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SPECIAL DOUBLE ISSUE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

THE GOLD LIST 2018 THE WORLD’S MOST EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES

PLUS OUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY


The Spirit of Travel


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CONTENTS JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

THE GOLD LIST issue 2018 THE WORLD’S MOST EXTRAORDINARY TRAVEL EXPERIENCES

113 THE GOLD LIST

150 RWANDA

Our all-time favourite hotels, restaurants, cocktail bars and beach clubs

Its forests hide birds-nest lodges and gorillas: there’s simply no finer safari ticket in Africa today

138 ST PETERSBURG

164 MEXICO

With glinting domes, pistachio-painted palaces and a criss-cross of frozen canals, this regal Russian city is now glittering in its winter cloak

Hightail it to the Pacific coast, where the surf is sweet and the beach scene is the most colour-popping around

A GLOWING, GILDED EFFECT AT THE CATHERINE PALACE’S AMBER ROOM IN ST PETERSBURG. PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALISTAIR TAYLOR-YOUNG January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 7


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CONTENTS THE GOLD LIST ISSUE 2018

88 76 ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 14 EDITOR’S LETTER 20 CONTRIBUTORS 27 WORD OF MOUTH The new standards, from Sri Lanka to Peru

39 SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS Kate Moss on the Maldives, Harvey Keitel on Coney Island and many more

60 WAY OF LIFE A high-society Italian villa for your own house party

68 THE EPIC ENCOUNTER

108

People-watching with Jimmy Nelson

71 WHERE TO STAY Exclusive first look The incredible Amanyangyun in Shanghai. Bed-hopping with director Joe Wright. The Weekender Our pick of the places to hunker down in the UK

176 THE GLOBETROTTER

The star of Happy Valley and the new Flatliners film James Norton

183 FLAVOUR HUNTER

The table to book A mindbending restaurant in LA’s Waffle Building. World on a plate The perfect steak. Art feed Golden food. The king of feasts Massimo Bottura. The sip trip Cognac

199 EVENTS The lowdown Condé

Nast Traveller’s 20th-anniversary garage party in London. Coming up An evening of wine tasting from South Australia

248 THE VIEW FROM HERE Pool cabanas at the Royal Mansour, Marrakech

80 THE SUPERFIXERS The fresh breed of tour operator taking travel to a stratospheric new level

ON THE COVER Maasai in Sarbore, Tanzania Photographed by Jimmy Nelson (see page 68) jimmynelson.com

10 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

88 SNAPSHOT Designers go into detail with lavish hotel interiors

93 STYLE FILE The coolest ski store. Shopping Lisbon street smarts. The holiday label to love Delpozo, plus a delicious modern-Parisian apothecary. Jewellery and watch Reshaping gold. Beauty The ultimate kit. The spa on the scene The Peninsula Bangkok

188

PHOTOGRAPHS: CHRIS CALDICOOT; SIVAN ASKAYO

28 94


EDITOR’S LETTER BSME TRAVEL EDITOR OF THE YEAR 2017

This is the Gold List Issue 2018 It contains in its pages all things sublime and unridiculous, all things elevated and marvellous. All things classic and exceptional and beautiful as can be. And so it is I find myself in Prague, in what is arguably considered the most beautiful library in the world, the Clementinum. I have underestimated it, so that, having yabbered in the taxi the whole way there – looking askance at the masculine slant of the city’s singular order, hammering along the cobbles, whistling over the Charles Bridge and the Vltava River’s beetleback shine in the winter light, past the opera house where the sculpture of Wagner was said to have been thrown from the rooftop in a case of mistaken identity – upon finally walking into the library, its astonishingness completely takes me by surprise and I immediately burst into tears. Grand columns rise up the perimeter of the place, golden waves curl down from on top of them, a vertebrae of globes punctuates the centre. And wall-to-wall, and high above, 20,000 books stand sentinel in their slumber, some 500 years old, squat and tall, peeling and rubbed, adorned like queens, plain as biscuits. Some have nothing indicating what is contained within, others just as mysterious, with curious handwritten scripts on the spines, the urgency of the quill scratched across the paper’s rough terrain, imparting number, code, meaning. One chamber off to the side of the main room is a brighter space in which every tome has been lime-washed to protect it from the sun. The effect is startling. The books look like bones, great ordered lines of chalky femurs and tibias, ribs and carpals. I can’t resist sticking out my hand to feel one. ‘DO NOT TOUCH ZE BOOKS!’ a guard shouts. (It is not the only trouble I get into in Prague.) Beautiful things have always over-excited me. This autumn, I saw a garden of dahlias in BadenBaden that resembled a river of sea urchins washed in rainbows. In spring in Rajasthan, I glanced out the window at dusk to see a Marawi horse racing across the desert, its tail high in the air like a fountain, dust flicked up like fireflies by its hooves. Last summer, out at sea, engines cut, rocking on a lilting Mediterranean, the moonlight fell so heavily upon me it seemed to get caught up in the fibres of my clothes, almost as if I could pluck at them and eat the moon piece by piece. This is the new issue of Condé Nast Traveller. The Gold List Issue, an issue that also loves getting over-excited by beautiful things from around the world.

MELINDA STEVENS EDITOR MelindaLP

IN THIS ISSUE WE ASKED CONDÉ NAST STAFF TO RECALL THEIR MOST INCREDIBLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES. LOOK OUT FOR THEIR ANSWERS IN THE LITTLE GOLDEN BANDS AT THE BOTTOM OF THESE PAGES GOLDEN TICKET ‘RIDING A 100-YEAR-OLD TRAM AND EATING ICE CREAM FROM CA’N PAU IN SOLLER, MALLORCA’ JONATHAN NEWHOUSE, CONDÉ NAST INTERNATIONAL CHAIRMAN 14 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


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THE GOLD LIST ISSUE CONTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH WE ASK OUR WILY WANDERERS FOR THEIR MOST INCREDIBLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

James Norton Globetrotter (p176)

Josep Font The Holiday Label To Love (p98)

‘I was at the top of the Himalayas on my own at night with no torch, feeling total terror, thinking, “What the fuck am I doing, I’m an idiot,” while also realising that this was one of the most awe-inspiring things I had ever seen. That was pretty spectacular.’ Actor James has starred in dramas including ‘Happy Valley, ‘War and Peace’ and ‘McMafia’

‘A few years ago I spent a month in Chile discovering the country. It was a totally stand-out trip. I was especially blown away by the varied landscape of Chiloé Island, from the soothing, rolling hills to the wild rainforests.’Born in Barcelona and now based in Madrid, fashion designer Josep is creative director of the Delpozo label

The King of Feasts (p188) ‘Last year we went to Querétaro, north of Mexico City, for my sous chef’s wedding. There were about 20 of the team in town so we booked the entire Criol Hotel. The contemporary design combined with communal breakfasts made it even more memorable.’ Massimo is the owner of three-Michelin-star restaurant Osteria Francescana

Massimo Bottura

Louis de Bernières Solid-Gold Travellers (p39)

Oliver Pilcher Photographer, Mexico (p164)

Raffaella Barker Writer, Way of Life (p60)

‘In 1995 some friends and I stayed in Hue, Vietnam, for the night. We sped off to the beach on our mopeds and ended up waking the locals. It turned out really well – we had a bonfire and an amazing impromptu party with them all night long.’ Living between Mexico and Costa Rica, Oliver is working on a coffee-table surf book

‘Ascending Table Mountain in Cape Town. I was with my family and we took the advanced route equipped with nothing but blind optimism and flip-flops. It was a trek. But the view of ships, heraldic trumpets and so forth in the harbour below was worth it.’ Raffaella’s 10th novel, ‘Running Wild’, will be published next year

20 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: IAN HARRISON/CAMERA PRESS; SHAUN JAMES COX; GRAHAM JEPSON; OLIVER PILCHER; JOSEP PLAJA BORRELL/PAMEN PEREIRA

‘Aged 18 and making my way to Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This involved journeying with a group of Incas armed with muskets, mules carrying dead sheep, hummingbirds flitting around us and condors flying above.’ Louis is the author of ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’. His new title, ‘So Much Life Left Over’, is out in July


EDITOR

MELINDA STEVENS PA TO THE EDITOR Sophie Jean-Louis Constantine SENIOR EDITOR Peter Browne DEPUTY EDITOR Issy von Simson MANAGING EDITOR Paula Maynard FEATURES EDITOR Fiona Kerr EDITOR-AT-LARGE Steve King FASHION AND BEAUTY DIRECTOR Fiona Joseph WATCH & JEWELLERY EDITOR Jessica Diamond MEN’S EDITOR David Annand RETAIL EDITOR/EVENTS DIRECTOR Kendra Leaver-Rylah ART DIRECTOR Pete Winterbottom DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Paula Ellis SENIOR DESIGNER Nitish Mandalia PHOTOGRAPHIC EDITOR Matthew Buck PICTURE EDITOR Karin Mueller CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Rick Jordan DEPUTY CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Gráinne McBride SENIOR SUB-EDITOR Roxy Kavousi-Walker ONLINE EDITOR Laura Fowler CONTENT EDITOR Tabitha Joyce DIGITAL PICTURE EDITOR Sharon Forrester ONLINE INTERN Sarah James

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jonathan Bastable, Horatio Clare, Ondine Cohane, Sophie Dahl, Sophie Dening, E Jane Dickson, Helen Fielding, Giles Foden, Michelle Jana Chan, Jeremy King, Emma Love, Lee Marshall, Kate Maxwell, Thomasina Miers, Reggie Nadelson, Harriet O’Brien, Timothy O’Grady, Tom Parker Bowles, Harry Pearson, Adriaane Pielou (Health & Spa), Antonia Quirke, Paul Richardson, Anthony Sattin, Nicholas Shakespeare, Sally Shalam, Stanley Stewart CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS James Bedford, Mirjam Bleeker, David Crookes, Squire Fox, Alice Gao, Philip Lee Harvey, Ken Kochey, David Loftus, Martin Morrell, Tom Parker, Michael Paul, Bill Phelps, Richard Phibbs, Oliver Pilcher, Kristian Schuller, Alistair Taylor-Young, Jenny Zarins DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATION AND RIGHTS Harriet Wilson EDITORIAL BUSINESS MANAGER Emma De Clercq SYNDICATION syndication@condenast.co.uk INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Nicky Eaton DEPUTY PUBLICITY DIRECTOR Harriet Robertson PUBLICITY MANAGER Richard Pickard

PUBLISHING DIRECTOR

SIMON LEADSFORD

PA TO THE PUBLISHING DIRECTOR/ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Molly McLachlan ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Juliette Ottley NEW BUSINESS DIRECTOR Kirsty Cocker PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR Amy Hearn SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Elizabeth Isaac ACCOUNT MANAGER Serena Chambers SALES EXECUTIVES Isabella Eckett, Natasha Callin DIGITAL ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Natalie Moss-Blundell PROMOTIONS ART DIRECTOR Pepita Fernandez SENIOR PRODUCER Grace Barnes PRODUCER Sophie Tye REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Karen Allgood (020 7152 3276) REGIONAL ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Heather Mitchell PARIS OFFICE Helena Kawalec (00 33 1 44 11 78 80) ITALIAN OFFICE Valentina Donini (00 39 02 805 1422) ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER US Shannon Tolar Tchkotoua (00 1 212 630 4913) ASIA OFFICE Karen Ko (00 852 2905 3228); Mimi Tsi (00 852 2905 3233) INDIAN OFFICE Marzban Patel (00 91 22 2287 5717) MIDDLE EASTERN OFFICE Ali Asgar Mir (00 97 143 913360) FLORIDA AND CARIBBEAN OFFICE Maria Coyne (00 1 305 756 1086) GREEK OFFICE DK Associates (00 30 694 251 9199) CLASSIFIED DIRECTOR Shelagh Crofts CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER Emma Alessi SENIOR CLASSIFIED SALES EXECUTIVE Georgia Davies MARKETING DIRECTOR Jean Faulkner DEPUTY MARKETING AND RESEARCH DIRECTOR Gary Read ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL MARKETING Susie Brown SENIOR MARKETING EXECUTIVE Ella Simpson RESEARCH MANAGER Tim Dickinson SENIOR DATA MANAGER Tim Westcott CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Richard Kingerlee NEWSTRADE PROMOTIONS MANAGER Anna Pettinger SUBSCRIPTIONS DIRECTOR Patrick Foilleret ASSISTANT MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS MANAGER Claudia Long CREATIVE DESIGN MANAGER Anthea Denning PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Sarah Jenson COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION MANAGER Xenia Dilnot PRODUCTION CONTROLLER Dawn Crosby PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR Katie McGuinness COMMERCIAL AND PAPER PRODUCTION CONTROLLER Martin MacMillan COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR Jessica Beeby CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER Simon Gresham Jones DIGITAL COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Malcolm Attwells DIGITAL CONTENT & STRATEGY DIRECTOR Dolly Jones DIGITAL OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Helen Placito Copyright © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, 1 Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU. Printed in the UK by Wyndeham Roche. Colour origination by williamsleatag. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited. The titles Condé Nast Traveller and TRUTH IN TRAVEL are registered at the US Patent Office and in the EU as trademarks. All prices correct at the time of going to press but subject to change. The mail-order protection scheme does not cover items featured editorially. The paper used for this publication is based on renewable wood fibre. The wood these fibres are derived from is sourced from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources. The producing mills are EMAS registered and operate according to highest environmental and health and safety standards. This magazine is fully recyclable - please log on to www.recyclenow.com for your local recycling options for paper and board.

CAN’T FIND CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER IN THE SHOPS? To order a copy and past issues, call 0844 848 5202 (Mon–Fri 8am–9.30pm, Sat 8am–4pm), quoting 7021 The subscription rate (post paid) to Condé Nast Traveller is £44.00 per year. For all subscription orders (by credit card or otherwise) call 0844 848 5202. Overseas per year: €89 to the eurozone, £80 to the rest of Europe, $99 to the USA and £89 to the rest of the world. Special offers and promotions are also advertised in the magazine. For UK subscription enquiries call 0844 848 5202 or email cntraveller@subscription.co.uk. Manage your subscription online 24hrs a day by logging onto www.magazineboutique.co.uk/youraccount. For overseas enquiries call +44 (0)1858 438815. Orders, changes of address and customer enquiries should be sent to: Condé Nast Traveller, Subscriptions Department, Tower House, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 9EF or email cntraveller@subscription.co.uk. All editorial enquiries and unsolicited submissions to Condé Nast Traveller that require replies must be accompanied by stamped, addressed envelopes. Emails will not be responded to. Condé Nast Traveller cannot be held responsible for unsolicited material or photographs. CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Sabine Vandenbroucke FINANCE DIRECTOR Penny Scott-Bayfield HR DIRECTOR Hazel McIntyre

MANAGING DIRECTOR ALBERT READ CHAIRMAN NICHOLAS COLERIDGE DIRECTORS Nicholas Coleridge (Chairman), Stephen Quinn, Jean Faulkner, Shelagh Crofts, Albert Read (Managing Director) CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CONDÉ NAST INTERNATIONAL JONATHAN NEWHOUSE Condé Nast Traveller is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice (www.ipso.co.uk/ editors-code-of-practice) and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint please see our Editorial Complaints Policy on the Contact Us page of our website or contact us at complaints@condenast.co.uk or by post to Complaints, Editorial Business Department, The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER IS PUBLISHED BY CONDÉ NAST PUBLICATIONS LTD, Vogue House, 1 Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU (020 7499 9080; email: cntraveller@condenast.co.uk)


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WORD OF MOUTH

THE FUTURE CLASSICS EDITED BY FIONA KERR

THE ULTIMATE DISCONNECT SURVIVAL TRIPS

PHOTOGRAPH: BLACK TOMATO

We’ve holed up in cabins, checked into silent retreats and even bedded down in copper-lined rooms to block phone signals. It seems the more switched-on our lives become the harder we strive to be cut off from them. Now new journeys are enabling escape by presenting the most primal of distractions: survival. The latest service from boundary-pushing adventure outfit Black Tomato does just that. Called Get Lost, it lets travellers choose only the terrain they want to be stranded in – polar, desert, jungle, coastal or mountain. Once kitted out, skilled up and dropped in the destination, the challenge is to get through a series of checkpoints using just wits and navigational tools (although a background support team will constantly monitor progress). This could mean exploring Iceland’s Gigjökull glacial caves (pictured), digging shelters and fashioning makeshift snow shoes, or mountain biking through the Sahara and learning from local nomads how to bake bread in the hot sands. For a more Cast Away experience, Oceania Expeditions will leave wannabe Crusoes on the remote island of Kabakon in Papua New Guinea. Fortunately, neighbouring villagers will swing by to teach spear fishing and weaving, as well as let their interlopers pluck papayas, bananas and taro to feast on. Meanwhile, serious survivalists Bushmasters are part of a frontier of trips backed by ex-military-personnel (see also Secret Compass, Henry Cookson Adventures and The Extraordinary Adventure Club). Their latest destination is an island off Panama, where this July, after learning essentials such as how to turn seawater into fresh water, gut fish and start a fire, intrepid travellers are marooned for real to put their new training into practice. FK

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 27


WORD OF MOUTH


THE HOTEL CLUBS

PHOTOGRAPHS: ADRIAN GAUT

JOIN THE NOMADIC NETWORK Loyalty points and reward room upgrades for suited-and-booted business travellers used to be what hotel membership was all about. But now a vanguard of visionaries are reinventing all that, developing globetrotting new concepts, somewhere between a hotel and a members’ club, which create bands of guests who connect at far-flung spots. Design Hotels CEO Claus Sendlinger foresaw the boom in cool, creative places to stay when he started his company in 1993. ‘As hotels get smaller, there’s a different kind of interaction happening between the people visiting them,’ he says. ‘The curation of guests – in a club or community way that extends beyond their stay – only increases the sense of belonging.’ At his inland Ibizan guesthouse-meets-farmhouse La Granja, he invites wanderers to do just that. Those staying on the moodily decorated 10-hectare estate become part of the Friends of a Farmer collective (the room rate includes membership), whose motto is rather loftily: ‘the cultivation of art, crops and inner gardens’. This means joining in activities, such as on-property farming and discussions about utopian societies, and getting on the guest-list for the sunset Farm Rituals. Meanwhile, Eduardo Castillo and Kfir Levy agree. After founding roving festival outfit Habitas in 2014, they joined forces with Oliver Ripley to open their first permanent base last August in Tulum’s beachfront jungle with 32 canvas rooms decorated in mid-century-modern furniture. They are rolling out further outposts in the Bahamas and Namibia in 2018, while their first city clubhouse is set up in a former fire station in Manhattan, with another earmarked for Venice Beach. Being part of the Habitas community means you can leave your belongings – kite-surfing gear in Tulum, beachwear in the Bahamas – at its network of homes, as well as having access to all properties and activities, from yoga and quetzal senso-meditation on the beach to music from the likes of sitar player Leo Barthelemy, even if you aren’t staying. And the group plans to lay on more ambitious adventures for its roving collective, including a Galápagos expedition. La Granja reopens for its third season in April, but Sendlinger also has other projects in play, including waterfront venue Marina Marina in Berlin, which will harbour the expanding global community he has gathered at sister Design Hotels outposts Scorpios in Mykonos, the new Treehouse, also in Tulum, and a pop-up in Rio during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Marina Marina will be unveiled in stages from 2018, incorporating co-working spaces, restaurants and a members-club hangout, as well as outdoor music and one-off foodie events. Sendlinger only sees the trend growing, referencing Scribner’s Catskill Lodge, which was relaunched in autumn 2016 with an emphasis on social architecture (local makers’ markets; bushwhacking with the mountain concierge), and fresh New Orleans hub The Drifter with its Swim Club membership. ‘People don’t want to meet once a year, but rather to have a number of homes around the world in which to mingle,’ he says. GEMMA PRICE

Clockwise from top left: sun loungers beside the pool at Habitas Tulum; hammocks at the property’s bar; an ocean-view room. Opposite, clockwise from top left: the thatched exteriors of rooms at Habitas Tulum; the restaurant; the lobby

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 29


THE DESTINATION RESTAURANT MIL, PERU ‘At Mil, first you touch the earth, and then you eat from it,’ says star Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez. A remote research centre and 60-seater restaurant, this ambitious project in the Sacred Valley is 3,500 metres above sea level and set to become Latin America’s most talked-about dining experience when it opens in February. It’s a 45-minute winding drive from Cusco and set on the edge of the ruins at Moray: huge stone depressions cut into the earth, which acted as an agricultural lab for the Incas for centuries. ‘Moray and the different ecosystems up and down the mountains have always inspired Central [his Lima-based restaurant that is currently number five in The World’s 50 Best list],’ says Martínez. Ten years in the making, Mil is a hands-on experience. ‘You can stay all day meditating or harvesting potatoes, depending on how curious you are,’ he says. His team also works with the surrounding indigenous communities, researching and developing new varieties of crops. Even the water is local, collected from Andean snowmelt, while the celebrated Maras pink salt is sourced from nearby ancient terraces. As for Mil’s dishes, they will be similar in style to Central’s Mater Elevations tasting menu (which includes sea-bubble algae, dragon's blood tree resin and cassava starch, pictured above), except lighter due the altitude’s effect on appetite. ‘The focus is on vegetables, tubers and grains,’ says Martínez. ‘There won’t be much protein apart from alpaca and llama. Each course will be paired with an in-house distilled infusion, whether it’s our own coffee or beer. Mil isn’t just a restaurant, it’s a laboratory that looks at Peruvian culture, produce and identity.’ SORREL MOSELEY-WILLIAMS A seven-course meal at Mil costs about £100. The cookbook ‘Central’ by Virgilio Martínez (Phaidon, £39.95) is out now GOLDEN TICKET ‘THE MUFFLED SILENCE OF AN ARCTIC WINTER: DEEP SNOW, NORTHERN LIGHTS AND A LOG FIRE AT FINLAND'S JAVRI LODGE’ SIMON LEADSFORD, PUBLISHING DIRECTOR 30 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: JIMENA AGOIS; ERNESTO BENAVIDES

WORD OF MOUTH


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WORD OF MOUTH

THE NEW WAY OF LIVING CURATED COMMUNITIES

PHOTOGRAPHS: JAN LIEGEOIS

Clockwise from top left: a light-filled office space; inside an artist’s studio; the old distillery, where Kanaal is housed; the entrance of the Waterhuis building, home to Poilâne bakery and 15 apartments; a dining room; a sitting room

Belgian aesthete Axel Vervoordt has a cultish following for putting a Western spin on wabi-sabi. The influential antique dealer, art collector and interior designer has translated this Japanese philosophy, which finds beauty in imperfection and nature, into sparsely decorated, neutral decor (rough-hewn tables, linen-covered sofas) in the homes of Robert De Niro, Bill Gates and Calvin Klein among others. Now Vervoordt has surpassed himself as an empire-building tastemaker. In a huge 19th-century distillery flanking a waterway near Antwerp, he has created an entire neighbourhood called Kanaal. The just-opened complex is made up of 98 flats, a bakery, food market, restaurant and an auditorium for hosting think tanks and concerts. Also inside the old grain silos, red-brick warehouses and modern additions are offices and Vervoordt’s company HQ as well as art installations, including Anish Kapoor’s huge, dome-like At the Edge of the World and James Turrell’s light work Red Shift. Temporary exhibitions will be put on in a series of fresh spaces – created with architect Tatsuro Miki, who worked on the Vervoordt-designed penthouse at The Greenwich Hotel in New York. It embodies Vervoordt’s aesthetic on a vast scale; yet he says he has refrained from overtly putting his stamp on it: ‘I try not to impose my style, just my way of doing things.’ Could this and Kanaal’s self-sufficient, curated community signal a new urban blueprint? There have been precedents, from the Seventies eco-town Arcosanti in Arizona to London’s Barbican Centre. Many of today’s experimental communities focus on growing organic food. In the USA, agrihoods promoting farm-to-table living are on the rise. They differ slightly from Kanaal, but are symptomatic of a broader trend for colonies built on shared values, ethically or aesthetically. DOMINIC LUTYENS

GOLDEN TICKET ‘TAKING A WATER TAXI FROM VENICE MARCO POLO AIRPORT AND WHIZZING ACROSS THE LAGOON TO THE AMAN HOTEL’ FIONA KERR, FEATURES EDITOR 32 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


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WORD OF MOUTH

Clockwise from top: the pool at Meda Gedara and a spiral staircase; the bamboo dining pavilion at Wild Coast Tented Lodge; the sitting room at Meda Gedara; Taru Villas’ Lighthouse Street retreat in Galle Fort and the group’s Rock Villa in Bentota

Sri Lanka has reached tipping point with a flurry of world-class hotel openings that are almost all home-grown. Tri and Cape Weligama kicked off its comeback in 2015, while Fort Bazaar and Chena Huts took it up a notch the following year. On the fringes of leopard-spotted Yala National Park, Resplendent Ceylon’s Wild Coast Tented Lodge, from the same group as Cape Weligama, brings 28 canvas rooms to the edge of a beach. Other local names expanding their hordes include Taru Villas, which has just relaunched its old favourite boutique retreat Taprobana as The Muse, a nine-room hideaway in beachy Bentota. Hip homes are also emerging, including beautiful villa Meda Gedara on the south coast near Dickwella, with seven bedrooms, a yoga shala by the cricket pitch and a waterslide into the pool. And there’s more to come: Alila at Lake Koggala and beach huts from Cantaloupe near Midigama are rumoured for later this year. Once just a gateway, Colombo is on the rise too with game-changing restaurants emerging: South-East-Asian street food at Monsoon on cool Park Street Mews and buzzy Botanik, a rooftop bistro from Colombo-born chef Rishi Naleendra. The capital also has a growing art scene and design stores that are at last turning it into a destination in its own right. EMMA BOYLE

GOLDEN TICKET ‘DRIVE ALONG THE STUNNING UTAH/ARIZONA BORDER AND YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE ON ANOTHER PLANET’ MATTHEW BUCK, PHOTOGRAPHIC EDITOR 34 January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller

PHOTOGRAPH: TIM EVAN-COOK

THE NEW ISLAND PIN-UP SRI LANKA


OUR FAVOURITE TRAVELLERS ON THEIR FAVOURITE PLACES

PHOTOGRAPH: ROBERT MAXWELL/CPI-SYNDICATION

COMPILED BY FRANCESCA BABB AND FIONA KERR

BETH DITTO ON PORTLAND ‘I moved to Portland in 2003, back when I thought of it as a big little city. It’s a bigger little city now, and getting bigger and bigger. In my time here, it’s gone from being this under-the-radar place in Oregon to being the byword for hipsterdom. The TV series Portlandia, which satirises the city, is funny because it’s so true! But all the reasons why it is funny are why it’s amazing. It’s an incredible place if you are vegetarian or vegan, for activism and body positivity, to be queer – it’s a mecca for any kind of alternative lifestyle.’

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 39


SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS

JAMES McAVOY ON TOKYO ‘I WAS HERE FOR MY BIRTHDAY AND DISCOVERED THE COOLEST BAR IN NONBEI YOKOCHO, WHICH TRANSLATES AS DRUNKEN ALLEY. BEHIND EACH DOOR IS A FOUR-PERSON COUNTER WHERE YOU JUST SIT AND CHAT TO LOCALS. WE FOUND THIS ONE PLACE CALLED BAR PIANO, BECAUSE THERE’S A GRAND PIANO WITH A BAR ON TOP OF IT. THE WHOLE THING IS ONLY ABOUT 12-FEET-SQUARE. THEN WE WENT UP SOME TINY STAIRS TO A CHANDELIERED, RED-VELVET-WALLED ROOM. AN AUSTRALIAN COUPLE CAME IN, THEN A JAPANESE COUPLE AND BEFORE WE KNEW IT THERE WERE A DOZEN OF US, AND WE HAD A PARTY UNTIL ABOUT SIX IN THE MORNING.’

‘The formula for a beautiful town in the States is that it must have been rich when it was built, and then it must have fallen into poverty during the ugly years of so-called “modernisation” (the 1950s and the 1960s), and finally it should have been rediscovered in the last 20 or 30 years by wealthy Americans and foreigners searching for authenticity and a period look. My favourite amongst them (and the one that doesn’t fit neatly into my formula) is New Orleans. The quintessential experience is to stroll down a cobblestone street in the French Quarter, past a wonderful traditional restaurant such as Galatoire’s, and smell a heady mixture of garlic, butter and parsley; to enter the sun-struck square in front of the cathedral and sit down for a beignet (a sugary, deep-fried doughnut) and a café au lait; to start rambling past a second-hand bookstore, where you spot a very expensive first edition of Faulkner’s The Wild Palms – and then you swoop down to retrieve some cheap beads left over from Mardi Gras (men hurl them at women shouting, “Show us your tits!”). You won’t be alone long. People are loud and friendly in New Orleans – and usually drunk by noon. This is a city of exotic trees, the smell of vomit now and then, of the very rich and the very poor, of jazz and jazz funerals, of jambalayas and cocktails, of a stunning literary heritage.’ GOLDEN TICKET ‘DRIVING IN MONUMENT VALLEY WITH MY FAMILY, LIGHTNING FORKING ALL AROUND, SINGING THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS’ WIDE OPEN’ MELINDA STEVENS, EDITOR 40 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: GAVIN BOND/AUGUST; JILL GREENBERG/CPI-SYNDICATION

EDMUND WHITE ON NEW ORLEANS


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SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS

‘Every time I’m in Morocco, I’m instantly uplifted by the glow of the sun on my face and puffs of orange clouds above my head. I head straight to my favourite restaurant, Dar Yacout, hidden away so brilliantly in the medina you feel as if you’ve won a treasure hunt every time you find it. I start with mint cocktails on the roof before chicken and couscous by the pool, drums in my ear and neverending beer. I embrace the hustle and bustle of the streets and head to Norya’s boutique, where I’m swamped in Technicolor fabric like Joseph in his dreamcoat. There are kaftans and kimonos, all locally made. For loafers in tribal prints and French vintage fabric, Topolina is the place. Then off I trot to 33 Rue Majorelle, a concept store opposite Yves Saint Laurent’s Majorelle gardens (great if you like cobalt blue) for homeware that makes Oka look silly. The sun is setting, the airport beckons, and I swear even my face has a mirror or tassel sewn into it.’

PHOTOGRAPHS: MANOLO CAMPION/THELICENSINGPROJECT.COM; DEREK KETTELA/SOLID AND STRIPED/TRUNK ARCHIVE; PEROU/CAMERA PRESS. FOR SIMILAR SWIMWEAR TO THAT WORN BY POPPY GO TO SOLIDANDSTRIPED.COM

POPPY DELEVINGNE ON MARRAKECH


PAUL BETTANY ON ZERMATT ‘I go skiing here every year. There are some great slopes in the USA, and there’s always a burger waiting for you at the top, but in Zermatt you can eat at a 17th-century inn with extraordinary food and an amazing wine list. You can also schuss from Switzerland down to Italy for lunch, which I think is incredibly romantic. My favourite view is of the sun going down behind the Matterhorn, taken in while drinking far too much. There’s this amazing thing calle a grole – an ornate wooden bowl with about six spouts – and it contains a steaming-hot mixture of coffee, grappa, orange liqueur, apples, spices and bananas. The rule is once you pick it up, you’re not allowed to put it back down, so you pass it round and by the time you’re done, people who didn’t know each other are getting very friendly under the most beautiful mountain in the world.’

RAY WINSTONE ON VENEZUELA ‘THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON I’VE MET ON MY TRAVELS WAS A SHAMAN IN VENEZUELA. HIS FEATHERS WERE CLARET AND BLUE – THE WEST HAM COLOURS – AND HE LIKED WHISKY. WE CONVERSED; I DON’T KNOW HOW, SEEING AS I WAS TALKING COCKNEY AND HE WAS TALKING VENEZUELAN INDIAN, BUT WE SOMEHOW UNDERSTOOD ONE ANOTHER AND WE JUST RABBITED ON. IT WAS OBVIOUSLY THE WHISKY.’ January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 43


SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS

FATIMA BHUTTO ON PAKISTAN ‘Before Pakistan was known for fathering the Taliban, before we were known as a state of singular, radical faith, before the corruption and violence, we were known for this: Sufism, mystical poetry and for being a haven for weary travellers. Our cities grew out of Hindu fables and Sufi legends; our ports welcomed Parsis from Iran and traders from Africa. We absorbed as many cultures as languages and we were at heart a syncretic, diverse and multiple nation, a collection of myths.’

‘Simplicity is what the visitors are paying for; but one of the interesting things about Nantucket is that it’s not as simple as it looks. For a start, although it’s small (14 miles by three-and-a-half), it is big enough: big enough to have slight changes of landscape – from beach to cranberry bog to wild heath to hidden forests of scrub oak – and differences in its villages and settlements. While the outof-town houses all look similar – grey, cedar shingles over wooden frames – no one would confuse the feel of pretty Siasconset, and its Enid Blyton picnic atmosphere, with that of nearby Tom Nevers Head, where erosion has eaten off the dunes at what was once a navy base, or with windswept Madaket. Here, on the western point of the island, we watched, as many do, the sun set above the sea. I have never seen it die so fast, like a burning coin slipping down through half-melted cloud and gone in an instant, like the end of the world, leaving only a briefly glorious fire of afterglow, then sudden night.’ GOLDEN TICKET ‘GETTING BEWILDERINGLY LOST IN THE LABYRINTHINE PASSAGEWAYS OF OLD VARANASI, IN A POWER CUT, LIT ONLY BY CANDLES’ LAURA FOWLER, ONLINE EDITOR 44 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: PAL HANSEN/GETTY IMAGES; PAUL WETHERELL/TRUNKARCHIVE.COM

SEBASTIAN FAULKS ON NANTUCKET


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SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS

MATT DILLON ON BRAZIL

ANNIE PROULX ON WYOMING ‘The Medicine Bow range in Wyoming is an alpine gem, a beautiful place of stunning scenery. Local people prize time in these mountains; scores of hiking and horse trails lace through the peaks. The higher trails cross tiny streamlets lined with diamond-leaf willow and wind through a tundra ecosystem with wind-blasted krummholz leaning towards the east. The range is a mad tumble of wildflowers in their season. The forest is lodgepole pine, which grow straight and tall, gathered by Indians to use as poles for their teepees or lodges. There are moose, several thousand elk, mountain lions and black bear here, marmots in the rocks. Golden eagles, prairie falcons, ospreys and hawks nest in the crags.’

GOLDEN TICKET ‘SHOPPING IN TOKYO’S NAKAMEGURO DISTRICT WITH ITS ALTERNATIVE FASHION POP-UPS – A HIPPER ALTERNATIVE TO GINZA’ PAULA MAYNARD, MANAGING EDITOR 46 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: WIQAN ANG; ROBERT MAXWELL/CPI-SYNDICATION

‘I LOST MY HEART HERE. THERE’S A WORD IN PORTUGUESE THAT SAYS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BRAZIL, SAUDADE. IT HAS NO DIRECT TRANSLATION, BUT IT’S IN THE REALM OF A NOSTALGIC SENTIMENTALITY, A KIND OF MELANCHOLY, A SENSE OF LOVE. AND I UNDERSTOOD THE MEANING WHEN I CAME HERE. IT’S SUCH A WONDERFUL PLACE. IT CAN REALLY GRAB YOU.’


SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS

WINONA RYDER ON IRELAND

LOUIS DE BERNIERES ON GREECE ‘Greece was a puzzle to me when I first went. And there never comes a time when one can realistically say that one has been to Greece, or that one knows it. The mainland is impossibly mountainous, and the rest of the country consists of hundreds of islands, each with its own customs, dress, dance, musical style, dialect and cuisine. There is no point asking for sofrito anywhere except on Corfu, and you will only find cod à la spetsiota on Spetses. You will probably only eat snails on Crete. You will hear kantades sung in the Ionian islands, but certainly not in the Sporades. If you ask for red wine on Kythera, you will get rosé from a tin jug. Everyone thinks that Cephallonians are mad, except for Cephallonians, who think they are easily the cleverest Greeks.’

GOLDEN TICKET ‘WAKING UP AT SÃO LOURENÇO DO BARROCAL, A WINERY AND HOTEL IN PORTUGAL’S WILD, SUN-BLEACHED ALENTEJO’ TABITHA JOYCE, CONTENT EDITOR 48 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: GRAHAM JEPSON; ELIZABETH WEINBERG/TRUNKARCHIVE.COM

‘I’M OBSESSED WITH THIS COUNTRY. I WAS REALLY INTO IRISH LITERATURE AND HISTORY WHEN I WAS A KID, AND I LOVED THE POGUES AND U2. I WAS EVEN ACCEPTED INTO TRINITY COLLEGE IN DUBLIN, BUT THEN I GOT THE PART IN HEATHERS SO I COULDN’T GO. LATER, I FOUND OUT THERE WAS A SECRET ADOPTION A FEW GENERATIONS BACK ON MY MUM’S SIDE, AND THAT I AM IN FACT IRISH. WHEN I FINALLY WENT THERE, IT FELT LIKE GOING HOME. AND – THIS WILL PROBABLY SOUND VERY SILLY – AS AN AMERICAN, I PRETTY MUCH FELL IN LOVE WITH ANY GUY WHO SPOKE TO ME, JUST BECAUSE OF THE ACCENT.’


SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS

ETHAN HAWKE ON AUSTIN

‘AUSTIN IS MY FAVOURITE CITY IN THE WHOLE WORLD. I WAS BORN HERE, MY FRIENDSHIP WITH [WRITER AND DIRECTOR] RICHARD LINKLATER STARTED HERE, AND IT’S WHERE WE’VE MADE SOME OF THE BEST MOVIES OF MY LIFE. IT’S KIND OF A MAGICAL CITY BECAUSE IT HAS ALL THE GREATNESS OF TEXAS WITHOUT THE SMALL-MINDEDNESS THAT CAN SOMETIMES ACCOMPANY IT. AND IT’S ALSO A ROCK’N’ ROLL CAPITAL. IF YOU’RE SERIOUS ABOUT ROCK’N’ROLL, YOU GOTTA GO TO AUSTIN.’

50 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


ANYA HINDMARCH ON SEOUL ‘It’s such a huge, exhilarating, hyper-modern city, I find it hard not to get caught up in the energy. Seoul has developed so quickly, but it’s also a place packed with contrasts – a thirst for the latest technology exists alongside wearing the traditional hanbok dress. Everyone is so cool, trend-conscious and sophisticated. They have amazing skin, too. All my friends now have face masks infused with snail mucin or printed with animals as I came back with a suitcase full! At Dongdaemun market, you can find anything from beautiful fabrics to a kitchen sink. There’s a wonderfully curated selection of fashion brands at Boon The Shop – Seoul’s answer to Dover Street Market. For classic food, go to the Samcheonggak resort in Seongbuk-dong, set in a mountainside forest behind the presidential residence. The buildings are a modern take on the Korean yojeong where female dancers, called gisaeng, would entertain male diners. The history is as fascinating as the food is delicious.’

PHOTOGRAPHS: NICOLAS GUERIN/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES; SHANE MCCAULEY/KINTZING.COM; ANDREW WOFFINDEN ETHAN HAWKE WROTE AND DIRECTED ‘BLAZE’, A BIOPIC OF THE LATE MUSICIAN BLAZE FOLEY, DUE FOR RELEASE IN 2018

HARVEY KEITEL ON CONEY ISLAND ‘THIS WAS OUR PLAYGROUND GROWING UP. WE WERE HERE EVERY DAY GETTING HOT DOGS AND TRYING TO SNEAK INTO STEEPLECHASES BECAUSE WE COULDN’T AFFORD THEM. I WAS THROWN OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL FOR PLAYING TRUANT TOO MANY TIMES. THEY HAD NO REGARD FOR THE ART I WAS TRYING TO PERFECT, OF SNEAKING INTO PLACES. A FEW YEARS AGO I WAS ASKED TO BE THE KING OF THE CONEY ISLAND MERMAID PARADE AND I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE HONOURED. I SAW THE FACES OF PEOPLE I GREW UP WITH; IT WAS REAL HOMETOWN STUFF AND SO MUCH FUN. AFTER THAT, I TOLD LOU REED WE HAD TO GO BACK TOGETHER AND WE DID.’


SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS

MARC NEWSON ON JAPAN

KAREN ELSON ON ICELAND ‘Every time I land in Iceland I breathe the biggest sigh of relief. A couple of years ago, I took my twin sister and my children and we travelled all around, driving off-road. We had an excellent tour guide called Jonas, who was the coolest guy on the planet. It was midnight, the kids were still up, running around this beach where a waterfall poured over the cliff into the ocean, and he made a fire and whipped out a picnic basket with salami, cheese and whisky. It was the most beautiful moment, sitting by the flames, watching my children have the time of their lives. Also, the feminist Pirate Party is popular, so it’s a progressive country – the one place hope may still exist.’

GOLDEN TICKET ‘SWIMMING AT BELMOND LA RESIDENCE PHOU VAO, LAOS, IN A TROPICAL STORM – A REAL SOMERSET MAUGHAM MOMENT’ RICK JORDAN, CHIEF SUB-EDITOR 52 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: OLIVIA BEE/TRUNKARCHIVE.COM; JONATHAN ROOT/EYEVINE

‘I lived in Japan for a brief period and still go once a year. I’ve travelled a lot in the countryside and am a huge fan of onsen, the traditional hot springs – of which there are thousands. I’ve probably been to a few hundred. To me, Japan’s draw is its real sense of calm and sophistication. I don’t mean it in a pretentious, tortured kind of way. I mean in an elegant way. When I first went there as a teenager I felt as if I had arrived in a place that understood me. We say that what I do is about detail. But detail is just scale. People believe the Japanese are obsessed with detail. They’re not – they just think on a smaller scale. And that’s the way I think. It runs through every molecule of what I do.’


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SOLID-GOLD TRAVELLERS

KATE MOSS ON THE MALDIVES

CILLIAN MURPHY ON COUNTY KERRY ‘A pint of Guinness on a sunny day in Galway is one of the greatest things in the world. But I’ve probably been happiest in west Kerry. I’ve been going since I was a small boy; my parents took me there and I take my kids now. I love going out to the Blasket islands, which haven’t been populated since the 1950s. No shops, no electricity, nothing, just seals on the beach. It makes you feel pure, cleans out your soul, cleans out the cobwebs in your brain. There’s nothing quite like the view, with the sun setting or rising. The thing about Kerry is it has a micro-climate, so your iPhone weather app is no use whatsoever. Totally inaccurate. You just watch the weather approach from the Atlantic and see the rain coming. It’s quite elemental, and I’m very attracted to that.’

GOLDEN TICKET ‘WALKING HAND-IN-HAND WITH MY LOVE THROUGH FIELDS OF WILD FLOWERS NEAR THE SWISS-AUSTRIAN BORDER’ STEVE KING, EDITOR-AT-LARGE 54 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: VASSILIS KARIDIS/KINTZING.COM; MARIO SORRENTI/ARTPARTNER

‘I LOVE THE BEAUTY, THE PEACEFULNESS, THE WILDLIFE, THE PRIVACY – BUT MOSTLY THE WATER; IT’S LIKE NOWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. SOME PEOPLE WORRY THERE IS NOTHING TO DO IN THE MALDIVES, BUT I NEVER HAVE A DULL MOMENT: SNORKELLING WITH TURTLES AND SHARKS, FISHING, A BOAT TRIP AT SUNSET. UNDER, OVER AND ON THAT ASTONISHING WATER, THERE’S SO MUCH GOING ON.’


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ANTALYA / TURKEY

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WAY OF LIFE

SAINTS AND SINNERS

THE VILLAS OF 17TH-CENTURY ITALY, WITH THEIR BAROQUE LINES OF BEAUTY, SET NEW STANDARDS IN ARCHITECTURE. THIS ONE IN TUSCANY, WHICH HAS WITNESSED BOTH RELIGIOUS CONTEMPLATION AND THE WILDEST OF PARTIES, CAN BE TAKEN OVER TO CREATE HISTORY OF YOUR OWN

PHOTOGRAPHS: JONATHAN BECKER; DAVID CHOLMONDELEY; SHAUN JAMES COX; SPELA KASAL; PHILIP SINDEN

BY RAFFAELLA BARKER

60 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


Clockwise from top: Marina Lambton (centre), the wife of Villa Cetinale’s owner, with friends Sophia Hesketh and Fran Hickman; Kate Moss at the villa in 1998; the library; lunch in the grounds. Opposite, clockwise from top left: the façade; one of the 13 bedrooms; Marina and her daughter Stella


PHOTOGRAPHS: MILTON GENDEL; FRANCOIS HALARD; SHAUN JAMES COX; PHILIP SINDEN

WAY OF LIFE

THE TUSCAN LANDSCAPE HAS BARELY CHANGED over the past 500 years; the countryside punctuated by small farms and villages of sun-faded terracotta brick and plaster, and between them the villas of the old Sienese aristocracy, the former homes of popes and cardinals, the seats of long-ago power. One of the most beautiful of them all is Villa Cetinale, built in 1680 by Cardinal Flavio Chigi for his august relation Pope Alexander VII. This Roman baroque mansion lies hidden, like an enchanted castle, up a long dusty road lined with paintbrush-tipped cypress trees. The first clue is a jumble of blush-pink rooftops and barns, then a vista of silver olive groves reveals graceful statues, lemon trees and the formality of box hedging and parterres close to the house. Iron gates clang open and the villa appears, Italian opulence seeped in every stone and archway, cloaked with wisteria and jasmine, roses and plumbago. Far above it, presiding like an eagle’s eyrie on a hilltop reached by the 300 steps of the Santa Scala, stands the Romitorio, a tiny monastery built to process the sins and absolutions of the cardinals who once lived here. The Chigi family owned Cetinale for generations until 1978, and ensured its past was lit with scandal and uproarious hunting parties. The parade didn’t stop when the notoriously witty and outrageous Antony Lambton, the 6th Earl of Durham, and his partner Claire Ward bought the house and began restoring its faded grandeur. The parties held in the villa were wild in Lord Lambton’s heyday, attracting rock stars, politicians, philosophers and royalty – Princess Margaret was a regular visitor. Lambton had exiled himself here from a prominent political career after a sex-scandal sting involving a threesome in a brothel and a paparazzi snapper in the wardrobe. Like Lord Byron before him, the removal to Italy only enhanced his appeal: the villa became a summer hangout for his five daughters and their friends. Mick Jagger, Rupert Everett and Sophie Dahl stayed at the villa and partied with neighbours Matthew and Maro Spender and Mark Getty, while various Guinnesses, NaylorLeylands and Somersets alighted like beautiful exotic birds. As he presided over huge dinners, Lambton’s conversation was by turn impeccably polite and full of utterly acerbic anecdotes. His mind had the precision and ruthlessness of a rapier, and yet his thirst for good company and his air of nonchalant devilry kept the house alive with guests and intrigues, as Tuscany

rolled out season after season of sunshine, the Palio di Siena race, the Chianti wine harvest and the mythology of the English Lord at Cetinale. The parties didn’t stop until Lord Lambton became ill and died in the winter of 2006. As in all the best stories, however, the pages keep turning. Lord Lambton was succeeded by his son Ned. His young family have taken the reins, and now children’s laughter fills the house and gardens. As Villa Cetinale heads towards its 340th birthday, there are still gatherings, but they’re a little different to those of the 6th Earl. At the heart of this new chapter is Marina Lambton, wife of Ned and mother of his youngest children, six-year-old Stella, Claud, aged two, and a newly arrived baby. She and Ned have revived and restored the grand old house. ‘I first came here when I was 14,’ says Marina. ‘I was staying with my godfather Jasper Guinness at his villa nearby and we came over to Cetinale for lunch. I remember thinking how handsome and cool Ned was, and Tony, his father, was charming but with such a wicked sense of humour.’ Marina recalls the house then being full of dogs and dog hair, and has a pragmatic take on why it is thoroughly appealing to the fashionable mob who come here now: ‘Well, the roof doesn’t leak anymore, and there are many more bathrooms.’ Interior designer Camilla Guinness, Jasper’s wife, has, in Marina’s words, ‘made it incredibly luxurious’. Camilla, a family friend of the Lambtons, has the ability to meld contemporary and ancient, imposing and intimate, bringing comfort and understated ease to every room. Her remit from Marina was typically upbeat. ‘I just said, “you have great taste, so get on with it,”’ says Marina. She revived much of the brilliance that Antony Lambton and Clare had injected into the house, restoring textiles and furniture, and adding Marina’s own taste into the mix with huge new bathtubs, magnificent four-poster beds and exquisite linens hung at the windows. The house still has all the bones of its splendid past, from the Chigi coat of arms above the fireplace to the great marble-top side tables which Antony brought with him from England. Marina, who likes to spend her days at Cetinale ‘breathing the clean air and communing with nature’, brings great flair to the place herself. It is she who insists that Czech and Speake’s No 88 incense sticks are lit for evenings in the glorious first-floor drawing room. At cocktail time, she comes down dressed in Gucci or

Above, Marina and Ned Lambton, the current Earl of Durham and owner of Villa Cetinale, with Marina’s sister Rose Hanbury and friends Fran Hickman and Sophia Hesketh. Opposite, clockwise from top left: balustrade at the villa; Princess Margaret with Antony Lambton, who bought the villa in the 1970s and exiled himself here; the Silver bedroom; a bathroom; a 17th-century bust of a scholar at the villa; view from the monastery January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 63


Saloni, the fire crackles with olive-wood logs and dinner, prepared by Cetinale’s chef Alessandro Berrettini, is a feast of Tuscan food. ‘He has never served a bad dish,’ says Marina. She and Ned entertain here often throughout the year, their guests a mix of friends and family, plus plenty of children to play with Stella and Claud. The party might include make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury (who celebrated her husband’s 50th birthday with a huge bash at the villa this summer), Marina’s sister Rose and her husband David Cholmondeley, Kate Moss, Timothy and Emma Hanbury, the film director David Hayman and his wife, interior designer Rose Uniacke: the visitors’ book is a fascinating roll call of creative names. It even records a visit from the odd former prime minister (there is a picture of Tony Blair looking extremely pleased with himself, flanked by Rose and Marina both in pink bikinis). Family generations may do things differently as far as dressing the house goes, but the cast of characters who play here fits a pattern set back in the 1970s by Ned’s father. ‘Wild spirits live within the trees and are carved into the rocks,’ Marina says, her eyes alight with mischief. She loves the contrast of the boar-filled forests with the aristocratic atmosphere of the manicured gardens and handsomely ordered house. Her favourite part of the grounds is the Theibaid, a wood and its

lake. ‘It’s a lovely place for a picnic.’ The mossy paths reveal figures of stone animals, first a tortoise and a snake, then a dragon who lurks at the fringe of dense woodland. They’ve been here since the 17th century, when Siena’s famous Palio race moved to the villa’s grounds while riots overwhelmed the city. The best view though is from the monastery, the Romitorio. ‘It’s another stunning picnic spot; I sometimes drive there in my Fiat Panda,’ Marina says. ‘It’s too hot to walk up all those steps.’ Marina has a natural affinity with the estate, and she and Ned have restored Cetinale with great care. Nothing of the atmosphere or the layers of history has been lost, and yet they live here with light and ease in place of the turmoil of previous generations. Her children are learning Italian and she has begun producing Cetinale olive oil. ‘We make about 1,500 bottles a year. It’s delicious and has a peppery kick to it.’ This, and the rental of the house when the family is not in residence, is shaping Cetinale for the future, a modern epilogue to an epic fairy-tale. Villa Cetinale, which sleeps up to 27, costs from about £20,260 for a one-week stay (other houses on the estate can also be rented). To book, visit villacetinale.com

Clockwise from top left: Marina with her daughter Stella and her mother, Emma Hanbury; cypress trees around the villa; a reception area; the Blue room GOLDEN TICKET ‘ROAD-TRIPPING AROUND IRAN WITH MY FAMILY. LOCALS KEPT STOPPING TO WELCOME US TO THEIR COUNTRY’ GRAINNE MCBRIDE, DEPUTY CHIEF SUB-EDITOR 64 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: SHAUN JAMES COX; PHILIP SINDEN

WAY OF LIFE


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THE EPIC ENCOUNTER PEOPLE-WATCHING IN EXTREMES WITH A TRULY FAR-OUT PHOTOGRAPHER. BY RICK JORDAN There’s a scene in Fitzcarraldo, Werner Herzog’s crazy-brilliant film about an Irish adventurer who builds an opera house in the Amazon, where the main character watches his steam-boat slowly, everso-slowly being hoisted up a mountain. ‘That slope may look insignificant, but it’s going to be my destiny!’ he declares. Photographer Jimmy Nelson has climbed many not insignificant slopes in pursuit of other people’s destinies, and in doing so has joined the ranks of names such as Sebastião Salgado and Steve McCurry. And you can trace his style back to Edward Sheriff Curtis, an American photographer who spent months living with Native American tribes in the early part of the last century, recording their traditions as they were being eroded by Western settlers. ‘I’m making romantic, interpretative art with a message,’ says Nelson, who visited 35 remote communities for his first book, Before They Pass Away – usually at the worst time of year, for the sheer drama of it, and lugging a heavy, 50-year-old Leica plate camera. Gauchos in Ecuador, the Himba people of Namibia, the Kazakhs in Siberia, so cold he left skin on the camera. Into the white, into the wild, but never into the inhospitable. ‘Providing you’re humble, vulnerable and patient, I was met everywhere with extraordinary warmth,’ he says. His images are as startling as the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, as bright-of-fabric as a Raphael, as stylised as Lady Gaga. ‘Come to me at your most celebrated,’ he asks his subjects. Stitched into the weave of each image are the days spent travelling to reach every

PHOTOGRAPHS: JIMMY NELSON

HIS IMAGES ARE AS BRIGHT-OF-FABRIC AS A RAPHAEL, AS STYLISED AS LADY GAGA. ‘COME TO ME AT YOUR MOST CELEBRATED,’ HE ASKS HIS SUBJECTS

group, and the weeks spent in their company before picking up a camera. Now Nelson is on the move again for a sequel, Before They// Part II, returning to some groups to gauge their reaction to the pictures and meeting new ones – in Chad, Angola, Australia, Bhutan. This time he’s accompanied by an assistant who films every encounter through a virtual-reality lens: the book will come with an app, so readers can hear his conversations, and see the landscapes he’s immersed in. That Mongolian boy in the picture with a goat has just scaled a cliff to bring back his own eagle and become a hunter, a man. The three figures standing on the rock are part of Papua New Guinea’s Kundu people. Nelson thinks they’ve never been photographed before. The child wearing strings of shells is from the Tufi region in the south-east of the same country, his headdress inspired by birds of paradise. ‘After I photographed him, I made a landscape picture of his tribe’s canoes near a waterfall and ended up swimming out, trying to arrange them. They started screaming that the water was full of saltwater crocodiles. It’s wild, but I feel safer and more accepted there. You’re so far off the map that once you connect with these people you’re really included.’ Jimmy Nelson’s new book, ‘Before They//Part II’, is out later in 2018. His photographs can currently be seen at The Crossover Showroom in Hamburg, MUCA in Munich, Aaart Foundation in Kirchberg, Austria, and the Willas Contemporary in Oslo. jimmynelson.com January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 69


WHERE TO STAY

SMART UPDATES ON OUTSTANDING PLACES EDITED BY PETER BROWNE

THE HOTEL OPENING OF THE MONTH

ENCHANTED WOOD

AMAN HAS A REPUTATION FOR BEING ONE OF THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL HOTEL GROUPS AROUND. SO HOW DOES A THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD CHINESE FOREST FIT INTO ITS LATEST PROJECT? BY STEVE KING

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 71


WHERE TO STAY

‘A culture is no better than its woods,’ WH Auden declared. I am inclined to agree, though I wonder whether, in his flush of pleasure at having produced such a tidy epigram, the treehugging poet was giving short shrift to those cultures that, through no fault of their own, have had to make do without an abundance of greenery. China, of course, still has plenty, if not as much as it used to. In 2002 the government began work on a dam in Jiangxi Province, a part of the country with forests of camphor trees, some more than a thousand years old. With the construction of the dam, these would be lost. A young businessman named Ma Dadong, born in Jiangxi but living in Shanghai, returned home at about this time to visit his parents. Though only 28, he had already made a fortune in real estate. Distressed by what he saw, and the prospect of what was to come, he struck a deal with the government and

the art, architecture and material culture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and of the majesty of trees. It is also a ravishing 21stcentury hotel. Australian architect Kerry Hill has done a fine job of creating contemporary spaces that complement the old buildings without overwhelming them. His sheer, monochrome surfaces and clean, geometric lines are severe but harmonious – Mingimalism, you might call it. Apart from size, there is little variation among the 13 villas and 12 residences, which combine elements of old and new in precisely the manner of Mr Ma’s experimental house. The 24 suites, the restaurants and bars and spa, which were unfinished at the time of my visit, are all new. The nerve centre of Amanyangyun is Nan Shufang, the largest of the reconstructed buildings, named after a library in the Forbidden City. (The name of the hotel is likewise taken from an inscription in the City and means ‘the nurturing of clouds’.) Originally a school, Nan Shufang is a school once more,

THE ORIGINAL HOUSE WAS FILLED WITH PRECIOUS OBJECTS, AND WHAT BEGAN AS A TIME CAPSULE BECAME SOMETHING MORE, A JEWEL BOX, EXQUISITE YET PRACTICAL made arrangements to remove 10,000 of the trees, along with 50 Ming and Qing Dynasty village buildings, that would otherwise vanish underwater. These were uprooted or disassembled and transported more than 700km to the outskirts of Shanghai. Mr Ma was not sure what he would do with his curious acquisitions. He just knew that he did not want them to disappear beneath a vast artificial lake. In 2005, as an experiment, he enlisted a team of specialists to reassemble one of the houses, stone by stone, piece by piece. Electricity, plumbing, underfloor heating and so on were installed beneath the internal courtyards, the stone carvings and reliefs, the soaring pillars and mighty beams. Mr Ma filled the house with furniture, antiques and precious objects. What began as a time capsule became something more, a jewel box, exquisite yet practical. Outside were ornamental ponds, paved pathways, a small lake, dense wooded borders. In 2009 he hosted a dinner at his experimental house. Among the guests was Adrian Zecha, the hotelier whose Aman portfolio had rewritten the high-end hospitality rulebook. What, Mr Ma asked Mr Zecha, do you think I should I do with these treasures? Disperse them? Make of them a museum or public monument? No, no, Mr Ma, said Mr Zecha. You must make of them an Aman. Which is exactly what he has done, on land adjacent to that first experimental house. (During the interval, the Aman brand changed hands; it was sold to Vladislav Doronin, a Russian billionaire, in 2014.) The result, Amanyangyun, is a celebration of

where hotel guests can immerse themselves in the pastimes of the Chinese literati. There are classes in tea making, calligraphy, painting, music and incense appreciation. If this sounds simple, even predictable, perhaps it is. But it is also a serious attempt to remind guests of the tremendous richness of China’s imperial culture. And I defy anyone to step into that beautiful, immaculate space and breathe in the perfume of centuries-old timber and not fail to be moved. I was told that Mr Ma is a shy, private, modest man. I had looked forward to speaking with him during my visit to Amanyangyun but our meeting was cancelled. I saw him, briefly, leaving his experimental house, a slight, boyish figure in ordinary clothes pursued by a frantic toy poodle called Mia. Well, I thought, as Mia’s barks receded, a pity we could not exchange a few words, but good on you. Meanwhile, there is a lovely moment in some video footage shot when work on the dam in Jiangxi was under way. ‘Farewell, great spirit,’ a villager says solemnly to one of the magnificent old trees that Mr Ma had rescued and which now dignify the grounds of his extraordinary new hotel.

Ampersand Travel (+44 20 7819 9770; ampersandtravel.com) offers a five-night stay at Amanyangyun from £5,325 per person, based on two sharing on a B&B basis, including return international flights and transfers, and selected cultural activities

GOLDEN TICKET ‘A PRIVATE HELICOPTER FLIGHT OVER THE JUNEAU ICEFIELD IN ALASKA, LANDING ON TOP OF THE INCREDIBLE TAKU GLACIER’ KARIN MUELLER, PICTURE EDITOR

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 73


WHERE TO STAY

BED-HOPPING WITH JOE WRIGHT THE BAFTA-WINNING DIRECTOR OF ‘ATONEMENT’ AND ‘PRIDE AND PREJUDICE’ TALKS TO FRANCESCA BABB CUIXMALA MEXICO ‘Alice Temperley introduced me to this hotel. Tom Hollander and I went for a gentleman’s trip here – I have some images of him I’ll never forget… There is a private beach and a fishing boat so you can go out to catch fresh tuna, and a sushi chef will prepare it for you on board. Those were the days!’ cuixmala. com. Doubles from about £495

‘I WENT FOR A GENTLEMEN’S TRIP TO MEXICO WITH TOM HOLLANDER – I HAVE IMAGES OF HIM I’LL NEVER FORGET. THOSE WERE THE DAYS’

THE PEACOCK DERBYSHIRE ‘This warming old coaching inn is where we stayed while filming Pride and Prejudice. My designer and I still do detours when we’re location-scouting just so we can visit. It has the cosiest bar in England, with thick, solid stone walls, lovely food and views of the beautiful countryside.’ thepeacock atrowsley.com. Doubles from £205 L’HOTEL PARIS ‘Oh, this place is heaven! It was built in 1828, and is where Oscar Wilde took up residence and famously claimed to be living above his means. Everyone has stayed here – Salvador Dalí, Princess Grace, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Jim Morrison, Serge Gainsbourg – so it has a wonderful sense of history. Then there is the hammam; you’re given a key and nobody else is allowed in. It’s the sexiest hotel in Europe, so when my wife and I want to get away without the kids, this is where we go.’ l-hotel.com. Doubles from about £310

CHATEAU MARMONT LOS ANGELES ‘The Chateau has seen me through many a year and many a time. It’s where I worked on a lot of Atonement. I once lived here for six months, although I had to take Marmite for my scrambled eggs – the staff think I’m a nutcase. But there’s something homely about it; if I’m in a hotel and it’s too shiny and polished, it makes me feel grubby.’ chateau marmont.com. Doubles from about £340 Joe Wright is the director of ‘Darkest Hour’, which is out in cinemas on 12 January 2018

GOLDEN TICKET ‘READING PAUL AUSTER POOLSIDE AT THE ENCHANTMENT AFTER A HIKE AROUND THE RED ROCKS OF SEDONA, ARIZONA’ ALBERT READ, MANAGING DIRECTOR 74 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: MICHAEL GILBREATH; DAVID SANDISON/EYEVINE; TIM STREET-PORTER; ROBERTA VALERIO

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL FIRENZE ‘Hmmm… I don’t know if there is a non-gross way of putting it, but this is where my wife and I conceived our first child, and I’ll always love it for that. Plus, there are amazing frescos on the ceilings, a luxurious Italian atmosphere and wonderful gardens and a pool.’ fourseasons.com/florence. Doubles from about £320


Smile all the stay.

Welcome to the new LUX* Grand Gaube, a totally reimagined retro-chic tropical retreat in Mauritius. Launching December 2017. What’s Next? MAURITIUS

RÉUNION

MALDIVES

CHINA

TURKEY

VIETNAM

U.A.E

I TA LY


WHERE TO STAY BEST FOR HARBOUR HIJINKS E THE IDLE ROCKS, CORNWALL ‘A place to be castaway in for days, and worth every jot of effort getting here. Set on dinky St Mawes harbour, it’s so close to the water you could cast a line out of your window; but ask Sid Williams the concierge to fix a fishing trip on a vintage boat instead, and chef Guy Owens to cook whatever your crew hauls in.’ Rick Jordan, Chief Sub-Editor

BEST FOR A RETREAT PENALLY ABBEY, PEMBROKESHIRE

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‘Not in the limb-bending, juiceimbibing sense, but for its chilled, private atmosphere, the sort engendered at a gentlemen’s club. The house was designed in a style known as Strawberry Hill Gothic. Drawing room, restaurant and bar are conspiratorially dark with elegant windows and pointy doorways. Bedrooms tend to be restful with unobtrusive good taste. Walk into Tenby for neighbourhood pizza bars and ice-cream parlours.’ Sally Shalam, Contributing Editor

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BEST FOR LATE NIGHTS ZETTER TOWNHOUSE, LONDON

‘The bar is the acme of English eccentricity: Georgian grandeur, insane taxidermy, finger-painted walls. The rooms are similarly eclectic, with beds draped in vintage Union flags. I stayed here on my wedding night and everyone cheered when we rocked in at 1am for cocktails, my wife still in her bridal veil.’ David Annand, Men’s Editor

THE WEEKENDERS OUR EDITORS PICK THEIR TOP PLACES TO BED DOWN IN BRITAIN

E

BEST FOR FOODIES THE BLACK SWAN AT OLDSTEAD, YORKSHIRE

E

BEST FOR SWITCHING OFF THE PIG AT COMBE, DEVON

‘You know there has to be something very special at the end of that long, long drive. The house is stunning: a grand Elizabethan building with a fun, quirky edge. Get here early on a Friday night and sink into a deep sofa in the Great Hall. Stay in one of the stable yard rooms and have a dip in the freestanding bath at the end of your bed. It couldn’t be more relaxed.’ Karin Mueller, Picture Editor

76 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

‘A family affair, and a restaurant first and foremost. Head chef Tommy Banks won it a Michelin star when he was 23, and his dad tends the kitchen garden. Somehow the 12-course tasting menu (beetroot slow-cooked in beef fat; an exploding ox-cheek dumpling) moves at a light-footed pace. The nine simple bedrooms, dotted around the village, are a real bonus.’ Tabitha Joyce, Flavour Hunter Editor

BEST FOR GOOD TIMES E ARTIST RESIDENCE OXFORDSHIRE ‘What a funky blast in the country this is: cheeky modern art, hipster wallpaper, and seriously long, boozy Sunday lunches. And when you make it down for breakfast (Scotch pancakes American-style with smoky bacon and maple syrup), Andy Doig’s eye-popping neon sign knows exactly how much fun you had: “What did I do last night?” it asks.’ Fiona Kerr, Features Editor

BEST FOR AN OLD-SCHOOL ESCAPE LUCKNAM PARK, WILTSHIRE ‘Deliciously, reassuringly old-fashioned. The main house, all honeyed Bath stone, could not be prettier with its avenue of trees and exquisite gardens. Inside are roaring fires, panelled libraries and moody oil paintings plus an exquisite, can’t-believe-you-haven’t-heard-of-it, Michelinstarred restaurant. It’s terrifically grown-up but not at all stuffy.’ Issy von Simson, Deputy Editor


BEST FOR FAMILIES BEAVERBROOK, SURREY

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‘The rolling lawns and forest tracks of this country estate are terrific for keeping budding buccaneers entertained. There are treehouse forts to conquer, dens to build and marshmallows to be toasted. Book a room in the Garden House for the tiny dressing gowns and slippers, and first-edition Ladybirds in case you forget to pack The Gruffalo.’ Paula Maynard, Managing Editor

BEST FOR CITY THRILLS SHANGRI-LA HOTEL AT THE SHARD, LONDON ‘It’s like sleeping in a sci-fi movie, or a futurist ideal of London. It’s beyond romantic in the evenings and at dawn – which you inevitably see, because you sleep with the blinds open to get that sense of floating.’ Antonia Quirke, Contributing Editor

BEST FOR COCKTAILS E THE PAINSWICK, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

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BEST BRITISH INSTITUTION CLIVEDEN, BERKSHIRE

‘The cool little sister of country-chic Barnsley House. It’s set in a lovely soft-grey Cotswold village, with a neatly trimmed garden where the barman comes and finds you for a G&T top-up, and really excellent modern-British food. It feels you’ve had a proper treat of a night out even though all you’ve done is walk 20-odd paces from your room.’ Grainne McBride, Deputy Chief Sub-Editor

‘When the world is out of joint, book the corner table in the dining room, order the cheese soufflé, then order another. Afterwards sit by the fire in the library and drink vodka so stiff you grow a moustache. Cliveden is a baby-grand, smart without being precious, full of character and characters, upright but with a fun shine on its shoes.’ Melinda Stevens, Editor

‘The birch-wood four-posters are made up with Volga Linen sheets and cashmere blankets, there’s organic shortbread on the bedside table, and a hotstone massage with therapists from nearby Daylesford will ensure you nod off.’ Katharine Sohn, Editorial Assistant

BEST FOR A DRAM E THE CRAIGELLACHIE HOTEL, MORAY ‘The sort of hotel that feels like an exceptionally comfortable house. The staff are lovely, the food down in The Copper Dog is wonderful – best local ingredients, allowed to shine – and the bar is stocked with pretty much every whisky in the world. Which makes sense, as it’s right in the centre of Speyside.’ Tom Parker Bowles, Contributing Editor

BEST FOR HOLING UP DORMY HOUSE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

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BEST FOR A BLAST OF SEA AIR THE ALBION, RAMSGATE

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PHOTOGRAPHS: RYAN CORDWELL; LEE DOBSON; CHRISTIAN HOGUE; JAMES MERRELL

BEST FOR A LIE-IN THE WILD RABBIT, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

‘A wonderfully restored Regency house that looks directly out towards France over the English Channel. It’s all very informal, as if you’re crashing at someone’s coastal pad, and is handy for exploring this rejuvenated corner of Kent. You can walk to Broadstairs and Margate is only 10 minutes in a taxi.’ Matthew Buck, Photographic Editor

‘The bedrooms are beautiful, the spa is exceptional, there’s quad biking on the nearby farm (completely exhilarating) and you’re just a short distance from the gorgeous village of Broadway. The main house has a number of cosy, small sitting rooms so you can commandeer your own and forget you’re in a hotel altogether.’ Fiona Joseph, Fashion Director

BEST FOR STATELY DIGS THE ROYAL CRESCENT, BATH ‘It’s thrilling to spend the night in Bath’s most sensational landmark, to be here as the setting sun turns the sweep of townhouses rose-gold. It’s like staying in your own period drama with rock-star credentials: the Rolling Stones have taken over the entire place and Johnny Depp had the Garden Villa for three months.’ Laura Fowler, Online Editor


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A PRIVATE GROUP TRAVELLING WITH BROWN + HUDSON, ONE OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF TOUR OPERATORS, EXPLORED PERU’S SACSAYHUAMAN RUINS THEN SPENT THE NIGHT IN A TRANSPARENT POD

80 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


THE SUPER FIXERS

ONCE IT WAS ENOUGH TO HAVE A MEGA-YACHT AND INVITE A BUNCH OF FRIENDS ALONG FOR THE SUMMER. MAYBE A CHALET IN GSTAAD, A VILLA IN MUSTIQUE AND AN ESTATE IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE. TO ALWAYS TURN LEFT. NOW, HOWEVER, THE RICH ARE, WELL, RICHER. THEY’VE SEEN EVERY CONTINENT, ARE DONE WITH FIRST CLASS AND HAVE PUT A DOWN-PAYMENT ON A SPACE FLIGHT. THEY ARE TECH BILLIONAIRES WHO GO ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGS IN EGYPT, PRINCESSES WHO CHASE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS ACROSS THE ARCTIC CIRCLE BY PRIVATE JET, OFFSPRING OF OLIGARCHS WHO CAMP ON A VOLCANO IN BORNEO. BUT THEY’RE NOT DOING IT ALONE. MEET THE NEW BREED OF OPERATORS SUPERCRAFTING REALITY INTO SOMETHING FAR MORE FANTASTICAL... BY GISELA WILLIAMS


THE SUPERFIXERS AFTER A ONE-ON-ONE TEA WITH DESMOND TUTU, BROWN + HUDSON GUESTS LANDED IN A REMOTE GAME RESERVE TO SEE IN NEW YEAR

MAVERICK TRAVEL OUTFIT BASED ON A TRUE STORY ARRANGED FOR LOCAL CHILDREN TO RE-ENACT A KECAK DANCE IN A BALINESE VILLAGE UNTOUCHED BY BOHO BEACH BUMS

Floating through the deep channel of Sognefjord in Norway with family and friends on a small flotilla of vintage yachts, a few children suddenly spot a mermaid sitting on a rock in the distance. The captain changes course towards her but just as one of the boats gets close, she slips into the water and disappears, the shimmer of her tail becoming submerged in the deep. In her wake, however, she leaves behind an urn, inside of which is a treasure map. This is not some hallucination or the opening sequence of a Disney movie. This is the beginning of an incredible journey conjured up by London-based mavericks Based on a True Story.

managers, tech-start-up founders or royalty – the cost for one of these adventures can easily run well into seven figures. Based on a True Story is just one of a quietly growing number of companies who specialise in offering next-level trips for a thrill-seeking subset of ultra-high-net-worth globetrotters for whom overnighting in super-charged pods in the Antarctic (call White Desert) or being dropped by helicopter to surf a remote wave in West Papua (Tropicsurf will hook you up) is no longer enough of a kick. Another of their number is The Key. The man behind it, Antoine Sepulchre, started as a concierge and events planner,

ONE OPERATOR FOCUSES ON CREATING ITINERARIES THAT ARE CRYPTICALLY CALLED ‘TRANSCENDING’ WHICH START AT £100,000 AND CAN GO INTO MILLIONS Part money-no-object travel agent, part immersive-theatre company, this curious outfit was founded in 2006 by Niel Fox, a charismatic Yorkshireman and direct descendant of the last King of Burma, who hitchhiked around the world several times before turning entrepreneur, the ultimate fixer for the turbo traveller. Most of the trips Fox and his team creates are as complex and expensive as the production of a small film, drafting in hundreds of actors to stage pirate battles off the coast of Mallorca, perform as fairies dancing in the mist in Iceland or sabotage Santa Claus in Lapland. No wonder then that most of his clients are fund

setting up elaborate camps at Burning Man festival and building parties in the middle of nowhere – such as in a glass-topped tent in deepest Siberia. Over the last two years, however, The Key has focused on creating itineraries that Sepulchre cryptically calls ‘transcending’ and which frequently start at £100,000 and often cost more than a million. Although details are closely guarded, Sepulchre says, ‘We have led clients on spiritual journeys through the Amazon and created unique healing ceremonies in California.’ But his off-the-record stories confirm that for the hyper-charged high-flyers it’s no longer about where you go on

GOLDEN TICKET ‘SITTING ON MY RUCKSACK BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN NEW ZEALAND, EXPERIENCING SOMETHING CLOSE TO ABSOLUTE FREEDOM’ DAVID ANNAND, MEN’S EDITOR 82 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: BASED ON A TRUE STORY; DANA ALLEN/GREAT PLAINS

FOLLOWING ARCTIC TRAINING WITH THE BASED ON A TRUE STORY TEAM, TRAVELLERS DROVE A PIMPED-UP JEEP ACROSS ICELAND TO A PRIVATE EXPEDITION CAMP ON A GLACIER


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North Island, Seychelles


THE SUPERFIXERS

A SPECIALIST CARPENTER CHISELLED THE INTERIORS FOR THESE TENTS, PITCHED BY TOUR OUTFIT BASED ON A TRUE STORY AMONG THE NOMADIC SAMI PEOPLE FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY FOR A ROUND-THE-WORLD HONEYMOON WITH BASED ON A TRUE STORY, A SHAMAN BLESSED THE MARRIAGE AND SACRIFICED A CHICKEN TO SEE WHAT THE ENTRAILS SAID ABOUT THEIR FUTURE

HOW TO SPOT A THRILLIONAIRE Children of Saudi royalty and Russian oligarchs, Silicon Valley founders or just old-school CEOs untethered by mid-life crisis, the next-gen ultra-high-net-worth traveller (UHNW) can be found stalking a desert festival or dancing in the Mexican jungle at Costa Careyes’ Ondalinda gathering. The alpha of their species, they network with like-minded creatures not in the boardrooms of Manhattan and Mayfair but at Summit’s Power Mountain in Utah or kite-surfing in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Of course, they have at least one Gulfstream jet on standby (as well as a nutritionist, spiritual guru and divemaster on call), ready to whip them over to Uluwatu or pop down to Trancoso. Although naturally land-based animals, they are rarely off a plane or yacht, migrating from Tulum for New Year to Niseko for the powder, squeezing in a few quick stops at their villa in Ibiza, a private island off Nicaragua and at a pop-up camp in Namibia. The species’ diet is dictated by the latest fashionable regime – macrobiotic, paleo, intermittent fasting – sprinkled with yak butter, cacao nibs or Moon Juice’s Brain Dust. The transformational drug of choice has always been ayahuasca, experienced preferably with a shaman in the rainforests of Peru (although often actually taken at a dinner party in LA) but, keen to keep the competitive edge, some are now experimenting with micro-dosing LSD to increase productivity. A master of scheduling – their crack squad of assistants insist upon it – they’ve already booked their spot at Alcor Life Extension Foundation to be frozen after death. That is if they can’t actually live forever after dabbling with young blood transfusions from Ambrosia and launching their new biohacking start-up. GW

PHOTOGRAPHS: BASED ON A TRUE STORY

your travels, it’s where your travels take you. Why merely charter a superyacht in the Caribbean when you can change your religion on a mountaintop in Nepal? Philippe Brown, the founder of Brown + Hudson, another tech-jetter favourite, agrees, ‘Our thing has never been destinations. We ask our clients, ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What are you looking for?’ We create trips all about the feeling you want to have.’ That might mean organising a connecting flight on a MiG-29 fighter jet or literally planning what they call a Journey with No Destination where the client doesn’t know until the last minute where they are heading. But trends in these kinds of fantastical trips are, in some ways, more influenced by technology than budgets, adds Brown. ‘Look at the way virtual reality and video games have developed. The world, as it is, is no longer enough. We need to make actual reality more exciting.’ Another firm doing just that is the Athens-based Kudos Life Experiences. In partnership with Swiss-watch company Hublot, it has just launched an adventure called the OneLife Game, in which travellers are sent on a guided mission on the pretext of uncovering the secrets of the Antikythera Mechanism, a mysterious and extraordinary real-life artefact that dates to 100bc, which was discovered in a shipwreck in the early 1900s. This Choose Your Own Adventure-like quest, which crisscrosses Greece by yacht and helicopter, was inspired by the Crystal-Maze-style phenomenon. ‘Watching my children having fun solving clues in an escape room in Athens made me think, ‘What if I organised a similar experience but the room was all of Greece?’ says Maria Gregoriou, the managing partner of Kudos. Kudos can also, given enough budget, transport people back in time: acting out the myth of Chiron the centaur at Mount Pelion or creating a treasure hunt through the Cyclades for three families, each on their own yacht, based on the adventures of Odysseus. ‘We are not just guiding someone from A to B,’ she says. ‘We are evoking a sense of wonder.’ Because, for a price, anything is possible.

GOLDEN TICKET ‘FLOATING IN A VILLA POOL IN PERUGIA AND HEARING NOTHING BUT SILENCE FROM THE HILLS ALL AROUND’ MOLLY MCLACHLAN, ADVERTISING COORDINATOR 84 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


TR AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S

BY APPOINTMENT

TO THE STARS Molton Brown’s evocative and carefully crafted selection of fragrances is popping up in luxury hotels globally

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herever your journey takes you, whether you are retreating from the vibrant bustle of far flung destinations, the romance of continental Europe or from the stoic charm of London to the legendary Jumeirah Carlton Tower, you’ll be able to unwind with the help of one of England’s most loved brands. Since 1973, Molton Brown has been sourcing rare ingredients from around the world to blend expertly into sumptuous fragrances perfect for bath, body and home. Its exquisite bath and shower gels, body lotions and home fragrances were soon to be found in the bathrooms of the chicest homes and super yachts, so it didn’t take long before the most glamorous hotels recognised the potential.

Molton Brown’s own journey has been an impressive one, but it has remained true to its roots and still produces all of its products in England while constantly innovating and discovering special new ingredients. Its dedication to quality and craftsmanship has also been noted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who awarded Molton Brown a Royal Warrant for supply of toiletries to the royal household and it’s hard to imagine a more prestigious or well-deserved seal of approval.

Molton Brown was one of the first beauty brands to offer luxury amenities to hotels more than 25 years ago, and it was an instant success. It began with Orange & Bergamot in London before expanding in range and location as hotels quickly realised how important quality fragrance was to their guests. Guests, too, were delighted that they could recreate memories of their travels at home and a natural synergy began.

Clockwise from top: Molton Brown luxury products; The Jumeirah Carlton Tower Peak Health Club & Spa and suite; Art Ovation Hotel, Sarasota; Orange & Bergamot Body Lotion and Body Wash

The latest addition to its firmament is the soonto-be-opened Art Ovation Hotel in Sarasota and, with the hotel’s focus on creative innovation, Molton Brown products were a perfect fit.

Discover its luxury collections in Molton Brown stores, in luxury hotels, at selected airports and at moltonbrown.com


TR AV E L L E R PARTN E RS HIPS

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s you arrive at Lanserhof Tegernsee, the location sets the tone; the soothing buildings designed by renowned architect Christoph Ingenhoven sprawl over 220,000 sq ft and are arranged on a plateau high above Lake Tegernsee. It is surrounded by an 18-hole golf course and, after that, picturesque forest, crystal-clear streams and fresh air. However, it is not just the positioning of it that has been carefully thought through for maximum impact; the design itself is reminiscent of a monastery with its sleek, straight lines. The rooms are generous and the ceilings are high while vast windows allow for breathtaking views. The palette is sombre in gentle whites and finished in larch wood to calm the mind. The aesthetics’ immediate affect is offset by its comprehensive medical facilities and state-of-theart approach to wellness without compromising on luxury.

There are 16 suites and 72 double rooms and each one comes with famously comfortable beds and a terrace-balcony, too. Wi-fi is available at the retreat, but you are encouraged to opt for a digital detox to prevent the build-up of electrosmog in your room. With the press of a button at night, you can also power down everything and enjoy a healthy sleep. After you have settled in there is an initial detoxification, purification and deacidification programme. This pioneering LANS Med Concept came from the insights of Dr F X Mayr into psychology, psychoneuroimmunology and advanced modern medicine. The theory is that by cleansing yourself, you will allow your body to regenerate and self-heal resulting in health, beauty, vitality and mental spirit. It is a method that Lanserhof has used for the last 30 years to cure chronic diseases and ailments or simply to avoid them.

A FINE

BALANCE If you are looking for more harmony in your life and to achieve your full potential, the Lanserhof Tegernsee has a wealth of expertise to help you


This holistic approach to fight disease and promote health involves a large team of doctors, therapists, sport scientists and coaches – each one an expert in their field. Empathy and affinity are cornerstones for the centre and everything is catered to you specifically. Individually curated exercise therapy sessions are complemented with the LANS Energy Cuisine concept to make you feel light and awakened again. The food is delicious, easily digestible and will satisfy the body’s need for minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and trace elements, drawing heavily from contemporary research into nutrition as well as philosophies from around the world. Meals are freshly prepared with seasonal, organic produce and biophotonic meat, while cooking lessons ensure that you can take this knowledge home. There is also a vast array of therapies to choose from and impressive sports facilities to reinforce your cure. Lanserhof ’s large outdoor pool is

open all year round and filled with detoxifying sea water. Moreover, its underwater music is chosen specifically to further relax you. Physiotherapists and sports scientists will devise a personal programme, which is tailored to your unique requirements, and will familiarise you with new training methods to improve your life. There is also a mountain bike station to explore the beautiful scenery. The ideal amount of time to spend here for the cure is three weeks as this will complement your body’s biological rhythm. The LANS Med Concept has been designed to last for one week, so anytime time spent beyond then should be considered a gift to yourself.

Reader Offer

Stay for seven nights in a double room including LANS Med Basic from €3,932 per person. For further information please visit lanserhof.com/en or call +49 8022 18800


SNAPSHOT

the opulent revival

PHOTOGRAPHS: CHRIS CALDICOTT; TIM EVAN-COOK; BENOIT LINERO; FRANCISCO NOGUEIRA; BILL PHELPS; ROBERTA VALERIO; ANDREAS VON EINSIEDEL

LAVISH INTERIORS ARE STRIKING A CHORD IN HOTELS AND BEYOND Top row, from left: the Grand Canal-side palazzo housing Aman’s Venice hotel is deeply ornate, but in its typical minimal style the salons are overlaid with modern furniture from makers such as B&B Italia; a gilded carved French bed stands in the centre of the Westmeath Room at Ballyfin in Ireland; commissioned by Pope Alexander VII for his niece Olympia in the 1600s, Palazzo Gori Pannilini in Siena is now home to the Grand Hotel Continental; interiors whizz Adil Ahmad created 46 custom wallpapers for the Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur, resulting in a glorious riot of pattern and colour; the sprawling Samode Palace in Rajasthan has been the location for many Bollywood films. Middle row, from left: La Réserve Paris is stuffed with crimson Henryot sofas, marble fireplaces and silk wallpaper by Rubelli; the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze in Florence is decorated in 17th-century frescos by Baldassare Franceschini whose work can also be seen in the city’s Santa Croce chapel; the walls of The Parlour at the NoMad hotel in New York are lined with 100 pressed herbs from Parisian curio shop Deyrolle; once an 18th-century nobleman’s home, Palácio Chiado in Lisbon has been transformed into an impossibly grand food court; it’s not just the guests who have fancy digs at the Selman Marrakech – the hotel also stables 16 pampered Arabian thoroughbreds. Bottom row, from left: named after the French emperor who lived here in 1830, Residenza Napoleone III is split into three aristocratic apartments on via Condotti in Rome; the front desk at The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, in New York is draped with vintage Persian rugs; designer Jacques Garcia used a rich palette of emerald, chocolate and burgundy for the tactile velvets, damasks and brocade at La Réserve in Paris; the cedarwood-panelled library at Cliveden in Berkshire; at the heart of The Beekman in Manhattan is a nine-storey atrium framed in Victorian wrought-iron railings and topped with a pyramidal skylight. FIONA KERR January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 89


TAKE FLIGHT FROM TIRED EYES Whether you’re embracing the party season or are a red eye regular, a new technological breakthrough at Estée Lauder will have you looking like you’ve had a full night’s beauty sleep even if you don’t feel like it

INSIDER TIP If you want to be extra prepared, there is the option to ‘reserve and collect’ at all World Duty Free stores – meaning you can shop before you travel and have everything waiting for you before you fly. worlddutyfree.com


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magine this: on an average day, your eyes will experience over 10,000 natural micro movements through blinking alone. Now put a long-haul flight into the equation and add in the effects of low humidity levels and fatigue. The results are the all-too familiar side effects of exhaustion, undesirable deepened lines, shadows and increased puffiness. Now imagine it were possible to bottle a good night’s sleep and apply it in three swift moves, which guaranteed wide open, refreshed eyes.

PRE-FLIGHT PREP When you’re next in the airport, visit the Estée Lauder counter to receive a complimentary express hydration service. Choose from three beauty treatments including: Hydration and Face; Hydration and Lip; or Hydration and Eye. Each one harnesses the benefits of the Advanced Night Repair range to have you ready for take-off. Condé Nast Traveller readers will also receive a complimentary sample of Advanced Night Repair, simply quote CNT upon arrival.

It may sound like the sort of potion from mythology or fairy tales, but now the scientists at Estée Lauder have created a new Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix which does exactly that. They have included a multipatented technology from the iconic Advanced Night Repair Serum which helps the eye area to repair itself whether or not you are asleep. ChronoluxCB™ Technology is proven to instantly plump and smooth your skin,

To further nullify the effects of fatigue, try the complimentary products within the range. Look out for exclusive sets of Advanced Night Repair that are only available at airports – they make for great value gifts or a well-deserved treat for yourself.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix, £49, and Synchronized Recovery Complex II, from £53

nourishing it for a full 24 hours after application, giving your body clock plenty of time to catch up with a new time zone. However, even with a packed schedule at your destination, the Matrix Technology will continue to work just as hard as you and help maintain a more youthful appearance around your eye area. In fact the ingredients are so potent that after four weeks of continuous use, it has been proven to give you refreshed, supple and more youthful eyes. While the experts at Estée Lauder recommend that the Concentrate is applied in both the morning and evening, experienced travellers recommend using the 360-degree massage applicator as soon as you board a plane. Gently roll it under each eye and above the lid three times, then pat it with your ring finger until it’s absorbed. After that you can rest easy knowing that the twice concentrated Hyaluronic Acid will get to work, so you’ll land with fresh eyes however little sleep you get on the flight. With such impressive credentials it’s no wonder that this global bestseller 15ml bottle is also making its way onto the bedside tables of women who have hectic social diaries. During the festive season, it’s not just the jet set that understand why the ground-breaking technology should be an essential part of their maintenance. Used on a daily basis, the Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix will have you ready to face the party season with eyes wide open.

For further information visit esteelauder.co.uk


STYLE FILE THE TRENDSETTERS EDITED BY FIONA JOSEPH

THE GOLDEN SKI STORE

COURCHEVEL GETS A GLITTERING EDGE AS FENDI HITS THE SLOPES What is it about Fendi that everything the label does seems to capture the here and now so neatly? Founded as an atelier by husband and wife Eoardo and Adele in the 1920s, and then expanded into a full fashion house by their five daughters (and Karl Lagerfeld, who joined in 1965), it was a perfect expression of 20th-century Rome: imperious, luxuriant, draped in excess. It was in the 1990s, though, that it really started to encapsulate the times with the wildfire success of it-bag-of-the-decade, the Baguette. Showy and sexy, Fendi inspired such a following that Kanye West famously shaved the double F logo on his head. Meanwhile, behind the scenes the company was busy creating the zeitgeist. In 2016, it placed itself squarely at the centre of fashion’s invasion of the hotel scene by opening Fendi Private Suites above its flagship store in Rome, decorated with its opulent homeware line. Its recent move into skiwear – fur-lined goggles and Lagerfeld-themed snowboards – is the last piece in the jigsaw. Where might the always-on-trend brand look to showcase its new kit? Courchevel, of course. Finally skiing has its gold run. fendi.com January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 93


PHOTOGRAPHS: JACQUELINE MIKUTA

STYLE FILE

Outside Casa Amora in Lisbon’s Amoreiras neighbourhood. Opposite, breakfast at the guesthouse 94 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


SHOPPING IN LISBON

NO LONGER A BACKWATER, THE PORTUGUESE CAPITAL HAS BECOME EUROPE'S SURE-FIRE RENAISSANCE CITY: REBORN BUT STILL REASSURINGLY FAMILY-SPIRITED, WHERE COBBLED STREETS ARE NOW HOME TO GO-GETTING YOUNG ARTISANS BY ANTONIA QUIRKE


STYLE FILE FORA SUNGLASSES This tiny showroom is run by a gang of young local designers committed to making affordable and coolly appealing sunglasses. Inspired by classic and revival designs (Seventies Dior; anything worn by Steve McQueen circa Bullitt), each pair is traditionally hand-cut from sheets of tortoiseshell and black acetate, and then delicately shaped and filed. And yet the glasses are uniformly light and the lenses 100 per cent UVA/B. Hyper-utilitarian and sexy, they are unique to the city and all cost less than €150. Avenida Álvares Cabral 28A (fora.pt) GALERIA TEREZA SEABRA Part exhibition space, part workshop and store, this former 18th-century blouse factory is filled with characterful modernEuropean jewellery. You will likely find a couple of designers working at their desks to the thrum of John Coltrane. Young Swedish jeweller Anna Norrgrann’s pieces particularly stand out (shell-like fine metal, sheeny with hidden colours). But the work by owner Tereza Seabra is profoundly gorgeous, recycling 19th-century Portuguese coral with shimmering-new rose gold. Rua da Rosa 158160A (terezaseabra.com)

PHOTOGRAPHS: SIVAN ASKAYO

SOUL MOOD ‘They prefer less, and better,’ says the sales assistant about the Lisbon women who shop for clothes and accessories at this boutique, set in a demure square in the heart of Chiado. Items dangle singularly from the high ceiling like acrobats on wire. Here are pared-back, asymmetric pieces by Sarah Pacini and Hannes Roether – but it’s the super-pliable leather bags that are the draw: a huge, huggable black clutch; an eye-catchingly soft cross-body saddlebag. Original and simple, they are handmade in store, and not sold online or anywhere else. Travessa do Carmo 1 (soulmood.pt) MAISON NUNO GAMA Fittings for made-to-measure tailoring in the atelier of Portuguese menswear designer Gama are a hoot. One wall is lined with tuxedos in dandyishly vibrant silk, while another leads to a lively barbershop. Gama has a fondness for embellishing the inside of the most soberly elegant wedding-suit jackets with

personalised embroidery inspired by the romantic folk art of Portuguese émigrés. ‘I love a good blazer, it’s fundamental to me,’ he says, ever-busy in his studio at the back, where the walls are lined with books by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Rua do Século 171 (nunogama.pt)

TERESA PAVAO – OBJETOS DE ARTE The small showroom of the prize-winning ceramicist Teresa Pavão is tucked away behind the cathedral. The building was once an old bakery, and on the original marble and wooden counters sit examples of Pavão’s recent signature designs: white clay embedded with fragments of 19th-century Japanese bowls; gleaming tiles subtly inlaid with the fossil-like imprint of the spine of a sardine. There are delicate handmade scarfs and crisp linen shirts here too, but tomorrow it might be different. Rua de São João da Praça 120 (teresapavao.com) UNDER THE COVER A stone’s throw from the beautifully landscaped Gulbenkian park, this shop sells international magazines of captivating variety. ‘It’s just things we want to know more about,’ shrugs curator Luis Kuna – a too-modest description of this worldclass fiesta of temptations. A guide to the forgotten workmen’s eateries of Istanbul sits next to phantasmagorical photographs of underwater free-divers by Francesca Rivett. ‘We take into account the paper too,’ says Kuna. ‘The design, the smell; the physical aspect of reading a magazine means everything to us.’ Rua Marquês Sá da Bandeira 88B (underthecover.pt) LOJA DAS CONSERVAS ‘Fish for sale in an art gallery’ is how the indefatigable staff describe the kaleidoscopic selection of canned tuna, octopus and sardines. It hardly sounds like a pretty proposition – fish in brine or oil – but the cute, oblong, super-pocketable tins (wrapped in designs going back 100 years) make the most delicious and appropriate gift from this seafood-crazed city. Rua do Arsenal 130 (facebook.com/lojadasconservas) YOYO OBJECTS This family business and passion project restores rare but important Portuguese modernist furniture from the 1950s to 1980s. Its three young owners – a graphic

Clockwise from top left: Loja das Conservas; ceramics at Teresa Pavão; a colourful tuk tuk; Under the Cover; Maison Nuno Gama; Tram 28; Galeria Tereza Seabra; a drinks kiosk; Yoyo Objects

designer, an industrial designer and an architect – work in an adjoining studio. But enter the shop and they’ll appear, eyes flashing with enthusiasm to point out a bargain stool by José Espinho, or a rosewood chair by Antonio Garcia, made for the lauded 1970 Osaka Universal Exhibition. Strictly speaking, this stock belongs in design museums. Rua do Arco a São Mamede 87A STAY HERE: CASA AMORA Along a pretty street burnished with quintessential Lisbon tiles, in the creative neighbourhood of Amoreiras, is this townhouse with a handful of bedrooms. From its garden (a high-walled grotto of crumbling bricks and ivy) voices ever-burble, with guests eating wobbly custard tarts for breakfast and staff recommending local restaurants and walks, all under the shade of a tremendous avocado tree. The decor is elegant retro, the palette pointedly calming – appropriate given it’s so close to some of the best streets for shopping, including the Avenida da Liberdade and Rua de São Bento for crazily opulent and must-see antiques. It’s also only a short walk from the best gelateria in the city: Nannarella. Doubles from about £70. Rua João Penha 13 (white linehotels.com)

For more information and to plan a trip to Lisbon, see visitlisboa.com

LOCAL KNOW-HOW MARIA ULECIA ARTIST AND HOTELIER

‘Explore the Baixa area around rua do Marquês de Ponte de Lima and rua de São Cristóvão, where there is an unspoiled mix of new ventures and abandoned palaces.’ ‘Sail the River Tagus with Marlin Tours, a young team with beautiful boats.’ ‘On Friday evenings, go for a drink at the tiny, just-opened AMO Brewery.’ ‘For regional delicacies given a twist by creative chefs, go to Boi-Cavalo, Os Gazeteiros in Alfama, or Leopold at Pátio de Dom Fradique inside the castle.’ lalola.pt

GOLDEN TICKET ‘ARRIVING BY SEAPLANE AT CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI TO SPOT ROGER FEDERER, WHO HAD MISTAKEN MY VILLA FOR HIS’ FIONA JOSEPH, FASHION DIRECTOR

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 97


STYLE FILE

Clockwise from above: Aporie by Giovanni Castell at Palau de Casavells, Catalonia, home to some of Font’s favourite galleries; catwalk looks by Delpozo; a space at Palau de Casavells where works include Una Dona by Guim Tió and The Second Wind by Pamen Pereira 98 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


THE HOLIDAY LABEL TO LOVE DELPOZO

NO DESIGNER HAS ENCAPSULATED OUR OFF-DUTY WARDROBE – FROM THE SCOTTISH BORDERS TO THE SOUTH OF FRANCE – BETTER THAN THE MADRID-BASED MASTER OF COLOUR, JOSEP FONT. HERE ARE HIS TRAVEL FINDS Your top hotels around the world? ‘In New York City I like the Gramercy Park Hotel because it feels as if it’s in a less crowded part of Manhattan. And I enjoy staying at the Beekman Hotel since it reopened as I love exploring downtown.’

The most extraordinary location you’ve travelled to? ‘Moscow, where I went last year for work. It was my first time in the city and I was impressed by the buildings and the people I met.’

Neighbourhood haunts in Madrid? ‘I often go to a charming little restaurant called El Rincón in the city’s barrio de las Letras

because the atmosphere is very relaxed. It’s small – only five or six tables – and the people who run it are really nice. I also like Casa Fidel on calle Escorial because I’m always looking for places that serve home-style cooking. The vegetables, fruit, meat and fish are so fresh and such good quality.’

Favourite galleries and artists? ‘A space I love to visit is Palau de Casavells in Catalonia’s Baix Empordà; it specialises in modern art, antiques and interior design. I’ve admired the Ukrainian dancer Sergei Polunin since he was at the British Royal Ballet and after seeing his documentary, Dancer, I am even more impressed with his work.’

Tips for a weekend escape? ‘I usually go home to Barcelona, which is one of my favourite towns, or to the northern region of Spain known as Ampurdán. The landscape there is beautiful and helps me to relax and take a step back from city life. For winter sun, I head to Segovia, just an hour from Madrid. It is very peaceful and has excellent restaurants and historic buildings – a great place to spend a few days. I prefer the countryside to the seaside but Sant Martí d’Empúries on the Costa Brava is amazing. It’s a wild beach with a little patch of sand and extremely blue Mediterranean water.’

Your designs often include florals – where are your go-to spots for blooms? ‘Chelsea Flower Market in New York City is great – I discovered it during our second show there and fell for the venue’s design. Flores Carlos de Troya in Madrid is a small florist’s shop with a beautiful selection. Usually you can get whatever is on hand and they create really gorgeous bouquets. I don’t have a signature order, I like colourful arrangements and I love the rare eucalyptus flower.’

Having studied architecture, which architect’s work do you admire? ‘I have always been into organic forms, for example Artechnic’s Shell holiday villa in Japan, and I am a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright – the way he balanced architecture and nature and the modernity of his buildings.’

PHOTOGRAPHS: JOSEP PLAJA BORRELL/ PAMEN PEREIRA; COURTESY OF GALERIA MIQUEL ALZUETA

Where do you find inspiration? ‘My starting point for each season is taken from an exhibition I’ve visited recently, a trip I’ve been on, or a book I’ve read – from these, several ideas start circling in my mind. I research artists, architects, films and art movements. One of the main inspirations for spring/summer 2018 was the ‘Swimming Pool’ series by Slovakian photographer Maria Svarbova. Her work translates into the collection’s smooth colour palette, alongside the crisp music of the Forties Spanish composer Xavier Cugat – the headpieces we’ve designed are a reminder of that era.’

What’s next for 2018?

JOSEP FONT, DELPOZO’S CREATIVE DIRECTOR

‘We are opening a store in Dubai; it’s part of our international expansion and is very exciting. And I am currently working on the pre-fall 2018 collection, which will be in stores in July.’ delpozo.com


STYLE FILE Made with beeswax and chamomile floral water: Pommade de Concrete balm, £38; beauty superfood: Croatian Chia oil, £36

PARIS’S 21ST-CENTURY TWIST ON OLD-WORLD TRADITIONS

He is the son of a French-Moroccan apple picker and responsible for reviving Cire Trudon candles; she is from French aristocracy and worked on publicity for the famous boutique Colette in the 1990s. And now self-proclaimed gypsies Ramdane Touhami and Victoire de Taillac together have created a most unusual Parisian shop, and an extension of their beauty brand Buly 1803. The dark green façade of L’Officine Universelle Buly at 45 rue de Saintonge reveals nothing of the extraordinary olfactory, aesthetic and delicious wonders within. ‘A foot in the past and one in the future’ is how they describe the mishmash of styles. One part resembles a late-18th-century apothecary, packed with exquisitely wrapped creams, balms and fragrances in displays that stretch from the counter to cabinets up the wall and onto the ceiling like Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. In another there’s the dainty Grand Café Tortoni, above, and the Nani Koré counter serving chocolate onigiri rice balls. Add to this a Japanese dry florist and courtyard where Touhami’s fashion collaboration with Korean label Hazzys is on show (thick tartan skirts and mohair sweaters), and the avant-garde, market-style experience is complete. The shop encourages customers to test and taste on the spot, and has a personal calligrapher who can monogram labels and packages. The best shop in Paris right now – it has no match. FJ buly1803.com

TANGIER

An upgrade from mintyfresh: Orange Ginger Clove toothpaste, £24

In rose petals, rosemary and cedar: scented matches, £13. All Buly 1803 (buly1803.com)

the sunshine THROWBACK Bringing her humour and intuitive talent to fragrance, designer Anya Hindmarch has launched a candle collection with master perfumer Lyn Harris. Three scents come in the universal hits of coffee, baby powder and sun cream. In the latter – our favourite, naturally – notes of Italian bergamot, Sicilian lemons, Tunisian orange flowers, sea air, vanilla and musk are mixed with Hindmarch’s nostalgic take on tan lines and ice-cream drips. ‘Oh, how it reminds me of family holidays in Tangier,’ she says. FJ Candles from £50; anyahindmarch.com

100 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPH: LOUISE DESROSIERS/VEGA MG

THE NEW CONCEPT STORE


STYLE FILE

Earrings in gold and diamonds, £14,300, Nikos Koulis (nikos koulis.com)

Earrings in gold and diamonds, POA, Buccellati (buccellati.com)

Earrings in gold, £9,500, Solange AzaguryPartridge (solange.co.uk) Earrings in gold and diamonds, £48,000, Fernando Jorge (fernando jorge.co.uk)

Earrings in gold plate and pearl, £295, Anissa Kermiche x Rejina Pyo (anissa kermiche.com)

THE STATEMENT TRAVEL ACCESSORY WHETHER WORN BEACHSIDE IN AIYANNA, IBIZA OR SHAKING IT IN NYC’S PUBLIC, THERE’S NOTHING MORE HEAD-TURNING THAN GOLD EARRINGS THIS SEASON Earrings in gold, diamonds and rose star quartz, £13,350, Susan Foster (susanfoster jewelry.com)

GOLDEN TICKET ‘SIPPING COLD MANZANILLA AND EATING MELT-IN-THE-MOUTH JAMON IBERICO AT CASA MANTECA IN CADIZ’ PETE WINTERBOTTOM, ART DIRECTOR 102 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPH: EVA K SALVI

Earrings in gold and diamonds, £16,400, Nikos Koulis (as before)

It’s thought that earrings were first adopted as a form of embellishment by the Minoans around 2000 to 1600bc. The earring trend has become huge ever since: shoulder grazers are the perfect face illuminator; ear climbers wind their way up to highlight cheekbones, and multiple piercings are the common denominator whether you’re 16 or 60. So which material to favour? Having fallen from grace with the rise of icy-white gold, the warm hue of yellow gold is at the fore once again, its earthiness given new finesse by international designers fashioning, twisting and moulding it like the modern-day alchemists they are. New Yorker Susan Foster presents shields of brushed-gold, palm-tree fronds, radiating from rose quartz for a tropical vibe, while Brazilian Fernando Jorge channels Studio 54 with his disco earrings of graduated diamonds on a delicate gold framework. British favourite Solange Azagury-Partridge turns architect with her floor plans of temples and churches, her inner draughtsman let loose with the most precious of pen lines. Parisian Anissa Kermiche highlights the connection between art and jewellery with a piece inspired by Alexander Calder’s moving sculpture (aren’t all earrings lobe-hung mobiles?). Italian house Buccellati takes craftsmanship to another level with honeycombed gold, the fine grid of metal hand-drilled from a solid block and then set with diamonds (one slip and months of work must be started afresh). And Greek Nikos Koulis completes the picture with his spin on Art Deco with graduated beads of gold encircling a diamond-embellished hoop and dagger-esque compositions. Resistance is futile: with the smartest designers embracing it, yellow gold is back for good. JESSICA DIAMOND


Lucknam Park Wiltshire, England

FIVE-STAR INDULGENCE Located near the historic city of Bath, Lucknam Park is a magnificent Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Maintained as a family home until 1988, it then opened its doors as one of the UK’s top country house hotels. Set in 500 acres of listed parkland and beautiful gardens, Lucknam Park has been lovingly restored to the elegance and style of the past era. The distinguished hotel boasts 42 individually styled rooms and suites, Michelin star dining in Restaurant Hywel Jones, casual all day dining in The Brasserie, an award-winning spa, equestrian centre with 35 horses, cookery school, family play facility and a three bedroom country cottage. Lucknam Park is truly one of England’s finest hotels, providing 5-star luxury at every turn. To book: call + 44 (0) 1225 742 777 or visit www.lucknampark.co.uk.


STYLE FILE

Premier Delicate Silk Automatic watch, £29,500, Harry Winston (harrywinston. com)

THE MASTER-BLASTING CRAFTSMANSHIP WATCH DESIGNERS FROM ALL CORNERS OF THE GLOBE ARE RESHAPING GOLD

Calatrava watch, POA Patek Philippe (patek.com)

It used to be that a gold watch was the classic marker of success – a socking-great wrist badge of wealth and status. Today, the design of timepieces has toned down and wised up; gold is still the common denominator but now it’s coaxed and chivvied into textures, patterns and forms that push craftmanship into new, more nuanced creations. Take Patek Philippe’s Calatrava, with a design that references the patterns of Indian tapestries. Flowers are carved from the precious metal, treading the finest of lines between conveying volume while also ensuring the hands can still rotate around the dial. There’s more carving from Piaget, which shows no signs of diverging from the focus on its Sixties archives. An oval cocktail watch has a hand-chiselled gold strap redolent of that period, intensely worked to create the texture of fur – hard to the touch but soft in appearance. Harry Winston looks to the art of embossing, most commonly a way of adding gold to paper, but here to a silk dial instead, so the 18-caratgold flower motif is raised up slightly, a technique that took months to perfect. Meanwhile Dior, in celebration of 70 years since the maison was founded, has looked to its haute couture roots; three different material dials – herringbone, houndstooth and cannage – are recreated using gold threads painstakingly woven into distinctive patterns. Cannage (based on the cane-backed chairs favoured by Christian Dior) has an unbelievable 4,632 individual threads, each thinner than a hair, assembled with what must surely be near super-human patience and 20/20 vision. Our advice? As lovely and weighty as a solid-gold watch may be, perhaps it’s time to eschew its clunkiness for this modern-day wizardry. JESSICA DIAMOND

Piaget Extremely Lady watch, POA, Piaget (en. piaget.com)

GOLDEN TICKET ‘HIDING AWAY AT THE SUPREMELY PRIVATE PORTO ZANTE ON ZAKYNTHOS, FEASTING ON SENSATIONAL FRESH FISH’ JULIETTE OTTLEY, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER 104 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS: JOE GINSBERG/MEDIABAKERY.COM; HANS-PETER MERTEN/GETTY IMAGES; MAX MILLIGAN/GETTY IMAGES; REBEKAH W; JOSH WESTRICH/GETTY IMAGES

Dior VIII Montaigne Tissage Précieux watch, £30,000, Dior Watches (dior.com)


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THE ULTIMATE KIT BEAUTY EDITOR OLIVIA FALCON TESTS 60 PRODUCTS EACH WEEK. THIS IS HER GOLD-STANDARD HAUL FOR HOLIDAYS


STYLE FILE

THE BEST JET-LAG HIT

THE BEST SUNSCREEN As someone who takes a vampire-like approach to sun protection, I’ve road-tested almost every brand, but keep coming back to Heliocare 360º Gel Oil-Free. It’s light and, hand on heart, won’t clog up skin. And although it’s SPF 50, it glides on without a trace of ghoulish-white streaks. It has flattering light-reflective properties, which help hide heat-induced redness. This is meant for the face but I layer it across my chest too. £25; effortlessskin.com

THE BEST POCKET FILLER Chanel’s La Crème Main is an instant crowd-pleaser. My kids are obsessed with the packaging: ‘Please can we take it for show and tell?’ My mum went crazy for the smell, (that’s the May-rose wax extracted from flowers in Chanel’s famous gardens in Grasse). And as someone who goes for shellac manicures and pays the price with weak, flaky nails, I love the way it not only smooths the back of my hands, but also strengthens nails and softens cuticles. My top tip for a deep, moisturising hand treatment is to apply a thick layer under any kind of glove (I layer it under my ski mitts), as the heat opens pores for a serious hydrating hit. £45; chanel.com

People often ask me about the quickest way to brighten tired, jet-lagged skin, and my gold-standard answer is to look for a product with a big dose of Vitamin C. Lixir’s Vitamin C Paste is new to my bathroom shelf but it’s been delivering some visibly punchy results already. Working equally effectively after a big night or a long-haul flight, it melts oxidised sebum on skin (that’s the stuff that causes blackheads) wiping away that greyish tinge. It also helps regulate melanin production, which causes ugly brown spots. If I could drink the stuff, I would. £32; victoriahealth.com

THE BEST AFTER-SUN I could talk to Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, the founders of Fresh skincare, for hours. At our last meeting they slathered Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Body Cream on my embarrassingly flaky tanned shins. It contains kombucha, black tea and nopal flower, which comes from a Mexican cactus, and has incredible smoothing results, making it the ideal holiday after-sun. They also told me about their new hotel, The Maker, in Hudson, New York State. The rooms are packed with cool antiques and, of course, Fresh products, so leave room in your suitcase – you’ll want to take them all home. £54; harrods.com

THE BEST POST-SWIM SAVER If, like me, you have a history of holiday-hair disasters, you need to know about Philip Kingsley’s Swimcap. It was originally created for the US Olympic synchronised swim team (who I guess rebelled against snappy rubber caps). Comb through wet hair to create a water-resistant coat to stop discolouration and frizz. I wear it slicked into a low-slung ponytail, accessorised with a gold slide for Helmut Newtonstyle pool-side glamour. £15; philipkingsley.co.uk

PHOTOGRAPH: ELIZAVETA PORODINA

FOUR INDUSTRY INSIDERS PICK THEIR SUPREME TRAVEL FIXES JOSH WOOD

SARAH CHAPMAN

JAMES DUIGAN

MARY GREENWELL

HAIR STYLIST AND COLOURIST FOR THE PAST 30 YEARS

FACIALIST EXPERT AND CREATOR OF SKINESIS CLINICS

WELLNESS PIONEER AND FOUNDER OF BODYISM

MAKE-UP-ARTIST MAVEN WITH RED-CARPET CLIENTS

‘Having a signature scent has always appealed to me as I work so closely with people. I’m a fan of Feuilles de Tabac by Miller Harris as it’s a distinctive fragrance; when I’m on the road, I spray it around the place I am going to be colouring a client’s hair. It’s like having my own creative space in a bottle.’

‘When I’m travelling to different parts of the world the change in water wreaks havoc with my hair, making it knotty, frizzy and dry, so I always make sure to pack Philip Kingsley’s Hair Elasticizer, which is great for creating spring and flexibility. It’s the perfect antidote.’

‘Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Night Cream is the key to combatting the effects of a long-haul flight: you actually look younger than when you started. I never travel without it. I also rely on HayMax Barrier Balm to capture pollen, dust and other allergens in the air – it’s great for polluted cities.’

‘My go-to, all-in-one travel product is Sensai’s Cellular Performance Extra Intensive Mask. When flying, I apply a thick layer on my face to keep it hydrated, while on the ground I sometimes wear it as a moisturiser during the day when my skin needs plumping.’

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 107


STYLE FILE

Sea of Koi rash guard, £195, The Upside (net-a-porter.com)

Cashmere sweater, £285, Madeleine Thompson (harveynichols.com)

Vintage Blazer suede high-top trainers, £80, Nike (net-a-porter.com)

Printed suitcase, £1,990, Prada (prada.com), Lani sports bra, £105, No Ka’Oi (net-a-porter.com)

THE SPA ON THE SCENE THE PENINSULA BANGKOK THE MOOD: DOWNTOWN DOWNWARD DOG Bangkok is one of the birthplaces of proper massage and this river-side hotel takes its wellness seriously, with flaming torches illuminating the entrance to the spa, set in its own bamboo and mahogany-lined wing. The super-therapists here trained at Wat Pho, home to not only the Reclining Buddha but also the first and original Thai Traditional Massage School. Try the Royal Thai Massage, with its mix of smooth palm-strokes and tougher acupressure. Or the Ayurvedic lymphaticdrainage treatment, brilliant for post-flight depuffing. After dinner there might even be time to squeeze in the ESPA Sleep Ceremony treatment, available until 11pm. But the spa isn’t the only reason to come. Staying in the deep-cushioned, all-round lavishness that is the Peninsula Bangkok costs a fraction of what you’d pay for a similar high-chandelier count in London or Paris. With the Chao Phraya outside, water slaps against the walls of the open-air River Café, dreamy for a breezy breakfast. Being on the quiet side of the river means you get to jump into the hotel’s free water taxi whenever you want to shop, sightsee or explore. It’s the only Bangkok hotel with its own helipad, handy for getting to your treatment fast, but also where sunrise and sunset yoga sessions are held every day. ADRIAANE PIELOU Inspiring Travel Company (+44 1244 355527; inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk) offers four nights at The Peninsula Bangkok from £1,199, including flights and transfers

H5 wireless earphones, £200, B&O Play (net-aporter.com) Erte bodysuit, £265, Lucas Hugh (lucas hugh.com)

EDITOR’S PICK ‘Tortoiseshell, leopard-print, floral or Sicilian ceramics: pimp up your sunglasses with Dolce’s customisation service, based on your mood.’ FIONA JOSEPH, FASHION & BEAUTY DIRECTOR POA, Dolce & Gabbana (dolcegabbana.com) Stretch-fabric trainers, £655, Chanel (as before)

108 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

EDITOR’S PICK ‘Combining colour with La Mer’s innovative skincare technology makes this game-changing make-up.’ The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation SPF 20, from The SkinColor collection, La Mer (worlddutyfree.com)

Metallic backpack, £3,225, Chanel (chanel.com)

Do Not Disturb eau de parfum, £155, Vilhelm Parfumerie (liberty london.com) Elsa two-tone sports bra, £85; Flo tuxedo leggings, £140, both Vaara (vaara.com)


Set in an exclusive location, by one of the Algarve´s most famous beaches and surrounded by the lush greenery of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Ria Park Hotels are ideal for beach lovers and holidaymakers looking for tranquillity and nature related activities. Along with golden sandy beaches and challenging golf courses of Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago, there are several nature trails running through pine forests and the Ria Formosa estuary, perfect for cycling, walking and many other activities such as bird watching, kayaking, stand-up paddling or horse riding. Among the many leisure activities close to hotel, guests will ďŹ nd reďŹ ned restaurants, from casual beach shacks to exquisite Michelin starred restaurants. With high standards and a genuine welcoming service, the Ria Park Hotels are one of the most authentic ways you can experience a peaceful Algarve by the sea.


www.moltonbrown.com


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THE GOLD LIST 2018 OUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE HOTELS, RESTAURANTS, COCKTAIL BARS & BEACH CLUBS EDITED BY PETER BROWNE

AMANBAGH, RAJASTHAN, INDIA 113


WILDERNESS HOTELS

TONGABEZI ZAMBIA The roots of this lodge run deep beneath the banks of the great Zambezi River, 15km upstream from the roar of the Victoria Falls. Almost 28 years since it opened, Tongabezi has grown organically, unhindered by corporate conventions. Its owners, Ben and Vanessa Parker, have lived and breathed this stretch of river since they married on nearby Sindabezi island in 1994. Their home is Tangala, a warm, thatched family house adjacent to the lodge, and Vanessa runs neighbouring Tongabezi Trust School. Right from the start, the couple set out to employ locals and empower them in pivotal roles. The result is one of the happiest places to stay in all of Africa. There are no straight lines at Tongabezi, or at its African-fairy-tale sister camp on Sindabezi island. The original five waterfront cottages are curvaceous beauties, and the more substantial houses are built freeform, incorporating gnarly trees along the way. Most were entirely open to the elements, but glass-and-wood concertina doors have been added to all but the Tree House to placate those less enamoured with scuttling critters. The Zambezi, which flows from Angola to the Indian Ocean, is one of the continent’s most sensational arteries; it has transported British explorers and Arab traders in dugout canoes, and sustained great numbers of Nile crocodiles and pods of grunting hippos for centuries. It, too, is the ever-flowing lifeblood of Tongabezi; the fecund, muddy smell of it, the joyful sound of splashing elephants, the call of lions coming down to drink at nightfall, and the sight of ever-patient fish eagles scouting for catfish. The whole of Africa is here on your doorstep; all that’s left to do is soak it right up. +260 213 327 468; tongabezi.com. From about £500 per person per night, including all meals and activities 114


THE GOLD LIST 2018


WILDERNESS HOTELS

THE LODGE AT VALLE CHACABUCO

PHOTOGRAPH: LINDE WAIDHOFER

CHILE

In the Chacabuco Valley, it is easy to get a little overwhelmed by the location. You are at the end of the world, in Chilean Patagonia, and a long way from anything that resembles a paved road. The Tompkins Conservation, an organisation founded by the widow of ardent conservationist Douglas Tompkins, purchased Valle Chacabuco some years ago. From this remote stretch of southern Chile, they have created Parque Patagonia, almost 84,000 hectares of bracing, long-limbed Andean valleys enclosed by mountain summits. The park is still in its infancy, but the wonderful Lodge at Valle Chacabuco has already established its credentials. Inspired by the American national park lodges built in the early 20th century, it feels like a survivor from Yellowstone in the days when guests arrived in tweeds and Model T Fords. There is a clubbable, masculine feel with wood finishes and harlequin floors. In the drawing room a roaring fire, cosy leather sofas, plenty of waxed, recycled wood, and shelves of nature books are a counterpoint to the vast landscapes outside the windows. Guides are available for a range of hikes in the park, from easy to challenging, while the drive down the Chacabuco Valley to the Argentinian frontier will have everyone rubbernecking some of the highest peaks in the Andes. In the dining room, hearty stews, grilled meats and inventive salads are paired with New World wines from the excellent cellar. Balmaceda airport is 300km away, but there is a landing strip for smaller planes in the park. +56 65 225 0079; patagoniapark.org. Doubles from about £305. Open October 1 to April 30


THE GOLD LIST 2018 TIGER TOPS THARU LODGE NEPAL

This retreat, which opened in 1980 in the buffer zone outside Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal, continues, in its modest and low-key way, not only to draw travellers to the greatest tiger habitat on the face of the earth but also to open minds. Outwardly, the place has changed little over the years. The low-slung, whitewashed bungalows are still here, spartan and unfussy; drinks and dinner are still served in a communal mess; the Planter’s Punch is still as moreish as ever (Nepali rum plus three kinds of fruit juice, so sweet and innocent you will want to decant it into Tetra Paks and drink it through a bendy straw as you admire elephants bathing in the river at sunset). What Tiger Tops lacks in frills and fripperies it makes up for in charm and serious know-how. The guides are superb, led by the general manager DB Chaudhary, a noted bird expert and, despite his boyish appearance, a firebrand on the conservation scene. Of additional note is Tiger Tops Elephant Camp, just around the corner, where guests share the property with trained elephants and their mahouts. The simplicity of Elephant Camp makes Tharu Lodge look like the George V, Paris. More bracing, however, is the commendable honesty with which it reveals the moving but often uncomfortable nature of man’s working relationship with these glorious animals. What a privilege. +977 7 869 0721; tigertops.com. From about £160 per person per night, including all meals and safari activities

AMANBAGH INDIA

There is something wildly decadent about the low-slung, modern-day Mughal palace slinking amid the rough and tumble, tangly scrub of rural Rajasthan. It is completely removed from India’s usual hullaballoo, a blushing pleasuredome set against a palm and eucalyptus backdrop with an undergrowth that fidgets with life: peacocks scratching, monkeys twitching, a gathering of sambar deer meek as mist. Back it takes you, Tardis-like in time. Here you are, feasting like a gathering of royalty, spread out on cushions on the floor in the ruins of an old fort surrounded by lanterns, listening to the strains of the sitar player, and in the distant hills the peculiar grunt of antelope being hunted down by tiger. Feasting happens everywhere, outside the library, quietly in your room, in your waiter’s home with all his relatives gathered round. The hotel understands the curiosity of guests here, and organically encourages everyone to go beyond its walls and get stuck in. Just because your bedroom at the hotel is serene and spacious beyond words, with sunken baths and private pools, doesn’t mean you can’t hang out in town on the terrace of someone’s house that’s festooned with loose electrical wires. Hold their babies, peek in their kitchens, try your hand at walking with a jug on your head like the local ladies do – expertly, without hands, in saris the colour of sunshine and mangos. Carts drawn by camels, farmworkers cutting wheat with scythes: there is a mesmerising, medieval quality to life here. Like all of India’s great hotels, Amanbagh is an astonishing celebration of ritual and craftsmanship and splendour. Plus, it has quite probably the most delicious pool in all the land, green as jungle, refreshing as mint. +91 1465 223 333; aman.com. Doubles from about £630

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WILDERNESS HOTELS

118


THE GOLD LIST 2018 LONGITUDE 131˚ AUSTRALIA

PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID HANCOCK

Dawn in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is best experienced from the brand-new Dune Pavilion suite at this game-changing wilderness camp, which opened in 2002, the first truly smart tented outpost in Australia, a precursor to the glamping trend worldwide and a role model for home-grown upstarts such as Sal Salis and Paperbark Camp. The Dune Pavilion is the most recent addition to Longitude 131° following its recent A$8-million refurbishment. It was designed by Max Pritchard Gunner (also responsible for the wildly beautiful Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island) as a contemporary nod to the country’s classic homesteads and is lined with hardwood cabinets and hung with complex dot paintings from the Tjala Arts Centre just over the border in South Australia. On either side of the central Dune House (also revamped with a new bar and dining terrace), the 16 guest tents are strung out like lanterns, raised on steel stilts and topped with white fabric canopies. In all of them, light floods through glass doors that open onto wooden decks, from which there are heart-stopping views of blood-red Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Kata Tjuta rock formations. The new spa is housed in two corrugated-iron structures built to resemble make-shift desert shelters, and all treatments use locally inspired LI’TYA products. Even chef Jonathon Bryant has entered the indigenous spirit with his canapés of quandong (small, plumb-like fruits), while his pink snapper with green-lip abalone is sensational. Just add a glass of sparkling Croser Pinot Noir Chardonnay for total immersion. +61 2 9918 4355; longitude131.com.au. From about £825 per person per night full board, including transfers


CLASSIC RESTAURANTS


THE GOLD LIST 2018 BALTHAZAR

NEW YORK (pictured left)

ADELAIDE

ORANA

CLAUDE BOSI AT BIBENDUM LONDON

Balthazar opened nearly 21 years ago, bringing opulent brasserie style and more than a little theatre back to Manhattan. Thank goodness the old place remains exactly the same as its creator Keith McNally intended. With gilded mirrors, red banquettes, a copper-topped bar and flattering soft lighting, this is the Paris of the imagination as seen through the admiring eyes of New Yorkers. Come for the good times, but also the classic dishes: escargots in garlicky butter; the cheesiest onion soup; three-tier platters of perfect seafood; steak frites (once described as iconic by the New York Times) and for chef Shane McBride’s gumbo and soft-shell crab BLT. The well-priced, all-French wine list is edited with real savvy. And when the waiters in white bistro aprons pour hot chocolate sauce on profiteroles, they turn the act into an artform. +1 212 965 1414; balthazarny.com. About £100 for two

There’s a beautiful line in one of Peter Carey’s books about surviving in the Australian bush, something the Aboriginals have always been exceptionally good at, the continent’s colonists not so much. To the early settlers, Carey says, the landscape was like the index to a bible they couldn’t read. Chef Jock Zonfrillo has made a point of becoming literate in that way. Orana is a virtuoso demonstration of the richness and variety of indigenous ingredients (of which he, the so-called Mad Max of foragers, has identified more than 700). Dorrigo, kutjera, finger lime, paperbark, zig-zag wattle: the names alone are delicious. What Zonfrillo does with these things is even more so. With cult status and only 10 tables, advance booking is essential; otherwise there’s the bigger, newer, less expensive Blackwood Bistro on the floor below. +61 8 8232 3444; restaurant-orana.com. About £230 for two

Pneumatic Monsieur Bibendum, star of the stained-glass panes that have illuminated Saint Terence’s ambitions at Michelin House since 1987, clearly hasn’t changed his diet, but the city’s foodscape has shifted immeasurably. Back then, Simon Hopkinson’s steak-au-poivre-and-escargots menu reflected London’s gutsy new global outlook. Now there’s a real Frenchman in Conran’s rebooted kitchen, two stars on the mantelpiece and fanciful diversions such as a bonsai tree bearing olive pissaladières that pop in the mouth, and teeny cornets of foie gras and mango. Bosi perfected his slightly Wonka-ish pairings (as well as the ultimate sausage roll) at Hibiscus – first in Ludlow, then Mayfair – and while his plates would make beautiful still lifes there’s real substance here, nowhere more so than the tripe-and-cuttlefish gratin, an earthy thwack of pure Lyon. +44 20 7581 5817; bibendum.co.uk. About £170 for two

HERON & GREY

KYUBEY

THE GANNET

Damien Grey wants to play with your palate. The Australian-born chef and one half of the duo behind Heron & Grey will certainly have your taste buds pinging between sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami during the 12-course menu. It’s set in a scruffy market in the seaside suburb of Blackrock, but that didn’t put off the Michelin inspectors, who came knocking seven months after it opened and awarded the restaurant its first star. Menus change every two weeks and are simple lists of ingredients, allowing Grey licence to tweak and test as he cooks. A plate of Challans duck paired with trompette mushrooms, hazelnuts and lavender could vanish after a few days, depending on what’s at its seasonal peak. Dublin’s dining scene is having a moment and this is the table everyone wants to book. +353 1 212 3676; heronandgrey.com. About £110 for two

While there is a hushed sense of awe about the sheer quality of Kyubey, the experience of eating lunch here is more precise than daunting. There is a maze of different rooms set over five floors, but the most revered customers are led to the first floor, with its simple blond-wood panelling and tatami seats. Here every morsel of fish – from the tiny braised squid to the sweet shrimp, so fresh it may twitch on your plate – is from that morning’s market. The seafood could include the alien-shaped torigai (Japanese cockle) or morasaki uni (purple urchin) and the chef will apply appropriate seasoning to each piece of sushi with a paintbrush. One note of caution: for all the respect you will be shown as a customer, you will be turfed out on the nose of 2pm. Precision in every corner. +81 3 3571 6523; kyubey.jp. About £100 for two

Scotland’s larder is richly stocked – the seafood is possibly the finest in the world, the beef rightly lauded – but for a long time its city restaurant scenes didn’t match up. While Glasgow might still be awaiting the dazzle of a Michelin star, there’s been a steady stream of openings in recent years and The Gannet is hands-down the most stellar. Launched in 2013 by chefs Peter McKenna and Ivan Stein, this is a raw, industrial space in the city’s hippest enclave, Finnieston. Menus comb the country with Borders lamb, Perthshire deer, Shetland squid; each dish is listed understatedly as a sum of its parts. But on the plate even something as incongruoussounding as West Coast scallop, pig’s head, cauliflower, golden raisins and curry oil is plump and sweet and pleasingly complex. +44 141 204 2081; thegannetgla.com. About £80 for two

RAMON FREIXA

IL SANTO BEVITORE

LA CHASSAGNETTE

Stylish without trying too hard – much like the Florentines themselves – Il Santo serves nouveauosteria food in a rustic setting: gently vaulted ceilings, terracotta floors, shelves of Super Tuscan. It opened 15 years ago on the Oltrarno side of Ponte alla Carraia, where you’ll still find the odd artisan whittling, stitching or moulding, and has since added a wine bar and bakery. Primis are a highlight: the homemade riccioli with spicy nduja and aged pecorino is fiery and highly addictive; the hearty secondi include a perfectly pink roast pigeon with foie gras and Jerusalem artichoke. Naturally, at a restaurant called ‘the holy drinker’, there’s a superlative wine list that runs from Barolo to Brunello. +39 055 211264; ilsantobevitore.com. About £70 for two

About 18km south of Arles, this roadside hideaway is a foodie must-stop for inventive southern French dishes that positively vibrate with colour and flavour. Many ingredients for chef Armand Arnal’s gluten-free wonders are harvested from his carefully tended potager, but aside from the vegetarian prix-fixe menu (courgette with plum chutney; beetroot gnocchi) there’s an equally exciting choice of locally sourced fish and meat. Go native with the thinly sliced (and naturally fed) bull gravlax, marinated in a blackberry and sesame sauce. Then, after a pudding of apple millefeuille pastry with basil-cinnamon ice cream, head out to the garden for a game of pétanque. +33 4 90 97 26 96; chassagnette.fr. About £100 for two

DUBLIN

PHOTOGRAPH: MICHAEL GRIMM

MADRID

The Catalan chef describes his eponymous restaurant as ‘the space of happiness’ and with just seven tables, Freixa is hands-on about his guests’ wellbeing, bobbing around taking orders and presenting dishes. It recently had a face-lift: gone is the streetscape of Gran Vía that used to span one wall; in its place are calmer, grey curves against black-and-white mosaic floors. But the tasting menus are no less dazzling, mixing trad flavours with molecular techniques. A flurry of snacks allows Freixa to show off his trickery: a raspberry that’s actually a tomato; a grey stone oozing liquid manchego. Larger dishes – smoked pork-belly soup with Iberican squid nigiri; Galician beef rib and creamy sea urchin – are just as fun. +34 917 81 82 62; ramonfreixamadrid.com. About £90 for two

TOKYO

FLORENCE

GLASGOW

THE CAMARGUE, FRANCE

121


Country HOTELS


PHOTOGRAPHS: BEALL + THOMAS; SQUIRE FOX; HELEN NORMAN; BJORN WALLANDER/OTTO

BLACKBERRY FARM TENNESSEE, USA

The gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains of south-eastern Tennessee might be famous for moonshiners and banjo pickin’ hillbillies, but they are also home to one of the finest foodie destinations in the world. This 4,200 acre, 68-room Relais & Chateaux property in the tumbling foothills not far from Knoxville is a super-smart, family-owned working farm at which guests get to meet – and learn from – its remarkable artisans: butcher, baker, gardener, cheese-maker, chef, brewer and sommelier. Rooms are in the historic Main House, and in a smattering of splendid wood cottages, each with a private porch, giant fireplace and thick-down-covered beds. Blackberry grows all its own produce, or sources it from nearby farmers, and a forager guides expeditions into the mountains for mushrooms, nuts, alliums and blackberries – many of which find their way onto the menu. Although this place is not all about food – there’s also fly-fishing, horse-riding, clay shooting, a spa and frequent music concerts – a superb feast is always waiting at the Main House (breakfast and lunch) and The Barn (dinner, jacket required), an actual barn transplanted from Dutch Pennsylvania. Poached trout in buttermilk consommé with watercress; hearth-roasted shrimp and grits made with preserved tomatoes; bacon and caramelised- onion pop tart with leaf lard. Blackberry takes the idea of a farm to the next level. +1 865 984 8166; blackberryfarm.com. Doubles from about £690


country HOTELS GLENEAGLES

PERTHSHIRE, SCOTLAND Ireland has long nailed the castle retreat, but Scotland has claimed back its crown with the suddenly revitalised Gleneagles. New owner the Ennismore group, under visionary Sharan Pasricha, has brought a gentle nod of London cool to this much admired but creaking institution, which first opened in 1924. All elements of the refurbishment are cleverly forward-thinking but not too scary for the old guard, a balance that is often tricky to achieve. Out went the orange Art Deco lighting, the swirly carpets and the arum lilies drowning in goldfish bowls and in came a sweep of dove-grey herringbone fabrics, painted panelling and pillows stacked four deep. In the speakeasy-style American Bar, designed by David Collins Studio, walls are clad in the palest lilac cashmere and Champagne-laced drinks are whipped up by scarlet-lipstick’d head bartender Lulu Fedi. In the Century Bar one of Gordon Ramsay’s former mixologists concocts whiskey cocktails with a puff of gunpowder for a pre-dinner sharpener before guests head into Andrew Fairlie, the only two-Michelinstarred restaurant in the country. The golfers still have their championship courses and clubhouse, but everyone else (who now make up the majority) has the run of the rest. The landscape here is enduringly lovely: that crisp heathery air, the long summer nights when the sun lingers on the horizon, and the dark broodiness of the short winter days. Gleneagles Mark II is full of beans and undoubtedly one of the best weekend spots country-wide right now. +44 1764 662231; gleneagles.com. Doubles from £325

LE GRAND BELLEVUE GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND

Built in 1912 as a spa, this heavyweight palace hotel loosened up a few years ago when youthful new owner Daniel Koetser and his design-whizz wife Davia set about unbuttoning its formality. It now has a see-through, double-sided fireplace in the drawing room, jolly House of Hackney bird-prints on the walls, idiosyncratic side tables made from Alpine walking sticks and a life-size tweed camel standing guard at the bar entrance. Seats in the nightclub are carpeted for the inevitable dancing on furniture, and the kids’ club has wallpaper to colour in. Everything is well-made, nothing is showy. In summer, Sunday brunches are a highlight, serenaded by jazz while chefs flip burgers and Champagne glasses are topped up. Leonard’s is a Michelin-star bistro (beef tagliata, bouillabaisse Marsellaise, basil sorbet), and in winter there’s a fondue cabin in the grounds. Compared to the lively public rooms, bedrooms are more subdued, with limed oak floors, enormous beds and big bathrooms bearing large tubs of Bamford products. Part of the fun of getting here is to ride on the Wes Anderson-style Golden Pass railway from Montreux, and on arrival it’s possible to giddy up on a horse-drawn carriage, arrange a film screening with its own tasting menu, or take Roger Moore’s 1962 Bentley for a spin (the Bond actor had a home in Gstaad and would rendezvous here for cocktails with Liz Taylor). But perhaps the Bellevue’s star attraction lies underground in the wonderful, chalet-style spa complex, where it is possible to lose an entire day moving slowly from Himalayan salt grotto to hay sauna, pausing only for that essential goat-milk-and-honey bath. +41 33 748 0000; bellevue-gstaad.ch. Doubles from about £300


THE GOLD LIST 2018 DELAIRE GRAFF ESTATE

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA You’d have thought Laurence Graff’s South African hotel would be – like his diamonds – rather sparkly, yet it remains firmly rooted in the earth and culture of the land. Everything you see, do, or eat here is decisively local: the walls of the cavernous wine cellar are built from fine layers of stone like some ancient African palace; the two buzzy restaurants serve tender springbok, Karoo lamb and Atlantic oysters; views are of the bluey-purple peaks of the Simonsberg mountains, and the pretty terraced gardens were landscaped by local horticulturalist Keith Kirsten. Even the art is by big-name South African talents, from painters Deborah Bell and William Kentridge to sculptor Dylan Lewis, whose bronze cheetahs prowl the lawns. The estate is brilliantly located on a hillside in the dramatic Helshoogte Mountain Pass, which links the Western Cape’s premier wine regions of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. This means it’s easy to visit vineyards during the day and return for a 24-carat-gold facial in the spa or a dip in your private plunge pool before sampling one of chef Virgil Kahn’s multi-cultural specialities such as masala-lamb Scotch eggs. Tucked away in one of the 10 elegant, pared-back lodges, with their pale sofas, enormous showers, and kitchens stocked with fruit, macaroons and biltong, you really do feel like you’re in your own Cape home, albeit one staffed by butlers and surrounded by world-class art. +27 21 885 8160; delaire.co.za. Doubles from about £780

LA BASTIDE DE MOUSTIERS

ALPES-DE-HAUTE PROVENCE, FRANCE Alain Ducasse’s perennially chic country retreat is best reached through the Verdon national park, along thrilling hairpin turns, past gorges, emerald rivers and cascading waterfalls. No less a dramatic approach would suit this beautifully restored, 17th-century hilltop farmhouse, hidden in a wild corner of Provence with pungent lavender, cypress, pine and olive groves, and timeless valley views. The interiors are wonderfully, artfully simple with good antiques and rare porcelain alongside contemporary Provençal crafts, from rough-woven carpets to hand-blown earthenware. Each of the 13 bedrooms and suites is different, but all are inspired by the surrounding flora and fauna with names such as Raspberry, Almond, Pumpkin and Bee, exposed beams and four-poster beds heavy with flowery quilts. But of course the biggest draw here is the superb Michelin-starred restaurant, where the new chef, Frédéric Garnier, is whipping up exquisite seasonal dishes using fresh-picked ingredients from the 10-acre kitchen garden. Highlights include beetroot simmered in blackcurrant leaves, freshly caught organic trout from a neighbouring lake and a cookpot of orchard apples served with goat’s-cheese ice cream. After a breakfast of buttery croissants, homemade cakes, lavender honey and jam, ride a mountain bike to the nearby medieval village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, known for its pretty pottery decorated with birds and flowers, or swim a few laps in the pool to make room for lunch. There can be few places finer on a lazy, bee-buzzing day. +33 492 70 47 47; bastide-moustiers.com. Doubles from about £195

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CLASSIC COCKTAIL BARS


THE GOLD LIST 2018 BARCHEF

THE GIBSON

THE DEAD RABBIT

Frankie Solarik launched this bar on hip Queen Street West in 2008. He’s the kind of mad but amiable cocktail scientist everyone wants to hang out with, and many international chefs and mixologists come here to do just that. His drinks are multi-sensory with a depth of flavour, and all are created using his signature culinary approach. Two-hundred bottles of bitters and syrups are showcased along the dim, candle-lit bar, each infused with fresh ingredients such as fennel, raisin or lavender. On the menu is the Smoked Manhattan, made with Crown Royal Special Reserve, vanilla brandy and hickory syrup, served smoking inside a bell jar. Solarik’s Spring Thaw involves a bed of fresh flowers accompanied by an ice sphere of vanilla and Campari and a jug of sparkling wine and chamomile syrup to pour over. It’s served with a spoon and meant to be eaten. barcheftoronto.com. Smoked Manhattan about £27

Opened by Marian Beke (from Nightjar) and Rusty Cerven (ex-Connaught bar), this Art Deco-style Old Street hangout may have been named after the Gibson cocktail – a dry Martini with a pickled onion – but onions are by no means the only options here. Pickled vegetables are its shtick, all kinds of them, along with compotes, cordials, powders, brines, syrups and macerated fruits, used in drinks that are as zany and visually arresting (served in a skull, a beehive, a top hat, an elephant) as they are alcoholically complex. Aside from the eponymous Gibson, the Electric Earl (gin and Earl Grey liqueur) and Angel Tears (birch-skin-infused Rémy Martin with candied green-walnut paste) both have their fans, but the list keeps evolving. The bar itself is small – just 35 seats – and booking is recommended, although the gracious doorman will always try to get you in, while a flapper-style waitress takes care of the tables. thegibsonbar.london. Gibson Martini £10

Taking its moniker from Irish boxer and criminalturned-senator John Morrissey’s 19th-century street gang, the Dead Rabbits, this is the hottest bar in town right now. Downstairs there’s a spit-and-sawdust taproom, but you really want to be in the upstairs parlour, long and low like a ship’s cabin. The list of 30 cocktails is presented as a comic book – Wonder Woman meets Sinn Féin meets Tom of Finland – with a fistful of humour. The Smart Alec (Calvados, aquavit and celery bitters) and the Hat Trick (rum, banana, lime, Peychaud’s bitters) are clean with no redundant flavours, their ingredients transmogrified by bartenders who shake with almost religious zeal. Like all good drinks, the Dead Rabbit travels, and in London there have been pop-ups at Claridge’s and The Sun Tavern, but nowhere quite prepares you for the Irish-American energy of the New York original. deadrabbitnyc.com. Smart Alec about £12

LINJE TIO

HARRY’S NEW YORK BAR

BAR ENANO

This industrial-chic bar is Sweden’s first to make it in the World’s 50 Best Bars, and you know it lives up to it when you realise the hunk of ice cooling your drink has been hand-cut from an iceberg; Linje Tio is all about the details. The menu changes seasonally: when summer is in full swing there might be watermelon syrup and orangeblossom-water to refresh drinks; and on dark winter nights salted caramel will warm up an excellent Old Fashioned. And if all those cocktails have you fired up and fancying a wander, you’re in luck as Linje Tio is part of Tjoget, a three-in-one joint that’s also home to a wine bar and restaurant, and a barbershop. Sipping a Benevento while getting a trim seems a rather good precursor to soaking up surrounding Södermalm, Stockholm’s hippest neighbourhood. linjetio.com. House cocktail from about £10

If the New York-style interior – mahogany panels, college pennants – looks strangely authentic, that’s because it is strangely authentic. An entire Manhattan bar was packed into crates, shipped across the Atlantic and reconstructed here, off Avenue de l’Opéra, in time to open on Thanksgiving Day 1911. Harry’s became a favourite of the Lost Generation; neither Hemingway nor Fitzgerald were too lost to find it on a regular basis. Said to be the place where the Bloody Mary was invented, it may also be the birthplace of the Sidecar, the Monkey Gland and the White Lady. Even if none of this is true, its charm is such that it makes you think it could be (first drink); probably is (second drink); no, wait, that it must be true, because, dammit, it’s the finest lil’ New York bar this side o’ the East River that y’ever did see (third drink). harrysbar.fr. Bloody Mary about £14

Bar Enano is not somewhere you simply stumble across. Arrive in Nogal, one of Bogotá’s more residential areas, and you will first have to negotiate your way through the busy bistro El Bandido (great for coq au vin), past the live band and down a candle-lit garden until reaching what looks like a Wendy house. This tiny bar-within-a-restaurant was once a storage room until architect (and a partner in the business) Felipe Rodríguez realised its potential. He took inspiration from Adolf Loos’ American Bar in Vienna, and papered the walls with vintage Playboy covers. Enano fits just 20 people, so get there early to bag a booth and order a Sazerac and Seattle oysters from the menu, printed on tracing paper that glows when placed on the under-lit tables. Just don’t mention Narcos; most of these guys lived through La Violencia, and it’s all still a little raw. +57 1 212 5709. Sazerac about £12

BAR ROUGE

VICTORIA BAR

BALTRA BAR

Gosh. What would Chairman Mao say about this place? The decadence. The dancing girls. Oh, comrades! This is the wrong shade of rouge altogether. Nevertheless, the old revolutionary would, as he stepped out of the lift and into the rooftop bar, be compelled to admit there could be no better place from which to contemplate the changing face of modern China. And the tables, he would soon notice, have curious buttons which, when pressed, cause the surface to turn red, thereby summoning a waitress. So what would Chairman Mao say? He’d probably say: ‘Mine’s a Pepper Vodka Martini, thanks,’ then kick back, soak up the booze and beats, and marvel at the skyline views, just like everybody else. bar-rougeshanghai.com. Pepper Vodka Martini about £10

Berlin’s buzziest street is the once-gritty Potsdamer Strasse, now lined with ambitious restaurants such as Golvet and Panama, as well as the cult-ish Andrea Murkudis concept store. But one of the pioneers is the long-standing Victoria Bar, a casual favourite with the city’s art-world crowd, where the walls are hung with Marcel Dzama and Martin Kippenberger pictures. The sprawling, bistro-like room is lined with wood panelling and has a retro Eighties West Berlin vibe many of the locals remain nostalgic for. All the city’s best bartenders have paid their dues here and still go back to order old-schoolinspired cocktails such as the classic Prince Charles (Champagne, cognac and apricot brandy). victoriabar.de. House cocktail from about £11

In the sea of beer bars and mezcalerias in Mexico’s lively capital, world-class cocktails are almost as rare as a dodo. So all hail Baltra in classy La Condesa, named after one of the Galápagos islands where Darwin developed On the Origin of Species. Led by Daniel Reyes (hailed as Mexico’s most imaginative bartender at the age of 23), mixologists sport horn-rimmed specs and compete for attention with daring combinations of spirits, home-brewed botanicals and fortified wines served in tiny glasses. The Last Word (gin muddled with mint pastis, sherry and lime) is particularly moreish. The sultry jazz and low lighting lend Baltra Bar all the intimacy of an explorer’s living room, perfect for nose-to-nose ententes or for lone adventurers alike. baltra.bar. House cocktail from about £6

TORONTO

PHOTOGRAPH: KEIRNAN MONAGHAN & THEO VAMVOUNAKIS/ART PARTNER

STOCKHOLM

SHANGHAI

LONDON

PARIS

BERLIN

NEW YORK

BOGOTA

MEXICO CITY

127


COASTAL HOTELS

JUMBY BAY ISLAND ANTIGUA

There are no room keys at Jumby, the 300-acre private-island outpost off Antigua, because there is no safer hideaway in the world. Reachable only by boat, this Caribbean classic has held onto its old-world charm despite a recent style reboot. Loyal regulars can rest assured that the crab shack still fires up the best spicy fish tacos and the beach bar still serves kicking rum cocktails, only now everything’s been freshened up with the aid of a new organic kitchen garden and fresh eggs laid by very happy chickens. Jumby is not small – there are 40 hotel suites, 34 villas, three restaurants, two beaches, two pools, three tennis courts, a kids’ club and a spa – yet it still manages to feel intimate. At the Estate House, where the female staff’s crisp blue-and-white uniforms were designed by Emilia Wickstead, Dirty Martinis are mixed at the Gatsby-style bar and chef Matthew Liddell serves traditional dishes such as ossobucco ravioli and roasted local lobster. But perhaps the real highlights here are the magnificent beachfront villas, all hidden from view (Lazy Lizard, Turtle Crossing and Tir Na Nog are the big style hitters). Only the ice-cream-coloured Mini Mokes outside, overflowing with Sunnylife inflatables from the boutique, offer any indication of the whereabouts of the guests. And that’s the enduring allure of this place: it still feels secretive and completely discreet. +1 268 484 6072; jumbybayisland.com. Doubles from about £1,100 all inclusive

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THE GOLD LIST 2018

AREIAS DO SEIXO

PHOTOGRAPHS: MANUEL GOMES DA COSTA

COSTA DA PRATA, PORTUGAL Mix rope and slate, shards of mirror and log fires, fragments of poetry, driftwood and candles, sea views and wild flowers, and you have the bare, beautiful bones of this eco-friendly retreat. But there is an extra, impossible-to-imitate ingredient which brings people back time and time again, and that’s the all-embracing warmth and soul that permeates the copper and glass walls – from the brilliantly soothing hands of the therapist in the darkened spa to the evening fire circle around which owners Gonçalo Alves and Marta Fonseca play the guitar and sing. Each of the 14 bedrooms has bare wooden floorboards chalked with a quote or verse and cosy beds with patchwork quilts; doors open wide onto decks with views of the white-capped Atlantic ocean beyond the sand dunes. The handful of new family villas have similar interiors, as well as private pools in varying sizes. The restaurant draws on the kitchen garden for its menu: figs for breakfast; sweet potato, garlic and coriander with octopus for lunch; herbal infusions of lemongrass, fennel and mint at teatime. Or take a bike and fly down to Noah, the owners’ right-on-the-beach restaurant for the catch of the day and a glass of perfectly crisp Quinta da Chocapalha white wine under an impeccable, cloudless sky. +351 261 936340; areiasdoseixo.com. Doubles from about £235


coastal HOTELS THE WAUWINET NANTUCKET, USA

This 19th-century inn is a study in New England grey shingle and white trim, a masterclass in flopsy-bunny loveliness where silver-haired couples in lemon-sherbet cashmere walk chocolate Labradoodles along the shoreline and blue hydrangeas are weighed down by an embarrassment of heavy mop-heads. Perhaps nowhere else in the USA is there such fierce devotion to history, and its preservation, than the former whaling hub of Nantucket, where English settlers arrived in the 17th century and today’s homeowners are obliged to choose between 12 muted shades from which to paint their exteriors (the island is known as The Little Grey Lady of The Sea). The Wauwinet carries this burden of historical accuracy with great dignity and a shedload of chubby beds with jolly chintz skirts, wicker sun loungers, shutters and swags, and a flagpole topped by Old Glory. Secluded from the real world by its remote northeastern location, the inn faces unruffled Nantucket Bay and is backed by the pounding Atlantic ocean. It enjoys, in short, the best of both watery worlds. Run by owners Steven and Jill Karp for 30 years next April, it has plenty of guests who probably haven’t missed a season since, as well as apple-cheeked young couples in Weejun loafers who will be celebrating anniversaries here well into the future. To this end, the hotel’s Topper’s restaurant is a happy space, and dishes such as butter-poached lobster keep things relevant and fishy. Nothing bad can ever happen in a place like The Wauwinet; it is quite simply Elsewhere at its very best. +1 508 228 0145; wauwinet.com. Doubles from about £150

MASSERIA TORRE COCCARO

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PHOTOGRAPH: PATRICIA PARINEJAD

PUGLIA, ITALY

A place of shiny coffee pots and pristine white tablecloths, traditional charm and a visitors’ book full of entries written in fountain pen. Opened 15 years ago when Puglia was still unclaimed by Londoners in Panama hats and the word masseria meant nothing to anyone, this was an instant classic. And it’s still a beautiful, unfiddled-with fortified farmhouse, with centuries-old crumbling tufa limestone walls, and 360-degree views down to the Adriatic Sea and behind to the Valle d’Itria hills. The Muolo family (who also own Torre Maizza down the road) stuck to tradition. Rooms are elegant, relevant and rooted in their surroundings by means of patterned tiled floors, framed lacework as art and lots of dark wooden furniture. Beds are made up with exquisite embroidered linens, vases of fresh lisianthus sit alongside and shutters frame the damask-curtained windows. At night, the bar serves vast gin and tonics in thick crystal highballs and dinner is a serious affair (slipper-lobster risotto, spelt ravioli, beef tagliata) with homemade limoncello as a nightcap. Eclectic ceramics and contemporary pieces of local art decorate the cool, low-ceilinged sitting rooms, and a grand piano sits under a tangle of indoor vines. There’s a sweet spa, stunning kitchen gardens and a cooking school worth flying out for, as well as a great kids’ area. And if you fancy sand between your toes, one of Puglia’s best beach clubs, Coccaro, is a two-minute drive away, with sushi on the menu and a shop selling €350 embroidered kaftans and wild neon Perspex earrings. +39 080 482 9310; masseriatorrecoccaro.com. Doubles from about £260


THE GOLD LIST 2018 HOTEL ESCONDIDO OAXACA, MEXICO

Set in a vast expanse of knotted cacti with views of the purple Sierra Madre del Sur in one direction and the pounding blue Pacific ocean in the other, the Oaxacan countryside seems like a curiously quiet spot for a property from Grupo Habita, whose design-led Mexico City outposts are among the most talked about in the capital. Yet Hotel Escondido, which opened in 2013, has proved to be remarkably prescient in ferreting out the coolest location for the cutting-edge, urban-dwelling surf set: down the road is Puerto Escondido – one of the hottest surf spots in the world, home of the Mexican Pipeline – and the sweet-spot boho town of Mazunte. New York-based Mexican artist Bosco Sodi has a studio, Casa Wabi, further along the beach, which hosts a steady stream of visiting creatives and is the source of the wonderful, thick crockery in the hotel’s open-air restaurant, where shrimps cooked in mole sizzle on the grill and guacamole comes with a grasshopper crunch. Artists and models from Mexico City congregate around the sleek, saltwater pool and there’s a soundproof underground nightclub where beer is poured over fresh lime juice in chunky tumblers to make chilli-spinkled Micheladas, and Margaritas are made with mezcal and sticky tamarind. With just 16 thatched beach shacks for guests (each with a private plunge pool), this is still hands-down the smartest and most discreet place to stay on the Oaxacan coast, and is single-handedly responsible for stealing a little thunder from hippy-chic Tulum. +52 55 5282 2199; designhotels.com/hotel-escondido. Doubles from about £310


City HOTELS

PULITZER AMSTERDAM

Percolating its way through 25 historical buildings – from 17th-century canal-side mansions to artisans’ workshops – this place has soaked up 400 years of stories from previous residents including grand families, a musician and a friend of Rembrandt’s. Inside, a fresh, cheeky re-imagining by Jacu Strauss (Barbecoa and the Mondrian London) weaves in these different elements with smart new Dutch design, and a great deal of quirky charm. Charred furniture by Maarten Baas holds its own alongside voluminous armchairs and gilt-framed paintings against an Old Masters’ palette of deep blues, plums and rich greens. It is a delightful hotchpotch of buildings, with crooked stairways leading around unexpected corners and through a warren of passages littered with bizarre market finds. Bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes, but here the mood is of calm and comfort, with muted pastels, luscious touches of lime and purple, and works from the hotel’s vast private collection of modern art. Downstairs, Jansz restaurant has taken root in the former home of a coppersmith, serving dishes such as miso-glazed cod and lobster risotto, and the Pulitzer’s Bar (a local institution) has a cosy club atmosphere for downing a Dashing Daisy cocktail, with marigold-infused gin and a mandarin shrub. The hotel also has one of the most beautiful salon boats in town: a 1900s teak vessel to glide you through the canals in style. This is an enormously fun place to stay and it far outstrips its rivals by connecting with both the old bones and the vital, contemporary spirit of Amsterdam. +31 20 523 5235; pulitzeramsterdam.com. Doubles from about £270

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THE GOLD LIST 2018

RITZ PARIS

PHOTOGRAPHS: CARLA COULSON

PARIS

It’s been a year and a half since the Ritz reopened after a €400-million revamp – taking in all 142 rooms and 71 suites – and everything has returned to normal along the Place Vendôme. Or as much as the word normal can be applied to a hotel that somehow manages to run a subtle catalogue of homages to bygone guests and staff, while never tending towards a theme park. The fragrance of white lilies for Maria Callas in suite 610; the late-night den where Hemingway drank 51 dry Martinis in a sitting; the famed concierges who’ve been known to source Rolls-Royce tyres, fresh sea urchins, and miniature pianos in the dead of night. This powerful hinterland sits easily against the gauzy, iridescent new colours with names such as Hail Storm (a twilight grey) by painter-decorator Pierre Finkelstein, whose book on mixing paint, Recipes for Surfaces, reveals an almost Lucullan obsession with mood. Such detail is standard: the precise position of the Champagne buckets for afternoon tea in Salon Proust; napkins humorously launched across laps with a high-thread-count snap in L’espadon restaurant, where sublime dishes such as pigeon imperial and wild sea bass with fennel are served under frescoes of cherubs swooning on 300-year-old clouds. In the bedrooms, modish gold clocks chime with a wholly unmechanical subtlety, as though time itself were merely a suggestion. Bars and restaurants are open to the public too, so there’s none of that dread atmosphere of clanking chairs; in the evening, the Ritz has mirth. There exists no hotel more gorgeous or interesting in Paris right now. +33 1 43 16 30 30; ritzparis.com. Doubles from about £890


city HOTELS THE LOWELL NEW YORK

This privately owned property on ritzy East 63rd Street, with Hermès for a neighbour and Barneys diagonally across the way, has always been exceptionally chic. But even the loveliest hotels have to age, and what the Lowell needed, as even its most diehard devotees had started to whisper, was a facelift. Well, she got it. Three years later and the once-sombre black entrance lobby has gone, replaced by a gorgeous neoclassical foyer, bright and welcoming, sympathetic of scale. Behind it, there’s the new Club Room, the most cosseting drawing room of any hotel in New York. And even the dear old Pembroke Room, which magics up the best afternoon tea in the city, has had a makeover; it’s still pretty as a peach but somehow fresher and airier. The Lowell has a new gem, too: Majorelle, a beautiful, Moroccan-inspired French restaurant run by Charles Masson, previously of La Grenouille. There are vast arrangements of lilies and hydrangeas, sweet-smelling, blousy pink roses on the tables, a working fireplace for the winter and a retractable roof for summer. And all this before you’ve even tasted the magnificent couscous, perhaps, or the tangy tagine of snapper with preserved lemons. The bedrooms are the last word in elegance, with polished mahogany floors, Persian rugs and good, hand-made furniture (plus great technology, of course). And the whole show is run like a very smart private residence by the charming general manager, Heiko Kuenstle, who is back after a 10-year break. Once again, everything at The Lowell is exactly as it should be. +1 212 838 1400; lowellhotel.com. Doubles from about £530

MANDARIN ORIENTAL, TOKYO JAPAN

When this hotel opened 12 years ago, the Nihonbashi district was a ghost town after office hours. But with its dozen restaurants and bars and a spa which knocked spots off all others in Tokyo, it really didn’t matter – the Mandarin Oriental was a world in itself. Even now, with Nihonbashi jumping, guests are disinclined to leave the hotel because they are made to feel so fabulous and welcome. It occupies the top eight floors of the 38-storey Mitsui Tower and even the smallest of the 179 bedrooms is vast, with glamorous touches such as the exquisite kimono-style yukata robes in mouth-watering pastel colours. But the reason everyone loves it here is down to the service: nobody has to carry a heavy parcel for long, or need wait for more than a couple of seconds for a lift, or queue at the front desk. The food, too, is exceptional. In the Michelin-starred Tapas Molecular Bar, the 14-course menu is unfurled on a tape measure and delivered with a sleight of hand no conjurer could better. There’s also classic edomae sushi in the eight-seat Sushi Sora, fancy French food at Signature, amazing Cantonese at Sense and a cheap (for Tokyo) and cheerful Pizza Bar on the 38th floor. Even the breakfast buffet impresses with a white-fleshed milk pineapple from Okinawa, creamy butter from Hokkaido prefecture, Caspian Sea yogurt laced with mango, and eggs from Yamanashi chickens fed on rice husks and hibiscus. Could things get any better? Absolutely, evidently not. +81 3 327 0880; mandarinoriental.com. Doubles from about £345


THE GOLD LIST 2018 BELMOND GRAND HOTEL TIMEO TAORMINA, SICILY

Visiting this fabled Sicilian outpost in the late 1990s, you may have noted something a little frail about both the fabrics and the service. But since Belmond (then Orient-Express Hotels) snatched it up seven years ago, the grand old Timeo has got its full-on dolce vita mojo back. Staff numbers have doubled, the famously abundant terraced gardens have been perked up, and every room has benefited from decorative nips and tucks. There are also fewer bedrooms, with added suites being the chief beneficiaries of all that extra space. But whatever happens to the structure or paintwork over the decades, the views here will never change. That is the essence and soul of the place, and of Taormina itself. The sinuous curve of the eastern Sicilian coast would be enough to dazzle. So would the snow-capped, smoking cone of Mount Etna. But to sit on the hotel’s Literary Terrace and watch the two riff off each other would make anyone spill their Etna Spritz (made using a local blood-orange liqueur). There are a couple of other things that seal the deal here. One is the link with sister hotel Villa Sant’Andrea down on the seafront, meaning that a day at the beach is just a 15-minute limo-ride away. The other is its sublime simplicity, as evidenced by chef Roberto Toro’s superb aubergine gnocchi with tomato and fresh oregano. Like that classic dish, the Timeo has nothing to prove, other than that perfection needn’t be over embellished, or unduly complicated. +39 094 2627 0200; belmond.com. Doubles from about £475

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CLASSIC BEACH bars & CLUBS


THE GOLD LIST 2018 PAPAYA PLAYA PROJECT TULUM (pictured left)

Design Hotels honcho Claus Sendlinger has brought full-moon parties to Mexico’s eastern tip. This is one of Tulum’s bigger properties, and while it’s one of the first entirely sustainable beach clubs in the region (it plans to be zero emission and zero contamination by June), it never forgets what makes everyone come back for more. The rustic interiors, with their reclaimed-wood furniture and soothing natural colours, have a cosy vibe and look out over a generous stretch of beach, dotted with double sun beds shaded by grass-roof canopies. Everything on the menu, such as the spicy shrimp and halibut ceviche, is made from ingredients bought at the market, and at weekends there are live gigs and sets from major-league DJs touring Mexico. Mezcal cocktails are the thing here and normally include homemade infusions and fresh juices to vamp up secret recipes. papayaplayaproject.com. Cocktails about £8

BAGATELLE BEACH ST TROPEZ

With nearly 30 private clubs jammed side by side on the sandy three-mile stretch of Pampelonne beach, finding a spot with the cushiest loungers, strongest cocktails and prettiest people can be tricky. Seek no further. After successfully launching the Bagatelle brand in Miami, St Barth’s and Brazil, owners Aymeric Clemente and Remi Laba have come up with a smart mix of laid-back chic and a party atmosphere. Everything from the soothing navy-and-white colour scheme to the bistro dishes by brilliant chef Nicolas Cantrel – tiger prawns flambéed with Pastis, washed down with plenty of Perrier-Jouët – invites a contented nap under the pristine-white umbrellas, flapping in the sea breeze against a sheet of bright-blue sky. By late afternoon it’s time to cool off in the turquoise sea, followed by a cucumber-and-mint G&T, and a gentle sway to the music. bagatelle sttropez.com. Cocktails about £15

ECO DEL MARE PHOTOGRAPH: BRECHENMACHER & BAUMANN

ITALIAN RIVIERA

Everything at this lo-fi hideaway in Lerici’s Gulf of Poets looks as if it has been washed ashore and then put together in the loveliest way by a beachcomber moonlighting as an interior designer. Shipping pallets have been repurposed as cushion-topped sofas; glass jars hold candles or delicate shells. There are only 20 or so parasols, and – even in mid-July – just a couple of swimmers bobbing about in the sea. It might be owned by the wife of Italian rock star Zuccherro,

but this is not somewhere for dancing on tables. Here, the chilled-out crowd come for three-hour lunches of shrimp carpaccio and rigatoni with burrata and mussels, and drink crisp rosé made from the owners’ own grapes. For those too woozy to tackle the 140 steps back up to the road, there are six bedrooms with sun-bleached wooden furniture to hole up in. ecodelmare.it. Cocktails about £15

WIJAYA BEACH SRI LANKA

For all its increasing chicness, Sri Lanka’s palmshaded southern coastline – where creamy sands are pounded by the Indian Ocean at its most forceful – has surprisingly few beach clubs. But there is one place to go: Wijaya, a boho local favourite just a 15-minute tuk-tuk ride southeast of Galle. The two-storey space (with bedrooms behind), faces onto a protected lagoon, where the swimming is easy and hawksbill turtles paddle. The family-run spot is completely unassuming, with loungers overlooking the shore, fresh juices, Gin Fizzes, excellent food (tuna sashimi, prawn curry, lobster) and the friendliest surfer dudes for waiters (instead of fag breaks they choose surf breaks). The crowd is mixed, from expat Brits who run Galle Fort’s stylish hotels and shops to international fashion designers. On New Year’s Eve, the party goes on until dawn. wijayabeach.com. Cocktails about £5

ALEMAGOU MYKONOS

This off-the-beaten-track beach bar is not the place to spray magnums of Champagne before heading back to the superyacht. Salty-haired, beach bums sip pink Palomas in peace and dip their toes in the sea from canopied day beds. Even the tide seems to have a slower pace than the rest of the island as it laps lazily onto the beach, and children play in its shallow waters. Barefoot waiters pad the sand providing lounger-side service, but when the sun gets too much everyone heads for lunch in the thatched-roof restaurant. Feast on chargrilled octopus, seafood spaghetti and tomatoes redder than yesterday’s sunburn, followed by wine so chilled it slips down like water. At sunset, bonfires are lit and the boho set pull an all-nighter. alemagou.gr. Cocktails about £11

PRINCESA PORTUGAL

Just a 20-minute hop across Lisbon’s Tagus River, Portugal’s Costa da Caparica is better known for its stellar kite-surfing scene than the sophistication of its beach clubs. That was until seven Parisian

expats amis dreamt up their ultimate home-fromhome, a place to host their glamorous global friends and teach their kids how to surf those tumbling Atlantic waves. While only in its second season, the wind-weathered boards, nautical stripes and voluptuous day beds set in the sand have made this the go-to spot for Lisbon’s ever-growing gypset crew to mingle over succulent whole sea bass and bowls of garlicky clams. It’s simple and seriously friendly, yet radiates that seemingly effortless style the French have perfected. The open-house party vibe ramps up during summer months with Burning Man-inspired beach bashes, where fire dancers, tribal drums and dark-rum Mojitos fuel barefoot dancing into the small hours. praiaprincesa.com. Cocktails about £5

THE SEA CLUB MALLORCA

It’s a visual feast whichever way you choose to get here. Arrive on land and you meander through the 19th-century, former military fortress, turned into a hotel by owner Pablo Carrington and architect Antonio Obrador. By sea, moor your boat in the aqua-blue cove of Cala de la Reina and tackle the winding steps cut into the rock which lead to this Mallorcan hotspot (even Michelle Obama stopped by for lunch last summer). Tables dotted around the terraced grounds look out across lavenderlined paths to the sea beyond. Tuck into local dishes cooked with organic ingredients over a traditional Mallorcan firewood oven (the paella is amazing). Sip Mallorcan rosé from giant crystal goblets as the sun sets, and, if you fancy it, stay for dinner when the space is transformed by candlelight, twinkling beneath the stars. caprocat.com. Cocktails about £11

THE BEACH HOUSE NICARAGUA

Slowly, steadily, the surf town San Juan del Sur has emerged as the jungle neverland for beatnik millennials from Canada and California to fan their creative flames. So when Beach House opened on the half-moon bay, it took barely a breath for the kaleidoscope of colourful residents to claim it as a community hangout. With its palm trees, tiled cocktail bar and surfboards strung below bee-hive lanterns, it’s smarter than the competition, but with fewer pretensions. Down below on the beach, cowboys trot horseshoe trails and señores snooze to crackling salsa. And while the baby waves are too tranquilo for pro-surfers, they head here for mac ’n’ cheese piled high with lobster. Sure, the nectar-sweet passion-fruit Mojitos are alluring, but it’s the fuzzy, feel-good factor that keeps the crew laughing until last orders. beachhousenica.com. Cocktails about £8

CONTRIBUTORS: ALICE B-B, RALPH BESTIC, RODNEY BOLT, PETER BROWNE, KAREN BURSHTEIN, LANIE GOODMAN, HANNAH GRACE LODGE, LISA GRAINGER, LAUREN HOLMES, RICK JORDAN, FIONA JOSEPH, TABITHA JOYCE, FIONA KERR, STEVE KING, MARY LUSSIANA, LEE MARSHALL, GRAINNE MCBRIDE, KATE MAXWELL, JADE MOYANO, REGGIE NADELSON, AOIFE O’RIORDAIN, ANTONIA QUIRKE, DOUGLAS ROGERS, ISSY VON SIMSON, CHARLOTTE SINCLAIR, MELINDA STEVENS, STANLEY STEWART, JEREMY WAYNE, JOANNA WEINBERG, GISELA WILLIAMS 137


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white shadows AT ONCE REGAL AND REVOLUTIONARY, ST PETERSBURG IS HISTORY FROZEN IN A GLORIOUSLY GILT-EDGED FRAME BY JONATHAN BASTABLE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALISTAIR TAYLOR-YOUNG


ST PETERSBURG’S ELISEYEV FOOD HALL is a great building in a city of wonderful architecture. The exterior, with its enormous stained-glass frontage, is a madcap piece of pre-revolutionary Art Nouveau, but the really surreal sights are on the inside. All around this marvellous shop there are étagères stacked with sweetmeats: halva and marzipan and walnuts pickled in syrup – a perennial Russian favourite. You can buy a bust of Lenin made from three kilos of white chocolate and matryoshka dolls filled with drazhye (boiled sweets in modern parlance), but also the sugar plums of Tchaikovsky’s dancing fairy. The glass-topped patisserie cabinets are full of eclairs piped with inscriptions (‘S novym godom!’ – ‘Happy New Year!’). Elsewhere there are rounds of rye bread the size of boulders, cheeses flavoured with pungent herbs, thick orange sides of smoked salmon like the lolling tongues of dragons. A ghostly pianola plays itself, cranking out ragtime tunes, and the whole place is suffused in rainbow light from those coloured windows. Go at dusk for afternoon tea; it’s an experience you will never forget. Some people like St Petersburg best during the White Nights, the midsummer weeks when the sun barely sets. But I prefer the city in its winter garb. The January cold can be thrilling. The moisture freezes out of the air and the atmosphere becomes as fresh as chopped dill and as crisp as a ginger biscuit. If it gets really cold, below -15˚C or so, the broad Neva River freezes over. This happens slowly, over a matter of days, and it is fascinating to observe. First you see lacy fringes of ice at the embankments; then come sheet-like floes that move to and fro with the tide, crunching and crashing and coalescing into ever bigger static platforms. A snowfall at this point will clothe the width of the river in white ermine. Sometimes thin mists roll in from the Gulf of Finland, diffusing the wan

THE JANUARY COLD IS THRILLING. THE ATMOSPHERE BECOMES AS FRESH AS CHOPPED DILL AND AS CRISP AS A GINGER BISCUIT northern light and making the columned cathedrals and pastel palaces appear as translucent and weightless as party balloons. At times like these, St Petersburg feels not like a solid town at all, but an architect’s delirious hallucination of one. For most of the century following the revolution of 1917, this was a Cinderella city, eclipsed by its ugly sister Moscow. But it has emerged from its varied past, as the capital of a troubled empire, as Petrograd, the cradle of Bolshevism, and as Leningrad, a victim of wartime devastation and postwar neglect. At some point in the past decade, St Petersburg has acquired the clean, cool vibe that you would expect of a bright, forward-looking Scanditown – which is more or less what Peter the Great had in mind when he planted it here more than 300 years ago, and modestly named it after himself. The best way to get a sense of the place is to climb up to the outdoor balustrade under the golden dome of St Isaac’s cathedral (choose a clear day, and wrap up because the wind bites like a dog). To the north, over the shoulders of the green saints and angels on the rooftop, is the gleaming stiletto spire of the Admiralty and the brooding Petropavlovsky fortress; to the north-east is the Winter Palace, painted the colour of sea ice as if its halls and chambers were hewn from a glacier; to the south, the winding Moyka River and the very splendid Hotel Astoria; to the south-west, the rotunda of the Mariinsky Theatre; and to the west the cheery design quarter of New Holland. And in every direction, a smattering of golden domes like costly trinkets spilled from a lacquer box. From up here you see the city for what it is: one enormous work of art. And art is everywhere here in Peter’s chef d’oeuvre. A great deal of it is in the Hermitage, of course. With its miles of corridor and thousands upon  Opposite, from top: a group of ice-fishermen in the frozen Gulf of Finland; a street in St Petersburg leading to the Neva River. Previous pages, the 330ft dome of St Isaac’s cathedral, which is plated in pure gold inside and was completed in the 1850s 141


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thousands of exhibits, this is a museum you could visit every day for a month without properly covering the ground. So choose your targets well – the Gold and Diamond rooms, the Leonardos and Raphaels – and zip by the rest. Or go for the smaller State Russian Museum, which provides a real insight into the culture of this vast and complex country. Ilya Repin’s epic scenes of Cossacks and barge-haulers, for example, are the canvas equivalents of Tolstoy’s crowded novels. And in fact, Tolstoy is one of many great writers and musicians who posed for Repin – barefoot and clothed in a loose peasant smock to proclaim his own rooted Russianness. For a different view again, dive into the Metro, where the older stations, constructed in the 1950s, are packed with Soviet civic art. On the platform at Narvskaya you will find sculptures of grimfaced sailors and happy schoolchildren all looking forward to the triumph of communism; at Pushkinskaya a statue of Alexander Pushkin, the founder of modern Russian literature, sits in reverie like a frock-coated version of Rodin’s Thinker. And there is an impressive mural of Peter the Great at Admiralteiskaya, the deepest station in this deepest of underground systems. The downward escalator is dizzyingly steep, and the descent lasts so long that you can’t help feeling you should have done something constructive with the time, like written a short novel. But do spend the short daylight hours outdoors, exploring the waterways and bridges and mansions. Some of St Petersburg’s best sights are on the canals: the Yusupov Palace, where Rasputin was fed cakes laced with cyanide; the gaudy Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood, built on the spot where Alexander II, the tsar-liberator, was fatally wounded by an assassin’s bomb; and the Fabergé

IT WOULD NOT BE ST PETERSBURG UNLESS SOMEWHERE IN TOWN THERE WAS A SWAN EXPIRING GRACEFULLY ON STAGE Museum on the Fontanka River, a brilliant place to duck into when the cold begins to seep into your bones. The museum is not just about the priceless Easter eggs, though there is an eye-popping roomful of these. It also displays the breadand-butter output of the house of Fabergé and other Russian jewellers: the dinner services, icon-covers, punchbowls and objets de fantasie. Several rooms are devoted to the pleasing paraphernalia of nicotine addiction: cigarette cases made of jade and gold, samovar-shaped lighters, ashtrays in the form of the four suits in a pack of cards, snuffboxes, tobacco jars, cigar cutters. There is a silver match-holder in the shape of a terrier’s head – a thing of staggering opulence and ugliness. All these items constitute the obvious answer to the age-old question: what do you give the grand duke who has everything? And if yet another cigarette case seemed superfluous there was always the matching malachite desk set: desk barometer, desk compass, desk clock, desk bellpush, desk bonbonnière…. Just across the Fontanka from the Fabergé Museum stands the Sheremetev Palace, which until the revolution of 1917 was the residence of one of Russia’s oldest and wealthiest families. Tucked away behind it is a service block that was divided into communal flats after the uprising. Here lived Anna Akhmatova; most English speakers will not have heard of her, but she was the greatest Russian poet of the troubled 20th century. Her first husband, also a fine poet, was shot as a counter-revolutionary; her son was despatched to the gulag; she was denounced in the newspapers – shamefully – as ‘half-nun, half-whore’. She remained dignified throughout, and wrote some of the most magnificent  Opposite, from top: ballerina Irina Zhalovskaya at the Mikhailovsky Theatre; the shadows of dancers. Previous pages, the reconstructed Amber Room at the Catherine Palace; the original was looted by the Nazis and its location remains a mystery. Following pages, clockwise from top left: a frozen newspaper; trees in Sosnovka Park; snowy footprints; ice blocks on a canal 145


poetry of the age: about her own lost past, about the torment that Russia experienced in her lifetime, about the indestructibility of the human spirit. Her flat is now her museum, and to go there is a humbling experience; you need not know a word of her poetry to be moved by it. In one lyric she wrote about dark nights spent patrolling the inner courtyard ‘with a lantern and a bale of keys’, and sure enough, there is a lantern just inside the door. Her beret hangs on a peg with her thin macintosh, totally inadequate for the Leningrad climate. These rooms were shared with her second husband, her husband’s ex-wife, and various other transient residents over the years. If nothing else, the space gives a good idea of what communal living was like in the middle of the Soviet era: cramped, sparse, lacking in privacy. And Akhmatova was under constant surveillance. A secret policeman was stationed in the yard and she had to show herself each morning at her window so he could report that she had not committed suicide in the night. Her greatest fear was that her manuscripts would be confiscated and her work lost forever, so she wrote poems on scraps of paper and had trusted friends memorise them in her presence. Once her visitors had the lines off by heart, she would immediately burn the paper in a little metal ashtray that was permanently on her desk. It’s still there, and is surely the most poignant ashtray in the history of literature – more precious in its way than all the gold and silver exemplars back in the Fabergé Museum. While this is a city of art and poetry, it is perhaps a city of music above all. Tchaikovsky lived and died here, and his grave, surmounted by weeping angels, is in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. But his real monument is Swan Lake, a ballet that permanently seems to be on at one venue or another, as if St

TO GET A SENSE OF THE PLACE CLIMB UP TO THE CATHEDRAL DOME. BUT WRAP UP BECAUSE THE WIND BITES LIKE A DOG Petersburg would not be St Petersburg unless somewhere in town there was a swan expiring gracefully on stage. The best way to get tickets is to go directly to the box office and snap up what’s available. My seat in the gods at the Alexandrinsky, a venerable old theatre founded by Catherine the Great, cost less than £10. The corps de ballet – playing peasant folk in the first act – wore costumes in buttery yellow, icing pink and peppermint green, all the edible colours of the city’s architecture. It wasn’t a lavish production but the atmosphere was wonderful because Russian audiences so adore this work and this art form. For a different kind of Russian harmony, there’s evensong. One of the best choirs can be heard at the Preobrazhensky cathedral, on the edge of the historic centre. Making your way there through the frosted Summer Garden you might hear the chiming of bells, as clean and metallic as a silver rouble. Orthodox churches are always dark and warm inside, and the choreography of worship is mesmerising: the candlelit icons, the comings and goings of the chanting priests, the swinging thuribles of pungent incense, all played out to the accompaniment of the heart-searing Slavonic liturgy, ‘Gospodi pomilui, Gospodi pomilui’ (‘Lord, have mercy…’) Stay for as long or as short a time as you wish: there is no rule against leaving as soon as your feet begin to ache or your heart is too full to take any more of this ancient magic. But savour the night walk home, because you will never be closer to knowing what it means to have a Russian soul. Opposite, from top: the waterfront along the Neva River; the early-20th-century façade of the Hotel Astoria, designed by architect Fyodar Lidval Steppes Travel (+44 1285 601050; steppestravel.com) offers five days in St Petersburg from £1,965 per person staying at the Hotel Astoria, including flights and sightseeing with a private guide

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silver linings RWANDA IS AFRICA’S MOST TALKED-ABOUT SAFARI DESTINATION RIGHT NOW. HIDDEN IN ITS FORESTS ARE FANTASTIC BEASTS AND EXTRAORDINARY NEW LODGES TO STAY IN. MULTI-AWARD-WINNING WRITER STANLEY STEWART TAKES AN EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOM PARKER


ON THE SLOPES OF THE VIRUNGA VOLCANOES everything whispers. In the eerie acoustics of these cloud forests, sound is camouflaged. Birdsong filters through leaves to a trickling susurration. A stream mutters somewhere, barely audible. Forest decay muffles our footsteps. The guide stops and holds his finger to his lips. ‘They are close,’ he whispers. ‘I can smell them.’ We stand in the track like children playing statues. Then the guide beckons us forward and we start again, treading with exaggerated care. The trackers have appeared out of the bush in front of us, and point to a glen of waist-high greenery. We wade downhill, pushing through ferns and new bamboo, and suddenly, there before me, barely three metres away, is an enormous mountain gorilla. ‘Half man, half beast… a being from the infernal regions,’ declared a 19th-century showman who made a career of gorilla tales. Typecast as chest-thumping psychos with the build of sumo wrestlers and the personality of serial killers, the creatures of our imaginations seem forever stuck in film-poster pose, a damsel in one hand and a crushed biplane in the other. Mercifully, my gorilla is on a lunch break, munching on a handful of leaves. He stops mid-mouthful and gazes up at me with thoughtful, amber-flecked eyes. Making a sibilant sound with his lips, almost like a kiss, he picks a twig from his teeth. Then, with a slight narrowing of the eyes, he breaks wind, a mere whisper of a fart.

THERE ARE MANY EXTRAORDINARY things about Rwanda, but gorillas and genocide are the sum of what most people know about this landlocked East African nation. I had come to find the country beyond the dated headlines, and in the capital Kigali I was immediately struck by a sense of nostalgia. Sprawling and vibrant, it is one of those African cities that has yet to outgrow its charming, small-town feel. People stopped to chat on street corners. Our driver waved to friends at pedestrian crossings. Nairobi was like this a lifetime ago: peaceful, relaxed, sunny, at ease with itself. Rwanda sits astride an arm of the Albertine Rift Valley, an offshoot of the Great Rift. Small, mountainous, populous, exceedingly fertile, the country feels intimate and intricate. Driving eastward from Kigali, we rollercoastered between banana groves and sun-struck stands of bamboo, between terraces of tilled earth and villages of thatched and tin-roofed tukals. There were few cars but streams of pedestrians. Lines of caryatid women, babies strapped to their backs, carried everything from firewood to a hundred-weight of fruit on their heads. Ragged men rode rickety bicycles that looked like hand-me-downs from Miss Marple’s village. Gangs of school children with satchels and red sweaters waved at our car. Then the country flattened and opened, and we drove on into the savannah of the eastern lowlands and Akagera National Park. Badly battered during the 1990s genocide, Akagera was my first experience of something extraordinary happening in Rwanda. The park has been rescued from oblivion. Game is increasing, and the admirable African Parks – a non-profit charity supporting the rehabilitation of the continent’s most vulnerable wildlife spaces – has successfully reintroduced lion and black rhino. Herds of zebra thundered past, impala bounded away through Left, the reception of Bisate Lodge. Previous pages, the silverback gorilla Gicurasi in Volcanoes National Park. Following pages, from left: Gicurasi, who is part of the Pablo family group; the nest-like rooms of Bisate Lodge 153


THE BIG MALE GORILLAS, WHO COULD HAVE BROKEN MY NECK WITH A BACKWARD SWAT OF THEIR HANDS, WERE NIBBLING BAMBOO LEAVES AS DELICATELY AS A YOUNG GEISHA EATING SUSHI


acacia scrub, topi marched along the skyline, and a petulant bull elephant tore up several trees. In the evening, at the tented camp on the lakeshore, hippos rose to the surface of the water during dinner, grumbling like club members woken from a postprandial snooze. But one thing was different here: Akagera is still virgin safari territory. In a full day exploring the park, I didn’t see another vehicle. I had Africa to myself. Then I backtracked across the country, driving from its eastern to its western boundaries in a single day. In the mountains and deep forests, the relatives were waiting. PASSING BACK THROUGH KIGALI, I had lunch at the Hôtel des Mille Collines, made famous as Hotel Rwanda in the film of the same name. On the terrace around the swimming pool, middle-class Rwandans were enjoying a buffet. In 1994, the pool became the only source of fresh water for the 1,268 people sheltering there, protected by brave staff from killers waiting outside the gates. Today’s Rwanda – peaceful, almost quaint – seems impossible to square with the nightmare that engulfed the country 23 years ago when extreme elements among the Hutu majority attempted to wipe out the Tutsi minority. Few Rwandans were untouched by the genocide. An estimated one million people, 15 per cent of the population, were slaughtered in 100 days. I was across the border in Uganda that year and I watched as villagers hauled corpses out of the rivers, carried by the currents down from the Rwandan highlands. But it is what happened next that is the extraordinary thing. Having experienced the depths of depravity, Rwandans understood that they faced an existential choice. Vengeance could feed off this trauma for generations. Or they could find some way to leave it behind them, to move on, to build lives free of this terrible shadow. In the end it was not aid agencies, nor the International Court of Justice in the Hague, nor UN peacekeepers who rescued Rwanda. It was Rwandan villagers sitting together under the trees – quietly talking, sharing pain and remorse – who came up with a solution to put this country back together again. Much of the healing was done in the traditional village councils known as gacaca, or ‘grass’ because of where they were held out in the open. Guided by elders, victims and perpetrators sat together to resolve complex and painful issues of truth and guilt. Africa is often humbling. Here in Rwanda, something rare and inspiring and life-affirming has happened. Among the sad chronicles of African tragedy, good has triumphed.

DEEP IN THE COUNTRY’S SOUTH-WEST, perspectives shifted with every turn of the road. Tumbling hills were knitted together with vertiginous fields. Then the horizontals unravelled, and tea plantations clothed sensuous hillsides. The road curved past tin roofs glinting in an equatorial sun, the land fell away and I looked down on a flat expanse of chequered rice paddies, a study in green geometry. The Nyungwe forest arrived unexpectedly. The road plunged suddenly into a dappled world of mahogany, Mulanje cedar and beautiful smooth-barked thickets of albizia. Nyungwe is said to be one of the oldest woodlands in Africa, harbouring creatures that are rare or extinct elsewhere. Of the 300 bird species chattering in its sun-spattered gloom, 27 are found From top right: the balcony of the bar at Bisate Lodge; the reception of One&Only Nyungwe House. Opposite, clockwise from top left: Bisate; a villager near the lodge; One&Only Nyungwe House; a local woman 157


nowhere else. Thirteen primate species swing through its branches, including mona monkeys, silver monkeys, a huge troop of colobus, secretive owl-faced monkeys which haunt the bamboo groves in the south, and L’Hoest’s monkeys, whose mature males are blessed with bright-blue testicles. But it is the chimpanzees that draw most people here. I heard them before I saw them. With a guide I followed tracks downward into a green netherworld. Suddenly, above me in the canopy, a single chimpanzee raised its voice, hooting excitedly. Then the others joined in until the entire group, possibly some 30 chimps, were all raucously hooting and crying. The cacophony rose in volume until it reached a spine-chilling crescendo of shrieks, a collective Janovian primal screaming. And then they fell silent, and there was only the sound of gentle birdsong. It had seemed like murder but apparently it was just bonding. In the dense undergrowth, I settled down to watch them. Chimps shimmied up and down trees, swung from branches, gobbled fruit, and paused occasionally to screech at one another. Aggressive and notoriously volatile, chimpanzees enjoy the kind of complex social interactions that would make a meeting of Mafia dons seem like a child’s birthday party. From the trees they gazed down at me with a mixture of curiosity and malevolent cunning. They were calculating what they could get for me. But for the presence of the rangers, I knew they would have kidnapped me, chained me to a radiator, and opened negotiations for a truckload of fruit delivered in instalments to a place of their choosing. Chimps, I felt, were those kind of guys.

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS, RWANDA’S CELEBRITIES, are the antithesis of their Nyungwe cousins, the yin to the chimpanzees’ yang. They live in the north-west, high in the cloud forests of the Virunga volcanoes where Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo collide. The total population of this critically endangered species, spread across the three countries, is just short of 900 individuals. No mountain gorillas have ever survived in captivity; removed from their beloved habitat, they perish. But in spite of their remote location, mountain gorillas have become one of the most cosseted creatures on earth. Researchers continue the intensive studies of conservationist Dian Fossey, whose work did so much to highlight their plight. Gorilla doctors trek into the mountains to treat them should any fall ill or suffer injury. And if an individual goes missing from its family group, rangers will hunt for it until it is found, either dead or alive. Few wild animals enjoy this level of care. And frankly, it couldn’t happen to nicer folk. It is, of course, tourism, and its related incomes, that have helped conserve the mountain gorillas and that have made their protection such a priority. Almost 100 people a day come to visit them, split into small trekking groups that fan out into the cloud forests to different troops long accustomed to human contact from researchers. But the irony is that tourism could also bring about their destruction. Mountain gorillas lack immunity to many human diseases; today their greatest threat may be the illnesses carried by the very people who travel half-way around the world to see them. On the morning of my visit I joined fellow trekkers to drive for an hour from the national park headquarters to a remote village where men were waiting to act as porters. Children waved us off, their voices trailing away as we climbed through fields Left, mountain gorilla Gicurasi. Following pages, boatmen on Lake Kivu 159


HERE IN RWANDA SOMETHING RARE AND INSPIRING AND LIFE-AFFIRMING HAS HAPPENED. GOOD HAS TRIUMPHED


where their mothers were tilling the rich earth. At the boundaries of the forest, the guide stopped to give us some instructions. We must speak only in whispers. We must not get closer than seven metres to the gorillas. And should they seem agitated by our presence, we should crouch down and make submissive whimpering noises. Finally, we should avoid eye contact with the silverback. He thinks staring is rude. A silverback can weigh more than 400lb, and it is best not to offend them. Then we filed through a gap in the dry-stone wall and entered the world of the gorillas. A steep track, braided with roots and carpeted with decaying leaves, led upwards through dense forests towards windows of celestial-blue sky. We passed African redwoods and thick stands of bamboo. Creepers hung about our ears. Here and there spectacular rainbow-coloured fungi sprouted on fallen logs at our feet. Rich aromas rose about us: the stench of over-ripe fruit; the scent of strange flowers. Eventually the trackers materialised on the trail ahead. The gorillas were near. We cut down from the track through thickets of vegetation until suddenly I came upon my friend, the flatulent chap, enjoying a feed. He was a member of the Pablo group, which Dian Fossey began to study 50 years ago. A few steps further and we found ourselves in the middle of the group: a dozen or so individuals, including a massive silverback, a couple of other junior males, several females and a scattering of young, among them a five-month-old baby. Sitting all about us in the greenery, they were at lunch, a ritual that lasts, as in every sophisticated society, for several hours. The problem is that a gorilla’s lunch, and every other meal, consists entirely of salad. Gorillas are vegans – the only lapse is the occasional ant – eating leaves, flowers, shoots and stems. A big male needs to consume 75lb of food a day, which is a lot of leaves. So the mountain gorillas spend much of their time grazing, with the occasional downtime for naps. Their lives, in the words of zoologist Desmond Morris, are ‘a picnic party with no beginning and no end’. And this is the paradox of gorillas. For all their fearsome reputation and power – the silverback had the kind of shoulders that would oblige him to go through doors sideways – they seemed such peaceful creatures, as if they had nothing to prove. The big males, who could have broken my neck with a backward

swat of their hands, were nibbling bamboo leaves a few metres away, as delicately as a young geisha eating sushi. Where the chimps had hooted and hollered at us, the gorillas seemed unperturbed, even uninterested. They chewed, they picked their teeth, they stretched out for a snooze. Occasionally they studied us between mouthfuls of greenery with their thoughtful gaze. At other moments I felt as if they were looking through me, or possibly just over my shoulder, perhaps hoping to catch the eye of someone more interesting at the picnic. It didn’t matter. I was honoured to be here, to be allowed to spend an hour with these animals. Yes, they are hauntingly like us – the hands, the feet, those thoughtful eyes, the expressions, the gestures, the wide-eyed innocence and playfulness of the baby. They cuddle, they hug, they lie in one another’s laps. They seemed like a lost tribe, isolated up here in the cloud forests while homo sapiens took another, rather more stressful, evolutionary road. There are conflicts between gorilla groups, of course. There can even be occasional infanticide by rival silverbacks, but generally they do their best to avoid open warfare. Within the Pablo group, the former silverback, Cantsbee, who died in early 2017, depended on a policy of co-operation rather than dominance, allowing the junior males to mate with his females on those occasions when he himself was not in the mood. Free love had proved a useful strategy, keeping the other males happily within the troop, and maintaining alliances that made the family stronger as a unit. Cantsbee’s adoptive son, Gicurasi, the big guy a few metres away now sleepily licking a bamboo stem, carried on this tradition. It had made the Pablo group one of the largest and most successful in the Virungas. And I guess there may be a lesson in that somewhere. Stanley Stewart was a guest of Natural World Safaris (+44 1273 691642; naturalworldsafaris.com) and Rwandair (rwandair.com). The Natural World Safaris Rwanda Panorama Safari costs from £9,172 per person, including Rwandair flights from London Gatwick, a helicopter flight from Volcanoes National Park to Nyungwe, three nights at Bisate Lodge, two nights at Ruzizi Tented Lodge in Akagera and two nights at One&Only Nyungwe House, with all meals, transfers, most activities and all park fees. Excludes gorilla trekking permits at £1,175 per trek

two ground-breaking hotels Bisate Lodge

One&Only Nyungwe House

The newest outpost from top eco-tourism outfit Wilderness Safaris, Bisate has already acquired a reputation as Africa’s most exclusive lodge. And it is only a short drive to Volcanoes National Park headquarters for the continent’s most exclusive wildlife experience: trekking to see Virungas’ mountain gorillas. The overhanging roofs of Bisate Lodge look like the shaggy nests of a colony of creative weaver birds suspended in the cloud forests. Inside, the whole thing takes flight; the rooms and public spaces, which all open onto long, curving balconies, are light and inviting. Architect Nicholas Plewman has created a place that echoes the Rwandan royal palaces with fluid lines, ribbed walls and traditional materials. To get the construction details right, the family who have been building the palaces in Nyanza for generations came to advise. The one non-traditional element here are the floor-to-ceiling windows along the valley side of the villas, looking across to three magnificent peaks. Crackling fireplaces, leather sofas and a lengthy wine list make for cosy evenings. Sink into your free-standing bath and watch a new moon rising over the shoulders of the volcanoes.

Mostly known for its beachfront escapes such as Reethi Rah in the Maldives and The Palm Dubai, One&Only is now behind two properties in the mountains and forests of Rwanda: partner hotel Nyungwe, a nature lodge set in a delightfully peaceful tea plantation, and Gorilla’s Nest, a hillside retreat to be launched in 2018. The backdrop to the stylishly contemporary seating and dining areas at Nyungwe are the languorous lines of the mature estate of Gisakura, shot through with as many shades of green as Ireland. At breakfast, you can watch thetea pickers carrying their baskets through the waist-high plants. But there is another element here, Nyungwe’s montane rainforests, which surround the plantation. From the beds, the baths and the private infinity pools of the villas, guests look directly out over this vine-strangled world, home to 13 primate species and a startling array of strange and wonderful tropical birds. The highlight of the activities are treks into the lush woodlands of Nyungwe to track the chimpanzees; the highlight of the lodge, served by an open fire, is the most lavish afternoon tea this side of Darjeeling.

Opposite, clockwise from top left: Nyungwe forest; the restaurant at Nyungwe House; a family of baboons in Akagera National Park; Nyungwe House 163


ALL THE RIGHT MOVES

WITH TOES-IN- THE-SAND TULUM AND COCK TAIL -HOUR COSTA C AREYES, MEXICO DOES A BEACH SCENE LIKE NOWHERE ELSE ON EARTH. NOW JOIN THE CLUED-UP CREW TAILING THE SURFERS TO SENSATIONAL SAYULITA BY ANTONIA QUIRKE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY OLIVER PILCHER


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From left: pelicans in formation; blossom; collecting shells. Clockwise from top left: view from Las Alamandas hotel; El Mescalita bar; surfer Diego Mignot at Casa Love guesthouse, and its surf rack. Previous pages: Casa Love; Diego Mignot takes to the waves

With a blaze and a glitter, the day begins. The town of Sayulita on Mexico’s Pacific north coast smells so headily of salt that the ash-pale feathers of the pelicans patrolling its dawn waves seem burnished by the stuff. A handful of kids have been in the blue water with their boards since first light, moving in that heedless way of surfers since childhood, super-aware of the brackets and hinges of their bodies. Some even stroll up and down the length of their boards-in-motion, as though loitering on a warm corner; then take a wave, and leap up, light as a bundle of sticks. Fifteen years ago Sayulita was quiet, near forgotten, a low-built village with a population of a few hundred. There were just a couple of hotels back then, and nothing to speak of in the hamlet of San Pancho next door, both sharing a wide curl of white sand and protected by the jungle, and Sierra Madre mountains, with all the remains and tombs and colonial towns beyond – the whole grand march of Mexican history. Although Sayulita is perhaps four times more populous now, with pretty shops and places to eat, nothing feels distorted or spoiled. On this early morning, the air is full of the claggy, perfumed sweetness of corn dough. Outside Naty’s Cocina on calle Marlin a few people are drinking homemade lime agua fresca while waiting for simple 15-peso tacos with pollo mola that taste better than the world’s most ingenious sandwiches. Under chattering parakeets, fallen almond blossom floats in a puddle on a recently washed pavement. A man pulls a cart heavy with stubby cucumbers towards the sea, nodding hello to three teenage girls in high-waisted denim shorts, their bosoms wobbling, hair centreparted and worn in long, onyx plaits, like sexed-up Frida Kahlos. As the day widens and the light goes gold, newly arrived Swedish girls labour along the seafront with their heavy rucksacks, white fringes blowing, past slobbering, happy dogs playing with Frisbees and a great mass of bickering hens, their chicks tumbling across the sand like wastepaper. Life here seems easy, ridiculous:

a jackfruit kingdom of hot days. Along the surf just beyond (and the surf is always just beyond, there are only a few streets in the whole town) are ebony-sheeny, confident birds called grackles, swanking and twisting across the clear green shallows, their cries like wet fingers prodding you to be more sociable. I sit for a while with 21-year-old Diego Mignot, a Frenchman who lives just moments from the waves with his mother and sister in an unusual guesthouse that winds ever upwards like a castle turret, and has no glass in any of its windows; whole rooms open year-round to the sea and air. One of the star surfers here, Diego has a face that’s lean and smooth and brown as clay, with a wide, singing kind of mouth and shaggy, yarrow-tipped hair. ‘What were you thinking about out there on your board?’ I ask and he offers his whitest grin. ‘Just waiting for the line to appear on the horizon,’ he shrugs. ‘Just sitting and waiting for the swell.’ The Mignot family seem to me typical of the sort of people who wind up here. People with a story, characters as though imagined by Paul Theroux; bohemians moving through life with improvisational ingenuity. For a time, the family sold black pearls along the beaches of Sardinia. Some lived in a ketch off the coast of Panama. And although surfing is now a very professional thing and about to be an Olympic sport, with talk of diets and weights and fitness, the way the kids surf in Sayulita is far wilder and sweeter. I’ve seen footage of Diego surfing in a pro-competition in Hawaii. Among a gaggle of gleaming muscle and sponsors, there he is, not doggedly trying to win but instead hurling himself off his board at a vital moment, slim as an arrow, into a roaring blue wall of water. It makes me laugh out loud, like watching Cary Grant acing a backflip in Holiday at the sheer joy of being so alive and agile.

‘Have i told you about the nights in san pancho when I first got here?’ asks Ricardo Hernandez, who moved to this part of the coast from Mexico City in the 1980s and for a decade had to 167


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Clockwise from left: view from Imanta Resorts in Punta da Mita; blossom at Las Alamandas; video games in a village shop; swimming at Sayulata Point; ďŹ sh tacos at Imanta. Opposite, from left: suite pool at Las Alamandas; a local gaucho. Previous pages: bedroom at Casa O’te Miti, outside Sayulita, which can be rented at teitiare.com; Casa Love


ring his mother every month to send him toothpaste and shampoo because it was still hard to come by. And yet the way Hernandez describes San Pancho in those days doesn’t sound – save for a few boutiques and bars – so very different to the nights I spend here, watching kids sitting around fires on the beach, a couple of them rubbing oil into their grandmother’s swollen legs as she smiles in bliss. There’s an air of faded wealth along the sand-trodden cobbles: for a time in the 1970s the village of San Pancho was the holiday destination of the president, Luis Echeverría. Tonight, cafés are lit with candles, dancing and peaceful. Most of the doors to the turquoise and lime-painted houses are open and in one dimly lit front room, its windows fluttering with clean-raggedy lace curtains, an elderly couple sits under an immense framed photograph of a Zapata-era bride. In a sawn-off VW Beetle, a family of sun-blasted blondes eat sweet Mexican bread, mouths white with powdered sugar. Shops are selling ice-pops and chilli sauce, and trinket bracelets the colours of gypsy caravans. In windows, woven hangings by the indigenous Wixaritari people depict corn cobs pulsing under a triumphant sun and hummingbirds circling deer, so brimming and lavish you have to blink several times to focus on them. Children sit cross-legged on a ledge by a pavement shrine, where a painting of Jesus hangs next to an exultant cupid. Later, when I return to this place with a map drawn on a napkin, clearly lost, one of them takes me by the arm and guides me, singing to himself, accompanied by his ankle-licking pit bull. When the film director john huston first travelled along this part of Mexico’s Pacific coast in a dugout canoe in the 1920s, he noted that, ‘Life here is lived in the open. At night, wild creatures come down to inspect: coatimundis, boars, ocelots, jaguars.’ Returning in 1962 to make The Night of the Iguana with

Richard Burton and Ava Gardner, he stayed in the coastal town of Puerto Vallarta, 20 miles south of Sayulita. Then the smallest of fishing villages, it had one hotel catering to mulateers. Burton took a house, an elegant stone hacienda, Casa Kimberly, and hid out with his newly acquired Cleopatra. The paparazzi went wild: both he and Elizabeth Taylor were still married to other people. Over the years the couple renovated the house, adding floors and a pool and even a little bridge crossing the lane. The movie was a hit, their relationship a perpetual scandal, and soon the tourists started coming. I have a picture of Burton-Taylor on the roof of the house, brown as cigars, him with a film script, her sensational breasts bursting out of a white bikini. In the near distance, the campanula-blue sweep of the bay and acres of jungle-tangled hills. How triumphant Burton looks. He’d escaped forever the February London drabness. The corned beef and the buses, the stiffness and oldness. He had reached the glittering south. Casa Kimberly, pleated secretively into a cobbled street high in Puerto Vallarta old town, is now a small hotel where wide, cool, silky rooms are furnished with antique wardrobes and desks that smell richly of polish. One evening, sitting in the marble central courtyard, I watch as a mariachi band plays to guests drinking strong cucumber-and-mint Margaritas, applauding madly at the longer trumpet notes, just as the 9pm bells start ringing from the parish church of Our Lady of Guadalupe on calle Hidalgo. I’d been inside the church earlier, full of the sweet reek of myrrh and molten wax. The altar was a riot of orange velvet swags, and all through the service the doors were left open, so those on the steps outside could hear the bidding prayers. Inside, at a glass case in a corner, where I knelt to light a candle, a life-size effigy of the Virgin wore tremendous false eyelashes, like Liza Minnelli. O Dios, enséñenos servir en vez de ser servidos. Oh Lord, teach us to serve rather than be served. 171


The next day I catch a ride a few miles south, towards a string of fishing villages, including the down-at-heel Boca de Tomatlan, and Mismaloya where The Night of the Iguana was actually filmed. Others are more remote, and can still only be reached by water; Huston rented land here for a while in the 1970s, living with just a shortwave radio and his Mexican girlfriend. My friend Angela Allen was the script-girl on Iguana. Now 86, she tells me she used to take a boat to collect Liz Taylor from Casa Kimberly at lunchtime and bring her to the set, Taylor wellbedded and happy, lightly complaining that she hadn’t brought her best jewels to dazzle Richard. ‘Oh Angela,’ she would sigh as she pinned an aquamarine the size of her thumb to a summer dress, ‘this is what I call my sweater collection.’

I’m lured by the promise of spectacular coves even further south, with deserted swathes of deep-gaudy shell glades and sand dotted with tufts of pale sea-thrift. And so one day I drive for hours along the single road from Puerto Vallarta down towards the Costalegre, past Cabo Corrientes which juts imperiously into the Pacific like the nose on a Georgian cameo. After a while the main road starts to tend away from the coast, as though keeping the sea secret, passing great plantations of papaya and mango. Labourers, eyes half-closed in the heat, eat huevos con jamon in cafés under pictures of the Sacred Heart that are decorated with tinsel, and donkeys stumble along the pitted tarmac, past dusty walls laid out with perfect green bananas waiting for the ripening afternoon sun. Eventually I turn off and struggle up a dented track towards Las Alamandas, a hotel owned by Isabel Goldsmith-Patiño. The 1,500-acre coastal plot was bought decades ago by her grandfather, a Bolivian tin baron, who intended to develop it but never 172

got round to finishing it. After he died, he left it to Isabel, who in the late 1980s hacked through the brush down to the beach and built a few villas and a couple of restaurants, but left it at that, reluctant to impinge too much, painting everything pink and yellow in a mad flourish, like the dressing room of an actress. ‘I remember the first time I saw the sea, and the hours it had taken to get there from Mexico City, and how cool and elegant my grandfather was, and there was me, looking like old spinach,’ says Isabel over dinner one night. She mentions her grandfather, Antenor Patiño, and her father, the buccaneer James Goldsmith. She’s the oldest of his eight children, and the only child of his first wife Maria Patiño, a teenage heiress who died after giving birth, and of whom a stricken Jimmy rarely spoke again. In her pomp, Isabel was a raging beauty, with a full sonorant face and hot eyes. Now in advancing middle-age she shares the same, slightly laconic expression as her half-siblings Jemima and Zac, and several other Goldsmiths who own bits of land around here. She mentions them now and again, as people do in Chekhov plays, as extended family who might burst in, feuding, at any moment after collecting mushrooms in the birch forest. Her hair, as she speaks, is wafting and salt-crusted in the thick night heat, and her slow, mercurial, foreign drawl – part Latin American, part Surrey convent – suggests she has experienced every emotion in her life, and sometimes possibly thrice-over in 24 hours. I like the photos in the lobby of her sitting with Robert De Niro, on sofas in the presidential suite some time in the remote 1990s. The images are sun-bleached almost to mere outlines. I fancy I can smell that decade here. The Monte Cristo Nb2 and Piz Buin. On the shore beyond, hundreds of frigatebirds stand still in the darkness with their heads up towards stars and fireflies, as though consulting some cosmic departure board.


Clockwise from above left: the family behind the Orangy juice bar in Sayulita; Diego Mignot on the beach; bathroom at Las Alamandas; Nathalie and Diego Mignot at Le Zouave de Hotel Hafa. Opposite, from left: horse riding at Las Alamandas; a cucumber Margarita at Le Zouave; De Maco design shop at Punta da Mita. Following page: terrace at Casa O’te Miti


If the rising and falling melody of the Pacific dominates everything, it’s a fierceness that knows it will go on, world without end. But the next day, trying to escape it even for a short while by heading inland, a sense of unreality supervenes and I feel like I’ve chickened out and switched off my ears. Travelling away from the coast into small and crumbling colonial towns, I find shops selling second-hand hobby-horses and coconut hooch and there are racks of postcards of bucolic Mexican scenes, puma and armadillo lounging at waterfalls. And yet such towns can feel watchful. Timid dogs turn over twigs looking for food they missed the first time. I see a man, covered entirely in inkings of a forest, casually eating corncake from a newspaper. The patterned fronds extend across his shaved scalp; just his eyes peer through the foliage. And even though I see many prettier things – butterflies the size of birds, and a setting sun over a volcano – my mind is always drawn back to the Pacific, its roar and dustless blue. ‘Tonight I started to dream of Puerto Vallarta,’ wrote Richard Burton in his diary, when those Mexican days were a bewitchment of more than 20 years earlier, an internal sanctum, ‘…and sunbathing and walks through the cobbled town at dusk… and being salt-cleaned and clear-skinned and even slim. And maybe the iguanas have come back to live on the roof. You never know.’ When, later that month, I make it back to Sayulita, it’s a Saturday afternoon and a plump Mexican boy, dressed to the nines in

Cuban heels and a sombrero with swinging tassels, parades through the streets on a grey mule. As if a touch of grace has passed over him, everyone looks up and nods their approval. Roars of laughter rise from a barbershop, and the sound of men shuffling cards. Traders selling strawberries out of great tin buckets yell jokes at each other in front of Bar Cama, where girls visiting from Ischia sway to The Pixies in backless Rapsodia dresses, drinking mescal newly arrived from Oaxaca that tastes like fireworks in my mouth. As stall holders weave baskets out on the streets, the lights from houses in the hills and lamps on street tables pick out the curves of the beach and the surf pouring bean-green in the night. Much later, crossing the town square, feeling the narcotic pulse of the hot pavement and the melting sensation of safety, of drifting away, I see Diego and his mother Nathalie, in a red dress with a flood of dark hair to her waist, snaking handsomely through crowds still full of music and voices, under trees dripping with trumpet flowers. Abercrombie & Kent offers a 13-night itinerary around Mexico’s Pacific coast from £5,395 per person based on two sharing, including international flights and private transfers. +44 1242 386475; abercrombiekent.co.uk

PACIFIC SPECIFICS IMANTA RESORTS PUNTA DE MITA

CASA KIMBERLY, PUERTO VALLARTA

With 250 acres for just 36 guests, this epic site combines green jungle, white beach and blue water carved into frothing curls, storks contemplatively dotting the shallows. There’s something almost Cornish about the sea-spray here, but at night the phosphorescence turns any evening swim into a dip in fire. Coatimundi sit on porches like shy cats. The outdoor spa is especially gorgeous, set among ancient trees, with imprints of what looks like fossilised ferns in the pale clay walkways. In one suite, a 3.5-million-year-old boulder has been hand-chiselled into the world’s most barmy and voluptuous bath. Chefs grow and grind their own corn for tacos and tortillas. In March, baby humpbacks dawdle just beyond the beach restaurant. Sayulita is only a short drive away, via winding roads signed for crocodiles and crabs and through a village where pigs rootle around polite school children, who wear long, burgundy socks and gather for traditional dancing with sticks. imantaresorts.com. Doubles from about £750

Crashingly enticing and once the 1960s holiday home of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. A discreet backstreet gate gives onto high stone staircases and a tinkling chandelier illuminating walls studded with blackand-white photographs of the couple in their (calmer) private moments (note the one of her lovingly cutting his hair). The old mesquite-wood beds in the nine suites are especially carnal – they seem to have been made to be rolled around in with Ricardo Montalbán circa Fiesta, his hand everinching up your thighs. A little bridge divides the building – on the other side lies Burton’s private swimming pool where you can dawdle in the evenings to the sound of waiters replenishing crystal glasses in the restaurant beyond. ‘Do you remember Richard Burton?’ I asked a passing local. ‘Ah yes,’ he sighed. ‘He would walk barefoot along here every day. In shorts, and just a vest. A vest!’ casakimberly.com. Doubles from about £275

CASA LOVE, SAYULITA A singular guesthouse just a stumble from the Sayulita surf; there’s something Rivendell-ish about the way this place seems to rise up and up, with no need for glass in its windows, just walls open to the sun, and mimosa-laden air, an unfurling framework of little bedrooms and warm-walled terraces. In the communal area I found a sandalled surf star in a hammock reading Hemingway and the proprietor, Nathalie Mignot, standing with a great machete lopping off the heads of a pile of fresh coconuts, the staircase up from the street a blazing and jubilant tunnel painted in rosa mexicana, and tangerine hearts. casalove. pachamamasayulita.com. Doubles from about £80

LAS ALAMANDAS, COSTALEGRE COAST The mad, bare splendour of this hotel is perhaps best encapsulated in the story of a local, lovelorn princess who decreed that anybody visiting the beach could only leave after gathering a rare kind of seed-pod, found by rifling carefully through white sand. Not a single person would dream of ignoring her order. Such is the bewitching atmosphere, the flat and endless lushness, the wild horses by a river that ends just feet from the ocean, the blithe birds up trees, the early impatient tropical dark, and the Milky Way pulsing like the fingerstops-in-neon of a teach-yourself how-to-play the flute. Many of the views, especially in the electric hush of the late afternoon, are almost impossible to take in: they are simply not made on a human scale. alamandas.com. Doubles from about £370 175


THE GLOBETROTTER

JAMES NORTON HE MADE HIS NAME PLAYING A TV KILLER AND A CLERGYMAN, AND IS DIANE KEATON’S PICK FOR THE NEXT BOND. NOW, IN THE REMAKE OF FLATLINERS, BRITAIN’S GOLDEN BOY IS THE LATEST RISING STAR TO HIT HOLLYWOOD Where have you just come back from? ‘Amsterdam. I was there with three good friends from drama school. We hired a boat, did the Rijksmuseum, and it was lovely. Before that, I was in Los Angeles for a month and managed to get out to Joshua Tree with another friend. We took a tent and some food to barbecue. Somebody had told me you have to dance in the desert, so we lit a bonfire and danced. Then we went and sat on a rock for hours looking at this crazy moonscape. It was the perfect leveller.’ Where in the world have you felt happiest? ‘When I was 18 I did the classic year out in South Asia, which must have filled my parents with terror because it was back in the days before mobile phones. I lived in a mad little village called Bungamati, south of Kathmandu, for four months on my own. I was a theology student, and because of the mixture of Tibetan Buddhism coming down from the north and the Hinduism coming up from India, there was some kind of religious celebration every day. I got swept up in the vibrancy, colour and music of it all. I still have lots of friends there who Skype with me.’

PHOTOGRAPH: SIMON EMMETT/TRUNK ARCHIVE

Name a place that most lived up to the hype ‘Tibet. Everyone kept telling me it is the mountain of the world and even the sky is bigger there. Well, I thought it’s impossible to say a sky is bigger – the sky is the fucking sky – but then you get there and it’s true! It really took my breath away and I spent two weeks being dumb-founded.’ Describe a memory from a childhood holiday ‘My great aunt and uncle used to lend my family this battered old tent, which we would take down to Cornwall every year and attach to our Passat. One year we misjudged the time it would take us to get home and we had to stop and put the tent up in the car park of a service station. I remember sleeping on the Tarmac, with these huge lorries driving all round us. That’s a very special memory. My parents are completely eccentric.’

Which is your favourite city, and why? ‘I’ve recently been toying with the idea of moving to New York. It has great energy. But the problem is, whenever I do contemplate moving, I always come back to my passion for London. I love the weather, the seasons, and I cycle everywhere, so I link all the parks and canals… I adore this town.’ Describe your favourite view ‘I grew up in North Yorkshire, and the view of Castle Howard from the top of a hill near my parents’ house feels peaceful and familiar. If life gets too much, I go and sit on that hill and calm myself down.’ What do you pack first? ‘A portable speaker for music. And, as I travel alone so much, a good book. I relish sitting in a restaurant reading. Some people hate it because they feel self-conscious and are worried it looks wanky, but I love it.’

‘L.A. SPINS ME OUT. IT’S SO POSITIVE. SOMETIMES YOU JUST WANT TO BE BRITISH AND SIT IN A CORNER WITH YOUR BAD MOOD’ Where did you go on your first holiday without your parents? ‘Budapest with six school friends when I was 15. We stayed at a friend’s parents’ house and spent a week buzzing around, which was awful and joyous at the same time. We found a booze shop that would serve us and bought a bottle of Campari because we thought it looked nice, and then discovered it’s disgusting. We didn’t have a clue. I recall seeing a poster for a foam party on the side of a phone box, and spending so much money trying to find it. When we finally got there, it was one of the happiest experiences of my life.’

Describe a holiday disaster ‘When I was at drama school, a friend and I booked an all-inclusive holiday to Kavos for £300. We found ourselves on a coach with a very orange rep and 10 Glaswegian lads

all pie-eyed pissed. It was very Inbetweeners. We had been feeling all high-brow and had packed loads of scripts. You can imagine the juxtaposition of these Glaswegians running around screaming and me and my friend reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.’ Tell us about a great little place you know ‘There’s a little restaurant in St Petersburg called Teplo, where we went a lot as a cast while filming War and Peace. It’s not particularly glam, it’s quite hidden away, but there are sofas in a snug at the back where we could chill, and drink nice wine and good vodka. It became a little sanctuary.’ The smartest hotel you’ve ever stayed in? ‘On paper, it’s the posh Four Seasons in LA, but actually I love places like Ham Yard Hotel in London and Crosby Street Hotel in New York where you’re made to feel so welcome. I also like the Michelberger in Berlin; it’s a bit of a cliché in terms of the hipster community, but it’s around the corner from the infamous Berghain club, which is probably why I was so in need of a good bed that weekend.’ Sightseeing or sun lounger? ‘I’m a rubbish sunbather. I can do about half an hour then I’m like, fuck this. I’m the guy who wants to jump off rocks.’ Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on your travels? ‘I set up a theatre company in my early 20s and travelled around India and Nepal visiting schools. I met this guy, Baba Talakna. We would smoke his big pipe and sing songs. He was a mad, inspirational dude, although that might have been because he kept getting us stoned.’

How do you relax? ‘My family instilled in me the idea of a PBD – a Pre-Breakfast Dip – so if there is a body of water, I’ll be in it.’

James Norton was speaking to Francesca Babb. He stars in ‘McMafia’, which will premiere in the UK on BBC One this winter

GOLDEN TICKET ‘FEASTING ON START BAY CRAB AND WHISPERING ANGEL ROSE AT THE TINY BEACHHOUSE IN SOUTH MILTON, DEVON’ ISSY VON SIMSON, DEPUTY EDITOR

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 177


From the paddock to the plate

Welcome to Flavours of South Australia: your pocket guide to this deliciously diverse state. Discovering South Australia is a multi-course feast – and you’re invited to the table. Start with Adelaide, the cosmopolitan capital, officially home to Australia’s number-one restaurant, plus trendsetting laneway bars and cosy brunch spots. Venture further afield for world-class wine (and vine dining), unrivalled produce, outback adventures and coastal cuisine. Don’t miss the region’s fun-loving food festivals, including Tasting Australia, held in Adelaide and its environs from

Vine Times

13 to 22 April 2018.

Kangaroo Island

Capital Dining It was named ‘Australia’s Best Restaurant’ in 2017 by Gourmet Traveller, so don’t miss a meal at Adelaide’s Orana restaurant. You wouldn’t expect a Scotsman to be educating Australians about indigenous ingredients, but Jock Zonfrillo is no rookie: he spent years with Aboriginal communities, learning about native flavours. Try pipis (clams), samphire and sprouted bunya.

There’s never been a better time to visit South Australia for its wine, thanks to grape-wizard Chester Osborn (from award-winning d’Arenberg winery), who recently unveiled his dazzling d’Arenberg Cube (open to the public from December 2017). Chester has masterminded this wine-wonderland: part art gallery; part restaurant; part tasting-experience; part museum. South Australia has 18 wine regions, including the Barossa – just an hour’s drive from Adelaide, Coonawarra and McLaren Vale. Discover incredible wineries, restaurants and markets along the Epicurean Way, which takes you from McLaren Vale to Clare Valley, via the Adelaide Hills and Barossa.

If you like succulent lobster, coastal honey and artisan gin, head to Kangaroo Island (aka ‘KI’), a half-hour flight from Adelaide. KI has the world’s only population of purebred Ligurian bees; it’s also famous for its southern rock lobster. Dine beneath the boughs of a tree planted by early settlers at the Enchanted Fig Tree restaurant; alternatively, have a seafood-feast at the Fig Tree’s sibling, the Beach Taverna, set in a former boat shed. Sip gin starring native botanicals at Kangaroo Island Spirits, then bed down in rugged, jaw-drop luxury at Southern Ocean Lodge.


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Outback Flavours

Isn’t it time you tasted ’roo and emu? For a comprehensive introduction to outback flavours, visit the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, located in the spectacular Flinders Ranges. Here, ‘feral’ isn’t a dirty word: feral antipasto stars kangaroo mettwurst and emu pâté, and the ‘FMG’ (Feral Mixed Grill) ranks among Australia’s top-100 gourmet experiences. Include Parachilna within an Outback road trip, five hours north of Adelaide via the famous winelands.

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AND THE AWARD

GOES TO… In a secluded corner of Zakynthos island in Greece, Porto Zante Villas & Spa is quietly winning some of the world’s top travel prizes. Such accolades come as no surprise to those who have already discovered its magic

C

ontemporary yet quaint; romantic yet fun; famous yet understated; luxurious yet low key: there aren’t many places in the world that manage to tick so many escapist boxes, but Porto Zante Villas and Spa is one. Don’t just take our word for it: the ever-growing list of awards – from this year’s Europe’s Leading Luxury Hotel & Villas to ‘Best Greek Hotel Spa’ and one of the ‘World’s Best Family Hotels’ by Condé Nast Traveller – says it all. Take the setting: discreetly tucked away on the sleepy island of Zakynthos, you’d be forgiven for missing it completely from the sea, with each of the pool villas set back among the trees along a quiet beach. But step inside any one of those sleek villas (one- to four-bedroom) and there is nothing understated about the interiors: Armani Casa & Gervasoni line up alongside iMac desktops and Dionysian antiques for the ultimate in luxury. Outside, traditional stone walls act as a beautiful natural framework for truly take-your-breathaway views of aquamarine seas and azure skies. Settle into this uber-private pad (it’s a favourite with film stars and heads of state for precisely that reason) and you could easily feel as though you haven’t seen another soul throughout your stay: yet somehow every need is quietly met by a fleet of staff, 24 hours a day.

Those who prefer to hole up on holiday can do just that, with superb dishes brought to you: those


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that prefer to dine out can enjoy The Club House’s delicious authentic Greek cuisine and spectacular views-from-on-high of neighbouring Kefalonia, rising up in dusky splendour just across the shimmering water. Or why not some Asian in the Ionian, down on the sands? Enter Maya’s contemporary Japanese and Thai-influenced cuisine, with steak fillets grilled on the charcoal barbecue; a large selection of fresh oysters washed down with vintage Champagne; and a signature selection of sushi and sashimi dishes made with fish freshly caught each day by local fisherman (or perhaps even by guests themselves, if they head out on an early morning boat trip with the resort’s fisherman). Prefer the simple pleasures of a picnic? Hop aboard one of the resort’s bicycles and head off into the hills to find a spot among almond and olive groves (particularly gorgeous in their blossom-bedecked springtime glory or in the soft light of autumn) criss-crossed with rambling walls and dotted with sleepy Venetian villages. Or head up to one of Zakynthos’ clifftops, and settle yourself high above the most impossibly blue seas in the world. Simple, and oh so pleasurable. But then, that is Porto Zante’s philosophy in a nutshell. On the tranquil beach you can simply soak up the year-round rays – or enjoy endless fun in the sun with a range of motorised and non-motorised water sports, snorkelling and diving, and even horse-riding along the sands at sunset. At the award-winning waterfront spa, simply gazing across the Ionian Sea is enough to heal body and mind – while the selection of over 20 Spa therapies inspired by Greek nature and the power of aromatherapy provide the divine finishing touch. Enjoy a little culture on your castaway? Take a tour of one of the local wineries; head over to Kefalonia’s beautiful mountainous villages and Byzantine monasteries – or journey by private boat and limousine to the pinnacle of past triumphs and tragedies at the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia itself, complete with the ruins of the temples of Zeus and Hera. Prefer to have some nature alongside your nature? Hop aboard a private cruise and spend a day soaking up the rays on Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach and other secluded coves; floating through warm waters beneath the arching Blue Caves, or encountering endangered sea turtles on the protected Turtle Island. Indeed, with everything from a dedicated Kids Club and playground to deep-sea diving, plus a local water park and big-game fishing, Zakynthos is truly a natural playground for all.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR FOR RESERVATIONS, please call + 30 210 8218640 or 020 8882 6767 from the UK; e-mail reservations@portozante.com, or visit portozante.com


Laurent-Perrier chosen by

the Royal Albert Hall.

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Photo credit: Iris Velghe / Illustrator credit: Quentin Blake

CUVÉE ROSÉ CHOSEN BY THE BEST


FLAVOUR THE HUNTER TASTEMAKERS EDITED BY TABITHA JOYCE

THE TABLE TO BOOK COULD THIS BE THE MOST AMBITIOUS RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR? Having worked at some of the finest kitchens in the USA – Alinea, French Laundry and Per Se – chef Jordan Kahn made his solo debut with LA’s minimalist, much-loved Destroyer. His follow-up, Vespertine, is just across the road in Eric Owen Moss’s teetering Waffle Building. A lift deposits diners straight into the kitchen to meet Kahn himself, before being escorted to the rooftop to begin the 20-something-course experience against the cinematic backdrop of a Culver City sunset. At a time when every other chef on the planet is raving about local ingredients, Kahn is doing the opposite: eat at Vespertine and you won’t know what’s on your plate, let alone where anything has come from. The otherworldly ceramics might bear bright red spinach or a slab of soft fruit laminated with sunflower petals, sparkling curls of something bright and white that turn out to be asparagus, or a fish dish with no sign of fish at all. The waiters, wearing uniforms seemingly inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale, are instructed to let guests puzzle through the menu by themselves. Kahn’s latest project is certainly the most controversial, talked-about restaurant among foodies right now. vespertine.la. Set menu with wine pairing about £340

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 183


FIVE SMART STEPS TO THE PERFECT STEAK

PHOTOGRAPH: STUART OVENDEN

Choose a cut no less than 4cm thick; rib-eye is excellent. Let it reach room temperature, ideally for a couple of hours. Get a griddle pan on a really high heat. Pat the meat dry and season generously with sea-salt akes and freshly ground pepper. Throw it into the pan, pressing it down on each side for 90 seconds to get some caramelisation and a little charring. Reduce the heat and cook for 5 to 6 minutes for rare to medium-rare, turning the meat every minute. Remove from the pan and rest it for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with a glass of the best Claret you can get your hands on.


FLAVOUR HUNTER

WORLD ON A PLATE

FRENCH OYSTERS AND CHAMPAGNE, RUSSIAN CAVIAR AND VODKA – SOME PAIRINGS HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME, BUT NONE IS MORE OLD-SCHOOL DECADENT THAN STEAK AND RED WINE

EAT ME

DRINK ME

Do I have a guilty pleasure? Oh yes. I can tell my life story via significant steaks. Aged 10, at Café de Paris in Geneva with my parents, its famous green sauce making my chin shine; the year I left school, a porterhouse the size of my head that I ate by myself in Beaver Creek; the tender tagliata I shared with a very tall blond man on our first date (reader, I married him). Look to any culture and you will find that a good steak means something different to each. The Japanese like theirs mild and fatty as a condiment for rice. For the best wagyu, the animal needs to live a lazy life, primarily indoors, possibly sprayed with sake and massaged with straw. To Americans, size matters most, and mellow and gentle is most popular, all front of the mouth with no length on the tongue. In France they prefer lean beef, which doesn’t suit the grill; the most recognised cuts are the Charolais and Limousin. Meanwhile, Argentina favours ribs, threaded onto a poker and cooked over embers. And in Britain, beef snobbery comes from a mixture of breeding and raising. Local is the key

Truly exceptional steaks require truly exceptional wines. No halfmeasures. But it’s the sauce with which one adorns a steak that determines its wine (always red). A rib-eye with salsa verde is a tricky customer. It calls for a mature Syrah. My choice is Hermitage Domaine Jean-Louis Chave 2003 (£525, Yapp Brothers), craggy yet svelte, bursting with complex flavours. A fillet with béarnaise demands something rich and gamey from Burgundy (Clos de Tart Grand Cru Monopole 2013, £264.50, Corney & Barrow). This is one of the world’s most concentrated Pinot Noirs, for it is made with fanatical attention to detail. But a steak perfectly cooked and unsauced, however, requires the world’s most perfect Claret. Many are acceptable, but only one is pure gold. A Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend is needed. One extraordinary specimen stands out. It is Château Lafleur’s Pomerol. The vineyard is less than a dozen acres, spitting distance from a much vaunted neighbour, Pétrus. The estate is run by Sylvie and Jacques Guinaudeau, who eschew chemicals and regard every vine as sacred. The yields are very low, so the wine is always concentrated even in vintages when the weather has been unkind. Eleven years is a good age for such a wine – sleek fruit and compassionate tannins – and if your steaks are being served to an appreciative home crowd, then opt for the 2006 vintage in a jeroboam (a double magnum). Berry Bros & Rudd will sell you it for £4,530. This wine merchant has other vintages available, each of which displays the trademark rich perfume (cassis, tobacco, liquorice and the ineffable tang of slowroasted berries). They are: the 2014 (£1,800 for a three-case); the 2013 (£1,087 for three); plus, older vintages including the 2002 (£1,380 for six) and 1997 (£1,500 for six on Berry’s broking website bbr.com/fine-wine/bbx), which at 20 years old is stretching it a bit. Perhaps the finest of the older vintages is the 2004 (£1,500 the six-case), which is more Merlot-dominant. This was prim when

BY JOANNA WEINBERG

IN BRITAIN, BEEF SNOBBERY COMES FROM A MIXTURE OF BREEDING AND RAISING. TO AMERICANS, SIZE MATTERS MOST word: an animal that has not had to travel far to meet its end will be less stressed, its meat more tender. The cognoscenti would rather pay for grass-fed meat that is aged for strong flavour. For the perfect example, try the Well Hung Meat Company (wellhung meat.com), whose cattle graze on the lush pastures of Devon. It’s around the subject of feeding that the great steak debate rumbles. While cattle are natural grass feeders, the high-volume meat market has switched to grain, enabling huge farms to keep their cattle in barns for convenience and to speed up growth. It also changes the quality and taste – grain-fed ones have a milder flavour, and if reared quickly, the meat is less marbled and therefore less tender. For many, grain feeding goes against logic as well as being unsustainable: why feed cattle grains that could feed people? And at the same time deplete the land of nutrients that both grass and manure put back into it. As for how to cook it, do you use wood, charcoal or a very expensive Josper oven? And what would you eat it with? Emily Watkins, chef at the celebrated Kingham Plough in the Cotswolds, says that the sauce needs to suit the cut. The melting magic of béarnaise enriches a leaner fillet, while sharp salsa verde cuts the richness of rib-eye. There’s the hot tang of South America in its chimichurri, and the sweetness of Japan’s teriyaki. But there will most likely just be sea salt if you’re serious about steak.

BY MALCOLM GLUCK

STEAK PERFECTLY COOKED AND UNSAUCED REQUIRES THE MOST PERFECT CLARET. ONE EXTRAORDINARY SPECIMEN STANDS OUT young but is now reaching the full force of its personality and might just be sensational with your steak. Might, because these wines are sealed with corks, which are maddeningly inconsistent. Thus a six-case of that 2004, opened now, will show six different wines, only one or two of which might be as brilliant, as corruscatingly gorgeous as they were destined to be and the Guinaudeaus would rightly expect. Such is the world of mature wine. And the thrill of finding such a sensational bottle is almost as sublime.

GOLDEN TICKET ‘HAVING A MIDNIGHT SOAK WITH VIEWS OF THE MILKY WAY AND SKY-HIGH PEAKS AT 1902 TOWNHOUSE, MALLORCA’ ROXY KAVOUSI-WALKER, SENIOR SUB-EDITOR

January/February 2018 Condé Nast Traveller 185


FLAVOUR HUNTER

rich pickings

PHOTOGRAPHS: CAROLINA AUER/STOCKFOOD; ROBIN BROADBENT/TRUNK ARCHIVE; JEAN CAZALS/STOCKFOOD; DEEMWAVE/IMAGEBRIEF.COM; ELEKTRONS/PLAINPICTURE; REILIKA LANDEN/PLAINPICTURE

It’s the sort of puzzle that might have been devised for Jason and the Argonauts or Indiana Jones: of all the food on this page, which can you actually go out and eat right now? The answer is the 24K Golden Cristal Donuts below, from Manila Social Club in Miami, glazed with gold leaf and filled with Champagne mousse. This blinged-out, pimped-up snack reveals the alchemy that’s been going on in our tastes over the past few years: while the famous golden arches still lead only to junk burgers, others are elevating humble street food to icons of high culture. So this gilded doughnut, each of which will leave your pocket $100 lighter, symbolises the near deification of artisanal fast food. Some things remain unsacred, though: as far as we know, the golden kebab exists only as the rather fanciful name of a high-street shop. RICK JORDAN

GOLDEN TICKET ‘‘BEING DROPPED BY HELICOPTER ON THE VERTICAL SLOPES OF ST ANTON AND CUTTING INTO ENDLESS VIRGIN POWDER’ KENDRA LEAVER-RYLAH, EVENTS DIRECTOR 186 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


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Time with your loved one or family is at a premium, so create indelible stories to remember in Corfu without FRPSURPLVLQJRQOX[XU\DWWKH¿QHVW ¿YHVWDUDOOLQFOXVLYHUHVRUWLQ(XURSH

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ork, home, family downtime, even dinner: life is so often about compromise. So when it comes to your holiday there can be few prospects more heavenly than, quite simply, not having to. Enter Ikos Resorts – the best luxury all-inclusive resort brand in Europe and worldwide according to the Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice® awards. With its spectacular private spaces, a delectable choice of Michelin-starred menus, complimentary mini-bars, 24-hour room service and a huge array of activities for all ages, all day, compromise doesn’t come into it. Take the spectacular Ikos Dassia, Corfu, due to launch in May 2018 – the island’s first five-star all-inclusive hotel, situated on the magnificent bay of Dassia, 15 minutes from historic Corfu town. Just like its multi-award-winning sister hotels in Halkidiki, Ikos Dassia is all set to steal the island’s five-star scene. Suites are sleek and sophisticated, their neutral tones providing a striking contrast to the azure Ionian Seas and skies beyond. Ten bars located around the lush gardens and pools include an adults-only wine bar with award-winning Ikos mixologists. Michelin-starred chefs are set to work their magic in six à la carte restaurants, serving modern Greek, Asian, Italian, French and local gastronomy, all complemented by a 300-strong wine list selected by professional sommeliers and a selection of branded spirits (all also free-flowing from your brilliantly stocked mini-bar). Fancy eating out? The innovative Ikos Dine-Out experience enables guests to eat at carefully selected local restaurants. Whichever you opt for, it is all just part of the all-inclusive experience.

sunbeds, waiter service and a designated adults-only area. More active guests can enjoy everything from paddleboarding and Pilates to biking, beach badminton and a fitness centre at no extra cost. And for the ultimate downtime, there’s the Ikos spa featuring Anne Semonin treatments and products – after which the toughest compromise will be whether to sit in the indoor or outdoor pool; the steam room or sauna; the hairdressing salon or beauty corner first. Definitely our kind of compromise.

Don’t want to sit by the same pool all holiday? Ikos Dassia boasts one for every day of the week, including spa, adults-only and private pools set in beautiful surroundings. Beach babes might prefer the exclusive 600m sands lapped by the crystalline Ionian Sea, complete with complimentary

For more information Rates from €230 per night based on two people sharing a double room. For more details and reservations, visit ikos-dassia.com, email reservations@ikosresorts.com or call 08081110131.


FLAVOUR HUNTER

THE KING OF FEASTS

MASSIMO BOTTURA

PICKLE JUICE FROM ISTANBUL

PARMIGIANO REGGIANO CRUSTS FROM ITALY

‘I know it sounds questionable – when I was told to taste it I must have made a funny face – but this is great. I was taken to Asri Turşucu, a tiny 100-yearold shop on Ağa Hamami Sk last year just to eat the pickles – turnip was my favourite. The liquid is sharp and sour, and actually lovely.’

‘The qualities of Emilia-Romagna’s Parmesan are obvious, but I haven’t said enough about the crusts, which have so much flavour and natural salt. They can be chopped or sliced and added to soups for texture as well as being brilliant seasoning for broths. Too often ingredients like these are discarded because people don’t know how much they can bring to a dish.’

MAPLE SYRUP FROM MONTREAL ‘Ever since I first tried it, I’ve been collecting bottles of the stuff. It may not be the craziest ingredient, but we’re finding all kinds of uses for it at our restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena. It’s particularly good in our new foie-gras-filled apple pudding.’

XIAO LONG BAO DUMPLINGS FROM HONG KONG

FISH SOUP FROM BALI

‘An 80-year-old woman on the streets of Hong Kong taught me how to make these dumplings. Learning new skills like this is the only way to keep evolving. The technique involves adding gelatin to the dumpling filling, which keeps it moist and enhances the flavour. I have since applied this idea to a traditional ravioli of pork cotechino sausage and lentils.’

‘On my first night at COMO Shambhala Estate, in Bali, I was blown away by a traditional fish soup that was spicy, sweet, fragrant and acidic all at the same time. I asked the chef to teach me the recipe and the next day we had a cooking lesson. There were so many layers of flavour created by using all kinds of indigenous roots and leaves – produce that would be very difficult to source anywhere else. I also learnt that there are some things you can’t recreate, and so ate this soup every single night.’

‘More than 60 amazing chefs gave their time, energy and support to this project. These are the recipes we cooked for the 100 homeless guests at the Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan. And it’s more than just a straight cookbook: it’s full of ideas on what to do with scraps, from meatballs and gazpacho to bread pudding.’

‘BREAD IS GOLD’ COOKBOOK

‘Bread is Gold’ by Massimo Bottura is available to buy now (Phaidon, £29.95)

PHOTOGRAPHS: CALLO ALBANESE & SUEO; PAOLO TERZI

THE CHEF WHOSE THREE-MICHELIN-STAR JOINT IS NUMBER ONE IN EUROPE SHARES HIS BEST FOODIE FINDS

GOLDEN TICKET ‘HORSE RIDING IN COPPER CANYON, MEXICO, WAS TERRIFYING, UNSULLIED, WILD AND WONDROUS’ SOPHIE JEAN-LOUIS CONSTANTINE, PA TO THE EDITOR 188 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


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sk most children what they remember from their family holiday, and it will invariably be doing something totally different. Getting up close and personal with a wondrous creature; walking among incredible ancient castles; oating over a real life aquarium; lying on a yacht bow looking for dolphins; chatting to a characterful local – at Costa Navarino, every day brings something different. Located in the Greek region of Messinia in southwest Peloponnese, one of the Mediterranean’s most unspoiled seaside landscapes, Costa Navarino introduces a whole new concept to family travel. A prime, sustainable destination, its philosophy is driven by a genuine desire to protect and preserve Messina’s natural beauty and heritage. Home to two luxury ďŹ ve-star hotels, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, the destination also features two signature golf courses, a 4,000sqm thalassotherapy spa and specially designed facilities for children. Wherever you are in Costa Navarino, the surroundings, shaped by 4,500 years of history, are spectacular. Here, as a family, you can walk in valleys that have been home to farmers and kings for millennia; listen to waves gently lapping against sandy coves; explore Mycenaean palaces and medieval villages; visit Homeric archaeological sites or discover marine species and diverse birds protected in nature reserves. Cooking with local gastronomes; wine-making; philosophical walks; traditional embroidery; cheese-making; ‘young archaeologists’ and ‘young gardeners’ expeditions: the possibilities are endless. Or perhaps simply head for the beach, where adults enjoy ďŹ ve-star resort services and the sun shines bright over the warm waters of the Ionian Sea. Another day, another family holiday memory to last a lifetime. And with Navarino Icons, a range of gourmet Greek products available to buy worldwide, including their exceptional Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you can even take this part of the Peloponnese home with you.

Clockwise from top: Villa at the Romanos; the stadium at Ancient Messini; the 1km sandy resort beach; little gardeners. Centre: the famous omega-shaped Voidokilia beach

Reader Offer CondÊ Nast Traveller readers can save up to 20% if booking before 28 February 2018. British Airways and Easyjet y direct from London to Kalamata Airport. For details and reservations, contact your preferred travel agent, telephone +30 27230 97000, or visit costanavarino.com


FLAVOUR HUNTER

the sip trip

COGNAC The top cognac brands all have a special cellar where they store the oldest and rarest of the eaux-de-vie that are used to blend their super-premium stuff. They call this cellar ‘paradis’. Hennessy’s paradis is the biggest in the town of Cognac. Probably only heaven itself is bigger. Admission to both places is tricky, though Hennessy is making it slightly easier these days through its wonderful Clos 19 programme. Access does not come cheap, but at least you do not have to pay with your life. Details below, in case you happen to be interested, Lord Plentybucks. Cognac is a very bad wine made into a very good spirit through distillation in old-fashioned copper stills and long storage in Limousin oak casks. The wood imparts not only colour but also a mysterious chemical juju that is capable of turning a tearaway street kid of a distillate into a dove-eyed angel of an eau-de-vie. Figuring out which newly distilled eaux-de-vie are going to get better with age and earn their place in paradis is the tricky part. ‘Iz all about leygs,’ Hennessy’s seventh- generation master blender, Yann Fillioux, told me. ‘Legs?’ I said. ‘Oui, leygs.’ Spoken like a true Frenchman. This is one of the amusing things about great booze: you can only describe what it is with reference to what it manifestly is not. Drinking

the exquisite Hennessy 8 (and good luck finding a bottle of that) with Monsieur Fillioux, I was put in mind of pineapple chunks, stewed quince, rhubarb, vetiver, espresso, Lindt Orange Intense dark chocolate and, oddly, shoe polish. Grapes too, though only in passing. If your appointment with heaven cannot wait, order a cognacbased cocktail. Ideally, at Luciole, Tony Conigliaro’s superb new bar in Cognac itself, or, if you remain stuck in London, from a startendernerd-genius such as Ryan Chetiyawardana at Super Lyan and Dandelyan, who will patiently explain that, even if you think cognac is nothing but the eye-watering rocket fuel your granddad used to slurp out of a ridiculous fish-bowl snifter, it is also one of the most flexible and nuanced and deeply sexy of cocktail ingredients. A few sips of one of his Martell Cordon Bleu Juleps and you will become a true believer. A true believer who will arrive at the pearly gates pleasantly buzzed and smelling minty and fruity and luscious. STEVE KING For more information on Moët Hennessy’s Clos 19 programme, which offers access to everything from the brand’s Champagnes and spirits to bespoke tastings and tours around the world, visit clos19.com

GOLD HITS ‘SIPPING COLD MANZANILLA AND EATING MELT-IN-THE-MOUTH JAMON IBERICO AT BAR CASA MENTECA IN CADIZ, SPAIN’ PETE WINTERBOTTOM, ART DIRECTOR 190 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPH: JOSE BANDEIRA/IMAGEBRIEF.COM

THIS LIQUID GOLD IS SO ON TREND LONDON’S TOP MIXOLOGIST HAS OPENED A BAR IN ITS FRENCH HEARTLAND


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REMARKABLE STAYS Wherever you choose to rest your head, be sure to pick one of Condé Nast Johansens ultimate retreats and you won’t be disappointed

DE.LIGHT BOUTIQUE HOTEL MYKONOS, GREECE +30 22890 78038 condenastjohansens.com/delightmykonos

architecture meets a contemporary sensibility and the views take in the Aegean y 2018 and save 15% on accommodation, 15% on food and beverages, plus 10% on all spa treatments. Early check-in, late check-out and room upgrade subject to availability. Reader offer does not apply

LA VERANDA RESORT PHU QUOC MGALLERY BY SOFITEL, VIETNAM +84 2973 982 988 condenastjohansens.com/laveranda Rediscover the elegance of colonial Indochine on Vietnam’s most picturesque isle of Phu Quoc. This 19th-century seaside mansion, set in lush botanical gardens, is a luxury beachfront boutique resort with 70 well-appointed rooms, an organic spa and fine-dining restaurants ideal for romantic getaways, spa vacations and family holidays. Reader offer does not apply

Reader Offer Quote ‘Condé Nast Johansens/Traveller Promotion’ when making your reservation to receive a complimentary bottle of Champagne and room upgrade. Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply


BOHEMIA SUITES & SPA,

PERLE OBAN HOTEL,

THE PHOENIX RESORT,

GRAN CANARIA, CANARY ISLANDS

ARGYLL & BUTE, SCOTLAND

AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE

+34 928 563 400 condenastjohansens.com/bohemiasuites In addition to its sophisticated design, state-of-the-art equipment and attentive service, this five-star hotel has recently introduced the innovative ‘MY WAY’ concept, which focuses on the personalised care of each guest to provide new sensations and experiences. It´s YOUR vacation, enjoy it YOUR way.

+44 1631 700301 condenastjohansens.com/perleoban Experience ‘The Gateway to the Scottish Islands’ with a stay at this newly renovated luxury hotel offering a stylish blend of Victorian grandeur and modern chic facing beautiful views over the harbour sea air, taste locally sourced seafood and explore awe-inspiring Oban.

+501 226 2083 condenastjohansens.com/thephoenixbelize This elegant, modern, luxury beachfront resort in San Pedro, with awardwinning customer service, features spacious condominium suites, the Red Ginger restaurant, a pool bar, rooftop bar, Sol Spa, two heated saline outdoor pools, a fitness centre and concierge services. Complimentary daily cocktail hours, wine and chocolate tastings, painting classes and more are available.

CURTAIN BLUFF,

TELUNAS PRIVATE ISLAND,

HOTEL TORRE DI CALA PICCOLA,

ANTIGUA, CARIBBEAN

RIAU ISLANDS, INDONESIA

TUSCANY, ITALY

+1 268 462 8400 condenastjohansens.com/curtainbluff Flanked by water on both sides, Cur the sea between two beautiful beaches. With 72 rooms and suites, the hotel has staggering seascape views, two restaurants, championship tennis courts, a squash court, gym and a full range of water sports.

+62 811 7710951 condenastjohansens.com/telunas Hidden in the Riau Islands, 50km from Singapore, Telunas Private Island awaits you. Experience the sunrise from your overwater Sea Villa, enjoy delectable meals, savour a traditional island beverage at the poolside bar and rejuvenate at the indulgent spa. Reader offer does not apply

+39 0564 825111 condenastjohansens.com/torredicalapiccola Enjoy Hotel Torre di Cala Piccola’s exclusive location on the Tuscan Argentario coast with 45 charming rooms built around a 15th-century Spanish tower facing the astonishing panorama. Quote ‘Condé Nast Johansens’ when booking two nights and enjoy a free apéritif at sunset, plus a 15% saving in the restaurant. Reader offer does not apply

TORTUGA BAY, PUNTACANA

TAJ EXOTICA RESORT & SPA,

INTERCONTINENTAL SAMUI

RESORT & CLUB, DOMINICAN

SOUTH MALÉ ATOLL, MALDIVES

BAAN TALING NGAM RESORT,

REPUBLIC, CARIBBEAN +1 809 959 8229 condenastjohansens.com/puntacana This prize-winning hotel offers understated elegance, privacy and unparalleled personal service, and guests are greeted as VIPs at the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). Located in a private enclave, Tor beachfront villas designed by the late, great Oscar de la Renta.

+960 664 22 00 condenastjohansens.com/exoticamaldives Escape to the pristine beaches and crystal clear waters at Taj Exotica Maldives. Exclusive and romantic, this private island resort has stunning views of the Indian Ocean and allows you to live out your tropical paradise fantasies.

KOH SAMUI, THAILAND +66 7742 9100 condenastjohansens.com/intercontinentalsamui This exclusive sanctuary offers 64 Thai-inspired rooms, suites and villas, a private beach, pools, an award-winning spa, beachfront restaurant, private butlers and bespoke services to create Koh Samui's ultimate luxury experience. Stay three nights and receive USD$100 resort credit. Reader offer does not apply


T R AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S

THE BAKER HOUSE 1650,

GRAND FIESTA AMERICANA CORAL

GREAT NORTHERN HOTEL,

NEW YORK/ LONG ISLAND, USA

BEACH CANCÚN, QUINTANA ROO,

LONDON, ENGLAND

+1 631 324 4081 condenastjohansens.com/bakerhouse A previous winner of Condé Nast Johansens Most Excellent Inn Award, The mal English gardens create a distinctive European feel. State-of-the-art amenities abound and include three swimming pools and an inviting spa. Additional luxury accommodation riage House.

MEXICO +52 998 881 32 00 condenastjohansens.com/grandfiesta The resort offers 602 all-suite oceanfront accommodations, each with a private terrace. The Grand Club provides lavish services and amenities, while the Coral

+44 20 3388 0800 condenastjohansens.com/gnhlondon One of London’s finest five-star boutique hotels located in the city’s vibrant quarter of King’s Cross. The hotel has won many prestigious international design awards and is home to destination restaurant Plum + Spilt Milk.

exclusive 10-step Hydrotherapy Ritual.

MILAIDHOO ISLAND MALDIVES, BAA

MARIGOT BAY RESORT AND MARINA

NITA LAKE LODGE, BRITISH

ATOLL, MALDIVES

BY CAPELLA, ST LUCIA, CARIBBEAN

COLUMBIA, CANADA

+960 665 4441 condenastjohansens.com/milaidhoo Milaidhoo is a boutique luxury resor s UNESCO biosphere reserve, close to Hanifar . This is the perfect choice for nature lovers where the surrounding house reef is known as an outstanding snorkelling and diving site in its own right.

+1 758 458 5300 condenastjohansens.com/capellamarigot

Capella is set in the most beautiful bay of the Caribbean. A welcoming, five-star resort, it’s a paradise waiting to be discovered with two infinity pools, a swim-up bar, fine-dining restaurants and a variety of beautifully designed suites.

+1 888 755 6482 condenastjohansens.com/nitalakelodge Nestled on the shores of a glacier-fed lake, just a short walk from the base of Whistler Mountain, Nita Lake Lodge comprises oversized suites, unique dining and an award-winning spa. Discover how Nita’s genuine service with a personal touch will elevate your Whistler experience.

TERRA NOSTRA GARDEN HOTEL,

KAYUMANIS UBUD PRIVATE VILLA &

CRISTAL BALLENA BOUTIQUE

AZORES, PORTUGAL

SPA, BALI, INDONESIA

HOTEL & SPA, PUNTARENAS

+351 296 549 090 condenastjohansens.com/terranostra A unique boutique hotel in the largest botanical garden of the Azores, Terra Nostra Garden Hotel features a spa, two natural thermal water Jacuzzis and a volcano-fed outdoor thermal pool set at a constant 38°C. Surrounded by one-of-a-kind flora, with species you cannot find anywhere else in the world, experience the lush mysticism and magic of São Miguel Island.

+62 361 705 777 condenastjohansens.com/kayumanis The Kayumanis brand is all about personalised hospitality. Located on the island

own distinct character – perfect for those looking to totally unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of mainstream tourism.

PROVINCE, COSTA RICA +506 2786 53 54 condenastjohansens.com/cristalballena This beautiful four-star boutique hotel is located near Uvita and Marino

views, a large swimming pool with bar, restaurant, amazing park grounds, blissful spa treatments, beach visits and tours are all available.


PALAZZO VERSACE DUBAI,

HOTEL ZAFIRO PALACE ALCUDIA,

SOPWELL HOUSE, HERTFORDSHIRE,

DUBAI, UAE

MALLORCA, BALEARIC ISLANDS

ENGLAND

+971 4 556 8888 condenastjohansens.com/palazzoversace Evoking the grandeur of a 16th-century Italian palace, Palazzo Versace Dubai bears the signature Versace style across its 215 glamorous rooms and suites. The hotel is fashioned for today’s leisure traveller and offers three outdoor pools, an indulgent spa, kids’ club and carefully curated restaurants, including Quincy Jones’ first-ever bar.

+34 971 897 696 condenastjohansens.com/zafiro Stylish, modern and charming, Hotel Zafiro Palace Alcudia provides luxurious and comfortable suites, several pools, a large solarium and many other leisure and recreational features that make the most of the marvellous Mallorcan climate.

+44 1727 864477 condenastjohansens.com/sopwellhouse A luxurious hideaway, just 20 minutes from the bright lights of London, Sopwell House is a beautiful country house hotel set within 12 acres of Hertfordshire countryside. Enjoy fine dining, lazy afternoon teas, relaxation in the spa, fourposter beds and private hot tubs.

SHANGRI-LA’S BORACAY RESORT &

HOTEL CHARLESTON SANTA

THE OAKLEY COURT, BERKSHIRE,

SPA, BORACAY ISLAND, PHILIPPINES

TERESA CARTAGENA, BOLÍVAR

ENGLAND

+63 36 288 4988 condenastjohansens.com/slbo Shangri-La’ t & Spa lies on the shores of norther in the Philippines spread across 12 hectares with 219 rooms including 36 villas, restaurants, bars, a spa and private beaches. Guests arrive via speedboat to Shangri-La’s very own jetty.

DEPARTMENT, COLOMBIA +575 664 9494 condenastjohansens.com/charlestonsantateresa A regal mix of historical grace and contemporary cool meets the warmth of Colombian hospitality. In the heart of the UNESCO-awarded city of Cartagena de Indias, this luxury hotel on Colombia’s Caribbean coast is one of the country’s top five-star luxury hotels.

+ 44 1753 609988 condenastjohansens.com/oakleycourt Situated on a stunning stretch of the River Thames, with 33 acres of landscaped grounds and a Grade II-listed Victorian Gothic mansion, the 118 bedrooms at The Oakley Court offer exceptional comfort in an unrivalled location.

GRAN HOTEL ATLANTIS BAHÍA

ANDRONIS CONCEPT, SANTORINI,

BLAU PRIVILEGE PORTO PETRO

REAL, FUERTEVENTURA,

GREECE

BEACH RESORT & SPA, MALLORCA,

CANARY ISLANDS +34 928 537 153 condenastjohansens.com/bahiareal Have you ever enjoyed a special moment that you wanted to last

time slows down and the unique experiences are unforgettable. Reader offer does not apply

+30 228 60 36 737 - 39 condenastjohansens.com/andronisconcept Andronis Concept welcomes you to a place of tantalising beauty and tranquillity from the island’s most romantic and beautiful corner. Each of the 25 private pool suites captures the sunset over the Aegean towards the caldera and features minimalist interiors that fuse traditional Santorinian style with bright, contemporary touches.

BALEARIC ISLANDS +34 971 648 282 condenastjohansens.com/portopetro This awesome five-star resort is situated in a privileged natural environment allowing guests to experience a unique and unforgettable holiday. Close your eyes and imagine the Mediterranean cuisine, beautiful sunsets and sound of the t & SPA.


T R AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S

PRAIA ART RESORT, CALABRIA,

THE ARCH LONDON, LONDON,

FLEMINGS MAYFAIR, LONDON,

ITALY

ENGLAND

ENGLAND

+39 0962 1902890 condenastjohansens.com/praiaartresort A corner of heaven, Praia Art Resort provides the rare chance to really relax. Comprising 10 rooms, this intimate boutique hotel resides beside the sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of a protected marine reserve and offers authentic Calabrian hospitality, understated elegance, privacy and exquisite local food.

+44 20 7724 4700 condenastjohansens.com/thearchlondon The Arch London is a shopaholic’s paradise, located minutes from Oxford Street. Stay on a Sunday night and have dinner on us! Quote ‘CNJDine’ when booking via our reservations team for stays before 30 April 2018. Rooms from £300. Reader offer does not apply

+44 20 7499 0000 condenastjohansens.com/flemings Flemings is located in the heart of Mayfair with the best that London has to offer right on its doorstep. Complementing the new art deco-inspired interiors is the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant, Ormer Mayfair, overseen by Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin.

MIRAGGIO THERMAL SPA RESORT,

THE RESTORATION, SOUTH

HOTEL MUSE BANGKOK BY

HALKIDIKI, GREECE

CAROLINA, USA

MGALLERY COLLECTION,

+30 23744 40000 condenastjohansens.com/miraggio The new and truly spectacular Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort does nothing less than change the world of wellness. This is the world’s first and largest thermae resort located directly beside the sea.

+1 843 518 5100 condenastjohansens.com/restoration Located on the corner of Charleston’s iconic King Street, this luxury boutique hotel offers a fully immersive ‘New South’ experience with a dynamic collection of curated outlets across food, retail, culture, health and wellness.

BANGKOK, THAILAND +662 630 4000 condenastjohansens.com/hotelmuse

vintage cocktail collection. Enjoy a variety of wine and comfort food served s starry skies at The Speakeasy, Hotel Muse’s incredible rooftop Reader offer does not apply

HOTEL GOLDGASSE, SALZBURG,

THE RESORT AT PAWS UP,

HÔTEL DES ARTS SAIGON,

AUSTRIA

MONTANA, USA

MGALLERY COLLECTION, HO CHI

+43 662 84 56 22 condenastjohansens.com/hotelgoldgasse Hotel Goldgasse is more than an exclusive boutique hotel, it’s an intimate lifestyle experience. Come and celebrate the famous Salzburg Festival and enjoy the city's attractions from this striking hotel where traditional and contemporary design harmoniously fuse together, and personalised service complements exceptional cuisine.

+1 866 929 7571 condenastjohansens.com/pawsup At the crossroads of rustic elegance and unspoiled wilderness lies The Resort at Paws Up. Montana’s premier luxury ranch resort provides everything

Lewis & Clark trail.

MINH CITY, VIETNAM +84 28 3989 8888 condenastjohansens.com/hoteldesartssaigon Combining the classical charm of ‘Indochine Française’ with a sense of timeless chic from the 1930s, Hôtel des Arts Saigon is seen as a haven of art, style and culture in the heart of buzzing Ho Chi Minh City. This boutique hotel fuses distinctive local flavour with contemporary facilities to create the most stylish stays for discerning travellers.


A D V E RT I S E M E NT F E ATU RE

ALL FOR

ONE Holidays should never have to be about compromise. And when you head to the Caribbean island of Barbados, they won’t be. In the latest of our Insider Guides, we round up some favourites from the island’s world-class attractions – and some fabulous places to stay

A

nyone for cricket? Or cliff-jumping? Or a culinary extravaganza that attracts worldfamous international celebrities? Anyone for golf ? Or polo? Or perhaps a day out on a yacht, skimming over crystal-clear waters as turtles wave-ride at your bow? Anyone for a romantic escape on one of the world’s most beautiful islands, where dreamy days can be spent enjoying beach picnics à deux on more than 100 beaches, and even dreamier nights can be spent sat by your private pool, as the waves break below you and a galaxy of stars twinkle overhead? The unique island of Barbados is a tropical idyll for all. One day might be spent on an off-road jeep adventure through remote jungles, bays and clifftops; another might be spent wandering through the gully of Welchman Hall, home to a rich array of exotic plants. Budding historians can step back in time at Farley Hill, the site of a beautiful 19th-century mansion built to entertain royalty and now a national park – or wander the Barbados Museum’s historic and cultural exhibitions, housed in the original prison buildings. Fledgling naturalists can hike forested hillsides, looking out for whistling frogs – or head below the waves aboard Atlantis Submarine to view exotic fish, coral and mysterious shipwrecks on a narrated undersea voyage. Come for the Crop Over festivities and there’s the unique Kiddies Kadooment; come for the polo season and there’s the electric atmosphere that only the king of sports can elicit. Indeed, almost every week sees a different event, from the annual Food & Rum Festival to the Run Barbados Marathon Weekend, the Open Water Festival to Oistin’s Friday night Fish Festival where everyone is welcomed to the party. When you’ve swum and sailed, run or romanced to your heart’s content, what better than to head back to your private villa for some well-earned downtime, where families can feast together, kids can be kids and couples can take time out together in peaceful

surroundings, with personal staff to pander to every desire. Enter Blue Sky Luxury, a Barbadian villa expert with the inside track on the island’s finest hideouts. Take Greensleeves, with its unique golden Mongolian temple doors, Japanese water garden brimming with koi and 11-acres of tropical greenery, an oasis for hummingbirds, and a prime beachfront that includes two bays. Or the 12,000sq ft Crystal Springs, an enchanting west coast villa with a multitude of living spaces, al fresco dining areas and 10 guestrooms connected by stone terraces, pathways and bridges – an ideal retreat for large groups. Nearby, Leamington Pavilion is a stunning Oliver Messel Italianate home close to Speightstown, where exotic tropical living takes the form of snorkelling the spectacular reef, before returning for the chef ’s divine chocolate cake. Gardenia also comes with a glorious pool and clifftop gazebo, perfect for long lunches en famille after a round of golf at the nearby Royal Westmoreland and Sandy Lane. In contrast, nearby Eden is pure Barbadian beauty, its infinity pool making the most of the stunning Caribbean views, and a personal chef serving up sensational island specialities to enjoy from its breezy, elevated position. Based in Barbados, Blue Sky Luxury are local – which means no one knows the island’s villas better. Its handpicked portfolio exclusively features more than 120 of Barbados’ finest holiday homes, from luxurious oceanfront villas and tropical estates to charming relaxed apartments. And with in excess of 40 years’ collective experience in planning exceptional villa holidays, its dedicated 24-hour team ensures every bespoke detail is planned – from selecting your perfect villa to planning your island itinerary – ensuring special memories from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. Small wonder its guests have been coming back up to 20 times over the years. visitbarbados.org


T R AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S

Reader offer Stay in one of Blue Sky Luxury’s Flagship or Luxury villas and enjoy return airport transfers, a refreshing welcome cocktail on arrival and a complimentary champagne breakfast prepared by your personal Chef on your first morning in Barbados. Visit blueskyluxury.com/barbados to view its extensive collection of villas or call one of the reservation specialists on +1 246 622 4466 or freephone UK on  0800 08 85574

Clockwise from above: Crystal Springs’s pool; lounge at Leamington Pavilion; water gardens at Greensleeves; Gardenia’s terrace; Eden villa at night

T&Cs: Subject to availability at select Luxury & Flagship homes and blackout dates may apply. Minimum seven-night stay. Book by 28th February 2018 for a villa holiday in Barbados before 14th December 2018.  This offer is not combinable with other offers. Quote: CNTBSL.  


TRAVELLER EVENTS THE PEOPLE, PARTIES AND HAPPENINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JOANNA PLANT & JADE JAGGER

ALISTAIR TAYLOR-YOUNG

LAURA BAILEY HANNAH COFFIN

ANTONIA BURY & ROSE ASTOR

OLIVIA FALCON & ISSY VON SIMSON

JOANNE & JOACHIM GOTTSCHALK

D’ARCY VIGORS, JOEL & DIVIA CADBURY

AID BAXTER & BONITA NORRIS

PERRIER-JOUET CHAMPAGNE

JAMES COOK & POPPY DELEVINGNE RICHARD JONES & SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR

JENNY DYSON & CRAIG MARKHAM

JONATHAN RHYS ABBOTT & ELAINE SULLIVAN

SHARON FORRESTER

ANYA HINDMARCH & JAMES SEYMOUR

WAYNE BURT & JO ALLISON

MELINDA STEVENS ANNABEL RIVKIN & KATE REARDON

KENDRA LEAVER-RYLAH

198 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

GISELLE SAMBROOK-SMITH & HELEN COOK

REBECCA HOSSACK & YO-HANN TAN

PHOTOGRAPHS: HUGO BURNAND

CARLY ROGERS FLOWERS


TORI COOK & HUGO HEATHCOTE

TAMSIN SALINGER & RUPERT HALLIWELL

MAX COCKING, ANNABEL & WILL WOODHAMS

NAME HERE TOM KAVOUSI-WALKER & NAME HERE & ALICE NOAKES

KATE SLESINGER & SOPHIE HEADLEY

JON STOPP & FRANCESCA BABB

GEORDIE GREIG

NOMI KAKOTY, JULIA PEROWNE & GRAHAM BOYNTON

WHAT A NIGHT

A BIG BASH FOR OUR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY IN ASSOCIATION WITH CREED

NATALIA CASSEL, JOANA ESTEVES & ROWENA CLARKE

NICHOLAS COLERIDGE

‘Garage Party,’ said the mysterious Smythson invite, sealed with a palm tree. For two decades Condé Nast Traveller has sought out emerging BILL PRINCE, destinations, hidden beaches and insider secrets. And to celebrate the MARK RUSSELL magazine’s 20th birthday, we uncovered the latest hotspot: in the car park & TIA GRAHAM right beneath Vogue House HQ. So the great, the good and the sequinned (editor Melinda Stevens in a sparkly Erdem dress) descended the ramp, which was transformed into a magical garden by Carly Rogers Flowers. For one night only, the space was reimagined as an urban art gallery showcasing the works of contributing photographer Alistair Taylor-Young. Inside, it smelled not of petrol but of Creed’s Aventus candles. Model-like waiters from The Cellar Society served Grey Goose cocktails (pear vodka, coconut water and lime) to the likes of Alice Temperley and Amanda Wakeley. Master novelists Giles Foden and David Nicholls queued for toasties from The Cheese Truck. Alison Loehnis of Net-a-Porter and Cartier’s Laurent Feniou drank Perrier-Jouët Champagne with Bubbledogs mini hotdogs, and hundreds of other writers and photographers who SAMANTHA SANAI, NARMINA have helped shape the magazine clinked goblets of Gin Mare G&Ts. MARANDI & FRANCIS SULTANA Sweet sustenance from Doughnut Time and a gulp of Evian fuelled the walk to the after-party at Annabel’s. Such fun. To buy one of Alistair’s prints, visit cntraveller.com/ recommended/culture/alistairtaylor-young-prints

GIN MARE COCKTAILS

KATE HARDING & NAOMI ROBERTSON

JAMES & NICOLE WOOLHOUSE

NICKI SHIELDS & ROSIE SHEPHARD

LAURA FOWLER & TONY CROSS

INDIA LANGTON & AMANDA SHEPPARD

MOLLY MCLACHLAN & THE CELLAR SOCIETY

GHERARDO FEDRIGO GAETANI & INDRE SERPYTYTE


EVENTS

ADAM & AMY ELLIS

RACHEL REAVLEY & JAMES WHITEHEAD

SARAH CAIRNS & MARIE NORRINGTON

MAX & JANE GOTTSCHALK

CARLA FILMER & ALBERT READ ANTHONY SATTIN & SARAH SPANKIE HUW & ROSSELLA BEAUGIE

SIMON LEADSFORD

THE CHEESE TRUCK

CHLOE DELEVINGNE

ARABELLA DUFFIELD & MARCUS LANGLANDS PEARSE

ROXY KAVOUSI-WALKER, IANTHE BUTT & ALICE RILEY-SMITH

HUGH & HENRI FITZWILLIAM-LAY

SIMON DAVIS & ANNA BATESON

JESSICA DIAMOND & SILVIA STEFFEN-EHL VICTORIA WRIGHT

JACK JOHNS & OWEN TOZER

NAME HERE & NAME HERE ONDINE COHANE, DAVID & ANGELA LOFTUS

ELIZABETH DEEGAN & ED TAYLOR

200 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

ADRIAN HARRIS & VASSI CHAMBERLAIN

NAME HERE ROBBIE HITCHCOCK, JUSTINE & TOM AIKENS

PHOTOGRAPHS: HUGO BURNAND

ORTENSIA VISCONTI & ALI MARK


TOMMY CLARKE & CAROLINE NOBEL

SERENA CHAMBERS

THOMASINA MIERS

THE CELLAR SOCIETY

TKTKTK & TKTKTKKT DOUGHNUT TIME ALICE B-B

EREH EMAN RICK JORDAN & DAVID CROOKES

CHARLES & LULI CORDLE

JODI TODD & BIRGITTA WIDEN

BUBBLEDOGS

SAM ROGERS, ANGELO MITAKOS & BECKY AMY LUCAS

EMMA HARTLAND-MAHON & ISABELLA ECKETT

THEA DARRICOTTE

ELISE DE NARDI & ALEXIA DUBOURG-LAVROFF

ANGELA MORRIS

NICKY HASLAM

JACKIE MCDEVITT GREY GOOSE VODKA

DAME VIVIEN DUFFIELD & CHARLES DELEVINGNE

NELL & WILLOW LANGLANDS PEARSE

TOM CRAIG, MARSHA MONROE & LARA SINCLAIR

MICHAEL TUREK & PETE WINTERBOTTOM

CARLY ROGERS FLOWERS


EVENTS

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER INVITES YOU TO AN EVENING OF WINE TASTING FROM

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

SIP AND SAMPLE THE FLAVOURS OF THE ADELAIDE HILLS WITH THE LANE, ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING WINERIES FROM DOWN UNDER

BOOK NOW: CWSSOUTHAUSTRALIA.EVENTBRITE.CO.UK Tickets are £35 and include sparkling wine on arrival, a guided tasting of six wines from The Lane, canapés and a goodie bag

6.30-9.30PM, THURSDAY 8 MARCH 2018 CORNEY & BARROW LIME STREET, 25 FENCHURCH AVENUE, LONDON EC3M 5AD CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER RESERVES THE RIGHT TO POSTPONE THE EVENT IF RENDERED NECESSARY BY ANY UNAVOIDABLE CAUSE. TICKETS WILL BE FULLY REFUNDED IN SUCH CASES. OVER 18S ONLY

Opposite, from top: the vineyards of The Lane in the Adelaide Hills; a dish from the winery’s chef’s table; duck with beetroot and blackberry

GOLDEN TICKET ‘SIPPING TEA ON THE TERRACE OF THE OLD CATARACT HOTEL IN ASWAN AS BOATS DRIFTED PAST US DOWN THE NILE’ SOPHIE TYE, PRODUCER 202 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018

PHOTOGRAPH: JOHN KRUGER

When superstar chef René Redzepi transported his Noma restaurant to Sydney for a 10-week pop-up a few years ago, he didn’t have any trouble filling his wine list with all-Australian bottles. But there was one area he was particularly excited about. ‘The Adelaide Hills are stunning,’ he told us then. ‘It’s one of the best wine regions I’ve been to.’ Redzepi is not alone in thinking so. There’s a growing buzz around these verdant South Australian slopes, which, with relatively cool temperatures and ancient limestone soils, produce bold, boundary-pushing wines from innovative makers. Set just outside the charming village of Hahndorf, The Lane is a small-batch, family-run vineyard, restaurant and cellar door. And with views over the Mount Lofty Ranges, its ultra-modern dining room is an unbeatable spot to soak up two of the things South Australia does best: sensational wines and incredible wide-open spaces. Many of the vineyards are also just 20 minutes from the coastal city of Adelaide, where Australia’s hottest up-and-coming food scene includes Jock Zonfrillo’s widely acclaimed indigenous-inspired menu at Orana and South African fire-pit cooking at Africola. Appetite whetted? Then get a taste of South Australia in London this March, as The Lane brings its elegant vintages to Corney & Barrow Lime Street for a very special evening exclusive to Condé Nast Traveller readers.


T R AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S PRODUCED BY

PA RT N E R S H I P S

MOON

GUIDE

A honeymoon is a rare and precious thing – a time capsule, a springboard, a reward for fully opening your heart. We hope this special section gives you inspiration. Like most things in life, it’s all in the planning…

I N

One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius

A S S O C I AT I O N

W I T H


I

magine the scene: a sweeping beach with barely a soul on it; powder-soft sands on which to walk at sunset; endless sunshine in which to splash in the warm seas; the soft fluttering of colourful ribbons tied to longtail boats anchored in the bay – and you sipping a daiquiri in your private infinity pool, gazing down at this picture postcard scene from on high. There’s no doubting Thailand takes the beach crown hands down. However, that's not to say the country is an ordinary beach destination. Fly into Bangkok, and you can soak up the sights and sounds of one of the world’s most vibrant cities. Fly down to the Gulf of Thailand or the Andaman Sea, and not only do you have the option of island idylls, but also nature parks teeming with wildlife. Fly up to the northern provinces and you can immerse yourself in a whole new world again, where ancient cities hum with the hustle and bustle of local life and mountains remain caught in their own time bubble. Best of all, with direct flights from the UK to Bangkok and fabulous domestic flights whisking you effortlessly around, you can make the most of every precious moment of your honeymoon. All you need is a one-stop guide to when, where and how. Here, The Turquoise Holiday Company, winner of Condé Nast Traveller’s Best Tour Operator 2017, round-up its favourite destinations.

YEAR-ROUND:

Bangkok – Thailand’s capital overflows with golden palaces, emerald Buddhas, majestic temples, bustling street markets and floating river markets. History lovers can take their pick: be awed by the Grand Palace, home to Thai royalty for 150 years; explore the 'silk king' Jim Thompson’s house, or travel out to Kanchanaburi, scene of the Bridge over the River Kwai story. TURQUOISE TIP: try catching a water taxi along its busy waterways – the best way to view the city.

Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai – these northern cities offer the ultimate blend of ancient and modern. Take a tuk tuk in the warm tropical rain; wander the night markets, awash with wonderful sights and scents; head into hills cloaked in greenery and meet hill tribes who have not changed their way of life for centuries; sample some of the best street food in the world, served by ever-smiling people. TURQUOISE TIP: journey to the countryside and enjoy a hike through the jungles of Northern Thailand. Spend a night sleeping under the stars in a remote mountain lodge.

WINTER:

Koh Yao Noi – tucked away in Phang Nga Bay, Koh Yao Noi feels a world away from everywhere. Dramatic cliffs, dreamy beaches, beautiful lagoons and majestic karst cathedrals make it a photographer’s dream. Small enough to explore in an afternoon, this is a place to string up a hammock or find a deserted spit of sand and settle into the island’s sedentary pace of life. TOP TURQUOISE SPOT: Six Senses Yao Noi – with world-class service and breathtaking bay views from your pool villa, you’ll never want to leave. SUMMER:

Koh Phangan – with 30 beaches along its 40km coastline, there’s no doubting this island’s serious star appeal. You can also hire a longtail boat; hike to the loftiest lookout; head to Haad Rin for beach and water sports; or simply hang out at one of the world-class yoga centres. Gourmands will love the street food, while cookery schools enable you to bring it all back home. TOP TURQUOISE SPOT: Anantara Rasananda – kick back together in your private pool and relaxation sala lodges beachside, or at the heavenly Anantara Spa nestled among ponds and boulders: paradise.

HOW TO GET THERE The Turquoise Holiday Company is a family owned company that focuses on the special touches, little details and unique experiences to create the very best honeymoon itineraries. Each destination featured has been visited first hand, enabling the team of honeymoon specialists to personally recommend hotels and itineraries based on your style, needs and budget. The Turquoise team also offer a Complimentary Gift List service, run by its dedicated staff, blending traditional gift lists with travel tailored to your honeymoon. Call the honeymoon specialists on 01494 678400; email enquiries@turquoiseholidays.co.uk or visit turquoiseholidays.co.uk


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TREASURES Vibrant cities, a unique culture, friendly people, sweeping beaches, year-round sunshine and rare wildlife – not to mention some of the most beautiful (and beautifully priced) boutique hotels in the world. When it comes to your honeymoon, Thailand takes top spot

Longboat and crystal clear waters, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand


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Clockwise from this image: Chewton Glen; hideaway suite of Chewton Glen; Coworth Park; bar at The Kensington; lounge at The Kensington

TREEHOUSE AT CHEWTON GLEN, HAMPSHIRE Peeping out from the treetops, these vast eco-suites are havens of smooth bleached wood, raw linens and botanical hues. Gaze out at the savannah-style surroundings from your wraparound terrace complete with day beds and hot tub, take a stroll along the nearby shingle beach or head over to Chewton Glen for a bottle of Champagne. Returning to your treehouse couldn’t be more tempting. With underfloor heating, a wood-burning stove and hampers of goodies regularly refreshed, this is as close as it gets to a luxurious African safari on UK soil. Best of all, breakfast (and dinner if you choose) is delivered into a cleverly concealed hatch so you needn’t ever be disturbed. iconicluxuryhotels.com

SENSATIONS A trio of fabulous first-night hotels

THE KENSINGTON, LONDON Comprising a clutch of four Victorian townhouses side by side, The Kensington feels more like a grand private home than a hotel. Each room has been individually designed in keeping with the building’s period architecture featuring large bay windows, open fires and 1930s Murano chandeliers. The kitchen is supervised by executive chef Steve Gibbs who trained under Mark Hix, and in the bar, wingback chairs, velvet sofas and tartan accents lend the air of a swish members’ club. The Brompton Suite is the one to book with wooden floors, 1960s table lamps and views across London’s rooftops.

COWORTH PARK, ASCOT The Dorchester’s sister hotel, located just outside London, has plenty to admire, and its best feature is definitely the terrace. Wrapping around the back of the Georgian manor house, it overlooks one of the prettiest wildflower meadows in England. Book a room in one of the converted stable blocks or better yet, your own cottage tucked away within the estate’s grounds. No creaky floorboards or low hanging beams here. All the hideaways are newly built using ‘English country chic’ as the blueprint – think equestrian ink drawings and traditional copper bathtubs. Some even come with their own conservatories overlooking the hotel’s polo fields. The Barn offers hearty gastro fare (English asparagus, Windsor Estate beef and onion pie, raspberry jam roly poly with vanilla ice cream) alongside an impressive list of wines. 

doylecollection.com

coworthpark.com


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SHAKERS Clockwise from main image: Summerville Bungalow swimming pool at Ceylon Tea Trails; Ulagalla Villa at Ulagalla Resort; Finca Basso's courtyard, pool and rustic bathroom

Best known for its boutique-hotel recommendations, Mr & Mrs Smith is shaking up the honeymoon market. Alexandra Cagney, specialist for Sri Lanka, Europe, Latin America and the Maldives reveals the travel company’s most lusted-after escapes for 2018

IBIZA

Mr & Mrs Smith is an award-winning boutique-hotel booking service specialising in the world’s most seductive stays. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, there are more than 1,000 hotels in the collection, all hand picked and anonymously reviewed.

Why Ibiza? Post-wedding, it’s the best place to keep the party going... Where to stay: In a villa. Rustic-glam Finca Basso (sleeps 14) was nominated for ‘best villa’ in the Mr & Mrs Smith Awards 2018 and is a great choice. Equally alluring is the cliff-hugging Casa Atlantis with glorious views of the Med. Villa living allows you to experience Ibiza in real style with unrivalled privacy. It’s a wonderfully intimate way to spend time with your favourite people, and with on-island assistance from the team at Mr & Mrs Smith, tables at the island’s coolest restaurants and chef-cooked dinners are all part of the service.

SRI LANKA Why Sri Lanka? UNESCO ruins, vast national parks, roaming elephants, colonial architecture in Galle and rolling tea plantations. Where to stay: From Ulagalla Resort, there are Buddhist temples to explore, hot air balloon rides over sweeping plains and peacock-strewn lawns. Accommodation comes in the form of private villas (with plunge pools) dotted across vivid paddy fields. Food is all from the kitchen garden and Mr & Mrs Smith will arrange tours with locals to meet a rescued elephant, Monica, or meditate with Buddhist monks. Alternatively, at Ceylon Tea Trails it’s luxury on tap with roll top baths, croquet on the lawn and sumptuous picnics overlooking the lake. Misty morning walks involve picking tea leaves before heading off in search of waterfalls and ravines, barely another soul in sight. For honeymoon inspiration, advice and bookings call Smith24’s round-the-clock travel specialists on 0330 100 3180 or visit mrandmrssmith.com/honeymoons


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dorchestercollection.com

PALAZZO CONSIGLIA, MALTA A converted townhouse owned by a Maltese family just a few minutes’ walk from the waterfront, this bolthole is ideal for exploring Malta’s capital. With only a dozen rooms and a rooftop pool, it’s easy to settle in, and there’s plenty on the doorstep. Charter a yacht and take in Valletta’s harbour or head into town for a night of jazz at the Bridge Bar. Nearby restaurant, Panorama, dishes out full-flavoured Mediterranean dishes (pistachio-crusted lamb and poached local rockfish) and if you time it right (April) you can catch the annual fireworks festival – best observed from the Palazzo’s roof. palazzoconsiglia.com

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PRINCIPE DI SAVOIA, MILAN Superior to all the other hotels in Milan, this neoclassical beauty dominates the Piazza della Repubblica. Providing safe harbour for the international fashion pack since the 1920s, it’s awash with hand-painted frescoes, antique Italian furniture and priceless modern art. Interior designer Celeste dell’ Anna left his mark on four of the hotel’s Imperial suites, but if you haven’t the budget for one of them, ask for a room at the front of the hotel (great views). At night you won’t eat better anywhere else than the main restaurant, Acanto. It takes on a 1970s look with glistening bowls of tagliolini and lovingly crafted artichoke flans making their way to elegant tables. Save space for the dessert trolley...

MANDARIN ORIENTAL, MARRAKECH Just 10 minutes from the Medina, this Moroccan pleasure palace is as tranquil as it is grand. It took Parisian design duo Gilles & Boissier three years to complete the ultra-swish interiors with elegant colours, hand-woven rugs and Berber motifs etched in clay. Each riad-like villa is stand-alone and comes with a secluded courtyard, outdoor kitchen and open fireplace. The gardens are equally impressive with 30 different varieties of rose dotted among ancient olive trees and shoulder-high cacti. Hit horizontal by the main pool and watch waiters in cricket jumpers buzz about with trays of Caesar salad and San Pellegrino – the thrills of the Red City can wait. mandarinoriental.com

MOONS Minimum time off, maximum pleasure… Clockwise from top left: Principe di Savoia; lounge at Palazzo Consiglia; the pool at Fichimori; the Mandarin Oriental's spa and pool; one of the Marrakech Villas at The Mandarin Oriental

FICHIMORI, PUGLIA Renting a villa might seem at odds with your typical honeymoon notion, but Fincimori is no ordinary villa. This detached trulli, set among the rolling hills of the Valle d’Itria, really is small and perfectly formed: two breezy bedrooms, a glimmering pool and private hammam. Whitewashed walls melt into honeystone terraces and verdant lawns; the villa’s rustic trulli cones lend it an extra level of authenticity. Beaches, cobbled old towns and buzzy piazzas are all there for the taking, but if you choose to revel in isolated bliss, massage therapists and yoga instructors can be summoned at the press of a button. thethinkingtraveller.com


JAMAICA

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HONEYMOON

2016

Sandals Royal Caribbean, Jamaica

A 5-Star Luxury Included® honeymoon at Sandals Resorts is as close to perfect as you’ll find. Pristine beaches. Exotic islands. Decadently romantic suites, many with private pools and butlers. Endless land and water sports, including complimentary scuba diving* and golf^. 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining at up to 16 outstanding restaurants. Unlimited premium spirits and Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wine served 24/7. Plus, beach parties and nightly entertainment. It’s all included, all unlimited, all the time. So take a closer look at Sandals and discover the perfect honeymoon for two people in love. *Free for certified divers. 2 dives per day. ^Mandatory caddies at cost.

MORE QUALITY INCLUSIONS THAN ANY OTHER RESORTS ON THE PLANET. COME IN-STORE TO SEE OUR SANDALS SPECIALISTS MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AT SANDALS.CO.UK/STORE ALTERNATIVELY, CALL 0800 012 1878 VISIT SANDALS.CO.UK • SEE YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT


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TRISARA, PHUKET Lime-washed teak and swathes of Thai silk adorn this contemporary hillside hideaway. For ultimate privacy, book an ocean-view suite situated at Trisara’s highest point. Thai massages don’t come any better, and there are regular walking meditations inspired by the ancient Buddhist monks. This year sees the launch of culinary helicopter tours, whisking foodies to remote islands to explore the farms and fishing villages that supply the hotel’s kitchens. Ask nicely and the hotel’s head sommelier will accompany you to some of the best wineries on Phuket. trisara.com

UNIQUE Quirky, eco and playful – for something a bit more offbeat, these places provide true escapism

JADE MOUNTAIN, ST LUCIA One of the Caribbean’s wildest eco-extravaganzas, Jade Mountain is a destination in itself. Suites, linked by a network of bridges, are completely open to the elements, with walls being removed to make the most of the views of the Caribbean Sea and St Lucia’s majestic Pitons. Rooms are also void of technology, encouraging honeymooners to fully immerse themselves in the raw energy of the rainforest. Learn to spearfish (numbers of Lionfish need to be controlled in these areas) or rustle up some chocolate in the hotel’s laboratory before retiring to your quarters and falling asleep to tree frogs chanting in the canopy. kenwoodtravel.co.uk

Clockwise from top: Jara spa reception at the Trisara; Jade Mountain


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Clockwise from top right: beachfront cabana; an oceanfront wedding party set up; Bar A-Kan by night; adults’ pool and La Punta grill & lounge

W

hen you find yourself at the favoured spot for ancient Mayan astronomers, and latterly a modern-day presidential retreat welcoming world leaders, you know it’s going to be special. And there can be no doubt that NIZUC Resort & Spa is just that. On this 29-acre private beachfront escape on the secluded Punta Nizuc, within a paradise of protected mangroves and lush foliage facing the white sands of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the world's second largest coral reef – you feel a world away from anywhere.

STAR

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But it’s not just the setting that makes NIZUC stand out. A collaboration between artists and architects, this spectacular destination fuses modern sensibility with Mayan ethos. Spread across the grounds, the spacious suites and villas offer the ultimate privacy – all the better to enjoy its private pools, spacious terraces, lush tropical gardens, sweeping views and free-standing soaking tubs. Dining here delves into whole new realms, with six world-class restaurants carrying you on a gastronomic journey across the continents, from Central America to Europe and Asia – with the Peruvian flavour of Ni adding a tantalising South American touch. And then there are those surroundings: the dreamy backdrop to a wealth of activities. Perhaps some early morning yoga, paddleboarding across crystal-clear waters during the day and live Cuban jazz come the evening. Possibly exploring an ancient Mayan temple, a chilled afternoon in one of the many pools, then a hedonistic spell in the spectacular 30,000sq ft ESPA spa (the only one in the Riviera Maya) complete with hydrotherapy areas and indoor and outdoor treatment rooms. Or an all-day yacht excursion followed by a private dinner on the sands – with a cigar hand-rolled for you providing a wonderfully personal finishing touch. Or for the ultimate honeymoon memory, how about a Mayan-influenced marriage blessing on the beach, with earth, water, air and fire sealing your union under the very skies that once drew those Mayan astronomers to this spot. Heaven.

There are direct flights from London to Cancún, and NIZUC Resort & Spa is just 15 minutes from Cancún airport. For reservations, call +52 998 891 5700 or visit nizuc.com


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CHABLÉ RESORT & SPA, MEXICO Spanning 750 acres of untamed jungle in the Yucatán Peninsula, Chablé is Mexico’s newest rockstar hotel. Interiors expert Paulina Morán is responsible for an arty laid-back vibe, sprinkling the main house – a restored 19th-century hacienda – with antique tiles and modern art. Menus and dishes, such as Tequila-laced suckling pig, are overseen by Mexico City-based chef Jorge Vallejo, and the resort’s spa, built around an ancient cenote, is world-class. Casitas don’t come any more seductive, with outdoor rain showers, private pools and walk-in closets. Cara Delevingne recently booked the Presidential Suite for her 25th birthday. A further magical dimension is found in the gardens where crumbling arches, snaking tree roots and Parota trees hung with lanterns are found.

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PUMPKIN ISLAND, QUEENSLAND Fourteen kilometres off the coast of Yeppoon, this tiny speck in the Southern Great Barrier Reef’s Keppel group of islands, covers just six hectares. Adhering to strict eco guidelines, 34 guests are accommodated in seven self-catering bungalows powered by the wind and the sun. It might sound low-frills, but each bungalow benefits from a private deck with everything you need for a top-notch barbecue. Prefer someone else to do the cooking? There’s homemade granola and banana bread for breakfast and local reef fish for dinner in the island’s bijou restaurant. Plus oysters harvested from the rocks by hand. SXPSNLQLVODQGFRPDX

ZIGHY BAY, OMAN The Middle East’s most ruggedly scenic beach retreat, Zighy Bay, has acquired a 90ft wooden dhow, available for two-night/three-day cruises along the northern tip of Oman. Sailing the glistening waters at a gentle pace, Dhahab is a masterclass in style. With three storeys, there’s no shortage of space, and the air-conditioned master cabin with bathtub below deck reflects this. Expect candlelit dinners in sheltered bays (best lamb chops and labneh you’ll ever taste), spa treatments set against a backdrop of the Musandam fjords and empty milky sunsets, you won't see another soul in sight. There’s nothing the crew won’t do to ensure you have a glorious time: snorkelling, line fishing, even taking you out into the inky depths at midnight to marvel at bioluminescence. Pure magic.

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REFINERY HOTEL, NYC Originally built as a millinery factory in 1912, Refinery Hotel’s loft-style rooms feature 12ft ceilings, Frette linens and hardwood floors. The property houses Winnie’s, a cosy jazz bar and a bulb-strewn terrace with retractable roof overlooking the Empire State Building – order Rooftop Sparklers (Patrón Barrel Select Reposado, lime, agave, topped with prosecco). Just steps from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library, the hotel is well placed for all the major sights, and is walking distance from Broadway. UH¿QHU\KRWHOQHZ\RUNFRP

VL[VHQVHVFRP Clockwise from top: terrace at Chablé; Refinery Hotel; Zighy Bay's wooden dhow; beachside view from Pumpkin Island


PARADISE AWAITS... GREECE • ITALY • FRANCE • SPAIN • PORTUGAL • CYPRUS CARIBBEAN • MOROCCO • TURKEY • CROATIA

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TR AV E L L E R PARTN E RS HIPS VELAA, MALDIVES If you like your sand with a large slice of interior design, Velaa is for you. Villas (of which there are 43) lean the right side of outré with boho Balinese rugs, walls of mother-of-pearl and Conran-style lighting. Look up and you’ll see living orchids dangling from the rafters. But it’s not just Velaa’s good looks that impress. Where else can you explore the coral depths in a pocket-sized submarine made for two? Or have a Clarins elixir blended especially for you in the spa? Other standout features include the largest wine cellar in the Maldives, a golf course, and – new for 2018 – Velaa’s very own seaplane, so you can be sure to arrive in style. Scott Dunn offers seven nights bed and breakfast at Velaa Private Island from £6,700pp including flights and seaplane transfers. scottdunn.com

Clockwise from top: Velaa's Aragu restaurant; Miavana's bar area; Miavana from above; Kanuhura's pool and beach at sunset

B E AU T I E S

Six private retreats with gourmet fare, indelible experiences and unfettered beach access as standard

KANUHURA, MALDIVES Home to one of the broadest and best beaches in the Maldives, Kanuhura is also the proud owner of two of its neighbouring desert islands. On one of them, there’s a petite grill restaurant with a handful of tables, offering fresh-caught snapper and chilled glasses of Sancerre. The other island remains completely untouched – just you, the hermit crabs and a backing track of waves. Back at the resort, light airy villas have a delightful Floridian vibe with leaf-fringed outdoor bathrooms and direct beach access, while in the lemongrass-and-coconut-oilinfused spa, there’s a treatment to soothe every malady. In the works for 2018, is a martial arts academy – a first for the Maldives. kanuhura.com

MIAVANA, MADAGASCAR The hottest hotel to emerge in the Indian Ocean this decade, brandnew Miavana is raising the bar for private islands across the globe. Located off the northern tip of Madagascar, it’s wild, otherworldly and has serious eco-clout. Topaztinged interiors courtesy of Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens (the team behind North Island in the Seychelles) have a neat retro kick, and beyond gazing at the tropical scenery in every direction, you can snorkel above nearby reefs, trek to see lemurs or take heli-trips to the mainland. This is luxury for the truly adventurous of heart. A&K offers five nights full board with return helicopter transfers and international flights from £13,500 per person. abercrombiekent.com


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H O T E L S T H AT D E F I N E T H E D E S T I N AT I O N ™ Originally built for the Prince of Württemberg, Hotel Imperial boasts gilded grandeur in the heart of Vienna. Experience a curated ensemble of the world’s most iconic destinations at The Luxury Collection hotels and resorts. Explore the collection at theluxurycollection.com

HOTEL IMPERIAL

A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL VIENNA, AUSTRIA


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JUMEIRAH VITTAVELI MALDIVES A 20-minute catamaran ride from Malé, Jumeirah Vittaveli is one of the closest resorts to the airport (why travel further?). Eighty nine villas come with their own lap pools and direct access to the beach or lagoon. Opt for one of the sharp and modern ocean suites, with the split-level verandas leading directly into the shallows. It’s all sea-bobbing and flyboarding by day, and fire dances and star-strewn skies by night. Take an Indian cooking class, or flop on to cushions at Mu Beach Bar for a feast of charcoal-grilled lobster. For a change of scenery, the bustling capital shows the other side of paradise – shops, businesses and bustling markets where yellow fin tuna and wahoo is hauled in each morning. jumeirah.com

B E AU T I E S ONE&ONLY LE SAINT GÉRAN, MAURITIUS Occupying its own private peninsula, One&Only Le Saint Géran has recently re-opened after a major revamp. New African chef, Marc de Passorio, is at the helm in the kitchens combining sub-Saharan spices with Provençal flavours, ESPA has been brought in at the spa, and all the rooms have been given a fresh new look. Unchanged, however, is the splendid scenery. To the west, the never-ending Indian Ocean fringed by palms, and to the east, sugarcane-covered mountains lining a tranquil lagoon. Also untouched is the resort’s Alice Temperley-designed tepee. Hand-sewn, bejewelled and lit by an antique Murano chandelier, there’s no better place to curl up and plan your future together. oneandonlyresorts.com

Clockwise from top: Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives; beach villa at Constance Moofushi; grounds of Le Saint Géran; beachfront suite at Le Saint Géran

CONSTANCE MOOFUSHI, MALDIVES Get past the term ‘all-inclusive’ and you’re in for a real treat here. A pinprick of an island located in the South Ari atoll (a 20-minute seaplane from Malé) this is the Maldives sans pretension. One of the few resorts to fully embrace the ‘desert island’ concept, villas are simple thatched cottages with none of the showboating often associated with these parts. Alizée, Moofushi’s à la carte restaurant, serves excellent filet mignon and lobster, but most meals are relaxed barefoot affairs served buffet-style. But then, at a luxury resort such as this, it's still a next-level buffet. Carrier (carrier.co.uk) offers seven nights all-inclusive from £3,370 per person including return flights and seaplane transfers. constancehotels.com


go beyond ordinary

Tragaki, Zakynthos, 291 00 Greece. T: (+30)26950 61600 E: info@lesanteblu.gr

lesanteblu.gr


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SRI PANWA, PHUKET Catering to a jet-setting elite, this hilltop hideaway located on the Cape Panwa peninsula is equal parts glamour and unconventionality. Each jungleclad villa has its own infinity pool and endless views of the Andaman Sea. You can take yoga classes on the hotel’s floating deck, try your hand at Thai cooking, or take a boat trip to some of the best snorkelling spots Phuket has to offer. There are three pools just begging to be dived into, or 100 steps leading down to a perfect little beach. After dark, Baba Nest is one of the hottest rooftop bars on Phuket – book in advance. sripanwa.com

LU X U RY Combine jungle hikes, safaris and guaranteed adults-only fun, with a honeymoon worth going the distance for

THE HOUSE, BARBADOS Designed as a home from home (nothing so formulaic as a lobby here), this small adults-only retreat on Barbados’ west coast is the ultimate place to decompress post-wedding. ‘House Ambassadors’ will tend to your every need, from afternoon tea brought to your terrace, to lantern-lit dinners on the waterfront. Alternatively, Daphne’s next door (an outpost of the chichi Chelsea one) has been doling out delicious linguini all’aragosta for 15 years, and is one of the best restaurants on Barbados. Water-skiing, paddle boarding, snorkelling and Hobie Cat sailing will take up the sunshine hours, and at dusk, keep your eyes peeled and you might spot a sea turtle or two. eleganthotels.com

RENDEZVOUS, ST LUCIA This smart adults-only retreat is so much more than a beach escape. Perfect for active couples, it recently introduced an ‘adventure programme’ offering all manner of outdoorsy thrills from hiking the island’s majestic Pitons, to rum distillery tours, cocoa plantations and cookery classes. With a PADI scuba centre, a host of water sports, three pools, state-of-theart gym, fitness classes, biking, hiking, tennis and golf, there’s no danger of island ennui setting in, and for happy-go-lucky sunworshippers, there are breezy cabanas dotted along a powdersoft crescent of sand. theromanticholiday.com

Clockwise from top: view from Sri Panwa's luxury pool villa; sunset at The House; luxury beachfront suite at Rendezvous; the Rendezvous' main pool area


WHERE YOU WANT TO BE IN LOVE

Destination Wedding Packages | Dedicated Wedding Planner | Honeymoons & Anniversaries | Beachfront Resorts | Oversized Suites 5-Star Dining | Family Concierge | Royal Service Exclusively for Adults | Yhi Spa | Life Enriching Experiences | Luxury All-Inclusive 0 8 0 8 . 2 3 4 . 1 9 5 3 | R O M A N C EBY PA R A D I SUS .CO M Dominican Republic • Mexico


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HOT

SPOT THE PHILIPPINES Seeking fascinating wildlife and paradise beaches? The Philippines has both – in spades. Combine the limestone karst scenery of Palawan at El Nido's Lagen Island (elnidoresorts.com) with a few nights on the jungle-clad island of Bohol, famous for its empty beaches, chocolate mountains and tarsiers (cute little creatures with huge eyes). Add in optional stopovers in Hong Kong for an urban jolt to really have your cake and eat it. Turquoise (turquoiseholidays.co.uk) has 14-day itineraries from £3,595 per person including flights and transfers. turquoiseholidays.co.uk

Clockwise from this image: rowing in the Philippines; Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club; restaurant at LUX* Saint Gilles Reunion; approach to LUX* Saint Gilles Reunion

LU X URY LUX* SAINT GILLES, RÉUNION With its whitewashed colonial buildings, frangipani-clad paths and laid-back Creole mood, this is Réunion with added elegance (it’s also the only five-star hotel on the island). Expect surprises at every turn: a message in a bottle; vanilla-flavoured rum cocktails at sunset; and the occasional appearance of a humpback whale. Réunion is famous for its active volcanoes, dramatic mountains and billowing waterfalls, and, with scenes such as this, ensure you take full advantage of the natural bounty. Best of all, the hotel benefits from direct access to L’Hermitage beach and a calm coral-encrusted bay. Snorkels and masks provided. Rainbow tours (rainbowtours.co.uk) offers six nights bed and breakfast at LUX* Saint Gilles including flights from £1,950 per person.

FAIRMONT MOUNT KENYA SAFARI CLUB, KENYA Located within the Mount Kenya Conservancy (ripe for game drives) this safari lodge, once owned by actor William Holden, provides hunting-style cottages with wood-burning fireplaces and a one-of-a-kind room. The Equatorial Suite is divided in half by the equator, so have your breakfast and strong Kenyan coffee in the northern hemisphere and your gin and tonic in the southern hemisphere. It also has marvellous views of Mount Kenya. Honeymoon tip: for a broader view of Kenya, combine Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club with a stay at Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi and Fairmont Mara Safari Club. fairmont.com

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Sandals South Coast in Jamaica has introduced 12 over-the-water villas featuring glass-floor panels, underwater lighting and secluded sun decks – every inch the Maldivian fantasy. SANDALS.CO.UK


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ver since Karen Blixen published Out of Africa, Kenya has been synonymous with romantic adventure. Today, nearly a century on, Nairobi’s landmark Fairmont The Norfolk hotel remains the hub of the action: whether standing on the famous Lord Delamere Terrace or sleeping in one of the historic courtyard rooms, it is impossible not to imagine the colonial adventurers who once dined, danced and dreamed here, before setting off on their next wilderness escapade in the vast plains beyond.

WILDEST

DREAMS A beautiful colonial city to explore, dawn and dusk safaris in search of the Big Five, and nights spent bridging the northern and southern hemispheres. The scene is set for one of the most romantic escapes imaginable – and all surrounded by the exclusive luxury of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts Kenya

Clockwise from top: Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club; Mara Safari Club; The Norfolk Hotel; manor suite at the Mount Kenya Safari Club

For many, there would have been no adventure greater than witnessing the annual million-strong wilderness migration – and no better vantage point from which to do so than the Fairmont Mara Safari Club. Set among the Aitong Hills, this is the place for the spectacular hilltop panorama of the wildebeest crossing at the National Reserve. You can experience the rich Mara landscape with bush breakfasts or dinners – feast at the Maasai-themed dining room’s outdoor deck, or enjoy drinks at the traditional Boma, the perfect spot for evening cocktails – and a host of unforgettable activities including game drives, walking safaris and hot air balloon safaris in search of the Big Five. Then head back to your luxurious tent, complete with four-poster bed overlooking the hippo-filled Mara River. And then there is the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. This one-of-a-kind, magnificent former homestead sits on the equator within the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. With spectacular views encompassing the entire grounds – from the peaceful rose garden, with its gently flowing stream; lakeside dining decks; classic suites and luxury hunting lodge-styled cottages, complete with wood-burning fireplaces – it offers a snapshot of a bygone era, where you are ensconced in nature, with each dawn heralding another unforgettable day. Mornings might start with a Champagne breakfast deep within the conservancy, while days pass with dreamy game drives or horse rides through the local landscape – including Ol Pejeta Conservancy, home to three of the last remaining northern white rhinos – while the on-site animal orphanage offers its own intimate wildlife experiences. Evenings see guests dining in the elegant Tusks Restaurant and Terrace under an undiluted galaxy of stars. And then it’s off to bed – and what a bed. Take a Riverside Suite and you can drift off to the soothing sounds of the forest and Likii River; take the Equatorial Suite and you can spend heavenly downtime a deux relaxing on your private deck in the northern hemisphere, then head to the southern hemisphere to sleep. Now that’s a honeymoon experience guaranteed to win every heart. For details and reservations, visit fairmonthotels.com. Enter code POC1A online to book the Exclusive Fairmont Kenya Tour Package.


T R AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S

MAYAN

MAGIC Set in one of the leading beach destinations in the world, Grand Velas Riviera Maya will take your honeymoon to a whole new level

T

he Caribbean: honeymoon heaven. But what if that Caribbean experience came with acres of white sands fringed by lush Yucatán jungle? What if you could combine 1,000-year-old Mayan culture with a wealth of 20th-century experiences? Not to mention the treat of the Mexican Caribbean’s only allinclusive resort to be rated Five Diamonds by the AAA. Enter Grand Velas Riviera Maya.

Reminiscent of a Mayan temple, surrounded by landscaped gardens and seemingly endless beachfront, this Leading Hotel of the World is most definitely grand. Luxurious suites complete with plasma TVs, MP3 players and hot tubs complementing spectacular sea views come in a choice of Zen Suites overlooking the jungle and koi fish ponds; Ambassador Suites with private terraces; and Grand Class with heavenly plunge pools. No less than eight restaurants feature the artistry of acclaimed chefs from around the world, serving up

a fresh sensory experience – from innovative Mexican cuisine to modern French fare and Asian fusion – every day of the week. As for decadent downtime, sparkling infinity pools invite secluded sunbathing, interrupted only by waiters serving cooling drinks; the natureensconced Spa offers heavenly pampering with its Seven World Journeys spa menu (including the incredible Riviera Maya Water Journey); while endless fun in the sun ranges from mixology classes to Mayan pyramid tours to snorkelling off the beach. And then there are those truly magical Riviera Maya moments. Perhaps snuggling up together under a blanket on the beach to watch your favourite film on a giant screen, while tucking into delicious home-made nibbles. Perhaps marvelling at the majestic constellations in the vast night skies through a professional telescope, set up in-suite. Intimate dining experiences include Champagne followed

by a three-course dinner on your terrace, or a private picnic on the sands, whiling away hours by those gloriously turquoise Caribbean waters. Or, for the ultimate culinary experience, you could don chef ’s hats and connect in the kitchen as you combine local flavours under the guidance of a gourmet chef, or learn the art of wine-pairing for a four-course tasting menu – then enjoy it to the backdrop of a traditional mariachi trio singing sweet sonnets. It surely doesn’t get more romantic than that. FOR FURTHER DETAILS AND RESERVATIONS

call +52 322 226 8689 or visit rivieramaya. grandvelas.com

On your honeymoon Visit Grand Velas Riviera Maya from £3,699 per person sharing a Zen Grand Suite Jungle View for seven nights on an all-inclusive basis, including flights with BA, private transfers and a lounge pass on departure. Honeymooners will also receive: • Chef ’s honeymoon welcome amenity • Bottle of sparkling wine • Romantic breakfast in bed • Romantic dinner on suite terrace (with a five-night minimum stay) Call Caribtours on 020 3813 9259


TR AV E L L E R PARTN E RS HIPS

SIX SENSES YAO NOI, THAILAND Perched on the hillside of Koh Yao Noi overlooking Phang Nga Bay’s legendary limestone pinnacles, this is the epitome of ‘honeymoon hotspot’. Gargantuan rooms with outdoor showers, private pools, butler service and a pillow menu as long as the breakfast menu spells luxury ramped to the max, yet there’s a distinctly down-to-earth feel to this place. Much of the food is organic, grown on site, and you can visit the chickens in the morning for eggs. There’s also an ice cream and chocolate parlour for homemade treats and an out-of-this-world spa using only naturally and ethically made products. Book it Seven nights bed and breakfast from £1,840pp including flights, car and speedboat transfers. Honeymooners will also receive a 60-minute massage and in-villa candlelit dinner.

SHORES Three of the best island escapes – from the experts at Turquoise

BEQUIA BEACH, ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES Having undergone a top-to-toe polish last summer, this quirky bolthole is looking better than ever. Fresh lobster, fiery Creole flavours and mojitos on tap spell hazy days on one of the most ravishing stretches of sand in Caribbean. Throw in snorkelling with turtles, snappy service and a ‘no shoes’ policy at all times, and you won’t find a cooler spot to escape from the world. Beachfront suites with direct access to sea are best suited to honeymooners – or you could mix things up and spend a few nights aboard the hotel’s new superyacht. Book it Seven nights bed and breakfast from £1,525pp, including flights with British Airways and domestic transfers. 

Clockwise from top: ocean panorama pool villa at Six Senses Yao Noi; plunge pool at Four Seasons; beach at Desroches; beachfront suite at Bequia

FOUR SEASONS DESROCHES, SEYCHELLES Having only just opened its doors, the newly revamped coralline island of Desroches (35 minutes by light aircraft from Mahé) is one of the most remote retreats in the Seychelles. Nine miles of talcum powder beaches and clear waters are yours for the taking, with some of the best diving, fishing and snorkelling in the archipelago. Villas are simple elegant affairs with crisp white sheets, driftwood details and plunge pools. From March, British Airways will be running twice-weekly flights from Heathrow to the Seychelles making it even easier to get to. Book it Seven nights half board from £3,999pp, including flights with British Airways and domestic flight transfers. Honeymooners will also receive gifts, Champagne and a 60-minute massage on arrival.

For a bespoke honeymoon quote or to book a private honeymoon consultation in London or Beaconsfield, call 0207 147 7087 or visit TURQUOISEHOLIDAYS.CO.UK


TR AV E L L E R PARTN E RS HIPS

CARIBBEAN QUEEN COMO Parrot Cay, with its mile-long powdery shoreline, is one of the sexiest beach hotels in the Caribbean and this year it’s looking better than ever. Rooms have been updated with marble bathrooms, teak floors and a breezy colour palette. There’s also a new restaurant and beach club and a fresh new COMO Shambhala spa. comohotels.com

LUXE LODGINGS Not yet booked your hen or stag weekend? Consider Hound Lodge tucked within Goodwood’s 12,000acre estate in West Sussex. With 10 splendid bedrooms dotted around a central courtyard leading on to ancient woodland, you can shoot, ramble or head off-road in a 4x4s, before returning to a feast of organic fare reared on the estate. The Lodge comes with its own butler and chef. goodwood.com

HIGH FLYERS

B OT T L E

What to wear, drive, repose and party in BEVERLY HILLS GLAMOUR Comprising 12 storeys, the brand-new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is high-rise, high style and highly alluring. Featuring the most splendidly serene suites in Los Angeles – sumptuous creams, soft eggshells and flattering lighting – it has real star power. The hotel’s Spa La Prairie provides the perfect conditions for shaking off any jetlag, while the rooftop pool has views across the palm-lined boulevards of 90210. Rodeo Drive is just a seven minute walk away. waldorfastoriabeverlyhills.com

GET THE KIT No honeymoon wardrobe is complete without a piece of Wiggy Kit. Designed by London-based travelista Wiggy Hindmarch (sisterin-law of Anya), her simple candy-stripe cover-ups and chic cotton dresses translate seamlessly from day to night. The new collection, inspired by sunbleached days on Harbour Island, launches in April. wiggykit.com

Flight Centre (flightcentre.co.uk) is worth considering if you’re planning a honeymoon with multiple stop-offs. As well as being great value, its new ‘travel butler service’ makes peppering your itinerary with top tables and romantic surprises that much easier.

CRUISE CONTROL For a honeymoon with everchanging scenery, Seabourn’s new South Africa & The Skeleton Coast itinerary offers 12 nights cruising along the South African coastline on a round trip from Cape Town. Highlights include unexplored Indian Ocean beaches, Walvis Bay’s sand dunes populated by springbok, ostrich and longlegged desert elephants, and the vast echoing Namib Desert. A partnership with Thomas Keller ensures world-class dining on board. Departs February 2019. seabourn.com

RARING TO GO? Journey to the airport in style with the Range Rover Velar – brand new to Avis’ prestige fleet. avis.co.uk


W OST WANTED Beauty essentials...

BENEFIT

Ka-BROW! Eyebrow Cream Gel Colour, £20, benefitcosmetics.com

CARLY ROGERS is a name for your little black book. This Camberwellbased artist and florist combines her passion for flowers and plants with contemporary art and fashion to create dazzling and artistic events and installations, seen here at Sketch London. carlyrogersflowers. co.uk

JO MALONE

Hand Cream Trio, £44, available from January 2018

WINTER WONDERLAND NANOBLUR

Instant Skin Finisher, £19, boots.com

Tune in to Condé Nast Traveller's yuletide state of mind with some of the latest experiences, places to stay and fashion and beauty picks

Wafer Diary with Gilt Pencil in Red, £70, smythson.com

FENDI FOR RIMOWA

suitcase, from £2,000, fendi.com

As winter nights draw closer, be transported back to sunnier climes with this KOKO KANU cocktail. Simply mix

BLUSH + BLOW West Londoners should head to Blush + Blow on the New King’s Road, with a tailored menu of beauty treatments, blow-dry services and even an in-house play area for your kids. blushandblowlondon.com

Q50ml Koko Kanu Q50ml pineapple juice QSprinkle of nutmeg

to garnish

Shake all ingredients over ice and pour into a glass. Koko Kanu, 70cl, £19, ocado.com


Head to BERRY BROS. & RUDD’s new shop at 63 Pall Mall for all your wine and spirits for the festive period. With 4,000 different wines, from over 20 countries, 1,000 of which are available to buy in store and 24 available to sample. Customers can still make use of the historic premises at 3 St James’s Street (where Berry Bros. & Rudd have traded from since 1698), as it is now a private consultation room – make an appointment to talk to one of its wine experts about your personal requirements. bbr.com

Les Airelles in Courchevel has just reopened after an extensive refurbishment, including a brand new La Mer spa. Still a warm, intimate space with just 50 rooms and a private apartment building on the already exceptional facilities, award-winning cuisine and personalised service, the new-look Les Airelles offers a winter break like no other. lesairelles.airellescollection.com

ARM CANDY

Ollie Quinn Aleis glasses, £98, olliequinn.co.uk

Longchamp Paris Rocks bag, £320, uk.longchamp. com

THIS MONTH'S HIGH FLYER

HOW TO WEAR

winter

Shinola Lock & Key pendant, £245, shinola.co.uk

from ONE&ONLY LE

SAINT GÉRAN

CHIEF CONCIERGE

Christian Louboutin + Roland Mouret shoes, £765, net-a-porter. com

BURTY ARMANCE

Roksanda crepe midi dress, £995, net-a-porter.com Raymond Weil Shine watch, £1,075, raymond-weil.com

Burberry faux fur coat, £1,295, net-a-porter.com

‘Flakey AF’ Hotel Chocolat doughnut, £4, Supermilk Doughnut Time, 96 Pure, £3.85, Shaftesbury Avenue, hotelchocolat.com London, W1D

Deliciously Ella Apricot & Coconut oat bar, 99p, available at Tesco

Remy Martin XO, £165, selfridges.com

Château la Tour de L’Evêque Rosé, £11.95, corneyandbarrow.com

Grey Goose vodka, £39, available from Waitrose

How would you describe the hotel’s style? Contemporary and beach-inspired. What is your favourite thing about the hotel? The warmth, skill and care of the staff. Every department has at least one member who has worked here for over 30 years. And your favourite part of the island? The nearby Flacq Market is the perfect place to become immersed in real Mauritian culture. I enjoy browsing the colourful stalls, where you can taste and smell the varied flavours of our local produce. What are you most looking forward to next year? Welcoming back both our new and loyal guests to a completely reimagined resort, including new dining experiences at Tapasake, La Pointe or L’ Artisan, a state-of-the-art wellness centre, redesigned swimming pools and exciting new activities – we can’t wait for guests to experience it all. oneandonlyresorts.com

W W


       

       















  









  

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Emelisse Art Hotel is situated along the rugged shoreline of the emerald Ionian Sea. It sits in a spot of supreme serenity amongst acres of native cypress and cedar trees on the beautiful island of Cephalonia. The pools, outdoor restaurants and bars provide front row seating for an unparalleled display of nature's splendour. The sunset is mesmerising and has the power to bring you back to an inner stillness that is so rare in modern life. The hotel provides a wide choice of accommodation ranging from double executive rooms to maisonettes and executive suites. #MASSERIAMONTENAPOLEONE #WEAREINPUGLIA

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A convivial corner of a beautiful island. Gorgeous gardens, peace and tranquillity, birds, flowers, horses and carriages - no cars, how could one not enjoy this amazing paradise? You will find this hotel to have a ‘great joie de vivre’ as well as terrific food. La Sablonnerie has recently received the highly coveted award from Conde Nast Johansens ‘Small Hotel of the Year’.

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THE VIEW FROM HERE ROYAL MANSOUR, MARRAKECH

THE NEW POOL CABANAS SET TO KNOCK EVERYONE ELSE’S OUT OF THE WATER When it opened in 2010, much was made of the labyrinth of secret tunnels – 1.5km of them – where the 500 staff slip invisibly between the 53 riads that make up this extraordinary Marrakech hotel. Owned by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, it was built by 1,200 craftsmen over three years. The spa looks like a beautiful giant birdcage rendered in white, lace-like ironwork. Bedrooms are dressed in thick silks, brocades and velvet. Letterheads gold-embossed with guests’ names are placed on desks. This is a hotel considered and chiselled down to the tiniest details. But, there was one oversight: the pool, small and awkwardly wedged in a corner of the grounds. The king has seen to this. It’s now a vast, glassy splash in 1.5 hectares of new gardens. Among knotted olive trees, jasmine and orange blossoms, the outdoor bar and restaurant Le Jardin is a fresh departure from the white-gloved formality elsewhere. Here, low-slung sofas are strewn with Missoni-esque cushions, and star French chef Yannick Alléno has waved a lighter touch over the menu with tuna-and-papaya poké bowls. There are also seven super-charged pool cabanas, each with its own terrace. Not as famous yet as the rustic seafront huts at Hôtel du Cap where Marlene Dietrich and Joe Kennedy dallied, or the Beverly Hills Hotel’s canvas-topped poolside tents, shot by Slim Aarons and Terry O’Neill, but give them time. FIONA KERR royalmansour.com. Doubles from about £785

248 Condé Nast Traveller January/February 2018


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