, but you’ll also go to the Para Ti community school in Vila Canoas, which is funded by the tour operator. Along the way, you’ll stop to take breathtaking pictures of Rio, see a former F1 race track, visit a handicraft centre and learn about life in the favelas. www.jetsetter.hk
72 GM TALK
Young Gun Were you always interested in hospitality? Yes, I studied hospitality management in Australia…because I always thought it was a glamorous job and you get to meet interesting people. I also wanted to experience different parts of the world and it seemed like the perfect industry for me. Even now, after 16 years, I still feel the same as there are so many happenings every day to keep you busy and excited. What’s your one golden rule? Empowering our ladies and gentlemen [Ritz Carlton staff] is very important in ensuring a fast response to guests’ needs, regardless of whether it’s something required by the guest or something we notice ourselves. A great example comes from Christmas last year. Our duty manager Patrick found out that one of our guests was upset because due to work, he couldn’t spend Christmas with his family. So Patrick and Melody, our guest relations manager, created a special card which featured a photo of our ladies and gentlemen spelling out “Dear Mr Taylor, Merry Christmas” on the front. The guest was deeply touched with this effort from the team. How is Shenzhen developing as a destination? Shenzhen is one of the fastest developing cities [in China]. It is dynamic and full of life, with an average age of less than 30. With two airports within an hour’s drive, and the proximity to Hong Kong, it makes for an attractive destination for short stay-overs and weekend retreats. Places like OCT Loft, Dafen Oil Painting Village, and Coco Park Bar Street are With over 16 years working in hotels from Australia to the UK, some of the great options for a colorful and relaxing Raghu Menon, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Shenzhen, is time after work.
at the forefront of a new generation of leaders shaping the hotel
How important is dining in a scene across China. He speaks with Gayatri Bhaumik about the Chinese five star hotel? city’s increasing popularity, the importance of empowered staff, Food is very important in all parts of the world, especially in China, a country with a rich culinary and the changing demands of hotel guests. culture. There is a saying, “Eating is a priority amongst everything in life”. I have an F&B background which How are guests’ expectations changing? makes it even more personal for me. I like to look for special Nowadays our guests are tech-savvy and well-travelled. They expect to places where you can feel an inspiring local culture on top of the receive the same high quality of service no matter where they go. The amazing food itself. Dining is not just a necessity, it has become younger generation especially expects fast, high-tech experiences. Back an experience and as a hotelier, my priority lies in creating a in the day, having an internet connection at the hotel was enough. Now, memorable dining experience for our guests. That’s why we have even iPod docking stations are standard, and having spa menus on an iPad recently launched our extravagant brunch – Sunday Glitz – the is somewhat expected. longest brunch in Shenzhen. What are the major distinctions between Western and Asian guests? Their specific needs vary. For example, western guests prefer to try local food when they come to China, while Asian guests want to try international food. However, they are also the same because they are willing to try new things and expect personalised service with quality and genuine care, despite the cultural differences. www.jetsetter.hk
How is the role of a GM changing? Due to the increasingly intense competition, general managers can no longer be figureheads and operate remotely. We need to be a dynamic sales person and a guest relations officer in order to engage with our guests. We’re also expected to take the lead in social and environmental responsibility programs, to become involved with the local community and make a lasting difference in the society in which we operate.
With breathtaking locations, world-class amenities, and distinctive personalities, Constance Hotels & Resortsâ€™ two properties in the Seychelles offer a truly unique cross section to the hottest new destination for Asian travellers, discovers Nick Walton.
y first view of Constance Lémuria is a rather unique one. Having just arrived from Hong Kong as the dawn bathed light across the Seychelles, a scattering of granitic teeth and jungle-clad peaks rearing up from the deep blue of the Indian Ocean, we had boarded a twin-otter for the 15 minute pond jump to paradisiacal Praslin Island. From two thousand feet, the seas below shimmer and dazzle and I watch as yachts make the most of early morning winds, leaving their berths on the main island of Mahe, bound for the beaches of La Digue or Praslin. Then, on final approach, lush plantations wreathed by azure seas flicker by, followed by the fairways, swimming pools and villas of one of the Seychelles’ most revered resorts. The drive to the resort takes only a few minutes as we pass through sleepy villages of brightly coloured homes fronting a stunning lagoon boarded by dancing palm trees. The streets are narrow, and the pace of life is slow, which, combined with stunning weather and an exotic Indian Ocean locale, has made the Seychelles a coveted luxury destination for generations. Lémuria is a haven happily hidden away in its environment. Located on a lingering peninsula at the northwest tip of Praslin Island, a favourite with visiting millionaire footballers, Constance Lémuria is a luxury resort which has grown into its landscape, and become one with its tropical surrounds. The drive in weaves through the lush fairways of the island’s only golf course, a challenging but popular par 70 18-hole course designed by Rodney Wright and Marc Antoine Farry
that guests have free access to. A golf cart carries new arrivals into the jungle and up a steep path to a lofty reception, restaurant and cocktail lounge, where cool towels and sweet welcome drinks remind the jetlagged soul that it has arrived! From the sun-kissed terrace, where guests are still lingering over their breakfast, the view stretches across the resort’s terraced main pool, lined with sun loungers, and down to a vast lawn shaded by coconut palms and fronted by a dazzling strip of white sand. Behind, chefs in white coats can be seen in the resort’s new spice garden, plucking and picking ingredients to be used in contemporary Seychellois dishes served in the elegant Seahorse restaurant, or in cocktails shaken up at the Takamaka Bar. The sense of tropical intimacy continues at my spacious room, with its open plan bathroom, decadent king sized bed and deep set fan-cooled, timberdressed balcony. With signature Constance touches, including an interactive Apple TV, fine linens and rich timber décor, combined with the crash of waves and the rustle of coconut palms in the morning breeze outside, the room is a welcomed respite from city life. I discover more of that serenity in the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, a short drive from Lémuria. Here, the Seychelles’ iconic coco de mer, the world’s largest seed, grows in ancient palms which canopy high above the rainforest floor. In the stillness of the forest, rare birds like the Seychelles Black Parrot dance and weave between the towering stems and the world beyond seems distant and surreal. The sensation is fitting for a place once believed to be the Garden of Eden. www.jetsetter.hk
f the mountainous valley of the coco de mer palms is the Garden of Eden, then you’ll find your own slice of heaven on one of Praslin’s beaches, including sun-kissed Anse Georgette, an idyllic strip of honey-hued sand and crashing turquoise waves. Located on the cusp of Lémuria’s golf course, the path to the beach lies beside the course’s dramatic 15th hole, the tee shots from which plummet down from the cliff top tee box towards a verdant green besieged by jungle. We arrive at the beach in time for chilled champagne and a stunning sunset. In the last rays of the day dolphins frolic on the horizon. We have another magical day exploring nearby La Digue, a popular day trip for Lémuria guests. The ferry takes only 20 minutes to cross the vibrant blue ribbon of sea between Praslin and our destination, but on tiny La Digue, time seems to linger even slower. It’s in the way people walk, the way
the birds sing, and in the absence of cars; time truly stands still here in paradise. We navigate a steep mountain road through dense jungle, its canopy capturing much of the sun’s rays, leaving the world below in twilight. Suddenly we emerge at Grand Anse, one of La Digue’s most beautiful beaches. Here, a cocktail bar made of palm leaves and recycled timber plays Creole music and serves ice cold beer and tangy local fish curry as a steady stream of beach bunnies clamber down the sandy trail from the surf line for a reprieve from the sun. We finish the day back at the resort, with a mojito laced with local Takamaka rum and a spectacular private dinner on the rocks above the resort’s Beach Bar, which in turn is perched above Petite Anse Kerlan. Here, Creole favourites are served under heavens studded with stars. After two blissful days at Constance Lémuria on Praslin, we once again board a
tiny twin-otter turbo prop, bound for Mahe and Lémuria’s sister property, Constance Ephelia. Located on the west coast of Mahe, Ephelia is Constance Hotels & Resort’s newest retreat, a sprawling yet idyllic property nestled between azure seas and the towering peaks of the island’s spine. It’s these peaks that we ascend from the island airport, winding and revving our way up a narrow road which climbs the jungle-clad slopes. We pass tiny village cottages in bright yellows, blues and green, each with stellar views of Seychelles’ tiny capital, Victoria, far below. On the horizon the islands of Praslin and La Digue linger in the morning haze. School children with gleaming bronze skin and brilliantly white school uniforms beam as we pass; the Seychellois are decedents of British and French traders, Arabic merchants and freed African slaves, and the result is a kaleidoscope of faces.
Travel Facts Getting There: Air Seychelles operate between Hong Kong and Mahe via Abu Dhabi, using a modern A330 aircraft. www.airseychelles.com Where to Stay: Constance Lémuria: http:// lemuriaresort.constancehotels.com Constance Ephelia: http:// epheliaresort.constancehotels.com/ When to Go: July-August ensure warm weather with little humidity
eaching the summit, we begin the steep decent towards the west coast. The seas glisten and dance and far below, the vivid greens of coastal plantations paint a postcard perfect scene. Essentially, Constance Ephelia is two resorts in one, and while luxurious Constance Lémuria is ideally suited for couples looking to escape to the Indian Ocean sun, Constance Ephelia has something for every traveller, from families to newlyweds. With four pristine beaches, a mangrove forest, world-class spa
village and a complement of restaurants and bars, Constance Ephelia is a true home-awayfrom-home. From spacious beachfront suites, to intimate spa villas – complete with their own treatment suite – and the magnificence of the Hilltop Villas, accommodation suits both travellers looking to retreat, and those looking to explore. My suite at Ephelia is similar to that at Lémuria; the bathroom opens onto a bedroom and ample living space, which in turn opens onto a blissfully spacious deck cooled by
a ceiling fan. The sea is only steps away, as is one of several resort pools around which batches of suites are nestled. Tropical flowers are scattered across the bed and bathroom and the gentle sound of the sea prevails. You can be as active or inactive as you like at Ephelia. There are zip lines and rock climbing walls, tennis and squash courts and a modern fitness centre for those that want to work up a sweat. But there is also one of the island’s best wellness destinations, a comprehensive spa village that boasts both a Shiseido Spa and a signature Spa de Constance, as well as a series of hydrotherapy pools. Your taste buds will also be kept entertained, with no less than five restaurants and six bars to choose from. A daily schedule of classes and events, as well as a comprehensive kids club, ensure parents can get the time out they need and children make the most of their beautiful surrounds. Deciding to explore my own surrounds, early the next morning I clamber aboard one of the resort’s dive boats as we make our way around the cliffs of the coast to Belon, bound for a wrecked fishing boat that is one of the region’s most popular dive sites. The seas are translucent and mirror-like as we step from the boat, plunging into the bathtub warm waters while millionaires wake in their mansions above. The Aldebaran was deliberately sunk for just this purpose, and its hulk rises slowly from the depths, shoals of curious fish darting through the rusted hull and out its portholes. A silvertip shark watches us from a distance as it circles the wreck, before disappearing into deeper water with an elegant flick of his tale. It’s a breathtaking way to start the day, and a fantastic way to finish another visit to the land between the sky and the sea. www.jetsetter.hk
With captivating views, an idyllic setting and a distinctly modern design, the new Raffles Praslin in the Seychelles is offering the next generation of travellers to the Indian Ocean a refreshed take on tropical luxury, discovers Nick Walton.
here is nothing quite like waking up at the top of the world. At least, that’s what it feels like when you wake up in one of the lofty hillside villas at the distinctly modern Raffles Praslin. The higher up your villa is on the steep slope on which the brand new resort is situated, the more the view is dominated by the vivid, mesmerising blue of the Curieuse Marine National Park, one of the island nation’s largest. The mirrorlike ribbon of sea slips between Praslin and the nearby island of Curieuse, and each afternoon guests can trace convoys of charter yachts racing across the bay to capture the sunset at nearby Anse Lazio. The Raffles Praslin is certainly not the most beautiful looking hotel from a distance. On the coastal road from the island’s pintsized airport, the stilted resort, with its greyish blue roofing, cream facades and vertiginous position, stands out against the hints of reddish clay from the mountain side, testament to the Raffles’ infancy. But as soon as you arrive, you know that this is the future of the Seychelles; an elegant, modern retreat that thrusts upon the destination levels of luxury that we in Asia take for granted. Guests arrive at a vaulted open air reception area perched above the sea before being whisked up the cliff side in sturdy golf buggies for in-room check ins that make the most of the spectacular views. More a refined luxury experience than a particularly authentic Seychellois one, the Raffles’ 86 villas are only differentiated by the number of rooms and their position on the hillside – Russian
travellers, I’m told, like to be steps from the pool and the beach, while Asian travellers appreciate the privacy of the higher havens. Our villa is as high as you can go and boasts an ample sun deck, a private infinity plunge pool, a spacious master bedroom and a lavish bathroom with a tub framed by a massive picture window. Of course, the higher up you are the less you’re likely to be spotted taking an early morning dip in your birthday suit and the addition of 100,000 plantings will help shield villas from each other while nestling the whole resort better into its tropical surrounds. If you can drag yourself away from your villa, you should head for Anse Takamaka, an idyllic strip of sand and turquoise water at the base of the resort. Here, the water is still and incredibly clear, making it idea for snorkeling. It’s from one end of the beach, which, unlike many other resorts, is served by a small army of beach butlers armed with chilled water and fluffy towels, that day excursions and diving trips depart. Only steps from the beach is the resort’s expansive main pool, which is ringed by oversized sun loungers. The Poolside Café & Bar nearby is popular at lunch time with beach bunny families, as is the Losean Restaurant, which serves up lingering breakfasts. The coveted al fresco tables are a great way to start the day, while cocktails and shisha on the open air Takamaka Terrace are best enjoyed under one of the Seychelles’ captivating starry nights. The Raffles Praslin is also home to the first signature Raffles Spa. The wellness centre boasts 13 treatment pavilions, each backdropped by stunning sea views and manned by a well-trained team of spa therapists who conduct a host of indulgent treatments utilising locally-sourced spices, fruit and even pearl dust. www.raffles.com/praslin www.jetsetter.hk
highcontrast Nikhilendra Singh’s world-class RAAS Jodhpur hotel offers a new, modern, and relevant take on India’s famed walled city of Jodhpur, while also blending seamlessly into its storied surroundings. ❘ By Sophy Roberts
❘ Images by Jonas Unger
odhpur is unlike any other city in Rajasthan. Its unique drama lies in the remarkable blues of the Brahmanic architecture, which from the city’s imposing Mehrangarh Fort—one of the largest in India— which spreads out like a cobalt sea in the heart of the Thar Desert. It is here, within the walls of the old city, some 400 feet below the towering fort, that a rare hotel has emerged: the 39-room RAAS, which opened in 2009 and is housed in an 18th-century haveli, or nobleman’s mansion. It took three years to renovate the former mansion and extend it with the addition of three new buildings. Pull up to its doors, however, and RAAS could be mistaken for just another haveli in the middle of the old city, with thick walls implying hidden courtyards. “It looks like one is staying at this little guesthouse,” concedes owner Nikhilendra Singh. “Sometimes I’ll even hear guests tell drivers not to take out the bags because it doesn’t look like the place they think they’ve booked.” But when they step inside, everything changes, starting with the 35-foot-high wall of modern jalis (finely pierced screen barriers of local rose-pink sandstone) and a corridor full of lattice windows. Then the heart of RAAS is revealed: a breathtaking swathe of space punctuated with a vast pool, with a soul-stirring view of the fort atop its rocky escarpment. Nikhilendra Singh’s family tree connects him with HH the Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur; meanwhile, the modern, international tribe with which Singh is associated is no less glamorous, derived from a fast-paced sporting and professional life that places him among the great and good, from supermodels in New York to tiger conservationists in the Himalayas. Singh is co-director of Natural Mystic South Asia, the travel and event management company that organized Elizabeth Hurley’s wedding to Arun Nayar. He used to play squash for India. Like his relations, he also plays polo—for the Royal Jodhpur team—and cuts a fine figure on the field, be it at Cowdray Park in England, or on the wild steppes of Mongolia. He’s a playboy adventurer, driven by an inquisitive spirit and a quick, straight-talking manner; perhaps his greatest talent is his ability to detect the pulse in opportunities—in the case of RAAS, to identify potential in a run-down haveli squirreled deep inside Jodhpur’s city walls. “It felt like something I was meant to do,” says Singh simply. Although Singh comes from a privileged background (he was educated at the elite Doon School in India), he also knows how to mix high and low, how to rely less on props—the trappings of wealth—and more on the power of quiet, understated beauty. Hence the spirit of RAAS Jodhpur: the haveli doesn’t declare its riches on the outside or the inside; rather, the moment one steps inside, one discovers something more compelling than gilded ostentation, something that respects the history of the original 18th-century structure. Thus the baradari—the classic twelve-pillared open-air pavilion where one can eat in the heart of the courtyard— is mixed in with
“Sometimes I’ll even hear guests tell drivers not to take out the bags because it doesn’t look like the place they think they’ve booked.” a chic sandstone swimming pool and modern, balconied rooms decorated in rich creamy colors and shiny blacks. “RAAS is a sanctuary of sorts,” says Singh. “In the early evening, you can hear the imam’s call to prayer, the temple bells, sometimes a wedding. There’s no heavy noise, just the atmospheric charm of a very old city where children run about the streets and silversmiths go about their work. You’re in the very heart of Jodhpur— of Rajasthan—yet there’s the juxtaposition of a peaceful, intimate hotel with a contemporary spirit derived from the mix of old and new architecture.” The effect is one that seems to realign the senses. “I never want to tell our guests how to respond to us. They need to discover RAAS, to feel the modesty of the place, then be blown away by how the architecture plays to the fort, which dominates everything,” says Singh. “It’s the same with the events we organize in India. Whether it’s a wedding or a magazine launch, I approach things simply, relying not on a million diamond-encrusted marquees but on an understated, deliberate style that comes from a deep-seated belief that less is much more powerful than going over the top.” Behind this considered approach lies an influential father. Mahendra Singh was a key figure in the 1980s restoration of Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort. “My father’s knowledge was reassuring to me,” says Singh, who understood from the outset the enormous obligation of developing a site within the city itself. “My mother was also heavily involved. So for a long time, preserving history was very important to my family. It must have been ingrained in me.” And then there is Singh’s brother, Dhananajaya: a Cambridge history graduate, conservationist, and author who first found the haveli. The owner, in fact, would sell it only to Dhananajaya, so strong was the latter’s reputation as a historian. “My brother finds little jewels like this,” says Singh, “but he is also able to flip them. When he first took me to see the site, we could both see its uniqueness immediately.” But then every hotel owner has a habit of thinking his creation is singular. “I’m from outside Jodhpur’s city walls,” explains Singh, in considered response. “People who live inside say that if they don’t see the fort when they wake up in the morning, it’s like something is missing, like they’re living on an empty stomach. Until RAAS,I didn’t understand what they meant. Now I do.” This story originally ran in Design Hotels’ Made by Originals book. www.designhotels.com www.jetsetter.hk
Return of the In the 1970s the world was awed by the 747, the original Jumbo Jet, as it revolutionised air travel as we knew it. Now Boeing, teaming up with German airline Lufthansa, has done it again with the 747-8, the new Queen of the Skies.
still recall the first time I flew in a Boeing 747. I was 10 years old, travelling unaccompanied across the world to visit relatives in the United Kingdom, and had been guided, little brother in tow, onto the aircraft and left to my own devices. I remember gazing around the spacious cabin, fiddling with the seat controls, fascinated by the staircase which wound into the ceiling (we didn’t have a second story on our house, how could there be one on a plane?) and awed by the massive idling engines outside. I felt like I had stepped inside a space craft, a tantalising taste of the future, a scene from Quantum Leap or perhaps the bridge from Star Trek. It was an impression which stayed with me for years to come. I feel much of the same anticipation boarding
Lufthansa’s new 747-8, a week after Boeing’s newest incarnation of its venerable 747 commenced flights to Hong Kong. Lufthansa is the launch airline for the new Intercontinental and will add a total of 19 new-look Jumbos on its network. Of course, some things have changed: I don’t need to wear a sticker announcing my vulnerability as an unaccompanied child, I climb the stairs to the top deck instead of simply gazing at them from below, and I’m offered a glass of champagne by one of Lufthansa’s cabin crew, rather than a juice box. But many aspects of the travel experience two decades on remain the same; there are plenty of buttons to fiddle with, the cabin still boasts a cavernous quality and the engines outside are bigger than ever.
oeing introduced the first 747 in 1969, with the revolutionary new aircraft quickly earning the nicknames the Jumbo Jet and the Queen of the Skies. At more than double the size of other commercial aircraft at the time, the 747 and its later variations retained the passenger capacity record for 37 years, and allowed whole new generations to travel like never before. As airlines begin retiring the 747-400 (Boeing officially stopped producing them at the end of 2009), the most popular passenger variation, a new 747 chapter begins with the state-of-theart 747-8 Intercontinental. Boeing had considered larger-capacity versions of the 747 several times during the 1990s and 2000s but had received poor response from airlines. In fact the 747 Advanced, as it was originally known, became possible thanks to the creation of technologies designed for the 787 Dreamliner, including advanced engines, raked wingtips and sawtooth engine nacelles which help reduce the aircraft’s noise signature over airports. The first aircraft – a freighter configuration – took to the skies in February 2010. In many ways, the new 747-8 embodies all that the 747 project ever wanted to achieve, despite significant innovation on previous models. Four cutting-edge General Electric GEnx-2B engines boast 66,500 pounds of thrust apiece, ensuring the 747-8 retains the title of fastest commercial aircraft, despite carrying more passengers and cargo, consuming less fuel and emitting fewer emissions than previous models. Elegant new wings with raked wingtips ensure unprecedented aerodynamics and increases efficiency, while a range of approximately 15,000 continues to connect the world as jumbo jets did before it. The 747-8, like the original, is also the largest commercial plane Boeing make. At 76.3 meters long – 5.6 meters longer than its predecessor – the new Jumbo Jet heralds a new era of aviation for customers like Cathay Pacific, who have ordered the Intercontinental,
and launch customer Lufthansa, who has ordered 19 and is the only airline presently flying the state-of-the-art aircraft into the Far East, having launched flights between Frankfurt and Hong Kong in March. Airlines will always differ on how to use all that space and reach – as they did with the original 747 and the Airbus A380. Lufthansa’s interpretation is very much in keeping with the Queen of the Skies pedigree. The German national carrier was the first European carrier to introduce the original 747 on long-haul services and was influential in persuading Boeing to create the Intercontinental. Lufthansa has introduced new business and first class cabins on the 747-8, as well as an enhanced economy class product that benefits from the aircraft’s spacious new interior designs, LED lighting systems and enhanced storage capacity. First class passengers retain their position in the nose of the aircraft, with just eight luxurious seats boasting personal wardrobes, award-winning lumbar-supporting seats and over-sized personal monitors. First class passengers enjoy the quietest spot onboard, with the tranquility enhanced with noise-insulating curtains and floor tiles. Spread across both the main deck and the new extended ‘bubble’ deck upstairs, the airline’s new business class caters to 80 passengers, with new lie-flat beds, noise cancelling headphones, 15-inch personal monitors and additional storage space. Downstairs, new economy class seats designed by Recaro offer more leg room than on previous 747 aircraft, as well as in-seat power supplies and more head room thanks to a reconfigured fuselage. The overall effect is space, technology and convenience, the same fundamentals which have welcomed 747 passengers since the aircraft’s inception almost 50 years ago. New technology and a commitment to performance and safety ensure the next generation of air travellers will have the same chance to fly with the Queen of the Skies. www.lufthansa.com
comes into full bloom
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The sun rose on Lily Jet Hong Kong in 2012 when Lily Jet extended its aviation services to the international arena offering an array of professional services including flight operations, aircraft charter, aircraft maintenance management, aircraft acquisition and consultation.
ith its headquarters in Hong Kong, still very much the Asian hub of finance, Lily Jet Hong Kong is perfectly poised to provide professional aircraft management for prestige business jet owners and premium international corporate clients. Since their inauguration, Lily Jet China has exceeded expectations and in 2009 were awarded ‘Air Operator’s Certificate’ by The Civil Aviation Administration of China. Currently, Lily Jet operates a fleet of Bombardier and Gulfstream aircraft including Challenger 604, 605, Challenger 850, Global Express and Gulfstream G200 aircraft. With its highly qualified flight crews who undergo frequent rigorous training and stringent proficiency checks as well as experienced professional personnel who possess corporate or commercial airline experience, Lily Jet strives to
deliver world-class business aircraft services that discerning international customers demand. Our uniqueness is epitomized by an array of services which aim to surpass our clients expectations in professional aviation operations, these include: • The unique combination of international and China business aviation expertise • Manage and operate aircraft under multi-national jurisdiction • Provide charter service on demand • Exclusive and personalized cabin service • Dedicated licensed engineer • 24-hour service readiness • Commitment to service excellence and dispatch reliability • High standard of safety and compliance to international recognized standard.
Aircraft Management • Flight operations • Flight crew management • 24-hour flight planning, dispatch following • Flight permits and ground handling arrangement • Cabin service and catering • Safety management and quality assurance Maintenance Management • Maintenance scheduling • Mandatory regulatory compliance • Airworthiness directive compliance • AOG maintenance support • Oversee aircraft condition and grooming Aviation Consulting • Aircraft delivery service • Asset acquisition consultation • Pre-buy technical appraisal • Specifications consultation
Business Enquiry: Tel: +852 3968 7900 Fax: +852 2877 0905 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For charter: email@example.com Address: Suite 2904, Central Plaza, 18 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
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With the feel of a boutique airline and the warm hospitality of a revitalised carrier, Air Seychelles is turning the heads of Asian travellers with its new route between Hong Kong and its idyllic Indian Ocean home. Background Air Seychelles has been operating as the national carrier of the Seychelles since the airline’s inception in 1977, but it has recently been revitalised by 40 percent owner Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad. Now with new aircraft, newly trained staff and new routes, Air Seychelles is set to be a dynamic regional carrier. The Lounge The airline’s executive lounge at Mahé, named the Le Salon Vallée De Mai, is a pleasure to visit. Spacious and inviting, it features captivating views across the runway to Praslin Island, comfortable couch and table seating, and a rustic, tropical ambiance that’s a nice final farewell to passengers leaving the Seychelles. There is a full bar set-up, as well as hot and cold snacks, a magazine selection and high speed wifi. When it was time to board, a friendly Air Seychelles crew member escorted us to the gate. In Flight On this flight to Hong Kong via Abu Dhabi we flew on Air Seychelles’ new A330-200, a modern aircraft with 18 lie-flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Each of the comfortable new seats features leather and fabric upholstery, a privacy shell, and a pitch of
82-inches, which is an impressive product for such a small airline.
The seats lack USB connectivity, but are more than comfortable for the four and a half hour flight to Abu Dhabi and the further eight hour flight to Hong Kong, thanks to a 65-degree lie flat position, lumbar support and massage function. Initially the leg rest of my seat wasn’t working, and by departure time in Abu Dhabi, other aspects of the seat had also failed despite mechanics being called. Fortunately the cabin wasn’t full and I quickly relocated myself to a functioning seat.
Passengers are greeted on each sector with champagne and hot towels as well as amenity kits that feature a moisturiser, a toothbrush, and the all-important eye mask and ear plugs. Dining Dining is another area where Air Seychelles really shines. After intensive training by Etihad, the crew were friendly, professional and efficient, taking meal orders before takeoff (and making the most of long delays at Abu Dhabi in both directions), timing meal service to suit individual passenger’s sleep requirements and offering service with grace and smiles.
Dinner started off with glasses of Joseph Perrier Marquis de Joncry Brut NV champagne, matched perfectly with a prawn and smoked salmon salad with papaya salsa and a balsamic reduction. The main options included Creole chicken breast with savoy cabbage; grass-fed beef with rosemary potatoes; sweet and sour fish with steamed Chinese broccoli; or a trio of vegetable parcels as the vegetarian option. The chicken was elegant and well portioned, and went well with the Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc from New Zealand. Dessert consisted of warm apple tart or mango cheesecake followed by a selection of imported cheese, fresh fruit with orange coulis or Providore natural ice cream. Summary The Seychelles is a relatively new destination for travellers from Asia, but the new-look Air Seychelles ensures the holidays begin well before touchdown. www.airseychelles.com
lifestyle CortÉs’ Sweet
The Spirit of Speed
The Rolls-Royce Wraith
Rum Boat Diplomacy
Leading Rums Vie For Asian Palates
Wines for the Sole // Vintage Vogue // Noise Reducing Headphones
88 FOOD ADVENTURES
Native to Mexico and Central America, vanilla was introduced to the world’s sweet-toothed by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in the 16th century. Today, demand continues to soar for this labour-intensive spice, the second most expensive after saffron, as the world conjures up ever-new ways to get its vanilla fix. By Gayat r i B h aum i k
FOOD ADVENTURES 89
If you find yourself in Costa Rica, treat yourself to a visit to Rainforest Spices, a certified organic and biodynamic plantation near the Manuel Antonio National Park. A tour of the plantation includes a walk along their garden trail and a Flavours of the World tasting menu featuring the three spices produced on-site, cocoa, Ceylon cinnamon, and vanilla. The addictive vanilla bean cheesecake and other spice-laden treats will satiate the appetite you work up during the garden hike. www.rainforestspices.com Up in Seattle, Boka Restaurant & Bar features the aptly-named Vanilla Triple Threat dessert. While desserts often feature vanilla as an afterthought, Boka’s devilish dish is an ode to the spice; warm, molten vanilla cake – a cheeky alternative to the more traditional chocolate – is wonderfully offset by a dollop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream and a stick of vanilla crunch, bringing texture to the decadent desert. www.bokaseattle.com Run by former Miss Yugoslavia Jelena Jakovijevic Bin Drai, wellness destination Vanilla by Jelena at the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai has fully incorporated vanilla into its eponymouslynamed signature treatment. Spa-goers are greeted with a subtle vanilla fragrance upon entering their treatment room and can revel in the heady aroma of the vanilla-laced products used in dedicated
body scrubs, wraps and candle body massages. The experience is completed with a vanillascented body powder which allows the heavenly scent to linger long after the treatment is over. www.vanillabyjelena.com If you’re headed over to the Big Apple this summer, cool off with a vanilla-infused concoction at Whitehall Bar & Kitchen. Located on Greenwich Avenue, one of Whitehall’s signature elixirs is No. 11, a blend of organic vanilla bean-infused Johnny Drum Kentucky straight bourbon with house-made tart cherry syrup and a dash of Angostura bitters. Smooth, chilled and garnished with three brandied cherries, it’s the perfect tonic after a long day of sidewalk stomping. www.whitehall-nyc.com If you still haven’t had your fill, the Hawaiian Vanilla Company in Paaulio will sate your appetite. The Hawaiian Vanilla Luncheon Experience is a sinful meal that includes a vanilla shrimp appetizer, Okinawa potatoes with a vanilla southwest rub served with vanilla barbeque sauce and yes, vanilla bean ice cream. If you can still face the spice after your meal, a host of other unexpected culinary products are sold at the store and online – think Vanilla Garam Masala and Golden Vanilla Cornbread Mix. www.hawaiianvanilla.com
90 CHEF PROFILE
After training for two years under David Thompson at the Michelin-starred Nahm restaurant in London, Thai chef Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava returned to Bangkok to open Bo.lan with husband and partner chef Dylan Jones. Fresh off receiving the 2013 Veuve Clicquot Asia’s Best Female Chef award, she tells Gayatri Bhaumik about the restaurant, her culinary philosophy, and finding inspiration.
CHEF PROFILE 91
We believe it’s our responsibility to safeguard not just cuisine but the cultural traditions that go along with it.
Will winning the Veuve Clicquot Asia’s Best Female Chef award affect your restaurant? Hopefully; it won’t change anything we are doing internally, but we hope it gives us greater exposure to a wider audience. How influential was David Thompson in developing your philosophy towards cooking? Obviously, he has inspired our cooking with his love and passion of Thai food. He’s inspired many cooks over the years. What’s the philosophy behind Bo.lan? We pride ourselves on using local produce and have a network of organic farmers around Bangkok and artisan producers that we source from. We also use traditional cooking methods that Thais have always used, like pounding ingredients in a pestle rather than in the blender. We also look at the environmental impact of what we are doing and try to be conscious of our social responsibility in that regard. Why is the slow food movement part of the philosophy at Bo.lan? We agree with the slow food movement because its focus on maintaining traditional cuisine and preserving local produce fits perfectly with the philosophy of our restaurant. We believe it’s our responsibility to safeguard not just cuisine but the cultural traditions that go along with it. Why is it so important to maintain traditional cooking rituals? It reminds us of the roots and the core of the cuisine. We want to safeguard these methods by teaching and inspiring the next generation of cooks. And the end product is better! Where do you find inspiration for your menu? We like to say our menu is our interpretation of existing recipes. The inspiration comes from reading old cookbooks, talking to farmers and locals, travelling the different regions of Thailand, and eating out. What are the biggest challenges facing your style of cooking? It’s very time and labour intensive. There is a lack of understanding internally, on the team, about the workload and division of labour; and externally, when some clients don’t appreciate the time it takes to produce good food in an authentic manner. Do you think it’s difficult to find good Thai food? Why? It can be. Good Thai food, as any good food, starts with sourcing great ingredients, but the challenge lies in getting these ingredients into the kitchen nice and fresh. In the Bangkok food service industry, businesses often focus on the bottom line. As a result, they often choose lower quality, pre-processed ingredients, which means the food isn’t as good. Do you think it’s hard to recreate traditional Thai food? Difficult question! If you want to replicate the intensity and flavour profiles that Thai food is famous for, then to a certain degree it’s possible. Where it gets difficult though, is when you start substituting traditional ingredients for those that are available locally. We believe you really need to show an understanding of how Thais use their ingredients in order to recreate Thai food properly.
For gin lovers looking for an eyecatching addition to their home bar, Old English Gin comes bottled in a tall slender vessel reminiscent of the champagne bottles re-used for gin in the 1700s. In fact, the gin is made using a recipe from 1783 and is produced in the oldest still in regular use in the UK. Bottled at 44% ABV, this distinctly traditional English wheat gin boasts the traditional botanicals of juniper, orange, lemon, angelica, liquorice and cinnamon, and has won critical acclaim in merry old England for its simplistic, clean style and green credentials. The silk printed labels, natural cork stopper and organic wax seal, hints of gin’s esteemed tradition, are also nice touches. www.oldenglishgin.com
Cachaça, the sugar cane rum of South America, is red hot in Asia at the moment and one of the segment’s leading names is Leblon, who recently released their new aged spirit, Maison Leblon Reserva Especial. With an earthy complexity that will be perfect for rum aficionados who like to savour their spirits straight, the Maison Leblon Reserva Especial is mellow and smoother than its young, impetuous brother spirit. That said, don’t discount adding a new depth to your favourite rum cocktail by swapping younger for older. The single batch distillation in alambique potstills produces a superior drop that boasts notes of honey, sugarcane and a lingering woodiness with a creamy, silky aftertaste that instills the best of the cachaça tradition. www. lebloncachaca.com
Another rum style that’s seeing serious traction in Asia is spiced rum, and why not? Spiced rums like Bacardi’s new Oakheart Spiced Rum, which launches in Asia this month, add new complexities to your favourite concoctions and open up a host of new flavor profiles to the rum curious. Matured in ex-bourbon oak casks, Bacardi’s elegant new all-natural drop boasts notes of brown sugar, honey, burnt vanilla and cinnamon, with a silky, warm finish that’s equally at home on ice as it is in a Hemingway daiquiri or rum Old Fashioned, making it an ideal first stop for sippers looking to expand their spirit repertoire. www.bacardi.com
For a spirit with celebrity appeal you can’t go past Casamigos Tequila, created by actor George Clooney and longtime friend and bar and restaurant mogul Rande Gerber. Launched earlier this year, this is tequila for true tequila lovers; distilled in Jalisco, Mexico, the 100 percent Blue Weber agave spirit is made with a proprietary yeast blend and an 80 hour fermentation process, double the industry standard, to create a tequila with a deep, rich flavor with hints of vanilla, and a smooth finish. At present Casamigos is only available as a Reposado, with a blanco planned in the future. www.casamigostequila.com
With hints of fruit, flowers, sugar and spice, this season’s line up of exotic and cocktail-friendly spirits are perfect for summer cocktail sessions, discovers Nick Walton.
First created by Kentucky tavern keeper Augustus Bulleit in the 1830s, Bulleit Bourbon is not your average sipping bourbon. Created in small batches using Kentucky limestone water and charred American oak barrels to lend a smoky backbone, Bulleit boasts a russet hue with a rich, smoky flavor profile, hints of vanilla and honey on the palate and a long smoky finish. The straight Kentucky bourbon has developed a loyal following in the US and UK, and now present owners Diageo is eyeing Asian shores, where the spirit’s spicy kick and stylish heritage-style bottle is expected to win new bourbon followers. www.bulleitbourbon.com
Pedigree is a vital component to luxury spirits and Element 29 Vodka from the UK has is all. Made with starch-rich winter wheat from East Anglia that is distilled seven times in a state-of-the-art tower still in Manchester, the spirit is then sent south to the venerable Langley distillery in the Black Country, where it’s distilled a final time in Angela, a 108-year old artisan copper pot still, from which only the heart of the spirit is kept. The result is not only a great conversation starter, but vodka that’s soft and sweet, with hints of malt and spice and with a lovely, balanced finish that’s perfect for zesty summer cocktails. www.element29vodka.com
Distilleries are increasingly blowing dust from the recipes of moonshine and hooch and remarketing them as premium drops. Ireland’s Teeling Whiskey Company, not to be left behind, has created a premium poitin, a version of the homemade hooch named by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 10 strongest. The TWC Premium Poitin is a blend of double distilled malt spirit and continuous triple distilled maize spirit that comes out at a heafty 61% ABV, meaning this spirit isn’t for the faint-hearted. Despite its strong alcohol volume, the poitin displays finesse, with hints of malt, sharp green apples, and ripe summer fruits, making it ideal for single martini lunches and ungloved gimlets. www.teelingwhiskey.com
As the summer approaches, it’s time to experiment with the flavours of the season and your first step should be to pick up a bottle of Fruit Lab’s Organic Jasmine Liqueur, which lends itself to a host of Asian-inspired cooling cocktails. Hand-crafted in California and packed with zesty, sweet and exotic flavours, this surprisingly adaptive liqueur is made with whole fruits, flowers and real sugar cane, and adds a real freshness to sprizerstyle cocktails. What’s more, the low alcohol content means you can enjoy cocktail creations through the heat of the day. www.greenbar.biz
Rum importers are introducing Asian connoisseurs to a host of new and exotic flavor profiles, just in time for summer.
t’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and in Honi Honi, a tiki-themed cocktail bar on Hong Kong’s Wellington Street, rum is the hot topic of discussion as importers, bartenders and enthusiasts meet for the city’s first rum festival. There are more than a dozen rums on show to a full house – including international rum ambassador Ian Burrell – an impressive deed in a city that only recently embraced modern cocktail culture and whose sippers are feeling their way through a host of new spirit categories, including premium rum. “The Rum Festival is really important to us as we want the trade and rum lovers to discover together the complexity of truly great rums,” says Honi Honi founder and acclaimed mixologist Max Traverse. His bar has championed the growth of the premium rum segment in the city, and has helped rally the attention of leading luxury rum brands like Ron Zacapa, Bacardi and Rum Dictator. In fact, after the growth of luxury vodkas and whiskies in Asia, rum marketeers are confident it’s their segment’s turn to shine. “The imported rum category in Asia Pacific has experienced double digit growth rates from 2008 to 2012,” says Will Thompson, APAC Reserve Manager
for Diageo, whose Ron Zacapa brand has made serious headway among luxury spirit consumers in Hong Kong and other Asian cities. “With Asia’s ever evolving passion for luxury experiences and unique products, Ron Zacapa rum has an exciting opportunity to create the ultra-premium rum category in Asia.” This is a category ripe for development; premium rums like Dictator’s Solera 20yr, Diageo’s Ron Zacapa XO, Rémy Cointreau’s Mount Gay Eclipse, and Bacardi’s Bacardi 8 will piggyback off the success of other aged spirits in Asia, including cognac and whisky. It’s expected that new products will then be crafted specifically for the Asian market. “Rum has grown fast in Asia in recent years because of the trends of cocktail culture, and now the trend of sipping rum is picking up too,” says Reeve Yip, Brand Ambassador for Bacardi-Martin Asia Pacific, whose aged Bacardi 8 rum is making strong footholds among Asia’s top bartenders. “In most of the Asian countries, drinkers used to drink whisky and vodka. There is the perception of ‘vodka in the mix and whisky on the sip’, but new rums being introduced give consumers the choice to experience a traditional spirit once again.” Bacardi launch their new
Oakheart spiced rum in the region this month (see this issue’s Minibar section), a sweet, aged rum that’s expected to appeal to Asian palates. Many commentators believe effective headway will be made by getting Asia’s leading bartenders on side. Highly influential and finally given the recognition so many of them deserve, bartenders in cities like Hong Kong will help forge a new market for luxury rums. “Rum is popular again and much of that is because of the revival of classic cocktails and speak-easy style establishments,” says Yip “Bartenders are also participating in cocktail competitions run by rum brands, including our Bacardi Legacy, and are gaining knowledge about premium rums in the process.” Some of the world’s best bartenders have been working with Ron Zacapa Rum over the last four years, through the global World Class competition, to create not just a cocktail, but memorable Ron Zacapa rum rituals,” says Diageo’s Will Thompson. “In 2013, Lorena Vasquez, one of only a few female master blenders, will be visiting China and Japan to share her passion and secrets of Ron Zacapa rum.” www.jetsetter.hk
Master of Wine Debra Meiburg discovers a wine renaissance in Italy’s boot tip.
ines of the toe, heel and ankle of the Italian boot were once so admired by the Greeks that the region was called Oenotria, meaning “the land of wine.” Apulia (Puglia), Campania, Basilicata and Calabria are Italy’s harshest, most desolate and economically destitute regions, with craggy terrains and scorching heat highly unsympathetic to quality winemaking. However, these rugged and sparsely populated lands are home to the world’s most diverse range of indigenous grape varieties, and it’s this region of historically indifferent cooperatives, that is currently experiencing the awakenings of a wine renaissance. At the toe of this bleak landscape are the Calabrians, and when you ask an Italian about a Calabrian, they usually tap their head with a fist, indicating ‘’hard headed”. Hard-headed indeed. In spite of the region’s unfavourable conditions, a few quality-minded producers are doggedly crafting some of the most innovative and exciting new wines to emerge from Italy in recent years. The Librandi family in Ciró Marina, passionate about neglected indigenous varieties and hoping to kindle an interest in these precious genetic jewels, has unearthed 175 previously undocumented varieties which they have planted in experimental vineyards. Other producers to watch include Stratti, Odoardi and Fattoria San Francesco. Largely credited with ‘’inventing” pizza, Campania (Italy’s shin) is much better known for the stunning Amalfi Coast, the island of www.jetsetter.hk
Capri and the chaotic city of Naples than for its wines. Yet it is here that southern Italy’s most promising grape varieties thrive: lush red aglianico and crisp white fiano and greco. The best vineyard sites are in the volcanic soils near Mount Vesuvius, the active volcano that destroyed nearby Pompeii in 79 A.D. Sometimes referred to as the archaeological grape varieties, their key proponent is southern Italy’s most important producers the Mastroberardino family. But Antonio Caggiano, Feudi di San Gregorio, Colli di Lapio and Terradora are also drawing attention. On Italy’s heel, nearby Apulia is showing fascinating promise with three grape varieties, negroamaro, primitivo and uva di troia. Negroamaro is a deeply coloured, juicy red wine with port-like concentration, which is at its best when from Apulia’s most famous wine district, Salice Salento. Try producers such as Castello Monaci and Casa Catelli. Primitivo had a recent upsurge in popularity and quality when it was established that the grape variety is the same as California’s beloved Zinfandel. Apulia offers an enthralling array of historic and recently revived varieties, such as the uva di troia, thought to be named after the ancient city of Troy, but few are likely to be found on Hong Kong shelves. At the instep of the boot is Basilicata, which is surely the most arid and desolate region in Italy. However, the region is home to one of Southern Italy’s finest wines, Aglianico del Vulture. Try producers Cantine del Notaio or Bisceglia.
Special Promotional Section
Wickens & Co blazing a trail to excite the palate
s one of the leading younger wine merchants to emerge from the industry growth of fine wine across Asia over the last five years, Wickens & Co are now major stockholders of fine wine, with the majority of their wine stock being held in Hong Kong for speedy delivery to clients. Managing Director Stephen Wickens believes this keeps the company close to their wines and in-touch with the market. Wickens & Co are “old school” fine wine merchants but say they have a strong leaning towards investment grade wines that should gain in value over time, making each purchase satisfying whether for consumption or investment. Being a full trading member of Liv-Ex, the London International Vintners Exchange, Wickens & Co has priority access to parcels of fine wine at excellent prices. The company says provenance of their wines is excellent, and the firm is determined to maintain such high standards, even if occasional sales may be lost due to this sourcing policy. According to Wickens, it was not difficult to be successful in the wine trade some years ago if a vendor stocked wines from a “First Growth” Bordeaux list and had committed clients. Now, however, Wickens says his company has expanded to accommodate changing trends and a maturing market. Partnering with a wine-passionate friend, Wickens set up his company three years ago and having experienced the roller-coaster Lafite boom, Wickens & Co is now seeing an
expansion of the fine wine market regionally as clients look beyond Bordeaux to find diverse and interesting fine wines. The company only sources its fine wines from long-term partners, all of whom are recognized industry leaders. Wickens & Co will occasionally buy back stock from clients if the client wishes to sell after having achieved investment objectives or perhaps having collected just a few cases too many. Wickens & Co buy most of their wines directly from the region of origin, store and then take out of bonded cellaring and then ship in door-to-door climate controlled conditions to ensure a chain of control that their clients can appreciate. The company has taken market transparency to a new level with its online, real-time portfolio valuations from third-party partner Liv-Ex, allowing clients to closely monitor their portfolio performance against market standards. Wickens & Co is often requested to provide wine drinking and investment recommendations. “Without doubt, Petrus is truly the king of investment wines due to its extremely high quality and rarity, combining to produce a wine that withstands market
downturns better than most,” Wickens says. “At the same time, being made to last a lifetime, allows owners to choose their moment to sell the wine to hit peak valuation (if they can resist drinking it).” According to Wickens, Petrus is also made in such limited quantities (25,000 - 30,000 bottles per year) that it creates liquidity in the market, whereas some super rare cuvees are so hard to source that they are under the radar, which makes them difficult to sell. Besides Petrus, Wickens recommends other top Bordeaux vintages; top Burgundy’s and classic Champagnes as collector or investment choices. Due to a market correction during 2011/12, there are now great opportunities to source historic vintages of the finest wines at prices that may never be seen again, according to Wickens. For everyday drinking, however, the excitement surely comes from discovering a modestly-priced wine that can perform as well as a First Growth, and to this end Wickens recommends the wines of Pontet Canet, Ducru Beaucaillou or Leoville Poyferre, as great vintages that are hard to match for price and pleasure.
22/F, 37 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong / Phone: (852) 3590 3618 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
98 RESTAURANT REVIEW
Praise To The Pig Nestled into an inconspicuous space on Soho’s Shelley Street, Iberico & Co’s Latin leanings make it a feast for the senses, discovers Gayatri Bhaumik.
study in rustic glam, award-winning designer Kinney Chan has decked out the new Enoteca restaurant with a mix of glamorous, rustic and industrial elements, which fuse to create a harmonious space reminiscent of a chic neighbourhood bar in Barcelona. Clashing elements like velvet-lined plush chairs, black iron beams, and recycled wood floors and tables really shouldn’t work together, but they do. But you probably won’t notice the décor because you’ll be too busy eyeing the extended Spanish and Portuguese-inspired menu. Finding really good tapas (that doesn’t blow the bank) outside Spain can be a hard task, but here, the beauty of the food is that it doesn’t try too hard to replicate traditional tapas fare. Yes, there is patatas bravas – crushed potatoes generously
doused in garlic aioli and ham dust – and shrimps tossed in garlic butter and parsley, but consultant chef David Tamlyn, formerly of The Principle, uses the ‘& Co’ title to infuse a little creativity. The restaurant features daily specials, including decadently rich slices of namesake pork belly, served with a crisp apple salad seasoned with homemade beer-infused mustard that cuts through the dense flavor of the belly-pleasing bacon. The dish was beautifully complimented by a glass of the Iberico Sangria Tinto, punched up with a heavy dash of cherry brandy; just the first on an intriguing drinks list that features a variety of sangrias, signature cocktails, beers and wines. Although dishes are made to be shared and portions are of reasonable size, we may have slightly over-ordered. The flavourful
roasted vine tomatoes on toasted sourdough was succeeded by piquant pickled white anchovies in garlic and parsley, and crisp fries dressed up with black truffle salt and white truffle oil. Next up, the seared goose liver, served atop sourdough and a layer of fig and ruby port chutney, was a sensory delight and easily among the best foie gras experiences to be had in Hong Kong. It was all we could do to even glance at the dessert menu, and although the churros with 72 percent cocoa chocolate sauce, and the crème catalan with almond-orange biscuit and lemon jam looked particularly inviting, we decided to do them justice by saving them for another day. Elegant yet unpretentious, and dishing up sumptuous food at reasonable prices, Iberico & Co is sure to become a staple on the city’s restaurant scene.
G/F 18 Shelley St, Central, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2752 8811, www.enoteca.hk
100 TOP TABLES
Bangkok Beats The newest nightlife hotspot in Bangkok, Levels Club and Lounge is popular for its international feel which attracts expatriates and young professionals to the heaving dance floor. There are two distinct dance areas which feature R&B and trance beats, with DJs like Laidback Luke and Todd Terry spinning tunes from the stage. Set in an outdoor area, the new cocktail bar allows revelers to enjoy the stunning cityscape in style. Don’t miss the weekly extravaganzas which feature themes like Too Sexy Thursdays and Seductive Fridays. 35 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok, Tel: +66 (8) 2308 3246, www.levelsclub.com
From aria-inspiring Italian cuisine to Hong Kong’s newest diner, here is our pick of the season’s top tables. Compiled by Johnny Ng Late Night Special Taking its name from a bustling intersection in New York’s colourful Bronx borough, Fordham & Grand is a laid-back new bistro and bar in Singapore catering to late night diners. Designed to ooze the unpretentious charm of a 1920s speakeasy, the bar is filled with leather furniture and warm lighting. Chef Fong Kean Hun, formerly of SANTI in Dubai, crafts innovative Australian cuisine, with signature dishes like piquant fish broth with seafood and garlic toast. Fordham & Grand also boasts a wide selection of cocktails, including the Baie Collins and the ever-popular Negroni, made by talented mixologists Tron Young and David Yeung. 43 Craig Road, Singapore, Tel: +65 6221 3088, www.fng.com.sg
Vintage Charm Featuring eclectic old world charm and reminiscent of a prohibition-era speakeasy salon, Singapore’s newest cocktail venue The Vintage Room, has opened on Duxton Hill. From classic cocktails like the Martini to the contemporary Caesar Ritz with elderflower liquor, you can find an extensive selection of cocktails, complemented by small bites meticulously prepared by Chef Damien Le Bihan. Try the Vintage Monsieur, a creative version of the famous Croque Monsieur made with black olive ciabatta. Decked out with refurbished furniture and vintage decorations, designers from The Stripe Collective have created an inspiring and unique nightspot in the heart of the Lion City. 37 Duxton Hill, Singapore, Tel: +65 6690 7565, www.thevintageroom.sg www.jetsetter.hk
TOP TABLES 101 Harbour Front Parties Providing an al fresco dining space of 4,000 square feet, Three on Canton has opened at the Marco Polo Gateway Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Featured dishes like tandoori king prawns and the duck spring rolls are prepared by chef Jason Green, formerly of Fortnum & Mason in London. Made by artistic mixologists, a great selection of creative cocktails like the Pier Pressure – made with blue curacao, kiwi liquor and lemonade – are served up at the bar. Be sure to check out the theme nights from Wednesday to Friday featuring beer, wine and shisha. On Friday evenings, guest DJs are invited to spin tunes, brining a vibrant atmosphere to the bar. Level 3, Gateway Hotel, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2113 7828, www.threeoncanton.com
Venetian Flavours Emphasising traditional Venetian flavours, PPHE Hotel Group has teamed up with Italian-born chef Daniele Pampagnin and his business partner Maurilio Molteni to open Tozi, a new Italian restaurant in Victoria, London. With an all-Italian culinary team, the 80-seat restaurant offers a truly authentic cicchetti (Venetian tapas) menu and classic Italian cocktails. Tozi, Italian for a group of friends, encourages food-sharing, and a 12-seater chef ’s table is available for groups, where they can share sumptuous Italian dishes like buffalo ricotta ravioli, and swordfish with caponata in an elegant Italian atmosphere. 8 Gillingham Street, Victoria, London, Tel: +44 (0) 202 7769 9771, www.tozirestaurant.co.uk
SoHo Spice New York’s award-winning Southeast Asian diner, Fatty Crab, makes its first foray into Asia with the opening of a branch in Hong Kong’s Old Bailey Street. Fusing Southeast Asian dishes with Western cooking techniques, the restaurant offers up dishes like chili crabs and fatty duck, all lovingly prepared by chef Zakary Pelaccio. At the bar, Phillip Ward concocts unique cocktails specially designed to set off the spicy food. Raw interiors set off by decorative elements from the tropical nations create an unpretentious style dreamed up by designer Candace Campos. 11-13 Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2521 2033, www.facebook.com/FattyCrabHK www.jetsetter.hk
This edgy piece of finger candy would be a great addition to any fashionista’s jewellery collection. Created by Brazilian designer Fernando Jorge, the Electric Shock ring is the perfect piece to spice up any outfit. Featuring pear-shaped sapphires and blue topaz set in black rhodium-plated 18-carat gold, the ring packs quite the aesthetic punch. The ring, along with the other pieces in the Electric collection, is designed to capture the vibrancy and energy of electric currents. One thing’s for sure – electricity never looked this good. Available online and at select retailers in London, Italy and the US from GBP9,200 (US$1,185). www.fernandojorge.co.uk
From celebrity drink of choice, to a ring designed to electrify, these are our need-it-now picks for summer.
Compiled by Gayatri Bhaumik
The recently released Zhivago by Caran d’Ache is a symbolic tribute to Boris Pasternak’s timeless Russian novel. The limited edition pen is coated in black Chinese lacquer produced in conformity with traditional guidelines; while the white stars, engraved and lacquered, represent the vast Siberian landscape of Pasternak’s tale. The pen’s body is engraved with Pasternak’s signature, as well as the title of his most famous novel, while the delicate nib is forged from 18-carat gold. Available as a fountain or roller pen, the instrument is beautifully presented in a black lacquer box with a collection of Yuri Zhivago’s poems, penned by Pasternak. From HK$19,800 (US$2,550) www.carandache.com
Channel Audrey Hepburn chic with the latest collection of gorgeous sunglasses from Aigner. Specially shaped to fit the delicate contours of a woman’s face, the elegant frames boast classic lines and feature a sprinkling of Aigner’s signature horseshoe pattern along the legs. The Aigner logo – two intertwined horseshoes – are embellished here with small Swarovski crystals, and add a subtle dash of bling. Slide on a pair of these slick shades and you’ll feel like you’re stepping out for breakfast at Tiffany’s. Available in three colours, from HK$1,985 (US$256) www.aignermunich.com
Coffee maestros NESPRESSO have released their latest gift to coffee addicts. The Pixie Stainless Steel is the newest iteration of its entry-level machine, and what a machine it is. Decked out in stainless steel, the Pixie has been given a cutting-edge makeover and is reputed to be Nespresso’s fastest machine yet. Its ability to brew a Grand Cru coffee in 25 seconds flat means you’ll get your morning java fix that much quicker. The intelligent technology also switches the machine off after nine minutes of inactivity, and notifies you when you need to refill the water supply, leaving you with a few less things to worry about. HK$ 2,088 (US$270). www.nespresso.com
Champagne is used to celebrate special occasions, so what better excuse do you need to make that special moment even more memorable than with your own ultra-sophisticated, personalised VAN PERCKENS NR.8 champagne cooler. The cooler is designed in solid 20-carat gold, but can be customised with other precious metals; on request, designs can also integrate precious stones. The decadent cooler comes beautifully presented in a gilded wooden case with plush blue lining, and is accompanied by six Van Perckens champagne goblets and a pair of signature white gloves. Decadent and exclusive, this luxurious set is the ultimate champagne experience. www.vanperckens.com
Coconut water is the latest trend in natural hydration, and it doesn’t come any cooler than Hong Kong’s own JAX COCO. The 100 percent pure coconut water is sourced from the Philippines, and boasts a star-studded coterie of fans which includes Elizabeth Hurley and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. As if that didn’t give the world’s coolest beverage enough street-cred, the brand is co-owned by music legend Elton John, and the premium glass bottle packaging was designed by Alasdhair Willis, husband of Stella McCartney. The brand aims to encourage a positive way of life; it hosts an annual marathon – the Jax Coco Challenge – and actively contributes to international and local charities. Available at top supermarkets, restaurants and bars around the world. www.jaxcoco.com
By Nick Walton
1 TAG Heuer honorary chairman Jack Heuer, grandson of the brand’s founder and company CEO during its golden era of innovation in the 1960s and 1970s, is celebrated in the new Carrera Calibre 1887 Jack Heuer Edition, a spectacular edition inspired by the two-part construction Heuer stop watches that he once used on pro-racing circuits. With elements borrowed from the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, this slick new timepiece boasts a black titanium carbide steel bezel, a fine brushed and sandblasted steel and titanium cage, and both tachymetre and pulsometres on the dial. Jack Heuer’s coat of arms and signature decorate the smoked sapphire caseback, through which can be seen the 39-jewel Calibre 1887 movement. www.tagheuer.com
Rolex has released the new 50th Anniversary Cosmograph Daytona, a stunning variant of its famous Cosmograph Daytona. Timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its introduction, this Daytona features a chestnut brown monobloc Cerachrom bezel in ceramic and an ice blue dial. The movement is the celebrated calibre 4130, a self-winding mechanical in-house chronograph that incorporates far fewer components than a standard chronograph, which enhances the movement’s reliability. The case is made of platinum and is the standard 40mm in diameter. www.rolex.com
Breguet has enhanced the emblematic Breguet Type XXII in steel with an original model variation in 18-carat rose gold. This fine material highlights the beauty of this unique timepiece, which houses a Breguet chronograph movement with silicon escapement and flat balance spring, whose frequency has been raised to 10 Hertz, endowing the movement with exceptional regulating power, and affording a start function and readout that are now twice as precise. The Breguet Type XXII chronograph features a flyback function, and a dial which includes a second timezone indicator along with an aperture for a date calendar. A 24-hour night-andday indicator at three o’clock tells the wearer whether it is daytime or nighttime in the area covered by the second timezone. www.breguet.com
The new Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator teasingly liberates the minutes from the hours in a stunning, asymmetric design. The exclusive H-12 movement in the Jazzmaster Regulator gives the face of the watch a unique appearance, presenting an original means of displaying the passage of minutes. The separation of the minute and hour hands on to different axial and sub-dials has the added advantage of facilitating minute reading at a glance. Inside this contemporary design object, accuracy lives on, thanks to the innovative movement, housed in a sapphire-faced 42mm case. www. hamiltonwatch.com
Christophe Claret has created the Baccara, a spectacular timepiece that doubles as a miniature casino with three games: baccarat, roulette, and dice. The mechanical wonder that is the exclusive movement – which required over a year of development – is complemented by the aesthetic wonder of the special sapphire crystal protecting Baccara’s dial which, when blown upon, reveals a secret, talismanic Chinese ideogram. To protect and enhance the Baccara’s exclusive calibre, the 45mm case is available in three versions: white gold, red gold (pictured), and platinum. www.christopheclaret.com
Patek Philippe has released the new men’s 5200G Gondolo in white gold with a dramatic blue or white dial and gold hour markers. With many similarities to the watchmaker’s previouslyreleased 5100 limited edition 10-day, the new 5200G shares the same basic rectangular shape case, with the addition of day and date indicators. The new piece features a rectangular caliber 28-20 REC 8J PS IRM C J hand-woven movement with the patented Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance springs, offering eight days of power, with reserve energy indicated on the face. A date by hand and large aperture for the day of the week will prove popular with watch enthusiasts, as will the timepiece’s anatomically-curved Art Deco-inspired rectangular case. www.patek.com
Luxury Helen Logas is no stranger to the finer things in life. As founder of Australian travel management company TravelCorp, she turned a one-woman-company into a AU$100 million icon. Now, as CEO of luxury travel trade show Luxsperience, Logas is at the forefront of of an industry that’s keenly vying for Asian attention.
Interview by Nick Walton
What drew you to the luxury travel market? Everyone is after a little luxury in their lives, be it a handbag, a piece of couture or a luxury experience. Travelling evokes life-long memories, so why not incorporate a little luxury into that memory? The traditional luxury of five-star hotels was impactful, but as my travel opportunities grew I discovered real travel experiences, such as peering through the trees to see silverback gorillas in the forests of Uganda and Rwanda; or sleeping in a remote tent amongst the coastal sand dunes of north-west Australia, waiting to experience the Ningaloo Reef. After all the financial turmoil of recent years, how is the luxury travel segment fairing? Most industries took a hit with the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), and the luxury travel market was no different. When you look at the luxury industry as a whole, most businesses saw a slight blip, particularly in Europe and China, two of the most important regions for the industry. Nevertheless, the luxury segment is still doing well and when it comes to luxury travel, there is still a strong market for it, be it here in Australia, Asia, or globally. Luxperience is about to enter its second year – how has the show been received? The show was received very well in its first year. We had over 100 exhibitors and 300 buyers, so it’s fair to say that our first year saw some very positive support. This year we have added an inspirational Thought Leaders event at Sydney Town Hall, we have enhanced our buyer vetting and invitation program, we have expanded our partnerships, and have strategic and marketing support from Tourism Australia. We expect the show to double in size this year, but it will still be intimate and retain that sense of community and family that is treasured in the luxury travel community. As a luxury expert, what trends are you seeing emerge in the international luxury travel scene? The luxury travel industry has changed rapidly; years ago, it would have created a scene if a cruise company was to offer a US$100,000 cruise, but today it’s accepted. High-end discerning travellers want more of an experience and the industry has had to change to cater to their needs. While there is more extravagant travel, there is also a www.jetsetter.hk
parallel development of travellers wanting to engage with communities, go local, and be more low-key and responsible in their interactions. Well-heeled travellers laying on an island still exist, but they’re not in the advance guard of luxury bespoke travel. Australia offers some really unique takes on luxury travel. What kinds of travellers are headed down under? Chinese tourist numbers have tripled over the past decade, and this is quite staggering. In February, Tourism Australia reported that inbound tourism numbers rose by 4.6 percent last year to 6.1 million, with Chinese visitor numbers rising 15.5 percent to 630,000 in 2012 and we expect to see that grow over the next year or so. Asian traveller numbers are also high; they go for luxury villas, urban and outback experiences and brand label shopping. While numbers from the UK and Europe have slightly dipped, the high yielding passengers from those regions are still travelling and we have seen an increase in travellers from the Americas, Asia and India to replace them. The words “bespoke” and “experiential” are often thrown around by luxury travel companies. What do these words mean to you? Those words mean ‘uniqueness’ to me, something special when it comes to a travel experience. Those words mean indulgence and luxury. Luxury travellers want an individual experience that not many other people can have. They want the best of the best and are happy to pay for it. Anyone can go to Paris or New York, but luxury travel is now about the best of the best in those cities, or going somewhere that’s normally out of reach, or getting there by an elite method of travel, such as private jet or speed boat. What destinations do you see attracting these travellers in 2013-14? Australia will continue to be a strong market when it comes to luxury travel. Myanmar, Latin America and Africa are also on the rise. Where is your favorite luxury travel destination? There are many, but the Amazon, Morocco and Botswana have special memories for me. My wish list for future travel includes an Antarctic cruise, Bhutan and Central America.
Special Promotional Section
An Elegant Partnership Two Market Leaders Collaborate to Create Truly Memorable Timepieces
wo of the world’s leading fashion brands, luxury Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen and Italian leather artesian Santoni, have collaborated on a series of exclusive time pieces, marrying their traditions and skills to craft a new benchmark in luxury chronography. The unique partnership sees Santoni, a leather shoe specialist, supplying high quality leather straps for IWC timepieces, including the new Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days. The flagship of IWC Schaffhausen’s acclaimed Portofino collection, the elegant timepiece was unveiled at this year’s SIHH watch show in Geneva.
“The values we share with Santoni form an ideal basis for working in partnership,” says Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. “We are particularly pleased that the extravagant Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days from IWC is firmly held by these high-quality leather straps from Santoni.”
“IWC Schaffhausen has proven an ideal partner for us, sharing our philosophy of excellence, perfection such as meticulous attention to detail, and our love of craftsman ship and beauty,” says Giuseppe Santoni, second generation CEO of the Italian leather company.
Lovers of IWC will be able to choose between two shades of brown straps, as well as traditional black, with each handcrafted strap featuring an exquisite orange-hued leather lining and an exclusive patina, both of which are signatures to Santoni’s traditional manufacturing methods.
The two marques first announced their partnership in 2011, with the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days timepiece the latest in a series of collaborations planned over the next five years. www.iwc.com
108 BEAUTY TRAVEL
We all love summer, but that doesn’t mean our skin and hair always love the extra attention of the sun’s rays. Safeguard against harmful rays with this line up of innovative and indulgent sun shields. BY KATY LAM
2 3 Remember to add this final weapon to your sun arsenal. Origin’s VitaZing BB Cream protects your flawless skin from the sun, thanks to an SPF35 rating, while leaving it radiant and healthy. It also controls skin oil and the resulting shine, helps fade wrinkles and fine lines, and minimizes pores. The natural-based formula also contains a potent combination of mangosteen, cordyceps and ginseng to help bolster your skin’s natural function. www.origin.com
Sun can also damage hair, and if you don’t want your glossy locks to lose their shimmer, be sure to protect them with Vitalite Express Cheveux from La Biosthetique, which recently launched in Hong Kong. Vitalite, part of the Methode Soleil collection, features effective conditioning components including sunflower extract and orange peel wax, which help create a multi-layer UV shield while leaving your hair shining in the sun. www.labiosthetique.com
Tired of the thick creams and oily sprays of sunscreen? Susan Posnick Family’s Brush On Block introduces a makeup-like alternative to covering up this summer. Brush On Block is a mineral powder sunscreen that comes with a refillable dispenser on one end, and a soft brush on the other. It defends your skin against the sun’s harmful rays in a convenient and fast way, and can be applied over makeup, meaning you’ll be protected and still look your best. www.brushonblock.com
Be sure to finish your daily facial routine with Cellular Protection Sun Cream from The Organic Pharmacy. This SPF50 natural mineral sunscreen combines titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and advanced plant technology with active organic ingredients like aloe, rose hip, shea butter and calendula to protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays while also hydrating and nourishing. www.theorganicpharmacy.com
vintage Take a journey across the borders of time while ensuring your belongings follow in style with these new vintage-esque luggage additions. Compiled by Gayatri Bhaumik
A case which truly captures the essence of vintage luggage, Foster & Son’s Gladstone Bag looks like something Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey would take for a quick jaunt to London. The classic-look bag is a glamorous hold-all made to withstand the rigours of travel. Handcrafted at Foster & Son’s workshop in London’s Jermyn Street, the bag uses only the finest leather and features the highest-quality brass fittings. The real beauty of this piece, however, lies in the fact that each one is tailor-made. Customers can personalise the design and colour, and for a truly bespoke bag, add gold-block initials. www.foster.co.uk
Paying homage to the romance and history of Paris’ Le Bourget Airport, the Goyard Bourget is inspired by the design of classic travel trunks. The Bourget features a retractable handle, four multidirectional wheels, and vintageinspired embellishments like delicate silver locks, a leather belt padlock and the emblematic Goyard canvas. Attention to detail in the interior – which includes pockets, additional cases, and a removable bottom – makes organisation a breeze for busy travellers. The Bourget is available in black and tan, with other colours available on request. HK$44,200 (US$5,700) www.goyard.com
The recently launched Globe-Trotter Goring Hotel Collection boasts the classic charm and elegance which define the two iconic British brands. Globe-Trotter and The Goring have collaborated on this range of vintage-inspired, stylish suitcases. Handcrafted at the Globe-Trotter factory in Hertfordshire, every suitcase is made of ivory vulcanised fiberboard, with leather trim in navy and burgundy, the Goring Hotel’s colours. Adding the finishing touch is a rich damask silk lining. The green and white patterned silk is specially ordered from the Gainsborough Silk Company, a textile mill that holds a collection of over 7,000 historical silks. The collection is available in 12 different styles and sizes. Prices start at £485 (US$753). www.globetrotter.com www.jetsetter.hk
Rolls-Royce’s new Wraith, the brand’s most powerful drive to date, combines the elegance of the marque’s traditions with the technological innovations of tomorrow, discovers Nick Walton. www.jetsetter.hk
t was always a quandary for the ultra-wealthy; opt for the pedigree, the luxury and the sophistication of a Rolls-Royce, or for the sporty lines and street cred of a luxury sports coupe? Do you choose to arrive in elegance and style, or screeching to a halt, tire smoke in your wake? Fortunately, punters with a cool HK$5.5 million handy no longer have to choose one entrance over the other with the launch in Asia of the new two-door super-sexy Rolls-Royce Wraith, the marque’s most powerful car to date. Featuring all the magnificence of a Rolls-Royce, and with the ability to reach 100km/hr in 4.4 seconds, the Wraith ushers in new levels of workmanship and technology for a market that just can’t get enough of either. Named for the ethereal spirit, the new Rolls-Royce supercar promises a sense of adventure and refinement that will appeal to new generations of ultra-wealthy in Asia who don’t want to leave the joy of driving a Rolls to a lucky employee. Combining luxurious interiors reminiscent of a superyacht, including intricate stitch-work, Phantomgrade natural grain leather and inlayed Canadel woodwork, with
state-of-the-art technology – from heads-up displays reminiscent of a jet fighter, and fibre-optic stars woven into the roof lining, to adaptive headlights, and a keyless opening boot – the Wraith is the product of generations of pedigree and millions of dollars in R&D. A ground breaking ‘satellite aided’ transmission uses the car’s voiceactivated sat nav system to ‘read’ the road ahead and pre-select the correct gear in advance, even when tackling tricky intersections like roundabouts, while a touchpad controller accesses the internet and music selections with the swipe of a fingertip. And you’ll get to wherever you’re going in a hurry thanks to a mighty 6.7 litre twin turbo-charged V12 petrol engine that represents a whopping 624 galloping stallions under the bonnet. Linked to an eight-speed gearbox, be prepared to leap from zero to 100km/hr in the time it took to read this sentence. The smooth, chic ‘fast back’ lines, raked windshield, angled Pantheon grill, lowslung chassis and rear-hinged coach doors all add to the sense of pedigree and performance, like a sprinter at the starting blocks. www.rolls-roycemotorcars-hongkong.com.hk
25I n ter Macau n ati o n a l th
Fireworks Display Contest
14 , 19 , 21, 2 8 / 9 & 01/10
ne of the biggest events on Macauâ€™s calendar, the spectacular Macau International Fireworks Display Contest will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year, and the important milestone will be observed with all the style and excitement that this event has come to represent. The highly-anticipated competition is held over five nights; this year, the display begins on September 14 and culminates in extravagant fashion on October 1, the National Day of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China. The second day of the event will also coincide with the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which this year falls on September 19th. With these significant holidays falling on the same days as the contest, itâ€™s the perfect time to visit Macau and experience the vibrancy of this city. Established in 1989, the contest was originally founded as a way to celebrate the achievements of the local Macanese firecracker industry. In the years since its inaugural event, the contest has grown into a major international event that has seen the participation of more than 100 teams from around the world. Competition is extremely fierce as participating teams are representatives of the best firework companies from across the globe, including Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Portugal, Taiwan, the United States and Switzerland, among others. A measure of the caliber of the competitors, a previous competitor was the Hunan Jixiu Fireworks Manufacturing and Display Company from China, who were heavily involved in the lavish display that was the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Over the five nights of competition, each of the participating teams will present a unique firework display in an effort to take home the top prize. The resulting extravaganza of light and music is nothing less than thrilling for gathered visitors and spectators. Of course, to really experience the electrifying display, the most important thing to do is find the perfect location from which to watch the fireworks. For unobstructed views and surround-sound acoustics, try the Macau Tower Outdoor Plaza or the Macau Tower Street Waterfront. Nam Van Lake, Sai Van Lake and the Taipa riverfront are great waterside settings for viewing the spectacle, while the square in front of Kun Iam statue on Avenue Dr Sun Yat Sen is also very popular.
Program for 2013 Macau International Fireworks Display Contest Date Time Company
Saturday, September 14 2100 Caballer FX & Service S.L
2140 Fireworks for Africa
Thursday, September 19 2100 SUGYP SA
2140 Hanwha Corporation
Saturday, September 21 2100 Macedos Pirotecnia, Lda
2140 Infinity Pyrotechnic
Saturday, September 28 2100 Panzera-Industria Pirotecnica
2140 Group Faitlux-Ampleman
Tuesday, October 1
2100 SAS BREZAC Artifices
2140 Dancing Fireworks Group, Co. Ltd China
Where would the magic of film be, without the emotion of music? Music and Film: The Marriage of the Century? (Musique et Cinéma, Le Mariage du Siècle?), held at Paris’ Musée de la Musique through August 18, 2013, studies these two art forms and showcases their many matches made in heaven for film-buffs and music lovers alike. Delve behind the scenes into the fabrication of the world’s great films, where you’ll learn the fundamental role music plays in an art that has changed our world. Using collective themes, famous filmmaker-composer duos like Prokofiev and Eisenstein, or Hitchcock (pictured) and Hermann, this unique exhibition showcases the role played by music at every step of a film’s creation, through over one hundred film excerpts, projected in small rooms, as well as interviews, sound excerpts, photos, album covers, instruments and film shoot documents. www.citedelamusique.fr
Crédit: Courtesy of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Jabra continues to entertain the market with high-quality headphones like the Jabra Revo Wireless, an ideal combination of outstanding audio performance and fashionable design that elevates the listening experience. Aluminium and steel construction enhances durability, while the flexible headband keeps the headphones securely over the ears. Touch sensitive controls let users play and pause the music, and adjust the volume, with ease. Together with Jabra’s exclusive SoundApp, the Dolby Digital Plus technology builds a fuller and richer sound, while the NFC pairing design allows synchronisation with other media devices. www.jabra.com
Fixation The just released B&O Play BeoPlay H3 headphones from Bang & Olufsen should be on every regular traveller’s mid-year Christmas wish list. As elegantly designed as they are technologically sophisticated, the H6 over-ear headphones blend authentic sound with simple and superb ergonomic comfort. Made from anodised high purity aluminium, which makes the headphones feel light, and at the same time durable and robust, the solid New Zealand cowhide leather on the BeoPlay H6 headphones is completely natural and is dyed with a tanning process that provides colours in rich and warm tones. www.bang-olufsen.com
The Beats Executive, the newest addition to Dr Dre’s headphone family, is one that’s focused more on the older generation than the kids, and is specially designed for busy executives and travellers to take on the road. These chic new headphones, which come with an aluminium body and soft leather cushioning, fold away easily, making them portable and easy to pack. The Executive headphones aren’t just good looking; excellent noise cancellation improves audio clarity, especially during the continuous noise of jet travel, and a custom EQ feature helps listeners create their own user profile. www.beatsbydre.com
The Audio Technica ATH-M50 professional studio monitor headphones are designed to provide listeners with superior audio quality thatâ€™s great for music enthusiasts and up to scratch for music and mixing pros. As bulky as they are professional, they may not be ideal for travel on the trot, but their close-backed cushioned ear cup design does help maximise noise isolation while maintaining comfort, ideal for long flights or days on the beach. The sound quality is well-balanced and dynamic, with a rich and emphasised deep bass. www.audio-technica.com
Bowers & Wilkins recently introduced a new bold-blue family member to its award-winning P-series line of headphones. The Bowers & Wilkins P3 mobile hi-fi headphones retain the refined sound performance of the P-series, and deliver detailed and natural sound for music-lovers. The P3 features a custom-made driver to ensure a high-quality and superb sound experience, and are durable, lightweight, and portable, thanks to an aluminium and rubber outer shell, a compact hard-shell carry case and an innovative folding mechanism. A complement of cable choices ensure seamless connectivity with a range of media devices. www.bowers-wilkins.com
With high-quality sound and slick styles, these new headphones allow music-lovers on the go a listening experience like never before. Compiled by Katy Lam
Marshall has unveiled a pair of retro-design headphones that bring you a listening experience akin to being at a live rock concert. With their over-the-ear design, the Marshall Monitors works brilliantly to isolate noise and disturbances while promising a comfortable listening experience without being weighty or bulky. The new headphones feature a felt treble filter system and produce a deep bass, extended highs and well-balanced mids. www.marshall.com
120 PAGE TURNER
Musings on the Middle
The Middle East is a fascinating location that is frothing with fodder for political missives and personal memoirs. In this issue, Gayatri Bhaumik delves into pages which recount experiences in Israel and Iran.
Debunking the Bull: For Seekers of Another Tack Sarah Honig Gefen Publishing House A veteran reporter with the Jerusalem Post, Sarah Honig is famous for taking strong – sometimes unpopular – stances on Israel’s geopolitical situation. This book is an anthology of 57 of the best pieces from the Jerusalem Post’s Another Tack column, which Honig has been writing since 1999. Although witty and insightful, the elegance of Honig’s writing is sometimes lost in her eagerness to use flowery, highfalutin language. The book itself is worse off for failing to include the dates of publication with each column. One can’t help but think that this would provide the stories with an additional chronological and historical context that would make it even more valuable for the reader. Nevertheless, the stories highlight the author’s ability to make her arguments in an intelligent manner, using historical and biographical anecdotes to underscore her points. Overall, the anthology is an interesting perspective on Israel’s position in the world.
My Father’s Garden Karen Levy Homebound Publications Karen Levy may have set out to create a personal memoir, but thanks to the nudging of a publisher friend, the reading public now has access to this first-hand account of being a third-culture kid – long before the term was cool. Set in Israel and the US, the book is a series of short vignettes that come together to tell a poignant story of divided family loyalties, feelings of displacement, and heartbreak. The chapters are short and sometimes abrupt, so there were moments when it felt like they didn’t follow on seamlessly, either thematically or chronologically. But the real beauty in the book is the author’s ability to write from the heart. This no-holds-barred approach to storytelling must have made it painful to write some of the chapters, but it created an immensely readable story that, on some level at least, everyone can relate to.
Argo : How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio Penguin Books No doubt by now you will have seen Argo, the brilliantly executed Hollywood espionage thriller starring Ben Affleck, and are ready to write this book off, thinking it couldn’t possibly live up to the film. You would be making a big mistake. Rather than rehashing the events of the film, this book recounts the events leading to the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran, and the steps taken to affect the ‘exfiltration’ of the six escaped hostages from Iran. Part political commentary and part historical narration – with a whole lot of espionage and personal anecdotes thrown in – Mendez and Baglio have written a rollicking good read that is difficult to put down. Concentrating on the events, discussions and processes that lead to the idea of banding together the CIA and Hollywood for this mastermind rescue makes this book a fantastic companion to the film, and allows it to stand on its own.