Kempinski Travelling in Style magazine, issue 54

Page 1


Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, Lobby Level, tel. +49 30 2045 5288


Travelling in Style is published by ARTO

7 Avenue Villebois Mareuil

06000 Nice France, in association with the issuer

Kempinski Hotels S.A.

Rue Henriette-et-Jeanne-Rath 10

1204 Geneva, Switzerland

Marketing Manager: Jaclyn Thomas



Antoine Gauvin


Elaine Swift

Artistic Director: Aïcha Bouckaert

Publication Manager:

Aurélie Garnier


Elaine Swift, Jaclyn Thomas, Antoine Gauvin, Joe Mortimer


Cover - Claes Bech-Poulsen

Table of contents - Kempinski

Editorial - Kempinski

What's new? - Claes Bech-Poulsen, Kempinski, illustration by Jonathan Leigh

Tel Aviv - photo reportage

Claes Bech-Poulsen, Kempinski

Luxury Travel Advisors - Claes

Bech-Poulsen, Kempinski

Bread - Claes Bech-Poulsen, Kempinski, Unsplash

Cancún - photo reportage

Claes Bech-Poulsen, Kempinski, illustration by Mayeul Gauvin

Live local - Kempinski, SennAir GmbH

Travel Tips - Adobe Stock, Kempinski Moments @Kempinski - @mgypsea, @alifeofattraction



Cover image:

Bas-relief of a Jaguar, symbol of power, ferocity and valor in Maya mythology. Photographed in Cenote Xkeken, Valladolid, Mexico.

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The Historical Hammam at Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul.


A message from our CEO

If our last issue was all about celebrating our 125-year history, this Travelling in Style is focused on the future. We have lots of news to share, including recently opened properties, previously uncharted destinations, and some tempting culinary additions.

Take Cancún, for example. The latest addition to our portfolio, Kempinski Hotel Cancún stands on the pristine shores of the Caribbean Sea. It grows our presence in the Americas and adds a new destination for you to discover. And there is so much to see and do. Just beyond the hotel and its white sandy beach lies a land of Maya mystery and legend, with ancient archaeological sites and monuments waiting to be explored. Find out more about this fascinating place on page 43.

Live Local encourages KEMPINSKI DISCOVERY loyalty programme members to seek out new aspects of their chosen destination. Our feature on page 65 is all about discovering local culinary delights – whether by helicopter in the Austrian Alps or by bike in Slovenia.

If you really want to uncover new experiences and get the most out of your travels, you could consult a Luxury Travel Advisor. It might be a growing trend, but this very personal expert service has echoes of past traditions. On page 33 we speak to a member of our exclusive Club 1897 network of travel experts to explain what her role entails.

Our regular What’s New feature (page 7) is a round-up of what’s happening in the world of Kempinski. As well as new properties, we unveil new culinary adventures in Berlin, Doha, and Beijing. By contrast, our feature on page 37 is focused on the history of one of the world’s earliest foods – bread. Its story can be traced back to the Mediterranean basin 14,000 years ago. Discover how Kempinski chefs are rising to the challenge of finding new ways to serve the humble loaf.

Wondering where to go on your next Kempinski break? The Moments section on page 75 is a collection of personal memories and images from other Kempinski travellers. Hearing their stories and recommendations is a great way to help you decide where to go for adventures new.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, our Travel Tips feature (page 69) will help you enjoy your room to the maximum – from setting the right temperature to getting the best night’s sleep. And if you want to recreate the experience at home, head to Kempinski Boutique.

I hope this issue of Travelling in Style inspires you to experience new places and cultures; to sample contemporary flavours and to enjoy being in the moment.

And wherever you decide to travel, be sure to share your @kempinski memories with us on social media.

WHAT’S NEW? Istanbul

A new era of palatial luxury

As the only Ottoman imperial palace and hotel on the Bosphorus, Çırağan Palace Kempinski has earned its reputation as a luxurious landmark property. Later this year, completion of a careful redesign of the guest rooms, suites, lobby and restaurants in the hotel building will mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Grande Dame. The fusion of elegant design and timeless grandeur promises to further elevate the regal guest experience, and the next issue of Travelling in Style will give you an exclusive first look.



Doubly delicious

With unrivalled views of the Brandenburg Gate forming the backdrop to dishes that expertly combine Asian influence with the hallmarks of classic French cuisine, Chef Reto Brändli knows how to serve up culinary highlights at Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin. Introduced this year, the ‘Four Hands Dinner’ is a series of collaborations with fellow Michelin-starred chefs that see three courses prepared by the host and another three crafted by specially-selected guests, setting the stage for a sumptuous evening.


A new rendez-vous by the river

There’s change afoot along Beijing’s Liangma River. A flagship Kempinski property for over 30 years, a refreshed name marks the start of a new chapter for Kempinski Hotel Beijing Yansha Center (formerly Lufthansa Center). As part of a local initiative to elevate the surrounding area, the hotel aims to strike the perfect balance between tradition and innovation. And with new river view rooms, picnics in the verdant gardens and a host of new culinary experiences, it’s on track to become the destination of choice for locals and expats alike.

Doha Choose your venue

With 11 restaurants and bars, Marsa Malaz Kempinski The Pearl has established itself as one of the city’s favourite culinary hubs. Following recent renovations, The Stage combines the talents of expert mixologists and leading musicians in an intimate music lounge atmosphere. Those in the know head to The Secret Garden for lively evenings on the rooftop with 360° views of the waterfront framed by the glittering skyline. And after becoming a fan favourite during 2022’s football world cup, the big screens and retro feel of Public House is the go-to for laid-back dining.


Coffee culture

But first, coffee

A ritual that is consumed by people the world over, coffee is an irresistible sensory experience. In our quest to further elevate the Kempinski coffee offering, our partner Lavazza is delivering bespoke barista training at their headquarters in Turin, Italy. From discussions regarding quality to coffee cupping and demonstrations of different brewing methods, no bean is left unturned.


Introducing the Welcome to N'Joy Fusion Collection

The epitome of Chinese luxury, NUO Hotel Beijing knows how to delight diners. The launch of the first à la carte concept at N'Joy is a harmonious mix of Western cuisine and neo-Chinese aesthetics inspired by Chinese pine. From the signature pine-smoked prime beef rib to the 15-day-dry-aged Peking duck, the talented culinary team invite you to explore the subtleties of Chinese elegance through every dish.


A celebration of Viennese style

Built in 1873 by renowned architect Theophil Hansen on the occasion of the Vienna World Exhibition, the building that houses Palais Hansen Kempinski is steeped in history. To mark the Palais’ 150th anniversary, guests can book a celebratory package throughout 2023. Pairing two nights in an elegant suite with spa access and other special treats, guests are also invited to retrace Hansen’s footsteps with a guided tour of the hotel that continues out onto the famous Ringstrasse to take in the sights and sounds of the charming city that he called home.


Spin the Wheel of Taste

Mixology is an art, and since the early 1960s the Jahreszeiten Bar at Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski has been the place where locals and hotel guests come to enjoy an expertly crafted drink with the hotel’s signature style. The American-style bar’s newly-launched menu places cocktails at the centre, telling their stories and matching your personal tastes to the rhythm of the seasons. Choose the 'King Maximilian II' signature drink for a blend of Munich gin and Riesling wine that pays homage to the gentleman who commissioned the building of the hotel in 1858. Live music adds the finishing touch for evenings that speak to all five senses.


Kempinski Residences


Urban resort living

The only city to straddle two continents, Istanbul is a vibrant mix of east and west with its lively bazaars, shopping malls, and soaring minarets. Situated in a lush green valley, with stunning views of the Bosphorous, Kempinski Residences Balmumcu is right at the heart of this Eurasian cultural melting pot.

Fully equipped kitchens and sleek marble bathrooms with free-standing bathtubs complete the luxurious contemporary interiors, which have been designed with an artist’s eye for detail in warm, neutral tones.


Our fourth branded residences in Istanbul comprises 155 residences and villas ranging from 194 to 1,340 sq m. Tailor-made for a high-end urban lifestyle, it provides a relaxed luxury haven just moments away from the buzzing central business district with its luxury boutiques, restaurants, nightlife, and transport links.

Larger units like the duplex Roof Penthouses feature panoramic balconies and dual-aspect windows, while the Garden Duplex residences have private pools and generous outdoor space. All feature floor-to-ceiling windows which give sweeping views of the mighty Bosphorus and the silhouette of Istanbul’s skyline.

The Residents’ Lounge is the perfect space in which to work, unwind or socialise with fellow residents. And the Residences have everything you need to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle with a swimming pool, Vitamin Bar and private gym.

To help you make the most of your stay, your knowledgeable and well-connected residence concierge will be on hand with essential tips to help you plan both work and leisure time, and to provide any additional services you might need.

Kempinski Residences Balmumcu will join three other Kempinski managed residences in the city — Kempinski Residences Astoria, Kempinski Residences Bellevue and Macka Residences by Kempinski. Construction is already underway and the first residences will be ready in summer 2024.

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A welcoming space in a green valley just minutes from Istanbul's busy central business district, the Residents' Lounge is perfect for both work and relaxation.

Bristoria Hotel Erbil: Simple excellence


One of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited sites, Erbil has been the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region since ancient times and is the country’s most populated city. It’s brimming with rich history, culture, and heritage.

Through its simple yet comfortable excellence, Bristoria Hotel Erbil exudes the genuine and heartfelt hospitality ingrained within Iraqi culture.



+964 750 802 8888


Each of the 118 spacious contemporary rooms and suites in this business-lifestyle hotel look out over the city and are designed to be restful spaces. With Erbil’s most famous landmarks on its doorstep, it's easy to immerse yourself in the city’s 7,000-year history, including ancient landmarks such as the mighty Citadel and magnificent Mudhafaria Minaret. There are diverse restaurants, cosy cafes, colourful bazaars, as well as a variety of shops and malls waiting to be discovered.

Throughout the centuries, cuisine has played a central role in Erbil’s generous hospitality. Bristoria Hotel Erbil embraces this in its dining options, alongside international dishes.

The talented culinary team has created modern interpretations of traditional dishes for you to savour at Rehan Lebanese, while all-day dining restaurant, Greens, serves a varied menu from breakfast through to dinner.

To relax at the end of a busy day, or to catch up with family or friends, head to the B Lounge with its easy going, friendly atmosphere. It’s great for casual business meetings too.

And if you are here for work, the five meeting and conference rooms are ideal. These versatile spaces are also perfect for celebrating special occasions and private banquets, with an expert team on hand to look after all your needs.

Iraq is a surprising and fascinating destination, as yet unspoiled by mass tourism. Situated in the heart of the Middle East, it is one of the birthplaces of the world’s oldest civilizations including Assyria and Babylonia. Bristoria Hotel Erbil is the ideal base from which to discover Iraq's rich cultural heritage which includes many important archaeological sites – some of which are UNESCO World Heritage listed.

Rooms are flooded with natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows which give spectacular sweeping views over the fascinating city of Erbil. The pool is a welcoming space after a busy day in the city.


Artist neighbourhoods, skyscrapers housing digital startups, a city centre where it’s a pleasure to stroll in the shade of mature ficus trees – Tel Aviv has a bit of everything. This ‘White City’, cheerful, busy and open-minded, encapsulates the lifestyle of the Mediterranean. Steeped in history and heir to a diverse range of cultures and influences, Mare Nostrum encapsulates Tel Aviv's inimitably gentle vibe. Stroll along the shore at sunset and you'll experience a vibrant moment, the quintessence of this city poised between East and West.

15 TEL AVIV Tel Aviv Scan this QR code to go behind the scenes of the photoshoot

Non-stop and vibrant; cultured and chic

There’s so much to explore and one of the best ways to capture the essence of this cosmopolitan city is to take a stroll along the famous Rothschild Boulevard. Lined with fig and flame trees, and dotted with open-air stalls selling welcome refreshments, each stage reveals a different chapter in Tel Aviv’s history. A little to the west of the Boulevard is the chic Neve Tzedek district. This was the first Jewish quarter to be built outside Jaffa (known locally as Yafo), long before Tel Aviv was created. Wander along Neve Tzedek’s narrow Shabazi Street, where timeless elegance rubs shoulders with boho style. With its art galleries, designer boutiques, and hip restaurants, this is Tel Aviv at its chicest. Check out Meshek Barzilay, a fashionable organic restaurant, and Neroli – an always busy organic grocery store. They are perfect examples of the town’s healthy lifestyle and its modern Mediterranean vibe.


Further along Rothschild Boulevard, branch off Allenby Street towards Bialik – the world’s finest collection of 1930s Bauhaus buildings. Built among sand dunes at a time when Tel Aviv needed to expand, their geometric forms and smooth white façades reflect the utopian Modernism of the period. Because of its distinctive architecture, the ‘White City of Tel Aviv’ was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.


At the top end of Rothschild Boulevard, the modern neighbourhoods begin. To the east are the towers of the hightech world. Not far away is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where you’ll find some real gems among its 32,000 artworks, including a mural by Roy Lichtenstein and kinetic art by Yacoov Agam. And after you’ve wandered around the galleries, you’ll have the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a stylish lunch at the museum’s fabulous contemporary restaurant, Pastel, run by talented chef Gal Ben-Moshe.


Be sure to catch the sunset on the promenade (known locally as the 'Tayelet') which stretches 14 km from Jaffa in the south, to the ‘Hatzuk’ beach in the north. When the golden light strikes the towers, the youth of Tel Aviv come out to soak up the atmosphere, play a game of beach volleyball, or enjoy a happy hour drink. It’s when you feel the city’s incredible melting-pot of cultures and cheerful, iconoclastic eclecticism the most. Towards the centre of the promenade stands a tall, contemporary glass tower. It houses Tel Aviv’s newest luxury hotel – The David Kempinski, one of the Tayelet's most striking architectural gems.

Its impressive floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortable luxury make the most of its seafront location. Everything, from its magnificent suites, to the terrace of the Sereia restaurant, and the pool overlooking the beach, is designed to ensure that you enjoy the spectacle of sea and sky in the city’s warm, soft, ever-changing light.

This magnificent hotel’s 56 suites are some of the finest in Tel Aviv and they include the city’s largest penthouse at 380 sq m, which has its own gym, private terrace and 10-metre infinity pool. Luxury tourism magazine, Ultratravel, named The David Kempinski as the world’s ‘Best New Hotel of 2022’ for the quality of its décor, hospitality, and service.


When the sun sets, we head for the Florentin neighbourhood in the southern part of town, just before Jaffa. Florentin is famous for its exuberant art scene, street art and creative atmosphere. Levinsky Market, a mix of Middle Eastern, North African, Yemenite, and European culinary cultures, is another famous landmark here. It’s the perfect place to pause for drinks on the terrace of one of Florentin’s many bars before heading to Teder – a legendary openair party hotspot.


Food in Tel Aviv is a mix of cultures from all over the world. It’s East and West in fusion with a delicious range of recipes that restaurants interpret in their own way. The varied cultural roots give rise to a joyful creativity, further boosted by the explosive growth of Foodtech.

For an Eastern culinary tradition, head to the busy Carmel Market for delicious shawarma (“the best in the world” according to our guide!). Wandering around this vast labyrinth of a market, getting lost among the pyramids of mangos and Middle Eastern sweets, you’ll eventually arrive at Mifgash Rambam – a small stall recognisable by the queue of regulars waiting to devour one of their delicious meat and vegetable sandwiches.

You’ll find a completely different scene at Jaffa, the old fishing harbour in the far south of the city. Here the atmosphere is bohemian, with a flea market and shops selling hand-crafted goods. Onza, a trendy bar and restaurant, is the place to go from early evening. It’s a delicious foodie hangout where Ottoman culinary influences combine with a contemporary approach to take you travelling between East and West. And isn’t that just the vocation of this cheerful and eclectic world city.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Bauhaus buildings in the city centre – there is art everywhere in Tel Aviv. The smart Neve Tzedek district is packed with galleries as well as craft and design shops. On Rothschild Boulevard (top left) and Dizengoff Square (centre), Tel Aviv’s young people meet up for drinks or to hang out in the late afternoon. The must-visit Carmel Market and its labyrinth of narrow streets offers a fabulous variety of products. Fruit, vegetables, pastries, spices, craft products: here the flavour of the East holds sway. It’s the perfect place for coffee or lunch on-the-go. The Jaffa district in the south of the town was once a trading port. It has been thoughtfully restored and in the evening it comes alive with cafés, bars and small restaurants serving Israeli cuisine, a delicious fusion of many culinary traditions.
The vibe in Jaffa is bohemian. The studios and workshops of artists and craftspeople rub shoulders with Israel’s largest flea market, where you can find rugs, antique furniture, musical instruments, books, clothes and other treasures. You can easily spend hours ambling around this labyrinth, weaving between small shops and wares set out on the pavement. The seafront is Tel Aviv’s most iconic location. Here, facing the vast beach, you’ll find The David Kempinski. Its pool (right) offers an unrivalled view of the Mediterranean Sea.

The David Kempinski Tel Aviv

This 34-floor skyscraper hotel, designed by Feigin Architects, is home to 250 rooms and suites. Among its top assets are 56 suites with magnificent sea views, five kosher restaurants on different floors, a superb private pool overlooking the sea, and an OKOA brand spa. With meeting and banqueting rooms featuring cutting edge technology, onsite catering and space for up to 500 guests, private events, weddings, celebrations, conventions and business meetings are all welcome.

The penthouse comprises two bedrooms with bathrooms, a living room, a private dining room, gym and stunning terrace with a 10 metre infinity pool that seems to merge with the horizon. The Mediterranean is omnipresent. The hotel is located in the centre of the Tayelet, the seafront promenade, with beach and water sports on the doorstep. The vast windows of the Horizon Lounge and the rooms and suites welcome in the shimmering light of the sea.


Journey planner for the ultra wealthy, Kemi Wells explains why a private travel advisor is a must-have for discerning jetsetters.


Next level travel planning for once-in-a-lifetime journeys

Discerning travellers have much to gain by investing in the services of a Luxury Travel Advisor, from bespoke end-to-end planning and considerable time savings to peace of mind and a bouquet of hidden benefits. In an era when our expectations for transformative travel experiences are higher than ever and time is an increasingly scarce commodity, a private travel designer is money very well spent.

As travellers, our expectations are higher than ever. We demand transformative experiences that help us tap into the spirit of a destination. We crave the chance to connect with local people and make a positive impact on the places we visit. We want to learn, but also give back. It’s no surprise then that people are increasingly turning to Luxury Travel Advisors (LTAs) to help plan their once-in-a-lifetime journey into lands unknown. LTAs live and breathe travel. They have a little black book of trusted contacts, encyclopaedic knowledge of the world and first-hand experience of countless hot ticket destinations.

To find out more about these travel connoisseurs, Travelling in Style sat down with Kemi Wells, Founder and President of Vancouver-based Wells Luxury Travel, which she established in 2021 to cater to growing high-net-worth demand for bespoke travel planning.

What are the benefits of working with a Luxury Travel Advisor? Kemi Wells: Working with a professional LTA means your trip is going to be even better. We help save time, give reassurance, add extra value, ensure things are seamless and provide long-term travel mapping.

How do you help guests save time? Kemi: Crafting an amazing trip with many different elements takes a lot of time. And time is money. We've all been down that rabbit hole of thinking it will take two minutes to book a trip, but it actually takes much longer because there's so many different things to consider. You can save time by having an expert do it for you.

What do you mean by giving reassurance? Kemi: Travelling in style is a huge investment. Why wouldn’t you work with an expert who can enhance your trip? LTAs are your advocate from start to finish. Not only do we work with reputable partners around the world, but we also experience a lot of hotels and destinations first hand. If I haven’t been somewhere, I have a whole network of incredible LTAs in the community, some of whom will have first-hand experience of the destination. We all support each other and share knowledge.

How do you add value? Kemi: We have access to special promotions that are not available online, like three-for-two night offers. Then there is the value of LTA-only benefits such as room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, resort credit and so on. There is also the value of my knowledge. When I travel for a hotel site inspection, I see every room type and understand which rooms connect, the difference between the Ocean View and Oceanfront, for example, or how far rooms are from the elevator, which is useful if I have clients with mobility issues. We have a much deeper knowledge than people realise.

What do you mean by making the travel experience seamless? Kemi: Being experts at crafting custom journeys, we know the little tips and tricks that clients don’t always know about, like VIP airport access. A lot of clients might not realise that you can get greeted at the door of the aircraft and taken to a private customs terminal to avoid dealing with the masses at the airport.

Can you talk us through the process of the LTA booking journey? Kemi: I offer a complimentary 30-minute virtual consultation for all new clients, during which I'll ask them about their favourite holiday and their best travel memories. What hotels do they love? Do they prefer boutique hotels, historic properties or contemporary resorts? What are their hobbies? Do they love culinary experiences? If they want to move forward, we request the necessary profile information and send them our initial upfront retainer. Then I'll go away and work on the trip from start to finish. Since it’s a collaborative process, I will check in with the client regularly to ensure I am on the right track.

*Joe Mortimer is a UK-based writer and editor who specialises in luxury travel.

How far in advance should people be booking their travel?

Kemi: My average booking window is three to six months ahead. If you want the best suites, the best access and the best guides, you have to book in advance. This could mean a full 12 months or more for certain destinations. Some clients don’t realise that, given how busy hotels are now, they should also be booking quite far in advance for top restaurant spots or a spa appointment.

Do your clients book one-off trips or do they tend to look ahead? Kemi: My agency provides a long-term travel mapping service, whereby I help visualise travel plans for the next five years. People are so busy these days that suddenly you realise it’s two months from your 50th birthday or your 25th wedding anniversary and you haven't made any plans. I help them plan ahead around their dream destinations and think about what kind of budget they could put aside. It helps to see it more holistically and clients are absolutely loving that.

What other recent travel trends have you noticed? Kemi: People are trying to travel a bit slower and go for longer, which connects well to my ethos around sustainable travel. Rather than the traditional 10-day trip to Europe visiting four different cities, people want to dive deeper into one region or country. With that, they are splurging more on experiences and investing in private guides. We’re also seeing lots of multi-generation travel and more people travelling with friends. People are spending more on better suites and business class air travel, because life is short. If you have the money, why not spend it on incredible memories?

Find out more at

Feeling inspired?

Embark on a transformative journey of wellness and wonder while staying at two magnificent Kempinski hotels in Bangkok and Bali, combining unforgettable cultural experiences and nourishing treatments that revitalise body and mind.


A discrete sanctuary on the edge of leafy Lumphini Park, Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok is an urban oasis. Step into the magnificent garden lobby and find yourself transported to another world, where your wellbeing takes centre stage. Indulge in rejuvenating treatments at Sindhorn Wellness by Resense, where world-class practitioners guide you through blissful journeys, and sate your culinary desires with innovative dining from around the world.


A majestic open-air theatre on the clifftops of Nusa Dua, The Apurva Kempinski Bali welcomes guests to a haven of laid-back luxury. Beautifully appointed rooms, suites and private villas capture the richness of the Indonesian archipelago, each a modern masterpiece. Six exquisite dining experiences overlook the glittering Indian Ocean, while the magnificent Apurva Spa leaves you rejuvenated.

Recharge and rejuvenate in Bangkok and Bali

· Check in for three nights of rejuvenation at Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.

· Cleanse your body and mind with a full-day jetlag recovery and wellbeing experience.

· Take a private guided foodie tour of Bangkok and visit the ancient temples.

· Fly to Bali for five nights of indulgence at The Apurva Kempinski Bali.

· Watch the sun sink into the ocean from a clifftop temple.

· Visit traditional fishing villages, local boutiques and a turtle conservation centre.

· Find bliss with wellness treatments at Apurva Spa.

· Special perks for guests of Wells Luxury Travel or other select agencies in Kempinski Club 1897 include complimentary breakfast, priority room upgrades and US $50 or $100 resort credit. Terms and conditions apply.


At Kempinski, we take great care over the bread we serve. Bread, after all, is an essential food that has been present throughout human history. Rye, sourdough, wholemeal, gluten-free, brioche and flatbreads – there’s something for all tastes and all cultures. Faithful to the values of our brand, our bakers serve the traditional breads of their location alongside timeless classics, recreating time-honoured recipes or surprising guests with their innovations. Their creativity is fired by this magical synergy of flour and water, with its infinite possibilities.


Flat or leavened, bread is baked into Mediterranean history

It's 9:30am, time for breakfast at Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, Jordan. Standing in front of the buffet, it's easy to be impressed by the variety of breads on offer. Jordanian shrak, sourdough, gluten-free, wholemeal, granary, rye, brioche, baguette... a fascinating collection of tastes, shapes and textures.

It’s also a neat summary of the Mediterranean basin’s history, which archaeologists have identified as the birthplace of bread. The oldest breadcrumbs ever found were unearthed not far from here in northern Jordan. They were 14,000 years old!

The Natufian people, hunter-gatherers living in small groups, are said to have cooked the first ever flatbreads in this region. And bread has been humanity’s companion ever since. An early kind of flatbread can still be found in the Middle East. Aiysh, khoubiz, barbari, mankoush, pitta, matlouh – whatever name it’s given, this round flatbread, soft when it comes out of the oven, is a staple in people’s diets across the Mediterranean. It’s an incredibly practical food: wrap a piece around a mouthful from a dish, or split it down the middle and fill it like a sandwich.

In the Maltese archipelago, ftira is such a key part of the lifestyle and historical traditions that is has been named as the first local product on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. A flattened sourdough bread, with a thick crust and light internal texture, at Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, halved ftira loaves are filled with seasonal Mediterranean ingredients. Sheer delight.

And what of all the yeast-leavened breads? Big round loaves, crisp outside and tender in the middle? They seem to speak of the West. Born in the Middle East, bread has travelled far from the small flat bread of the Natufians.

The introduction of a leavening agent is generally attributed to the Egyptians. When the Romans were eating a simple plain flour and water mixture, and the Greeks a sheet of plain dough baked in a wood-fired oven, the Egyptians produced appetising, wellrisen loaves. They were made by adding dough left over from the day before to a mixture of ground grains and water. These ‘mother doughs’ were considered sacred, almost supernatural objects. Leavened and unleavened breads coexisted: leavened bread was an everyday food, while unleavened breads were used in the region’s religious rites.

Today, feteer meshaltet is one of the staple meals to welcome guests in Egypt. It is said that meshaltet pie was first made by the ancient Egyptians. They served it in the temples as a dessert for the gods, and the pharaohs placed it with the deceased in their tombs. Today, the talented chefs at Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay prepare it with care, and it is available every day, accompanied by sugarcane honey and tahini.

While the Egyptians invented leavened bread, it was the Greeks who perfected dough and baking techniques, using wine yeast as a leavening agent. They later shared their taste for leavened bread with the Romans, along with their techniques.

In 168 BC, many Greek millers and bakers settled in Rome. The Romans, who were still eating unleavened flatbread, gradually adopted the Greek alternative. In Pompeii's street of bakers, some of the forty plus workshops had grindstones and ovens. In fact, the focaccia of modern Italy looks a lot like the bread in Pompeii's frescoes. Could it be a direct descendent?

This iconic Italian bread is on the menu at the luxurious San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice. It is crafted by skilful Italian chefs with recipes passed down through generations of illustrious families. The chefs expertly incorporate a range of aromatic herbs and spices, many of which are grown on the private island of San Clemente itself, adding depth and complexity to the flavours of the focaccia.

In Western Europe it was the conquests of Julius Caesar that introduced the Celts and Gauls to the yeast bread that all Europeans adopted sooner or later. In the Middle Ages, bread was the staple food. Anything else was an addition – a ‘companion’ dish or companicum, literally meaning ‘with bread’.

Once eaten for subsistence, today bread is eaten for pleasure. Chefs and bakers create ever more flavours, textures and presentations. The Berthold Delikatessen outlets in some of our hotels modernise flavoursome German breads and pretzels. And at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, bread is baked in flowerpots, giving it a unique texture and aroma while reminding us that just as the earth nourishes the flower, so the bread nourishes our soul.

Left (top and bottom): At Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, bread is baked in a flowerpot: an unusual option! Right (top and bottom): At Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay, a pastry chef makes the famous Egyptian pie comprising many thin layers of dough and ghee. Right (opposite): Pretzels at Berthold Delikatessen in Singapore.
Left: Berthold Delikatessen’s baguettes. Top: At San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice, you can savour delectable focaccia with an assortment of fresh fruit from the hotel's own gardens, together with a variety of artisanal cheeses – the ultimate afternoon indulgence. Bottom: Ftira is a key part of Malta’s historical traditions. At Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, indulge in a ftira as a filled snack or appetiser to get a taste of the Maltese islands’ collective identity. The Temple of Kukulcán at Chichén Itzá. Standing at around 30 metres, it was built by the Maya between the 8 th to 12 th centuries A.D.


There’s so much to see and do in Cancún. Its fine sandy beaches, on the edge of the sparkling Caribbean Sea, are some of the best in the region and are perfect for relaxing, while its nightlife is vibrant and lively. But on the outskirts of the city lies the mysterious land of the Mayas with its mystical monuments and otherworldly underground rivers, as well as the jungle populated by colourful exotic birds. It's home to a hidden Maya city, just waiting to be explored.


In search of a mythical bird: a journey into the land of the Maya

Landing in Yucatán, we find ourselves in a land of mystery. But where does this feeling come from? First impressions are delightful: warmth, a blue sky, an enchanting sea, and lush vegetation. This land is made for rest and relaxation. But other images float through our minds: plumed gods, jaguars, spirits living deep in the earth or water. This is the land of the Maya. We’ve all heard of their pyramids or seen pictures of their cyrptic hieroglyphs, but little is known of this great civilisation that occupied the area 2,000 years ago.

The Yucatán Peninsula in southern Mexico juts out between the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico – a paradise of fine sands! In the large beachside town of Cancún, hotels including Kempinski Hotel Cancún line up along the shore, gazing out onto a stunningly beautiful sea.

Tempting as it is, we leave the beach for a while to explore Maya mysteries, starting at the small walled town of Tulum. These days Tulum is a well-known resort town but it was once a major Maya city, built on a magnificent clifftop above the sea. Here we find a temple dedicated to a strange divinity known as the Descending God, about which little is known. Depicted head down and feet up, he might be connected with the setting sun, or fertility, or the souls of warriors. The Maya had a complex and mysterious pantheon of several hundred gods, one to watch over every action and aspect of human life. All were closely related to nature, from the sky (an invisible realm of the celestial spirits) and earth (the visible realm). There is also the mysterious underworld, accessible through the sacred cenotes. Yucatán's cenotes are natural wells or underground pools of crystal-clear water – astonishing places and a famous geological curiosity. Some are connected by a vast network of underground rivers that is still largely unexplored, and others are as big as swimming pools. It’s wonderful to swim in the cool, clear water surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites and it’s an unforgettable outing for anyone staying in Yucatán.

Some of the finest cenotes are located around Valladolid, a small, Spanish colonial-style town in the centre of Yucatán, two hours from Cancún. The high-fronted San Servasio temple, pretty houses with colourful façades, and its relaxing atmosphere, make

Valladolid the ideal place for enjoying a delicious ceviche or carnitas (pork tacos) before heading to nearby Chichén Itzá.

This must-see Maya city is one of the region’s most important archaeological sites. The Kukulcán Pyramid, and dozens of other monuments, attest to the outstanding skills of their architects and astronomers. Its architectural composition is fascinating. Governed by the Maya calendar, it shows exactly how this people calculated the solar cycle. For starters, its four sides comprise 365 steps. And at the equinox, something very special happens: the descending sun creates a shadow that suggests the rippling movement of Kukulcán, the famous plumed serpent, descending the steps. Most spectacular of all, this many-stepped pyramid is built on top of a cenote surrounded by four others, one at each of the cardinal points. Many researchers think the Chichén Itzá site has a complex relationship with its unexplored underground passages, galleries and rivers. Some think the Maya cast objects and even humans into one of the many wells as offerings to appease the rain god, Chaac, in times of drought.

But of all the Maya gods, we are looking for the most extraordinary: the great bird called Itzam Yeh, one of the manifestations of the supreme god, Itzamná. There can be no doubt about the legendary power of Itzam Yeh. The bird is described as carrying the days and nights under its wings and possessing a sharp beak that can vanquish any evil power.

The jungle has a powerful pull and we can’t wait to explore the mysterious mangroves. So we set off for Rio Lagartos, stopping on the way at Ek Balam – another Maya city hidden in the forest. There we find a vast mangrove forest stretching into the Gulf of Mexico. This wild and imposing labyrinth has barely changed in the past 2,000 years. It is the realm of crocodiles and magnificent birds: pelicans, white ibis, frigate birds, great herons, and pink flamingos. We’re convinced this is where the soul of Itzam Yeh dwells, embodied in one of these great birds, or perhaps in all of them at once. A protector that watches over day and night as it has for several millennia. And it’s at this moment that we really feel the soul of the Maya.

The outstanding Maya sites. Clockwise from top left: a painting inspired by Maya mythology; carvings on the Temple of the Nuns; mythological figures at Chichén Itzá; the Ek Balam Pyramid. Opposite page: the delightful Tulum site and its temple overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The Chichén Itzá ball court. The Ball Game was a very important ritual for the Maya. The rules had a close symbolic connection with Maya cosmology and beliefs.
Cenote Samula and Cenote Oxman, both near Valladolid and away from the main tourist routes. These splendid natural pools were held sacred by the Maya. In and around the little town of Valladolid: shimmering colours and relaxed living. Opposite page: a stunning typically Mexican gate at Hacienda Oxman, near Valladolid. Top right and bottom left: the west coast, characterised by the Caribbean Sea and its fine beaches with their laid-back cafés and restaurants. Top left and bottom right: the north coast on the Gulf of Mexico with its unspoilt mangrove forests full of birds, interspersed with small fishing villages.

Yucatán, land of the Maya

Leaving Cancún for a few hours you can explore the architectural masterpieces of the Maya civilisation, Chichén Itzá, Tulum, Cobá and the mysterious Ek Balam. Vestiges of this great civilisation, they are all must-see experiences.


KEMPINSKI HOTEL CANCÚN Timeless elegance by the sea

After long days spent discovering Maya treasures, Kempinski Hotel Cancún invites you to slow down and take in another Yucután icon – the pristine white sands of Quintana Roo.

Located 25 minutes from Cancún International Airport, this latest addition to the Kempinski portfolio is in the heart of one of Mexico’s premier resorts. Guests can choose between 363 elegant rooms and spacious suites, each with private balconies that look out onto a 400 m stretch of perfect sand and seemingly endless views of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. One of the most impressive places from which to enjoy the vista is undoubtedly the terrace of the 229 sq m Presidential Suite, amidst the bubbles of its oversized whirlpool bath.

Throughout the hotel, the Yucatán influence resonates. At the centre, a four-storey ivy-lined atrium gives a nod to nearby tropical rainforests and magical cenotes, while the treatments at the Kayantá Spa take inspiration from ancient Maya therapies. Using indiginous ingredients, the expert therapists tailor treatments to restore balance and assist you in achieving your health goals. And with eight treatment rooms, relaxation gardens and a fully-equipped gym, everyone will find their personal sanctuary.

Smaller guests will be drawn to the Titan Tikes kids' club. From arts and crafts to iguana-spotting and making new friends, it’s the place to be for hours of fun-filled activity.

At mealtimes, diversity is on the menu. Indoors or outdoors; sophisticated fine-dining or light snacks; local or international –the hotel’s six restaurants offer a range of cuisines and settings to suit your mood at any time of the day. Start in the lively El Café Mexicano, where local flavours sit alongside international

breakfast favourites, before enjoying a laid-back lunch at The Caribe Bar & Grill. Stay by the sea for a dinner of freshly-caught seafood at Casitas or choose a sophisticated evening at AAA Five Diamond Award-winning Fantino or The Club Grill. D-Lounge also welcomes guests for artisanal cocktails and an impressive collection of tequila.

With services including a dedicated reception and concierge, those staying in club rooms and suites also get access to the exclusive dining, selection of drinks and fine wine served throughout the day in The Club Lounge. Located on the eighth floor, the views of the sunset are unbeatable.

When it’s time to gather, over 3,000 sq m of versatile indoor function space offers the ideal setting. From the sophisticated Yucatán Ballroom for larger social and corporate gatherings, to a selection of smaller rooms that are perfect for business meetings and conferences, each space is brought to life by the hotel’s dedicated events team. Outside, the beach and poolside area can be transformed into an unforgettable setting for intimate gatherings or larger weddings and events for up to 700 guests.

And it’s by the water that you’ll be keen to spend your days. Take a dip in one of the two temperature-controlled outdoor pools or stroll along the shores of the shimmering sea. For the best in carefree beachside luxury, thatched palapas are dotted along the coast, offering privacy and shade to recline complete with personalised service and a host of refreshing amenities.

Whether you’re in search of these perfect sandy beaches, underwater exploration or Maya artefacts, Kempinski Hotel Cancún is at the centre of the Yucatán Peninsula’s many treasures.

Golden hour at Kempinski Hotel Cancún.
Top: Kempinski Hotel Cancún, standing majestically on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. Bottom: Each of the hotel's 363 rooms and suites looks out onto endless blues. Opposite: The Club Lounge is an exclusive space that serves a selection of drinks and dishes throughout the day.
With relaxing massages, comfortable palapas and beachfront dining, everyone will find their favourite spot. Bottom right: Inside the hotel, the ivy-lined atrium is a sight to behold.


Wherever you stay with us, KEMPINSKI DISCOVERY offers members exclusive opportunities to get immersed in the local culture. And there are few better ways to learn about a region than through its traditional dishes and drinks. Gastronomy is at the heart of Kempinski and we’ve created unforgettable culinary experiences around the world to give you an authentic flavour of each of our destinations. You can learn how to create local dishes in Shanghai and Saudi Arabia. Sample Istrian wines on a cycling tour led by a Kempinski concierge in Portoroz. Join Masai Warriors for a traditional barbecue surrounded by the spectacular wilderness of the Masai Mara or experience the ultimate picnic in the Austrian mountains.

See your destination differently with KEMPINSKI DISCOVERY.


Experience a traditional Masai barbecue


Enjoy an authentic taste of the lives of the famous Masai Warriors as you join them for a traditional barbecue at one of their villages (bomas). You’ll be involved in the whole process from preparing the meat, using traditional herbs and spices, to roasting it on a blazing bonfire using sharp edged sticks – a method that maintains its original taste. The Masai Warriors also believe it to be a healthier way to cook the meat and that it helps to make them stronger.

According to Masai tradition, once the meat is cooked, it’s time to enjoy it served on fresh tree leaves or branches, using the warriors’ swords or knives, under the beautiful expansive African sky.

Create dim sum with a Shanghai twist


Translating into English as ‘touch the heart’, dim sum is enjoyed the world over, traditionally at brunch, a time for family and friends to catch up over delicious food. Discover authentic local flavours by creating your own dish in a twohour lesson taught by dim sum master Chef William Yao at the hotel’s Suntime Century restaurant.

You’ll start by exploring the local market to find the freshest ingredients. Back in the kitchen, Chef Yao will teach you to make pork xiaolongbao – Shanghainese style. After the lesson, you can enjoy your masterpiece in the restaurant, along with your choice from the wide range of tempting dim sum dishes.

Be a culinary artist


Baklava is a deliciously sweet pastry that’s synonymous with the Middle East. And now you can learn how to create it yourself in this exclusive two-hour sweets and dessert masterclass guided by Chef Hassan, the hotel’s Arabic pastry expert.

Once one of the most popular sweet pastries of Ottoman cuisine, baklava is made from layers of filo, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. During your lesson, Chef Hassan will share the secret recipes that make his baklava so special and he’ll also teach you how to artfully present your pastries so they look even more tempting.

To complete the Arabian experience, at the end of the lesson you’ll get to enjoy your baklava accompanied by a cup of strong authentic Saudi coffee.

Take a helicopter to a gourmet picnic in the alps

Experience a picnic like no other with delicious gourmet food amongst stunning Alpine scenery. And getting to your picnic spot is nothing short of spectacular!

You’ll be driven from the hotel by private transport to the St Johann airfield where you’ll board a helicopter. The 60 minute journey takes you over Austria’s highest mountains – the majestic Hohe Tauern range which includes the Kitzsteinhorn and the Großglockner. Your destination is a peaceful, secluded spot in the beautiful Pinzgau mountains, where you can unpack your luxurious picnic from your specially designed Kempinski backpacks.

Enjoy fabulous food, breathe in the pure Alpine air, and make the most of this magnificent setting before the helicopter arrives to take you back to the hotel.


Wine tasting on two wheels


Cycling along the historic Parenzana route is a great way to make the most of the surrounding countryside, discovering local gastronomy and culture along the way. What’s more, you’ll have the best of guides to accompany you – our concierge Marjan Glasnovic.

Formerly a narrow gauge railway, Marjan’s route links 33 charming Istrian towns from Poreč to Trieste. Stops include the beautiful Landscape Park Strunjan and the picturesque village of Izola, from where you’ll have wonderful views of the Istrian seaside. Your cycling adventure ends in style with a visit to the Zaro Winery for a tasting of the region’s famous Malvazija wine.

The length of the cycle route is 20 km but don’t worry because it’s customised to suit all fitness levels. And you’ll have a relaxing end to the day as a car will take you back to the hotel.

Live Local Scan this QR code to browse Experiences around the world 67 LIVE LOCAL


Whether you're staying in a hotel for business, a weekend with friends, or a fortnight with the family, the best kind of trip is a perfect mix of new discoveries and reassuring home comforts. Your room is where you return to relax after a day of meetings or adventures, so it needs to be the right environment for you. Follow these tips and you'll be sure to get the most out of your hotel stay.


The art of a good night's sleep


These days, choosing a hotel room online is a simple enough process with some sites even offering virtual tours, so you can really do your homework before you travel. And if you’re a KEMPINSKI DISCOVERY member, don’t forget to check your benefits when you book a stay. You'll get access to exclusive member rates plus all the perks of earning and spending DISCOVERY Dollars, and depending on your tier level you can also look forward to room upgrades and late check-outs, among other treats. So, if you’re not yet registered for the loyalty programme, now’s the time to take a look.


Even though you have a good idea of what your room looks like, it should still hold some delightful surprises – the stunning view from the window, the tasteful décor, and those thoughtful little details that make all the difference. But if something’s not quite right for you, never be afraid to speak to the hotel team. When you get to your room, give yourself time to look around and discover where everything is. This is your home for the duration of your stay, so make it your own.


Getting the temperature of your room just right can be a challenge: everyone has their own preference! Hoteliers tend to set the air conditioning cooler – particularly in warmer climates – as they want the room to feel pleasantly refreshing when you return to it. But not all control panels are the same, so ask the team member who showed you to room how to set it up. They'll be more than happy to talk you through other room controllers too, such as for the curtains, blinds, or lighting. And you can always just throw open the windows and let in the fresh air. Resist the urge to dash outside to explore. With the room temperature set, take the time to relax after your journey. Kick off your shoes and feel the floor under your feet. Unpack your luggage – you’ll feel much more refreshed once everything is in order. Kempinski rooms feature large, luxurious wardrobes and deep generous drawers so you’ll have lots of space. Make the most of this moment – it’s when you really take possession of your room!


It’s always good to have a plan – even when you’re on holiday. See what the hotel has to offer. Many Kempinski properties have tablets in the guest rooms so you can scroll through the services. Spas get busy so be sure to book the treatments that tempt you. The same goes for your choice of restaurant or beach cabana. If you’re a member of KEMPINSKI DISCOVERY, find out what offers are available to you. Take a look at the exclusive Experiences – they’re a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of your destination.


It’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep in a strange room but an exclusive Kempinski bed will give you the best possible chance. Many feature a dynamic support system which is adapted to each part of the body, and unique spring technology that completely supports the spine and absorbs movement. An integrated mattress topper provides even greater comfort.

But at Kempinski it’s not just about the bed. If you didn’t do it through the pre-arrival survey, take a look at your room comfort menu and choose from up to ten different pillows. The choice can include the Refresh Neck Supporting Pillow with a soft filling; the Swiss Pine Pillow, filled with fine, fresh sliced Arven wood chips which will relax you immediately, or the sleep-promoting Spelt Chaff and Lavender Pillow. The scent of lavender can help to reduce stress, relieve tension, and will help you sleep well all night.

Simply choose the pillow that suits you, and with the incredibly light and comfortable down duvet, you’re all set for sweet dreams. If you sometimes have trouble sleeping, try spraying your favourite scent onto your pillow – its familiarity will soothe you. Or you could try a sleep promoting pillow spray. Some hotels even offer a 30-minute sleep massage with a relaxing essential oil such as lavender.

Light or darkness has a strong effect on the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, so do close the shutters or curtains. And since you'll probably plug in your phone or computer, don't forget about LED lights. The accumulation of LEDs affects the deep darkness that’s conducive to falling asleep, so don’t hesitate to unplug any equipment you don’t need overnight.


Remember that the entire hotel team is at your service throughout, so do speak to them about anything that might help to make your stay more comfortable and truly memorable.


Recreate the experience at home

Missing those wonderful Kempinski pillows already? Or the luxuriously relaxing bath and spa products? Well, now you can recreate the Kempinski experience at home. Kempinski Boutique has a fabulous range of products including plush top mattresses, incredible pillows, crisp linens, light as a feather duvets, as well as beautifully fluffy towels, bathrobes, and slippers. And you can also buy the body and hair care products, and fragrances you’ve fallen in love with.


Scan this QR code to browse the full range of products and save 20% off Kempinski exclusives


We love seeing the world of Kempinski through your eyes. Let these memories of Singapore and Muscat inspire your next trip, and don't forget to share your own @kempinski moments with us on social media.


The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore


We currently live in the UK but we met in Singapore and love going back there as tourists – it’s constantly evolving so there’s always something new to discover! We miss the food the most, so we head straight to the hawker centres where the people running the stalls have been mastering their specialities for generations. It’s the best way to get an authentic local experience. At the hotel, our favourite spot is The Bar at 15 Stamford where you can choose from the largest rum collection in Singapore or sip a delicious cocktail (we loved the one topped with mango boba!) in filmlike Art Deco surroundings. For our next Kempinski moment, one of the hotels in Turkey is definitely on our list!

"Singapore can get hot and humid, so the rooftop saltwater pool is the perfect spot for cooling off."

Kempinski Hotel Muscat, Sultanate of Oman


This was my first trip to Oman and I was surprised to discover just how much this country has to offer. The Wahiba Sands is the best desert I’ve ever visited and there are so many attractions close to the hotel, from exploring the Mutrah Corniche and watching the sunset from the top of the Fort, to visiting the Royal Opera House. At the hotel, the food was delicious and there was so much choice, especially at breakfast. Even the lobby is a standout moment – it felt like being in an art gallery and every time I passed through I wanted to take a photo! I love travelling the world, and for my next Kempinski moment, I’d like to watch the sunrise in the Seychelles.

“ Whenever I stay on the coast, I love to go walking by the water. The sunrises by the infinity pool were definitely worth the early start!”
RM UP-01 FERRARI Ultra-flat manual winding calibre 1.75 millimetres thin 45-hour power reserve (± 10%) Baseplate, bridges and case in grade 5 titanium Patented ultra-flat escapement Function selector Limited edition of 150 pieces A Racing Machine On The Wrist

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