MALDIVES: THE BEST NEW hotels
THE SMARTEST PLACES TO STAY
AUSTRALIAâ€™S TOP RESTAURANTS
THE HIPPEST CITY IN
Where to go this yeaR: the hottest destinations
Escale Time Zone.
CONTENTS MARCH 2017
FEATURES 70 MALDIVES She’s the feet-in-the-sand, sunshine queen, but hasn’t been resting on her laurels. We cover her new hotels
82 LA PAZ Why Bolivia’s capital is suddenly beaming brighter than its big-brother cities across South America
92 AUSTRALIA Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane: which one takes the foodie crown?
102 KLOSTERS Unlike other glitzy Alpine enclaves, this old-school Swiss village doesn’t let anything distract from the skiing
PHOTOGRAPH: ENRIQUE BADULESCU. BRODERIE ANGLAISE TOP, £750, SIMONE ROCHA (SIMONEROCHA.COM). PLEATED SHORTS, £175, IKKO TANAKA ISSEY MIYAKE (ISSEYMIYAKE LONDON.COM). OKINAWA BIKINI TOP (JUST SEEN), £162, PRISM (PRISMLONDON. COM). TIGHTS, £3.99, GIPSY (UKTIGHTS.COM). JELLY SHOES, £26, JUJU (JUJUFOOTWEAR.COM)
Get splash-happy in this season’s big and bold paintbox looks
March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 5
perfection in motion NEW LE TEINT ULTRA TENUE ULTRAWEAR FLAWLESS FOUNDATION
CONTENTS MARCH 2017
54 IN THIS ISSUE 10 EDITOR’S LETTER 12 CONTRIBUTORS 17 WORD OF MOUTH The places and people creating a stir around the world, from Bavaria to Manila
28 WAY OF LIFE Take garden leave in the charming South African farmhouse of a green-ﬁngered chef
32 ROAD TRIP Southern Bali on a custom-made MM14 motorbike
37 WHERE TO STAY Round-up
The loveliest new hotels in Paris. Bed-hopping with Gillian Anderson. The Weekender The Mash Inn, Buckinghamshire
50 SNAPSHOT Architects ﬁnd strength in all-natural bamboo
122 GLOBETROTTER Musical model Karen Elson
124 IN BRITAIN Going on the razzle-dazzle in Liverpool
131 FLAVOUR HUNTER Table to book Bangkok’s sweet tooth. World on a plate Pistachio. Eat the street Reykjavik. Moveable feast David Muñoz. Taste buzz New caffeine ﬁxes. Sip trip Arrack
157 EVENTS Coming up Have brunch with petrolhead Charley Boorman, and join a St Patrick’s Day feast. The lowdown A Jamaican spice-fest in London; adventurous tales from Ray Mears and John Blashford-Snell
180 THE VIEW FROM HERE Seascape, New Zealand
53 STYLE FILE Shopping in São
ON THE COVER The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort Photographed by Jenny Zarins
Paulo. Beauty with Olivia Wilde. Tel Aviv tips from Israel’s hottest designer, and more. Jewellery Shoot for the stars. Men’s Highspeed spear-ﬁshing in the Gulf of Mexico, plus a postcard from Warsaw. Hotel on the scene Jumeirah Al Naseem, Dubai
69 TRENDWATCH Ready for some fresh thinking? Discover the urban retreats that will feed your brain
8 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPHS: CARLES CARABI; LAURA EDWARDS; VIVI SPACO
There is nothing like a train. Despite my husband’s last-ditch attempts to book EasyJet ﬂights to Scotland, we have made it to the sleeper. The sleeper train of dreams. And I could not be happier. My desire to travel this way directly corresponds to the state of my everyday life. The faster, noisier and more furious my schedule, the more I yearn for the less fast, less furious and less noisy clattering of the 9.15 to Dunkeld & Birnam. What is it about trains? While the Scottish connection has a potent cloud of glamour about it, the railway journey I took from South Africa to Zambia on Rovos Rail for the 2001 lunar eclipse was arguably more sensational. That train had been taken over privately for the occasion by a friend of my family, a brilliant, charming aesthete who has his own opium den and drives a vintage Armstrong Siddeley limousine around Uruguay. Indeed, my whole family was on this train. And the journey happened to take place the week before I got married. My husband likes to remind me how he swiped at my dad during one of our incessant rows and how my father said he wouldn’t walk me down the aisle. This I have no memory of. In my head, all the trips I have ever taken are remembered as a kind of celestial snowglobe of suspended-sequin, catch-the-light brilliance. It could be my superpower. The only other time we took the sleeper was to stay with the same friends we are going to see now. We arrived in the Highlands at dawn to ﬁnd a battered Land Rover in the car park. The key was hidden on a front wheel, although the windscreen was missing, and the headlights weren’t working. So we put the provided rugs on our knees, turned on the torches and drove through falling snow to our friend’s bothy, wild and woolly up a long and winding track. It was a time of puzzling and skinning rabbits and red wine and mud and the The Vicar of Dibley and barbecue picnics in storms in ruins. The almost continual horizontal sleet seemed to clean us of the stench of our precious urban habits. It was the perfect, joyful retort to our silly runaround lives. It felt like medicine. So have I over-romanticised the sleeper, as is my wont? No! The night is misty as we set off – thick as socks – the train station bustling and body-busy. We thread our way to the platform where we ﬁnd our cabins and our bunks, and those crisp laundered sheets – just as I remember them! – with a certain dry crispness that is endlessly comforting. There is a pack on each bed containing an eye mask, earplugs and a small square of soap. The ticket inspector – who wears such a lovely jacket I instinctively run my hand over his lapel, both to his surprise and to my mine – is entirely accommodating and the size of a giant Edam cheese. He takes our breakfast orders for hot chocolate and biscuits. The dining car is full of chatter and clinking glasses, and as we set off, the train rocks to and fro rattling like a kitchen alive with pots and pans. We are on the move! And adventures – tobogganing through bogs, reeling through the night, giant games of kick the can, and mud, endless mud – await. This is the new issue of Condé Nast Traveller. For those who know there is nothing like a train.
MELINDA STEVENS EDITOR MelindaLP
PPA COLUMNIST OF THE YEAR 2016 All information and travel details are correct at the time of going to press and may no longer be so on the date of publication. Unless otherwise stated, hotel prices are low-season rates and restaurant prices are for a three-course meal for two without drinks 10 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
Jenny Zarins Photographer, Klosters (p102)
Chris Moss Writer, La Paz (p82)
‘It was a simple ﬁlter coffee out of a ﬂask, with a cheese sandwich, at the end of a beautiful kayak trip in a Swedish archipelago a few years ago. Close second would be an espresso pretty much anywhere in Italy.’ Jenny’s latest project is a book for London’s The Ivy restaurant, ‘Ivy Now’, out this summer
‘My most memorable cup was probably in Antigua Guatemala, served by a bearded Beat poet – his roasts were pungent and almost trippy. It was the late 1990s. The bar has now gone.’ A frequent visitor to South America, Chris lived in Buenos Aires for 10 years and is the author of ‘Patagonia: A Cultural History’
Tom Parker Bowles Writer, Australia (p92)
Laura Edwards Photographer, Liverpool (p124)
‘The Azzurro bar at Naples airport does a wonderful ristretto – short, sharp and intense. It’s the ﬁrst taste of this magniﬁcent city, and a ritual to be worshipped every time I arrive.’ Restaurant critic Tom has written six books about food. His most recent, ‘The Cook Book: Fortnum and Mason’, is out now
‘Paris has not always had a great coffee reputation, but recently you can sniff out a very good cup in the 10th by Canal St Martin. A friend took me to a tiny place called Ten Belles where they make the perfect noisette.’ London-based Laura has shot in locations from the Basque Country to Kenya’s tea plantations
Enrique Badulescu Photographer, Tulum Fashion (p112)
Jacques Erasmus Proﬁle, Way of Life, South Africa (p28)
‘The ﬁnest coffee beans in the world come from Chiapas in southern Mexico, and the best cup I’ve ever had was in San Cristóbal de las Casas in the highlands there.’ Enrique was born in Mexico City to a Romanian photographer father and Mexican mother. A regular visitor to Tulum, he lives in New York City
‘It has to be the ﬁrst brew we made on the opening morning of my restaurant Hemelhuijs in Cape Town, served in handmade Basalt cups. The anticipation and excitement was tempered by the aroma and ﬂavour of the perfect cappuccino.’ South African Jacques is an interior designer, chef and artist
12 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPH: GERAINT LEWIS/ALMAY
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WORD OF MOUTH ALL THAT’S NEW AND GROUND-BREAKING IN TRAVEL
PHOTOGRAPH: ‘FRESHLY BLOOMED’ 2015, ELLEN VON UNWERTH
EDITED BY IANTHE BUTT
THE FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER IN LOVE WITH THE COQUETTISH GOES BACK TO HER BAVARIAN ROOTS Known for her oozy erotic style, Ellen von Unwerth has shot the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer. But the fashion photographer’s formative years were spent in Germany’s super-traditional Bavaria region, where she moved at the age of 10 to live with foster parents. ‘I’ve been fascinated by Bavaria since I was little,’ she says. ‘How people live, how they work, how they have fun, how they enjoy their festivities.’ In her new book Heimat – the German word refers to a deep-rooted fondness and sense of belonging associated with a place – she plays up to the idea of Bavaria as a rural idyll, a view held in the imaginations of travellers since they began arriving here from the mid-18th century. Her vision of her homeland is an Oberbayern still populated with old-world, dirndl-wearing girls clunking steins at the Theresienwiese Oktoberfest in Munich, munching pretzels at a gasthof in Mittenwald, riding horses, playing accordions, and messing around in vintage bikinis on Lake Ferchensee. Under her nostalgic gaze, the region’s rivers, forests and sleepy villages are riotously technicoloured. ‘It often feels like the world is unchanged in Bavaria,’ von Unwerth says. ‘The mountains, the way of living – these are heart-warming things.’ ‘Heimat’ (Taschen, POA) by Ellen von Unwerth is out on 15 February; taschen.com
March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 17
WORD OF MOUTH
get up, start up Bottle it Like many great cocktails, Bonifacio’s ﬁnest are found behind an unexpected door. Step through the store room of a 7-Eleven inside the towering RCBC building and enter the dimly lit Bank Bar, a cosy speakeasy with polished concrete walls and a gleaming copper counter. Best on the cocktail list is the Another Club with pistachio gin. Meanwhile, for paredback Scandi style with hanging baskets, reclaimed wooden furniture and an indoor tree, try the BGC branch of the Wholesome Table for kale, ginger and beetroot juices as well as baked clams with watermelon and feta salad. momentgroup. ph/bank-bar; thewholesometable.com
ONCE KNOWN AS A STRAIT-LACED BUSINESS DISTRICT, MANILA’S BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY IS NOW THE SHARPEST BLOCK IN THE FILIPINO CAPITAL
New Japanese-style restaurant Ooma is the latest launch from the hip Moment Group. Moment is also behind showstopper Mecha Uma, which appears on the Diners Club World’s 50 Best Restaurants list thanks to dishes such as delicate oysters with Hokkaido sea urchin. At Peruvian joint Samba, Cusco-born chef Carlo Huerta Echegaray serves up coconut- and citrus-packed ﬂavours, including killer moqueca de camarão (spicy seafood chowder) amid the tropical decor. For juicy burgers and micro-brewed soda, head to super-cool Raging Bull Burgers at the Shangri-La hotel. shangri-la.com; momentgroup.ph
Change of art happening hub The new hotel base for tech entrepreneurs visiting Manila, the Shangri-La at the Fort is where you will ﬁnd bright young things working up a sweat in their downtime, shooting hoops at the on-site NBA-grade basketball court. On the second ﬂoor of the hotel is Provenance Art Gallery, which hosts small exhibitions of Filipino artists. There’s also a boutique selling statement artworks in heavy bronze, while age-old milling assembly techniques are used to produce the chic furniture, hand-crafted out of local wood, on sale at Philux Home. shangri-la.com 18 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
Graffiti artists scrawling on the walls, dancers pirouetting down hallways, offbeat theatre performances and on-the-rise musicians busting out jazzy tunes: at the just-opened BGC Arts Centre, you never quite know what to expect. In a real ﬁrst for the Filipino arts scene, the vibe here is impromptu, focusing on pop-up acts and little-known rising talent. All areas in the building – from a 500-seat auditorium to a recital hall – are used to create an eclectic set of artistic spaces, plus there’s a street-art festival in May. artsatbgc.org PHILIPPA LANGRISH
ANYTHING ELSE IS JUST A HOLIDAY
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WORD OF MOUTH
cool as folk LOS ANGELES IS HAVING AN ACOUSTIC-MUSIC REVIVAL, AND SINGER MOSES SUMNEY IS STRUMMING THE WAY
Little Dom’s, Hillhurst Avenue ‘For breakfast try the ricotta cheese and fresh blueberry pancakes at this Italian cafe in Los Feliz.’ littledoms.com The Lyric, N La Brea Avenue ‘A small, boxy venue with moody blue-and-red lighting. I played here in my early days; it’s great for an intimate show.’ lyricLA.com Hwa Sun Ji, Wilshire Boulevard ‘Koreatown is my favourite part of LA; you never run into anyone you know. This super-unknown tea place is a cosy spot.’ +1 213 382 5302 Bloom Cafe, W Pico Boulevard ‘Packed with superfood salads, this organic café is incredible. My go-to is the grilled salmon bowl with vegetable julienne, mango, tamaro sauce and brown rice.’ bloomcafe.com Counterpoint Records & Books, Franklin Avenue ‘The place for rare records: I recently bought the soundtrack to Waiting to Exhale and Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall.’ counterpointla.com
20 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPH: ANTHONY BATISTA
moses’ la hotspots
For decades, the undercurrent of intimate folk music in Los Angeles – the adoptive home of Joni Mitchell and the late Leonard Cohen – was drowned out by the rumblings of rock’n’roll and later the thumping beats of West Coast hip hop. Flash forward to 2017 and 26-year-old Moses Sumney, fresh from collaborations with soul sister Solange Knowles and hip hop’s most in-demand talent, Chance the Rapper, is leading the vanguard of young musicians in LA tinkering with a vintage sound. His ethereal blend of soul and folk, built on looped vocals and lo-ﬁ guitar, has singled him out as one-to-watch on the city’s crowded music scene. Sumney’s rise has been rapid, with listeners falling for his haunting falsetto on songs he penned in cabins in the southern Californian mountains. ‘I go into isolation for days or weeks at a time, that’s when I’m most creative,’ he says. But his debut album, out this summer, builds upon a fuller feel developed through collaborations with artists such as Kendrick Lamar’s bassist Thundercat, who added rich, jazz-ﬁlled touches to Sumney’s 2016 EP, Lamentations. This kind of cross-genre play has allowed him to step beyond the conﬁnes of folk music, though he admits that some of his sound was inherited. He spent part of his adolescence in his parents’ native Ghana and says, ‘I think there’s so much percussion in the culture that it just gets into your blood.’ BEN ALLEN Moses Sumney plays the Union Chapel in London on 3 April 2017
WORD OF MOUTH
JAPANESE ARCHITECTS MAKE THE RIGHT LIFESTYLE CHOICES
Left to right: the design for L’Arbre Blanc in Montpellier; Hiroshi Nakamura’s House SH in Tokyo; Issei Suma’s tepee-inspired huts
While uniformity deﬁnes British homes, in Japan surprise is the watchword. Doors don’t look like doors, walls are curved and sometimes there are no windows. Japanese architecture has developed from simple, wooden structures and ancient Shinto temples into modern, innovative buildings that always seem to be one step ahead of the trend. For example, the Japanese tapped into the idea of micro-living long before the tiny house movement became fashionable. In the 1970s, Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower broke new ground with its 140 minuscule capsules plugged into a central core. Not only is Japanese design clever, it has long been admired by the fashion and art sets – in the 1990s, Tadao Ando’s geometric aesthetic caught Giorgio Armani’s eye, resulting in Milan’s minimalist Armani Teatro and HQ. More recently, Sou Fujimoto’s 3D white-steel grids created for the Serpentine Pavilion in London in 2013 drew huge crowds. Now, Japan’s innovative domestic designs – such as Sou Fujimoto’s wall-less home, House NA, and the surreal Leek House by Terunobu Fujimori, with its rows of sprouting leeks in the roof – are appearing in a new exhibition on post-war Japanese architecture at the Barbican. With London now 18 times more densely populated than the UK average, the timing is perfect. One place featured, Ryue Nishizawa’s Garden and House, squeezes ﬁve single-room storeys into an area four metres wide. ‘Cities have never been so over-populated,’ says curator Florence Ostende, ‘and concern about space is at the core of Japanese design.’ MELANIE ABRAMS ‘The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945’, 23 March–25 June, barbican.org.uk
JAPAN’S GAME-CHANGING ARCHITECTURE CAPSULE LIVING (1972) Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower is the ﬁrst example of capsule architectural design: a 14-storey building with 140 stacked and angled prefabricated micro-apartments. TECH SPEC (1986) Japan’s ﬁrst interactive structure: Toyo Ito’s perforated, aluminium-clad Tower of Winds in Yokohama changes colour thanks to wind- and sound-sensitive lamps and neon rings.
SKY HIGH (2014) Hiroshi Nakamura’s Bird’s Nest Atami takes a traditional tea house 10 metres up into a 300-year-old camphor tree in Shizuoka, while keeping it entirely separate on a steel trellis. Clockwise from above left: Sou Fujimoto’s Small Cubes; The Japanese House by Mitsutaka Kitamura; Sou Fujimoto’s Serpentine Gallery pavilion; Ryue Nishizawa’s Garden and House
22 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
BREAKING TRADITIONS (2016) Also in Shizuoka, Issei Suma challenges domestic design to create a retirement home out of tepee-shaped wooden huts.
PHOTOGRAPHS: DAICI ANO; IWAN BAAN; LUKE HAYES/VIEW
CHURCH-ITECTURE (1988) Two overlapping cubes connected by a curved staircase shape Tadao Ando’s Church on the Water in Shimukappu-mur. Religious icons are replaced by concrete walls and a lake view.
© 2016 · finejewelr y @ t amaracomolli.com
LAKE TEGERNSEE · SOUTHAMPTON · SYLT · PALM BEACH · MUNICH · MARBELLA
WORD OF MOUTH
COME ON GET HIGHER
THE NEW HIMALAYAN HIT FOR THOSE WHO FIND BHUTAN TOO HECTIC
The remote Nepalese region of Upper Mustang is a land of monks and red monasteries. Stay at the Royal Mustang Guesthouse, the only building for miles around with electricity at night 24 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPHS: DAVID DE VLEESCHAUWER
As the epicentre of the Asian hippie trail in the 1960s and 1970s, Nepal was a magnet for bohemian souls looking for spiritual enlightenment. In the 1990s the number of more commercially minded trips to Mount Everest sky-rocketed, leading to hordes of high-altitude junkies, followed by gap-year backpackers. After the earthquake in 2015, which destroyed so much of the country’s infrastructure, visitors stopped coming. Now they’re starting to return, with the most ahead-of-the-curve adventurers making for little-known Upper Mustang. A mountainous northern region connected to the Tibetan plateau, it has a striking landscape of lunar-like rock formations peppered with red stupas and monasteries. It has a similar feel to Tibet and Bhutan, but is even emptier. Before 2011 no roads led here, and only the most hardcore mountaineers looking to hike the Trans-Himalayan range made it in by foot or on horseback. Today a new gravel road, which starts at tiny Jomsom airport and crosses 4,000-metre mountain passes, runs to the Upper Mustang capital of Lo Manthang. It’s a thrilling ride and tour operators such as Remote Lands and Himalayan Dream Team have launched trips by four-wheel-drive or helicopter. A $500 permit fee means the region won’t join the backpacker hit list, and there’s a smart place to stay too. In the village of Ghemi, a short drive from the capital, the Royal Mustang Guesthouse is part of a centuries-old-teahouse, with 16 bright and cheery new rooms decorated with Tibetan rugs. DEBBIE PAPPYN remotelands.com; himalayandreamteam.com
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Carrier Collection Carrier holidays are tailor-made, couture and undeniably luxurious. Discover our collection of lavish lodges and hotels in New Zealand – a country teeming with outstanding natural beauty and famed for its vast, varied and vibrant landscape. Explore New Zealand in complete luxury with our recommended itinerary.
2. Nestled on the banks of Waikato River and originally set up as a fishing lodge in the 1920’s, Huka Lodge attracts guests from all over the world, including the Hollywood elite.
1. The Lodge At Kauri Cliffs is the ideal place to explore the Bay of Islands. Sail the 144 islands on a chartered yacht or get your pulse racing by parasailing, sea fishing or diving. With panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and a par 72 championship golf course, this deluxe retreat will make you feel like you are staying in a private home.
3. Fly into Minaret Station by helicopter, enjoying spectacular views of the Southern Alps. Levels of comfort are exceptional here, provided by just four luxuriously furnished tented suites complete with private decks and hot tubs.
4. Spend your last nights at Queenstown’s iconic Eichardt’s Private Hotel – characterised by its exceptional standards of luxury. To appreciate the full grandeur of New Zealand, take to the skies. On a Carrier arranged private helicopter tour from Queenstown you’ll swoop low over the cliffs and fiords of Milford Sound, skimming the coast along the Tasman Sea.
The warmest and most popular months to visit New Zealand are from December to February, however spring and autumn are very pleasant and highly recommended.
Prices from Experience New Zealand in luxury and style, your 14 night journey includes overnight stays at Soﬁtel Viaduct Harbour with breakfast; The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Huka Lodge, Wharekauhau Country Estate all with breakfast and exquisite evening meal; The George with breakfast; Minaret Station fully-inclusive; and at Eichardt’s Private Hotel with breakfast from £10,550pp. Price includes return economy ﬂights to Auckland and internal ﬂights, accommodation, private transfers, car hire and meals as speciﬁed.
For more information, please call 0161 826 3556
WORD OF MOUTH
IT’S HAMMOCK TIME CHANNELLING THE FESTIVAL SPIRIT, A TROUPE OF OPENINGS IS ROCKING MEXICO’S BEACHSIDE STAR, TULUM
When the world’s best chef, René Redzepi, announces that the world’s most-talked about restaurant, Noma, is launching in the most glorious destination, Tulum, what do you get? Noma Mexico: the most sensational pop-up the planet has ever seen. The rooﬂess, on-the-beach joint, with tables spread between the Caribbean Sea and the jungle, debuts in April for a seven-week run. In preparation, Redzepi and Mexican-American Rosio Sanchez, a former Noma sous chef, spent six months travelling the country from Oaxaca to Guadalajara sampling extraordinary ﬂavours and searching for the ﬁnest seafood, chilli and traditional mole. While the menu remains tightly under wraps, their travel discoveries will inspire dishes on the two-and-a half-hour, multi-course feast. Redzepi revealed the atmosphere will be fun, with a ‘hot, steaming and unpredictable’ feel. Tables were snapped up within moments, but you can join the waiting list and hope. If a ticket eludes you, another fresh reason to visit Tulum arrives in May, when cult Australian hip-hop-yoga pioneer Yoga 213 joins forces with LA instructor Steve Ross for a retreat at Amansala Eco Chic Resort. The week-long stay will include daily classes where you can salute the sun to a bass-heavy soundtrack of Jay Z and Snoop Dogg. Also new on the scene is bar and restaurant Wild Tulum, pictured above left and right, the ﬁrst opening from Karen Young, who has more than two decades’ experience producing large-scale music festivals such as Serbia’s Exit. The vibe at Wild is rustic-meets-modern, blending traditional Mayan design with furniture made by craftsmen in Valladolid. Young’s industry connections mean that a line-up of hot international DJs will perform in the wilderness lounge. For chic sleeps, head to classic hotel Be Tulum, pictured above centre, which has recently opened a collection of smart suites, all stripped-back wood interiors, private pools, low-slung hammocks and masses of surf-chic attitude. Noma runs 12 April–28 May. A multi-course feast costs about £625 per person, including drinks pairing. noma.dk/mexico; yoga213.com.au; facebook.com/WildTulum; betulum.com
The trends taking off and those running out of fuel EMOJIS
A burgeoning language and now a work of modern art. The original 1999 designs by Japan’s Shigetaka Kurita are on display in New York’s MoMA.
Zero Zero Robotics’ new drone camera uses artiﬁcial intelligence so it can document your travels by tracking movements and following you around.
Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s eco-chic rings are made with compressed smog particles, ﬁltered by his air-purifying tower in Beijing, China.
Au revoir, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A drinking fountain dispensing free red wine has opened in Abruzzo, Italy, courtesy of local vineyard Dora Sarchese.
Adding to the list of things the Danish capital does better than everywhere else: there are now more bicycles than cars entering Copenhagen each day.
Residents of Sevnica in Slovenia are expecting a boost in tourism as the birthplace of the USA’s new First Lady, Melania Trump. BEN ALLEN
26 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPHS: JON ATTENBOROUGH
SCENIC SOUNDS & MOUNTAINS FLY D R IV E HOLI DAY
UNIQUE, BOUTIQUE & LUXURY F LY D RI V E HO L I DAY
GE T T I N G T H ER E W I TH A I R NE W ZE A L A N D
Air New Zealand Business Premier
13 DAYS FROM £2,999
21 DAYS FROM £6,299
Discover the rugged, breathtaking scenery of the Southern Alps and explore the magical Doubtful Sound by boat.
This exceptional holiday brings together a collection of New Zealand’s ﬁnest lodges and hotels. Set in magniﬁcent, scenic locations, all offer unique experiences and exceptional hospitality.
• Christchurch • Dunedin • Catlins • Te Anau • Milford Sound • Wanaka • Lake Tekapo Return Air New Zealand Economy ﬂights, car hire with FREE upgrade, 12 nights 3++ to 5+ hotels, 2 breakfasts & 2 dinners and a Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise. Ask about upgrading your Air New Zealand ﬂights to Premium Economy or Business Premier.
• Auckland • Bay of Islands • Rotorua • Hawke's Bay • Kapiti Coast • Marlborough Sounds • Kaikoura • Arthurs Pass National Park • Franz Josef • Queenstown Return Air New Zealand Economy ﬂights, car hire with FREE upgrade, 20 nights 4++ to 5+ hotels, daily breakfast, 3 lunches & 8 dinners, local tours in Kaikoura, Milford Sound & Kapiti Island.
If you’ve travelled Air New Zealand before, you’ll know it’s not just the innovative product, free poured New Zealand wine or delicious fresh food that sets them apart, it’s their crew – helpful and professional without losing that down to earth Kiwi touch. Choose to travel with Air New Zealand from London via Los Angeles to Auckland on their ﬂagship B777-300ER aircraft. Or ﬂy from London with one of their airline partners via Asia or North America to pick up your Air New Zealand ﬂight onto New Zealand to access all 21 destinations around the country. Fly to New Zealand with Air New Zealand.
Tailormade Travel Worldwide 020 7368 1354 First & Business Class Travel 020 7368 1355 trailfinders.com Prices a re per person b a sed on tw i n s hare, s u bject to avai l abi l i ty & val i d fo r s el ected May departu res .
WAY OF LIFE
Clockwise from top left: a display case with antique ceramics; the conservatory; freshly picked lemons; the valley in Montagu; the living room with a painting by owner Jacques Erasmus; Erasmus in the vegetable garden; the library; a bathroom 28 CondĂŠ Nast Traveller March 2017
IN A LUSH CORNER OF SOUTH AFRICA, ONE OF CAPE TOWNâ€™S MOST INNOVATIVE CHEFS HAS COOKED UP A DELICIOUS COUNTRY CRASHPAD. TAKE IT OVER TO TASTE THE GOOD LIFE BY JANE BROUGHTON. PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICKY HOYLE
WAY OF LIFE
As soon as he saw it, Jacques Erasmus knew it was a rare ﬁnd, even though the sash windows were rotten, the T-shape Cape Dutch footprint had been crudely extended and tree roots were growing through the ﬂoorboards. The location was ideal. With its vineyards, stone-fruit orchards and olive and almond groves, the small, historic town of Montagu is wedged between soaring, craggy mountains that separate the Little Karoo from the Breede River Valley. And although it lies in a rural farming area, it’s just two hours’ drive to Cape Town, where Erasmus has his restaurant, Hemelhuijs. It serves the city’s best all-day breakfasts: marinated biltong and herb-whipped soft cheese on toasted mosbolletjie – a sweet loaf leavened with grape must – and freshly pressed kale, pear and orange juice. The remarkable chef wanted a country escape, with a garden to supply his restaurant. The 163-year-old building, Jonkmanshof, has a mixed past as the premises of the local newspaper, the town’s ﬁrst restaurant, an art gallery, a hair salon and guesthouse. But then it fell into disrepair for several years. When Erasmus and his partner bought the property they embarked on a two-year renovation, stripping out everything to reveal original wide-plank ﬂoorboards and pretty chinoiserie wallpaper beneath a century’s worth of paint. They even found the thatched roof intact, preserved beneath a battered zinc roof. Erasmus is in awe of that early craftsmanship. ‘In the late 1800s, especially in remote areas like this, solid poplar and yellowwood tree trunks were used as beams and tied together with wet animal hide,’ he says. ‘As it dried, the strips would shrink and hold the beams together. Not a single nail was used.’ During the work, Erasmus slept on a mattress on the ﬂoor ‘to listen to the house. I needed to know from which side the wind 30 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
blew to understand what the house required, to re-imagine spaces. It was like meeting a not-so-beautiful woman. Only once I’d looked beyond the obvious and seen her hidden charms did I fall in love.’ Gables were carefully restored, poky bathrooms removed, plaster cornices ripped out to expose river-reed ceilings, and dry walls pulled down to open up the elegant proportions of the old house. When the ﬂoors were lifted, Erasmus discovered, to his horror, that there were no foundations. ‘Putting in proper foundations ate up our entire budget, but it had to be done,’ he says. Each ﬂoorboard was numbered before being taken out. Rotten wood was replaced by matching boards found in auctions. He employed old-school craftsmen who used wooden trowels for plastering to give ‘a softer, slightly imperfect ﬁnish’. All the
AT NIGHT, THE ONLY SOUND THAT CAN BE HEARD IS THE CHIME OF A FRENCH LONG-CASE CLOCK, OR DISTANT CHURCH BELLS STRIKING THE HOUR woodwork, stonework and ironmongery was done by local artisans, painstakingly slowly. As the oldest inhabited house in the town, the heritage council had to be consulted at every turn. But what Erasmus has created has been worth the wait. The single-storey house, set at the quiet, upper end of Bath Street, is within strolling distance of the mineral-rich, thermal springs Montagu is best known for. I enter the cool, formal entrance hall, which is ﬁlled with porcelain vases, a collection of old turtle shells and original Boeren Delft plates depicting scenes from Chinese
From far left: Erasmus in the farmhouse-style kitchen; entrance to the main house; the library ﬁlled with curios; the master bedroom
mythology (the chef made copies of these for his Cape Town restaurant). In the centre of the house is a library with a colonial day bed draped in an old tapestry, 10th-century Vietnamese ceramics and hand-painted porcelain jars used for storing ginger. The rows of books include titles on architecture, garden design and folklore. The house has neither television nor Wi-Fi. Off the library, the living room is painted oxblood red and furnished with low sofas, chairs from Piér Rabe Antiques in Stellenbosch and a neoclassical muurkas (wall-mounted cupboard) from one of the ﬁrst farms in the Cape Colony. Above an antique green marble fireplace hangs one of Erasmus’s own artworks, a black-and-white abstract piece he painted using a medium created by grinding carbonised bread and mixing it with linseed oil. The two high-ceilinged bedrooms have four-posters and en-suite bathrooms with deep, cast-iron bateau tubs. At night, the only sound that can be heard is the chime of a French long-case clock, found in Mauritius, or distant church bells striking the hour. But perhaps – given this is the home of a chef – it is the farmhouse-style kitchen that is the most signiﬁcant room. There are handcrafted clay tiles underfoot, a marble-and-wrought-iron work surface and stainless-steel double Smeg cooker, with rows of copper pots and pans strung up above it, as well as a pantry and a pizza oven built into the wall. Erasmus is amused that farm-to-table food is now trendy. ‘Growing up on a farm, everything was artisanal. We ground wheat to bake bread, made our own yogurt and cheese, and ate whatever was in season. My mother’s garden, although beautiful, was functional rather than decorative. If the ﬁgs and peaches were
ripe, that is what we ate and the surplus would be preserved. In summer we drank the juice of pomegranates picked off the trees.’ He wants his garden at Jonkmanshof to be the same. There are pear, apple and almond trees, and more than a dozen varieties of lemons and limes planted in terracotta pots. In the vegetable patch, spinach, kale, aubergines and celery are grown for the restaurant, but he hopes guests will pick them too – perhaps just-ripe pears to slice up with a hunk of Roquefort. On hot summer days the Orpington hens lay their eggs on the cool bathroom ﬂoors. Linking the kitchen to the garden is a glass conservatory inspired by an Italian limonaia. Instead of hothouse ﬂowers, it’s ﬁlled with indigenous succulents typical of the Karoo’s thirsty landscape. On Saturday mornings there is a market across the street from the house, where farmers sell buckets of olives, feta and nutty cheddar, plus cinnamon pancakes and koeksisters, a plaited, syrup-drenched pastry similar to a doughnut. There’s a lovely pizzeria, a couple of cafés and art galleries within walking distance. But the walled south-facing garden is the best place to spend a blue-skied afternoon, taking dips in the raised pool built to resemble a farm dam. At the end of the garden, the original wagon house has been converted into a simple, unadorned bedroom with an open-plan bathroom, and decorated with vintage furniture. ‘To enjoy the house properly you have to appreciate the silence, the privacy,’ Erasmus says. ‘It’s a place to slow down and enjoy conversations – things you usually don’t have time for in the city.’ Jonkmanshof sleeps up to six and costs from about £460 per night. Book via Perfect Hideaways (perfecthideaways.co.za)
The village of Canggu is more a state of mind than a dot on a map. Here there are surf schools, the legendary Old Man’s beach-front bar and a go-slow lifestyle.
The ultimate salutation. At sunrise, hardcore surfers gather on the quiet shores of Batu Bolong beach to ride the ﬁrst rollers of the day.
My trusty steed was made from a Honda Tiger Revo 200cc by Canggu-based outﬁt Malamadre Motorcycles, which specialises in customised retro streetﬁghters and dirt bikes.
The tropical Bali vibe: preternatural green; barrelroll grafﬁti; palm trees spearing up from the ﬂanks of volcanic cones; driftwood washed up on white sand.
32 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
THE ROUTE SOUTHERN BALI
THE MOTORBIKE CUSTOM-MADE MM14
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY CARLES CARABI
Rammed with temples, Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is as much about spirituality as it is about its cheeky monkeys, who pickpocket cameras and wallets.
Bali’s multiple layers of loveliness. This island has some of the best waves for surf nuts; white spray crashes onto the shore beneath sheer cliffs in Bukit.
So many locals still make their living by planting terrace upon terrace of rice, which is best seen at Tegalalang, just north of Ubud.
A dip in the sea at Bukit’s Padang Padang beach; spicy stir-fried noodles for lunch, and a walk up to the Pura Luhur Ulu Watu temple for views of the Indian Ocean.
SEE THE CITY THAT HELPED DEFINE AN ENTIRE NATION.
© 200 17 ILLIN I LLINOIS OIS DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND D E CO CON CONO C O ONO ON N O MI NO M IIC MIC C OPPO OPP O OP P PO PPO PP P O RTUN RTTUN RTU T UN TU U N ITY, I TY, ITY IT T Y, TY Y, OFF O FFFF ICE OF I CE IC C E OF OF TO OURI OU OUR UR URI U R I SM RI SM
YOUR BEST INTRODUCTION TO AMERICA starts in the city that helped deﬁne it. Explore the birthplace of the electric blues. The home of the modern-day skyscraper. And the exact spot where Route 66 begins.
PLAN YOUR CHICAGO HOLIDAY AT ENJOYILLINOIS.CO.UK
WHERE TO STAY
THE SMARTEST HOTEL UPDATES AND THE FRESHEST REVIEWS EDITED BY PETER BROWNE
SENSATIONAL NEW ARRIVALS IN
PHOTOGRAPH: HERVE GOLUZA
A bedroom in C.O.Q. Hôtel in the 13th arrondissement March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 37
WHERE TO STAY
C.O.Q. HOTEL The acronym actually stands for Community of Quality, and the idea is to showcase French creativity in a laid-back, guesthouse atmosphere, a concept masterminded by the owner, entrepreneur and ﬁrst-time hotelier Michel Delloye. Don’t be misled by the name: it has nothing to do with the puffed-up Gallic rooster, le coq, the emblem of French pride. There’s nothing remotely showy about this place in the 13th arrondissement. The 50 bedrooms – dreamed up by young interior designers Pauline d’Hoop and Delphine Sauvaget of Agence Favorite – are a study in sober elegance, with deep-blue walls, 19th-century portraits in gilt frames, and accents in mustard, rust and pink. Go for one of the bigger rooms with balconies and baths instead of showers, or a deluxe ground-ﬂoor room, hidden away on a terrace around the back. Quirky Made in France goodies – from tricolour men’s underwear to watches – are on sale in the lobby, where visitors can help themselves to a glass of Bordeaux while browsing. And with 20-odd French vintages stocked in the honesty bar, guests tend to make themselves at home in the cosy winter garden, lined with woven rugs and brocante ﬁnds. Breakfasts are bountiful – freshly squeezed juices, charcuterie, cheese and granola – but ask for the sublime, soft-boiled organic egg, served with baguette strips for dipping. For supper, head out to bistro Tempero, a 10-minute stroll away, for superb French classics reinvented with a Brazilian-Vietnamese twist. LANIE GOODMAN +33 1 45 86 35 99; coq-hotel-paris.com. Doubles from about £130
HOTEL BACHAUMONT It took three years to retune this one-time grand hotel, more recently a clinic, occupying a huge Haussmannian chunk of rue Bachaumont. The location is fantastic for Paris lovers who are just as into the hip food scene of the 11th arrondissement as they are the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre. The trade-off for such a central stay is that the rooms are Paris-standard stingy in size, although you do get handsome design by Dorothée Meilichzon involving lots of mirrors, her signature upholstered headboards and smart Pierre Frey fabrics. If you jump straight into a suite, or at least a deluxe double, and give the noisy street-side rooms a miss, you won’t feel hard done by. Otherwise, the smaller rooms make perfectly good crashpads from which to enjoy the buzzy restaurant and bar, masterminded by the Experimental Cocktail Group. These spaces are on either side of a glazed passageway, tricked out with Phaidon and Taschen wares and trendy little cacti. More of Meilichzon’s covetable textiles give the lofty dining room a grown-up, fashion-y appeal, although it’s a young crowd who ﬂirt over the roast-chicken rillettes, steak tartare and lamb shoulder to share. The vibe is still cool at breakfast when witchhouse tunes drift around as creative-industry types attack Alain Milliat fruit juices, very buttery scrambled eggs and home-made chocolate-and-hazelnut spread. Stay a few days and make yourself at home in this car-free rue Montorgueil neighbourhood, which is almost entirely composed of bakeries, food and wine shops, bistros and bars. SOPHIE DENING +33 1 81 66 47 00; hotelbachaumont.com. Doubles from about £240
38 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPHS: JESSICA ANTOLA; ALEXANDRE BAILACHE; PAUL BOWYER; HERVE GOLUZA
LE MONTANA Most ordinary citoyens have a better chance of being awarded the Légion d’Honneur than they have of getting into the basement nightclub at Le Montana, off the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Since it opened in 2009, it has set new standards in ego-crushing exclusivity and it’s still turning them away in droves. The upper ﬂoors of the building, however, have evolved in interesting ways, with the recent addition of a restaurant, six rooms and a roof terrace. The bedrooms, one on each ﬂoor, are individually themed but very much of a piece, with designer Vincent Darré’s ﬁngerprints all over them – as yours will be, too, the moment you touch any of the glossy surfaces. There’s the luminous Miroir d’Argent room (mirrors and brushed steel); Blanc Graffiti (inspired by Jean Cocteau’s scrawled-upon studio); Bleu Acide (something to do with Montparnasse in the 1950s); Rouge David X (as in David Hicks, with the X pronounced ‘eex’); Noir Métaphysique (walls painted in de Chirico-esque shapes), and Gris Paris (playful, feminine and not especially grey). All have bathrooms covered from ﬂoor to ceiling in black tiles. For easy access to a glamorous club and a spectacular roof terrace, minus the indignities of a long queue and a pre-dawn reverse commute, a room at Le Montana is money well spent. For a quiet night’s sleep, you’ll need to spend a little more on a pair of earplugs. STEVE KING +33 1 53 63 79 20; hotel-lemontana.com. Doubles from about £340
WHERE TO STAY
ADELE & JULES Adèle and Jules are two halves of a single charming hotel or, technically, two hotels in one block. Reserved romantics will appreciate its low-hype offering – 30 varied bedrooms in each of the buildings, a Taittinger-led honesty bar in Adèle and a superb welcome with a proper concierge service. This is combined with a tucked-away location in a newly but not aggressively trendiﬁed slice of the 9th, close to rue des Martyrs (food shopping), Grands Boulevards (nightlife) and the Gare du Nord. Designer Stéphane Poux’s style is a deliberate mishmash of urbanity and generous homeliness, his eye travelling around ikat prints, Indian cotton quilts and witty, intriguing artworks. Club rooms have balconies big enough for prolonged nightcaps, a bathtub and twin basins. If you get a view – say of the landmark BNP Paribas building or Grand Rex cinema – the smaller deluxe rooms are charming too. Breakfast features eggs, sausages and mini viennoiseries, and between 4pm and 6pm there’s a pick-me-up of Dammann Frères tea, cakes, pastries and fruit. This takes place in a cosy living/breakfast room lined with decent reading material: not just the usual glossies, but also shelves of Folio paperbacks. The norestaurant issue is very much a non-issue, with local options including Abri, Vivant, Richer and Saturne. A sibling to long-time fashion-pack bolthole Hôtel Thérèse in the 1st and Hôtel Recamier in Saint-Germain, this civilised, chic four-star deserves to become a cult hero/heroine as well. SD +33 1 48 24 60 70; hoteladelejules.com. Doubles from about £145
AMASTAN PARIS Glimpsed from its quiet street behind the Champs-Elysées, this elegant little hotel could easily be mistaken for a private townhouse, which is exactly what the owner, Paris-based entrepreneur Zied Sanhaji, had in mind for his new project. Beyond the discreet entrance that leads to the reception is the lobby – a gorgeously assembled, high-ceilinged space with petrol-blue parquet floors and a gargantuan bookcase lined with leather-bound classics. But the real hub is the cheerful bar, ﬂoodlit with natural light all day, and its leafy courtyard garden for summer soirées. The 24 bedrooms vary from small but cosy to big, attic-like spaces with private balconies. In all, uncluttered simplicity prevails, with white and blue contrasting walls, contemporary walnut desks and immaculate white bed linen; bathrooms are sensible and decked out in marble, some with standalone bathtubs, all with large showers. Generous breakfasts – fresh fruit, cheese platters, smoked salmon and baskets of croissants – are served at one long, high table in the bar. The hotel also has a small pop-up shop stocking a range of art, jewellery and homeware from lifestyle brands such as Lola James Harper and NOCC interior design. After midday, the bar morphs into Anouk, an informal restaurant for light meals (chicken-liver mousse with whiskyspiked jelly; avocado toast; passion-fruit cheesecake). And you’ll be back again after dark for a ﬂashy signature cocktail, such as the G&T infused with goji berries or squid ink. LG +33 1 49 52 99 70; amastanparis.com. Doubles from about £170
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HOTEL PANACHE Surely a stay in Paris should mean an inexpensive hostelry, with quirky stairs and a receptionist who points you in the direction of the best tagine or moules, located next to a thrift shop piled with back editions of Tintin et les Egoutiers. And so it is here, in the spirited 9th arrondissement, created by Dorothée Meilichzon, who started off designing toys. The unusual ﬂat-iron shape of Panache’s 19th-century building means that each of its 40 bedrooms has a slightly odd configuration, with everything a little askew, prettily Deco-tiled, dove-grey bathrooms and bevel-edged mirrors positioned to coax a sense of symmetry. All is perfectly quiet until (and this is a moment to cherish) you ﬂing open the windows of your room in the early evening and peoplewatch from a little balcony overhanging the sweet clamour of the streets radiating from the corner below: locals walking their Jack Russells, antiquarian booksellers hurrying back from the nearby Passage Verdeau, all the café conversations of the Grands Boulevards district. Panache also has a mosaic-decorated restaurant serving Middle Eastern-inspired small plates, with a female sommelier who modishly recommends delicious natural or raw wines supplied by dedicated French growers whose hard-working, summer-dusty hands are sometimes photographed for the bottle labels. Then a stagger up those lopsidedly long-winding stairs to bed. There is little here not to love. ANTONIA QUIRKE +33 1 47 70 85 87; hotelpanache.com. Doubles from about £100
PHOTOGRAPHS: PAUL BOWYER; CELINE DEMOUX; ROMAIN RICARD
OFF PARIS SEINE Part of the city’s rediscovery of the Seine, this ﬂoating addition to the Paris hotel scene is a sort of Neverland moored in front of Gare d’Austerlitz on the Left Bank with views across the river to the Gare de Lyon clocktower. Conceived by boat specialist Gérard Ronzatti of Seine Design and built in Dieppe, the OFF is actually a catamaran – its central water channel visible at both ends – with a turquoise outdoor pool installed for fine weather and a minimarina built at the stern should guests arrive by boat. Inside, tall, wood-slatted banquettes help create the sense of a vintage ferry, bright from the glass skylight by day, dimly lit at night. There are 58 bedrooms on two levels, including four suites by design duo Maurizio Galante and Tal Lancman. Even the standard doubles, although compact, feel surprisingly spacious, in part thanks to the river vistas, the sound of lapping water and the occasional honk of a barge or whoosh of the Metro crossing the iron bridge from Austerlitz. In the glass-walled bar and restaurant there are leather armchairs, beanbags and egg-shaped poufs that set the scene for the all-morning breakfast buffet; the space is also fast becoming a ﬁrm favourite for cocktails, tapas and updated brasserie food, backed by a chilled soundtrack and staff who all share a genuine enthusiasm for the place. NATASHA EDWARDS +33 1 44 06 62 65; offparisseine.com. Doubles from about £110
WHERE TO STAY
HOTEL DE JOBO The splendidly named Bambi Sloan, who did the interiors of this ravishing little place in the Marais, isn’t quite sure how to describe herself. She says she’s part designer, part storyteller. She might consider calling herself a history teacher as well. Among other things, Jobo is an amusing education in certain aspects of French life, art and culture in the post-revolutionary period. The name comes from Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon’s first wife and, brieﬂy, Empress of France. From this position of eminence, she indulged her racy and reﬁned tastes – leading the craze for leopard skin, for example, and for swans, and, more than anything else, for roses. All of which are not merely in evidence at the hotel but effectively deﬁne it. The result is intense but delightful – it’s too witty, too thoughtfully executed to be oppressive. The decadent toffs with whom Josephine caroused in the years after the revolution called themselves ‘Les Incroyables et Les Merveilleuses’. Hôtel de Jobo is both incredible and marvellous. It’s also tiny. The ceilings are low, the corridors narrow and the size of the bedrooms ranges from a mere 15 square metres to a modest 40. But that’s more than enough if you’re Napoleon and Josephine in the early throes of fascination, with no need for anything more than a comfortable bed surrounded by roses and leopard skin and swans. SK +33 1 48 04 70 48; hoteldejobo.paris. Doubles from about £155
NOLINSKI PARIS The French, while loftily affecting to despise American culture, have always been obsessed with certain of its manifestations – jazz, for example, and ﬁlm noir, which they loved so much they named the entire genre. Perhaps it’s the very intensity of their love that prevents them from making many decent ﬁlms noirs themselves. But when they do get it right – think of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï – the results can be sensational. I mention this because Nolinski, in a ﬁne six-storey Haussmannian building on the Avenue de l’Opéra, moments from the Comédie Française, is rather like that. Its designer, Jean-Louis Deniot, fresh from his success with the Chanel spa at the nearby Ritz, has woven an intriguing nest from elements gathered with magpie relish from all over the world. (Many are for sale to guests – putting the ‘boutique’ back into the boutique hotel.) Nevertheless, there’s a distinct preponderance of mid-century urban America about Nolinski – brassy, varnished, hard-edged, angular. And yet a certain Frenchness also inheres. One example: every room has a mini-bar housed in a cabinet designed in imitation of a safe – a bank safe of the kind a robber would crack in a ﬁlm noir – inside which, among the spirits and sodas, guests will ﬁnd a bottle of jus de cassis. Which is as quintessentially French as a mini-bar designed to look like a safe is American. A Le Samouraï moment: a collision of two worlds, from which both emerge not only unharmed but enhanced. SK +33 1 42 86 10 10; nolinskiparis. com. Doubles from about £350
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PHOTOGRAPHS: PAUL BOWYER; GUILLAUME DE LAUBIER
LE ROCH HOTEL & SPA When Le Roch (‘rock’ not ‘rosh’) opened, the local parish priest and the headmistress from the school around the corner dropped by to say hello. They must be pretty chic pastoral types; certainly they’re tending their ﬂocks in a very smart neighbourhood adjacent to the Place Vendôme. But somehow the gesture seems just right. Le Roch, despite its velvety textured swishiness and its fancy address, has a winningly unaffected aura. You sense it the moment you step inside off the rue Saint-Roch – a quiet byway hidden among the grand thoroughfares that dominate this part of the city. There’s an easy ﬂow from lobby through to library, bar, dining room and courtyard. The space is small enough to seem intimate, big enough to seem buzzy – an agreeable balance that characterises the hotel as a whole. Designer Sarah Lavoine’s rooms are elegant but not ﬂamboyant, imaginative but not ostentatious. She has a particular fondness for bleu de canard and subtle Moroccan elements: zellige tiles in the bathrooms and thick, contemporary Berber carpets that feel great underfoot. Staff are enthusiastic and on-it. There’s no attitude but bundles of knowhow. Benjamin Camus-Durand is, at 25, the youngest head concierge to have been awarded the Clefs d’Or. The spa is a strong draw. Guests can order their own personalised range of bespoke skincare products, whipped up by cult brand Codage following a consultation and delivered to the hotel 48 hours later. SK +33 1 70 83 00 00; leroch-hotel.com. Doubles from about £300
WHERE TO STAY
BED-HOPPING WITH GILLIAN ANDERSON THE GOLDEN GLOBE WINNER AND STAR OF ‘THE X-FILES’ AND ‘BLEAK HOUSE’ SPEAKS TO FRANCESCA BABB
VICEROY L’ERMITAGE BEVERLY HILLS CALIFORNIA ‘A lot of British actors stay here as it’s discreet and understated. It doesn’t have a rocking, trendy lobby, and the rooms are simple and Asian inﬂuenced. I like comfort, but not necessarily show-off comfort, and this place is lovely.’ viceroyhotelsand resorts.com. Doubles from about £410
CULLODEN ESTATE AND SPA NORTHERN IRELAND ‘I used to stay here when shooting The Fall. It’s just outside Belfast and while there are a lot of great hotels in the city itself, at the end of a day ﬁlming something like that, I need to go somewhere calm. I’ve had the same room in the old part of the building for the past three years. Sometimes you can walk into a hotel room and everything feels wrong, but not at this place.’ hastings hotels.com. Doubles from £105
RANVAS RAJASTHAN, INDIA ‘Nagaur Fort is a beautiful, ancient landmark, and within that fort, right in the middle of it, is the Ranvas. It feels very, very special. I’ve been to southern India and Delhi, and once did a ﬁlm in Kolkata, but this part of India was new to me – I loved it.’ ranvas nagaur.com. Doubles from about £200
HOTEL MONTALEMBERT PARIS ‘This is a curious little spot. The bedrooms on the top ﬂoor, with vaulted ceilings and small balconies, are the ones to go for. It’s right by Saint-Germain-des-Prés and close to the Musée d’Orsay and the Jardin du Luxembourg. But it’s also very serene, which is what I really like about it.’ hotelmontalembert-paris. com. Doubles from about £200 ‘Viceroy’s House’, starring Gillian Anderson, is in cinemas on 3 March
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CLUB VILLA BENTOTA, SRI LANKA ‘A train track runs through the middle of this place – right between the hotel and the beach – which is just wonderful. Whenever one of the old trains passes by I jump up and down in the pool with excitement. I have a house in Sri Lanka, so the island is a big part of my life. But I’ve stayed here many times because I ﬁnd everything about the hotel incredibly soothing, from the painted clapboard colonial style to the beach at the bottom of the garden.’ club-villa.com. Doubles from about £180
PHOTOGRAPHS: FRANCIS AMIAND; JAMIE BAKER/CAMERA PRESS
‘I TEND TO BE PICKY ABOUT A ROOM AND – THIS IS GOING TO SOUND PRETENTIOUS – ABOUT THE ENERGY WITHIN IT’
WHERE TO STAY (homemade granola and yogurt, still-warm croissants and jams), which is delivered to your door on a tray. EAT The real reason for coming here is the nine-course tasting menu from chef Jon Parry (formerly of Trinity restaurant in Clapham). Almost everything is cooked over an open ﬂame on the custom-made range, including partridges, chanterelles and barbecued scallops with smoked tomato. The pretty garden salad, with yellow cucumber ﬂowers, baby beets and green beans, is sensational, and the apple and blackberry parfait with sorrel granita sublime. On the tables are modern gold candelabras and ink pots used as vases, ﬁlled with mint and rosemary. Books on wild cocktails and butchery are stacked along one windowsill; LPs and jars of pickling vegetables sit on shelves near the kitchen. WHO COMES HERE? Londoners wanting an easy escape from the city; smartly dressed locals out for weekend date nights and serious foodies ogling the open grill. Only children over 12 are allowed to stay.
THE MASH INN RADNAGE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
WE DON’T LIKE The lack of a phone signal, although there is Wi-Fi.
WHY STAY? For a thumping food ﬁx in an atmospheric, muddy-boot base planted deep in the leafy wolds, but only 40 minutes from London Marylebone station.
CONTACT +44 1494 482440; themashinn com. Doubles from £120 EMMA LOVE
WHY NOW? For bracing walks across ﬁelds that form part of the 125-mile Chiltern Way, well-armed with homemade Scotch eggs and lemonade from the kitchen. WHAT IS IT? A beautifully renovated, 18thcentury inn with a tiny bar, a restaurant powered by a wood-ﬁred open grill and ﬁve cosy bedrooms. There’s a huge, sloping garden and benches with views past a weeping willow to the countryside beyond. BEHIND THE SCENES Founder Nick Mash used to own The Salusbury pub in London’s Queen’s Park and The Chamberlayne in Kensal Rise (both sold in 2012), but the family business is Mash Purveyors, which supplies fruit and vegetables from its farms to chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and 46 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
Raymond Blanc. It’s also the inspiration for The Mash Inn’s emblem, the pineapple, which appears in a brightly coloured painting by Nick’s son, Jake, in the bar and as bronze ornaments in the bedrooms. Nick is behind the clean-lined, Scandistyle interiors and also designed the wooden communal table and Ercol-like chairs, all hand-crafted by local furniture maker Bates & Lambourne. SLEEP Of the ﬁve rooms, the best are numbers 2 and 3 at the back, for views of the garden. Industrial lamps sit on treetrunk bedside tables; the stone-and-navy stripe throws and cushions on the bed are by Nkuku. A row of gold terrariums add metallic shine to the windowsills, painted in Railings by Farrow & Ball. There are ridiculously deep baths (but no showers) in the lovely, geometric-tiled bathrooms. Room 1 is under the eaves and has no view, but it does have a sofa in a small seating area – very handy for breakfast
OUT AND ABOUT Head south to lovely Marlow, a 20-minute drive away, to join the Thames Path National Trail. Or go in the opposite direction to the historic town of Thame. While you’re here, pick up handmade chutneys, savoury tarts and award-winning cheeses from the deli counter at What’s Cooking, above, near the marketplace.
PHOTOGRAPHS: CARRIE BEDDALL
WE LIKE Watching the chef at work. Between throwing potatoes on the embers, he’ll tell you all about his experiments with ﬁre-pit squash, which involves cooking them in the ground using buried hot coals.
St. Nicholas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas, Crete This private beach resort blends airy contemporary design with high-end amenities. Accommodation ranges from bungalow-style rooms and suites, to villas with private pools. Relax in the Poseidon Spa or visit the Blue Room rooftop terrace for spa treatments with exquisite sunset views. Stay 7 nights from £1380pp including breakfast and flights.
Travel with style /
Carrier Collection Carrier holidays are couture, bespoke, with quality down to the tiniest detail; our portfolio offers a collection of some of the ﬁnest hotels and resorts worldwide. Allow us to craft your next luxury escape, guaranteed to be the perfect ﬁt.
Amilla Fushi, Maldives Having featured on the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List in 2015, this family-friendly hotel offers quintessential relaxed island living, complemented by high end amenities and nestled in the Baa Atoll in a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, recognised for its unique harmony between man and nature. Stay 7 nights from £3930pp including breakfast and flights.
Capella Singapore Set amidst thirty acres of manicured gardens, this resort style escape with glorious views of the South China Sea provides an oasis of relaxation and tranquillity yet, just fifteen minutes’ drive from the buzz of Singapore’s renowned Orchard Road. Prices from £197pppn including breakfast.
For more information, please call 0161 826 3556
Smile all the stay.
All our hotels are in dreamlike settings, but if we can go the extra step, rest assured that we have what it takes to surprise you, over and over again, so you’ll keep wondering what’s next? MAURITIUS
PHOTOGRAPHS: PETER DIXIE/LOTAN ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY; DREW ECHBERG; NATTAPON KLINSUWAN; DAVID OLIVER; LEONARDO PALAFOX/DETURE CULSIGN
IT’S SUSTAINABLE AND STRONGER THAN STEEL. NOW ARCHITECTS ARE PUTTING IT IN POLE POSITION Top row, from left: geometric pods made from rattan create a viewing platform for the lemur exhibit at Melbourne’s zoo; hundreds of rods hang from the ceiling like stalactites to divide the space inside Bangkok hair salon Klinsuwan; Athens-based architects KLab designed the bamboo motifs at the Andronikos Hotel on Mykonos; chunky bamboo stems were manipulated to create the criss-cross structure at Naman hotel near Hoi An in Vietnam; the light shines through screens in the walls at Greece’s Andronikos Hotel. Middle row, from left: referencing the shapes of traditional ﬁshing baskets, the top-heavy structures form a grid between the tables at the Kontum Indochine Café in central Vietnam; a beach-side treehouse in Juluchuca, Mexico, is elevated off the forest ﬂoor by bamboo supports; all the bedrooms at the ﬂoating Bamboo Courtyard Teahousein Yangzhou, China, have lake views; the cabin on Mexico’s Juluchuca beach is solar-powered and its water supply is recycled; architect Vo Trong Nghia’s open-air restaurant in Son La, Vietnam, is built from local bamboo and stonewood. Bottom row, from left: bamboo-cast concrete covers the exterior of the Noodle Rack restaurant in Changsha, China; copper bathtubs and vintage furniture are features at the Beach House on Mustique; two types of bamboo provided contrasting effects when building the Roc Von restaurant near Hanoi; the rustic Caribbean interiors at the Beach House were redesigned by Veere Grenney – even the bicycles are made from bamboo; the children’s den at Soneva Kiri on Koh Kood in Thailand is a manta-rayinspired dome. TABITHA JOYCE
March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 51
CAYMAN BRAC LITTLE CAYMAN
You never know when you will bump into one of the locals.
3 of lifeâ€™s little luxuries
FASHION-FORWARD NOTES FOR ALL SEASONS
PHOTOGRAPH: JODY TODD
WALK THE WALK Although the stories it likes to tell about itself are of private jets and chauffered cars, fashion’s emblematic mode of travel is, in truth, the humblest, most democratic of them all: walking. From the rareﬁed runways of Milan and Paris to the open-air catwalk of the street, to walk is to perform, to ﬂaunt, to revel in the fact that clothes look best at three miles an hour. To walk is also, of course, to travel in its purest form. When we go abroad – to the 3rd arrondissement, to Downtown Manhattan, to the Daikanyama district – we go to engage in the theatre of the street, the snap and strut of the city; we go to promenade. And so we choose our footwear with care: we need statement shoes but ones that can pound the pavement. As ever, Russell & Bromley has come up with the goods. We’ve got our trainers, but where shall we go? The answer is simple: follow your heart. Leather trainers, £195, Russell & Bromley (russellandbromley.co.uk) March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 53
Saõ Paulo’s Pinheiros district is shaking things up with cool design stores. Clockwise from left: ethically made upcycled shoes at Insecta; stylish accessories at Galeria Nacional; artwork and notebooks at Diária, and cacti in the shop’s sunny courtyard. Opposite, Livo Eyewear
SHOPPING IN… SAO PAULO
MANY ZOOM RIGHT PAST BRAZIL’S BUSINESS KINGPIN TO THE BEACHES, BUT THE CITY IS WORTH A STOPOVER FOR ITS PINHEIROS NEIGHBOURHOOD, WHERE INDIE ARTISANS ARE SHINING AMID THE GRAFFITI-SPLATTERED FACADES BY LAUREN HOLMES. PHOTOGRAPHS BY VIVI SPACO
March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 55
MODERN-MACHISMO OUTFITTER You will need to book weeks ahead for exceptional made-to-measure tailoring from radical menswear designer João Pimenta. Three-piece suits, military jackets and macho skirts ﬂirt with femininity and are crafted from hand-spun natural fabrics. It’s worth visiting if only to check out Pimenta’s atelier, which is contained in a three-storey redbrick townhouse with black-and-white family portraits and the tick of vintage sewing machines from the basement. 1055 Rua Cônego Eugênio Leite (+55 11 3034 2415) BOSSA NOVA BEACHWEAR With an entrance framed by tumbling tropical foliage, beach-chic Chapéu Beachwear goes beyond the itsy-bitsy Brazilian bikini. Instead, it showcases hot-pants with sexy mix-and-match tied tops and cut-away swimsuits with styles to suit every body type. There are block colours from vivid seaweed to sky-blue, and limited-edition pieces in ﬂoral prints are designed by artist friends of the owners Talita Carvalho and Pablo Noronha. Across the road, the production atelier can nip and tuck swimwear for the perfect fit. 1277 Rua Mourato Coelho (chapeubeachwear.com.br)
MORE THAN JUST A CLOTHES SHOP Cartel 011 is a hybrid hub which founders Cristian Resende and Fernando Sapuppo use to show off emerging Brazilian designers, as well as their own brand. Stock up on stylish tracksuits and sleek monochrome daywear – including T-shirt dresses, cropped jumpers and the perfect skinny trousers – plus lightweight wedges and funky trainers from the dedicated sneaker lab. There is also a café tucked away in a tropical courtyard, a co-working space upstairs and a walkway entrance that doubles as a gallery. 517 Rua Artur de Azevedo (cartel011.com.br) SHOES THAT TREAD LIGHTLY For statement shoes, stop by Insecta, a pared-back workshop lined with reclaimed wooden shelves. Hailing from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, this eco-conscious label upcycles vintage clothing to make vegan footwear. Each pair is produced locally and soled with recycled rubber, and the unisex designs range from sunﬂowerpatterned Oxford brogues to desert boots in a fantastical avocado print. There are also tropical backpacks handcrafted from plastic bottles. 499 Rua Artur de Azevedo (insectashoes.com)
TRACK IT DOWN YOU WON’T FIND THIS AT HOME Wet & Wood’s handplanes for bodysurfers are crafted from kiri wood and are small enough to pop into a carry-on bag. Slot your palm through the strap behind the micro-mini boards to add extra edge when carving through waves. André Bianco and Bob Moraes, the pair of oceanographers behind the design, also make chopping boards, fabric wall hangings and folding furniture. wetandwood.com
This page, clockwise from top left: chocolate bars at Diária; jewel-like wooden necklaces; clothes at Cartel 011; eye-catching prints at Chapéu Beachwear; graphic plates at Galeria Nacional. Opposite: Cartel 011’s leafy café; leather specialist Cutterman
PHOTOGRAPH: NICOLE FRANZEN
SPECS IN THE CITY Expect high fashion at high-street prices from Livo Eyewear, quite possibly the country’s most successful sunglasses startup. The winning formula? Italian acetate, Brazilian design aesthetic and a dynamic presence via an online portal. Here at the company’s cool headquarters, friendly staff advise on Audrey Hepburn-style shades and reﬂective ravers in between ping-pong games in the back office. 272 Rua dos Pinheiros (livo.com.br) TANNED AND LOVELY There’s a permanent scent of butter-soft leather inside Cutterman, which conjures the essence of southern Brazil’s cowboy country. Rummage for utilitarian backpacks, weekend dufﬂe bags, army knives, hand-stitched leather wallets, and camera straps by indigenous Mapuche artisans. 644 Rua Mateus Grou (cutterman.co) HOMEGROWN DESIGN HEROES The two Rafas – Raffaele di Giuda Asselta and Raphael Dias – often man the counter at Diária so they can share stories about the designers they stock, nearly all of whom are Brazilian. There are Estela Miazzi’s watercolor paintings of whales, Lana y
Couro’s wool-felt passport holders and the duo’s own brand of orange-and-clove candles. They also host monthly exhibitions of emerging artists at their in-house gallery. 1315 Rua Artur de Azevedo (casa.diaria.co) INSIDE STORIES Set in an intimate townhouse showcasing homegrown artists and designers, Galeria Nacional is part gallery, part homeware shop. Pick up some chunky hand-knitted plant-pot holders from Oferenda Objetos and leather place mats in the shape of palm leaves by São Paulo-based architectdesigner Rahyja Afrange. 540 Rua Mateus Grou (galeriancional.com.br) SERIOUS BREWS Coffee Lab is the place to source the best of Brazil’s small-batch blends, meticulously selected by Isabela Raposeiras from local organic collectives that don’t ship internationally. The 746 is the baristas’ favourite, but the house blend – a rich, smooth classic, lovingly named after the lab’s cleaner Raimunda – is also a hit. Sleek gifts available to buy include Japanese ceramic drippers, Allpress grinders and jars of raw honey. 1340 Rua Fradique Coutinho (coffeelab.com.br)
LOCAL KNOW-HOW VICTOR COLLOR DE MELLO PHOTOGRAPHER, PUBLISHER AND RESTAURATEUR
‘Start the day with a walk in Beco do Batman, where the areas of Pinheiros and Vila Madalena meet, to watch some of São Paulo’s best graffiteros at work.’ ‘A lot of love has been poured into Helena Rizzo’s Padoca do Maní. Breakfasts are great: tapioca cakes, fresh juices and coffee.’ ‘Tan Tan Noodle Bar serves the most perfectly cooked dishes. It’s always packed so I sometimes buy a takeaway and sit on the wooden cubes in the street.’ ‘A section of Pinheiros Market is run by renowned chef Alex Atala, who brings regional delicacies such as Amazonian mushrooms to these street-side stalls.’ Visit Victor’s blog at victorcollor.com.br
March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 57
MY JET SET STASH
OLIVIA WILDE THE STAR OF ÀSH AND SCORSESE’S VINYL TALKS TO TABITHA JOYCE
‘Dancing is probably my best workout because it never feels like exercise. My favourite class is hip hop or ballet. I’ve also been spinning for more than 10 years, and still go to the occasional SoulCycle session.’
And do you watch your diet? ‘I try to! It can be difficult as a mother when your child wants to eat chicken nuggets. And I absolutely love Coca-Cola, which isn’t ideal. But I do enjoy a good cold soup, such as cucumber and avocado or green pea. I could eat it all day, and luckily it’s healthy.’
How do you look after your skin when travelling? ‘If I’m on a very long ﬂight I usually start by taking off my make-up and then refresh with Tata Harper’s Floral Essence Moisturizing Toner. I only reapply make-up just before landing – that way I look fresh coming off the plane, even if I don’t feel it.’
Do you sunbathe? ‘I’m naturally fair skinned and prone to sunburn, so I don’t really like sunbathing. Revlon’s ColorStay foundation has builtin SPF. It’s such a bonus as that’s one less thing to do each morning. I do enjoy the heat though, and my favourite place in the world is Thailand, where you’d find me in the shade. Even then I’d be smothered in La Roche-Posay SPF 30.’
How do you look after your hair in the sun? ‘I don’t use much product on my hair. I let it dry naturally and am generally straight out the door. If I feel it needs a bit of extra shine or hydration, I work in a tiny dollop of coconut oil.’
Which fragrance do you pack in your hand luggage? ‘When I was pregnant I couldn’t stand any type of strong smell, so I’m only just getting used to wearing perfume again. Le Labo’s scents are so refreshing.’
Do you ever visit spas at home or abroad? ‘The treatment I go out for is a deep-tissue massage – they’re so good. If I have a little bit of time to myself at home, I’m pretty happy experimenting with hydrating face masks and painting my nails. That’s a treat in itself – I feel like it’s me-time.’
Have you ever had sun-damaged hair?
What’s your number-one travel-beauty tip?
‘Not really, but I used to be bleach-blonde, which destroyed my hair. I still cringe thinking about it. My hair has gone from pink to blue to white and then to black. Mostly for work, but sometimes for fun. Now I try to stick to my natural colour.’
‘I have been using natural brands all my life and Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap is brilliant. You can even use it as a shampoo when you’re travelling or at a festival.’
From left: Hydrating Floral Essence Moisturizing Toner, £54, Tata Harper (cultbeauty.co.uk). ColorStay Makeup foundation, £12.99, Revlon (boots.com). Anthelios Ultra-Light Spray SPF 30, £17.50, La Roche-Posay (boots.com). Neroli 36 eau de parfum, £115, Le Labo (lelabofragrances.com). 18-in-1 Hemp Rose Pure-Castile Soap, £6.49, Dr Bronner’s (drbronner.co.uk) 58 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPH: YELENA YEMCHUK/TRUNK ARCHIVE
Do you do anything to get in shape before a holiday?
GO-GETTER, JET-SETTER DODO BAR OR THE FORMER COMEDY ACTRESS WHO HAS NOW BECOME ISRAEL’S MOST TALKED-ABOUT FASHION DESIGNER SHARES HER TEL AVIV TIPS What are the smartest addresses in the city? ‘The Norman, a boutique hotel in the heart of Tel Aviv, has the best ambiance. It’s fun to just hang out there, or go to the restaurant for lunch or dinner. The sushi bar upstairs is also cool. And staying at the hotel will save you on taxi fares because you’ll never want to leave – everyone will come to you. My favourite restaurant in town is Cantina, a lovely Italian place on Rothschild Boulevard where the diverse clientele includes actors such as Gérard Depardieu and Audrey Tautou, politicians, artists and philosophers. You never know whose table you’ll end up on. I always order the carpaccio, calamari bruschetta, tomato salad and seafood risotto. Also I’ll let you into a little secret: although it’s an Italian restaurant, they serve tahini. It’s only for special customers, so let Jo the owner know I sent you.’
‘The historic area of Neve Tzedek has small boutiques, workshops and jewellers. Dallal restaurant, on the corner of the main street Shabazi and magical Kol Israel Haverim alley, is a popular place where people gather for the good food. The mezze is out of this world. Port Said is a hot new spot owned by top Israeli chef Eyal Shani; there’s always a long queue outside. You basically wait on the pavement with a glass of wine or a beer and make new friends. Lucifer is a great little pub where you come to drink and nothing else.’
How do you pack for holidays? ‘To this day I am still trying to ﬁgure out the best way to do it. Every time I go on a trip I’m embarrassed when I see all the stuff I’ve brought. Beforehand I try to imagine myself at the place I’m travelling to and the looks I’ll wear from day to night. In an attempt to be organised, I make a list – although it’s usually unsuccessful. Staples that always work include vintage jeans
Small minaudière bag, £1,440, Chloé (chloe.com)
SMALL WONDERS THAT MAKE BIG STATEMENTS
Mini top-handle leather bag, £1,450, Gucci (gucci.com)
60 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
Bonsai mini nubuck tote, £305, Simon Miller (net-a-porter.com)
Embroidered By The Way bag, £1,420, Fendi (fendi.com)
Micro Precieux calfskin bag, £11,450, Hermès (hermes.com)
Name your favourite neighbourhood haunts
BREAK-OUT SQUAD The new names shaking up the rails this month
from Hippy Market in the Marais in Paris and a few James Perse T shirts – I love to layer them under long dresses.’
Already known for her playful, candy-striped accessories and collaboration with Salvatore Ferragamo, this Italian designer has turned her joyful and exacting attention to ready-to-wear for the ﬁrst time. Dresses, blouses and high-waisted trousers are all on our wish list. net-a-porter.com
How do you get the inside track when travelling? ‘I always connect to someone local who can show me around and take me to the best restaurants and markets – everyone will help you after you’ve given them a compliment. I also love to check out traditional and religious costumes – and even wear them. On my last trip to Zanzibar I went shopping with an amazing woman who took me to a market. I dressed like a local for the whole trip, which I think made staff at my hotel giggle. They probably thought I was crazy. But I have fond memories when I look at the photos.’
What do you bring back? ‘Everywhere I travel I always buy a small souvenir to take home: an ashtray, a candle, a little salt box. I love that my house is full of keepsakes with a story behind them.’
Where do you ﬁnd design inspiration? ‘I try to bring my Middle Eastern background to my creations. We have so much to offer: architecture, food, fragrances, colours, ornaments and beautiful fabrics. In Mediterranean culture there is consistent use of handmade embroideries, which is always visible in my dresses.’
Y/PROJECT Young and talented Belgian designer Glenn Martens is now in the driving seat of this Paris-based brand. A challenger to the almighty Vetements crown, it’s ticking all the trend boxes this season; shirting, crisp cottons, street wear, corsets. Too many? We don’t think so. net-a-porter.com
The hits of your S/S 17 collection? ‘This season focuses on jacquard fabric, created so the inside and outside are both as rich as each other. I adorn it with lace, studs, eyelets and embroidery for an authentic feel. My look is fun and versatile, to be worn with ﬂats or heels.’ Dodo Bar Or’s designs are available at matchesfashion.com and net-a-porter.com
Vere mini wristlet, £995, Anya Hindmarch (anyahindmarch.com)
Flamma patent mini bucket bag, £365, Mansur Gavriel (mansurgavriel.com)
ATTICO Founded by Italian street-style queens Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini, this label smacks of steamy summer nights. There’s an awful lot of fun to get up to in these sexy, witty, silky evening pieces. brownsfashion.com
Minaudière bag, £590, Valentino (valentino.com)
STYLE FILE Love bracelet, £190, Chloé (farfetch.com). J’Adior leather ﬂap bag, POA, Dior (dior.com)
Appliquéd distressed cotton-jersey T-shirt, £320, Gucci (net-a-porter.com)
Petite Malle reverse monogram iPhone case, £800, Louis Vuitton (louisvuitton. com)
ON THE SCENE: JUMEIRAH AL NASEEM, DUBAI THE MOOD: LOGO MANIA Until recently the aesthetic of the sprawling Madinat Jumeirah – a 40-hectare citadel connected by three kilometres of winding waterways – has been upscaled pseudosouk: terracotta villas, Arabesque interiors, terrace restaurants under twinkling lights. However, the Al Naseem, the fourth and ﬁnal of the resort’s hotels, which opened in December, bucks this trend, aiming instead to capture the spirit of modern Dubai and its pillow-soft super-luxury. The colour scheme is muted: sand, stone and taupe. Rooms are high-functioning, with opulent fabrics and slick control panels. Throughout the corridors there are bold Emirati collaborations. At the reception desk there’s a huge sculpture in stainless steel by artist Mattar Bin Lahej. And the in-house chocolate comes from Mirzam, the bean-to-bar chocolatiers on hip Alserkal Avenue. The Al Naseem will soon see the arrival of New York burger-ﬂippers Black Tap, and the ﬁrst overseas outpost of the Ferragamo family’s Tuscan restaurant, Il Borro. Just as smart, but with a touch more funkiness than many of its neighbours, this is Dubai’s classiest hotel to stop and ﬂop and eat till you drop. DAVID ANNAND jumeirah.com. Doubles from about £270 half board. Emirates (emirates.com) ﬂies to Dubai from London
Embellished jersey dress, £730, Moschino (net-a-porter.com). Catwalk look Dolce & Gabbana S/S 17 Sunglasses, £475, Gucci (gucci. com). Kiyomi bikini top, £200; bottoms, £160, both Hermès (hermes.com). Opyum Cassandre shoes, £770, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello (ysl.com)
EDITOR’S PICK ‘Fanny pack, bum bag, call it what you will: we are no longer embarrassed to utter the words. Thank you Chanel.’ HANNAH MOORE, ACTING FASHION DIRECTOR Tweed and leather bum bag, £2,340, Chanel (+44 20 7493 5040)
Chanel No 5 L’Eau, £68, Chanel (chanel.com) 62 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
#HotTubHoseasons ABTA No. Y0662
Stay at home You donâ€™t need to go far to treat the ones you love. Enjoy a 2017 lodge break in the UK with Hoseasons.
Find your hot tub heaven
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STYLE FILE Libra necklace in gold, pebble, citrine, opal, tourmaline, topaz and pearl, £3,000, Venyx for CVC Stone (venyxworld.com). Mars necklace in gold, ruby and emerald, £1,100, Astley Clarke (astleyclarke.com). Scorpio necklace in gold, pebble and diamonds, £3,720, Venyx for CVC Stones (as before).
The Dark Side of the Moon necklace in gold, silver and diamonds, £15,500, Jessica McCormack (jessica mccormack.com). Dauphin Etoile earring in gold and diamonds, £5,000, Sophie Bille Brahe (doverstreet market.com)
Comète Spirale ring in white gold and diamonds, £4,650, Chanel Fine Jewellery (chanel.com)
Alignment necklace in gold and diamonds, £23,400, Elé Karela (elekarela.com). Libra Constellation ring in gold and diamonds, £1,850, Jessie V E (jessieve.com)
‘Look at the stars!’ everyone cries when they’ve left a light-polluted city and ventured to a remote place unsullied by artiﬁcial glow. Sweeping arc-like across a velvet tarpaulin of sky, the Milky Way and its paint splatter never ceases to amaze. Jewellers love it for its mystical and astrological potential, and its perfect alliance with diamonds – their otherworldly quality so in line with constellations. A slew of designers have put their spin on the heavens: from established houses including Chanel, which has riffed on the motif since 1932, to emerging talents such as Elé Karela and her graphic-star choker, and Jessie V E and her constellation rings (wear your astrological sign or stack several for maximum impact). For cult Danish jeweller Sophie Bille Brahe, her stylistic destiny was metaphorically written in the stars: she is a descendant of Tycho Brahe, was a renowned 16th-century astronomer. More constellations come from a collaboration between CVC Stones and Eugenie Niarchos of Venyx, in which smooth, matte pebbles are studded with pin-pricks of gems. London jeweller Jessica McCormack presents a perfect ombré Alignment earrings in moon on a gold chain, and Shimell & Madden mixes planetarium and orrery references in a pair of deep-red orb gold, garnet, sapphires earrings. Meanwhile, Astley Clarke’s new creative director Dominic Jones, 2016’s most talked-about jewellery signing, and diamonds, £4,100, begins the brand refresh with planetary-inspired pieces, including a sliced ruby Mars pendant dotted with a green Shimell & Madden emerald – to represent a Martian. And the impact of these sky-high-style pieces? Nothing less than stellar, of course. (shimellandmadden.com) 64 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPH: KAMRUL ARIFIN/500PX
JEWELLERS GO INTERGALACTIC WITH COSMIC DESIGNS. BY JESSICA DIAMOND
STYLE FILE EDITED BY DAVID ANNAND
THE MAN: MARK HEALEY This Hawaiian stuntman, shark-tagger and 60ft-wave surfer is one of the world’s greatest underwater athletes. THE MISSION A daring, dead-of-night speedboat run into the remote waters of the Gulf of Mexico, braving shark-infested waters to spear-ﬁsh elusive wahoo, which speed through the water at up to 48mph. MILES TRAVELLED LAST YEAR 100,000 WEIRDEST PLACE VISITED ‘My trip to Indonesia’s Maluku islands was eventful. I visited when there was a conﬂict going on and I got shot at and pursued by pirates. The islands are hauntingly beautiful, with huts made from a mix of organic material and World War II wreckage – and there’s brilliant surf.’ MUST PACK ‘A GoPro and grapefruit-seed extract: it’s great for preventing stomach ailments while travelling.’
66 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
MAN ON a MISSION
n a speedboat in the Gulf of Mexico I’ve taken the helm while the captain gets some sleep. Marble-sized hailstones in Houston forced us to delay our departure from the mainland until night-time, so I’m powering along at 40 knots per hour in the pitch black. Around me are hundreds of oil rigs, many of which have been decommissioned and don’t have lights. Huge tankers cut through the water. The whole thing has a Mad Max quality to it. But I need to keep going to take advantage of a narrow weather-window that will allow us to go spear-ﬁshing for wahoo, the third fastest ﬁsh in the ocean. At 3am, 150 miles out at sea, the bad weather hits. We have to secure the boat but the anchor line is in a huge, tangled knot. For two hours I unravel rope as rough waves crash over the bow. Eventually the storm passes and the sun rises. I’ve only had 45 minutes’ sleep, but the waters are alive with six-foot wahoo, silvery-blue amberjacks and thousands of bait ﬁsh. Plus a ton of sharks: hammerheads, tiger sharks and nasty old dusky sharks. Wearing a full-body
‘AT THE LAST SECOND I WEDGE MY SPEAR INTO THE SHARK’S MOUTH, JUST AS IT’S PREPARING TO BITE’ camouﬂage wetsuit and ﬁns, I roll into the water. The wahoo are powerful and fast. Shoot at one and suddenly it’s gone, ﬂying at full speed past your head. Hit one and often it’s gorged on by two aggressive dusky sharks, which are hanging around. At the end of the day it gets too dark to carry on. As I head back to the boat, suddenly there are about 30 sharks around me. One of the duskies swims at me on the vertical. I’m at the surface so have nowhere to go. I have to wait until the last second before I can wedge my spear into its mouth. It’s four feet from me, preparing to bite, when I slam the gun into its jaws. The shark’s momentum keeps it speeding upwards and the gun slides sideways, forcing me to ﬁre the trigger with my thumb. The spear ﬂies out through its cheek and rips the line. It swims off with a minor injury, and I watch my weapon sink to the ocean ﬂoor, knowing the shark’s buddy is close behind. A second later, it’s on me and I jam my now spear-less gun down its throat. The duskies’ aggression has emboldened all the other sharks and they swarm around me for 10 excruciating seconds before I reach the boat. I’ve been ﬁlming it all on my GoPro, but it gets knocked from my head and falls into oblivion, all the crazy footage gone. Not that I’ll ever forget it. Healey Water Ops has an exclusive partnership in the UK with Elegant Resorts (+44 1244 897515; elegantresorts.co.uk), which creates bespoke experiences with Mark and his team worldwide
PHOTOGRAPHS: MIKE COOTS; MIKE HOOVER; CHRISTIAN KERBER; KANOA ZIMMERMAN
A POSTCARD FROM Clockwise from top: Jeans, £270, Current/Elliott (currentelliott. com). Jacket, £635, Wacko Maria (mrporter. com). Sunglasses, £385, Max Pittion (mrporter.com). Suit carrier, £1,780, Fendi (fendi.com). Drive de Cartier watch, £15,500, Cartier (cartier.com). Frank Soutien raincoat, £1,155, Visvim (mrporter. com). Renwick boots, £360, Church’s (church-footwear.com). Electronic scale, £50, Tumi (tumi. com). Monsieur scent, £170, Frederic Malle (fredericmalle.com). Case, £240, Valextra for Frederic Malle (as before). T-Shirt, £295, Givenchy (mrporter.com)
‘Standing at its base, it’s easy to see why Stalin’s Syringe remains many Varsovians’ favoured nickname for the city’s once-reviled Palace of Culture and Science, which thrusts tumescently upwards out of the city’s skyline. Like the seven sister skyscrapers in Moscow, it’s an exemplar of high-Stalinist neo-Gothic kitsch, but that hasn’t stopped it from being embraced by the city’s youth, who use its cultural spaces and throng enthusiastically to its canteens. Queuing at one of them, looking down at the trays of grey meats in heavy sauces, I can’t help but wonder if one the great many reasons why Polish cuisine hasn’t taken the world by storm is how profoundly un-Instagramable it is. Of course, scattered nasturtium petals and micro-herbs won’t see you through evenings when it gets down to -5°C and the snow drives in on the horizontal. I jump in a taxi and head back to the old town, where I meander aimlessly along side streets, dodging the rain, mooching about in museums, sticking my head into different restaurants looking for somewhere to eat. The whole thing is starting to feel like a performative critique of the very idea of the weekend break. Then I decamp to the glorious Art Nouveau splendour of the Column Bar at the Hotel Bristol, with its original Otto Wagner lights and splendid Old Fashioneds, and suddenly Warsaw opens up to me. I spend the rest of the night propping up bar after cocktail bar, aware, at last, that this is a city of many charms, but three drinks inside you may help you ﬁnd them.’ DAVID ANNAND
IT’S OUR NATURE TO UNWIND
INTRODUCING THE FLORIDA KEYS’ NEWEST LUXURY RESORT DISCOVER A HAVEN OF EXQUISITE WATERFRONT COMFORT IN HARMONY WITH NATURE. AWAKEN YOUR SPIRIT AT OUR ALL-EMBRACING LOCATION, RICH IN AMENITIES & EXPERIENCES AND EXACTLY LIKE NOTHING ELSE.
PHOTOGRAPH: GRANT CORNETT/ARTPARTNER
BRAIN FOOD CLUED-UP CITIES AROUND THE WORLD ARE NOURISHING THE GREY MATTER ‘You are what you eat,’ goes the old adage. But these days it’s hard to keep up with which diet to follow. Paleo? Raw? Harvested during a full moon while riding a unicorn? It feels timely, then, that neuro-nutrition, the latest global trend, focuses on ingredients that repair brain cells and support neurotransmitters, which control how we learn and make decisions. At London’s Corinthia hotel, a menu has been developed in collaboration with its neuroscientist-inresidence, Dr Tara Swart. Ingredients are picked to optimise mental function, with dishes such as carrots in turmeric cream, and veal in a green-tea sauce with spinach. The luteolin found in carrots helps to reduce age-related memory issues, while curcumin, found in turmeric, protects against a range of neurological disorders including dementia, and green tea gives a stress-reducing hit of L-theanine. But it’s not just about the food. Anyone booking the hotel’s brain-power sessions will be given a special ESPA massage in which breathing and visualisation activities take place before a physical rub-down – it’s believed the state of mindfulness leads to the thickening of the pre-frontal cortex, the region associated with concentration. Meanwhile, just opened in New York is Honeybrains, billed as the ﬁrst café for the mind. Founded by three siblings, one of whom is a neurologist, its menu and environment have been designed to give a wellbeing boost, with superfood juices to help aid memory, a circadian lighting system that mimics natural light to stimulate the grey cells, and clever tech on sale – including a bonkers brain-sensing headband, Muse, which guides meditation based on your mood. A day’s Brain Power package at Corinthia Hotel London (corinthia.com) costs from £280; honeybrains.com IANTHE BUTT March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 69
The Maldives has upped its game with hot opening Soneva Jani. This page, one of the villa bedrooms at the hotel. Opposite, Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah, Baa Atoll 70
NOWHERE HAS BETTER SEA THAN THE MALDIVES. NOWHERE HAS BETTER BEACHES. AND THE ISLANDS’ HOTELS ARE ON A DIFFERENT LEVEL. HERE’S OUR SCOOP ON ITS MOST EXCITING NEW OPENINGS
electric blue PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAMES BEDFORD AND JENNY ZARINS
PHOTOGRAPHS: THIS PAGE, JAMES BEDFORD. OPPOSITE BOTTOM, JENNY ZARINS
BEST FOR: FAMILIES The pioneering Soneva team, the ﬁrst to introduce over-water villas to the Maldives as well as a strong environmental code and a determination to disconnect from the noisy outside world, brings us its third property. What sets this place apart is that it is actually made up of ﬁve little islets in the Noonu Atoll. Snaking off the biggest is a 1.8km jetty with 24 over-water villas, each one bigger than some hotels (the largest can ﬁt a family of 10). And later this year there will be an equal number of beach villas hidden in the forests of screw pine, banyan trees and sea trumpet. A second island is home to the cute-as-pie tented restaurant hub, serving everything from grilled seafood to freshly baked pizzas. But the other three will remain undeveloped, so there will always be somewhere to play castaway. The scale of the villas is extraordinary: built using wood from sustainable plantations and crafted in great sweeping curves, they are a charming jumble of pitched roofs and rondavels with fairy-tale turrets, ladders leading into the Indian Ocean and portholes in ﬂoors to reveal marine life below. Retractable ceilings above beds unveil a starry night sky. There’s a bar and wine-tasting space, spa, gym, yoga studio and an phenomenal kids’ club, which takes an inclusive approach, helping families holiday together. You’ll also ﬁnd an observatory with a telescope and live monitors that share the view through
the eyepiece. Cycle across the island to the open-air, ﬂoating cinema, where guests wear Bluetooth headphones to avoid disturbing the turtles. Of all the openings in the Maldives, this is the drop-dead gorgeous one, with the best villas, best service, best green credentials and best vision. Red Savannah (+44 1242 787800; redsavannah.com) offers a one-week stay from £5,997 per person, including breakfast, ﬂights and transfers. MICHELLE JANA CHAN
FINOLHU BEST FOR: PARTY PEOPLE Finolhu is the place to live it up. A party island that delivers on all levels. Forget Club 55: The Fish and Crab Shack is the new top beach restaurant in the world, halfway down a staggeringly beautiful tail of white sand spearing nearly two kilometres into the Indian Ocean. Here you’ll ﬁnd litres of delicious pink wine and soft-shell-crab tacos delivered by the metre. Staff are funny, charming and top-brass, ﬁltered from other best hotels in the zone such as Reethi Rah. The main hangout is the Baa Baa Beach Club, part Ibiza, Thunderbirds and Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii. There’s a swim-up DJ bar, a VW Kombi van serving burgers and sushi, Pac-Man and Baywatch pinball machines, and a cinema showing classics from James Bond to Rocky. The beats begin at lunch and flow into the afternoon pool party: inflatable
Above: sushi and sashimi at Ozen by Atmosphere at Maadhoo Island; the beach club at Lux South Ari Atoll. Opposite, clockwise from top: Milaidhoo Island Maldives, where the world’s largest concentration of manta rays can be seen; the bar at Finolhu; beach-shack chic at the hotel 73
PHOTOGRAPHS: THIS PAGE, JAMES BEDFORD
ﬂamingos, mermaid acrobat performers and volleyball on the sand. There’s Sixties music at 6pm, Seventies at 7pm and Eighties at 8pm before the pace steps up with live bands, ﬁre-eaters, contortionists and stilt-walkers. If guests do fancy some shut-eye, there are 93 over-water villas and 32 on the beach, some facing reef-protected calm waters, the rest with pools. Rooms are smart and fun: rattan furniture, Moroccan-style lanterns, Marshall speaker unit and record player to play original Diana Ross LPs. Food is sensational, from mezzes and shisha pipes at North African restaurant Baahaa; char-siu pork belly with crispy aubergine and roast duck with trufﬂe miso at Cantonese joint Kanusan. Downtime and detox is at The Cove Club, with its jungle gym, basketball and tennis courts, and the Milk Bar serves ﬂat whites, protein shakes and açai bowls. Even the spa is sociable – sip Martinis on the deck while having a mini massage or a mani-pedi. Despite its party image, Finolhu is not to be underestimated. An instant professional, it delivers on high energy brilliance without forgetting to get rooms, service and food pitch-perfect. Cleveland Collection (+44 20 3111 0805; clevelandcollection.co.uk) offers a seven-night stay from £2,929 per person half board, including ﬂights and transfers. MJC
DRIFT THELU VELIGA RETREAT BEST FOR: RUNAWAY COUPLES On one side of this island retreat – a circular hectare bisected by a sandy path lined with banana trees and bougainvillaea – is an open-air thatched bar, restaurant and water sports; on the other are the villas and a tiny but brilliant spa. The 10 beach and 20
over-water villas are simple and rustic, with apple-green, woodpanelled exteriors, coconut-leaf-thatched roofs and wicker sun loungers on the terraces (but no televisions, as the point here is to unplug). An early riser can practise hatha yoga with Rasmika Sahan before a snorkelling trip nearby (although the house reef is a treat too, with angelﬁsh and baby blacktip sharks). Serious foodies might ﬁnd the nightly buffet a tad repetitive, but it is, nevertheless, delightfully laid-back, carefree and barefoot. There are also beach barbecues and Sri Lankan feasts under the eye of chef Chaminda Udabage, who cooks up his homeland favourites of ﬁsh curries and dhal. This is a small, unhurried, good-value island aimed at those who spend their days drifting between sun beds and the ocean. Angelﬁsh Travel (+44 1580 712690; angel ﬁsh.travel) offers a Beach Villa from £280 per night. EMMA LOVE
LUX SOUTH ARI ATOLL BEST FOR: STAYING UP LATE Fresh from a total overhaul, this revamped island has 193 villas, both on the beach and on two jetties (one of which is adults-only), with vaulted white ceilings, grey wood-effect ceramic ﬂoors and tree-trunk furniture. Many of the over-water villas are brand new, the spa is bigger and the interiors have been smartened up. There’s a mellow beach-club vibe throughout, with bicycles to nip between the two bars at opposite ends of the three-kilometre-long island: one more chilled beside the pool, and the other, livelier, with colourful reclaimed wooden tables, a reggae soundtrack, surfboards propped against the wall, and inﬂatable swans standing by to drift
Above: pops of colour in one of the bedrooms of an Earth Villa at Ozen by Atmosphere; a lunchtime feast at Soneva Jani’s The Gathering, a three-storey, over-water restaurant hub. Opposite, a Beach Pool villa at Milaidhoo Island Maldives, which has its own resident marine biologist 75
container – as if it had simply washed up on shore and been taken over by castaway hawkers of the Michelin-starred variety. The largest of the 77 villas – the biggest in the Maldives – is the John Jacob Astor Estate, named after the chap who built the original St Regis hotel in New York. Surely he’d approve of Vommuli. All the signature St Regis touches are here – the butlers, the grand staircase, the mural in the bar, the Champagne sabrage ceremony. There’s even a riff on the classic Bloody Mary, served in a seashell and renamed the Island Mary. If fancy cocktails in novelty vessels are not your thing, consult the wine list. Among other treasures, it contains a 1775 Madeira. Uncork it on the west-facing deck of The Whale Bar at half-past ﬁve and settle in for one of those transcendently beautiful Maldives sunsets. The tab for the nectar is 41,000 Yankee dollars. The sunset is on the house. Carrier (+44 161 492 1358; carrier.co.uk) offers seven nights for the price of six from £5,330 per person, including breakfast, ﬂights and transfers. STEVE KING
OZEN BY ATMOSPHERE AT MAADHOO
HURAWALHI ISLAND RESORT
BEST FOR: A SPORTY ALL-INCLUSIVE
BEST FOR: MARINE AFICIONADOS
All adrenalin-packed action takes place at one end of the island nicknamed The Hub, where there is a watersports centre – such as ﬂyboarding and wakeboarding – a pool by the thatched bar, and ﬁve of the hotel’s six restaurants. But this is also the spot to wind down: at the pretty spa with its outdoor salt- and freshwater dipping pools, and stepping-stones over ponds decorated with half-submerged Oriental vases and lily pads. The 41 beach villas are good for families, while the 48 over-water villas offer more privacy; those with plunge pools face the sunset and all come with a shared butler who can whizz guests around the island in a buggy. For lunch, perch on wire-and-wooden bar stools at the counter of health-food restaurant Raw for sushi and sashimi, or at any of the surprising number of places to eat, given the size of the hotel. There’s Hong Kong-style, stir-fried lagoon crab at Peking; delicious hoppers with coconut chutney at Indo Ceylon, and six-course seafood menus (scallops with pumpkin and heirloom tomatoes; grilled yellowﬁn tuna; red mullet with pepper and pecorino) at underwater restaurant M6M. This is an all-inclusive that shouldn’t make you sneer; it’s a bit of a treat not having to think about prices and extras, and where every detail is taken care of. Hayes & Jarvis (+44 1293 762415; hayesandjarvis.co.uk) offers seven nights from £3,095 per person full board, including ﬂights with Emirates and transfers. EL
It has the biggest underwater restaurant in the Maldives – and there are wonders on both sides of the glass. Hurawalhi is surrounded by no fewer than 50 outstanding dive sites, including one of the most reliable manta-ray hotspots in the archipelago, where you can marvel at the spectacle of these creatures lining up to be fussed over by lesser marine life. The 90 villas are compact and uncomplicated, differentiated only by their position and the presence or absence of a private pool. The two main restaurants and bar are airy spaces with soaring ceilings. Discreet touches – table-tops in a mosaic of petriﬁed wood; transparent panels in the ﬂoor to allow ﬁsh-spotting – perk up the unpretentious design. Both the views and the menu (tuna carpaccio with pickled daikon, yuzu gel and shiso) at underwater restaurant 5.8 are deeply impressive. Another temptation is the small but splendidly stocked wine cellar, curated by managing partner Lars Petre, a pioneering hotelier and entrepreneur in the Maldives whose love of the islands is written all over his craggy Swedish face. But at Hurawalhi, it’s what’s below the surface that really counts. There’s an inspiring young dive team – all of whom appear to speak half a dozen languages and hold higher degrees in easy-going charm – to help you into your mask and ﬁns. Archers Holidays (+44 800 223 0179; archersdirect.co.uk) offers seven nights from £2,779 per person, including breakfast, ﬂights and transfers. SK
THE ST REGIS MALDIVES VOMMULI RESORT
BEST FOR: SERIOUS FOODIES
BEST FOR: URBAN CHIC IN AN ISLAND SETTING
The retro-futuristic design at Vommuli might have been inspired by The Jetsons. It looks like a vast docking station for ﬂying saucers – all the more wonderful for being made entirely of wood. A Space Age vibe pervades the interiors too, with modular ceiling lamps that resemble chemistry diagrams and translucent bathroom surfaces lit from below. Though the house reef is excellent, there are enough distractions on dry land to keep you occupied for weeks. Of the half-dozen superb restaurants, the most charming is Cargo, a street-food emporium in a ship’s
You could’ve sworn you were on a ﬂight to a private island in the Maldives, only to wake up wondering how you ended up in a boutique hotel in Milan instead. Or at least the interiors at Cocoon – a 150-room poem to pared-down, pastel-toned Italian chic – could make you feel that way for a moment. The concept, designer Daniele Lago explains, is to create an impression of ﬂoating weightlessly in space. The fun starts with the swings that dangle invitingly from the ceiling in reception and continues with furniture mounted on transparent legs, so that everything appears
Opposite, clockwise from top left: a living room at the Four Seasons; sun beds on the shore at Finolhu’s Baa Baa Beach Club; Italian restaurant Alba at The St Regis Maldives Vommuli; relaxing on the deck at Soneva Jani with views of the Indian Ocean 76
PHOTOGRAPHS: BOTTOM LEFT, JAMES BEDFORD. TOP AND BOTTOM RIGHT, JENNY ZARINS
about on the sea. There’s coffee – roasted on-site – in reception, an ice-cream parlour with 32 homemade ﬂavours such as bubblegum and pistachio, and live DJs at Beach Rouge, one of the six restaurants, including Allegria for Italian dishes and Senses for Indian. The expanded spa offers yoga in a grove of palms, or on stand-up paddle boards (great for strengthening the core), as well as a tennis coach for private lessons and a marine biologist to take guests swimming with whale sharks in a protected area. Frequent pop-ups include a mixologist making Aperol cocktails at East Point, an open-air cinema on the beach – and the sudden appearance of a rack of Panama hats guests can borrow. It’s impossible to miss home, but just in case, there’s a red telephone box by reception for free old-school-style phone calls. This hideaway, above all, is incredibly fun. And Lux is opening a second property later this year in the North Malé Atoll for even more good times. Hayes & Jarvis (+44 1293 762 415; hayesandjarvis.co.uk) offers seven nights from £1,649 per person, including breakfast, ﬂights and transfers. EL
PHOTOGRAPHS: JENNY ZARINS
to hover in mid-air. There’s an interactive element to the faintly nursery aesthetic too. Picture frames in rooms could contain works of art by the previous occupant – a nice idea, whose success may depend on whether you were preceded by a Michelangelo or a maniac. Should you be curious about the island’s coconut palms, sign up for a coconut-palm tutorial. Alternatively, learn more about traditional Maldivian village life on a tour of the Traditional Maldivian Village that has been constructed for that purpose. (For a more convincing impression of authenticity, you can take a short boat ride to the next-door island, where actual locals live in an actual village.) But best of all for fostering a sense of neighbourly goodwill is the Community Table, to which the general manager welcomes any guests who might care to dine with him, and with each other. A seven-night stay costs from about £3,165 per person half board, including transfers, but excluding ﬂights (+960 301 6888; cocoonmaldives.com). SK
MILAIDHOO ISLAND MALDIVES
PHOTOGRAPHS: THIS PAGE, JAMES BEDFORD. OPPOSITE, JENNY ZARINS
BEST FOR: SWITCHING OFF A wonderful reminder of the joys of getting back to basics. Milaidhoo gives classic Maldivian island style a refreshing contemporary twist. Understated, reﬁned and properly spoiling. The 50 villas are enlivened with deft decorative ﬂourishes – the vivid blueon-blue accents and curvaceous lines of the Beach Pool villas, in particular, display great charm and panache. The island is small enough to get around without a buggy, so you can put a little of the barefoot work back into the enjoyment of barefoot luxury. Milaidhoo’s location in Baa Atoll – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with the world’s highest concentration of manta rays – is a huge plus. Nearby Hanifaru Bay is to ray fanciers what La Scala is to opera buffs. A snorkelling, diving or sailing expedition, especially in the company of the resident marine biologist, is likely to be as instructive as it is beautiful – the sort of experience that could alter a person’s entire attitude towards the oceans. The signature restaurant, Ba’theli, serving Maldivian and trade-route-inspired dishes in three cleverly interlinked dhonis, is a show-stopper. No less intriguing is the Deep Sleep Mood Menu. Four courses contrived for maximum soporiﬁc effect (passion-fruit-and-green-tea soup – who knew?) are served on your candlelit terrace. Ideally, it will be preceded by a spa treatment and followed by a meditation session and herb-infused bath. A bedtime story and glass of warm milk, though surely unnecessary by this point, could no doubt also be arranged. Carrier (+44 161 492 1358; carrier.co.uk) offers seven nights for the price of six and a 10 per cent early-booking reduction from £3,845 per person half board, including ﬂights and transfers. SK
FOUR SEASONS MALDIVES PRIVATE ISLAND AT VOAVAH, BAA ATOLL BEST FOR: TOTAL PRIVACY Wide-brimmed straw hats off to the Four Seasons. With this ﬁveacre, seven-bedroom, profoundly private island it has raised the proverbial bar. (While the group was at it, it probably got its
Syphon coffee at Lux. Opposite, view from a villa at Finolhu. Previous pages, from left: Whale Bar at The St Regis; seaplane arriving at the Four Seasons
design team to take another look at the bar and turn it into something more pleasing to behold, pleasant to touch and practical to use. It’s what the Four Seasons does.) How much or how little you make of Voavah is likely to be your main – your only – concern. There’s no shortage of possibilities. It’s all yours. You’ve got the splendours of the Baa Atoll lapping at your shores and your own yacht on which to explore it. You’ve got your own dive centre and every beach toy known to man-child. Not to mention your own spa, the immaculate Ocean of Consciousness (surely missing an ‘un’), and 28 staff dedicated to making your life as agreeable as possible. There may be no better circumstances in which to simply retreat to a shady spot with a book and give everyone the day off. The place looks great and feels great too. The juxtaposition of smooth and rough textures, and traditional and contemporary materials, is brilliantly managed. Voavah is where woven seagrass met diamond-polished concrete and fell hopelessly in love. The muted palette of the interiors may at ﬁrst appear unduly subdued – until you realise that what seems like conservatism is really a form of reverence. It serves to draw your eye outwards, back into the sublime, saturated colour and endless space of sea and sky beyond. Carrier (+44 161 492 1358; carrier. co.uk) offers ﬁve nights from £240,000 full board based on two people sharing exclusive use of the island, including activities, business-class ﬂights and transfers. Sleeps up to 22. SK
OPENING IN 2017 There’s a new ﬁve-bedroom Royal Residence retreat at Jumeirah Vittaveli with a private beach, two pools and its own arrival jetty with an over-water bar. Kandima Maldives in Dhaalu Atoll launches with the largest pool in the Maldives, 10 restaurants, Zumba classes and electric scooters. On the same atoll, Baglioni Resort Maldives speaks of Italian design with a yoga pavilion at the Garden Spa and a sensational open-water reef. The Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort is a small but good-value, pocket-sized property opening on Gaafu Alifu. 81
SHAPE SHIFTER BOLIVIA’S ONCE DOWNBEAT LA PAZ IS NOW POPPING WITH CURIOUS HAPPENINGS OF REAL PEDIGREE – FROM DESIGN HOTELS TO EDGY RESTAURANTS SERVED UP BY NOMA
BY CHRIS MOSS PHOTOGRAPHS BY JULIEN CAPMEIL 82
Clockwise from top left: cholet architecture; La Paz at dusk; colourful decor at Gustu; Salteñas Potosina pie shop; The Writer’s Coffee; Le Diner; ice cream; Gastón Ugalde artwork; a traditional shawl. Opposite, Crucero del Sur cholet
Clockwise from top left: a headdress in the folklore museum; hats on the wall at Gustu; the hills of the city; woven blankets; street art; meringue at Gustu; Mistura concept store; a Day of the Dead wake; The Writerâ€™s Coffee. Opposite, from top left: edible ďŹ‚owers at Gustu; the bar; hillside sculptures
I CAN’T SEEM to get my gait right. I’m on the Prado, the main avenue in downtown La Paz. The slope is behind me so I can just about breathe. The problem is, paceños speed up when they are walking downhill. I keep half an eye on their feet. Yes, those approaching me have an elegant, 19th-century pace. They link arms, take their time. But those jostling beside me are moving much faster, zigzagging through the crowds, phones clamped to ears, shouting out deals and private dramas as if there was oxygen in the air. At 3,600 metres above sea level, breathlessness is part of everyday life in La Paz. As is hustle, bustle, the raw human energy of almost a million people living in a caldera-shaped canyon. Sometimes I feel
as if we’re all tumbling down towards a putative centre – but I can’t see one. The plazas are thronging with pedestrians and cholas – bowler-hatted Aymara women – seated at their stalls selling salty, greasy snacks, glasses of mocochinchi made with dried peaches and cinnamon, souvenir llama-motif bobble hats, miniature chola dolls and SIM cards. The roads are rammed with packed minibuses, battered cabs and Dodge buses painted in vibrant colours. Respite is a rare commodity. Fortunately Boris Alarcón, a bright Bolivian entrepreneur, has opened a smart café in the old Gisbert bookshop on calle Comercio. He’s called it The Writer’s Coffee, which sounds like a mistranslation, but the space is dimly lit and beautiful, with
Adler, Triumph and Torpedo typewriters on display, and tall shelves crammed with sober-looking academic reference books. Alarcón divides his time between La Paz and Berlin, where he is about to launch a wine bar in boho Prenzlauer Berg. His baristas wear tight T-shirts and trilbies, and turn out 34 different kinds of coffee, including slow-macerated Japanese brews. But I’m not here for hipster coffee. I’m here for psychogeography, and my fellow cortado sipper is an expert. Carlos Mesa, who was brieﬂy Bolivia’s president between 2003 and 2005, is also one of its foremost writers. I ask him what it means to live in the world’s highest capital city. ‘La Paz and the mountains are a single thing, they’re inseparable,’ he says. ‘We’re 85
EVERYONE I’VE MET IN LA PAZ IS AMBITIOUS, HOPEFUL AND CURIOUS. THIS NEW GENERATION IS TRANSFORMING THE LONG-IGNORED CITY
Bolivia’s best-known modern artist, Gastón Ugalde, with his work. Opposite, clockwise from top left: ﬂower market; a cocktail at Café Bronze; a cholet; vegetable dish at Gustu; typical minibuses; Ugalde’s work; oil paints; yarns at the museum; Atix’s bar
in the shadow of Illimani, one of the most beautiful mountains in the world – and when we are away we think only of that. Indigenous culture is not something from the past. People still believe the mountains are apus, or protective spirits.’ I remark that, for me, even more striking than the dramatic mountain setting is the way La Paz feels enclosed, like a huge bowl. ‘Yes, and because of that we are frightened of empty, wide-open spaces,’ he says. ‘A paceño out on the plains feels terror.’ Mesa is no fan of Evo Morales, South America’s first indigenous president who took his seat in 2006. He calls him a pure capitalist and a shameful selfmythologiser. But despite being a political opponent, Mesa acknowledges that Evo 86
(he is often called affectionately by his ﬁrst name) has been good for La Paz. ‘There’s been rivalry from the commercial hub Santa Cruz in the lowlands for years, and from [constitutional capital] Sucre – as well as moves to divide the country,’ he explains. ‘When Evo came to power, he was quick to reassert La Paz’s status as capital. This, and the pro-indigenous politics, has united the city and given it new conﬁdence.’ After recent visits to all the big cities on this continent, I’d say La Paz is changing faster than any other. Its renaissance comes after decades of sleepy stagnation. In Zona Sur (the southside), a residential and commercial district which is lower and a few degrees warmer than the historic
centre, the city’s ﬁrst smart boutique hotel, Atix, has just opened: its interiors built from native wood and comanche stone, its walls hung with works by Bolivia’s best-known artist, Gastón Ugalde. The striking parallelogram-shaped tower is the result of a collaboration with New York design studio Narofsky Architecture. ‘We’re the new face of Bolivian hospitality,’ says owner Mariel Salinas. ‘Our aim is to share our cultural wealth with the rest of the world.’ The cool cocktails made from singani and other native ﬁrewaters that are served in the bar, +591 (Bolivia’s phone code), were created by David Romero, a former mixologist at Lima’s award-winning Central, and Ona restaurant serves sublime Andean food. That said, the competition in the barrio is ﬁerce. Around the corner is Gustu, a restaurant opened by Claus Meyer, co-founder of Copenhagen’s two-Michelin-starred Noma and the man credited with setting off the Scandi food revolution a decade ago. ‘He was looking for a country with amazing produce but no real cuisine,’ says Surnaya Prado of Gustu. ‘He had made a shortlist of four, but he came to Bolivia ﬁrst, saw it had everything he required and his journey ended here.’ The lofty dining space, decorated in bright textiles, masks and recycled vintage furniture, looks almost as gorgeous as the food served by chef Kamilla Seidler and her youthful team (Gustu is also a training academy). Lunch is a seven-course sampler, including llama tartare, Amazonian sorubim fish with bananas and chilli, and a sorbet of tumbo fruit with gin. Denmark suddenly seems a bit last century. At the neighbourhood’s most stylish home-grown shop, Walisuma, owner Patricia Rodríguez shows me $1,000 vicuña wool scarves, baby-soft llama-hide bags, kitchenwares made from recycled Bolivian rosewood, and ﬂoaty dresses in muted colours that have an ethnic feel but avoid the crude iconography of tourist clobber. ‘We use coca leaves, plants and herbs in our natural dyes,’ says Rodríguez. ‘We have modernised the motifs so the fabrics denote the region but are fashionable. That’s what our clients want.’ Zona Sur has cutesy coffee shops, Asianfusion restaurants, private art galleries and flagships of upmarket Italian fashion brands. But it also has a proper food market where everyone seems to be chinwagging as they pick up tropical fruit, high-plains vegetables, quinoa and other now-cool superfoods such as maca and vitamin-C-rich camu camu. It also has a
Clockwise from this picture: Café Bronze; bread at Gustu, the restaurant that has raised La Paz’s global proﬁle; a vegan dish at Ali Pacha; a cholet; Gustu bar; La Paz high-rises; fruit stall at Lanza market; Typica Café; a chola display in Plaza Murillo
very good old-school pie shop, Salteñas Potosina. The tasty snack is laced with chilli. A small group of local food historians have started a campaign to prove chillis originally came from upland Bolivia. It’s time, they say, to reclaim their gastronomic gift to the world. I take a cable-car to the hilltop suburb of Sopocachi. The new network of aerial public transport has been opening in stages since May 2014. Three lines currently operate, with seven more under construction. The Austrian-built system has halved the commute for suburbanites. It gives me a chance to see the city beyond Zona Sur. While chatting to a friendly fellow passenger, I look down over school playgrounds full of children in smart red 88
uniforms, homes with pools, gardens and pedigree dogs, football stadia, an Olympic swimming pool, a church for every parish, ofﬁce blocks, and thousands of residential towers built in orange brick, their ﬂat roofs a jumble of cables and antennae. Cars, cabs and buses race along winding ribbons of expressway. Every narrow pavement is ﬁlled with walkers, workers, students, all dashing hither and thither. Again, I have that impression that life in La Paz is centripetal, arrowing inwards but with nowhere to come to rest. Sopocachi is a liminal zone – falling between the business-minded south and old centre. It looks faintly European and is as close as La Paz gets to laid-back. A few minutes’ walk from the cable-car
station is a staircase up to the Montículo, a neat little park with cypress trees, a marble fountain of Neptune and a walledin viewpoint. I can hear the mufﬂed sound of city trafﬁc. A cobbled street leads away from here. I meander without a plan. If I get lost, I’ll look for the peak of Illimani and reset my compass. Like any bohemian quarter, by day Sopocachi feels slumberous, reﬂective. I see lots of street signs for dive bars, clubs, pool halls and restaurants that only open after dark. But there are also bookshops and cultural centres and I make a stop at the new Salar Gallery, where the artist Ugalde is displaying his ultra-saturated photographs of Bolivia’s Uyuni salt lake. ‘It’s the whiteness,’ he says, of his obsession
with the mineral. ‘It makes me think of death, which is so peaceful.’ But he’s sipping a can of beer and grinning as he says it. Ambivalent, self-deprecating and with a ﬂair for Pop-style art, Ugalde is sometimes nicknamed the Andean Warhol. ‘Tourism brought hotels and restaurants, and now the gastronomy will bring the kind of people who are collectors,’ he says. ‘It’s a good time to be in Bolivia.’ I amble on, enjoying the relative calm of this western ﬂank of the city, until I arrive at the Cementerio General, the main necropolis. Death here seems to be anything but peaceful. It is the Day of the Dead and all around me there is a commotion of mourners en route to tombs to
recite prayers, picking up wreaths from the ﬂower market at the gate, stopping by icecream parlours to buy cones – it’s traditional to enjoy something sweet after shedding bitter tears. The Aymara belief system holds that dead relatives are on a three-year journey to reincarnation. Thus mourners wail on the first Day of the Dead, weep politely on the second and by the third are eating ice cream. I make my way across to the old city, passing some of the guidebook favourites: the Witches’ Market where the cholas sell herbs, potions and dried llama foetuses; calle Jaén, probably La Paz’s oldest street and certainly the prettiest with its cobblestones and shady patios; Lanza market, where tiny restaurants are full of diners
bent over steaming bowls of broth, rolls stuffed with spicy sausages and immense fruit cocktails. Cumbia music blasts out. Pungent aromas of spices, papaya and pineapple waft along the walkways. This is as traditional a place as anywhere in the city, yet even here, a new scheme known as Suma Phayata (‘well-cooked’ in Aymara) is promoting food hygiene so visitors can go on a street-snack crawl knowing everything they eat is safe. My lunch pit stop is Ali Pacha, one of the most progressive restaurants in South America. After training at London’s Cordon Bleu school and working in Gustu, owner Sebastian Quiroga was all set to pursue an ordinary jobbing-chef’s career when he saw a ﬁlm about animal
welfare and had an epiphany – he decided La Paz needed a vegan restaurant. ‘It seems radical, but so does being a chef here,’ he said. ‘My parents wanted me to become a lawyer, a professional. They sent me to Exeter University but I didn’t like it. I knew I wanted to cook.’ The lunchtime menu at Ali Pacha features roots and shoots, flowers and fruits: all exquisite to look at and thrilling to taste. I have crispy palm hearts, freshly whipped coconut butter, an ash made from beetroot, sweet quinoa (used as a sort of tofu) and ice cream made with cupuaçu from the rainforest. ‘It’s not unrealistic to think of our native cuisine as largely vegan,’ he says. ‘Before cattle and sheep were introduced, the Aymara would have eaten very little meat. Theirs was a diet of vegetables, pulses and grains.’ Quiroga, like everyone I’ve met in La Paz, is ambitious, hopeful, chatty and curious. Lots of these would-be movers and shakers work, or have worked, with one another; it’s a small, close-knit community. This new generation of paceños is transforming the long-ignored city. To catch your breath in La Paz you sometimes, unusually, have to go even higher. The cable-car ride up to El Alto, the sometime suburb that has become La Paz’s sister city, is steep and dramatic. From the top – I’m at 4,100 metres now – I can at last take in the sweep of the Bolivian capital. The crater in which La Paz sits looks like it has been created by an asteroid collision – it is in fact a river canyon – and the city, too, has the look of something not quite intentional. Illimani acts like a purifying force, a pristine hulk of black mountain with its white summit, splitting the clouds and protecting this messy, crazy, breathtaking city. I turn to enter El Alto, another million souls spread over the dusty Andean altiplano. Most visitors have to pass through because it’s where the airport is located, but in recent years some have lingered awhile to see one of the oddest artistic movements of our times. El Alto native Freddy Mamani, a former mason, has been giving its otherwise monotone sprawl an injection of colour with some 60 houses inspired partly by native Aymara architecture, but also by festive chola clothing and – most bizarrely – the Transformer cartoon-toy franchise. The buildings are known as cholets (from chola and chalet); the standard format is a multi-storey tower with retail space on the ground ﬂoor, a
Pot plants outside Gustu. Opposite, clockwise from top left: detail on a cholet; La Paz from Killi Killi viewpoint; a sculpture; a bedroom at Atix; a vintage typewriter at The Writer’s Coffee; dessert at Ali Pacha; La Choperia bar; a Day of the Dead shrine; a cholet
party venue on the ﬁrst and second, a few ﬂoors of apartments to rent and, on top of it all, a chalet-like house for the owner. With a taxi driver, I tour the city and see a few of these cholets. They stand out for their not-quite-primary colours, Wurlitzerlike lines, mirror-glass windows and garish murals. We pull over at a vaguely shipshaped building called Crucero del Sur. The interior is an acid trip of chartreuse, mustard and carrot-orange. As a party venue, it’s indisputably fun – a mix of Willy Wonka, Gaudí, and Hansel and Gretel. As architecture, it’s an over-the-top cathedral of dubious taste for El Alto’s nouveau riche. On the roof of the world, like a summiting mountaineer, I climb seven ﬂoors and come out onto a bare terrace. Before me is El Alto’s vastness, its endless rows of
drab, jerry-built towers eventually merging with the parched high plain. At the very edge of this are the Andes, golden in the lowering sun, and a huge blue sky. I’m breathless again, but at least I’m standing still. From somewhere behind me and far below comes a faint hum: La Paz, tireless and unstoppable on its way to a new future. Aracari (+44 20 7097 1750; aracari. com) offers a ﬁve-day trip to La Paz from £1,272 per person, including stays at Atix and Casa Grande hotels, private guided tours and transfers. British Airways (+44 844 493 0787; britishairways.com) ﬂies from London Gatwick to La Paz via Lima
PHOTOGRAPHS: ADRIAN LANDER
Dig in BY TOM PARKER BOWLES
THE AUSTRALIAN FOOD SCENE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MIX AN OPEN, INQUISITIVE CULINARY SENSIBILITY WITH GOOD INGREDIENTS AND BOUNTIFUL IMMIGRATION. HERE ARE SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST EXCITING CHEFS PUSHING LIMITS, AS WELL AS CHEAP, RAMMED JOINTS WHERE FLAVOURS ARE BIG, BOLD AND BRASSY. THE REAL CULINARY BEEF IS BETWEEN MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY, BUT BRISBANE HAS ITS OWN LANGUOROUS TROPICAL CHARM. THIS LIST IS A TASTE OF THREE MONTHS SPENT TRAVELLING ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH THE AIM OF FINDING A FEW PLACES FOR A DECENT LUNCH
CHIN CHIN It’s vast, it’s cacophonous and it doesn’t take bookings (unless you’re in a big group). Three things that would usually have me heading straight for the door. But this bustling CBD restaurant has real heart and soul. And the Asian food (mostly Thai) gets taste buds whooping with delight. Executive chef Benjamin Cooper trained under the great David Thompson, so the Thai dishes, including an astonishingly ﬁne and decently ﬁery pork jungle curry and som tam (green-papaya salad), have none of the rough edges rubbed off. Balance is everything, of the sweet, sour, salty and spicy. A citrus-and-chilli larb gai (minced-chicken salad) is followed by the fat succulence of pad see ew (stir-fried rice noodles) with slow-braised wagyu beef and rolled noodles. Some dishes soothe, such as the massaman curry, while others, such as DIY spring rolls, are crisp and clean. Chilli freaks can order all manner of pungent pods, be it fresh, dried or made into jam. The great joy of Chin Chin is its ability to meld slick, speedy service with a genuine warmth. Sure, you may have to queue at busy times, but this is a true Melbourne great. chinchinrestaurant.com.au. About £55 for two ESTELLE BISTRO I’ll hold my hands up and say that Scott Pickett, the chef proprietor of this north-side favourite, is a good mate. We spent a couple of months on the road ﬁlming the Australian TV series The Hotplate together, and I saw more of him then than I did my family. But believe me, Pickett is a seriously talented chef
with an innate understanding of how ﬂavours work. He trained under Phil Howard at The Square in London before returning to Oz to open Estelle. It’s smart but unshowy, elegant and comfortable: exposed brick and concrete walls, a long wooden bar, a rather lovely back wall festooned with greenery and an open kitchen. The menu isn’t too pretentious, just beautiful ingredients beautifully cooked, from the jamón-and-Manchego croquettes to the Cantabrian anchovies with romesco sauce. Beef cheek is stewed for hours then served with silken, buttery mashed potato, while a cauliﬂower-and-Taleggio risotto is umami bliss. estellebistro.com. About £80 for two
BISTRO GUILLAUME OK, so it may be tucked away in the Crown casino complex. And in the UK, we’re not used to much more than turgid dim sum when sitting at a roulette table, but things are rather different in Australia. The Fat Duck popped up here for six months, one ﬂoor above. And Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is settling in permanently. There’s also Nobu and Neil Perry’s Spice Temple, so Bistro Guillaume is in esteemed company. And Guillaume Brahimi is one hell of a chef. His main restaurant in Sydney is adored by critics and punters alike. At his Melbourne outpost, he concentrates on the classics: wonderful crisp-skinned chicken with a serious ﬂavour punch, cooked on a rotisserie, or a pert watercress salad with pear, Roquefort and walnut vinaigrette – as good as I’ve eaten anywhere in France. As are the moules marinières, which reminded me how delicious this easy dish can be. Plus, home-smoked salmon; soft, seductive rillettes
Opposite, clockwise from top left: poached-chicken-and-shrimp salad at Thai restaurant Chin Chin; Bistro Guillaume; the bar counter at Chin Chin; steamed Thai layer cake at Spice I am. Previous pages, from left: Chin Chin; chicken-and-coconut soup at Spice I Am 94
PHOTOGRAPHS: ROB PALMER; MARK ROPER; ANSON SMART
and a damn good wine list too. For pudding, the lemon tart has blissfully crumbling pastry. Simple, yet spot on – it’s the sort of French food we all crave, but ﬁnd all too rarely. bistroguillaume melbourne.com.au. About £65 for two MAMAK As with most of my favourite restaurants, Mamak doesn’t look like much from the outside. Yes, it’s busy, and the queues usually snake down the street, but at least you can watch the black-clad chefs hand-stretch great sheets of dough until they’re rice-paperthin while you wait. Because Mamak is all about the roti. Founded by three Malaysians homesick for a taste of Kuala Lumpur, it began life as a street-food stall, and now has two permanent spots in Sydney and one in Melbourne. The rotis are available in four sweet guises, including coconut and banana, and six savoury, from plain to egg-ﬁlled or stuffed with spicy meat and cabbage. They’re thin, ﬂaky and buttery, and come with a sweetish lentil curry, a ﬁsh-spiked gravy and a good, spicy sambal sauce. Rip, dip, eat, repeat. Tables are mainly communal, service fast and the menu small. Satays are juicy and suitably charred, and there are a couple of decent ﬁsh curries, a fairly authentic nasi lemak – coconut-milk rice – plus long beans fried with sambal and prawn paste. But really, Mamak is all about the bread. mamak.com.au. About £35 for two
PHOTOGRAPHS: ADRIAN LANDER; JASON LOUCAS; CAMERA PRESS
SYDNEY THE APOLLO I’m rather ashamed to admit that Greek food had never got me too hot and bothered. A spanking-fresh ﬁsh grilled over vines and served on a remote beach, with sand between one’s toes, is pretty civilised. And I’m a sucker for decent taramasalata. But moussaka is little more than a lasagne with an identity crisis. And as for stuffed vine leaves, get thee away, Satan. Then I went to The Apollo and changed my mind within a few bites. The room is cavernous but warm, and the menu a quiet revelation. Taramasalata is rich, majestic and salty, miles removed from the usual lurid pink goo. Piles of steaming-hot pittas are served with everything, and the spinach-and-cheese pie is softly splendid. The grilled dishes are every bit as ﬁne: plump, slightly sour sausages gleaming with fat; sumac-and-chilli sardines blistered from the charcoal; slow-cooked lamb shoulder with lemon yogurt to share, although I wanted every luscious last scrap to myself. A noble end for any young sheep and one of the best dishes I ate in Australia. The Greek wines are interesting too, such as the light, lithe Gaia Thalassitis Assyrtiko. theapollo.com.au. About £30 for two HOUSE There’s a small area, halfway between the CBD and Surry Hills, which chef and restaurateur Sujet Saenkham has made pretty much his own. Spice I Am is perhaps the most famous of his numerous – and very high quality – Thai joints, but it’s House that is my favourite. It’s laid-back, unpretentious and comprises a tiny room, with plenty of tables outside under an awning. You can bring your own booze or get it from the bar next door, then get stuck into some of the best Isaan tucker outside Thailand. The food in the north-east of the country is salty, sour and bracingly hot. No coconut-milk relief here. This is the real thing From top: fennel-and-cumin lamb cutlets at Mr Wong; Chin Chin’s executive chef Benjamin Cooper. Opposite, taramasalata at The Apollo
PHOTOGRAPHS: DOMINIQUE CHERRY
ITâ€™S SMART BUT UNSHOWY, ELEGANT AND COMFORTABLE. JUST BEAUTIFUL INGREDIENTS BEAUTIFULLY COOKED
– with all those wonderfully pongy, ﬁshy tangs still intact. The nam priks (spicy relish) are excellent, and despite being an integral part of all Thai food, rarely seen in Western restaurants. Jaew bong (fermented-ﬁsh sauce) is perfect for eating with fresh herbs and vegetables, while the larb ped made with duck could hold its head up high back in its home country. Gang gai naw mai dong, or fermented bamboo-shoot curry, might smell a little odd, but the ﬂavour is both intense and thrilling. Those in search of more visceral delights will ﬁnd much to gorge on; soups with egg embryo or beef guts are ﬁrm favourites, and surprisingly delicate too. On a balmy night in Sydney, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than here, sweating gently from an excess of chilli and slugging ice-cold Singha beer. spiceiam.com/house-surryhills. About £25 for two
DA ORAZIO PIZZA + PORCHETTA My family lived in Bondi for three months and fell in love with the place, the people, the sea and the sand. Even the bloody health juices. Yet the food was generally average. There were exceptions, of course. We seemed to live in North Bondi Fish, especially when the beach was bathed in sunlight. But Da Orazio was a ﬁrm family favourite, small and ﬁlled with Bondi’s gilded folk. The pizzas are genuine Neapolitan style, with blistered crusts, a smattering of San Marzano tomato sauce and proper toppings. The dough is left to rise for 48 hours, which gives it a wonderfully chewy heft. Plus, the kid’s pizza comes with a pair of doughy rabbit ears. There’s also a whole-roasted porchetta pig with herbs on the menu every day until it runs out. Which
BRISBANE BIRD’S NEST Just beside the great, brown Brisbane River is Bird’s Nest, which specialises in yakitori (grilled-chicken skewers). In fact, the two owners, best friends Emi Kamada and Marie Yokoyama, are so obsessed they went to Japan for six months to learn from a master. The pair also import all their own Japanese wood and serve up every bit of the chicken, from skin and cartilage to heart and arteries. Don’t worry about the odd bits, they’re all wonderful, in both texture and ﬂavour. Heck, these girls are good cooks – they were also the winners on the TV show The Hotplate. Tori chazuke is rice and seaweed with hot chicken broth poured on top. But that broth is the very essence of the chook. Dashimaki tamago, another staple, is a perfect version of the Japanese omelette, served with another impeccable dashi broth. The room is small but well formed. And there’s now outside seating, an ideal spot for chicken on sticks and a few cold Sapporos. birdsnestrestaurant.com.au. About £25 for two TARO’S RAMEN Just as Bird’s Nest is a master of yakitori, Taro really knows its ramen. It serves two styles of the noodle soup: tonkotsu – rich, creamy and deeply savoury – and the more subtle, unprepossessing shoyu, a soy-sauce-based broth. I’m obsessed with its Fire tonkotsu ramen, with dried and fresh chillies as well as chilli oil. The burn is subtle, though, and never detracts from the broth or the springy, hand-pulled noodles. Most of the soups come with slices of pork neck, seasoned egg, nori and smoked bamboo
THE MENU SKIPS ACROSS THE GLOBE LIKE A MODERN-DAY PHILEAS FOGG, ALBEIT AN EXPLORER ARMED WITH A PACOJET, SMOKE GUN AND A TASTE FOR EXOTIC INSECTS
PHOTOGRAPHS: CAMERA PRESS; ADRIAN LANDER; JASON LOUCAS
isn’t for very long. Don’t miss the porchetta focaccia. Oh, and the Abruzzo-style lamb skewers. A class act, and the sort of place you can rock up to still wet from the beach. daorazio.com. About £35 for two MR WONG This place is vast, with two massive ﬂoors of tables and endless perches at the bar. But the queues are still huge. And what a restaurant. It’s beautiful, with a touch of a Thirties Shanghai teahouse, a modern open kitchen, huge wooden columns and rattan-back chairs. The smiley staff are sleek and well-dressed. Dishes are Cantonese-style, with forays into the provinces of Sichuan and Hunan. Dim sum is delicate and divine, and the meats are as good as you’ll ﬁnd anywhere in the city. Roast duck comes on the bone with shiny lacquered skin, while the barbecued char siu pork is pure porcine crack. Then there’s the mud crab, a contender for greatest crustacean in the world, whose sweet, delicate white meat is available different ways. Go for the peppery Singapore-style and prepare to get mucky. Stir-fried clams are light and fresh and unencumbered by corn ﬂour. And the poached chicken-and-jellyﬁsh salad thrills with both its texture and clean taste. Mr Wong might be relatively new, but he’s swiftly established himself very much as the man in the know. merivale.com.au/mrwong. About £60 for two
shoots, so you can pimp and pamper to your heart’s desire. There’s also golden kaarage (Japanese fried chicken). And very good gyoza too. taros.com.au. About £30 for two
PUBLIC Public sits in a non-descript CBD tower block, and the only way in is up an escalator. The design – Ikea meets Manhattan loft via the local butcher – has the requisite tiled walls and concrete ﬂoors, but somehow rises above cliché. It helps that the service is truly lovely, and that Public likes to take risks. The menu skips across the globe like a modern-day Phileas Fogg, albeit an explorer armed with a Pacojet, smoke gun and a taste for insects. There are shades of Ferran Adrià and René Redzepi in its takes on dude-food classics. With foams chucked in. My idea of hell normally, but not here. Ants sit atop some delicious hot-smoked salmon and give it a welcome citric tang; it’s a clever dish and one that works too. Then the brisket arrives on a great chunk of wood with hot sauce in a mini milk bottle. The meat is slowcooked but lacks the smoke I expect from true Texas barbecue. KFD (Kentucky Fried Duck) sees a return to form: beautifully fried into nuggets and seasoned with a lavish hand. Fossilised carrots, cooked in ash, come draped in lardo. Chef Damon Amos has real talent, and Public, a place entirely without pomp or attitude, is a blast. lovepublic.com.au. About £45 for two
Opposite, clockwise from top left: the pared-back interiors at The Apollo; omelette at Chin Chin; staff at The Apollo; a dish at Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta. Previous pages, from left: Singapore-style mud crab at Mr Wong; table setting at Estelle Bistro 101
The entrance hall at Chalet Bear in Klosters. Opposite, skiers heading to WeissďŹ‚uhgipfel at the top of the 12km Parsenn run
JUMPING JELLYBEANS COURCHEVEL IS ALL CASHMERE SLIPPERS IN HILLTOP HANGOUTS, ZERMATT IS BRANDY-BEARING ST BERNARDS. BUT NO-NONSENSE KLOSTERS PREFERS TO DOWNPLAY THE SCENE AND GET ON WITH THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF SKIING
BY SIMON MILLS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JENNY ZARINS
NO OTHER RESORT DISGUISES ITS GLAMOUR WITH SUCH NONCHALANCE. LOOK OUT FOR THE KING OF SWEDEN PUSHING A TROLLEY IN THE SUPERMARKET
having dinner with Christian Erpenbeck, manager of the Silvretta Parkhotel, and his wife Kristina, who owns the Pine Cone interiors shop on Klosters high street. Kristina is busy telling me about working with The White Company founder Chrissie Rucker on the newly refurbished Haus Alpina – a jet-set hygge penthouse – when she glances out the window and spots one of the village’s most famous residents. For the ﬁrst time since my arrival four days ago in Klosters – dubbed Hollywood on the Rocks in the 1950s when Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Yul Brynner and Lauren Bacall were regulars – I feel I am about to have a celebrity moment of my own. Peter Mandelson driving around in ﬁnancier Nat Rothschild’s classic Ferrari, perhaps (it happened back in 2008). Maybe Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni, who have stayed at Chalet Luegisland, enjoying the calming night air before the partying and symposium madness begins over at the World Economic Forum in neighbouring Davos. ‘No, look!’ implores my dinner date pointing across the road. ‘The man walking the dog!’ I strain my eyes to see a ﬁgure togged up in a smart down jacket, gloves and a woolly Tyrolean hat making his way conﬁdently along the rapidly whitening path. It is -5˚C but through From top left: the master bedroom at Chalet Bear; ﬂowers in the property; snowy footprints in Klosters. Opposite, the exterior of Chalet Bear 104
the powdery scrim of falling snow I can conﬁrm that the man is, inarguably, barefoot. Later on Kristina will breezily recall encounters with Sigourney Weaver and Julia Roberts, she’ll tell me about seeing Prince Charles and his boys on the slopes, and clocking the King of Sweden pushing a trolley in the local supermarket. Along with the man who walks barefoot in the snow, this is all part of the scenery at Klosters. And no one seems to give a damn. No other world-famous Alpine resort disguises its afﬂuence, glamour and stellar celebrity patronage with quite as much unﬂappable nonchalance as Klosters. It is a Swiss bank account of winter-sports destinations: cosmopolitan, understated, tucked away, rigorously organised, well mannered, secure and discreet. ‘Actually, culturally and socially speaking, the way things are done and the way people behave, I think it’s much more like Scotland,’ corrects Klosters regular Ben Elliot. ‘It’s not fancy, it’s not sceney, it doesn’t have rocking nightclubs and bars.’ Elliot, who is the son of interior designer Annabel Elliot (née Shand, Camilla Parker Bowles’s sister) ﬁrst came here with his dad ‘who had ﬁrst come with his father’. ‘As young boys my cousin Tom Parker Bowles, Zac Goldsmith and I would be packed off to Klosters during the summer on these slightly militaristic, toughening-up, outdoor holidays. Of course, it never succeeded in toughening us up, but we grew to love it.’ Elliot is now married to Mary-Clare Winwood, daughter of the musician Steve Winwood, co-incidentally and conveniently also a Klosters homeowner. ‘You go to Klosters for the skiing. Everything else is low-key and unpretentious. It’s no frills. Spartan. A bit eccentric.’ He once spotted Renée Zellweger at the restaurant of the Wynegg hotel. ‘She was being shouted at by the hotel’s notoriously ﬁerce and bossy owner, the late Ruth Guler, for the crime of sitting at the wrong table. Poor thing didn’t know what had hit her.’ Once, Elliot tells me, a male guest, on seeing that he had been given a room with two single beds, made the mistake of asking Guler if he could swap for a double. ‘You are not here to sleep,’ she countered curtly. ‘You are here to ski.’ Certainly to anyone initiated into its community of vigorous, wind-tanned skiers, cashmere-knit alpinists, various ﬁlm stars, politicians, spritely Scandi-royals and vital-looking, 70-something Euros, the notion that Klosters is so often categorised with blinging St Moritz and super-grand Gstaad is bafﬂing and rather ridiculous. Well-heeled patronage aside, the Prättigau Valley village (population 6,177 and around 1,200 metres above sea level) actually has very little in common with either. Here is a list of things you won’t ﬁnd in Klosters: ﬂashy hedge-funders, brassy Ruskis, fur coats, selﬁe sticks, thundering four-wheel drives (most people walk), high-ﬁving snowboarders in low-waisted pants (this is a ski resort!), house music ootz-ootz-ootz-ing from any bars. Lunch is rösti not sushi. Stop at the Skihütte Gruobenalp for an ambrosial slice of cremeschnitte cake and a sharpening shot of schnapps and you shouldn’t be surprised to hear the refreshed inhabitants From top: a view of Klosters; the rustic interior of Höhwald restaurant in Monbiel, which sits just above the village
THINGS YOU WON’T FIND IN KLOSTERS: FLASHY HEDGE-FUNDERS, BRASSY RUSKIS, SELFIE STICKS, HIGH-FIVING SNOWBOARDERS IN LOW-WAISTED PANTS
Clockwise from top left: the ﬁre at Höhwald; the reading room at Chalet Eugenia; cremeschnitte and schnapps; Joe’s Bar at Skihütte Gruobenalp 107
of an adjacent table suddenly breaking in to a St Moritz Winter Olympics, some of which was actugently harmonious chorus of yodelling. ally shot in Klosters, more and more Americans arrived. While St Moritz has outposts of Moncler, Chanel, The Chesa Grischuna hotel (locals just call it the Tod’s, Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli and Bottega Chesa) soon became a second home for Peter Sellers, Veneta, Klosters only has pharmacies, antiques shops, David Niven, Vivien Leigh, Truman Capote, Orson ski-hire outﬁts and a conﬁserie or two. The best store in Welles and Julie Andrews. Famously, Gene Kelly danced town is a large and well-stocked branch of a Co-op on the tables in the cellar bar. Rex Harrison pored over supermarket. It’s easier to buy a box of kindling than a scripts of My Fair Lady while Audrey Hepburn played designer handbag, and the best massage, at the Residenz skittles in the rustic bowling alley. Vereina, is a reassuringly brisk, stretch, pummel and Writer Irwin Shaw – best known for his novel The rub down delivered with healing resolve by a sporty Young Lions (the ﬁlm version starred Montgomery Teutonic man in a tracksuit. Clift and Marlon Brando) and Rich Man, Poor Man (adapted into one of the ﬁrst TV mini-series) – set up There isn’t a single ﬁve-star hotel in Klosters. A few years back the Campbell Gray home in Klosters in the 1950s. group made an attempt to build ‘Skiers formed a loose internaone, but the scheme seems to have tional club and the same faces ﬁzzled out. ‘A ﬁve-star hotel would kept turning up year after year,’ send out all the wrong messages, wrote Shaw, who recalled Greta attract a different kind of visitor,’ Garbo taking long walks along the says Christian Erpenbeck with a banks of Klosters’ Landquart river wry smile. ‘We wouldn’t want that.’ ‘with a straw hat over her ears and He takes me for dinner at the an incongruous “frowner” on her delightful Berghaus Alpenrösli nose.’ One day, at lunch, the reclurestaurant, high up on the edge of sive actress mistakenly called one of America’s most brilliant the village with spectacular views of the Gotschna mountains, and and outspoken writers ‘Vigo Redal’. tells me another amusing story of Gore Vidal loved her for it and denial and rebuff. It is rumoured they became promenading, Alpinethat Nat Rothschild tried to buy air-taking friends. Interior designer the restaurant and convert it Nicky Haslam, who ﬁrst visited into a private home with a helipad. Klosters in the 1960s and has since A chopper flying up and down created several homes in the the valley? Nicht möglich said the region, remembers Garbo making locals and gave permission for a daily walk to the newsstand at the restaurant to get a makethe Klosters-Platz railway station over instead. ‘where she would take a long The Klosters way, it seems, is all examination of all the movie-star about modesty, old money, living magazines so she could see what well, a sense of fair play, skiing was going on in Hollywood’. hard, honour and hearty, and The only nightclub in town, unpretentious good times. But, Casa Antica, opened in 1959. The truth be told, celebrity endorseNew York society model sisters THE KLOSTERS WAY IS ALL ABOUT MODESTY, OLD ment is what put Klosters on the Marisa and Berry Berenson used map in the ﬁrst place. to play 45s there. A young Anjelica MONEY, A SENSE OF FAIR PLAY. IT’S EASIER TO BUY Huston met her photographer Sir arthur conan doyle visited the A BOX OF KINDLING THAN A DESIGNER HANDBAG boyfriend Arnaud de Rosnay on Davos Klosters region as early as the dance ﬂoor. the 1890s, discovering the thrill of the slopes and the restorative air with his wife, who was suffering from The notion of klosters as Hollywood on the Rocks tuberculosis. ‘I am convinced that there will come a time was fast fading by the time the British royal family when hundreds of Englishmen will come to Switzerland arrived in the 1970s, but Prince Charles’s low-key for the skiing season,’ he wrote. He was right. But it was appearances soon won him approval in the village. ‘The the Americans who came ﬁrst. Prince eats lunch at one of the cheapest places around,’ Back in the 1940s, Walter Haensli, a noted ski instrucreads an entry in the Chesa hotel’s ledger. ‘He was tor and racer from Klosters, was in St Moritz training dancing at the Casa Antica… hires skis that he carries the American women’s team. Visitor Jack Heinz (of the himself and invariably travels second class on the sports Heinz foodstuffs behemoth) befriended him and, on train.’ It also seems that the prince was fond of a rub the promise of some outstanding skiing, followed down after a day on the mountain. Haensli back to Klosters. Every subsequent year, Enter recent divorcee Clair Southwell, who was encouraged by John Jay’s documentary about the 1948 working as a masseuse over in Flims. ‘I’ll never forget the Above, horses drawing a traditional sleigh in Klosters. Opposite, hikers in the snow near run 24 in the Parsenn ski area 109
GET UP EARLY, HAVE A HOT CHOCOLATE AT THE TOP OF A GONDOLA AND THEN CLATTER DOWN A BLACK RUN, STOPPING FOR A ROSTI LUNCH
Clockwise from top left: a view of the Alps from Weissﬂuh peak; Chalet Bear’s sitting room; winter in Klosters; a wooden house on Landstrasse
phone call,’ she says. ‘Can you come over to Klosters to massage Prince Charles?’ She arrived, and never left. For a while Southwell worked as the Prince’s personal assistant, and her duties included organising the annual Klosters press call ‘…which Charles hated. He really just wanted to ski.’ On one occasion, she tells me, the heir to the throne turned up to meet the bank of photographers in a Groucho Marx false nose and glasses. Southwell now hosts Mongolian and Qatari guests during the economic forum (Klosters is ofﬁcially linked with big-brother resort Davos) and arranges events such as the Christmas Day English carol service at the 13thcentury church. ‘Absolutely packed every year,’ she says. ‘After a good sing-song, we all head down to Casa Antica where there’s free Champagne. New Year’s Day is when the local farmers [many of whom are also ski instructors] stage a piglet race down the main street.’ She also manages a number of smart rentals, such as the immaculate modern-rustic Casa Bawald apartment near the church, owned and designed by gardener John Coke, founder of Bury Court Opera in Surrey. It’s available to rent at a remarkably reasonable rate. But, this being Klosters, it’s a word-of-mouth deal only and Southwell vets any applications to make sure they are Klosters insiders. Prince Andrew is known to favour the grander pleasures and panoramic views available up the hill at Chalet Eugenia. It was originally built by Baroness ThyssenBornemisza in 1958, and its new owner, Rolf Theiler, a Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist, has added a basement swimming pool and redecorated everything in super-plush, Heidi-married-an-oligarch style. A week here during peak winter season (and the Davos forum) starts from around £50,000. Champagne is included. It’s a ski-in, ski-out kind of place, naturally. ‘With all the fuss about the royals and the ﬁlm stars, people sometimes forget to mention how good the skiing is in Klosters,’ says Ben Elliot. The Parsenn ski area is 307km of groomed pistes – loads of motorwaywide reds and blues make it ideal for families. But more advanced skiers will recommend run number 24, a cruise through the trees towards a lunch at the Alte Schwendi restaurant. From here you can tackle the 12km Parsenn run down to the railway station at Kublis. Elliot likes to get up early, have a hot chocolate at the top of the Gotschna gondola and then clatter down the Parsenn Weissﬂuhjoch black run. ‘We stop and have a rösti lunch at Wolf’s Den in the Hotel Kulm. Then we take the funicular railway back up to the Davos side of the mountain. It’s an annual ritual.’ For me, skiing in Klosters feels like falling through a time-travel crevasse, back to an era when winter sports attracted strapping types who thrilled at the chilly brace of mountain air and the rush of hard-packed snow beneath their boots. When Alpine villages were quaint, immaculate and slightly mysterious; when après ski meant tea and cake in front of an open a ﬁre. Maybe it it’s the clean air, maybe it’s the long and testing ski days, or the carb-loading lunches, but every night in Klosters I go to bed early, sleep like a baby and rise bright and early the next day. Ready to take on the mountain and the cremeschnitte.
KLOSTERS HIGHLIGHTS BEST HOTELS Chesa Grischuna A sweetly unpretentious and romantik spot in the middle of town still managed by its founding family. What it lacks in pampering (no pool, spa or big TVs), it makes up for in cosiness, a great restaurant and quirky, old-fashioned charm. Check out Swiss painter Alois Carigiet’s racy frescoes and relax in the legendary bar. chesagrischuna.ch. Doubles from about £215 Hotel Walserhof Prince Charles and his boys were once regulars at this warm hotel in town. Rooms are all suites – two bathrooms and two bedrooms – done out in a contemporary, naturalistic Alpine style with animal-skin throws, open ﬁreplaces and mountain views from the balconies. The restaurant has a Michelin star. walserhof.ch. Suites (sleep four) from about £475 Hotel Piz Buin A recent, extensive makeover has furnished the Piz Buin with a new swimming pool, gym and piano bar. Interiors are modern gentlemen’s club with lots of deep-seated leather chairs and antler motifs. Like the Walserhof, it would earn a ﬁve-star rating anywhere else, but in Klosters they prefer to downplay things. pizbuin-klosters.ch. Doubles from about £185 Silvretta Parkhotel Built in 1870, this is a big, friendly and efficiently run family hotel with an indoor pool, spa, sauna, three restaurants, a piano bar and kids’ club. Rooms have a view of the impressive Silvretta Glacier, after which the hotel is named. The Klosters Platz train station and the gondola to the ski area are a short walk away. silvretta.ch. Doubles from about £190
BEST RESTAURANTS Berghaus Alpenrösli Just outside the town, this self-styled Alpine tavern is both destination restaurant and hotel. Come for the magical views of the Prättigau from the balcony (we’re 1,450 metres up here), the rustic comfort of the rooms and the full-moon fondue nights when guests gorge on vacherin gruyère then take a sledge ride down a marked run. alpenroesli-klosters.ch. About £80 for two Alp Garﬁun A night-time sleigh ride across the wintry wilderness to this traditional fondue destination feels like a proper adventure. Bells mounted on the horses’ headgear ring out to warn speeding tobogganists that they are approaching. Blankets, hats and gloves and ﬂask of schnapps are all essential for return journey under the stars. alpgarﬁun.ch. About £80 for two Restaurant Höhwald Take a short drive out of town to Monbiel and you’ll ﬁnd this charming place full of locals and Klosters regulars. Staff wear proper Alpine dirndl dresses. Try the wienerschnitzel or spätzli with pear, cheese and roasted onions. hoehwald-klosters.ch. About £95 for two
BEST CHALETS Chalet Bear Carpenter Luzi Jugli built this beautiful chalet just before the start of World War II using wood he chopped himself. Jugli died in 2005, but the house was sensitively modernised by Klosters lifer Gilly Norton. Bedrooms have hand-made mattresses, linen is from Oka and The White Company, and bathtubs are huge. Ski photos and Alpine clutter make it feel like a family home. klosters-ski-chalets.com. Sleeps eight. From about £16,000 per week Chalet Eugenia This one’s got everything: vast rooms with oak-beamed ceilings, large balconies and terraces with panoramic views, palatial bathrooms, pillared ﬁreplaces, antiques, crystal chandeliers and jet-set art everywhere. An indoor swimming pool, sauna, waterbed massage. A private cinema. You can ski out to the Heid ski lift directly – but you might also never want to leave. oxfordski.com. Sleeps up to 21. Price on application
Swim vest, £90, Heidi Klum (asos.com). Chiffon and ostrich-feather skirt, £845, Prada (prada.com). Tights, £3.99, Trasparenze (uktights. com). Jelly shoes, £26, Juju (jujufootwear.com)
w o b n i Ra LEAP INTO SPRINGâ€™S FLING WITH SATURATED COLOUR BRAVING HYPER-REAL ATTITUDE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ENRIQUE BADULESCU. STYLED BY NATALIE WANSBROUGH-JONES
Epi embroidered jersey dress, £5,700, Louis Vuitton (louis vuitton.com). Tights, £5.99, Jonathan Aston (uktights. com). Jelly shoes, £26, Juju (jujufootwear.com). Oxygen Orb Hoop earring, £525 each, Robinson Pelham (robinson pelham.com). Opposite, broderie anglaise top, £750, Simone Rocha (simonerocha.com). Pleated shorts, £175, Ikko Tanaka Issey Miyake (isseymiyakelondon.com). Tights, £3.99, Gipsy (uktights.com)
Les Essentiels Larcin swimsuit, £280, Eres (eresparis.com). Straw hat, £180, Emporio Armani (armani.com) with grosgrain ribbon, £2.40 per metre, VV Rouleaux (vvrouleaux.com). Drawstring bag, £430, Emporio Armani (as before). Opposite, silk Wave dress, £690, Fendi (fendi.com). Beach Ball bikini bottoms, about £100, Mara Hoffman (marahoffman.com). Oxygen Orb Hoop earring, £525 each, Robinson Pelham (robinsonpelham.com). Jelly shoes, £26, Juju (juju footwear.com)
Jacquard crepon coat dress, £5,710, Chanel (chanel.com). Rope belt, £180, Marni (marni.com). Radford crop top, £50, Varley (varley.com). Hipster bikini bottoms, £55, Bodas (bodas.com). Tights, £5.99, Jonathan Aston (uktights.com). Oxygen Orb Hoop earring, £525 each, Robinson Pelham (robinsonpelham.com) Opposite, apron dress, POA. A.W.A.K.E. (a-w-a-k-e.com). Jayne bikini bottoms, £90, Araks (araks.com). Oxygen Orb Hoop earring, £525 each; Oxygen Bolt Ear Wish Set (hanging from earring), £290, both Robinson Pelham (as before)
Carley all-in-one jumpsuit, £1,150, Stella McCartney (stellamccartney.com). Elmar swimsuit, £275, Araks (araks. com). Oxygen Orb Hoop earring, £525 each, Robinson Pelham (robinson pelham.com) Opposite, lamé trench coat, £752, Malene Oddershede Bach (maleneoddershede bach.com). Keeling bikini top, £180; bottoms, £145, both Hermès (+44 20 7499 8856). Jelly shoes, £26, Juju (jujufootwear.com) Hair, Panos at CLM Hair & Make-up using Bumble and bumble. Make-up, Kristina Ralph Andrews at Saint Luke using Esteé Lauder. Model, Kirstin Liljegren at Storm (London). Stylist’s assistant, Charly Suggett. Story shot in Tulum where Journey Latin America (journeylatin america.co.uk) can arrange tailored trips. Aeromexico (aeromexico.com) ﬂies from the UK to Mexico
AROUND THE WORLD WITH
SINCE MAKING HER MODELLING BREAKTHROUGH WHEN SHE SHAVED OFF HER EYEBROWS FOR A VOGUE COVER SHOOT, THE FASHION MUSE AND SINGER HAS WRITTEN TWO ALBUMS AND RECORDED WITH ROBERT PLANT Where have you just come back from? ‘Los Angeles. I love California. It’s so varied. And a drive down Sunset Boulevard is probably the strangest ride you’ll ever take. You’ll see every side of the city, including the sadness, the faded beauty queens and all the hope that’s been lost. It’s not just the shiny, rich side, but what’s lurking underneath too. It’s fascinating.’
PHOTOGRAPH: TOM CRAIG/TRUNK ARCHIVE
Where in the world were you happiest? ‘Iceland. Every time I land there, I breathe the biggest sigh of relief. A couple of years ago I took my twin sister and my children and we travelled all around, driving offroad. We had an excellent tour guide called Jonas, who was the coolest guy on the planet. It was midnight, the kids were still up, running around this beach where a waterfall poured over a cliff into the ocean, and he made a fire and whipped out a picnic basket with salami, cheese and whisky. It was the most beautiful moment, sitting by the ﬂames, watching my kids have the time of their lives. Also, I read in the news that the feminist Pirate Party did really well in the election, so it’s a progressive country. It’s the one place hope may still exist!’ Name a place that lived up to the hype ‘I went to Bhutan a couple of years ago on a shoot with the photographer Tim Walker. I knew it would be magical as I was going to the Himalayas, but I’d never been anywhere like Bhutan before. It’s just gorgeous, with old palaces and 16th-century monasteries. Everyone was so welcoming, and not in a fake, “let’s be nice to the tourists” way. We stayed in the Aman hotels, which are incredible. Doing something like that is the best part of being a model; I always want to discover new places.’ And one that least lived up to the hype ‘I’m not an Ibiza girl. I was so stressed out by the madness. I guess if I go again, I will need someone to show me parts of the island where it’s a bit quieter.’ Which is your favourite city? ‘There is nowhere quite like Paris. I lived there when I was 16, but I didn’t enjoy it because I was so young and wasn’t staying
in the nicest neighbourhood. These days I go to Café de Flore with friends and then to Shakespeare and Company after a couple of glasses of wine. I also love Venice. Walking around the city after dark feels like I’m living in another century, and getting lost in a beautiful maze.’ Which is your road most travelled? ‘Flying from Nashville, where I live, to New York or London. That’s pretty much my commute, and there are no direct ﬂights. Nashville is a really nice place to raise children. My kids and their friends run around the neighbourhood in a way they couldn’t if we were in New York. And of course there’s a ton of good music. It’s also become a bit of a foodie capital. Nashville has everything a big city has, but less of it, so it’s a lot easier to navigate.’
Describe a holiday disaster ‘I went to the Ivory Coast with Save the Children last year, and when we landed there was an issue with our visas, so we were in a room for two hours trying to ﬁgure it out. Then my bags didn’t turn up for a week; they arrived the day before I left. It was possibly the worst place to have bags not show up because nobody could ﬁnd us. We were going down roads to tiny villages you could only get to in a fourwheel-drive. If anything goes wrong for me, it’s inevitably at the airport. But I’ve learnt over the years that there’s always a way to work things out, so I stay calm.’ Confess to one thing you’ve taken from a hotel room ‘Come on – who doesn’t like a pair of Carlyle or Chateau Marmont slippers?’
‘THE HEMINGWAY BAR AT THE RITZ IN PARIS HAS ALL THE ENERGY AND ATMOSPHERE OF PARIS IN THE 1920S’
What’s your guilty pleasure? ‘Flying at the front of the plane, even if I have to use air miles or pay myself. I sometimes get really scared of ﬂying, and if I’m comfortable then I think I’m OK. I also get completely neurotic about picking my seat in advance.’
Where did you go on your ﬁrst holiday without your parents? ‘I spent three months in Tokyo when I was a teenager. It was pre-internet, so my agent would send me a map with directions because I couldn’t understand the Japanese signs. I met the shoe designer Tabitha Simmons out there – she was still modelling then – and we lived together. We had so many adventures, but things I probably shouldn’t put in print!’
What would you most like in your mini-bar? ‘Campari.’
Tell us about a great little place you know ‘The Hemingway Bar at the Ritz in Paris. Colin the bartender makes the best cocktails in town and it has all the energy and atmosphere of Paris in the 1920s.’ Smartest hotel you’ve ever stayed in? ‘The Carlyle in New York. I love it so much. I remember spotting Eartha Kitt there once, and then on my birthday a couple of years ago I went to see Woody Allen play in his band, which is a heavenly New York experience.’
Most regrettable holiday souvenir? ‘There’s a good luck symbol in Bhutan which is basically a giant penis. Tim Walker bought me a keychain with one on it, and as I was going through the airport back in the USA they searched my bag and found it… I was mortiﬁed.’ Nominate your 8th wonder of the world ‘The Tiger’s Nest monastery in the Himalayas. You have to hike for three hours to reach it, but it’s magniﬁcent.’ How do you relax? ‘Having a massage, eating good food, drinking good wine. And as I’ve got children, a dreamy night off for me is room service in bed and bad English television.’
Karen Elson was speaking to Francesca Babb. Her new album ‘Double Roses’ is out on 7 April March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 123
Clockwise from above: the Museum of Liverpool; a Helen Chatterton design at the Bluecoat Display Centre; bedroom at 2 Blackburne Terrace; Maray cafĂŠ; Mowgli restaurant; 2 Blackburne Terrace; Hugh Miller chair at the Bluecoat; bed at 2 Blackburne Terrace. Centre, on the waterfront. Opposite, Bold Street Coffee
IN BRITAIN OUR SERIES OF UK INSIDER GUIDES CONTINUES WITH
LIVERPOOL BEAT POET ALLEN GINSBERG DECLARED IT THE CENTRE OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS. DESPITE BOOMS AND BUSTS, THE WITTY, GRITTY DOCKSIDE TOWN HAS KEPT UP ITS CREATIVE FLOW EVER SINCE. NOW THE CITY HAS A FRESH ARTY SPIRIT, ALL THE SIGNS ARE POINTING TO A FAB NEW ERA BY CHRIS MOSS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY LAURA EDWARDS
March 2017 CondÃ© Nast Traveller 125
I grew up admiring liverpool from afar, in that 10 miles was quite a distance in the 1970s. The city was glamour personiﬁed to a provincial Lancashire lad – the Scousers called us woollybacks – and on the odd occasion that we ventured in, it was only so my mum could browse at George Henry Lee and the other department stores. I spent my time looking up at the cold, blue, seagull-speckled skies over the Mersey and the gargantuan cathedrals. Later, I went to watch ﬁrst Liverpool FC and then Everton FC, ﬁnally choosing to support the latter as noble underdogs. Bad decision, perhaps. This city was a near-at-hand commentary on a changing Britain. Its TV dramas – The Liver Birds, Boys from the Blackstuff, Brookside – were cutting edge. Its Militant council challenged the London establishment. Its pop music went around the world again and again, each decade heralding a new scene: Merseybeat, punk, New Romantic, rave; Echo, Frankie, Melanie and of course, kicking it all off, the Beatles. Fashion rode on the back of the music. People dressed ﬂash; only Scousers could parade sportswear like 126 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
Italians. Men sauntered in fur coats. Women in not much at all. Everyone loved to party. Everyone took taxis. Liverpool is still all these things, but since the turn of the millennium it has been experiencing a renaissance – of aspiration, architectural swagger and attitude. There’s been a blossoming of independent shops, restaurants, bars and galleries and while every neighbourhood has been pimped up, they’ve all retained a distinct character, from grubby, boozy Mathew Street to gracious Rodney Street to the edgy, eclectic RopeWalks. I’ve never quite belonged to Liverpool – it’s too speciﬁc, too well-deﬁned to let incomers blend in. But I’ve visited at least once every year for the past three decades and have a ritual zigzagging around these neighbourhoods until I ﬁnd myself beneath the Three Graces – the UNESCO-listed ediﬁces that make this waterfront the rival of any on earth. Because Liverpool has already been what many cities yearn to be: a shipping and trading hub, a sporting legend, a cultural powerhouse. Its world-facing architecture, like its great river, leaves you in no doubt that here stands a place of global note.
Breakfast at 2 Blackburne Terrace. Opposite, clockwise from top left: 2 Blackburne Terrace; the bar at The Art School; 2 Blackburne Terrace; classic car; Jorge Pardo’s Penelope sculpture in Wolstenholme Square; the Philharmonic Dining Rooms
BEST OF BRITISH When brothers Gary and Colin Manning opened 60 Hope Street on St George’s Day 1999, they set off a process that would transform this sedate, terraced row into the Georgian Quarter’s main foodie axis. No 60 is still going strong, serving reﬁned modern British with north-western nods such as black pudding, Goosnargh duck and a jam sandwich dessert. In 2008, they opened HOST, a funky pan-Asian restaurant with Fifties canteen decor, just opposite. Their main challenger is Paul Askew, who ran the award-winning London Carriage Works and, since 2014, The Art School – which sources exquisite produce from Lancashire, the Lakes and Wales, and dishes it up in
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
the stylishly refurbed Lantern Room of the former Home for Destitute Children. 60hope street.com; ho-st.co.uk; thelondoncarriage works.co.uk; theartschoolrestaurant.co.uk
CAFFEINE KICKS AND TASTY SNACKS Bold Street is a busy, shabby thoroughfare that leads to the Bombed Out Church, aka St Luke’s, gutted in the Blitz. Bold Street Coffee is the place for a swift breakfast, but if you’re after something substantial, the ﬁnest fodder is Asian. Former barrister and YouTube chef Nisha Katona opened Mowgli in 2015 to bring quality tifﬁn to town, and her yogurt chat bombs have caused quite an explosion locally. A little further along is Maray, named after the Paris neighbourhood and specialising in fresh
falafel, as well as originals such as gin-cured trout and deep-fried kale. boldstreetcoffee. co.uk; mowglistreetfood.com; maray.co.uk GRAB A PINT Liverpool is one of the great pub cities, especially if you like no-nonsense Victorian boozers wrought in shiny red-brick and polished woodwork. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms (36 Hope Street) is cavernous and opulent; take a seat in one of the snugs or spread out in the main lounge beneath ornate plasterwork by New Sculpture ﬁgurehead CJ Allen; the urinals, in rose-coloured marble, are gorgeous. Ye Cracke is a lively trad pub, famed for its Lennon connections and one of the best places to befriend locals. yecracke.co.uk
From left: The Quarter restaurant, off Hope Street; lamb, prosciutto, cucumber and mint salad at Maray; Mowgli, which champions Indian streetfood
THE FINEST G&T IN TOWN Launched in 2012, Liverpool Gin – whose label features the cormorant/eagle known as the Liver Bird – has given the old mariner’s tipple a new life here. The Belvedere (est. 1836) boasts a GinNasium, a melamine shelf stacked with dozens of small-producer gins, served neat or with Fever-Tree tonic. Speakeasy-style Berry and Rye (48 Berry Street) has made it the staple tipple, with cocktails concocted to a soundtrack of jazz and blues. belvedereliverpool.com CHINESE TWISTS Opened in April 2016, Fu on Gradwell Street claims to be the third bar in the world to specialise in baijiu, China’s national spirit (the others are in NYC and Beijing). Barman Peter mixes long drinks such as the Emperor Park Swizzle (house baijiu Er Guo Tou, rum, sherry, lime and bitters) alongside tasty dim sum. Liverpool is home to Europe’s oldest Chinese community, and the diminutive Chinatown around Berry Street has the Beijing-style restaurant Yuet Ben, and chicken-curry buns and cream cakes at Bonbon. fubaijiu.com; yuetben.co.uk GEORGIAN DANDY London-based interior designer Glenn Whitter dreamed of living in Liverpool all his life. In 2012 he and his wife Sarah uprooted and devoted two years to restoring a handsome 1826 mansion in the upper reaches of the Georgian Quarter. Each of the four large bedrooms at 2 Blackburne Terrace has its own palette, dictated by contemporary art and bespoke
WHERE TO STAY
128 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
furniture – with literary periodicals and sloe gin as part of the welcoming pack. Every detail matters, from the internet radios to the star-anise black puddings from Edge Butchers, a Wirral legend. 2blackburne terrace.com. Doubles from £160 NORDIC NOD Hope Street Hotel occupies a palazzo-style warehouse redolent of Liverpool in its glory days. The conversion has been done with lots of love, and features Victorian pitch-pine beams, walnut and birch ﬂoors, and iron pillars – the overall impression is of Scandi-organic meeting Scouse-mercantile and getting on. In 2017, apartments will be added in the former Royal School for the Blind next door, along with a spa and pool. hopestreethotel.co.uk. Doubles from £89 CRAFTY HIDEAWAY
WHERE The Bluecoat Garden is not TO SHOP a hundred yards off Church Street – the main shopping drag – but somehow the 300-year-old walls keep out the clamour. While the Bluecoat Display Centre is proud to exhibit local artisans such as metalsmith Michael Badger and textile designer Helen Chatterton, the wares on show are sourced from across the country. bluecoatdisplaycentre.com VINTAGE ESCAPE Take a taxi out to leafy Lark Lane, which is buzzy at the weekend – often with a farmers’ market and craft fairs. Rummage through a riot of retro furniture and ﬁxtures at Gasp and pick up affordable contemporary art, crafts and cards at Lark Lane Art Works. larksonline.co.uk
KEEP IT CLASSICAL The appointment of Vasily Petrenko as principal conductor in 2006 signalled a minor Russian revolution for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. The then 30year-old brought intellect, daring and physicality to a repertoire that favoured symphonies from his native land and English classical masters. If you’re in town and he’s performing, bribe someone for a seat. liverpoolphil.com. From £15
WHAT TO SEE & DO
CATCH THE BUS The Magical Mystery Tour, by bus, with a Blue Badge guide, is a superlative way to visit the city’s green-fronded ’burbs; see Dingle’s tiny terraces (where Richard Starkey, better known as Ringo Starr, grew up), gain a sense of what the 1960s were like here and, above all, get your bearings. Roll up! cavernclub.org/ the-magical-mystery-tour; £16.95 ARCHITECTURE HITLIST The wigwam-shaped Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, built in the 1960s, is as impressive as anything in Brasilia. Pay £3 to enter the crypt to see the foundations of Lutyens’ original Thirties mega-basilica, abandoned when money ran out and the war started. A short walk away is Gilbert Scott’s magniﬁcent neo-Gothic Anglican cathedral, a hulk of a building started in 1904 and only completed in 1978. Other free-to-enter highlights are the neoclassical St George’s Hall – opposite Lime Street station – and all the city’s major museums. liverpool museums.org.uk; tate.org.uk
TRAVELLER AD VERT ISEM EN T FEAT U RE
An idyllic setting, endless unforgettable experiences and resorts to suit all preferences: Saint Lucia takes Caribbean escapism to a different level The Caribbean: a quintessential sun-drenched paradise complete with world-famous palm-fringed beaches and idyllic bays. Add in the two iconic Piton Mountains, lush rainforest, sparkling waterfalls and an underwater wonderland, however, and you have a quintessential sun-drenched heaven complete with endless possibilities. Saint Lucia is an island that invites exploration, whether you are ﬂying high on a helicopter around those famed peaks; diving low among kaleidoscopic coral or meeting local inhabitants on whale-, dolphin- and turtle-watching tours. Here you can enjoy truly unforgettable time out zip-lining through the rainforest; heading off on nature trails, mountain bikes or even Segway tours; relaxing in a sulphur spring bath in the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano; or skimming across turquoise waters on a catamaran. And then there’s the
Caribbean culture: whether you’re learning to make chocolate on a cocoa plantation or cooking up Creole masterpieces under the guidance of a local chef, Saint Lucia’s rich heritage and warm friendliness envelops every experience. It’s a diversity that’s equally reﬂected in the island’s fabulous accommodation, from boutique hotels to spacious villas and luxurious resorts. Take Rendezvous, an all-inclusive beach resort catering exclusively to couples, set on a magniﬁcent two-mile stretch of unspoilt sands – the backdrop to hedonistic days relaxing on a lounger, enjoying extensive water sports or heading into the Big Blue courtesy of the complimentary diving programme. In contrast, The BodyHoliday is a unique wellness retreat that promises, ‘if you give them your body for a week, they’ll give you back your mind’, with a variety of pampering, adventure and wellbeing experiences and Clockwise from top: a stunning view of the Petit Piton Mountain; the pool at Rendezvous; Anse Mamin Beach
a complimentary spa treatment every day providing the ﬁnishing heavenly touch. Claiming to enjoy the ‘most magniﬁcent location in the Caribbean’, set as it is between the Piton peaks, Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort boasts two stunning beaches, breathtaking snorkelling just offshore and luxurious bungalows – each with butler service – set directly on those pristine sands. Perfection, indeed. For reservations, please call Caribtours on 020 3582 3044 or visit caribtours.co.uk
QRendezvous: 7 nights all-inclusive in a Premium Garden View Room from £1,769pp. Offer valid until 20 December 2017. QSugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort: save 10% and enjoy 1 free night with 7 nights B&B in a Sugar Mill Luxury Room from £1,775pp. Offer valid 1 May to 31 October 2017. QThe BodyHoliday: save up to 45% with 7 nights all-inclusive in a Luxury Room from £2,175pp. Offer valid until 20 December 2017. All prices based on two adults sharing,including return ﬂights, private transfers and the use of a UK airport lounge. Bookings must be made by 28 February 2017
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A TEMPLE TO SUGAR IN THAILAND Pudding-only restaurants first became a thing in Melbourne, but now Bangkok café Shugaa is stepping up the trend. Set in the Watthana district, its interiors have been created by Thai studio Party/Space/Design) and are an ode to the sweet stuff, with walls splashed in mint-green and candy-ﬂoss-pink stools. Reﬂecting the crystalline structure of sugar itself is a rose-gold hanging light sculpture and a spiral staircase made from clear acrylic blocks. Honey and passion-fruit-meringue tarts, dark chocolate and mint brownies, red-velvet sponge and matcha ice cream can be washed down with strawberry and lychee tea or chocolate milk with marshmallow crumble. And get creative yourself with dessert- and fondant-making classes. facebook.com/ShugaaDessertBar March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 131
THIS MONTH’S RECIPE Pull the stalks off six leaves of kale (preferably purple) and discard. Roll the leaves into cigars and shred. Beat together a dressing from 2tb pomegranate molasses, 1tb water, 1 garlic clove pounded to a paste, 4tb best olive oil, salt and pepper. Massage most of this into the kale and leave to sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, using a mandolin, slice the ﬂorets of half a cauliﬂower lengthways to make paper-thin trees. Reserve the most beautiful shavings, and toss the rest in to the kale. Tip onto a platter, arranging the remaining cauliﬂower over the top, scatter with 75g chopped pistachios, pomegranate seeds and the zest of half a lemon. Drizzle the last of the dressing over the top.
PHOTOGRAPH: STUART OVENDEN
Winter vegetable and pistachio salad
WORLD ON A PLATE THE INGREDIENT: PISTACHIO
BY JOANNA WEINBERG
BY MALCOLM GLUCK
Legend has it the Queen of Sheba so loved the pistachio she demanded entire harvests for her royal court while forbidding any commoner from growing it. In fact, as one of the oldest ﬂowering nut trees, pistachio has been a popular food since at least the 7th century bc. Pliny the Elder records in his Natural History that pistacia, ‘well known among us’, originated in Syria, where it was prized for its tenacious ability to grow in tough conditions, coping with both saline soil and brutal high-desert plains. Flourishing in hot climates, the nut (in fact, botanically, a drupe – a seed surrounded by soft fruit) was introduced to southern Europe by the 1st century ad, where it became popular in the cakes and biscuits of Italy and Spain, and most distinctively as the green crumbly ﬁlling in Greek baklava. Salted and roasted pistachios are sold at street stalls across the Middle East. And barazek, the crunchy sesame-pistachio biscuits bought by the kilo from souks all over Syria and Lebanon, are nearly as common. In Iran, particularly, they crown a traditional dish called jewelled rice, which combines almonds, pistachios, barberries, saffron, orange peel and onions, turned out, in a great test of the cook, so the crisp caramelised rice crust, the tadiq, comes out on top, ideally in one piece. Also from the Middle East is the triumphant pairing of pistachios with rose, especially good in a moist teacake. Today, the pistachio adds both beauty and exoticism to a plate, along with a mild, mellow richness that’s hard to resist. In California – foodie home of the cultural crossover and now the second largest pistachio producer in the world after Iran – health geeks are stockpiling the stuff in the same fashion as the fabled queen. Nutritionally, they’re a big hitter; a storehouse of antioxidants and minerals such as copper, which helps make red blood cells. Whizz them up with
The pistachio is a rude food. It’s the way the red/brown/green kernel peeps so alluring out of its shell. Many nuts (and drupes, of course) can be said to be sensual, but it is given to the pistachio to be positively erotic. In its unadorned state, the most sympathetic wine to accompany it is surely Harveys Palo Cortado, a sherry blended of 30-year-old wines and perhaps the nearest alcohol can come to resembling the great Oscar Wilde. The dryness of its wit yet the richness of its personality is incomparable. It costs £22.59 at Waitrose. It is a fortiﬁed wine, of course (nearly 20 per cent alcohol), and we do need fortifying – for you may feel a triﬂe full by the time I ﬁnish. Let’s begin with pistachio butter, the latest craze out of California. The wine will be an elegant Riesling, crisp and palate-awakening,
THE PISTACHIO IS A NUTRITIONAL BIG HITTER, WHICH IS WHY HEALTH GEEKS IN CALIFORNIA ARE STOCKPILING THE STUFF dates and cardamom for the nut butter du jour, or with mint, basil and pecorino for a simple pesto to coat courgetti. A handful of roughly smashed pistachios will make a smart dressing for almost any salad. Scatter over radicchio, blood orange and salted ricotta; or add grated carrots in a bright, crisp salad dressed with a hint of orange blossom. My favourite is the one opposite: a winter salad of exemplary fashionability, yet no less delicious for it.
WHITE BURGUNDY IS A HIGH-WIRE ACT WHERE MANY FALL AND ONLY THE SPECIAL FEW KEEP THEIR FOOTING IMPECCABLY from Tanners, an old-school wine merchant who’ll sell you PJ Kuhn’s modern, streamlined Oestrich Lenchen Riesling Kabinett 2015 (its alcohol level a mere 10 per cent) for £13.90. As for the kale leaves and cauliﬂower covered in one of the world’s loveliest dressings (which includes pomegranate and pistachio), what on earth will accompany such a dish? My ﬁrst thought was white Burgundy, in particular Berry Brothers & Rudd’s Meursault 2014 (£29.95) from the Domaine Guyot-Javillier estate. This is so ineffably French in its poise and hauteur as to make Chardonnay producers elsewhere – I’m thinking mostly of South Africa and New Zealand here, not California – strike their breasts and cry ‘How do they create such balance?’ My answer is that Burgundy is a high-wire act where many fall and only the special few keep their footing impeccably. But isn’t such a wine too delicate, in spite of its woody undertone, to cope with the winter salad? Perhaps. If, fearful of this, you’d like to look elsewhere for your white wine, I have no hesitation in recommending Hommage du Rhône Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2015 (£17.99 at Waitrose). This exhibits a huge, complex class and robustness and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to compete with it from Burgundy for the price. The choice is yours: prim and proper from Meursault or elegant with a hint of rafﬁsh from Avignon. March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 133
Eat the street
FERMENTED SHARK AND PUFFIN JERKY SUSTAINED ICELANDERS FOR CENTURIES, BUT NOW THE NEW NORDIC SCENE IS FIRING UP APPETITES IN REYKJAVIK. HEAD TO DOWNTOWN LAUGAVEGUR FOR A FIX 10AM: BREAKFAST
Sandholt, No 36 This bakery is furnished with newspaper-strewn tables, worn Tolix chairs and heaps of cushions. Cosy up with a creamy hot chocolate and kleina (a twisted doughnut), and leave with a still-warm smokedpumpkin-seed loaf under your arm. sandholt.is 11.30AM: COFFEE
Te + Kafﬁ, No 27 Iceland consumes more coffee than France and the UK combined, and this original roaster still supplies most of the city’s independent cafés. Order a latte, extra dry, then check out the quirky ceramics and Vitra pieces at the front. teogkaffi.is/products/laugavegur-27 1PM: LUNCH
Grillmarkedurinn, Laekjargata 2A Set within an old Art Nouveau cinema just off Laugavegur, the grill market’s interiors are inspired by the landscape – with live moss, basalt columns, and ﬁsh skins on the walls. Local ﬂavours are deployed in the rhubarb Mojitos and a trio of puffin, langoustine and whale sliders. grillmarkadurinn.is 4PM: JUICE
Gló, No 20B Sólveig Eiríksdóttir – or Solla as she is known locally – is Iceland’s answer to Deliciously Ella and the smiling face of the country’s health-food movement. Her open-plan restaurant, although
134 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
not exclusively vegetarian, is a wonderland of organic salads, raw chocolate puddings, vibrant green juices and turmeric teas. glo.is 5PM: SHOP
Verzlunin Ram, No 72 Pretty packages of Astrik’s caramel and rosemary popcorn, spiced white chocolate made in Reykjavik and jars of smoked honey sea salt are stocked in this one-stop shop, alongside covetable tea cups, recipe books and aprons. 7PM: DINNER
Public House, No 24 Neon signs, playful taxidermy and cartoon murals liven up this cool gastropub, pictured, and local diners tend to sport tattoos, beards and beanies. The menu is fun, too: small sharing plates are given a Japanese twist – from reindeer tataki with blue cheese to miso-glazed lamb. publichouse.is 9.30PM: DRINKS
Kaldi Bar, No 20B This was one of Iceland’s ﬁrst craft breweries, and you can sample all its beers on tap along with an extensive list of the island’s other microbrews. Between this and Kiki across the street, it’s the only block of Laugavegur likely to still be going at 2am. Sip a pint of toffee-tinged Kaldi dark as the regulars take turns on the free-for-all piano. kaldibar.com LAURA HOLT
Rhapsody in blue.
Whether you come for the ocean, the wide open skies or the endless array of activities, you’ll ﬁ nd every shade of bliss in, on, over, and under the clear blue waters of Islamorada. ﬂa-keys.com/islamorada 0208 686 2600
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March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 135
DAVID MUNOZ HE’S TRAINED AT NOBU AND HAKKASAN, AND HIS MADRID JOINT DIVERXO HAS RACKED UP THREE MICHELIN STARS. NOW THE SPANIARD IS TAKING ON LONDON WITH HIS MIND-BLOWING OPENING, STREETXO. HERE ARE HIS TOP FOODIE TRAVEL FINDS
ROBATA GRILL FROM JAPAN ‘I remember the ﬁrst time I sat at the counter of a Japanese restaurant in New York, I was amazed by their use of an open ﬁre. Seafood and vegetables are skewered and then slow-cooked over hot charcoal; it is completely different to how we cook in Spain – it’s fantastic.’
DUMPLINGS FROM HONG KONG ‘Going for yum cha – dim sum and refreshing Chinese tea – is always an exciting experience. I can eat dozens of dumplings – from shrimp-ﬁlled har gau to barbecue-pork char siu bao or the unbelievable xiao long bao: soup dumplings that explode in your mouth.
SEA URCHIN FROM ASTURIAS, SPAIN ‘These full-bodied Spanish red sea urchins are only in season in the winter months, but they are marvellously tasty, with such an incredibly creamy texture and delicate ﬂavour of the sea.’
fresh and very unusual tasting. I use it all the time and keep ﬁnding new ways to incorporate it into my dishes – most recently with pigeon and chorizo on the menu in my new London restaurant.’
IBERIAN BLACK PIG FROM SPAIN ‘A national icon, and in my opinion the best meat to cook with. The marbling is exceptional, and you can eat every single part of the animal because it is so versatile. It works brilliantly whether braised for stew, fried in a wok or simply grilled.’
YUZU FROM JAPAN ‘Citrus fruits are the most useful ingredient in the kitchen – I use them with everything – and for me, yuzu is the king of the family. It’s so powerful that just a few drops elevate anything it’s paired with and completely change the essence.’
PIGEON RAGOUT FROM ITALY ‘This dish was so good it almost made me cry with happiness. Chef Giuseppe Iannotti’s mother cooked it for me at his restaurant Kresios in the Benevento province of Italy, near Naples. The food here is the most exciting and modern in the country.’
CHILLI CRAB FROM SINGAPORE LILY BULB FROM CHINA ‘Traditionally used in Chinese herbal remedies and the odd stir-fry, the little-known lily bulb is actually a great vegetable. It’s sweet, sour, crunchy, 136 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
‘Singapore is the street-food capital of the world. If you eat only one thing, head straight to a hawker centre and order chilli crab with plenty of mantou steamed buns. Just be prepared to get messy.’
PHOTOGRAPH: SALVA LOPEZ
AJI AMARILLO FROM PERU ‘This is the most complex, aromatic and unique chilli around. If you have ever eaten Peruvian food, you will have tried it. Usually bright orange and thick ﬂeshed, each one has a ﬂavour that’s a little different. It’s not outrageously spicy, but has a beautiful fruity sort of heat.’
FLAVOUR HUNTER SIP TRIP
ARRACK Toddy tapper – possibly the coolest job title in the entire drinks business. This is the name given to those intrepid high-wire artistes who procure the raw ingredients of arrack, Sri Lanka’s national spirit. In the cool of the morning they shin up to the tops of swaying coconut palms where they chop buds from flower stems, moving nimbly from tree to tree by means of a tightrope. A sweet, milky goop oozes into buckets, where it immediately starts to ferment. No additional catalyst is required. The heat of the day activates naturally occurring yeast, turning the liquid into a mildly alcoholic toddy in a matter of hours. This is in turn distilled and aged, or at least stored, in barrels made of indigenous Trincomalee wood.
A SWEET, MILKY GOOP OOZES INTO BUCKETS, WHERE IT IMMEDIATELY STARTS TO BREW
Arrack is thought to be one of the oldest spirits in the world, predating whisky, gin and rum. The method of its production has barely changed since Marco Polo witnessed it nearly 700 years ago. It’s often confused with other similarly named drinks, such as the Batavia arrack of Indonesia and the aniseed-ﬂavoured arak of the Mediterranean. But Sri Lankan arrack is its own thing entirely. The worst of it is unpotable ﬁlth, heavily cut with neutral spirits, which dishonours the noble art of the toddy tapper. The best of it is soft, subtle and rum-like in character, with vanilla and floral notes that suggest a certain kinship with Cognac. STEVE KING
try it It was the Swedes who ﬁrst mixed coffee with the bright tang of tonic. Then, after spotting it on the cocktail menu at Koppi in Helsingborg, the team at San Francisco’s Saint Frank Café paid homage with the Kaffe Tonic: Fever-Tree on ice with an espresso shot. You’ll also ﬁnd the concoction at Seattle’s Neptune Coffee, where rosemary is added. For a stronger, gin-spiked option, head to East London and the Relax It’s Only Coffee bar. And the Swedes are still experimenting: at Da Matteo in Gothenburg, cold brew comes with a citric twist as kaffelemonad. But perhaps the best hybrid yet is Instagram’s favourite elevenses: coffee in a cone. It all started at the Grind Coffee Company in Johannesburg, where they roll their own wafer cones, pictured, and line them with four types of chocolate to prevent leaks. TJ 138 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
A Sri Lankan toddy tapper
PHOTOGRAPH: DOMINIC SANSONI/THREEBLINDMEN
the craze Grass-fed butter has replaced almond milk in coffee while coconut oil is the latest sweetener among the health-conscious crowd. It seems there’s no end to what can pep up your caffeine ﬁx.
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VILLAS TWENTY SEVENTEEN
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2 VILLA SOFIA, FORTE VILLAGE, SARDINIA
TEMPLES FOR TEENS
FA M I L I E S 1
C O N S T A N C E H A L AV E L I , M A L D I V E S
With a different sporting academy for every day of the week – football, tennis, rugby, go-karting, even magic and dance – Forte Village is a dream for active teenagers. At the elegant Villa Sofia, parents can relax in the huge garden, take a dip in the pool and enjoy butler service while the kids are busy. In the evening the whole family can come together on the spacious terrace or have dinner in the stylish lounge-diner. Upstairs, all three bedrooms have wonderful views. A week from £33,761 B&B, based on six sharing (00 39 07 0921 8818, fortevillageresort.com)
ROYAL SPA VILLA, PORTO ZANTE,
ZAKYNTHOS, GREECE The Maldives is a great choice for teenagers as private island resorts Even the most disinterested teen can't fail to be sparked up by the mean they can be independent without any risks, and a huge choice of promise of a private beach. This palatial villa sleeps up to six and watersports will stop moans of 'I'm bored'. All villas at the Halaveli come comes with its own stretch of sand, a private heated pool and outdoor with their own plunge pool; the Double Storey is ideal for teenagers spa pool, as well as two Jacuzzis, so the kids can have their own. as they have their own room and bathroom on the upper floor. Armani Casa furnishings and paintings by renowned Greek artists There are three restaurants to choose from, a PADI dive school give the house a luxe, super-stylish feel, but it's the PlayStation 4, and one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Bang & Olufsen speakers and iMac desktop that the kids will love. A week from £10,899 B&B, including flights and transfers, based A week from £13,720 (00 30 210 821 8640, portozante.com) on four sharing (01494 678400, turquoiseholidays.co.uk)
T RAVELLER PROM OT ION
CAN JARDI, SOLLER, MALLORCA
A stone-built villa with views of the Tramuntana mountains, Jardi has its own children's play area, a large pool and orange orchards where the kids can harvest the fruit each day. The four ensuite bedrooms are traditionally furnished, while downstairs there's a wellequipped kitchen, and mezzanine area with TV, separate from the main lounge. The pretty town of Soller, with its historic tram that runs down to the beach, is a stroll away. A week from £5,316, based on eight sharing (01242 547705, akvillas.com)
VILLA SUNSET, VILAMOURA, PORTUGAL The beaches of the Algarve are perfect for young families, and the pared-down style of Vilamoura means you don't have to worry about small fingers knocking over priceless antiques. All four bedrooms are ensuite, and the open plan kitchen-diner has plenty of space, as does the wide outdoor terrace. The garden – a pristine lawn surrounding a good sized pool – offers plenty of space for games, and there are cots and high chairs available on request. A week from £1,309, based on eight sharing (0800 074 0122, jamesvillas.co.uk)
AL PROFONDO BLU, PORTO PALO DI MENFI, SICILY
BASTIDE DES VIRETTES, CÔTE D'AZUR, FRANCE
Oozing Gallic charm, there are frescoes, antiques and classic French artworks dotted throughout the lounge and dining area. The four bedrooms have wonderful views across the Provençal hills, while children will love the fact they have their own playroom downstairs. The good-sized pool has a shallow, beach-style entrance, making it safe for tinies and there are two outdoor terraces for alfresco dining. A week from £1,600pp, including flights, villa host and chef, based on eight sharing (020 3740 2987, scottdunn.com)
Perfect for an old-fashioned week on the beach, this three-bedroom villa, with tiled floors and whitewashed walls, opens out onto a secluded stretch of sand in the heart of a nature reserve. The proximity of the beach means you can retreat to the house's shady terraces when the sun gets too much, to make use of the comfy, cushioned sofas, table-tennis table and outdoor pizza oven. There's also a comfortable lounge and pretty, well-equipped kitchen. A week from £2,323, based on six sharing (020 7377 8518, thethinkingtraveller.com)
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BEST FOR LITTLE ONES
With Abercrombie & Kent, a holiday villa is more than just somewhere you rent for a week or two, it’s a glimpse into a different life – sun-kissed, stress-free and eminently memorable
ho doesn’t dream of a house on a sunlit Mediterranean beach – an isolated bolthole with nothing for miles but rolling, unspoilt countryside? As life becomes increasingly busy, we crave space and peace; a secret corner of the world where we can relax with those we love, with nothing to do but laze by a pool, swim in the sea or while away the afternoon with a good book and a glass or two of wine. The good news? All of this is possible. Rent a house with Abercrombie & Kent Villas and that longedfor life can be yours, whether you want a beachside hideaway, countryside retreat or an escape to a windswept island. A villa holiday is all about spending time together; with family, old and young, friends or just your partner. A&K Villas has a house to suit groups of any size, and with each property hand-picked and visited by a member of
the team, high standards are guaranteed. But it’s about more than just providing a home; treating yourself to the services of an A&K Concierge means that there is someone always on hand to help with everything from tips and recommendations on the local area to stocking the fridge and making sure breakfast is waiting for you on the ﬁrst morning. Even though the Mediterranean is so familiar, A&K is constantly ﬁnding new properties and different ways to experience well-known destinations. New for 2017 are the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, two of Greece’s most upscale destinations. The Zarassi Estate on Mykonos is situated on a hilltop with 180-degree views over the Aegean. This extensive estate holds both a four- and ﬁvebedroom property, as well as a luxurious lagoonshaped inﬁnity pool with adjoining heated Jacuzzi.
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Clockwise from bottom left: Dalmation Dream, Dubrovnik, Croatia; The Zarassi Estate, Mykonos, Greece; Villa Lavana, Santorini, Greece; Can Masta, Mallorca, Spain
There’s a brand-new spa treatment room and sauna, plus a fully equipped outdoor gym which overlooks the property’s sweeping lawn and minimalist chapel. A favourite with honeymooners, Santorini is one of the most extraordinary and romantic islands in the whole of the Mediterranean. Villa Lavana is an elegant three-bedroom villa in the heart of Oia village, famous for its tangle of lanes that twist down the side of the volcanic crater, dotted with designer boutiques and clifftop bars offering stunning sunset views. This villa oozes opulence, with its own inﬁnity pool and outdoor Jacuzzi on the terrace of the master bedroom. It’s guaranteed to make you feel as if you have stepped into another world. If a countryside retreat is more to your taste, A&K has villas in some of the most beautiful landscapes
in the whole of Europe; from the quiet riverbanks of the Dordogne to the hilltop towns of Tuscany and Umbria. The pretty Mallorcan town of Pollensa, surrounded by the dramatic Tramuntana mountains, but just ten minutes from the sea, is ideal for those who want to mix fun afternoons on the beach with a quieter place to retreat to at the end of the day. Can Masta is a wonderful family house, ﬁve minutes from Pollensa, with beautiful terraced gardens, a large pool with a toddler-friendly shallow end and a separate annex that would be perfect for grandparents. Or opt for Croatia, currently one of the hottest spots in the Med due to its affordability (outside the Eurozone) and unspoilt coast and countryside. Dalmatian Dream is a gorgeous, stone-built villa just moments from Dubrovnik’s iconic Old Town,
with wonderful sea views from the terraces and seven stylish bedrooms. If all that doesn’t sound memorable enough, there are ways to make your villa holiday even more unforgettable. A&K can provide a range of holiday indulgences, from gliding through the clear blue waters of the Côte d’Azur in a private yacht, to purring through the Tuscan hills in a gleaming Ferrari. Whether you want to learn how to make the perfect paella in Catalunya, or fancy a guided tour of French châteaux, A&K staff are on hand (before, during and after your trip) to make your dreams a reality. The only drawback is this heavenly life can only last for a week or two. But then there’s always next year… For further details, call 01242 547705 or visit akvillas.com
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7 VILLA LA COLONNATA, POSITANO, ITALY
8 VILLA 817, CALA JONDAL, IBIZA, SPAIN
For a truly unforgettable celebration or party week, La Colonnata rises up above the glamorous streets of Positano, with terraces and gardens spilling out from the hillside. Dating back to 1741, the house oozes Neapolitan glamour, from the long, colonnaded terrace – perfect for dinners and sunset cocktails – to the antique-filled lounges and frescoed walls. The eight opulent bedrooms have painted ceilings, and there's a well-equipped kitchen. A week from £17,155, based on 16 sharing (01242 547705, akvillas.com) 9
Jondal oozes contemporary style, from the outdoor lounge area, shaded by billowing white drapes, to the glass-walled dining room that looks out over the supersized pool and the sea beyond. There are four light, airy bedrooms, one of which is in a separate annex, complete with ensuite bathroom. Interiors are a mix of eclectic artworks, statement lights and clean white walls, but it's really all about the grounds, which boast a fully equipped outdoor kitchen and dining space for eight. The bright lights and buzz of Cala Jondal are an easy walk away. A week from £10,123, based on eight sharing (020 3239 4406, ibizavillas.com)
KORSAN KUZEY, KALKAN, TURKEY
Situated in Turkey's most sophisticated resort, this elegant and fantastically spacious villa sleeps ten in five light, cream-walled rooms. The open-plan living area opens out onto a huge decked terrace with private pool that's perfect for alfresco suppers and lazy days soaking up the spectacular sea views. The cherry on the cake is the villa's own beach platform and jetty, along with 50 metres of private waterfront. A week from £526pp, including flights and car hire, based on ten sharing (020 3627 5993, simpsontravel.com)
SUPER L UX E 8
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ROMANCE I N T I M A T E H I D E AWAY S 11
11 F O T I N I K A L I V I , SKOPELOS, GREECE
10 L A T O R R E T T A , CORTONA, ITALY
Cottages for two are rare in Tuscany and Torretta is a gem: one cosy, whitewashed bedroom upstairs and a ground-floor kitchen and sitting area that opens onto a lovely shaded terrace. The house is almost submerged in the picturesque gardens; lavender and rose bushes dot the lawn, which slopes down to the private plunge pool surrounded by trees. The pièce de résistance is the Ottoman-style pergola, perfect for lazy afternoons à deux. A week from £1,018 through CV Villas, based on two sharing (020 3773 9203, cvvillas.com) 12 G A R D E N S U I T E P O O L V I L L A , M A R A D I VA V I L L A S , MAURITIUS
Tamarin Bay is one of the loveliest beaches in Mauritius, and the Maradiva Villas are dotted among 27 acres of garden, guaranteeing peace and tranquility. A plunge pool, spacious terrace and outdoor garden shower mean you may not want to leave the privacy of your villa – and with butler service and 24-hour in-villa dining available, you don't have to. If you do venture out, there are three restaurants and an Ayurvedic spa to dip into. A week from £2,814, half-board, through Trailfinders, based on two sharing (020 7368 1200, trailfinders.com)
The quieter, less flashy sibling to neighbouring Skiathos, Skopelos is a wonderfully romantic island, and Fotini Kalivi is the perfect bolthole for two. A traditional farm cottage converted into a bijou retreat, sloping beams and polished wood floors create a cosy bedroom upstairs, while downstairs there's a neat open-plan living area and country-style kitchen. But it's really all about the outdoors: shady terraces, a dining area beneath a pergola and a secluded pool with lovely views. A week from £595, including transfers, through Vintage Travel, based on two sharing (01954 261431, vintagetravel.co.uk)
SMUGGLER'S NEST, ST LUCIA, CARIBBEAN
This is a gorgeous hideaway made for two, surrounded by the swaying palms and pristine beaches of the Cap Estate on the northern tip of St Lucia. Perched on a hillside above Smuggler's Cove and invisible from the roadside, the house is a unique cluster of whitewashed rooms with beamed ceilings, looking out onto a beautiful botanical garden latticed with walking trails. The romantic bedroom comes complete with a bamboo four-poster and a patio with spectacular 180-degree views of the ocean. A week from £2,820 through Villas of Distinction, based on two sharing (+1 800 289 0900, villasofdistinction.com)
From blinis prepared by your personal chef to beauty therapists who soothe sun-kissed skin, truly dream villas should cater to truly individual holiday requirements. Make sure \RXÂżQGMXVWWKHSODFHIRU\RXZLWKLQWHUQDWLRQDOYLOODH[SHUWV&99LOODV oliday villa: two words that carry so much meaning. Your long-awaited sanctuary; your place of refuge; your idyllic escape. A place to hide away with your family; hang out with friends over long lazy lunches; head out from to explore the exotic surroundings, and then return to with your senses satiated, your appetite for adventure replete. Villas for groups; villas for two; villas for you and your four-legged friends. Villas with a pool; villas with a tennis court; villas near the beach. Villas with a cook to cater to your every whim; a concierge service to arrange every adventure; a personal fairy to turn down the beds and sprinkle petals on your pillow; even a private pedicurist at your beck and call. An impossible quest? Not if you know where to look.
Take Villa Lemoni, Greece: a modern masterpiece set around a courtyard, high on a hilltop, with to-diefor views across undulating olive groves to the Ionian Sea. Naturally, such views take centre stage, whether you enjoy them from the luxurious bedrooms, with huge ďŹ‚oor-to-ceiling windows; the endless terraces; the
heated inďŹ nity pool; the outdoor sofas or the day bed, the best spot in the house from which to gaze in shaded splendour and plan your day (with the villaâ€™s private concierge on call to help if required). Relax in your retreat on high or explore the local beaches and Clockwise from above: Villa Amarea, Greece; Villa Lara, St Tropez; Villa Lemoni, Greece; Illusion, St James, Barbados; Dar Zitouna, Morocco
charming villages of north east Corfu? Decisions, decisions. If craggy mountains are more your idea of heaven, Dar Zitouna, Morocco is the place for you. MagniďŹ cent views abound at this lovingly restored private hideaway: think cool
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The Côte d’Azur is high on the holiday hot list and Villa Lara, on the Bay of St Tropez, takes prime spot. On a peninsula estate, moments from its sandy beach, Villa Lara is a feast for the senses: the scent of pine forests; the sound of the ocean and glorious sea views. Inside, black, white and pale sand tones combine in a minimalist indoor/ outdoor living style. Although, in surroundings like these, you’ll want to be outside enjoying the pool, boules pitch, table tennis and tennis; lunching alfresco (with a fully inclusive chef service) or people watching on nearby Cap Bénat beach, Bormes-les-Mimosas or even in legendary St Tropez itself.
in Marrakech, fully staffed beachfront villas in Barbados or elegant manor houses in the Cotswolds, multilingual and friendly Travel Experts can provide a unique insight into each villa and its surroundings, having personally visited each one (and often grown up nearby). And with over 40 years’ experience, CV Villas can also help with everything from ﬂights and car hire to expert local support. Whether it’s a spa treatment or full family celebration, they will organise everything, with old-fashioned personal service and meticulous attention to detail ensuring a uniquely special villa holiday.
CV Villas has over 700 villas located in some of the most stunning corners of the world. Each villa is handpicked for its style, comfort and individual ‘wow’ factor, be it exceptional views, unusual history, breathtaking inﬁnity pool or, of course, extraordinary services, from concierges to cooks. Whether you’re looking for luxury villas in Corfu, unique trulli houses in Puglia, delightful mas in Provence, funky ﬁncas in Mallorca, magical homes
To book your luxury villa holiday call the Travel Experts at CV Villas on 020 7261 5473 or view the full portfolio online at cvvillas.com CV Villas is a member of ABTA and is fully bonded with the CAA, giving ﬁnancial peace of mind
neutrals, ﬂagstone ﬂoors, four-poster beds and a cornucopia of objets d’art. Days are spent by the pool; in the tranquil gardens among roses and citrus trees; enjoying the tennis facilities of the Bab Adrar estate, or exploring nearby Marrakech. Come evening, cool verandas and a roof terrace are equally perfect for sundowners or stargazing, as you dine on another feast prepared by the villa’s private chef. If it’s inspired by Sandy Lane, it’s bound to impress. And Illusion, St James, Barbados, doesn’t disappoint, combining elegance, space and service (including, naturally, a private chef) in an innately relaxing retreat. Interior highlights include an airy foyer complete with baby grand; a glamorous dining room for twelve that can be opened to the breeze and sea view beyond; a lavish master suite with secluded balcony; and a private gym. Outdoor temptations include leafy terraces, a heated pool, a putting green and the added bonus of Sugar Hill’s clubhouse, championship courts and nearby beach facility, or a round of golf at the Royal Westmoreland.
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HOTELS WITH VILLAS
BEACH VILLA, ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH, MALDIVES
15 O V E R -T H E - W A T E R V I L L A S , SANDALS ROYAL CARIBBEAN SPA RESORT, JAMAICA
One of the Maldives' most iconic resorts, One&Only Reethi Rah villas are spread along a picture-perfect beach, and over the crystal-clear sea. Each traditionally thatched villa opens onto a private stretch of sand, while inside, polished wood and a clean, cream colour palette create a contemporary feel. Dinner can be taken in the privacy of your villa, although there are five restaurants to choose from. There's a wide range of watersports on offer or just relax at the One&Only spa. A week from £8,853, based on two sharing (00 960 664 8800, oneandonlyresorts.com) 16
OCEAN VIEW VILLA, FAIRMONT KEA LANI, MAUI, HAWAII
A lush, 22-acre tropical estate overlooking the white sands of Polo Beach, this is a fly-and-flop of the highest order. Its Willow Stream Spa has been voted the world's best hotel spa, and there are four restaurants and three pools. The twobedroom Ocean View Villa has a private courtyard garden with plunge pool and barbecue grill, a gourmet kitchen and sumptuous Italianate ensuite bathrooms. A week from £11,865, including breakfast, based on four sharing (0808 101 7137, fairmont.com)
The first over-the-water villas in the Caribbean, these luxurious houses are located on a private island offshore from Montego Bay. Each room has a glass section of floor with views into the water, while the spacious sun-deck offers both a plunge pool and over-water hammock, as well as steps to a sunbathing platform surrounded by the sea. Villas come with butler service and guests can use all the resort's facilities, including eight restaurants, Red Lane Spa and dive school. Sleeps two. A week from £6,315pp, three nights in a Over-The-Water Villa, four nights in a Butler Suite (08000 22 30 30, sandals.co.uk) 17
MULIA VILLAS, THE MULIA, BALI, INDONESIA Tucked away down private pathways among lush gardens, the Mulia Villas are little cocoons of privacy in the Mulia Resort, offering access to nine restaurants and bars, six swimming pools and a palatial spa. Each villa has its own hydrotherapy pool and butler service can be arranged. Inside, chic cream furnishings and colour scheme create a tranquil feel. Villa guests have access to a private beach and cabanas, and breakfast and afternoon tea is included in the price. A week from £2,556, based on a one bed villa, sleeping up to three: 2 adults and 1 child under 12. (00 62 361 301 7777, themulia.com)
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MALAKIYA VILLAS, MADINAT JUMEIRAH, DUBAI, UAE
A city within a city, Madinat Jumeirah offers 40 restaurants and bars, boutiques and three hotels, all of which are available to guests in one of the seven superluxurious Malakiya Villas. The houses, surrounded by lush gardens and accessed by waterways as well as paths, are based on traditional Arabian summer houses, with added 21st-century comforts: marble-clad bathrooms, sumptuous bedrooms and private terraces overlooking the water. From £5,576 per night, based on six sharing (0800 082 8000, jumeirah.com)
19 VILLA CASTELLO, CASTIGLION DEL BOSCO, TUSCANY, ITALY
Live the Tuscan dream in this 800-year-old estate, surrounded by 500 acres of rolling hills. A cluster of farmhouses, dating back to the 17th century, have been converted into luxury villas, with three restaurants, a cooking school, spa and pool all dotted around the estate. There are ten villas; Castello has three spacious bedrooms, while downstairs there's a kitchen with traditional Tuscan tiling and comfortable lounge. Outside is the real joy: panoramic views from the pool, an outdoor wood oven, dining terrace and living area. A week from £6,000, based on six sharing (020 3189 2126, rosewoodhotels.com)
PENINSULA VILLA, THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS, LOS ANGELES, USA
The perfect base for exploring Los Angeles, The Peninsula is on Wilshire Boulevard, a stroll from Rodeo Drive and Century City. The hotel's elegant Renaissance style extends to the 17 villas dotted through the gardens, the most stunning of which is the two-storey Peninsula Villa. The house mixes Asian antiques and interiors with classical furnishings and the two bedrooms are reached by an impressive sweeping stairway. Downstairs, there's a sumptuous lounge and dining space for ten, while outside the private patio comes with a bubbling Jacuzzi. From £7,925 per night, based on six sharing (0800 783 0388, peninsula.com) 18
HOTELS WITH VILLAS
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Palatial island pads, sumptuous suites, haute-chic villas, panoramic penthouses: One&Only’s international collection of uber-private sanctuaries – homes-away-fromhome within their world-famous resorts – will never cramp your holiday style
pace. Space to breathe; space to ﬂoat around freely; space to entertain friends and family; space to curl up on a sofa and feel truly alone to enjoy a good book. If there is one thing a real break requires, it is space to be yourself. And with One&Only’s unique collection of villas, suites and penthouses, no matter where you are in the world – Mauritius, the Maldives, Cape Town, Los Cabos, the Great Barrier Reef, Wolgan Valley in the Greater Blue Mountains, the Bahamas or Dubai –
space comes as standard. Along with, of course, unerringly spectacular views, temperature-controlled pools, dreamy spas, champion-designed golf courses, Michelin-starred chefs, an endless array of possibilities and dedicated (positively devout) 24-hour Villa Host and Butler teams to cater to every whim, whatever and whenever it may be. So it is that among the Maldives’ coral atolls, lagoons and white sands, you won’t just ﬁnd water villas, but
truly palatial Grand Water Villas set on stilts over the Indian Ocean. Interiors are vast, the surrounding horizons even vaster: turquoise seascapes enjoyed from your daybed, Jacuzzi or 23 square-metre inﬁnity pool. Or perhaps you’d prefer your own 2,000 squaremetre stretch of sand? Nestled amid tropical greenery, the three-bedroom Grand Sunset Residence encapsulates the ultimate in island indulgence, whether you are making an entrance on your private yacht, sampling the creations of your private chef or relaxing in your 50 square-metre pool.
the high life A different island, a different type of retreat: this time it’s spectacular Penthouses at One&Only Hayman Island, a private island resort in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Raising luxurious seclusion to a new level (quite literally) these individual eyries have sweeping views of Hayman Beach and the celestial blue waters of the Coral Sea. Pour yourself a chilled glass of Perrier-Jouët Champagne, kick back on your wraparound terrace or in your presidential-size sitting area and – from Diane von Furstenberg-designed interiors to private beachside dinners under the stars – settle in for a gloriously decadent stay.
garden courtyards and great rooms leading out to inﬁnity pools and the ocean beyond. At One&Only Le Saint Géran (which is currently closed for a complete makeover, due to reopen at the end of this year), the Villa Residence, the pinnacle of luxurious Mauritian living, comes with a 24-hour butler and personal chef to cater for anything from magical island tours to midnight feasts.
Clockwise from far left: Villa One, One&Only Palmilla; One&Only Cape Town; pool at Wollemi Villa, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley; the bedroom of the Penthouse, One&Only Hayman Island; the living room of Villa One, One&Only Palmilla; the pool at One&Only The Palm; Grand Sunset Residence, One&Only Reethi Rah. Centre Left: living area, Grand Water Villa, One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
In wonderful contrast, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Australia is surrounded by soaring escarpments, natural bushland and luscious valleys. Here, tucked away in a remote 7,000-acre conservation reserve, inspired by the land’s rich heritage, the two-bedroom Wollemi Villas offer gracious spaces with double-sided ﬁreplaces and heated pools. Or for truly magniﬁcent seclusion and splendour, the three-bedroom Wolgan Villa is a must, nestled in a private corner with panoramic views of Wolgan Valley and the Greater Blue Mountains.
palatial surroundings The buzz of the V&A Waterfront combined with breathtaking views of Table Mountain makes for a heady combination, especially when enjoyed from the perspective of the Presidential Suite at One&Only Cape Town. Stand on your terrace and you feel enfolded within the cliffs of Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. Head down from on high and you can enjoy the likes of Nobu dining; a private tasting with the Sommelier at the Wine Loft; the One&Only Spa on a private island (services also available in-suite) and four-poster poolside cabanas with complimentary fresh oysters, dedicated pool butler and a foot or hand massage. More of a beachfront babe? The
world’s your oyster with One&Only’s palatial beachfront retreats. At Dubai’s One&Only The Palm, Moorish-inspired, open-plan interiors are complemented by outdoor shaded seating and a majlis-style entertaining area (with your own villa hostesses to help with entertaining, naturally) all set against the backdrop of the azure Arabian Gulf. At One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas, a distinctively British-Colonial style encompasses vaulted ceilings, gentle fans, wood furnishings, marble ﬂoors,
When it comes to personal space, however, top spots must surely go to Villa Cortez and Villa One at One&Only Palmilla. On Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, where golden desert sands meet turquoise waters, Villa One is a contemporary glass megalith boasting over 1,400 square metres of private space, with inside and outside merging via ﬂoor-to-ceiling windows. Add such treats as a cinema; ﬁtness centre and spa room; inﬁnity pool; 24-hour butler service and dedicated chefs (not to mention SEARED by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, both nearby) and you surely have one of the world’s ultimate familyand-friends retreats. For further details and reservations, visit oneandonlyresorts.com or call 0800 169 0536
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BY PHONE 0844 848 5202 AND QUOTE CCT16506 ONLINE AT WWW.CNTRAVELLER.COM/SUBSCRIBE/CCT16506 * Offer is limited to new subscribers at UK addresses until 10/03/2017. The gift is subject to availability and will be sent to the donor. Full price for a one-year print subscription in the UK is £43.00 and a one-year digital subscription is £39.90. For overseas and all enquiries email email@example.com or call +44 1858 438 815. Terms and conditions apply.
TRAVELLER EVENTS THE INSIDE TRACK ON THIS MONTH’S HAPPENINGS
BRUNCH WITH A DAREDEVIL CHARLEY BOORMAN AND HIS HAIR-RAISING ESCAPADES
+ A MICHELIN-STARRED FEAST FROM NORTHERN IRELAND March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 157
CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER INVITES YOU TO BRUNCH AT THE NEW SOHO HOUSE FARMSHOP IN BICESTER VILLAGE WITH
CHARLEY BOORMAN THE FEARLESS ADVENTURER AND TV STAR WHO HAS CIRCUMNAVIGATED THE EARTH ON TWO WHEELS AND TACKLED THE GRUELLING DAKAR RALLY
BOOK NOW: TRAVELLERS-TALES.EVENTBRITE.CO.UK
Come and meet famed motorcycle daredevil and on-screen raconteur Charley Boorman in conversation with Condé Nast Traveller’s David Annand at a brunch in the private dining room of Bicester Village’s farmshop restaurant and café, a new foodie hotspot from the team behind Soho House & Co. Since he embarked on a 20,000-mile motorbike trip with long-time pal Ewan McGregor from London to New York via Siberia and Mongolia, documented in 2004’s phenomenally popular Long Way Round TV series, Boorman’s itchy feet have barely touched the ground. His escapades have seen him travel ‘by any means possible’ from Ireland to Australia – including on container ships and concrete barges. A bestselling author, Boorman wrote his upcoming autobiography, Long Way Back, during his recovery from a car accident in Portugal last year. His next expedition will be to cross the notoriously treacherous Darién Gap, a lawless stretch of jungle between Panama and Colombia. Boorman joins a roll-call of fascinating adventurers, including Levison Wood and Colonel John Blashford-Snell, who have taken part in our Traveller’s Tales Series, in which the world’s most interesting explorers share behind-the-scenes stories.
10AM–12PM, MONDAY 24 APRIL 2017 FARMSHOP, UNIT 135, BICESTER VILLAGE, 50 PINGLE DRIVE, BICESTER OX26 6WD CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER RESERVES THE RIGHT TO POSTPONE THE EVENT IF RENDERED NECESSARY BY ANY UNAVOIDABLE CAUSE. TICKETS WILL BE FULLY REFUNDED IN SUCH CASES
158 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPH: LLEWELYN PAVEY/THE WALL HOUSE MEDIA COMPANY
Tickets are £30 and include brunch, a signed copy of Boorman’s book The Long Way Back before its release on 1 May, and a Bicester Village VIP card, which offers exclusive shopping discounts
QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS Adventure hero? ‘Author Ted Simon. Jupiter’s Travels really inspired Ewan McGregor and I to do the Long Way Round.’ Most relaxing spot? ‘Some friends run a ﬂower farm in Nanyuki, Kenya, and just driving there you pass giraffes and zebras.’ Dream travel partner? ‘If Ewan wasn’t available, Steve McQueen. He’s into his motorbikes and I’d like to ride his coat-tails.’ Never leave without? ‘Silk sleeping-bag liners. Bed bugs can’t penetrate silk.’
On-the-road playlist? ‘Audio books – particularly ones by Wilbur Smith. I listened to them in South Africa when riding through areas they were loosely based on.’ Ultimate view? ‘Sunrise from a toilet in an ice shelter on Mount Denali in Alaska – a loo with a view!’ Strangest thing to pack? ‘A St Christopher pendant, a gift from a little girl at a motorbike show. It comes with me wherever I go.’ Best piece of travel advice? ‘Be ﬂexible. That, and always pack baby wipes.’
CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER INVITES YOU TO
A FEAST FROM NORTHERN IRELAND IN LONDON IN ASSOCIATION WITH TOURISM IRELAND
JOIN STEPHEN TOMAN, HEAD CHEF AT OX – THE MICHELIN-STARRED RESTAURANT THAT REVOLUTIONISED THE BELFAST DINING SCENE – FOR AN UNMISSABLE ST PATRICK’S DAY DINNER. THE POP-UP WILL BRING A TASTE OF NORTHERN IRELAND TO HIP LONDON JOINT CAROUSEL
BOOK NOW: CHEFS-WORLD-SERIES.EVENTBRITE.CO.UK
PHOTOGRAPHS: STEPHEN BARNES/ALAMY; ELAINE HILL
Tickets are £80 and include a three-course dinner and a welcome drink
After sharpening his knives in the world-class kitchen of Taillevent in Paris, Belfast native Stephen Toman returned to his home town in 2013 to open Ox on the city’s bustling riverside. The restaurant – a collaboration with Alain Kerloc’h, who he met while working at another Paris institution, L’Arpège – quickly made waves with its focus on reﬁned yet unfussy locavore dining. Considered a game-changer at the heart of Northern Ireland’s food revolution, Ox remains Belfast’s go-to destination restaurant, its welcoming atmosphere and delicate dishes attracting serious foodies to its pared-back space. When food critic Jay Rayner visited, he was bowled over by the ‘top-quality ingredients to which the best things have been done’. Guests at the Ox pop-up will enjoy three courses of delicious ﬂavours: celeriac, scallop and sea urchin with truffle, followed by Chateaubriand, asparagus and black garlic, and a pudding of Bushmills jelly, lavender, oats and baked-apple sorbet. This is the fourth installment in Condé Nast Traveller’s Chefs’ World Series, which brings top cooking talents to London to create culinary delights with a global twist. It takes place downstairs at Carousel, a cool Mayfair dining spot with a supper-club vibe and rotating roster of chefs. Our previous events have included brunch with Yotam Ottolenghi and an evening with chef Norbert Niederkoﬂer.
FRIDAY 17 MARCH 2017 DOWNSTAIRS AT CAROUSEL, 71 BLANDFORD ST, MARYLEBONE, LONDON W1U 8AB
March 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 161
The magazine’s third foodie event for readers was hosted by Rudie’s in North London, where two of Jamaica’s star chefs stirred up some ‘LCCC’: light, clean, Caribbean cooking
chefs’ world series
Hot right now Guests sipped on Appleton Rum Mai Tais as chef Christopher Golding talked to Condé Nast Traveller’s Thea Darricotte
162 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
For one night only, two of Jamaica’s top chefs – Martin Maginley from Round Hill Hotel and Villas, and Christopher Golding from Half Moon – traded the chilled-out shores of Montego Bay for the hustle of the open kitchen at London’s funkiest Caribbean restaurant, Rudie’s in Stoke Newington. A crowd of taste-makers ate a ﬁve-course dinner with ska, jazz and dub on the playlist while tattooed bar staff served fruity Appleton Rum Mai Tais. On the menu were dishes such as ackee ﬂan with saltﬁsh brandade, pumpkin and lobster bisque with Scotch-bonnet oil and pineapple galette with rum brittle and coconut ice cream. Each course showcased a range of delicate ﬂavours and spices, and the evening – arranged in partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board – ﬁrmly proved there’s more to Jamaican food than the jerk-style it’s famed for. Maginley and Golding stepped out of the kitchen to talk to Condé Nast Traveller’s Thea Darricotte, with Maginley revealing his proudest moment was cooking poached lobster for the Duke of Edinburgh, and Golding sharing his favourite ingredients: coconut milk (‘simply magical’) and thyme – ‘I love the smell. When it’s burnt, it creates an amazing smoky ﬂavour.’ Afterwards, guests toasted the two chefs with shots of 21-year-old Appleton Rum.
PHOTOGRAPHS: EMMA JONES
CARIBBEAN FLAVOURS ARE REMIXED IN LONDON
King of the jungle SURVIVAL TIPS FROM THE BUSHCRAFT EXPERT
Condé Nast Traveller’s ongoing series of Traveller’s Tales events continued with an evening spent in the company of outdoors hero Ray Mears, right, interviewed by David Annand, above right
Guests ate canapés and drank wine in the golden glow of the elegant Clubino Bar of The Baglioni Hotel in London
Tales of Ray Mears’ childhood would give most parents heart palpitations. ‘I started going outdoors seriously at the age of eight, then spent my ﬁrst night out alone in the wild soon after,’ said Mears, in conversation with Condé Nast Traveller’s David Annand at the smart Clubino Bar in The Baglioni Hotel, London. The TV personality and Britain’s leading authority on bushcraft traded his usual casual outdoor get-up for a sharp suit in the latest of our Traveller’s Tales events. The series sees the world’s most acclaimed adventurers share stories of their daredevil escapades in an intimate setting. ‘Bushcraft is its own language,’ said Mears, ‘it’s my means of communication with other cultures around the world.’ He also talked about how he lived off the land for two months, admitted that hunter-gatherers were his favourite people to work with due to their ‘honest connection to nature’ and recalled some hairy moments (‘My hands have been on the verge of frostbite. If you lose the use of your hands, it’s game over’). As for unusual snacks, he described witchetty grubs as ‘lovely, and delicious raw’. He also spoke fondly of foraged dinners: ‘I can’t eat salmon in a restaurant now. It just doesn’t compare to when it’s cooked on a stick over a ﬁre in Alaska.’ After the event Mears greeted fans with a bear-like handshake and revealed his hopes for the next generation of survivalists. When asked about a group of young wildlife experts in his tutelage, he beamed and said, ‘If you teach young people how to use a knife, they won’t let you down.’ BEN ALLEN
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FUTURE EVENTS, VISIT CNTRAVELLER.COM/EVENTS
Legendary explorer John Blashford-Snell, left, was joined by an enthusiastic audience, which included his wife Judith, top right, Condé Nast International president Nicholas Coleridge, above left, TV presenter Charley Boorman, right and actress Rula Lenska, far right
The colonel’s party JOHN BLASHFORD-SNELL ON HIS INTREPID ADVENTURES First to descend the Blue Nile and to cross the perilous Darién Gap in Panama, Colonel John Blashford-Snell has an expedition log book that’s a roll call of pioneering missions. One of the world’s most seasoned explorers, he has led more than 100 trips, served in the British Army for 37 years and founded both the Scientiﬁc Exploration Society and Raleigh International. He took to the stage at the Chartwell Suite at Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, in conversation with fellow adventurer Neil Laughton. Wearing an apt elephantprint tie, he shared his tales with a crowd that included some well-known globetrotters such as mountaineer Neville Shulman and polar explorer Pen Hadow. The colonel animatedly described his legendary Blue Nile trip in the 1960s. ‘The crocodiles took a disliking to us, then the hippos – the male hippos had a habit of mistaking our black rubber boat for a female, which proved difficult.’ He revealed the perils of meeting Ethiopia’s former and ﬁnal emperor Haile Selassie, who kept pet lions in his throne room, and that top of his travel wish list is a trip to Mars. News of Blashford-Snell’s upcoming expedition to deliver an ambulance boat to an indigenous community in the southern Colombian Amazon, made possible by sponsorship from Clinique La Prairie, was greeted with cheers. When quizzed which essential qualities an explorer requires, Blashford-Snell replied ‘a sense of humour’, before proving his own was ﬁrmly intact; upon being asked by fellow explorer Rosie Stancer if anything scared him, he responded with, ‘my wife, Judith, of course’. IANTHE BUTT
FOR INFORMATION ON MORE TRAVELLER’S TALES, VISIT CNTRAVELLER.COM/EVENTS 164 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
PHOTOGRAPHS: EMMA JONES
The latest in our ongoing series of travel talks was held in the Chartwell Suite at the Hyatt Regency London, where readers and guests such as polar explorer Rosie Stancer, right, drank Corney & Barrow wine and ate smoked-salmon canapés
W OST WANTED Beauty essentials
JO MALONE LONDON The Bloomsbury Set. Each 30ml cologne is £46, jomalone.co.uk
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN S/S 17 Broderie anglaise dress, £4,895, alexandermcqueen.com
Cartier Juste Un Clou necklace in yellow gold with diamonds, £5,050, cartier.co.uk TRIPLE IMPACT is a pre-shampoo treatment that boosts shine, adds volume and speeds up drying time, £30, perachem.com
Tune in to Condé Nast Traveller's sunshine state of mind with these unmissable experiences, places to stay and fashion and beauty picks
Thea’s DON’T PICNIC WITHOUT...
MOLTON BROWN Rosa Absolute Sumptuous Bathing Oil, £39, moltonbrown.co.uk
NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, £23, John Lewis
ROSEWOOD LONDON has a new partnership with Matthew Curtis Hair Design at Sense Spa offering a full salon experience with Matthew’s luxury hair treatments. rosewoodhotels.com/london
Fortnum’s 4 person Canvas Picnic Backpack, £175, fortnumandmason. com
Incognito’s roll-on is a highly effective, natural insect repellent, £7.99, lessmosquito.com Cristal 2009 is fruit-driven with all the hallmarks of Roederer excellence, £185, harrods.com
W OST WANTED
A round-up of the latest launches, must-have spa treatments and hot health spots
Wandering Soul Retreats offers yoga, reiki and ﬁtness activities alongside modern and ancient healing remedies in remote, unspoilt locations. The next retreat is in the Basuanga Islands 17 to 24 March 2018. wandering-soul-retreats.com
Playa Largo Resort & Spa, the 100th addition to Autograph Collection Hotels, is situated on 14 secluded beachfront acres in Key Largo. With sweeping views of Florida Bay, the resort features 144 luxury rooms and suites, 10 private bungalows and a three-bedroom beach house with private pool. playalargoresort.com
The people behind the Experimental Cocktail Club have launched their ﬁrst members’ club in Mayfair in partnership with Francesa Zampi, with interiors by Fran Hickman. Unlike typical Mayfair members’ clubs, Chess Club will be a cultural melting pot nurturing young talent and an entrepreneurial spirit with a more reasonable membership fee. chessclublondon.com
Oliver’s Travels has launched Vill’otel which brings the best elements of a hotel to select villas throughout Europe. Services include daily breakfast and maid service, welcome drinks for your group as well as a concierge service. oliverstravels. com/vill-otel
Crosby Street Hotel in New York shows it has a great (size-wise) sense of humour with the addition of a 12ft bronze cat by the Colombian ﬁgurative artist and sculptor Fernando Botero. Positioned outside the entrance to the hotel, the sculpture gives guests and passers-by a playful welcome. ﬁrmdalehotels.com
W Verbier has a new restaurant introducing a modern local menu. W Kitchen will focus on seasonal ingredients sourced nearby and given a vibrant twist by Executive Chef Torsten Sällström. wverbier.com
British Airways is adding a fourth weekly ﬂight to Kingston, Jamaica. Beginning April 2017, the ﬂight from London Gatwick will afford visitors more options to this Caribbean destination. Travellers will ﬁnd it easy to get to the island’s picturesque north coast from Kingston thanks to the new north/ south highway. britishairways.com/ jamaica
Photo: Jamaica Tourist Board
Get ﬁt for the ski season with a training programme designed by renowned strength and conditioning coach Ruben Tabares at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London, including a private consultation, 60-minute personalised ski ﬁtness session and follow-up meeting with Ruben, nutritional guidance, use of the ﬁtness centre and swimming pool and a deep tissue massage. From £600, 020 7838 9888
Travelling to Dubai? Zheng He’s, located in the heart of Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, serves up delicious classical Chinese cuisine with spectacular views of the Burj Al Arab. jumeirah.com 67 PALL MALL This private members’ club founded by wine lovers has some of the world’s rarest wines at sensible prices. A new off-peak membership will alow you to access the Club from Friday-Monday inclusive for £1,250. 67pallmall.co.uk
Cutler and Gross Love Bite acetate mirrored sunglasses, £330, net-a-porter.com
Corkscrew is the highly improbable, but occasionally true, tale of a professional wine buyer, £9.99, peterstafford bow.com
Maison La Biche navy jumper £84.96, harrods.com
what to pack
Romy woven raffia shoes, £495, jimmychoo.com
Prada printed stretch-denim skirt, £585, net-aporter.com
Mini Travel Bag, £1,260, williamandson.com
our 3 favourites
1. Bounce Protein Energy Bites, from £1.49, hollandandbarrett.com 2. Revive Morning Roller Ball, £16, aromatherapyassociates. com 3. Vitabiotics Wellman Energy Lime, £5.35, wellman.co.uk
THE CONNAUGHT, LONDON from
Bamford Botanic Pillow Mist, £20, bamford.co.uk
OUR MAN ON THE GROUND
How would you describe the hotel’s style? There’s a discreet English ambience where personalised service and handcrafted detail mixes with a contemporary boldness. You can walk through the hotel admiring art by past painters such as Graham Sutherland as well as 21st-century artists, including Damien Hirst and Julian Opie. What is your favourite room? The Prince’s Lodge, a one-off creation inspired by the 19thcentury Peacock Palace in Kabul. What is the most in-demand cocktail on the menu? The Connaught Martini, mixed with homemade bitters. What are you most looking forward to this year? Welcoming top Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten to join Michelinstarred Hélène Darroze. the-connaught.co.uk
EUROPE-UK DAISYBANK COTTAGE Nestled in the heart of the New Forest, Daisybank Cottage Boutique Bed and Breakfast is a luxury hideaway in a place of outstanding beauty. Daisybank offers a warm, contemporary style with some fine old-fashioned hospitality. An Arts and Crafts house, inspired by the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, dating back to 1901, Daisybank's 7 spacious rooms have been renovated to the highest standard, while many of the quirky original features have been preserved. Call 01590622086 or visit www.bedandbreakfast-newforest.co.uk
LA SABLONNERIE HOTEL. A convivial corner of a beautiful island. Gorgeous gardens, peace and tranquillity, birds, butterﬂies, ﬂowers, horses and carriages – no cars – how could one not enjoy this amazing paradise? You will ﬁnd this hotel to have a great ‘joie de vivre’ as well as terriﬁc food. La Sablonnerie has recently received the highly coveted award from Condé Nast JohansenS - ‘Small Hotel of the Year’. Visit www.sablonneriesark.com or call 01481 832 061.
BRIMSTONE HOTEL is the epitome of luxury, nestled in the very heart of the Lake District. To stay in any of the 16 rooms or suites is to escape into relaxation, enhanced by the attentive service of the host team. The beautiful scenery is enough of an incentive to visit; the food, rooms and spa are reasons to stay. 015394 38062 – www.brimstonehotel.co.uk
HOTEL TOWNHOUSE 27 Located in the beautiful historical centre of Belgrade in Serbia, Townhouse27 is an authentic boutique hotel with exceptional award winning service. Stay in Belgrade’s highest rated venue across the board, where the 21 large luxury rooms and comfortable suites exude contemporary design, peace and quiet. With a personalized approach to each guest, the impeccable service, tempting breakfast and nearby ‘must see’ sights give reason enough for your perfect city stay. The charming garden provides a special retreat during sizzling summer days, complete with homemade sweets. For nature lovers, the luxury winery offers an exceptional wine experience in the vicinity of Belgrade. T. +381 11 20 22 900 firstname.lastname@example.org www.townhouse27.com
LUXURY BED & BREAKFAST MÁLAGA A luxury holiday destination in Andalusia, close to Málaga, Marbella and the Costa del Sol. Dos Iberos was designed for luxurious pampering and privacy and offers five rooms with stunning views, tasteful décor and a refreshing infinity pool. Besides a delicious breakfast you can also enjoy lunch and dinner. The perfect base to explore the Andalusian highlights. Awarded with TripAdvisor Travellers´ Choice 2014 and 2015 and Certificate of Excellence 2016. ¡Bienvenido…welcome! www.andalucia-holidays.com Tel. +34 657 292 405
KAYAKAPI PREMIUM CAVES - CAPPADOCIA Carved into the rock face, this deluxe, premium cave hotel overlooks the beautiful town of U ̋ rgu ̈p in Cappadocia / Turkey. Offering elegantly-decorated suites with Cappadocia views, rooms and suites at the Kayakapi are traditionally decorated, with modern touches adding an element of luxury. With a large outdoor pool, spa with Turkish Bath, gym, restaurant and wine from its own cellars, Kayakapi Premium Caves - Cappadocia promises to meet your every need. www.kayakapi.com email@example.com +90 384 341 88 77
LA BORDE is an elegant but intimate retreat in Burgundy’s rolling landscape, only 90 minutes from Paris. The personalised service you receive makes the 16th century former chateau your home for the duration of your stay. The cuisine, exquisite gardens, and timeless beauty of the manor itself are only a few reasons why La Borde is a must for anyone seeking a tranquil escape. +33 (0)386476901 www.lbmh.fr
HOTEL ALEXANDRA Like staying with a Danish design loving friend in Copenhagen, Hotel Alexandra is situated on the door step to the City Hall Square, the Latin Quarter, the main shopping area, Strøget, and the Tivoli Gardens. Probably the only spot on Earth where you can sit in, rest in, sleep in and admire so much world-famous Danish mid-century vintage furniture. The 61 rooms and hotel decor will transport you back in time to the 50’s and 60’s. www.hotelalexandra.dk Tel: +45 33744444
AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN
THE ZANZIBAR COLLECTION Exotic, Luxurious, Zanzibar! A privately owned collection of beautiful boutique hotels, lying on one of the Top 30 Island beaches in the world. Offering a range of watersports, stunning Spas & East Africa’s only National Geographic affiliated PADI 5 star Dive Centre. The latest addition to the collection is the tranquil & stunning Zawadi Hotel, offering undoubtedly the best ocean views on the Island. Baraza Resort & Spa was voted as the No.1 Hotel in Africa & also among the Top 25 Hotels in the World on TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards. www.thezanzibarcollection.com
-)$$,% %!34 CORTIJO LA HAZA De-stressing Andalusian style! Cortijo La Haza, a true gem, is a little piece of rural heaven in breath-taking scenery. Book a stay and you will be welcomed like a long lost friend, enjoy the tranquillity and try the exquisite food. La Haza has 6 cosy, tasteful, en-suite guestrooms, a saline infinity pool, terraces and a garden with relaxing hideaways. With personal attention from the welcoming and generous hosts, you’ll have all the ingredients for a perfect holiday! firstname.lastname@example.org www.cortijolahaza.com Tel. +34 618440167
MOULIN DE LARCY: DORDOGNE FRANCE A haven of tranquillity and calm, where you can revitalise your mind, body and soul. Situated in the heart of the Dordogne valley, the apartments, which are comfortable and at the same time elegant, spacious, luxurious, span the sparkling waters of the river Dronne. They have been designed so that each one is private. Max 2 adults per apartment. Contact email@example.com Tel : +33553912389 www.le-moulin-de-larcy.com
ABSALON HOTEL–ABSOLUTE HEAVEN Located in Copenhagen, one of the design capitals of the world, the recently renovated Absalon Hotel fits right in. Combining classical architecture with the colourful, modern textiles and wallpapers of award winning Designers Guild, the hotel has a contemporary yet cosy feel. For that extra bit of luxury, choose one of the superior rooms (pictured). TEL.: +45 3331 4344, E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.absalon-hotel.dk/en/
LESARRAIL Set amongst the vineyards of the ‘Malpere’, a beautiful wine growing area in the south of France, you will find LeSarrail, a hamlet of 4 luxury houses sharing their own heated pool, with panoramic views of unspoilt countryside and a backdrop of the Pyrénées mountains. www.lesarrail.com +33 (0) 468 765 966
HOTEL PRIMA DONNA Set in six acres of woodland overlooking the miles of Mediterranean sands of Patara Beach, this luxury beach hotel in Antalya, Turkey, provides the perfect secret getaway. Perfect for honeymooners, this child-free haven offers an oasis of calm. With eclectic designs, each of the six unique woodland lodges with private terrace is set in its own secluded woodland space, and the sunsets are amongst the best in the world! www.hotelprimadonna.com +90 532 13085 90
Dream Destinations CHÂTEAU RIEUTORT Set in beautiful south of France, this 18th century château and wine domain offers an unforgettable escape for a maximum of 55 guests. With Chateau suites and self-catering gîtes, you can enjoy 2 swimming pools, the Hérault river and extraordinary wine. www.chateau-rieutort.fr T: +33 4 67 89 38 20
HERITAGE LISBON HOTELS Live the Portuguese Charm and Tradition in the Historic centre of Lisbon. Stay in one of the 5 Heritage Lisbon Hotels Collection – As Janelas Verdes, Heritage Avenida Liberdade Hotel, Hotel Britania, Hotel Lisboa Plaza and Solar Do Castelo. Tel: +351 213 218 200 email@example.com www.heritage.pt
AUSTRALASIA & OCEANIA THE HUKA RETREATS www.hukaretreats.com Three sister properties – these chic and understated statements of exclusivity and seclusion present exceptional hospitality experiences, to the world’s most discerning travellers, in three stunning destinations. GRANDE PROVENCE ESTATE, South Africa, a one-hour drive from Cape Town. 300-year old heritage wine estate offering award-winning wines and cuisine, with an art gallery. Stunning accommodation awaits at The Owner’s Cottage, with every comfort at La Provençale Villa in the Vineyards. T +27 (0)21 876 8600 E firstname.lastname@example.org DOLPHIN ISLAND, Fiji, offering a private 14-acre Pacific island paradise filled with beauty & romance, with luxury ’castaway’ time, for a maximum of 8 guests, on an exclusive-use basis. HUKA LODGE, New Zealand, legendary since 1924 for its unrivalled location, exquisite hospitality, unique adventures & experiences. A private and stylish property with just 25 suites. T +64 7 378 5791 E email@example.com for both Huka Lodge and Dolphin Is. reservations.
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THE VIEW FROM HERE
PHOTOGRAPH: STEPHEN GOODENOUGH
This is where to come to cut yourself off completely. On the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, an hour-and-a-half drive from Christchurch, is Annandale, a fabulous 4,000-acre working farm. Fabulous because, as well as producing beef and wool, it has four beautiful hideaways for guests seeking ethereal isolation. The latest showstopper is Seascape, a dreamy, open-plan retreat niftily etched into a hillside overlooking a smile-shaped private bay. Inside, you’ll ﬁnd locally quarried stone, cowhide rugs and cashmere throws, along with a lovely big hardwood bed beneath pale native-timber ceilings – all set within ﬂoor-to-ceiling glass geometry with views of the rocky shoreline. The fridge is stocked with easy-to-prepare meals labelled with instructions by Annandale’s innovative chef, including plump prawns with Japanese guacamole and popped muesli, and lamb shoulder with smoked-kumara puree, vine tomatoes and chickpea shoots. It means guests can come here and be entirely independent without the need for room service or a restaurant nearby. Bed down, watching sure-footed Romney sheep totter across the steep slopes to feed on messy patches of grass, or spot paradise ducks, dolphins and fur seals frolicking in the water from the stone terrace or hot tub. New Zealand might have a strong showing of sophisticated seaside super-lodges, but this one ramps it up again. FOO MEI ANNE Doubles from £1,660 per night half board with a minimum two-night stay (+64 03 304 6841; annandale.com)
180 Condé Nast Traveller March 2017
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Laurent-Perrier chosen by
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CUVÉE ROSÉ CHOSEN BY THE BEST
THE SPA GUIDE 2017 A major shift has happened. We have ﬁnally caught up. And cottoned on. The concept of looking after ourselves, our bodies and our minds is now utterly mainstream. Morning meditations, daily cold-pressed juices, weekly yoga classes and monthly massages are the norm. Check-ups get scheduled the same way as the car’s M.O.T. And our health can only be better for it. But what about when you want to invest in something more heavy-hitting or restorative, to sign up for proper, intensive, focused time out? That is where we come in. Together with our indomitable partner, the spa-expert tour operator Healing Holidays, we have reviewed the most exceptional places in the world to ﬁre up, kick back, switch off and stretch out. Not sure whether you need a retreat or a clinic, a boot camp or a sanctuary? Can’t decide between far-ﬂung climes or short-haul quick ﬁxes? Read on, ﬁnd the answer that’s right for you and take your pick. The sure-ﬁre result is that you’ll feel the very best you possibly can, and who wouldn’t want that?
ISSY VON SIMSON SPA GUIDE EDITOR
THIS YEAR’S WINNERS MOST LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE BORGO EGNAZIA, ITALY (P14) MOST EFFECTIVE MEDI-SPA VILLA STEPHANIE AT BRENNERS PARK-HOTEL, GERMANY (P20) MOST TRANSFORMATIVE PROGRAMME RAAS DEVIGARH, INDIA (P29) MOST OUTSTANDING CITY SPA MANDARIN ORIENTAL, BANGKOK, THAILAND (P39) BEST FITNESS REGIME RANCHO LA PUERTA, MEXICO (P53) MOST CONSISTENT HIGH PERFORMER ANASSA, CYPRUS (P47) BEST BESPOKE RETREATS AMANPURI, THAILAND (P12) BEST NEW HIDEAWAY YAAN WELLNESS, TULUM (P64) ON THE COVER
Shot at Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli, Lake Garda, Italy. The new Blu Mediterraneo Spa, a mini sanctuary, offers personalised treatments using Acqua di Parma products that smell as good as the hotel’s herb garden (villafeltrinelli.com). She wears Hilﬁger Collection. He wears La Perla. Make-up, Dior. Photographer: Elizaveta Porodina. Models, Lou and Nils Schoof Editor: Melinda Stevens. Art Director: Pete Winterbottom Deputy Art Director: Paula Ellis Senior Designer: Nitish Mandalia Picture Editor: Karin Mueller Chief Sub-Editor: Rick Jordan Deputy Chief Sub-Editor Gráinne McBride Senior Sub-Editor: Roxy Mirshahi Managing Editor: Paula Maynard Features Assistant/PA to the Editor: Tabitha Joyce Associate Publisher: Juliette Ottley Advertisement Director: Erica Wong Advertisement Manager: Natalie Fenton Promotions Director: Amy Hearn Promotions Project Manager: Sophie Tye Promotions Creative Director: Lee Osborne Promotions Executive: Isabella Eckett Digital Account Executive: Natalie Moss Blundell Production Controller: Dawn Crosby Production Co-Ordinator: Katie McGuinness
CONTRIBUTORS DAVID ANNAND, JANE BROUGHTON, ALICE BB, LEE COBAJ, HARRIET COMPSTON, SAMANTHA COOMBER, OLIVIA FALCON, DAISY FINER, RICK JORDAN, FIONA JOSEPH, TABITHA JOYCE, STEVE KING, MARY LUSSIANA, EMMA LOVE, HAZEL LUBBOCK, EMILY MATHIESON, PAULA MAYNARD, GRAINNE MCBRIDE, ANNA PASTERNAK, HELEN PICKLES, ADRIAANE PIELOU, EMMA STRENNER, CAROLINE SYLGER JONES, RHIANNON TAYLOR, VENETIA THOMPSON, CATHERINE TURNER, JOSH WOOD PUBLISHER: SIMON LEADSFORD MANAGING DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS COLERIDGE Copyright © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, 1 Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU. Printed in the UK by Wyndeham Roche. Colour origination by CLX Europe Media Solution Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. The title Condé Nast Traveller is registered at US Patent Office and in Great Britain as a trademark. All prices correct at time of going to press but subject to change. The Mail Order Protection Scheme does not cover items featured editorially. Not to be sold separately from Condé Nast Traveller PRICES ARE LOW-SEASON RATES. INFORMATION IS CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS. TIME OF PUBLICATION.
FACILITIES AND SERVICES DESCRIBED, AND PRICES QUOTED, MAY HAVE CHANGED BY THE PRICE DISCLAIMER: UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED ALL TOUR OPERATOR PACKAGE PRICES ARE PER PERSON, BASED ON TWO PEOPLE SHARING
March 2017 Spa Guide 3
A spa treatment room in the Ferme Thermale gardens at Les Prés d’Eugénie in France
SLIM DOWN TAP INTO THE LIGHT SIDE WITH THE TOP TARGETED PROGRAMMES
March 2017 Spa Guide 5
PALACE MERANO, ESPACE HENRI CHENOT SOUTH TYROL, ITALY IN BRIEF STILL THE LEADING LIFE-TURNAROUND CENTRE
LES PRES D’EUGENIE LANDES, FRANCE
You don’t have to spend upwards of £3,500 to be told that for good health one ought to move more and eat less, but it doesn’t hurt to be persuaded of this wisdom in such a dedicated environment. The Chenot method is impressive and addictive, but it’s not for sensitive souls. It’s based on Henri Chenot’s study of biontology – looking at how we age by taking in factors of lifestyle, genetics and environment, and using that information in a preventative manner to stay as healthy as possible. This manifests itself in a barrage of prodding and poking by the white-coated staff – from meridian energy testing to a full-body scan that makes you want to weep as it highlights areas of fat in glaring yellow. All of which is performed in the gleaming Espace
IN BRIEF SHED THE POUNDS AT A MICHELIN-STARRED TABLE
A THREE-COURSE LUNCH IS JUST OVER 500 CALORIES – AND THAT INCLUDES THE CHOCOLATE-CREAM PUDDING blasted directly onto bare skin. It stings – just a little. But not all the prescribed cures are such a shock to the system. Baths in solid marble tubs in front of open ﬁres envelop limbs in the pungent spring water (sulphur and magnesium are known for their anti-inﬂammatory and diuretic effects), while for the signature white clay bath, which aids digestion, you wallow in toffee-coloured mud the consistency of thick cream. On the nine- or 12-day regime these hydro treatments are scheduled four times a day, alternating with mineral and vegetable infusions. Repetition is key. In between trips to the spa there is time to exercise. This can be one-on-one with a personal trainer, alone in the pool or gym, or out exploring the cycle paths that crisscross the estate. The aim of the activity is to train the body and engage the mind while assisting with weight loss. It all feels very doable and therefore easier to maintain later. As does the calorie-controlled diet. The food is limited, but still mouthwatering. A three-course lunch of tangy white bean and tomato salad with soft pear followed by sea bass in a vegetable-and-herb tea is just over 500 calories. And that includes the chocolate-cream pudding. The spa list extends to facials, manicures and pedicures, and more, so while Les Prés d’Eugénie offers a hand-held, step-by-step way to lose weight it is also somewhere to indulge a little. INSIDER TIP A reﬂexology session with spa manager Cécile Ledru is both relaxing and uplifting. Her diagnostic ability is uncanny. BOOK IT A nine-night Minceur Essentielle programme costs from about £4,280 per person (+33 5 58 05 06 07; michelguerard.com). 6 Spa Guide March 2017
THE GUT MAKEOVER RETREAT
MENORCA, SPAIN IN BRIEF RE-EDUCATING YOUR INSIDES WITH A RULE BOOK There may be nothing new about the idea that ‘you are what you eat’, but the health of our intestines is still a hot topic, scientiﬁcally proven to have an impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing. And this replenishing retreat at Menorca’s grandest agroturismo is the place to really get to grips with your gut. Under nutritionist Jeannette Hyde’s personal guidance, you begin a realistically manageable four-week eating plan, which can be followed once at home with her paperback The Gut Makeover. Refreshingly, it’s all about abundance rather than deprivation. The goal? To start to heal and restore your microbiome (gut bacteria), which will in turn rebalance heart, body and mind. Days pivot around eating three plentiful Mediterranean-inspired meals stacked with a broad mix of fruit and vegetables and high-quality protein. Breakfast might be fruit, nuts and keﬁr (a tasty fermented milk drink) with eggs and (gluten-free) banana bread, while at lunch and supper there are salads, plates of
COME HERE WHETHER THE ISSUE IS IBS, SLEEP PROBLEMS, OR HORMONAL OR SKIN DISORDERS pulled pork, turkey burgers and barbecued prawns. Although there’s no alcohol, caffeine, salt, sugar or gluten, it isn’t too abstemious. Relaxing is also key to good digestive health, so there’s heaps of it scheduled into the itinerary. The villa, Cugó Gran, has manicured gardens, rolling lawns, sea views, an inﬁnity pool and plenty of spaces
PHOTOGRAPH: TIM CLINCH
French superstar chef Michel Guérard is famous not just for his fantastically reﬁned food but for something that seems wholly at odds with ﬁne dining: weight loss. At his deeply chic manor-house hotel in Gascony, foodie guests sit alongside those who ﬂock for the antiageing and anti-stress retreats and, most popular of all, the Minceur Essentielle slimming programme. Guérard’s vision for shifting the bulge is simple: combine a delicious, low-calorie diet with a personalised exercise plan and sculpting treatments using sulphur- and magnesium-enriched water from the nearby hot spring. Crucially though, this programme aims for sustainable slimness by delivering a take-home strategy covering nutrition and physical activity, with medical consultations and follow-ups – a truly expansive approach. The spa, which from the outside looks more cosy French farmhouse than hi-tech facility, really packs a punch. All the body-shaping hydrotherapies are taken while naked as the needle-fine, highpressure jets of water break down fat cells more efficiently when
Henri Chenot. Each day is chock-a-block and sees you shuffling from treatment room to jet shower to medi-clinic and back again. The process is rooted in the expulsion of toxins through cupping massages, lymphatic drainage, mud therapy and hydroaromatherapy baths, as well as a diet of the tiniest, most exquisite morsels of food. Fresh fruit gives an antioxidant-rich start to the day. Lunch is three beautiful courses: grilled baby-vegetable salad, black-rice spaghetti, baobab ice cream. The dining rooms hum with chatter, especially at supper when everyone is out of their threatening-to-slip-open bathrobes and in their ﬁnery. There are as many tables of four as solo travellers, and as many men as women (some as large as Luciano Pavarotti – Marie Pierre Chenot, Henri’s sister-in-law, was his nutritionist). All are engaged in their quest for wellbeing. A cherry-picked few are invited into Chenot’s inner sanctum where he diagnoses ailments by simply peering at you over the rim of his glasses. But having recently opened
THE CHENOT METHOD IS IMPRESSIVE AND ADDICTIVE BUT, WITH A BARRAGE OF TESTS, IT’S NOT FOR SENSITIVE SOULS a new standalone Chenot Palace in Azerbaijan, of all places, it will be interesting to see how often he is on hand in Merano in the future. Next on the schedule here is the introduction of a DNA-testing machine so the team can delve even closer into the prevention of illness. This is a place to seriously kick-start a lifelong, and in some cases life-saving, understanding of how to look after yourself. INSIDER TIP For the best chance of a good night’s sleep (it can be elusive when detoxing), ask for a room on the garden side of the hotel. BOOK IT A six-day programme costs from about £2,225 per person full board, including consultations and treatments. A week in a deluxe double costs from about £1,290 per person (+39 0473 271 000; palace.it/en).
to hide away in. It’s all incredibly comfortable too – rooms are elegant and pared-back, with whitewashed beams and Provençal-style furniture. The whole place is looked after by a dashing navy-blue-clad team that includes a butler, driver and concierge. Stretched out on a day bed on a terrace, sipping ginger water and taking in the scent of rosemary on the warm air, you’ll feel more than comfortable talking openly about the less ﬁner things in life – like how often you poo and what it looks like. The listener is the empathetic Hyde, with whom you’ll have health consultations; she’s available to answer any niggling questions, whether the issue is IBS, sleep problems, or hormonal or skin disorders. For the rest of the time, be soothed by treatments, using Rosalena oils or Li’tya products, and keep your body moving with sport-performance-focused Pilates classes. By the time you check out you’ll be slimmer, sleeping better and feeling far more serene. Just keep reading the book for the results to last. INSIDER TIP Take the car for a spot of therapeutic shopping in nearby Mahón – the local baskets are lovely. BOOK IT A ﬁve-night retreat costs from about £2,095 per person full board, including two spa treatments, Pilates sessions, classes and consultations (+34 671 528 958; cugogranmenorca.com).
VIVAMAYR ALTAUSSEE, AUSTRIA
IN BRIEF THE ULTIMATE DIET OVERHAUL TO REVIVE YOUR SYSTEM For those new to the Mayr cure, this efficacious diet plan – combined with holistic treatments – was ﬁrst developed by pioneering doctor Franz Xaver Mayr at the turn of the 20th century. It is based on the principle that giving an overworked digestive system a break allows other parts of the body to begin to repair themselves. Such are its remarkable effects that the method has reached legendary status, especially when it comes to tackling issues such as chronic fatigue, allergies, arthritis, migraine and sleep problems. Mayr hallmarks include chewing each mouthful of food at least 30 times (the notorious spelt bread is served stale to ensure it’s tough enough to eat slowly), drinking Epsom salts to help intestinal cleansing, daily abdominal massages and liver compresses. You are encouraged not to talk during meals, although guests do rebel as it’s too tempting not to swap detox symptoms. Stay here to experience the latest arrival on the Mayr scene: this is the sister property to the original Vivamayr on Lake Wörth. While it’s deﬁnitely a clinical environment, the overall design is akin to a gigantic modern chalet, clean-lined and clad in oak, rather than being spartan or surgical. It’s a lot more cocooning than any of the other Mayr outposts, with jaunty colours adding a cheery pop to interiors. The food is healthy, modern Mayr at its best – no sugar, no dairy, no alcohol. The philosophy is based on ingredients which alkalise, and how you eat is as important as what you eat. Sometimes dinner is just a bowl of broth or herbal tea. Many people come here to lose weight, others to press pause, still more for an annual health MOT. The vast medical department is where you will spend most of your time, dipping into everything from traditional massages and intravenous drips to bone-density measurements and hi-tech oxygen therapy used by astronauts. The diagnostics are mind-bogglingly impressive – blood tests, mineral tests, cardiovascular tests, intolerance tests – all of which dictate your treatments, as well as lay bare the real state of your health. A key point of difference to Vivamayr Maria Wörth is that the salt water you drink here is drawn straight from the depths of the nearby quarries, so it is of superlative provenance and is perhaps another reason – on top of all the others – why you will leave feeling sparkly. INSIDER TIP When you feel cabin fever set in, do the hour-and-ahalf walk around the lake – it’s truly The Sound of Music pretty. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a seven-night detox retreat from £2,025 per person full board, including ﬂights, transfers, and all treatments and activities as per the basic medical programme.
ABSOLUTE SANCTUARY KOH SAMUI, THAILAND
IN BRIEF PRACTICAL, PURPOSEFUL AND AMAZINGLY GOOD VALUE When the question is ‘where can I go that’s really good, hot and won’t cost too much?’, this is the answer. Absolute Sanctuary is an absolute bargain. You can get a week’s stay here, including ﬂights and the most delicious, healthy breakfasts – chilli-and-coriander omelette, coconut-and-mango yogurt, courgette pancakes – for less than what many spas in the UK charge for a long weekend. Plus, given the ﬁve free daily yoga classes (only two on Sundays, though), you don’t necessarily have to spend much more money once here. Specialising in Pilates Reformer, yoga and detox, as well as pure weight loss, this 38-room retreat lies on a terraced hillside 10 minutes’ drive from Samui’s airport and coast. What makes it such a steal is the food – fresh, varied and vegetarian, with tropical-fruit smoothies whizzed up to order at the poolside bar – and the quality of the classes. Jana Brauer heads the yoga, Pilates and ﬁtness crew, and the charming professionalism of the staff easily matches that at
WHAT MAKES IT SUCH A STEAL IS THE FOOD – FRESH, VARIED AND VEGETARIAN – AND THE QUALITY OF THE YOGA CLASSES spas charging signiﬁcantly more. Hatha, hot, ashtanga, vinyasa: the yoga mix is varied, with all levels genuinely catered for, and no gungho exhibitionists encouraging risky poses. Besides the thorough health consultation you get with Alena Kwong, who heads the spa, other highlights include the tranquil atmosphere – no alcohol or children allowed – and how easy it is to be here on your own, which most of the guests are. Downsides? It feels a bit dated. Bathrooms are pretty basic. The pool area is baldly concrete. At supper in the LoveKitchen restaurant, you can ﬁnd yourself wondering why they don’t do something about the gloomy lighting. But the inland location actually proves no problem at all. Classes and treatments take place in the morning or late afternoon, leaving you free to catch the lunchtime shuttle to the lovely big beach at Choeng Mon, ﬁve minutes away. At night, the great treat here is an open-air Thai massage, with velvety darkness and that tropical blare of cicadas all around. And for a total overhaul rather than a restful week’s tweak, the new 30- and 60-day lifestyle change programme promises transformation. INSIDER TIP It’s good to arrive on a Sunday when not much happens. After a full day’s travel, you probably won’t be up to much anyway. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a seven-night yoga programme from £1,939 per person full board, including flights, transfers and all treatments according to the programme. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE For every seven-night programme booked receive two complimentary extra nights B&B, an upgrade to a Deluxe room, a complimentary Pilates class and 60-minute Thai massage.
AMCHARA GOZO, MALTA
IN BRIEF SOMERSET FASTING OUTFIT DECAMPS TO THE MED If having a gentle massage in plush surroundings is the extent of your detox ambitions, give Amchara the body swerve. While it’s comfortable, nurturing and bent on relaxation, this retreat is just not manicured or vanity driven. The skilful staff (based in the West Country and now branching out to warmer climes) are so ﬁxated on functional health that they are simply not concerned with the superﬁcial. As well as fasting – championed by the onsite team of naturopaths, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) therapists, yoga teachers and chefs – raw and vegan food are also on offer, each diet aimed at giving your insides a rest. Since digestion uses so much of our energy supply, eliminating food stimulates the body’s natural healing processes, allowing it to repair itself at a cellular level. And when you don’t have to rush across town to meetings, tackle toddlers or do anything more taxing than snooze by the pool or stroll to the infrared sauna, it’s surprising how little fuel you need. Away from the stresses, temptations and habits of daily life, and cosseted by compassionate practitioners, you will ﬁnally get a chance to attend to your feelings. Health mentoring with Kirstie Chisholm has a startling impact, her ability to connect the dots between mind and body and cut straight to the source allows for a total awakening – you’ll be rebooking before you’ve left the ﬁrst session. Make the most of what’s on offer. Indulge in all the tests: food intolerance, heart-rate variation monitoring, thyroid function check. It’s about the education as much as the experience. Slope off to the café at midday and join in health talks. Whether learning about the effects of an acid versus alkaline diet, or earwigging at a frank round-table about
THE SKILFUL STAFF ARE SO FIXATED ON FUNCTIONAL HEALTH THAT THEY ARE SIMPLY NOT CONCERNED WITH THE SUPERFICIAL food triggers – it all comes out here. Everyone shares, everyone learns. Twice-daily yoga and meditation classes support the detox experience, while the more fringe treatment options such as EFT (emotional freedom technique) will take it to a whole new level. Come with a friend or partner and you’ll probably spend more time exploring the spectacular coastline of this sun-scorched island. But perhaps Amchara is a chance to be really selﬁsh, go solo and take a personal journey. Any time here will be an absolute game-changer. INSIDER TIP Don’t fear colonic irrigation. Sally Jobes is a master of the machine, with huge experience; you are in the best possible hands. BOOK IT A three-night retreat costs from £639 per person, including a juice detox programme (+44 1823 475307; amchara.com).
8 Spa Guide March 2017
TOP-TO-TOE M.O.T. THE MOST EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR A REASSURING ONCE-OVER
VILALARA LONGEVITY THALASSA & MEDICAL SPA ALGARVE, PORTUGAL
IN BRIEF A FULL BODY OVERHAUL WITH PREVENTATIVE TESTS AND A SERIOUS DETOX What if, rather than waiting until you develop symptoms or get sick, neurotransmitters. There’s osteopathy with the brilliant Ricardo Rosa you see a doctor while you still feel healthy and full of beans? You have who gently manipulates your bones so they crack naturally back into tests – bloods, essential elements, heavy metals, a bio-physical place. And nutritionist Ana Horta devises meal plans to keep good examination that reveals your metabolic age and fat versus muscle eating habits going when you head home. A brand-new piece of diagratio – to discover what’s really going on inside. Then, if you show nostic equipment measures the length of telomeres (the tips of the possible tendencies towards certain illnesses you can follow a prochromosomes which protect DNA from deteriorating); the longer gramme, or implement lifestyle changes to head off problems before they are the better. They shorten with age but also due to factors such they arise. The idea of staying one step ahead when it comes to health as stress, smoking and a poor diet. There is so much to take advantage is at the core of wellness brand Longevity. Nearly three years ago, of here that days drift by – but do look around. The grounds are it paired up with long-established pretty, with a small lake, multiple Algarve hotel Vilalara. The latter IF YOU SHOW TENDENCIES TOWARDS CERTAIN pools (some heated and with salt already had a reputation for its water), tropical gardens and day ILLNESSES YOU CAN FOLLOW A REGIME thalassotherapy treatments – in beds for afternoon naps. Ideal, TO HEAD OFF PROBLEMS BEFORE THEY ARISE then, for when you crave some which the healing properties of seawater are used to rebalance the body’s trace elements such as magdowntime to process all your new-found health knowledge and nesium and sulphate through warm multi-jet baths and pressure make plans to overhaul your life. showers – but the addition of such a serious medical centre really INSIDER TIP Book in for a power hike across the cliffs and past tiny upped the ante. Many guests come for the four- to 14-night detox secluded beaches with personal trainer Diogo Eloi. programmes, but everything from skin deep-cleansing to a cardioBOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. vascular check-up is on offer. IV infusions and ozone therapy, co.uk/condenast) offers a five-night quick detox retreat from where 100ml of blood is taken, mixed with oxygen and then £2,289 per person, including ﬂights, transfers, a detox or liquidinjected back in to strengthen the immune system, work well diet meal plan, and all treatments and activities as per the together. If you have a history of Alzheimer’s in your family, Dr programme. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Receive a 10 per cent Joana Santos might recommend a brain screen to check your discount on extra treatments or consultations.
LAKE GARDA, ITALY IN BRIEF ANCIENT CHINESE KNOW-HOW WITH ITALIAN FLAIR Strip away the heated massage beds and white coats and this Alpine eyrie would still make guests bounce. Set high above the quicksilver vastness of Lake Garda, the imperious views ﬁt the Romantic notion of the sublime – towering rocky crags, volcanic skies and mist-shrouded islets. But it’s the treatments that have made Lefay a close-to-home favourite with Kamalaya and Chiva-Som devotees, and a weekend retreat for stressed-out Milanese in need of an acupuncture-facelift. The framework is Classical Chinese Medicine, backed by up-to-date medical research and lightened by an Italian playfulness. Don’t expect miraculous quick ﬁxes or a sudden need to take in your trousers – the message here is about embracing long-term change. The new detox course is a hit, but the ﬁve-day sports/posture option is much more fun, beginning with moxibustion, in which red-hot herb cigars are passed over qi points like ﬁreﬂies, and continuing with precision-guided massages that are al dente without inﬂicting the authentic pain of Chinese practitioners. ‘We don’t want to make guests cry,’ says one staff member. They all have
IT'S THE TREATMENTS THAT HAVE MADE THIS A CLOSE-TO-HOME FAVOURITE WITH KAMALAYA AND CHIVA-SOM DEVOTEES tales to tell. Effortlessly serene senior therapist Teddy Trevisan spent seven years learning t’ai chi in a forest, Luke Skywalker style; Dr Tolja demonstrates how cycling with longer handlebars can prevent tiredness with an anecdote that conjures a wonderful image of this donnish figure pedalling down the Rhine on a Chopper. ‘Make every movement a meditation!’ he declares. The sauna space is thrilling, like a nightclub for troglodytes with disco colours and a trippy salt-bath experience in which you ﬂoat weightlessly beneath a huge artiﬁcial moon. And swimming between sliding doors to the outdoor pool never loses its appeal. The spa menu has its highlights, but ingredients used on the à la carte are just as fresh and local: pasta with artichoke sauce and black truffles; short rib with beetroot ketchup. And surely it’s only a matter of time before the health beneﬁts of molten chocolate cake are proven? While you’re eating, peer down to the village of Gargnano: DH Lawrence came here for a day and stayed six months. As you walk away, taller than before and with renewed purpose, you may well feel the same way inclined. INSIDER TIP Avoid snarled-up roads by coming at the end of the year, when the Mediterranean microclimate is still sunny and bright. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a ﬁve-night ﬁtness programme from £2,430 per person full board including ﬂights, transfers, all treatments and activities as per programme. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE A complimentary treatment, salt-lake session and herbal infusion, plus guaranteed room upgrade.
LANSERHOF LANS INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA
IN BRIEF TRANSFORMATION IN THE TYROL Hunched over a computer half the time, you have a permanently stiff neck and shoulders. You have digestive issues. You know you drink far too much coffee but just can’t cut down. You often wake at 3am for no apparent reason. Your joints ache. Maybe you’re even recovering from a serious illness. It is precisely these kinds of complaints – the type our GPs never seem hugely interested in – that you might want to get sorted before they deteriorate into something more serious. The newly relaunched Lanserhof Lans has always been an exceptionally worthwhile destination, but today it’s better than ever. Opened in 1984, it unveiled a €25 million transformation in late 2016. Rates for its 67 rooms haven’t changed much, but now every guest also has to book a basic treatment package, which does at least guarantee slots for whatever your personalised package prescribes (there’s nothing more irritating than being at a spa and ﬁnding that all the star therapists are fully booked). Given the onthe-spot access you get to a range of brilliant medical expertise, it’s well worth paying full whack if you do have serious health issues. A key change is that the doctors are now specialists, covering cardio problems, internal medicine, rheumatology, orthopaedics, sports injuries and sleep disorders. Additionally, they’re all trained in the Mayr method, which puts good digestion at the centre of good
ACHING JOINTS, DIGESTIVE ISSUES: COME HERE TO SORT OUT THE COMPLAINTS OUR GPS NEVER SEEM HUGELY INTERESTED IN health. It’s cards-on-the-table time if you want to get the most out of a stay. The medical consultation, half physical examination and half discussion about what ails you, is your big opportunity to be frank, open and un-British. The spa also offers the latest cutting-edge treatments, including whole-body cryotherapy for pain relief and reducing inﬂammation. And there’s a sleek new ﬁve-storey wing with an indoor-outdoor salt-water pool, and steam and sauna complex. Sixteen rooms and suites on the upper floors bring added glamour to the retreat, but it still feels cosy compared to the spectacular chunk of steel-and-glass modernism of its sister property, Lanserhof Tegernsee in Bavaria. Lie in bed and look out through ﬂoorto-ceiling windows at the snowy Patscherkofel peak before padding upstairs to the roof, where you get your own private hedged terrace. It’s a good spot to top up your vitamin D while deciding, what the hell, to stay for 10 days rather than seven. After all, money spent on the future you isn’t any old purchase. It’s an investment. INSIDER TIP What you eat once home is crucial, of course, so pick up The 50 Healthiest 10-Minute Recipes cookbook. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a seven-night retreat from £2,999 per person full board, including ﬂights, transfers, and all treatments and activities as per the basic medical package. March 2017 Spa Guide 11
TOP-TO-TOE M.O.T. WEIGHT LOSS
AMANPURI PHUKET, THAILAND
BEST BESPOKE RETREATS
IN BRIEF LASTING WELLNESS AND THE SMARTEST SCENE Vladislav Doronin is the billionaire chairman of Aman Resorts, one of the world’s most exclusive hotel groups. He is also a bit of a health fanatic so the company’s new spa programmes were always going to be something special. Launched last summer under the watchful eye of ex-Chiva-Som general manager Paul Linder, these ‘immersions’ focus on renewal and nourishment, both physically and spiritually. Marry the highly skilled team of practitioners with the postcard perfection of Amanpuri, the seriously glamorous hideaway in Phuket, and the promise of that bonewarming sunshine, and it’s almost impossible not to attain an inner glow. The hotel’s Thai-style teak villas are dotted among the lush folds of a former coconut plantation overlooking a private beach of white sand lapped by jade-green waters. For wow-factor wellbeing, there’s a stunning spa that radiates serenity thanks to its zen architecture. But the key to these holistic retreats is personalisation. While most places only play lip service to the idea, Aman is so sincere about individual attention that participation is limited to just eight guests at any one time. This means the team can calibrate every single detail of your stay, based on one of four themes: cleanse, mental awareness, ﬁtness or weight. Note: there is no detox. This is a gentle and intelligent steer towards sustainable, long-term balance, rather than quick-ﬁx starvation diets and trick psychology. You will never go hungry – minibars are stocked with customised snacks such as energy balls. TVs are available but don’t get one; every room has a large terrace or balcony so opt for quiet contemplation of the Andaman Sea instead. Besides, who needs Poldark when days are packed with two or three classes and at least 60 minutes of spoiling spa treatments? Those booked in
SEN WELLNESS SANCTUARY TANGALLE, SRI LANKA IN BRIEF SUPREME HOLISTIC CARE FROM A HARLEY STREET HERO Founded by London’s favourite spine expert, Sri Lankan osteopath Dr Sam Kankanamge, this retreat on the south coast of the island is about transformation of mind, body and spirit in one fell swoop. His big thing is the healing power of nature – and the sanctuary is surrounded by thick jungle teeming with butterﬂies and birds. The eight thatched cabanas are designed in the shape of a conch shell to draw up energy from the earth. Life here quickly falls into a routine. Kundalini yoga starts the day at 6am, worth it for the pastel-pink sunrise. Then it’s straight into your treatment plan (don’t go for less than a week if you want proper change). Softly spoken Dr Harshi is in
for ﬁtness may get endorphin-releasing kick boxing followed by muscle-releasing rubdowns; those on a cleanse may have waterbased cardio and effective lymph-draining massages; awareness guests might be prescribed silent reﬂection and transformational craniosacral therapy. Each session is elevated to extraordinary by the quality of practitioners, including Anamai Apaiso, a revered former Buddhist monk turned mind trainer. With so few guests, timetables can be monitored on a daily basis and adapted depending on feedback – as can your diet. Food is vegan, much of it raw, all of it delicious. You will not feel deprived by mouthwatering pasta primavera in which ﬁne strands of courgette replace tagliatelle and there’s a delicate avocado dressing instead of the traditional creamy sauce. This is a sophisticated, A-list retune done the Aman way, which means there’s loads to learn, it won’t hurt one little bit and you’ll leave feeling utterly amazing. INSIDER TIP Pre-book an appointment with Roger Moore – not the James Bond actor but a shamanic spiritual healer whose energy work is deeply powerful. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers an exclusive seven-night Fitness Immersion Retreat from £7,349 per person full board, including flights, transfers, and all treatments and activities as per the programme.
charge, kicking off the programme by diagnosing your dosha. It’s all tackled here: weight loss, childhood trauma, stress, skin disorders. There are the usual indulgent massages but more important are the acupuncture, osteopathy, steam baths, fasts, cleanses and shirodhara (warm oil poured continuously onto the forehead to cure anxiety). Ayurvedic medicine is administered morning and night, too – big play-doh-like blobs heavy in turmeric and ghee. They may be disgusting but swallow, drink a gallon of water and you’ll soon feel the difference. For something a bit more out-there, immerse yourself in a gong bath, which recharges the body through sound
FOUNDED BY A TOP OSTEOPATH, THIS RETREAT TRANSFORMS MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT IN ONE FELL SWOOP energy, or a cacao ceremony, an ancient ritual of drinking cacao and dancing to help release deep emotions. Meals are communal – egg hoppers and coconut curry – and it’s all very easy-going. You’ll soon be connecting with 20-somethings trying to ﬁnd themselves and octogenarians letting go of the past. The doctrine is all about lasting change; come here and you’ll experience it in droves. INSIDER TIP Organise treatments in the morning and spend the afternoon at Yala National Park, known for its leopard population. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a 10-night Condé Nast Traveller exclusive spa programme from £3,219 full board, including ﬂights, transfers, Ayurvedic treatments twice a day, two yoga classes per day, two private yoga sessions over the 10 days, osteopath sessions and excursions. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Receive a Skype consultation with Dr Kankanamge before your trip and 25 per cent off your next visit.
12 Spa Guide March 2017
ANONYMOUS CONFESSION 2017 WINNER
LOOK BACK IN ANGER
MOST LIFECHANGING EXPERIENCE
THE INDIVIDUAL A GRIEF-STRICKEN MOTHER WHO WAS EXHAUSTED, JOYLESS AND AT THE END OF HER EMOTIONAL TETHER delicious Puglian cuisine so you can When I received the email from Patrizia Bortolin, the spa manager at be as healthy (or not) as you like, but THE REMEDY Vair, telling me not to bring a book to there is no spa menu. I sat alone at A FULL-ON IMMERSION INTO THE read but to pack a ﬂowing dress for various lovely tables, but the kindness MIND-BLOWING HEALING METHODS AT the ﬁnal celebration, I panicked. I had of the staff meant I never felt selfBORGO EGNAZIA’S VAIR SPA IN PUGLIA, signed up to do the Tarant proconscious. I had also decided to do a gramme, a four-day ancient Puglian digital detox. Being fully with WITH SHAMANS AND SONATAS healing ritual. It was described as yourself is liberating yet horribly being ‘for those moments when you need a revolution. For confronting. I missed my mother. I walked the ancient land, women with shattered souls.’ That was me. Splintered to my among the olive groves and down to the sea, letting the core. I was eroded by marriage, motherhood and the sudden sadness spill out. Patrizia kept banging on about the joy I death of my mother. On the day of departure, my demons would feel but I didn’t believe her. I felt as if the hole in my raged. I was anxious and insecure, tears threatened all the way heart would never heal. from Stansted to Bari. When I arrived at the hotel, the sheer The days rolled into each other with ever more focussed beauty of the place made me weep. You pass through a vast, treatments that hit the spiritual spot. I suffered constant medieval-looking arch to a spectacular stage-set beyond. emotional-detox headaches, punctuated by moments of Guests are greeted by angelic-looking Puglian girls in euphoria. Carmine Basile, the Iyengar yoga teacher, was olive-coloured Grecian dresses. Hundreds of candles ﬂicker world class. My shoulders, stiff as coat hangers, felt coaxed in an entrance hall of sepulchral calm. Everything is caliback to life. I have rarely felt so alive. But my favourite brated to soothe; every inch of space is considered. The entire massage involved a sequence of music co-ordinated with a hotel is made of tufo stone, with small troughs containing series of colours that I chose on the ﬁrst day. There were rock crystal to absorb negativity. furious strokes to fast classical sonatas. My eyeballs ﬂuttered My bedroom was like a tented cream cloud. The stylish weirdly in their sockets, as if I was purging the tension from interiors highlighted my feelings of ugliness. I felt fat, bloated all that screen time. I had a sensory facial with scents that and with all the wrong clothes. I should have been wafting made me irritable, then an improvisation where I had to pretend to be a bear rubbing against a tree which left me in around in Bamford but had brought Sweaty Betty instead. The layout is deliberately maze-like. Encouraged to get lost, giggles. I did music therapy, too, which I hated – banging a you can then ﬁnd yourself again. Patrizia has amassed a team tambourine like an angry toddler to express my rage. The of therapists, masseurs, psychologists, yoga masters, naturoﬁnal massage is 90 minutes of bonkers brilliance. You are paths, musicians and dancers who seem to have been culled hurled around, semi-naked and slathered in warm olive oil, from some academy of the spiritual elite. All are unfailingly to the sound of Puglian women whispering and wailing. You intuitive, so therapies have rare depth and resonance. Part have to let go of your inhibitions. I adored it, feeling ecstatof the mystery is never being told which treatment is next, ic and energised afterwards. That night, I had back-to-back so it’s impossible to anticipate or control. Just trust and let go. nightmares. The emotional poison was releasing. My ﬁrst was a traditional Roman bath experience, which I had entered Vair with a broken heart, ﬂattened spirit left me wiped out and migrainous. That afternoon, I had a and heavy body. I didn’t realise until I left just how misersession with Italian shaman Stefano Battaglia, who looked able I had been. In the ﬁnal session of psycho-aromatherapy me, seeing deep into my soul. He told me that I was too harsh with Patrizia, in which she uses scents like tarot cards, I was on myself and needed to be kinder. He did some deep, still sceptical about my capacity for inner joy. Yet I knew painful abdominal delving, touching what felt like a hard something had shifted inside because I felt so much lighter. crust inside my stomach. My unexpressed anger, apparently. Patrizia told me I would know when I got home. She was I went from breathless sobbing, as he released a pocket of right. I could see how far I had come and how I had softened trauma, to laughing uncontrollably. It was extraordinary. towards myself. I think it’s called happiness when, for no Afterwards, Patrizia told me that it takes up to 48 hours for particular reason, a light giddiness bubbles up. At Vair, they the body to process Stefano’s treatment and that I should hold you, patiently and tenderly, so you can reset your intereat only vegetarian food to let it work. The restaurants serve nal compass. Mine swung from misery to delight.
BOOK IT HEALING HOLIDAYS (+44 20 7843 3592; HEALINGHOLIDAYS.CO.UK/CONDENAST) OFFERS A FOUR-NIGHT RETREAT AT BORGO EGNAZIA’S VAIR SPA FROM £1,130 PER PERSON, INCLUDING FLIGHTS, TRANSFERS AND ALL TREATMENTS/ACTIVITIES AS PER THE PROGRAMME. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE STAY FOUR NIGHTS OR MORE AND GET THE LAST NIGHT FREE 14 Spa Guide March 2017
LANS Europe‘s leading health resort has received a new look: new suites with private roof terraces, a completely new spa area featuring an indoor and outdoor saltwater pool, a new sauna landscape with breathtaking views, a medical cold chamber with up to minus 110 degrees Celsius as well as other spectacular highlights come together to make the legendary Lanserhof near Innsbruck even more attractive. Opening in January 2017 | Healing Holidays can arrange a 7 night retreat from £3019.00 per person sharing. 3GHRÄ HMBKTCDRÄ ÇHFGSRÄ SQ@MREDQRÄ @BBNLLNC@SHNMÄ HMÄ @Ä standard room, full board, all treatments and activities as per the Basic Medical Package. For more information please call +44 20 7843 3592 or visit us on www.healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
RECOVERY MINDFUL AND MEDICAL MASTERS TO STEER YOU BACK ON TRACK
CHIVA-SOM HUA HIN, THAILAND IN BRIEF POST-CANCER RECUPERATION AT A SUPREME SPA
PHOTOGRAPHS: CHRISTOPHER WISE; ANDREAS VON EINSIEDEL
It can be wildly dispiriting to be in remission or even fully recovered from any kind of cancer and then ﬁnd yourself unable to check in at some of the best spas in the world because of red tape. Most oncologists offer massage and acupressure treatments for their patients as standard, so the assumed complexities of treating cancer sufferers really must be properly addressed. Ahead of the curve on this issue, and so many others, is Chiva-Som, the famous little enclave on a breezy beachfront in Hua Hin – three hours from Bangkok by car but only 50 minutes by helicopter – which opened in 1995 as a wellness club for the wealthy Thai owner and his friends. It has gone on to serve the global mega-rich and health conscious. For those recently out of treatment, the Cell Vitality retreat is pioneering in its holistic approach to encourage the recharging of batteries and regaining of appetite, as well as being deservedly pampering with acupuncture and Ayurveda. You can, of course, have all manner of other interesting things done here: get your fat pulverised, ultrasonically liposuctioned or frozen; do aqua t’ai chi; prime yourself for a future ascent of Everest in the hypoxic training chamber; get Botox; try reiki gemstone therapy; and practise yoga, Pilates and kinesis and several ways of limbering up. There is every possible hi-tech and natural treatment, every big-name visiting therapist; all cocooned in perfect comfort. And now the rooms, which had been tired, are as cosseting as they ought to be too. The problem, explained general manager Sheila McCann, was that the hotel had never been sufficiently quiet to allow renovations to start. But about 18 months ago the growing popularity of Kamalaya, Chiva-Som’s rival in Thailand, and superluxe arrivals such as Europe’s Lanserhof Tegernsee and Villa Stéphanie made the owners realise they had to act. A call was made to Ed Tuttle, the American architect whose highly polished design hooked a league of loyal Aman junkies. After a stealth start, more than half of the rooms have been reworked. And how sharply has that crown been put back in place. The vast Champaka suites are a sea of pale wood and white linen, with ﬂoor-to-ceiling glass doors revealing views of sky, ocean and sand. The standard rooms have a similar uncluttered spaciousness. Meanwhile, the rest of Chiva-Som gets on with doing what it does so exceptionally well, with 200 options on the spa, holistic, ﬁtness, physiotherapy and medi-spa menus. Have a virtuous early breakfast in the main restaurant, lunch in the sunshine by the beach and supper under
FOR THOSE JUST OUT OF TREATMENT, THE CELL VITALITY RETREAT IS PIONEERING IN ITS HOLISTIC APPROACH the stars on the terrace. Coffee’s allowed, as is wine, but it’s a thrill how a few days here make both lose their allure. It’s a costly place to discover how well you’ll feel after eating simple fresh food, doing a daily yoga and gym session, and having a massage. Considering how powerfully that translates into beneﬁts in every area of your life, however, it’s not a stretch to consider a stay here as an investment rather than an expense. INSIDER TIP Naturopath Dr Tal Friedman and his medical team are leading 10-night-plus retreats, especially worthwhile for those with health issues such as cancer, migraines, high blood pressure, stress and excess weight. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers seven nights from £3,679 per person full board, including ﬂights, transfers, a wellness consultation, weekly activities and daily spa treatments. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Receive a £625 voucher to use towards treatments from the health and wellness menu.
BODYHOLIDAY ST LUCIA, WEST INDIES IN BRIEF FIRE UP A MEANINGFUL NEW FITNESS REGIME This is surely the shape of the holiday of the future. The move by mainstream hotels away from hedonism and towards healthiness has started already, with vegetarian menus, jogging maps and yoga mats. And the all-inclusive detox and ﬁtness stay, as pioneered by BodyHoliday, feels like a blueprint for how it will evolve. After all, who doesn’t want to return from any trip ﬁtter rather than fatter? This is the place to come for encouragement to ﬁnally get your lifestyle in shape. Ranged around a remote bay in the north of St Lucia, with a serene spa inspired by Granada’s Alhambra, it has been running get-healthier breaks since it opened in 1988. It’s not cheap. Prices have risen markedly since the overhaul that pushed it from four- to ﬁve-star territory, give or take some dull, still unrefurbished rooms (deﬁnitely to be avoided). But the all-inclusive claim is no exaggeration. It’s easy to check out with nothing extra on the bill. That’s after having had a different type of massage every day; taken your pick of about 40 daily activities, from meditation and yoga to Hobie Cat sailing and triathlon-style challenges; eaten wonderful fresh food and drank all the wine and cocktails you wanted (alcohol is available but a lot of guests avoid it); plus helped yourself to snacks from the openair pantry. You only pay extra for off-site activities – night dives, waterfall abseiling – and additional spa treatments. Piercing reflexology with Georgia Alexander, who has been blind from glaucoma since the age of 11, is outstanding, as are the steelﬁngered massages by the diminutive Velma Wallace. (‘I see some guys thinking, “Now what’s this little lady going to be able to do for a big strong man like me?” Do they get a surprise!’ she cackles.) Under Andrew Barnard, the son of the founder, BodyHoliday is now further upping its game with the BodyScience programme – a detailed medical analysis involving DNA testing, 3D visualisation of your organs, cardio and arterial ﬁtness, and nutrient and hormonal status. Ayurvedic expert Dr Samantha Semmalar carries out further tests and schedules daily treatments: infrared detox sessions, shirodhara and four-handed massages. At the end of the week you discuss the lab results in a Skype session with her and a London Harley Street doctor, and leave armed with a fat ﬁle of information, a stack of supplements, and a programme of how to correct whatever issues the tests have revealed. This could be one of the most useful thing you do for yourself – ever. INSIDER TIP Many guests come on their own, but it’s also brilliant for couples with different interests and grown-up family holidays as everyone can do their own thing by day and gather for dinner. BOOK IT Carrier (+44 161 492 1354; carrier.co.uk) offers seven nights from £2,225 per person full board, including ﬂights, transfers and activities. March 2017 Spa Guide 19
SHA WELLNESS CLINIC ALICANTE, SPAIN
MOST EFFECTIVE MEDI-SPA
IN BRIEF A FIX-ALL FUSION OF ANCIENT AND MODERN
WHETHER YOU COME WITH DEPRESSION OR INSOMNIA, IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE A MORE FINGER-ON-THE-PULSE SPOT TO FIND A CURE personal trainer sessions, and stomping Nordic walks in the hills. Everything has been designed to de-stress guests, from the exact room-temperature setting to the downy comforters on the beds. And underpinning it all is the focus on nutrition. Meals feel like an occasion. There is no sense of food deprivation; no carb or sugar cravings. Deliciously spoiling dishes include turbot with seaweed pesto and a chocolate fondant that’s happiness on a plate. Whether you come battling depression, insomnia or simply need a break, it would be difficult to imagine a more ﬁnger-on-the-pulse place to ﬁnd your ﬁx. INSIDER TIP Make sure to ﬁt in an early-morning hike to the lighthouse for heart-lifting sea views. On a good day you can see Ibiza. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a seven-night Essence programme from £2,459 per person full board, including flights, transfers, weekly activities and all treatments as per the programme. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Receive a complimentary welcome massage and room upgrade on arrival.
20 Spa Guide March 2017
VILLA STEPHANIE AT WEIGHT LOSS BRENNERS PARK-HOTEL BADEN-BADEN, GERMANY IN BRIEF AN ENFORCED WIND-DOWN OF THE HIGHEST ORDER For anyone whose pace of life feels overwhelming, the prospect of a stay at this ﬁve-star pit stop is the equivalent of winning the health lottery. Villa Stéphanie, the little sister of the plush grande dame Brenners Park-Hotel, is somewhere to have a proper break. The 15-bedroom sanctuary is highly modern and elegantly paredback. But the smartness of the interiors is beside the point. This is a place for the overwrought to hand in their phone and laptop, to press the button in their room that disables Wi-Fi, and to allow themselves to truly disconnect. A sense of detachment for a few days is potentially enough for some people to take stock and slow their racing heart rate. But for the more anxious, there is much more on offer. There are no group sessions, tree-hugging activities or finding yourself through art programmes here. This state-of-the-art medical facility handholds you through a 360-degree assessment of your wellbeing. The facilities are spanking new, with cardiologists, gynaecologists, physiotherapists, ophthalmologists and aesthetic dentists all on tap. Dr Harry König, who leads the squad, even offers pig-stem-cell rejuvenation therapies. Every treatment is administered by someone at the top of their respective game. It’s the Formula 1 of check-ups. A morning with Dr Ulf Pietzcker in his gigantic Starship Enterprise-esque office involves an all-encompassing schedule of examinations. Next come the alternative therapies to address stress and fatigue, and a general maintenance programme to work into your own routine back at home. But it’s not all clinical procedures and hard-edged hospital beds. There are bespoke Sisley facials, and massages and stretching sessions are prescribed as a necessity rather than just an indulgence, always with the same therapist for consistency. Even the most highly strung guests will be coerced into surrendering to the process and enjoying their recuperation. There is time to rest, but there’s also lots of activity in the form of yoga, kickboxing and mental training, which leaves you as energised and clear headed as a stay here does. This isn’t a spa that takes you apart before putting you back together, no tasteless broths, impatient nurses or ill-ﬁtting gowns – just pampering with purpose. INSIDER TIP See stunning contemporary art at the Frieder Burda Museum in Baden-Baden, a great place to lose yourself for an hour. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays.co. uk/condenast) offers a seven-night Classic Detox retreat from £2,930 per person full board, including ﬂights, transfers and all treatments and activities as per the programme. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Book before August 2017 to receive a £75 spa voucher.
PHOTOGRAPHS: RETO GUNTLI; ROBERTA VALERIO
With huge day beds around the inﬁnity pool and lush-green creepers tumbling over balconies, this world-class medi-spa looks like a mix of all-white Balearic beach club and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. And now there are 12 new private villas in the pipeline to add to the 92 slick suites. The very reason SHA exists is a tale of recovery. Founder Alfredo Bataller suffered from chronic digestive problems for 30 years and only found a cure when he turned to a symbiotic combination of macrobiotic nutrition and natural medicine. The root of the SHA philosophy is to blend the best expertise in these ﬁelds with top conventional medicine. So when you arrive a bit broken, the excellent team will know how to mend you. They listen to individual problems (extreme exhaustion, post-op recovery) and then prescribe a treatment plan spread across the huge range of therapies – the latest innovations in revitalising medicine (UV light phototherapy, for example), coupled with a bio-energy consultation to measure ‘the level of your cell batteries’. Getting the balance right between diet, exercise and stress is key for a long and healthy life, ‘the philosopher’s stone’, says Dr Vicente Mera, the full-ofbeans, 60-something anti-ageing specialist. Jump-starting the good habits right there and then, there are mind-and-body classes,
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At Sandals Resorts discover a completely unique mind body experience that transforms you - inside and out. Inspired by the beautiful traditions and majestic natural backdrops of the Caribbean, our signature Red Lane® Spa experiences are like nothing else on Earth. Take the time to let us envelop you in natural botanicals and you will feel renewed for a lifetime. Your journey begins with a Red Lane® Rejuvenation Specialist who is dedicated to creating an incomparable experience with a focus on connection, time and love. Whether it’s the perfect setting for your spa experience or your favourite tropically infused aroma, we will adapt our treatments^ to your personal preferences, all at the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Resorts. ^ At Cost
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VANA MALSI ESTATE UTTARAKHAND, INDIA IN BRIEF EMOTIONAL HEADSPACE ALONGSIDE FLUENT SERVICE
GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ BAD RAGAZ, SWITZERLAND IN BRIEF IMPRESSIVE, BROADLY FOCUSED CARE When only the best will do if you’re planning on having work done to your face, need physiotherapy or are recovering from an operation or trauma, super-smart Bad Ragaz should be high on your list of contenders. In part, Switzerland’s largest spa is outstanding simply because it’s Swiss. Since its currency was decoupled from the euro in January 2015, the country has become so expensive that only its most outstanding hotels, restaurants and spas are surviving. But Bad Ragaz had a head start in honing excellence. It’s been doing its thermal thing since 1840 when water from the nearby Tamina gorge was ﬁrst pumped in. That’s also when the older of its two hotels, the Grand Hotel Hof Ragaz, opened. The Grand Hotel Quellenhof was launched in 1869. Both draw a clientele of elderly guests, but, interestingly, an increasingly young crowd, too:
in the Bodhi Tree Room, where you can sit under a scrap-metal tree made by Indian artist Siraj Saxena. Food is inspired; there’s an Ayurvedic restaurant, and wherever you eat you’ll ﬁnd the most delicate and tempting puddings: homemade ice cream, hazelnut brioche, banana-and-ﬁg cake. Bedrooms are serene and ﬂooded with natural light. Come for perfect peace, and a layered approach of care that feels like being washed inside out so you are left radiating with something very essential. Vana is the highest-end hotel environment but also a true retreat. INSIDER TIP Venture out for a scenic dawn trek in the Mussoorie Hills, stopping for breakfast and chai tea at Gulab Singh’s farm. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a seven-night Personalised Wellness programme from £2,629 per person full board, including ﬂights, transfers, wellness consultations and daily spa treatments as per the programme.
the road from Zürich is packed on Friday evenings with high-ﬂying 20- and 30-somethings driving here for a recuperative weekend. As well as these two formal hotels there is a newer block of sleek, minimalist spa suites. Here the ﬂoor-to-ceiling windows open onto a terrace and look across to the mountains, the large, lightﬁlled bathrooms have their own steam shower and sauna cabin, and the bed even does complicated gyrations if you can work out the controls. So far, so swish. Yet the prime attraction is the stateof-the-art health centre. Staffed by more than 70 doctors and therapists skilled in everything from dermatology and internal medicine to vein treatments and sports-injury rehab, it has its own operating theatre and 17 hospital-grade Clinic Bad Ragaz recovery suites where guests get 24-hour medical care as well as the run of the menus at the seven restaurants. The 12,800-squaremetre spa is so enormous you can get lost in it. But do ﬁnd your
STAFFED BY MORE THAN 70 DOCTORS AND THERAPISTS, THE HEALTH CENTRE HAS ITS OWN OPERATING THEATRE way to one of the treatment rooms for a massage from Kosovan Besnik Hoti, who extolls the beneﬁts of regular reﬂexology to tune up your system. The adjoining Tamina Therme public pool and spa complex is also spectacular. It can get crowded, so book an early-morning, mind-clearing haki treatment and have the entire place to yourself. And don’t miss out on scheduling a consultation with leading dermatologist Dr Brigitte Bollinger for laser sessions on the skin around your eyes and neck – you could leave looking a lot better than when you arrived. INSIDER TIP Get an inexpensive taste of the resort by staying at the nearby three-star Hotel Schloss Wartenstein, which was recently bought by Bad Ragaz. BOOK IT Spa suites from £690, including breakfast (+41 81 303 3030; resortragaz.ch)
22 Spa Guide March 2017
PHOTOGRAPH: CHRIS CALDICOTT
Hidden in lush forests near Dehradun in the foothills of the Himalayas, Vana stands proud as India’s most cutting-edge and comprehensive retreat for those in search of solutions. Founded by Veer Singh, who trained as an organic farmer in Spain before returning to the family fold, it’s an outstanding design hotel with spiritual luxury woven into its core. Here is a thrilling offering: clean-lined, ultra-modern, progressively sharp. Upon arrival each guest is given a comprehensive personal consultation with one of the devoted doctors and asked exactly what they eat and drink on a daily basis and how they relax (most of the touchstones at Vana are simple, but they can provoke real change). Your doctor will then devise a treatment plan carefully calibrated to restore balance, freshness and optimism of spirit. There are a vast array of spa rooms to dip into – located in separate wings around the estate – with treatments ranging from intense panchakarma cleansing to moxibustion and lymphatic drainage, as well as one of the best signature massages anywhere, given by two therapists for at least two hours. Also exceptional is a chi nei tsang session with Azusa Segawa, a deep, detoxifying abdominal massage that works to untangle emotional blockages. What is clever is that, like the design of Vana itself, all seven forms of treatment (Ayurveda, Tibetan healing, Traditional Chinese Medicine, yoga, fitness, water therapy and more conventional spa offerings) work together seamlessly. There are also optional body-posture and meditation classes twice daily, and don’t miss beautiful om-chanting sessions
T RAVELLER PROM OT ION
Clockwise from top image: views of the Aegean; massage by the sea; the hotel’s pool and Deluxe Suite Bedroom
Want to feel like a goddess? Then there is only one place to head: the truly divine Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso Spa, on the Athenian riviera hen it comes to healing body and mind, few take it more seriously than the Greeks. This, after all, is a country that has honed and perfected its techniques for over 2,000 years. And when it comes to ensuring it is a heavenly experience (also important), not only does Greece boast an extraordinary natural bounty – sun, sea, saltwater, natural herbs and mineral hot springs – it also has at least six gods and goddesses dedicated to
their own special area of ancient healing. So you can have absolute faith you are in the best of hands. And there are none better in Greece than those of the in-house experts at the Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso, Athens. Step inside the 3,500sqm Thalassotherapy Centre and Spa – a pillared temple to Grecian indulgence – where you are guaranteed to feel elevated to ethereal heights. This new Wellness Retreat (remarkably the only one in Athens) ensures the best course of treatment is devised for your individual needs by the team of dedicated therapists, nutritionists and medics. Perhaps you could be prescribed a dip in the biggest Thalassotherapy pool in Greece, with 16 different areas in which to unwind; a stint in the stateof-the-art ﬁtness centre, with the very latest in cardiovascular technology; yoga sessions against a backdrop
of the Aegean Sea; a Thalgo or St Barth treatment utilising rich sea minerals and algae, or an international treatment from Polynesia, Egypt, Asia and India. Whatever is recommended for you, it is guaranteed to be a heaven-sent experience. With ongoing wellness central to the resort’s philosophy, your healing treatment continues throughout your stay at this member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Guest rooms are beautifully calm and contemporary, and all come with spectacular sea views. Light and airy restaurants offer a wealth of nutritional options, served up with more glorious views. The Divani Apollon Palace boasts its own slice of private sands on the prestigious Athenian Riviera. And with Athens itself just 25 minutes away, it is easy to spend the day exploring the ancient City of the Gods, before returning to your modern-day Spa of the Goddesses. For further details and reservations, visit divaniapollonhotel.com
THIS FEELING INSIDE THE INDIVIDUAL A MAN WHOSE LIFE-LONG WEIGHT ISSUES HAVE MADE HIM DEFENSIVE AND CYNICAL – AND WHO HAS NEVER EVEN ATTENDED A YOGA CLASS BEFORE
I am slick with medicated oil, wearing with the Ayurvedic doctor where I only a paper pouch as two men pray, am diagnosed as a hot person – irrithen begin to vigorously squelch and table, acidic, sleepless, with a slow THE REMEDY pummel me on a leatherette day bed. metabolism and low blood pressure, A NO-HOLDS-BARRED STARVATION I am starting to giggle, and they start prone to diabetes, fatigue, and with DETOX AT SOUKYA IN INDIA, WITH giggling too. I am in Bangalore, it is bipolar leanings. The cure? Strip, day two of seven, and I am pretty paper pants, dust down with ashes, HARDCORE CLEANSES THAT INVOLVE sure this is not your average spa. It pour on hot oil, smash herbals in, SNORTING PETROL AND AN OIL ENEMA also happens that I am not a natural rub vigorously. Two hours later I spa man. To be honest, it has taken am basted and wasted. It has been some doing just to take my clothes off. I have always been both strenuous and strange. pretty fat and inevitably I’ve developed mechanisms to deal I reluctantly get up at 6am for my ﬁrst-ever yoga class. with it, such as self-disparagement. Then, after years of just Incredibly, I enjoy it. I am then seen by the naturopathy doctor, who puts me on a fasting diet as part of the detox. I not trying to be thinner, I woke up in January and decided steel myself and go for her prescribed initial colonic. I would try, and to my amazement, I carried on trying. It is November now, and three of the four excess stone are gone, Heartened by my yogic triumph, I am now resolved to do but the cynicism about my body and my control of it lingers. everything on offer. This is further helped by then meeting So, as the Christmas glut heaves into view, I realise I need the charismatic Dr Mathai. Across a large desk he tells me to deal with my body and my attitude to it or face a reversal. that my neck, shoulders and posture are awful and alters my Of all places, India is surely the least cynical. I love its treatment programme to take in a few elements of panchachaos, gentleness and kind humour – and I speak as someone karma. So my days settle into a rhythm of yoga; a liquid who has been mugged here. So, arriving at Soukya at dawn, breakfast; intense Ayurvedic oil therapy, liver packs, a water leaving behind the sleepy roadside chai sellers selling enema; then soup and buttermilk for lunch. Panchakarma morning tea, I suspect I am also leaving the India I know therapies come next: the ﬁrst is for my sinus (snorting chiland love. Soukya looks immaculate, a modern Mogul garden lies and petrol followed by a lot of spitting); the second is of psychotropical colour comprising the campus of an oil enema, packed with panchakarmic medicine; another Dr Mathai’s International Holistic Health Centre. Out of liver pack, an hour of reﬂexology and lastly meditative yoga, the exotic trees and ﬂowers, the yoga space, treatment pavilafter which I quick-step back to the room to ‘relax’ until ions, dining rooms and guest bungalows emerge. Gardens liquid dinner and bed. I am surprising myself. The enemas for medicinal plants and vegetables, sheds with mooing cattle, are mortifying but I can cope. Even hanging out in the paper medicine-production facilities, water storage, solar panels pouch is losing some of its alarm. The fasting is manageable, and that all-important oil-slick production area, make the although I do feel down in the evenings, and have stupid, estate almost self-sufﬁcient. unsettling dreams about food. But I start to go on walks, pausing to look at ﬂowers and birds. I get to day seven and Soukya runs a full range of holistic health provision, but its backbone is a combination of Ayurveda, naturopathy, I weigh 10 pounds less than when I arrived. And I’m ﬁtter, yoga and intensive panchakarma, a lengthy detoxifying and my yogic breathing feels deeper and my posture is stronger. cleansing programme. I am here for seven days, so the threeWhen it’s time to leave, my two therapists/brethren wave week hardcore course is not possible. It seems I have escaped me off with a supply of Ayurvedic medicine for my metabothe forced vomiting. Soukya runs two streams of traditional lism, and a written plan for the next few months. therapies: preventative medical (that’s me), and therapies It turns out this place is very much what I like about India. for speciﬁc illnesses such as lung disease, back pain, addicIt is expert and even visionary, but remains touchingly tion or depression. I soon ﬁnd out from other guests the human. Particularly the therapists, who accompanied me all miracles that have been worked on them here, and on a week with their warm efﬁciency and care, have somewhat long-term basis too. I am both moved and impressed. unbundled my attitude to my body image. I have a sense of both achievement and positivity, and a fondness for this I am shown to a sparsely decorated but lovely bungalow place, and perhaps even for myself. Cynic? Me? with a private garden. I unpack, and then go to my session
BOOK IT HEALING HOLIDAYS (+44 20 7843 3592; HEALINGHOLIDAYS.CO.UK/CONDENAST) OFFERS SEVEN NIGHTS AT SOUKYA FROM £3,450 PER PERSON, INCLUDING FLIGHTS, TRANSFERS, MEALS, DIETARY ADVICE AND ALL TREATMENTS AND ACTIVITIES AS PER THE PROGRAMME. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY AYURVEDIC REJUVENATING TREATMENT 24 Spa Guide March 2017
T R AV E L L E R AD VERT ISEM EN T FEAT U RE
ayurveda resort sonnhof The Tyrol meets India at this wonderful, 30-room mountain retreat. A family-run sanctuary that specialises in European Ayurveda, this hidden gem is utterly unique. Based on the Ayurvedic pillars of nutrition, treatment and yoga, it then adapts them to suit western needs. The experience is totally immersive and treatments are more than skin deep, curing internal imbalances in the doshas. A full meditation and yoga programme forms part of every stay, along with the best oil massages and nutritious Ayurvedic cuisine. The Ayurveda programme range is comprehensive, including hardcore cleansing in the form of the Panchakarma Detox. Sonnhof is perfect for those wanting Ayurveda without the trek to India. Healing Holidays can arrange a three-night Ayurveda Taster from £859 per person sharing a standard room. This includes ﬂights, transfers, full board, all treatments and activities as per the Ayurveda Taster Package.
parkhotel igls There are no ‘off-the-shelf ’ treatments at Parkhotel Igls, pioneer of Modern Mayr Medicine and winner of ‘Most Effective Medi-Spa’ in our 2015 spa awards. We’re talking serious stuff. Mayr is the theory that modern syndromes often have their origin in the digestive system, with symptoms improved or even eliminated via diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. At Parkhotel Igls, Mayr is based on six fundamental principles (usually it’s four): sanitation, substitution, self-discovery, sport, security and schooling of the entire digestive system. First-timers should check out the Modern Mayr Swift Retreat, which includes a full health check-up, one full massage, four individually assigned therapeutic treatments, daily hydrotherapy treatments, Modern Mayr cuisine, group exercise, relaxation training, lifestyle management and mental group coaching. Healing Holidays can arrange a four-night Modern Mayr Swift Retreat from £1,345 per person sharing a double standard room including ﬂights and transfers.
three of a
For a short-haul pick-me-up, check out this trio of Austrian spas spa-hotel jagdhof In the pretty Tyrolean region of Neustift, Spa-Hotel Jagdhof is home to the super-sized, award-winning jSPA. We’re talking 3,000 square metres dedicated to you. This labyrinth of facilities features Vitality World: 20 different saunas, including a rustic Finnish sauna, baths and relaxation areas, tepidarium, herbal bath, cistern steam bath, laconium, amethyst steam grotto, saltwater inhalation grotto and Kneipp circuit. The relaxation area has waterbeds and a starry-sky ceiling. New to the spa are products from British skincare brand REN and the Spa Chalet, dedicated to relaxation. The hotel is run by two generations of the same family who employ uber-knowledgeable staff to ensure you’re in expert hands. Healing Holidays can arrange a four-night stay in a Burgstall superior double room from £1,399 per person sharing. This includes ﬂights, transfers, half board and use of the spa.
For further information call Healing Holidays on 020 7843 3592 or visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
DEEP RETREAT SWITCH OFF IN A TRULY IMMERSIVE AND NURTURING ZONE
AJA MALIBU CALIFORNIA, USA
IN BRIEF A SPIRITUAL NEWBIE THAT BLENDS PROFOUND WORKSHOPS WITH A DREAMY SETTING High in the hills above Malibu, on 23 acres that once belonged to Teddy Roosevelt, is mystic and certiﬁed raw-food chef Inannya Magick’s holistic retreat, where seven-night chakra-based programmes encourage guests to reconnect with themselves and nature. Food here is mostly raw: chia-seed pudding at breakfast; huge help-yourself salads and carrot spaghetti with yellow bell pepper and truffle cream for lunch, although on the ﬁnal day it’s liquids only. The ﬁrst four days begin with qigong – either after a hike along the Backbone Trail or on El Matador beach – followed by a workshop related to that day’s designated chakra. Some of these are pretty left-of-centre (chanting about water, for example), but the best are with herbalist Ali Mramor and, on throat-chakra day, sound therapy with classically trained musician Helane Anderson. Most afternoons are spent in the Egyptian-inspired spa, where traditional treatments such as excellent acupuncture with Michael Veros are combined with sound and crystal-light therapies, including the John of God machine. Named after its Brazilian psychic inventor and dubbed the spiritual X-ray, it has a strip of lights that match
the vibrational frequency of different chakra colours, which, while you listen to binaural beats, aim to balance your energy ﬁelds. It might all sound a bit bonkers, but for even the biggest sceptics there is a lot that makes sense. Evenings begin with ‘soup and share’ – questions designed to make you open up and think – before stories around an open ﬁre with a Guatemalan shaman. Aja was seven years in the making and you can see it in every carefully curated detail, from the incredible bio-dynamically planted gardens (one for each chakra) to the quotes engraved on reclaimed wood. On the last night, Magick reads out her favourites, including Lewis Carroll’s: ‘Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.’ Yes Aja is expensive, but after a week here you may have more of an answer. Just don’t be surprised if buried-deep emotional sore spots surface in the process. INSIDER TIP Request the secluded Yogini treehouse room; it has huge picture windows overlooking the purple crown chakra garden. BOOK IT A seven-night programme costs from £7,625 per person full board (+1 310 457 7024; aja.com).
RAAS DEVIGARH RAJASTHAN, INDIA
MOST months a baby spends in the womb. The Devi Blessings take you on TRANSFORMATIVE a journey through the chakras and combine ancient healing techPROGRAMME niques with wild-harvested ingredients of the upmost integrity,
IN BRIEF ALL-NATURAL RITUALS IN PALATIAL GROUNDS This is one of Rajasthan’s most beguiling places to stay, where new ownership has injected fresh spirit and polish into the proceedings and, most excitingly, a destination-spa get-up from organic British skincare brand Ila. Come for a week or as a mini add-on to a longer trip to India; either way, a stay here will move you. Not only is the hotel itself beauty manifest – an exquisite 18th-century palace with Marwari-horse murals, wooden swings swaying in courtyards and the sounds of ankle-bracelets jangling – but the Ila-Only spa is a refuge of gentle goodness. Here, Denise Leicester, founder of Ila, has designed a series of next-generation bespoke treatments known as the Devi Blessings, based on the Indian festival of Navratri: a nine-night period of self-reﬂection symbolising the nine
many of them sourced in India. Imagine Damascena rose oil, which contains 38 damask roses per drop, poured over your chest to help nurture peacefulness and awaken unconditional love. Or a body scrub of 200-million-year-old Himalayan salt mixed with warmed poppy seeds rubbed over your entire body to soothe internal vulnerabilities. These are treatments as ritualistic ceremonies: subtle om tuning forks, potent puriﬁcations using black-amber smoke and Bhutanese chants, crystal-bowl sound healing in the sacred frequency of omega 432 (which aligns us to the heartbeat of Mother Nature). Hauntingly evocative background music, steaming cups of fresh ginger tea and bowls of ﬂowers arranged like still-life paintings all add to the cocooning effect. Magnetic views of the surrounding Aravalli Hills – older than the Himalayas – pull you both inwards and outwards. The sleek, green-slate swimming pool is a lovely refresher. There’s a gym and hot tub, and the most gorgeous variety of places to eat, from the restaurant itself to private open-air rooftop soirées decorated with candles as far as the eye can see. Choose a three, ﬁve or nine-night Devi Blessings Journey and you can combine treatments with yoga, workouts that leave you feeling nimble and lose-yourself meditation sessions in secret nooks of the building. Explore nearby Delwara, which is known as the town of the gods, with its numerous Jain temples that look like something out of Indiana Jones, before savouring deep rest in the palace itself. Prepare to be carried into a graceful dimension. INSIDER TIP Visiting masters are in the mix for 2017, including retreats with intuitive English healer Fiona Arrigo, who offers wonderful workshops on feminine wisdom for modern times. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 5592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a ﬁve-night Devi Blessings Journey from £2,499 per person full board, including ﬂights and transfers.
CHABLE RESORT YUCATAN, MEXICO
IN BRIEF LATIN AMERICA’S COOLEST SPOT TO RELAX
PHOTOGRAPHS: ANA LUI; JESSICA SAMPLE
This place is quite something: a destination spa in 750 acres of steamy Mayan jungle, half an hour from the Yucatán state’s capital, Mérida. Ten years in the making, it’s a hotel of two halves: a stunning modern spa and painstakingly restored 19th-century hacienda. The original walls now form spaces in which to practise Ayurvedic yoga, walking meditation, qigong or t’ai chi. The grandeur of the main house has been pristinely maintained and rolling lawns frame the building, which includes a library, bar, wine cellar and plenty of corners to kick back in while sipping one of the aged local spirits (Chablé has the world’s largest private tequila collection). It’s not all
TEN YEARS IN THE MAKING, IT’S A HOTEL OF TWO HALVES: A STUNNING MODERN SPA AND PAINSTAKINGLY RESORTED HACIENDA hedonism and headaches though. This is one of the only spas in the world with its own cenote – a natural limestone swimming hole celebrated by Mayans as the entrance into the sacred underworld. Hypnotic three-hour rituals blend traditional Mayan therapies with Eastern healing methods plus a healthy dose of modern technology (bespoke ﬂotarium; hi-tech gym). If you want to embark on a hardcore detox programme or seek profound transformation, there are hand-picked therapists offering every possible treatment, such as chakra therapy, reiki, Mayan rebirth massages, sound cleansing, three different types of temazcal – a pre-Hispanic sweat-lodge – and sessions with local spiritual guides. But if your idea of wellbeing
is staying horizontal by the spa’s pool, or eating and drinking extremely well, that’s covered too. The consulting chef is Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil in Mexico City (currently number 12 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list), and his right-hand man, Luis Ronzon, is in charge of all three restaurants. As well as using the hotel’s own organic vegetables and herbs, Ronzon has sourced the best ingredients from around Mexico and keeps menus light and inventive (carpaccio of grilled mamey fruit and avocado; venison tartare with bitter orange and habanero-chilli vinaigrette). Bed down in one of the 40 villas, each with its own pool, hammock and outdoor shower. Just down the road is the village of Chocholá, where you can pick up delicious honey, and Mérida, with its wonderful museums and restaurants, should deﬁnitely not be missed. INSIDER TIP Fireﬂies take over the lawn leading to the guest rooms at dusk during summer months. It’s the perfect spot for meditation. BOOK IT From about £620 per person per night, including breakfast and activities (+52 55 4161 4262; chableresort.com). March 2017 Spa Guide 29
DEEP RETREAT NEW
SAN LUIS SOUTH TYROL, ITALY
IN BRIEF FAMILY-RUN ALPINE IDYLL FOR EPIC UNWINDING
THERE’S A SUPERLATIVE POOL AND SHOW-STOPPING HOT TUB SUNKEN INTO THE JETTY THAT JUTS OUT INTO THE LAKE with a superlative indoor/outdoor heated pool and a show-stopping hot tub sunken into the jetty that juts out into the lake. And, of course, the spa: a gym, steam room, sauna and six simple, elegant treatment rooms, where the emphasis is on anti-ageing facials and a packed menu of body therapies from the super-soothing oil massage to the energising full-body treatment, which incorporates reﬂexology to great effect. High up on the remote Avelengo plateau, the property – where full board is standard – might feel a little too secluded were Arturo Spicocchi’s daily-changing menu not easily equal to the task (he’s worked at Michelin-starred La Stüa de Michil at Hotel La Perla just over the mountains). As beﬁtting the region’s Italo-Austrian identity, he serves up everything from substantial South Tyrolean dishes, such as smoked pork, sauerkraut and dumplings for those refuelling after a day of hiking, to light Mediterranean plates of turbot with asparagus and coconut-potato foam, using ingredients grown in the hotel’s fertile gardens. Whether you’re lingering over breakfast in your room, lying lazily by the pool, or drifting off on your massage bed, this a place outside of time. INSIDER TIP Glorious in summer, the San Luis is a winter wonderland too, with roaring ﬁres by the pool and ice-skating on the frozen lake. BOOK IT From about £160 per person full board (+39 0473 279570; sanluis-hotel.com). For more information on trips to South Tyrol, visit suedtirol.info.
30 Spa Guide March 2017
COMO SHAMBHALA ESTATE BALI, INDONESIA IN BRIEF THE ISLAND’S POWERHOUSE SPA IS STILL ON TOP The setting – a ﬁercely private estate in jungle clearings, high above the rainforest-shrouded river outside Ubud – is not only spectacular, but also deeply therapeutic. And what the COMO group has created is a holistic sanctuary of the highest order: top-notch facilities, ahead-of-the-curve treatments, phenomenal practitioners and 30 rooms served by almost 380 staff. Come here for complete selfrestoration and utter tranquillity – apart from a relentless chorus of cicadas – and you won’t be disappointed. Of course, it isn’t a regimented boot camp, nor somewhere that offers cookie-cutter quick ﬁxes; instead, it focuses on realistic healing and positive changes. The six wellness programmes – stress management, cleanse, be active, rejuvenation, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda – run from three to seven nights, though there are also longer stays if you can stretch to it. A team of resident health experts includes an exceptional Ayurvedic doctor, nutritionist and TCM consultant, as well as the ﬁnest instructors in yoga, Pilates and qigong. Expect a gentle results-driven approach: you can still drink coffee and indulge in a glass of wine, as it’s all about moderation without forsaking too much comfort – a fact not lost on the undisclosed celebrities who check in here. Itineraries match up your goals with your current health status: a combination of Asian-based therapies, bodywork, diet and treatments such as pranayama meditation and Japanese-style acupuncture run in tandem with workouts in the jungle gym and guided estate walks. A personal assistant assigned to each guest co-ordinates a surprisingly busy schedule. But there is still time to pause. At lunchtime, head to the 150-yearold Javanese restaurant, high up in the hills, for magical views of the valley. Everything on your plate is outrageously healthy, balancing raw and vegan foods, with dishes inspired by Italy and more remote Indonesian islands. The food is an integral part of this holistic education, and this immersive process is an education, have no doubt. You’ll leave armed with homework: post-treatment notes, wellness road maps to help maintain the newly acquired lifestyle habits back in the real world, and a long-term spring in your step. INSIDER TIP Half-board rates incorporate wellness sessions and complimentary activities for a more ﬂexible introduction (you can join a programme afterwards). Whatever option, hole up here for as long as your budget permits, maximising the on-hand expertise and slow diffusion into the uplifting surroundings. BOOK IT Red Savannah (+1242 787800; redsavannah.com) offers a one-week stay from £5,425 per person full board, including treatments, ﬂights and transfers.
PHOTOGRAPHS: GUILLAUME DE LAUBIER; STEFANO SCATA
None of the clocks seem to work at San Luis. The one in reception and the one by the pool are both antiques – silent and unmoving. It’s not intentional. The Parisian antique dealer who sold them apparently swore blind they were functioning. But it seems right that they’re stilled. Time feels stretched here, slowed down, immaterial. This serenity comes from the setting – the stunning backdrop of the Italian Alps, the ring of the pine-fresh air. But also from the owners, the super-hospitable Meister family. They don’t rush things. Their ﬁrst hotel, the Irma in nearby Merano, had been going for almost a century before the San Luis welcomed its inaugural guest just over a year ago. An opening that was itself the culmination of a decade of unhurried endeavour, not least sourcing the 28,000 square metres of antique wood needed for the stunning chalets that circle the lake, and the treehouses up in the forest. The careful design of similarly considered interiors is overseen by family matriarch Ilse Meister and her daughter Claudia – all Belgian linen and contemporary, handmade furniture. Given that each chalet has its own sauna, you would be forgiven for hunkering down were the communal spaces not so lovely. There is a sophisticated clubhouse
T RAVELLER AD VERT ISEM EN T FEAT U RE
Clockwise from above: Lake Altaussee; Vivamayr Altaussee; relaxing at Vivamayr Maria Wörth; Vivamayr reception; a detox breakfast
ivamayr Maria Wörth and Vivamayr Altaussee are for those serious about a total system reboot rather than pampered spa-goers. These are medical spas focused on detoxiﬁcation, and they’re not afraid to admit it. On arrival, there’s a no holds barred medical consultation with an assigned doctor who will create a unique treatment and diet programme. You will then be met every day to check on progress and receive an abdominal massage. Both clinics specialise in Modern Mayr Medicine, a combination of rest, strict cleansing, re-education of eating habits and holistic healing treatments. This is an MOT like no other. There are rules: more chewing than you ever knew you were capable of; no raw food after 4pm; water by the litre and meal sizes that shrink as the day goes on. It may not be for the weak-willed but it is deﬁnitely worth every gulp of Epsom salts.
Vivamayr Maria Wörth is the original Vivamayr location. Situated on the shores of Lake Wörth, the setting whispers R&R. Light, bright and white, the recently revamped medical centre has cleansing written all over it and now features ultra-modern rooms, a high-spec lab and new colonic hydrotherapy and hyperthermia rooms. There are also wonderful walks, direct access to the lake for revitalizing summer plunges and excellent stretching classes. Alternatively, check into the newbie sister, Vivamayr Altaussee, a chalet-style hotel in the Austrian Alps. Comfortable and cocooning, it has quickly become one of the world’s leading medical detoxiﬁcation centres. Its wonderful alpine location is reﬂected in signature
TOP TIP The Mayr cure can be tough, so stay off caffeine and alcohol in the run-up to ease you into the detox process.
Press pause on your life with a strict detox break at one of Austria’s medically minded Vivamayr properties therapies such as Watsu (Water Shiatsu) and Micro Immune that use the healing power of mountain air and salt from the nearby Glauber spring. All becomes clear when immersed in the Mayr world.
Healing Holidays can arrange a seven-night Basic Medical Programme at Vivamayr Maria Wörth from £2,199 per person, sharing a Double Comfort room. This includes ﬂights, transfers, full board, medical consultations and spa treatments. There is also a seven-night Detox Retreat at Vivamayr Altaussee from £2,025 per person, sharing a Mountain View room. This includes ﬂights, transfers, full board, all treatments and activities as per the basic medical programme.
To book, contact Healing Holidays on 020 7843 3592 or visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
SANARA TULUM, MEXICO IN BRIEF HIP HEALING FOR A CLUED-UP CROWD Since opening in 2014, Sanará has fast become the Tulum insider’s holistic hangout. This smart hideaway is British co-owners Charlie Stuart Gay and Daniella Hunter’s eco-chic vision for sustainable healthy living. There are no timetables here (apart from yoga three times per day and any spa treatments you book), so feel free to wander, swim and eat. Sanará’s café-restaurant, The Real Coconut, is Hunter’s baby, inspired by her own journey to heal herself from the life-threatening asthma she suffered as a child, and is grain-, gluten-, dairy- and reﬁned-sugar-free to improve digestive health. Detoxers, vegans and meat-eaters are all incredibly well fed (caramelised beetroot with avocado and seafood; organic eggs on paleo plantain muffins drizzled with dairy-free hollandaise). It takes at least a week to work through the drinks menu, from warm cacao milk to gut-healing chicken-bone broth. Even non-yogis will eventually want to brush the sand off their feet and join classes at the glass-walled studio, as much for the jaw-dropping ocean view as the great selection of styles. Warrior-woman-like instructor Alessandra Montana swapped a fashion career in Italy for barefoot life in Tulum and now runs Sanará’s eclectic programme. Her renowned sound-healing sessions meld live music and gongs with precision vinyasa ﬂow. She also brings in the area’s best Iyengar and hatha teachers, such as Blanca Azucena who, as well as directing spot-on alignment, encourages you to let go, expand and breathe into your body, opening up to the more elemental depths of yoga we often miss in physically orientated urban practices. At the wellness
SANTANI KANDY, SRI LANKA
IN BRIEF JUNGLE ESCAPE HIGH UP IN THE HILLS Set among 48 acres of tea plantations and lush vegetation including every fruit tree imaginable (mango, avocado, guava and mandarin), this place is about getting in touch with your inner self. Founded by Sri Lankan Vickum Nawagamuwage, who was educated at Harvard before being snapped up by Deloitte, Santani is the hardcore Ayurvedic big hitter that Sri Lanka really needed. Twenty architecturally edgy villas slotted seamlessly into the landscape sit upon exposed steel pillars with naturally ﬁnished cement walls and timber ﬂooring. It’s all very simple, almost stark, and inspired by the country’s Buddhist meditation caves. Best of all is the view, maxed out by floor-to-ceiling windows, of the spectacular Knuckles mountain range. Fresh breezes replace air-conditioning and there’s no Wi-Fi (don’t panic, a modem can be delivered to your room). Head to the
centre, there’s no spa pomp and ceremony in the form of robes and slippers. Treatments are all bespoke. A reﬂexology and sobada session with local Mayan healer Leo is a deeply shifting experience. Initially learning from his father, Leo has studied Eastern and Western therapies, integrating it into his one-of-a-kind, top-to-toe massage. It’s a blissful release that induces deep sleep – luckily it’s less than ﬁve minutes back to the minimal beach suites. Whether you’re in tune with your chakras, able to stand on your head or not, you’ll ﬁnd a path here that suits. This gentle take on a retreat is surprisingly effective. INSIDER TIP Head to the yoga studio at dawn when no-one is around. Slide open all the doors (you may need to ask for the key at reception) sit silently as the sun rises and fall into a natural meditation. Tulum was once known as Zama, which means ‘place of dawn’. It’s easy to see why when experiencing the full beauty of it. BOOK IT Doubles from about £350 per night (+1 310 933 6408; sanaratulum.com).
spa, tucked into the hillside, and let the switching-off continue. Everything is covered: weight loss, anti-ageing, joint pain, exhaustion, trauma and depression. Following an assessment by Dr Sreekanth to determine your dosha, gear up for a tailored programme. The fullbody massage, Choorna Swedana, and the tension-alleviating Udwarthanam are deliciously soothing, but don’t think you get away that easily – Sneha Vasti, an oil enema, and the nasal-cleansing treatment, Nasyam, are also on the agenda (ask for Beenitha, who calms nerves in seconds). There’s also a thermal-salt bath that is excellent for skin conditions. Yoga ticks all the boxes: Gillian has every type up her sleeve, teaching ashtanga, restorative and yin yoga. The pavilion is ideal for meditation, but ask to have a session beside the sparkling waters of the Hulu Ganga, a half-hour walk from the retreat. Thanks to executive chef Wajira Gamage, a Relais & Château
SET AMONG ACRES OF LUSH VEGETATION, THIS IS THE HARDCORE AYURVEDIC BIG HITTER THAT SRI LANKA REALLY NEEDED veteran who spent 16 years in France, there’s no deprivation when it comes to the dosha-speciﬁc menus – just super-fresh, healthy food made with seasonal produce from the local farm. When it’s time to go home, you will be sleek and sparkly-eyed with spirits soaring. Santani’s aim is to restore balance, and with the help of the charming staff, it’s achieved with aplomb. Excitingly, plans for a European outpost are in the offing. INSIDER TIP It’s a long drive from the airport, so get the seaplane from Colombo to Kandy and enjoy a thrilling view of the Hill Country, plus the odd elephant, before landing on Mahaweli Ganga river. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a seven-night yoga programme from £2,799 per person full board, including flights and activities. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Seven nights for the price of six plus complimentary transfers for stays booked by end of April 2017.
32 Spa Guide March 2017
T RAVELLER PROM OT ION
Anne Semonin brings a whole lot of cool to skincare treatments with its unique Cryotherapies – the latest in a pioneering range ORYHGE\EHDXW\D¿FLRQDGRVDOORYHUWKHZRUOG f you walk in the footsteps of Grace Kelly and Catherine Deneuve, you walk in the footsteps of beauty royalty. And if you put yourself in the hands of their favoured beauty therapist, you can expect to feel like royalty yourself.
For over 30 years Anne Semonin has been creating custom-made skincare guaranteed to restore radiance, using secret plant and marine extracts, natural essential oils and trace elements for results-driven products. Based on the belief that every individual’s skin is unique and that it continues to evolve daily, Anne Semonin pioneered a made-to-measure beauty concept that was applied to treatments and home skincare regimes for clients at the spectacular L’Atelier de Beauté in Rue des Petits Champs, Paris. Today Anne Semonin treatments are also available in over 200 luxury hotel spas around the world, from Lucknam Park and Cliveden in the UK to Huvafen Fushi and Niyama in the Maldives and, most recently, Four Seasons in Egypt and Mauritius. Not content to rest on its laurels however, Anne Semonin continues to break international boundaries with extraordinary cryotherapy treatments based on using low temperatures on all parts of the body. Take the Cryo Time Freeze facial. Think immediate toning, radiance and brightness, thanks to the drainage of damaged cells and toxins; smoother, tighter skin and rapid absorption of skincare products, such as the agedefying Anne Semonin Super Active Serum, reinforcing the skin’s ﬁrmness at a cellular level. This is
Clockwise from top: Cryo Massage Balls used in the Cryo-Lipoliss Body Treatment; Lipoliss Anti-Cellulite Gel, £60, and Firming Body Serum, £50; Express Radiance Ice Cubes, £50; Super Active Serum, £119. All by Anne Semonin
complemented by a neurocosmetic containing wild indigo to stimulate the release of b-endorphins. The combined result? An extraordinary sense of wellbeing, inside and out. Alternatively, say au revoir to dimpling with the new three-phase Cryo-Lipoliss Body Treatment: the ultimate anti-cellulite, ﬁrming and toning cure. First comes the ultra-cold treatment, designed to rev up blood circulation and boost the immune system; then the detox massage, using a unique complex of brown and red algae; and ﬁnally a ﬁrming body mask application for problematic areas. Skin is refreshed, skin tone is visibly improved, and skin contours look ﬁrmer and more even after just one treatment. Post treatment, the Lipoliss Firming Body Serum and Anti-Cellulite Gel ensure results are maintained at home. A royal experience indeed. Anne Semonin products are available at Harrods and selected spas across the world. Visit annesemonin.com
HUNGER GAMES THE INDIVIDUAL AN UNHAPPY, STUCK-IN-A-RUT TWENTYSOMETHING WITH SERIOUS SUGAR CRAVINGS AND MOOD SWINGS, WHO IS INCREASINGLY DEPRESSED
I had always been what you might your knife and fork between mouthcall skinny, but in the past few years fuls and chew until your food is pulp. I’ve harboured a secret: a stubborn Just outside Innsbruck, Parkhotel THE REMEDY ring of fat around my belly, hidden Igls is one of the friendlier places to THE FEARED AND REVERED MAYR CURE, masterfully under A-line clothing. undertake the Mayr cure. ‘Your left A WEEK OF FLUSHING OUT THE DIGESTIVE But my skin had been getting proshoulder is still higher than your right gressively worse and my mood lower – too much gas in your torso,’ Dr SYSTEM AT PARKHOTEL IGLS, THE MOST and lower, so when I looked in the Gardner tells me as soon as I walk COMFORTING MEDI-CLINIC IN AUSTRIA mirror I barely recognised myself. I into his consultation room. I’m only was swinging between extremes, from here for a week (most guests are not stufﬁng my face with anything edible to panicking over what only regulars but are in for two or three weeks), so I am to order in restaurants. All I thought about was what I was given blood tests, weighed and measured. But candida testing going to eat next. None of my friends took this seriously takes two weeks. I’m prescribed the Stage Four anti-fungal because I was still relatively small, but two stone heavier diet as a precaution, so yeast and sugar are out, rock-rose than my ‘normal’ weight of seven stone. I felt out of control tea is in. The diet includes enough protein to preserve muscle and ultimately miserable. while losing fat. Yes, there are some guests merrily tucking Then, Dr Peter Gartner, the Mayr-method practitioner into puddings on Stage Eight but there are also some who at the Parkhotel Igls in Austria, changed my life during a eat soup three times a day. Every morsel is exquisite, from 30-minute consultation in London. He poked and tapped juicy Stubai chicken to velvety courgette velouté. my stomach like a judge in court. The space just below my Chewing is paramount and drinking water is forbidden ribs sounded hollow – full of air, he said. He asked me half an hour before and after meals as it dilutes saliva and questions about my diet and bowel movements (normal digestive juices. When you think about it, all the elements until I travel – now two magnesium tablets at bedtime works here make sense. Everyone complains about taking the bitter a dream when I’m on a trip) and suspected an overgrowth water (Epsom salts), which ﬂushes everything through three of candida (an intestinal fungus which feeds on sugar, to four times a day with little warning. But for me, mealtimes creating intense cravings). I had all the symptoms: extreme are uncomfortable. Phones are not allowed in the restaurant tiredness, bloating, sugar longings. Candida overgrowth is which, as a solo traveller, led me to stare into space to avoid quite common and can be caused by prolonged use of gazing at others. And that’s when I realise the cure could be antibiotics that kills good bacteria (I had been on acne healing my mind, too. I have time to reﬂect on my day as medication for two years before this) and by stress. It was well as properly taste every ﬂavour. all starting to make sense. I spend the mornings wobbling about on a waterbed, Dr Gartner’s advice was to follow the principles of the wrapped up in towels with a warm compress on my liver Modern Mayr method until I was able to check into before prancing in a pool of ice-cold water (the zingy Kneipp Parkhotel Igls and undertake the cure with his supervision. treatment for improving circulation). There’s always someThat was two years ago and for three months I didn’t touch thing to do: Nordic walking, yoga, Pilates, aqua running, reﬁned sugar and coffee (too acidic); I dropped a stone in strength training, lectures. But the odd gentle stroll with Dr weight, my skin cleared, and I was a much calmer, less Gartner through the village is all that interrupts my schedule up-and-down person to be around. And then Christmas of detoxifying massages and topping up on vitamin D in the and all the sticky, marzipan-coated temptation came and I gardens. After just three days here I am visibly slimmer, and by the end of the week my epigastric region (a triangle shape found myself back in a rut. just under the chest) has shrunk by an enormous 15 degrees. Dr FX Mayr’s original diet is a bit drab: spelt bread roll after spelt bread roll after spelt bread roll. Modern Mayr My heart rate has dropped eight beats per minute and I’m medicine focuses on the digestive tract: we eat too much, bouncing with energy. I’ve lost four centimetres around my too fast, too late in the evenings – no raw after four is one middle and I’m over two pounds lighter, although it feels much more. A follow-up call with Dr Gartner later conﬁrms of the golden rules. Now the roll is simply used as a tool to that I don’t have abnormal levels of candida after all. But teach you how to chew properly, something we’ve all been doing wrong without even realising. The trick is to put down actually, that seems beside the point now.
BOOK IT HEALING HOLIDAYS (+44 20 7843 3592; HEALINGHOLIDAYS.CO.UK/CONDENAST) OFFERS A FOUR-NIGHT MODERN MAYR SWIFT RETREAT AT PARKHOTEL IGLS, INNSBRUCK, FROM £1,345 PER PERSON INCLUDING FLIGHTS, TRANSFERS AND ALL TREATMENTS, EXAMINATIONS, LECTURES AND CLASSES PER THE MODERN MAYR SWIFT PROGRAMME 34 Spa Guide March 2017
FAR-FLUNG THRILLERS GO THE DISTANCE FOR A MOOD-BOOSTING, LIFE-AFFIRMING BLAST OF SUN
INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT DANANG, VIETNAM
PHOTOGRAPH: MARTIN WESTLAKE
IN BRIEF SOOTHE STRESSED-OUT MINDS AND BODIES WITHOUT THE DEPRIVATION FACTOR lagoon, to ﬁnd an extensive list of treatments which follow a selecSet amid the hills of the Son Tra Peninsula, surrounded by lush tion of scrubbing, body-working, face-cleansing and foot-rubbing jungle and ancient temples, Danang is Vietnam’s riviera. And the journeys, from the Oriental Rose (with co-enzyme Q10 and antioxiInterContinental is its standout hotel, a resplendent ﬁxture with dants for anti-ageing) to the Eurasians (with lemongrass plenty of imposing clout. Designed by Thailand-based architect and lavender to reduces stress and relieve muscle tension). The Bill Bensley (see Bangkok’s stunning Siam hotel and Krabi’s Journey of the Oriental Hammam takes place in a Turkish-style, otherworldly Phulay Bay), it’s an extraordinary and spirited feat of marble-clad room built with stone from the surrounding mounbuilding, inspired by local villages, with a hint of French colonialtains and is an immersive experience of skin buffing and ism, tumbling down a hillside so steep there’s a funicular railway to deep rinsing. There is also the expected roster of rigorous yet get you from top to bottom. Come here and do nothing else but highly beneﬁcial massages to destress and unknot even the most walk from the shoreline to the main reception and back again a few rigid of backs, and the ultimate in mani-pedi stakes – Bastien times and you’ll leave with buns of steel. But you can also just hole Gonzalez’s podiatrist-driven treatments. This is just the sort of up and drink in the scenery. Bedrooms have uninterrupted views place where lotus-eaters can easily throw themselves into deliof the tempestuous sky and the milky sea far below. All of them cious self-imposed isolation. But are vast, light-ﬁlled and smart, with the more adventurous can float monochrome fabrics and bathDANANG IS VIETNAM’S RIVIERA. AND THIS (via that steep train-ride) from rooms with carved stone tubs IS ITS STANDOUT HOTEL, A RESPLENDENT immaculate lap pools to daily yoga almost big enough to swim in. classes, from a secluded stretch of Most private are the spa villas, FIXTURE WITH PLENTY OF IMPOSING CLOUT beach to the day beds at the Long tucked away beside a luscious Bar or the private dining booths at Citron restaurant, which hover lagoon with just the odd monkey peering in for company. With low more than 100 metres above the waves. muted lighting and panels of foot-massaging rounded ﬂoorboards, INSIDER TIP Pack a few glamorous clothes if you plan to head to plus their own hot tub, steam room, dry sauna and outdoor shower, La Maison 1888 for French dining with a Vietnamese twist by these villas encourage proper switching off. And there are treataward-winning chef Pierre Gagnaire. Fellow guests will be wellment rooms attached so you can ﬂop straight onto your bed in that heeled, ultra-chic South Korean, Japanese and Singaporeans post-kneading dazy haze. Before you ring for your therapist have a seeking a little R&R from the fast-paced Asian cities. Mixology consultation, where you ﬁll in a detailed questionnaire to BOOK IT Doubles from about £315, including breakfast (+84 511 identify what scents you prefer so they can create an individual oil 393 8888; danang.intercontinental.com). for you. Or venture across to the Harnn Heritage spa, also on the March 2017 Spa Guide 37
SAXON HOTEL JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA IN BRIEF AFRICA’S TOP CITY HIDEAWAY UPS ITS GAME AGAIN More of a stately home than a hotel, the Saxon has to be the ultimate soft landing in South Africa for anyone spilling off the 11-hour flight from the UK. It’s hard to believe that Johannesburg’s energetic epicentre is minutes away. Once inside the property’s immensely high walls, there are 10 acres of pristinely landscaped gardens to explore, swimming pools to cool off in, and several bars and restaurants, including the intimately scaled Luke Dale-Roberts at the Saxon, which started as a wildly successful pop-up and has been a permanent ﬁxture in the hotel since mid-2016. It’s not his award-winning Cape Town restaurant the Test Kitchen, but it sure comes a close second. Several years ago, the hotel doubled its size from 24 to 53 suites, but it remains reassuringly private and dis-
THE ORIGINAL SPA WAS ALREADY A STOP-OFF DESTINATION BUT HAS NOW BEEN EXTENDED AND UPGRADED creet. The bold contemporary African interiors by Stephen Falcke may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s difficult not to be impressed by the sheer scale of the place, the art collection (don’t miss the Nelson Mandela prints), and the fact that almost every piece of furniture was crafted from South African materials by local artisans. The two-level 700-square-metre spa has just reopened after extensive renovations. The original spa was already a city stop-off destination, but now it has been extended and upgraded with lots of dark wood, copper leaf on the walls, extraordinary chandeliers from the Alexandra township made of recycled glass and pinkish hunks of Himalayan salt to ionise and energise the spaces. While there are half a dozen spa packages worth the splurge, guests short on time would do well to squeeze in a body exfoliation and pressure-point massage using fragrant Harnn essential rice oils, followed by an intensive anti-ageing La Prairie or QMS facial, and a Margaret Dabbs pedicure – lovely indulgences after a night on a ﬂight. For a fully immersive spa experience, there are traditional hammams and rasuls, hydro pools, a steam room and a sauna constructed with more of that circulation-boosting Himalayan salt. Regulars keep the rigorously trained therapists busy, so make sure to book in advance.
SUGAR BEACH, AVICEROY RESORT ST LUCIA, WEST INDIES IN BRIEF NATURAL TREATMENTS IN A UTOPIAN TREEHOUSE What would you do for one last blast after the rock’n’roll fun of being an accountant to The Beatles, then heading mega-successful chains Café Rouge and Punch Taverns? Roger Myers splurged on this place, the most spectacularly located hotel in the Caribbean, formerly the Jalousie Plantation, an 18th-century sugar mill in a forested valley running down to a sandy bay. He bought adjoining land from one-time neighbour, the ﬂamboyantly barking Lord Glenconner, and scattered the hillside with big, high-ceilinged, white-on-white gingerbread-trim villas with hardwood floors, private pools and wraparound terraces. Arriving here feels like entering some magical kingdom at the end of the world, so secure from prying eyes it’s drawn everyone from Matt Damon to Gwyneth Paltrow. Once here, you won’t want to leave until you have to – the 45-minute drive from the airport winds around many cliff-edge hairpin bends. So that gives you plenty of time to laze, loll, and make the most of the spa. It thrills from the start. Enter via a long, dark corridor lined with palm-leaf walls that beautifully sets up the surprise to come when you emerge into a tropical forest, looking up at the trees and,
OWNED BY A FORMER ACCOUNTANT TO THE BEATLES, THIS PLACE DRAWS EVERYONE FROM MATT DAMON TO GWYNETH PALTROW
INSIDER TIP To make the most of Dale-Roberts’ eight-course degustation dinner, build up your appetite with a green smoothie from the spa’s new juice bar for breakfast and a light salad lunch. BOOK IT Africa Travel (+44 20 7843 3591; africatravel.com) offers four nights from £1,795 per person, including British Airways flights, transfers, use of the spa hydro facilities and breakfast. AFRICA TRAVEL EXCLUSIVE The ﬁrst 100 readers to book receive 25 per cent off the Saxon Himalayan Signature Journey.
among them, seven timber treatment rooms on stilts. Therapies are all natural with a leaning towards local beauty wisdoms: coconut as exfoliator, mashed banana for wrinkle-busting. But there are also heavy-hitting Natura Bissé facials and CACI sessions. Have a bamboo massage from Maria St Clair, who’s worked here for 18 years and is typically St Lucian, all wit and warmth. When you’re not in the spa or wandering delightedly around your villa – open the door onto the terrace and the looming Petit Piton seems absurdly close – you’ll be on the beach. That, or at the Bayside Restaurant for sand-beneathyour-feet lunches – lots of fresh ﬁsh, salads and spices. Evenings are mostly quiet but night snorkelling provides a dose of excitement. INSIDER TIP Villas at the top of the property have superb views, but that hillside is super-steep. Stay at beach level if you have small children. BOOK IT Carrier (+44 161 492 1354; carrier.co.uk) offers seven nights from £2,280 per person, including British Airways ﬂights.
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI
includes a daily one-hour spa treatment and private ﬁtness sessions with meals personalised to your regime. Cheval Blanc is renowned for its indulgent food so Le Gall prepares detox menus that don’t feel punishing: gazpacho, spaghetti that turns out to be ribbons of freshly caught tuna in a lime-leaf infusion, and passion-fruit panna cotta. There are more than 50 ﬁtness options here. But rather than hitting the air-con gym (admittedly with a dreamy view), you can take most sessions outside. Opt for scuba diving and, as well as swimming with the ﬁshes (and sharks, turtles and rays), you’ll also be burning up to 600 calories per dive. While on land, the tropical climate
NOONU ATOLL, MALDIVES IN BRIEF SWISH LOCATION WITH SUPERCHARGED SERVICE In terms of luxury, this is the big dog of the 120-plus island resorts in the Maldives. Staff greet you with bonjour and everything is très, très chic, from the hotel’s own seaplane that picks you up for the 40-minute whizz from the capital Malé to the 45 super-size JeanMichel Gathy-designed villas and the monogrammed espadrilles by the bed. And the swank doesn’t stop there. Choose your wellbeing journey and head chef Sébastien Le Gall, spa director Corinne Laurette and ﬁtness director Paulina Ratajczak will huddle together to curate a totally bespoke itinerary. The detox and ﬁtness package
GO SCUBA DIVING AND, AS WELL AS SWIMMING WITH THE TURTLES AND RAYS, YOU’LL BE LOSING UP TO 600 CALORIES means every exercise class becomes a bikram version of itself. So there’s hot boxing, hot yoga and, particularly exciting, hot tennis. Spa treatments, devised by Guerlain, can take place in your own room. But then you’d be missing out on the dedicated Spa Island, where therapists greet you with sunny smiles and ﬁrm hands. Request Devi Darniati, who eases out shoulder knots and performs some kind of slimming lymphatic drainage, which involves tummy-rolling and bum-slapping. Afterwards, there’s welcome relief in a seaweed wrap, which when peeled away reveals smoother thighs – ready to be paraded among the beautiful people being fabulous at the pool. INSIDER TIP Feeling well is about balance, so ditch the detox for a night and tuck into a tasting dinner at Le 1947 restaurant. BOOK IT Abercrombie & Kent (+44 1242 547 708; abercrombie kent.co.uk) offers seven nights in a Water Villa from £5,095 per person, including ﬂights, seaplane transfers and breakfast.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL, BANGKOK THAILAND
PHOTOGRAPHS: DAN KULLBERG; ELSA YOUNG
IN BRIEF ADDED FIRE POWER AT AN ASIAN BIG GUN Hasn’t Bangkok’s grande dame aged beautifully? Transcending the competition while maintaining the history and traditions so adored by her repeat guests (more than 20 per cent of the Mandarin Oriental’s visitors have stayed more than once), the 140-year-old hotel only appears to get more ravishing. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the original 19th-century Authors’ Lounge has been preened to perfection. Its marble ﬂoors gleam glacial white, rattan fans swirl above peacock chairs and potted palms, while the city’s best-dressed chatter over tiers of fruity afternoon tea. Upstairs, four dreary signature suites have been replaced with the marvellous Grand Royal Suite, 600 square metres of carved woodwork, silver filigree and shimmering silks. In the adjacent Garden Wing, 12 revamped rooms have balconies with sensational Chao Phraya River views. A metamorphosis has taken place in the spa too. With its focus on traditional, deep-reaching treatments, plus a stunning waterside location, the Oriental Spa has long been a destination in its own right. The setting remains the same – 10 shadowy treatment rooms in a 100-year-old teak mansion haloed by frangipani – but new three-day retreats have added an extra dimension. Try the Oriental Pampering programme to go full Queen of Siam or for a more spiritual bent, try the Life Balance Ayurveda, which includes two sessions of mind-melting shirodhara and yoga one-on-ones. The spa’s signature rituals have also been updated to include digital detoxes (colouring books at the ready), rosemary-and-black pepper rubdowns and coconutty organic journeys, all of which appear alongside good old-fashioned Thai massages. Healthy food is on the menu now too: mango salad, sweet-sour tamarind ﬁsh soup, and shrimp and peanut curries, available in the restaurants, rooms,
by the pool and in the spa. Upping the ante yet further is the Spa Studio, four glamorous treatment rooms in the serene Garden Wing, with an emphasis on results-driven, time-efficient therapies: reﬂexology-induced micro naps; warming head and shoulder massages; facials by German skincare specialist QMS Medicosmetics – the Collagen Vita Skin will leave you with the complexion of a toddler. Then there’s the Bastien Gonzalez Mani:Pedi:Cure Studio, the ﬁrst in Thailand, where consultants (hand-picked and trained by the man himself) not only perform synchronised hand and feet polishing, but also offer advice on everything from posture to diet and wellbeing. All in all, the Mandarin Oriental offers a masterclass in growing old gracefully. INSIDER TIP Try to plan your trip around the visit of practitioner Dr Buathon, who uses Tibetan singing bowls and qi massage alongside psychological techniques to unlock the causes of stress. BOOK IT Red Savannah (+44 1242 787800; redsavannah.com) offers ﬁve nights from £1,695 per person, including ﬂights, transfers and breakfast 2017 WINNER
MOST OUTSTANDING CITY SPA
March 2017 Spa Guide 39
FAENA MIAMI BEACH FLORIDA, USA
IN BRIEF GUT REACTION IN THE SUNSHINE STATE It’s tricky to classify Tierra Santa, the holy-moly, knock-yoursocks-off spa that occupies the entire third ﬂoor of Florida’s most on-pulse place to stay, the Faena hotel. This Latin Americainspired spiritual sanctuary is a place of ancient southern wisdom, palo santo tree oils and shamanic rituals. And it’s a cutting-edge laboratory with a premium on preventative cardiology, probiotics and whole-health overhauls. It’s also a gloriously opulent primping palace, all Rossano Ferretti hair and feelgood facials. This is an impressive offering for a city already pumped with wellbeing clout. Start with a deeply meditative Tree of Life treatment from lead therapist Marsida Keskin, who uses the vibrations of her sound bowls to massage deep into weary limbs, and then follow on with a surreally brilliant session with an incense-waving, conch-blowing Mexican shaman who whips you with his sheet to cleanse energies and lift spirits. Of course, all this soothing of the soul needs to be balanced with similar attention to the body, so make sure to book in with Dr Matthew Cooper (aka Dr Enzyme), the man on a mission to revolutionise gut health. He provides a jerry can for you to pee in over the course of a day before its contents are sent off for analysis to determine how well you digest the major food groups: carbohydrates, protein, fats and fibre. He then tailors a meal plan and probiotic regimen to rebalance your gut ﬂora which, he professes, can cure a surprising array of ailments from psoriasis to IBS, obesity to chronic pain. Such is Dr Cooper’s dedication to the cause
that he’ll even have his in-house nutritionist scrutinise the menus at your favourite haunts around town so that going out to eat can be a relatively guilt-free affair. Perhaps best then to visit the Faena’s sensational Filipino-inspired restaurant Pao by Paul Qui for its signature Unicorn dish, a gloriously indulgent combination of creamed corn and sea urchin, before meeting with Dr Cooper. Or the really virtuous can stick to the special vegan spa menu: breakfast of raw oatmeal with almond milk and chia seeds, and lunch of baby-kale salads. Of course, if all this sounds too puritan, there is the option of deep-tissue massages and top-notch mani-pedis: this is Miami, after all, where they want everyone beautiful on the outside. And now the inside too, gut lining very much included. INSIDER TIP Ahead of your visit, do talk to the wonderful spa director Vivianne Garcia-Tunon to put together a bespoke schedule. BOOK IT Doubles from about £530 (+1 305 534 8800; faena.com).
and artisanal furniture from South African makers Pierre Cronje and James Mudge, are a foil for the owner’s hand-picked contemporary art collection. In the restaurant, a short, sharp, seasonal menu focuses on local ﬂavours but also includes the chef’s love of British classics and pays respect to the owner’s heritage with dishes such as Madras-curry-cured salmon. Comparable in the region only to Delaire Graff Spa in Stellenbosch, Leeu Spa is a light-ﬁlled sanctuary with a sleek, glass-walled relaxation room and a ﬁtness studio for private yoga and Pilates tuition. Given that the owner is from India and his son owns the exquisite wellness destination Vana
JUST OVER AN HOUR’S DRIVE FROM CAPE TOWN, FRANSCHHOEK HAS NEVER BEEN SHORT OF SMART PLACES TO STAY
FRANSCHHOEK, SOUTH AFRICA IN BRIEF SOPHISTICATED SPOT FOR POST-SAFARI DOWNTIME Just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Franschhoek has never been short of smart places to stay, from sassy Le Quartier Français to lavishly decorated La Residence. Since businessman Analjit Singh bought several prime properties in the valley, desirable digs now include Leeu House (12 chic, art-ﬁlled rooms in a garden setting on the high street) and the 17 elegant suites at sister property Leeu Estates, opened last year. The manor house, as well as its cottage suites, are surrounded by Franchesca Watson-designed gardens and vineyards overseen by A-game winemakers Chris and Andrea Mullineux. Like Leeu House, the rooms have interior designer Beverley Boswell’s sumptuously textured style stamped all over them. Pared-down, elegantly proportioned spaces, rich with natural linens 40 Spa Guide March 2017
Malsi Estate, it’s hardly surprising that transformative rituals with an authentic Ayurvedic inﬂuence are in hot demand here. They incorporate indigenous botanical oils – buchu, rose geranium, baobab and marula – and the nourishing organic Ila range. The spa food is terriﬁcally good. Lunch, poolside with mountain views, could be sesame tuna ceviche with blood orange, mango and ginger or conﬁt pork belly with black pudding. And yes, the fruit sorbets are heaven in hot weather, but forgoing the afternoon tea – fruit scones with homemade blueberry preserve and cream, smoked-salmon sandwiches – would be a sin. INSIDER TIP Tucked away above the spa are two spa suites with ﬁreplaces, large balconies and marble bathrooms the size of a Parisian apartment with Purearth products from the Himalayas. BOOK IT Africa Travel (+44 20 7843 3591; africatravel.com) offers four nights from £2,050 per person, including British Airways flights, transfers, breakfast and a complimentary tasting of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines at Leeu Estates. AFRICA TRAVEL EXCLUSIVE Receive one complimentary Prana Vitality massage.
T RAVELLER AD VERT ISEM EN T FEAT U RE
mind and body
recharge Clockwise from left: wellness with a view; the clinic’s sleek interior; SHA cuisine; the swimming pool; the presidential master bedroom
In need of a complete emotional, mental and physical overhaul? SHA Wellness Clinic is king of the health kick blood tests are followed by individually prescribed treatments. During the week there are weigh-ins, extensive consultations covering energy, nutrition, healthy ageing and derma-aesthetic; then there’s personal training, acupuncture, aquatic therapy, shiatsu, detoxifying baths, lymphatic drainage, colon hydrotherapy and cryotherapy. And that’s barely scratched the surface!
Healing Holidays can arrange a seven-night Essence programme from £2,459 per person sharing a Deluxe Suite Mountain View. This offer includes ﬂights, transfers, macrobiotic full board, weekly activities and all treatments as per the Essence programme. Exclusive to Healing Holidays is a complimentary welcome massage, a room upgrade (subject to availability) and early booking discounts.
triking, cool and minimalist, SHA Wellness Clinic is hidden away on a hillside near the pretty town of Villa de Altea, overlooking Spain’s southern coast. Gleaming white, like a beacon of health, this ﬁve-star hotel-cum-clinic is home to wow-factor facilities and a 360-degree approach to wellbeing. Winner of ‘Most Directional Clinic’ in our 2016 spa awards, if it’s a results-driven ethos and lifestyle re-education you’re after, you’ve checked into the right place. If ﬂuffy white dressing gowns and gentle back rubs are more your thing, run like the wind. SHA’s 360-degree approach means no hot stone or piece of technology has been left unturned. This is one of Europe’s best medi-spas and it offers every programme and health check-up imaginable. Since opening in 2008, each year sees more treatments, therapies and units added. From sleep clinics, anti-stress and depression, to addiction, total rejuvenation and the excellent detox and weight loss programme, spa aﬁcionados and celebrities swear by SHA.
This clinic excels across the board, but the detox and weight loss programme is currently its most popular (and one of the strictest). A medical check-up and
You couldn’t dream up a more comprehensive approach, but after all is said and done, it doesn’t feel like hard work when you’ve got killer views of the Med and surrounding mountains, a gorgeous rooftop inﬁnity pool, tropical gardens, Zen-like relaxation areas and vast bedrooms complete with terraces for naked sunbathing. The food (macrobiotic but not morsel-ish) is absolutely delicious and the lovely staff are genuinely encouraging. If your goal is healthy, clean living, it’s a SHA thing.
For further information call Healing Holidays on 020 7843 3592 or visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
LET IT GO, LET IT GO THE INDIVIDUAL A FIFTY-SOMETHING WOMAN WITH CONTINUAL BACK PAIN WHO STRUGGLES WITH GUILT AND ANXIETY I took up yoga seriously in my thirties pain in my shoulder. By morning, my after a nagging backache had been lower back had that familiar, sickenTHE REMEDY plaguing me, and years of work stress ing nerve sting. I stretched gingerly A WEEK OF PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL and a sedentary life meant I couldn’t through the class, and noticed vividly REALIGNMENT AT THE GO-SLOW touch my toes. Soon, I was hooked. how my mind was reacting. A certain YOGAROSA THERAPY RETREAT ON IBIZA Regular practice dealt with physical kind of spinal twist has always awakened this sacral pain and I felt stiffness, and I also began to discern irritated that I’d pushed too far, tearful that I was trapped pain coming from repetitive movements – such as carrying in a self-inﬂicted cycle of strain. My stiffness got worse during a handbag on one shoulder – and from a more subtle kind connected to places in my body where I was containing the day and I had to lie down for the evening meditation. negative emotions and uneasiness. I put my intermittent Later, Rosa told me people often feel real discomfort with back twinge down to desk-bound stiffness, but also knew it this yoga process three days in – it’s a psychosomatic reaction. had to be linked to my held-in belly, taut from nervous I had to go through it to release it. My lower-back soreness tension and shallow breathing. I was always fretful, even as was intermittent and unrelated to injury, but it subsided with a child, and had come to accept that I was a naturally anxious the meditation, surely a sign that it was in the mind as person; so although there was nothing medically wrong with much as the body. At home, I’d avoid yoga positions that my lower back, an underlying strain continued to pluck away. aggravated it. Now it dawned on me that I was resisting As I also found it increasingly hard to switch off, the hope change on some level. In fact, some holistic therapies link was that a week at YogaRosa’s ﬁnca, with its shady pines, tension in the right side of our bodies to an inability to move pool and aromatic lavender, would help me keep a mental into the future, which resonated with me as I had been distance from urban life. After a warm welcome from owner putting off making changes in my life for a while. It felt good Rosa Klein (glowing and serene from a morning class), I to talk about it, yet the next day my lower back had practifeasted on a breakfast of porridge with cinnamon and goji cally seized up. Rosa, whose spine ﬂexed and bent despite berries, scrambled eggs peppered with chopped chives from fused vertebrae post-surgery, advised me to not dodge any the kitchen garden, and smoky hot coffee. After I’d eaten, postures and to trust the slow rehabilitation of the morning there was a rare chance to laze. My only appointments were class. And with her gentle encouragement, I was able to the evening yoga and meditation class followed by dinner. breathe into the agony in that nemesis twist, and release a Yet my mind whirred into guilt mode about what else I rush of emotion as hot tears rolled down my cheeks – someshould or could be doing. The more my thoughts raced, the thing I couldn’t imagine ever allowing back home. less I was able to relax and that niggling pain was there again. It was the breakthrough I was looking for. In that evenI drifted in and out of a hazy light sleep until it was time for ing’s meditation, I felt a wave of expansiveness come over yoga. I joined the other guests in a Bedouin tent with ﬂutmy body. I spent the next day in silence, which was a great tering prayer ﬂags as Rosa guided us through an hour and way to capitalise on the release. I was able to savour every mouthful of food, and allow myself to rest without guilt and a half of pranayama breathing exercises. This led seamlessly into meditation accompanied by the pure sounds of just be. A rush of creative ideas ﬂowed and I scribbled in my a singing bowl. There were delicious moments when the journal. I came home feeling like I had not only a new lower constant whirr of thoughts in my mind dropped into comback, but also a massive spring in my step and the head space plete stillness with the fading golden-pink glow of the Ibizan to move forwards. Rosa’s authentic yogic teachings were sunset. I learnt that Rosa travelled to India to recover from truly therapeutic, her understanding of anatomy and the a serious car accident that had left her with brain and spinal body/mind connection rare in a world of insta-yogis. It injuries. Surgery ﬁxed her body, but it was traditional yoga helped that the retreat had such a wonderfully individual therapy, along with other meditative practices, that brought ethos, from the one-on-one attention and the beautiful handback her ﬂexibility, energy and spirit. Heading for dinner painted black-and-pink mandalas on the walls to chef Philipp later, my city walking pace had at least halved, and already Gandler’s epicurean food and the dogs, chickens and micropig Lola that roam the grounds. It was a deeply supportive I felt less tired and on edge than I had in a long time. As I settled into a routine, it turned out the unravelling place in which to explore how deeply yoga could help me had just begun. On the third night, I was woken by a searing acknowledge pain and anxiety in order to fully let go.
BOOK IT HEALING HOLIDAYS (+44 20 7843 3592; HEALINGHOLIDAYS.CO.UK/CONDENAST) OFFERS A SEVEN-NIGHT RETREAT AT YOGAROSA’S EL NIDO FINCA FROM £1,820 PER PERSON FULL BOARD, INCLUDING FLIGHTS, TRANSFERS, YOGA AND MEDITATION 42 Spa Guide March 2017
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SHORT-HAUL HEROES BAG YOUR DOWNTIME FIX WITHOUT THE JET LAG
MONTEVERDI TUSCANY, ITALY
PHOTOGRAPHS: BERNARD TOUILLON; RHIANNON TAYLOR
IN BRIEF NOURISHING RECHARGE IN A LOVINGLY RENOVATED VILLAGE Novella, the Florentine apothecary where potions were first American lawyer Michael Cioffi’s medieval toy town in the heart of created by Dominican monks in the 13th century. Staff, who are the Val d’Orcia is pretty as a picture. The 900-year-old hamlet mostly local, use time-tested Italian ways of healing, combining of Castiglioncello del Trinoro, off a winding gravel road that snakes those products with all sorts of natural ingredients from the across the hillside, was largely in ruins when Cioffi stumbled upon kitchen gardens – sage, burdock, lemon balm and sweet orange. it over a decade ago. Since then, he’s lavished it with love, attenThe signature candle-wax massage is evocative and grounding, tion and plenty of money, and the results are stunning. Now it’s using the molten oil to melt away aches and ailments in a room home to a handful of year-round residents and Monteverdi, a that is both humble and beautiful. Outside are steaming-hot grown-up hideaway. Eleven bedrooms and suites, as well as three private stone baths on a terrace with views over the valley. This is villas, are dotted throughout the quiet streets. All are a short potter a place to properly recharge your batteries – practise yoga in the across the cobblestones to the remains of the ancient castle lavender gardens, or try an Etruscan mud wrap. For the bedrooms, or to the inﬁnity pool, with its sweeping views of hills studded interior designer Ilaria Miani has used colour palettes of washed with cypress trees and faraway rooftops. In the autumn, mornings stone and muted green to complement rustic fireplaces, can start with a hunt for white truffles in the nearby forest with the free-standing tubs and four-poster help of a local forager and his dog. beds. Giant shutters open up to The gourmet swag will later be put TREATMENTS USE POTIONS FIRST MADE BY panoramas of the countryside. The to good use in a cooking lesson with DOMINICAN MONKS IN THE 13TH CENTURY, restaurant, Oreade, has an incrediin-house chef Giancarla Bodoni, making fresh pasta by hand while MIXED WITH INGREDIENTS FROM THE GARDEN ble commitment to sourcing organic produce, even overseeing each step accompanied by endlessly refilled in the farming process. A rib-eye steak on the bone is typically glasses of smooth, plummy wine from nearby Montepulciano. The Tuscan, and ricotta ravioli in butter and sage sauce is rich and satclass turns into lunch and it’s particularly satisfying to eat your own isfying. As you make your way back to your room afterwards, the homemade tagliatelle and matriciana sauce with morsels of crispy evening air fragrant with chopped wood, the only interruption may pork fat. Walk it all off with a gentle hike through the surrounding be a chat with a villager or a gorgeous sunset. ﬁelds or take a much quicker stroll to the hotel’s new spa. Set in a INSIDER TIP If you can peel yourself away from the carved stone thick-walled rustic villa, once the village granary, treatment rooms seat beneath your rain-shower, pop down to the art gallery, where are simple, with the pink cast of raw plaster or bare stone on the global artists, scholars and performers appear on a regular basis. walls and low exposed beams on the ceilings. They feel calm, BOOK IT Doubles from about £500 (+1 513 579 1666; monte austere, spiritual even. Which may have something to do with the verdituscany.com) fact that treatments use cult brand Farmaceutica di Santa Maria March 2017 Spa Guide 45
SAO LOURENCO DO BARROCAL ALENTEJO, PORTUGAL IN BRIEF SERENE TIME-OUT IN A WILD, EVOCATIVE LANDSCAPE
Fifth-generation hotelier Susanne Kaufmann has had the fashion bathtub and bright treatment rooms. Kaufmann’s traditional set climbing mountains to the spa at Hotel Post in the Austrian methods avoid chemical procedures and aim to counteract previllage of Bezau since 2003, when she launched her organic skinmature skin ageing with active ingredients foraged from Austria’s care range. Now a handful of properties in Europe stock her Bregenz forest valley. The therapists – mostly from nearby Evora, eponymous products (Scandi chic rather than Alpine twee), but some with backgrounds in traditional Chinese medicine – can perso intent was she on ﬁnding the right ﬁt for her brand only two sonalise treatments for guests. The signature body treatment’s other hotel spas carry her name. The new addition is São Lourenço sweet-smelling, sesame-and-apricot-kernel scrub combines do Barrocal, a working winery, olive grove and hotel in Portugal’s lymph drainage and acupressure techniques to help the body wild, sun-bleached Alentejo region. After the two-hour journey release toxins. And ultrasound during the anti-ageing facial from Lisbon, you drive down the oak-lined drive and realise you’ve encourages the ingredients to penetrate deeper, stimulating the stumbled upon something special. body’s own collagen synthesis. Twelve years in the making, this Pilates, yoga and trail-running are TWELVE YEARS IN THE MAKING, THIS remarkable project is the work of offered at the weekend and during former investment banker José REMARKABLE PROJECT IS SOMETHING SPECIAL: the week sessions with a personal António Uva, who was determined trainer can be arranged. Horses are SOHO-HOUSE STYLING AT A FAMILY FARM to reinvigorate the family monté on standby for scenic hacks, and (farming village). His attention to detail has resulted in very smart there’s a ﬂeet of bicycles and recommended routes to the vast interiors – there’s a deﬁnite touch of Soho House styling in the Lake Alqueva. In the former kitchen garden is a tranquil swimming farm-to-table restaurant and bar with pendant lampshades, slatepool with an enormous boulder at one end – the area was once a blue and moss-green doors, and communal tables laid with saucers magnet for tribes who used the huge granite outcrops, or barrocais, of deep-green olive oil, sheep’s cheese and cured hams served found all over the estate, as ceremonial sites. The peace that comes with pumpkin jam. There are simple salads of just-picked pears from such a deep sense of history pervades the whole place. and walnuts, octopus rice and ﬂame-cooked Alentejo black pork INSIDER TIP There are cottages to rent as well and a farm shop from acorn-eating Iberian pigs. The spa itself is cool and calm with stocking the house wine and olive oil. This year, with the vegetable its monastery-like white archways and masses of space, and garden established, the farm aims to become self-sufficient. includes a dry sauna, a hydrotherapy room with a cedar-wood BOOK IT Doubles from about £225 (+351 266 247 140; barrocal.pt)
ANASSA LATCHI, CYPRUS IN BRIEF SUPER-SOLID BREAK, EVEN WITH THE FAMILY
MOST CONSISTENT HIGH PERFORMER
There is a Russian physiotherapist here called Vladimir Papakides who has been practicing at the spa for eight years. He works wonders with sports injuries, spinal ailments, torn tendons and all sorts of aches and pains. People come back time and time again for his rehabilitation therapies and thorough massages. He is a constant at Anassa and he is brilliant. The same goes for the hotel itself. It is strikingly dependable, so it’s no surprise that there are so many regulars. The rooms are reliably lovely (with Provençal blue shuttered windows, huge high beds and creamy marble bathrooms; there isn’t a dud out of the whole 166), the food is reliably delicious (the soft-shell crab at Basiliko restaurant, the wagyu beef in Helios, the sweet sticky nuts with local honey at breakfast) and the
BANYAN TREE TAMOUDA BAY
weather is reliably good: warm enough for T-shirts as early as March, with a balmy sea you can still swim in at the end of October. Which is why it’s heavingly popular with families. And yet for all its permutations of interconnecting rooms, a Scott Dunn kids’ club slicker than most London nurseries and the tireless friendliness from the staff towards tiny ones, it’s a place that is also remarkably sophisticated and hushed. Even in the summer holidays there’s enough space for anyone who wants to ﬁnd a private retreat. Away from the squeals and splashes of the mini pool are contemplative corridors, the gentle sound of fountains and the rustle of the breeze through 300-year-old olive trees. And the spa, ﬂooded with sunlight and fresh air, is a serious set up, designed as much for those who want a five-day programme (fitness or anti-ageing, for example) as for those who just want the odd treatment, use the gym or swim in the saltwater exercise pool. The main focus is thalassotherapy, with water for the invigorating and restorative jet sprays and hydro baths pumped straight from the Mediterranean. There’s a comprehensive range of Ila therapies alongside QMS anti-ageing options, but it’s the newly introduced Anastasia Achilleos facial that everyone seems desperate to book (ask for gentle, intuitive Claudia). This extraordinary treatment is a fully nurturing session where you are cradled in the therapist’s arms while lying on a heated water pad. The attention on the face is soothing and hydrating but it’s the rest of the 90 minutes that really gets interesting, with a kundalini massage using warm argan oil, abdominal work, a gentle foot rub and a scalp massage. The healing bubble doesn’t burst when you emerge. As evening falls there is peace and quiet, whispered tones at supper and early nights had by all. INSIDER TIP Bring your Amex in case you stumble into the new boutique Kult, which features a collection of Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent to rival Matches. BOOK IT Scott Dunn (+44 20 8682 5040; scottdunn.com) offers seven nights from £1,290 per person half board, based on a family of four, including ﬂights, transfers and children’s club.
MOROCCO IN BRIEF ASIAN SAVVY ON THE NORTH AFRICAN COAST Until now, to ﬁnd yourself in the cocooning embrace of a Banyan Tree spa has meant a long-haul ﬂight, the commitment of at least a week-long trip and a whack of jet lag. Last autumn that all changed with the opening of Tamouda Bay on Morocco’s northern coast, just across the water from Gibraltar. It does mean two ﬂights, but it feels do-able for a long weekend. A favourite seaside resort of well-heeled Moroccans, the Mediterranean waters are clear, the sands beach-combing-perfect and the weather yearround good. The place resembles a low-rise village of simple houses topped with triangular cobalt roofs (the vernacular style). Slip through your villa’s heavy wooden doors, however, and there’s a maze of coffee-coloured rooms with domed ceilings and billowing muslin curtains. Beyond is the pool surrounded by high walls and pillars and cleverly designed so guests can skinny-dip with abandon. The resort mixes the simple and exotic: cool whites and
FOR STIFF MUSCLES, TRY THE DEEP, PALM-ROLLING MOROCCAN MASSAGE, WHICH DIGS DEEP TO UNDO PESKY KNOTS rich blues, hidden ponds and Islamic patterns, bowls of pale roses and bronzed Moroccan wall sconces. The spa is a sepulchrally calm space next to a tranquil garden, where traditional techniques combine with natural ingredients; no white coats or hi-tech kit here. These treatments start at 90 minutes and can last three hours. Tight shoulders and tension headaches? Balinese or lomilomi massage followed by a wallow in a mint-tea bath. For stiff
muscles, try the deep, palm-rolling Moroccan massage (ask for Nareerat Pathueng, who will dig deep to undo that pesky knot). Dry skin? That’ll be a coconut-and-sesame scrub. Uptight and wired? Deﬁnitely the pouches of lemongrass, cloves and coriander dipped in warm oil. In the sybaritic Moroccan Banyan, your body is slathered with olive-skin soap, steamed, scrubbed, massaged, wrapped in clay, cooked again and, finally, steeped in Thaichamanard-blossom lotion. This is no tucked-away Banyan Tree: it opens onto a public beach, and has a family-friendly atmosphere. After dinner – the restaurant, Saffron, does a mean tuna tartare – order a cocktail and settle back on a rooftop day bed. Braziers send sparks into the night sky while the waves break upon the beach. It’s the simple things that make this place work. INSIDER TIP The best time to stay is when Indian-born, Marrakechbased yoga teacher Perumal Koshy is on one of his regular visits; sunrise yoga on the beach is a must. BOOK IT Destinology (+44 1204 824619; destinology.co.uk) offers ﬁve nights from £859 per person, including ﬂights and breakfast. March 2017 Spa Guide 47
ONE&ONLY THE PALM DUBAI, UAE IN BRIEF SHINY AND SLICK FLY-AND-FLOP REMEDY Just across the water from Dubai, at the very tip of one of Jumeirah’s man-made leaf-shaped fronds, One&Only The Palm feels like a tucked-away country club in contrast to the busy mainland. Inside, large Moorish-style rooms are light and bright with carved wooden furniture and tiles. Bathrooms have huge eggshaped tubs and stacks of Acqua di Parma by the sinks. One of the restaurants, Stay, is overseen by chef Yannick Alleno from the three-Michelin-starred Le Meurice in Paris, so there is foie gras and grilled lobster on the menu. The other, Zest, has an endless supply of everything you could possibly want at any time of day. For breakfast there are smoothies, coconut yogurt and bowls ﬁlled with seeds, nuts and fruit. And for lunch, it’s fattoush, hummus and baba ganoush or sashimi and just-fried scallops. For those feeling guilty having wolfed down the tarte tatin or millefeuille at the Pastry Library after supper, there are yoga sessions in the gym most mornings, as well as waterskiing, kayaking and windsurﬁng on the beach. The swimming pool, however, is the hotel’s biggest draw. It’s enormous, even against the backdrop of Dubai’s surreal, pencil-shaped skyline. A ﬂeet of staff do the rounds with cucumber slices for eyes, cocktail sticks of fresh fruit and homemade iced tea. Heat is guaranteed and so days are spent ﬂitting lazily between the bar, the pool and the spa, which is now run by Guerlain, so the focus is on fragrance as well as skincare. Appointments start with a cold-pressed juice (pineapple, green apple and mint) and then the choice of a bespoke essential oil that will be used for all treatments – do you want to leave relaxed or hyper-energised? The
Orchidée Impériale facial is a slow, ﬁrm massage using Guerlain’s anti-ageing creams and serums; its main ingredient is taken from the roots of the gold orchid and meant to increase the life expectancy of cells. Hands and feet are kept immaculate thanks to podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez’s team. Their dry treatment blades and drills are thankfully more tickling than they are terrifying. Yet more decadent is the Solar Evasion body scrub which prepares skin for tanning and helps prolong colour once home – incentive enough, if any were needed, to head straight back to one of the day beds that ﬂank the palm-fringed pool. INSIDER TIP You’ll probably get the run of the ﬁtness suite so make the most of the spanking new Kinesis suspension machines, which give core muscles a full workout. BOOK IT Virgin Holidays Wonderlist (+44 344 739 6491; virgin holidays.co.uk/wonderlist) offers four nights from £1,046 per person half board, including Virgin Atlantic ﬂights and transfers.
sive range of Bamford and Cellcosmet treatments for Cleopatralike attention, after which you can crash out on a relaxation waterbed. But the stars of the show are the seven cavernous dedicated detox rooms, which alternate piping-hot and freezing-cold water for Kneipp therapy – it’s a spa playground of saunas and ice caves around a central pool. The alternate use of extreme temperatures widens the arteries in the legs, stimulates blood ﬂow and metabolism, and strengthens the immune system, as well as helping to increase cardiovascular and muscular endurance. No need to book, simply experiment in your own time – each has detailed instructions on the door. Lavender and herbs infuse the steam room, the bio sauna is laced with orange and lemon, and the
STARS OF THE SHOW ARE THE CAVERNOUS DETOX ROOMS, WHERE FREEZING-COLD WATER THERAPY GIVES INSTANT RESULTS
LE GRAND BELLEVUE GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND IN BRIEF REVIVED YEAR-ROUND ALPINE RETREAT The much-needed revamp of this grande dame a few years ago was better than anyone could have expected. While there are tempting tasting menus in the Michelin-starred restaurant and full-pelt cocktails served in a bar containing one of the longest Chesterﬁeld sofas in the world, it is equally possible to take a more therapeutic line. The vast subterranean spa is now open in the summer months and in the winter, plus all the top-notch wellness boxes are ticked here – a serene yoga studio with the option of up-the-mountain classes, a super-hero style gym with sophisticated tech and indoor pool with hydrotherapy showers. Alongside a focus on detoxing and cleansing therapies, there is a comprehen48 Spa Guide March 2017
Himalayan salt grotto is a gentle place to start. Thrill-seekers can take on the Turkish bath, Finnish sauna or outdoor ice plunge pool. The results are instant: a healthy ﬂush to the face, energised blood ﬂow and an overall sense of wellbeing. The rest of the hotel is just as enlivening; deep velvet and plaid sofas plus bird-cage chairs for swinging in, intelligently curated bookshelves, and bedrooms with pale-wood ﬂoors and soft-taupe fabrics. And just look out of the vast ﬂoor-to-ceiling windows to be reminded that the Bellevue is on the doorstep of some spectacular hikes, mountainbiking and, of course, in the winter, a social skiing scene like no other. Here’s a hotel that has whipped the party image of this small resort into substantially healthier shape. INSIDER TIP Don’t overlook the exceptionally well-cut sweaters from Vivian Graf in the mini boutique located by the spa. BOOK IT Doubles from about £490 (+41 33 748 00 00; bellevue gstaad.ch). Swiss (swiss.com) offers return ﬂights from London to Geneva starting from £96
WELLNESS BY COMO
is not just about chic and ease but the deeper experience of nurturing body, mind and spirit Healing Holidays, the UK’s leading independent spa specialist, has partnered with COMO Hotels and Resorts on new offers at two COMO properties to inspire personal discovery in extraordinary parts of the world. COMO Shambhala Estate, a 23-acre wellness resort set amongst Bali’s rolling hills and lush jungle, is a world-class flagship destination spa for those seeking to boost their health and reduce stress. COMO Parrot Cay, a private island in the Turks and Caicos, offers crystal-clear diving and powder-sand beaches that stretch into the distance. Both retreats specialise in COMO Shambhala’s award-winning line of holistic therapies and yoga instruction – a combination sure to make differences that last well beyond your stay. From April 1st to June 20th 2017 inclusive, Healing Holidays is offering a seven-night stay at COMO Shambhala Estate which includes a twenty per cent discount, all flights and transfers, accommodation with full board, and specified spa treatments. We are also offering seven-nights for the price of five at COMO Parrot Cay, from £2,089 per person sharing. This includes flights, transfers, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis and complimentary group activities. For more information, please email healingholidays.co.uk/condenast, or call us on 020 7843 3592.
RUNNING SCARED THE INDIVIDUAL A MOTHER WHO FEELS SHE’S AGEING SO FAST SHE NO LONGER RECOGNISES HERSELF IN THE MIRROR – WHO ALSO HAS SLEEP PROBLEMS AND AN OPPRESSIVE SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY
In the cross-country sessions at school 4. Have a vitamin drip with the pocket I would race off at the start then rocket that is Geeta Sidhu-Robb from amble to the bushes to smoke fags. Nosh Detox, who is as dynamic as a I’ve never really run for anything. I’ve disco ball and super-intelligent. She’ll never done a workout class. And I’ve analyse you spot-on between giving never met a salad I liked. And for a motivational speeches to staff at THE REMEDY while that was all OK. I have always Morgan Stanley. I wanted to do a A TWO-MONTH-LONG EATING AND been slim. And yet suddenly, folds detox. She said I wasn’t strong enough were appearing: wrinkles like a little and gave me a drip instead. TwentyEXERCISE ROUTINE BASED AT LONDON’S elephant’s above the knees, a potfour hours later I felt sensational. My BODYISM, TO SEE IF IT COULD MAKE A belly like Pooh’s that stared at me in brain was working like it used to in DIFFERENCE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY the bath. More worryingly, my energy my 20s, as if I’d been through a was as skittish as a lost cat. Sometimes cranium carwash. sparking off like a Catherine wheel in all directions, 5. If I could eat Spring Green food every day for the rest of sometimes so sluggish I couldn’t remember how to spell my life, I absolutely would. I can’t bear healthy food. I only ‘mesmerising’, or ‘whole’. Worse, the anxiety. A low-level eat it because I want to live longer than a chocolate-hobnob landscape of anxiety that spread across my stomach like an diet would allow me. But this fodder was so good I ended up ﬁghting over it with my husband. How do they make it so insidious mist above an unhappy sea, and sleep that played tasty? I don’t know. It’s magic ju-ju. tricks. Sometimes I couldn’t get to sleep at all, so that all the demons would rush in. Sometimes, falling asleep so fast, just 6. Don’t judge me but I had ﬁller in the line between my eyeto be woken up at 3am, as if a bomb had exploded in my brows. I didn’t know I was going to have it before I did. I chest. Impatient and sad, and angry all around the edges, I went to Dr Sebagh simply because all roads of unhappy faces wondered whether I would ever get back to being the person eventually lead to Dr Sebagh. ‘Oh no, look at your lopsided I was before, or whether this was indeed the accumulated smile!’ he said, pointing out issues I didn’t even know I had. facts of me, the limescale of my life clogging my system. ‘Oh sheesh, look at your party face, sunshine face, oh tut tut!’ He wielded his needle, I started to panic. ‘Wait, we need So, I decided to make a commitment. I have always been impatient, so I knew I needed something that would work fast, to chat before you go in with that weapon!’ I yelled. “Oh no, with palpable results, or I would lose interest. And between not chat!” he said, jab jab. “You are so crazy, why so much a full-time job, being a mother to two boys, and a hectic social nervous energy? Reeeelax crazy woman!”’ Afterwards, I went life, I didn’t have much time to devote. to the bathroom to calm down. Petriﬁed, I looked at myself in the mirror. The rivet, the crease, the gutter of a line that Of the many diets, classes and trainers I saw over a twoused to slice down between my eyes, that I saw as the physimonth period, this is what I learnt: 1. Yoga was not for me. I loved the classes themselves, and cal manifestation of all that had happened to me in the last thrived on the breathing, and the meditation and the stretchdecade, was gone. I’m not vain, but I felt like I looked like ing. The problem was post-class I would be irritable all day. the person I was supposed to be and I was ecstatic. Was I doing something wrong? Who knew? 7. Psycle classes. Psycle as in psychotic. Psycle as in the ﬁrst time you do it – cycling in the dark for 45 minutes to rave 2. Boxing was absolutely up my street. My arms are usually so weak I get tired holding a telephone to my ear. But the music without ever putting your bum on the seat – you’ll energy and the adrenalin required to box is thrilling. I could have post-traumatic stress. After that, you can cope. Because you can feel it working, fast. feel my pupils dilating, which I took as a good sign. 3. The best place to box, and to have personal training – someEight weeks in, bearing in mind I’d sometimes only done thing that as an idea usually makes my ﬂesh crawl – is Bodyism two classes per seven days, my axis was shifting. I was sleepin Notting Hill. The smoothies are great, the trainers look like ing better, and capable of seeing around the problem and angels but work you as hard as the devil; they are entirely into solutions; I looked fresher, and was calmer. Then, one ﬂexible around your schedule, and they make it interesting. day, I felt a little something under my ribcage. What was it? (‘What shape would you like?’ said Fun George one day, while A muscle! I’ve never had a muscle! I call her Frederica. And stretching me out after a session. ‘A rhombus!’ I shouted with on the rare occasions I do feel overwhelmed, I give her a glee. He looked confused. ‘No dude,’ he said, ‘what shake?’) little jab. And everything feels so much brighter.
BOOK IT BODYISM MEMBERSHIP £420 PER MONTH; PERSONAL TRAINER FROM £100 A SESSION (BODYISM.COM.) VITAMIN INFUSIONS FROM £147, NOSH DETOX (NOSHDETOX.COM). SPRING GREEN PLANT-BASED PROGRAMMES FROM £36 PER DAY (SPRINGGREEN LONDON.COM). SESSION WITH DR SEBAGH FROM £500 (DRSEBAGH.COM). PSYCLE FROM £18 A CLASS (PSYCLELONDON.COM) 50 Spa Guide March 2017
T RAVELLER AD VERT ISEM EN T FEAT U RE
Cocoon yourself at one of Marbella Club’s all-encompassing wellbeing breaks
boot camp sessions, boxing, jogging and TRX to hiking in the hills, paddle boarding and cycling. Then, once Blanco has blasted you, the more Zenlike Mari Angeles Linde will stretch, strengthen and soothe you with all things holistic: yoga, meditation, Pilates and Five Tibetans.
nspired by the Mediterranean lifestyle and diet, Marbella Club’s new wellbeing programmes are set to be a 2017 health hit. Covering everything from healthy food and ﬁtness activities to effective medical, holistic, therapeutic and thalassotherapy treatments, we take a sneak preview.
There are ﬁve options to choose from: Mediterranean Lifestyle, Beauty, Emotional Rebalance, Performance and Body Rebalance. These are then personalised to suit each individual. Much of the action takes place at the beyond impressive Thalasso Spa, where they specialise in invigorating treatments that use the ancient healing powers of seawater. Tension melts away as soon as you step inside. This is a cocoon where you can indulge in everything from a Marine Massage and Sweet & Salty Bath to the two-hour ‘Al-Andalus’ Thalasso, perfectly complemented by mineral-rich showers, seawater hydro-jet massage pools and algotherapy. Exercise is key to all ﬁve programmes and head trainer Daniel Blanco leads an exceptional team of coaches. After a personal assessment, a bespoke itinerary is devised, which can include anything from
Food for thought comes courtesy of nutrition expert Amanda Hamilton who runs a variety of seminars and workshops throughout the year (you’re even allowed a 150ml glass of organic wine). All things medical are supervised by the well-respected doctor José Luis Guijarro Arcas. They take a thorough approach here, so be prepared for a full medical and body analysis, a genetic test, checks on nutrient and vitamin levels, organ condition and more.
Healing Holidays can arrange a ﬁve-night stay from £2,699 per person sharing a Deluxe Double. This includes ﬂights, transfers, full board and all treatments as per the four-day Mediterranean Lifestyle programme. Exclusive to Healing Holidays is a 10% discount on the wellness programme and a 25-minute welcome massage. Exclusive to Condé Nast Traveller readers: enjoy a complimentary 50-minute massage when booking a seven- or
Not only does this all take place in one of Europe’s most iconic hotels; the results are usually immediate and sustainable. When you leave (although you’ll be desperately trying to ﬁnd ways to stay), the team of experts put together a complete homecare health and wellness guide to ensure that what goes on tour certainly doesn’t stay on tour. Clockwise from top: garden views from Marbella Club’s Junior Suite; a beach training session with Daniel Blanco; the resort’s jetty; healing waters at Thalasso Spa
14-day wellness programme.
For further information or to book, call 020 7843 3592 or visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
FITNESS KICKS FEEL THE BURN AND GET PHYSICAL FOR REAL RESULTS
00 Spa Guide 52 Special March March2017 2017
BEST FITNESS REGIME
RANCHO LA PUERTA BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
WILDFITNESS HIGHLANDS, SCOTLAND
IN BRIEF BACK-TO-BASICS, BODY-CHANGING WORKOUTS WEIGHT LOSS
IN BRIEF THE ORIGINAL BOOTCAMP IS STILL LEADING THE WAY The oldest destination spa in North America, which opened to guests in 1940 (you had to bring your own tent), has everything going for it, especially for action bunnies. Fly to San Diego and drive across the Mexican border into the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa, held sacred by Native Americans. The atmosphere is spiritually vibrant, and the location, chosen by author, philosopher, psychologist and natural-living mentor Edmond Szekely, sparkles with high-vibrational energy. An incredible landscape awaits: 4,000 acres of stunning private grounds ﬁlled with trailing African daisies, sunﬂowers and roaming butterﬂies. Days start with earlymorning hikes – some on challenging routes, hence the need for the daily post-breakfast stretching classes. And classes are what stays are centred on, ranging from gentle release-and-mobilise exercises and several types of Pilates to more hardcore cardio, boxing, kettle bells and bootcamp. The biggest danger is packing so much into your day that you then render yourself unable to walk, which isn’t ideal as getting around the campus easily clocks up to ﬁve miles on the provided pedometer, there to measure what the ranch likes to encourage: incidental ﬁtness. It’s easy to accomplish when wandering from workouts to talks – including speakers vested in the latest nutrition know-how and emotional intelligence – to the swimming pools, gyms, meditation spaces and spa areas. Signature treatments are good rather than sensational, so be sure to seek out the more transformative specialists, such as Jonelle Rutkauskas. She offers extraordinary energy healing, which helps release past traumas and reset the central nervous system. Food is healthy but abundant, and suppers are sit-down, four-course affairs where you are encouraged to bond with other guests, most of whom are old hands. Indeed, it seems almost everyone is American, and nearly all have visited more than ﬁve times, which really does say
The Wildﬁtness set-up is not for everyone. It involves forgetting inhibitions and reconnecting with your inner child. But the payback for immersing in the hunter-gatherer concept is an undeniably rousing way to lose weight, get ﬁt and tone up. Tumble about on the sand in the African heat of a Zanzibar beach, gallop through the ancient olive groves in Crete, or head for Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the Scottish Highlands, the tribe’s newest outpost – conveniently about an hour’s ﬂight from London to Inverness. The base is a Victorian stone lodge in a whopping 23,000 acres of dramatic mountains, gorse-clad hills and inky-black lochs. This is where multi-millionaire MFI heir Paul Lister’s re-wilding programme, in
THOSE USED TO LOLLING ABOUT ON THEIR WELLBEING BREAK WILL BE SERIOUSLY OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE HERE action since he purchased the estate in 2003, has begun to restore the native ecosystem, which once saw wolves, bears and lynx roam (the red squirrel is back, and there’s a breeding programme for Scottish wildcats underway). Those used to lolling about on their wellbeing break will be seriously out of their comfort zone here. The wild workouts are designed to take you back to those childhood days of unselfconscious play. You’ll be scrambling up steep mossy banks, forward rolling on muddy lawns (often strewn with stag poo), walking along wooden planks with eyes closed and slacklining above whirling rivers. During downtime you’ll want to disappear under your duvet in the tartan- and tweed-trussed bedrooms (ask for a highland view). But there’s a sauna to warm up in and roaring log ﬁres in the sitting rooms, plus talks on healthy living before supper. Delicious, plant-rich meals are reﬁned-sugar- and dairyfree. Fill up on protein: a healthy version of a Scotch egg wrapped in venison for lunch and bone broth with ﬁshcakes and celeriac mash for supper. Hold out for the beach day on the west coast for cartwheeling in the sand, rock climbing and learning to run like a pro.
PHOTOGRAPH: JULIE MIKOS
THE RANCH ISN’T HIP OR CUTTING EDGE, BUT IT DESERVES A PLACE IN THE ROLL-CALL OF THE WORLD’S BEST DESTINATION SPAS something. Szekely is now long gone (he died in Costa Rica in 1979), but his wife Deborah, who also founded California’s Golden Door, and their daughter, Sarah Brightwood, remain at the helm, and a feeling of a tight community reverberates. This is perhaps most apparent in the hilariously exuberant and popular dance class with Yuichi Sugiyama. A Hollywood choreographer, he is one of the stars of the present-day manifestation of the ranch and is utterly amazing, with a diamanté-crop-top flamboyance all his own. Nothing will get you smiling more. The ranch isn’t hip or cutting edge, but it deserves a place in the roll-call of the world’s best destination spas, with all the pioneering touchstones on which it was founded remaining: a belief in fresh air, natural foods, exercising in nature, personal reflection time and human connection. And above all, it rests in one of the most exquisitely beautiful pockets of our planet. Seek it out. INSIDER TIP Beware of the skunks that skulk near pathways. If they spray you, a bath in tomato ketchup is the antidote to the foul smell. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a seven-night Barefoot and Blissful spa programme from £4,599 per person full board, including ﬂights, transfers and all treatments and activities as per the programme.
But the highlight of the week is a youthful version of the Highland games: welly throwing, caber lifting, shot putting, rope jumping and a highly competitive tug of war. At ﬁrst it can be hard to let go of the instinct to resist everything, but somehow you’ll do it anyway and feel mighty proud of yourself afterwards – with a reshaped body to boot. INSIDER TIP The weather is unpredictable and it’s common to experience four seasons in one day, so bring layers for every conceivable condition. Laundry is included, and there’s a drying room too. BOOK IT A week-long retreat costs from £2,400 per person full board, including assessments, skills sessions, workshops and a deep-tissue massage (+44 7415 884 312; wildﬁtness.com). British Airways (ba.com) offers a daily return service between Heathrow and Inverness.
IN:SPA AT CAL REIET MALLORCA, SPAIN
IN BRIEF SHAKE UP YOUR SYSTEM WITH A LASTING LEGACY It is testament to the popularity of In:spa that more than half of the attendees are repeat visitors. No doubt this is thanks to a winning formula based not on denial (as per well-known Austrian and German clinics) but on a realistic, holistic approach to wellness. The result is a break that feels both physically demanding and self-indulgent. The company has expanded its peripatetic programme beyond its original location in Morocco to an outpost in south-west France and, now, Mallorca. Base camp is Cal Reiet, a fantastically smart 15-bedroom manor house: all serene white walls, antique furniture
and smooth, creamy locally sourced stone (also used to build Palma’s cathedral). But when In:spa rolls in, it’s in full take-over mode. After hiding all the biodynamic wine from the pool-side restaurant, a crack team of experts devise schedules. Programmes are a mix of combined activities (HIIT workouts, a 10km coastal hike, yoga) and more tailored, emotionally nourishing sessions (personal training, nutrition advice and massages). It’s not particularly ﬂexible, but relinquishing decision making for a week is hugely relaxing, as is exercising in such lovely surroundings. The spacious yoga pavilion means you’ll never have a sweaty armpit in your face during a vinyasa class. At the heart
THE PROGRAMME ISN’T PARTICULARLY FLEXIBLE, BUT RELINQUISHING DECISION MAKING FOR A WEEK IS HUGELY RELAXING of the experience is the food, a menu of mainly vegetarian dishes such as seed bread slathered in almond butter and avocado, turmeric and pea salad. Yes, it’s caffeine-, wheat- and dairy-free, says nutritionist Tanya Borowski, not because abstinence is a cure-all for everyone, but because this approach impacts the widest range of ailments. She offers speciﬁcs too – cutting out wheat to relieve PMT, or increasing time between meals to boost weight loss. Her enthusiasm is so infectious it’s hard not to take a little bit of it home with you, which is surely one of the best things about the In:spa blueprint – a wellness break that makes you feel cosseted when you’re away, and keeps making you feel better, if you keep trying, weeks later. INSIDER TIP Brief the personal trainer and nutritionist about speciﬁc concerns ahead of sessions so they can prep accordingly. BOOK IT Seven-day retreats costs from £2,195 per person full board, including activities (+44 20 3235 0120; inspa-retreats.com).
EPIC SANA ALGARVE PORTUGAL
IN BRIEF HEART-PUMPING CHALLENGES BY THE BEACH This four-year-old Algarve hotel combines a seaside setting that’s hot and close to home, with comprehensive wellness retreats. There is a certain joy that comes from exercising outdoors in such beautifully landscaped grounds. Sign up for a bootcamp and your ﬁrst glimpse of the sand could be while running up and down the 149 steps of the wooden boardwalk that leads down to Falésia beach. Twice. There are also circuits – burpees on the lawn, tricep dips on the tennis courts, press-ups on a tyre by the family pool – and mountain bike rides through pine forests and along red-soil cliffs towards Vilamoura Marina. The other ﬁve programmes range from de-stress to detox – the latest, which launched in November, is mindfulness – and all run for either ﬁve or seven nights. Some have personalised meal plans devised by a nutritionist: sip mid-morning protein shakes in the sunshine and eat in the main restaurant Abyad, where no one bats an eyelid if you’re dining solo. If you don’t have the time to commit to a full retreat, there are one-on-one ﬁtness sessions, or you can dip into the Epic Vital plan, a daily programme of classes including spinning and tabata (high-intensity, 20-second exercises with a 10-second rest in between). Yoga is taught by Frenchman João Gouveia, who also heads up the twice-daily classes on the retreat. He shies away from traditional poses and instead offers a hybrid form of cosmic yoga aimed at increasing mobility and unlocking energy channels. Many of the treatments can also form part of a retreat, such as the more straightforward deep-kincho massage (good for releasing muscle tension) using Aromatherapy Associates oils, and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including mesotherapy for targeted fat reduction. The vibe is friendly and laidback; the place is full of 30-something couples, 50-something 54 Spa Guide March 2017
friends and mother-daughter pairings, who lie in the sun like lizards between appointments. The most secluded rooms are the garden suites, but whichever you go for, the interiors are clean-lined and contemporary with pops of lime to break up the white. If you’re not watching what you eat at dinner, tuck into a bowl of pasta at Italian restaurant and bar Lima; made-to-order sushi at By Epic Bar; or a tasting menu at Al Quimia, which is overseen by executive chef Luís Mourão (as seen on the Portuguese Top Chef television series). There’s often live music in the courtyard, and when there is a full moon, a make-shift bar is set up on the sand and a reggae band plays late into the evening. INSIDER TIP Do stroll down to look at the boardwalk at night. It’s cut into the cliff face, which is lit up after dark so the rock looks like otherworldly green and pink coral. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a ﬁve-night yoga retreat from £1,250 per person, including ﬂights, transfers, treatments and activities as per the programme. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Book a ﬁve-night programme and receive a free upgrade to a Deluxe Ocean Facing room and 15 per cent off wellness treatments.
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Healing Holidays scours the globe for the very best spa experiences, and every year Thailand invariably comes out top. Whether youâ€™re dabbling RUGHGLFDWLQJ+HDOLQJ+ROLGD\VZLOOÂżQGWKHULJKW7KDLUHWUHDWIRU\RX
olistic and spiritual healing are part and parcel of Thai life, an essence that evolves from its gentle loving people, calm waters, sun-drenched islands, healthy food, holy monks and healing hands. The word relax permeates Thailandâ€™s silky soft sand and jungle interiors. This natural idyll encourages travellers to escape the rat race, slow down and reconnect. Whether youâ€™re going for the horizontal approach on a faraway beach or elephant trekking through national parks, Thailand itself is a tonic. But throw in the spa factor and youâ€™ll ďŹ nd a new you â€“ sipping green tea and practising yoga â€“ in no time at all. Given the countryâ€™s rejuvenating nature, it comes as no surprise that Healing Holidays has unearthed many of the worldâ€™s best spas, retreats and clinics on Thai shores. As the UKâ€™s leading independent specialist, the expert team travels extensively in search of new gems to add to its ever-impressive health and wellness portfolio. Many are in Thailand, with some remaining exclusive to Healing Holidays. Thailand was
one of the ďŹ rst places to be associated with the term â€˜destination spaâ€™ (the brilliant Chiva-Som opened in 1995). Since then the countryâ€™s spa scene has gone stratospheric, its offerings reading like an A to Z of wellbeing. From holistic healing weeks to hillside burnout retreats; from yoga courses and Pilates boot camps to sleep therapy; from medical spas to beachside detox weeks, you name it, Thailand does it. Healing Holidays recommendations are always based on ďŹ rst-hand experience â€“ places tried, tested and trusted by experts who have been there. Bespoke trips are then created for each individual and value for money (particularly in Thailand) is guaranteed. Whether youâ€™re in need of gentle time out or a hardcore health overhaul, Healing Holidays has picked a trio of Thai retreats that will help you get back on track. Whether itâ€™s for a weekend or for life, Healing Holidays and Thailand will help you relax and recharge.
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Clockwise from bottom left: local ﬂowers and spices; welcome to Krabi; Absolute Sanctuary’s pool; aerodynamic exercises and healthy cuisine on offer at the resort
Absolute Sanctuary If you’re partial to small but brilliant spa hotels, this Koh Samui hideaway is one to hole up in. Gorgeous but under-the-radar, Absolute Sanctuary is a simple Moroccan-inspired spa and Asia’s ﬁrst Fitness Wellness resort. Originally known for its yoga retreats, it has grown into a fully ﬂedged wellness destination, a dream place to lose weight, get ﬁtter, eat healthily and indulge in total me time.
into three phases: cleansing, change and anew. Whether you’re cocooned for two days or two months, this piece of mind- and body-altering paradise might be small but it’s big on results.
Healing Holidays can arrange a seven-night Yoga Programme from £1,939 per person sharing a Superior room. This includes ﬂights, transfers, full board and all treatments according to the Yoga
Yoga bunnies will be in Zen heaven but it’s also big on Pilates, being home to Asia’s ﬁrst Pilates Reformer bootcamp, a challenge for even the strongest core. This year sees two newcomers to the wellbeing agenda: Meaningful Holiday and Lifestyle Change. The three-day/two-night Meaningful Holiday is a go-with-the-ﬂow introduction to a wellness holiday. For anyone with time to spare, the Lifestyle Change programme is a serious 30- or 60- day retreat split
Programme. Exclusive to Healing Holidays, for every seven-night programme booked, guests receive two complimentary nights on a B&B basis, an upgrade to a Deluxe Room, a complimentary Pilates class and a 60-minute Thai massage.
For further information call Healing Holidays on 020 7843 3592 or visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
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and set against the soundtrack of birdsong and rushing water, just being at Kamalaya works wonders on the mind, body and soul. And that’s before you set foot in the vast villas, sink into a massage bed for died-andgone-to-heaven treatments, hide away in a yoga pavilion or meditate in the candlelit monk’s cave.
Holistic is the word du jour and Kamalaya offers a vast range of life-enriching wellness programmes including detox, emotional balance, ﬁtness, yoga and three different solutions for stress and burnout: Relax & Renew, Asian Bliss and Balance & Revitalise. Some guests arrive at breaking point, while others just need uilt around a tiny cave where Buddhist monks some time out. Relax & Renew is the gentlest once came to meditate, Kamalaya Wellness programme, more on the spa side of recovery. With Sanctuary and Holistic Spa remains cloaked in soothing treatments complemented by nourishing food spirituality. Its essence is expressed in its name: and holistic activities, it’s perfect for those who just Kamalaya means Lotus Realm, an ancient symbol for need to slow down and reconnect. There’s an emphasis the growth and unfolding of the human spirit. And this on synergy, and Kamalaya ﬁnds the perfect balance is exactly the effect Kamalaya has on its hundreds of between ancient Asian healing traditions, holistic guests. This heavenly hideaway is a place to relax, approaches and medical research. A team of reconnect, nurture and heal. Hidden in a jungle-clad naturopaths can also work with you to create your ravine (there’s a private sandy beach at the bottom), own personalised health programme.
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Clockwise from top: Kamalaya‘s open treatment room; an abdominal detox massage; meditation in a candlelit cave
Healing Holidays can arrange a seven-night Relax & Renew Programme from £2,119 per person sharing a Hillside Room. This includes ﬂights, transfers, full board and all treatments as per the programme. Exclusive to Condé Nast Traveller readers: book a seven-night wellness programme and receive a complimentary £150 wellness voucher. In addition, book your stay in a Suite Sea View and receive a complimentary upgrade to a Sea View Villa or a Superior Suite Sea View, including early check-in/late check-out. Terms & conditions apply.
Kamalaya’s approach is unusually (but effectively) gentle. This could be down to the fact that it is the creation of husband-and-wife team John and Karina Stewart, a former yogi and monk, and a Master’s graduate of traditional Chinese medicine, respectively. Whatever it is, Kamalaya’s otherworldly vibe is far removed from 21st-century modern living and inspires, empowers and motivates guests to continue their healing journey at home. To book, contact Healing Holidays on 020 7843 3592 or visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
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ow in its 22nd year, Chiva-Som International Health Resort remains the Grande Dame of wellness destinations, purging and cleansing its faithful following since 1995. Back then, the word spa was a novelty. Today it’s a multi-billion dollar industry and Chiva-Som remains triumphantly at the top, pioneering health and wellbeing with its resultsdriven ethos. Tucked away in Hua Hin (a three-hour drive from Bangkok), Chiva-Som tackles everything from weight loss and detox to health issues such as hypertension and burnout, and new retreats to support guests with conditions like migraines, stress and excess weight were launched last year. The facilities – 70 treatment rooms, a kinesis studio, watsu pool and Kneipp bath, to list just a few – are second to none. There is an encyclopedic range of spa and alternative treatments on offer, including some of the best massages you’ll ever experience, facials, scrubs, polishes, milk baths, acupuncture, chakra balancing and physiotherapy. The activity roster is equally impressive, with t’ai chi, personal training, Pilates, Thai boxing, TRX, Zumba, aqua box and all variations of yoga. Sheer volume is matched by total expertise, and every individual stay
Chiva-Som International Health Resort is looking better than ever. We check out what’s on the agenda for 2017 is, of course, personalised. In addition to the brilliant resident spa therapists, nutritionists, doctors, personal trainers and naturopaths, there is a stream of visiting consultants. The 2017 calendar includes experts from Healing Holidays can arrange a seven-night stay around the world, dealing in everything from energy from £3,679 per person sharing, including ﬂights, healing and Chinese medicine to hypnotherapy and transfers, accommodation in an Ocean Room, full Noguchi Seitai therapy. You name it, Chiva-Som will board, a wellness consultation, weekly activities most likely do it. The food is saintly yet scrumptious. and daily spa treatments. Fresh, calorie-counted and packed with therapeutic Healing Holidays Exclusive Offer: enjoy a £625 ingredients, it is free from salt and fat but bursting with wellness voucher to use towards treatments from so many ﬂavours, you’d never know. The rooms have the health and wellness menu. also undergone a recent refurb by American architect and interior designer Edward Tuttle. Lighter, brighter and more spacious, the Ocean Rooms are particularly To book, contact Healing Holidays on 020 7843 good for the soul. Overall, the resort has never looked, 3592 or visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast felt or been better. And as all the Chiva-Som devotees know, once ‘Chiva’d’, there’s no going back.
Clockwise from top: Chiva-Som’s Thai Pavilions; an Ocean Deluxe Room; toning ball exercises; cleansing cuisine
60 Spa Guide March 2017
FINDING YOUR BALANCE AUTHORITATIVE AND REFRESHINGLY HOLISTIC OUTFITS IN INCREDIBLE LOCATIONS NEW
SIX SENSES ZIL PASYON FELICITE ISLAND, SEYCHELLES IN BRIEF THRILLING ARRIVAL FROM AN ACCOMPLISHED PLAYER For many, being on a private island surrounded by luminous waters, in a villa hidden amongst mango and papaya trees, would be enough in terms of a restorative rest. Especially given the 200 staff for the 30 villas here. For others though, more intent on science and solutions, meditations and massages, a remarkable spa awaits. After two Maldives hits, this is Six Senses’ third foray into the Indian Ocean – and it’s a game changer. It opens with an Integrated Wellness programme, a highly bespoke schedule based on various tests after arrival. A ﬁnger oximeter and electrodes measure key physiological biomarkers in just ﬁve minutes. The details this throws up are revelatory – from the way stress is dealt with to digestion, spinal health and condition of arteries. Body-composition analysis follows, and a discussion on lifestyle where there’s no point ﬁbbing about the teatime KitKat habit – it’ll show up in the data. Centring on nutrition, sleep patterns and ﬁtness levels, a schedule of treatments and activities is then worked out to enhance or correct where necessary. By contrast, the architecture of the spa couldn’t feel less clinical. The ﬁve treatment villas are set above the turquoise surf, each with a side open to the elements and designed according to its purpose. The Floating Villa, for example, is built on a large rock and cantilevered over the water to create a feeling of being suspended, and the Floating Journey treatment inside aims to de-stress the mind and heal the body through deep relaxation. Using organic skincare brand Terres d’Afrique, it involves an acupressure massage and a facial using jasper-crystal wands, which
KEY PHYSIOLOGICAL BIOMARKERS ARE MEASURED IN MINUTES – AND THE DETAILS THIS THROWS UP ARE REVELATORY smooth away ﬁne lines. In the Nature Villa therapies draw on indigenous ingredients, from a coconut and salt scrub to a massage using the hotel’s signature baobab oil; while the Rock Villa is held captive between two granite slabs. Here aching shoulders and longheld tensions are teased out through stretches and cross-muscle ﬁbre techniques. Yoga takes place in a pavilion positioned to catch sunrise – so get up early. The emphasis on wellbeing spills out of the spa into the bedrooms where handmade mattresses (Naturalmat from Devon) are topped with Hanse organic pillows and duvets, which have breathing and cooling pockets. A Sleep Ambassador is also on hand to talk though and improve troublesome nocturnal patterns. But it could be that snorkelling among powder-blue surgeon ﬁsh and stripy Moorish idols, or lazing in a hammock on beaches where turtles lumber up to lay their eggs in season, is all that is required to rejuvenate and re-group. If not, you are deﬁnitely in the right hands. INSIDER TIP Make the most of the no room-service charges and order a dairy-free coconut pancake with lime syrup and mango compote to start your day with a healthy zing. BOOK IT Scott Dunn (+44 20 8682 5055; scottdunn.com) offers seven nights from £5,999 per person half board, including ﬂights and private helicopter transfers.
FINDING YOUR BALANCE
DWARIKA’S RESORT DHULIKHEL, NEPAL IN BRIEF EASTERN HEALING AND GOOD VIBES AT ALTITUDE Over the past 45 years, Dwarika’s Hotel in Kathmandu has become the stuff of legend, a quirkily opulent sanctuary amid the noise of the capital. Its younger sister is Dwarika’s Resort, a sprawling spa retreat above Dhulikhel, a medieval city on the ancient trade route to Tibet. Here there is the same combination of rosy brickwork and dark wooden accents that characterises the original, though on a grander scale, set over acres of lushly planted hillside. The property is vast – guests are given a map on arrival, and it’s advisable to hang on to it. In addition to the 39 suites there are meditation and yoga
THE SINGING BOWL RITUAL IS THEATRICAL, SENSUOUS AND PROFOUNDLY MOVING, IN THE MOST LITERAL SENSE
LAKE KOGGALA, SRI LANKA IN BRIEF DYNAMIC YOGA PRACTICE THAT’S MAKING WAVES In the heart of an old cinnamon plantation by the palm-shaded banks of Lake Koggala, this is a place to switch off in style. Eight lakeside villas, some with private pools, are curled around the hill, so hidden among the jungle-sprawl as to be almost invisible. British owner Rob Drummond is big on sustainability, so walls are clad in cinnamon and living roofs planted with creepers. Muslin curtains billow in the breeze; doors lead onto terraces overlooking the water. It’s tempting to spend days horizontal beside the sparkling inﬁnity pool jutting out over the lake, but get off the lounger for a yoga session taught by Rob’s wife, Lara, whose clients include Gerard Butler and Sienna Miller. Held in a treetop sala above the bamboo grove, it’s not just the usual sun salutations. This is Quantum Yoga, developed by Lara herself and tailored to your dosha. While you’re there in the cobra pose, do pick Lara’s brains; she’s an Ayurvedic expert who can sort out your diet and balance your body once and for all. Stretch out further with visiting practitioner Jessie Quon, a therapist specialising in structural alignment. You’ll ﬁnd yourself moving as never before. Keep active by kayaking around the lake, or try stilt ﬁshing, climbing a coconut tree (tricky) and watching out for wildlife: monitor lizards darting across the paths; electric-blue kingfishers dipping in the lake, colourful butterflies flit around the foliage. Afterwards, hole up in the glass-walled library packed with beautiful art, design, architecture and travel books. The food is sensational; there are a whopping seven courses for dinner, which is accompanied by distant chanting from a nearby Buddhist monastery. Prawns from the lake and herbs from the garden are among the local ingredients used in interesting takes on Sri Lankan dishes that include mullet tartar with burnt onion and smoked potato, and curried cauliflower, spicy carrot, lime emulsion and pickled cucumber. Save space for the buffalo-curd ice cream: it’s such a hit they now serve it for breakfast with fresh fruit. Tri is fresh to Sri Lanka’s hotel scene and it’s already packing a punch. INSIDER TIP The three bedrooms in the water tower, surrounded by a moat, are cheaper but just as lovely, with 360-degree views. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) can arrange a seven-night stay from £1,599 per person half board, including ﬂights and transfers. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Complimentary room upgrade on arrival. 62 Spa Guide March 2017
medicated oils – ‘This is mama’s massage,’ according to Dr Suwal, and is believed to grant immunity from illness for a full year. Then there’s the Pancha Kosha Singing Bowl Treatment. This extraordinary ritual involves metal bowls of various sizes, which are placed against the body and rhythmically struck. The effect is theatrical, sensuous and profoundly moving – in the most literal sense, since, as MRI technology conﬁrms, our internal organs vibrate at particular frequencies. This is not something you are likely to encounter so authentically elsewhere. Even the staunchest of spa sceptics will be compelled to think again. INSIDER TIP Dwarika’s is splendidly situated for views of the Himalayas. Whether or not you’ll actually see them, however, is in the hands of the weather gods. Remember, the Second Noble Truth of Buddhism states frustrated desire is the root of all unhappiness. So if the outlook is cloudy, simply try to want to see the mountains less. BOOK IT Scott Dunn (+44 20 8682 5055; scottdunn.com) offers ﬁve nights from £4,200 per person, including ﬂights and transfers.
PHOTOGRAPH: JOSHUA MONAGHAN VIA DAM/HOUSE & GARDEN (PHOEBE GAYDON)
halls, chakra sound chambers and a maze of 84 Shiva Linga carvings – as well as three restaurants (including a marvellous, wholly vegetarian Japanese one) and a helipad (handy for those keen to watch the sun rise over a glass of Champagne at Everest base camp). Perhaps most extraordinary, though, is the Himalayan salt therapy room, composed of chunks of pure rock salt. The translucence of the walls admits daylight from outside – ﬁltered, softened and imbued with a lovely pale-pinkish glow. The crystals impart a tang and thickness to the air itself (good for respiratory issues), and the effect of spending a few quiet moments here is as pleasing as it is mysterious. On hand to explain this and other mysteries is Dr Nirmala Suwal, the in-house Ayurvedic specialist, who will appraise the state of your mind, body and even soul, identifying imbalances and prescribing dietary and other lifestyle solutions accordingly. Highlights include the Shirodhara head massage, using warm
KEEMALA PHUKET, THAILAND
IN BRIEF DREAM-LIKE PLAYGROUND WITH SERIOUS SAVVY
PHUM BAITANG SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
IN BRIEF RESTORATIVE BASE AWAY FROM THE CROWDS Waking up and throwing open shutters to ﬁnd a couple of rotund water buffalo trundling through a ﬁeld of green is a sight to soothe the soul – and it’s one that comes as standard at this Cambodian hotspot. Designed to echo the aesthetic of a Khmer village, the 45 villas are propped up on stilts and separated by frangipani trees and glassy rice paddies, with walkways leading to an excellent restaurant, breezy bar and swimming pool. The overall effect slows the pulse of even the most frazzled control freak to that of an Indian yogi within hours of arrival. The second project from the ambitious little Zannier Hotels group (its ﬁrst being a deeply smart Megève chalet, with Vietnam, Namibia and Belgium outposts on the way), Phum Baitang hits the sweet spot between the big bland brands and austere heritage hotels that pepper Siem Reap. The focus on providing deep-reaching spa treatments – desperately needed after full days pounding the ruins of Angkor – also sets it apart from the pack. Constructed from giant slabs of grey sandstone and ornately carved pillars under a cloak of bamboo and coconut palms, the Temple Spa channels the monastic beauty of Angkor’s ancient architecture. But what really makes this spa sing are the signature rituals, which are lavish and long-lasting (anything from 80 to 170 minutes), with an emphasis on local ingredients such as jasmine, turmeric, rice powder, raw honey and miracle plant moringa, revered
THE FAR-REACHING TREATMENTS ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED AFTER FULL DAYS POUNDING THE RUINS OF ANGKOR across Asia for its restorative properties. The peal of a Buddhist meditation bell signals the start of the Angkor Ritual, in which the body is brushed from head to toe, massaged with a nutty-smelling herbal paste, purified with chlorophyll water, then wrapped in banana leaves. A rose-water facial then tips you from profoundly relaxed to snoring like a navvy. Too fussy? Try the Touch of Cambodia massage. Performed dry (wearing cotton pyjamas), two hours of rhythmic pressing, pounding and stretching help to unravel coiled muscles, with hot herbal compresses applied to crunched-up shoulders and frozen lumbar – this is the one for those who spend hours curled over a laptop. Treatments are available until 10pm so you can roll straight into bed afterwards and be lulled to sleep by a chorus of chirping cicadas and burping frogs. INSIDER TIP For a physical hit, take a 20km cycling tour of the Angkor Wat complex with Grasshopper Adventures, an on-theground outﬁt that has access to parts of the park others can’t reach. BOOK IT Red Savannah (+44 1242 787800; redsavannah.com) offers ﬁve nights from £1,668 per person, including ﬂights and transfers.
If you like the idea of a spa that will transport you to another world, one with a great big hit of magic and make-believe, then scoot past Thailand’s more established wellness institutions to Keemala. Arriving at Asia’s most talked-about new hideaway, it’s hard to take it all in; 40-foot pillars shoot from the ground with pod-shaped chambers set precariously on top, treehouses dangle between palms like giant Christmas baubles, a tiny waterfall tumbles into an opal-blue pool. The villas are equally fantastical, ranging from charming little clay cottages and glammed-up safari tents to rambling villas with enormous pools. It’s not theme-parky, though, or contrived. Interiors are beautiful and not nearly as unconventional as the exteriors might suggest, with cavernous ceilings, warm woods and mosaic floors. And then there is the Mala Spa, a
THIS MIGHT NOT BE AS LARGE OR AS STRICT AS ITS COMPETITORS, BUT IS CERTAINLY WORTHY OF A PLACE AT THE SAME TABLE collection of eight treatment suites overseen by Khun On (previously of Kamalaya), each with its own sauna, steam room and aromatherapy tub. Dip in and out of a menu of muscle-thawing massages, seaweed wraps and ﬁve-hour anti-ageing beauty rituals. The products, from Bangkok-based skincare experts Siam Botanicals, are all-natural – lots of lemongrass and ginger root – without a single chemical used. To dig deeper, opt for one of the four holistic living retreats, which include bundles of treatments, health consultations (with properly useful take-home advice), oneto-one wellness sessions such as reflexology and yoga, and a specially tailored menu of health food – expect morning deliveries of probiotic honey tonic laced with colon-cleansing triphala, ginger and turmeric; Chinese herbal consommé, and just-caught sea bass with crunchy wing bean and coconut salad. Therapists are intuitive and caring, often stroking your cheek or braiding your hair at the end of treatments. And visiting practitioners can tune your vibrations, dissolve emotional toxins or power-up your chakras – try to get an Integrative Thai Bodywork appointment with Nok Chotalee, who arrives with a toolbox full of crystals, bamboo poles and wooden chisels to chip away at physical and emotional trigger points. With its laser-focus on the individual, combined with an imaginative environment and supportive staff, a physical, mental and emotional unravelling comes almost immediately. Keemala might not be as large or as strict as its competitors, but is certainly worthy of a place at the same table. INSIDER TIP Don’t rule out a visit during the May to November ‘green season’; there’s a deeply therapeutic quality to the nightly thunderstorms and pounding tropical rains. BOOK IT Cottages from about £510 (+66 76 358 777; keemala.com)
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60-minute session - you lie down as he cradles your head craniosacral-style and sings soul-stirring American Indian chants. It’s a ﬁtting start. Klein has gathered a group of local healers who meld modern IN BRIEF AUTHENTIC MAYAN SORCERY IN A FAR-OUT SETTING spa practices with mysticism, massage and herbal medicines their families have used for generations. It doesn’t matter if your basic Many of Tulum’s inhabitants came to visit and never left. It’s the pull Spanish isn’t enough to converse; you’re in safe hands with Elizabeth of nature: miles of aqua sea and white sand backed by thick for the Yäan Traditional Mayan, a mesmerising, nurturing ritual Quintana Roo bush; off-grid night skies full of starlight and moonincluding Sobada Maya, deep organ-realigning massage that miracbeams. As well as honeymooners and partygoers it has drawn ulously lifts the belly and eliminates bloat. Therapist Arlette has world-class teachers; one of these is Yaan’s wizard-like spa director, studied with Mexican tribal leaders and you feel this connection Bobby Klein. A former rock photographer who hung out with The as she whispers sacred words at the start of the Four Elements treatDoors and the Stones in the 1960s, ment and rolls onyx crystals up and Klein was one of the ﬁrst Westerners THE WIZARD-LIKE SPA DIRECTOR IS A FORMER down the spine to unravel back to practice acupuncture in LA. These tension. The Thai Temple treatment days he’s an in-demand Intuitive Life ROCK PHOTOGRAPHER WHO HUNG OUT WITH with Carolina is a physical experience Counsellor and his powerful energy THE DOORS AND THE STONES IN THE 1960S of deep stretching and unravelling of radiates throughout Yaan’s sparklymuscles, combining recognisable Thai walled wonderland. Follow the white smoke trail of copal (a sacred massage moves with her own delicate, precision release in longresin Mayans burnt to connect to the divine) and it’ll take you down neglected joints. Klein curated Yaan as a place to reach higher states to the therapy pools and garden treatment cabins. The lo-ﬁ style, of awareness. A lofty vision, yes, but it’s certainly one of a kind, and modern with rustic touches (changing-room sinks sunk into the more you let go of that urban armour, the more the place opens reclaimed tree trunks, a vintage Fifties-style dresser in the relaxation you up to self-recovery. area) is the creation of Sebastian Sas, who co-owns Yaan as well as INSIDER TIP Allow an hour to dip into the therapeutic waters, drawn Nomade, the accommodation choice of drifter fashionistas, with from cenotes. Spa angels clad in white smocks bring scrubs to the ocean-front rooms opening out to pristine beach. Yogis will love the steam room, urge you into the cold shower, give a talk through (more affordable) Bedouin tents. Kick things off with a one-to-one meditation and afterwards offer sweet tea and a shoulder-melting multi-dimensional counselling with Klein, whose background in hot pad as you lie in the shade under the palms. Jungian psychotherapy brings forth life-coping strategies as well BOOK IT Doubles at Nomade about £265, including breakfast (+52 as connection to your spiritual side. Healing is a big part of the 984 179 1530; yaanwellness.com).
FINDING YOUR BALANCE
KAMALAYA KOH SAMUI, THAILAND IN BRIEF TROPICAL HAVEN FOR HEALTH ISSUES On a steep outcrop, all birdsong and boulders, above one of the island’s remotest beaches, Kamalaya is unlike anywhere else. It opened in 2005, the creation of Karina and John Stewart, who’d met in the Himalayas: she a Princeton academic with a Masters in traditional Chinese medicine, he a yogi and founder of an Indian ashram. Innovatively, they chose an artist, Rob Powell, rather than an architect to design it, incorporating existing rocks and trees into the buildings. And to the usual spa menu of massages they stirred in a blend of Eastern and Western therapies: TCM, homeopathy, naturopathic treatments, hi-tech diagnostic procedures, Pilates, qi gong, pranayama. The gentle vibe and that intelligent mix have made it a success from the start. As one Notting Hill regular says, ‘Why go anywhere else? There are killer treatments; coffee, croissants and organic wine are allowed; and where else does the receptionist own an elephant?’ The networking is a lot of fun. Some evenings the communal restaurant table feels like a kind of mini UN, with expats based in Singapore, Shanghai or Hong Kong noisily catching up with new-found friends. There’s usually the odd familiar face too, Jasmine Helmsley say, giving everything a cool current. The beauty of the place provides another draw, and there are so many enticing spots to tuck yourself away with a book that it’s a mistake to reserve too many treatments in advance. Early-morning yoga is a delight – and free – and after that simply breathing in the scent of frangipani and listening to the breeze ruffle the leaves of the banana trees proves mind-washingly relaxing enough. End each day with a group meditation or a candlelit massage, though, picking your way along paths lit with Japanese lanterns. Also worth booking is the opportunity to discuss anything you like with a mentor. Go along for a session with Rajesh Ramani, a former monk, even without any
huge expectations, and you’ll be utterly hooked. Rajesh and his two equally chilled colleagues, Smitha Jayakumar and Sujay Seshadri, talk such profound good sense that an increasing number of business folk come here speciﬁcally to sound out their plans. The three of them are leading a programme called Finding Emotional Balance, one of the small-group life-enhancement retreats launched this year, and if you want a place you’d better be quick. INSIDER TIP The most covetable rooms are not, as you might expect, the beachfront villas but the mid-level ones, which have views of the sea and aren’t too much of a climb from the restaurant. BOOK IT Healing Holidays (+44 20 7843 3592; healingholidays. co.uk/condenast) offers a seven-night Relax & Renew programme from £2,119 per person full board, including ﬂights, transfers, all treatments and a £150 wellness voucher. HEALING HOLIDAYS EXCLUSIVE Book a stay in a Suite Sea View room and receive a complimentary upgrade.
PHOTOGRAPHS: JON ATTENBOROUGH; PRUE RUSCOE
else, make an appointment with Pilant Ananchaipatana-Auitragoon. Her directional wellness consultations are not just about analysing measurements - height, weight, BMI and blood pressure - but ﬁnding out how healthy the mind is through a series of tough-to-answer questions. Tears are not uncommon, nor a bad thing, as she challenges guests to properly think about their relationship with food, stress and exercise. Like the river that rushes past, Mandapa’s therapists are powerful. The signature Mepijet massage with ESPA’s detoxifying oil combines acupressure, kneading and long, forceful strokes to obliterate stubborn knots. You’ll feel groggy afterwards as your body ﬂushes out toxins, so curl up by the pool with a fresh coconut. ‘Smiling,’ says Ketut Bandiastra, ‘brings health.’ His early-morning pranawayu classes are about breathing goodness into your belly and life into your brain cells with physically demanding poses. ‘Come
MANDAPA, A RITZCARLTON RESERVE BALI, INDONESIA
IN BRIEF WONDER THERAPISTS AND A FRESH ISLAND VIEW It’s not surprising Ritz-Carlton wanted a slice of Bali’s feelgood action for its third Reserve property (after Krabi in Thailand and Puerto Rico). On the banks of the Ayung River, the jungly retreat of Mandapa has all the bells and whistles that’s expected of it. Built in the style of a traditional Balinese village around an existing Hindu shrine, the 60 suites are slick and hi-tech. Before doing anything
A SERIES OF TOUGH-TO-ANSWER QUESTIONS FINDS OUT HOW HEALTHY THE MIND IS. TEARS ARE NOT UNCOMMON back tomorrow,’ he says, when you can’t master a trickier asana. Tapa meditation is something extra-special. Led by Ketut Madi, the son of a local priest, it’s more strenuous than it sounds, incorporating eyes-shut tree poses (go on, try it) and rhythmic breathing exercises that work the brain as well as lungs. Along with everything else at this wellbeing heavyweight, it’s incredibly grounding. INSIDER TIP Align your stay with visiting specialist blind healer Ketut Mersi, who scans your body with reiki and reﬂexology techniques to make spookily spot-on diagnoses. BOOK IT Doubles from £350, including breakfast (+62 361 479 2777; mandapareserve.com). March 2017 Spa Guide 65
PUT A SPELL ON YOU IN LONDON
BEST FOR SHEDDING WEIGHT
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A nutritionist with an edge, Harley Street-based Cvijetic (who counts Goldie Hawn and Imran Khan among her clients) asks people to keep a food diary to analyse how diet affects their mood and life goals. Depending on her ﬁndings she may perform neuro-linguistic programming or hypnotherapy to help reset healthier eating patterns and boost conﬁdence. She’s hot on supplements (often prescribing Stamina Caps, the supercharged B vitamins loved by the likes of Angelina Jolie, for tiredness). After the initial visit, people report everything from reduced sugar cravings to better relationships at work and home. BOOK IT Initial session, £500 (+44 7970 809872; akcelina.com)
Hailed as ‘the Modern Day Wizard’, Wallas specialises in clearing repetitive negative patterns of behaviour to release true potential. Practicing from a crystal-covered healing room in his home near Henley, he uses a number of techniques including bodywork (using controlled breathing to release holding patterns in the body), and role play (you might have to pretend to be your mother) to redirect the energetic dynamics of a family or group. His works runs the gamut from helping alpha males in the City with team-building skills and ego issues to restoring self-conﬁdence in people who can’t find love or fulfilment. BOOK IT From £360 (+44 845 6250650; themoderndaywizard.org)
ANASTASIA ACHILLEOS Cypriot by way of Essex, super facialist Achilleos has headlined at some of the best spas in the world, but is now hunkering down at the ultra-slick new health club at the Lanesborough. What she offers is anything but a facial – mixing in cranial-sacral therapy, lifting and firming skin-massage techniques and tension-releasing abdominal kneading, all wrapped up in a process she has trademarked as her ‘Method’. On paper it is an antiageing treatment and, yes, you do look younger and fresher afterwards, but in reality the cocooning, cosseting, cradling experience affects the whole body, like watsu but without the water. BOOK IT From £475 for 90 minutes(+44 20 7333 7060; lanesboroughclubandspa.com)
BEST FOR CREATING A SEISMIC SHIFT PAUL LENNARD Lennard treats both major and minor illnesses with eerily effective energy work that involves him hovering his hands over the body to scan for blockages on physical and spiritual levels. With uncanny accuracy he may pick up long-forgotten injuries or past relationships to get to the core of your problem before working the stomach area with a pretty intense massage that shifts tension at every level. He was guest therapist at Chiva-Som for 10 years and his London clinics at the Metropolitan Hotel and Anamaya in Kensington have threemonth waiting lists. Before you roll your eyes, read the testimonials from grateful clients that include parents of children with autism to besotted pet owners – yes, he can help furry friends too. BOOK IT From £120 (+44 20 3011 0355; paullennard.co.uk) 66 Spa Guide March 2017
BEST FOR BRIGHTENING YOUR MOOD AND SKIN ANDY ROSCOE People travel from far to ﬂop into Roscoe’s chair at the Thame Therapy Clinic in Oxfordshire. A remarkably empathetic therapist, he’s trained in 5 Elements Acupuncture, which concentrates on spiritual and emotional balancing, so expect to have a good chat about what’s ailing you rather than just submitting yourself as a human pin-cushion. He often uses Zero Balancing, an approach that holds the body in stillness, applying just the lightest pressure (usually around the scalp) to release everything from deep patterns of behaviour to aches and pains. Local mothers also rave about his incredible Japanese Guasha Facial massage which uses argan oil and jade rollers to give a youthful glow to rival that of top London facialists. BOOK IT From £45 (+44 7932 011281; andyroscoeacupuncture.co.uk)
BEST FOR HORMONAL REBALANCING HILARY BARNFIELD Burrow down under cashmere blankets at Barnﬁeld’s cosy Cotswold home for ﬁrst-rate reﬂexology. Reading the pulses and pathways of the feet, Barnfield addresses issues past and present and might combine a spot of reiki or ear candling (to relieve tension in the head) in your session. She is the person to see if you have fertility issues as she specialises at rebalancing hormones and works wonders at calming teenagers wired by exam pressure. BOOK IT From £53 (+44 7946 401 829; hilarysreﬂexology.com)
PHOTOGRAPH: TORKIL GUDNASON/TRUNK
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GHEE WHIZZ AYURVEDA, INDIA’S TRADITIONAL HEALING SYSTEM, IS OLDER THAN BUDDHISM BUT IS NOW HAVING A DISTINCTLY MODERN MOMENT BY DAISY FINER. IMAGES BY SAMANTHA CASOLARI
After years of experiencing all manner of European detoxes – from juice cleanses to the famously ﬂushing Mayr diet – it wasn’t until recently that I underwent a detoxifying Ayurvedic panchakarma. Despite the fact that I wasn’t exactly slumming it – I stayed in ﬁve-star style at one of my favourite spas in the world, the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives – it was deﬁnitely one of the most challenging and unpalatable regimes I have encountered. What surprised me the most was that none of the usual rules applied. Under no circumstances was I allowed to exercise, nor could I drink fresh coconut water, usually advocated for its nutritional beneﬁts. Other rules included no sunbathing, no sex and, honestly worst of all, no sleep during the day – the idea being to reset your body clock. I had left three small children behind at home. I was serious, and more than a tiny bit angry, when I explained to Dr Shylesh, the Ayurvedic
BY THE TIME I GOT HOME I WAS SO GROUNDED MY FEET LITERALLY FELT MAGNETICALLY ATTACHED TO THE FLOOR doctor in charge, that I hadn’t slept properly in years. At one point he actually appeared from behind a bush just as I was about to doze off on the beach, declaring ‘No sleep Miss Daisy, NO sleep.’ I soon realised that while I might not be in motherland India, they take their Ayurveda seriously here. Most challenging of all? Drinking a daily cup of mildly spiced and salted ghee, the clariﬁed butter revered for its seemingly endless beneﬁcial effects. It is said to loosen the toxins until they seep through to your pores. Once this happens the body is ready for a variety of rather horriﬁc toxinreleasing techniques such as emesis (vomiting), purgatives, enemas and even nasal therapy, in which strips of linen are passed up both nostrils – ‘the door to the brain’ – before being threaded out of the throat. I completed my panchakarma in 10 days, the shortest period allowed; the recommended time is 21 days, and if undertaken for this long the effects are meant to last three years. While admitting that it was by far the most difﬁcult detox I have ever done – despite the joy of the two-hour, two-therapist spa treatments (on wooden massage beds with brass jugs of oil and lots of steam-room heat) – I can also hand-on-heart say that it was the most effective, transformative and revealing experience I’ve been through. By the time I got home I was so grounded my feet literally felt magnetically attached to the ﬂoor. I had been taken back to the basic essence of ‘me’. Free. Gap Year alive. Time was ﬂowing
at my pace. Several months afterwards, I had integrated much of what I learnt (respecting my unique body clock, eating the right foods, sleeping for enough hours) into my daily life with much greater ease than I have after returning from other, more familiar cleanses. So I am an ardent convert to Ayurveda. I already knew it was the traditional healing system of India, believed to be the oldest surviving complete system of knowledge in the world. Now I also know it to provide one of the most exceptional and spiritual cleansing regimes I have come across. One that works on all levels without just being concerned with weight-loss. Ayurveda has been practiced in India for around 5,000 years and descriptions of it appear in the Vedas, the country’s original literature. It translates as ‘science of life’ in Sanskrit – ayu means life and veda means knowledge – and this holistic system is a subtle, complex, all-embracing prescription for how to live your life. As one starts to explore the subject it seems a shame the philosophy has, until recently, been so little known in the West. Plenty of Ayurvedic lifestyle advice is easy to take on board. Nutmeg stirred into hot water will help you sleep, chewing fennel seeds will get rid of bad breath; a paste of turmeric and sandalwood powder clears acne; inhaling steam from hot water mixed with powdered ginger can relieve a cold. It is also considered important to sit up straight when eating, avoid distractions and focus on the sensation of chewing. One should consume no more than the equivalent of two handfuls of food at a meal because overeating, apparently, causes the production of toxins in the digestive tract – but eating light foods such as millet, tapioca and rye will not increase your weight even if taken in large quantities. One should try to incorporate yoga and meditation into a daily
I NOW KNOW IT TO PROVIDE ONE OF THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL CLEANSING REGIMES I HAVE COME ACROSS routine, and rise with the sun, sleep with the moon. Ayurveda provides a pattern to a whole way of life. With the crazy pace of our modern world it’s no wonder that we are starting to see an emerging acceptance of this ancient wisdom.
In 2015, emine rushton’s book The Body Balance Diet Plan was praised for translating this philosophical medical system into a language that makes it easily applicable to 21stcentury living, including advice on eating with the seasons, the power of spice, curbing cravings, and understanding your March 2017 Spa Guide 69
HEALTH REPORT body type. And in the same year, the UK’s ﬁrst proper Ayurvedic retreat opened: Clover Mill in Worcestershire. While owner Julie Dent doesn’t offer the full panchakarma cleanse, she does arrange personal programmes with delicious, home-cooked Ayurvedic meals, expertly delivered spa treatments – including abhyanga massage and the insanely relaxing shirodhara (the continual pouring of warm oil onto the middle of the forehead) – daily yoga, and lovely ecolodges to sleep in. I recommend even a three-night stay if you are seeking a turnaround. Elsewhere, Jasmine Hemsley’s pop-up café East by West on London’s Conduit Street was inspired by her own panchakarma journey in India last summer and served modern food based on Ayurvedic concepts, including golden milk, ﬂavoured with a powerhouse of spices: turmeric (anti-inﬂammatory) and cardamom (anti-spasmodic). In Ayurveda, warm milk (organic and full fat) is believed to be easily digested, nourishes all the tissues and promotes balanced emotions. Jasmine has also just secured a book deal for an Ayurvedic cookbook – and the East by West website has an online questionnaire so you can establish your body type, or dosha. Understanding your dosha is key to Ayurveda. For those not familiar with the basics, an Ayurvedic approach to health is ﬁltered through a framework of three different body types. Dr Vasant Lad, who, in 1984, founded the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, is author of the most comprehensible books on the subject. He was inspired to become a doctor after seeing how an Ayurvedic expert cured his grandmother of high blood pressure and swelling so bad that even taking her pulse was impossible. As he explains, each person’s constitution is made up of the ﬁve basic elements – air, ﬁre, water, earth and ether – manifested as three principles, or tridosha. Each person has a predominant dosha: vata (made up of ether and air), pitta (ﬁre and water) or kapha (earth and water), and these ‘govern all the biological functions of the mind, body and consciousness’. So what you eat, and the various lifestyle approaches you should adopt are all dependent on which dosha you are. It’s a solid system that provides a basis for getting to know yourself inside and out, with much of the advice straightforward – if you have too much heat in your body, for example, eat more cooling foods. But don’t be fooled into thinking Ayurveda is just about ﬁlling in multiple-choice forms, or, worse still, that it is some kind of hocus-pocus. It is so much more than this, and its basic philosophy is grounded in truisms that I repeatedly
THE BASIC PHILOSOPHY IS GROUNDED IN TRUISMS I SEE MANIFESTED IN SPAS AROUND THE WORLD, AYURVEDIC OR NOT see manifested in spas around the world, whether they are Ayurvedic or not. These include the theory that everything found in nature has medicinal value if used in the proper manner, that good digestion is the foundation of good health – hence the emphasis on eating the correct foods for one’s constitution. Ayurveda teaches that we all have the power to maintain good health through correct diet and exercise and a daily routine that includes yoga and breathing and time for quiet contemplation. Frankly it makes Western spa industry look a triﬂe late to the party. I went to meet Anne McIntyre, an Ayurvedic herbalist based in the 70 Spa Guide March 2017
Cotswolds and who runs a clinic in London. She has been practicing for more than 30 years, and gives wonderful tours of her garden where she grows more than 150 species of herbs, including those to help babies to sleep and wild yam and lady’s mantle to promote fertility. Her ofﬁce is packed with enticing bottles, labelled BFG-style with the complaints they are said to cure, from ‘night coughs’ to ‘love handles’. ‘As ancient as Ayurveda is,’ says McIntyre, ‘it is based on truths that are still relevant today.’ There is a lot to ﬁnd out about Ayurveda and should you wish to learn more you’d be following a long line of students. The first Ayurvedic school, McIntyre informs me, was
BOTTLES ARE LABELLED, BFGSTYLE, WITH THE COMPLAINTS THEY ARE SAID TO CURE, FROM ‘COUGHS’ TO ‘LOVE HANDLES’ founded in 800bc by a physician called Punarvasu Atreya. To be enrolled, prospective students were given the task of collecting plants from the jungle that had no medicinal value. Only one student, Jivaka, returned empty-handed and was instantly accepted. Over the centuries Ayurveda thrived, inﬂuencing systems of medicine across the world, from ancient Greece to China. The Buddha was a follower, and so it spread via monks to Tibet, China, Mongolia, Korea and Sri Lanka. It is shameful to think that in 1833 the British closed all Ayurvedic schools, proclaiming it as nothing more than native superstition. And yet this was knowledge that had been handed down through countless generations, by traditional healers, grandmothers and nomadic elders. But by 1947 it had begun to ﬂourish again and there are now Ayurvedic hospitals all over India, and the World Health Organisation is determined to promote its beneﬁts in developing countries where it can provide an inexpensive and effective alternative to Western drugs. Obviously it is preferable to experience Ayurveda in retreat environment rather than a hospital. Stalwarts of the scene include grand dames Kalari Kovikalom and Carnoustie in Kerala (the latter is the more modern and luxurious), and all the bigger destination spas have Ayurvedic treatments, including Vana (where you can undergo panchakarma) and Ananda in the Himalayas. Amanbagh in Rajasthan has recently introduced an Ayurvedic doctor, food menu and treatments with a sophistication rarely seen in more traditional outposts. In Europe, The Kempinski on Gozo and Hotel de France in Jersey both offer an Ayurvedic approach, as does the more comprehensive and immaculate Parkschlösschen outside Frankfurt, where guests are encouraged to rest as well as to join the yoga classes or swim under the gaze of a giant Buddha, and the delectable vegetarian food is prepared by a German chef who was a longtime resident of India. And in Austria, Sonnhof is a small, familyrun Tyrolean lodge that is extremely good value, with a warm atmosphere and the lovely Dr Alaettin Sinop, an Indian GP and naturopath, who can tell, just by holding your hand, what sort of state you are in – ‘like a police car with the siren constantly on, your adrenalin is on full throttle’. Even after just a few days you’ll feel calmer and clearer. Beyond the spa scene, one of the key elements of Ayurveda that can be brought into daily life is meditation. According to author and wellness expert Deepak Chopra, ‘the guiding
HEALTH REPORT principle of Ayurveda is that the mind exerts the deepest inﬂuence on the body, and freedom from sickness depends upon contacting our awareness, bringing it into balance and extending that balance to the body’. Vedic meditation is rooted in those same ancient Vedas, and is becoming popular because it is a very simple technique that anyone can practise (no need to be a monk up a mountain). It uses a personalised mantra, given to you by an experienced teacher and relating to your constitution, the sound of which is silently repeated to enable the body and mind to settle down. So there’s no ‘trying’ or ‘straining’ to meditate; it’s an effortless process. It takes you beyond your thoughts – so crucial these days as we are bombarded by digital technology and the insatiable processing of information. This over-stimulation creates a physiological reaction in the body that’s the same as with any other kind of stress, causing an imbalance in the nervous system that makes us feel frazzled. So if we can manage our over-thinking minds on a day-to-day basis, we can de-stress the nervous system and the whole body. A virtuous circle happens: our minds feel clearer, more focused, we eat, sleep, feel and look better, and that’s just the beginning. Based in London, Will Williams is a go-to Vedicmeditation teacher for forward-thinking peace-of-mind
THE MIND HAS A DEEP INFLUENCE ON THE BODY, AND FREEDOM FROM SICKNESS DEPENDS ON CONTACTING OUR AWARENESS seekers. A musician and former band promoter, Williams left the mayhem of the music industry to travel, eventually training in India with Maharishi Vyasananda (aka Thom Knoles), one of the masters of Vedic meditation. Along with his partner, Jess Cook, Williams leads weekend/week-long retreats in a rambling mansion in the Sussex countryside, where participants bed down as if at a house party, sustained by transformative yogic exercises and meditation, deep discussion, and lashings of Ayurvedic veggie food. He also hosts ‘healthy’ socials in the capital, including a Shavasana Disco where everyone lies down to listen to classic albums such as Diamond Dogs mindfully (it’s surprising what you hear when you really listen). Williams’ meditation is fuelled by an ability to put ancient Vedic teachings in context with modern life, the latest health research and advances in science and technology. And so we see where Ayurveda is heading: into a glorious fusion of East and West, one feeding the other. We can be reassuringly certain in the knowledge that when it comes to self-care, while we might sometimes lose our way, everything we need has already been discovered. We just have to re-ﬁnd it. BOOK IT: HEALING HOLIDAYS (+44 20 7843 3592; HEALINGHOLIDAYS.CO.UK) OFFERS THE FOLLOWING AYURVEDA PACKAGES: A SIX-NIGHT ANTI-STRESS PROGRAMME AT PARKSCHLOSSEN, GERMANY, FROM £2,575 PER PERSON; SEVEN-NIGHT EXPLORE AYURVEDA PROGRAMME AT FOUR SEASONS LANDAA GIRAAVARU, MALDIVES, FROM £8,695; THREE-NIGHT AYURVEDA TASTER AT AYURVEDA RESORT SONNHOF, AUSTRIA FROM £859; FOUR-NIGHT AYUR WELLNESS EXPERIENCE AT AMANBAGH, INDIA, FROM £3,299 72 Spa Guide March 2017
PICK-ME-UPS THE ANSWERS ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA AILMENT An inability to switch off SOLUTION T2 Ayurvedic Tea Chai Loose Leaf With less caffeine than a coffee and laced with cardamom, pink peppercorns and a blend of green and white tea, this milky sweet drink is the grown-up version of a hot chocolate. The ﬂavonoids are said to neutralise free radicals, help increase peace of mind and slow down those monkey thoughts. £7.50; t2tea.com
AILMENT Bad breath SOLUTION Rasasara Royal Mukhwas mouthwash Ditch the mints for a more holistic approach. When gargled, the palate-cleansing rosewater, cinnamon and clove liquid rinses the mouth of toxins that gather overnight. And a complimentary scraper is included to keep the tongue clean and ready for breakfast. About £35; rasasara.com AILMENT Looking exhausted
AILMENT Muscle pain
SOLUTION Pratima Saffron Eye Ghee
SOLUTION Jiva Apoha Parutka Body Oil,
Normally used in cooking, ghee has amazing beneﬁts for the face, too. Resist pinching a scoop from the kitchen though – this unction smells much better. The saffron tackles hyper-pigmentation of dark circles and the nourishing ghee softens ﬁne lines and strengthens under-eye skin. About £30; pratimaskincare.com
A sweet almond oil base heavy with antiinﬂammatory marjoram and turmeric essence to help soothe sore joints and relieve nagging aches, as well as boosting circulation. But you’ll need to ﬁnd someone to give you the massage. About £50; jivaapoha.com AILMENT Coughs and colds
SOLUTION Pukka Wholistic Turmeric Ayurvedic superstar spice turmeric, famed for its antioxidant properties, is now found everywhere from lattes, curries, bone broths and here in pill form. A supplement a day, with its immuneboosting curcumin, should keep the doctor away. £15.95; pukkaherbs.com
AILMENT Struggling to lose weight SOLUTION Tridosha Energise Body Oil (Kapha) A citrussy-fresh grapefruit concoction that gives metabolism a kickstart via digestive-juice-stimulating palmarosa, and helps the expulsion of toxins with ginger and liquorice. £23; tri-dosha.co.uk
5-6 APRIL 2017, MUSCAT, OMAN SHANGRI-LA BARR AL JISSAH RESORT & SPA
Navigating the New Silk Routes THE PREMIER EVENT FOR THE FASHION AND LUXURY INDUSTRY Join Suzy Menkes and 500 of the international luxury and fashion industry’s top creative and business names for two days of learning, networking, inspiration and discussion about the topics that are reshaping business.
CEO, Jimmy Choo
TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED INCLUDE: HOW CAN LUXURY GOODS COMPANIES REIGNITE CONSUMER DESIRE?
David Crickmore CEO, Amouage
ARE FRAGRANCES AND ACCESSORIES STILL THE ENGINE OF GROWTH? WHAT IS THE NEW DYNAMIC IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DESIGNERS AND BRANDS? WHERE ARE THE NEXT LUXURY RETAIL HOTSPOTS? HOW IS TECHNOLOGY CONTINUING TO RESHAPE LUXURY?
Founder, See Me
Amal Al Raisi
Chairman and Founder, Italia Independent Group and Garage Italia Customs
CEO, Pitti Immagine, Chairman, YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP
WWW.CNILUXURY.COM / +44 20 7152 3472 @CNILUXURY
WIN 7 NIGHTS AT COMO PARROT CAY IN THE CARIBBEAN A private island ringed by the turquoise waters of the Turks and Caicos is just the place to de-stress by kicking off your shoes and sinking your toes into the pearly sand. Set in 1,000 unspoilt acres with hidden coves and beautiful, empty beaches, COMO Parrot Cay is a sun-soaked sanctuary. Its award-winning spa offers holistic treatments, including Ayurvedic massages and aromatherapy, alongside yoga and Pilates. Food is a big draw too; feast on the freshest fish in the laid-back Lotus restaurant, or head to the Terrace for Mediterranean antipasti under the stars. The prize, for two people sharing, includes return flights from the UK, transfers, seven nights’ half-board accommodation in an Ocean Facing room and two COMO Shambhala 60-minute treatments. The prize is valid for stays between 1 May and 15 December 2017, subject to availability. Exclusion dates and terms and conditions apply. For more details, contact Healing Holidays on +44 20 7843 3592 or visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
PHOTOGRAPHS: KEN KOCHEY; GEORGE STEINMETZ/GETTY IMAGES
TO ENTER: NAME THIS DESTINATION These wind-whipped golden sand dunes form an undulating pattern along a pristine coastline, part of a 335,000-hectare desert peninsula, which has been protected as a marine reserve since 1975. Its ecosystem is home to an incredible variety of exotic birds, including the grey-headed albatross and the curlew sandpiper, as well as 25 species of mammals, from orcas to endangered hawksbill turtles. Within the park are prehistoric sites where archaeologists have unearthed a decorated ﬂute thought to be the ﬁrst musical instrument in the country. Elsewhere on the peninsula is a 180-metre candelabrashaped motif mysteriously carved into the hillside, which can be seen for miles out at sea. This is also the land of superfoods, and the wider region produces avocados and asparagus, as well as a less healthy brandy that gives its name to a punchy cocktail.
WHERE ARE YOU? Identify the national reserve described above and its location and ﬁll in the entry form at healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
COMPETITION RULES 1. Entries for the Where Are You? competition can be completed online (stating your full name, email address and telephone number), and must correctly identify the place described according to the instructions given. 2. Entries must arrive no later than 31 March 2017. 3. The Where Are You? competition is open to readers of Condé Nast Traveller who are 18 or older on the date of entry, except for employees of Condé Nast Publications, participating or promotional agencies, contributors to Condé Nast Traveller, and the families of any of the above. For full terms and conditions, visit healingholidays.co.uk/condenast
March 2017 Spa Guide 75
AUSTRIA LANSERHOF LANS, INNSBRUCK 11 PARKHOTEL IGLS, INNSBRUCK 34 VIVAMAYR, ALTAUSSEE 7
CAMBODIA PHUM BAITANG, SIEM REAP 63
Caribbean BODYHOLIDAY, ST LUCIA 19 SUGAR BEACH, A VICEROY RESORT, ST LUCIA 38
CYPRUS ANASSA, LATCHI 47
FRANCE LES PRES D’EUGENIE, LANDES 6
GERMANY VILLA STEPHANIE AT BRENNERS PARK-HOTEL, BADEN-BADEN 20
SEYCHELLES SIX SENSES ZIL PASYON, FELICITE ISLAND 61
SOUTH AFRICA LEEU ESTATES, FRANSCHHOEK 40 SAXON HOTEL, JOHANNESBURG 38
SPAIN THE GUT MAKEOVER RETREAT, MENORCA 6 IN:SPA AT CAL REIET, MALLORCA 54 SHA WELLNESS CLINIC, ALICANTE 20 YOGAROSA, IBIZA 42
RAAS DEVIGARH, UDAIPUR 29 SOUKYA, BANGALORE 24 VANA MALSI ESTATE, UTTARAKHAND 22
SANTANI, KANDY 32 SEN WELLNESS SANCTUARY, TANGALLE 12 TRI, LAKE KOGGALA 62
COMO SHAMBHALA ESTATE, BALI 30 MANDAPA, A RITZ-CARLTON RESERVE, BALI 65
LE GRAND BELLEVUE, GSTAAD 48 GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ 22 SPA NESCENS AT VICTORIA-JUNGFRAU GRAND HOTEL, INTERLAKEN 13
ITALY BORGO EGNAZIA, PUGLIA 14 LEFAY, LAKE GARDA 11 MONTEVERDI, TUSCANY 45 PALACE MERANO, ESPACE HENRI CHENOT, SOUTH TYROL 6 SAN LUIS, SOUTH TYROL 30
THAILAND ABSOLUTE SANCTUARY, KOH SAMUI 8 AMANPURI, PHUKET 12 CHIVA-SOM, HUA HIN 19 KAMALAYA, KOH SAMUI 65 KEEMALA, PHUKET 63 MANDARIN ORIENTAL, BANGKOK 39
MALdives CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI, NOONU ATOLL 39
UAE ONE&ONLY THE PALM, DUBAI 48
BODYISM, LONDON 50 WILDFITNESS, SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 53
CHABLE RESORT, YUCATAN 29 RANCHO LA PUERTA, BAJA CALIFORNIA 53 SANARA, TULUM 32 YAAN WELLNESS, TULUM 64
AJA MALIBU, CALIFORNIA 28 FAENA MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA 40
BANYAN TREE TAMOUDA BAY 47
INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT 37
NEPAL DWARIKA’S RESORT, DHULIKHEL 62
PORTUGAL EPIC SANA ALGARVE 54 SAO LOURENCO DO BARROCAL, ALENTEJO 46 VILALARA LONGEVITY SPA, ALGARVE 10
76 Spa Guide March 2017
PHOTOGRAPH: ANDREW BETTLES/TRUNK ARCHIVE
AMCHARA, GOZO 8
johansensguides.com The Chedi Muscat, The Sultanate of Oman