Open Skies June 2019

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R E S P E C T, C O E X I S T, U N I T E JUNE 2019

In the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, a reflection on acceptance


Going electric. Staying Mercedes. The all-new EQC.

The all-new EQC. In this case it means entering a whole new world. Full of services that make your automobile life easier and more comfortable than ever before. Learn more: EQC 400 4MATIC: Combined electric energy consumption: 20.8–19.7 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km.1 1Electric energy consumption and range have been determined on the basis of Regulation (EC) no. 692/2008. Electric energy consumption and range depend on the vehicle configuration.


























CONTRIBUTORS Emma Coiler; Finn Dean; Ben East; Lauren Jade Hill; Caroline Howley; Dom Joly; Sofia Levin; Emily Manthei; Alexander Mazurov; Richard McLaren; Conor Purcell; Sean Williams. Front cover: From ‘Celebrating Tolerance: Religious Diversity in the United Arab Emirates’/


















Emirates takes care to ensure that all facts published herein are correct. In the event of any inaccuracy please contact the editor. Any opinion expressed is the honest belief of the author based on all available facts. Comments and facts should not be relied upon by the reader in taking commercial, legal, financial or other decisions. Articles are by their nature general and specialist advice should always be consulted before any actions are taken.

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60 DUBAI A Year of Tolerance In the UAE, a time of acceptance 60





Experience 18 Stay: Koh Samui to Dubrovnik 20 Dom Joly on the joy of Lebanese food 28 Dispatch: LA on two wheels 30 Neighbourhood: St Petersburg 36 Instagram: Travel’s new authority 42 An attempt to define Australian food 48 The king of celebrity portraits 54

Latest news 74 Inside Emirates 76 Destination: Porto, Portugal 78 UAE Smart Gate 80 Route maps 82 The fleet 88 Celebrity directions: Mads Mikkelsen on the Arctic, and Copenhagen 90

Expo 2020 What can we do to safeguard the Earth? 68

LitFest It doesn’t matter if Aladdin is Arabic 70




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ZWILLING and many more




In the Age of Influence (p42), an article on how Instagram is changing travel, we open with a vivid sunset on an unnamed beach. It could be Bali, the Maldives, Goa, Tulum. The location is almost unnecessary; we don’t access Instagram for information, after all. The image, and others like it, become dreamscapes: symbolic squares onto which we may project our envy or desire, bemoan our employment or financial status. Anthropologists Joshua Bell and Joel Kuipers call it “world-making at a micro scale”, and it is inarguable that the mobile phone has increased both our porousness and self-consciousness. How is this influencing our travel? Perhaps we will venture to further-flung destinations, as mindless scrolling increases the possibilities of geography. Or maybe this is the chance for small businesses, from boutique hotels to cafés, to stand on equal footing with their larger counterparts. Or possibly, we will simply begin to differentiate the two. Instagram’s beaches will become ever more fantastical as travel on the platform morphs into its own specific aesthetic, with the actual act remaining its tangible – often unglamorous – self. Elsewhere in the June issue, lesser-known spots of Nevsky Prospekt are uncovered (p36); in France, the Swiss Bertschi family open up their restored 19th-century château (p20); and writer Sofia Levin attempts to get a handle on Australian cuisine (p48). openskiesmag openskiesmag openskiesmag

Georgina Lavers, Editor

Discover Sharjah's natural beauty

The emirate’s beautiful natural landscapes call to adventure seekers looking for the perfect journey. Explore Sharjah’s winding waterways for rare wildlife, breathtaking views and remarkable experiences.


Overlooking the Adriatic Head to Villa Dubrovnik, atop the Dalmation Coast’s clifftops, for luxe coastal vibes. p.26



Opening the window on modern Arab culture It’s the fifth Shubbak Festival in London this month, recently awarded the UNESCO Sharjah Prize for its outstanding contribution to Arab art. Artistic Director Eckhard Thiemann breaks down this year’s exciting programme Everyone from Palestinian electronica acts to revered Lebanese actresses are bringing their shows to Shubbak. Is that your aim – to be as diverse as possible?

The blurb for Mo Khansa sums that up: “a multi-genre musician, performer and aerialist. Contemporary belly-dance, aerial work, Middle-Eastern avant-pop electronica.” Sounds fascinating…

Definitely. The strength and beauty of our festival is that it can show very different voices and aesthetics within two weeks, in a city that has a very rich tradition of Arab culture. We don’t want to arrive at a definition of what contemporary Arab culture is or indeed what the audience for that might be; if you put on a classical oud concert or a young electronica DJ of course different people will turn up. And they do.

That night will be something really unusual. Mo Khansa and Kabareh Cheikhats sees an extraordinary 11 strong group of actors dressing up as famous singers from Moroccan history, the Cheikhats. It’s a wonderfully bold attempt at being irreverent but also playing homage to a tradition of powerful female singers in Moroccan culture.

In fact, those young electronica DJs are the stars of your opening party. Club culture is a big scene across the Arab world. We’re seeing a new generation of artists who span the spectrum from sound art to dance music and anything in between. It’s a genre-defying approach and the festival can bring all that together.

Artistic director Eckhard Thiemann; The play X-ADRA follows Syrian activists who have been held in the notorious Adra prison

What are you most looking forward to? Well, you’d expect me to say everything. But we’re really pleased to be collaborating with the Gate Theatre, with whom we’ve curated a whole season. It brings together a big variety of voices – from one of Lebanon’s most senior actresses Hanane Hajj Ali in her one-woman show Jogging, to the freshest talent; Yara Boustany’s Evolvo is a visual delight. It’s

a very intimate venue so people will get very close to the work. And we’re also really excited by the collaboration between Amir Elsaffar, the Iraqi American trumpet player, with flamenco musicians. He wanted to develop the shared mystical history of the Iraqi maqam tradition with flamenco and jazz.

What did winning the UNESCO Sharjah prize mean to you, other than the financial reward? It’s a great honour, not least because you get nominated rather than applying. I think it is conformation that Shubbak has become a major magnet for Arab artists, producers, funders and audiences. The prize recognises the impact back on the region as well. We take care to work with artists based here in London and in the UK, but also in Paris, Brussels, Beirut, Jeddah, Cairo, Marrakech… anywhere in the Arab world. What’s important is that we position Arab artists as globally active.


FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP FRANCE 2019 The eagerly-anticipated FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Paris this month, taking the very best in women’s football around France before the final in Lyon on July 7. Of the 24 competing nations, USA remains a firm favourite, but they were beaten by England in the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year – making Phil Neville’s side a good outside pick for glory. With Germany, France and Brazil also fielding strong sides, it should be the most competitive World Cup yet. Cities across France including Paris, Nice and Lyon.

JUNE 11-14

ELECTRONIC ENTERTAINMENT EXPO (E3) News dominating E3 will undoubtedly be around Microsoft’s predicted launch of its next-generation Xbox, or Nintendo’s plans for the next generation of Pokemon games. For the first time, Sony has decided not to participate but fans will still get to see the likes of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, due on PS4 later in the year. LA, US.


JUNE 14-16



Vivid Sydney will brighten the Australian city this month, with lighting artists turning the city into a huge outdoor art gallery. The music programme sees FKA Twigs, Herbie Hancock and Sharon Van Etten take to the stage, and Pixar showcase their brilliant filmmaking in 30 Years Of Art And Animation – go for the sneak preview of Toy Story 4. Sydney, Australia.

Fierce, highly-decorated dragon boats do battle across Victoria Harbour throughout early June, culminating in a carnival of colour and speed. Thousands of rowers compete for 24 championships, while on shore live music, a man-made beach and artisan market give a chance to experience Hong Kong at its best. Hong Kong,



44.1718° N, 4.5688 E


A château rooted in local history enters a new chapter


SILK CONNECTION The silk trade in this region thrived throughout the 19th Century, with prolific trader Alexandre Eugène Collain using his fortune to build the château. Now, this silk connection is central to the story told in the property; panels of French silk feature in each guest room; resident chef Matthieu Hervé has woven inspiration into the menu; and commissioned artwork by silk artisans Sericyne hangs in the restaurant.


Follow roads winding through the Provencal landscape, from Marseille, Avignon or Nîmes and you’ll find yourself at Château de Montcaud, where vineyards unfurl across the surrounding land. This famously scenic terrain is one reason people continually return to the region, but this 19th-century property, which opened last summer, enriches the experience of being here with a unique story told through every aspect of your stay. When the Swiss Bertschi family took on the 1875-built property in 2016, they began the journey to restoring its original identity, forging a greater connection with the local community. The sensitively-renovated interiors of the house now pair clean, modern design with original 19th-century features, from elaborate frescoed ceilings to patterned tile. Paintings of the Collain family take prominence in the resplendent reception room and contemporary light fittings hang from the ceiling above the spiral staircase.

Twelve acres of grounds are no less representative of the property’s history. It was as Rolf and Andrea Bertschi set about renovating the château that they stumbled upon the estate’s original garden plans. These are what formed the backbone for the garden design today, but with the contemporary additions of a swimming pool and the old stables converted to house the sleek restaurant, bar and light-filled bistro spilling out onto a terrace. An outdoor space shaded by ancient chestnut trees provides the setting for weekly jazz brunches during summer and a wisteria walkway leads to a kitchen garden and state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen for chef’s table dinners and cooking classes. While these culinary experiences are arranged on request, you can tuck into hearty French plates with local wine in the bistro each day and indulge in the degustation menus of the fine dining restaurant for a sense of occasion.

Borrow the château’s bicycles to explore the undulating landscape of the Cèze Valley. Visit local wineries such as Domaine la Reméjeanne for cellar door tastings, or pay a visit to the picture-perfect town of Uzès for its weekly Saturday market. The hotel is a little over an hour’s drive from the famous Camargue region, too, making it easy to explore the area celebrated for its long empty beaches, salt flats, flamingos and wild horses.


Emirates serves three destinations in France – Paris, Nice and Lyon.





10.8231° N, 106.6297° E


Time stands still in Samujana, one of Koh Samui’s most exclusive properties

Where the tokays sing WORDS: GEORGINA LAVERS



It’s that sticky kind of weather, where sweat pools at the back of legs and dogs lie panting in the shade of a palm. Cicadas beat a wall of sound as our golf buggy strains up steep hills to our waiting villa. On entering Samujana, the heat seems to dissipate. As a cool sea breeze sends inflatables drifting across the infinity pool’s surface, the island’s giant Buddha glinting in the distance – this is Koh Samui at its finest. Samujana is not your typical villa stay. The independent estate houses 27 bespoke villas, most of which are privately owned and run by management. The co-op approach means, says General Manager John Dopéré, that Samujana has “the privacy of a villa, and the service of a five-star hotel”.

Owners come at most for a few months out of the year, the properties available to rent the rest of the time. Resultantly, each villa reflects the tastes of its owner – some resplendent with Balinese architecture, others designed around Japonesque water features. Staff will help guests to choose a villa that suits their needs, whether that be an eight-bed for a lively wedding party, a tranquil space for a honeymooning couple, or an indoor slide and trampoline for kids (villa 9, if you’re interested). Overall, the vibe is truly informal. An outside bar serves as a guest check-in, with a member of staff permanently on hand to make iced drinks, recommend activities or book transport. Breakfast, lunch and dinner

To the high seas Charter Samujana’s luxury two-bedroom, 43 foot catamaran ‘Kindred Spirit’ for a private cruise. The boat can accommodate 20 people for a half- or full-day sail round Penang for snorkelling or deep sea fishing. Eat, pray, love A highlight of a stay at Samujana is its gourmet barbecue, made at the villa. If you want to head out, local spots Poppies and the Jungle Club are both good choices. Muay Thai and yoga Try out one of the villa activities of a morning: either a private Muay Thai class – the sport is immensely popular on the island; a yoga session next to the pool; or a Thai cooking class with the estate’s head chef.

The 23 villas available to rent come equipped with their own private pool


are all available to order at the villa – a mixture of Mediterranean classics like caprese salad or traditional offerings like Tom Yum Goong or Pad Thai. The crowning glory of all the villas is undoubtedly the infinity pool, whose edge a guest may peer over to gaze at the lush, jungled hills so characteristic of Koh Samui – the smell of satay and lemongrass in the distance, and the chirrup of a tokay gecko nearby.

Emirates serves two destinations in Thailand – Bangkok and Phuket, and operates a codeshare agreement with Bangkok Airways on 19 routes across Southeast Asia.



24.8204° N, 56.1354° E


A safari adventure at Al Maha, the conservation reserve in Dubai

A desert aesthetic WORDS: GEORGINA LAVERS


Driving to Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, is a relaxant in and of itself. After entering the conservation reserve’s gates, there remains an 11-kilometre sandblown track to navigate. Stopping to photograph snow-white oryx that graze roadside and the requisite rolling amber dunes, one can feel their shoulders start to unknot. The resort stands on a dedicated conservation reserve an hour outside of Dubai, with nature and privacy two cornerstones of the property. On arrival, a full welcome awaits from the safari-clad staff, one of the highlights of the stay. Guests are assigned their own field

guide to organise desert activities, and staff are generally ever-present and happy to tailor activities to each guest. Golf buggies wait to whip you to one, two or three-bedroom private suites, all of which are equipped with private plunge pools with views of the desert. With Arabic accoutrements, including bowls of dates and nuts, the suites ultimately aim to relax and recharge. Painting easels are on hand for aspiring artists inspired by the view of the Hajar Mountains, and binoculars for ornithologists hoping to catch a closer glimpse of a rare Bluethroat or Lapwing flitting over the dunes.

Out and about Full-board guests can avail themselves of two free activities during their stay that include archery, a falconry display – where eagles and Arabian falcons circle in figure-of-eights as the sun crests over the dunes – and nature walks to fully appreciate the desert reserve’s inhabitants. As well as gazelles, one may chance upon the odd snake or scorpion. The eco aspect At the heart of Al Maha is a desire to protect and preserve, owing to its truly unique location in the midst of a desert conservation reserve. Seventy endangered Arabian Oryx were reintroduced into the area in 1999, and have since blossomed into a herd of over 400 – the largest free roaming herd of its kind in the UAE.

From top: A Bedouin suite; Arabian gazelles can often be found grazing on the property; Watch camels from the privacy of your own plunge pool


If you decide to emerge from your suite at all – although in-room dining options are easy enough for those seeking total seclusion – a large infinity pool and spa at the bottom of the property awaits, typically occupied by the odd guest and gazelle lapping from its edge. Seconds from this modern watering hole is a spa offering amenities including a private Rasoul chamber or hydrotherapy bath. For dining options, guests can opt to have food brought to their room for a private meal out on the deck, or take advantage of alfresco dining on the veranda, with flamelit torches flickering, and a desert full of untold riches on the horizon.

Discover more about the region’s wildlife in The Last Wilderness of the UAE, a documentary that explores the United Arab Emirates’ remarkably rich biodiversity. Channel 6096 on ice (ch 1386 on some aircraft).



42.6507° N, 18.0944° E


A boutique-style hotel perched above Croatia’s Dalmation Coast offers views to die for

Glamour on the Adriatic WORDS: CONOR PURCELL

FROM THE CONCIERGE: War Photo Limited This Old Town gallery focuses on photojournalism from conflict zones. There’s a permanent collection of photography on the Balkan War, which includes remarkable photos of the siege of Dubrovnik, as well as images from other wars around the world. Lokrum Located just 600 metres off the Dubrovnik coast, Lokrum is an island that once housed Austrian Archduke Maxmilian’s holiday home. There’s a Benedictine monastery and a botanical garden that still stand from the Archduke’s era. Cavtat If Dubrovnik’s tourist hordes get too much, escape to Cavtat, which is a gorgeous town 20km south. Red roofed houses slope down to a pretty harbour dotted with cafes and restaurants, while pleasure craft bob in the turquoise waters.

From the road, Villa Dubrovnik looks less like a hotel and more like the entrance to a VIP nightclub. Guests take a lift down to the light, airy reception, and it immediately becomes clear how cleverly designed the hotel is – the star of the show here is the Adriatic Sea, and everything has been built to maximise the views. There’s something of a Miami vibe to the design: crisp clean lines, minimal furnishings and lots and lots of cream, grey and white. That extends to the rooms, which have floor-to-ceiling windows and long balconies on which to enjoy a morning coffee or evening sundowner. Even the bathrooms have glass walls, so you can enjoy a bath while taking in the Adriatic’s azure waters. For the best views however, head to the fifth-floor Prosciutto & Wine Bar from where you can see the sun dip below Dubrovnik’s

Old Town. For something more substantial, first-floor restaurant Pjerin offers fine dining with an emphasis on locally caught seafood. There’s plenty of wellness on offer here, from the Turkish and Bio saunas and indoor swimming pool to the range of treatments on offer in the Villa Spa. There’s also a rocky private beach with plenty of sunbathing spots and a five-step ladder to the sea. If you do decide to tear yourself away from the hotel, it takes about 20 minutes to walk to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, and the route is spectacular, hugging the steep coast. If you decide to stay put – and who could blame you? – enjoy an afternoon drink at Bistro Giardino, a narrow al-fresco restaurant on a stone terrace, shaded by giant pine trees overlooking the Adriatic. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a glass of something cold while watching the superyachts glide past.


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LEBANON 33.8547° N, 35.8623° E

Eat Lebanon How manakish withdrawals led Dom Joly back to Lebanon’s mountains

A year ago, I walked across Lebanon with my two best friends. It was actually for my new travel book but was part mid-life crisis, part attempt to get fit and lose some weight. Despite averaging over 20 kilometres uphill a day, we ended up putting ON weight. The problem was that every time we stopped for the night we were placed in the care of wonderful Lebanese home cooks who plied us with every aspect of tabékh, the tradition of comfort food that you don’t often find in restaurants. Every mouthful took me back in time to when I grew up in that extraordinary country. I flew back to Lebanon last week for a two-day food road trip with one of my walking companions. We were having Lebanese food withdrawal symptoms and needed a fix. This time we were not even going to bother to walk. We had a car and were just going to drive from meal to meal. Life doesn’t get much better. First things first, I needed a manakish. This flat dough covered in zaatar and olive oil and baked in a wood burning oven is the only way to start your day. It differs all over the Middle East, the zaatar is different in every country and some people opt for saj as opposed to manakish, but saj dough is too thin for me. I like a thick manakish, with the oil oozing into the paper wrapped round it. Every Lebanese has his favourite shack that they claim makes the best manakish.

Mine is on the road up to Brummana from Beirut, on a roundabout just as you leave Mansourieh. The owner greeted me like a long-lost brother and refused all attempts to pay for his baked treasure. That evening we ate at Khairallah, a wonderful family restaurant in the gorgeous village of Mtein, high up in the mountains. The table groaned with pretty much everything on the menu and we did our best but, if the truth be told, we were soundly defeated and withdrew to our beds to lick our wounds. I’d particularly gone to town on the Kibbe Nayyeh, minced raw lamb mixed with bulgur wheat and spices and eaten with copious amounts of onions, so any social interaction was a no-no for the next 24 hours. The following morning saw us descend from the mountains and roaring up the coast to Lebanon’s second city – Tripoli. There was only one thing on our minds, to go see Abou Fadi: Malek el Samke el Harra, the king of spicy fish. People make road pilgrimages up from Beirut to try one of his sandwiches, and they never disappoint. We sat on plastic chairs outside his modest establishment in the port district of the city and munched contentedly on our spicy booty while we watched the world go by. Life does not get much better. Next time, I think I’m going to forego the tiresome effort of writing a travel book, it’s going to have to be a cookery book for me – and I have a lot of research to do…

• • • • • •

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Los Angeles is attempting to curb traffic woes with its new, keen, two-wheeled commuter WORDS: EMILY MANTHEI

An end to LA’s love for cars?

LA residents mingle during CicLAvia – an event that originated in Bogotá and encourages car-free cities

Palm trees line Avalon Boulevard on an overcast day in the southernmost neighbourhood of Los Angeles, Wilmington. The wide, open road is surrounded by flat commercial buildings on either side, conforming to the stereotype of a low-slung, expansive Angeleno car culture. But this street is missing the routine rumble of engines and horns. Instead, the pleasant hum of overheard conversations and chirping birds dominates as thousands of motorless wheels pedal down the quiet street – bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, scooters, even a unicycle. Car-free events like this one stem from a concept pioneered in Bogotá, Colombia, and have spread to urban metropoles all over the world. Since its Los Angeles inception in 2010, CicLAvia, which closes down a two- to six-mile route for each event, has persuaded over one-and-a-half million people to abandon their air-conditioned cars for the afternoon and




1. The historic Westlake was sold last year to a property developer who has promised its restoration. 2. A boy scooters past Wilmington Iron Works. The neighbourhood is one of California’s most heavily industrialised zones

explore streets infused with history, small businesses and hyper-local culture. “Our mission is all about connecting communities, connecting people, giving folks a sense of imagination and rediscovery of the city where they live, without being in a car,” says Romel Pascual, the executive director of CicLAvia. And with 100 neighbourhoods in the City of Angels, each event proves there is always more to explore. Long before modern Los Angeles, Wilmington entrepreneur Phineas Banning was instrumental in founding the Port of Los Angeles, which borders the neighbourhood’s southern edge. His

historic Victorian mansion, built in 1864, has become a landmark of Wilmington’s important role creating the city, yet few people outside the neighbourhood know about it. The CicLAvia route takes riders directly past the mansion (now a museum) on its tour. Then, it continues past a historic hotel, The Don, a non-profit senior living facility and a Civil War museum. It concludes at the waterfront park overlooking a massive port, now the largest in the US. Getting to this little-known corner of the city is a part of the event’s outreach, too. Los Angeles is a city with 6,500 miles of streets, making it the largest

and most congested municipal street system in the US. Its car culture was created and encouraged by the automobile industry of the 1940s and 1950s, but today, many Angelenos recognise that this culture has devastating effects – both psychologically and environmentally. Many blame the freeway system for isolating residents from each other and their neighbourhoods. Initatives like CicLAvia aim to change residents’ relationship to transportation, and thus to their local surroundings. Pascual, formerly the deputy mayor of Los Angeles, sees CicLAvia as a way to show people the possibilities inherent





in human-powered transport. “The impact it has had on the city is seen by how people approach sustainability, climate change and public transit,” Pascual says. “The image of CicLAvia has showed people in a three dimensional way how they want the future to be.” Partnering with UCLA researchers, the organisation measured the impact of the event on social and public health, air quality and economic development on a few recent event Sundays. Taking cars off the road along the event route resulted in a 49 per cent reduction in particle pollutants on the event day, and

local businesses along the route saw up to a 57 per cent boost in sales. Metro ridership also sees a significant bump during events, with many people at CicLAvia reporting taking their first ever public-transit ride to get to the event. Routes are often placed near Metro rail stations to encourage door-to-door alternatives to vehicles. This initial introduction to car alternatives often creates longer-lasting behaviour change, seen by an increase in monthly Metro pass-holders as well as city bike lanes in the years since CicLAvia began. “We’re opening up their [An-

gelenos’] way of thinking about the city by looking at all the options, including looking at public transit as an option,” says Pascual. “In the long run, we hope that introducing people to being a user on the streets changes their mindset and that you’re going to see the street differently even when you’re driving, and react a little differently.” Along the route, non-profit grant recipients from LA2050 also display their visions of the future for Los Angeles. The grant programme, funded by social impact firm the Goldhirsh Foundation, also supports CicLAvia. The organisa-




3,5,8. Research post-event showed that there was a 49 per cent reduction in particle pollutants that day alone 4. Romel Pascual, executive director of CicLAvia 6. Local police acted as volunteers on the day 7. Non-profit grant recipients provided entertainment and information during the event

tion’s president, Tara Roth, describes LA2050 as “creating a shared vision for the future of LA that drives and tracks progress toward that vision.” Many grantee pilot programmes populate the streets, from food trucks funded with microcredit loans, to a non-profit highlighting homelessness as a community issue, and even an athletic grant that introduces lacrosse to Wilmington kids. The combination of social impact, public health and environmental awareness that brought CicLAvia, Goldhirsh and Wilmington together builds a distinctly creative portrait of 2050. “When it comes to


our region’s future, Wilmington is a part of the country’s busiest port and home to one of California’s densest concentrations of bike lanes, so it felt like a natural fit for this CicLAvia,” explains Roth. She’s taking the Wilmington ride with her son after the opening press conference with Pascual. “Whatever my role in CicLAvia, I can’t help getting excited when my son gets to ride safely and freely on LA streets that are closed to cars.” As city residents from across the expanse of miles, parking lots and neighbourhoods begin to speak with each other on a leisurely bike ride a

geographically sparse city forms a new emotional and social bond. This is the outcome that brings a spark to Pascual. “If we’re able to showcase, not just taking cars off the road, but also that we have a community that’s a lot closer than we think, and that we have a lot more commonalities than differences, and that we promote inclusion by being together, it creates a whole new narrative for a city known for its sprawl.” The next Los Angeles CicLAvia takes place June 30 and spans seven neighbourhoods across four miles of central Los Angeles, from Mid City to Pico-Union.




59.9343° N, 30.3351° E

Saint Petersburg’s most famous thoroughfare is a joy for travellers looking for a taste of the city’s opulent founding spirit

Nevsky Prospekt, Saint Petersburg WORDS: SEAN WILLIAMS


Stretching from the city’s majestic Admiralty to the edge of its sprawling, Soviet-era suburbs, Nevsky Prospekt’s piebald buildings celebrate food and fashion from across the world. Whether visited in winter’s depths – its streets bleached white with snow and lights that dazzle long beyond Orthodox Christmas – or in summer, when seemingly unending days cast long, lazy shadows over its many treasures, a walk along this three-mile highway is one of Europe’s most pleasurable strolls. Marvel at the sheer impressiveness of landmarks like Kazan Cathedral and Singer House, and pause along the way to check out some of the gritty new bars, cafes and restaurants that have


helped the city become a bastion of cool in post-Soviet Russia. Whether you’re looking for a big night out, or a quiet hunt for culture – Nevsky Prospekt offers a singular take on most activities.


ADMIRALTY Tsar Peter the Great founded St Petersburg in 1703, and the Admiralty began life a year later, as a fortified dockyard. The grand, spire-topped building that stands today is an 1823 renovation. Resting on the south bank of the Neva River it is arguably the city’s focal point, yellow-walled, gold-topped and an unmistakable emblem of the grandeur of Imperial Russia. Surrounded on all sides by pretty Aleksandrovskiy Garden, with its vivid flower beds and thick copses, the Admiralty is now a naval college, and beautified symbol of St Petersburg’s maritime pride. Admiralty Building, Admiralteyskiy Drive 1

The Admiralty, current headquarters of the Russian Navy



DOM KNIGI The gorgeous, copper-domed Singer House, built in 1904 in a meandering art nouveau style, is known locally as the House of Books. Appropriately located inside the building is Dom Knigi, a bookshop with vaulted ceilings and plenty of spots to relax and take in what has been one of St Petersburg’s leading intellectual meeting points for over a century. Above the store is a pretty café called Zinger, where coffee drinkers can gaze out of the windows onto the sweeping Kazan Cathedral. Nevsky Prospekt 28A, +7812 4482355




BELMOND GRAND HOTEL EUROPE The Belmond’s status as St Petersburg’s premier five-star residence is clear from the clique of supercars that often clog its driveway, just a block from the sweeping Kazan Cathedral and art nouveau treasure, the Singer House. A visit to the hotel, which has its own caviar bar and chocolatier, wouldn’t be complete without experiencing its L’Europe Restaurant, bathed in the light of its stained glass and ornate, vaulted walls. The hotel has been a stopover for stars like Tchaikovsky, HG Wells, Debussy


Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg’s main thoroughfare, is named after medieval warrior prince Alexander Nevsky – known as such for his military victories over German and Swedish invaders

and Stravinsky, and its suites, named after famous residents, are among the most luxurious you’ll find anywhere in Europe. Little wonder the Grand Hotel Europe was chosen as the setting for 1995 James Bond thriller GoldenEye. Nevsky Prospekt, Mikhailovskaya Ulitsa, 1/7, +7 812 329 6000,




Neo-classical arches in Gostiny Dvor, the city’s centre of trade for 250 years





“A true trading city, where you can’t leave without buying,” goes the Great Gostiny Dvor’s motto – and not without merit. One of the earliest shopping arcades on earth, the neoclassical mini-city, almost a mile long, houses over 3,000 traders, fashion houses and food stores from across the world. And while many of the world’s trendiest brands have upped sticks for their own buildings, Gostiny Dvor is still an excellent reminder of the city’s vitality. Nevsky Prospekt 35

Just off the Anichkov Bridge, with its famous horse statues and unmatched views of the sweeping Fontanka River, Mishka sits beneath an unassuming building opposite the Fabergé Museum. It is a well-priced, dim-lit bar with great cocktails and atmosphere perfect for the slow build into a long, St Petersburg night out. Most nights the bar plays host to DJs and live acts in a wide range of musical genres, and it’s one of few bars in the neighbourhood that feels truly local. Fontanka 40, +7 812 643 2550




PALKIN St Petersburg’s first-ever Russian restaurant was located on the spot where Palkin now stands, past Anichkov Bridge, when Nevsky Prospekt begins to look less like a giant museum and more like a high street – albeit an epically grand one. Today Palkin is widely recognised as one of the city’s best fine dining locations, offering banquet menus of modern European, and classical Russian, dishes in a luxuriant, history-rich setting. No Russian meal would be complete without cake, and Palkin’s pastry chef has constructed a dessert menu hearty enough to brave the Baltic winds outside for several hours to follow. Nevsky Prospekt 47, +7 812 502 2200


St Petersburg is home to around 800 bridges, 12 of which are moveable



ORTHODOX Taking its inspiration from “a sincere faith in doing the right thing,” Orthodox, with its clean design and packed bar, is the ultimate place to take in Russia’s national drink. Chief barman Dmitrii Suvorov has created over 20 cocktails inspired by St Petersburg’s famous artistic giants like Dostoyevsky, who lived just around the corner, and Tschaikovsky, whose Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker Suite are directly referenced. Of course there are plenty of snacks to line the stomach, and Orthodox’s chicken liver pate, salami sandwich, cheese platter and other dishes are an homage to St Petersburg’s historic place as a Russian gastronomic highlight. Ulitsa Rubinsteina 2, +7 812 928 0221


Emirates operates a daily service to St Petersburg with the Boeing 777-300ER.











AZURE WATERS. DEEP BLUE SKIES. AN ATTRACTIVE YOUNG LADY GAZES WISTFULLY INTO THE HORIZON. THE CAPTION READS: “CURRENT MOOD”. The picture gets more than 50,000 likes and 500 comments, and the young lady pictured gets US$1,000 plus three free nights (plus flights) at the hotel she includes in the picture. Welcome to the world of luxury travel influencers. This is a world where ‘content’ is a picture of someone staring out to sea with the caption #SunsetVibes. It’s also a world that luxury hotels are struggling to get to grips with, inundated with influencer requests to stay at their properties. And it’s a world that most of the rest of us are left scratching our heads over. “When you think of an influencer, you most likely picture a 20-something model promoting flat tummy tea or vacationing in Tulum,” says Jack Bedwani, co-founder of The Projects, an influencer style agency which has worked with brands such as Samsung, MercedesBenz and GQ. “The term has exploded and almost become frivolous in the way ‘hipster’ did a decade ago. Culture has latched on to the term influencer, most likely because it’s easy to hate on. In reality, the label has grown to encompass a spectrum of individuals who have an ability to shape attitudes and behaviours, not just wealthy kids at music festivals,” he says. The fact that influencers have exploded into the mainstream is reflected in the eyewatering figures that are being paid. Most medium-sized influencers (100,000 followers) can charge $1,500 and up, as well as business class flights for them and their photographer (along with separate rooms). It’s a world where the line between marketing, PR and editorial is getting increasingly blurred, and one where individuals with a smartphone and a good eye are becoming publishers in their own right. Instagram was originally launched in 2010 to be a check-in app, then pivoted into a mobile photography sharing appli-

cation now valued at $100 billion. It has more than 800 million users around the world, and undoubtedly has reshaped the way we consume photography. Parallel to the rise of Instagram has been systemic changes in advertising. The rising investment by brands into influencer marketing is in direct correlation to the popularity of ad blocking software. Advertising has changed from an interruption into something supposed to be enjoyed. First came ‘paid posts’ on blogs, and this ‘native content’ also spread to newspapers and magazines. Clever, ‘viral’ advertising works – word of mouth can drive sales between five to 200 times more than paid advertising.


or wannabe influencers, part of the appeal lies in the low barrier to entry – all you need is a smartphone and an internet connection. Anyone can set up an Instagram account and start posting photos. There is no agreement on what constitutes an ‘influencer’, although most have 50,000 or more followers. And it’s partly the lack of awareness of what constitutes a real ‘influencer’ that has caused controversy, particularly within the hospitality industry. Last year a Dublin hotel owner hit back at one influencer who contacted him looking for free accommodation in return for coverage. The post, written by the Charleville Lodge’s owner, Paul Stenson, which ironically enough, went viral, included the following: “If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room? The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in?” He is not the only hotel owner exasperated by this new breed of writer. The New York Times recently reported that the Jashi-

ta Hotel in the Mexican beach resort of Tulum also banned influencers. It faced so many inquiries from influencers over the past six months, it no longer works with them. “Yes we are annoyed – to be honest with you,” Abigail Villamonte, the front desk manager told the paper. “Because they don’t even write about it. They just post one picture.” And that just leads to more requests from influencers, she said. Thousands of miles away on the Philippine island of Siargo, a similar story played out. Gianlucca Casaccia, the co-owner of the White Banana Beach Club decided he had enough of influencers messaging him looking for free accommodation, so he posted a message on Instagram. “We are receiving many messages regarding collaborations with influencers, Instagram influencers. We kindly would like to announce that White Banana is not interested to “collaborate” with self-proclaimed “influencers.” And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink, or sleep for free. Or try to actually work,” he wrote. That post went viral, but Casaccia told the New York Times he is unrepentant. “We found this disrespectful.” It didn’t help that many of the mails came from people with less than 2,000 followers. “How can you help me if you are no one?” he asked. But are we in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Media is changing and where once a travel journalist would have stayed and written about a hotel, now influencers do it. The best type of collaboration is one where both parties get what they want: the influencer gets content (and a payday) and the hotel gets more bookings from the influencer’s followers. “Influencers do often get a bad rap – often because the only time one makes the news, it’s for bad reasons,” says


Kate McCulley, who blogs at “You never hear stories about professional influencers doing quality work and leaving all sides satisfied because, frankly, that isn’t news. The other reason why influencers often get a bad rap is because there is no barrier to entry. Many people think they have what it takes to be an influencer, but they have no idea how poor their work is. And unfortunately some brands have no clue what to look for in an influencer so they hire someone poorly suited for their brand, they get little return, and they label all influencer marketing as bad.” Indeed, anyone can set up an Instagram account, post a few photos, buy some followers and declare themselves an influencer. So, should brands be more careful about who they trust?

through social media. Not all inquiries will lead to bookings, but a smart reservations team can also track your conversions if they tag each inquiry correctly. In general, it is much easier to identify ROI on online platforms than it is on print.” That’s echoed by Carissa Nimeh, the Chief Marketing Officer of Soneva, another five-star Maldives resort. “We keep an eye on daily website visits and whenever there’s a spike, it generally means that a big article has come out in a publication, or something has gone viral on social media,” she says. “Whenever this happens, there is almost always activity in the sales funnel. When the video of our new Mushroom Cave Lunch at Soneva Kiri went viral on Tastemade [a travel and food video network] last



he Projects’ Jack Bedwani believes that brands need to shift perceptions. “Beyond the opportunistic behaviours of a few, we think that it’s more important to look at relationships with creators as mutual value propositions,” he says. “A good influencer deal should work for both parties, and the hotel should be clear up front on what they would like out of it. If you treat influence marketing as a transaction instead of a collaboration or partnership, you will be more likely to run into these [problems]. Influencers have their own perspectives, pursuits, and ambitions in building their brand. If you allow them to contribute creatively and invest themselves emotionally in the project, you will see a better result. It’s all about finding common ground and areas where their passions intersect with the brand.” That said, tracking ROI is vital, and something many hotels still haven’t got to grips with. “Measuring the ROI is still a discussion topic within the industry,” says Jumeirah Vitavelli’s Director of Marketing, Tina Dotzauer. “There are various ways to track influencer impact, such as creating a special offer code that will be posted on the influencer’s feed, comparing engagement on our own platforms pre-, during and post-influencer stay, and simple things such as the number of booking inquiries we receive

year, it made a relatively new experience become hugely in-demand. Now most of our guests ask for it,” she adds. Tracking ROI is one thing, but every hotel takes a calculated risk when agreeing to an influencer stay. A study by data marketers Warc revealed that hotels are right to be wary. “The value of using social media influencers in this context may be limited to younger travellers, and even then the resort may not benefit directly,” the report said. It also revealed that Instagram exposure worked better for destinations in general and not for specific businesses such as hotels. A sole focus on follower numbers doesn’t always work, however. As Bed-

wani says: “It’s equally important to remember that reach isn’t everything and that we are looking to engage with the right people, not all the people. While a swimsuit model may seem like an obvious choice to gift a new line of swimwear, her followers could easily be 85 per cent male, meaning she isn’t actually going to be selling a lot of bikinis.” According to travel blogger McCulley, brands should also look beyond Instagram. “If I were on the PR side for a hotel or travel company, I wouldn’t focus exclusively on Instagram – only as a complement to written content on the web that lives forever in search engines. Blog content works; I’ve sent dozens of readers to Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and Koh Lanta, Thailand. Through my site, thousands of people have booked hotels I’ve recommended in Paris, Boston, and Bangkok. Working with influencers works – but if you’re looking to actually generate bookings, you’re going to need to focus primarily on blogs, not Instagram.” So what does the future hold? Legions of influencers brandishing smartphones and making demands? Or something more collaborative? “I have one major hope for the future,” says McCulley. “I want to see influencers branching out more and not going to the same destinations, the same photo spots, doing the same poses. Instagram is a major factor contributing to over-tourism in places like Iceland, Bali, and Barcelona. This is why I’m trying to do the opposite, driving independent travellers to places like Guyana and Lebanon and Ukraine.” For The Projects’ Jack Bedwani, the modern influencer is nothing new – they are just carrying on a time-honoured tradition. “No one could have predicted how big influencers would become, or the impact it would have on our culture. In the Instagram era, the way in which we interact with the world is brand new,” he says. “One thing that we know will remain constant is our need for connection. It’s innately human to want to bond with one another and find common ground. We will always share stories, it’s just the way in which we tell those stories that might change.”













Google “What is Australian food?” and the results return a glut of clichés, from Vegemite and meat pies to Chiko Rolls and lamingtons. The familiar phrase “shrimp on the barbie” was actually manufactured by the Australian Tourism Commission in the 1980s for an ad series starring Paul Hogan, better known as Crocodile Dundee. Although Australia is now recognised as a major player on the culinary world stage, these platitudes are enough to make anyone with a kangaroo and emu on their passport roll their eyes. And yes, we eat our coat of arms, too. History plays a crucial role in understanding our cuisine. For 230 years this island continent has been subject to invasion and immigration, but to begin Australia’s story with the arrival of the First Fleet would be ignorant when Indigenous Australians have lived here for at least 65,000 years. Ask Bruce Pascoe – award-winning writer, teacher and anthologist from the Bunurong clan of the Kulin nation – to define Australian food, and he won’t. “I don’t think we’ve had an Australian cuisine yet. I think we’re about to have one,” he says. “We’ve been searching for a national identity and cuisine is part of that.” As highlighted in his book, Dark Emu, Indigenous Australian communi-

From left: Bruce Pascoe asserts that Australia needs to define a national identity before it can define a cuisine; Dan Hunter of Brae

ties were the first to bake bread, using native grains, tens of thousands of years before the Egyptians. Pascoe is currently harvesting kangaroo grass and native millet on his property on the Wallagaraugh River in Victoria to do the same. He plans to make it available to others when his website, Black Duck Foods, goes live. “I think people are going to be stunned by the flavour of this bread,” he says. “It’s so aromatic. If you imagine being in an Australian grassland around about dusk, that’s what it smells like.” Dark Emu revisits the journals of the first European settlers and makes a strong case that Aboriginal Australians were not hunter-gatherers, but rather

farmed, harvested and processed native seeds, grains, fruit, vegetables and animals. Pascoe re-teaches Indigenous communities the ways of their ancestors, but he also believes restaurants play a huge part in educating the public about traditional grains. “Initially it’s going to be in the trendy, boutique bakeries and restaurants, that’s where it will start, but inevitably it spills out into the mainstream,” he says. Ironically, the chef who is perhaps most recognised for telling Australia’s story through food is New Zealand migrant Ben Shewry of Attica, the highest ranking Australian restaurant on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Shewry is influenced by a contemporary Australia, as seen in dishes like Happy Little Vegemite, a take on a common bakery item fused with a Chinese-style steamed bun. “There are really profound influences of Chinese cuisine on Australian food,” he says. “Chinese people have been here almost as long as the waves of European settlers that came to Victoria, so they are some of the great unsung heroes of Australia’s evolution of cooking.” For Shewry, Australian food is a reflection of an individual’s heritage, as well as the responsibility to continuously study native ingredients and their uses. “Before colonisation, before culture was destroyed, I’m certain that there were regional specialties – that had to have been the case. We probably will never know, to be honest, which is sad,” he says. Dan Hunter, chef and owner of Brae, the only other Australian entry on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, believes regionality is also part of the modern dialogue surrounding the definition of Australian food. “There’s a very fine understanding within countries about what cuisine is. If you’re Japanese you don’t say ‘that’s Japanese food’, you say ‘that’s very representative of something from Tokyo’”, he explains. Australian food is generally categorised as a single, national cuisine that’s heavily influenced by multiculturalism. Most households stock soy sauce and Dijon mustard in the pantry alongside ‘dead horse’ (that’s Australian slang for tomato sauce). According to Hunter, the key to cooking Australian food lies in using


ingredients from different cultures without the resulting meal being pigeonholed into an existing cuisine, as well as incorporating native produce you can’t find elsewhere. Brae serves a prawn tartare dish that Hunter associates with Australia’s uniqueness. “I’ve noticed that if a person with a European blood line seasons it, it always ends up tasting like spaghetti marinara, and if someone seasons it and their family is





from Southeast Asia, it tastes like a fish larp,” he says. “That for me really sums up Australian cuisine, because what it tastes like depends on who prepares it.” Like Pascoe, Hunter hopes to see native ingredients in supermarkets, propelled by restaurants introducing them to the dining public. Traditional dishes tend to only be cross-culturally celebrated when re-interpreted in high-end restaurants. As Aboriginal lore is tradition-




C U I S I N E Y E T. I T H I N K W E ’ R E A B O U T T O H A V E O N E. W E’V E B E E N S E A R C H I N G F O R A N AT I O NA L I D E N T I T Y A N D C U I S I N E I S P A R T O F T H A T.”

ally passed down orally, many recipes have been lost. Restaurants – whether intentional or not – teach diners how to use and appreciate native ingredients. “Hopefully in 10 years from now you see Anglo grandmothers buying finger limes and squeezing them over prawns on the barbie,” says Dan. But if Torres Strait Island-born Nornie Bero gets her way, it will be sooner. A chef in Melbourne for 20 years, Bero opened Mabu Mabu, an indigenous deli, at the end of 2018 in South Melbourne Market. Her aim is for native ingredients to become home cooking staples instead of trickling down from top restaurants. “I want people to have these ingredients as part of normal, everyday life,” she says. Bero’s custom-

From left: Attica’s Ben Shrewry, one of the highest-ranked restaurants in Australia; David Blackmore inspects his herd – the farmer believes that the country undersells its beef

ers include everyone from young people buying dragon fruit and lemon myrtle ricotta through to seniors who baked with wattleseed growing up and are thrilled to find it again. Since opening at the market – which has Greek, Polish, Spanish, Turkish and Chinese delis and shops – Mabu Mabu has paradoxically been referred to as the “ethnic store”. “I almost feel like we are the new settlers who have come into this marketplace,” says Bero. “Our business is more about education than it is about the shop.” From an overseas lens, Australia is internationally renowned for two things: beef and brunch. David Black-

more is highly regarded for the former. Part of a sixth generation farming family and responsible for bringing wagyu to Australia, he says that farmed Australian produce is the world’s best. “It’s a more natural product than anywhere else in the world... Australian farmers care about the land and they care about animal welfare,” he says. Backed by scientific research, strict regulations and innovation, he also believes that Australia undersells its beef, which Blackmore asserts is marketed mostly on price. The Australian coffee scene is also making waves in the States. Take Nick Stone, founder of Bluestone Lane, for example. After moving to New York in 2010 to work in banking, he spotted a gap in the market and replicated the Australian café experience, introducing the Big Apple to flat whites and smashed avocado. At the time of writing he has 40 stores in America, with another opening this month in Canada. “In a lot of the top gateway cities in the world people talk about Australian cafés,” says Stone. “Authentic Australian brunch

culture is the combination of premium coffee and tea and healthy, sophisticated food that is still accessible, wrapped with carefully considered design, aesthetic and curation… the most iconic thing about the Australian café scene is that commitment to having locals, not customers.” Australian fare is the ultimate fusion cuisine, a complex amalgamation of both regretful and progressive histories, countless waves of immigration, bountiful produce and the diverse stories of the people who eat, cook and share it. Our national identity is constantly evolving, and food is the simplest way to understand each other’s differences. Ben Shewry answers the question, “what is Australian food?” better than Google ever will: “it means a different thing to every single person living here.”

Emirates operates three daily services to Melbourne. Choose from two nonstop daily A380 services and a daily Boeing 777300ER service that stops in Singapore.



Enjoy responsibly


From one of the largest collections of reserve wines in Champagne


SHOOTING STARS Richard McLaren on capturing Mandela, and the eternal magic of film photography



From Andie MacDowell to Joaquin Phoenix, McLaren has become known for his work photographing famous faces


knew straight away that was the picture I wanted to capture.” Celebrity images have undergone somewhat of a revolution over the years. The immediacy of Instagram has perhaps even trumped the most relentless paparazzo, with a ravenous 24-hour news cycle demanding the most instant of images. We live in a world where entire stories can be woven around a single image, often uploaded by the star themselves. “Photography has become more accessible to everyone through digital and iPhone cameras, and has changed the industry a lot,” McLaren agrees. “Apps can also edit anything nowadays. Now, it’s more about a unique perspective or skill you can bring to the table that differentiates your work.” For McLaren, traditional techniques will always reign supreme. After all, this is a photographer that still appreciates a good magazine: “Print is truly a great escape when you want to shut off your phone,” he explains – and even experiments with the wetplate process originally used in the Civil War. “I like that film is still very technical and makes all the elements require more precision,” he explains. “The lighting and everything is super important, and it’s a good challenge to get the perfect image without seeing it pop up on a screen right away.” As well as celebrity portraits, McLaren is known for his full-scale campaigns for TV networks, and work for brands including Emirates and NASCAR

Joining a photo agency fresh out of school, Richard McLaren had little idea he was entering into a lifelong career that would involve flying to all four corners of the globe, and photographing some of the most famous faces imaginable. “I wanted to be a racing driver growing up, but fell into this world when my cousin told me about an opening at an agency,” he says. “I learnt my trade from all different types of photographers; people that shot on movie sets, pop stars,” he says. “And I am still enjoying it to this day.” Best known for his celebrity portraits, which run the gamut of personalities from Tina Turner to Pierce Brosnan, Colin Farrell to Joaquin Phoenix, along-

side McLaren’s four-decade career is an industry acknowledgement that this is a photographer that knows how to put people at ease. “It’s always been about making the talent feel comfortable in front of the camera, and trust you in what you are trying to achieve with the image you are creating with them,” he explains. He does this by the careful study of his subject. When shooting Mandela in his presidential palace in South Africa, McLaren asked an aide what his daily routine might look like. “He told me he starts in his ‘Elephant Room’ where he has his tea and looks through his daily schedule of events and signs various documents. I


Above: Gwyneth Paltrow; Ray Liotta Below: McLaren behind the scenes: The photographer still experiments with traditional techniques that include the wet plate process

THE YEAR OF TOLERANCE In a momentous global event, the UAE’s Year of Tolerance promises an acceptance that goes beyond mere race or gender WORDS: BEN EAST


Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan greets a Roman Catholic priest

There are historic moments – and then there’s the first ever visit of the Pope to the Arabian Peninsula. When Pope Francis arrived in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year after an invitation from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the symbolism wasn’t lost on anyone. But it wasn’t just a good photo opportunity. The pontiff talked of “a new page in the history of relations between religions, confirming that we are brothers and sisters, even though we are different.” As for the Crown Prince, it was proof that the UAE’s much-heralded “Year Of Tolerance” was more than just words. The 180,000 people of all nations and reli-

gions who gathered for mass at Zayed Sports City were testament to that. “It was a stunning start to the Year of Tolerance,” agrees Reverend Canon Andy Thompson, Senior Chaplain at St Andrew’s Church, Abu Dhabi. “I wept through most of the papal mass because the atmosphere in the stadium was so joyful and expectant. “For me it was deeply moving as a worship experience, but more than that, it was incredible to witness how an Islamic nation could foster such a spirit of welcome, hospitality and embrace the non-Muslim communities in their midst. The vision and creativity of the UAE in making this happen is truly inspiring.” Reverend Thompson admits that it is possible to live in a cultural bubble in the UAE, isolated from “those who are not like us.” But what encourages him particularly about the Year Of Tolerance is that it celebrates diversity and demands a positive climate of coexistence. “The UAE is being deliberate and purposeful in its strategy of promoting tolerance. Not least because it is an antidote to extremism in whatever form it takes,” he says. And Canon Thompson has – literally – written the book on coexistence. Celebrating Tolerance: Religious Diversity in the UAE was published earlier this year as a response by religious leaders to the impressive intentions of the newly-formed Ministry of Tolerance. Pulling together religious communities’ experiences of living, working and worshipping in the UAE, it’s a positive, hopeful book that begins with Thompson recalling the time he stood in the garden of his vicarage in Abu Dhabi. to his right was the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque; in front, the huge campus of the Roman Catholic Church of St Joseph. “One starry night, we hosted a Passover meal in our garden and as the Psalms began to be chanted in Hebrew, suddenly the call to prayer rang out plaintively from the minaret next door,” he recalls. “At the same time, the Roman Catholic Church who were holding


Designer Mirko Ilić asked peers to visualise tolerance; the end result was a poster show that has travelled to locations as diverse as Dubai, South Africa and Zagreb

an open air meeting in their courtyard burst into a song of praise – a Christian hymn of worship to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For a profound moment, the Hebrew chanting, the Arabic call to prayer and a traditional English hymn collided in the air over the garden. It sent shivers down my spine and I wondered, where else in the world would you experience this?” And where else, indeed, would the CEO of Dubai Airports end up playing the organ for the papal mass in front of 180,000 people? But that’s exactly what came to pass when Paul Griffiths was called just before Christmas and asked if he’d take up the challenge. “You’d think that the butterflies in your stomach would just be going crazy but actually on the day, sitting there on the organ in front of the crowds I just had this sense of calm,” he laughs. “So I just concentrated on getting all the notes

right and hoped that everyone else was enjoying it as much as me.” Griffiths wasn’t being thrown completely in at the deep end; he’s an accomplished organist as well as being at the helm of one of the most successful airports in the world. But he admits to taking a deep breath when the Pope arrived. “He got a better reception than any rock star, it was just amazing,” says Griffiths. “But more than that, every single nation with a resident here was represented, the prayers were in many different languages and it was such a powerful, genuine statement and event. The UAE knocked it out of the park.” “It was amazing to meet the Pope,” added Emirati martial artist Chaica Al Qassimi. “His visit made a lot of impact across the country and to me personally because it showed people that we should respect and accept everyone.” Al Qassimi is proof positive that the pa-


7,500 athletes from nearly 200 countries competed in Olympic disciplines at this year’s Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi

pal visit and the Year Of Tolerance has already had a huge impact. Born with Down’s Syndrome, she recently took part in the torch run, spoke at the opening ceremony and was even a judo judge at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. “It was an incredible opportunity for my homeland to show the huge steps that have been made in integrating people like myself into every aspect of society,” she says. “Sport has the ability to empower people and teach a sense of achievement, belonging and friendship in athletes and form lifelong friendships among teammates. “It was an inspiring and fully unified event that has brought together people with and without intellectual disabilities and of all backgrounds and ages to work with each other towards achieving a common goal of inclusion.” Al Qassimi says she will never forget speaking at the Opening Ceremony; her plea for acceptance – “no matter who we are, inclusion of all people is what matters as we are all human beings” – was widely praised and had a genuine power: every community the athletes went on to visit welcomed them with “open arms, loud cheers and big smiles.” But Al Qassimi was thinking bigger than individual communities. She believes the Special Olympics World Games and The Year Of Tolerance, with their shared aims of acceptance and inclusion, have the power to change the world. “I am living proof of the benefits of unity; my development has been shaped by, and greatly benefited from, being around people of different nationalities, ages and, of course, abilities,” she says. “There is still a lot of work to end discrimination, but both the Games and Year of Tolerance are helping to change attitudes and have given us a voice. I hope the rest of the world follows.” And if a fascinating poster project is any guide, tolerance is more of a movement than perhaps we dare hope. What


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

started out as a small exhibition in Slovenia with designer Mirko Ilić asking his peers to create posters on the subject of tolerance has now travelled to 22 countries and 48 locations. “There’s no big organisation behind this, and no money either, so it’s quite amazing how much it’s taken off,” says Ilic of a show that returns to the UAE this month. “I guess each country has their own reason to have a show on tolerance – and if just one person sees a poster and just stops to think for a moment that much more unites us than divides us… then it will have worked.” Which is, suitably enough, almost exactly what UAE Minister of Tolerance Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan says in his foreword to Reverend Thompson’s book. Celebrating tolerance, he says, “helps us to appreciate

the differences that animate our humanity and to identify values that we all share, despite those differences.” As someone responsible for creating an environment where we most obviously experience both humanity and difference – an airport – Paul Griffiths understands more than most the power of tolerance. “Elsewhere it’s seemingly about building walls, creating borders, wanting to disconnect,” he says. “But I hope the papal mass and the Year of Tolerance will demonstrate that the UAE can take leadership and move the world agenda forward. This isn’t just a place that revels in the tallest, the biggest, the best, the most expensive. It’s not just about glass and steel. The UAE can, through the Year of Tolerance, make a sophisticated cultural challenge to us all.”

68 / EXPO 2020

The sustainability of life on Earth is in our hands If we do nothing, both humankind and the world are in dire trouble. The journey through Terra, Expo 2020’s Sustainability Pavilion, aims to shock us into changing our habits and – in doing so – the planet. Nature existed long before humankind which – in the grand scheme of history – is a speck on the cosmic landscape. Now, the weight of more than seven billion people is seriously endangering our future. ‘Terra’ – the Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 – highlights what we can do to safeguard Earth’s future. Terra will represent the focal point of perhaps the most pressing of the event’s three core themes (the other two are Opportunity and Mobility). It incorporates an emotive journey that depicts humankind’s relationship with nature and shows how our actions are intrinsically intertwined with the environment – when one suffers so does the other. It follows that positive change from humanity will benefit this symbiosis. The experience begins in a wadi – a dry riverbed – and tells the story of Arabia, pulling no punches as it moves through time to highlight the very real issues bearing down on us in the here and now. Visitors continue their journey through a series of interactive installations designed to spark their imaginations. In the next gallery, a giant balance maze requires the collaboration of multiple people to put Earth onto an even footing, demonstrating our need to work together. The Gnasher, meanwhile, is an even starker display of the problems facing us all: this insatiable, giant consumption machine vividly demonstrates the folly of endlessly using our natural resources to churn out single-use consumer products. Elsewhere, a huge deep-sea fish, with its body clogged with discarded plastic, highlights how we are choking our world’s oceans. Gladly, it isn’t all doom and gloom – there is hope in the shape of the Laboratory of Future Values, offering solutions to environmental challenges and issues from an array of organisations and nations, as well as

grantees from the US$100 million Expo Live innovation programme. Terra’s potential is huge. With the capacity to accommodate and inspire 4,400 people per hour over the Expo’s 173 days, millions of minds will be exposed to a pathway towards a sustainable future. With all food and beverages on the journey sustainably sourced and packaged, those minds will themselves be sustainably nourished. World Environment Day falls on June 5, making this month a particularly pertinent time to be considering the theme of Sustainability and what we can individually do to safeguard the future. When visitors leave Terra, they are asked to make a pledge that supports positive change. What will yours be?

Visitors will take a journey through a series of interactive installations in the Sustainability Pavilion designed to spark their imaginations.

For more, check out the Expo 2020 podcast on channel 1851 on ice.

It’s time for a travel movement. Stay. Visit. Get to know Mauritius.


Is Aladdin Arabic?

Paulo Lemos Horta on why it doesn’t matter if Disney’s new Aladdin isn’t authentically Middle Eastern – because it never was in the first place WORDS: BEN EAST

A scene from “Maruf the Cobbler”; the drawing, by Carl Offterdinger, can be seen in “Märchen aus Tausend und einer Nacht (Fairy Tales from One Thousand and One Nights)”, published c. 1890

With Will Smith lending his Fresh Prince stylings to the genie, Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake of Aladdin is likely to be one of 2019’s hit movies. After all, the much-loved animated film starring Robin Williams was huge in the early 90s, the music alone leading to a Broadway adaptation. But should we be concerned about an exuberant Californian quipping his way through the Disneyfication of the most famous of all Middle Eastern stories? Surprisingly, one of the pre-eminent experts on One Thousand and One Nights doesn’t think so. “We’re going to have this barrage of people pointing out how this new Aladdin film doesn’t reflect the modern Middle East,” jokes Paolo Lemos Horta, who recently edited Aladdin: A New Translation. “But if you look at the original story, I’m not sure reflecting the Middle East was ever the point. The tale was probably Persian, yet borrowed from Indian storytelling. The Aladdin story we know today is a combination of a Syrian man telling his tale to a French writer. So there is something wonderfully global and cross-cultural about the way the Arabian Nights stories came about, even in Arabic – in a way, the less you know about Aladdin, the more offended you might be by this film.” And Paolo Lemos Horta knows a lot about Aladdin. In 2017, he wrote the fascinating Marvellous Thieves, which explored the true origins of the Arabian Nights as made famous by the French and English translations of the 18th and 19th centuries. It celebrated the story of a man from Aleppo, Hanna Diyab, who came into the orbit of Antoine Galland, the ‘author’ of Les Mille Et Une Nuits. Up until recently, it had been suggested that Aladdin was just the figment of Galland’s orientalist imagination; the reality was something a lot more interesting. “The parallels between Diyab’s memory of Versailles and the wording in Aladdin are so close one really has to think that some of his wonder at Versailles rubbed off on the story he gave to Galland,” he says. “Of course, it’s very difficult to reconstitute exactly what happened between Diyab and Galland. But what we can say was that the story was the product of both Aleppo and Paris, and Aleppo had Jews, Muslims,


Paolo Horta has been recognised for his work on the origins of One Thousand and One Nights; Aladdin: A New Translation is out now

Christians and merchants going to coffee shops and listening to stories that had travelled from Asia and Europe. If we think of the story in that way it knocks away at the idea of Aladdin needing to have cultural purity or authenticity.” Still, it’s a long way from 18th-century Versailles to the cultural behemoth that is Aladdin today. Why does Horta think it continues to strike such a chord? “Well, to start with, it’s not just about escapism and genies,” he points out. “It’s about an ordinary boy making something of himself; yes, it’s one of the most widely circulated fairytales in the

world, but it’s about someone coming of age, learning a trade, falling in love, going on a quest. He’s betrayed by a father figure. It’s elemental stuff, a global franchise long before Disney got hold of it.” For Horta, if the Will Smith film means that people come back to Aladdin: A New Translation, so much the better. He’s particularly pleased that the translation by Yasmin Seale – aptly, a French-Syrian herself – has teased out the strong female voices in the original text, which feels particularly apt in 2019. “It’s exciting to be in the orbit of Aladdin this year,” he agrees. “It’s a moment

Above: From the fairy tale “The Magic Horse”;

in time where we need a bit more curiosity about stories that are from more than one place. We need the Hanna Diyab of today, really, rather than being sectarian and nationalistic with literature.”

For more, listen to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature podcast on channel 1855 on ice.

WE MADE IT EASY TO BE GENEROUS Available in Dubai Duty Free


Emirates NEWS










Summer discounts The Green Planet, a “rainforest in the desert”, is just one of the UAE attractions that Emirates customers will be able to experience at a discounted price with the summer re-launch of My Emirates Pass. p.75



Emirates announces new codeshare and interline agreements New codeshare agreements with SpiceJet and LATAM Airlines Brazil, as well as a new interline agreement with Africa World Airlines, are set to open up new destinations for Emirates customers. In Brazil, a new codeshare partnership agreement with LATAM Airlines Brazil covering domestic services in the country will provide greater choice and connectivity. Emirates passengers travelling to and from the country will now be able to connect with 17 cities in LATAM’s domestic network covered by the agreement, including Belo Horizonte, Brasília and Foz do Iguaçu. Passengers travelling to and from these cities will now be able to connect seamlessly in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with Emirates’ flights to its Dubai hub, which serves over 150 destinations worldwide. In India, six cities served by SpiceJet will join the Emirates network, after the Indian airline and Emirates signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enter into a reciprocal codeshare agreement. Subject to necessary government approvals, the partnership will enable Emirates’ passengers to enjoy seamless connectivity on flights to

India, leveraging SpiceJet’s strong domestic presence and adding six new destinations: Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Madurai and Calicut – to the nine existing cities in India served by Emirates. This will bolster Emirates’ alreadyextensive network, adding a total of 67 weekly connections between Emirates’ hub in Dubai to these six fast-growing destinations in India. This includes increased domestic connectivity from Emirates’ nine Indian gateways to points such as Goa, Hubli, Guwahati, Vishakhapatnam and Tuticorin.

Emirates and Ghanaian airline Africa World Airlines (AWA) have announced a one-way interline agreement by which Emirates customers can benefit from greater connectivity to West Africa by connecting onto selected routes of AWA’s network. Those travelling from popular inbound markets such as Dubai, China, India and Australia can now connect from Accra onto AWA flights to Kumasi, Tamale and SekondiTakoradi in Ghana; and regional destinations Monrovia in Liberia and Freetown in Sierra Leone.

Emirates unveils its pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai The Future of Commercial Aviation will be the theme for the Emirates Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, which takes place from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021. With an array of unique experiences at the mega-event – including 190 country pavilions and a packed entertainment programme with daily live events – the Emirates Pavilion will help

tell the story of what commercial aviation might look like in the future. Designed to reflect the dynamic lines of aircraft wings ready to take flight, the pavilion will explore topics that include the science of flight, advancements in engine technologies, and new aerospace materials that aim to increase performance and reduce fuel consumption.


Enjoy summer discounts with My Emirates Pass

LATEST AIRCRAFT TO OPERATE FLIGHTS TO RIYADH, KUWAIT AND MALÉ Emirates is set to deploy its latest Boeing 777-300ER to Malé, Kuwait and Riyadh, as well as providing Riyadh with its Airbus A380 service. From 1 June, the Maldivian capital of Malé will become the first destination in the South Asian region to be served on a regular basis by the new aircraft. Travellers to and from the archipelago can experience the new Emirates Boeing 777 on flight EK658, departing Dubai daily at 0420hrs. In Riyadh, Emirates will also be operating its latest Boeing 777300ER aircraft, fitted with First Class suites inspired by luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz. The service, from Dubai to Riyadh, began in 16 April. The Dubai-Kuwait route, ranked one of the ‘World’s 20 Busiest Routes’, will see the premium Boeing 777 experience begin from 1 June this year. From First Class through to Business and Economy Class, the latest Emirates 777 aircraft features multi-million dollar upgrades and the latest version of the ice inflight entertainment system across all cabins. Designed with an emphasis on exceptional customer comfort and the ultimate in privacy, Emirates ‘Game-

Changing’ Boeing 777 private suites feature floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and ultra-modern design features against cool grey colourscapes. In Riyadh, Emirates is providing more choice for its customers with the introduction of the first scheduled Airbus A380 service to the capital city, that began on 21 April. Riyadh is the 51st destination to join the Emirates A380 network. Flight EK 817/818, currently operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, will now be operated by the iconic and highly popular Emirates A380. The Emirates A380 aircraft will be operating on the route five times a week.

EMIRATES SWEEPS UP FIVE WINS AT BUSINESS TRAVELLER MIDDLE EAST AWARDS Emirates took home the coveted award of Best Airline Worldwide at the Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2019, as well as a host of other accolades. Recognised for its operational excellence and exceptional services, the world’s largest international airline also won awards for Airline with the Best First Class; Airline with the Best Economy Class; Airline with the Best Frequent Flyer Program; and Best Airport Lounge in the Middle East.

Emirates’ signature pass has returned for the summer, offering discounts and special offers across more than 500 locations in the UAE. Emirates customers can unlock the best Dubai has to offer for less this summer with the return of My Emirates Pass – an offer that turns an Emirates boarding pass into an exclusive membership card, providing travellers special benefits and discounts of up to 50 per cent off in more than 500 leisure and retail outlet locations across the UAE. Emirates passengers flying to and through Dubai between 1 May and 31 August 2019 can utilise My Emirates Pass by simply presenting their boarding pass and a valid form of identification in any of the participating outlets. The pass allows customers to redeem up to 50 per cent off in over 400 fine dining restaurants, luxury treatments in almost 50 spas, and activities such as indoor skiing. Customers can also take advantage of up to 30 per cent off at retail outlets, including popular fashion and fitness brands.


Emirates plays its part at the biggest event of the decade As Expo 2020 Dubai rolls closer, take a look at how Emirates is introducing visitors to the future of aviation… The pavilion

The design

Emirates recently unveiled plans for its own pavilion during the six-month mega-event

3,300sqm Three-storey, multi-function structure (with skygarden)

26 Slanted architectural fins that mimic aircraft wings

The content The Emirates Pavilion will focus on the future of commercial aviation and will debate the questions: What might commercial aviation look like in the future? The science of flight – using the basic principles of aerodynamics Advancements in engine technologies New aerospace materials that increase performance and reduce fuel consumption The future of passenger experience at airports ■

“Air travel has transformed the ability of people to experience everything that the world has to offer.” Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau

800m LED lights to create multi-sensory effects

56,000 Visitor capacity per month

Will the future of engines be electric? Advances in engine propulsion and thrust Cutting-edge propulsion systems reduce emissions

Sustainable design elements With integrated solar arrays and off-site construction


Expo 2020 Dubai: What’s in store?

100 million+ Work hours to date

150,000 Visitors on an average day

Route 2020 Expo’s own dedicated Dubai Metro station

Thematic Districts Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, is the belief that innovation is the result of people and ideas coming together in new and unique ways. Three Thematic Districts – Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – will feature 192 Country

3 Themed districts

A gastronomic journey

Pavilions, showcasing unique architecture and culture from around the world. Each District will include performance spaces, innovation galleries, art installations and outdoor gardens. There will also be a children’s park and a full events programme for families.

192 Countries will participate

173 Days of live events

Bon appétit! Expo 2020 Dubai’s over 200 food and beverage outlets will serve up innovative culinary experiences and a world of flavours. More than 50 million meals are expected to be served during Expo 2020, and visitors will be able to view, order and pay for their food and beverages online via

200+ Food and beverage outlets

a smartphone app. An F&B destination in its own right, Expo will cater to the diverse tastes of millions. Discover the future of food via cuttingedge technology; join a culinary tour and sample newly-created dishes or simply enjoy Emirati hospitality.

500,000 Meals served during a peak day at Expo 2020

50 million Meals served during Expo 2020



The Opportunity Pavilion’s striking, spiral-shaped canopy will be made from 111 kilometres of woven rope, enough to stretch from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah.

The Sustainability Pavilion has the capacity to host 52,000 people in a single day, more than the average number of visitors to the Eiffel Tower during the same period.




A gastronomic city break Stand atop Porto’s prodigious Dom Luis Bridge for a panoramic view of the city’s three hallmarks. To the right is the rainbow-hued Ribeira – the UNESCO-crowned Old Town, where Romans settled two millennia ago. Here, medieval alleyways snake down to the thronging riverfront, and charming, dilapidated homes appear held up solely by ancient magic. The opposite bank has long played home to the great port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia, whose family names remain emblazoned on the whitewashed lodges. The rippling waters of the broad River Douro, responsible for northern Portugal’s generous culinary bounty, split the scene. This is picture-postcard Porto. Delve further and you’ll discover a city as unexpected as it is picturesque. Traditional tascas are hidden amongst the old merchants’ houses of the Ribeira, mournful fado melodies emitting from battered doorways. São Bento Railway Station contains a stunning azulejo tile frieze depicting the chronology of transport in Portugal, while an unassuming weighing scale prints out fortunes, not weights. A stunning Art Deco building plays home to the world’s most beautiful McDonald’s. And local legend has it that conflicts at the city’s market sometimes devolve into fish-slapping fights. Yet for all the city’s endearing eccentricities, its superb culinary scene – which manages to be both authentic and unapologetically hip – should come as no surprise. Michelin-starred chefs plate up smoked meats and cheeses from nearby Trásos-Montes, and fresh seafood hauled from the Atlantic. Port and vinho verde are – of course – a must on every creaking table. The average Portuense’s day centres around eating; the pace of life is slower, and centres on these everyday pleasures.

Emirates’ new service to Porto launches 2 July. The four times weekly service is operated by a Boeing 777-200LR in a two class cabin configuration. The Dubai to Porto route will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.


THE YEATMAN Wholeheartedly embrace Porto’s vinho heritage at The Yeatman, which sits among the city’s emblematic Port lodges on the River Douro. The hotel boasts a staggering 25,000-bottle cellar, as well as a two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Luxe highlights include the spa’s grape-pip treatment and decanter-shaped pool.

ANTIQVVM Indulgent Portuguese cuisine with international flare is the theme at Michelin-starred Antiqvvm. Housed within a city park, the restaurant’s aesthetic blends traditional stone interiors with artsy high-end touches. The jewel in the crown is the garden, which offers a superb vista of the River Douro.

INTERCONTINENTAL PORTO – PALACIO DAS CARDOSAS Step through the gothic facade of the Palacio das Cardosas to enjoy contemporary five-star indulgence amidst decadent old-world chandeliers and pillars. This beautifully restored palace is centrally located in Liberdade Square.

ODE PORTO WINE HOUSE ODE’s monumental wine list and dedication to local ingredients make it a must for wine lovers and epicureans who like their food with a story. Nestled down a side street close to the riverfront, an authentic Portuguese menu is complemented by an intimate setting – think candles and exposed stone.



For postcard Porto, head to the lively Ribeira district. Medieval streets lined with brightly-hued houses zigzag down to the thronging riverfront. The imposing Dom Luis Bridge stretches over the spellbinding scene. Explore narrow backstreets to discover concealed tascas – the mournful notes of a Fado guitar is a sure giveaway.

Magic abounds amongst the dusty tomes and dark polished woods of historic bookshop Livraria Lello, founded in 1881. It’s believed a young JK Rowling, writing in the coffee shop atop its twisted staircase, took inspiration for Harry Potter from its enchanting neo-gothic architecture.

TOREL AVANTGARDE The Torel Avantgarde pays homage to the elegance of the 1930s, with each of the five-star boutique’s 47 rooms and suites dedicated to an avant-garde artist. Sample a canapé with a view in the ‘Avant-Garden’ or indulge in a signature treatment at the spa, all just a stone’s throw from the city centre.

PEDRO LEMOS The first Michelin-starred restaurant in Porto, Pedro Lemos is renowned for its exquisite tasting menus. Expect an innovative, high-end take on Portugal’s traditional seafood and meat dishes, inspired by Lemos’ grandmothers. You’ll find it in a cozy heritage building, topped with a terrace for warm days.

TAYLOR’S PORT CELLARS Descend into the evocative 300-year-old Taylor’s cellars to learn about the city’s Port heritage. Guests are invited to tour the Lodge, and join a tasting featuring aged tawny ports and Taylor’s classic vintage ports. Opt for a private tour for a customised experience.


Be smart!


Use UAE Smart Gate at Dubai International Airport Citizens of the countries listed on the right and UAE residents can speed through Dubai International by using UAE Smart Gate. If you hold a machine-readable passport, an E-Gate card or Emirates ID card you can check

in and out of the airport within seconds. Just look out for signs that will direct you to the many UAE Smart Gates found on either side of the Immigration Hall at Dubai International Airport.



Have your machine-readable passport, E-Gate card or Emirates ID card ready to be scanned.


Place your passport photo page on the scanner. If you are a UAE resident, place your E-Gate card or Emirates ID card into the card slot.


Go through the open gate, stand on the blue footprint guide on the floor, face the camera straight-on and stand still for your iris scan. When finished, the next set of gates will open and you can continue to baggage claim.


To register for Smart Gate access, just spend a few moments having your details validated by an immigration officer and that’s it. Every time you fly to Dubai in future, you will be out of the airport and on your way just minutes after you have landed.


Remember to bring your Emirates ID card next time you’re travelling through DXB – you’ll be able to speed through passport control in a matter of seconds, without paying and without registering. Valid at all Smart Gates, located in Arrivals and Departures, across all three terminals at DXB.

*UK citizens only (UK overseas citizens still require a visa)

UAE SMART GATE CAN BE USED BY: • Machine-readable passports from the above countries • E-Gate cards • Emirates ID cards


Emirates Porto: four times weekly service starts 2 July flydubai Naples: daily service starts 4 June Sochi: twice weekly service starts 7 June



Routes shown are as of time of going to press


**Seasonal service


Emirates Amsterdam / Auckland / Bangkok / Barcelona / Beijing / Birmingham / Brisbane / Casablanca / Christchurch / Copenhagen / Dusseldorf / Frankfurt / Guangzhou / Hamburg / Hong Kong / Houston / Jeddah / Johannesburg / Kuala Lumpur / Kuwait / London / Los Angeles / Madrid / Manchester / Mauritius / Melbourne / Milan / Moscow / Mumbai / Munich / New York / Nice / Osaka / Paris / Perth / Prague / Riyadh / Rome / San Francisco / São Paulo / Seoul / Shanghai / Singapore / Sydney / Taipei / Tokyo / Toronto / Vienna / Washington, DC / Zurich

Emirates route

flydubai route


With 23 codeshare partners in 26 countries (21 airlines and an air/rail codeshare arrangement with France’s SNCF/TGV Air and Italy’s Trenitalia), Emirates has even more flight options, effectively expanding its network by over 300 destinations.

Visit for full details on our travel partners


Routes shown are as of time of going to press


**Seasonal service



Emirates route

AFRICA flydubai route




**Seasonal service



Routes shown are as of time of going to press


Freighter destinations


Emirates Fleet Our fleet of 269 aircraft includes 257 passenger aircraft and 12 SkyCargo aircraft AIRBUS A380-800 111 IN FLEET

All aircraft 30+ aircraft

up to 4,000+

Up to 489-615 passengers. Range: 15,000km. L 72.7m x W 79.8m



All aircraft 100+ aircraft

Up to 354-428 passengers. Range: 14,594km. L 73.9m x W 64.8m

up to 4,000+

BOEING 777-200LR

Aircraft numbers accurate at the time of going to press. For more information:


Live TV, news & sport


Mobile phone

Data roaming

Number of channels

First Class Shower Spa

*Onboard lounge

**In-seat power

USB port

In-seat telephone

All aircraft Up to 302 passengers. Range: 17,446km. L 63.7m x W 64.8m 3,000+



Up to 19 passengers. Range: 7,000km. L 33.84m x W 34.1m Fly up to 19 guests in utmost comfort in our customised Emirates Executive Private Jet.

* First Class and Business Class; **Available in all rows in Economy Class, and in all seats in First Class and Business Class



The most environmentally-friendly freighter operated today, with the lowest fuel burn of any comparably-sized cargo aircraft.

Range: 9,260km. L 63.7m x W 64.8m


GUIDE TO THE ARCTIC (AND COPENHAGEN) The protagonist of new film Arctic on weathering brutal conditions, plus a guide to his gentler hometown INTERVIEW: EMMA COILER Clearly the Artic is majestic and it looks incredible – but from TV and photos you will never ever know how brutal it can be. We would open car doors and they would just fly off and we would never see them again. The conditions are not a joke. Honestly, shooting in the Artic was our biggest obstacle but also our biggest friend. It made filming tough – if there was a blizzard we literally had to pack up and be gone in two minutes. However, no studio or no amount of money in the world would have been able to recreate that landscape, those conditions, and that weather. It certainly added to the film, and I think the authenticity really comes across. Just because the conditions are brutal it doesn’t mean there is not real beauty. We shot about five nights on a hill, and when the sun was setting, it was just stunning. The crew


55.6761° N, 12.5683° E

would stay up there once the sun had set, and I would go and take a walk on the ice by myself. Somewhere a little less dangerous is my native Copenhagen, and a must-do there is a boat trip. Yes, it may be touristy – but Copenhagen is a beautiful city from the water and it gives you a great opportunity to see buildings that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. Food-wise, it clearly isn’t authentic Danish cuisine, but Kiin Kiin is an incredible Thai restaurant in the city. They are Michelinstarred and have a really reasonable set menu. I go there quite a bit and it’s always such good quality, but is also really popular, so make sure you book in advance. Around the harbour is beautiful, too. It’s one of my favourite places to walk around in the city – it’s just really peaceful and I like looking at all the old boats.

Emirates operates a daily A380 service to Copenhagen, and Arctic is one of hundreds of New Movies now showing on ice.

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