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Issue 22 Autumn/Winter 2013


COLORADO SKI COUNTRY A Powderhound’s playground

EAT CHIC NEW YORK The standard, beautiful & spicy

RAINBOWS IN RAJASTHAN Colourful culture, and vivid impressions

FOOD OF THE GODS The makings of fine chocolate

TOP 5 NEW HOTEL SUITES Elegant, opulent, contemporary but always unforgettable

On the Tracks

in Thailand WIN


Above: 50m aluminum won 2011 Worldresource. Superyacht Awards for Best Yacht over 45m as well as 2 Dubois-designed Your ultimate luxury sloop and Zefira corporate travel 2011 Sailing Yacht of the Year. Zefira carries a 56m rigging package from Southern Spars. Photo courtesy of Fitzroy Yachts.

boundaries in technology and design

Pushing the

Passion - Technology - Design - Performance Southern Spars is the world leader in the design and construction of carbon fibre spars, components, rigging, and rig servicing. Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource.


Just imagine. A train linking not only east and west Switzerland, but also two of the world’s most famous holiday resorts. The remarkable journey by Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz takes just 8 hours of luxury. The Glacier Express journey is a feast for the eyes. From the depths of the Rhine Gorge up to the 2033 Oberalp Pass, the Glacier Express travels through no fewer than 91 tunnels and 291 bridges on this epic journey. And, discover the very best of Switzerland while enjoying delicious culinary creations served straignt to your seat, or in the spacious dining car. Perfect. 4

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The Glacier Express. Switzerland from the ultimate vantage point.

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Editor’s Letter N E W

From corporate jets to superyachts. With the increasing trend of needing to create

Z E A L A N D ’ S







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Issue 22 Autumn/Winter 2013


impressionable experiences in limited time frames, the rise of personalised concierge services has been COLORADO SKI COUNTRY

astounding. Around the world, companies are offering

A Powderhound’s playground


their 24-hour, on-demand service, which specialises in

The standard, beautiful & spicy

RAINBOWS IN RAJASTHAN Colourful culture, and vivid impressions

things like obtaining a reservation for a fully-booked

FOOD OF THE GODS The makings of fine chocolate

restaurant, jumping the queue at a premium nightclub, obtaining VIP status for a fashion show, or organising a private jet to take a group to a luxury event.

TOP 5 NEW HOTEL SUITES Elegant, opulent, contemporary but always unforgettable

On the Tracks

in Thailand WIN


Originally, a concept more reserved for when staying in a hotel, demand has extended for this type of assistance in the work environment, at home and while

LUXURY Holidays & Corporate Travel

staying in private accommodation. In this issue we introduce Highlife Asia, a leading

Cover image: Eastern & Oriental Express

event management and concierge company headquartered in Shanghai and we talk to Jacqui Spice, founder of Touch of Spice, a company that offers tailored experiences for high-end visitors to New Zealand. When faced with challenging requests, ‘no’ is never the answer for Jacqui and her team. From corporate jets to superyachts, this issue is packed with stories ripe for the jet set. We take a peek inside some of Korean Air’s luxury private jets and visit Southern Spars in Auckland, a company who is leading the way in superyacht technology and one of the reasons why the world’s yachting elite make their way to New Zealand. Staying with the subject of yachting, we check out San Francisco, primed and ready for an influx of the international boating aristocracy before the America’s Cup fever really hits town. Next we hit the slopes of Colorado’s winter wonderland for some fantastic late season skiing and journey by luxury rail for six nights through Thailand’s numerous villages and towns to take in the ever-changing landscape. Then it’s off to New York for a whirlwind stay at two boutique properties and some fabulous dining. For something a bit different, we explore the ancient Inca sites of Peru and the colourful culture of Rajasthan. Then follow the journey of the cacao bean and how it’s transformed into an artisan chocolate bar – plus show how chocolate lovers can travel and indulge. Take time to luxuriate in our Top 5 New Hotel Suites story before taking a sneak peak at the new Fiji Airways. We look forward to trying out their enhanced service and features soon. So enjoy the read and I invite you to email me your thoughts on your luxury travel finds to I look forward to hearing from you. Keep relishing in what the wonderful world of travel has to offer.

Publisher: Travel Publications Limited Editorial Director: Philip Harrison Phone: +64 21 477 514 Email: Editor: Melanie Hawkins Phone: +64 21 557 579 Email: Contributors: Philip Tetley-Jones Denise Cohen Mary Gaudin Paul Rush Tim Lamb Jackie O’Fee Michelle Wranik Creative Director: James Rangihika

Peter Thornley Timothy Giles Toni Gillan Gemma O’Sullivan Richard Lott Hannah Whiteoak Fiona Harper

Designer: Natalie Barlow Advertising Enquiries: Janice Burmaz Phone: +64 21 630 257 Email: Contact Details: PO Box 559, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140, New Zealand Phone: 0800 758 759 Fax: +64 9 300 7511 Website: ISSN: 1178-2382 Our preferred retail travel partner is United Travel.

Melanie Hawkins Editor, LUXURY Holidays & Corporate Travel

PS: Just released is Lauraine Jacobs’ latest book that documents her travel memoirs, all-time favourite recipes and food tips. Look for this delicious read entitled ‘Everlasting Feast’, available at all good book stores RRP NZ$55.

Although we endeavour to provide the highest level of quality in our content, the views and opinions contained within this magazine have been obtained from independent sources, and Travel Publications Limited explicitly disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy, content or availability of the information. Digital version available from

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e h t o t e m o Welc

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With crystal clear water, white sand beaches, lush rainforests and smiling people, it’s easy to see why Fiji is the happiest country on earth.* Why not come visit and let happiness find you.

8 Your ultimateand luxury and corporate travel resource. *Gallup International the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research 2012.


Visit to find out more.


Cover Story 50 On the Tracks in Thailand

– Eastern & Oriental Express

Features 20 Colorado Ski Country 26 Rainbows in Rajasthan 34 Eat Chic New York 58 Top 5 New Hotel Suites 67 An Epic Journey – Indian Pacific Rail



68 Fiji Airways Arrives in Style 72 Fiji – Maximise Your Island Time 86 Inca Sites of Peru 89 Food of the Gods – The Makings

of Fine Chocolate

In Every Issue 10 Review 12 Luxury Preview 45 Style File 46 Luxury Insider – Jacqui Spice 49 Foreign Exchanges – Switzerland 78 Travel Accessories 96 Premium Economy Review – Air NZ


98 24 Hours in – San Francisco

Hotel Reviews 30 The Imperial, New Delhi 36 The Greenwich Hotel, New York 40 The Standard High Line, New York


80 Hei Matau Lodge, Waiheke Island 92 Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur

Lifestyle 74 Superyachts – The Leading Edge

of Luxury

83 Soar Through the Skies in Luxury

– Korean Air’s Private Jet Service


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Review: Autumn/Winter 2013

Check out these great events happening over the next few months. Ranging from cuisine and wine tasting to some of the biggest international events of the year, you’re sure to find something here of interest.

Long Weekend Festival, Noosa, Australia This annual 10-day cultural celebration is well-known as one of Australia’s leading regional arts festivals. A real multi-arts genre event, events include music, theatre, cabaret, drama, dance, literature, food, film, supper clubs, workshops and even a Viennese Ball. 14 - 23 June 2013 Meow Meow. Photo credit: Harmony Nicholas

Rugby World Cup Sevens, Moscow, Russia

The Extreme Wine Experience, Provence, France

The 6th RWC Sevens tournament

This effective short course is

comprising of a division for both men

guaranteed to improve your wine

and women is set to be a big event

expertise and tasting skills. Be prepared

for Rugby Sevens fans. With Wales

for total immersion into all things

currently holding the title, 24 countries

‘wine’. Held at La Verrière private wine

will compete in the hopes of winning

estate nestled in a UNESCO Biosphere

the cup.

Reserve, it is suitable for wine enthusiasts of all levels.

28 - 30 June 2013

22 - 28 June 2013

Vivid, Sydney, Australia This 18-day festival is the platform for some truly unique performances incorporating music, lighting and artistry. Talented German music pioneers Kraftwerk are the headline act set to perform at the Sydney Opera House this year. 24 May - 10 June 2013

America’s Cup, San Francisco, USA Join the world’s yachting elite for the 33rd America’s Cup that kicks off in San Francisco from July. Download the official America’s Cup free app for the latest news, results, video and live action, on the go. Louis Vuitton Cup: 4 July - 30 August 2013 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup: 1 - 4 September 2013 Super Yacht Regatta: 9 - 13 September 2013 America’s Cup Finals: 7 - 21 September 2013


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Luxury Preview Fast cars and fireworks

A new star for Bali

Macau, the glitzy playground of southern

Bali isn’t short of fine hotels and villas but a new star is always welcome. The brand new

China, is preparing to celebrate two

Alana Vasanti Seminyak is close to Bali’s most popular restaurants and clubs whilst enjoying

anniversaries this year. Prepare for plenty

a serene setting enclosed by emerald-green rice fields. Designed by Alex Bayusaputro

of fireworks as the former Portuguese

from Genius Loco Architects, the hotel features four Presidential and 24 Deluxe Suites

enclave puts on a carnival atmosphere for

with separate lounge space and a mix of 93 oversized guest rooms with private balconies,

the 60th anniversary of the Macau Grand

spacious bathrooms with rain showers and iPod compatible sound systems.

Prix as well as the 25th annual Macau International Fireworks Display Contest.

There’s a restaurant, a pool with sundeck, a pool bar and a wellness centre with gym on offer. Devali is a chic restaurant featuring a relaxed contemporary setting with private and communal tables, regular chef tables and a menu highlighting modern interpretations of Balinese cuisine. The Splash Pool Bar invites guests to interact and enjoy poolside refreshments while the AUM Wellness Centre, set in the gorgeous landscape of Seminyak, combines exotic beauty with utter indulgence.

An annual event since 1954, the Macau Grand





Diamond Jubilee over two weekends from November 9-10. Prior to this carnival, over the latter half of September, the night sky will glow with a myriad of magnificent fireworks as a number of countries compete for top billing in a competition that is celebrating a silver anniversary. Macau is superbly situated for a stopover to Europe, so why not schedule a visit in

Cathay Pacific’s First Class lounge sets the bar high Hong Kong’s leading airline has spared no expense to pamper its premium passengers in Hong Kong. Called simply ‘The Wing’, this new lounge sets unparalleled levels of comfort.

late 2013 and join in the festivities.

Among the many changes is an upgrade to The Haven, the iconic feature of the First Class Lounge. This popular dining area has been expanded to more than double its original capacity and features an expanded buffet counter that offers an extensive range of appetisers, Asian and Western dishes, and delicious desserts. The passenger dining experience has been further enhanced by a reinvented à la carte menu complemented by recommended wine pairings.

Luxury Preview Banyan Tree’s new resort in Vietnam

Asia’s ultimate concierge

Vietnam is the hot new travel destination, with planeloads of adventurous tourists arriving

If you’re based in Asia, or doing business

ready to explore this fascinating part of Southeast Asia. The Banyan Tree group has

there, you know how important it is to

responded to the demand for sophisticated accommodation with an immaculate new

make the right impression.

resort in the Lang Co area. Built on a unique crescent bay offering privacy and unparalleled exclusivity, Banyan Tree Lang Co is the most luxurious edition to the resort and hotel collection of the Laguna Lang Co complex.

Exclusive access to the most sought-after events is a guaranteed way to make business associates take notice – or simply enjoy a taste of the high life yourself. That’s why the appropriately named Highlife Asia is your perfect introduction to the fine art of living well. Much more than an event management company, Enveloped by eco-diverse mountains and located close to heritage sites in Hue, Hoi An and My Son, the area around Banyan Tree Lang Co is ripe for exploration. The intrepid

Highlife Asia organises bespoke events for selected individuals and groups.

adventurer can experience the wonders of nature while art and culture aficionados can discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If that all sounds like too much effort, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an 18-hole championship golf course as part of the complex and ample opportunities to simply soak up the tropical ambience. If Vietnam is on your places-to-see list, make sure you include the Banyan Tree Lang Co on the itinerary.

You could be whisked away on a plush Business Class flight to experience New York Couture Fashion Week, with VIP tickets to the final Project Runway show. Or you could treat Highlife Asia as your high-end concierge and tap them for tickets to Ascot or Wimbledon. With the right connections, anything’s possible. Highlife Asia can also help you stage the most amazing events, from elegant evening galas to red carpet launches. Find out how you can have Asia’s top concierge working for you at

Luxury Preview Your luxurious gateway to Sydney

Relax in French luxury

With views looking out over Sydney’s

On Collins located at the `Paris end’ of Collins St, right in the heart of Melbourne’s premium

Darling Harbour, the 340-guestroom

shopping, dining and theatre district. Whether it is a weekend getaway, a business trip,

PARKROYAL Hotel is a gateway to the

or a relaxing holiday, Sofitel Melbourne On Collins is the perfect home away from home.

Explore marvelous Melbourne with a Magnifique Breakfast escape at Sofitel Melbourne

best of Sydney, its staff are able to connect guests to the unmissable experiences the city has to offer. For those wanting to relax and unwind without venturing outside, the hotel offers a range of bar and restaurant options and on-site facilities to keep guests entertained.

Dine at No35, the hotel’s signature restaurant which offers breathtaking views over the city, enjoy cocktails after dark at the intimate Atrium bar on level 35, or indulge in a decadent afternoon tea in Sofi’s Lounge in the lobby. All Melbourne’s renowned attractions including the famed MCG sporting ground, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the National Gallery of Victoria are just minutes from the hotel. Having undergone a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2012, the Parkroyal now offers a contemporary interior that is as welcoming as it is striking. A fresh,

Sydney’s most spectacular over-water suites

vibrant palette of natural tones and

The Sebel Pier One Sydney, located in Walsh Bay adjacent to The Rocks precinct, has

finishes is sustained throughout, with

unveiled seven of the city’s most spectacular over-water suites with peerless views of Luna

neutral greys and fresh blues and greens

Park, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

elegantly contrasting to exude the sense of an urban sanctuary, seamlessly set in its Sydney surrounds.

Auckland Airport the best for 5th year running At the 2013 SKYTRAX World Airport Awards, held at the passenger Terminal EXPO in Geneva, Auckland Airport was named the Best Airport in the Australia

Perched on and over Sydney Harbour, the hotel’s new suites include four Harbour View

Pacific region for the 5th successive year.

Balcony Suites, which have direct access to expansive balconies with sweeping Sydney

It was also awarded Best Staff Service for

Harbour views. The unique location makes an ideal setting for private alfresco dining,

the Australia Pacific region for the 2nd

sunset drinks or simply taking in the beauty of Sydney Harbour and watching the yachts sail

year running.

past. All the balcony suites have designer day beds and arm chairs, which are positioned to

As well as this, Auckland Airport came

maximise the panoramic views.

2nd globally for airports with 10 to 20

Sydney Harbour is justly world-famous, and these stylish new suites certainly make the

million passengers per year.

most of their unrivalled setting.


Luxury Preview Private seclusion in Koh Samui Luxury lovers will need no introduction to Koh Samui. This idyllic island off the south coast

Photo tour to tackle California’s Eastern Sierra

of Thailand offers some of the region’s most beautiful scenery, not to mention a glimpse

Sometimes the best way to see a region

of the graceful local culture. And now there’s a fabulous new hotel to make your stay even

is through the lens of a camera. There’s

more relaxing.

nothing quite like framing a magnificent landscape through the viewfinder, or seizing the perfect moment to capture a wild eagle in mid-flight. It’s an experience that creates its own souvenir.

Hidden away in a secluded cove near the famous white sands of Chaweng Beach, and with breathtaking views over the island, Vana Belle is more than just a resort. Every suite and villa provides you with total privacy and your very own personal private pool and terrace. The serenity is tangible and you’ll feel like you’re the monarch of your own private paradise. Two exquisite restaurants offer a choice of the finest Thai and Italian-influenced dining. If you need to rejuvenate body and spirit, the Vana Spa is on hand. We can’t think of a more pleasant way to spend a few days or weeks in the blissful environment of Koh Samui.

Pure luxury in Marlborough Perched on a hillside above Havelock, the subtle colours and rustic woodwork of Pelorus Lodge blend into the native bush to create an unspoiled, timeless and therapeutic environment.

Catering for photography buffs of all ages, David Metcalf Photography has put together a unique tour of the awe-inspiring California Eastern Sierra. Departing in October 2013, this is your chance to follow in the footsteps of Ansel Adams and capture the stark beauty of




and Death Valley. You will be staying in comfortable accommodation and travelling by private bus with ample time to upload photos and learn from the review sessions with your professional photographer guides. If photographing glacier-carved valleys, crystal-clear lakes, mountain wildflowers, old west towns, and vibrant fall colours with the backdrop of 14,000-foot mountains is your idea of stimulating holiday, then this is an experience you Editor’s note: The nearby Pelorus River features in a scene from Sir Peter Jackson’s movie ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.

should be part of. Find out more at

Luxury Preview Business can be a pleasure in Jo’burg

Como opens second resort in the Maldives If you ever needed a reason to put the Maldives on your must-visit list, now you have two. The world-renowned Como group has just opened its second Maldives resort, Maalifushi by Como. This eight-hectare private island in the southerly Thaa Atoll complements the Como resort that opened in 2002 on South Malé atoll.

Johannesburg has many attractions but it’s not high on most travellers’ lists for a luxury holiday. Business, or stopping over on the way to the other attractions of South Africa is a more likely reason to be spending time in the Transvaal capital. However, that’s no reason to forego a little pampering. The 66-room property will be the first luxury resort on the unspoilt Thaa Atoll where it will offer away-from-it-all seclusion and a remarkable underwater experience. The island’s pristine white sands and bright turquoise lagoons are neighboured by a string of uninhabited islands – perfect dashes of powdery sand and lolling palm trees – including another island belonging to the resort that can be booked for castaway picnics and romantic private dining. Reclining in the sun will be a major attraction but there’s much more on offer. Underwater, the Thaa Atoll boasts a range of unspoiled corals, attracting a whole host of colourful reef fish and sea creatures, with the chance to spot magnificent hammerhead and whale sharks.

The Maslow Hotel is a new hotel with a difference. Located in the Sandton district, it’s ideal for business travellers and a stylish alternative to the standard international business hotel template. Special attention has been given to physical comfort in each of the hotel’s 281 bedrooms. The design philosophy could be described as ‘simple luxury’, with a soothing colour palette and clean lines that contrast with the vibrancy of Africa outside the front door.

Luxury Preview Experience glorious Greece and Italy with Aman Zo’e is Greek for ‘life’, and you’ll certainly feel full of the joys of it when you stay at the

View the Serengeti migration in style

latest Aman resort. Surrounded by undulating olive groves and overlooking the island of

Tanzania’s Serengeti is the site of one

Spetses and the Argosaronic Gulf beyond, Amanzo’e is just a 10-minute drive from the

of the natural world’s most amazing

tavernas and vibrant life of Porto Heli. It’s the perfect base from which to explore the

phenomenon – the awesome annual

natural beauty, coastal pleasures and ancient heritage of the Peloponnese region.

migration of vast herds of wild animals. If you’re looking for a comfortable base to view this awesome event, we recommend Singita Serengeti House.

Designed for families and friends, the house is Singita’s response to a growing demand from travellers for privacy and flexibility. Offering thrilling game viewing and stunning accommodations, Amanzo’e

this new property has space for eight people in two suites in the main house

History and culture buffs will revel in the picturesque forests and coastlines, interspersed

and two further guest suites on either

with ancient ruins. Sun-lovers will enjoy the perfect Mediterranean climate with its clear

side of the main house, connected by

light and azure waters. And everyone will feel a deep sense of relaxation, brought on by

pathways from a central pool deck with

the sophisticated simplicity of the Aman style.

a 25-metre rim-flow lap pool.

While you’re in that part of the world, it would be a shame not to visit the newest addition to the Aman family. The Aman Grand Canal Venice is a boutique hotel that complements the unique splendours of Venice. The 24 suites feature historic frescos and artworks that will turn your Mediterranean holiday into a cultural highpoint.

Offering the convenience and luxury of a private lodge, Singita Serengeti House is your ideal introduction to African Aman Grand Canal Venice

wildlife with home comforts.

Luxury Preview Ying at Altira Macau: fine dining with a difference

Unique local experiences with Mövenpick



standards around the world, but the price can be a certain sameness everywhere from

Macau, situated a short distance from

Vancouver to Vietnam. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, the upscale hotel management

Hong Kong, offers no shortage of fine

company, has decided to challenge the status quo.




International hotels tend to operate to a template. This guarantees consistently high

dining options. One of the very finest is Ying at Altira Macau. The combination of superb Cantonese cuisine with the distinctive Portuguese influence is both subtle and unusual. Ying has a love affair with Iberico pork, as even their sweet and sour pork uses Iberico ham. It tastes as delightful as it sounds.

Feel like cooking authentic Thai food with a local chef in Phuket? What about exploring UAE cultural highlights and traditions? Or perhaps playing a lute in Vietnam with a Hanoi musician? Mövenpick’s Local Flair Getaway concept connects travellers with unique local experiences that are light years away from traditional tourist attractions. Every Local Flair Getaway experience includes room nights, special services and features experiences that are as unique as they are varied, from art, architecture and culture to cuisine, wildlife and history. We aren’t the only ones who were impressed.





Forbes Travel Guide unveiled its 55th annual listing of Star Award-winning Worldwide Hospitality Establishments. Altira Macau was among the world’s 76 Five-Star Hotels with this prestigious list featuring only five hotels from Macau.

Mumbai hotel lures world’s most awarded chef The name Joël Robuchon is one to conjure with. Along with culinary star Hide Yamamoto, he’s been lured to the Indian metropolis of Mumbai to open a restaurant in a stunning new 42-suite hotel.

Ying restaurant was also recommended in the prestigious Hong Kong Tatler’s Best Restaurants Guide.

Aloha Auckland! Hawaiian Airlines has now launched their non-stop service from Auckland to Honolulu. Their trans-Pacific and allow

The Aayu Mumbai will claim the top five floors of Kohinoor Square’s Central Tower, a

several convenient connections to and

50-storey commercial building in the city. Part of the GHM group, the all-suite hotel

throughout Hawai’i, as well as onward

overlooks Shivaji Park and offers views of the Arabian Sea to the west, and the island

to eleven gateway destinations in the

mainland to the east. The property is scheduled to open in December 2013.




United States.

High-rise views will be combined with a high standard of luxury. A library lounge and bar,

Hawaiian Airlines will operate three

cigar and cognac lounge and exclusive malt bar will occupy the 49th floor. The hotel’s spa

flights a week between Honolulu and

will be unmoored from a fixed location, with all treatments conducted in the guest’s room.

Auckland using an A330-200 aircraft.

We’re looking forward to seeing how the whole package comes together.


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Luxury Preview Boutique luxury in Berlin

Haute cuisine cruises

The German capital may be the best-kept travel secret in Europe. The home of a vibrant

We may have found the ultimate holiday

arts scene and some magnificent cultural attractions, it now has a boutique hotel that lives

for cruise lovers who also have gourmet

up to the destination.






exclusive Relais & Châteaux L’École des Chefs interactive cooking school in 2013. On 14 luxurious voyages across the globe, Chef David Bilsland will present a programme developed in collaboration with Jacques Thorel, a consulting Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux. The innovative programme – which is offered completely free of charge – provides guests with a special culinary curriculum including hands-on instruction.

Image courtesy of Design Hotels™

Called simply Das Stue, this member of the Design Hotels Group is a place where quality, heritage and contemporary design come together. Its 80 guestrooms are housed in the former Danish Embassy, which was constructed in the 1930s. As with all the best design hotels, the atmosphere is utterly unique, blending the solid structures of 20th Century German style with clean modern lines and colour palette. Every single room at Das Stue is an experience of its own. Some come with high ceilings, interconnected doors for families and friends, and attached balconies or terraces, while others feature organically curved bathtubs. Quite a few boast views overlooking the ostriches and gazelles of the Berlin Zoo. All rooms fuse furniture classics with contemporary design and sumptuous fabrics, creating an atmosphere of intimacy and mystique.

Highlights include workshops covering topics from basic knife skills and kitchen terminology to cooking demonstrations with





Q&A sessions. There are lively cooking competitions between Chef Bilsland and the ship’s own culinary team, a ‘Lunch and Learn’ event, and inspired ‘Take It Home’ recipes to give you an edge when entertaining. Also offered when the itinerary permits is a ‘Market to Plate’ experience that provides an escorted tour of a local market followed by a cooking class. With all that fine dining, it might pay to check out the on-board gym and exercise Image courtesy of Design Hotels™

options as well.

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Story: Timothy Giles


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Panoramic view of Telluride village and ski trails

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An instructor is advised, to find your ski-legs and to navigate this massive playground. With friends I valued the expertise of instructors, Jetta and Gerry, mountain veterans in their sixties who delighted in discussing between themselves which of the multitude of trails to take, as much as we enjoyed our first views from the mountain. The views are spectacular – the village is 2736m above sea level, with ridge runs almost a thousand metres higher. It was a particular pleasure to be coached and guided by gentler words of age rather than young-gun instructors easily frustrated by my middle-aged limitations. I stayed only four days, hardly long enough to pick a favourite run, spoilt for choice at this immense park centred on a quaint mountain village. Purpose built by the city, the whole village is practically ski-in, ski-out. Telluride’s corduroy runs

A short walk from the slopes, past instructor and hire centres, are

For a truly great experience it is worth going the extra mile and in

boutique providers for all a tiring skier needs – pizza, coffee, après-

Colorado that effort is richly rewarded. Air New Zealand Business

ski. Busiest is Goodys Creperie; blueberry pancakes morning and

Premier to San Francisco, it’s a quick transfer to the ‘Mile High

night. In a high-studded wooden building overlooking the village

City’, Denver.

ice rink where child-friendly activities occur most days, is my pick

Owned by the city and just over 100km from the airport is Winter Park, the oldest continually operated resort in Colorado. Hugely popular in Denver but very much a local secret, Winter Park is yet

for the best – The Cheeky Monk. Grab a pew and order some hearty bistro-food to match beers of Belgium, or as I did, one of many local craft brews fresh from tap or bottle.

to be discovered from further afield. Across four mountains, most

There are hotels in the village or Hotel Vintage is above the

significant being Winter Park and Mary Jane, are three thousand

bustle, a brief gondola ride away. I did cast an envious eye to

acres with every type of terrain for skiers, snowboarders and

guests of Zephyr Mountain Lodge, seen on my last run of the day

adaptive-skiers from expert to novice.

enjoying slopeside jacuzzi’s.

Winter Park is immense and never over-crowded. Even on a

You will envy no-one however if you have gone that extra mile

busy weekend the twenty-five lifts move us smoothly between

for your accommodation and carry on a few minutes past Winter

beginner slopes and the challenging moguls of Mary Jane that

Park and made your home at the exquisite Devil’s Thumb Ranch.

regularly attract the US Ski Team.

A working ranch stretching across 5000 acres, Devil’s Thumb

Annual snowfall is over eight metres and combined with three

offers luxury accommodation, in a setting of rare beauty on a

hundred days of sunshine this sustains a season from November

ranch established in the early 1900s. The Continental Divide

to April. My March stay is gloriously warm and the locals tell me

dominates everything here, a towering line of rugged peaks

the late-season is particularly blessed.

majestically define the region and encircle this alpine playground.


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The alpine playground at Devil’s Thumb Ranch

I will choose Devil’s Thumb Ranch for my next Winter Park stay. The lodge has single and multi-room suites, in rustic earthy tones with warm comfort to balance the rugged outdoor surrounds. For privacy or to feel close to nature, choose the forest-clad cabins on a low-ridge a few hundred metres off from the lodge. The finest dining for miles is at the memorable Ranch House Restaurant. My ski instructors acclaimed it the region’s best, serving “New American Mountain Cuisine – which means real food, cooked with real ingredients. Organic and locally grown whenever we can.” It is superb, as is the wine list with great wines of the world and the USA. Book for Wednesday when every wine is half-price. Do the degustation menu, truly fine dining. Architecturally the features are sustainably built, with details of handcraft construction, like the hand-stacked two-storey, sixsided stone fireplace, centre-piece of the craft-brew bar and bistro Heck’s restaurant. A restored civil-war era barn hosts large functions; and another features in the new High Lonesome Lodge due for completion for next year’s ski season. Bookings are being taken. Outdoors the ranch really comes into its own. Breathtaking cross-country ski-trails, snowshoe treks, with the guides and instructors to show how, a heated outdoor pool, snow-swept jacuzzi and fitness centre.

Heck’s fireplace at Devil’s Thumb Ranch

the sole drawback of Devil’s Thumb Ranch. I came to ski, but once settled was reluctant to take the complimentary skishuttle to Winter Park, preferring to stay home, home on the ranch. But Colorado has many hidden attractions and by going a few extra miles, I found another luxurious treat, at distant Telluride. I took a shuttle driven by an Elvis fan, who played seven continuous

Rivaling the beauty of the trails are ranch-based activities; horse-

hours of ‘Elvis Radio’ broadcasting live from Graceland. The

treks, riding lessons and time with Garth, the most soft-hearted

ideal soundtrack for journeying to this remote corner of

of working cowboys. Take the sleigh ride, the bells jingle as he

southern Colorado.

softly instructs the heaving flanks of huge powerful horses to walk on. A surge of raw horsepower carries us into the snow, sleigh laden with guests amongst hay-bales to feed a beautiful array of horses and donkeys, all hoof deep in snow. These are working animals (with a few retirees) bred, bought or dearest to Garth’s heart, rescued from torment, distress or neglect.

Telluride is a picturesque memorial to America’s West. Here in 1889 Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank (for US$24,000) attracted by a boom that founded the town in 1876, the year after its first mining claim. That bank still stands in the town’s main street that, thanks to local heritage values, looks much as it did back then. A town tour is highly recommended, as is a guided

The outdoor beauty, animal interaction and the unique

snow-ski adventure above and beyond the settlement to truly

chance to hear the life philosophy of a cowboy encapsulated

take in Telluride’s beauty.

Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource. John Ls’ Wine Cellar Private Dining Room at Devil’s Thumb Ranch



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Skiing at Winter Park

Pretty as it is, this is hard-country, a box canyon, framed on three sides by towering slopes. Up the highest slope a free Gondola runs daily from 7am to midnight, connecting Telluride to Mountain Village, a purpose-built winter wonderland 2900m above sea-level. Here I stayed at the sumptuous Hotel Madeline, with ski-in, ski-out ease in a picture-perfect village. Competing for a luxury stay is boutique Lumière Telluride and yet higher up is Mountain Lodge Telluride, alpine themed hotel/lodge/cabin accommodation with an inviting slope-side pool and jacuzzi. One hundred and twenty seven trails span 2000 acres of ski terrain, serviced by nineteen lifts. Even at their busiest there’s only just minutes of waiting to ride rapidly to the expert-only

Vino Alpino welcome at Telluride

ridge-top bowls, challenging mogul runs down into Telluride, or the gentle, Galloping Goose where even timid beginners enjoy a serene seven-kilometre run of sweeping tree-framed views past enviable holiday homes, owned by the likes of Tom and Jerry (that’s Cruise and Seinfeld). The refined tastes of the super-wealthy are evident in Telluride’s astonishingly good on-mountain hospitality. Atop the mountain (3656m) is Alpino Vino winebar, a wee chalet seating just fifty for rustic European fare and a wide-ranging wine list. I was tempted to stay for a glass or two more than was wise, given the descent that followed. If you enjoy wine, book for lunch, it’s a special place. A little down the mountain is the aptly named Bon Vivant. Locals call this roofless French-bistro, ‘après-ski’, but this far up the

Telluride and goodwill. I did so with my new friends George, a stetson-wearing Dallas rancher and his beautiful artist wife, Bonnie. They are dedicated Telluride fans, visiting annually and pressed me for a promise to meet them there again. Heading home, I settled into Air New Zealand’s warm, Kiwi welcome and a glass of Cloudy Bay 2006 Chardonnay (yes 2006 and drinking perfectly!). In ski-recovery, Business Premier, I pondered that promise. It’ll be easy to keep. Little known and more precious than the minerals that made its name, Telluride is worth every extra mile it takes to get there. Ski Colorado soon, let the West win you over.

mountain it is mid-ski. Serving only French wines, it is F for France and fun, seated beneath powerful heaters at tables surrounding a large oval bar. Quite literally the height of hedonism.

Getting There: Air New Zealand operates daily direct services to Los

Deciding where to take your pleasure is Telluride’s only vexation.

Angeles and direct services to San Francisco between

Hotel Madeline offers the finest food and wine in the village,

5-7 times per week, with connections to other points in

making home hard to leave.

the USA with partner airlines. Return economy fares start

But make time for Telluride itself, a morning stretch at the Yoga

from NZ$1917. For best available fares visit

Centre before breakfast at a main-road eatery, coffee at The or contact United Travel.

Steaming Bean – a hub of local news, or later in the day Between

About Colorado Ski Country:

the Covers, a small café behind the excellent bookstore where I

Colorado Ski Country USA is home to 21 of the

did my gift shopping. Après-ski at the Cosmopolitan then on to

USA’s top ski and snowboard mountains. For further

Floradora’s saloon for well-priced American cuisine or authentic

information visit,

Italian food (and staff) at Telluride’s largest eatery Rustico. and

See out your night at the New Sheridan Bar, first opened in 1896

and largely unchanged since – the perfect historic spot to toast

Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource. Winter Park Village


Rainbows in


Story: Paul Rush In multi-faceted, multi-cultural India the most vivid impression you get is of pervasive, mind-blowing colour. Somu displays all the finesse of a safe, professional driver, for which I’m very relieved, given the unmitigated chaos and confusion that surrounds us as we try to escape Delhi. We skilfully weave around a motorised tuk-tuk on our left with barely half-a-metre clearance, while a fruit seller pushing an unwieldy wooden cart shouts at us on our right – and it was definitely not a friendly ‘Namaste’. By the time I turn back to the front, I find myself straining against the seat belt as Somu stands on the brakes. “Sorry about that,” he says politely in crisp, clear English. “There’s a Brahman cow lying in the middle of the road.” At that moment I see a motor scooter. It flashes past our car and squeezes between the cow and a stationary truck with consummate skill. It’s packed with five riders; a man, a woman and three children. I’m impressed with the undoubted economy of this mode of family transport but even more with the brilliant, dazzling pink silk sari the woman is wearing. The vivid colour stands out in the bright Indian sunlight like a shimmering beacon in the drab, swirling miasma of unrelenting, unregimented traffic. The sari is edged in a soft blue pattern and


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the skirt billows out behind the scooter like a bullfighter’s cape. The woman’s black hair is enveloped in a white veil and her arms are bare save for a stack of gold bangles that jiggle up and down. As we finally clear the outskirts of the city, Somu is able to relax a little and maintain steady progress over a reasonably smooth highway. “To drive safely in India you need three things,” he tells me. “A good horn, good brakes and good luck.” My tour of Rajasthan is planned to take in Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Rohetgarh and Udaipur. This is a circuit of Royal Rajasthan, as these cities are all capitals of former princely states that ceded their powers to the central government in 1947 when independence was gained. They are all justifiably proud of their formidable fortresses and fairy-tale castles, many of which are now serving as museums and luxury hotels. We pass a number of small towns where I catch a thousand glimpses of rainbow-coloured saris and glittering gold jewellery. I sense that people here have an enduring passion for decoration. Somu identifies the bright, block-printed headscarves as ‘odhinis’ and the delicately embroidered leather shoes as ‘jootis’. When we stop at a tourist bazaar I notice how colourful the arts and crafts are, especially the hand-woven carpets, which are both decorative and functional. I learn of the cherished tradition of deriving colours from natural sources: yellow from turmeric, green from banana leaves, orange from saffron, blue from indigo and purple from the Kermes insect. Emerging from the muted tones of the desert highway and its dusty crowded towns into the brilliant reflected glory of Agra’s Taj Mahal, entails a massive culture shock. This marble monument to Shah Jahan’s love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is almost too magnificent to exist in an imperfect world. It’s like a painted landscape that’s somehow made real, a vision of symmetry with impossibly delicate and beautiful designs. The road to Jaipur is lined with pilgrims. The men stride purposefully along the dusty verge proudly holding aloft their district flag. The heavily-veiled women move more circumspectly, seeming to float in slow motion as if carried along by their flowing red, orange and yellow saris. I find this bewildering as they are carrying overnight bags on their heads, while the men are completely unburdened. Amber Fort in Jaipur is a study of power and position. The honeycoloured citadel rises from a steeply-sloping ridge to soaring watchtowers and battlements. I mount a richly caparisoned elephant adorned with garish body paint and ride up to the fort to view its lavish Maharajahs’ private quarters and the still-glittering Hall of Mirrors. My ‘Western’ eyes are slowly focusing on the incredible creativeness and strength of character of the Indian people. I’m gaining enlightenment.

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Jaisalmer, the ‘Golden City’, has an equally impressive fort rising

dabs a red paste dot on my forehead. With all the chilli-spiced

defiantly from the dun-coloured desert sand dunes, a vision of

food, the heat, grandeur and colours, I’m feeling quite flushed,

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. This giant sandcastle has one

but it’s all good karma just being in India.

quarter of the city’s population living within its castellated walls. It’s India’s last living medieval fort town. I wander through the warren-like bazaars and meet several members of the Jaisalmer New Zealand Cricket Club who wear Kiwi symbols on their shirts.

It does not take long for this country to grow on you. Colour flows out of a pantheon of forts, palaces and temples, which embrace every visitor. I soon experience the warmth of that embrace and begin to feel that I’m part of India and India is part of me.

As we enter the bustling ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur under the protective gaze of Mehrangarh Fort, I see the usual street scenes of massed pilgrims, donkeys yoked to heavy carts and holy men

Getting There:

sitting cross-legged on steps waiting to give blessings and advice.

Cathay Pacific has daily flights from Auckland to New Delhi.

It would be hard to imagine a more romantic setting than the

Getting Around:

picture-perfect, wedding-cake Lake Palace in Udaipur. Lake Pichola is the centrepiece of a series of mirror-surfaced lakes with beautiful reflections of palaces and wooded hills. Once more I lay my head on a feather-soft pillow and sleep as soundly as a Maharajah in a luxury palace hotel.

Adventure World organises small group tours around Rajasthan in modern vehicles with local guides at each city to show you the sightseeing highlights such as palaces, forts, temples, gardens and produce markets. Carry a good supply of lower denomination currency (10, 20 and 50 rupees) as tipping is widely practised in India. For more

Out on the streets I meet a stall owner who decides that I should

information about tours or to make a booking, please

try a red turban on my head. Miraculously the headwear seems

contact United Travel.

to give me a new persona. Later, an enthusiastic saddhu priest


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Clockwise from top left: Jaisalmer Fort at sunset; Amber Palace in Jaipur; ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur; Lake Palace in Udaipur

Cruise & Rail Australia Cruise onboard Celebrity Solstice® from Auckland to the Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Fjordland National Park including Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds then across the Tasman Sea to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Esperance before disembarking in Fremantle. Spend two nights in Perth before crossing Australia by rail onboard the Indian Pacific to Sydney via Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill.

From Sea to Outback 23 nights & flights from




per person share twin – balcony grade

Cruise departs Auckland 03 February 2014

Includes: • • • • • • •

18 night cruise onboard Celebrity Solstice® Main meals and entertainment onboard Port charges, taxes and gratuities onboard Transfer from Fremantle port to hotel 2 nights accommodation in Perth 3 night Indian Pacific rail journey in a Gold Service Sleeper Cabin Meals and beverages including soft drinks, beers, high quality standard wines and base spirits onboard the Indian Pacific • Off-train excursions in Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill • One way ‘The Works’ airfare flying Air New Zealand from Sydney to Auckland

0800 538 727

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*Terms and Conditions. Special Conditions apply. Sales end 30 Aug 2013 unless sold out prior. Price is per person share twin in a Balcony Cabin category 1C onboard Celebrity Solstice & Gold Service Twin Sleeper onboard Indian Pacific & is subject to availability. A non-refundable deposit of $1300pp is due within 3 days of booking (by midday). Airfare payment & ticketing is due within 7 days of booking. Travel agent service fees are not included. Prices are correct at the time of printing & are subject to change without notice. Cancellation fees apply. Price is based on consecutive nights. Offers valid for new bookings only. Events beyond our control such as currency fluctuations may result in price variations. Capacity is limited and may not be available on all dates. Prices are based on payment by cash or cheque only. Product is supplied by reputable suppliers with their own terms & conditions, please contact your local United Travel.

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Londolozi Private Granite Suite Outdoor Bath

The Imperial New Delhi, India Story: Paul Rush Staying in New Delhi’s most luxurious hotel with its bespoke service with a regal flourish can be likened to living like a Maharajah. I watch the sun rise out of the morning mist from my hotel window. It gently touches the cupolas and copper domes of Delhi’s neoclassical buildings with creeping fingers of gold. Today I could go sightseeing and take in some of the old grandeur of the city’s blushing pink mosques, massive red fort ruins and bizarre Moghul tombs. But it’s hot and dusty in the streets and I’m enjoying the comfort of a fine hotel. The Delhi Imperial scooped the pool as the number one Indian Hotel in the 2011 World Luxury Hotel Awards. This sort of pedigree encourages me to have a look around and feel the ambiance of The Grand Old Lady. The Imperial authentically embodies the essence of The Raj Period. In a very real sense it is a living museum with three art galleries and priceless artefacts on display.


Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource. The Spice Route

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The Imperial, New Delhi at a glance Category: City hotel replete with heritage. Room reviewed: Imperial Room.

The first thing I notice is an unmistakable

I choose the San Gimignano Restaurant

jasmine fragrance wafting through the

for lunch and enjoy its gourmet fare. The

foyer and atriums. Then there are the

specialty Italian flavours are wonderful,

effusive smiles and gracious bows of the

especially the risotto, prawns, cheeses,

hostesses in the dazzling pink and blue

chocolate desert and the premium wines

silk saris accessorised with gold bangles

and grappa. I note with satisfaction that

and rings. The doormen salute guests

New Zealand lamb is featured on the menu.

with military precision and sport crisp handlebar moustaches to set off their orange turbans and flowing white robes.

teenagers. They are now 85-years-old. You can’t buy brand loyalty like that. “The

playful dose of informal art deco added

Imperial is a one-off hotel, like the Ritz,

as the hotel was completed in 1936. The

recognised around the world as one of the

concept of East meets West comes to

best,” he tells me. “Our staff have every

mind as I examine the nostalgic paintings,

detail of your stay meticulously planned.”

while surrounded by modern design flair.

Editor’s tip: Try the specialties in each of the restaurants – they cover the whole world of gourmet cuisine. Ask for a guided tour of the art galleries – it’s a great insight into the days of the British Raj. Website: Rate: Deco Room from NZ$430 per night. Imperial Room from NZ$600 per night.

the Asian spice route, the 1911, which

manor house. I might well be in Downton

pays tribute to the milestone of 1911

Abbey. There are fine pieces of Burma

when New Delhi emerged as the imperial

teak and rosewood furniture, London

capital of India and Daniell’s Tavern, which

tableware, Italian marble floors, Florentine

offers a fine dining experience.

fountains and the very best of Indian cabinet making.

Overall, a stay at The Imperial feels like living in another world – a journey

The hotel has 233 guestrooms and mine is

back in time with nostalgia, opulence

a study of French elegance coupled with

and seamless service. It’s a complete

rich Indian heritage, high ceilings, a marble

destination in itself, having played host to

bath and finely-crafted furniture. The

business barons, royalty and politicians.

beautiful marble bath has a hand shower and Fragonard bathroom products. Other features include high speed WIFI and dual phone line with data port. There is a view over the city skyline and to the lush green

Room size Room interior Overall service Food & beverage Hotel pool Business needs Recreational facilities Spa facilities Value for money


other restaurants: The Spice Bar, which takes diners on a culinary journey through

the bustling metropolis outside.

Imperial elegance.

provides a global range of cuisine in three

the aura of an early 19th Century English

coolness that offers complete privacy from


In a city that loves food, The Imperial

The atrium and art gallery rooms have

gardens of the hotel, an oasis of calm and Location

as a group of friends since they were

Victorian and old colonial design with a

from the heady days of the British Raj,

What’s not so great? Let down only by the road noise coming over the perimeter wall into the pool and outside dining area.

six local men have been meeting here

The interior is a luxurious blend of

lithographs, sculptures and intricate murals

What’s great? City centre location, spacious rooms, exemplary service, art galleries, heritage artefacts and outstanding cuisine selection.

The restaurant manager tells me that

Verandah Lounge

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Relaxing in the Atrium, I savour the thought that I’ve clinked my glass of wine on the same table as the viceroys and Indian royalty in the days of the Raj. It’s a true taste of imperial elegance, which guarantees a memorable stay.

Cherish life’s special moments Discover a collection of irresistible, intriguing and indulgent escapes selectively located throughout Australia and New Zealand. From country estates to beachside resorts, each has its own individual charm and character. Luxuriously appointed resorts are a haven for the family with chic leisure facilities in popular holiday destinations. While our elegant and iconic retreats are filled with romance, ideal for an intimate escape. Whether you are getting away to relax and unwind or to create unforgettable memories with the family, you’re invited to cherish every moment with Peppers. RESORT ESCAPES Everything a resort should be, Peppers modern and iconic resorts are located in the best destinations. On tropical islands, overlooking magnificent beaches, lakes, harbours and golf links, from the far north of Queensland, down the central coast of New South Wales, dotted around Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand. BOUTIQUE RETREATS Every Peppers Retreat is indulgent and completely unique, each location somewhere desirable and relaxing to be. Tucked in the hinterland of Queensland, on country estates in renowned produce regions through New South Wales and Victoria, mineral and volcanic spa retreats, overlooking vineyards and alpine vistas in Australia and New Zealand.

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‘Jewels’ on toast from Beauty & Essex

Story: Melanie Hawkins

Eat Chic New York Choosing where to eat out in New York can be a daunting task especially with so many places to choose from. I had just three nights so my selection had to be fine-tuned and not left up to chance. I knew that both the trendy established restaurants as well as the newly opened ones are often booked out far in advance, even on week nights. I wanted to secure my table early and luckily the popular restaurants offer an online booking service that is available one month in advance. This worked out well from my perspective.

Night #1: The Standard Grill 848 Washington Street, Meatpacking District Inside The Standard Hotel, this restaurant offers American Traditional fare in a humming environment. All types of people come here from families to celebrities. There are two parts to the restaurant – the front street-side café and bar is white and bright, while in contrast the main dining room is more intimate with red leather booths hugging the walls, dark wood, ambient lighting and a floor paved in copper pennies. Sydney was our waitress for the evening. She explained the extensive menu, which spoils you for choice. From the Raw Bar selection of fresh oysters, lobster, sea urchin and clams through to the Main Courses and Signature Grill selection, it was a difficult decision – and there was still dessert to consider! Executive Chef Dan Silverman sources local ingredients wherever possible and the restaurant has ownership in a sustainable farm up state from where the bulk of their produce comes from. The cuisine style is hearty and genuine with decadent elements, but without being pretentious.


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We agreed that a taste from the Raw Bar was in order and soon devoured a plate of lobster and oysters accompanied by palatable cocktails entitled ‘Penny Drop’ and ‘Fleur de Lis’. The ‘High Line Fling’ punch also looked delicious with Champagne, orange liqueur, grapefruit and lavender. My seared black Sea Bass with sautéed fennel, almonds, raisins and carrot-cumin foam sauce was perfectly cooked with the flavours tantalising my tastebuds. The cumin was so subtle and worked perfectly with the fish. The large sesame crusted diver scallops served with spring onions, cherry tomatoes and an avocado remoulade were equally divine. Feeling replete but knowing we couldn’t leave without a sweet sample, we eyed the menu once again. The selection felt allAmerican with the likes of Banoffee pie, warm apple tart, sour cream cheesecake and warm chocolate chip cookies. They all looked amazing but the lighter mille crêpe caught my eye accompanied by a dessert cocktail. The crêpe served with Grand Marnier bavarian cream and orange-vanilla reduction was just the right amount of sweet to round off a wonderfully indulgent evening.

Night #2 Beauty & Essex 146 Essex Street, Lower East Side Arriving at Beauty & Essex you could be mistaken for thinking you had got the address wrong. The bright sign above confirms what I am looking to find but below it is a pawn shop, not the restaurant I was expecting. Oh well, I’m in New York where anything and everything happens so I head on in and take it from there. I’m directed to the door on the far wall, which opens to reveal an

amazing juxtaposition. It’s then that the penny drops and I realise the shop front is actually a ruse. Feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland, I’ve arrived at what appears to be ‘New York cool’. It’s still early and this place is packed. There are so many aspects to Beauty & Essex that it’s hard to take it all in. There are a myriad of spaces to be wined and dined – bar areas, private spaces, even the female bathroom is embellished with an elaborate sofa and Champagne bar serving complimentary bubbles. A little party was well underway during our visit. We took the grand staircase to the second level and were seated in the Locket Room. As the name suggests, beautiful ornate lockets adorn the walls against a backdrop of antique frames. An elegant waitress took our order, which included whipped ricotta and sweet eggplant ‘jewels’ on toast, tuna wonton tacos with micro cilantro, radish, wasabi kewpie and oven braised chicken meatballs with sheep’s milk ricotta and wild mushroom truffle.

The Standard Grill

Celebrity Chef Chris Santos’ tantalising ‘new American’ style menu has been designed for sharing with a whimsical flair. This is definitely a place to visit – bookings are essential.

Night #3: Spice Market 403 West 13th Street (corner of 9th Avenue), Meatpacking District Arriving here is like being transported back to South East Asia in a time past. It has a buzzing and welcoming vibe and the décor is incredible, with exotic wooden pagodas, screens, artifacts and rich fabrics, you could easily forget that you are dining in New York.

The food is fresh, authentic and the service is fast. Chef JeanGeorges Vongerichten’s menu offers a mix of inspired street food from across the South East Asian region, that’s perfect for sharing. We opted for the tasting menu to get a real sense of the mix of flavours. Salmon sashimi with golden garlic and lemon soy along with shaved tuna chilli tapioca, asian pear and lime set the stage – the dishes are so much more captivating than their modest descriptions suggest. This is one to enjoy at leisure. Then after dark…

The Top of The Standard 848 Washington Street, Meatpacking District Also known as the ‘Boom Boom Room’ this penthouse lounge is located in The Standard Hotel, although not owned by the hotel. Guests are granted discretionary entry early in the evening before access is restricted to VIPs. Sleekly dressed hostesses glide past offering table service, while we take a seat at the circular bar and watch the barmen in white double-breasted suit jackets conjure up signature cocktails. The plush sophisticated surrounds could be straight out of a James Bond movie – this is New York high class.

Little Branch 22 7th Avenue (between Carmine & Leroy Streets), West Village With its inconspicuous entrance and telltale line of people waiting to enter, this tiny cocktail jazz bar is a must-visit. The drinks here are delicious and strong and the bartender’s choice is always recommended.

Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource. Beauty & Essex


The Greenwich Hotel New York, USA

New York is an incredible city – mind-blowing in fact. So when I came across The Greenwich Hotel tucked away in the chic suburb of TriBeCa in Lower Manhattan, I knew staying here would be a welcome escape from the hectic parts of the city where I had stayed before. The neighbourhood of TriBeCa is a mix of heritage brick and modern façades, with government offices rubbing shoulders with luxury apartments. Some of the city’s best schools are also located here so it has seen an influx of families to the area in recent times. The esteemed actor Robert De Niro has been active in this neighbourhood – founding the Tribeca Film Festival, co-owning trendy restaurants and is also behind the creation of The Greenwich Hotel. The hotel was originally an old car park that has been transformed with a red brick exterior and comfortably ecclectic interior. Feelings of calm and restfulness wash over and as you begin to settle in, you can really appreciate the warmth that this true gem of a hotel has created. The Greenwich is home to 88 guestrooms and suites. Each is different, giving a sense of character to the property and an element of surprise for repeat guests. You can sense that the owners have a passion for beautiful and interesting things and have furnished each room with a considerate sense of style that contrasts the usual hotel model.


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The Drawing Room

There is a mix of antique, contemporary,

in-room sauna. The bathroom is dignified

A ‘Bamboo Glow’ will leave your skin

quirky and period pieces from all over the

with Italian Cararra marble, Lefroy Brooks

feeling firm and regenerated after a

world that somehow work so naturally

hand-crafted ornate tapware and a deep

bamboo and gingergrass scrub, yuzu sea

together. Books are also an ever-present

soak bath complete with Red Flower

algae wash and massage infused with

feature, covering all genres. One could

amenities – organic and botanically based

bergamot, vetiver and Japanese lime.

easily get lost in the drawing room on the

body-care. I’m tempted to stay in and not

While a ‘Drunken Lotus’ treatment using

comfortable leather sofas, just reading

explore the city.

massage oil infused with cucumber and

the day away, with dappled light filtering through the greenery from the adjacent







courtyard and the wood-burning fire

masterpiece of this hotel really is the

crackling in the background.




jojoba plus hot sake-soaked towels will increase circulation and eliminate toxins – ideal for jet-lag or after a big night out.

pool that sits underneath a 250-year old

Locanda Verde restaurant adjoins the

Japanese farmhouse that was transported

hotel and is also accessed internally.

to the site and re-built by craftsmen to its

Headed up by Chef and owner Andrew

original state. Extraordinary!

Carmellini, it is a popular drinking and

was well-sized with a personable sitting

The pool is part of the Shibui Spa. True to

On the menu are a delectable range of

area complete with French Balcony doors

its philosophy of balance, the spa offers

pasta dishes including Girondole with

opening to the leafy courtyard below.

treatments that reflect the seasons and


the yearning to find equilibrium in our

duck sausage. For the main course be

busy lives. They say, “to enter Shibui is to

tempted with the likes of steamed red

be embraced by wood, water and stone”,

snapper with clams, fennel and a sorrel

beautiful Duxiana beds from Sweden. An

with treatments that have a reverence


iPad for connecting with the world and

for nature. Dedicated therapists perform

veal with creamy polenta, sofritto and

an iPod pre-loaded with a tasteful music


chanterelle mushrooms.

selection are all there to finish the story. I

massage and body treatments using high-

instantly felt like a personal guest.

grade, plant-based products.

The complimentary snack and amenity

Try a ‘Peach Leaf Bath’ in Spring to

distinctly unique establishment, and I for

basket plus non-alcoholic mini-bar drinks

draw out impurities or soak in ‘White

one am glad that I experienced its charm,

are a point of difference, as is the private

Lotus Milk’ to calm your mind and spirit.

warmth and effortless hospitality.

The guestrooms follow a similar theme. The heavy dark wood door of my Studio Suite opened into a little passage bordered by an ornate armoire. The suite

Appealing to the eye, eggshell blue and brown was the colour theme with English leather mixing with Tibetan silk rugs and


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dining spot, so reservations are essential.









Everything considered, The Greenwich Hotel certainly sets itself apart as a

The Greenwich Hotel, New York at a glance Category: City hotel. Suite reviewed: Studio Suite.

What’s great? The personality and character of the hotel that is so different to the usual. The sense of calm you feel in the city that never sleeps. The pool and spa are also a highlight. What’s not so great? Nothing to say here – loved everything about this hotel with a difference. Editor’s tip: Request a room that faces into the leafy courtyard. Stay for as long as you can and plan some downtime to enjoy your room and the hotel. Website: Rate: Courtyard room from NZ$650 per night. Studio Suite from NZ$1500 per night. Reservations: For more information or enquiries please call United Travel on 0800 15 80 80.

Location Suite size Suite interior Overall service Food & beverage Hotel pool Business needs Recreational facilities Spa facilities Value for money


Inner city oasis.

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The Standard High Line New York, USA Driving through the Meatpacking District of New York’s Manhattan well after midnight, you get a real feel for this trendy and popular area. It’s where the wellheeled and the high-heeled teeter along cobblestoned streets as they move between the fashionable nightspots located here. Arriving at The Standard High Line, you could be mistaken for thinking you had arrived at one of those nightspots, for the place was teaming with people. This hotel really comes into its own at night. Through a bright yellow archway that houses a large revolving door, the funky black and grey lobby is revealed. The way to the lifts changes from day to night with concealed walls that appear and later disappear so you can feel a bit disorientated at first but that’s all part of the changing persona of the hotel. There are lots of design features throughout the hotel like the lattice dividers in the lobby and the columns of light suspended from the ceiling in the lift foyer. Entering the lift you’re in for an eccentric ride with a transcendental video that progresses from fiery visuals through


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Hotel foyer


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Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource.


The Standard, High Line at a glance

to floaty heavenly scenes, all set to Jean

There is a wide range of places to wine

Michel Jarre-style music.

and dine on the street level including the

Entering Category: City hotel. Room reviewed: Deluxe King.





noticeable features include the floor-toceiling windows over-looking the Husdon River and the honey-coloured wood paneling that runs up the wall behind the







the truly spectacular panoramic view. As

while resting the legs after an intense day

the sun sets and the night slides in, Le

of shopping.

Bain’s discotheque down one level heats up with DJ pumping tunes and a dance floor that converts into a plunge pool!

heavy industry, lumber yards, turpentine

The Standard High Line is also a popular












abattoirs and meat packing plants – hence

fashion shows, as well as cocktail parties,

the name. The striking Standard High

seated dinners, lectures and screenings.

Line building straddles the raised High

And their own ice skating rink is a

Line urban walkway, formally the central

highlight during the winter months. All in

railroad, which has been transformed into

all The Standard Highline is a great hotel

a stunning structure that combines art

for when you really want to feel part of

installations and magnificent planting.

the New York action.

Editor’s tip: Be sure to visit Le Bain’s rooftop bar and Top of the Standard (not owned by the hotel but located in the building) and get two New York experiences that you’ll never forget. Website: Rate: Deluxe King from NZ$880 per night. Standard Queen from NZ$580 per night. Reservations: For more information or enquiries please call United Travel on 0800 15 80 80.

Location Room size Room interior Overall service level Food & beverage Business needs Recreational facilities Value for money


a kitch rooftop bar and creperie complete

is a welcome spot for afternoon drinks,

What’s not so great? There were parts of the hotel that were feeling a bit worn but I’ve been told that since our stay several renovation projects are underway.


Heading up to the top floors, Le Bain is

bed and over the ceiling. The sitting area

Hudson River, this area has been home to

What’s great? Definitely the location and being part of the New York trend set.

The Standard Plaza, for alfresco dining.

cushions for lounging on while taking in

In a past life, with its location close to the

The Standard Grill

relaxed Biergarten, The Standard Grill and

On the pulse – NYC hip style.

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Leading Personal Stylist Jackie O’Fee from personal style consultancy, Signature Style brings us her extensive fashion knowledge and expertise.


LUXURY TAKES NEW YORK The top trends at New York Fashion Week have everything to do with luxurious textures, military details, and ‘90s references, all glammed up with understated gold pieces and a touch of Vintage. Take on a vintage look with Karen Walker’s ‘Northern Lights’ eyewear. RRP NZ$349

Inspired by the famous 007 Bond Girls OPI’s new Liquid Sand range has a matte-textured sparkle finish. Colour choices include: Honey Rider, Jinx, and Vesper. RRP NZ$24.90

Turn heads on Fifth Ave with these stunning, hand-etched pieces from the Marco Bicego ‘Africa’ collection available from Orsini. 18k gold necklace RRP NZ$7990 and double drop earrings RRP NZ$995.

This genuine Mooi ‘Jem’ leather pouch with ‘hairon’ is perfect as an evening clutch, or an iPad cover. RRP NZ$120

Keep your eyes looking and feeling great with the latest Collagen Eye Roll-On from Thalgo. RRP NZ$79

Professional Liquid Gloss from Sebastian will de-frizz and leave a luminous shine and finish to your tresses. RRP NZ$40

Arrive in style with Adrienne Winkelmann’s luxury made-to-measure cashmere and fur jacket (RRP NZ$2399), velvet skirt (RRP NZ$899) and hand-made shoes by Luciano Padovan (RRP NZ$789), a popular choice for red carpet events. Vintage gloves and sunglasses are model’s own.

Sip on a classic Manhattan Cocktail to complete the look.

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For more information visit


Luxury Insider A word with Jacqui Spice No one answered the phone. The local hospitality industry was busy focusing on backpackers, skiing and bungee jumps. I started Touch of Spice in September 2005 as a luxury travel concierge service. The aim was to provide unique, tailored experiences with 24/7 service all year round. Touch of Spice Director Jacqui Spice

10 years working as a Chief Stewardess and Purser on superyachts around the world gave Jacqui Spice a real insight into the kind of experiences sought by high-end travellers. When she visited Queenstown on her holidays she couldn’t find anyone providing that kind of luxury service. So she started her own company – Touch of Spice – to provide it. LUXURY: How did Touch of Spice come about? JS: I was working on the launch of a new hotel in Queenstown and kept meeting wealthy international clients on holiday. Some of them owned beautiful properties in Queenstown but they told me they couldn’t get anything done after 5pm or on the weekends.


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LUXURY: How would you define luxury? JS: Luxury is about time and experiences. Our clients are busy people so we give them the time to enjoy themselves without being bothered about the details and mechanics of travel. Our staff are available round the clock, 365 days of the year. Whatever the request, “No” is never an answer. We use our imagination and contacts to arrange the impossible. LUXURY: So it’s not necessarily about the property? JS: All our properties are world-class but Touch of Spice goes further to provide that extra level of luxury. We find out what our clients are interested in and create unique itineraries with experiences you can’t find anywhere else. For example, it might be arranging for Josh Emett to cook freshly caught crayfish for you at the water’s edge of a luxury lodge.

View of Queenstown from Ekara House

LUXURY: What’s one of the more unusual requests your

LUXURY: What are your criteria for accepting a property

concierge service has dealt with?

into your portfolio?

JS: We had a client who wanted to propose to his girlfriend in

JS: It needs to be a very high-end home in an outstanding location

Queenstown. We set up everything with a beautiful property and

with views. Many of our properties have won architectural or

private chef, but then Queenstown was snowed in and the airport was closed. So we arranged for a limousine in Christchurch to meet their flight and drive them down to Queenstown. They arrived at 3am to a roaring fire, and the weekend went ahead as planned. LUXURY: Tell us about the properties in your portfolio. JS: We started as a personal concierge service and soon realised that a lot of our clients in Queenstown owned magnificent properties that were only being used for a few weeks or months each year. They were interested in making their beautiful homes available to selected guests. That was the start of our Private Villa Collection. We have built up a portfolio of exclusive properties

design awards. It can be a stylish modern home, or a character property that’s been carefully modernised to the highest standards. Basically, everything has to work like new and look good all the time. Our clients will accept nothing less. LUXURY: How do you guarantee the same high standards at your overseas properties? JS: We are very careful about who we work with. We always work with someone we know and we need to be sure they will provide a personalised service. We will arrange a trusted guide or concierge to travel with the client and make sure everything is taken care of.

around New Zealand, and we also work with partners who have

LUXURY: Who is your typical client?

similar properties overseas. These are hidden gems that are not

JS: Someone with high disposable income who’s interested in

available on the open market – you can only stay in them with

travel and loves to visit new places with their family. They tend

Touch of Spice.

to be time-poor so the whole experience has to be seamless.

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They want something that’s memorable for all the right reasons. A lot of our clients come from Australia and the United States as well as expats based in Singapore or Hong Kong. We are also finding that more and more New Zealanders are starting to travel this way. At the same time, we cater for the corporate and incentive market. This might be a group over from Australia, looking for a travel experience that’s out of the ordinary. LUXURY: What do your customers expect in terms of luxury? JS: The expectation is that they shouldn’t want for anything. Everything’s been thought of – that’s our job. We need to cover all the bases and be on call at any time. LUXURY: What’s the future of luxury travel? JS: It’s a rapidly growing market with huge potential. Many people see the opportunities developing with China, as wealthy people start to travel more to our part of the world. Chinese customers have a tremendous expectation of hotel accommodation with the most expensive wines, the most valuable art, and so on. New Zealand can’t always compete on these terms so we have to focus on delivering outstanding service and making the most of our natural assets. LUXURY: Tell us about your sponsorship of the Millennium Cup Regatta. JS: Touch of Spice is a Gold Sponsor so we take care of all the event management, gala dinners and dock parties. The next Regatta will be in 2014 and we’re very excited about it. If Team New Zealand could bring the America’s Cup back to Auckland, that would be even more wonderful. Imagine the opportunities with all those superyacht owners descending on New Zealand again! LUXURY: Jacqui, what is true luxury for you? JS: I have similar expectations to my clients – I want everything to be smoothly organised and to enjoy something out of the ordinary. Even though we’re in the travel business, I still love the whole experience of travelling, whether it’s for work or play. I’m always on the lookout for amazing new experiences. It could be India or it could be a beach on the Coromandel. For more information visit


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foreign exchanges


Each issue, we take a look at a foreign culture and point out a few pitfalls for the unwary.

Before you start It is no coincidence that the Swiss are leaders in manufacturing precise time-keeping technology. Businesses are orderly and run with great precision. Appointments should be arranged far in advance. Arrive before the scheduled time and come prepared with detailed information relating to the meeting’s objectives.

Swiss businesses operate with a clear leadership structure. Although leaders tend to be modest, they emphasise the importance of team consensus over independent decisions.

Watch out for Keeping your relationship professional at all times. This is common practice even among colleagues who have worked closely together for many years.


The final word

Use high-pressure or aggressive sales tactics to reach a decision

Although Swiss professionals are task-oriented and direct

with your Swiss counterparts. And best not to ask questions

in their communication, decision-making is generally a slow

about Switzerland’s military role in World War I or II.

process, involving thorough discussion and reflection. Be

Be aware that Efficiency is highly valued in the professional setting. Business meetings are generally formal in their structure and discussion is restricted to predetermined topics. Stay focussed throughout the meeting.

Source: Communicaid International: Global Communication -

prepared to respond to detailed questions.


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On the Tracks

in Thailand

Story: Fiona Harper I feel as though I’ve landed smack in the middle of an Agatha Christie novel. Anticipating a bespectacled Hercule Poirot to pop out from behind a cut-glass lampshade at any moment, I can’t help but feel a sense of mystique about our pending journey. Devouring Murder on the Orient Express as a prelude to travelling onboard the Eastern Orient Express was perhaps not my smartest move. But that novel was set on the route between the former Constantinople and Paris, and I’m travelling through Thailand, so it’s hardly a fair comparison I reason.

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Stepping onto the platform I’m greeted by immaculately-uniformed attendants, their heads elegantly bowed, palms clasped softly at chest level in the traditional Thai greeting of ‘wai’. My luggage remains unsighted since placing it in the carefully groomed hands of my Butler as I checked out of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel hours before. But I’m not concerned. Given the level of attention to detail between hotel and train staff, I’m pretty confident my luggage and I will become reacquainted once I’m shown to my compartment. And so it is. A soft knock on the door is a welcome sound I’ll soon recognise as the precursor to food or drinks, usually both, being delivered to my cabin. Pratash steps inside introducing himself. But not before he welcomes me onboard with a silver platter laden with a chilled lemongrass scented washcloth, freshly squeezed juice, a bowl of luscious fruit and chocolates in a be-ribboned box. Oh my. A gentle softly spoken man with a wide-mouthed smile, Pratash guides me through the idiosyncrasies of my home for the next seven days. Which admittedly doesn’t take long as the room is tiny. But it’s far from stuffy – quite the opposite. In fact it is gorgeous, all inlaid timber wall panels, polished brass and muted furnishings dominated by two large tinted windows framed by heavy drapes. I don’t need to bother with most of its secrets as Pratash proves to be a master at transforming the cabin from day to night and vice versa during my absence. Bulgari toiletries, oodles of fluffy monogrammed towels, bathrobe and slippers along with room service on call and I’m set. I may not ever leave this cabin. With a gentle nudge our journey begins, rolling slowly out of Bangkok’s Hualampong Railway Station. I make my way down the slender corridor towards the rear of the train where the Observation Car is hitched. An intimate lounge with timber floor, plush sofas and a central bar inside, the rear section is the only part of the train that is open to the elements. Propped up against the lounge that runs down the middle of the open-sided carriage, Champagne in hand, with the sights, sounds and aromas of Thailand washing over me, the Observation Car becomes my favourite haunt. While the airconditioning is welcome in the stifling heat, being indoors I feel little connection with the ever-changing landscape we’re passing through. A Bangkok taxi driver told me there are over 7 million cars in the city, which goes some way to explain the smog-filled air that catches in the back of my throat. However the air clears as we leave the city behind, heading north east into the Isan (sometimes spelt Esan) region little visited by all but the most intrepid of foreign travellers. Known for its own distinct food, culture and traditions our first stop after breakfast on day two is at Ban Maichamuak village. Villagers have been expecting us as we are welcomed with a traditional ceremony known as bai si. Freshly spun silk thread is tied around my wrist by a round-shouldered lady whose eyes crinkle deeply at the corners, wide gaps in her mouth where teeth used to be. This sacred thread, possibly spun with her own hands from a silkworm farm at her house offers protection for a journey as well as symbolising lasting friendship. This raw silk bracelet remains on my wrist for months afterwards as a reminder of a wizened woman whose name I never knew.

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After wandering through the village, chatting to kids on bikes and picking up a mat from a weaver plying her trade in her front yard, we reboard the train. We’re bound for the town of Sikhoraphum for evening cocktails and canapés in the grounds of an ancient Khmer Hindu temple. While gin and tonics go down a treat and bite-sized nibbles served on banana leaf plates are delightful, with an elephant and elegant dancers to entertain us, the real star is the 12th Century ruins backdrop. Five prangs, or pagodas, are arranged in the same sacred pattern as Angkor Wat, a rarity outside of Cambodia. In the early evening light, life-sized carvings depicting the dances of Lord Shiva seem to radiate warmth from the setting sun. Back onboard, Pratash has worked his magic, turning down monogrammed sheets, leaving notes about the next day’s adventures along with delicate chocolate treats on my bed. I find the rhythm of a moving train immensely soothing so that I sleep deep and long. Perhaps the gin and tonics helped,

opposing directions, transporting men, women, their families

but it seems only minutes later, though it’s actually well

and belongings to who knows where. Mostly these local trains

after dawn, when Pratash reappears with a gentle knock.

provide a stark contrast to our own uber-luxe carriages. Faded

Bearing a silver tray draped with starched linen and laden

paintwork concealed beneath dirt and grunge, square holes

with warm pastries, tea in an elegant silver urn (it’s far too

where glazing once was are filled with bored-looking faces

elaborate to be called a teapot), squeezed juice, fruit, yoghurt

staring out of poorly lit carriages. At some point between the

and muesli, breakfast in bed has rarely been so indulgent.

junctions of Ban Pachi and Thanon Chira, abandoned carriages

Train travel is quite voyeuristic, allowing a fleeting glimpse of lives

on a disused track have become homes for squatter communities.

lived beside the track as our train rolls through backyards and

Before backtracking slightly to head northwards to Chiang Mai

backwaters. Slowing down to pass through a village I watch a

we visit Phanom Rung. It’s hard to comprehend that a shrine so

mother washing her child in a plastic tub beside a ramshackle

grand was built by hand from sandstone and laterite between the

hut. Smoke radiates skywards from an unseen fire behind her

10th and 13th Centuries. A Khmer temple complex perched on

while the flickering light of a television lights the doorway. A

the rim of an extinct volcano, far across the plains in the distance

man in a tattered singlet over pants held up by rope stoops to

lies Cambodia. Restored over the past 17 years, Phanom Rung is

pick through a pile of rubble. Other men sprawl lethargically,

significant enough to be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage

cigarettes dangling between silenced lips, on a raised platform

status. It’s easy to understand why. Enclosed within a walled

between the tracks and highway. Ponytailed school girls giggle

compound, intricate carvings adorn the exterior. Internal floors

behind their hands when I smile and wave, younger boys in crisp

are weathered and worn with the footsteps of pilgrims over

white button-up shirts run cheekily beside the track laughing.

the past ten centuries. There’s a distinct atmosphere of tranquil

We cross paths with countless passenger trains heading in

calm oozing through ancient sacred walls. I linger behind our group, reluctant to share such immense splendour with others. Which is one of the downsides, but so too the upside, of such a journey. Venturing to these parts is usually the domain of intrepid travellers, backpacks slung across young shoulders, feet encased in sturdy hiking boots, bedding down in dubious digs each night. As Pratash greets me back onboard with a cool scented towel and chilled Champagne, I realise Eastern Orient Express indulgence is rather easy to succumb to. Did Ms Christie have any inkling, when concocting Monsieur Poirot’s adventures, of this evergrowing rail travel trend she has undisputedly contributed to?

6 Night Trip: Epic Thailand route through Thailand from Bangkok starts at NZ$11,950 per person including 2 nights stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Superior Room).


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Our Top 5 New Hotel Suites There’s a subtle but crucial difference between staying in a luxury room and staying in a luxury suite. In the first, you are basically confined to a large bedsit, albeit one with exquisite fittings. In the second, you are residing in a beautifully appointed home-away-from-home. You can return from your daily adventures – or invite some guests to visit – and relax in a proper lounge, with your bedroom discreetly tucked away behind closed doors. Of course, not all suites are equal. We’ve taken a look at the finest new suites from top-end hotels around the world, and chosen five that are simply outstanding. It’s no surprise that four of the five can be found in the great European cities. What a tempting opportunity to experience the apogee of civilised living.


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St. Regis New York, Bentley Suite


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St. Regis New York, Bentley Suite St. Regis and Bentley – now, there are two names to conjure with! Designed as a collaboration between St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and Bentley Motors, this New York suite delivers the style associated with both legendary international brands. The black leather tile floor contrasts with a linen coloured, perforated diamond leather wall, stitched with one of the 42 custom Bentley leathers. A metallic silver mirror, inspired by a carbon fibre wheel rim sits above an accent table. But it’s not just for car enthusiasts. The Bentley Suite evokes a sense of grandeur with its entryway foyer, expansive dining room and living room complete with floor to ceiling windows on the 15th floor. Views of Central Park, Fifth Avenue and 55th Street complete the experience. For more info:

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Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris, Private Suite Luxury aficionados know that the highest degrees of opulence are sometimes found behind relatively discreet doors. That’s certainly the case with Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris. One commentator calls this hotel on the chic Avenue Hoche, “the best private address in Paris”, and we wouldn’t disagree. Original architectural features are brilliantly blended with contemporary French design and individual character, the end result of a two-year transformation by Philippe Starck. The suites are designed as luxurious private residences spread over five spacious floors, with service as impressive as the furnishings. There’s a supremely skilled florist in attendance, not to mention a chef who will cater to your every gastronomic whim. For more info:


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Four Seasons, Florence, Royal Suite

St. Regis Rome, Couture Suite When in Rome, do as the Romans. That’s not to say they all live at the St. Regis, but they do tend to embody a sense of style. The St. Regis Rome Couture Suite perfectly captures that ambience. Drawing inspiration from the city’s renowned couture houses, the Couture Suite is a showcase of furnishings and accessories that celebrate the best of Italian style. The design carefully incorporates the spirit of Italian fashion, with an emphasis on flowing shapes and meticulous attention to detail. An expansive 150m2, all rooms of the suite are furnished with an inspired mix of pieces from the Bottega Veneta furniture collection and traditional pieces. You’ll be moved to a one-word response: Bella! For more info:

Waldorf Astoria, Berlin, Presidential Suite Waldorf Astoria is one of the grand old names of high-class hospitality but this all-new Berlin Suite offers a very modern take on luxury. Occupying the entire 31st floor, the 280m2 suite delivers 360-degree views of Berlin courtesy of its panoramic windows.

St. Regis Rome, Couture Suite

The floor plan features two bedrooms, each equipped with ensuite bathroom and plush beauty amenities by Salvatore Ferragamo. A grand piano, open fire and two loggias complete the fit-out. If you can stir yourself to leave such magnificence, you won’t have to travel far for a memorable meal. The hotel’s chef, Pierre Gagnaire, boasts no fewer than 12 Michelin Stars from his various restaurants around the globe. For more info:

Four Seasons, Florence, Royal Suite Unlike the other suites featured here, this one is not brand new – but we couldn’t resist adding it to our list. It’s that good. Located in the nobles’ quarters of the Palazzo della Gherardesca, every room of the Royal Suite boasts fine art on the vaulted ceilings, beautiful frescoes and inspired stuccos. A very palatial 234m2 in size, the Royal Suite offers ample room for guests. The bathroom is classically beautiful in marble and there’s an elegant dining room that seats eight. Breath-taking views of the park complete the effect. It’s rumoured to be Europe’s most expensive hotel suite, and it’s certainly one you won’t forget for a while. For more info:

Waldorf Astoria Berlin, Guerlain Pool

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An epic journey Onboard the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth There is no better way to see and feel the magic of the Australian continent than on the world famous Indian Pacific. The journey aboard the Indian Pacific, spans three days and three nights and gives guests the chance to witness parts of Australia that cannot be seen any other way.

The train travels an amazing 4352 kilometres from the Indian Ocean in the West to the Pacific Ocean in the East. Unlike many other world-renowned train journeys, the Indian Pacific spends the majority of its time removed from civilisation. From the barren Nullarbor Plains, where the uniquely Australian outback landscape stretches as far as the eye can see, to the lush green beauty of the Blue Mountains, the journey traverses some of Australia’s most spectacular scenery. During the epic journey a diversity of wildlife will be encountered. It is not uncommon to spot dingoes, kangaroos and a variety of birdlife including the Wedge-tailed Eagle, the Indian Pacific’s emblem. The most likely spots to catch sight of this awesome bird are around Broken Hill and out on the Nullarbor Plain. Vastly different landscapes will be seen with no less than ten major landscape changes including the Darling Ranges, salt lakes and sand dunes of South Australia, the Barrier Ranges, the Darling River Plain and the Great Dividing Range. It is while crossing the harsh landscape of the Nullarbor Plain that the train travels the longest straight stretch of track in the world (478km). The train is a self-contained miniature city, featuring restaurants, accommodation and bars. All meals, refreshments including soft drinks, beers, high-quality standard wines and base spirits throughout the journey are included in the fare. There’s also optional ‘Explore and Discover’ tours to enable you to learn a little more of the towns and cities you are passing through. ‘Gold Service’ guests can choose from twin or single sleeper cabins. Twin cabins have a comfortable three-seater lounge for relaxing during the day that converts to an upper and lower sleeping berth at night. Each twin cabin has a private ensuite with its own toilet, wash basin and shower. Travelling aboard the Indian Pacific is a truly relaxing and unique way to see Australia.

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Story: Philip Tetley-Jones

Fiji Airways arrives in style

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If you haven’t heard of Fiji Airways, that’s because you already

service, new product, and new crew uniforms that are distinctive

know it as Air Pacific. That’s right – one of the region’s leading

and true to the friendly Fijian culture and heritage. The whole

carriers is proudly re-branding with the identity of its original

package sounds very impressive and will be sure to make an

heartland. The Fiji Airways name simply represents a return to the

impact when the midwinter Fiji holiday rush kicks off.

airline’s roots, harking back to its first commercial flights in 1951.

Highlights of the new aircraft’s features include Makareta

The friendly in-flight service and regional network will remain as

Matemosi’s memorable Masi artwork and “Fiji” proudly outlined

before, but there are some exciting changes to look forward to.

on the sides and bottom of the fuselage. Dramatically new

For a start, the airline is taking delivery of three Airbus A330200s. These are the first brand new wide-body aircraft it has

interiors, mood lighting, lie-flat beds and a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system will ensure time flies while you’re in mid air.

ever purchased, and they come with a list price tag of US$600

Modern technology has also been used to address something

million. The new aircraft are powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent


772 engines – a first for Air Pacific. Such a sizeable investment

environment. The impressive, environmentally friendly Trent 772

speaks of serious optimism regarding travel volumes across the

engines will reduce the airline’s carbon footprint by 40% over its

wide blue expanses of the Pacific.

current Boeing 747s.

Auckland received a “sneak peak” on 2nd April 2013 when

As for the destinations – while the Auckland to Nadi run will

the first of the A330’s flew into town. The airline offered

remain central to their business, it would be a mistake to think of

New Zealanders an early preview of just the plane at this point,

Fiji Airways as simply a conveyor belt to the tropics. New Zealand

since the remainder of the new branding and new service model

travellers would be well advised to check out the airline’s routes

will not be revealed until June 2013.

further afield.

The first aircraft, which has been designed exclusively for Fiji’s

“Air Pacific punches well above its weight for a relatively small

national carrier, is named after one of Fiji’s 333 beautiful islands,

airline,” says Dave Pflieger, Air Pacific’s Managing Director

the Island of Taveuni, also known as The Garden Island. Along

and CEO. “It is one of only seven airlines to operate multiple

with the new aircraft livery, the airline will be rolling out new

international routes from New Zealand, and is the only airline


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that offers a daily Business Class service from New Zealand to Fiji

Business Class travellers already benefit from lounges in Auckland

and on to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.”

and Fiji. The airline is making a serious play for the business

“We already pride ourselves on our ability to deliver world-class service to our guests from New Zealand, Australia, the United

and upscale leisure market with its full Business Class service in short and long haul. They even offer discounted rates for child

States and beyond, and we think we will have a truly winning

travellers in Business Class – this is a definite point of difference.

combination when we combine our superb people with fantastic

Did you know Fiji Airways offers no fewer than 13 flights every

new wide-body aircraft,” added Pflieger.

week from New Zealand, with the bonus of convenient midday departure times? Neither did we. If that’s not enough to entice you on board, consider the fact that Fiji Airways offers one of the fastest non-direct connections to Los Angeles from New Zealand. The airline retains its alignment with Qantas, thanks to a 40% ownership stake held by the Aussie giant, which means Qantas Frequent Flyer miles are on offer. So whether you’re flying the family to the islands for a week’s holiday or heading to Asia or America on business, we think it all stacks up.

More Info: There are three direct flight options from New Zealand – Auckland to Nadi, Auckland to Suva and Christchurch to Nadi. With a daily Business Class service between New Zealand and Fiji. For more information visit or call United Travel.

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Maximise your island time If the holiday begins with the journey, then it makes sense to consider the final stage of travel. In Fiji, the normal routine is to transfer at Nadi to a connecting flight that takes you on your last leg to the outlying islands. This transfer service can be something of a lucky dip.

Not all connecting flights are equal – and some can involve tedious

You’ll be driven to their private first class reception lounge less

waits and aircraft that are no longer in the first flush of youth. This

than a minute from the terminal, where you can relax in air-

can take some of the polish off a luxury holiday. So if you want to

conditioned comfort and enjoy refreshments while soaking up

arrive in style, it pays to think about who’s getting you there.

Island Hoppers legendary hospitality. Personalised check-in and

Island Hoppers is Fiji’s premium air transport service, specialising in efficient helicopter and fixed wing aeroplane transfers. The airline boasts a modern fleet of seven helicopters (catering for

boarding will have you enjoying a breath-taking scenic flight enroute to your island destination in the Mamanucas, Coral Coast, Yasawas, Northern Islands and beyond, in no time.

two to 14 passengers) and two brand new turbine-powered

It’s not just about getting there – it’s also about making the most

aeroplanes with seating for nine passengers each.

of Fiji by taking scenic helicopter flights over the beautiful islands,

The new planes are fast, reliable and comfortable. Island Hoppers offers a dedicated service with leather seating, air conditioning, large passenger windows and full airline baggage weight allowances. A cargo pod that can store dive gear, fishing rods and surfboards means you’ll arrive with everything you need to start your dream holiday. Whether you travel by helicopter or plane, the airline offers seamless transfers in minimal time. The Resort Express service meets and greets all passengers at Nadi International airport.


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resorts and reefs of the Mamanucas. Another scenic excursion can take you into the highlands of the Mt. Evans Ranges, viewing rainforests and waterfalls. Island Day Packages are available for those who fancy a change of scene from the mainland or a private picnic lunch on your own exclusive island. Heli golf and other heli adventures are also available. Life is short and holidays are shorter. Make the most of them by choosing the right transfer service for your island getaway.

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The leading edge of luxury

Story: Philip Tetley-Jones It’s a fascinating fact that the richest people in the world –

filter on down to the cars we drive on the road. These days, the

the multi-billionaires who have almost unlimited resources to

superyacht owned by a wealthy individual can be equipped with

pursue their passions – are drawn towards one of mankind’s

the very latest innovations of a racing yacht, and entered into

oldest maritime activities. As long as people have been

races as well as cruising the globe’s pleasure spots.

sailing, they have been racing. Today’s superyacht industry is the result of that primal passion.

New Zealand may be some distance from the regular playgrounds of nautically minded billionaires, but it does have one crucial

The technology has advanced somewhat since the days of

advantage. It’s one of the premier hubs for superyacht innovation,

canvas sails and wooden hulls. For that, we have the sport of

with a maritime construction industry that’s known around

oceangoing racing to thank. White-knuckle contests, such as

the world. As a result, customers seeking the ultimate in yacht

the Volvo Round the World Race and the America’s Cup, have

design have been lured to the industry hub around Auckland’s

stimulated fresh thinking in design and the materials used.

Waitemata Harbour. There they can specify the latest innovations

Wing sails, carbon fibre rigging and in-boom furling systems have

in yacht technology and create the ultimate in luxury.

revolutionised the sport of sailing and then gone on to shake

Local companies such as Southern Spars, North Sails, Alloy

up the leisure market as well. It’s similar to the way Formula

Yachts and Fitzroy are behind many of the superyachts winning

One has provided a test bed for new technologies, which then

global plaudits. World-leading technology that was developed in


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Clockwise from top left: S.Y. Vertigo; The New Zealand Millennium Cup 2013; Camper in the Volvo Ocean Race; S.Y. Zefira

New Zealand drives today’s boats and adds an extra edge to the competition between their owners. For instance, Southern Spars has developed the only proven carbon-fibre continuous rigging system on the market. EC6 rigging is constructed from a bundled of pultruded carbon rods and has captured all the performance factors into one form, including aerodynamics, longevity, durability, strength and weight. Small wonder then, that Southern Spars-rigged yachts have dominated the World Superyacht awards in recent years, with S.Y. Vertigo taking top spot as the 2012 sailing superyacht of the year. Once you’ve had the experience of helming one of these 40-metre racing machines in the open sea you’ll understand why it’s worth every penny.

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Paul McDonald, Southern Spars Director, has sailed the world on global races and now helps bring the latest refinements in yacht technology to the luxury superyacht market. We caught up with Paul recently and asked him what lies behind the sleek exterior of these magnificent vessels.


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Photo credit: Chris Cameron

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TRAVEL ACCESSORIES FOR THE LUXURY TRAVELLER Gold & Co Solid Gold iPhone What is it? A limited edition, custom made, hand-delivered 24-karat iphone. What makes it so special? It features a solid T304 aircraft grade laser-cut stainless steel housing with multi-layered gold outer to ensure durability. Individually numbered and presented with a certificate of authenticity to assure premium quality. Where can you get it? Price: Price on application.

Twelve South PlugBug World What is it? A set of five snap-on plugs in an adapter system that has your international charging needs covered. What makes it so special? It has dual charging convenience for Mac users, which means you’re able to charge your MacBook and iPad or iPhone simultaneously. Plus, it charges your ipad up to 4x faster than your Macbook will. Where can you get it? Price: NZ$69

Google Glass What is it? A pair of glasses with an integrated prism display that sits just above the eye-line and is activated by voice command. What makes it so special? The voice commands allow you to do a range of things like taking photos, recording videos, sending messages using speech to text, getting directions from the built-in GPS or just ‘hanging out’ with people. The information is then displayed in the prism. Where can you get it? Still in prototype stage but you can get more information at Price: Likely to be around US$1500.

Hei Matau Lodge A true luxury find on Waiheke Story: Phil Harrison

Waiheke Island has long been a favourite of

for the ultimate in privacy. Alternatively, if

private kitchen at Hei Matau impresses with

mine, with its stunning beaches, world-class

you feel like the a little pampering, the

canapés from fresh local produce being a

vineyards, beautiful scenery and laidback

hosts will spoil you rotten with an itinerary

particular highlight. If it’s the high life you

ambience – and all this just 45-minutes by

that includes as much or as little as you

crave, why not let Hei Matau arrange a

ferry from downtown Auckland.

would like.

helicopter sightseeing tour of Waiheke?

A day trip is all very well but what are your

You could choose an active holiday, with

We opted to book the property for our

options if you want to stay a little longer

your choice of kayaking, petanque, fishing,

exclusive use and waited with eagerness

and make a proper holiday out of it?

golfing, scenic walks and cycle tours round

to see what Hei Matau would offer.

While Waiheke has some enviable high-

the local vineyards. Alternatively, you

Our welcome included a platter of fresh

end accommodation options, there are

could indulge your inner hedonist with

local oysters, quality local wines to drink

none that combine this quality of property

fine dining and wine tasting, capped by

at our leisure, a wonderful selection of

with a private beachfront setting.

a gourmet picnic hamper with transfer to

cheeses, steaks for the barbeque, a fully

a deserted beach. Or, just stay put – the

stocked kitchen and Fiona’s world-famous

The vision of the well-travelled owners was to create a luxury escape to rival the finest resorts they had experienced around the world. The design of this stunning

homemade muesli for breakfast. As a selfappointed muesli aficionado, I can confirm that this was seriously good.


The thoughtfulness and attentive personal

position and also pulls off a tricky double

touches don’t end with the food. We also

act: it’s aesthetically beautiful while also

really appreciated how the flexible variety

incredibly functional. The owners’ wealth


of experience shows in the painstaking

something for all tastes.




level of detail that has gone into this project, located at Cable Bay.




You could go as a couple and take a suite (many choose to upgrade to the

Their philosophy is simple. Take the best

owners’ luxurious Master Suite). Another

of a traditional lodge (but leave out the

possibility is to go with friends or family,

stuffiness) and give guests the option to

and take multiple suites or even the whole

take the property on an exclusive use basis

place. Every lodge room at Hei Matau is


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Hei Matau, Waiheke Island at a glance Category: Boutique luxury lodge. What’s great? Its stunning waterfront location and serious attention to detail.

What’s not so great? Hard to fault. Only wish we had more time to enjoy the surroundings and more of Fiona’s homemade muesli.

sea facing, with large panoramic windows

The Lodge boasts an array of luxurious

that let you take in as much of the view as

features, from the outside pizza oven to

possible. The set-up is also ideal for that

the European-designed stainless steel

special corporate retreat or meeting – and

kitchen with everything to delight a

if time is precious, the helicopter can land

budding Masterchef. Cathedral ceilings

directly on the lawn.

on the upper level create an atmosphere

The design and fittings are in keeping with the gorgeous setting. The interior is elegant designer chic – imagine a bach reinterpreted by Ralph Lauren. Whitewashed timber walls and ceilings are complemented with rich oak floors, sumptuous furnishings and precious artworks. The suites have a ‘Four Seasons’ feel, with the fixtures and fittings being of an exceptionally high standard. The layout provides excellent indoor/outdoor flow with floor-to-ceiling walls of glass that pull right back to reveal the breathtaking views.






luxurious Master Suite (The Kowhai Suite) comes with a four-poster super kingsized bed, plus separate dressing room and ensuite. Relaxation is a priority here, so you’ll soon find yourself longing to sit back and soak in the spa as the sun slowly

Rate: Lodge rooms from NZ$645 per night and include a gourmet breakfast for two, pre-dinner drinks, canapés, non-alcoholic drinks, a complimentary bottle of wine and on-island transfers. Exclusive use of the Main House from NZ$2000 per night and the entire property from NZ$3500 per night.

It’s clear that Hei Matau has created a level of luxury that lifts Waiheke above the day trip or overnight stay category. My recommendation is to not just go to Hei Matau, but go for at least three days – it really is that good. And after meeting Peter and Fiona, I would recommend the

of the main house – a large and lavish

hosting option. They are gracious and

lounge and entertaining area enclosed

entertaining hosts who will ensure your

in glass with uninterrupted water views.

experience is memorable for all the right

Relaxing there, we were just steps to the

reasons. My other suggestion is to do it

perfectly placed infinity pool that seems

now – before this little secret is out.

bay below.


sinks in front of you at the end of the day.

We loved the ‘Glass Box’ at the front

to merge with the waters of the secluded

Editor’s tip: If going as a couple, book the Master Suite and let Peter and Fiona pamper you. With friends or family, reserve the Main House – either way, allow at least a three night stay. It really is one of those properties that exceed all expectations and once you arrive you won’t want to leave.

Reservations: For more information or enquiries contact Hei Matau on +649 372 6554 or or call United Travel on 0800 15 80 80.

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and WIN 1 of 3 bottles of Waiwera Spirit Limited edition, handcrafted boutique spirits from Waiwera Spirit are distilled from New Zealand wine, blended with Waiwera water and free from artificial additives. Unequalled in their quality and purity, these exclusive vodkas, gin and rum are only available to buy online or you can find them in New Zealand’s best lodges, bars and restaurants. RRP NZ$230 per bottle.





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Luxury Soar through the Skies in

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Global Express XRS

Korean Air’s Private Jet Service The rising demand for a more flexible travel schedule and pleasant travel experience has increasingly made the private jet charter service a popular alternative for many luxury travellers. Whether for business or vacation, passengers can enjoy glamorous jet-set lifestyles like those led by celebrities or Heads of State; you can enjoy a premium office or home experience on the go for the best utilisation of your time. Korean Air is regarded as one of the leading pioneer airlines in the private jet market, credited for its unique offerings such as adding the state-of-the-art Boeing Business Jet to its fleet in 2010. In search of a comfortable and productive in-flight experience, the demand for a private jet service is rapidly growing among frequent travellers who would like to keep their travel experience pleasant, flexible and private. Private jets have become the favourite of many corporate and high-end travellers providing a setting that perfectly feels like your home or office on the go. Korean Air is one of the few full-service carriers tapping into this niche market with a wide range of premium aircraft and


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Global Express XRS

services that have been catering to different travellers’ needs

Known as one of the world’s top 20 airlines, Korean Air has

since 2007. The notable Korean Air fleet includes the state-of-

differentiated itself by integrating the best practices of its

the-art Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), which carries the distinctive

renowned premium service into its private jet service offering.

luxury and spacious features of a customised version of the B737,

Passengers of its private jet charter service are well served by

with a total capacity of sixteen to twenty-eight passengers for

a dedicated crew and care service from departure to landing.

long-distance flights under 12 hours. If you are planning for a

They also receive a privileged flexible travel schedule, exclusive

cost-effective long-distance trip with a smaller team, then the

terminals that allow access to more airports and VIP lounges

Global Express XRS is equipped with wireless Internet, iPads and

for ultimate privacy and comfort. You can also expect premium

comfortable sofa-beds and is a good choice for journeys up to

services such as earning First Class mileage points and a Mercury

six thousand miles non-stop from an Asian hub to Europe or the

Award-winning dining experience in the comfortable and

United States. Alternatively, a Sikorsky 76C+ can empower you with high mobility for travel within South Korea. The personalised jet charter service effectively reduces transit time allowing you to enjoy ultimate privacy to long-haul destinations where direct flights are not available.

spacious seats during meetings or when relaxing. The exclusive experience provided by Korean Air’s private jet service puts a high premium on mobility when you travel. Enjoy a premium in-flight journey as good as it gets with numerous personal and business amenities at your fingertips.

Furthermore, Korean Air’s Flexjet Connect Service significantly increases customer travel flexibility and reduces flight distances by

More Info:

connecting passengers from Korean Air’s 115 weekly transpacific

Visit for more information on the

flights with a private jet service, and more than 5000 jet terminals

tailored services on offer.

in the United States, Central America and South America.

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Inca Sites of

Story: Hannah Whiteoak From the 13th to the 16th Century, the Western part of Peru was part of the Inca Empire. The Incas were a highly civilized people, with a complex religion, sophisticated building techniques, and a rigidly structured society. The arrival of the Spanish in South America in the 1530s wiped out the Inca civilization with many of the Incas being massacred by the Spaniards, who wanted to steal the vast amounts of gold and silver jewellery that the Incas treasured. Those who survived died of diseases brought by the invaders. However, many fascinating relics of the powerful Inca Empire still survive in Peru today. Huge numbers of tourists come to Peru every year to explore these enchanting sites and learn about the history of South America.

86 Machu Picchu

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Machu Picchu Clinging to a mountain ridge high in the Peruvian Andes, the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu draws in adventurous tourists from around the world. Having originally been built in the 15th Century for an unknown purpose, Machu Picchu was abandoned in 1572 as its inhabitants fled from the conquering Spaniards or died of the diseases they carried. Winay Wayna

Machu Picchu is sometimes referred to as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ because it is extremely well-preserved but completely deserted by its original inhabitants. Since Machu Picchu’s

Winay Wayna

discovery by the American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911,

Visitors hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu will encounter the

archeologists have struggled to understand how the Incas could have brought stones to this site, which is almost 8000 feet above sea level, and used them to construct the various buildings that are still standing today. Despite its remote location, thousands of visitors flock to Machu Picchu every year. Some of the buildings have been reconstructed, but there are also many originals that have survived through the centuries. The Temple of the Sun is one of the main attractions of the site due to its amazingly intricate stonework. A sundial is carved into a stone close to the temple; its design is primitive but still effective even today. Visitors can reach Machu Picchu by taking a train to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes, and then hiking or taking a bus up the steep slope to reach the site. However, some adventurous visitors choose to forgo modern transportation and instead reach Machu Picchu by hiking along the Inca Trail. These visitors are rewarded by fabulous views of the entire site as they enter through the sacred Sun Gate. The views from Machu Picchu are breathtaking, particularly from the Moon Temple, which can only be reached by hiking up from the main site through thick forest. From this dizzying vantage point, visitors can look down over the ancient Inca city and into the deep valleys beneath. Despite having survived through the centuries relatively unscathed, Machu Picchu is now in danger. The high footfall of visitors through the site is eroding the land that the city stands on at an alarming pace. In the 1980s, Machu Picchu was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status to prevent development in

Inca village of Winay Wayna during their journey. Although the site is not as well-preserved as Machu Picchu, some of the village’s stone houses and public baths have survived as a monument to the Incas who once lived here. Winay Wayna was built on the steep side of a hill overlooking the Urubamba River. Terraces were cut into the sloping ground, where crops would have been planted. The use of terraces was a common Inca technique, as they reduce soil erosion by stopping water from running down the steep Andean hillsides. The name Winay Wayna means ’forever young’. This name was given to the town by the Peruvian archaeologist who discovered it in 1942. Winay Wayna is thought to have been an important town in the Inca Empire, which means that this site still gets a lot of attention from archeologists who are keen to learn more about its history.

Pikimachay Pikimachay is one of the oldest archeological sites in Peru. Its name translates into English as ‘flea cave’. Archeologists have found evidence of human habitation in this cave from as early as 12,000 BC, which makes it South America’s oldest known settlement. Pikimachay is a multi-level cave where ancient hunter-gatherers once lived. Later, the Incas farmed the surrounding area and practiced their religion. Evidence of sophisticated agricultural techniques has been found in the cave, including seeds for planting and ancient stone tools.

the area, and strict limits have been placed on the number of

Pikimachay is located approximately 24km from the city of

visitors who are allowed into the site each day.

Ayacucho, in the valley of Lauricocha. Visitors can access Pikimachay from Ayacucho by travelling along the road toward Huanta.

Getting There: LAN Airlines flies six days a week from Auckland to Santiago, Chile with onward flights to over 120 destinations throughout South America on the LATAM Airlines Group network. For more information or to make a booking, please call LAN reservations on 0800 451 373 or visit

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Machu Picchu, Peru

LATAM Airlines Group formed by LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines serves over 145 destinations in 22 countries. LAN Airlines flies non-stop six times per week from Auckland to Santiago, Chile, From Santiago LAN offers onwards connections to Peru. 88 LAN 09 3083352 CONTACT US: Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource.

Travel Agents

1800 558 129

Food of

the Gods From bean to bar the makings of fine chocolate Story: Gemma O’Sullivan With the renaissance of artisan food culture, chocolate is following in the footsteps of wine, coffee and olive oil to become the stuff of foodies. ‘Vintage’ and ‘Grand Cru’ are the new cocoa lingo. And a multitude of health benefits are reported by the press. But antioxidants aside, how is this divine treat conjured into being? And what sets fine chocolate apart from the mediocre – or worse, the Mars Bar?

A brief history

The 1800s brought the industrial revolution and a turning point

Cacao is a bean that grows encased in the pod-like fruit of the

in chocolate consumption. Solid dark chocolate was invented in

Theobroma Cacao tree – ‘food of the gods’. Cacao grew wild

1847 by Joseph Fry by adding cocoa butter back to dry cocoa

in the Amazon from as early as 1000BC and was cultivated by

powder and sugar. In 1875 milk chocolate was invented, and in

both the Maya and Aztec civilisations. In these days, the precious

1894 Hershey made the first mass-produced affordable chocolate

beans were dried, ground and mixed with water to produce a

bar, sparking a revolution.

coveted drink.

Meanwhile in Europe, the great chocolate houses of Belgium,

Following Spanish colonisation of the Americas, chocolate

Switzerland, France and Spain were born – these famous brands

made its way to Spain, and a love affair with chocolate spread

remain among the royalty of chocolate today. However it was

throughout Europe during the 1600s-1700s.

Chocolate was

only in the 1980s that producers of elite chocolate began to

consumed as a beverage by the wealthy and merchant classes,

focus on cocoa content and the quality and origin of beans. It is

often in dedicated chocolate houses or ‘clubs’.

these trends that are now at the forefront of chocolate culture.

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It begins with the bean

Once harvested, the beans are removed from the pods. The

Cacao trees bear fruit in humid, rainy regions within 20 oN

and to kill germination. At this stage the beans have high

and 20oS of the Equator. West Africa supplies about 70%

moisture content and need to be dried. They are often dried

of the world’s cocoa production. Other major producers

out in the sun where the climate permits – this method is

include Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador,

associated with optimal flavour.

Columbia, Madagascar, Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

pulpy mass is fermented to release the beans from the pulp

Once the beans are received by the chocolate manufacturer, it’s time for roasting. This brings out the chocolate’s unique colour and flavour. The roasted beans are put through a winnowing machine to remove the shells and leave behind ‘nibs’ – which are milled to create cocoa ‘liquor’, a paste. Other ingredients are added to this paste including sugar, milk and spices, and the paste is put into a machine for conching. For quality chocolate, conching will take up to several days; kneading and smoothing the chocolate to heighten flavour and improve texture. Finally, chocolate is tempered by heating the chocolate mass and then cooling it to enable stable crystallisation of

There are three main varietals of the cacao tree – Forastero,

the cocoa butter. This produces a ready-to-eat chocolate

Criollo and Trinitario.

product that is shiny, has a consistent texture, a good ‘snap’

The prized Ciollo bean is famed as being the most fragrant, yet is the most difficult tree to grow. These beans account for just 1% of the world’s cocoa today and Criollo is rarely found in its pure form.

and is resistant to spoiling. And so fine chocolate is born.

Chocolate today Today the term ‘chocolate’ is synonymous with cheap

Forastero trees are hardy and have a high yield, yet the bean

‘candy’ with very little actual cacao content; and yet it also

often has a harsh bitterness and acidity. Forastero beans

represents the finest, most flavourful dark chocolate.

account for approximately 92% of cocoa production. Trinitario cacao is a hybrid of the Forastero and Criollo types. It shares some of the beautiful qualities of the Criollo bean, yet is more hardy, thanks to its Forastero parent. Like wine, location also influences flavour. The most sought-after origin of cacao is the remote region of Chuao in Venezuela.

Perfecting the process Humans play an important role in determining the quality of chocolate through processing techniques. Key steps include

There is a growing trend towards quality, with a rising

fermentation, drying, roasting, conching and tempering.

number of chocolate lovers looking for cocoa content, origin of beans, reputation for quality, and ethical production. Health benefits are also a hot topic, bringing demand for cacao into new territory. Around the world, new artisan chocolate producers and chocolatiers are emerging. In New Zealand new ‘bean-tobar’ chocolate maker White Rabbit Cacao creates single origin chocolate to reflect the diversity in the delicate flavour of beans sourced from around the world. With innovative brands pioneering a brave new chocolate world and flavours becoming bolder, don’t be surprised to see wasabi feature in a ganache!


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A taste of luxury on vacation Travel is a great source of inspiration for food lovers. Why not sweeten up your next adventure, by indulging in an unforgettable chocolate tour? Caribbean Stay at the Boucan by Hotel Chocolat on Saint Lucia and visit their Rabot Estate for a tree to bar experience. France Experience the city of love through cocoa-tinted glasses. World-renowned chocolate expert Chloe Doutre-Roussel provides walking tours of the best chocolate shops in Paris as well as educational workshops. Italy Located in Tuscany, Amedei is today one of the most lauded chocolate brands in the world. They have recently opened their doors for tours.

Boucan by Hotel Chocolat

A simple tasting guide For tasting, ensure your chocolate is at room temperature.

4. T  aste the chocolate

Sample small squares of plain chocolate and start with the

Put a piece in your mouth and pinch your nose. The tastes

lightest variety. Cleanse the pallet with water.

your tongue can detect are salt, sweet, sour, bitter and

1. Observe the chocolate Look at the texture, consistency, and colour. Note that intensity of colour does not necessarily indicate intensity of flavour. 2. Listen to it By snapping the chocolate in two. Does it have a crisp snap, indicating a good balance between cocoa and butter? 3. S  mell it Take a small piece and let it melt between your thumb and forefinger to release the full aromas.

umami (savoury); the sensations include astringency and the cooling effect of the cocoa butter. Next, stop pinching your nose and breathe in deeply to experience the full aromas. 5. Taste again By allowing the chocolate to melt slowly on the tongue to experience development of flavours. Flavours of chocolate can be as broad as ‘fruity’ or as specific as ‘toast’. For beginners, focus on the category of flavour – i.e. floral, fruity, roasted, nutty, spicy, vegetable or miscellaneous. As you become more accustomed to tasting, try to identify more specific flavours.

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Grand Hyatt

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Story: Toni Gillan With its faultless location, in the heart of the KL’s Golden Triangle shopping and entertainment district, next to Kuala Lumpur City Central Park and Convention Centre and within walking distance of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, this is a Hyatt top tier brand hotel. Architects and designers have been allowed free reign using cutting edge technology to bring us this latest state-of-the-art five-star choice in Kuala Lumpur.


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Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource.


First impressions are decisive especially

I’d flown direct from New Zealand so my

With so much to do and so little time to

in a newly opened property such as the

eyes are drawn to the sumptuous king-sized

do it in I was told JP Teres, located on the

city centre Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur.

bed waiting for me. But before I can settle

ground floor, is a definite lunch must-visit.

I’m saying right now to pause, take a

in, my enthusiastic escort is keen to advise

I was not prepared for the tantalising,

moment if you can to get your bearings.

me of the bathroom’s unique feature – a

engaging show kitchens I discovered

You might even like to appreciate the calm

liquid crystal glass (LCG) enclosed privacy

there. With chefs working the satay grills,

and serene ground floor water-featured

cube around the bathroom’s tub and rain

tandoori ovens, roti hot plates and wok

lobby, extravagantly decked out with three

shower that I might have overlooked. Flick

stations, they spoil you for choice, working

specially commissioned art pieces.

the light switch for instant opaque privacy.

up your appetite. Back at the table it’s

In a reversal of the usual ground level

Flick it again and the glass becomes

surprisingly difficult to relate back to the

translucent. In the marble bath later I was

menu as to which kitchen produced a

able to continue to enjoy the outside vista.

specific dish. Eventually, taking advice

check-in process. On entering the hotel, you are smilingly encouraged to board the

from the waiter and knowing I had a spa

express lift up to the sky lobby reception.

“...get ready to re-adjust your senses to assimilate sweeping panoramic views”

appointment that would only work on

the highest level of the building and you’ll

The hotel has three dining options. With its

Leaving Essa Spa I wandered out to the

find your vision continually, sometimes

360-degree views, Thirty8 is their defining

freeform outdoor pool thinking I would

unnervingly, stretching to accommodate

signature-dish restaurant space, wine bar

check out the 24-hour fitness centre for

the panorama; even as you check in it

and lounge located on the top floor. I had

later. Then feeling the exhaustion of long

continues to dominate your impression.

already eaten generously prepared canapés

distance flying and all relaxed after my spa

in the Grand Club Lounge so I settled for a

experience, I just chilled watching children

simply grilled Wagyu steak with asparagus.

play while enjoying an iced tea ordered

In the lounge afterwards, captivatingly

from the hotel’s third restaurant, Poolside.

sung Blues melodies managed to keep me

The Grand Hyatt Kula Lumpur has 412

much later than I intended.

guestrooms, including 42 suites. They

My extravagantly roomy 65m2 corner

The Grand Club Lounge is a great place to


guestroom comes with an earth-toned

eat breakfast over a newspaper and coffee.

décor, wood floors and handmade rugs.

Later in the day after walking in the park

Modern amenities – wireless Internet, MP3

and partaking in some light shopping, it

docking stations, data ports, oversized

naturally became my headquarters. Much

work desk and a 42-inch LED TV plus all

later, Italian sparkling wine, a generously

the usual things you would expect for

dry Prosecco, refreshed me after my

This hotel has gone a long way in

a five-star property, including delicious

early evening body and soul revitalisation

dramatically underscoring Kuala Lumpur’s

sugar-level raising snacks.

experience at the hotel’s Essa Spa.

evolution into a world-class city.

Rapid ascension and get ready to readjust your senses to assimilate sweeping panoramic views of the city’s skyline as you disembark your ride thirty-eight floors up. The sky lobby is strategically positioned at

I’m staying overnight in a Grand Deluxe View Room. The focus on views extends to the room’s instant wow factor, that is the floor to ceiling windows. Sky-high, all guests have this advantage in their rooms.


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JP Teres’ Private Room

a light lunch, I opted for a Malaysian roti canai from a selection of dishes such as beef rendang, chicken rice, ais kacang and teh tarik.









accommodation, innovative dining, spa, health and fitness options, state-of the-art technology and comprehensive business and meeting facilities.

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur at a glance Category: City hotel. Room reviewed: Grand Deluxe View Room.

What’s great? The sky lobby views, the city centre location and the light changing ‘eureka’ moments in the bathroom. What’s not so great? The entry lifts whisk you up directly to the sky lobby. You are then directed past the check-in lobby to separate lifts that take you back down to all rooms and recreational facilities. It’s confusing if you’re jet lagged but you get used to it. Plus the views make up for it! Editor’s tip: Use the concierges who will do anything within their power to improve your Hyatt experience. Website: Rate: Grand King Room from NZ$250 per night. Grand Deluxe View Room from NZ$360 per night. Reservations: For more information or enquiries please call United Travel on 0800 15 80 80.

Location Room size Room interior Overall service Food & beverage Hotel pool Business needs Recreational facilities Spa facilities Value for money


Sky-high luxury.

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Air New Zealand

Premium Economy One of the nicest feelings in the world is when you get more

Premium Economy menu was definitely a class above the norm.

than you bargained for. It’s like receiving a free gift or something

We enjoyed a soft herb and sourdough baked New Zealand

for nothing. This is why airline upgrades can have even jaded

salmon with fennel risotto, courgettes, tomato caper broth and

corporate travellers wagging their tails like happy puppies. They

lemon butter. The flavours were light and delicate – perfect for

just got an unexpected bonus from the airline!

mid-air dining. Consultant Chef Peter Gordon is certainly making

This review isn’t about an upgrade, but the ‘something-for-

his presence felt.

nothing’ sensation certainly applies to our experience on a recent

Naturally, there was a fine selection of New Zealand wines on

trip from Auckland to Los Angeles. Flying Premium Economy

offer to complement the meal. You’d expect nothing less from

with Air New Zealand felt far closer to Business Premier than we

the national carrier.

expected. It was an experience that transcended expectations.

As the hours ticked by, the cabin lights were dimmed and the

We departed on an overnight flight with the aim of sleeping

mood became somewhat more somnolent. This was the moment

soundly and arriving ready to hit the sights of Los Angeles in the

of truth. Would we be able to slip into a comfortable state of

morning. An ambitious goal, you might feel. This was a 12-hour

slumber for the remainder of the night? What level of comfort

flight after all, and who plans on getting a serious amount of

could we expect from a Premium Economy ‘Spaceseat’?

shut-eye on a plane? But that was our intention.

Our centre seats slid forward into their own space to create a

The first relaxing moment came when dinner was served. Put

pleasantly cocooned environment. It was like having your own

away all thoughts of a generic meat or chicken choice – the

private cubicle, with no awkward space invasion from reclining


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seats in the next row. Head resting on a soft full-sized pillow and

You’ll also enjoy some special privileges before you board.

feet propped on a soft ottoman helped with the comfort. We

Air New Zealand Premium Economy travellers use the Premium

didn’t have a tape measure on hand to confirm it, but the seats

check-in at the airport. Avoiding the snaking queues, being

felt wide and there was room to properly stretch out.

whisked through the check-in process and utilising the dedicated

The result was a solid sleep lasting many hours. Having a proper

Customs area is always a great way to start your journey.

rest, with the requisite REM deep sleep, is absolutely essential if

Overall, we were impressed by the Premium Economy package.

you want to arrive fresh and ready to enjoy your holiday or head

Air New Zealand has put real thought into making long-haul

into a business meeting. We were so comfortable in our Premium

much more enjoyable for those who want that little bit extra

Economy seats that we could have dozed for longer. It’s not often that you find yourself saying that about a long-haul flight. The extra room and seats are central to the appeal of Premium Economy, but they’re not the only smart feature on board. Air New Zealand’s Boeing 777-300s come with a superb in-seat entertainment system that serves up to 580 hours of content, from movies to video games. There’s even a dedicated kids’ section and YouTube Channel accessible from the 10.8” touch screen. Plus, there’s the USB and iPod connections to plug into.

space and a higher standard of service, without paying full price for Business Premier. Having travelled widely in a number of airline classes, we can confirm that Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy product more than holds its own. You’ll pay more than standard economy but you get a surprisingly high standard of service. Plus a seat that turns long-haul overnight travel into a decent night’s sleep. For more information visit

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24 Hours in:

San Francisco Primed and ready for an influx of the boating elite from around the world, Richard Lott checks out the golden city before the America’s Cup fever really hits town. Midnight. The airport is modern, clean and complete and I sailed through to get my taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf in Downtown San Francisco. Passing the stadium of the San Francisco Giants baseball team right on the waterfront I’m told that the boaties catch the over hit balls on a good day! The city was still humming, full of light and life as I checked in to my hotel. 6.00am. Like all good jet lag, you never wake up when you expect and despite the late night, I was awake early. The hotel was quiet so I decided to go for a walking tour of the city, which I had heard was pretty spectacular. It was a typical cold morning as I headed down to the dock where the guys were washing down the crab stands ready for another busy day of sales. I bumped into an English lady also out on the streets early. She was heading along to the booking kiosk for the famous Alcatraz prison island in the centre of San Francisco Bay. She told me most of the slots on the daily trips to Alcatraz are pre-booked by tour groups, so if you want to do an adhoc visit, you need to get there early to secure one of the 50 or so daily release tickets. 7.30am. I was walking past the large old wharf buildings along the waterfront and back towards the city. For a City renowned for its hills, this was an easy, flat amble, albeit I still needed my sweater on at that time of the morning. I went past Pier 39 and the cruise ship wharf down at the Embarcadero, with the steely looking Bay on my left and Alcatraz in the distance. Just before the Bay Bridge I went through the financial district and then turned right uphill into Union Square and near to the Frank Lloyd Wright building. By this time I was peckish and looking for a classic American diner. Lori’s on Sutter Street fitted the bill and served an excellent Corned Beef Hash.


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America’s Cup racing with Alcatraz in background

9.00am. The sun was beginning to warm me up or maybe it was just that I had found San Francisco’s famed hills at last as I walked off my breakfast indulgence. I went up up up and over the top. Past Lombard Street, famous for its tight twists and turns. 10.30am. A quick coffee refresh and I walked on down to the Marina Green Park, just near the San Francisco Yacht Club and a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. By now getting a bit tired, but pleased to be in warm spring sunshine I negotiated a group of joggers in pink tights and worked my way back around to the Fisherman’s Wharf shops past the Maritime Museum. I went back to my room (late checkout organised) and slept though lunch with weary limbs. 2.00pm. Refreshed, I picked up a cab outside my hotel and made my way to Yerba Buena Gardens where I found a jazz band playing and had a late lunch at the Samovar Tea Lounge perched on the Moscone Convention Centre rooftop. An interesting place for extreme sports tea drinking. I had one more visit in mind before my early evening flight. SFMOMA (San Fran Museum of Modern Art) is right over the road from Yerba Buena and given the city’s creative past, had to be on my list. It didn’t disappoint. It has a great roof top garden – and a high level mesh walkway – guaranteed to get the vertigo going. Highlights though were paintings by Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollack and Jasper Johns. Also being cool San Fran, the museum shop was one of the very best I have ever been into. It was more trendy and with more quirky and cool household appliances than you could imagine. I took a cab back to the airport from there. The cabby asked me if I had been at the conference. What conference I enquired? – the one with 50,000 people for a tech company. It was only then it struck me that San Fran has so many things to do that even with 50,000 extra ‘tourists’ in town, the city absorbed them easily. Like the airport, a smooth operation.

Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource.


100 Your ultimate luxury and corporate travel resource.

Issue 22 for United Travel  

Autumn/Winter 2013

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