Volume two | Issue eight | FREE
The Sun Issue Celebrating the Art of Leisure Including an extended destination travel special across sun, seas and sands
Made in england
There is nothing so beautiful as a thing well made www.marshallandstewart.com 0800 311 8199 99 Crawford Street, London w1H 2Hn
Welcome to the latest issue of Kensington & Chelsea Review. Filled with art, auction, culture and luxury, Kensington & Chelsea Review is the magazine for the rather discerning resident of the Royal Borough.
Cover image: Yellow sky through coconut fronds, Bottom Bay, Barbados Photography: Jim Smith. Provided by the Barbados Tourism Authority page. 3
Ed’s letter Now that summer has finally broken, with a blistering heat unfamiliar, it is time to relax. August is the month of recreation. The children are home, parliament has shut up its doors and the draw from the great landscape - away from the white cube gallery or black box theatre - feels at it’s strongest. Its in this spirit, that we bring to you our ‘Sun’ edition, celebrating the much forgotten art of leisure. This includes our bumper travel section (pages 20-32) covering our favourite sun-kissed parts of the world both near and far. From desert wanderings in the Sahara to wining and dining in the Mediterranean, you’ll find something to inspire, and for the buying types we’ll point you in the direction of Montenegro in our property section. You’ll find an extended restaurant review section as eating out ascends the rank of priorities at this time, and our shopping guide to the designer summer essentials will certainly have the ladies salivating if the food doesn’t quite do the trick. For the culture vultures, we still have some choice morsels. An in-depth on the season’s biggest theatre production (The Drowned Man by Punchdrunk) opens the edition while in technology we muse upon time itself and whether finally, we’ve found a force we desire greater than money. We’ll also be tweeting from a number of cultural events this month including the Proms, so do follow (@KCReview) for all the latest updates. But above all, relax. Coco Khan Editor
Contents With special thanks to Malcolm Harrison Publisher Talismanic Media
Founder and Managing Director Sid Raghava
Editor Coco Khan Art Director Max Wilson of O.W.H. Creative Publishing Director Stephen Slocombe Tech Editor Tamlin Magee Theatre Editor Alan Fielden Office Manager Lee Marrero Writers Ben Osborn, Zoe Perrott, Adrian Foster, John Underwood, Linda Cooke, Shula Pannick, Annie Vischer, Stephen Slocombe, Camellia Stafford, Nic McElhatton, Ellie Stamp, Maria Kivimaa
News News curated from the worlds of art, culture and intrigue.
Punchdrunk and Out of Control An in-depth on the latest production from leading theatre troupe Punchdrunk.
Christies, With Insight
The latest instalment in Christie’s monthly column with tips for buyers.
Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy
Tech writer Tamlin Magee wonders if the value of time itself is superseding money.
Spa Diary Annie Vischer goes Austen at Armathwaite Hall.
20. Shopping Product guide for the luxury sun essentials a woman shouldn’t do without.
22 . Travel
In-depth destination special on some of the world’s most beautiful sun-kissed spots, from near and far. Includes desert wanderings in Tunisia and Dubai, luxury shopping in Geneva, food and drink in Portugal and France and a tour around hidden treasure Guernsey.
36 . Restaurant
Wine and dine around the Big Smoke this month.
40 . Property Spotlight on Montenegro.
All material in Kensington and Chelsea Review is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission of the publishers. Colour transparencies and photographs submitted for publication are sent at the owners’ risk and while every care is taken, neither the publishers nor their agents accept liability for loss or damage however caused. The publishers can accept no liability whatsoever of nature arising out of nor in connection with the contents of this publication. Opinions expressed within the articles are not necessarily those of Kensington and Chelsea Review and any issue arising there from should be taken up directly with the contributor.
42 . The
Getting to grips with the highland spirit, whisky.
Read All About It A rundown of London news from the worlds of arts, culture and the plain intriguing, all handpicked for the Royal Borough resident. Bob Dylan in exhibition debut at National Portrait Gallery This September pastel portraits by the rock and roll icon Bob Dylan will be shown for the first time at the National Portrait Gallery. It will be the first time his work will have been seen in a museum in the UK. The 12 new works to be displayed represent the latest portrait studies from the artist who, outside of a prolific musical career has sketched and drawn since childhood and painted since the late 1960s. He has only however started formally exhibiting his work within the last six years. Bob Dylan: Face Value is an unusual move from the Gallery given that Dylan’s portraits are not, in their own words ‘of subjects from British public life, past or present, nor are they made by a working portrait artist. The portraits represent characters, with an amalgamation of features Dylan has collected from life, memory and his imagination and fashioned into people, some real and some fictitious’. For more information visit www.decorex.com
The portrait Nina Felix by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan which is going on display at the NPG.
Local Photo of the Month: Football Guinness World Record broken in Kensington In a bout of athletic endurance that could even challenge the strongest Olympian, a group of sixteen have beaten the world record for ‘longest game of five-a-side football’, in Ladbroke Grove this summer. Playing over the first weekend in August the game lasted a whopping 46 hours and 24 minutes. The previous record was 43 hours. The teams had hoped to go for 72 hours but the match was stopped due to various injuries. The game was played in aid of the charity Inspiring Futures: Uganda, match organiser Tarran Kent Hume hopes that the event will raise funds to encourage, inspire and enable Ugandan youth to develop confidence, skills and belief and aspire to a future beyond poverty. More information about Game for a Future can be found at www.gameforafuture.org page. 6
Serpentine Sackler Gallery designed by Zaha Hadid to open in September 2013 The Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Zaha Hadid, will open to the public on Saturday, 28 September 2013. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery gives new life to The Magazine, a former 1805 gunpowder store, located five minutes walk from the Serpentine Gallery on the north side of the Serpentine Bridge. With 900 square metres of new gallery, restaurant and social space, the Serpentine’s second space in Kensington Gardens will be a new cultural destination in the heart of London. From this autumn, the Serpentine will present its unrivalled programme of exhibitions and events across both Galleries and into the Park. The new Gallery is named after Dr Mortimer and Dame Theresa Sackler, whose Foundation has made the project possible through the largest single gift received by the Serpentine Gallery in its 43-year history. Major funding has also been awarded by Bloomberg, long term supporters of the Serpentine as well as sponsors of the opening exhibition. It is the Zaha Hadid Architects’ first permanent structure in central London and continues a relationship between the Gallery and the architect, which began with the inaugural Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Commission in 2000. The landscape around the new building will be designed and planted by the world-renowned landscape artist Arabella Lennox-Boyd. The opening exhibition in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery is the first UK exhibition by the young Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas, who is gaining international renown for his dramatic, largescale sculptural works For more information visit: www.serpentinegallery.org
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Royal Hospital Chelsea celebrates 10 years of concerts This year marks 10 years since the creation of the Royal Hospital Chelsea Concerts. To celebrate, they’ll be holding their most ambition Autumn Series yet, in the iconic surroundings of The Wren Chapel at the RHC, home of the Chelsea Pensioners. The programme is a diverse selection of music across classical and jazz, between amateurs and professionals. Taking the opportunity to also mark Benjamin Britten’s centenary, Noye’s Fludde will be performed whilst the London Conchord Ensemble will be celebrating their own 10th anniversary at the series with an all-Bach evening. There’s also performances from the critically acclaimed Czech troupe, Zemlinksy Quartet presenting work from Mozart, Schubert and Czech composer Smetana before the David ReesWilliams Trio close the celebrations with a classical-jazz fusion. For more information visit www.chelsea-pensioners.org.uk Save the Date: 20/21 British Art Fair The 20/21 British Art Fair, the only art fair specialising exclusively in British art has announced it will be taking place from 11 – 15 September at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7. Having celebrated 25 years last year, the fair has proven itself as a pivotal feature for collectors of British art and continues to attract an enviably loyal following in London’s busy art fair calendar. Whilst the fair is known for its vast range of Modern (1900-1945) and PostWar art (1945 – 1970), it also boasts a sizeable selection of contemporary art, thus allowing any fan of British Art to find something to treasure across paintings, drawings, print and sculpture. On offer will be work by many of the leading names in 20th century British art including: Edward Burra, Elisabeth Frink, Patrick Heron, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Peter Lanyon, Henry Moore, John Piper, Bridget Riley, Graham Sutherland and Keith Vaughan. Prices range from a few hundred pounds to many thousands. The event will be opened by actress Hattie Morahan at 5pm on the 11th September 2013. Hattie recently played the great British artist Laura Knight in the Alfred Munnings biopic Summer in February, in which she starred alongside Dominic Cooper. For more information please visit www.britishartfair.co.uk
Decorex moves to Kensington Palace It was about this time last year we had started on a dedicated Design special. September played host to the London Design Festival, followed immediately by the lavish world of Decorex after. If the best design in the world filling London and particularly Kensington’s streets isn’t reason for a special edition we don’t know what is. This year, Decorex has had an upgrade and it is now filling the prestigious Perks Field and Orangery at Kensington Palace while Kit Kemp and Martin Brudnizki lead the stellar line up of international designers who will be creating memorable features at this year’s Decorex International 2013. For more information visit www.decorex.com New Shelby Mustang Guide defines the luxury car calendar The Shelby Mustang is the stuff of legends, but what really separates them from their productionline relatives? The Definitive Shelby Mustang Guide: 1965-1970, by Shelby American Auto Club (SAAC) historian Greg Kolasa, details their performance and development with highly detailed descriptive text and superb photography. This book provides a detailed history of the Shelby’s development from the early GT350 ‘street legal racing car’, its adoption by the Hertz car rental company, before its decline into the bloated, badge-engineered Mustang derivative which the Shelby sadly became before its originator finally threw in the towel. In addition to his first hand knowledge, Kolasa includes revealing factory documentation and interviews with Shelby American designers, engineers, stylists, fabricators and racing drivers to get the true, as-it-happened story of these charismatic pony cars. Additionally, the cars included in the book were selected for their historical and technical ‘correctness’, which is shown in photograph after photograph. The Definitive Shelby Mustang Guide: 1965-1970 stands as a credible Shelby Mustang reference work for historians and enthusiasts alike. At times slightly long-winded and repetitive, the Shelby story is effectively told by page 32. But this book remains a readable and authoritative work of reference that deserves a place on any car enthusiast’s bookshelf.. review: Adrian Foster Published by CarTech Publishing; Price: £30 Hardback; www.pguk.co.uk page. 7
clockwise [from above]: Laure Bachelot (Mary) and Omar Gordon (William); Sophie Bortolussi (Wendy) ; Fionn Cox-Davies (Marshall) and Sophie Bortolussi (Wendy); Laure Bachelot (Mary)
t h e at r e
Immersive theatre trailblazers Punchdrunk need no introduction, but is all the hype doing them justice? Ben Osborn muses upon their new blockbuster The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable In the shadows at the edge of town, a figure approaches me. Like me, he is wearing a grey mask with a duckbilllike protrusion; no doubt, like me, he is pouring sweat onto the inside of the mask. He leans close to me and presses a folded five-pound-note into my palm. ‘There’s a bar inside,’ he says (and it’s at this point that I realise he’s the friend who I came in with) – ‘I know you’re broke, but you’re going to want a beer.’ And then he disappears into the night. I was recently just round the corner from Paddington
Station, but now Punchdrunk have taken me into the town around ‘Temple Studios’, a Golden-Era-Hollywood style film studio. Punchdrunk, if you still haven’t heard of them, are a highly influential and very successful ‘immersive’ theatre company, and this is kind of what they do. My only guide around this world is a slip of paper that tells me about two mirror-image tales of adultery and revenge; that and the advice of a recorded voice that told me to ‘find my own destiny’ in the space, as well as a brief preamble from a page. 8
slick-haired studio tour guide in the lift on the way up from the foyer. The show, titled The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable, takes its inspiration from Georg Buchner’s Woyzeck, an unfinished play filled with violence, madness and jealousy. With ‘Temple Studios’ as their setting, Punchdrunk have expanded this story into an entire world. Their set sprawls across several large floors and comprises the various film studios of Temple as well as the impoverished, star-crazy
town outside the studio gates. The audience receives little guidance and can go pretty much anywhere they please within this world. As a result each audience member is likely to have a very different experience. The hype around this show has been huge, driven in part by Punchdrunk’s own excellent reputation and in part by a public hunger for immersive theatrical experiences – think You Me Bum Bum Train and Secret Cinema; think a million and one smaller-scale performances and installations at Secret Garden Party and similar festivals. The reviews, on the other hand, have been mixed; some disappointed, some thrilled, some indifferent. Perhaps this is a reflection of just how much of a different world each individual audience member may experience; perhaps, also, it is representative of a changing theatre world that is both more familiar with and more critical of this particular style. The one thing they all agree on is that if you haven’t seen a Punchdrunk show before you have missed out. Soon after my friend gives me the fiver, I wander away from the crowd of masked audience members and into a deserted store. I am immediately reminded of a computer game – a strange feeling, as I have no particular interest in computer games, though I don’t dislike them or disapprove
of them or anything like that. But there is an unreality to this world, a tense spookiness, that makes me feel that I am in some kind of virtual reality; thinking about it now, I realise it’s the feeling I had as a young boy playing the first Resident Evil game on my cousin’s Playstation. It’s an enjoyable sensation: you are free to wander around a world filled with tension and unexpected occurrences while at the same time having completely given yourself over to that world’s control. I rejoin my fellow audience members outside a clothing store in the town. Here I am introduced to an aspect of Punchdrunk that, despite all the publicity and conflicting opinion about this piece, I genuinely knew nothing about – their astonishingly physical, danceled method of performance. A man spins from woman to woman, alternating spurning and embracing them, before disappearing into another area. The choreography is beautiful, the performance highly skilful, the overall effect hypnotic. Why isn’t this what people are talking about when they talk about this show? I couldn’t help but picture some slightly cringe-inducing dialogue, perhaps aimed directly into the audience, when I imagined what Punchdrunk shows would be like – a bit like those
‘murder mystery’ dinner parties. In fact the whole piece is driven by movement, set and – most significantly, in my opinion, though again I’d not have guessed it from the reviews – sound design. I can’t fault any of these aspects. The movement is captivating. The set is beautiful and apparently endless. Most effective of all is the constant, subtly shifting soundtrack that draws you into and guides you through the show’s world. And yet when - to my surprise - my three hours in the space is over, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. My unwillingness to follow the crowd meant that I failed to connect to any of the characters or their stories. Despite the enjoyment of being able to compare experiences with other audience members after the performance, I can’t help but feel a kind of sorrow about how much I’ve missed, a feeling that I’ve somehow done it wrong; a sense, almost, of shame. But that’s not a reason not to see the show. I always want to get lost in art; perhaps I only have myself to blame. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable runs until December at Temple Studios. Tickets range from £19.50 to £47.50. For more information visit: www.nationaltheatre.org. uk/shows/the-drowned-man-a-hollywood-fable
THEAT R E
The Season in Pictures Theatre Editor Alan Fielden selects his highlights from the coming season The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable by Punchdrunk (right) Temple Studios until 30th December Hallucinatory fantasy with this site-specific riff on the Hollywood dream-factory, inspired by Buchner’s Woyzeck. Now affirmed worldwide megastars (as much as a theatre company can be), expect a mesmerizing, voyeuristic experience with the audience masked for much of the duration. “Abandon all preconceptions of what theatre should be and prepare yourself for a multi-storey treat.” Evening Standard www.punchdrunk.com The Sound of Music (Below) Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until 7th September If cheery musicals in the evening sun are one of your Favourite Things, this’ll be just the medicine. Amidst the beautiful backdrop of this Royal Park, this classic story of love and freedom with live music should prove enchanting. Maybe you can even sing along?
The Light Princess (above) National Theatre 25th September to 2nd January One for the family, this fairytale about loss, love and war follows two opposing kingdoms and their heavy-hearted prince and weightless princess coming to blows. A collaboration between iconic singer songwriter Tori Amos and director Marianne Elliott (Curious Incident) this should be intriguing. 13+ www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-light-princess openairtheatre.com/production/the-sound-of-music Tosca (left) Soho Theatre until 15th Sept OperaUpClose take the raw energy of Puccini’s masterpiece and sharpen it to a bloody edge. Expect “trademark intimacy and immediacy” in this radical reinterpretation which relocates the opera to the dying days of communism and the Stasi secret police. “Visceral stuff” Time Out kingsheadtheatre.com/operaupclose.html Secret Theatre (right) Lyric Hammersmith running for a year In a brilliant display of true risk taking, no-one really knows what’s going on at the Lyric. Well, we know who the actors, writers, directors and designers are, but just what they’re going to make whilst they work in collaboration and in rep, is anyone’s guess. For those curious amongst you who perhaps feel less and less surprised at the theatre, I anticipate the preshow atmosphere will be crackling. Be brave! www.lyric.co.uk page. 10
Culture with Christie’s Chairman of Christie’s South Kensington, Nic McElhatton returns to Kensington and Chelsea Review for Christie’s monthly instalment of insight into their world of auction Summer has arrived and with it Christie’s South Kensington has been bathed in sunlight, enticing passers-by into our five week public exhibition ahead of the Out of the Ordinary sale on 5 September. Open from 5 August, the extended exhibition offers a unique opportunity for the public to get up close to an eclectic array of intriguing items, many of which are rarely seen on the market. From a dinosaur skull to a flying machine and a celebrity robot from the 1950s, the one-off exhibition and auction is packed with fascinating pieces, offering buyers something a little different. For those with a tendency towards opulence, there’s an exquisite and enormous silver caviar dish and a rare miniature Louis Vuitton trunk, while those with a penchant for vintage games will be interested in the three 1960s and 70s pinball machines. Whether you’re hankering for an unusual item of furniture, a striking work of art or a unique object to grab people’s attention, there’s something to tempt every collector. Buyers with a passion for contemporary works will also be interested in our September Post War & Contemporary Art and Prints sales, which feature a striking selection of works. www.christies.com Lot 99 | THE SKULL OF A TRICERATOPS HELL CREEK FORMATION, MONTANA | From the Maastrichtian, late Cretaceous (68-65 Mya), the skull of a Triceratops prorsus, mounted on stand. 75in. (1900cm.) long; 88in. (2240cm.) high on stand | Estimate: £150,000-250,000
Image courtesy of Christie’s
Our World in Verse We are delighted to print here a new poem from Camellia Stafford, poet representative of Royal Borough Kensington and Chelsea for the London Lines weekend. London Lines is a project collaboration between Jaybird Live Literature & Southbank Centre, creating poems for each of London’s 33 boroughs. It is part of Southbank Centre’s Festival of Neighbourhood and continues with further events until 8 September. www.southbankcentre.co.uk “Members of the public came to the Royal Festival Hall and shared their favourite memories of Kensington & Chelsea with me. These were written on beautifully illustrated memory cards and installed on a memory map of London created by the artist collective Cabinet of Curiosities. Overnight, I wrote the poem, Blue is the Colour, the title of which was inspired by a young Chelsea fan and resident, who drew a brilliant Chelsea FC logo and this slogan on his memory card. My poem entirely reflects authentic memories of Kensington & Chelsea residents, former residents and others with a connection to the borough. The poem was displayed atop a tower of memory cards and I read the poem in The Clore Ballroom, overlooking the map of London residents and visitor's cherished memories.”
“Blue is the colour” After A Taste of Honey at Kensington Odeon you first met your wife in the doorway of the post office or you went to school near Old Brompton Road at a house Beatrix Potter had lived in or growing up your mother often described to you how Kensington Roof Gardens was magical with flamingos or took you with her to Biba’s restaurant where you marvelled at the pink damask tablecloths cut like circle skirts or you could see the floats being built for Notting Hill carnival from your flat or you breastfed your son in Peter Jones gossiping with other Mums in the nursing chairs or your grandmother lived on the King’s Road where the fire station is now or you saw the tiniest vase in Glassware at the V&A or you moved into a bedsit in West Ken having come to London to make your fortune or you were an extra in Made in Chelsea or you fainted in the Carmelite Chapel on Kensington Church Street, awoke surrounded by nuns and wondered if you had died or your first London memory is the Natural History Museum aged 10: I won’t believe I’m in London until I’ve seen the dinosaurs or you remember the day you walked to the Serpentine Gallery, the sky blended like a pastel drawing or you watched Tori Amos play the piano with her feet at The Royal Albert Hall or you listened to the sound of a woolly mammoth recreated at the Royal College of Art or you revelled in The Lacquer Chest where shabby chic came in ahead of its time or you glanced up and saw Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens on a tree stump of fairies and rabbits or you worked on Sloane Street with a dear friend whose memory you cherish in The Bluebird or you spent an afternoon photographing the roses and peacocks in Holland Park and one perfect dove or you whiled away your Saturdays sidling through the 70s in Portobello Market and bought matching jackets with your best friend or the Albert Bridge captivated you with its May poles swirled white and pink or you fell in love for the last time at a ball in Chelsea or you took a bus to the World’s End or said your first goodbye at your halls of residence on the King’s Road waving back from the beginning of the world. Camellia Stafford was born in Warwickshire. She read English Literature and Language at King's College London and has an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her first poetry collection 'Letters to the Sky' is forthcoming from Salt Publishing this November. page. 12
British art at its very best
Christopher Wood (1901-30), â€˜On the Promenade, Monte Carloâ€™, oil and pencil on board, dated April 1925, label verso, 19 x 24 cm From Paisnel Gallery
Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU Wed: 3-9pm | Thurs: 11am-8pm | Fri/Sat: 11am-7pm | Sun: 11am-6pm
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TE C H
There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy Tamlin Magee muses on the new tech trends that see the desire for cost-saving outweighed by the desire for something altogether more precious. Time itself. The internet has come a long way. Once, you’d have been lucky to get unbiased reviews or sources when buying a product, and in the early days of the net, buying online was barely a trend at all. Now, from groceries to exotic foods, to electronics, to even green technology such as solar panels, the web is an invaluable resource for the buyer. But the convenience and quickness of buying online, compared to trailing around shop after shop, points to another trend. Where time is more valuable than money. Granted, that is a weighty statement, perhaps even absurd at first glance. The entire world runs on cash and you’d be hard pressed to acquire goods or services without it. But online, what do those services represent? A way to save us time. Busier lives and a fizzling patience have placed ultraconvenience as a top market demand for online spending, ideally in as little time as possible. Sure, it could always be one of life’s pleasures to casually browse in-store for that perfect piece for your house or in clothes shopping. It can still be fun to Google before you buy; in fact, it’s advisable. But for ‘trivial’ small purchases like content - films, music, ebooks - the technologically driven world is trying to cut out the nuisances. Think back to ten, 15 years ago: you want to hear a song. You could clasp your hands into a prayer for some radio play.
If you wanted to own it, you’d have to make time to go to the right shop, hope the right album was in stock, possibly wait to have it ordered in, take the package home, unwrap it, and pop it into your stereo. That particular slog is hard to imagine these days. There is a certain romance to heading down to a specialist book or music shop and carefully picking out or searching for that sought-after vinyl, that first edition. These specialist, niche buys will exist for a good while yet, but you wouldn’t want to do it for your Belieber daughter. The microtransaction changed everything. Understanding the impetus of online piracy, Apple pioneered digital downloads with iTunes, making it as simple as pressing one button, credit card info permitting, to download a song or an album or, now, films, books, apps, and magazines. The trend has proliferated, including on Android, Windows Phone, and a plethora of ways to buy all sorts of content online. Time is now our most vital currency. Unlike money, you can’t make it, and once it’s spent, it’s gone for good. Buyers are starting to understand: a ghastly high street shopping trip can be a horrible experience, and if there’s a way to claim back your half-a-day, you’ll go for it. Buy online and you’re done. page. 14
Not to mention online shopping, Amazon and eBay addictions, this is why services like Netflix have become so popular. Although it’s a little limited in the UK (look up “Mediahint” to get the full US portfolio - you’re welcome), you pay your subscription and can forget about it. If you want to watch a film, you load up Netflix on your TV, and all of the options are there. Lovefilm held the UK rental market for a long time, but it too is having to shift its business model to media streaming - why? - no one wants to wait a week for a DVD to get posted to them. Similarly with Spotify, a small fee opens up an unfathomably vast catalogue of music, popular and esoteric, instantly. You pay your dues and it’s a small bill every month for virtually every piece of music you can think of. Even for those with the means to have every subscription going, and then some, piracy can still be a tempting option. Consumers don’t want to have to wait for UK distribution deals and industry bureaucracy to figure out when a show can finally air on these shores. Why would they when they can download a series in an hour? Game of Thrones is a great example. It’s one of the most pirated TV series of all time - and even its director, David Petrarca, said he understood why. Life’s short. We want content, and we want it now.
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Spa Diary Annie Vischer visits the Armathwaite Hall Country House Hotel & Spa in Cumbria for a weekend of Austen, animals and aroma. Day 1 Arriving in Penrith and breathing in the Evian-clean air of the lakes was the equivalent of a floral garland being handed out in a Hawaiian hotel, the perfect initiation into lakeside respite. A serene taxi ride provided the perfect view of the surrounding countryside by way of introduction. My friend, who made up my plus one, and I had both spent time at school trudging across the same areas in aid of our Duke of Edinburgh awards so the journey was a tad nostalgic. As we rounded the corner and took in the breathtaking view of Armathwaite Hall I felt every inch the Austen heroine, even if my mode of travel was more Corsa than carriage. After a brief tour of the facilities we were taken to our room in the spa wing of the house. We clocked three things straight away, a huge bed, a gorgeous view, and a TV in the bathroom. Happy girls. We had resolved to turn the weekend into somewhat of a luxurious boot camp so our first stop was the gym. Small and calm (no painful screeches and thuds of weights here) the gym was well equipped and fronted by gorgeous views of the landscaped gardens, with a balcony for cheeky breathers or scenic stretches. We were most saintly and pushed for an hour and a half session, although our intention to finish off with half an hour’s swim was foiled once we spotted the outdoor hot tub on the spa’s balcony. A few glasses of Champagne later and we had to admit it was time to return to our room and prepare for dinner. A five course meal in the Lake View restaurant awaited us. The menu was compiled around in-season vegetables and cited the origins of the locally sourced meat. Our weight-watching sensibilities were slightly rattled by the number of courses, but we soon came round after the mouth-watering starter, and the carefully sized portions ensured that once we were sipping coffee and making our way through home made chocolates by the fireplace we were not overly full. We were, as my mother would term it, enjoying a ‘ladylike sufficiency’.
Day 2 We decided to use our second day to explore a bit more of our surroundings. We had been told of Trotters World of Animals situated on the Armathwaite Hall Estate, so after a sumptuous buffet breakfast in the Lake View Restaurant we buttoned up our Barbours and set off across the fields, greeting the rather friendly sheep as we went. The wildlife park had far more…well…wildlife than we had originally expected. We conversed with two exceptionally talkative parakeets, marvelled at the way gibbon monkeys walked, and whistled and clicked for an embarrassingly long time to try and coax a zebra over for petting. It never came, but the donkeys soothed our bruised egos with their snorts of affection. Our next port of call was Keswick where we partook of afternoon tea and a stroll around the market stalls before returning to the snuggly comfort of the bathrobes at Armathwaite Hall. It was spa time. We worked up a sweat at the gym before showering ready for our massages. Massages are like an entirely innocent drug to me and I tend to completely zone out in relaxation. This time was no different. Afterwards we were both lead, bleary eyed, to the Hush Tranquility Room where we nestled under fur blankets on wicker chair beds with smoothies and a selection of magazines to keep us company. Staying awake was very hard indeed, we certainly had no inclination to move, and didn’t until the thought of more Champagne in the hot tub became far too delicious to put off. page. 16
Day 3 We rose early before breakfast the next day, determined to make the most of our last few hours at the spa, sampling the experience showers, the steam room and the aroma room. After one last intake of breath on the balcony overlooking the landscaped gardens it was time to leave, and we did so entirely restored and energised, ready to face city life once more. We waved goodbye to the wonderful staff before hopping into our taxi, waxing lyrical to our poor driver about how fabulous our visit had been. I am sure he must hear the same thing every time he picks up from there, though it didn’t occur to us at the time. After a few minutes we simply settled into the back seats, smiling at the sun-streaked views streaming by, and full of intentions to visit our lakeside retreat again very soon. For more information and to book, visit www.armathwaite-hall.com/
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Marshall & Stewart Marshall & Stewart create the world’s most luxurious and comfortable beds. Made in England, using a combination of traditional British craftsmanship and innovative designs, Marshall & Stewart beds are at the cutting edge of luxury bed manufacturing. teased loose horsehair. Each bed also comes with a 25-year guarantee and every material is chosen with quality and comfort in mind.
Brent Cooper, Managing Director of Marshall & Stewart has worked in the luxury bed industry for over 30 years, leading bedmakers And So to Bed and Hästens to considerable UK success. Brent said “To sleep well is to live well - this is our mantra, inspiring us to create beds of exquisite comfort, quality and craftsmanship. People are finally waking up to the idea that the bed is the most important piece of furniture in the home. Nothing is used more often, nor has a more significant effect on a person’s day-to-day life – it’s an investment which, when made correctly, can last a lifetime.”
Bespoke, by nature A complimentary in-store design service is provided at which clients can choose from an extensive selection of bed legs and fabrics, or are welcome to provide a fabric of their choosing which can be used on the divan and headboard. Showroom. The Diamond Collection is available from the Marshall & Stewart central London showroom on Crawford Street and a growing number of exclusive stores, including Harrods and Simon Horn. Call 020 7723 2925 or visit www. marshallandstewart.com for more information. Prices range from £3,500 to £28,000.
A family affair Brent has personally designed the Diamond Collection beds to be unique and provide unparalleled comfort. He owns Marshall & Stewart in partnership with his brother Ian Cooper, and works alongside his younger brother Laurence and son Barry. The Cooper family understand the importance of sleep and believe that the third of a person’s life spent in bed is the foundation for the two thirds they spend awake. Each model in the Diamond Collection boasts a progressive spring system which is surrounded by nature’s finest materials – layers of the softest cotton, luxurious blends of lambswool and cashmere and vast clouds of hand
Marshall & Stewart 99 Crawford Street London W1H 2HN Telephone: 020 7723 2925 Fax: 020 7723 5846 page. 17
Study Fashion & Design in central London We offer degrees in fashion design, fashion marketing and interior design
Find out more
at one of our undergraduate open days. Register at regents.ac.uk/opendays
T +44 (0) 20 7487 7505 E firstname.lastname@example.org W regents.ac.uk/rsfd Please refer to our website for validation information
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Regent’s University London – Your world of difference Regent’s University London is one of the UK’s most respected independent universities and one of the most internationally diverse, with students from more than 140 different countries worldwide. Regent’s offers both British and American degree programmes in a wide range of fields, including business and management, finance, languages, the humanities, the creative arts, social sciences, fashion and design. With over 3,300 undergraduate and 1,200 postgraduate students, the University is the largest provider of higher education in the UK outside the statefunded system. Qualifications range from foundation level through to bachelors’, masters’ and doctoral degrees. Our students benefit from high levels of personal attention, regular contact with their tutors and contemporary academic programmes. Many of our undergraduate programmes offer the opportunity to study abroad, enabling students to experience a truly international dimension to their education. We are the London campus of Webster University, USA and have exchange partners around the world in Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. As a charity, we are committed to promoting social benefit. We continually reinvest our profits to improve the
University environment and put resources back into student education. Our independent status gives us the freedom and flexibility to focus on the quality of teaching, adapting our courses to the needs of students and the demands of industry. Over the past 5 years, Regent’s has invested £40 million in facilities and teaching to enable academics to spend more time with students in lectures, tutorials and individual feedback sessions. As a result, the student-staff ratio at Regent’s is 15:1 and students receive personal tutorial support. Regent’s School of Fashion & Design Our newest school, Regent’s School of Fashion & Design (RSFD) is one of seven specialist schools at Regent’s University, offering undergraduate programmes reflecting current industry needs and practice in fashion design and fashion marketing, interior design and visual communication. The School is located on the desirable Marylebone High Street, known for its many design-led boutiques, interiors page. 19
shops and cafés. This vibrant part of central London, with its long history and village like feeling, is home to artists, musicians and entertainers. There are places still available for 2013 entry, so please contact a member of the Admissions team or attend one of our open days for more information.
Regent’s University London Inner Circle Regent’s Park London NW1 4NS T: 0207 487 7505 E: email@example.com www.regents.ac.uk
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Exhibitions shine the spotlight on west London’s finest art and design talent Two stunning exhibitions celebrating the work of emerging talent from Kensington and Chelsea College came to a close with widespread praise from attending art and design enthusiasts, the V&A and a range of dignitaries. The college (widely regarded as the local learning leader in Art and Design, Health and Social Sciences and Management and Professional Development) currently operates across two sites based near Kings Road in Chelsea. So close to the fashionable boutiques and cafes, and Notting Hill by Portobello Road - with its world famous markets and iconic stalls selling vintage and cutting edge fashionit’s no surprise that the college’s end-ofyear shows are always hugely popular. 2013 proved no exception with hundreds of guests attending both the Fine Art Show held at the Chelsea Centre and the Art and Design Show held at the Wornington Centre. Students from across a range of courses including HNC Fine Art, Foundation Art and Design, Jewellery, Graphic Design and Interior Design proved their creative flair with a plethora of cutting edge work.
The eclectic student collections were described by guests as “showing an astounding level of skill”,“truly impressive” and “on par with the services being offered by creative agencies and already established designers”. The praise was further testament to the college’s already high-profile reputation for excellence in Creative Arts and its impressive list of famous art alumni which includes Turner prize nominee Spartacus Chetwynd; Millie Pilkington who was commissioned by Clarence House as Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s private photographer for their wedding; Julie Bennett who was labelled ‘one of Saatchi’s new stars’ by The Independent; and Jerwood Painting Fellow, Susan Sluglett. To find out about our full range of courses and training opportunities, and how we can help you develop your career or business visit www.kcc.ac.uk, or call 0207 573 5333 for a copy of our latest prospectus. www.twitter.com/KC_College facebook.com/kensingtonandchelseacollege www.youtube.com/kccollege
Kensington and Chelsea College is committed to providing affordable education and has set-up a number of fee discounts and money saving schemes to support enrolling students. For more information visit: www.kcc.ac.uk/discounts Aged 24 or over? 24+ Advanced Learning Loans are a new and easy way to pay your course fees. For more information visit: www.kcc.ac.uk/financial_help/advanced_learning_loans.php
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Sunshine Splurge When the sun makes an appearance, everything changes. Shula Pannick takes a look at summer’s hottest buys for the London life and holidays alike. 1. Streamline Denim Suitcase Available at Selfridges RRP £420 www.selfridges.com | 2. Annina Vogel Single Charm Bracelet Available at Liberty £350 www.anninavogel.co.uk | 3. Etienne Deroeux Saffron Manhattan Bomber Available at Avenue 32 RRP £1035 www.avenue32.com | 4. Samuji Cream Print Lanny Dress Available at Avenue 32 RRP £315 www.avenue32.com | 5. Melissa Odabash Woven Panama Hat Available at Net A Porter RRP £100 www.net-a-porter.com | 6. Zoku Quick Pop Maker Available at Selfridges RRP £49 www.selfridges.com | 7. Norma Kamali Bill Halterneck Bikini Top Available at Net A Porter RRP £175 www. net-a-porter.com | 8. Norma Kamali Bill Ruched High Rise Briefs Available at Net A Porter RRP £150 www.net-a-porter.com page. 21
A porta do Sahara, photography care of Tunisian National Tourist Board
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Spirit of the Sahara Stephen Slocombe wanders the deserts of Tunisia to discover the sights, sounds and soul of the Sahara. I’m not really one for bucket lists. In my mind, lists – however exotic their contents – equal admin, and only weird people choose to do admin. That said, I do have some vague notion of wanting to experience the various ‘types’ of landscape/ terrain this planet has to offer – y’know, jungle, mountains, polar icecaps, etc – at least once in my lifetime. Desert being one of them, I was happy to get the opportunity to travel to Tunisia to experience the Sahara – indeed, “The Greatest Desert”, as it’s known in Arabic – although I have to say, prior to the trip my expectations were fairly modest – after all, it’s
just a load of sand and not much else, right? My trip was to be centred around the International Festival of the Sahara, in Douz, in the south of the country, with a brief sojourn in and around Tunis, the capital, en route home. Douz is a fairly small-ish town, known as “the gateway to the Sahara”, which stretches beyond to the south. The town grew up around a real life oasis – known as “the ultimate palm oasis” as it has over 500,000 palm trees – and was originally an important stop on the trans-Saharan caravan routes. Nowadays, it’s a major producer of ‘deglet nour’ dates page. 22
(which are characterised by their soft texture, pale colour and soft, caramel-esque taste) and is a popular starting point with tourists looking to experience the desert – excursions, camel-rides, dune buggies, that sort of thing. I’m staying at the Sahara Douz hotel, located on the edge of both oasis and desert. It’s large (155 rooms), all whitewash and palm trees on the outside, red and brown drapes and comfy furnishings inside. It’s four stars and, particularly for the price of £41 per night, perfectly agreeable. The International Festival of the Sahara has been an
International Festival Of The Sahara Photography (This Page): Rupert Parker
annual event since 1910, and as such is the country’s oldest and best known festival. It aims to showcase the traditional sports, skills and way of life of the desert folk, and attracts participants from across the Mahgreb region, and visitors from around the world. The set-up is a little reminiscent of a provincial British horseracing course, with a mid-sized main stand flanked by simple, standing room only terraces, all in a line, facing out to the vast expanse that is the Sahara. Bedouin music wafts from a speaker – apparently its wistful, undulating, hypnotic wail is intended to mimic the subtly shifting landscape of the desert and the drifting desert winds, and it certainly creates an enchanting, dare I say romantic, ambient backdrop. All along the horizon there are tents, and from them the participants start to emerge, lining up to take part in the grand opening parade, a procession past the main stage, each act in turn. Most of them are either on horse-back or camel-back, or in a dancing troupe of some sort, and all are resplendent in the most amazing, otherworldly outfits. The people of this region led a nomadic life as recently as the 1960s, and while only a few wholly nomadic tribes remain today, this spectacular gathering offers a very real view of a way of life that had existed largely unchanged for centuries. After the procession, it’s time for the events. First
up is camel racing. Forget the typical tourist vignette of gently sauntering along, sat in between the humps. Here, young boys and grown men – sometimes together on one creature – stand almost upright, balancing on the camel’s neck, travelling at improbable speeds. Then there is camel wrestling – as in camel Vs camel – which is, frankly, a rather odd, and slightly disconcerting sight, as these giant beasts use their necks to try and force each other down. For all the pageantry and ceremony that goes into the event as a whole, given there are so many animals involved, it’s also rather chaotic – and amusing – at times, no more
so than when one of the wrestling camels runs off and a horde of men set off in a comedy chase to reclaim it that lasts over five minutes. The festival itself lasts a whole day. We get a line of girls swinging their very long hair around in an ancient dance, impossibly beautiful Arabian horses ridden by daring – and dashing – riders, a Bedouin marriage, a desert caravan, and even the rather gruesome spectacle of the Arabian Greyhound Hunt, where ‘sloughi’ desert hunting dogs chase the impossibly cute, long-haired desert rabbit – sadly to its death. The grand finale is the desert rodeo, where small groups – families, with men, women and children all involved – ride their horses round and round, standing upright on the horses’ backs and swinging the small children around in a variety of ever-more daring manouevres, all to an ever intensifying drumbeat.
The crowd go wild, and then, it’s all over. The showground immediately becomes a surreal melange of meandering competitors with their costumes, horses and camels, interspersed with the audience, most of who seem now to be zipping around on scooters or serious looking quad bikes. It’s a wonderful sight, if not a little chaotic, and perfectly embodies the mix of old and new that typifies the festival, the people and this place itself. Aside from the festival, I have to say that I pretty much fell in love with Douz. It has an incredibly dynamic street life, with music blaring out from boomboxes on every corner, and palm trees, scooters, camels and people – young and old, and substantial enough to give a decent insight into the site’s former glories. Almost as impressive is the vantage point itself, high on a hill, with an amazing view overlooking the sea in all directions. It’s fun to stand here and imagine oneself as master of all you survey, as indeed Carthage’s leaders once were. My final stop is the centre of Tunis (Sidi Bou Said and Carthage are its suburbs, essentially), before heading home. Tunis is pretty much a city of two halves – the labyrinthine backstreets of the old town, known as the medina, and the remarkably Parisian streets and boulevards of its commercial centre (the result of French rule from 1881-1956). busy and less so – everywhere. The central square is the focal point, surrounded on all sides by fantastic souk-type stores. They are remarkably cheap, the staff extremely friendly, and there is an authenticity to their wares (for example they’re selling the same clothes that the locals in the square are wearing) that you’re unlikely to find in more obviously touristy places. Douz is also home to the Museum of the Sahara, which although small, offers a fantastic insight into the traditions and culture of the people and the region. Although I didn’t get to do an expedition deep into the Sahara, just from being on the edges of it, and meeting the people, I start to realise the power, the attraction, the spiritual pull it exerts. I’m told that being in the middle of it, at night, can be a humbling even revelatory experience – and it’s one I’m keen to pencil in for my non bucket list in future. I also learnt a lot about camels, and the symbiotic relationship the desert folk have with them. Apparently white ones are taller, more expensive and best for speed, whilst yellow ones are best for eating – but beware, the hump can be rather salty. Delighted with Douz, I headed north to Sidi Bou Said, near Tunis. It’s a beautiful little town overlooking the Mediterranean, postcard-perfect stuff, where all the buildings are painted blue and white, with flowers draped from almost every wall and doorway. With its steep, narrow cobbled streets and perfect vantage point, its easy to see how it became a magnet for artists and creative types, including, most famously, Paul Klee and Andre Gide. Sidi Bou Said is also home to the Centre of Arab and Mediterranean Music. Housed in the Ennejma Ezzahra Palace, a fine example of Arab-Islamic architecture and Tunisia’s first listed building since gaining independence, the CAMM is part museum – with a permanent exhibition of musical instruments and home to the national sound archive – and part thriving cultural institution, regularly hosting musical concerts, and is well worth a visit.
Minutes away is the historical site of Carthage, centre of the Carthaginian Empire in antiquity, and latterly the fourth most important city during the Roman Empire. Excavated in the mid 19th Century, the Roman ruins are pretty significant, page. 23
It’s interesting to see, for sure, but now, in the midst of all the crowds and buildings, I’m already missing the desert, and Douz – and realising how much more there is to the Sahara than just a load of sand and not much else... International Festival of the Sahara Tunisair operates five flights per week from London Heathrow to Tunis, prices start from £178, including taxes. Internal flights with Tunisair Express operate two times a day from Tunis to Djerba, prices start from £41, including taxes. For reservations call 020 7734 7644 or go to www.tunisair.com. Rooms at the five star Regency Hotel in Gammarth start from £45 per night, based on two people sharing a double room on a bed and breakfast basis. For more information or to book, please visit www. regencytunis.com/en/ Rooms at the five star Yadis hotel in Djerba start from £48 per night, based on two people sharing a double room on a bed and breakfast basis. For more information or to book, please visit www.yadis.com/ en.1.yadis.html Rooms at the four star Sahara Douz hotel start from £41 per night, based on two people sharing a double room on a bed and breakfast basis. For more information or to book, please visit www.saharadouz. com/ang/apercu.php Rooms at the four star Oasis Kébili hotel start from £29 per night, based on two people sharing a double room on a bed and breakfast basis. For more information or to book, please visit www.yadis.com/ en.16.yadis-oasis-kebili.html For all your travel needs and for information on what’s happening in Tunisia go to www.cometotunisia.co.uk
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Amongst the Dunes KCReview Founder Sid Raghava visits the Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, found amongst the desert dunes like an oasis for the weary city traveller. I am not the biggest fan of Dubai but it does still excite me. Its amazing transformation from a sleepy town into a modern oasis of the most staggering and grandiloquent proportions is commendable. New, bigger, taller buildings rise up to desert sky every day, ski resorts pop up in the middle of the city despite the sweltering heat and manmade islands are dredged out to resemble a map of the world. Its meteoric rise within a very short time is similar to that of Japan post WWII or Seoul and Shanghai in the
present. It’s the new Las Vegas without the strippers and the casinos. Dubai is, uniquely, the only ’world city’ in the Middle East and even its most bizarre megalomaniacal aspirations don’t seem remotely delusional given the success in achievement However, if you’d rather choose a desert retreat over a beach villa or mountainside hollow and are looking for a place to go beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi to experience more exotic Emirati culture, Al Maha might just be the place page. 24
for you. Equidistantly located between the megalopolis and Al-Ain, the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Al Maha is an oasis in the middle of the desert – a luxury resort which offers the best in Arabian hospitality. Named after the Arabian Oryx and supposedly having been home to the legendary and elusive Arabian Leopard at one time, visitors can avail of innumerable themed excursions and activities in the desert whilst enjoying the choicest of luxuries. Falconry, Dune Drive, Horse Riding or just a
simple Camel ride to sandy dunes around the complex are just some of the options on offer. Even the most basic of suites ooze luxury - for example a private pool comes as standard. The Al Diwaan restaurant serves some lovely traditional European and International food which can be brought to your suite to be served at the patio whilst you peer at the clear horizon beyond the dunes. The Timeless Spa with its team of gifted international Spa therapists specialises in a wide range of wellness, rejuvenation and
beauty therapies. A dedicated Guest Relations Coordinator will help customise your Al Maha experience. In light of the desert activities mentioned before, be sure to try all of them if you’re there for a week or so. Nature Walks are particularly interesting. The plethora of footprints to be uncovered and deciphered within the desert sands include nocturnes, animals and organisms including gerbils and jirds, an amazing array of lizards, ‘sand-fish’ and geckos, side-winding vipers and the tiny Arabian toad-headed
agama. An upwards gaze can produce sightings of birds of prey such as falcons, owls and eagles in addition to doves, warblers, colourful parakeets and the crested hoopoe. Proximity to Dubai helps if you’re one for a quick shopping trip to the city although there’s more than enough to do at Al Maha to keep you occupied for weeks on end. Definitely worth the while if you’d like to see the Emirates for what they are culturally beyond the overpowering facades of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
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Dream Geneva Whilst the alpine winter tourism industry in Switzerland needs no introduction, Editor Coco Khan finds an unsung hero in the Genevan summer. there's plenty in the city to keep you interested, with the famed St Pierre's Cathedral (the earliest parts date back to the 8th Century) being an unmissable pursuit.
The first thing to point out about Geneva is that it isn't London. Despite being an internationally renowned city, a financial hub, a name seen branding luxury goods around the world, it bears none of the trappings of a large metropolis. Hallelujah. If like me you feel the city break can be a risky choice - not quite 'other' enough to feel like travel with a capital T, but not city enough to give you everything you're used to living in Europe's biggest sprawl- then you can feel confident with Geneva. It is, like the world-leading luxury watches it produces (Patek Philippe, Swatch etc), a safe bet. It has a historic old town, surrounds water, is close to the mountains and whilst it has more high-end establishments then not, also has the full range of amenities for most budgets. This is not a mountainside Monaco, it's a whole lot classier. Plus, its safe, clean, and it runs like clockwork.
The Food Geneva is an international city. You don't need to look past the United Nations HQ to see that. Consequently you'll be well catered for across all types of cuisine but do try and engage with the quintessentially Swiss fare. For example, take advantage of the local produce such as the mountain river fish found in most good restaurants. For the skiers amongst you some of it will be familiar, particularly the famous Raclette, a cheese fondue style meal made from the Swiss cheese by the same name. Cheese forms a large part of the Swiss eating habits so leave your diet at home! The Products 'Swiss Luxury' isn't a term for no good reason. The standard of 'stuff' in Geneva is notably higher and for the shoppers amongst you, Geneva is a veritable heaven. You'll find flagship stores for all the watchmakers (Tag Heuer, Brietling, Omega) and if this long-admired art is of interest you must stop by the Patek Philippe Museum to hear about this mastercraft and its royal traditions. You'll also find a number of to-die-for Swiss chocolate shops, the biggest Davidoff
The History For a city so undeniably affluent it might be hard to believe that around five hundred years ago, Geneva was a staunchly Calvinist settlement and consequently had very little architectural and fashion adornment. Showiness was ungodly, jewellery entirely forbidden- although clocks were the exception which may explain Geneva's history of watchmaking. For the history-tourists amongst you page. 26
Rooms at the Hotel de la Paix start from £300 per room. For more information visit www.hoteldelapaix.ch For information, advice and making the most of your trip to Geneva, contact Geneva Tourism www.geneve-tourisme.ch
enthusiast around Geneva's neighbouring Jura Mountain Range or upon its local mountain, the Salève.
tobacco store I've ever seen, an upmarket Victorinox (you can't go to Switzerland and not get a Swiss Army knife) and all the relevant fashion houses from France and Italy (Switzerland's neighbours) to provide the icing on the cake.
Transport Despite my numerous attempts to see the city on segway, my fellow travellers opted in for the public transport. Though being wide in breadth Geneva isn't a big city so the availability of such a network of transport is impressive. Carouge is an area of Geneva easily found via transport and offers a more Mediterranean vibe, hailed as the 'Greenwich Village' of Geneva. Think 18th century Italian style, bespoke craftsmen, designers and secret garden…
Nightlife Geneva has a number of cocktail bars with later hours and a leisurely drinking scene. But it's not a 24 hour party city and it doesn't have a nightclub culture. Indeed, if you're looking for thumping all night parties, you should probably stay where you are. The Lake The icon of Geneva is it's centrepiece. The Lake of Geneva crosses Switzerland and France and houses the famous 'Jet D'Eau' the water feature that jets five hundred litres (132 gallons) of water per second to an altitude of 140 metres on weather permitting days. Depending on the wind, the jet changes shape everyday and has been known to spray passers by. Don't say we didn't warn you. The lake itself is perfect in the summer months for waterside revellers who fancy a bit of boating, waterskiing or even a dip! Don't miss the Gourmet Cruise, a night time sojourn complete with three course meal, champagne and the closest view of the jet without getting (completely) wet.
Hotels Perhaps the most famous export from Geneva is it's hotel school. The Ecole Hoteliere Geneve (Geneva Hotel School) is known for its high standards, with its graduates recruited to all the top hotels in the world. This school sets the bar for hotels internationally, and so unsurprisingly most of the hotels in the local area are some of the most outstanding in the world. We know that the star system changes country to country, but a five star in Geneva is something sublime. Imagine 'Inside Claridges' but not in just one hotel, many. I stayed at the Hotel de la Paix a gilt, marble and gold hotel, with rich red carpets and views of the jet. I phoned room service at 4am asking if anyone could bring me some painkillers. They told me the shops didn't open until 6am but they'd send someone out and at 6.15am I hear a knock at the door to find a uniformed staff member holding painkillers in an envelope, atop a red velvet cushion.
The Mountains Famously, one can see Mont Blanc from Geneva and its most likely, considering Mary Shelley was in Geneva when she wrote Frankenstein, that when husband Percy wrote the famous poem to Mont Blanc, he was in Geneva himself. You can in fact visit Shelley and Byron's Genevan homes in Cologny and see the mountain peeking through from their land. Whilst it's probably be a bit too far to stroll to the peak, there are many mountain excursions possible for the hiking
And finally… Geneva is home to the world's largest bench. I don't need to say more than that. page. 27
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LUXURY TRAVEL TRENDS 2014 The specialists in haute couture holidays worldwide, Carrier are true aficionados of luxury travel. They have access to the most exclusive new hotel launches as well as established world-renowned resorts - for the discerning traveller, there is no better authority. Here is a selection of key trends that Carrier has highlighted for 2014. When it comes to ultra-luxe glamour, the British Virgin Islands are set to raise the bar in Caribbean luxury with the opening of the new all-suite and all-villa Oil Nut Bay. Only accessible by helicopter or boat, this enclave of exclusivity offers escapism at its purest. Spectacular suites perch on a cliff on the Atlantic side of the resort, making the most of the magnificent vistas across the ocean. You can step out onto the marble terrace and slip into the cool waters of your private infinity pool to relax in the distinctive elegance of the surroundings. Our team have stayed at a broad range of the finest hotels across the Caribbean and believe that this resort is a true cut above – not least the grandeur of the Fendi Casa designed Penthouse Cliff Suite.
Cruising continues to be a key travel trend. Unique experiences are increasingly popular such as a luxury river safari along the Chobe River in Botswana. Alternatively, cruise into unchartered waters and rarely seen harbours. The signature voyage in the Indian Ocean portfolio for 2014 takes you from the tropical island of Mauritius to the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town via the captivating islands of Reunion and Madagascar before sailing along the coastline of South Africa. Include an extended stay on Mauritius for indulgent relaxation or go on safari, spotting the Big Five in the intensely wild and intensely beautiful South African bush. ‘Under the radar’ retreats were a 2013 trend highlighted by Carrier and continue to entice with more clients page. 28
searching for privacy and an off-the-grid adventure. The new Maalifushi by COMO exemplifies castaway chic in the Maldives. This is the first luxury resort in the Maldives to open in the untouched Thaa Atoll and its understated style captures the spirit of Indian Ocean living. The opening of the new domestic airport at Kooddoo will make travel to the remote and pristine southern atolls much easier. For more bespoke itineraries, the ‘Inspirations’ section on Carrier’s website can give you unique suggestions, truly tailored to your requirements, whilst the unique relationships that Carrier has with their hotels ensures that they can often secure your most challenging requests. For more information or to book call 0161 820 6914 or visit www.carrier.co.uk.
Casa de Santa Maria
Hotel Palácio offer double rooms including breakfast from £160 www.palacioestorilhotel.com TAP Portugal (0845 601 0932, www.flytap.com) flies from London Heathrow & Gatwick to Lisbon 7 times daily, with return fares starting at £116 including all taxes and surcharges.
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The Name’s Estoril
For more information regarding Estoril visit www.estoril-portugal. com. For more information regarding Portugal visit www.visitportugal.com
Alan Fielden heads to Portugal to reveal the country’s hidden gem. It’s called Estoril, and it once housed Ian Fleming, author of James Bond. Here’s the spy’s guide. said to be inspired by old granaries. Inside you’ll find an exhibition of the works of Paula Rego, the great Portugese/British painter and printmaker. Called ‘the best painter of women’s experiences alive’, the permanent exhibition is a great introduction to the occasionally folky, occasionally surreal, often wry work of a brilliant artist – the first to be named ‘Associate Artist’ at our National Gallery, in 1990.
The coastal region of Estoril, just 20 miles out of Lisbon, was once home-away-from-home to international royalty and spies alike. Back in the day of Portugal’s WWII neutrality it was a young Ian Fleming, himself working as an intelligence officer, who found inspiration for James Bond from the surrounding subterfuge. It’s a gorgeous stretch of sunbathed coastline that looks out to the Pacific, and whilst the spies may have upped sticks, there’s still a chance you’ll find yourself in the company of the odd monarch. The main two towns, Cascais and Sintra, offer a duality to Estoril that promises to cater for most any inclination. CASCAIS Yes, there’s the ocean stretch, the multitudes of golf courses, the grand 5-star hotels and the astounding restaurants, but what might surprise is the centre-piece. The Casino Estoril, one of the largest in Europe. Its modern façade belies a unique interior, all red velvet and mirrored walls. Even for those who wisely neglect the call of the die it’s an interesting experience: there’s an art gallery upstairs that sometimes exhibits from local universities, adding an element of community spirit to the clacking of chips.
Above: Baía de Cascais | Below: Oitavos
SINTRA Contrary to Cascais’ seaside temperament, Sintra nestles at the foot of mountains, lanes winding into cafes, port bars and galleries. There is some great port to be drunk around here, try the Bar do Binho for its friendly, smart staff. It’s an old town feel, romantic and magical and Lord Byron put it best in 1809, “I must just observe that the village of Cintra […] is the most beautiful in the world.” Top attractions include the Pena National Palace, a wild amalgamation of architectural styles (Neo-Gothic, Neo-Islamic, Neo-Renaissance…) resulting in a madcap mountaintop castle. HOTELS I stayed in the marvellous if slightly old school Palacio Estoril in Cascais, in which sections of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service were filmed. A few nights I found myself in the Spy’s Bar, so called for its notorious popularity amongst secret agents back in the day. That air of Forties international intrigue pervades every element of the building apart from the bedrooms (I checked for secret doors), which were recently renovated and entirely pleasing. Another hotel is the Oitavos, closer to Sintra. Surrounded by sand dunes and grass, it was the golf course that came first, the hotel later. From the outside the building looks like the research centre of a Bond villain. From the inside it’s spacious, effusive calm (the foyer feels like a waiting room to heaven). Rooms are remarkably beautiful in a modern way, and the breakfasts are fresh and luxurious.
HEMINGWAY The only restaurant you need to visit in Cascais. When a 5-course meal consistently rivals the originality and texture of the very best of London you know something remarkable is going on. Originally a bar & café, Hemingway was reopened in 2009 by wife & husband Telma and Pedro Vaz Moura (both avid fans of the author) and Chef Bruno Póvoas. Even if you’re mad enough not to eat, it’s a great place to dip into for an exquisite cocktail - Pedro must be the da Vinci of mixology, and is a humble, warm-hearted host to boot. Do say hello. GALLERY From a distance the Casa Das Historias (House of Stories) gallery is a stunning meld of Brutalism and warmth, page. 29
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Tastes of Sunshine Ellie Stamp heads to Languedoc-Rousillon, the Southern French region to pucker up and kiss the sun. Summer is finally here. After the longest winter in memory, I am ready to escape the grey concrete towers of London, to a destination that will allow me to unwind, and give my mind space to think across unfettered horizons. In Languedoc–Rousillion in the south of France the vistas are varied. A region that borders the southernmost part of France and Spain, its landscape ranges from breathtaking mountains, to vast Mediterranean coastal beaches, to vine covered hillsides. This region holds a gruesome yet romantic history. The Aude region in Languedoc–Rousillion is Cathar country. The Cathar were a religious sect that were deeply rooted in Languedoc– Rousillion from the 11th to the 14th century. Opposed to the Catholic Church, Cathar people believed in equal rights for women, would not eat meat and rejected opulence. Cathars believed that by renouncing the material self, one could avoid a never-ending cycle of reincarnation on what they saw as a corrupted earth and reach angelic status. The Cathar have been described as ‘Western Buddhists’ who had utmost respect for the land of Languedoc– Rousillion. Due to their radically different beliefs, they were destroyed by a number of bloody crusades, but their history and philosophy is still present in these regions, its inhabitants and architecture. When visiting gorgeous Minerve, a floating Cathar city surrounded by the Cesse and Brain gorges and the gateway to the Upper Langendoc Regional National Park, I was greeted by Madame Francoise Frissant, an expert wine maker. She explained with great pride the history of Minerve and the care taken when making the wine in the stunning Minervois vineyards. The vineyards are located at the foothill of the Black Mountain between Beziers and Carcasonne, about 40 kilometres from the coast. It seems this ancient philosophy of living in harmony with the land is not only prevalent in Aude, but has begun to permeate the wine culture of Languedoc–Rousillion. It was until recently the world’s biggest producer of wine. The region has long suffered from being in the shadow of betterknown wine regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône. For a long time it was seen by wine lovers as merely a producer of table wine. However, recently the wine market in Languedoc-Roussillon was shaken by adventurous wine makers taking on vineyards, replanting them and restructuring their business model to introduce more direct ways of reaching
customers. Quantity was thereby replaced by quality and alternative thinking. The region boasts many other arresting historical sites; the famous medieval citadel Carcassonne, dominates the Languedoc’s tourism map. Its medieval and Roman architecture boast an impressive 53 towers, joined by two enormous concentric walls and surrounded by a moat. It resonates in collective memory as one of the locations for Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. It can be crowded during the summer months, but its beauty outweighs the throngs. Be a clever visitor and avoid the lunchtime rush. Driving in this region is a joy, with the shifting landscape and winding roads, but more exciting are the possibilities for travel on the Canal de Midi, the river that joins the Atlantic and the Mediterranean seas. Due to the regions microclimates it offers beautifully warm summer months that are especially sunny. Climates like these in Languedoc are perfect for canal boat adventures and walks. The canal itself is lined with beautiful venerable plane trees and is littered with many quaint cafés, restaurants and hidden treasures. My favourite is Le Trouve Tout du Livre, an antique bookshop in Le Somail. Standing for 30 years the shop is filled floor to ceiling with multi-coloured titles that span a huge variety of interests, but it also houses pristine copies of old newspapers, magazines and comics. To pick a book, sit in the café that overlooks the canal and read is pure bliss. The region caters for a range of accommodation tastes. Idyllic chateaux like the Chateau de Siran, a 16th century castle with vaulted rooms, high ceilings and a huge original staircase are peaceful and picturesque. It is impossible to not feel calm in the quiet evenings with the smells of lavender, fennel and the garrigue in the warm evening air. Alternatively, there is always the more modern swing for a bedstead. The ancient city of Carcasonne also houses the ten suite ultra modern 111 Hotel and restaurant. White, clean and encased by tall pink windows, it is filled with bright artworks and furniture. It also has an outside pool correctly named ‘The Aquarium.’ The 111 restaurant is run by Michelin chef, Michel Del Burgo, who breathes new life to traditional French produce with his innovative dishes. The region of Languedoc–Rousillion is so varied it has something for everyone. An area not to be overlooked as it holds some of the most beautiful villages in France and offers food and wine that is second to none. For more information visit www.sunfrance.com page. 30
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Think Local, Live Global onefinestay has been redefining city travel since 2010. Guests live like locals by staying in a distinctive home while the owners are out of town, enjoying a service which offers the convenience and comfort of a hotel. For the homeowners, or hosts, it’s a chance to benefit financially from a house or apartment which would otherwise stand empty, without having to lift a finger. onefinestay guests are looking for that charm and distinction that’s seldom found in a standard hotel room. With homes in Kensington and Chelsea proving ever so popular with discerning guests, it’s the perfect opportunity to earn more money, by putting your home to work while you are out of town. Everything is taken care of by onefinestay, from insurance and marketing through to preparing your home for guests and meeting them at the door. onefinestay hosts also enjoy benefits such as a 30% discount on stays in New York.
If you own a lovely London home and would like to find out a bit more about onefinestay, then visit onefinestay.com/ hosts and complete a short questionnaire to find out how much you could earn from your home. If it looks like onefinestay might be a good fit then one of our new members team would be more than happy to pop round for a cup of tea and a chat about how onefinestay membership could work for you. It could be a very lucrative cup of tea indeed.
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A Room With A View: The Arch London For the treasure hunters of the city, The Arch London is the ultimate in boutique luxury located a stone’s throw from one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Large artworks, thoughtfully handpicked to complement each space and provide dramatic focal points throughout.
The Arch is a chic and cosy hotel spanning seven Grade II listed Georgian townhouses and two mews homes, situated just a stone’s throw from Bond Street and Hyde Park. The hotel’s Georgian architecture creates quirky spaces that are interspersed with hidden staircases and adorned with bespoke artworks by emerging and contemporary British artists. The boutique hotel, which is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, boasts 82 guestrooms including four suites spread over six floors. At the upper end of the scale, the four spectacular Suites offer the ultimate contemporary boutique experience. Designed to accommodate a brief stay or a longer period of accommodation, two of the four are fitted with a stylish kitchenette and even boast outdoor terraces with bespoke garden furniture. Each has an impressive Loewe television, complete with surround sound.
The Round Up Aside from sleeping in absolute comfort, the hotel also offers the professional, the diner, and the cocktail drinker everything they might need. The hotel boasts HUNter 486, a stylish brasserie and bar, Le Salon de Champagne a luxurious lounge bar alongside The Study and WHItehall 944 which serve as a Business Centre and Private Party Venue respectively. Prices start from £205 for a standard room, and £1,005 for a suite. The Arch London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD For reservations, please call: 020 7724 4700 or www.thearchlondon.com page. 32
St. Peter Port
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Yearn for Guernsey Sid Raghava finds a staycation spot whose unique position in the Isles makes it far more ‘vacation’ then any other location in the UK. The economic gloom has inspired a whole generation of British people to turn to staycations to satisfy their thirst for travel. However, there are those who rather like the idea of travelling to a different country to get the sensory thrill of a foreign culture in a foreign land. For this particular bunch of people, especially if they only have a weekend to spare and would be looking for sun and sea, the charm of a foreign land, good food and a rich cultural experience as well, Guernsey might be the Staycation Destination du jour. A mere 45 minute flight from Gatwick takes you to this rugged island situated just off the French Normandy coast. Peter Port’s beautiful harbour backgrounded by its exquisite city centre greets you to this Bailiwick where the currency is Pound Sterling, French is one of the official languages and the time zone is the same as the UK. The fact is that it this country of 65,000 spread over thirty square miles has a ton more to offer than its banking centre reputation would suggest and we’d like to endorse it as one of our staycation favourites (although technically it isn’t part of the UK). Here are my top tips for things to try out and do and explore in Guernsey.
Visit Herm Guernsey, Sark, Alderney, Brecqhou, Herm, Jethou and Lihou are part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. They all have their own charms but Herm stands out for the fact that there are no cars or bicycles allowed on the island. The beaches, on a sunny day in spring or summer, could make a Barbadian or Jamaican rub his/her eyes and pinch themselves sensless to make sure they haven’t accidently landed back in their respective countries. page. 33
Jerbourg Point, Pea Stacks
Outdoor Guernsey Outdoor Guernsey affords visitors the excellent opportunity to explore the stunning coastline of Guernsey through Kayaking. Also, they offer the up and coming adventurous activity of Coasteering which involves sea level traversing, rock scrambling, jumping, and swimming in gullys and caves. Victor Hugo’s Hauteville House Whilst he was exiled in Guernsey, Victor Hugo converted his house into a living, organic museum inspired by his philosophical thoughts and boundless imagination. It is a collection of twisted furniture arrangements (chairs on walls and ceiling et al), mirrors, Chinese art, light and dark all coming to gether to form a kaleidoscopic view into the genius that was Hugo. Little Chapel Built in 1914 to mirror the grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France, this is arguably the smallest consecrated chapel in the world. Built by Brother Déodat it is beautifully decorated with seashells, pebbles, stones and colourful pieces of broken china. German Occupation Museum Situated right next to the airport, this might be an ideal place to visit before departing home. A huge collection of German artillery and uniforms along with several individual stories of suffering and survival tell a harrowing tale of the Nazi occupation of Guernsey. Wierdly enough, they do sell badges with their insignia beside a Swastika. page. 34
Return flights from London Gatwick to Guernsey with Aurigny start at £140 return, including all charges and baggage allowance of 20kg baggage. Aurigny flies from London Gatwick to Guernsey six times a day. For bookings www.aurigny.com / 01481 822886. The Old Government House www.theoghhotel.com Rates from £163.00 B&B per room per night Duke of Richmond www.dukeofrichmond.com Rates from £135.00 B&B per room per night Bella Luce Hotel http://www.bellalucehotel.com Rates from £150 B&B per room per night Please use the Visit Guernsey website for any further information– www.visitguernsey.com Gill Girard, Accredited Tour Guide - Public walks start from £7.50 per person and private tours from £120 per half day. Contact details: Tel 0044 (0)1481 252403, Mobile 0044 (0)7781 104094 and Web: www.gillgirardtourguide.com Please visit website http://www.guernseyguidedtours.com/ for other accredited guides Outdoor Guernsey, Ant Ford Parker - Kayak explorations / coasteering or a mixture of the two for 2.5 hours are £30 per person (under 16s £15). Contact details: www.outdoorguernsey.co.uk
Memorable Dining, Desirable Drinks Spend an evening to remember in the stylish surroundings of Aubrey Bar & Restaurant. Sip cocktails from our award winning mixologist Alessandro Pizzoli and experience British cuisine with a French influence.
109-113 Queenâ€™s Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5LR at the
For more details please visit doylecollection.com/kensington
R e sta u r a n t R e vi e w s
The Gilbert Scott
The Gilbert Scott words: Coco Khan www.thegilbertscott.co.uk St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Rd, NW1 Branding, branding, branding. In an overcrowded city like London, a new restaurant needs to do several things to stand a chance of succeeding. It’s a saturated market is eating out, and with 8 million people in London and the several million more travelling into the centre for the best food the UK can offer, the restauranteur game is one mean feat. The Gilbert Scott is one of those few restaurants that just gets it. Firstly, there’s the location. Set inside the jaw-dropping, iconic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (you know, that building on Euston Road), The Gilbert Scott is a softly lit, comfortingly casual but high end eatery that sits perfectly within its versatility. High ceilings, gilt arches, oil paintings; the place oozes of history. The staff are professional but friendly, knowledgeable but warm, and the ethos is summed up by our seating. Leather booths to sink into, with a crisp white-clothed table popped in the right angle. Its quite possibly the perfect date restaurant. It feels special but loose enough to let your hair down. Looking around the restaurant we see couples, work colleagues, families and more dotted through the dining hall and into the bar. And you can tell its not just guests from the hotel. People gather from far and wide to visit the Gilbert Scott, yet the atmosphere is just the beginning. The big name attached to The Gilbert Scott is world renowned chef Marcus Wareing, chef patron at The Berkeley and the overseer of the ambitious restaurant project. The cuisine is brasserie style British eating and pays homage to the historical setting by working with old, traditional recipes. On the menu you’ll find fish and chips, beef burgers, game pies; but this isn’t any ordinary pub grub. This is painstakingly executed, well thought out cooking utilising top ingredients and demonstrating an idiosyncratic take on British cooking. It’s the dessert range that demonstrates this particular flair best. It’s here you’ll find the dishes you simply won’t find anywhere else, the dishes that if they could be TM’d Gilbert Scott they would be. There’s the ‘Choc Ice’ made from ‘Kendal Mint Cake and Peanut Butter’, the ‘Walnut Whip’ made from ‘chocolate mousse, marshmallow and walnut ice-cream’, gin jellies, basil ice-cream, the list goes on and on. But what’s the damage? The Gilbert Scott is by no means a cheap eat, but it isn’t unreasonable. One could eat comfortably three courses with a glass or two wine of for around £60 each which is a damn sight cheaper than what you might pay to have a bit of Wareing at the Berkeley, or most restaurants in top hotels. Could this be the future of dining, a kind of glamourous-casual eating experience? I’ll toast to that.
Garnier words: Coco Khan www.garnier-restaurant-london.co.uk 314 Earls Court Road, SW5 Garnier might share its namesake with a notorious cosmetic brand, but it’s anything but superficial. It has near enough become my favourite local eating establishment, and is well worth the stroll down to Earl’s Court if what you are after is outstanding, traditional, French cuisine in an intimate and soothing, warm environment. This isn’t an eatery with a store-bought family-run aesthetic, it actually is a family run French bistro; the brainchild of Didier and Eric Garnier. Both Eric and Didier have earned their reputation on the West London dining scene. They are passionate about small, local eateries and between the two of them have been involved in Racine, Le Colombier and the Brompton Bar and Grill. And their experience shines through at Garnier. On the menu you can expect well-presented, wide-ranging dishes with a dedicated fish section. The first thing I noticed about the restaurant is that the dishes were small in size but page. 36
certainly not in flavour. If you’re looking for stereotypes of French cooking (worrying amounts of garlic and butter but hey, I’ve never met a chubby Parisian) you won’t need to look much further. The dishes are small, but so deliciously rich that clearing your plate won’t leave you hungry. The wine list is extensive for this sized restaurant (there’s those yummy stereotypes at work there) and the staff well-informed and attentive. We’re there mid-week and the restaurant is nearly full. It’s clearly a neighbourhood favourite despite being bang on a busy road. It’s impressive stuff. Of course, the star of the show is the cuisine. It’s authentic. It’s what food actually tastes like in France when it’s made for French people. My partner tucked into the T-Bone steak with homemade bernaise and perfectly crisp -yet- fluffy chips. I, after deliberating at length and asking the waiter several unneccessary questions chose the Stuffed Leg of Rabbit with Black Pudding, a rich and dark dish that falls off the fork and changes in your mouth at each stage of the melt. Of course, we can’t guarantee that these dishes will be there given the changing menu, but we can guarantee that if you love French cuisine, you’ll love Garnier.
Ametsa with Arzak Instruction words: Coco Khan comohotels.com/thehalkin/dining/ametsa The Halkin by COMO, Halkin St, SW1X There was a time, not so long ago, when cured meats couldn’t be found in most local cornershops. It was time before high cuisine couldn’t be found on most primetime TV slots, before the chef become an artist, a cult hero and a celebrity. Since that time, we the British public are more ‘food-savvy’ then we ever have been. So it takes a lot for a restaurant to demonstrate the fireworks that were felt when Gavroche or the Fat Duck opened. And whilst an experience at Ametsa doesn’t quite reach those heady heights, it’s the most ambitious thing I’ve seen in haute cuisine this year. First, a little background information. Arzak is a three Michelin starred restaurant in Spain’s Basque country. It’s regularly ranked as one of the best in the world and has always been a family run eatery since its opening in 1897. It’s currently run by father-daughter duo Juan Mari, and Elena Arzak who also make up food consultancy firm ‘Arzak Instruction’, an organisation widely perceived as the centre of Basque cooking. ‘Ametsa’ (Basque for ‘dream’) is the new restaurant at the Halkin, and has been overseen by the renowned duo to results that would be considered outstanding - had they come from someone without the reputation of the Arzaks. We sampled the tasting menu, which with wine comes in at a steep £140, a price tag that can just about justify itself through some of
the star dishes. Where the tasting menu fails is the overly showy meals. One such dish that springs to mind was a cleansing fruit dish that after all the bells and whistles of the liquid bubbling up and smoking like a volcano over the chunks, was merely just some pieces of fruit and a strawberry smoothie poured over some dry ice. Spectacle yes, but not so tasty. On that note the cleverly titled ‘chicken-egg’ dish, where an egg yolk is broken into a broth (you see what they did there, what came first, the chlcken [taste]or egg [taste]) tasted like drinking stock. Prolific use of ‘flavoured sheets’ (red onion sheet, macchiato sheet) - which seem to be the result of so much chemical processing it should be labelledwere pointless; the textures gave nothing to the dish, rather the chef was keen to show his technical prowess at the cost of the diner. However, there were a number of points where the food sang. I’m thinking back longingly to the pan fried foie gras with dried fig and grapefruit, a beautiful amuse bouche of scorpion fish that I daresay was pure perfection in cooking and presentation, and a sweet mango and coconut dish that was so bafflingly delicious in its simplicity (though I assume the alchemists in the kitchen will say it wasn’t) that I felt almost pity for the dishes that followed. The wine was perfectly paired with some glasses even being unique to the restaurant. The restaurant could do well to reconsider it’s decor, it’s quite clinical and unemotional, but even with these faults an experience at Ametsa is one to remember. One to celebrate a milestone birthday, or just a fantastic way to really get to grips with what can be done with food, and how far it can travel.
Acciuga words: Maria Kivimaa www.acciuga-london.com 343 Kensington High Street, W8 I have never really understood the fame of the Italian kitchen – to me, pasta equals boring and pizza is a hangover cure, and espresso is best enjoyed whilst sitting down. This, admittedly rather vulgar opinion, was put to the test at Acciuga, a new neighbourhood restaurant on Kensington High Street. Acciuga’s ethos is crispy white table cloths, sophisticated calm and regional delicacies from Northern Italian provinces, mainly Liguria, rather than a busy family pizzeria. The service was definitely ‘Italian’. As the female guest I received little official attention; the wine list was explained to my teetotal partner, as were the intricacies of the menu, although I did do my share of the enquiring. I did get a wink or two, though, so I wasn’t entirely neglected. The staff were slightly too eager and collecting plates while we were still eating from them. Nevertheless, it’s better to be pushy than distant - and Italians, they know how to do even that in a charming manner. The starters raised the expectations high: I enjoyed a lovely and juicy tuna tartar, and my partner had stuffed courgette flowers, which pleased even the least vegetarian person I know. Then came the inevitable pasta. It was made clear it would be criminal not
to order the Trofie al Pesto - the crown jewel of Ligurian kitchen and therefore Acciuga. My prejudice against pasta lost its grip a little bit – the pesto (made by a special Ligurian pesto master) was rich and silky and melted perfectly together with each turn of the pasta (made only of flour and water). So dense was the dish that we couldn’t finish the whole dish even when sharing. The disappointment of my main course was due partly to a bad personal choice (I had been spoilt by remarkable fish in various sea food restaurants recently) and partly to the slight lack of consideration in the kitchen: the salmon fillet did the job satisfyingly, but it was accompanied by huge chunks of greasy, crusted vegetables, which didn’t compliment the fish. After starters and pasta one would appreciate a slightly less stodgy main course– and something fresh and preferably green on the plate. The other main, duck and apple, scored better: it tasted playful and interesting without being too gimmicky. The best was saved for last, in three different ways: we were kindly offered to have a taste of half of the dessert menu, when the decision process was proving too difficult. The champagne and melon sorbetto was the perfect refreshment I pined for earlier, the frozen cappucino possibly one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever had, and the plain appearing plum cake took me straight to my neverending childhood summers. I’m still not a fan of Italian kitchen, but Ligurian? Why not. Acciuga
words: Stephen Slocombe marivanna.ru 116 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7PJ Renowned Russian restaurant Mari Vanna may be just a few hundred yards along Knightsbridge from the gleaming temple of contemporary architectural cool that is One Hyde Park, but, in terms of design and sentiment at least, it couldn't be further apart. Crammed to the rafters with chandeliers, ornate crockery, doilies and the like, it's a Russian history-themed, pastel-coloured, kitsch overload – all in a good way, of course. Part of a thriving international chain, Mari Vanna – named after a mythical babushka (grandmother) – has built its success on providing affluent expats with a taste of home, in this case a SW1-based sanctuary where they can enjoy traditional Mother Russian style cooking. A glance at the menu showed pretty much all the classics that anyone with even the vaguest knowledge of Russian cuisine might expect – borscht (beetroot soup), blinis (pancakes), pirozhki (stuffed baked buns), salads, stroganoff, et al – not to mention an exhaustive list of vodka-based cocktails and shots. In keeping with the theme, although possibly a tad disappointingly for the more general diner, the wine list was relatively small and prices start fairly high. Western ideas of traditional Russian food centre around stodgy, proletarian staples, so I was intrigued to see if there had been any tweaking done to that here, especially given how slick, glam, and svelte my fellow diners looked. I started with the borscht, which was an unqualified delight – sweet, rich, deep, velvety and 100% delicious – I could easily have done another bowl. Next up were blinis (with salmon and sour cream) which also hit the spot perfectly – not too heavy, not too thin. Then scallops with caviar, which were perfectly done and had the right combination of sour and sweet. Pirozhki came next. Pirozhki are essentially like Cornish pasties, and although they were well executed – moist, tasty fillings in a glazed, golden crust – they just seem out of place in the midst of a meal to me. Particularly when they were followed by large helpings of pelmeni (dumplings) and Beef Stroganoff – both of which were decent but, to my palate at least, not particularly exceptional. All in all, I think Mari Vanna is a fantastic place to spend time (there's also great lunch offer of 2 set courses for £18, 3 for £25 on at the moment), due to the fantastical decor (which last year won a Time Out design award), its homely, welcoming ambience and its fantastic service (from flowery apron-clad waitresses). As for the food, it does exactly what it sets out to do – provide hearty, authentic, traditional Russian fare – so if that's your bag, you'll love this place.
words Coco Khan saatchigallery.com/gallerymess/ Duke of York's HQ, King's Road, SW3 4RY The first thing to point out about Gallery Mess is that it isn't a mess. At all. It's obviously a curated, well thought out restaurant from uber-caterers Rhubarb and it succeeds at bringing together the art and food experience in a way that isn't pretentious, pointless or full of self-congratulation. That makes it one of possibly five restaurants out of a hundred or so I've seen towing the food-art line, to do this. The key to this is it's subtlety. Gallery Mess is a restaurant attached to the Saatchi Gallery where you eat amongst various artworks. But if you hadn't been told that, you might not have known. It's not eating in a brightly lit white cube. It's actually a relaxing intimate space with exposed brickwork and simple furniture where you can enjoy a coffee after a trip around the exhibition, and a full three course a la carte meal. In equal measures, the food isn't trying to leap off your plate onto the wall. It's not trying to wow you with how many various chemical processes it’s been through to make it look like a thing that it isn't. In fact,
Dishoom Shoreditch words: Zoe Perrott www.dishoom.com/shoreditch/ 7 Boundary St, E1 7JE, When you’re frequently described as an ‘honorary Indian’, it’s just not cricket to admit your apathy for that particular sport. But at least I give myself a sporting chance at redemption by extemporising a rather classic phrase and proudly declaring; ‘I don’t like Dishoom... I love it!’ Not so much for the food, although much of it passes muster by quite a margin. It’s just the way it takes you all the way to old Bombay. When you’re in central London, it’s a comfort to know the Covent Garden original is close by. But Shoreditch is where it’s at. Where what’s at, you may ask. To which I’d roll my eyes and reply, “Just ‘It’. You know? ‘It’!” Well, if you don’t, I refer to that certain je ne sais quoi that means Dishoom can entice me eastwards for a spice fix quicker than a Tower Hamlets Traffic Warden can issue a parking ticket. The car might be parked illegally, but I’m legitimately parked on a chair sufficiently near the Permit Room to permit perpetual rounds of delicious decoctions. The nonimbiber wraps their tastebuds around a tongue-tickling kala khatta sharbat. The crimson cooler slakes thirst and makes senses sit up and take notice. Sufficiently so that the drinker notices my own paan sour sliding down rather page. 38
it might not be a 'food-art' hybrid at all. But whatever it is, it's executed well and with care. You have to bear in mind that despite having later hours than the gallery itself, much of the footfall of the restaurant will be from Saatchi's. Namely tourists, be they from overseas or from the local area. The restaurant straddles the middle ground perfectly with reasonable prices (mains from £12.50- £22) but enough restauranteurism (you'll find Himalayan pink salt and tomato consommé on the menu for example) to keep this diverse audience happy. That's an achievement in itself. it's reminiscent of what Peyton and Byrne have succeeded in doing with their various eateries in historical buildings - borrowing from the powerful atmosphere in just the right amount, and creating a dining experience that is almost 'scaleable' depending on time of day and what your diners are after. Between all of us we sampled a wide variety of their quintessentially British dishes, from the terrine to the scallops, the rump of lamb to the Eton Mess. All were made with British high quality produce, and whilst the food didn't have the artistry that could make it a destination restaurant in its own right, as a little gem in the Sloane Square evening supper plethora, it's worth considering. After the Saatchi's is closed Gallery Mess stays open and becomes a truly intimate affair where this little gem, shines bright. too sweetly for a strong whisky-based beverage. So, then, something to sop it up before the strict cafe rule on ‘No flirting with cashier’ is flouted. Bhel; Dishoom calamari; keema pau. We’re suddenly Harry meeting Sally. Yes, yes, YES! Especially loud affirmations are reserved for the sugary crust on the tender squid, and the sweetly croissant-like pau. You can keep your cronut. I go nuts for these rudely buttery buns. To keep the flames of passion firmly alight, our eyes alight on the grill section. Frankly, I fancy a Frankie, but tonight, Matthew, we’re munching creamy-smoky murgh malai, darkly dashing lamb chops and charred hunks of paneer tikka most welcome to tickle my fancy any day of the week. Or weekend, for that matter. Cheese naan is the delicious choice of the deviant, but then, Dishoom does attract a fair few of us wrong ‘uns. It’s only right to order a good pud. The companion enjoys slurping on a torpedo of mango kulfi, its shape reminiscent of the rocket lollies of long, and long-forgotten, summers past. It’s gone like a rocket. I announce that you can jolly well stick your things on sticks, and make mine a kala khatta gola ice. I didn’t sip nearly enough of the sharbat version, and this is over ice, making it at least twice as nice. The Dishoom Shoreditch experience is hard to explain and impossible to forget. Like a persistent and pleasant parasite, it’ll wheedle its way into your heart and brain. Once you’ve got the bug, you’ll have that itch you just can’t scratch – a continual craving for your fix of eccentric Irani cafe culture. There’s a singular prescription: the only remedy is a return visit.
AD V E RTO R I AL
Agaclean Houseproud entrepreneurs Stuart and Karen Nelson spotted a niche in the market when they couldn’t find anyone to clean their beloved Aga Cooker properly. Taking on the task themselves with near perfect results, eleven years later, they’re still doing it. But it’s other people’s Agas getting the star treatment The couple realised there was a gap in the market for somebody to provide a professional, nationwide oven-cleaning service dedicated purely to the UK’s Aga lovers. So the couple established Agaclean (after all what else could they call it?) and have never looked back. The operation now covers the whole of the UK ‘so we can find ourselves in deepest Devon and the Highlands the next’ says Stuart. ‘But one thing all our customers have in common is that they treat their Aga as if it were one of the family. So, when we bring back its original sparkle, the reaction we get is always one of the job’s highlights. People can’t really believe the difference a professional clean makes’. Agaclean uses a steam-cleaning process that removes all the baked-on fat and grease that builds up over time on the
various surfaces of the unit. The inside of the ovens receives both the steam-clean and a wire brush treatment to bring it back to its former glory. Other ancillary services can include touching up chip marks and topping up the insulation around the cooking rings together with steaming cleaning the tile surrounds as necessary. Charges are £95.00 per hour including VAT, with the average two oven Aga normally taking about two hours to deep clean. The larger four oven Aga takes approx half an hour longer to complete. Certainly much more cost effective than buying a new Aga! For further details or an instant quotation, call Stuart on 07815 475856 or visit at www. agaclean.co.uk page. 39
Kotor Bay, Montenegro, photography: Milos Cetkovic
T R AV EL & P ro p e rt y
The Magic of Montenegro Stephen Slocombe heads to the black mountain - and finds a place in the sun. When the possibility of a trip to Montenegro first presented itself, I did exactly what any self-respecting, modern-day travel journo-slash-tourist who hasn't been there before and knows next to nothing about the place would do, and promptly consulted Google. The search duly gave me the basic facts – the name means 'black mountain'; it's in south-eastern Europe, between Croatia and Albania on the Adriatic. It gained independence from Yugoslavia in 2006, and it's tiny (just 5,000 square miles with a population of 625,266). It has
also had a 'lively' history involving the Venetian and Ottoman empires, the Balkan wars and Sophia Loren. Fair enough. What this didn't do was prepare me for my next search, however. Click 'Images' and suddenly I'm beguiled by page-uponpage of phenomenally beautiful, awe-inspiring, otherworldly montages of epic mountainscapes, medieval architecture and incredibly clear, brilliantly blue sea. "How did I not know about this?" I thought to myself. The premise for my trip was to investigate a new luxury page. 40
villa development called Sea Breeze, and an attendant golf course – Montenegro's first – being built by pioneering British private equity company and developer the Boka Group, in the Kotor Bay region. Kotor Bay is the aesthetic jewel in Montenegro's crown, boasting 200km of the countries' 300km total coastline. All around it steep mountains plunge down dramatically to the water's edge, while the water itself is shielded by converging peninsulae, creating a natural harbour and ensuring all remains calm within – and, at dusk, lending it an ethereal,
If you're interested in going that step further and investing in a property in this emerging area, and would like more information on the Sea Breeze development, contact: +382 (0) 32 331 555, email: firstname.lastname@example.org visit: www.seabreeze.me
magical, glass-like sheen. At the far end of the bay resides the medieval walled town of Kotor, where I will reside throughout my stay. Although Kotor has been variously under the control of the Romans, Bulgarians, Serbians, Ottomans and French, amongst others, it was the Venetians, who ruled from 1420 to 1797, that left the most lasting impression, creating the beautiful walled city that stands today, and has earned Kotor protected UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Stepping inside, through one of the two original and only gates to the city, is to be transported back in time. The clock tower that greets you upon entry is still ringing out, on the hour, as it has done since 1665. Narrow, winding passages lead to a labyrinth of small squares, each named after their original function as trading places for the different materials – vegetables, fabrics, weapons – of an important port of yesteryear. I'm staying at the Hotel Vardar, which on the inside is a perfectly agreeable boutique hotel in the contemporary pan-
global style (with a Turkish bath and cigar lounge for good measure), though its main selling point, for me, is its location at one end of the main square – its outside terrace providing the perfect vantage point to sit, sip, snack, people-watch and generally soak up the medieval ambience. The Sea Breeze development, on which construction begins next month, is just ten minutes by car from here. The site is situated on the lower slopes of a hillside and has genuinely fantastic panoramic views across Kotor Bay, which crucially every property in the development will have. The mountains loom behind, and the area, like the whole bay region, is very green, with myriad palm and cypress trees and bountiful climbing plants and exoticallycoloured foliage. It's also strategically located, with Tivat airport five minutes, Porto Montenegro – the high end waterfront development and home of the country's first superyacht marina – ten minutes, and the lively beaches and nightlife of Budva, twenty minutes drive away. page. 41
The development will consist of 50 two and three bedroom luxury detatched villas, each with a spacious balcony, basement, private infinity pool, garage and driveway. In terms of the local market, Sea Breeze's USP is essentially twofold. Firstly, to bring a different type of property – ie detatched houses, with enough space for couples or families – on to the market, one that is currently dominated by apartments. Secondly, to introduce the idea of 'affordable luxury' – with prices starting at £337,000, which you can easily pay for a small apartment nearby, it's about getting more bang for your buck. In terms of the wider context of the Montenegrin property market, whilst developments continue apace, a lot of the craziness of the late 2000s boom has gone, and seems to have been replaced by an outlook that is more geared towards steady, solid and realistic growth. With its balmy summers, mild winters, awe-inspiring scenery, historic architecture and intriguing culture, it's not hard to make a case for Montenegro, and Kotor Bay.
T h e Dri n k s C a b i n e t
Highland High Life John Underwood investigates Scottish Whisky brand Auchentoshan’s Taste Experiments, learning more in a few hours about the great spirit than in his entire life.
Although there are a few establishments across London which make a gallant effort to educate the masses, generally speaking whisky tasting events are much less widespread than wine or even beer tastings. It was, therefore, a huge pleasure to be invited to the first of a series of ‘Taste Experiments’ evenings organised by the celebrated Glaswegian distillery Auchentoshan, who are justly famous for a commitment to triple distillation almost unknown outside the very different world of vodka production. Working with the Rebel Dining Society, taste experts DunneFrankowski and cocktail guru Ryan Chetiyawardana, Auchentoshan have designed an event which has as much to offer to the seasoned taster as it does to the whisky virgin - a multisensory adventure that transcends the simple act of drinking in fine style. I arrived to find a roomful of pleasing contradictions - bearded, plaid-draped hipsters, immaculately dressed city barmen
and assorted journalists mingled and swirled like the oily streaks in a glass of cask strength, absorbing canapés topped with whisky foam with the vigour of those who knew their dinner lay on the other side of several hours of less filling adventures. After a curiously appealing Auchentoshan julep containing, of all things, chocolate bitters, the evening began in earnest with a presentation from DunneFrankowski. Better known for their intimate understanding of coffee, the pair led us through an interactive and enormously entertaining study exploring the relationship between aroma, taste and flavour - all the while with three glasses of whisky resting tantalisingly in front of each guest. I generally think of myself as having quite a good nose, which turned out to be embarrassingly untrue - when commanded to pop a balloon filled with flavoured air I could just about identify it as being oak smoked, but as we headed down a rabbit hole of ever more oblique
oils and acids to identify my notes grew less coherent. They’re in front of me now, and in the name of journalistic integrity I’m willing to admit that I ‘identified’ palmitic acid (the substance which gives coconut its aroma) as ‘floor polish’. Once DunneFrankowski decided they’d worked enough olfactory magic for one evening, they ceded the floor to Auchentoshan’s Master Blender Rachel Barrie. Barrie, a chemist who started her whisky career at Glenmorangie and now spends her days sniffing, sipping and (for all I know) swimming in everything from raw spirit to the finished product, was a wonderful host, offering enough scientific insight into the tasting process to make us feel intelligent without edging into overcomplicated territory. We began with the smooth, accessible Auchentoshan Classic, a light and creamy whisky replete with vanilla and green apple notes and sensibly aimed at new whiskey drinkers. Rachel explained the chemical kinship that made the Classic’s topnotes so similar to Sauvignon Blanc, but a man can only take in so much chemistry years after his last science lesson. Demonstrating perfectly that a little knowledge can be not only a dangerous thing but an irritating one, I tend to tut at people who water their whisky. I finally understood the error of my ways while tasting the Valinch, a cask strength whisky bottled at 57.2%. Replete with new information about my olfactory epithelium, the square centimetre of smell receptors sitting at the top of my nose, I felt positively guilty for bombarding it with the fiery fumes of the Valinch before I’d adulterated them with water, and while the flavour is sensational - think caramel, maple
syrup, perhaps a very mild, creamy cheese - it’s difficult to take much in while its sheer power is assailing your senses. We finished with Auchentoshan’s flagship whisky, Three Wood. Matured in bourbon barrels of white oak, then Oloroso casks, before finally being transferred to Pedro Ximenez casks for the last of its twelve or so years in the cellar, the increasingly rich characteristics of each wood and drink were clearly identifiable in the final drink; something Rachel was able to demonstrate by producing shavings from each type of barrel. Carrying our final, half-drunk whiskies, we moved quickly to a dining room and fell upon another of Ryan’s extraordinary cocktails - a Valinch sour made with the inimitable cask-strength, orange bitters and charred grapefruit juice. Another cocktail accompanied each course of our whisky-saturated dinner, designed by the Rebel Dining Society to showcase the versatility of Auchentoshan. I found myself so taken with the starter of confit duck and girolles spritzed with Valinch that I struggled to concentrate on my jar of cured mackerel and caviar wreathed in Three Woods-infused smoke, which might be the most indulgent clause I’ve ever had cause to write as a food critic. We closed the evening with an Old Fashioned - à la Chetiwardana, obviously and a single profiterole filled with meltingly light Auchentoshan Classic cream. It was the perfect end to an extraordinary evening - so insubstantial as to be virtually weightless, but with a quiet warmth that lingered longer than the expected sweetness. I can’t wait to see what they do next... although in the meantime, I’m definitely going to be brushing up on what coconuts smell like. www.auchentoshan.com
Johnnie Walker Odyssey The ultimate in luxury whisky, the new triple malt from Johnnie Walker, 'Odyssey', is a nautical themed spirit sensation launching this summer with a superyacht sailing around the world and throwing giant parties. Well, if the shoe fits. It's served in a crystal-grade glass decanter that rotates 360 degrees meaning it can be supped while sailing even the highest seas. Available at www.masterofmale.com RRP £579.95
Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whisky Controversial as it is including a bourbon in our great British tradition, there’s something a bit romantic about Buffalo Trace. Buffalo Trace takes its name from the ancient path carved by migrating herds of buffalo that led America’s first pioneers and explorers westward. One such trail led to the banks of the Kentucky River where Buffalo Trace has been making bourbon the same way for over 200 years. A complex bourbon with aromas of vanilla, mint and molasses, and the spirit the Mint Julep was made for. Available at Waitrose, Harrods and Harvey Nichols RRP £24.35
If you like this… The Glenlivet Alpha The Glenlivet, one of the oldest single malts and currently the second most popular globally has released a rare and mysterious premium single malt. With no cask information, tasting notes or age statement, the striking black bottle leaves its beauty to the tongue of the beholder. With only 3,350 bottles available, you'll have to move quickly to nab one. Available at www.thewhiskyexchange.com RRP £95
HAVE GUESTS STAY WHEN YOU’RE AWAY (We’ll do all the work)
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