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DECEMBER 2017

THE ISLANDS ISSUE 2017 OUR FAVOURITE NEW HOTELS IN THE MALDIVES, SEYCHELLES & MAURITIUS

BRILLIANT BRITISH HOUSES TO RENT

MANHATTAN’S TOP 5 BAKERIES

JAMAICA’S COOLEST BEACH SCENE

+ THE SMARTEST PRIVATE ISLANDS IN THE WORLD








CONTENTS DECEMBER 2017

76 EDITORS’ PICK OF OUR FAVOURITE ISLANDS We revisit the coastal hotspots that have fascinated us most, from the Arctic to Australia

90 VANCOUVER ISLAND A pioneering spirit still draws dreamers and schemers to Canada’s great western frontier

100 JAMAICA Plug into the barefoot vibe of Port Antonio, a jungly beach town with its own off-beat rhythm

108 BRITISH HIDEAWAYS Gather your friends and make a weekend of it in the best crashpads to rent around the country

122 CATANIA Despite the smoking backdrop of Mount Etna, this scruffily ornate Sicilian city refuses to sink into the shadows

HARBOUR ISLAND, PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANA LUI

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 7


CONTENTS DECEMBER 2017

43

32

145

134 16 ISLAND EXPLORERS This month’s contributors

21 ISLAND NEWS The seaside destinations creating a stir around the world, from Mauritius to Malta

32 POSTCARD Driftwood and palm trees wash up in the coolest, craziest island interiors

34 ISLAND ABSTRACT

66

A mind-melting look at the surreal landscape of southern Iceland

43 ISLAND HOTELS Exclusive first look Boutique bolthole Camellia Hills in Sri Lanka. Round-up The most incredible new private islands on the planet. Island-hotel-hopping with American supermodel Arizona Muse

59 ISLAND STYLE The colourful

ON THE COVER Cempedak private island, Indonesia (see page 46)

pop-up shop sweeping Miami Beach and beyond, plus beach baskets and more. Beauty Four things to pack for sizzling heat. The island scene Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice

75 ISLAND TREND Why a band of canny creatives are holing up on little-known shores

130 A CASTAWAY’S TALES Fashion designer Erdem 8 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

134 ISLAND WEEKENDER Take a short hop to Connemara, Ireland’s most wildly romantic corner

145 ISLAND FLAVOURS Table to book A Bali beach house with a starry Peruvian chef. World on a plate Green papaya. Bake time The best bread joints in Manhattan. Taste buzz Purple vegetable ube. The new foodie hit Greenland

183 EVENTS Coming up Book a Rome-inspired supper. The lowdown The Readers’ Travel Awards party; an evening with adventurer Ed Stafford

220 ISLAND WITH A VIEW Amanpulo, the Philippines

150 PHOTOGRAPHS: TOM PARKER; MICHAEL PAUL; KARA ROSENLUND

12 EDITOR’S LETTER


D E E P E R A N D B E YO N D

When Dom Pérignon blesses its Vintage with a second life.

Over 18s only. Please drink responsibly

PLENITUDE DEUXIEME


6XO Ŭ^V /   " /


EDITOR’S LETTER

Welcome to the Islands Issue 2017. This is a photograph taken on the Greek island of Patmos in 2015 by one of our favourite photographers, Alistair Taylor-Young. Alistair’s pictures are beautiful in that he makes a wild world seem entirely ordered, entirely contained, purposeful and resolute. They are very satisfying pictures to look at, as well as being quietly illuminating. Whether of volcanoes blowing their top in the deepest part of the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia, or of a tiny crowd gathered on a Russian ice floe, there is a calm, serene, graphic play of light that is also very joyful. He shows us well-known parts of the world in a new way; he shows us unknown parts of the world that seem to be from another galaxy altogether. This photograph never made it into the magazine. As many wonderful photographs we commission do not. We try to focus on delivering a story, in words as well as pictures, that makes the readers feel – and smell and taste – a trip, an adventure, a holiday. But sometimes, even though it has a grip on your heart, the image might not seem right for that piece. Sometimes, you realise, they’re simply the ones that got away. And yet this picture – as Alistair says, ‘this shy car all wrapped up, a little bit of modesty against the sun’ – this is the picture I have on my wall. Welcome to the new issue of Condé Nast Traveller. The Islands Issue, all salt, sky and luminosity.

MELINDA STEVENS EDITOR MelindaLP TO BUY ONE OF ALISTAIR TAYLOR-YOUNG’S PHOTOGRAPHS, PRICED FROM £250, GO TO CNTRAVELLER.COM/RECOMMENDED/CULTURE/ALISTAIR-TAYLOR-YOUNG-PRINTS All information and travel details are correct at the time of going to press and may no longer be so on the date of publication. Unless otherwise stated, hotel prices are low-season rates and restaurant prices are for a three-course meal for two without drinks 12 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017


ISLAND EXPLORERS THIS MONTH, WE ASK OUR CONTRIBUTORS WHICH ISLAND THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE CASTAWAY ON

Tommy Clarke Photographer, Iceland (p34)

Serena Eller Photographer, Catania (p122)

‘Drop me on the Maldivian island of Hudhuranfushi. For a goofyfooted surfer like me, it has a three-foot, left point break off one of its reefs, and it’s warm enough to swim in board shorts all year round.’ Tommy has just opened a studio and gallery in Clapham Old Town. His first coffee table book, ‘Up in the Air’, is out in spring 2018

‘Ponza, off the coast between Rome and Naples, because it’s still wild and full of unexpected creeks. The colour of the sea is in varying shades of blue, and you can fish for the best tuna in the world.’ Having started taking snaps at 16 years old, Rome-based Serena is an interiors, still-life and food photographer

Writer, Sri Lanka (p43) ‘I’d want somewhere with a bit of weather and something to do, so I’d choose the unpromisingly named Tory Island off Donegal and try to paint – it’s been home to a community of artists since the 1950s. There would be great whiskey too.’ Originally from Ireland, Jane writes about art, travel and politics

E Jane Dickson

Julien Capmeil Photographer, Jamaica (p100)

Jonathan Bastable Writer, Catania (p122)

Nicky Swallow Writer, Connemara (p134)

‘Off the west coast of Scotland on Jura, where George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four. He described it as “extremely ungetatable”. It’s bleak, bare and boggy, and there’s just one pub – somewhere for me to keep warm, with Orwell’s ghost for company.’ Jonathan is currently working on translations of Revolution-era Russian poetry

‘I spent a week on Alicudi, a tiny volcanic plug off Sicily, decades ago. In those days, light came from a generator and there were no hotels or restaurants. We drank local Malvasia wine at a signora’s house each night and dossed down in sleeping bags on the pebbly beach.’ An orchestral musician in a past life, Nicky is now a writer

16 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

‘Tavarua in Fiji: it looks pretty idyllic, you can dive for your dinner, the water is always warm and Fijians are the most welcoming people I have ever met. Seems like the perfect place to be stranded.’ Born in Sydney, Julien now lives in Brooklyn with his family and has shot for different clients from Vogue Paris to Walt Disney


EDITOR

MELINDA STEVENS PA TO THE EDITOR Sophie Jean-Louis Constantine SENIOR EDITOR Peter Browne DEPUTY EDITOR Issy von Simson MANAGING EDITOR Paula Maynard FEATURES EDITOR Fiona Kerr EDITOR-AT-LARGE Steve King EDITORIAL/FASHION ASSISTANT INTERN Sarah Barnes FASHION AND BEAUTY DIRECTOR Fiona Joseph WATCH & JEWELLERY EDITOR Jessica Diamond MEN’S EDITOR David Annand RETAIL EDITOR/EVENTS DIRECTOR Kendra Leaver-Rylah ART DIRECTOR Pete Winterbottom DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Paula Ellis SENIOR DESIGNER Nitish Mandalia PHOTOGRAPHIC EDITOR Matthew Buck PICTURE EDITOR Karin Mueller CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Rick Jordan DEPUTY CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Gráinne McBride SENIOR SUB-EDITOR Roxy Mirshahi ONLINE EDITOR Laura Fowler CONTENT EDITOR Tabitha Joyce DIGITAL PICTURE EDITOR Sharon Forrester ONLINE INTERN Sarah James

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jonathan Bastable, Horatio Clare, Ondine Cohane, Sophie Dahl, Sophie Dening, E Jane Dickson, Helen Fielding, Giles Foden, Michelle Jana Chan, Jeremy King, Emma Love, Lee Marshall, Kate Maxwell, Thomasina Miers, Reggie Nadelson, Harriet O’Brien, Timothy O’Grady, Tom Parker Bowles, Harry Pearson, Adriaane Pielou (Health & Spa), Antonia Quirke, Paul Richardson, Anthony Sattin, Nicholas Shakespeare, Sally Shalam, Stanley Stewart CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS James Bedford, Mirjam Bleeker, David Crookes, Squire Fox, Alice Gao, Philip Lee Harvey, Ken Kochey, David Loftus, Martin Morrell, Tom Parker, Michael Paul, Bill Phelps, Richard Phibbs, Oliver Pilcher, Kristian Schuller, Alistair Taylor-Young, Jenny Zarins DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATION AND RIGHTS Harriet Wilson EDITORIAL BUSINESS MANAGER Jessica McGowan SYNDICATION syndication@condenast.co.uk INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Nicky Eaton DEPUTY PUBLICITY DIRECTOR Harriet Robertson PUBLICITY MANAGER Richard Pickard

PUBLISHING DIRECTOR

SIMON LEADSFORD

PA TO THE PUBLISHING DIRECTOR/ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Molly McLachlan ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Juliette Ottley NEW BUSINESS DIRECTOR Kirsty Cocker PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR Amy Hearn SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Elizabeth Isaac ACCOUNT MANAGER Serena Chambers SALES EXECUTIVES Isabella Eckett, Natasha Callin DIGITAL ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Natalie Moss-Blundell PROMOTIONS ART DIRECTOR Pepita Fernandez SENIOR PRODUCER Grace Barnes PRODUCER Sophie Tye REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Karen Allgood (020 7152 3276) REGIONAL ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Heather Mitchell PARIS OFFICE Helena Kawalec (00 33 1 44 11 78 80) ITALIAN OFFICE Valentina Donini (00 39 02 805 1422) ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER US Shannon Tolar Tchkotoua (00 1 212 630 4913) ASIA OFFICE Karen Ko (00 852 2905 3228); Mimi Tsi (00 852 2905 3233) INDIAN OFFICE Marzban Patel (00 91 22 2287 5717) MIDDLE EASTERN OFFICE Ali Asgar Mir (00 97 143 913360) FLORIDA AND CARIBBEAN OFFICE Maria Coyne (00 1 305 756 1086) GREEK OFFICE DK Associates (00 30 694 251 9199) CLASSIFIED DIRECTOR Shelagh Crofts CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER Emma Alessi SENIOR CLASSIFIED SALES EXECUTIVE Georgia Davies MARKETING DIRECTOR Jean Faulkner DEPUTY MARKETING AND RESEARCH DIRECTOR Gary Read ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL MARKETING Susie Brown SENIOR MARKETING EXECUTIVE Celeste Buckley RESEARCH MANAGER Tim Dickinson SENIOR DATA MANAGER Tim Westcott CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Richard Kingerlee NEWSTRADE CIRCULATION MANAGER Elliott Spaulding NEWSTRADE PROMOTIONS MANAGER Anna Pettinger SUBSCRIPTIONS DIRECTOR Patrick Foilleret ASSISTANT MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS MANAGER Claudia Long CREATIVE DESIGN MANAGER Anthea Denning PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Sarah Jenson COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION MANAGER Xenia Dilnot PRODUCTION CONTROLLER Dawn Crosby PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR Katie McGuinness COMMERCIAL AND PAPER PRODUCTION CONTROLLER Martin MacMillan COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR Jessica Beeby CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER Simon Gresham Jones DIGITAL COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Malcolm Attwells DIGITAL CONTENT & STRATEGY DIRECTOR Dolly Jones DIGITAL OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Helen Placito Copyright © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, 1 Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU. Printed in the UK by Wyndeham Roche. Colour origination by williamsleatag. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited. The titles Condé Nast Traveller and TRUTH IN TRAVEL are registered at the US Patent Office and in the EU as trademarks. All prices correct at the time of going to press but subject to change. The mail-order protection scheme does not cover items featured editorially. The paper used for this publication is based on renewable wood fibre. The wood these fibres are derived from is sourced from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources. The producing mills are EMAS registered and operate according to highest environmental and health and safety standards. This magazine is fully recyclable - please log on to www.recyclenow.com for your local recycling options for paper and board.

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MANAGING DIRECTOR ALBERT READ CHAIRMAN NICHOLAS COLERIDGE DIRECTORS Nicholas Coleridge (Chairman), Stephen Quinn, Pam Raynor, Jean Faulkner, Shelagh Crofts, Albert Read (Managing Director) CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CONDÉ NAST INTERNATIONAL JONATHAN NEWHOUSE Condé Nast Traveller is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice (www.ipso.co.uk/ editors-code-of-practice) and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint please see our Editorial Complaints Policy on the Contact Us page of our website or contact us at complaints@condenast.co.uk or by post to Complaints, Editorial Business Department, The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER IS PUBLISHED BY CONDÉ NAST PUBLICATIONS LTD, Vogue House, 1 Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU (020 7499 9080; email: cntraveller@condenast.co.uk)


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ISLAND NEWS THE MOST AMAZING HOTELS OPENING OFFSHORE IN THE COMING MONTHS EDITED BY FIONA KERR

MALDIVES

PHOTOGRAPH: ACHIM LIPPOTH/PLATNUM.CO

You’d think after all the knockout new arrivals in the Maldives in the last year or so – retro-futuristic St Regis, super-stellar Soneva Jani, jumping Finolhu – there wouldn’t be any islands left to build on. However, the clever old Italians at Baglioni have found one and launch their 96-villa hotel here in March. On Maagau in the Dhaalu atoll, 40 minutes by seaplane from Malé airport, this is castaway life with a dash of dolce vita. Villa interiors nod to Milan, seafood tagliatelle is served at the on-the-sand beach restaurant and aperitivo time starts at 19.02 sharp, when the corks pop on bottles of Ferrari 1902 fizz. After sunset, hop aboard the hotel’s gleaming Riva  for a cruise under the stars.

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 21


ISLAND NEWS

MAURITIUS When South African hotelier Sol Kerzner opened Le Saint Géran on a lagoon-ringed peninsula on the east coast of Mauritius in the 1970s, he jumpstarted the island’s smart hotel scene. Still with the plummest spot, One&Only Le Saint Géran re-opens this month and it’s more sensational than ever. There are bar cabinets in the rooms with the fixings for Mojitos, a hip bakery off the lobby and a new pool. Up north, LUX* Grand Gaube gets a revamp from interior designer Kelly Hoppen. Sandy taupes and cool greys are given a tropical hit with plenty of rattan, jazzy tiles and palms. There’s eye-popping art, too, with works from French street artist Jace and Memphis-inspired Camille Walala.

Clockwise from top left: the bakery at One&Only Le Saint Géran; the shoreline of Mauritius; the Kelly Hoppen-designed LUX* Grand Gaube

SEYCHELLES

From left: a Seychelles beach; Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island

22 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

In this archipelago, legends abound of pirates, and of ghosts, and of the Garden of Eden – mooted to be the Vallée de Mai on Praslin, home to the rare coco de mer palm. The Seychelles is also home to the latest Four Seasons launch as it re-opens the hotel on far-flung Desroches Island in March. The group already has a prime location on the main isle of Mahé – and this outpost, just five degrees south of the equator, has a restaurant in a lighthouse and an organic spa with an anti-gravity yoga pavilion. It will be even easier to get there later in the same month when British Airways begins a twice-weekly direct service from London. FIONA KERR


ISLAND NEWS

Clockwise from top left: a terrace at Roca Sundy; exterior of the plantation house; doorway of an abandoned Príncipe dwelling; the island’s palm-studded coastline; interiors and louvred shutters at the bungalow

SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE Off the coast of Gabon, 140 miles adrift in the Atlantic, Príncipe is a jungled, mountainous speck of land about 20 miles by five. Settled in the 15th century by Portuguese mariners, much of it was turned over to cacao plantations. Since independence in 1975, many have been abandoned, slowly returning to nature, until the whole island was designated a UNESCO Bio Reserve in 2012. It now has more endemic species per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. Príncipe first caught our attention the following year, when South African tech billionaire Mark Shuttleworth opened Bom Bom Island lodge on one of its islets. With its name aptly meaning ‘good, good’, Bom Bom was conceived of as part of a more ambitious project for Príncipe: sustainable development in partnership with the local authorities. Now all eyes are back on the island as Shuttleworth is set to open a converted plantation house, Roca Sundy, and a tented beach camp, Sundy Praia. Builders have restored the house back to its turn-of-the-20th-century heyday, around the time when, curiously, Sir Albert Eddington helped prove Einstein’s theory of relativity with his photographs of stars taken during the 1919 solar eclipse here. In December, Sundy Praia opens with 15 tented villas, a thatched bamboo restaurant using organic local produce, and a spa where therapies incorporate essential oils produced by the community. KEVIN RUSHBY bombomprincipe.com 24 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

PHOTOGRAPHS: STUART FREEDMAN

AFRICA’S LEAST-KNOWN ISLAND STATE IS RAISING ITS PROFILE


ISLAND NEWS

MALTA

Above from left: Scandinavian and Italian design in the Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour; the building’s 16th-century walls; the clean lines of The Cumberland. Below from left: inside Malta’s Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour; one of the new bedrooms in The Phoenicia; an atrium in the Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour

26 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

PHOTOGRAPHS: ELSA ALLEN

THE TINY MEDITERRANEAN NATION IS CARVING OUT ITS PLACE ON THE CULTURAL MAP ONCE AGAIN ‘Malta has always made more noise than its size would suggest,’ says Francis Sultana, the Maltese-born, London-based designer – confidante and collaborator of the late Zaha Hadid and CEO of David Gill Gallery – who has just been named the island’s cultural ambassador. ‘Recently, however, this has felt even more the case. This year, Malta made its first pavilion appearance at the Venice Biennale since 1959, and Valletta becomes European Capital of Culture for 2018. Museums are being built, shops, hotels and beach clubs are opening. It’s creating a thriving scene.’ And it’s just as exciting on the hotel front. Earlier this year Valletta’s grandest of grand dames, The Phoenicia, got a face-lift thanks to Campbell Gray Hotels, with a serious spa to open next summer. It’s just a moment from the modernist grandeur of the City Gate, reimagined by superstar architect Renzo Piano. Across the water, local design firm DAAA Haus has put the finishing touches to Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour, which is far sleeker than its unwieldy name suggests with deep, lacquered-steel box windows slotted into 16th-century limestone walls and minimal Scandinavian and Italian furniture arranged beneath vaulted ceilings. The same group has two more soon-to-open hotels in Valletta – The Cumberland and Merchant Suites – and is collaborating on another, Iniala, which opens in June. Here, across four palazzos on the coveted St Barbara Bastion, a cohort of big names that includes Spain’s A-cero, Turkey’s Autoban and Brit Mark Brazier-Jones are helping to secure Malta’s spot on the international design scene. FK


IF YOU JUST EXPECT A LUXURY HOTEL DON’T COME

sofiabarcelona.com


ISLAND NEWS

BORA BORA THE COQUI COQUI COUPLE BREAK OUT FROM THEIR MEXICAN STRONGHOLD

elsewhere in the pacific french polynesia

fiji

The Brando hotel on Tetiaroa has welcomed everyone from the Obamas (where Barack was apparently writing his memoirs) to Pippa Middleton. Now it’s collaborating with the InterContinental Bora Bora by opening four over-water villas there. intercontinental.com

Six Senses brings its light-footed, back-tonature retreats to the southern hemisphere next year, on Fiji’s Malolo Island, where the operation will be completely solar-powered. Later in 2018, Nihi Fiji – sister hotel to Nihiwatu, now Nihi Sumba – also arrives. sixsenses.com

28 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

fanning island After being shipwrecked on this tiny coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific for a second time, French sailor Bruno de Lala decided to stay. Surf outfit Pegasus runs trips to his A La Belle Etoile guesthouse, and has just added eight African-style tents. pegasuslodges.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: FRANCESCA BONATO

Until it closed in 2016, the fashion crowd’s go-to place in Tulum had long been Coqui Coqui – a perfumery, gorgeously tiny hotel and boutique all rolled into one. Over the last decade or so, owners Francesca Bonato and Nicolas Malleville added four more hideaways in the Yucatan (Coba, Merida, Izamal and Valladolid), and now they’ve branched out from their adopted Mexican home. Having holidayed in French Polynesia many times, the couple bought a piece of land backing onto Matira beach in Bora Bora, and transplanted their young family four years ago. ‘We fell in love with the landscape; in terms of the variety of flowers and herbs, the island is paradise,’ says Bonato of the inspiration behind their new Polynesian collection of fragrances and oils. Several make use of coconut oil. ‘We work with a local who picks the coconuts and dries them under the sun, near the salt water, before extracting the oil. It’s really artisanal.’ Along with the fragrances there’s a new ocean-facing store and, to follow next autumn, a handful of rooms in their botanical garden, which stretches up the mountain. ‘We love simple things like buying fresh mangos from the women selling them on the side of the road close to Vaitape town, and climbing to the top of Mount Otemanu. This is the life we want to share.’ EMMA LOVE coquicoqui.com


ISLAND NEWS

CANADA

TASMANIA

MOZAMBIQUE

When you’re nicknamed the Galápagos of the North, the wildlife bar is set high. Haida Gwaii’s 200 islands, north-west of British Colombia, are wildernesses where eagles hover overhead, black bears rustle through temperate rainforest and sea lions bask on rocks. In May 2018, Ocean House, a new 12-room, former fishing camp smartly reimagined as a fly-in floating lodge, will moor off Stads K’uns GawGa island in Peel Inlet bay, with cultural heritage at its heart. A longhouse-inspired bar and light fixtures reminiscent of Sitka deer antlers are some of Haida designer Gina Mae Schubert’s touches. The lodge will bob here for summer, then spend winters stored in Vancouver. discover-the-world. co.uk. A three-night stay at Ocean House costs from £2,916 per person including transfers

Picnic Island, Freycinet, a rugged one-and-ahalf-acre speck in the Tasman Sea, is home to colonies of hundreds of fairy penguins and shearwaters. After falling for its knockout views of the pink-hued Hazard Mountains, Clem Newton-Brown bought it a decade ago, using it for family camping trips. Now guests can join the birds and hunker down at the justopened retreat. Local architect John Latham’s structure was designed to resemble something ‘which had washed up on the beach’. The result is elegant: shack-style buildings with macrocarpa timber decks, Patricia Piccinini sculptures and interiors that riff off the surroundings – rough wood, soft tan leather and pops of blue textiles. picnicisland.com.au. A three-night stay costs from £2,585, sleeps up to 10

Kevin and Fiona Record championed tourism to northern Mozambique in the 1990s, later launching sensational Ibo Island Lodge in the pristine Quirimbas Archipelago. This spring, their next project, Mogundula Private Island, opens nearby. Just five villas with dhowinspired architecture will sit on a 21-hectare tropical island where white, marshmallow-soft beaches are ringed by rich coral reefs, home to flurries of rainbow fish and dolphins. Eco cleverness (solar-powered air-con and a desalination plant) and local materials such as teak and coral-rock walls are combined with contemporary stack-away glass doors, which allow villas to be opened up and help guests feel even closer to nature. IANTHE BUTT iboisland.com. Doubles from about £560

What’s taking off and what’s running out of fuel ESCAPE PLANS

HOT ROCKS

Waiting in airports has just got better: you can swim in Punta Cana International’s new pool and kick back on Virgin’s Departure Beach’s sun-loungers on Barbados.

Tempted to take home lava stones from Iceland? Don’t. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also cursed, possibly. Some naughty tourists are posting their booty back.

JAMMING JUNIOR

CRUISE CROWDS

Skip Marley, grandson of legendary Bob and signed by Island Records, is bringing Jamaican beats to a new generation. Keep an ear out for his debut album next year.

Increasingly dropping anchor off their own private islands, from Royal Caribbean at Labadee off Haiti to Norwegian Cruise Line at Belize’s Harvest Caye.

YES, CHEF

BLOW UP GOODBYES

Chef José Andrés served more than 100,000 meals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Support his food hall at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards when it opens in 2018.

Forlorn flamingo? Unloved unicorn? Abandoned pool floats now have a home at Mallorca’s Inflatables Sanctuary, set up by hotels.com for guests to adopt. FK

30 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

PHOTOGRAPH: SANJIN LOPATIC/IMAGEBRIEF.COM

THREE REMOTE HIDEAWAYS SET TO OPEN IN THREE EXTREME CORNERS OF THE PLANET


ANYTHING ELSE IS JUST A HOLIDAY

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island interiors

PHOTOGRAPHS: LISELORE CHEVALIER & VALERIE VAN DER WERFF; PATRICK CLINE; KATE HOLSTEIN; KIWI & POM/GARETH GARDNER; ANA LUI; LAUREN MILLER; KARA ROSENLUND; VALENTINA SOMMARIVA; JODY ZORN. COMPILED BY SARAH BARNES

LESS FLOTSAM & JETSAM, MORE SMART AND THEN SOME Top row, from left: in Venice’s San Marco, Casa Flora brings the outside in with potted plants; the mish-mash of tropical design at Los Enamorados hotel in Ibiza is the work of ex-basketball player Pierre Traversier and editor Rozemarijn de Witte; an offshoot of Harbour Island’s Ocean View Club, The Other Side is a high-end tented beach camp on nearby Eleuthera in The Bahamas; surfers and yogis flock to Swedish couple Linn Lundgren and Petter Toremalm’s retreat Ceylon Sliders in Sri Lanka; Playa Grande Beach Club in the Dominican Republic mixes up gingerbread architecture with seashell-studded mirrors, lattice woodwork and vintage rattan furniture. Middle row, from left: locally made metalwork toughens up the whimsical interiors at the Dominican Republic’s Playa Grande Beach Club; once the home of a reclusive writer, painter and poet, Satellite Island, a 34-hectare spit of land off Tasmania, is now a private hideaway; the pink sandstone of Ritz-Carlton, Abama, on Tenerife is inspired by a North African citadel; near the surf town of Paia on Maui’s north coast, the Carriage House gives aloha style a muted twist with moody ocean blues; in Eleuthera, The Other Side’s co-owner Ben Simmons is also the chef, and cooks up dishes such as lemongrass-and-lobster curry. Bottom row, from left: on Harbour Island, Simmons and his partner Charlotte Phelan have brought boho style with Turkish-made, floral-print sofas and mismatched wallpaper; with its sky-blue and coral powder-coated wire chairs, The Botanic Kitchen is a funky find at a garden centre in Wyton, Cambridgeshire; back at Los Enamorados on Ibiza, rooms are decked out with North African blankets and kilim rugs; Sixties Palm Springs has made its way to Canada’s Prince Edward County at The June Motel with palm prints and millennial pink; almost all of the eclectic collectables in Ibiza’s Los Enamorados were picked up at flea markets and vintage stores, and are available to buy. KATHARINE SOHN December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 33


34 December 2017 CondĂŠ Nast Traveller


Super Natural

FASCINATED BY THE VOLCANIC RIVERS OF SOUTHERN ICELAND, BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHER TOMMY CLARKE WENT ON AN AERIAL QUEST TO CAPTURE THE ABSTRACT FORMATIONS BENEATH HIM


‘WHEN YOU SHOOT FROM THE SKY, YOU LOSE A SENSE OF SCALE. SWANS AND SEALS APPEAR AS IF THEY COULD BE SPECKS OF RICE’

36 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017


‘USING A POLARISED FILTER MEANT I COULD CUT THROUGH REFLECTIONS ON THE WATER AND SHOW THE INCREDIBLE COLOURS BENEATH’


‘THE GLACIAL FLOODPLAINS MIXED WITH EARTHBLASTED SEDIMENT TO PRODUCE RIVERS THAT BRAID THEIR WAY TO THE SEA ACROSS BLACK-VELVET SANDS’

38 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017


‘FLYING OUT TO ICELAND FELT A BIT LIKE GOING TO MEET MY HERO. I DIDN’T GET GOOD WEATHER OR SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS, BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER’


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ISLAND STAYS

INSIDER REPORTS ON THE BEST PLACES TO CHECK IN

EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK

breaking good SRI LANKA IS BUZZING RIGHT NOW. BUT IN BETWEEN THE BEACH SHACKS AND GRAND OLD ADDRESSES, ONE CLUED-IN HOTEL GROUP IS QUIETLY MIXING IT UP BY BRINGING A MODERN VIBE TO ITS TRADITIONAL TEA PLANTATIONS

PHOTOGRAPH: TOM PARKER

BY E JANE DICKSON

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 43


Clockwise from top left: the Camellia Hills sitting room; a walkway at The Wallawwa; hoppers at Fort Bazaar; its exterior; a bathroom at The Wallawwa; view from Camellia Hills; tea at the Norwood Estate; Kabalana beach; Fort Bazaar terrace; Kumu Beach pool; courtyard, Fort Bazaar. Previous page, surďŹ ng in Sri Lanka


ISLAND STAYS

On the rutted road to camellia hills, we pass a group of giggling schoolgirls in immaculate white uniforms. In fields either side of the track, their mothers are waist-deep in tea, slight and purposeful as blades in the glittering green rows. Sri Lanka is a society on the move. The laughing, educated girls are unlikely to follow their parents to the fields (literacy rates here are the highest in South Asia), yet visitors cling to a vanishing past. And the tea estates oblige, with their burnished colonial fantasy of leopard hunts and Madeira cake. Sitting above Castlereagh Reservoir, Camellia Hills, a new boutique property from Teardrop Hotels, offers a fresh take on Sri Lankan high life. Take the seaplane from Colombo, drift down like a dragonfly onto a polished lake, then a 10-minute walk up to the sturdy, five-bedroom hotel. There’s no attempt at a huntin’, shootin’ vibe here; chintz has made way for a relaxed, contemporary aesthetic that leaves any extravagance to the view and a tropical garden designed by one of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated artists, Laki Senanayake. It’s difficult to tell exactly where Senanayake’s scheme, with its drifts of colour and stepped ponds, bleeds into the jungle where, after dark, leopards slink down from mountain ridges. This thrilling fact is confirmed by night cameras at the Leopard Project, a local conservation and education programme supported by Teardrop and other hotels in the area. Watching infra-red footage, it’s hard not to hold your breath when Panthera pardus kotiya ripples by. Then she turns to camera, and her face, with its big, soft nose and kohl eyeliner, is pure Jungle Book.

and it’s easy to see why, in this terrain, mechanical tea picking is impossible. It is not comfortable to learn, among other engrossing tea facts on the factory tour, that we have spent as much on two packets of Broken Orange Pekoe as an estate worker earns in a day. I’m moved, too, by the little planters’ church at Warleigh, with its Victorian angels and giant bamboo standing in for English yew. The churchyard is packed with Dickies and their beloved Muriels, but it’s the lonely grave of John Brown, his stone erected ‘by a few friends’, that sticks in the mind. Three more Teardrop tea bungalows, including Pekoe House, within day-tripping range of Kandy, are set to open this month. Goatfell is a former superintendent’s residence on an astonishing edge-of-the-world elevation above Nuwara Eliya, the hill station where the Thirties holiday architecture strongly recalls Torquay. Nine Skies, near the hippy hangout of Ella, is built on a grander scale, as befits a director’s bungalow, and it’s best approached by train, the wonderfully onomatopoeic yakada yaka (‘iron devil’), which smells of limes and Brasso and has an ‘observation carriage’ fitted with curtains, in case the view gets too much. The nearby pink-washed station of Demodara retains the full dignity of the steam age with a station-master’s table draped in chenille and huge mechanical levers for changing points. At all three furniture salvaged on site – claw-foot baths and rattan tables marked out for carrom (a form of fingerbilliards) – is mixed with mid-century and contemporary pieces. In a country where hotels divide starkly along modern or heritage lines, the effect here is of real homes brought fully to life.

PHOTOGRAPHS: TOM PARKER; DAVID LOFTUS; ALICE LUKER

AFTER DARK, LEOPARDS SLINK DOWN FROM MOUNTAIN RIDGES AND ARE CAUGHT ON INFRARED CAMERA. IT’S HARD NOT TO HOLD YOUR BREATH WHEN THEY RIPPLE BY Teardrop has excellent form on the island already. Its first two hotels – the classic colonial Wallawwa, near Colombo, and Fort Bazaar, just down the road from the Galle cricket ground – are first-rate It was, in fact, a one-day match that first brought Teardrop MD Henry Fitch out from England. Sensitive to societal shifts and an evolving market, his hotel business has found a smart-but-accessible groove (all Teardrop properties, including Camellia Hills, have rooms for less than £230.) And the service is still absolutely on point. Tea bungalows traditionally make a huge deal of personal butlers. But you’re not so much butlered at Camellia Hills as beautifully looked after. I run my own bath, like a big girl, but G&Ts/shawls/hot-water bottles all appear a breath before I want them. Dinner comes from a menu which focuses on fresh produce (not so interesting sounding ‘up-country veg’ turn out to be carrots and leeks, highly prized in the region) and Asian-British fusion. The daily Planter’s Lunch of curry and rice is exceptional, a feast of small, flavour-bomb dishes. I take it all back about root vegetables when I taste carrot and cashews whispery with cinnamon, and potatoes promoted way above their pay grade with cumin and fenugreek fronds. I’d happily spend my time stalking the chef, but this is not somewhere to stay indoors. I could go full-Goretex-jacket and watch the sunrise from the pilgrimage mountain known to generations of Brits as Adam’s Peak (its Sinhala name is Sri Padi, to Tamils it’s Sivanolipatha Malai), but the 1am start is a powerful disincentive. We drive instead to the Norwood Tea Estate through a landscape of conical, hedge-whorled hills. Giant black boulders rise from the green, mastodons stranded in primeval ooze,

Down on the south-west coast, the two Teardrop properties Fort Bazaar and the new oceanfront hotel Kumu Beach are yet to receive their liquor licence (BYO is encouraged). But Fitch is a step ahead. Last month saw the opening of Teardrop’s first restaurant, in Colombo’s newly buzzy Park Street Mews. Until recently, there was no great tradition of ‘going out’ in the capital – during the civil war (1983–2009) it was safest to stay at home – so Monsoon, with its sharing plates of pan-Asian street food, is a confident gesture. And it’s not just Colombo writing a new page. The hip Fort Bazaar hosts events at Galle’s thriving literary festival, while the remodelled Talpe Beach Club draws surfers up from Hikkaduwa for its chill-out brunches. While Teardrop’s food and service are uniformly excellent, each hotel has its distinct character. There’s nothing yet to rival the hotly anticipated Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Yala, but Fitch has a glint in his eye about Wilpattu National Park (same animals, fewer Jeeps), and there are plans to move into the Cultural Triangle with a hotel at Sigiriya. Down at Kumu Beach, with its white-cube architecture and arty interiors, waves crash below my balcony; I’ve been farther from the sea on a yacht. I watch the water beneath the horizon and the breakers turn from back-lit blue to mauve, then pinkish pearl, and find Sri Lanka has made me philosophical. Change is life, life is now. And that Mojito won’t drink itself. Scott Dunn (+44 20 8682 5055; scottdunn.com) offers an 11-night trip staying at The Wallawwa, Camellia Hills, Fort Bazaar and Kumu Beach from £2,500 per person, based on two sharing, including a tea factory visit, a guided walk of Galle, flights and transfers

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 45


LONE RANGERS NEW PRIVATE-ISLAND HIDEAWAYS EDITED BY ISSY VON SIMSON

FOR SPLENDID ISOLATION

PHOTOGRAPH: D3 CREATIVE STUDIO

GLADDEN, BELIZE This is probably the most reclusive island escape out there – and yet also the most indulgent, too. A place where it feels like you’re the only people on the planet but a Daiquiri is only a wave of the hand away. The geography of Gladden is what hooked in owner Chris Krolow: two mangrove-ringed islets, one in front of the other, a half-hour chopper ride from Belize City over the western hemisphere’s largest barrier reef. Krolow has placed a single villa on the first island and tucked the staff onto the second. Guests are left deliciously alone on their little Robinson Crusoe dot to mooch around the sleek, Mayaninspired house, stretch out on a day bed by the pool or take a dip in the turquoise water. But the chef, manager and concierge are less than a two-minute boat ride away. There’s a privacy light that signals if the housekeeper has popped in to make up the room, the spa therapist is setting up for a massage in the palapa or a barbecue is being lit for a supper of chargrilled lobster and salad from the garden. From the roof terrace, the Maya Mountains shimmer in the distance and all around the island is calm blue. This is in a protected marine reserve, with whale sharks and pods of dolphins. The boat captain can organise mainland excursions (shopping in Placencia, a tour of the Mayan ruins), but the most sensible thing to do is just stay put. Until Leonardo di Caprio opens Blackadore Caye in Belize next year, this is Central America’s shiniest island hideout. gladdenprivateisland.com. Villa from about £2,245 per night for two people (from £2,704 for four), full board December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 47


FOR WILD ANTICS

48 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

PHOTOGRAPHS: RAPHAEL OLIVIER

BAWAH, INDONESIA Singaporean-based financier Tim Hartnoll chanced upon this collection of five uninhabited islands, three lagoons and 13 white beaches while sailing in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago five years ago. And he’s a quick mover. Just-opened Bawah is one of the world’s most exciting new hideaways: remote, beautiful and with bar-raising environmental policies. Days can be spent hiking through butterfly-filled primary rainforest, gliding over pink, purple and electric-blue corals in see-through kayaks, snorkelling with clownfish, triggerfish, parrotfish and, if you’re lucky, green turtles. Later retreat to the spa, where the Thai and Balinese treatments are included in the daily rate. The 35 villas, 11 of which are stilted above the water, are made from recycled teak and local bamboo and fit effortlessly into the scheme of things, with their rustic-smart interiors, balconies, crisp white canopied beds and hammered-copper bathrooms. The big design statements have been saved for the main building, where a swarm of jellyfish chandeliers are strung across the dining room and a wispy octopus made from discarded fishing line dangles above the bar. The food is sunny and seriously good: luminous yellow seafood laksa, lemony scallop risotto and zingy salads plucked from the 800 square metres of organic gardens. After dark, the stars will stop you in your barefooted tracks, the silvery bay lit not by moonlight but by the glow of the Milky Way. bawahisland.com. Villas from about £1,450 per night, full board, including transfers


FOR UNCHARTERED WATERS

CALALA, NICARAGUA At Calala they call this the NiCaribbean: where the central American coastline meets the very west of the Caribbean Sea. It’s a long way from home for London owners Tim and Sarah Wickham, who spent their honeymoon on Petit St Vincent and fell so heavily for the private-island dream that they bought one for themselves here in the Pearl Cays. Far removed from civilisation, this is the only high-end retreat in the area. The four beach villas were designed by local architect Matthew Falkiner (responsible for Jicaro Island Ecolodge and Morgans Rock), using sustainable wood and locally crafted furniture. The feel is authentic, castaway, charming, with tinkling seashell curtains, hammocks strung between palm trees, thatched roofs and terraces facing due west to catch the sunset. Snorkel, scuba dive, handreel fish and kayak to the Little Calala sand bar. Or kick back, slow down, order a Calala R&T (white rum, tonic and fresh lime) and watch pelicans swooping low for their lunch. In the evenings, things step up a gear: supper is a seven-course tasting menu directed by the daily catch. This part of Nicaragua is also known as the Mosquito Coast (referring to the Miskito people rather than the insect) and is made up of small fishing communities that do not often see visitors. It’s a rare patch of off-the-radar Caribbean waters, so go quickly. calala-island.com. Villas from about £1,100 per night, full board


FOR FAMILY ADVENTURE

PHOTOGRAPHS: LAURYN ISHAK; JENNY ZAIRNS

VOAVAH, MALDIVES Already known for running one of the loveliest hotels in the Maldives (Landaa Giraavaru), Four Seasons has taken things up a notch with the opening of Voavah. With seven bedrooms set across the five acres, it’s an extraordinary all-singing, all-dancing playground of a place. The vibe is surprisingly boho, but with that heel-clicking Four Seasons edge. Inside both the main house and the over-water villa, textures such as copper, leather and rattan are mixed with rosewood and mahogany. Woven fishing baskets from Malaysia and Vietnam have been repurposed as lamps and side tables, and there are Rajasthani mirrors and Java teak benches. A sleek bunk room for children sits up on the mezzanine. This is in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, so the best-in-the-world snorkelling is taken as read. But there are surprises too. A motor yacht will take guests out to the ocean proper, where local populations of turtle and manta rays can be spotted. And there’s Baathala, the private island’s own private island for picnic lunches, sandcastle-building and treasure hunts. Water toys include X-Jetblades, jet skis, Seabobs and Bubblemakers. Back on Voavah, staff appear to whip up basil and lime smoothies and plates of fresh sashimi, and pizzas for the younger members of the gang. And all ages are welcome at the spa, where there’s a kids’ ritual as well as a crystal-singing-bowl experience worth the 12-hour flight in itself. fourseasons.com/ maldivesvoavah. From about £29,000 per night, full board


FOR ECO SMARTS

CEMPEDAK, INDONESIA Hornbills crash into fruit trees, rare Irrawaddy dolphins swim through the water and sea otters squeak in the surf. Cempedak is where the wild things truly are. Its 20 villas, peppered across rugged beach and through a jungly interior packed with soaring fig and pandan trees, are the brainchild of hotelier Andrew Dixon, who opened eco-trailblazer Nikoi Island in the same archipelago a decade ago. Regulars clamoured for an adults-only escape, and here is his answer. Dixon’s commitment to environmentalism means solar panels and waste-water gardens, zero plastic waste and no air-con. Indonesian bamboo (fast-growing and with a tensile strength stronger than steel) has been used to build the villas, breathtaking raised walkways and a restaurant that stretches oceanwards in frond-like tendrils. Curved thatched roofs shaped like melted boomerangs add a surreal touch. Reclaimed teak furniture sits alongside earthy-toned Pierre Frey fabrics, balconies have bamboo-offcut railings with skeletal patterns, and lava stone steps lead to teardrop plunge pools. Meals are set, but spoiling. Medanese chef Dika’s repertoire ranges from fish curries to pineapple and ginger pancake stacks. Bamboo Benders (cachaça with green tea and soda) are best sipped at sunset at Dodo Bar, its spiral shape inspired by a shell that washed up on shore. A replica dodo holds court and on obsidian-skied nights, a telescope affords glimpses of Saturn’s rings. cempedak.com. Villas from £310 per night, full board

FOR CLASSIC SOUTH SEAS

TURTLE ISLAND, FIJI Forty years ago, American cable-TV exec Richard Evanson was sitting in a bar in the Fijian city of Nadi when a stranger asked him ‘Do you want to buy an island?’ Burnt out and looking for change, Evanson did. He hired workers from the nearby villages to build the 14 bures and carve pathways through the jungly interior, and planted trees in their thousands. The first guests visited in the early 1980s, but this year has seen a sharp fix-up of the interiors. Bedrooms have been redecorated with traditional carvings, and tribal-print fabrics by French-Fijian designer Alexandra PoenaruPhilp. A commitment to sustainability runs throughout. Hardwood bed frames, coffee tables and nightstands are hand-hewn from tree limbs gathered in the island’s forests; woven cushions and floor mats use palm and coconut husk, lights are fashioned from driftwood and curtains have been recycled to cover the day beds. But it will still look familiar – The Blue Lagoon was shot on one of the seven seashell-strewn beaches. The island is big enough for on-land adventure – mountain biking, horse riding – and out on the water there’s stand-up paddle boarding, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. Supper is served at a communal table and chef Beni Nasaumalumu cooks seasonally from his organic gardens and whatever guests catch that day. Afterwards you can take part in a kava ceremony: the mildly narcotic drink makes a cracking nightcap. It’s a clever refresher for a classic hotel. turtlefiji.com. Villas from about £1,970 per night, full board (minimum five-night stay)

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 51


FOR FOODIE EXPLORERS

KOKOMO, FIJI Few places in Fiji combine culture with a barefoot vibe like Kokomo. It sits on the edge of the Kadavu archipelago, encircled by the Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the largest and most immaculate reefs in the world, far away from the mainland crowds. The 21 beachside bures and five hilltop villas are filled with authentic Fijian touches – shell mobiles, rush matting and traditional sculptures – and have walled gardens heady with the scent of frangipani. The brainchild of Australian property kingpin Lang Walker, Kokomo opened only eight months ago but is already making waves. The kitchen is headed by Aussie chef Anthony Healy (fresh from three years ‘next door’ at Laucala Island) and is playing a major role in Fiji’s food renaissance, driven by his support of local producers. Healy manages six farmers and fishermen, 180 chickens and 10 beehives as well as an organic two-hectare garden with a vanilla plantation and every type of vegetable and fruit imaginable. His signature dish is a modern take on kokoda (raw fish salad), using coral-reef trout and fresh passion fruit. Pearl meat from Savusavu is new to the menu and you can finish with a soursop dessert, a prickly fruit with a hint of citrus. Kokomo is a feast of a place, putting this speck in the South Pacific on the epicurean map. kokomoislandfiji.com. Villas from about £1,550 per night Contributors: Dominique Afacan, Ianthe Butt, Lee Cobaj, Christine Gray, Susan Herring, David Latt, Sarah Thornton

52 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017


J A M A I C A

A N T I G U A

S A I N T

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B A H A M A S

G R E N A D A

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THE CARIBBEAN

2016

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ALL INCLUDED, ALL UNLIMITED, ALL THE TIME. A 5-Star Luxury Included ® holiday at Sandals Resorts is as close to perfect as you’ll find. Pristine beaches. Exotic islands. Decadently romantic suites, many with private pools and butlers. Endless land and water sports, including complimentary scuba diving* and golf^. 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining at up to 16 outstanding restaurants. Unlimited premium spirits and Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wine served 24/7. Plus beach parties and authentic “island” entertainment. It’s all included, all unlimited, all the time. So take a closer look at Sandals and discover the perfect getaway for two people in love.

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UP TO 16 GOURMET RESTAURANTS PER RESORT

LAND & WATER SPORTS INCLUDED


ISLAND-HOTEL-HOPPING WITH ARIZONA MUSE THE SUPERMODEL WHOSE ANCESTOR DESIGNED LONDON’S NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM SPEAKS TO FRANCESCA BABB CASA DEL MAR CORSICA ‘One of my favourite views in Corsica is from this hotel; the surrounding houses are wooden and tucked in between the trees, so it feels very low-key. There’s an amazing infinity pool, with a deck where you can have dinner right beside the water. It’s all very pretty, and the rooms are quite minimalist, which fits in perfectly with the island. Plus, it has a great spa – definitely worth a visit.’ casadel mar.fr. Doubles from about £420

‘ON NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE COTTON HOUSE WE WENT SWIMMING BY MOONLIGHT’

LIVING LIGHT VILLAS BALI ‘My godmother built this hotel in Ubud. It’s quiet, beautiful and really well cared for. The villas were brought over from Java and reconstructed, and there’s a lot of space around them. Ubud is very yogafocused, and the whole area has a spiritual vibe. I spend much of my time in cities, so I like to escape to a place where I know I’ll be surrounded by nature.’ living-lightbali.com. Villas from about £250

EDEN ROCK – ST BARTHS ‘I had the best kale salad of my life here. The kale was chopped so finely that it was almost as smooth as guacamole, with avocado and Parmesan cheese on top. I remember it so clearly! The hotel is on a rock surrounded by the ocean, which I love. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so basically in a desert, but I am at my happiest in the sea. St Barth’s itself is very glamorous – I always think of French movie stars when I’m there. And Eden Rock is perfect for a romantic break.’ st-barths.com/ eden-rock. Eden Rock is due to reopen in summer 2018 after restoration work following Hurricane Irma

54 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

CARLISLE BAY ANTIGUA ‘This place is just gorgeous. The whole island feels very English, but tropical – an England with palms and banana trees. The food at Carlisle Bay is excellent. I had steak tartare every night and lots of fruit. The hotel itself is quite small and intimate. It’s on a bay, so the water is really calm, which is great for my young son because it’s safe and there are no waves to scare him.’ carlisle-bay.com. Doubles from about £400

PHOTOGRAPHS: SEAN GLEASON; NATHANIEL GOLDBERG/TRUNK ARCHIVE

THE COTTON HOUSE MUSTIQUE ‘I visited this lovely property one New Year’s Eve with a group of friends. We had drinks on the lawn, which runs right down to the beach, and then went swimming by moonlight. There is something very special about Mustique. It’s tiny and at that time of year all the houses around the hotel are occupied by their owners rather than people renting them out – it’s like you’re part of one big family reunion.’ cottonhouse.net. Doubles from about £440


“ If you like the exclusivity of a private island environment rather than more flashy resorts, a natural setting of golden-white beaches and well-designed and inspired accommodation, then this is the place for you.” CLAIRE PARSONS | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Jumby Bay Island, Antigua


ISLAND STYLE FASHION-FORWARD NOTES FOR ALL SEASONS

EDITED BY FIONA JOSEPH

PHOTOGRAPH: ELIZAVETA PORODINA. HAIR AND MAKE-UP: STELLA VON SENGER. MODEL: PASHA HARULIA

TAKE IT AWAY Even to those of us who live on one, islands are always somehow unavoidably fantastical. Selfcontained and secretive, they seem to exist outside the ordinary run of things, making them pregnant with possibility, places where we might try on other modes of being. And so it is with island fashion, which, when it’s done right, is impish, ethereal and unapologetically otherworldly. Being fashion’s visionary-in-chief, Miuccia Prada understands this instinctively and her resort shows are always beautifully strange, subtly off-kilter. This season sees jewels and sheer tops, weird cuts, odd shapes; it is a cruise collection for dreamers, fabulists, island enthusiasts everywhere. Chiffon top, £1,455; high-neck body, £600; tulle skirt, £1,635, all Prada (prada.com)

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 59


ISLAND STYLE

SHOPPING IN… MYKONOS ON THE MOST GLAMOROUS GREEK PARTY ISLAND, SHOPS ARE OPEN TILL THE SMALL HOURS – WHICH TURNS THE SPLASHY BEACH-CLUB BOUTIQUES AND MAZE-LIKE STREETS OF ITS CAPITAL CHORA INTO A NOCTURNAL PLAYGROUND BY FIONA JOSEPH

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 61


ISLAND STYLE

BAZAAR AT SCORPIOS Pocahontas would look right at home underneath Bazaar’s earth-coloured canopy, where feather headdresses and all manner of knotted, fringed and frayed clothing are artfully arranged. Part of sultry beach club Scorpios, this is one to visit well into your trip, with an established tan and authentic holiday nonchalance. Curated for the beach club by Yucatánbased textile brand Caravana and its founder Jacopo Janniello, Bazaar is a clever mix of minimalism, rich textures and handcrafted detail. Suede hammocks line the walls, wicker chairs circle the fire pits. Clothing all comes from Caravana’s own label, while some extraordinary jewellery finds include Le Pic’s Porcupine quill pendants and healing stones from VK Lillie. Paraga (scorpios.com/bazaar) DEW Perseverance is required to track down this teeny-tiny store, which opened recently in the thick of Chora, Mykonos’ labyrinthine, port-side capital. Slip through a sliver of white wall and follow the scent of Onar Greek candles to what feels like owners Aristi Sarra and Elina Kantza’s very own walk-in-wardrobe. A carefully edited holiday collection takes you around the world in 20 square feet. Bestsellers 62 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

include brightly tasselled box bags by Korean label The Volon, hyper-embellished dresses by Indian designer Pia Pauro and Spanish block colour espadrilles from Lika Mimika, along with home-grown labels such as Maa Boo for swimwear, and delicate jewellery by Yannis Sergakis. Malamatenias and Enopleon Dynameon, Chora (dewmykonos.com)

Marant microscopic skirts and Vetements tees. Shopping here isn’t going to be inexpensive but with music playing from every corner of the club, gathering volume and pace late into the night, you know it’s going to be fun. Psarou (luisaworld.com)

RARITY This exhibition space is an accurate barometer of the island’s vibe, hosting five solo installations each year alongside regular contributing artists with a notably upbeat, sunshine aesthetic. You can expect to find otherworldly underwater images from Hugh Arnold early in the season, building to colourful, bold paintings by Francesca Pasquali and thought-provoking sculptures from Joana Vasconcelos. 20–22 Kalogera, Chora (raritygallery.com)

AMNESIA A peculiar name for what is one of the prettiest little stores in town. Hand-painted straw hats decorate the exterior and once inside the cave-like white space you will find an abundance of beach baskets, layered jewellery and every combination and variety of what Greece does best: the leather sandal. Isapera is the lesser-known but popular local brand with solid block stripes of colour. The Ancient Greek label is stocked in abundance and the store’s own customisations include one-off pompoms, charms and fringed designs. 11 Mavrogeni, Chora (+30 22890 22782)

LUISA AT NAMMOS There is every expectation at this boutique, inside the island’s most formidable beach club, that you will walk out wearing what you buy. A frenzy of swimwear Top Trumps plays out daily, over lunch and along Psarou beach, so Luisa’s buyers don’t take any chances. Céline clutches share shelf space with Saint Laurent platforms, Isabel

JARDIN Inside an impressive converted mansion dating back to 1680, Jardin’s roster of brands is exclusively Greek. A cream oversized macramé chandelier sets the tone for a hand-crafted, bohemian vibe. Decorative

PHOTOGRAPHS: STATHIS BOUZOUKAS; GEORGE MESSARITAKIS

Above, from left: straw accessories at the beachside Luisa shop on Mykonos; Jardin, set in a 17th-century mansion, for Greek fashion. Previous pages, Bazaar at Scorpios. Jewellery, POA, Minas (minasdesigns.com)


MEBYMELIA


ISLAND STYLE

kaftans and shirts surround a central accessories table piled high with woven bags by Ops. A palette of earthy tones continues through crochet and leather sandals, layers of the softest scarves and stacks of straw sun hats. 23 Mitropoleos, Chora (+30 22890 27451)

FREESHOP The men’s and women’s stores sit side by side, both packed with Balenciaga (as worn by the staff) as well as savvier buys. Look for kooky ceramic candles from interior designer Marilena Rizou’s brand Souzie Bougie, with names such as ‘Let’s stay up late’, and browse reading specs and neontrim sunglasses by US label SmokeXMirror. Chunky Italian jewellery from Maria

LOCAL KNOW-HOW THEMIS ZOUGANELI FOUNDER OF LIFESTYLE BRAND THEMIS Z

‘Agios Sostis Beach is a must – rustic with no umbrellas and the loveliest little taverna called Kiki’s.’ ‘With a remote setting at the eastern end of Ftelia beach, Alemagou is a stylish bar and restaurant with a cool vibe. It’s the place to go to watch a beautiful sunset with fabulous music.’

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Calderara is offset by dainty headdresses by CA&LOU. Top it off with a bright sun hat from Belgian designer My Bob. 48 M Andronikou, Chora (freeshop.gr) LIONTIS The distinct smell of leather hits you long before this traditional sandal store comes into view. Run by the same family since 1956, it’s filled with layer upon layer of classic styles in every colour imaginable for women, men and little ones. 50 Ithakis, Ag Ioannis Renti, Chora (liontis-sandals.gr)

Owners Theodore Zacharis and Marios Sergidis focus on the elements found around them, including driftwood, ceramics and rocks. You are as likely to spot a woollen sheep stool as an oversized evileye cushion. It’s an eclectic edit of what Mykonos craftsmen have to offer with a nod to current trends. Argyrena and Dexamenes, Chora (cossetdesign.com)

COSSET This is a homeware and interior-design service created to help complement the bright whitewash of Mykonian villas.

MINAS The celebrated jeweller has lived on the island since the 1980s, collaborating with Georg Jensen and even designing two benches and a lamppost by the port. Along with silver and gold he also works in wood, marble and porcelain. Agias Kiriakis (minastudio.com)

‘Katrin’s, run by owner Vangelis, is one of the oldest restaurants in Chora. Sit outside under the bougainvillaea and enjoy the traditional Greek food with a view of the small church.’

‘Head to Caprice, by the windmills, for cocktails, followed by Astra, which gets busy at around 1am for dancing.’

‘The caves of Agia Anna are great all year round. The most wonderful part is the path down to Spilia. You literally come around the corner and find yourself in a restaurant, on a natural platform on the rocks, hanging over the sea. Spilia has a splendid selection of rosé wines that go well with the sea urchins, served straight from the Aegean.’

‘According to legend, Apollo and Artemis were born on the neighbouring island of Delos, about a 25-minute boat ride away, and it’s renowned for its special energy.’ themisz.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: STATHIS BOUZOUKAS

From left: Luisa beach boutique at Nammos; a Joana Vasconcelos ceramic gecko sculpture at Rarity; fashion and beauty collections at Luisa


ISLAND STYLE

HOLIDAY LABEL TO LOVE POLISHED COCONUT MIAMI-BASED DESIGNER ALICIA KOSSICK FOUNDED HER POP-UP SHOPS TO SHOWCASE ARTISANS FROM REMOTE REGIONS, BRINGING THEIR FOLKLORIC STYLE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD hand-sewn Huichol bandana, a Mason Pearson hairbrush and Madison James Flyaway Sticks natural insect repellent.’

‘Fontelina Beach Club in Capri. I always have the linguine vongole and an Aperol Spritz. My second recommendation would be a little island off the coast of Angra dos Reis, Brazil. Hire a fisherman to take you across the bay to be greeted by locals selling fresh fried fish and cold beer. Nothing better.’

What’s in your suitcase?

Labels for a castaway’s life?

‘A Panama hat with a 12-inch brim from Ecuador, which we sell in our stores, an iPhone 8 to capture underwater shots and waterfall encounters, Asics trainers, a Brazilian coconut opener for a chance run-in with a palm tree, Espíritu Lauro mezcal for sunset moments, a

‘For women, I adore Carolina K. The collections are mainly focused on the rich textiles of Latin America. For men, Preppy Pimp is a distinct line of fun trousers, swimming trunks, belts and bow ties. It’s formal but with a tropical, bright swagger. Bask NYC’s towelling blazer is

The best beach bars?

made from terry velour but it’s sheared on the outside, giving the jacket a super-soft, velvety finish. The terry cloth is looped on the inside like a standard beach towel, so it will actually dry you off; wear it when you get out of the pool, then pop open a bottle of rosé. Known for their hand-looming since pre-Colombian times, the Zenú people create beautiful hammocks, which we sell. And each purchase contributes to conserving their traditions.’

Must-pack sunshine accessories? ‘Peter Beaton hats from Nantucket. My very first wide-brimmed number with a grosgrain ribbon was from here. Mondelliani Glasses has had a shop in Rome since 1975. The designs are youthful, vibrant and flattering, and all made in Italy. The brand’s collaboration with John Robshaw is my favourite: early 1960s

PHOTOGRAPHS: FEMKE TEWARI

Favourite island hideaways? ‘The Sanchaya hotel on Bintan in Indonesia; the Chinese, British and Dutch all passed through here and their sensibilities and cultural touches are reflected in the architecture of this lovely property. The island of Janitzio in Michoacán, Mexico, is also magical. It is one of eight on Pátzcuaro Lake, but only one of them has a high school, which means that the students from all around have to paddle to class everydayin canoes – it’s a sight to see!’

BASKET CASES

Corallina bag, £480, Carolina Santo Domingo (modaoperandi.com)

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Wicker bag, £3,900, Dolce & Gabbana (dolcegabbana.com)

Woven raffia tote, £125, Sophie Anderson (net-a-porter.com)

Mykonos tote, £192, Nannacay (modaoperandi.com)


BREAKOUT SQUAD Island love letters from the hottest new names

FLORENCIA TELLADO This Buenos Aires-based milliner plans to take her playful headwear to Ponta dos Ganchos in Brazil. ‘The energy there just makes me feel happy.’ Dollhouse cap, £240; raffia headband, £180, both Florencia Tellado (valerydemure.com)

From far left: a Polished Coconut pop-up shop at Anthropologie, London; the label’s curator Alicia Kossick; fabrics and shoulder bags stocked by the brand in Coconut Grove, Miami

South of France in Technicolor. For beach sandals I choose Aspiga. Lucy Macnamara set up the company after visiting Kenya on holiday. Eleven years on, it’s a great example of responsible social-business practice and produces the most divine beaded sandals.’

ALYSSA CARTER The Australian behind Rye Swim is making waves with her zig-zag looks. Her favourite island? ‘Tasmania. Go canyoning at Cradle Mountain, hike at Freycinet and see the penguins in the town of Penguin.’ Hoot, Balmy and Cackle bikinis, all £182, Rye Swim (ryeswim.com)

Desert-island beauty kit? ‘Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil and Cleansing Bar (great for removing make-up), La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra Light sunscreen, Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist foundation and Aerin Mediterranean Honeysuckle eau de parfum.’

MIGNONNE GAVIGAN The New York jeweller’s statement pieces reflect her adventurous travels. ‘Coral-isle Anegada in the BVIs has a beauty unlike anything I’ve seen.’ Madeline earrings, £170; sequin and feather earrings, £190, Mignonne Gavigan (mignonnegavigan.com)

Next stop for your pop-ups? ‘This December we are in the Faena Hotel’s Art Basel market in Miami Beach and next summer we’re off to Whitefish in Montana and Capri.’ polishedcoconut.com

Kali toquilla straw bag, £340, Yosuzi (yosuzi.com)

Pinata fringed straw tote, £115, Kayu (net-a-porter.com)

Stella small tote, £228, Cult Gaia (modaoperandi.com)

Bowie woven tote, £185, Aranaz (selfridges.com)


ISLAND STYLE

FOR FACE Whether I’m eating fish tacos at The Hut on the Isle of Wight or lolling around the infinity pool at the Grace Santorini, to me island life means minimal make-up exertion. Victoria Beckham for Estée Lauder’s Aura Gloss, is a new multi-functional friend and welcome addition to my streamlined beauty pouch. A slick rather than sticky balm, it has a flattering golden shimmer that stays put. I swoop it across lips, cheek bones and sometimes collar bones to give my beach look some extra polish. £30; esteelauder.co.uk

FOR SKIN

IF YOU ONLY PACK 4 THINGS…

Make-up artist Mary Greenwell slipped Intraceuticals Rejuvenate Travel Essentials four-piece set into my case this summer and promised my skin would never look thirsty again. I road-tested it during Italy’s Lucifer heat wave, and while others dried up like the dusty roads of Sicily, my complexion remained pleasingly plump and dewy. The pack contains a Rose Revival Mist (a life-saver for freshening up a crusty, salty beach face) plus a three-step, hyaluronic-acid moisture regime: a Daily Serum, Hydration Gel and Moisture Binding Cream to layer and lock in juiciness. It’s also not overly scented, so great for sensitive skin, and good for sprucing up any Man Friday too. £99; intraceuticals.com

OLIVIA FALCON’S FOOL-PROOF KIT FOR SIZZLING DAYS FOR HAIR

FOR BODY

Philip B is pretty much the only guy on the planet who can persuade my super-fine hair to buck up and look cool, so in a rather desperate attempt to keep him in my life permanently, I made him godfather to my youngest daughter. His latest innovation, the Philip B Weightless Conditioning Water, may well be his finest yet: it’s a light-as-air conditioning mist that flattens frizz, sorts fly-aways, unkinks wiry grey hair and adds a glassy gleam to ratty salty hair. A shift from gloopy conditioners and hair masks – because who has time to stand around in the shower waiting for those things to work – his plant-packed formula contains chamomile, hops, nettle leaf and rosemary (it smells like spring in Switzerland). It’s brilliant for an instant beach-to-beach-bar turnaround. £38; selfridges.com

Marcia Kilgore (creator of Bliss Spa, Fit Flop, Beauty Pie, Soap & Glory) is pretty much the Steve Jobs of the beauty world, so when she launches something new, such as the Soaper Duper Body Wash, I want a front-row seat. Packaged in 100 per-cent recycled bottles, it will help to reduce waste overwhelming our oceans; a reality I experienced when I came across a plastic dump on an idyllic Maldivian sand spit last year. Each one is packed with natural ingredients such as passion-fruit extract for a zingy-clean feeling; the perfect pick-me-up after a day in the sun. To get a good lather, rub soap between dry hands (more friction equals more foam) before hopping into a shower. £6.50; soaperduper.com

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PHOTOGRAPH: AMBERLY VALENTINE FOR PARED. MODEL: MAYA STEPPER

FOR ISLAND life


Ruffle sweater, £740, Versace (harrods.com)

Johnny top handle bag, £296, Danse Lente (modaoperandi.com)

La La hoop earrings, £327, Rebecca de Ravenel (moda operandi.com) Embellished sunglasses, £385, Prism (prism london.com)

Floral midi skirt, £415, Escada (harrods.com)

THE ISLAND SCENE

BELMOND HOTEL CIPRIANI, VENICE

THE MOOD: NEW-WAVE GRAND TOUR

EDITOR’S PICK ‘These Church’s take-me-anywhere boots are smart, slick and made for walking around city sights.’ FIONA JOSEPH, FASHION & BEAUTY DIRECTOR £430, Church’s (matchesfashion.com)

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Velvet belt, £300, Elie Saab (boutique1.com)

Resort 2018 catwalk look, Erdem

Silk–georgette blouse, £270, Tory Burch (net-a-porter.com)

KAN I F leather bag, £1,680, Fendi (fendi.com) Joya ring, £7,309, Stefere (moda operandi.com)

Carnival backgammon game set, £4,200, Alexandra Llewellyn (alexandralldesign.com)

PHOTOGRAPH: LUCA TROVATO

Beaded faux-fur scarf, £550, Simone Rocha (brownsfashion.com). Nail polish in Tea Rose, £15, Burberry (burberry.com). Pleated skirt, £1,295, Victoria Beckham (net-a-porter.com)

Go right now and you’ll catch the last days of the Biennale. Ponder Phyllida Barlow’s bulbous sculptures in the Giardini or marvel at Damien Hirst’s epic exhibition Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable at Palazzo Grassi. Art or not, Venice is at its most atmospherically enchanting in late autumn: morning mist clings to canals while the labyrinth of lanes, finally tourist-empty, are cut with splashes of blue sky. Coolly removed from the hordes of St Mark’s Square, the stately Cipriani looks out to Venice’s most recognisable architecture from the tip of Giudecca. Originally opened in 1958 by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar and creator of the Bellini, the hotel has a peachy-pink exterior that matches its former owner’s boozy masterpiece. The cocktail is only served between May and September when peaches are in season, but Walter Bolzonella (head barman here for 39 years) can rustle up a Negroni Royale at the Gabbiano Bar, or Roberto Senigaglia (water concierge for 28) will summon Shirley, the Cipriani’s wooden launch, to skim across the lagoon for Aperol Spritzes. Aside from peace, the other beauty of being marooned on Giudecca is space. The Cipriani is ringed in gardens, home to an Olympic-size pool filled with filtered seawater, and terraces, including those of Michelin-starred Oro, which serves cuttlefish carpaccio and foiegras bruschetta. FIONA KERR belmond.com. Doubles from about £650


T R AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S

SEASONAL

STAR The festive season simply wouldn’t be the same without the scent of Molton Brown’s Limited Edition Fabled Juniper Berries & Lapp Pine collection infusing the celebrations. And with gorgeous new additions to the collection this year, even the tree gets a treat

From left: Fabled Juniper Berries & Lapp Pine Bath and Shower Gel, £20, Body Lotion, £25, and Pomander, £25

W

inter: surely the most wonderful time of the year. A time for stepping out into crisp, cold air; for spiritlifting walks among snow-bedecked trees; for snuggling up by the fire under cosy blankets and letting the warmth seep back into you; for celebrating with friends and family throughout the festivities. And for infusing your home with the season, Molton Brown’s Limited Edition Fabled Juniper Berries & Lapp Pine collection. Inspired by long-forgotten Laponian fables of enchanting forest encounters in the sweeping, pristine arctic landscape of the north, this wondrous collection perfectly encapsulates all that is sensational about the season, thanks to its heavenly blend of pine bark extract sourced from remote polar forests harmonised with the bracing freshness of crisp juniper berries; its hint of ozonic notes blended with violet leaf; its counterbalance of musk, cashmere wood, cedarwood and oakmoss tinged with the warmth and comfort of vanilla. A long-loved seasonal luxury in the form of the hand, bauble and candle ranges, this divine collection this year sees the release of some inspirational new offerings. Dress your tree with the enchanting new pomander, a beautifully crafted ornament encircling a snow-white ball just waiting to be fragranced with the essence of a classic Christmas. Pamper yourself with the new bath and shower gel,

Reader offer body lotion or snowflake bath salts for a sumptuous seasonal bathing ritual. Enrich your home with linen mist and aroma reeds for the ultimate in festive refinement. All you need now is a smattering of stars and jingling silver bells (Molton Brown doesn’t disappoint), and you have the perfect Christmas gift – for yourself as well as your loved ones – all wrapped up in rich green boxes inspired by the very forests that Rudolph runs through. DISCOVER the new Fabled Juniper Berries & Lapp

Pine products in Molton Brown stores, at selected airports and at moltonbrown.co.uk

Condé Nast Traveller readers can enjoy a complimentary miniature of Fabled Juniper Berries & Lapp Pine bath and shower gel upon presentation of this page at the Molton Brown counters in London Heathrow Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5; London Gatwick Terminals North and South; London City Airport; Luton Airport; Stansted Airport; Manchester Airport Terminals 1 and 2; Birmingham Airport; Glasgow Airport; and Edinburgh Airport. Offer valid while stock lasts. One miniature will be given per original page shown.


B E L E K

S O R G U N

T O R B A

T Ü R K B Ü K Ü

B O D R U M


ISLAND TREND CREATIVE PIONEERS STANDALONE PROJECTS ON TINY SPITS OF LAND ARE SETTING THE IMAGINATION FREE

PHOTOGRAPH: MARK MCGUINNESS

Islands have a rich history of harbouring artists. Leonard Cohen holed up on Hydra, Ernest Hemingway hopped between Key West and Cuba, while genre-blurring painter Robert Rauschenberg retreated from the New York scene to Florida’s Captiva Island. Now a new generation of creatives are marooning themselves around the world, running residencies or retreats or putting on far-flung festivals. Newfoundland’s Fogo Island set the bar with its striking architecture and serious arts centre. A scattering of islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea have evolved into another curious hub, with a museum by Tadao Ando and installations including a dotty Yayoi Kusama pumpkin perched at the end of a pier. In Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, residents bought out Eigg 20 years ago, and today it’s the model of a self-sustaining creative community. Johnny Lynch, who records folksy music under the moniker Pictish Trail, moved to the isle in 2010. He’s since founded micro label Lost Map Records, hosts biennial-ish music festival Howlin’ Fling and has just launched a project in which guest musicians escape for a week at Sweeney’s Bothy, where they are charged with recording and producing two pieces of music. Off the coast of Ireland, freelance curator Mary Nally hosts the fourth Drop Everything on Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, next May. The biennial event gathers architects, chefs, musicians, visual artists and fashion designers for art, talks, food and parties. For more solitary musings, author and speaker Fredrik Haren will lend his Ideas Island near Stockholm for a week, for free. Haren is something of an island obsessive and is currently on a mission to visit 100 islands around the world to learn more about humanity. Meanwhile, down on Gotland, 15 designers gather for a fortnight each summer to build their own camp. Titled Designers on Holiday, this getaway is run by London studio Featuring Featuring. Its site has grown year-on-year as the campers construct saunas, a hot tub, a bread oven and a woodland cinema, as well as a collection of hand-dyed tents and cabins, pictured. Castaway life has never looked so inspired. FIONA KERR

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 75


AMORGOS, GREECE ‘POSSIBLY THE FAIREST GREEK ISLE OF THEM ALL. FORTUNATELY, IT REQUIRES A CERTAIN EFFORT TO GET HERE, SO NOT MANY PEOPLE SEEM TO BOTHER’ WRITER RACHEL HOWARD. PHOTOGRAPHER JENNY ZARINS


MISTER BLUE SKY

WE DROP ANCHOR ON OUR FAVOURITE ISLANDS ACROSS THE GLOBE


SEYCHELLES ‘THE ARCHIPELAGO’S MOST FAMOUS PRIVATE HIDEAWAY, NORTH ISLAND IS A SERIOUS PLAYER IN CONSERVATION AND A PEERLESS CELEBRITY HANGOUT’ WRITER PETER BROWNE. PHOTOGRAPHER JULIEN CAPMEIL


CUBA ‘On my first sweet, humid night here I take a stroll around Parque de las Flores, a dimly lit square in the city of Holguín in the south-east. Four young musicians in stetsons who have finished their set in a bar stand smoking on a corner, cowboy silhouettes with guitars slung over their shoulders. The benches are lined with people talking and flirting. Dancing and flirting are just about the only things everyone in Cuba can afford, and they are both immensely popular. The next jewel among my new Cuban discoveries is Baracoa, a dreamy town that might have fallen out of the pages of a Gabriel García Márquez novel – steamy, floral and self-sufficient. I watch exuberant children play in the street, where passing drivers wave and ask after their parents. They will grow up as other Cubans have since the revolution: knowing their neighbours, mixing across generations, given to music and dancing from infancy, educated by an entire society.’ WRITER HORATIO CLARE. PHOTOGRAPHER JAMES BEDFORD

SVALBARD, NORWAY ‘SCULPTED MOUNTAINS RISE FROM THE BROODING SEA. IN THIS GRAINY ARCTIC LIGHT, THE LANDSCAPE LOOKS LIKE A LITHOGRAPH’ WRITER MICHELLE JANA CHAN. PHOTOGRAPHERS CROOKES & JACKSON

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FOGO ISLAND, CANADA ‘LOCALS LIKE TO CHIP OFF CHUNKS OF ICEBERGS TO PUT IN THEIR WHISKEY. THE ESCAPING AIR POCKETS CRACKLE GENTLY LIKE RICE KRISPIES IN MILK’ WRITER DOMINIC WELLS. PHOTOGRAPHER BETTINA LEWIN

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KOH LANTA, THAILAND ‘IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THAI BEACH SPOTS, THIS IS DELICIOUSLY UNSPOILT, WITH A MELLOW, SOFTLY TUNED VIBE. IT’S A LOW-RISE, GO-SLOW KIND OF PLACE, THE RUSTLE OF THE BREEZE THROUGH THE RUBBER-TREE PLANTATIONS INTERRUPTED ONLY BY A MUEZZIN CALL TO PRAYER. IT’S ALL JUST HUNKY-DORY’ WRITER ISSY VON SIMSON. PHOTOGRAPHER MIRJAM BLEEKER

PAPUA NEW GUINEA ‘Rondon ridge, in the western highlands of Papua New Guinea, overlooks the Wahgi Valley and the town of Mount Hagen from an elevation of about 2,300 metres. Every morning and evening enormous banks of thick cloud roll through the valley like surf, obliterating the view of the town and the mountains that surround it. I watched this happen half a dozen times from the top of the ridge. I almost came to doubt my senses, gazing into these towering waves of cloud as they swirled and broke around me, silently, harmlessly, in hypnotic slow motion. Almost everywhere I went I had moments when I was acutely aware of my proximity to a certain kind of exoticism – beautiful but at times unsettling – that is, in my experience, unique to Papua New Guinea.’ WRITER STEVE KING. PHOTOGRAPHER PHILIP LEE HARVEY


WHITSUNDAYS, AUSTRALIA ‘To snorkel, dive or fly over the Great Barrier Reef is to glimpse a marvellous autonomy. From 150 metres up, the black lozenge of a manta ray quartering a platform of pale coral gives a powerful sense of nature’s indifference. But truly to enter its world, you must descend. Sort the fussy details of scuba gear, equalise pressure and buoyancy. Kneel on the white sand 10 metres below the surface, or simply drift on the current and wait for life to materialise in the perfect silence. It’s a busy, self-sufficient world. A shoal of yellow-tailed fusiliers spiral like an Alexander Calder mobile. A clownfish plays hide-and-seek in the fronds of its host anemone. Move, and 20 violet-and chocolate-lipped clams sigh shut like an orchestra of noiseless cymbals. Move again, and 50 brilliant Christmas-tree worms vanish into their holes in the boulder coral. They’re all about their business, shopping, dining, visiting, mating; the realms they inhabit – villages and districts, pillars and tables and circuses, gardens and meadows – bustling in all their artful coral variety.’ WRITER JULIAN EVANS. PHOTOGRAPHER ALISTAIR TAYLOR-YOUNG 82


ST BARTH’S, CARIBBEAN ‘WE CHANNELLED SLIM AARONS FOR OUR FASHION SHOOT ON THE TROPICAL ISLE WHERE WELL-HEELED PEOPLE PARTY AMONG THE PALMS’ STYLIST FIONA JOSEPH. PHOTOGRAPHER RICHARD PHIBBS 84


CANARY ISLANDS ‘HEAD INLAND, LOSE THE CROWDS. THAT’S THE GENERAL RULE FOR MAKING NEW DISCOVERIES IN THESE SPANISH HOTSPOTS’ WRITER EMILY MATHIESON. PHOTOGRAPHER ANA LUI


PHILIPPINES ‘ON OUR 10-DAY BOAT TRIP WE WAKE UP WITH THE SUN AND GO TO BED WHEN THE LAST COLD BEERS HAVE BEEN DRUNK’ WRITER ELLIE FAZAN. PHOTOGRAPHER ANDREW URWIN

SICILY ‘IN PALERMO THEY LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN A STRICKEN JESUS, AND A CHERUB, THIGHS RIPPLING WITH SO MUCH FAT YOU CAN SCARCELY BELIEVE THAT MERE CEMENT KEEPS THE CREATURE STUCK ON. EVEN THE FOOD HERE TASTES EXTRA VISCERAL’ WRITER ANTONIA QUIRKE. PHOTOGRAPHER BILL PHELPS


BELIZE ‘A LAID-BACK LITTLE COUNTRY, IT’S THE NATURAL HOME FOR ALL SORTS OF VAGABONDS AND DRIFTERS, BEACH BUMS AND RUNAWAYS’ WRITER STANLEY STEWART. PHOTOGRAPHER MARTIN MORRELL 87


HARBOUR ISLAND, BAHAMAS ‘THIS PLACE HAS BEEN A SLOW BURNER, AN INSIDER’S SECRET, LAZILY COMING OF AGE AND STRETCHING ITS ARMS OUT TO VISITORS ONLY RECENTLY’ WRITER VASSI CHAMBERLAIN. PHOTOGRAPHER ANA LUI


MILOS, GREECE ‘FROM THE WATER THE ISLAND APPEARS LIKE A MONUMENTAL ACT OF THE IMAGINATION, SOMETHING AN ARTIST WOULD DO IF THEY WERE A GOD’ WRITER TIMOTHY O’GRADY. PHOTOGRAPHER ANDREW URWIN

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smoke and mirrors NATURE PLAYS GRAND MAGICIAN ON VANCOUVER ISLAND WHERE THE WILDERNESS HIDES WHALES AND BEARS, AND OFF-THE-WALL WANDERERS COME TO DISAPPEAR BY STANLEY STEWART. PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOM PARKER

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IN EARLY APRIL 1915, the Princess Maquinna dropped anchor at Hesquiat harbour on the west coast of Vancouver Island. A supply ship for the remote communities of the area, the boat also carried passengers enjoying an early scenic sail along one of the wildest and most beautiful stretches of coast in Canada. When the engines clattered to a halt, an eerie silence overtook the decks. The shores of the bay were enclosed by the colossal trees of the Pacific rainforest, casting long reflections over the green water. Beyond the trees rose the mountains, visible among a tumult of clouds. So majestic, sighed a woman at the rail. The grandeur of mother nature, declared a man in a fedora. Then something unusual happened. A canoe was lowered over the side of the steamer. Crew men loaded it with trunks and sacks. With some difficulty, a trussed cow was winched down and lashed between the gunwales of the canoe, upside down. Finally a young couple with three small children climbed in, and paddled steadily across the bay to the impenetrable shore while the upside-down cow flapped its legs, as if waving to the bemused passengers. The small, stout woman in the bow of the canoe was to become one of Vancouver Island’s most remarkable pioneers. Almost 70 years later, she would still be living in this remote place, then in her nineties. She would bear eight children here, and carve a magnificent garden out of the wilderness. Known as Cougar Annie, she was famed for having shot dozens of the big cats and, quite possibly, a couple of her more troublesome husbands. They should build a monument to Cougar Annie. They should put her on postage stamps and name settlements after her. They should erect statues. With a magnetism that spans the continent, Vancouver Island attracts dreamers, romantics, misfits, odd-balls, draft dodgers, loners, contrarians, free spirits, the wayward and the wandering. Here on the West Coast, these escapists finally find a place big enough, strange enough, and far enough away, to call home.

IN CANADA, WILDERNESS IS ALWAYS CLOSE. Turn up a back road or hike over the next hill and you may find yourself on the shores of a lake that has never heard a motor or in trackless woods where

there have been few human footprints since native tribes ghosted through these trees on moccassined soles. On Vancouver Island – almost a quarter the size of England – wilderness is the central fact, the great, dark, wonderful heart of the place. At the southern tip of the island, in the genteel streets of Victoria, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Cheltenham. But things get rugged remarkably quickly. An hour’s drive from town and you are in virgin forests riddled with rivers and waterfalls. Three hours’ drive up the coast and you have reached the end of the road in little Tofino. Beyond, for hundreds of miles, there are no roads at all, and people come and go by boat or float plane. The single route that reaches Tofino is the unofficial last leg of the Trans-Canada Highway. A West Coast community of half a dozen streets with an unlikely mix of fishermen and surfers, First Nations people and retired hippies, this is a place so laidback its inhabitants would make Australians seem stressed. The tsunami warning on Main Street could be the town motto: ‘Grab a beer,’ it says, ‘and run like hell.’ In the early morning down on Chesterman beach, a handful of wet-suited surfers were careering among the breakers – Tofino has some of the best waves on the Pacific. The silhouettes of the cedar and spruce trees of Frank Island were swimming in silver light. They might have marked the edge of the known world. For many years, Chesterman was home to Henry Nolla, a wood carver with a workshop at the end of the beach. Here was another typical island character: eccentric, warm-hearted and often naked. He liked to work in the nude and, well into his 70s, still had the body of a young surfer. When the nearby Wickaninnish Inn was being built, some of the investors expressed concerns about Nude Henry, who was visible from the restaurant windows. But the owner, an old friend, stood by him. To complain about a fit nude sculptor on Vancouver Island would be to miss the whole point of the place. And he was right. In 18 years there were only three objections, none of them from women.

A BOAT ARRIVED TO TAKE ME beyond the reach of roads. The day was blustery, and the winds brought a sense of excitement and

Above, mozzarella, tomato, cucumber, broad bean and dill salad at The Pointe Restaurant, Wickaninnish Inn. Opposite, clockwise from top left: wild berries at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort; an open-sided seating area and water-front tents at the retreat; a smouldering fire-pit at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort. Previous pages, from left: smoking a salmon by the traditional method over a fire at Clayoquot; a moonlit gathering on Nimmo Bay 93


possibilities. As we rode north past Arnet, Beck and Stone islands, the seascapes became labyrinthine, a confusion of forested peninsulas and deep inlets, of passages and bays as convoluted as fjords. Rain swept around a headland, and then a moment later the sun burst across the ocean in swathes of dazzling light. I was with the wonderful Nikki Sanchez, one of the expert guides from Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. She was taking me to meet some of the flora and fauna of this coast. On Meares Island, we followed wooded paths to find monumental cedars that had been saplings when the Roman Empire began to come unstuck. Along the shores of Carter Passage, we spotted black bears, distant cousins of Winnie the Pooh, shuffling and apologetic as they settled down among boulders to lunches of kelp and clams. Near Vargas Island we saw an otter floating on its back like a man sunning himself on a lilo, hands behind his head. At the mouth of Fife Sound, we came upon a colony of sea lions, bundled together like puppies on a rocky outcrop under the charge of three enormous bulls. Sea-lion life should have been idyllic – basking in the sun, dozing, shagging everyone in turn, dropping into the water for an occasional swim and a feast of fresh fish. But happiness is a question of temperament not circumstances, and sea lions are the Alf Garnetts of the ocean. From the boat, we could hear the endless grumbling, the chorus of annoyances, the petty arguments. I blame the big males, patriarchal bores, bullying, abusive, overweight, ill-tempered, a bit lax about personal hygiene and chronically unfaithful. At Ahousat, we docked at Hugh’s general store, a pitstop for sailors, fishermen, backwoodsmen and First Nation communities. It stocked all of life’s essentials: two-inch nails, plumbing solder, corn flakes, baby powder, paddles, hose pipe, ketchup, fan belts, maple syrup, half-inch grease nipples, rat traps, stamps and frozen peas. ‘If I don’t have it,’ shrugged Hugh the owner, his chair tipped back against the door post, ‘you don’t need it.’ Then we went in search of whales. Twenty thousand grey whales migrate past Vancouver Island every year on their way from Baja California to the Bering Sea. At 20,000km, it is said to be one of the world’s greatest mammalian migrations. When

the first grey whale surfaced – hardly more than five metres away – she was so close I could see her eye, tiny in that huge body, looking at us. The spray from the blow-hole exhalation drifted across the boat followed by a rich stench of rotting fish and stomach belch. She was half again as long as a bus, yet she appeared to move in elegant slow motion. Arching through the water, her hide was not so much skin as artefact, thick, crusted, scarred, barnacled, a pitted illustration of an epic life in the Pacific. Then she dived. For a moment, the great tail, four metres across, hung in the air streaming water, before it too slid into the depths. SOME PEOPLE COME TO the wilderness chasing freedom. Some come looking for a challenge to give meaning to their lives. Craig Murray came for adventure. Only the one he found wasn’t the one he was looking for. A float plane arrived for me, skidding down onto Bedwell Sound. It is from the air that you begin to make sense of this place, that you understand the scale. By turning your head it is possible to take in the vast sweep of the landscape, tipping away into infinities at both horizons. We banked over the summits of Strathcona, skirted thunderheads gathered around the Golden Hinde, then crossed Johnstone Strait to the scattering of islands known as the Broughton archipelago. From the air, the whole coast appeared to have been dropped from the heavens to shatter into a hundred pieces. Murray came west in the 1970s, nurturing a dream of building a boat on Vancouver Island and then sailing around the world. But the beauty of the area took hold of him, and he forgot about the boat and the islands of the South Seas. In 1980, he towed a float house across the Inside Passage to set up a fishing lodge on remote Nimmo Bay. Forty years on, it has evolved into one of the finest places to stay on this coast. Staggering from a lavish breakfast of blueberry pancakes, I set off from Nimmo one morning by helicopter to visit a few of the neighbours. My pilot – Dougal McLean – was yet another westcoast romantic, a lean, weathered adventurer whose most recent outing was to ride a motorbike from Vladivostok to Scotland. But as we tilted over Mackenzie Sound, and sea and islands stretched

Above, a guest tent at Clayoquot. Opposite, clockwise from top left: a labrador on a fishing trip near Nimmo Bay; the wild landscape seen on a helicopter flight around Clayoquot; horse-riding at the retreat; Klinaklini glacier on Vancouver Island. Previous pages, clockwise from top left: surfers on Chesterman beach; Nimmo Bay; sea lions basking on rocks; the forested peaks of the island near Clayoquot 96


beneath us, his voice crackled over the headphones, maybe just a little emotional. ‘Most beautiful place on God’s earth,’ he said. Up at the hamlet of Echo Bay, population 10, we set down in an overgrown meadow to visit Billy Proctor. Now in his 80s, he has spent a lifetime on this coast, first as a fishermen and logger, and latterly as a powerful voice for conservation. But it was the results of his boyhood passion that I had come to see. Billy’s Museum contains eight decades worth of beachcombing and collecting, treasures thrown up by the sea, from his first arrowhead, found aged five, to the latest oriental bottle washed ashore the previous week. I was examining the strings of beads brought here by Captain Cook to trade with the native tribes when Nikki appeared, a different Nikki from my friend at Clayoquot. An attractive woman in her 40s, she had the milky-grey eyes of a wolf: penetrating, observant, preternaturally calm. Wilderness was her passion. As a child she dreamt of being marooned on a desert island, and having to fend for herself. As a young woman, she came to this part of the world to spend 18 months surviving with nothing but a rowboat, a knife and a feral cat for company. Sitting in the sun on Billy’s porch overlooking Echo Bay, we chatted about roasting mice and hanging bear meat, about choosing wood to make arrows and the best kind of seaweed to flavour stews, as if it was all the most natural thing in the world. Which, of course, it was. Back in the chopper we sailed along the shore, swinging in over the inlet of Kingcome to land at the First Nation settlement of Ukwanalis where I found Joe, a hereditary chief among the Kwakwaka’wakw people and another wood carver, mercifully clothed. A small figure, as neatly composed as one of his carvings, he was knee-deep in cedar shavings. He showed me his work: symbolic animals and tiny human masks, delicate and exquisite. ‘I ran away,’ Joe said, speaking of the government residential schools that were still in operation for native children in his day. ‘And lived with my grandfather.’ He ran his hand over the smoothed wood. ‘I was lucky they never found me, so I was able to learn the old ways.’ UP AT HESQUIAT BAY THESE DAYS, the wilderness is trying to reclaim what was taken from it. There are a few rotting totem poles among the trees, an overgrown cemetery and evidence of an abandoned village. Thick forests still command most of the rocky shoreline. This is where Cougar Annie moved in 1915 to escape the opium dens of Vancouver; her first husband, Willie – charming but dissolute – had a fatal weakness for them. But when he died in 1936, the island had become an escape of a different kind for Annie. She stayed for another 50 years. Three more husbands came and went. In her time, she was post-mistress, shopkeeper and fur trader. But it was as nursery gardener that she became renowned, breeding roses and tulips, dahlias and gladioli, peonies and montbretia. Annie’s garden is still here, tended by volunteers who struggle to keep nature at bay. Coming up from the beach you pass beneath the rose arch and skirt the unpruned fruit trees to arrive at the house, now leaning so precariously it is too dangerous to enter. The azaleas and rhododendrons flourish, but long grasses and ferns threaten to overcome the dahlias and roses. The garden is Annie’s ghost. You feel her obstinate determination and fierce independence. This remote place allowed her to live on her own terms, to avoid convention, pretence and obligation. This was the freedom the wilderness gave her. Opposite, clockwise from top left: a smoked salmon board at Nimmo Bay; guest tents at Clayoquot; a craftsman at Henry Nolla’s old workshop near the Wickaninnish Inn; boots and suitcases at Clayoquot

VANCOUVER ISLAND: shore to shore Wickaninnish Inn

Straddling a craggy outcrop at the end of Chesterman beach, five minutes’ walk from the centre of Tofino, this place brings sophistication to the easy-going surfer town. A Relais & Chateaux property, it is all about understated comfort. The late, lamented Naked Henry Nolla is responsible for much of the airy wood interior – he carved all the cedar beams by hand – and his shed still sits below the hotel at the end of the beach, now occupied by two craftsmen. The Pacific is a constant presence, crashing on the rocks just beneath the windows. On a good day you can see grey whales blowing. On a bad day the ocean is magnificent, lashing the hotel with spray. The staff are all keen surfers, and can direct you to the best breaks. +1 250 725 3100; wickinn.com. Doubles from about £250 Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

Something of a legend on this coast, Clayoquot should be a sybarite’s dream. There is a spa, a sauna and hot tubs for starlit nights. There are sedate walks along the shores of the sound. There are open fireplaces and deep chairs for that novel you’ve been meaning to read. But forget all that. There is too much going on here to waste time lounging around. Horse-riding, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, archery, target shooting, nature treks and mountain biking are a few of the options. The safaristyle tents, set on platforms in the woods along the Bedwell River, are big, elegant and beautifully done out with Western-colonial furniture, colourful tribal rugs and wood-burning stoves. Finally, there is Cloud Camp. A helicopter whisks you up to this private retreat, set on a peak 1,300 metres above sea level. A private chef creates supper with unforgettable views over the surrounding mountains and down to the Pacific. And then a night of astonishing silence. +1 250 266 0397; wildretreat.com. Three nights all-inclusive from about £2,880 per person Nimmo Bay wilderness Resort

This family getaway has the kind of comfortable, informal vibe that encourages friendships. It helps that it is small and perfectly formed. There are only a handful of cabins, with a maximum of 18 guests, hors d’oeuvres and drinks are served every evening on the deck by the fire-pit, and meals are taken communally in the dining room. The setting is hauntingly beautiful; half the buildings are float houses moored on the shore of a pristine bay, ringed by deep forest. A waterfall cascades into the middle of the property, supplying power and offering a bracing opportunity for a dip in a freshwater pool straight from the sauna. There’s whale-watching, hiking, kayaking, helicopter touring, or just sitting on the dock with your feet up watching the changing moods of the water. +1 250 956 4000; nimmobay.com. From about £1,170 per person per night, including transfers, all meals with house drinks and guided activities Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver

Whether it is an overnight stay before the short onward flight to the wilderness or a longer break to explore the city, Vancouver will be part of any itinerary to Vancouver Island. A turn-of-the-century property, the Rosewood has undergone a complete renovation to transform it into the best hotel in town. There is a fabulous speakeasy bar with a range of dangerous absinthes, a buzzy courtyard café, a stunning pool and a five-star spa. Distinguished, clubby and stylishly Edwardian, it feels like an elegant throwback to the wonderful era of grand hotels. +1 604 682 5566; rosewoodhotels.com. Doubles from about £210 Audley Travel (+44 1993 838 700; audleytravel.com) offers an eight-day trip from £8,120 per person, including flights, transfers, two nights at Rosewood Hotel Georgia and four nights all-inclusive at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort. To include Clayoquot Wilderness Resort instead of Nimmo Bay it costs an extra £1,105 per person

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IN T HE ROM A NTIC A LLY R A MSHACK L E BE AC H T OW N OF P OR T A N T O NI O T HE DE FAULT S P E E D I S S L O - M O – E V E N BY JA M A I C A N S TA NDA R DS BY O N D I N E C O H A N E . P H O T O G R A P H S BY J U L I E N C A P M E I L


Clockwise from left: a bar on Winnifred beach; bedroom at East Winds Cove; Hidden House; a local rasta; gardens at East Winds; Woody’s, a roadside cafÊ; wooden necklaces; tropical fruit. Centre, surfboards at Winnifred beach. Previous pages: the Love Shack; Monkey Island


The moon is almost full. Fireflies seem to switch on and off above us, and intermix with the stars. The water from the adjacent lagoon gently laps the shore and the roots of sculptural mangrove trees. I am having dinner at the East Winds Cove in Port Antonio with its owner Ronnie Elmhirst, born in Britain but whose parents were Jamaican. She’s a quick-witted woman who I like instantly for her bawdy humour and openness. Sitting outside her office, a former shipping container in which Elmhirst brought her possessions from New York, she tells me of her journey to this once-derelict Fifties estate. ‘It was actually Chris Blackwell who led me here in 1991,’ she says, referring to the founder of Island Records. ‘We had a brief romance and he invited me out for New Year. While I was here another friend suggested we go to a place called Frenchman’s Cove. And… oh my!’ Elmhirst is not the first visitor to fall for the beaches around Port Antonio. Set on the north-east corner of the island about three hours from Kingston, the town was built on the back of a thriving banana trade in the 19th century. Now the unpaved roads wind past tin-roofed markets, dilapidated board-buildings and overgrown neoclassical mansions. Around the port are sleepy clapboard villages, coves of clear water fringed by forest, rickety beach bars, and trails leading into the hills. The area feels more laid-back and welcoming than the rest of the island,

O NE IS L A NDER T EL L S ME HE NE V ER L O C KS HI S H O M E A ND L E AV E S HI S T V O N T HE V E R A NDA where big-name hotels, Western versions of Jamaican culture and gated communities are the main game. One islander tells me that he never locks his home and leaves his television on the veranda. This offbeat, barefoot-chic vibe made Port Antonio the backdrop for the 1945 film Club Paradise starring Errol Flynn, who said of the town: ‘It is more beautiful than any woman I have ever met.’ He bought an estate in the 1940s after docking his yacht here during a storm (the pristine land remains in his family, although its future has been unclear since Flynn’s widow died in 2014). Other stars followed and the area became a hideaway for actors including Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller honeymooned here in 1957. There were glamorous house parties and yachts bobbing in the bay. But the jet-set also came for simple pleasures: the slow, winding ride through the Blue Mountains, the glorious beaches and jungle-fringed coastline. And strangely, perhaps, it was also the world’s first all-inclusive hotel that helped draw in this crowd – although Frenchman’s Cove was nothing to do with the mass-market concept but a collection of private villas where you didn’t have to worry about extras, no matter how extravagant. Even the Queen stopped by, in 1968. In an article for Sports Illustrated back in 1969, Robert Coughlan writes about the excitement of trying to consume everything he could without having to pay a penny more. He describes drinking Champagne by the case, his wife washing her hair with imported German beer, racking up crackily sounding long-distance calls to their children back home in New York, and ordering thick steaks served with dry Martinis. But then the writer starts to abandon his over-the-top requests in order to enjoy the quiet, the natural beauty, the simple rhythms: rainy days ‘snug in your house with a good book and cheerful music… simple and inexpensive

From top: cacti and ferns in the plant nursery at East Winds Cove; a rustic table at the hotel; hotel and music studio Geegam

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From top: coconut-shell bowls at East Winds Cove; the Hidden House suite; a vintage record player in one of the bedrooms

pleasures’; and sunnier moments of ‘blue skies and blue water, the balmy trade winds, the palms leaning over the half-moon beach of white sand… The result is quite soon you actually start to forget to want things.’ She cites the article as her starting point for what she wanted to create with East Winds Cove. And there was a family connection, too: her Jamaican mother had lived in Port Antonio when Elmhirst’s grandfather was building the local hospital. ‘I started visiting the island with increasing regularity,’ she says, ‘and dreamed of buying somewhere in Port Antonio. I love the freedom of the place.’ After a long search, she found East Winds Cove, a beachside hotel that had been abandoned for 25 years. ‘It was going to be my home,’ she explains, ‘but then I decided it would be rude not to share it.’ Her vision was to make it into a hotel-but-not-a-hotel that ticked her own boxes: ethically minded, locally staffed, strong on personal service and the promotion of Jamaican culture. ‘I used places that I loved – the Bowery in New York, Jamaica’s Strawberry Hill, and the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur – as a model for how to make that very intuitive, home-awayfrom-home feel while still being very smart.’ I arrive at the main entrance of East Winds Cove and pass along the seafront with its lime and cedar trees. An unrestored ruin doubles as a bohemian tearoom, there’s a nursery with indigenous plants and a goat shed. Set back from the shoreline, each room has a small private garden; in the two-bedroom Last Cottage villa you can actually pick fruit from your bed. There are floor-to-ceiling glass doors and terraces for balmy nights ‘to watch manatees and dolphins, the stars’, says Elmhirst.

E AC H RO O M H A S A S M A L L GA R D E N . YOU C A N AC T UAL LY PI CK F RUI T F ROM YOUR BED Jamaican riffs run throughout the hotel. ‘I’m not a die-hard Marley fan but “we’ll share the shelter of my single bed” conjures up all sorts in my head, and it was the inspiration behind the Love Shack room, which has a zinc roof and is made from Government Board and recycled timber.’ She says the makeshift homes on ‘capture land’, governmentowned property that people just move on to, were her most profound design influences. She looks apologetic: ‘I know it’s wrong to romanticise about this sort of life as the everyday struggles here are very real. But, I mean, it’s so radical.’ Elmhirst has filled East Winds with mid-century and vintage finds and Moroccan rugs. ‘My friend Marcus Hazell who owns the French House antiques store in London has fantastic taste.’ He was the source for ‘a cool sofa, some Hollywood armchairs and an armful of linen sheets’. Elmhirst’s son also went on a buying spree, delivering everything from Chet Baker and Bruce Weber photographs to an antique chaise longue and Napoleonic-era dressmaker’s dummy, while her daughter brought her eco-studies know-how to the plumbing. With a background in music (Elmhirst used to manage a sound mixer for Amy Winehouse and Adele), she joins a cluster of hoteliers near Port Antonio who once worked in the record industry. Geejam, on the hills of the San San estate, is the most famous property, with a state-of-theart recording studio designed by music executive Jon Baker, who also discovered the island through his mentor Blackwell. (MIA had just left Geejam when I visited, and Gorillaz laid down their debut album here). For Baker, Port Antonio’s relative proximity to New York and Miami means he is able to experience big-city life or promote a band, while having a chilled-out base. ‘Being surrounded by mountains might make 104


Clockwise from top left: a beach bar; a barbershop in Port Antonio; plants at Woody’s; a seating area at East Winds Cove; a Port Antonio local; a terrace at East Winds; fabric detail at the hotel; a mixing desk at the Geejam studio. Centre, studio tracks


Clockwise from top left: a burger at Woody’s; vintage magazine at East Winds Cove; the Love Shack at dusk; street in Port Antonio; pool at Geejam; ackee fruit; postcards at East Winds Cove; sunbeds at the hotel. Above, Woody’s


Port Antonio a tad more difficult to reach than the rest of Jamaica,’ says Baker, ‘but with the lushness of the foothills, the brilliant Caribbean Sea and the port itself, you have a very special region.’ As the town ends, nature quickly takes over. Off the main road, hidden in the rainforest, I cannot even see Kanopi House, a four-villa hotel that is more like a collection of clapboard treehouses. My own hideaway is painted green and surrounded by vines, with a colonial-style interior of slow-moving vintage ceiling fans and four-poster beds made of the wood from local trees. I want to move here. With the Kanopi’s boatman, Boxer, a former heavyweight champion, I explore the secluded lagoon below the hotel with its emerald-topped

‘FOR MY HOTEL I WAS INSPIRED BY THE BOWERY IN NEW YORK, AND POST RANCH INN’

From above: reggae vinyl; a sundeck at East Winds Cove; hand-written messages and the menu on the wall at Woody’s

islets. Another day I snake along the rapids of Rio Grande, each bend presenting a new snapshot: jungle creepers intertwined with blooming flowers; villagers out fishing for river mullet; mountains rising sharply from the banks. I plunge into the icy water. As I swim I notice a woman cooking on the banks, stirring a huge pot beside shaded benches and tables. Later I find out that her name is Belinda and she makes a daily pilgrimage to feed the hungry rafters, walking miles from her mountain home with pots of chicken stew and seasonal vegetables. It’s characters like Belinda and Boxer and the raw beauty of this area that made Andrew Chapman, co-owner of New York’s Red Rooster restaurant, decide to buy the former Aga Khan’s compound, Ti Amo. ‘I wasn’t even in the market for a second home, let alone a hotel,’ he says. Now he plans to add a spa, pools and a restaurant. ‘You get here and you fall in love with the people and the setting, and soon you are all in.’

W H E R E T O S TAY East Winds Cove is on the waterfront of the same name with a bar and restaurant, a cascading series of rock pools, and kayaks to explore the mangroves (email stay@eastwindscove.com; rooms from about £380 per night all-inclusive, minimum three-night stay; Hidden House about £1,035 per night). Up on a rainforested hill, Geejam’s seven cabins are the preferred hideaway for the fashion and music crowd; two new off-site villas, Cocosan and Panorama, are great choices for families and house parties (+876 633 7000; geejamhotel. com. Cabins from about £415 per night, villas from about £3,080, five-night minimum). Kanopi House has four treehouse villas in dense jungle overlooking the Caribbean with winding pathways among massive banyan trees, and boat rides through the Blue Lagoon. The restaurant serves locally caught fish and produce straight from the market (+44 20 3318 1191; kanopihouse.com. Villas from about £190). The still-unnamed hotel formerly known as Ti Amo will launch early next year after a multi-million-dollar renovation. (No contact info yet).

W H E R E T O E AT & D R I N K Woody’s Low Bridge Place, a roadside joint known for its jerk chicken and plantains, is a Port Antonio institution, where dishes cost from £3 (+876 993 7888). With panoramic views over the bay below, a mean rum punch and plates of coconut chips, the Saturday-night parties at Goblin Hill Villas are a must at the weekend (goblinhillvillas.com). Right outside the small village of Boston Bay is access to a spectacular expanse of beach with simple bars such as Chill Out for a Red Stripe beer and fresh grilled fish. Head to Geejam’s Bushbar on Friday nights to watch local bands such as Mento Madness perform.

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Left and opposite: Gatsby, a partJacobean, part-Georgian house near Wincanton in Somerset


ALL ROUND THE HOUSES ROLL UP AND HOLE UP IN SOME OF THE BEST NEW PLACES TO RENT IN BRITAIN EDITED BY ISSY VON SIMSON

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GATSBY SOMERSET There is a moment, coming down the drive, when a gap between thick hedges reveals a tantalising first glimpse of Gatsby, before you round a final bend and arrive at the heavy oak front door set into mellow stone. Bought in 2010 by fashion and interior designer Sophie Hale and her husband, Roland, the Grade I-listed house near Wincanton is part-Jacobean, part-Georgian and has been restored by architect Ptolemy Dean. So successful was the project that it won an award from The Georgian Group, presented at the RIBA in London. Flagstones were lifted to install underfloor heating, panelling stripped of layers of paint, wattle and daub restored, fat mahogany curtain poles rescued from cobwebbed roof spaces. Here are rooms through the ages: lofty and light-filled 18th-century proportions in one wing and cosy beamed and mullioned dens, at least a 100 years older, in the other. The combination of Hale’s eye for delicate colour and bold art and Dean’s architectural alchemy has resulted in a house that is magnificent but homely. Bathrooms are lined with bespoke Moroccan tiles. Bedrooms (eight in the main house) have softly hued fabrics from Robert Kime and Lewis & Wood. A cinema is hidden behind a cupboard door, there’s a portrait of George I on the main staircase and more artwork in the kitchen. Extensive grounds include a lake fringed by bulrushes, a tennis court and outdoor pool, and an easterly terrace for breakfast among agapanthus and valerian, brought to life by garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith. Then to the outbuildings, recreated as a four-bedroom cottage, a gym and games and steam rooms. There is so much space that staying here feels like disappearing into your own private hamlet. gatsby.uniquehomestays.com. From £11,500 for three nights, sleeps 24

THE GRANARY GLOUCESTERSHIRE Temple Guiting Manor is not terribly big but it is so remarkably beautiful that it has been called ‘one of the finest of the smaller Tudor manor houses’ by those who can claim to measure such things. It reveals itself incrementally. You get peeks here and there of 15th-century gabled roofs and mullioned windows through the trees, from Jinny Blom’s joyful gardens of velvety, heavy-headed peonies, irises and lavender humming with bees. There are Wonderland shapes in clipped yew and sudden gateways to more gardens: wild with a shepherd’s hut; formal with an exquisite pond; walled with a tennis court, the umpire’s chair wedged into the flowerbeds. The five-bedroom manor itself has been available to rent for some time; now the owners have been doing up other buildings on the estate to rent out, too, most recently, The Granary. What a surprise its interiors are: cool and contemporary, grown-up dark greys and white, monochrome with art and photography on a vaguely African theme. On the stairs, an oversized tribal portrait hangs next to a delicate stool. Nevertheless, it is furnished like a home: no mean miniatures here but Cire Trudon candles and big bottles of Green & Spring. Three bedrooms have deep high beds. The top-floor room is the one for dreamers – a copper rolltop bath in the bathroom, a vintage typewriter on the most perfect little desk at the attic window. Early risers can open the coops to find eggs in the straw; late risers can find them in the fridge. Signposts down the lane point to Stow-on-theWold, Bourton-on-the-Water, the Slaughters, but we are staying put. cockahoopcollection.co.uk. From £1,100 for two nights, sleeps six

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SALT COTTAGE NORFOLK This one-up-one-down bolthole is the latest addition to the seriously smart collection of cottages in a former cartshed at Sharrington Hall. Walls are freshly painted in a split of contrasting colours to reflect the shifting horizons of the north Norfolk coast just 15 minutes down the road. Upstairs there’s a huge bathtub at the end of the sleek four-poster. And on the bed are thick white towels tied with a ribbon – yours to keep because owners Steve and Katie King don’t think anyone should have to use a stiff old towel on holiday. Interior designer Katie is responsible for the coastal aesthetic: bleached driftwood floors, salt-washed linens, sea-grass rugs and wicker lampshades, as well as potted succulents and blush velvet cushions. Clever mirrored accents in the alcoves draw sky and leaf in from outside, and ancient timbers reclaimed from the Kings’ home (Jacobean Sharrington Hall) were used to create cupboard doors. Downstairs a vintage oak butcher’s table is tucked neatly into a nook, creating the perfect breakfast spot for two. Days should be spent walking from the vast beaches at Holkham to Wells-next-the-Sea, where The Globe Inn, on a handsome, tree-lined square, is the place for fish and chips. Or head for the marshes at Morston and stop off in the garden at Stiffkey Stores for a flat white, served in the prettiest illustrated paper cup, and a still-gooey brownie. Then stock up on provisions from the Back to the Garden farm shop, which has everything you’d expect from a good butcher’s, wine, fresh fruit and vegetables to home-baked cakes, and hunker down for the evening under a blanket in front of the enormous log-burning stove (laid and ready to be lit on arrival). sharringtonhall.com. From £475 for three nights, sleeps two


BARFORD HOUSE Tregulland & Co’s quirky new larch-clad beach house on the north Cornwall coast, a few steps from the shell-strewn beach of Wanson Mouth, is surely the best place for a game of hide and seek. Creep from one room to another through a Narnia-esque wardrobe with an open back, climb a stepladder to a mezzanine bed and watch the waves roll to shore through a mini brass porthole, or head to the lawned garden where the bottom of an abandoned fishing boat – a former art installation – has been turned into a children’s playhouse. From the cinema room with its velvet sofa and giant bean bags, you can crawl, Alice-like, through a tunnel to a huge secret bunker, lined with Andy Warhol tins, where fairground letters spell out ‘Pleasure Land’. With its own bar, pool table, vintage arcade games and a thumping sound-and-light system, it’s a kickstarter for off-the-cuff parties. Recover the morning after with a sweat in the sauna, a bracing dunk with the cold-water bucket shower, or a WILTSHIRE decent massage with one of the local therapists. There are no seaside pastiches here, no nautical stripes or shabby-chic paint effects. Instead, the design feels urban, masculine, moody. Repurposed 1960s Parisian streetlamps hang in the atrium, while the kitchen and living room have elegant copper-clad walls and deep smoked oak flooring. Private chef Vicky will roll out a supper of slow-roasted pork belly on the outdoor terrace or inside at the 18th-century Persian granary oak table. There are six bedrooms, four of which have a sea view. Toss a coin for the master suite and its two decks, cocktail bar, leopard-print chairs pulled up to a log burner and splendid William Holland brass bath to soak in. Or head to the wood-fired hot tub outside to watch the stars come out. tregullandandco.co.uk. From £2,014 for three nights, sleeps 16

PHOTOGRAPHS: JAKE EASTHAM

CORNWALL


THE WHITE HOUSE NORFOLK Not so long ago, this gleaming party pad was a derelict wreck on a farm near the town of Burnham Market. But a speedy rebuild has seen the almost wall-less and roofless building transformed into a 12-bedroom gather-all-yourfriends country retreat. Owners Mark and Alison Thompson lived on the working farm for years, so had plenty of time to hone their vision of ‘somewhere calming but with personality’ in the beautifully renovated flint building abutting a part-turreted Georgian manor. Smart but pleasingly lo-fi rooms are restrained, with thoughtful touches such as extra sound muffling on doors, black-out curtains and a choice of pillows. Bathrooms are big and marble-clad, and the 100 Acre products exemplify a commitment to British sourcing that also extends to fabric headboards by Clockhouse Design in Scotland. Because the property runs as a B&B when it’s not rented in full, the kitchen is manned. Morning feasts of pancakes and porridge are included, and dinners can be whipped up on request. Work off breakfast with a run up flower-lined farm tracks with grey-sea views. Horses clip-clop about the stables next door, which get busy when the Burnham Market International Horse Trials roll on to the farm. You can even bring your own steed along, should you so wish: there is excellent equine accommodation, plus the option of tuition from international eventer (and Mark’s sister) Emily Lochore. stayatthewhitehouse.co.uk. From £1,300 per night, sleeps 24

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THE MALTHOUSE After a cup of tea and a lie-down to recover from the windy journey to this glorious part of the world, you can start to appreciate the architectural trickery going on inside this 200-year-old building. Owners Misha and Lucy Smith bought the forlorn-looking property four years ago. The house, part of a terrace a short walk from the Kingsbridge Estuary, dates back to 1800 and was in need of a total rethink. Devon-raised Misha, who quit his architect’s job in London to concentrate on the project, took on most of the construction, adding windows, extra floors and a courtyard garden, bringing in light and a sense of space to previously dark corners. Then came the fun bit. Former chef Lucy, formerly of London’s River Café and Moro, filled the house with vintage rugs from Spain found on Etsy, linen bedding from Australian brand Castle and paintings by Dartmouth-based artist James Stewart. Anything that wasn’t bought was handmade by Misha, including the bedframes and the kitchen table. All that wood, plus the colourful accessories, work with the polished concrete floors and calming paint scheme – a mix of brilliant white emulsion, Farrow & Ball Middleton Pink and Purbeck Stone – to produce a successful meeting of style and practicality. Let the kids draw on the blackboard walls in the kitchen while you prepare some locally sourced eggs and bacon from Stokeley Farm Shop (near the stunning Start Bay). For eating out, you’re right in the heart of Kingsbridge, a proper ’ansum South Devon town. After crabbing by the quay, have a tapas lunch near the river at The Old Bakery or a good Indian at Kerala Delicacies and on the way home stop for coffee and cake at Coasters. malthou.se. From £557 for three nights, sleeps four (plus two children) 114

PHOTOGRAPHS: JASON INGRAM

DEVON


DOM ST JOHN EAST SUSSEX A moment’s walk down the cobbled Conduit Hill from Rye High Street brings you to a private walled Georgian courtyard and within, a former 1950s St John Ambulance station transformed. It’s the vision of interior architect Marta Nowicka, whose website Dom is a growing portfolio of architecturally unique properties to rent in various places from Brooklyn to Warsaw to London’s King’s Cross (dom means house in Polish). Here in East Sussex, with great attention to detail, she has reimagined the building as a refined and restrained family bolthole. Thick limed grey oak floorboards reflect light from the picture windows around the main living space. The dining table is made from reclaimed pieces of beach timber and an aluminium kitchen island reminds us of the medical heritage of the building. Upstairs, a nurse’s trolley finds new purpose as a bathroom sink unit and exposed brick walls bring warmth and colour to otherwise stark rooms. It’s industrial but also liveable. The master bedroom, at the far end of the house, has lovely views over Rye, framed by a dramatic triangular window. And in one of the other rooms, the two single beds have pull-out sections, turning it into a brilliant kids’ dorm. Light the double-sided wood burner to cosy up in the evenings. There’s also a firepit just outside for s’mores after energetic days on the nearby beaches. It’s an exciting space to inhabit for a long weekend. domstayandlive.com. From £500 per night, sleeps 10

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FORTER CASTLE

PHOTOGRAPH: BRENT DARBY

PERTHSHIRE Right in the heart of the Highlands with sweeping views across Glenisla, this corker of a castle is about an hour’s drive north of Perth; a place of rolling skies, mist-covered mountains and, according to legend, stone-throwing giants. It was rescued from ruin by the Pooley family, who bought it from the Earl of Airlie in 1988, some 300 years after it was burned down by the feuding Argylls. It’s been lovingly restored, brick by brick. Interior designer Katherine Pooley has given the rooms new swagger with cast-iron chandeliers, antler candlesticks, sofas swathed in family tweed and tartan and cutcrystal decanters of whisky on every bedside table. If you’re the first to arrive, bag the Laird’s Room with its massive four-poster (so large it had to be cut in two and hoisted in through a window before being re-bolted together) and steer the children up the spiral staircase to the attic, which sleeps four under the rafters and has an imaginatively stocked dressing-up box. Downstairs, the dungeon has been converted into the kitchen and there’s even a 10-seater chapel where Simply Red singer Mick Hucknell got married. Days are action packed: bagpiper Stuart Wilkie (who has piped for the Royals at Balmoral) can be brought in for a traditional alarm call and local action man Charles Crombie is on hand to arrange Highland Games in the gardens with archery, air-rifle practice, cross-bowing and axe-throwing (even four-year-olds can get stuck in). As the nearest shop is a good half-hour drive away, it’s also worth knowing about chef Peter Backhouse. He and his wife Fiona conjure up delicious feasts of Angus beef fillet or Tay-caught smoked salmon in the Great Hall, under a painted ceiling telling the story of the Bonnie House of Airlie. fortercastle.co.uk. From £3,300 for three nights, sleeps 16

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HEATHFIELD HOUSE ESTATE When Jackie and Mener Tsitsis bought Heathfield House in 2014, this grand pile was sad and neglected, carved up into seven flats and stripped of all its original fireplaces and windows. Back in the 19th century, it had been the home of Lady Emma Bingham, wife of Sir George, Napoleon’s jailer on St Helena. The crested motto ‘Dieu Ayde’ (God assists), carved in stone, looks down from above the front door. Whether by divine intervention or sheer serendipity, the Tsitsises found a 1920s postcard of the house on eBay and used it as their inspiration for the restoration, which included reinstating the sun-trap wrought-iron veranda that runs the length of the south side of the house. Inside, the neutral interiors are given a personality injection with more than 100 original works of art that Mener has collected over the years. It’s an eclectic mix: a huge abstract canvas by John Bischoff hangs in the hall; bright cartoon-like figures from outsider artist Albert Louden watch over one of the landings; nudes, landscapes and floral still lifes are dotted through the 12 bedrooms. Elsewhere, there are Heathfield-embroidered aprons on the coatstand in the hall, Hampshire mint, lime and lemongrass potions from New Forest Aromatics in the bathrooms and a gold drinks trolley in the dining room primed with gin and a bowlful of lemons. On winter evenings, hole up with a G&T on the chunky corduroy sofas in the cinema room; in summer, crack out some of the stock of garden games (croquet, giant Connect Four, rounders). It’s a house crying out to be filled to the brim, but for smaller gangs there’s the cosier Coach House (four bedrooms) and Magnolia Cottage (two) in the 15-acre grounds. heathfieldhousenewforest.co.uk. From £7,995 for three nights, sleeps 24 118

PHOTOGRAPHS: ROY RILEY; MARTYN THOMPSON/TRUNK ARCHIVE

HAMPSHIRE


THE CRAFTSMAN’S COTTAGE WILTSHIRE A chocolate-box cottage that is anything but chintzy inside. Owner Amanda Bannister has created a living, breathing celebration of home-grown craft loveliness within these 19th-century Shaftesbury-stone walls. Designs from British ceramicists, English cartographers, Irish carpet-makers and Welsh painters are set alongside Victorian chests and Edwardian consoles in rooms decked in William Morris wallpaper. It feels cosy, clever and modern. Practically everything you can sit on or pick up can be bought – with a little discount too – but it’s not just a matter of style over substance. There’s a Roberts radio at every bedside (there are three bedrooms in the main house and a one-bed studio next door to spill over into), gorgeous Bramley products in the bathrooms, a gadget-stocked Shaker-style deVOL kitchen and Netflix in the sitting room. You’ll also find a bookcase of classic paperbacks, tweed Guillotine gilets hanging under the stairs to be borrowed and a knock-your-socks-off hamper on arrival, packed full of artisan food and drink, such as a homemade chicken pie and just-pulled vegetables (chard and carrots from the garden) plus freshly baked bread and freshly laid eggs (both still warm) and butter and milk from the farm over the road. This is charming country living done to the highest spec. thecraftsmanscottage.com. From £225 per night, sleeps six


LOMA BEACH HOUSE EAST SUSSEX Driving down the bumpy track to Loma Beach House brings a buzz of seaside anticipation, brought on by the salty breeze and the sweeping scrunch of sand under the tyres. This typical Fifties beach house has been transformed by former fashion stylist Gigi Sutherland and her partner, Matt Sellers, into an eco-friendly, Scandi-inspired hideaway, full of treasures bought from local antiques dealers. Roll out of bed and down the dunes and you’re on Camber Sands, a huge expanse of uninterrupted white sand. East is the headland of Dungeness, where you should hunt out the Fish Hut (get there early for a seafood bap – it sells out for a reason), and to the west is a footpath to medieval Rye, a cobbled warren of small boutiques, old-fashioned sweet shops and well-loved pubs. Gastro-bistro The Gallivant in Camber is also worth a visit, if only for a hot chocolate after a blowy walk on the beach. But the real joy of the house is that it’s made for hunkering down. In the open-plan living space, cowhides soften polished concrete floors and a children’s swing hangs from the ceiling. The kitchen space is industrial-looking, with a dining table made from scaffolding boards. There’s a pizza oven out on the decking, and Gigi leaves all the ingredients (and a recipe) for making Margheritas from scratch. loma.co. From £450 per night, sleeps 14 CONTRIBUTORS: Olivia Falcon, Laura Fowler, Chrissy Harris, Tabitha Joyce, Fiona Kerr, Emily Mathieson, Karin Mueller, Alice Riley-Smith, Sally Shalam, Caroline Sylger Jones, Martha Ward

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D R A M A T I C BENEATH THE BIG-TOP ACT OF MOUNT ETNA, SICILY’S GRANDSTAND CITY OF CATANIA

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I N T E R L U D E FADES AWAY BUT STILL RADIATES. BY JONATHAN BASTABLE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SERENA ELLER

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Clockwise from top left: fountain at San Nicolò l’Arena monastery; Giardino Bellini; frescoes at Palazzo Biscari; souvenirs of Saint Agatha. Opposite: the Liberty Palace hotel; down by the lido. Previous pages, clockwise from top left: Villa Cerami; the foothills of Etna; onions at Pescheria market; tomatoes drying on a chair below a streetside shrine; Le Stanze in Fiore garden; cloister at San Nicolò l’Arena; staircase at Palazzo Biscari; window scene


Turn your gaze north at any point on via etnea, and you will be looking straight at the volcano that gives this long road its name. The main shopping street in the city of Catania is trained on the mountain like the barrel of a sniper’s rifle, although it is not oriented that way for the sake of the view, much the reverse. Via Etnea was built broad and straight to provide an easy evacuation route for the inhabitants of the city should the volcano blow its top. It is the emergency exit, not the front row of the stalls. There are two fine spots in Catania from which to contemplate this sleeping tectonic dragon. In the morning you might go to Giardino Bellini, one of the city’s few green spaces. In the heart of this peaceful urban garden there is a high plateau that provides a perfect vantage point. Etna is grey and ethereal at first light, like the ghost of a mountain. Shallow slopes to either side and a dent in the crown make it look like an enormous felt fedora. At this early hour there are wisps of vapour around the summit, but it is impossible to tell if they are twists of mist or scraps of smoke. At dusk, I go to the rooftop bar of the Una Hotel Palace. The volcano is a more solid presence now; it appears to sail on a sea of terracotta rooftops while ranks of cloud no less mountainous than the mountain itself march on behind. I watch for the time it takes to down an aperitivo, and find myself wishing that Etna would choose this moment to come alive – as if travelling to Sicily and not seeing the sky filled with a poisonous column of hot ash was like going to Lapland and missing out on the northern lights. Not that there aren’t other sights to see in this fine town. Sicily’s second city is an architectural riot – and it owes that too to Etna. In 1669, swathes of the city were destroyed by a lava flow; and 24

years later, in 1693, there was an earthquake that flattened the place. Those two terrifying events in the course of one generation defined the visual character of Catania. It led to the wide sluicelike streets, yes, but it also meant that most of the new buildings were designed to be squat and solid, tremor-resistant. At the same time, the rebuilding of the city coincided with the height of baroque, so the decorations on the chunky palazzi are all limestone froth and frills and lacy white tracery. That contrast might have been very odd and incongruous, like weightlifters in tutus. But Catania pulls it off, partly because many of the buildings are made with dark lava quarried from the volcano itself. This charcoal palette, which could make the city look as dull as a business suit, is to my eye as chic as a little black dress. And when I get a gaudy eyeful – such as the pink flowering oleander trees next to the Duomo – the effect is thrilling, like the moment in The Wizard of Oz when the film switches from black-and-white to glorious Technicolor. The fish market is the beating heart of Catania: the people here love to eat, and to eat fish above all, and the Pescheria is a kind of cacophonous everyday festival of seafood. The shouty hawkers constantly palm water from metal bowls onto their catch, keeping it fresh and glistening. Even at the height of a Sicilian heatwave the market is as wet as a Manchester Monday and as cool as a Catholic church. And at every stall there are generous displays of swordfish, chopped across the middle like pink logs; silvery little fishes, laid out on slabs like jewellery on a baize; vats of cockles that rattle like pebbles on the shore when the fishmongers turn them with their hands. On the fringes of the market there are vegetable stalls, with produce that is preternaturally large: 125


THE YOUNG LAVA TRAIL IS AS BRITTLE AND AERATED AS A FOSSILISED CRUNCHIE BAR aubergines as taut and leathery as boxers’ punchballs, red peppers that you could slice the top off and use as a dufflebag. There are two old but jumping restaurants next door to each other inside the fish market, La Paglia and Antico Marina. Shouting over the bellowing stallholders and the constant thwack-thwack of cleavers is part of the deal at either, but whatever fish you order could not be fresher, or the wine rougher. The restaurants in the market are best at lunchtime. For dinner I head a couple of hundred yards up via Etnea to the trattorias behind the Siculorum Gymnasium on piazza Università. Osteria Antica Sicilia has a little courtyard set back from the road, where a bel canto singer drops by to do few numbers – some operatic arias, some crowd-pleasers: ‘When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…’ I am happy to listen while waiting for my grilled espada and dinky half-bottle of the house white, Bianco di Nera. It turns out to be frizzante, and once its cork is popped it sits on the table like a miniature Etna, releasing delicious little gas bubbles into the atmosphere. Like every corner of Italy, Catania has its signature pasta sauce. It is called alla Norma, and is named after an opera written by Catania’s most famous son, the composer Vincenzo Bellini. Order a Norma, and what you’ll get is a tomato sauce with aubergines and ricotta, found on menus everywhere. But a more hardcore local delicacy is carne de cavallo, horsemeat, served in the form of sausages, steaks and burgers. On a single stretch of via Plebiscito, west of piazza Stesicoro, the trattorias set up barbecues on the street after the sun goes down. The area is recognisable for a sign 126

advertising the macelleria equina (horse butcher) and by the galloping steeds painted on the restaurant frontages. You don’t have to eat a horse in Catania (however hungry you are), but you really should get close to the volcano. I take a tour in a four-wheel drive. For an hour, the car toils up slopes covered with broad, leafy chestnut trees, passing on the way the lumpy remains of the crater that destroyed the city 300 years ago, now a wooded picnic spot. Above 1,000 metres the villages peter out, giving way to exposed outcrops of fractured black rock. We stop to inspect the roofless shell of a house destroyed in a 20th-century eruption. Whitened tree trunks lay in the old ash, like the bleached antlers of some extinct mega-antelope. We stop again in Rifugio Sapienza, where a cable car leaves for a point close to the summit. You’d think it would be hot on a volcano, but a fiercely cold wind is blowing. People who have come up unawares from the baking streets of Catania stand shivering, their arms wrapped round bare, sun-browned shoulders. For some reason the chill wind raises no black dust, it lies there undisturbed – I don’t know how that can be. I watch as a cloud comes rolling down the mountain like a damp and chilly pyroclastic flow, blocking out the sun. On the way back down the mountain we visit the village of Zafferana Etnea. This is where the main lava flow came to a stop after a massive eruption in 1991. Underfoot, this young lava trail is brittle and aerated, like a fossilised Crunchie bar. Its solidified tip is a threatening presence in the back garden of an outlying house: anyone standing on the balcony could almost lean out and


Clockwise from top left: Sant’ Agata cathedral; Pescheria Fratelli Vittorio restaurant; cloister at San Nicolò l’Arena monastery; raw honey at Oro d’Etna, an artisan shop in the foothills of Etna. Opposite, from left: Santa Maria di Gesù church; Osteria Antica Marina at Pescheria market


Clockwise from top left: curls of smoke above Etna; a marzipan sponge cake, a variety known as Saint Agatha’s breasts after the martyred Christian; the dome at Sant’ Agata Cathedral; bicycle on Porta Uzeda. Opposite, from left: cloister at San Nicolò l’Arena, and the exterior of the UNESCO World Heritage Site


IN THE MARKET, VATS OF COCKLES RATTLE LIKE PEBBLES ON THE SHORE touch it. In the village there is a shrine dedicated to the Madonna of Divine Providence, thanking her for saving Zafferena in the nick of time. You would think that the brooding danger of eruption would make people wary of Etna – but no. On the lower reaches there are dozens of villages like Zafferana, and all of them cling lovingly to the mountain’s skirts. ‘She is a mother to us,’ says one Catanian to me. ‘We miss A Montagna when we go away, and she is the first thing we look for when we come home.’ Upper Etna is majestically bleak, fascinating like the moon, but I’m happy to come home to Catania’s warm embrace. I still want to see one thing in particular: an amphitheatre long enjoyed by the Greek and Roman inhabitants of this sunny coastline. Along the way, I stop at the dilapidated house of Catania-born erotic poet Domenico Tempio, a contemporary of Bellini. Tempio seems to have believed that a poet’s home should be an expression of the work that goes on inside, because the balcony of his house is decorated with carved figures that hold up the floor with one hand while quite patently using the free hand to play with themselves. The amphitheatre is further along via Vittorio Emanuele. It is a huge semi-circle, built into a slope. Later buildings have fused to it like barnacles on the hull of a ship. The sunken stage is flooded with clear water, so this is an inner-city lake as well as an ancient monument, and has its own eco-system of frogs and birds and bats. It turns out that a stream has always run through here, making it possible for the Romans to stage Busby Berkeley-style water ballets, a spectacle they were especially partial to. There is a small

collection of finds next to the ruins: half the foot of some god or hero, just toes sticking out of the end of a sandal; numerous noseless heads… somehow Romans’ noses never make it down the ages. A step away from the amphitheatre is via Crociferi, a wholly untouched parade of grand, 18th-century palaces and churches. Like Etna, it seems to change with the time of day. In the morning it is quiet and imposing, but at night it becomes a kind of open-air junior common room for local students. They sit on the pavements, chatting and smoking, oblivious of the architecture around them. The best place to eat here is Locanda Cerami, a pizzeria where the outdoor tables are right on the steps of the Church of St Camillus. A marble saint looks down beneficently from on high as I tuck into a pizza so big I could screw legs on it and call it a coffee table. I am halfway through my quattro stagioni when, along the entire length of Crociferi, all the ornamental street lanterns came alight at once. For a second everyone looks up in wonder, as if they had suddenly realised what a lovely place they’d found themselves in. GETTING HERE BA flies direct to Catania from Gatwick (british airways.com). STAY Hotel Liberty (libertyhotel.it) has doubles from about £85. Hotel Una (unahotels.co.uk) has doubles from about £85. The new Asmundo di Gisira (asmundodigisira.com) has doubles from £200. EAT Locanda Cerami (+39 095 224678; about £30 for two). Osteria Antica Marina (antica marina.it; fixed-price menus from about £25). Antica Sicilia (ristoranteosteriaanticasicilia.it; about £35 for two).

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A CASTAWAY’S TALES WITH

ERDEM THE FASHION ROMANTIC BEGAN BY CREATING OUTFITS FOR HIS SISTER’S DOLLS, HAS SINCE DRESSED MICHELLE OBAMA AND GWYNETH PALTROW, AND TRAVELLED BACK TO OTTOMAN TURKEY FOR HIS LATEST COLLECTION Which island in the world holds the best memories for you? ‘Montreal, where I grew up. When I go back, I have a checklist of things I have to do. Find a Montreal bagel at Saint-Laurent, then go to my friends Trevor and Dan’s bar, Tokyo. At the end of the street where I lived was a big lake called Lake SaintLouis, which was extraordinary at night: this big, black thing that was as beautiful as it was scary. I grew up acutely aware of the water and now I always seek it out. Even where I live here in London, in Dalston, I’m not far away from the canal.’ What was the first island you visited? ‘Prince Edward Island, a tiny little spot off the east coast of Canada. It has the house where Lucy Maud Montgomery lived – she wrote Anne of Green Gables, which my sister and I were obsessed with.’ Did you go island-hopping as a teenager? ‘My sister and I went on two trips, one was across Turkey to Antakya, right near the Syrian border, where my dad’s family are originally from, and I remember taking a boat through the Greek Islands to get there. Another trip was to Cuba. Visiting Havana as an 18-year-old was amazing, it felt like Paris had been dropped on a tropical island and because all the cars were from the 1950s, it seemed suspended in time.’

PHOTOGRAPH: ERDEM

Are you good at exploring? ‘Any excuse to get out of town is always good! I love Cornwall, especially the Tate down there. And my boyfriend’s parents have a wonderful house in Scotland near Dumfries, close to the water.’ You lived in New York for a while – how did find being in Manhattan? ‘It was tall and loud, but so great and I made wonderful friends. I lived on 10th Street, off Sixth Avenue, and I’d walk through the West Village every day to get to work. Now every time I go back, I stay at the Maritime Hotel, and always go across the river to Brooklyn to the same restaurant, Alma, which has an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline. I also like Café Habana and The Spotted Pig for breakfast,

where you can get Southern food such as grits, which are so good. Manhattan is always on and I loved it for that.’ What was the biggest shock about moving to a small spot on the map like Britain? ‘While I grew up in Montreal, half of my family live in Turkey, and half in England – my sister and I were the only ones born in Canada. Every time we visited our relations we had this kind of dream-like experience

‘I’D TAKE THE BARMAN FROM DUKES TO MY DESERT ISLAND, TO FIX MARTINIS. AND THE ROAST CHICKEN FROM BISTROTHEQUE’ of going to Istanbul and then flying to England and going to the Tower of London. I had grown up with the familiarity of my British grandmother, aunt and uncle, so when I moved here [in 2000, to study at the Royal College of Art], those idiosyncrasies of people talking about the wrong side of the road, or Marmite, they were all things I already knew from my mum’s family.’ What was the last island you visited? ‘I was just on Patmos, a Greek island that you have to take an eight-hour ferry to get to. It’s one of the oldest inhabited islands in the Aegean – and there’s an 11th-century monastery on top of it. We went with friends and stayed in an incredible 18thcentury house we found on Airbnb.’ Which island do you always return to? ‘Every time I go to Japan, I love it more and more. It’s unfamiliar, but so beautifully unfamiliar that there’s a tremendous freedom in feeling lost there. It’s as much about the future as it is about the past, a place of extraordinary cities but also extraordinary nature, and amazing art and technology. And what’s your favourite island to stay on? ‘Ile St Louis in Paris, in the middle of the Seine, just across from my favourite art store, Magasin Sennelier, which is where Van Gogh and all the Impressionists would buy their materials. Ile de la Cité, right next

to it, has my most treasured park to hang out in, Place Dauphine. Elsewhere, Formentera has the best beaches, with the bluest, bluest waters and hardly any British tourists.’ What’s the closest you’ve been to a paradise island? ‘We recently stayed at the Six Senses Laamu, in the Maldives, and it came at exactly at the right time, because I’d just opened my first shop in London. I went with my boyfriend, who was the architect of the store, so we were both very much walking wounded, and we just collapsed on the beach.’ What parts of your favourite places would your castaway island include? ‘I need something to stop me going stir crazy, so I would take the Library of Enlightenment from the British Museum, which is just the loveliest thing in the world. Then I would bring Magasin Sennelier for art supplies, so I would have something to sketch with. Food from Montreal, so some poutine, which is French fries with gravy and cheese. Then I’d take the roast chicken from Bistrotheque, my favourite London restaurant which I return to again and again. I would also bring the barman from Dukes to fix me a Martini, and I think that would do. Literature, art supplies, delicious bad food, and alcohol… what else do you need?’ How would you cope being shipwrecked? ‘I’m low maintenance, quite easy-peasy, but I would be lost without my glasses, because otherwise I’m blind and there’s no point being on an island if you can’t see.’ Who would you like to be stranded with? ‘My other half, Philip.’ What is your favourite sea view? ‘It was last week, on the back of my friend’s Vespa, riding through the hills of Patmos and away from a monastery on the coast. For a fleeting moment, on the last night of my holiday, it was complete and total bliss.’

Erdem Moralioglu was speaking to Francesca Babb. erdem.com December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 131


OVER THE

ALPS It’s impossible not to fall in love with Switzerland. The towering mountains, glittering lakes, iconic ski resorts, cheese and chocolate are just all so TXLQWHVVHQWLDOO\6ZLVV,WœVRQO\¿WWLQJWKHUHIRUHWKDWWKHEHVWZD\WRUHDFKDOO this delicious Swissness is with Switzerland’s national airline, SWISS

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ational stereotypes are always founded in some truth but Switzerland lives up to its bucolic Heidi image more than most. It is a land of Toblerone-shaped peaks, lush Alpine meadows, sun-blackened timber chalets and remarkably punctual trains, with plenty of cuckoo clocks, watches and Swiss army knives thrown in for good measure. As Switzerland’s national airline, it is ďŹ tting that SWISS embodies many of the deďŹ ning characteristics of its homeland. Punctuality, efďŹ ciency, cleanliness and polite service that you can take for granted with Switzerland’s trains, hotels and restaurants are guaranteed on a SWISS ight. Each of the 144 weekly ights from London to Switzerland see guests welcomed on board a scrupulously clean plane and offered a complimentary drink, sandwich and chocolate bar. Fly SWISS and your holiday starts on the runway.

*Same day delivery charges apply to flights landing after 11.30am, or 1pm for some resorts. **One pair of skis or one snowboard; one pair of ski or snowboard boots; and two ski poles travel free of charge, in addition to standard baggage allowance. Availability is limited. ***Hand-luggage only fare, ski equipment transport not included. All prices quoted are one-way per person, including airport taxes and surcharges departing from London Heathrow to Geneva; correct at time of production; subject to availability, change and exchange rate variations. On some payment methods a 1.65% charge may apply.


T R AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S

Winter wonderland Wintersports fans from across the world consider Switzerland to be the true home of Alpine holidays. Claiming the majority of the 4,000m peaks in the Alps and many of the world’s best-loved ski resorts – Zermatt, St Moritz, Verbier and Davos-Klosters amongst them – Switzerland is the geographical and spiritual heart of the Alps. Regular daily SWISS flights place countless mountain resorts right at your fingertips, inviting you to explore new gems and rediscover old favourites. To name but a few, Verbier, Gstaad and Villars are all within two hours’ drive of Geneva while Klosters, Engelberg, and Flims-LAAX each lie under two hours’ drive from Zürich. But why not hop on a Swiss train and soak up the views of snowy mountains reflected in lakes as you whizz through the countryside. You can even let Swiss Rail save you the hassle of carrying your luggage around – the Fly & Rail system enables you to arrange for your hold luggage to be scooped up from the aircraft and delivered to your resort the very same day for no additional cost*.

Hassle free travel Honouring Switzerland’s Alpine heritage, SWISS is the firmly established airline of choice for wintersports lovers, not only delivering them to the heart of the Alps but also offering free ski or snowboard carriage with its Economy Classic fares. Yes, that is correct – ‘free’ is a rare word in today’s

world of no-frills airlines so we’ll clarify: that’s you, enjoying a tasty snack on your way to the Swiss Alps, not having to worry at all as your skis/ board, boots and poles are all stowed below, for a mere £74**. Should you choose not to travel with full ski equipment, taking advantage of the excellent rental shops in Switzerland’s diverse resorts instead, you could opt for the best value SWISS ticket option, Economy Light. This enables you to travel to Geneva with hand luggage from only £60*** – perfect for a minibreak to the Alps. And, thanks to the nifty SWISS app, you can check in and download your boarding pass up to 24 hours before your flight, enabling you to skip past the check-in queues and stroll straight out of the airport upon arrival to pick up your resort transfer. Just as Switzerland packs an extraordinary bounty of history, culture and natural features into a relatively small area, SWISS flies to over 100 destinations across 43 countries with its fleet of 95 planes yet remains small enough to provide all guests with individual care. In line with Switzerland’s long dedication to the environment, SWISS is committed to reducing environmental impact, having significantly reduced its CO2 emissions since 2003 through the development of new aircraft types, lighter materials, and improved flight processes. swiss.com

The only way to fly In a country where exceptional is normal, SWISS truly is made of Switzerland and the only way to travel to the heart of the Alps.

Clockwise from far left: a Swiss village at winter; a freeskier; flying over the mountains; travelling in style; a mountain forest; a snowboarder


Clockwise from this picture: Connemara ponies; Mitchell’s restaurant in Clifden; a traditional Galway hooker boat in Roundstone; O’Dowd’s pub in the village. Opposite, Delphi Lodge 134 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017


IN BRITAIN & IRELAND

ISLAND WEEKENDER

CONNEMARA IN THIS CRAGGY REGION AT THE VERY EDGE OF EUROPE, THE LAKES ARE AS BLACK AS STOUT AND THE STOUT IS AS THICK AS CREAM. COME HERE FOR TOE-TAPPING MUSIC IN CREAKY PUBS AND KALEIDOSCOPIC LANDSCAPES THAT CHANGE COLOUR BY THE SECOND BY NICKY SWALLOW. PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL PAUL


IN BRITAIN & IRELAND

There are few places I know that are quite so beautiful as Connemara on a sunny day. Bound by the Atlantic on three sides and Lough Corrib on the fourth, it is a rugged, rocky wilderness in north-west County Galway, a loosely defined area of contorted coastline in the extreme west of Ireland. Broken by glorious sandy beaches and patchy fields criss-crossed with crumbling dry-stone walls, it has majestic mountains, peat-dark lakes and lonely, windswept expanses of blanket bog. I first visited this ancient, sparsely populated land nearly 50 years ago, on the first of what were to become regular family holidays. We would set off from home in Belfast, car loaded down with luggage and food, for the 250-mile drive south-west, a journey which took the best part of a day. We had our habitual stops along the way: bacon and eggs cooked over a camping gas burner on the shores of Lough Erne, a lunchtime sandwich at Jury’s hotel in Sligo, and an ice cream in Westport. So began my love affair with Ireland’s remotest region, and I return as often as I can. Oscar Wilde wrote of Connemara’s ‘savage beauty’, declaring it a ‘wild, mountainous country’, ‘in every way magnificent’. It is raw and elemental; when the notoriously fickle Atlantic weather closes in to envelop everything in a thick, damp sea mist or when gales lash the coast, whipping the sea into a frothing frenzy, there is little choice but to retreat indoors with a stash of board games, a cheering fire and a bottle of Power’s whiskey. But when the sun shines, nowhere is the grass greener, the sea bluer and the soft, powdery sand so white as to give the Maldives a run for their

The capital of Connemara is Clifden (An Clochán), a vibrant little market town, its U-shaped main streets chock-a-block with cafés and galleries, pubs offering traditional music sessions and gift shops selling Aran knits, linen tea towels and green marble souvenirs. The sweet, aromatic whiff of turf fires – familiar and comforting – hangs permanently in the air. While the excellent Clifden Bookshop is a relatively recent arrival (pick up a copy of Tim Robinson’s remarkable Connemara trilogy while you are there), some places seem quite unchanged: EJ King’s wood-panelled bar, Gerald Stanley’s old-fashioned emporium where we would go to buy our fishing licence, and Walsh’s bakery at the top of Market Street for fragrant rhubarb tarts. The town enjoyed a fling with fame in the early 20th century thanks to two emblematic events that occurred close by. In 1907, Guglielmo Marconi established the first commercial wireless service across the Atlantic between Clifden and Nova Scotia from his huge station on Derrigimlagh bog. And in 1919 John Alcock and Arthur Brown’s inaugural transatlantic flight came to an abrupt end when their aircraft crashed near Marconi’s outpost, the captain emerging from the plane to announce, ‘I’m Alcock – just came from Newfoundland.’ Connemara still has that frontier feel, both physically and in spirit; after all, it teeters on the very edge of a continent, far from just about everywhere. Yes, there are lots of boxy new holiday homes, the villages have been tarted up and bumpy roads, once a serious challenge for shock absorbers, have been smoothed over

HARDY, SOOT-FACED SHEEP – WHO SURELY OUTNUMBER HUMANS – ROAM THE ROADS, BOG AND HEADLANDS, DEFYING THE WEATHER IN THEIR BEDRAGGLED FLEECES money. Wild flowers carpet the grassy headlands from late spring, clouds of fiery-orange montbretia, scarlet fuchsia and yellow gorse fill the hedgerows in high summer, and heather and fading bracken shade the mountains mauve-brown in autumn. Hardy, soot-faced sheep – who surely outnumber humans – roam the roads, bog and headlands, defying the weather, their bedraggled fleeces marked with red or blue splodges to identify ownership. My family rented a house not far from the pretty fishing village of Roundstone (Cloch na Rón in Irish) for several weeks each summer, a rambling bungalow set above a wide, sandy bay with – in the early years at least – a hand-cranked phone and generatordriven electricity. There was a shaggy donkey and a couple of hardy grey Connemara ponies in the next field and a fisherman in a neighbouring cottage who brought us fresh mackerel for breakfast and even the odd glistening black lobster. We spent our days on the beach, scrambling around on the rocks at low tide, foraging for sea creatures in crystal-clear tidal pools or bent double in the search for tiny, elusive, pale-pink cowrie shells (I still have a little pot of them somewhere). I’m now much too spoiled by living in Italy to contemplate taking a dip in the freezing Atlantic, but as children we spent hours in the water, skin turning blotchy purple-blue and then livid orange from the cold. When the weather was good – and ‘good’ in these parts means not actually pouring with rain – we barbecued sausages for supper while wrapped in thick woollen sweaters before a final expedition to the beach, revelling in the long, light summer evenings that are such a gift this far north-west.

and widened – at least the major ones. Canny marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way by the national tourist board has brought many more visitors to the area and the season, once limited to little more than the school summer holidays, is now much longer. Kylemore Abbey, a convent with a photogenic lakeside setting, attracts some 300,000 visitors a year while the Connemara National Park, a hop-off point for walks in the Twleve Bens mountain range, pulls upwards of 190,000. Today it’s all about activities and adventure: sea kayaking, wind and kite surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, SUP boarding, deep-sea angling and scuba diving. You can even learn to cut turf out on the bog. Yet somehow Connemara remains resolutely and endearingly old-fashioned, and with any luck it will stay that way. Many regulars own or rent holiday homes, but there are also some lovely, long-established country-house hotels, now run by the offspring of the original owners and with not a spa in sight. The food scene is bang on-trend in terms of provenance and seasonality (even the most basic pub menus will tell you that your mussels were harvested in Killary Harbour and that the crab comes from Cleggan). But it doesn’t do foams and gels; some of the best meals are to be found in homely places where the emphasis is on the richness of land and sea rather than technical wizardry. A friend whose family used to take a house near ours in the old days recently told me she hadn’t dared to go back in the past 30 years as she was worried the place would have changed beyond all recognition. ‘Oh, you must go,’ I told her, ‘it’s still our Connemara.’ Turn to page 139 for listings

Opposite, clockwise from top left: Dog’s Bay near Roundstone; Kylemore Abbey; a fireplace at Quay House, Clifden; a shepherd’s hut in Joyce country December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 137


IN BRITAIN & IRELAND

COAST ALONG IN CONNEMARA WHERE TO SLEEP Built as a sporting retreat in the mid 1830s by the Marquis of Sligo, Delphi Lodge is a lovely old pile at the top of a deep, remote valley just north of Killary Harbour. Former journalist Peter Mantle restored the house in the mid 1980s and opened it to fishing folk. He has since moved on to a property in the Bahamas and few people now come here just to fish, but the atmosphere of a comfortable, private home remains. Reception rooms have antiques and old pictures; sunny, modern bedrooms come with pretty floral fabrics, knotted-pine furniture and white-tiled bathrooms. Guests meet over drinks and canapés before everyone sits down together around an oval table for confit duck leg and succulent lobster, say. It’s all very jolly. +353 95 42222; delphilodge.ie. Doubles from about £170; set dinner about £50 per person

Henry Hodgson and his wife Lucy are the fifth generation of his family to run the wonderfully eccentric Currarevagh House, set in 180 acres of woodland on the edge of Lough Corrib. Little has changed over the decades: sash windows still have their old shutters, mahogany doors remain unpainted, a worn tiger skin hangs on silk wallpaper in the stairwell. There are hot-water bottles on request and a gong announces dinner on the dot of eight. The 10 bedrooms, too, are resolutely oldfashioned (there are no TVs), but luxuries such as feather duvets and enveloping new mattresses have snuck in. +353 91 552312; currarevagh. com. Doubles from about £130; set dinner about £40 per person

Ballynahinch Castle is Connemara’s smartest hotel. A solid, crenellated mansion beside the salmon-rich Owenmore River in 700 acres of rugged landscape, it was given a shake-up in 2014 when it was bought by Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien and his wife Catherine. They brought in Dublinbased interiors whizz Rosie Campbell, among others, to freshen up the place without compromising the traditional atmosphere. The 48 supercomfortable bedrooms are smartly old-school, and breakfast is a feast of homemade granola, a haunch of ham to carve, kippers and an excellent Full Irish. There’s lots to keep you busy here: fishing, of course, plus claypigeon and woodcock shooting, walking and cycling. +353 95 31006; ballynahinch-castle.com. Doubles from about £165

Bribe the maître d’ for a coveted window table overlooking the gentle river at The Owenmore restaurant. The setting in Ballynahinch Castle is quite formal, as far as anything is in this part of the world, with polished mahogany, crisp white napery, gleaming silver and twinkling crystal. Chef Pete Durkan showcases local produce in his sophisticated, multi-course menus, with dishes such as cod ceviche, and lamb with nettle pesto. +353 95 31006; ballynahinch-castle.com. Fixed-price menu about £55 per person

Overlooking lovely Ballinakill Bay, pink-painted Rosleague Manor is one of the area’s original country-house hotels. It is owned by the expansively hospitable Mark Foyle, who runs a relaxed house where dogs and children are welcome. The lived-in, antique-filled rooms don’t seemed to have changed much over the years, although there are some fresh additions: a large conservatory bar, a family suite, Tamworth pigs (which occasionally appear on the dinner table), an orchard and a polytunnel for vegetables. The food is excellent: langoustines, lamb cutlets and freshly caught mackerel, served in a rather grand dining room. +353 95 41101; roselague. com. Doubles from about £130; set dinner about £45 per person Once the harbour master’s residence, Georgian Quay House is now a stylish and quirky 16-bedroom B&B owned by Julia and Paddy Foyle. Extrovert Paddy has a flair for flamboyant interior design, and the place is filled with his fanciful ideas (jazzy textiles, Scandi-style distressed wood and flourishes of colour) and a wondrous collection of knick-knacks. Eggs Benedict, kedgeree, fresh oysters and homemade fruit crumble await in the creeper-clad conservatory in the morning, a glass of wine and a cosy fire when you return after the day’s activities. +353 95 21369; thequay house.com. Doubles from about £125 The narrow approach to Dolphin Beach House, which sits just above the water, is along the panoramic Sky Road from Clifden. Run with huge charm by Clodagh Foyle (yes, they are all related), this modern retreat is all about big Atlantic views and peace and quiet (children under 12 are discouraged). Bedrooms glow in warm, earthy colours; several have large doors opening onto sunny seating areas. Fill your days with walks, bike rides and swimming from the private beach or, if the weather’s bad, hunker down with a book and watch the stormy weather lash the coast through the floor-to-ceiling windows. +353 95 21204; dolphinbeach house.com. Doubles from about £95

WHERE TO EAT

While cosy Mitchell’s, in a bright, turn-of-the-century building, won’t win any prizes for cutting-edge cooking, it is a stalwart of the Clifden dining scene and can be relied upon for hearty dishes made with the best Irish seafood. Which means fish pie at lunch and something a little more sophisticated in the evening: the freshest Dunloughan crab salad, organic salmon with chive velouté and a just-wobbly buttermilk pannacotta. +353 95 21867; mitchellsrestaurantclifden.com. About £65 for two A restaurant tacked on to a hostel wouldn’t normally grab my attention, but after several recommendations from locals, I had lunch at The Lodge in Letterfrack and loved it. With bare wood tables, stripped floorboards, a funky mish-mash of chairs and quirky art, it’s as informal as it gets, but the lamb burger was perfectly cooked and the pan-seared scallops with black pudding were fat, juicy and delicious. It also open for dinner with a more elaborate menu. +353 95 41222; lodge.ie. About £60 for two Sean and Mary Hamilton’s cheery little Blackberry Café is right beside Killary Harbour, and is a good spot for a break if you are driving into Connemara from the north. Much of the seafood in the fish chowder, and the steaming, garlicky mussels comes straight from the lake. There is also Irish stew made with Connemara lamb, and homemade cakes and puddings. +353 95 42240; blackberry restaurant.ie. About £55 for two On picturesque Bunowen Pier, the family-run Connemara Smokehouse produces outstanding honey-roast salmon, gravadlax and tuna. The fish is smoked over beechwood in a kiln dating from 1946, before being filleted, boned, salted and sliced by hand. +353 95 23739; smokehouse.ie. The inviting little Connemara Hamper deli on Clifden’s Main Street sells an excellent range of Irish artisan products: delicious cured meat from Cork, Skelligs chocolate from Kerry, air-dried lamb from McGeough’s in Oughterard, sinfully rich cakes from Galway-based bakery Goyas, and cheeses (nutty, ewe’s-milk Cais na Tire from Tipperary, mildly goaty Killeen from Galway). They prepare picnics-to-go too. +353 95 21054; connemarahamper.com 

Opposite, clockwise from top left: the Fisherman’s Pub; mountain views from the Bog Road; Ballynahinch Castle library; lamb burger at The Lodge December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 139


IN BRITAIN & IRELAND

WHERE TO DRINK Overlooking Roundstone’s pretty harbour and the full range of the Twelve Bens mountains beyond, O’Dowd’s is a Connemara institution – and my favourite pub – with dark-wood panelling and a cosy back snug. Drop in for a fine pint of Guinness or hoppy Galway Hooker craft ale before getting your fingers messy with crab claws in garlic butter or a towering platter of mixed fresh seafood. Nowhere to sit? Join the other punters on the wall across the road. +353 95 35809; odowdsseafoodbar.com A stop-off at the characterful, stone-flagged Fisherman’s Pub and Ranji Room in Ballynahinch Castle is a fixture for me. The memorabilia and weighing scales hark back to the time when the castle was frequented by the fishing fraternity who would gather here at the end of a long day to down a pint or two and swap tall stories about the ones that got away. These days, the crowd is more eclectic, and the all-day menu includes pulled beef brisket and house-smoked chicken salad. +353 95 31006; ballynahinch-castle.com

WHAT TO DO Connemara’s beaches are magnificent and often deserted; many are not even signposted. Lovely Dog’s Bay and Gurteen lie back-to-back a couple of miles west of Roundstone and wind-swept Aillebrack is next to the champtionahip golf course at Ballyconneely. But my favourites are Mannin (also near Ballyconneely), Rossadillisk (just beyond Cleggan) and the White Strand on the Renvyle peninsula. A recent walk on Mannin turned up only three souls, one of which was a dog.

Sleepy little Inishbofin lies off the coast near Cleggan, an Eden of green pastureland, jagged cliffs, pristine beaches, sheep and sea birds; you may even see minke whales from the ferry. A popular day trip in summer, it is easy to escape the crowds and explore on foot or by bike. Stay overnight (there are several simple hotels) to get a real feel for the place and catch traditional music in one of the pubs. inishbofinislanddiscovery.com One of our favourite places as children was Omey Island, a tiny blob of low-lying granite, grass and sand with a single road and handful of cottages, which is connected to the mainland by half a mile of flat beach that is engulfed at high tide. If you get your timing wrong, you could be stranded; it never happened to us, but we always secretly hoped it would. Deep, dark Killary Harbour, a fjord that divides County Galway from Mayo to the north, was gouged out of the rock by a glacier in the Ice Age. It’s the venue for the Great Fjord Swim, which attracts about 400 hardy folk each autumn. Hike the Maumturk and Mweelrea mountains framing the lough or, if you have children in tow, hop on the Connemara Lady catamaran at Nancy’s Point for a cruise that takes in the scenery and, with any luck, seals and dolphins en route too. At 2,500km, Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is the world’s longest defined coastal touring route. It passes along the coast of Connemara and takes in some of the most dramatic scenery in the country. Marked by a zig-zag logo, it’s as good a starting point as any for exploration of the area and there are plenty of opportunities for diversion along the way. wildatlanticway.com

Above from left: fisherman Kevin Molloy with his spaniels on Lough Corrib; oysters at Mitchell’s seafood restaurant in Clifden

140 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017


ATAR nce a sleepy fishing village on the edge of the Arabian Gulf, Doha has grown into a vibrant modern city where world-class attractions and fascinating cultural venues sit side by side. Despite an impressive pace of change, this is a place that has not forgotten its roots, and as a result, a rich history and heritage awaits you at every turn. It’s precisely this juxtaposition between past, present and future that makes Qatar a compelling destination – located right at the crossroads between east and west, rising as the new stopover destination in the heart of the Middle East.

O WELCOMING THE WORLD From following in the footsteps of desert Bedouins to cruising along the shores of a futuristic skyline, it’s time to start your Qatar story


QATA R

ART & SOUL Doha has become one of the Middle East’s leading cultural centres

Q

atar’s collection of art spaces is nothing short of spectacular, with the M U S E U M O F I S L A M I C A R T as the jewel in the country’s cultural crown. Standing proud on the city’s skyline, the museum’s unique design is itself a major talking point. The brainchild of awardwinning architect I M Pei, it offers a modern take on traditional Arabian styles, standing on its own island jutting out into the bay. Inside, a remarkably clever use of space houses collections spread over five floors, spanning 14 centuries. Everything from jewellery and textiles to Islamic manuscripts are featured, as well as regular special exhibitions. Imperial Threads, running until January 27, tells the story of gifted artisans from Turkey, Iran and India, showing the connection between three major dynasties at the start of the early modern period in Islamic art. Also not to be missed is Powder and Damask, a showcase of Islamic arms from the private collection of Qatari collector Fadel AlMansoori, running until 12 May. For the perfect end to a day at the museum, settle down to

a sensational meal at Michelinstarred chef Alain Ducasse’s only Middle East restaurant, I D A M . Perched on the top floor of the museum, outstanding dishes are served with a side of stunning city views across the bay. Adding to Qatar’s cultural credentials is the compelling M AT H A F : A R A B M U S E U M O F M O D E R N A R T . Sleek glass panels encase the venue to allow light to stream in on collections that showcase modern and contemporary art from the Arab world. The permanent collection explores a series of thoughtprovoking themes, from the politics of change and progress and the rise of nation states to

Clockwise from top: The Museum of Islamic Art; Al-Hazm mall; Michelin-starred food at Idam; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

the development and influence of the oil industry, and the birth of new urban centres. A visit here is a fascinating way to learn all about the changing way of life, and perspectives specific to the region. Underscoring the connection between Doha’s role as a global travel hub and a cultural destination is the towering sculpture UNTITLED LAMP BEAR

that greets visitors at Hamad International Airport. The 23-ft bright yellow teddy bear by Swiss artist Urs Fischer is a whimsical reminder of the innocence of

childhood, and a playful way to welcome guests to the city. T H E N AT I O N A L M U S E U M O F

is also due soon to open its doors, adding a major new cultural venue to the heart of Doha. Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the remarkable complex is already shaping up as a stand out additional feature to the Doha skyline. Inspired by the desert rose, a series of interlocking discs make for a unique façade while inside, visitors can learn all about Qatari society from its roots in the desert to Qatar’s impressive pace of change.

QATA R


QATA R

he sun shines year round in Qatar, making it the perfect destination to get away from it all and bask under blue skies. Stretching out into the Arabian Gulf, Qatar boasts flawless beaches, five-star resorts lining crystal-clear waters and an exciting city to explore. Doha has plenty for those looking to experience a vibrant capital with trendy restaurants and bars tucked away in the futuristic towers of its striking skyline. The retail scene here is first class with an abundance of plush

T

malls home to the word’s top designers. The exclusive district of West Bay is where the city’s elite hang out at some of Doha’s spectacular hotels, while T H E P E A R L D O H A is the place to visit to experience the capital’s fast growing foodie culture. The man-made island is home to some of the best restaurants in town, dotted around a glitzy marina where super yachts are moored. Meander along the water’s edge to explore the chic space, or hop on one of the regular water taxis for fantastic

SUNSHINE CITY The perfect winter sun getaway, Qatar offers everything from a bustling cosmopolitan city to pristine beaches and luxurious islands

views of the island and the Doha skyline. Perfect for people watching, A L M A Y A S S Lebanese eatery offers an incredible selection of tasty mezze dishes as well as classics of the cuisine in a chic setting on the water’s edge. E M P O R I O A R M A N I C A F F È is the place to be seen on the Pearl in a stylish space with a tempting selection of burgers, pizzas and fresh salads. Elsewhere on the island, contemporary Japanese awaits at trendy New York import M E G U while C A S A

offers flavourful dishes from Spain. The Pearl Doha is also peppered with high-end boutiques with everything from local fashion designers to supercar showrooms. The island takes its name from Qatar’s rich seafaring past and is just one of the highlights of a break to this bustling city. Qatar is within easy reach at just seven hours’ flight time from the UK. A recent visa waiver also means visitors from the UK, and many other countries, are free to enter the country on arrival.

PACO


TIME T R AV E L Qatar’s fishing and pearl diving history is an important part of its story today of these treasures. This rich maritime tradition is all around, from the magnificent wooden dhow boats sailing along the D O H A C O R N I C H E , to pearl-inspired artworks peppered throughout the city’s souqs.

Q

atar’s rich heritage can be seen at almost every turn, from its art and architecture to the dramatic desert landscapes that sweep the country. Doha, a modern metropolis, has grown from a simple fishing settlement and, long before the discovery of oil, the pearl trade thrived here as brave divers sailed off for months, diving to the ocean floor in search

For a glimpse into Qatar’s seafaring past head out to the UNESCO Heritage Site A L Z U B A R A H F O R T on the country’s North Western shores. Just over an hour from Doha, the fort stands at the ruins of Zubarah – one of the region’s best-preserved examples of a pearling and fishing port. Dating back to the 18th century, the site offers rare insights into how life once was with remains of a city wall, ancient residential palaces, markets, industrial areas and mosques. A museum at the fort tells the story of the settlement with engaging exhibits. A new viewing platform is planned for the North West tower to offer further elevated panoramas over the surrounding desert landscape. Back in Doha, perhaps the best way to appreciate

Doha’s fascinating contrast between the past and present is on a dhow boat cruise along the C O R N I C H E . Built in the traditional way, much the same as past generations, step aboard a handcrafted wooden vessel and soak up the atmosphere as you criss-cross the waterway. Evening is the best time to head out on the water as the colourfully lit skyline explodes into life. For another insight into Qatar’s traditional past, S O U Q W A Q I F is a must-visit. Once the very heart of communities, souqs made up the cornerstone of Middle Eastern life for centuries. Dating back around 100 years, Souq Waqif has been renovated to preserve its traditional Clockwise from top: Al Zubarah Fort; exploring Doha’s maritime past at a souk; taking in the city skyline in a wooden dhow

architecture and has some of the region’s best examples of wind tower architecture in striking buildings that lend a special character. Once inside the souq’s walls, wander through the warren of narrow alleyways and streets featuring restaurants serving excellent local food alongside storefronts selling everything from local spices to souvenirs, woven carpets and colourful lanterns. There’s also an Arabian horse stable and falcon stalls where you can learn about their sporting role in Qatar’s history. Visit the souq in the evening when the space comes alive, and relax with a traditional Arabian coffee as you watch the bustling scene unfold.


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QATA R

ome to some of the world’s most dramatic scenery, Doha is surrounded by great swathes of caramel sands cover vast areas of the landscape. The majestic dunes of the desert are where Qatar’s early tribes first thrived, despite the harsh conditions, giving birth to many of the country’s traditions that are still treasured today. An experience unlike any other, a desert safari is a must and a variety of tour operators run trips with expert guides to take you out among the sands. For something truly unique, head to the ethereal landscape of K H O R A L A D A I D where the sea reaches into the heart of the desert. One of the few places in the world where the desert and sea collide, the inland sea Khor Al Adaid is a UNESCO recognised natural reserve just 60km from Doha.

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Spend the day and stop off for lunch at a Bedouin-style traditional desert encampment. Or for the ultimate camping experience, sleep underneath the stars before an early morning swim and a spot of sand boarding or adrenaline pumping dune bashing. Qatar’s spectacular scenery continues at A L T H A K I R A mangroves where flamingos and herons gracefully pick their way through lush vegetation set against a desert backdrop. Take to the waters by kayak and immerse in this stunning natural setting. Choose from several operators to guide you through this incredible experience, just over an hour from Doha. Or for a further glimpse of Qatar’s maritime roots, head out into the gentle waters of the Arabian Gulf on a traditional dhow boat

Relaxing and unwinding under a tent in the desert dunes. Below: the ethereal inland sea of Khor Al Adaid

for a spot of fishing. Board at the Doha Corniche dhow harbour with any one of the experienced companies who will ensure you have all the equipment you need, and take you to the right spots

EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME From sleeping beneath a blanket of stars to kayaking through mangroves, take home memories you’ll never forget

to make sure you’ll return with a prize catch. A professional chef will then prepare a delicious meal from your haul to tuck into on deck as you cruise back into town.


TR AV E L L E R PARTN E RS HIPS

QATA R

resemble a sheikh’s palace, with pools and fountains set amongst lush gardens and courtyards. Nine restaurants are a delight for those looking to explore Arabian cuisine, and with stunning ocean views, Parisa is one of the finest Persian restaurants in the city.

LAP OF LUXURY Qatar’s five-star hotels take luxury living to new heights

D

oha’s futuristic skyline is home to some of the world’s most exclusive international and local hotel brands where spectacular suites, serene spas and international fine dining are all part of the experience. THE SHANGRI-LA HOTEL,

is a plush property in the heart of the city where sweeping panoramas come as standard. Drawing on local influences, the experience here brings together the very best of Qatari and Asian hospitality with tastefully decorated rooms boasting Arabian Gulf views. This is the place to come for world flavours with the gourmet Chinese fare at Shanghai Club on the top floor an undoubted highlight. DOHA

A favourite haunt of the city’s elite, T H E R I T Z - C A R L T O N , D O H A is a simply stunning hotel where guests are greeted by a chandelier made

with 2,300 Swarovski crystals. Eight restaurants here exceed expectations, offering cuisine from Italy, Asia and Arabia. Unwind at the luxurious spa where inspirations for soothing treatments come from Qatar’s connection to the sea, or simply soak up the sunshine relaxing by the pristine indoor and outdoor pools.

themselves away from the beach. When the sun goes down, take your pick from one of nine restaurants, catch a movie at the VIP cinema or simply enjoy some shisha under the stars. Also making the most of the sunshine coast is S H A R Q V I L L A G E & S P A , a luxury RitzCarlton resort perched on the Doha waterfront. The spectacular space here has been designed to

A chic city hotel and a haven for foodies F O U R S E A S O N S H O T E L D O H A , on a stretch of the corniche, is home to a spectacular collection of restaurants. The world’s largest Nobu, on its own island, is a major draw for fans of the famous Japanese eatery. Elsewhere at the property, seven international restaurants include Il Teatro, one of Doha’s top Italian venues led by Chef Marco Arlotti – direct from Four Seasons Hotel Milano. The last word in luxury, the property has its very own white sand beach, five swimming pools and three-storey spa to guarantee a stay you’ll never forget.

Clockwise from top: the Banana Island Resort; poolside at the Shangri-La; on the waterfront at the Sharq Village & Spa

Escape to paradise at B A N A N A ISLAND RESORT DOHA BY

– a stunning resort on its own island in the Arabian Gulf. Arrive by either luxury catamaran or helicopter, for the ultimate in getting away from it all at this perfect retreat just 25 minutes from Doha. Over-water villas add to the exotic feel while an immaculate lagoon pool and beach help you make the most of island life. A dive centre and ninehole golf course mean there’s plenty to do for those who can tear A N A N TA R A

READER OFFER DialAFlight is offering savings of 25% at the 5* Sharq Village Resort & Spa. Stay five nights in a Deluxe Pool View Room with complimentary half-board from £989 per person when you travel in June 2018. Direct flights to Doha from London Heathrow or Manchester are also included with Qatar Airways. Speak to an expert today on 0330 100 2217 or visit dialaflight.com for more inspiration. Book a five-night city break including direct flights with Qatar Airways from £745 per person or add Qatar as a two-night stopover to destinations including the Indian Ocean, Far East and Africa from £69 per person. For more information, call 020 7749 9276 or visit kenwoodtravel.co.uk/middle-east/qatar/holidays/ Plan your Doha adventure at: visitqatar.qa


ISLAND FLAVOURS DISPATCHES FROM THE GLOBAL MENU EDITED BY TABITHA JOYCE

TABLE TO BOOK A BEASTIE BOYS HAUNT IN BALI WITH A CLEVER PERUVIAN CHEF

PHOTOGRAPH: THOMAS ANTCLIFF

The party scene in Bali has moved from Kuta to Canggu – via Seminyak. But surprisingly, it’s in the serious surf town of Uluwatu that the coolest beach club has just popped up. Ulu Cliffhouse is set over the Indian Ocean, with a huge infinity pool, access to the beach below and with it one of Bali’s most sought-after waves. Naturally, there’s an in-house surfboard shaper, but more exciting still is Peruvian chef Diego Muñoz in the kitchen. Formerly of Lima’s Astrid & Gastón (33 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list), he’s serving small plates inspired by his new home: the shrimp ceviche is cured in chillies from local farms; pomegranates from his kitchen garden add sweetness to the guacamole. The Beastie Boys played at the club’s launch and there’s an on-site recording studio. So head here to find music fans sipping mango Daiquiris with Balinese rum and surfers sinking home-brewed kombucha. JADE MOYANO ulucliffhouse.com. About £30 for two

December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 145


THIS MONTH’S RECIPE

PHOTOGRAPH: STUART OVENDEN

GREEN-PAPAYA SOM TUM SALAD Using a pestle and mortar, pound together three peeled cloves of garlic, a pinch of salt, two tablespoons of coarsely crushed roasted peanuts, the same again of dried prawns and four to six bird’s-eye chillies. Put this mixture in a bowl with six quartered cherry tomatoes and six or so green beans, finely sliced lengthways. Add 250g shredded green papaya, which is the unripe papaya fruit, and lightly bruise while tossing it all with a spoon. Season with three to four tablespoons of palm sugar, two to three tablespoons each of fish sauce and lime juice, and a tablespoon of tamarind water.


ISLAND FLAVOURS

WORLD ON A PLATE THE INGREDIENT: GREEN PAPAYA

EAT ME

DRINK ME

BY JOANNA WEINBERG

BY MALCOLM GLUCK

Of all the strange fruit, the papaya strikes me as being one of the strangest. Split open the mottled green and yellow skin of a ripe one and you are immediately in Marmite territory; the scent of its soft, easily bruised flesh tends to divide a crowd. And yet, cut with lime juice, it gives up a sensational tangy sweetness that is all perfume. Play the association game and a breakfast plate of a half papaya is the fastest transport you can take to a tropical island – let’s make that a romantic breakfast on the deck of a shack built on stilts. Other than eating it raw, there’s not a lot you can do with a ripe papaya, although its natural enzymes and alkaline properties make it an excellent ingredient for a face pack. For those who can’t take the headiness of its aroma, the unripe fruit – known as green papaya – could be the solution.

A green-papaya salad, with its accumulation of feisty flavourings, requires a wine or a beer of its ilk. That is to say, pungent and emphatic but in no way brash. Let us open the beer first. It is Quarr Abbey Ale, made on the Isle of Wight by Goddards Brewery from local barley and hops along with coriander from the Benedictine abbey’s own garden. It is a metaphysical, multilayered brew (so it reaches the soul) and a 24-pack costs £48 on goddardsbrewery.com. Waitrose lists the bottle at £2.29. We have more choice with the wine and my first thought is the Grillo grape, a native of Sicily. A splendidly forthright specimen, crisp yet with a beguiling peachy edge, is the simply labelled Grillo 2016 at Marks & Spencer. Made by Stefano Chioccioli, it is both elegant and combative. It is also screw-capped, which enhances its freshness, and it costs £8. Possessing more weight, perfume and ostentatious richness (along with a subtle hint of spice) is the exceedingly toothsome Tamar Ridge Pinot Gris 2011 from Tasmania. Six years is a perfect age for such a grape and justfinewines.com sells it for £17.60. Offering a bouquet and flavour spectrum in between these two bottles is Le Stelle Vermentino di Sardegna 2016, a firm white wine with determined citric overtones. It costs £8.79 off the shelf at Waitrose or £52.74 the six-case from waitrosecellar.com. Of course, I hear you cry, these wines are all very well but the green-papaya salad is being served to your most discerning dinner guest and he knows his wines and is a very fussy old boy. Is there not, therefore, an island wine which will both knock his socks off and deal with that dish? My answer is that all three wines so far recommended will impress his lordship, but perhaps we

AS WITH ALMOST ALL SALADS, THE KEY IS IN THE DRESSING, WHICH SHOULD BE INSANELY HOT AND REFRESHINGLY SHARP Green papaya is found on menus all over the exotic lands of Asia. In Indonesia, the young leaves and fruit are boiled to make a lalab salad, which is dressed with a fermented-pepper, hot-sour sambal dressing. However, it is more famously used in Thai cooking, and while the tourists come and go, stalls of papaya fruit, in season year-round, are permanent residents. The fruit can be braised slowly, as in the fish dish dtom kem pla insri, which has a sauce fragrant with lemongrass and galangal. But most commonly of all, it goes into som tum, the shredded salad which has become one of Thailand’s most beloved food exports, notable for its use of dried shrimp and that extra chilli kick. The name som tum translates from the word for sour in an old dialect and the verb to pound, as the dish is made in a pestle and mortar. It was originally a street-food snack, and you will find it freshly prepared at stalls in, for example, the hot, heaving Lamai Sunday night market on Koh Samui. Here, the green papaya is sliced roughly with a very sharp, large knife and then bruised with its dressing in a traditional kruk mortar, a conical-shaped ceramic vessel with high sides to stop liquid splashing out. The role of the green papaya here is to add a clean, crisp crunch, and no other fruit or vegetable does quite the same job. As with almost all salads, the key is in the dressing, which should be insanely hot (the more you pound, the spicier it gets), intensely sour and refreshingly sharp. Eaten altogether, it makes a dish that is weirdly cooling and utterly addictive. Strange fruit indeed.

THIS ALE IS EMPHATIC BUT IN NO WAY BRASH. IT’S A METAPHYISCAL BREW THAT REACHES THE SOUL might find something both thrilling and rare. Something he would not have known existed, let alone tasted before. So it is we must turn to a handsomely mature bottle from Mallorca: Miquel Gelabert Sa Vall Selecció Privada Blanco 2009 (£20.99 the bottle, £251.83 the 12-case from uvinum.co.uk). This is an unusual blend of the local Prensal Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat grapes, and it has been fermented in barrels, so it has a gently oxidised richness which benefits from several hours of decanting. That papaya salad won’t know what’s hit it. Nor will the socks of your smartest, spice-fiend friend. December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 147


ISLAND FLAVOURS

T H E G E E KS O F C R U S T A N D C R U M B PASTRY CHEF FRANCISCO MIGOYA AND SCIENTIST NATHAN MYHRVOLD ARE THE BRAINS BEHIND 'MODERNIST BREAD', MORE THAN 2,000 PAGES OF EXTREME BAKING KNOW-HOW. HERE THEY GET A FIX OF MANHATTAN'S DOUGH JOINTS BAGELS FROM SADELLE’S Developed in Poland more than 400 years ago, the bagel arrived in New York in the early 1900s. Made using high-gluten flour, water, salt, malt and yeast, traditional bagels are dense and chewy, with a sweet, almost sour tang. For years, H&H Bagels produced the quintessential New York bagel but since its closure in 2012, newcomers such as Sadelle’s have stepped up. Here, Melissa Weller embraces old and new, stacking fresh bagels on wooden dowels, while also selling unusual flavours such as Icelandic sea salt, and pepper and pumpernickel. 463 West Broadway; sadelles.com

PIZZA FROM LOMBARDI’S

BABKA FROM BREADS BAKERY New Yorkers visit this Union Square spot for many reasons, but top of the list is the chocolate babka. The distinctive swirls are a direct result of the shaping technique used to make the twisted yeast cake. Israeli baker Uri Scheft’s modern version is a staple on critics’ lists of the city’s best babkas, courtesy of its flaky, buttery crumb and dark, Nutella-spiked filling. 18 East 16th Street; breadsbakery.com

mostly hands-off: it takes about 24 hours to make, with a large amount of water in the mix and a long fermentation time. The result is a deeply caramelised bread with a crispy, assertive crust and pillowy crumb. 236 Ninth Avenue; sullivanstreetbakery.com

FLATBREADS FROM HOT BREAD KITCHEN

NO-KNEAD BREAD FROM SULLIVAN ST BAKERY

Find this not-for-profit stall in La Marqueta, an indoor market in Harlem. Its kitchen provides opportunities for women in the city’s lowincome and immigrant communities through its Bakers in Training programme. And as well as being taught to make rye, sourdough and challah loaves, each student also brings their own traditions to the kitchen. On the menu are bakes from all over the world, including several flatbreads. 1607 Park Avenue; hotbreadkitchen.org

Jim Lahey, the founder of this innovative bakery, is known the world over for reigniting interest in no-knead bread. The process is

'Modernist Bread: The Art and Science' is out now (Phaidon, £425 for five volumes)

PHOTOGRAPHS: NATHAN MYRHVOLD/MODERNIST CUISINE LLC

This Spring Street pizzeria was the first of its kind in the USA, back in 1905. And it’s still serving Gennaro Lombardi’s famous coalfired extra-wide New York-style pies – a little thicker than a Neapolitan, and a little thinner than a Sicilian. The base has a real bite to it

and they use a lower-moisture mozzarella than the Neapolitan style, which helps it melt well and take on a stringy texture. 32 Spring Street; firstpizza.com

148 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017


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TREASURE

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ISLAND

mystical volcano, ornate mansions, hidden shipwrecks, a formidable fort, beautiful batiks: it sounds like something out of a magical realm. It is, however, the larger-thanlife island of St Kitts. This is an island that boasts all the quintessential Caribbean features: swaying palms, calm waters, soft sands and a luxuriously laid-back vibe. But here, thanks to its unique geography, the sands come in a rainbow of hues. The aforementioned fort is part of the 18th century Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the region’s only manmade UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the capital, Basseterre, charming local architecture jostles for space with magnificent churches and Georgian buildings from a rich colonial past – culminating in the Circus, modelled after London’s Piccadilly Circus, complete with its Victorian clock tower. Dive St Kitts’ depths and one minute you might be eyeballing the coral reefs’ colourful

Tucked away in the northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, the bigger sister of a two-island nation, St Kitts has remained largely undiscovered. And therein lies her unique charm

residents; another exploring the secrets of Hyatt resort, scheduled to open in November a sunken ship. Head inland and you can 2017, you can enjoy beachside suites (some spend a morning on the Scenic Railway’s with roof-top pool), the Sugar Mill spa and sugar train, winding among former sugar unique island ‘Journeys’ from the setting plantations; perusing the colourful produce of divine Banana Bay. At the five-star Belle of the Caribbean’s last batik factory, housed Mont Farm, in 400 acres of organic hilltop within beautiful Romney Manor; exploring farmland, you can immerse yourself in the lush rainforest, home to vervet monkeys and island’s rhythm to constant panoramic sea other wildlife; or heading up vistas. Or, if you can’t tear yourself away from Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano, for sensational craterthe water, there’s always How to get there rim views of the Caribbean Christophe Harbour, Sea. And in between there’s welcoming up to 250ft Rated No.1 on Trustpilot, everything from zip lining to super yachts: a magical DialAFlight can organise your birding, and magnificent links realm indeed. perfect trip to St Kitts. Enjoy golf courses – all to a backdrop seven nights for the price of those same dreamy, crystal- of five at the five-star Park clear waters. Hyatt, including twice weekly flights with British Airways from £1,699 per person, in Indeed, whatever you do, Spring 2018. Call DialAFlight wherever you stay on St Kitts, on 0330 100 2218 and speak to you are never far from them. an expert today. At the Caribbean’s first Park

DialAFlight


ISLAND FLAVOURS

TASTE BUZZ

UBE THE CRAZE Pronounced oo-bay, the purple tuberous vegetable is commonly found in the Philippines where it’s much loved as the main ingredient in the nation’s favourite pudding, purple yam jam. Now it’s growing new roots across the globe and turning ice cream, doughnuts, waffles and cheesecake a vibrant velveteen purple. Thanks to its semi-sweet, nutty flavour, and electric hue, ube is being hailed as the new matcha by keen-nosed foodies.

Ube cookies and milk at Scout’s Honor, Manila. Below, from left: ice cream at New York’s Soft Swerve; macaroon tart at Le Petit Soufflé, Manila; Raindrop Cake by Instagrammer Darren Wong; ube hot cocoa at Mamasons in London

150 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

TRY IT At Scout’s Honor and Le Soufflé in Manila, quirky pastry chef Miko Aspiras adds ube to cookies, pastillas and even bottled milk. In Seoul, skip the famous cruffin hybrid at Mr Holmes Bakehouse and be one of the first to taste-test its new sticky ube puff. London’s Mamasons turns hot chocolate purple, while in New York, you can order ube ice cream at Soft Swerve, and ice-creamsandwiches at Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co, while Raindrop Cake creator Darren Wong has used it to update the jiggly Japanese dessert at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg. The most extravagant option, though, has to be the 24-carat-dusted, ube-oozing Golden Cristal doughnuts from Miami’s Manila Social Club – a snip at £910 per dozen. CHLOE SACHDEV


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DISCOVER HIDDEN

LANDSCAPES Clockwise from this image: Tadewara Wetlands; a spa looking out over Hita; a forest in Olle; night views on the water; a room in Tofuya Ukai

Experience an enchanting new perspective on Japanese culture, cuisine and serene natural beauty with a three-day adventure in Tokyo and Oita

J

ust a 90-minute flight from the Japanese capital, Oita in eastern Kyushu Island is an untapped treasure to inspire the senses. Share the magic of Tokyo’s historic waterways with a cruise. Explore forested mountains and volcanic gorges and valleys. Savour traditional cuisines and unwind in a natural onsen resort framed by views of the Mikuma River, which runs through the centre of Hita City.

TOKYO Begin your Japanese odyssey with a stroll through the tranquil Hamarikyu Gardens. Landscaped by the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period, the gardens became an imperial property after the Meiji Period, regularly visited by the emperor of the time. Traditional Japanese dining is a refined pleasure at Tofuya Ukai, set amid a pine forest and overlooking a Koi carp pond. In the garden, tread the stepping stones past the lanterns and waterwheel and be transported back to the town of Edo, the Tokyo of 200 years ago. Hop on a water bus from the Azumabashi Bridge and cruise along Sumida River to enjoy views of the Tokyo skyline.

OITA After experiencing the charms of Tokyo, retreat to nature in beautiful Oita. Relax in timeless style at Hita, a historic onsen town known as the Kyoto of Kyushu. Soak in a natural hot spring beside a river famed for cormorant fishing, and dine on a houseboat with glints of light reflected on the water. Sculpted over two million years ago, the volcanic rock formations of Yabakei Gorge are perfect for exploring on foot or bicycle. Cross Yabakei Bridge, the longest arched stone bridge in Japan, and enter Ao no Domon, a cliff tunnel that has inspired many local legends. Colourful biodiversity awaits discovery at Tadewara Wetlands. Located 1,000 metres above sea level in Aso Kuju National Park, the pristine everglades present a distinctive seasonal ecosystem. Complete your exploration of Oita by trekking through Kyushu Olle, a cluster of volcanic peaks laced with hot springs and magnificent views. FIND OUT MORE

Visit kyushuandtokyo.org and tourism-alljapanandtokyo.org


ISLAND FLAVOURS

AN UNEXPECTED FOODIE HIT Once a land with just fish, frozen food and imports on the menu, Greenland – an enormity of granite and glacier – is gradually getting greener. Partly this is because of the warming climate, partly because enterprising farmers are digging fresh crops. At Upernaviarsuk, a research station near Qaqortoq, scientists have led the way in trialling different fruit and vegetables. With months of 24-hour sunlight during summer and low levels of pollution – there’s only 60km of paved roads and more dog sledges than cars – their pursuits have been a success. Visitors can now taste Greenlandic strawberries, tomatoes and carrots that are candy-sweet. And locals are taking note: at the home of 79-year-old Sofie Kielsen, pictured right, you’ll find a polar supper club. Feast on her homesmoked Arctic char and potatoes straight from the garden, which looks out over a bay of drifting icebergs. At Ipiutaq Guest Farm, Agathe Devisme, uses her French grandmother’s recipes alongside the produce on her doorstep to create Greenlandic bouillabaisse and wild-angelica–spiced scones. Meanwhile, almost 320km north of the Arctic Circle, Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat nods towards Scandinavia’s New Nordic movement, dishing up halibut sashimi, succulent musk-ox steaks served with gratin potatoes and lamb with beetroot and crowberries. On the drinks menu is the locally brewed Immiaq beer, from one of three new craft breweries on the island. It produces flavours according to the time of year: dark and creamy for the long winter, or fruity and crisp for when the sun is out and the ice has melted. In the tiny capital of Nuuk at Hotel Hans Egede’s restaurant Sarfalik, chef Björn Johansson forages for sorrel, thyme and blueberries during the snow-free months, and then pickles, dries and smokes ingredients to last winter. The rest of Johansson’s larder comes from fishermen and hunters, and honey comes from Narsarsuaq, an ex-military base once used by the Americans as a watchtower. Here, beekeeper Ole Guldager – the only one in Greenland – keeps half a million Nordic brown bees imported from northern Sweden and makes the country’s first honey with flavours of willow, wild thyme, bellflowers, fireweed and angelica. A seal of approval comes from super-chef René Redzepi, who ships it down to Copenhagen. DEBBIE PAPPYN

152 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

PHOTOGRAPHS: DAVID DE VLEESCHAUWER

GREENLAND’S CULINARY CRED IS GROWING AS EUROPE’S POLAR BACKYARD SPROUTS NEW SHOOTS


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INSIDE

EDGE Discover a whole new side to the muchloved Barbados with our ‘Insider Guide’ series. This month we look at the island’s sensational array of places to stay

Clockwise from this image: Crane Pools; The Villa at Sandy Lane; a sea view room at Sapphire Beach; Sea Breeze; Crane Beach

L All prices are inclusive of private airport transfers, British Airways economy return flights from London Gatwick. ATOL protected. Based on a 1 June 2018 departure. All prices subject to change.

azing on your teak terrace with a favourite book, as a rattan fan whirrs gently overhead; lounging in the shallows of your private infinity pool, as palm trees rustle all around; gathering with family and friends on an uber-sized terrace, with the expanse of the Caribbean stretched out below you; cosying up in a romantic cabana under the stars as your personal chef prepares dinner: whatever your idea of paradise, Barbados almost certainly has its blueprint set somewhere along its balmy shores. There are, of course, its world-famous hotels, from Sandy Lane, complete with its heavenly Spa, to the freshly renovated Sea Breeze, where guestrooms ooze Bajan charm and balconies overlook sands that beckon with all-inclusive watersports. There are also, however, a huge range of alternative idylls: large, small, simple, luxurious. Think candy-floss pink cottages tucked down quiet country lanes; contemporary cliff-top masterpieces complete with staggering sea views; self-catering apartments with shared pools and ready-made communities (read playmates for the kids); exclusive enclaves with personal housekeepers and gardens that stretch down to the beach, ideal after busy days spent exploring; cosy apartments for couples in the cultural heart of the island’s capital. Ideal for those seeking south coast luxury, Sapphire Beach offers exclusive beachfront holiday apartments located on Dover Beach, within easy walking

Reader Offer • Stay at the prestigious, fullystaffed Villa at Sandy Lane, and enjoy champagne on arrival, daily breakfast, luxury airport transfers and full use of the hotel facilities from £6,699 per person, based on six sharing.

distance of St. Lawrence Gap’s nightlife, while several five-star hotels include their own exclusive villas, offering the perfect combination of privacy and fabulous facilities: the very best of both worlds. Whatever, wherever, of one thing you can be assured: you will be able to find your own brand of bliss-out in Barbados. FIND OUT MORE See visitbarbados.org and thevillacollection. co.uk or call 020 7183 3554

• Stay at Eden on the Sea, a stunning three-bedroom townhouse in the Merlin Bay community, and enjoy a shared pool, housekeeper, cook (two meal per day) and direct beach access, from £1,399 per person, based on four sharing. • Stay at The Crane and enjoy four restaurants and bars, a shopping plaza, spa, kids club and gym, from £1,250 per person, based on two sharing a Junior Suite, room only.


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C R E AT I V E PA R T N E R S H I P S


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%2I[;EZI There’s no better way to see the wonders of the world than on a cruise. Here our travel writers report back on 15 of the best

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t’s often the way that the most remote, hardest-to-reach parts of the world are those at the top of everyone’s tick-list. Once, before air travel was accessible, that meant a 50-day marathon sea crossing from England to Sydney; now it’s a thrilling Arctic expedition to the North Pole or Glacier Bay in Alaska. Meanwhile divers are making a beeline by boat for the far-flung Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat, the most biodiverse marine habitat on earth, and anyone whale watching on the Sea of Cortez might see Mexico in the distance but won’t set eyes on another soul for days. Of course, there is infinite joy in travelling on the water closer to home, too. Island-hopping along the Dalmatian Coast, say or a go-slow, foodiefocused river sailing on the Seine when each morning brings a different heart-thumping view and another postcard-pretty town to be explored. And that’s the real beauty of cruising: there’s no need to narrow down a trip to one country or a single destination. There are smart new ships such as Seabourn’s Encore, which spends her summer celebrating some of the Mediterranean’s greatest hits and all kinds of itineraries from Caribbean classics to added routes in India to choose from. Still can’t decide? Simply pick your favourite section of a round-the-world voyage and step aboard.

'SRXIRXW INDIA AND THE SUBCONTINENT THE CARIBBEAN THE NORTH POLE SINGAPORE TO SRI LANKA BARCELONA TO LISBON ATHENS TO THE ETERNAL CITY THE DANUBE BURMA ROME TO THE CATALONIAN CAPITAL INDONESIA ICELAND BAJA CALIFORNIA PARIS TO NORMANDY THE DALMATIAN COAST ALASKA

Compass Rose chandelier onboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer


A thrilling new route has the inside track on the region’s most dazzling destinations

India and the Subcontinent

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rom the ochre and terracotta spices piled high in markets to the gold embroidery glinting in the saris of women as they sway, carrying textiles upon their heads, and the vibrant greens of the Kerala countryside, India is a sweet sucker punch to the senses. A glorious assault of smells, noise, kaleidoscopic colour and intense heat. It’s also the highlight of a recently added route to Celebrity Cruises’ range of already diverse itineraries. The most effective way to delve into the destinations outside of a private guide is on an excursion, so getting them right is almost as important as the ports themselves. In Colombo, Sri Lanka, we plump for a visit to the famous elephant orphanage in Pinnawala, where the majority roam freely, and they swing past us like a scene from The Jungle Book, cheekily eating fruit sold by local vendors straight from our hands. The return to the ship on the vintage Viceroy steam train from Rambukkana, which rushes past rice paddies and water buffalo as we sip Ceylon tea, is just as magical. In Kerala, we glimpse wild dolphins in the Cochin backwaters as our riverboat drifts past traditional Chinese fishing nets (these days used more to attract tourists than catch fish) and in Mumbai, our tour is the perfect taster to a remarkable city. As well as the more obvious Gateway of India monument, the historic railway station Victoria

SINGAPORE

PHUKET, THAILAND

Terminus and Mani Bhavan (Gandhi’s Bombay base between 1917 and 1934, now a museum), it’s the insights into everyday life from our guide that make it truly memorable: the sea of white that forms the dhobi ghats, the open-air laundry service operated predominantly by men; shoe shiners in the hectic Mahalaxmi Station; the white uniformed dabbawalas who make-up the incredible lunchbox delivery system network. The brilliance of the cruise is that you can enjoy the frenetic pace of the ports knowing that you’ll return to the comfort of the Celebrity Constellation at the end of each day. For added luxury book a suite. Each one comes with a walk-in wardrobe, exclusive access to Michael’s Club lounge (where there’s afternoon tea and live music in the evenings) and Luminae restaurant (order the lobster tail, you won’t regret it), a concierge and a 24-hour on-call butler.

embarked that involved hitching three buses, a monsoon and the port authorities, my mother commented that she could really do with a cup of tea. Almost instantly a tray appeared with more tea than it is reasonable for one person to drink. There is service, and then there is Celebrity service (one couple, on their 18th Celebrity cruise in three years, confirmed that it’s always spot-on). And no matter what the adventure of the day, come sundown you can unwind with a glass of wine on your balcony as you watch the ocean stretch out in front and slip by. CELEBRITY CRUISES offers a 15-night

‘Best of India and Sri Lanka’ on 7 April 2018, on Celebrity Constellation, from £6,249 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights and transfers. Call 0800 441 4054 or visit celebritycruises.co.uk

We were looked after by Nilesh Vernkar, a godsend. After a particularly stressful journey before we

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA

Above: A herd of elephants roaming free. Right: traditional Chinese fishing nets

COCHIN, NEW MANGALORE, INDIA INDIA

GOA, INDIA

MUMBAI, INDIA

MUSCAT, OMAN

DUBAI, ABU DHABI, UAE UAE


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The Caribbean A sun-soaked circuit around palm-fringed islands

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t’s the first evening onboard the Marina and as we set sail from Miami I’m having dinner at Jacques, a smart French restaurant with iron-pressed, white linen tablecloths and paintings on the walls from head chef Jacques Pépin’s own personal collection. A waiter ladles steaming butternut squash soup from a gleaming copper creuset to start, followed by fillet steak topped with foie gras. Over the course of seven nights, I also sample homemade tortellini at Tuscan restaurant Toscana, ‘surf and turf ’ at classic America steakhouse Polo Grill and an exceptional Asian tasting menu at Red Ginger, where I choose chopsticks from a glass-fronted display case (graded from easy-to-use wood to tricky Koreanstyle steel) to tackle a zingy lobster pad thai. It’s no surprise that all the restaurants are so spot on: chat to perennial cruise-goers and they’ll tell you that Oceania is one of the top choices for foodies. Which is backed up, not only by the fact that there are 140 chefs onboard (it’s apparently the highest ratio at sea and when the ship was designed, the spacious galleys came first) who are overseen by French masters Eric Barale and Franck Garanger but also by the vast, well-run Culinary Centre where I did a three-course cooking class based around a single ingredient, the lemon, while sipping a glass of homemade limoncello. Off the ship the gastro theme continues in Roatán, a green speck of an island with only one main road and a colourful pirate past. It’s

fringed by a coral reef that’s part of the second largest barrier reef in the world. Twenty of us pile into a brightly painted bus for an ‘ocean-totable’ experience at the hydroponic farm that supplies all the local restaurants and shops with produce such as mangoes, grapefruit, cashew nuts and chocolate. We pick our own salad, then head to the nearest beach where a chef grills freshly caught lobster and prawns for lunch. At Harvest Caye, a private island off the coast of Belize, there’s wildlife spotting in a lagoon, where manatees pop up for air among the mangroves and pelicans swoop down from branches to snatch at supper. An afternoon drifts by, lazing in a hammock under the shade of a cabana, as a butler tops up our margaritas. On Mexico’s Costa Maya, I leave my fellow passengers behind to hop in a taxi along a bumpy, coastal sand track to El Naufrago Ship Wreck’d beach Clockwise from top: Belize’s Great Blue Hole; the Miami skyline; a view of the top deck pool

MIAMI, US

KEY WEST, US

bar, where fisherman sell their catch straight from their nets and barmen bring ice-cold beer to the waters’ edge. In Key West, we work off helpings of key lime pie with a stroll through streets filled with blues songs as HarleyDavidsons roar past cigar shops. And if all this over indulgence gets too much, the obvious place to retreat is the Canyon Ranch Spa for a soak in the jacuzzi as the Miami city skyline slowly comes back into view. OCEANIA CRUISES offers a 10-day round-trip

Caribbean cruise from Miami on Riviera on 8 March 2018 from £3,599 per person, for a Veranda stateroom, including flights. Call 0345 505 1920 or visit oceaniacruises.com

HARVEST CAYE, BELIZE

ROATAN, HONDURAS

COSTA MAYA, MIAMI, MEXICO US


There are other ways to travel Transatlantic


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The North Pole Plot a course true north towards polar bears and the top of the world

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he 50 Years of Victory is a Russian stateowned working vessel and until 2016 the most powerful nuclear icebreaker on the planet. Each summer, the ship makes two or three trips to the North Pole with Quark Expeditions, her 100-strong crew doubling up in their cabins to make room for paying passengers. Travelling from her home port of Murmansk, she glides through the icy Barents Sea, past the remote archipelago of Franz Josef Land (where polar bears outnumber humans) before cracking through six-foot pack ice on the final push to the Pole.

Up here in the frozen North, the bears are the stars of the show. Whenever there’s a sighting, at any time of day or night, an announcement is made over the ship’s tannoy and we eagerly scramble for open decks to

get a better look through our binoculars. At this time of year (Quark’s trips run in the summer), the sun never sets meaning the 5am appearance of a mother and cub happens in broad daylight. Sleep is swiftly forgotten as the six-month-old bear gleefully bounces, slithers and tumbles about the sea ice to a chorus of camera clicks. The bears might look cute – we have 10 sightings during our two-week voyage – but they’re not to be messed with. On each of our excursions into Franz Josef Land in inflatable zodiacs, a team of Russian Arctic National Park Rangers goes ahead first, sweeping the area and establishing an armed perimeter. It lends the exploration of these frozen islands a certain thrilling menace, as we reconnoitre the abandoned huts of early 20thcentury expeditions under the icy gaze of the red jackets and their automatic weapons. Life on the ship is exceedingly comfortable: there’s a gym, sauna and small saltwater swimming pool on the lower decks, while a helicopter on the stern is co-opted for

MURMANSK

FRANZ JOSEF LAND

NORTH POLE

MURMANSK FRANZ JOSEF LAND

Clockwise from top: Isfjorden fjord, Svalbard; polar bears on the ice; putting down anchor

outstanding sightseeing opportunities. A free bar helps bond us disparate adventurers – Chinese, French, a score of Americans and a six-strong British contingent, including a knight of the realm and a dominatrix – together from the off. As we approach 90 degrees North shortly before midnight on the sixth day, the expedition leader gives us a New Year’s Eve-style countdown and the ship’s horn blasts when we achieve the Pole. Champagne corks pop, music blares and national flags wave above the mass of parkas, balaclavas and woolly hats. Overnight the captain “parks” the enormous icebreaker in a sturdy ice floe, and the next morning we descend to the top of the world like excited schoolchildren eager to leave the first footprints in fresh snow. The celebrations continue with a barbecue on the ice, an impromptu football match and the infamous “polar plunge” into a hole in the floe. A queue forms at a replica phone booth to make free calls home via two of the ship’s satellite phones. This might be the top of the world, but it’s far from the end of it any more. The North Pole is more accessible than ever – and this is the way to reach it in style. QUARK EXPEDITIONS offers an all-inclusive

14-day North Pole expedition voyage from £22,900, starting in Helsinki. Price includes return charter flights to Murmansk where you board the 50 Years of Victory, as well as all excursions from the ship, including zodiac, hot air balloon and helicopter rides. Call 0808 120 2333 or visit quarkexpeditions.com


gourmet cuisine in a variety of complimentary restaurants award winning itineraries featuring over 400 destinations intimate, luxurious ships with an elegant casual ambiance

AFRICA ALASKA ASIA AUSTRALIA CARIBBEAN EUROPE NORTH AMERICA SOUTH AMERICA SOUTH PACIFIC

Savour the World with the Finest Cuisine at Seaâ„¢

Call Oceania Cruises at 0345 505 1920 | Visit OceaniaCruises.com | Contact your Travel Agent


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Swoop in for the Far East stretch of a round-the-world voyage on a grande dame ocean liner

Singapore to Sri Lanka

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hat’s the difference between an ocean liner and a cruise ship? According to Captain Kevin Oprey, plenty of things. An ocean liner sits lower in the water for starters. But there’s one factor that sets a real queen of the ocean apart. ‘It’s all about her lines,’ he says. ‘A cruise ship is blunt-ended; an ocean liner is perfectly streamlined, tapering into a pointed bow.’ He should know. Captain Oprey is the long-serving master of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 – the world’s last true ocean liner. And after many years of dedicated service, this is his farewell voyage. It’s the end of an era, certainly. But it’s also the dawn of another for the stately vessel herself after a much-heralded £90 million refurbishment last year. The distinguished Princess Grill and Queens Grill restaurants have both had major facelifts but the biggest draw is The Verandah. It serves spectacular French fusion food (beef with snails, cheese crème brûlée and venison in a smoke dome) and – on a ship with plenty to keep you busy for all 118 nights of a world voyage – should be sought out as a priority. Black tie formal evenings add a sense of timeless glamour to the experience, while the entertainment options are seemingly endless. Sadly I’m not aboard for the entire four-month odyssey, which involves 45 ports in 23 countries across four continents. Instead, like many guests

I’m joining the re-mastered vessel – the ‘QM2.0’ as the crew have nicknamed her – for a segment of the journey as she sails from Singapore to Sri Lanka, via Malaysia. That’s the brilliant thing about a round-the-world voyage: you don’t have to sign up, Phileas Fogg-style, for the entire planetary peregrination. You simply pick the leg you fancy, then jet in. Ports punctuate proceedings, of course. For me, despite the nightlife of Singapore and the spectacular landmarks of Kuala Lumpur (particularly the views from atop the KL Tower), the winner is Penang. A state on the northwest corner of the Malaysian peninsular, its capital city George Town is a lively treat with fiery Laksa soup stalls, battling rickshaws and extraordinary street art.

onboard just a teensy bit. After all, the best views, the best sun loungers and the best treatments in the Canyon Ranch spa are all there for the taking on land days. Not the point of cruising? Perhaps. But the Queen Mary 2 is an ocean liner. And a damn fine one at that. CUNARD offers a 14-night segment of Queen Mary 2’s World Voyage from Dubai to Singapore, from 29 January – 12 February 2019, in a Britannia Balcony stateroom based on two sharing, from £2,799 per person, including all flights and transfers. Call 0344 338 8650 or visit cunard.co.uk

Full disclosure here: on two of our port days, I returned to the ship early. Why? Perhaps I’d fallen in love with life Clockwise from top: Extraordinary street art; Singapore’s Supertree Grove; a suite on ‘QM2.0’

SINGAPORE

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

PENANG, MALAYSIA

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA


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hink of the Iberian Peninsula and it’s perhaps the inland mountainous terrain that springs to mind first – the region butts up against the Pyrenees on the northeast edge and the southernmost tip is separated from Africa by the Strait of Gibraltar – but on this Regent Seven Seas’ cruise, the main focus is a handful of must-visit coastal cities: Barcelona, Valencia, Cartagena and Lisbon.

At our first stop, I forgo Gaudi for a stroll through the maze-like shopping streets of the El Born district and cafés of the Gothic Quarter, and then wander along the sandy strip of beach at Barceloneta. In Valencia, the former riverbed is now the Turia Gardens, a nine kilometre green ribbon of park that winds its way from the port to the old town, full of cycle paths and sports pitches, and flanked by futuristic cultural centres such as the spaceship-like Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia for performing arts. It’s all such a striking contrast to the historic area – the cathedral with Italianate frescoes above the altarpiece; the marble-floored piazzas; the glittering blue-glazed roof tiles of the church domes sprinkled across

the skyline – yet somehow these two disparate entities nudge together nicely. The next day in Cartagena I take advantage of the fact that all of the onboard excursions are included (so often they aren’t) and sign up for a group walking tour of the city. It begins with our guide pointing out a Roman amphitheatre that was discovered under the remains of a 19th-century bull ring and ends sitting in a shady square sipping Asiático, a liqueur coffee and local specialty made from concentrated milk and brandy, topped with cinnamon. I do venture inland once, on a worthwhile coach trip from Lisbon past a patchwork of fields to the tiny medieval town of Óbidos where charming white houses and cobbled streets are surrounded by easyto-climb city walls (there’s more liquor tasting here, though this time it’s cherry-flavoured Ginja).

Ranch Spa and the spacious all-suite cabins. Yet to my mind, one of the most stand-out features is the Culinary Arts Kitchen, a seriously high-spec space run by no-nonsense executive chef Kathryn Kelly (she also oversees the cooking classes on sister cruise company Oceania). I join a brunch-themed class, whipping up (among many other dishes) scones just like her grandmother used to make and baked oatmeal to a recipe written by her daughter. In the evenings, singer-songwriter duo Paul Saylor and Stefanie Londino are the stars of the in-house entertainment team with a crowdpleasing, soulful unplugged session of their own compositions and reservations-only Pan-Asian Pacific Rim restaurant has mouth-watering black miso cod and dim sum that’s delicious enough to rival Nobu. REGENT SEVEN SEAS offers a seven-night

Cities aside, the other big draw is the ship. The bells-and-whistles Explorer launched last year with much talk of the 2,000 or so original artworks and enormous crystal chandeliers that feature in the Art Deco-influenced interior design, the Canyon

‘Inspired Iberia’ cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon on the Voyager, on 15 May 2018 from £4,249 per person, including flights, transfers, all meals and drinks and shore excursions. Call 02380 682 280 or visit rssc.com

Barcelona to Lisbon Take a fresh approach to the Iberian Peninsula with a city-led saunter through Portugal and Spain

The Church of Santa Engrácia, Lisbon, now home to the National Pantheon BARCELONA, SPAIN

VALENCIA, SPAIN

CARTAGENA, SPAIN

GILBRALTAR

LISBON, PORTUGAL


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m feeling rather pleased with myself having just jogged a mile around the promenade deck of the new Silversea ship Silver Muse. I know this fact for certain as a small sign helpfully points out that 12 laps around the funnel is equivalent to a mile. In celebration of my Olympic efforts a waiter is immediately on hand to offer a refreshing drink, which I sip gratefully as I look out across the azure waters of the Aegean Sea. It feels as if we are at the beginning of a Greek odyssey, heading towards Mykonos, to be greeted by windmills and whitewashed Cycladic architecture.

In Santorini we anchor in the famous caldera before taking the tender ashore to explore the delights of hilltop town Oia, all white houses and blue-domed churches. The cobbled stones and steep climb are not for the fainthearted but the views from the top are spectacular. Our next island is Rhodes and in the old town, the narrow medieval streets offer welcome shade from the afternoon sun. My wife is drawn to the many jewellery shops and demonstrates

a herculean effort to visit practically all of them. Meanwhile, our two teenage children have opted to stay on board, languishing in their room, feasting off the natural high that comes with the knowledge that all suites enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and butler service. Of the eight restaurants, our favourite is Hot Rocks, a Silversea classic where guests cook their own meat, fish and vegetables at their table using hot lava stones. It’s a magical experience, dining alfresco under the stars as the ship gently makes its way through calm midnight blue seas to the last port in Greek waters, Katakolon, gateway to Ancient Olympia. Of course, the birthplace of the Olympic games was always going to be a highlight on this trip and it doesn’t disappoint. One of the most celebrated archaeological sites in Greece, it is here that the Olympic flame is lit every four years and transferred by runners to the host city. Straddling the running track finish line in the stadium, I can almost hear the roar of the crowds; in reality, the deafening

sound is that of a gazillion cicadas chirping in the blistering heat of the midday sun. Later that day, full of inspiration and determined to run further, I stare at the ship’s funnel only to be thwarted by the Gods who have sent another helpful waiter with my favourite drink. I’m secretly relieved. The staff go out of their way to ensure guests are happy. The attention to detail, the delicious food, the excellent excursions are a winning formula. And just when you think the best has been and gone we arrive in Malta for a Segway tour of Valletta and what turns out to be the family’s favourite onshore outing. What a wonderful and exhilarating way to see this city and all its World Heritage Sights. I realise it’s perhaps quite a lazy way to get around but I am on holiday – and a very relaxing one at that. SILVERSEA offers a nine-day voyage on the Silver Muse departing from Piraeus, Athens to Civitavecchia on 15 June 2018 from £6,100 per person, based on double occupancy of the Vista Suite. Call 0844 251 0837 or visit silversea.com

Athens to the Eternal City A new ship sets off on an epic Greek odyssey

The picture postcard town of Oia at sunset, Santorini, Greece

ATHENS, GREECE

MYKONOS, SANTORINI, GREECE GREECE

RHODES, GREECE

HERAKLION, MONEMVASIA, KATAKOLON, VALLETTA, GREECE GREECE GREECE MALTA

TAORMINA, SICILY

PALERMO, SORRENTO, CIVITAVECCHIA, SICILY ITALY ITALY


WRITETHE NEXTGREAT CHAPTERIN YOURLIFESTORY Days and nights with Holland America Line are among the most memorable of a lifetime. Sail in classic style on beautifully appointed ships to over 400 ports of call, including the World’s most inspiring destinations. On board, choose from dozens of entertainment options, including stirring performances at the Lincoln Center Stage, a Holland America Line exclusive. Your next great chapter is only a cruise away. Call 0344 338 8605, contact your travel professional or visit www.hollandamerica.com


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hen Crystal Cruises took the decision to expand into river voyages last year they picked a winning format: a glorious Danube itinerary and a sleekly reimagined vessel. Crystal Mozart, the first in a series of planned ‘river yachts’, is more paredback glamour than riverboat bling. She launched to a fanfare of trademark six-star service – think butlers for each of the 77 suites, Michelin-level cuisine, a small but chic spa and tech-y touches from whizzy e-bikes to in-suite iPads. On my ten-night cruise we major on calorific treats. From Vienna’s cosy konditoreis we weave through the fuzzy marzipan beauty of Wachau Valley, spying neat vineyards, drinking glasses of Grüner Veltliner and tucking into tender Almo beef that easily outrivals Wagyu. We arrive in Austria’s Durnstein, light dancing on the river, highlighting castle ruins and a powder-blue church, and in its charming streets we find goodies crafted from local apricots: chocolate-covered kernels and fruity schnapps and silky hand creams. Onwards to saccharine Melk Abbey where gilded cherubs and raspberrytoned stonework mirror our later trip to Passau’s

stuccoed churches, their wedding-cake silhouettes softening storm-dark skies. These day trips see us zooming along in Crystal’s Wi-Fi-enabled coach accompanied by local guides, but in Linz I’m on foot: a heart-pounding yomp up to the pilgrimage church of Pöstlingberg before pottering around the historic quarter. In wood-panelled Konditorei Jindrak, I find what is reputedly the world’s oldest cake. It’s fresh thankfully, but Linzertorte follows a 17th-century recipe that combines flaky pastry, crushed nuts and redcurrant jam. There’s local beer too, in Bratislava – our hoppy samples accompanied by giant warm pretzels. But best is our Bavarian forest ride where fir trees and music-box cottages lead to the warmth of a log-built distillery. Our mission here: to learn about schnapps before downing endless fiery tots. The riverboat itself has a sense of uncluttered lightness, which is partly due to its unusual double-the-norm width. In good weather guests flop on deck, lazing on teak loungers lulled by the Danube’s soft swell, before lunching at casual Blue Bar and Grill or street-food themed Bistro Mozart. We’re a sociable gathering and kick off

evenings together with cocktails and piano music at the clubby Palm Cove bar. Chatty table hopping at the elegant window-wrapped Waterside restaurant is common, and the food, masterminded by German chef, Dirk Maggs, divine: a showcase of our destinations that spans turbot with tiny dumplings to delicate goulashes. There’s even, unusually for a riverboat, an onboard pastry chef whose breads and tiny Viennese desserts prove irresistible. One of the biggest talking points in the group are the Japanese Toto loos in the spacious suites. It heats the seat, plays sounds and flip-closes to command. My charming, efficient butler Clément Souvage proves less controllable. Nightly he plies me with extra chocolates, prosecco and vegetable smoothies, of which I have to guess the ingredients. It’s no wonder I fall asleep and dream of food. CRYSTAL CRUISES offers a 10-day round

trip cruise from Vienna on Crystal Mozart in 2018 from £3,625 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, transfers, all meals and drinks onboard and a choice of shore excursions. Call 020 7399 7604 or visit crystalcruises.co.uk

The Danube

A panoramic river route serves up a slice of foodie heaven

The picturesque Old Town of Passau, Bavaria

VIENNA, AUSTRIA

KREMS, AUSTRIA

MELK, AUSTRIA

LINZ, AUSTRIA

PASSAU, BRATISLAVA, BUDAPEST, GERMANY SLOVAKIA HUNGARY

VIENNA, AUSTRIA


T R AVEL L ER PA RTN E R SH IP S

Burma Explore a land of golden pagodas on a slo-mo journey along the Irrawaddy River

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ecades of cloistered military rule might have kept Burma in the dark, but in the last few years, the country has flung open its doors to tourists. In anticipation the Strand Yangon, the capital’s iconic grande dame hotel, emerged from a spruce up and a brand expansion that included the launch of the Strand Cruise, a riverboat that meanders along the dreamy Irrawaddy River. We embark in Bagan, a temple-strewn town in central Burma, about 290km south-west of Mandalay. From the 11th to 13th century, more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were built throughout this ancient place and the endless rolling plains beyond. Today around 2,200 temples survive, making for a magnificent view from a height, as we discover on our first morning

BAGAN

MINGUN

from atop the Shwesandaw temple. A cluster of hot-air balloons rise silently above the horizon, the early sun casting a red glow over the bell-shaped stupas scattered throughout the grassland. Back on board, we slurp steaming bowls of mohinga, the local’s fishy breakfast soup, as the boat lazily chugs towards Mandalay – past scenic villages, their wonky wooden huts teetering on the water’s edge as rows of colourful laundry dries on the adjacent slopes. Inside, the design is a modern take on old colonial charm with period-style furnishings: with just 28 cabins it feels intimate, but there are ample public areas, including a small pool and an on-deck bar at the rear. As the boat continues to drift upstream, most of us idly alternate between the sundeck, indulging at the spa and stuffing ourselves with the excellent food – a considered menu of both western and local cuisine devised by executive chef Christian Martena – which rolls out like clockwork.

MANDALAY

AVA

Clockwise from top: U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay; Umin Thonze Pagoda, Sagaing; a balloon ride over Bagan

In the town of Mingun, we see the hulking unfinished brick stupa and have a go at ringing the 90-ton bell (once the largest in the world) before exploring the magnificent bright white pagoda, built by a long-gone king for his wife who died in childbirth. Waking the next day on the mist-cloaked riverbanks of Mandalay, fishing boats gently bob on the shore against a tableau of hills speckled with golden pagoda tips. Here in Burma’s bustling second largest city, the epicentre is a chaotic framework of smog, traffic and concrete buildings that gradually expands into a haphazard urban sprawl. The morning begins off-grid, just south of the city, with a stroll over the U-Bein Bridge, reportedly the oldest and longest teakwood bridge of all. We watch farmers herding their ducks from canoes on Taungthaman Lake below, and visit the gorgeous carved teak monastery Shwe In Bin. Our final stop, the ancient imperial capital Ava, is a complete contrast. It’s a peaceful backwater, flecked with ruins, stupas and crumbling monasteries, which, we find, are best experienced in the late afternoon sun, aboard charming horse-drawn carts. THE STRAND CRUISE offers a four-night Bagan to Mandalay cruise from around £1,181 per person, based on two sharing, on a fullboard basis, followed by two nights at The Strand Yangon in a Superior Suite on a bed & breakfast basis, including domestic flights, transfers and excursions. Call +95 1 243 377 or visit thestrandcruise.com


TO THE ENDS OF

THE EARTH From Antarctica to Alaska, visit the polar regions in ultra-luxury with Seabourn

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wildlife experts and even digital photography coaches to help guests capture one-off moments on camera – that co-ordinates immersive shore excursions tailored to individual guests’ interests.

Take the 458-guest Seabourn Quest, which commences her sixth season in Antarctica and Patagonia next winter. The ship comes with four restaurants, six open bars and lounges and a skilled and experienced expedition team – consisting of naturalists, scientists, geologists,

Highlights include seeing the seal and penguin colonies on South Georgia Island (only accessible for small ships), trekking through the Valdivian Temperate Rainforest at Castro on Chiloé Island, one of the rarest environments on earth, and visiting the world’s southernmost cathedral in the Falklands, where huge blue whale jawbones at the entrance reference a whaling trade past. Frequent wildlife sightings can be expected, both from the ship and on-shore using the expedition team’s high-precision, long-range, Swarovski Optik binoculars (each guest also receives a complimentary expedition-grade parka and daypack).

rom snow-capped volcanoes reflected in crystalline lakes to jaw-dropping glaciers and towering fjords, the spectacular landscapes of the polar regions are simply unforgettable – and best experienced up close, in ultra-luxury, from the water. Which is where Seabourn comes in. With a reputation for contemporary, all-suite boutique hotels at sea and all inclusive six-star service, a holiday with Seabourn is a unique way to discover these remote destinations without compromising on modern-day style.

There are also scenic voyages through Glacier Valley and Drake Passage, optional small group kayak tours, special on-deck events such as the ‘Caviar on the Ice’ party and ‘Ventures by Seabourn’ during six days spent in Antarctica. This is a programme of complimentary, daily landings by zodiac at historic outposts that provide an in-depth look into the ecology and culture of more remote areas from an extraordinary vantage point: sea level. Afterwards, warm-up at the open-air hot chocolate bar with freshly baked cinnamon rolls and a hot toddy before dining on regionally inspired cuisine. Equally exhilarating is a summer holiday spent exploring Alaska, on the 458-guest Seabourn Sojourn, where well-known wonders include hidden gems of the forested Canadian Inside


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Passage, seeing humpback whales breaching in the Kenai Fjords, gliding up close to the Misty Fjords’ waterfalls in a zodiac, and paddling a kayak on a wildlife-spotting expedition in Tracy Arm. On 11-day itineraries, scenic cruising of majestic Glacier Bay is accompanied with narration by a National Park Service Ranger. With Seabourn, guests can also step ashore in tiny Klemtu, British Columbia where they will be greeted by the Tlingit townspeople who proudly display their ceremonial finery and thousand-year heritage. This is the Seabourn Difference: one-off experiences that transform

Incredible scenery in Patagonia

Seabourn offer Seabourn offers worldwide destinations for 2018-19 from the Mediterranean, Greek Isles and Baltic Cities through to the Caribbean and Panama Canal, Africa, Asia, Australasia and South America. To find out more call 0344 338 8615 for details or a brochure. Visit seabourn.com Clockwise from top: See penguins up close in Antarctica; South Georgia Island; Seabourn Quest in Antarctica; breaching whales in Alaska

an already incredible trip full of native cultures, rustic frontier towns and abundant wildlife, into a highly personal adventure. Similarly to Seabourn Quest, this ship also has an outstanding expedition team who take part in the insightful Seabourn Conversations series of talks, alongside guest speakers, and run the optional catamaran and kayak excursions. Exclusive partnerships (across all ships) include an alliance with UNESCO that offers guests exclusive insights into the world’s most treasured destinations, a new signature restaurant in collaboration with Michelin star chef Thomas

Keller inspired by the classic American chophouse and innovative cocktails that have been dreamed up by world renowned mixologist Brian Van Flandern. Whichever polar region you prefer, whether on a winter or summer getaway, a relaxing voyage on one of Seabourn’s intimate ships guarantees award-winning gourmet dining, impeccable service and unique itineraries that you simply won’t find anywhere else. This is the only way to explore the great wilderness regions of Antarctica and Alaska in true, understated luxury.


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Rome to the Catalonian capital Tick off some of the Mediterranean’s greatest all-star hits

The food onboard is delicious in all five restaurants. Don’t miss Sushi (a great new restaurant concept) or The Grill by Thomas Keller (overseen by the superstar chef ’s right-hand man Michael Sandoval, former culinary director at Bouchon) where the eggplant parmesan lures me back two nights in a row. Nightly entertainment ranges from piano vocalist Suzanne Jade in the Keller bar to on-deck, opera under the stars and a special night of music in the theatre, produced in collaboration with Sir Tim Rice, to celebrate the composer’s greatest hits. During the one full sea day (time to cruise and snooze, quips the captain), I book into The Retreat, a blissfully peaceful hang-out with a beach club vibe that has just 15 cabanas and a whirlpool. Heavyweight designer Adam D. Tihany is responsible for this and the rest of the serene, understated interiors. But what makes Seabourn stand out above all, is the staff who remember your name and your breakfast order, and always have time for a chat. This is a joyous ten-day sailing ticking off some of the juiciest gems in the Mediterranean, yet for many passengers it’s not the stepping off the ship to explore the ports that’s the best bit – it’s getting back on. SEABOURN offers a 10-night Mediterranean

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t’s late afternoon when Encore, Seabourn’s newest ship sails into the stunning UNESCO World Heritage City of Valletta. A heat haze shimmers above limestone walls and the 16thcentury buildings that zig-zag up the hill from the harbour to the arched Upper Barrakka Gardens at the top. Glasses of Aperol spritz are handed out to guests gathering on deck to listen to the 13-piece quayside orchestra who are there to welcome us. The next day, on a tour that takes in both ‘the silent city’ of Mdina and the capital itself, a proud Maltese lady tells us tales of old convents and new film studios, and shows us Shard architect Renzo Piano’s much celebrated city gate and open-air theatre, constructed from the ruins of the neoclassical Royal Opera House. Seabourn has an alliance with UNESCO that means there are on-board talks alongside exclusive shore experiences: in this instance, globetrotting

CIVITAVECCHIA, ITALY

AMALFI, ITALY

TAORMINA, SICILY

photographer Geoff Stevenson shares a selection of images he’s compiling for the first official photographic database of World Heritage sights. I’m onboard in July, at the beginning of the school holidays, and fellow passengers are also signing up in droves for the other less educational but equally brilliant excursions on offer. In Sicily, there’s a pilgrimage to the famous landmark sites that featured

Isles cruise on Seabourn Encore from £4,999 per person based on two sharing a Veranda suite. The trip departs from Rome on 16 June 2018, calling at Portoferraio, Naples, Taormina, Gozo, Valletta, Corsica, Bandol, Palamós and Barcelona. Call 0843 373 2000 or visit seabourn.com

Clockwise from top: Corsica at twilight; Fort Saint Michael, Senglea, Malta; a cloister, Costa Brava

XLENDI, GOZO

VALLETTA, MALTA

BONIFACIO, MONTE CARLO, BANDOL, CORSICA MONACO FRANCE

PALAMÓS, SPAIN

BARCELONA, SPAIN


The Fam Islands boast some of the most beautiful coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Indonesia Remote Raja Ampat is one of the very best dive spots on the planet. Strap on a tank for underwater kicks

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or world-class diving and snorkelling it’s hard to beat Raja Ampat, an archipelago formed of more than 1,500 islands off the north-western tip of New Guinea. Part of the Coral Triangle that has more recorded species than anywhere else on the planet, it’s the most biodiverse marine habitat there is. And a week on the majestic Alila Purnama is one of the best ways to explore it. Handcrafted in the traditional Phinisi style, as used by the Bugis seafarers that ruled the waves in the 14th century, she is a work of art: 46 metres of solid wooden hull varnished in a rich coffee brown and topped with a pair of billowing cream sails. There are five cabins (the master suite has wraparound windows and a private deck), each with wood panelled walls and custom-made teak and rattan furniture. It’s like sleeping on a magical, pirate ship.

Setting sail on a round-trip from Sorong, the plan is to travel south, weaving our way around the islands, stopping off at the most spectacular dive spots (the trip is aimed at non-divers too)

SORONG

and mountainous specks of mostly uninhabited land along the way. First up is tiny Mioskon with its untouched bay and a reef that’s home to schools of yellow snapper, grouper and pigmy seahorses. We snorkel above rainbow-bright coral and after just a few minutes, pass blacktip reef sharks and baby turtles. Later, silvery fish leap from the water, seemingly dancing in the air as they feed, and thousands of bats swarm across the sky. Days pass and we rarely encounter any other travellers. At one point, the captain happily makes a detour to Bayangan, a must for stingray sightings, at the request of my fellow passengers. On the island of Airborei, a group of children play tour guide, showing us around a fishing village where mud and leaf homes are painted in primary colours. And on Penemu island, we follow a dirt track with a makeshift twig banister up to a viewing point overlooking a seascape dotted with lush green karst islands, each ringed with snow-white sand, arriving just in time for sunset.

MIOSKON

AIRBOREI

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YILLIET

Meals on board are hugely social – everyone eats together for three courses at lunch and dinner – and spoiling, from crispy pork belly with sweet potato mash to pan-fried red snapper with pea puree. On our last evening, somewhere in the waters off Yilliet Island, we take a speedboat ride in the pitch black, guided by a handheld torch from the front, and leaving behind a trail of glowing plankton in our wake. Arriving at a beach, candles decorate the rocks and a circle of lanterns surrounds a wooden dining table. Two chefs are busy cooking king prawns, jobfish, lamb cutlets and rib-eye steak on a BBQ. This is the last supper and my new friends and I eat like kings, to the sound of a strumming guitar and the moonlit waves gently lapping at the shore. ALILA HOTELS AND RESORTS offers a sixnight round trip from Sorong, West Papua from November – March from £2,116 per person based on two sharing a suite, including meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, activities and permits. Call +62 0361 236 384 or visit alilahotels.com/purnama

SORONG


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Iceland

From active volcanoes to icy glaciers, this is a land of mind-bending extremes. Saddle up for nature’s blockbuster show

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n the seaside town of Stykkishólmur, surrounded by lava rock formations, the smell of sulphur lingers in the breeze. It doesn’t seem to faze the hundreds of birds who patrol the sky above the corrugated iron houses and fishing boats in the harbour. Here, and on the tiny western island of Flatey (population in winter: ten) northern guillemots, gannets and razorbills are nesting for the season. For ornithologists, seeing these birds up close, tucked away in the nooks of the staggering Látrabjarg cliffs, is just one of the highs of Hurtigruten’s trip circumnavigating Iceland. The itinerary is packed with optional excursions for active adventurers: from Ísafjörður, the largest town in the West Fjords which is renowned for its thriving fishing industry, guests can gallop on small Icelandic ponies through rivers and streams underneath the giant snowy mountains (an unforgettable, if slightly chilly experience); at Reykjafjörður, there’s a choice of kayaking the dark still waters or hiking the Hornbjarg cliffs to spot sleek arctic foxes; and after arriving on Grimsey, a beautifully desolate island in the Arctic Circle where dozens of puffins perch and nest on the craggy rock face, you can down a celebratory shot of Norwegian spirit akvavit. Then it’s onto Akureyri and Húsavik which between them boast some of the best whale and dolphin watching sites in the region. I sit for hours in a rib boat mesmerised as humpbacks

REYKJAVIK

STYKKISHÓLMUR, FLATEY

BJARGTANGAR

dive and flip in the icy fjord then visit the Húsavik Whale Museum to see the fascinating collection of carefully rebuilt skeletons of whale species. Later, when we stop at the boho arts community of Seyðisfjörður, I fill my bag with driftwood dolphin souvenirs, made by a local artist who works as a kayak guide in the summer and wood sculptor in winter. Thanks to volcanic activity, Iceland was formed millions of years ago and its unique geology is explained by the onboard expedition leaders who count marine biologists, scientists and historians in their gang. Whether snowmobiling across the stunning Vatnajökull glacier or climbing up the rust-coloured rocks of the active volcano on Heimaey, ‘Iceland’s Pompeii’ which was decimated by an eruption in 1973, the guides are full of interesting facts and legends, including a saga about trolls and elves hiding in the mountains of Álfaborg.

a sleek Scandinavian design, with pale wood panelling and azure finishes. Cabins come with blackout curtains (important to block out the midnight sun in June) and guests can borrow waterproof boots for wet landings. After dinner – a mix of formal dining and buffets, with biblical proportions of fish and a healthy dose of local delicacies such as reindeer carpaccio – evenings are mostly spent listening to gory tales of Viking adventures. Which feels like a fitting full stop at the end of each day spent exploring this extraordinary land. HURTIGRUTEN offers a 12-day ‘The Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes of Iceland’ cruise on MS Fram, departing 23 May and 3 June 2018, from £3,586 per person, based on two sharing a cabin. Call 020 3603 7112 or visit hurtigruten.co.uk

As you’d expect from a Norwegian cruise company, the ship has Clockwise from top: The Arctic landscape; Seyðisfjörður town; Húsavik

ÍSAFJÖRÐUR

HORNBJARG

REYKJAFJÖRÐUR

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AKUREYRI HÚSAVIK GRIMSEY

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Baja California Sit tight for an exhilarating close encounter with whales on the Sea of Cortez

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spent some time teaching Steve Irwin how to safely catch crocodiles in the Yucatán jungle,’ offers Carlos Navarro, a biochemist who specialises in marine life onboard Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Bird, where stories are often served up with dinner. Having fostered a partnership with National Geographic 13 years ago, it’s unsurprising that Lindblad gets its hands on guides with a penchant for thrills. Their ethos relies on a blend of educational talks and wild pursuits – and they’re one of only a few operating in the Gulf of California. Also known as the Sea of Cortez, this is a slip of ocean caught between Mexican mainland and the skinny Baja Peninsula, once labelled ‘the world’s aquarium’ by French explorer Jacques Cousteau. We’re here in spring as it’s the best time to see whales (humpback, blue, sperm), plus dolphins.

Cruising in solitude, we hug a granite coastline that hovers above a sheet of mist at dawn and glows dusty gold in the afternoon sun. The first time we encounter people is ashore at the higgledy-piggledy town of Santa Rosalía, where derelict mining shafts meet pastel timber houses and locals gather outside an imported metal church. ‘It’s straight off a movie set,’ exclaims a fellow passenger, eyeing a rusty train carriage displayed on a manicured lawn. Like many onboard (it’s a largely American group with a smattering of Europeans), she’s a repeat guest drawn to the company’s zest for sacrificing plans in favour of following wildlife, which frequently interrupts our hearty breakfasts. Under a silvery sunrise, the skin of the sea seems to catch fire as hundreds of dolphins smash the surface, channelling baitfish into the air while blue-footed boobies ricochet across the sky. Humpback whales sigh chimneys of Clockwise from top: Cabo San Lucas; souvenirs; a cactus in flower

spray on the horizon, and our small expedition crafts get close enough for us to see barnacleencrusted tail flukes as they sink into the deep. Sea lions hoist ungainly bodies from the rocks and whirl like Cirque du Soleil performers in glassy green shallows. The famously approachable grey whales remain elusive, but we’re lucky enough to spend a few hours with ornithologist Enriqueta Velarde at her research post on Isla Rasa, where we trek through shape-shifting fields of nesting Heermann’s gulls and Elegant Terns. Navigating back south, we stop at Isla San Esteban where oversized pinto chuckwallas munch pink blossom bursting from ironwood trees and the occasional rattle-less rattlesnake dozes in the shade of peeling yellow-barked shrubs. Hikes aside, most passengers explore the ocean at their own pace on kayaks or paddleboards. I’m happiest, though, submerged in the chalky plankton-rich water with shoals of yellow snapper, swimming through caverns framed by purple seaweed and contemplating the envy of American author John Steinbeck’s peers as he embarked on a research voyage to the Sea of Cortez in 1940. ‘Their eyes melted with longing, they wanted to go so badly,’ he wrote, and as I emerge on a tiny pebble beach scattered with fish bones tossed up by the waves, I understand why. LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS offers an eight-

LA PAZ, MEXICO

ISLA SAN ESTEBAN

ISLA SANTA CATALINA

ISLA SAN MARCOS

ISLA SAN JOSE

LA PAZ, MEXICO

day Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez cruise from around £4,620 per person, based on two sharing a category 1 cabin, departing 31 March, 2, 7, 9, 14 April 2018. Call +1 212 261 9000 or visit expeditions.com


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AWE-INSPIRING

AUSTRALASIA *RLVODQGKRSSLQJLQWKH3DFL¿FRUZLQH WDVWLQJLQ1HZ=HDODQGRQDOHLVXUHO\ YR\DJH'RZQ8QGHUZLWK+ROODQG $PHULFD/LQH

Clockwise from top: abundant wildlife including kangaroos; Noordam in Sydney Harbour; Polynesian dancers; cruising Milford Sound in New Zealand. Centre: fine dining includes regional specialities

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he best way to tick-off bucket-list destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific is on an enriching journey with Holland America Line. Voted Favourite Cruise Line Large Ships by readers of Condé Nast Traveller in 2017, the premium, well-established Holland America Line experience is designed to feel like a boutique hotel at sea: think elegant lounges filled with fine art, spacious staterooms (many with a private balcony), fine dining and regional cuisine, a sumptuous spa, and exciting entertainment that includes a partnership with BBC Earth, where special screenings of Frozen Planet accompanied by live orchestral music, enhance the countries visited.

Holland America Line understands that a trip begins with the research and planning, so has a dedicated Explorations Central programme featuring specially selected tours, destination guides and once onboard, complimentary digital workshops to help you edit your favourite photographs. Whether you choose to stay on the classic Noordam or the more intimate Maasdam, highlights in these regions include cruising New Zealand’s breathtaking fjords and bays, such as Milford Sound and White Island’s steaming marine volcano; sailing out from Sydney with the Opera House behind you to visit colonial towns and award-winning wineries; and touring the steaming geysers and mud pools at Rotorua. You’ll have the chance to

learn about Maori culture, swim with dolphins in the Bay of Islands and take morning tea with a sheep farmer in New Zealand – all equally memorable experiences. With stylish, contemporary ships that have a high staff-to-guest ratio and journeys that make long days and overnight stays in worldclass cities a priority, a holiday with Holland America Line is an enthralling way to immerse yourself in Australasia and the Pacific – both onshore and onboard.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Call 0344 338 8605 or visit hollandamerica.com


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Paris and Normandy Rich history, art excursions and fantastic food make for a jolly jaunt along the Seine

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aspberry red and duck-egg-blue striped parasols on the Seine are my first glimpse of the new, 64-cabin Joie de Vivre riverboat, waiting to set sail through Normandy. It has crisp, delightful Parisian-style interiors: plush bedrooms; banquette sofas in the open-plan bar; and a brasserie-like dining room with brass lamps and vases of roses, vintage French posters picked up at auction, and flirty pink velvet. The ship heads out through northern Paris, under bridges and past pretty houseboats, and the next morning we wake in Vernon, a charming town lolling on the banks of the river. We go on a guided excursion that takes us cycling through the countryside and up the valley into the little village of Giverny, home to artist Claude Monet for more than 40 years, where his house and gardens are open to the public. Art buffs will also appreciate a visit to the seaside town of Honfleur, where every other shop is a gallery selling paintings inspired by the surrounding seascapes. Make sure to leave time for lunch – Honfleur has some of best seafood restaurants in France.

The food on board is sublime, even by French standards. Fresh oysters, smoked salmon and squid, smelly cheeses, hot pots of coq au vin and beef bourguignon all feature. This is a Uniworld Connoisseur Collection sailing, which means additional food and wine experiences such as champagne tasting with the sommelier and lunch at Château du Champ de Bataille. During evening cocktail-and-canapé-hour the cruise manager talks us through the plans for the following day (instructions you don’t want to miss). The Captain’s welcome drinks party and gala dinner is a jolly affair of mingling, clinking

champagne glasses and a five-course set menu with fine French wines. Foodies will get their fix in Paris too, where a local’s tour of the city uncovers the best spots for croissants and café au lait, and dinner at the Moulin Rouge can be arranged. As well as food and art, Normandy’s rich history is another focus of the trip, with the option of an afternoon jaunt up to Richard the Lionheart’s 12th-century Château Gaillard, a walk around Rouen, the medieval capital of Normandy, and a look inside the remarkable private quarters of the palace of Versailles. An outing to the Normandy beaches to reflect on the losses of those who fought in the 1944 D-Day Invasion is particularly memorable – one couple re-booked the cruise again because of it.

Clockwise from top: The Joie de Vivre’s Royal Suite; the River Seine; the harbour at Honfleur

This being France, there is always time for a laissez-faire lunch or dinner (or anything in between) on red and white gingham tablecloths at the onboard Bistrot, which serves a mean croquemonsieur and steak frites. At the back of the ship, Claude’s (Club L’Esprit – a pool, gym and spa by day) is the hangout for French movie screenings with cocktails and pick ‘n’ mix on tap, or latenight dancing under a twinkly night canopy. UNIWORLD offers a seven-night Paris and Normandy round-trip cruise along the Seine from Paris from £2,599 per person staying in a Stateroom, based on two sharing, including all food, drinks and excursions. Call 0808 281 1125 or visit uniworld.com

PARIS

VERNON

ROUEN

CAUDEBECEN-CAUX

MANTES-LAJOLIE

PARIS


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ack in 1980, when Croatia and Montenegro were still part of Tito’s Yugoslavia, fashion-conscious teenagers would attempt precarious cross-border forays to Italy’s Trieste, in battered old Fiat Yugos, to smuggle back prized Levi’s jeans. The story goes that they would shoehorn themselves into four pairs at a time in 35 degree heat, praying not to be stopped and searched. This is just one of many tales about the history of The Balkans – a land discovered by early Indo-European Illyrian settlers, then presided over by the Austrian-Hungarian Habsburgs, the Republic of Venice and the mighty Ottomans – that I’m told by Tauck’s guides during my voyage along the Dalmatian Coast. High points of the round-trip from Venice include scaling the majestic medieval walls that enclose Dubrovnik; taking in the view from the summit of the Illyrian Castle of St John across to the Bay of Kotor; sailing past the exquisite island church of Our Lady of the Rocks just in front of Perast as the sheer

intensity of the setting sun shrouds the chapel in a moulten lava-like glow; the charming lavender-strewn island of Hvar, which boasts a Spanish fortress and a flotilla of mega yachts; and visiting Pula, which has an amphitheatre to rival that of Verona. Yet what makes Tauck stand out in the crowded cruise market is its on-the-ground insider knowledge that unlocks hidden gems such as Paladnjaki, an out-of-the-way rustic hamlet in the centre of Zminj, which was initially recommended by one of their drivers who had attended a wedding there. We visit the Agrotourism Paladnjaki estate where a folk ensemble herald our arrival, before feasting on voluminous antipasti in the shade of a walled garden. The estate’s own crisp white Malvasia wine (and everything produced here) is sublime. In fact, wherever we went I was taken aback by how good Croatian wines are (similar to the Swiss, the Croats keep the majority of their wine for themselves, so relatively few are exported).

There can be few better ways to arrive in Venice than sailing in at dawn on the yacht-like, elegant Le Lyrial as the rising sun illuminates the stripytopped gondoliers dusting down their water carriages, and the breathtaking Palazzo Ducale comes into view. It’s one of those occasions where you set your alarm clock and pray you don’t sleep through. Of course, we have all seen dozens of images of the fabled city but its beauty in real time still makes you gasp. In search of a cool place to hang out well away from the 15 euro cappuccinos, I cross the Ponte dell’Accademia to the Dorsoduro quarter, home to the back-street bacari – small bars where locals pop in for a glass of wine and ‘cicchetti’, a Venetian version of tapas. Tuna crostini sprinkled with cacao dust is unexpectedly divine and, washed down with a glass of the local en-vogue red, Cabernet Franc, the perfect end to the trip. TAUCK offers a 10-day Venice & The

Dalmatian Coast cruise in 2018 from £5,090 per person, based on two sharing a cabin. Call 0800 810 8020 or visit tauck.co.uk The iconic Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, in the Bay of Kotor

Photography: Lee Osborne

The Dalmatian Coast Discover little-known gems on an island-hopping tour around Croatia and Montenegro

VENICE, ITALY

KORCULA, CROATIA

SIBENIK, CROATIA

SPLIT, CROATIA

DUBROVNIK, KOTOR, CROATIA MONTENEGRO

HVAR, CROATIA

PULA, CROATIA

ROVINJ, CROATIA

VENICE, ITALY


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Alaska

An adrenaline-pumping wilderness adventure in reach of elusive brown bears and whales

The first port of call is Juneau, nestled between Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts. With a population of just over 30,000, it’s not only the

capital of Alaska but also one of its oldest cities, as well as the third largest. The skies are filled with around 20,000 white-headed bald eagles, eagerly circling above the salmon fisheries. From here, I visit the Taku Glacier. It’s an intimate trip – we are a small group of just four – which begins with a scenic flight over the snow-capped coastal mountain range and the Juneau icefield. We land with millimetre precision on a platform before being whisked off for an adrenaline-charged airboat ride across the Taku River. Next, the helicopter lands on the glacier itself. Deep crevasses are filled with melting water creating azure blue pools on top of the snow. It’s like looking through a magnifying glass, deep into its icy soul. Even during downtime onboard, it’s possible to appreciate the passing scenery. Running on a treadmill in a gym has never been quite so exhilarating: the bonus of admiring cascading Clockwise from top: Exploring the icy landscape; Wonder Lake; Ketchikan, Alaska

JUNEAU, SEATTLE, ALASKA, US US

GLACIER BAY, ALASKA, US

SITKA, ALASKA, US

KETCHIKAN, ALASKA, US

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

SEATTLE, US

waterfalls and lush forests from up high at the bow of the ship is a game changer. It’s worth splashing out extra for a spa pass (which includes access to the hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna and mosaic thermal beds) and for Rudi’s Sel de Mer pop-up at the Pinnacle Grill restaurant (the broiled Maine lobster is specially delicious). Other highlights include an evening of whale watching off the coast of Victoria in British Colombia and the fishing community of Ketchikan, the undisputed salmon capital of the world. From there I speed along the coast of Clover Passage on a rigid-hull, bright yellow inflatable vessel to Betton Island, spotting several humpback whales on the way. Landing on a secluded beach we walk through the ancient Tongass National Forest, learning about the spiritual traditions of the natives, the plants, the history. Judging by some droppings and fresh claw scratches on the bark of a Western Red Cedar tree, our guide is certain that a brown bear has been here very recently. The trail walk ends with a campfire and a snack of cheese, crackers and salmon. I may not have caught a glimpse of a brown bear but Alaska exceeded my expectations in every way. HOLLAND AMERICA LINE offers a sevennight, full-board round trip Seattle cruise on ms Eurodam, from £1,149 per person, based on two sharing an inside stateroom. Call 0843 374 2300 or visit hollandamerica.com

Photography throughout : iStock

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n Alaska’s Glacier Bay there is a sheet of ice as tall as a 25-storey building that groans and cracks as small segments slither off, smashing into the sea. Experiencing nature in its rawest form, up close, is astonishing. Not all cruise ships are authorised to glide across the misty bay’s glistening turquoise waters, and only two are permitted to enter each day. I’m on Holland America’s ms Eurodam, on a round-trip from Seattle, and many of the places we visit are only accessible by boat or plane. It’s the stuff of bucket lists. Rugged coastlines, remote mountains and magnificent glaciers, not to mention the wildlife. I’ve come with high expectations.


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December 2017 Condé Nast Traveller 183


EVENTS

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER INVITES YOU TO AN ITALIAN FEAST WITH

S.PELLEGRINO CELEBRATE ITALY’S FINEST FLAVOURS AND FAVOURITE SPARKLING MINERAL WATER WITH A FOUR-COURSE TASTING TOUR AT LONDON’S CAROUSEL RESTAURANT

BOOK NOW: SANPELLEGRINOTRAVELLER2.EVENTBRITE.CO.UK Tickets are £40 and include a welcome drink followed by a four-course dinner with wine pairing and S.Pellegrino water

6.30-9.30PM, WEDNESDAY 13 DECEMBER CAROUSEL, 71 BLANDFORD STREET, MARYLEBONE, LONDON W1U 8AB CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER RESERVES THE RIGHT TO POSTPONE THE EVENT IF RENDERED NECESSARY BY ANY UNAVOIDABLE CAUSE. TICKETS WILL BE FULLY REFUNDED IN SUCH CASES

Opposite, tables at Carousel, London’s smartest pop-up venue, where S.Pellegrino and the Italian Supper Club are hosting the feast

184 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

PHOTOGRAPHS: TIM COLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Join S.Pellegrino for the second instalment of its Postcards from Italy dinners, created especially for Condé Nast Traveller readers, as it turns London’s coolest pop-up restaurant space Carousel into a corner of Italy. This month’s dinner points the spotlight on Rome and the surrounding Lazio region, known for its deliciously varied and earthy dishes. The four-course menu will feature the likes of abbacchio con carciofi, a typically Roman dish of lamb and artichoke seasoned with anchovies, and plenty of pasta – the area is the famous home of carbonara. Each course will be paired with brilliant Lazio wines – Trebbiano, Orvieto and Malvasia – as well as plenty of S. Pellegrino water, the choice of top chefs and restaurants around the world. Behind the scenes at London’s Carousel is pop-up specialist the Italian Supper Club, which was founded by Silvio Pezzana and Toto Dell’Aringa in 2011. The East London-based duo are passionate about regional produce and family-run vineyards. This unmissable series of dinners is inspired by S.Pellegrino’s new Itineraries of Taste project, an online destination packed with insider tips and curated reports on food, style and design around the world. See itinerariesoftaste.sanpellegrino.com


EVENTS Andrew Dunn & Simon Leadsford

Jenni Holman

Rossella & Huw Beaugié

Helen Hoogendyk

Nomi Kakoty

Jacinta Stevens

Paul Charles, Sophie Cairns & George MorganGrenville

Lizzie Shipley, Clare Jackson & Helen Mulhern

Chris Orlikowski & Samantha West

Karn Puntuhong

READERS’ TRAVEL AWARDS PARTY 2017

Debbie Flynn & Lauren Williams

Tom Bates

Nicolas Yarnell

Grace Barnes & Natalie MossBlundell

This year’s celebration brought the best of the travel world to the neon-lit Dive Bar in London’s Ham Yard Hotel, one of the hottest places to stay in the capital. Voted for by Condé Nast Traveller readers, the winners included Italy as the most popular country and the Greek Islands as the best to be cast away on. With thanks to Ham Yard Hotel, Grey Goose, Laurent-Perrier, Evian and Creed.

Molly McLachlan

Melinda Stevens & Issy von Simson

Albert Read

Ahmed Shiaan

Marcus Langlands Pearse

To see the full list of winners, visit cntraveller.com/awards PHOTOGRAPHS: HUGO BURNAND

Karin Mueller & Matthew Buck Michael Bonsor & Marie Le Vavasseur

James Bell, Kendra Leaver-Rylah & Grace Wright

Marie Norrington and Mark McCulloch

Juliette Ottley

Katie O’Lone & Tammy Kenyon

Trish Reynolds & Bradley Reynolds

Vincenzo Celeste

186 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

Sophie Jean-Louis Constantine

Andrew Stembridge

Barbara di Domenico

Serena Chambers Panos Papadopoulos & Emy Anagnostopoulou

Carl Ellis & Charise Mason


EVENTS

The crowd were entertained by Stafford’s humorous take on his intrepid expeditions

Guests chatted over giant glasses of Portobello Road Gin cocktails in the impressive setting of London investment house Killik & Co

TRAVELLER’S TALES

SURVIVAL MODE

Stafford confessed his worst fear was dinner parties, but our event was a more laid-back occasion for the explorer

‘When I started making shows for the Discovery Channel, I didn’t want them to be scripted; adventure is inherently exciting enough,’ says ex-military-man-turned-explorer Ed Stafford at the latest of our Traveller’s Tales evenings. Over Portobello Road Gin cocktails in Killik & Co’s Mayfair headquarters, he recounted stories of the two years he spent walking along the world’s greatest river, the 60 days he was cast away on a Fijian island and of battling extreme weather in the Gobi desert. ‘The Darién Gap in South America was the toughest,’ he said. ‘I was excavating wells for water to seep into and then slurping from them like an animal. I just thought, “What am I doing? I am 41 years old, sleeping on the jungle floor, being bitten by mosquitos and drinking from puddles.”’ However, his new series Left for Dead sees him going just as off-grid; marooned in remote locations with nothing but a camera and a medical kit, he has 10 days to find civilisation. Despite it all Stafford hopes he’ll still be doing these audacious challenges when he is 73, like his hero Sir Ranulph Fiennes, after whom who he has just named his newborn son. SARAH BARNES

FOR INFORMATION ON MORE EVENTS, VISIT CNTRAVELLER.COM/EVENTS 188 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017

PHOTOGRAPHS: EMMA JONES

ADVENTURE JUNKIES GET A HIT OF THE EXTREME AT A FUN-FUELLED EVENING WITH ED STAFFORD


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A SLICE OF

HEAVEN Stylish, luxurious and homely: this charming Sri Lankan villa promises the very best of beachside living

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n Sri Lanka’s idyllic southern coast, less than two hours from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, ISHQ Villa is a haven designed with complete relaxation in mind. Built in Dutch colonial style, the spacious four-bedroom bungalow is one of the island’s original luxury villas, combining the comfort and services of a boutique hotel with the privacy of your own home.

ISHQ means love in Persian, and the owners have lavished loving attention on every detail of this stylish retreat, from pretty courtyard pool to airy suites with king-sized beds. Beautiful gardens lead to the Indian Ocean, while the clean design, high ceilings and light-filled rooms add to the peace. Nothing is too much trouble for the friendly staff. A personal chef is on hand to create daily feasts, designing menus to your taste. Take a private cooking class on the lawns, or go to the market to pick the catch of the day. Enjoy sunrise yoga on the beach or a gym session with your own fitness instructor. Explore the delightful area in a classic car with a personal butler – all at no additional cost. There’s plenty to keep little ones entertained too, with a games and movie room, while adults can indulge in a spot of pampering with an on-site massage. Beyond the villa, the best of enchanting Sri Lanka is at your fingertips. Historic Galle with its 15th century fortress is just ten minutes away and there are temples, artisan shops, great restaurants and incredible snorkelling and dive sites close by. But you won’t want to be away from ISHQ Villa for long. Come nightfall, candles light the palm-fringed garden, where dinner is served under the stars. It is, of course, the perfect end to another magical day. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL:

Visit ishqvilla.com or call +94 774 305573

ISHQ Villa’s relaxing pools, stunning interiors, delicious food and views of the Indian Ocean

Reader Offer Condé Nast Traveller readers can enjoy a stay at ISHQ Villa from about £950 a night from 1 December to 20 December 2017, and from about £2,430 per night from 21 December 2017 to 10 January 2018.


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celebrate

india A world of fascinating festivals and colourful contrasts, the subcontinent is a destination to delight the senses and there’s never been a better time to join in the party jubilee, a celebration, now is the time to discover India. Celebrating 70 years of Independence, India still defies definition, a fabled land with a rich religious tapestry, where every other day one can tumble into the colour of carnival or be swept up into a local village fair. A flower-strewn street, a winding procession, a dazzlingly hued idol hoisted high. Sweetmeats, burning lanterns, endless dances all under a canopy of man-made stars. The air heavy with incense and jasmine.

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This is India, and it is time to celebrate. From the ancient sacrosanct Kumbh Mela where gurus, gods, sadhus and soothsayers converge at the largest religious gathering, to the avant-garde music, literary and art fairs, there is something for everyone. Festivals of light (Diwali) and colours (Holi), feasts of harvest from the northern heights to the southern plains, festivals of good conquering evil (Dussehra, Durga Puja) from the east to the west, not to mention a host of saints, prophets and Sufi birthdays to rejoice along the way. Many names for many gods, many religions, but one land, one sentiment… celebration. See our guide to the festive highlights of each corner, ensuring your journey is in true technicolour.


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north INDIA n India, the cultures and traditions of celebrating a particular festival can differ not only from state to state but also from hill to plain.

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High up in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, experience the ancient Buddhist festivals such as the famous Hemis. Primary hued prayer flags flutter in the wind and the vibrant dance-dramas are performed by lamas in vivid robes and fearsome masks. See the Luna landscape come to life during the festivals, staying at the luxurious Ultimate Travelling Camp, with its exceptional insider access. For the intrepid, brave the winter chills and witness the animated Losar festival (New Year), stay at the Snow Leopard Lodge in Ulley and try to catch a glimpse of the rare mountain mammal. Experience the snow-capped peaks, terraced orchards and pretty meadows of Himachal Pradesh during one of the energetic festivals such as Pori & Minjar, or visit the famous Kullu Dussehra where hundreds of devotees parade deities from all over the Valley of the Gods, to unite with riotous folk dances, sweet-sellers galore and snake charmers to woo the crowds. Visit the popular resort of Shimla for its summer festival, celebrating all local arts staying at the charming Oberoi Cecil. Uttarakhand is peppered with pilgrimage sites, especially the holy towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh.

See the daily worship at the River Ganges’ edge, or experience the roller-coaster whitewater rafting in the glacial Himalayan waters. Visit in March and join yogis from around the world to experience the annual Yoga festival. Stay at the nearby award-winning Ananda spa, which offers some of India’s most authentic yet gentle Ayurveda in an idyllic hillside setting. Harvest festivals are celebrated throughout, however, for real pomp head to the Punjab, India’s granary. During Vaisakhi the sheer energy and joy of the festival is manifested in the energetic folk dance, bhangra, that literally enacts the tilling of the soil. Stay at the slick Taj Swarna not far from the awe-inspiring Golden Temple. Travel on to Chandigarh, one of India’s first planned cities post-Independence by Le Corbusier, staying at The Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort, situated in the picturesque Siswan Forest.

High spirits in the North of India From the ancient to the innovative, no other region can match the pomp of the Punjab, not to mention the myth and magic Uttar Pradesh, home to the iconic Taj Mahal

Clockwise from below: Holi, the festival of colours; Ananda spa; The Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort; Taj Swarna; Snow Leopard Lodge


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Clockwise from this image: The Ultimate Travelling Camp, for the intrepid; International Folk Festival; Taj Umaid Bhawan pool; overlooking Lake Pichola at The Leela Palace; Taj Lake Palace; Suján Rajmahal Palace

Varanasi, the spiritual heartland of Uttar Pradesh brims with myth, magic and the daily mayhem of the steady stream of pilgrims. Experience Diwali, the festival of lights paying tribute to the prosperous Lakshmi, ushered into homes with lanterns and offerings. Enjoy a room with a view, at Brijrama Palace situated right on the ghats. Perhaps even more auspicious is Dev Diwali when every ghat is lit by thousands of earthen lamps under a canopy of kaleidoscopic fireworks. For

the truly courageous, head to the Kumbh Mela held every 12 years in Allahabad, possibly the largest tribal gathering in the world. From the ancient to the innovative, New Delhi is home to India’s largest contemporary art fair. Stay at elegant Leela, Delhi with its own contemporary art collection, or experience luxury redefined at the renovated Oberoi. On to royal Rajasthan where many festivals tempt the traveller from the evocative World Sufi festival, held in the atmospheric Nagaur Fort, to the International Folk festival held in the ramparts of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort. The festival features a series of spectacular concerts, seamlessly marrying ancient devotional dawn concerts with contemporary folk music. Stay at the ethereal Taj Umaid Bhawan, for some serious Art Deco opulence. Attend the Jaipur Literature festival and rub shoulders with some of the world’s leading literary luminaries, and reside in one of the elegant palaces including the intimate and regal Suján Rajmahal Palace. For a sense of the traditional head to the Pushkar for an impressive spectacle where decorated camels and cattle are bartered and raced, take a hot-air balloon to get the most of this primal panorama. Experience the colour and costume of the Jaisalmer Desert festival, and for a bit of indulgence in the dunes stay at the impossibly romantic Serai camp. Udaipur’s Mewar festival offers a truly exhilarating welcome to spring, a visual feast of devotional dances, music and a procession ending with a fleet of boats launching on to the lake. Choose from the Taj Lake Palace, for unbeatable views or head to the lavish Leela Hotel on the banks. Experience the onset of spring with Holi, the festival of colours, when myth, fable and immortal love, is in the air. Coloured dye is playfully thrown and the essence of celebration transcends. Speak to an expert at Greaves Travel (020 7487 9111) to design your own festive journey.


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KING OF THE JUNGLES With more than a quarter of its forests given over to national parks, and the highest density of tigers in India, there is no better place to see these majestic wild cats than Madhya Pradesh

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enned over 200 years ago, the evocative words of William Blake still enchant wildlife lovers worldwide: “Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry.” Today, the

magnificent creature that he eulogised remains a wildlife-spotting must-do on the world traveller’s list. And there is no better place to go in search of this king of cats than the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Satpura, Panna: this is a land that has become legendary for its national parks – and little wonder, given that Madhya Pradesh’s rich forests are home to almost 20 per cent of India’s tiger population. Head for Bandhavgarh National Park, whose 100 square kilometres boast the highest density of tigers in the region. Immerse yourself in your very own Jungle Book experience in the picturesque Kanha National Park, where large open meadows make the chances of spotting wildlife – including tigers and the hard-ground barasingha, an endangered species of deer found only here – all the higher. Or thread your way through the teak-tree forests of Pench, the third in Madhya Pradesh’s trio of best-known tiger parks, soaking up the sights and sounds of this contrasting backdrop and keeping

an eye out for gaurs, three-striped palm squirrels, common langurs, jackals, wild pigs, black bucks, striped hyenas, mouse-deer, porcupines, chinkaras and anteating pangolins along the way. Indeed, with rich forests carpeting a quarter of Madhya Pradesh’s entire land area, over 10,000sqkm of which are protected, this is a wildlife spotter’s dream destination. Wake up to the sound of lyrical birdsong; head out on unforgettable dawn and dusk safaris in search of barking deer, leopards, chital, wild boars, blackbucks, nilgais and crocodiles gathered at watering holes. And in between, explore local Indian villages; wander through the wildlife conservation exhibitions at the Kanha Natural History Museum – or simply relax back at your ecologically-sensitive luxury jungle retreat, where fine dining, fabulous views and even more fabulous Indian massages (India is, after all, the home of Ayurvedic therapies) are invariably the order of another extraordinary day. FOR MORE INFORMATION

visit: mptourism.com • facebook.com/MPTourism • Twitter @MPTourism • Instagram @mptourism

From top: eighth century Gwalior Fort; tiger spotting in Bandhavgarh National Park; Khajuraho Temple


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western celebrations From the sun-soaked beaches of Goa to Mumbai and its movie millionaires, it’s here where the traditional meets the trendsetters

iversity abounds, from salt marsh to seascape, forest to sprawling urban jungle and the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. Although celebrating thousands of festivals, it is Navaratri, that is truly Gujarati. Commemorating the divine goddess, all gather to sing and dance, night after night, fast precedes feast and all are swept up in this extravaganza, culminating with Dussehra. Head to Ahmedabad for the Uttarayan Kite festival where summer is ushered in and the world stops, head tilted to observe the sky besieged with kaleidoscopic kites. Travel back in time during the Modhera Dance festival, or journey to the Rann Utsav where the white desert comes to life with ancient tribal culture and craft.

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From the traditional to the trendsetting, for a ‘sossegarde’, carefree way of life head to Goa. Acres of sun-kissed coast give way to lively market towns and iconic Portuguese baroque belfries. Stay at the refined Ahilya by the Sea, to experience the local Festa dos Reis, or the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. Celebrate Christmas at one of the many beach resorts from The Leela in the South to miniature Fort Tiracol in the north. Get lost in the colour of Carnival, where the streets are awash with masked revellers, acrobats and flamboyant parades. The epicurean can indulge in the Grape Escapade wine festival or release your inner hippie at the Asia’s largest dance festival, Sunburn. Enter the Gateway of India, the maximum city of Mumbai. This lavish city of skyscrapers and slums, movie stars, millionaires and mafia dons. Experience the most extravagant festival of Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi in this city of dreams. The city erupts in a ten-day

celebration of Lord Ganesh, the elephant headed god of wisdom. Communities worship their idols, before the parades escort them for the impressive immersion into the hungry Arabian Sea. Witness the shoreline awash with gods, from the historic Taj Mahal Hotel opposite The Gateway of India, or from the cool oasis of The Oberoi. Venture into the Kipling country of Madhya Pradesh, and go in search of the illusive Bengal tiger. First fly to Khajuraho and experience the mesmerising Festival of Dances against the exotic temple backdrop. Live like a king at the boutique Taj Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior and enjoy the Tansen music festival, attended by India’s best musicians from folk to fusion.

Clockwise from top: Artisans busy finishing Ganesh at Kumartuli, Kolkata; Taj Mahal Hotel; pool at Ahilya by the Sea; Usha Kiran Palace


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DIFFERENT BY

DESIGN Daring, dramatic, diverse: THE Park Hotels’ multiaward-winning collection of luxury boutique city hotels have been making their charismatic mark across India for 50 years. Join the landmark celebrations, from November 2017 to October 2018

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nything But Ordinary’ is THE Park Hotels’ mantra, and from the moment you step into any of its hotel reception areas – riotous expressions of imagination fashioned to stimulate the senses with colour, texture, light, shadow and form – there’s no doubt it succeeds. In Bangalore, guests can choose from the Silk Box, enveloped in rich red raw-silk curtains and accented with pieces from Pierre Paulin and Thonet; in Hyderabad, the façade of the hotel is inspired by the Nizam’s jewellery collection. The end result is the modern Indian palace. In New Delhi, they are inspired by the five elements of nature from the Hindu science of Vastu Shastra; in Chennai, by film and performance in its various forms; in Navi Mumbai, by Modernism and the work of Le Corbusier, with an organic open-plan design.

And this is just the entrances. THE Park Hotels’ lounge bars range from airily modernistic to mysteriously decadent. Inventive restaurants encompass every possible international and regional Indian cuisine with THE Parks’ twist. Head upstairs and you’ll find corridors transformed by vibrant splashes of green, orange and turquoise, encapsulating India’s environments, or the elements of air and space. In the guestrooms, a striking mixture of modern and traditional materials create unique in-room

experiences, while luxurious finishes include custom-made fabrics, curated original artworks, with cutting-edge technology and immaculate service ensures a total relaxation experience. And nowhere in India does leisure quite like THE Park Hotels. Pools become playgrounds, with the likes of glowing lanterns, exclusive champagne lounges and pulsating party zones at night. Dedicated DJs draw the cities’ hottest crowds – whether at Someplace Else or at Kolkata’s Tantra, a 5,000sqft modern, split-level nightclub that celebrates energy in all its forms. And then there is the in-hotel spa brand, ‘Aura’, embracing indigenous treatments, traditional Ayurvedic therapies and harmonious ‘Ananda’ philosophies, all complemented by state-of-the-art gymnasiums, beauty salons, steam chambers, juice bars, heated pools and Jacuzzis for total well-being experiences. Little wonder THE Park Hotels boast an international awards list that could stretch the length of one of their colourful lobbies. Best design (many are members of Design Hotels), innovation, service, cuisine, live music, favourite destination and even poolside nightclub: you name it, THE Park Hotels have been awarded it. Party on.

For more information THE Park Hotels is a contemporary collection of luxury boutique hotels in India, based in prime locations in Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, Visakhapatnam, Goa and Hyderabad, with further openings in Mumbai, Kolkata, and Pune. The hotels’ 50year celebrations will begin in Kolkata, where the first hotel opened in 1967, and will feature many special offers available exclusively through the website. Visit theparkhotels.com to join in the year-round calendar of events and activities planned across eight cities and to make your hotel reservation.


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he East offers an intriguing and intrepid mix from the Himalayan heights, to the swampy mangroves of the Sundarbans. Less travelled and truly rewarding, begin at the historic centrepiece of the bygone British Empire, Kolkata, before heading to the virgin beaches and temple towns of Odisha, the Buddhist heartland of Bihar and the remote Seven Sister states teetering off to the north east, replete with ancient orchards, indigenous tribes and terraced tea plantations. End with the far-flung archipelago of the Andamans, an untouched paradise.

Experience the artistic flare of the Bengalis in Kolkata the ‘City of Joy’ for the annual Kolkata Book Fair, staying at the impressive ITC Sonar with its sedate ambiance. As the whole country celebrates Navaratri, it is the last four days of Durga Puja where West Bengal comes to life. Arrive a few days before and visit the potters enclave observing the birth of the elaborate clay deities. On the final day take a boat ride and get unrivalled views of the immense immersion. Following Durga Puja comes Diwali, coinciding with Kali Puja throughout the east. Lamps flicker, courtyards are painted and fire crackers burst. Experience the festivities at the historic Oberoi Grand right in the heart of the city. Following the

festivities head to the beautiful Rajbari Bawali for a bucolic retreat, or further to the postcard pretty hill station of Darjeeling and the elegant Glenburn Tea Estate. Rock the nights away during the Darjeeling Carnival or enjoy Fulpati, where locals dance from the Ghoom Monastery to Darjeeling all adorned in white. Festivals in the north east revolve around agriculture, Buddhism and the New Year. Many have tribal origins, with each demonstrating their sumptuous costumes and indigenous dances. Losar is a major festival throughout and you can enjoy the celebrations at the Taj Guwahati,

EASTERN parades Many festivals here have tribal origins, revelling in a celebration of indigenous costumes and dance. Durga Puja, Diwali and Darjeeling are all must-dos

Clockwise from top: A tea field; The Oberoi Grand; The Taj Guwahati; Hornbill festival at The Ultimate Travelling Camp


Journey through the land of Mowgli and Maharajas Discover the highlights of Rudyard Kipling’s India and relive the golden era of luxury train travel on board the sensational Maharajas’ Express.

SAVE 10% on an unforgettable journey on board the Maharajas’ Express India is a country that bristles with a mind-stirring mix of landscapes and cultural traditions. And on this wonderful four day trip on board the luxurious Maharajas’ Express train you will see lots of the famous sights. Your rail adventure begins and ends in the capital city Delhi, and will take you through an intoxicating mix of sights and sounds that will blaze in your memory long after. On this imaginative

trip you will visit the colourful city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, see the beautiful Taj Mahal at Agra and go looking for the tigers in Rathambore National Park. Enjoy 3 nights luxury train accommodation on a full board basis with sightseeing and flights with Jet Airways.

3 nights fr £

5899pp

Valid for deps Oct - Apr 2018 Sunday Times Award Winners 2003-2016

DialAFlight

Speak to an expert today

0330.100.2218


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not far from the Kamakhya Temple. Venture to the remote state of Nagaland and stay at the luxurious Ultimate Travelling Camp for the Hornbill festival. A tribal gathering of ancient rituals, warrior drums and war cries. Join the Buddhist pilgrims, descending on Bihar for Buddha Purnima or the crowds at the age-old Sonepur cattle fair, ďŹ lled with folklore. In Odisha, the famous Chariot festival of Lord Jagannath, is truly on the pilgrim path. Here hundreds of thousands of devotees throng to pull the colossal chariots, the juggernauts, to great pomp and ceremony.

Clockwise from top: Glenburn Tea Estate; the luxurious Ultimate Travelling Camp; a selection of teas; the Rajbari Bawali; Hornbill festival


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ROYAL RETREAT Live like a maharaja at the modern-day architectural marvel that is The Leela Palace, New Delhi

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irst edition lithographs, gold leaf ceilings, silver artefacts, mirror inlay work from Thikri artisans, embroidered silk cushions, Jacquard curtains, hand-tufted Persian carpets: it’s like stepping back in time to the magnificent era of the maharajas. Except there is no time-travel needed. Enter The Leela Palace, New Delhi.

In the heart of Chanakyapuri, near the prestigious Diplomatic Enclave, this Victorianstyle architectural marvel exemplifies the stately grandeur of Edwin Lutyens’ Delhi. In its striking design, shaped like a butterfly, its two wings embrace a vast lawn and manicured gardens. A fleet of chauffeured Rolls-Royce limousines whisk guests through lush boulevards to a dramatic entrance, where a dedicated reception includes private check-in, personal concierge services and access to the Royal Club Lounge. In the distinctive, intimate spaces, guests relax in the lap of luxury: think four restaurants and an exclusive bar ranging from the glass-encased Qube, with its ‘live’ kitchens, to the signature Indian restaurant Jamavar and the iconic New York names of Le Cirque and MEGU. And topping it all, literally, is the rooftop infinity pool, set beneath golden domes and boasting sensational city views. Not to mention, of course, those guestrooms: positively palatial surroundings interspersed with the ultimate in 21st-century technology and adorned with rare contemporary Indian art from the hotel’s 1,400-piece collection: spiritually inspiring installations, striking sculptures, intricately hand-embroidered tapestries and avant-garde photographs.

Clockwise from top: The rooftop infinity pool; Egg Dance sculpture by Prodosh Das Gupta; The Royal Club Lounge; the Porte-cochère entrance

Take a Luxury or Executive Suite for serene views of the inner courtyard’s larger-than-life sculpture of Devi or superb Delhi views. Take one of the Royal or Grande suites and enjoy a private terrace and plunge pool. For the ultimate in regal splendour, however, take the expansive Maharaja Suite, complete with sky terrace and temperature-controlled plunge pool, or the vast Presidential Suite, including a personal fitness studio and 400sqft bathroom to pad around in truly princely style. The ultimate in floral decadence, The Leela Palace, New Delhi uses over 14,000 fresh roses every day displaying them across the various spaces at the hotel.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Visit: theleela.com


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he steamy south, a heady mix of ancient civilizations, temple towns and a sun-drenched coastline. Enter Andhra Pradesh, a distinctive melting pot of cultures. Discover the stately city of Hyderabad and stay at the Taj Falaknuma ‘palace in the sky’, sampling the exquisite biryani and haleem delicacies that are the specialty during Ramadan. The festival of Ugadi is held at the onset of spring where several celebrations take place at the ITC Kakatiya. Enter Karnataka and the deep Dravidian south. Explore the majestic ruins of the Vijayanagara capital at Hampi, in the extraordinary boulder strewn landscape. Enjoy the puppetry and pageantry at the annual Hampi festival staying at the grand Kamalapura Palace. In the sandalwood city of Mysore, Dussehra is celebrated with great aplomb. Classical concerts take place in the illuminated palace and on the last day, a glorious procession of caparisoned elephants are paraded through the festooned city streets.

Enjoy the statewide festival of Onam in God’s own country Kerala. All join in the fervour to celebrate the mythical return of the King Mahabali. Courtyards are decorated and the countryside brims with festivities. Enjoy the street parades in the old colonial Fort Cochi. Stay at the charming Malabar House, or the glorious Bruntons Boatyard with its excellent harbour location. Head to the rural retreat of Serenity to enjoy the spectacular water regatta at the nearby Aranmula where the astonishing snake boat races take place. Kerala is also well known for the Pooram festivals, which are always impressive with the ornately decorated tuskers on parade. Thrissur is possibly the best known for its sheer scale. Tamil Nadu is dominated by the soaring gopuras of the technicoloured temples that guard the state and govern daily life. In the temple town of Madurai, the magnificent Float festival sees ornamented icons of goddess Meenakshi

on golden palanquins escorted down to the lake. Pongal is the harvest festival where merriment abounds as the sun god is worshipped. Stay at the sumptuous ITC Chola or travel to Svatma in Thanjavur where the guests are welcomed into the local celebrations.

Clockwise from top: The ITC Grand Chola; Suite in Taj Falaknuma Palace; assortment of food offerings at Pooram Festival; Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, Hampi

life and soul of the south Whether in Kerala for the Pooram festivals or in Hyderabad for Ramadan, guests are always welcomed in this melting pot of cultures

Pool at sunset at Kamalapura Palace


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H O T E L S T H AT D E F I N E T H E D E S T I N AT I O N ™ Evoking the enchanting majesty of eras past, ITC Grand Bharat is a palatial retreat in the heart of the Golden Triangle. Experience the true essence of each destination at The Luxury Collection, a curated ensemble of the world’s most iconic hotels. Explore the collection at theluxurycollection.com

I T C G R A N D B H A R AT A L U X U R Y C O L L E C T I O N R E T R E AT GURUGRAM, INDIA RANKE D #1 RES ORT IN AS IA A ND AMO NG ST THE TO P HOTEL S AND R ESO R TS IN THE WO R L D C OND É NAST TR AVEL ER U SA R EADER S’ CHO ICE AWAR DS 201 6

ITCH OTE LS . I N / LU X U RYCOLLECTI ON ITC GARDE NIA, BE NGALURU I TC G R A N D B H A R AT, G U R U G R A M , N E W D E LH I CA PI TA L R EG I ON ITC GRAND CEN TR A L, M U M BA I I TC G R A N D CH OLA , CH E N N A I ITC K AK ATI YA , H Y D E R A BA D I TC M A R ATH A , M U M BA I ITC MAURYA, NE W D E LH I I TC M U G H A L, AG R A I TC R A J PU TA N A , J A I PU R ITC S ON A R , KOLKATA I TC WI N D S OR , B E N GA LU R U


W OST WANTED Beauty essentials...

BOBBI BROWN Crushed Lip Colour, £24, bobbibrown.co.uk

BARE MINERALS BarePro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation, £29, bareminerals.co.uk

PRAI Ageless Throat & Decolletage Creme, £13.33, boots.com

Masters 2 is LOUIS VUITTON’s latest collaboration with Jeff Koons based on his Gazing Ball Paintings. The new collection features styles based on six new masterpieces, including the Manet Montaigne (left, £2,800) and Turner Pochette Metis (right, £2,320). uk.louisvuitton.com

HELLO, WINTER Tune in to Condé Nast Traveller's sunshine state of mind with some of the latest experiences, places to stay and fashion and beauty picks

SHOW BEAUTY Show Beauty Body Shimmer Oil, £36, harveynichols.com

BENEFIT Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel, £20, benefitcosmetics.com

CITY ESCAPE When life gets too much, head to ESPA Life at Corinthia London, a pioneering spa offering a 360-degree approach to wellbeing, including fitness, beauty treatments, a Daniel Galvin Hair Salon and drawing on expertise from globally acclaimed naturopaths, osteopaths and traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturists and herbalists. Book yourself a Mindful Facial, a 90-minute treatment designed to cleanse, hydrate and rejuvenate the skin and calm a busy mind. To book, call 020 7321 3050 or visit espalifeatcorinthia.com/mindfulness


JO MALONE This year's limited edition Christmas wreath is designed by Jonathan Saunders with colourful lights and wrapped up with a statement size bow. £95 with the purchase of a Jo Malone London product, exclusive to Jo Malone Regent Street and Jo Malone Sloane Street London boutiques.

FEEL AT HOME If you're travelling, look no further than a pentahotel to rest your head. With 28 hotels across eight countries – with a new hotel opening in Moscow next year – each pentahotel is equally stylish as it is relaxed. pentahotels.com

Wing of Desire Earrings by Jessica McCormack, 1.70 carat diamonds in blackened 18k white gold £8,500, jessicamccormack.com

J.W. Anderson woolblend turtleneck, £780, net-a-porter.com

THIS MONTH'S HIGH FLYER

HOW TO WEAR

winter

fromTAJ MAHAL PALACE, MUMBAI Paul & Joe Boucledor belted wool-felt coat, £640, net-a-porter.com

Prada wool and silk-blend skirt, £1,110, net-a-porter.com

Gucci bow-embellished metallic textured-leather gloves, £320, gucci.com

MEMBERS ONLY The infamous Private Members’ Club, Annabel’s, is moving two doors down. Reimagined in a spacious 18th Century, Grade One-listed Georgian Townhouse at 46 Berkeley Square, overseen by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, the new spacious venue will include restaurants, bars, private dining rooms and a cigar salon, all spread across four floors. Membership for the new club is by invitation only and the waiting list is open. Email membership@annabels. co.uk or call 020 3879 9146

CHIEF CONCIERGE MR SATISH GAIKWAD

Aquazzura Almaty lace-up embroidered crushed-velvet ankle boots, £845, net-a-porter.com

What is your biggest challenge? We’re taught at the Concierge that no challenge is too much; be it getting a dentist appointment at 2am or arranging the perfect engagement ceremony at the break of dawn on a yacht. What is your recent Mumbai discovery? Mumbai by dawn – a bespoke tour developed by The Taj Mahal Palace, which offers guests a fascinating four-hour expedition starting from the hotel at 5am. What is your favourite thing about the hotel? The quaint corner tables of the Sea Lounge – it is here you can enjoy spectacular views of the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India. What is your favourite room? The Bell Tower Suite – it surpasses all others in the hotel for opulence, with its panelled library entry, loft-like bedroom and master bath perched at the very top of the suite. tajhotels.com

W W


W OST WANTED

PILATES REVOLUTION Pepilates provides classical Pilates classes that are a fun, resultsdriven way to improve your shape, tone and posture while being kind to your joints and making you stronger. Pepilates has studios in Clapham and Wimbledon. Mat class from £12 or a group equipment class for £20, pepilates.co.uk

PACKING FOR WINTER SUN

CULTURE SHOCK Saadiyat Island Cultural District is one of the most ambitious cultural projects ever conceived. The centrepiece of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, it will house the world’s largest single concentration of premier cultural assets, including the Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abu Dhabi (pictured), opening 11 November. Whilst there, stay at the 5* St Regis Saadiyat Island. Three nights from £739 per person for selected departures in February, including return flights with British Airways from London Gatwick and accommodation with breakfast. ba.com/abudhabi

MAISON DE FLEUR has launched an online boutique that will feature eight collections to be launched over the year. The boutique has opened with the Autumn Couture Collection, inspired by the four key trends this season: autumnal, dusky blues, 1970s and soft pastel tones. Bouquet prices start from £100, maisondefleurs.co.uk

DON'T FORGET HIM

JETS by Jessika Allen swimsuit, £145, harveynichols.com

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, £30, fresh.com/uk

Mr Marvis shorts, £71, mrmarvis.co.uk Polaroid sunglasses, £50, sunglasses-shop.co.uk

Sophie Anderson woven rafia tote, £125, net-a-porter.com

HANDS-FREE Avis have launched voicepowered car reservations with Amazon Alexa, which will allow travellers to book and manage car rental reservations through the Avis Preferred programme in the US. avis.com

ARM CANDY

DOLCE & GABBANA Lucia ayers-trimmed embellished jacquard shoulder bag, £1,500, net-a-porter.com

SLEEP WELL If you have trouble sleeping, check yourself into Clinique la Prairie’s Better Sleep programme, a unique synergy of medical diagnosis and holistic, tailor-made therapy in the heart of the Swiss Alps. A five-night programme costs from 13,250 CHF per person, full board, including all treatments, consultations and activities. laprairie.ch


FOOD+ DRINK

CHASE Espresso Vodka, £40, williamschase. co.uk GIN MARE £31.50, available at Waitrose

CORNEY & BARROW Sloe Gin, £26, corneyandbarrow. com

THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT

CHAMPAGNE ARMAND DE BRIGNAC Gold Brut, £300, available at Selfridges

ONE-STOP SHOP For a fizzy festive gift idea, stop by Bubble Shop – a curated collection of the finest grower Champagnes handpicked by awardwinning sommelier and bubbledogs co-founder, Sandia Chang. Curate your own beautifully presented gift box, which you can collect from bubbledogs or have delivered for £10. From £27 per bottle, bubbleshop.orderswift.com

Get into the festive spirit with this selection of our favourite tipples and novel nibbles

LOUIS ROEDERER Vintage Rosé, £56, available at Selfridges KONO KANU £20, ocado.com

PHILIPPONNAT Clos des Goisses, Brut, 2007, £190, justerinis.com PERRIER-JOUËT Blanc de Blancs, £80, fortnumandmason. com

TANQUERAY No. TEN cage edition, £32.50, available at Waitrose

KALOSA natural spritz, £3, 31dover.com

MOËT & CHANDON Grand Vintage 2009, £47, available at Selfridges

PROPERCORN Perfectly Sweet, 90p, ocado.com

WATERFORD Lismore Connoisseur Heritage Double Old Fashioned, £230 for set of six, waterford.co.uk

A TASTE OF THE EXOTIC The Leicester Square Kitchen serves Mexican and Peruvianinspired tapas, such as tiger prawn soft tacos with spicy papaya habanero salsa, desserts featuring coconut, lime, guava and mango and cocktails mixed with traditional spirits Pisco, Mezcal and Tequila. Call 020 7666 0902

SAY CHEESE Head to The Cheese Bar in Camden Market for a menu comprising the best in British cheese, including their speciality toasties, fondue and poutine, ice cream as well as thirty varieties of the good stuff. Don’t leave without trying the Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Bacon & Pear Chutney sandwich, or if you have a sweet tooth, the dark chocolate ice cream sundae made with honey and creamy Beenleigh Blue. North Yard, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1


PAY ONLY £29 FOR ONE YEAR OF PRINT & DIGITAL EDITIONS + A FREE GIFT FROM BRONNLEY SUBSCRIBE NOW TO RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY FRAGRANCE FROM BRONNLEY – PLUS ALL OUR REGULAR MEMBERS CLUB OFFERS Eclectic Elements is an exciting, modern fragrance collection that has been developed by Bronnley’s top perfumers. Inspired by the earth’s elements, each of the six signature scents has a complex blend of notes, from amber, wood and vetiver to musk, grapefruit and ylang ylang.

FREE

INSTANT ACCESS to the iPAD, iPHONE & ANDROID editions

FREE GIFT RRP £35

+

MONTHLY OFFERS

MEMBERS CLUB

DINE AND UNWIND

FASHIONABLY FESTIVE

MAKE IT MEXICO

For a countryside retreat with all the comforts of home, settle in to Sopwell House in Hertfordshire. Stay two nights in one of the exclusive Mews Suites and receive a complimentary three-course dinner for two in the hotel’s 2 AA Rosette restaurant, worth £78. Call Sopwell House direct on 01727 864477 and quote “CN Club Offer”. Valid until end of April 2018. Subject to availability and allocation. Terms & conditions apply.

Taking you from the party to the fireside, cashmere connoisseur Pure Collection is offering readers 20% off its sparkling Christmas Collection – featuring both evening wear and cosy classics – along with free delivery and returns. To redeem this offer, visit purecollection.com and enter the discount code “CNTXMAS” at the checkout, or present this page in store when making your purchase. Valid 6 November–22 December. Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply.

Luxury tour operator Carrier is offering 30% off a stay at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, with return World Traveller flights from Gatwick with British Airways, seven nights’ all-inclusive accommodation in a Zen Grand Suite Nature View and private transfers, all from £2,890 per person. Valid for travel between 5 January–19 December 2018, for bookings made by 31 December 2017. Call 0161 492 1354 or visit carrier.co.uk. Terms and conditions apply.

BY PHONE 0844 848 5202 AND QUOTE CCT17156 ONLINE AT CNTRAVELLER.COM/SUBSCRIBE/CCT17156 * Offer is limited to new subscribers at UK addresses until 07/12/2017. The gift is subject to availability and will be sent to the donor. Full price for a one-year print subscription in the UK is £44.00 and a one-year digital subscription is £39.90. For overseas and all enquiries email cntraveller@subscription.co.uk or call +44 1858 438 815. Terms and conditions apply.


  

    

        









 













 



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ISLAND WITH A VIEW AMANPULO, THE PHILIPPINES The story here didn’t begin serenely: in the 1960s, the Soriano family sought refuge from a raging storm while yachting through the remote Cuyo archipelago and took shelter on Manamoc island. When the clouds rolled away, they discovered tiny Pamalican nearby and fell so in love with it that they bought the islet. Fast forward three decades, and it was transformed by Aman Resorts into the high-end, low-key hotel Amanpulo. The villas and casitas, inspired by traditional huts on stilts, have classic Aman styling: vaulted ceilings and considered, clean-lined design in wood and creamy tones. Frangipani trees and tangled bougainvillaea bowers surround a calm lap pool, rope hammocks hang by pathways leading to sandy sweeps, and the laid-back beach club is ideal for barefoot suppers of freshly grilled fish. Nowhere feels crowded, but the ultimate escapism is at the floating bamboo bar, which bobs just offshore. Swim out for Elderflower Gin Fizzes and rainbow-coloured sunsets. Back on land and under the Milky Way, resident stargazer Aljor Estabaya points his telescope on the Orion Nebula, revealing swirling clouds of interstellar dust where stars are born. With its phenomenal surf breaks, pristine reefs and deserted white-sand beaches, the Philippines has always been bewitching and is surprisingly still under the radar. Amanpulo remains the most special place to stay. IANTHE BUTT aman.com. Doubles from about £910

220 Condé Nast Traveller December 2017


Laurent-Perrier chosen by

The Dorchester

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Photo credit: Iris Velghe / Illustrator credit: Quentin Blake

CUVÉE ROSÉ CHOSEN BY THE BEST


louisvuitton.com

Tambour Horizon Your journey, connected.


Please turn the page to view Supplement


WATCH & JEWELLERY SPECIAL


Louis Vuitton Blossom Collection


louisvuitton.com


Liens Séduction ring

174 New Bond Street • Harrods, The Fine Jewellery Room • Selfridges, The Wonder Room For all enquiries: 0207 495 6303


CONTENTS

76 8 Editor’s 13

letter

the trends: holiday

32 29 copenhagen A whirlwind

56 paris Louis Vuitton’s new store

tour of the Danish capital through the eyes of three home-grown creatives

has added even more glitz to the city

60 mozambique

How to set off your tan with fun pops of colour and over-sized earrings

32 jewellery

14 jungle From golden serpents

A lickety-split spin around the world with sweet-as-candy gems

to fire-opal-encrusted parrots, we go bananas for tropical

38 Jura v silicon valley

16 winter And after all that heat? Cool down with a snowfall of timepieces

still life

The Swiss watchmaking motherland takes on the techy young pretenders coming out of California

sky Horology turns to

astrology in star-crossed designs

Exploring the African ruby mine with a social conscience where the ground is carpeted in precious stones

64 weekend

retreats

Incredibly smart homes to escape the city in India, France and Somerset

70 watch still life 40 new york Meet the Manhattan

18 night

50

names the A-listers turn to for their bejewelled red-carpet moments

Slick driving models to get petrolheads revved up

76 origins Broadway shows and 21 onion

domes Russia’s

48 road

trip The brothers behind

distinctive landmarks crown a trio of sparkly new collections

British brand Bremont clock up the miles from NYC to Texas in two classic cars

24 african Elephants and tribal

50 italy A lesson in the art of

motifs stalk across diamond and gold

goldsmithing from the world masters

the French Open’s red clay: designers find inspiration in the most curious places

84 feast Take a seat at a deliciously spoiling tea party when luxury brands do food and drink

ON THE COVER: Folie des Prés watch in white gold, diamonds and mother-of-pearl; Europe ring in white gold, diamonds and white cultured pearl, both POA, Van Cleef & Arpels (vancleefarpels.com). Photographed by Nato Welton. Food styling by Joy Skipper. Styled by Jessica Diamond Watch and Jewellery Editor: Jessica Diamond Art Director: Pete Winterbottom Deputy Art Director: Paula Ellis Senior Designer: Nitish Mandalia Designer: Emma Jones Picture Editor: Karin Mueller Chief Sub-Editor: Rick Jordan Deputy Chief Sub-Editor: Gráinne McBride Senior Sub-Editor: Roxy Mirshahi Managing Editor: Paula Maynard Features Assistant/PA to the Editor: Sophie Jean-Louis Constantine Associate Publisher: Juliette Ottley Production Controller: Dawn Crosby Production Co-ordinator: Katie McGuinness

EDITOR: MELINDA STEVENS PUBLISHER: SIMON LEADSFORD MANAGING DIRECTOR: ALBERT READ


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One woman’s jewellery heaven is another woman’s jewellery hell. I’m in Rome for the launch of a new collection by one of Bond Street’s best-known names, and we’ve spent the day wafting round a private villa trying pieces on and generally pawing as much as we can. Now we’re in the Vatican, only it’s 7pm and this is a shut-down, lock-in private tour through miles of corridors and the accumulated stuff of centuries. The walls ooze with antiquities, and after the fifth room I’m treasure-blind. We’re a group of 20, alone apart for a team of dumpy mama cleaners pushing squeaky mop buckets on wheels while polishing the floor with their buffing slippers. The finale is the Sistine Chapel, and it’s as if we’re swallowed up by its beauty. We sit around the perimeter walls, like nervous teenagers at a school dance, side-swiped into silence, our phones firmly jammed into our pockets – this is not the time for #sistinechapel. Only one of us doesn’t: she’s a blogger and this is catnip on steroids to her. She jumps up and hops a few steps to the high altar before dropping one shoulder, hand on hip, cheeks sucked in for her selfie moment. Is nothing sacred? Even the most un-religious among us find it just plain odd, let alone inappropriate. The guards start to splutter and gesticulate, waving their arms. But somebody is having the last laugh. Unbeknownst to lady-blogger she’s positioned herself right in front of one of the Western world’s greatest depictions of hell: the twisting, curling, agonised and tortured bodies by Michelangelo make the perfect backdrop to her seemingly oblivious vanity. One week later and a thousand miles away and I’m standing in a landscape that’s part Mad Max part Big Brother. I’m in northern Mozambique on a ruby mine and the noise, dirt and dust is stifling. It’s close to 40˚C and the processing plant is in full action, sucking in and spitting out thousands of tonnes of red African earth. Here the machinery thunders on 24 hours a day while the whole process is under continual CCTV surveillance – if you drop something, or sneeze or put anything in your pocket, security will treat you to a thorough body search. The wash-plant manager is, however, in his element. ‘If we hit a particularly good patch in the mine,’ he says in his thick Geordie accent, ‘I can actually see the rubies bounce along the conveyor belt. It’s just a stream of red. To see and experience that, I feel we’re blessed.’ Welcome to Condé Nast Traveller’s watch and jewellery supplement for 2017, which we hope you find totally heavenly. JESSICA DIAMOND WATCH & JEWELLERY EDITOR

CONTRIBUTORS

NATO WELTON

AVRIL BLOOM

PANKAJ ANAND

RACHEL GARRAHAN

Photographer, Watch still life (page 70). Self-taught photographer Nato started out as a stylist for World of Interiors before showcasing his work in Vogue, Tatler, Martha Stewart Living and the Telegraph. He has photographed everything from diamonds to fighter jets ‘with the goal of creating narratives and a sense of place’.

Writer, Italian designers (page 50). Based in Cambridgeshire, Avril has travelled the world in pursuit of watch, jewellery and fashion stories – from going down a tanzanite mine in Africa to visiting Picasso’s last studio in the South of France. She contributes regularly to How to Spend It, Centurion and Country & Town House magazines.

Photographer, Nirav Modi, India (page 64). Born in Mumbai, Pankaj grew up playing cricket before following his passion for photography. He has taken to the air to shoot oil rigs and was in the Andaman Islands just in time to see India’s only active volcano erupt – an image that made it to the front cover of Condé Nast Traveller Middle East.

Writer, New York & Paris (page 40 & 56). Rachel writes for several publications, including the New York Times and Vanity Fair. ‘The Art Deco wonders at this year’s Cooper Hewitt Jazz Age exhibition in New York will stay with me forever. Some of the pieces, by Cartier and Boucheron, are still influencing what is created on Place Vendôme and beyond today.’

Copyright © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, 1 Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU. Printed in the UK by Wyndeham Roche. Colour origination by williamsleatag. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. The title Condé Nast Traveller is registered at US Patent Office and in Great Britain as a trademark. The Mail Order Protection Scheme does not cover items featured editorially. Not to be sold separately from Condé Nast Traveller

Information is correct at time of going to press. Prices quoted may have changed by the time of publication 8 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


Frivole collection Between the Finger ring white gold, diamonds.

Haute Joaillerie, place VendĂ´me since 1906

9 NEW BOND STREET - HARRODS - SELFRIDGES www.vancleefarpels.com - +44 20 7108 6210


STYLE FORECAST OUR SCOOP ON THE DESIGNS TAKING SHAPE RIGHT NOW

Tassel earrings, £175, Laurence Coste (laurencecoste.com)

Androecium earrings in niobium and gold, £2,500, Sian Evans (sejewellery.com)

3 Drop Classic earrings, £225, Rebecca de Ravenel (as before) Arc drop earrings in blue-oxide brass, £230, Annie Costello Brown (net-a-porter.com) Put It In Neutral choker in enamel and Swarovski crystals, £100, Roxanne Assoulin (as before) After the Storm set of five bracelets in enamel, £260, Roxanne Assoulin (roxanneassoulin.com)

PHOTOGRAPH: WILL DAVIDSON/TRUNK ARCHIVE

THE TREND: HOLIDAY Forget your normal parameters – holiday jewels are a different ball game. Firstly, and sensibly, seek out pieces that are inexpensive: resin, crystal, non-precious metals and silk cord are all good. Secondly, play with scale: there is something about a glowing tan that calls for larger earrings, a bigger bracelet or an enormous ring. Pieces that may not work at home suddenly do in the gentle golden light of an Antibes evening or Mykonos sunset. On holiday you become an exaggerated version of the person you want to be at a drinks party at home, but can’t quite summon. Embrace it. Stack enamel stretchy bracelets in rainbow brights from Roxanne Assoulin, some studded with Swarovski crystals for an extra hit of colour and shine, or braver still, layered as chokers. Go big with earrings – wind-chime scale so they graze shoulders. Annie Costello Brown is the queen of this right now; her hand-cut metal discs are naïve and tribal in style while channelling a modernist aesthetic. For something more delicate and complex, look to Sian Evans and her Botany collection of intricate earrings in niobium. Rebecca de Ravenel has orbs of silk, hand-embroidered in India: opt for her latest stripe collection to channel a suitably nautical vibe; for purists, stick with a single bright shot of pink, orange or turquoise. Then there’s Laurence Coste and her tassel earrings in red and blue or long Neverland necklaces; visit her Chelsea boutique for a pre-holiday stock-up. Sling them on, accessorised with a view and a sun-downer. Costume jewellery never looked so appealing. JESSICA DIAMOND

Petal hoop earrings, £275, Rebecca de Ravenel (rebeccaderavenel.com)

Pom-Pom earrings in brass, £185, Annie Costello Brown (as before)

December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 13


Serpent earrings in gold, diamonds and rubies, £4,290, Azza Fahmy (azzafahmy.com)

Tucano brooch in white gold, diamonds, rock crystal, cornelian, mother of pearl, jade and opal, £20,800, Vhernier (vhernier.com)

Jungle fever is rife among jewellers of the world. What has triggered this obsession with the exotic? For one, the shapes are so graphic, so instantly evocative, and so humorous, irreverent and fun – the perfect counterpoint to serious jewellery. Nothing screams steamy rainforest like a pair of Bibi van der Velden brown-diamond monkeys clinging to their lemon-quartz bananas; wear them like a modern-day Carmen Miranda. Monkey earrings in rose gold, sterling Amsterdam Sauer renders macaws as mismatched earrings, with silver, lemon quartz their gorgeously curving beaks in yellow and blue sapphires. Azza Fahmy and brown diamonds, crafts seductively slithery cobras with ruby eyes as gold hoops, while £5,500, Bibi van der Nirav Modi plays with leopard print in his clever, stretchy Embrace Velden (bibivan bangle – a one-off version of brown, black and yellow diamonds. Brooches dervelden.com). have had the same tropical treatment: Hemmerle’s parrot perched on a Parrot brooch in spessartite garnet is an unusually literal representation, and Vhernier’s rose gold, garnets, toucan has a painterly plumage described by layering rock crystal – with fire opals, sapphires its magnifying effect – over mother-of-pearl, cornelian, jade and black and diamonds, opal. Back with Amsterdam Sauer, the jeweller brings foliage to the look: POA, Hemmerle a perfect fan of spiky palm fronds to frame the face in a pair of its Palmeira (hemmerle.com) earrings in emeralds and green tourmaline. But the originator of this wild scene was Cartier, well ahead of the curve with its first representation of the panther in 1914 and part of its proposition ever since. And now, on its latest incarnation of an emerald-beaded bracelet, the big cat grips the clasp in its mouth. Welcome to the jungle. JD Palmeira earrings in gold, diamonds, tourmalines and emeralds, POA, Amsterdam Sauer (as before). Leopard Embrace bangle in black, yellow and brown diamonds, POA, Nirav Modi (niravmodi.com)

14 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

PHOTOGRAPH: FRANS LANTING / GALLERY STOCK

the TREND: JUNGLE Panthère de Cartier bracelet in platinum, emeralds, onyx and diamonds, POA, Cartier (cartier.co.uk). Arara earrings in gold, sapphires and diamonds, POA, Amsterdam Sauer (amsterdamsauer.com)


the TREND: WINTER

Longines St Moritz in stainless steel, £1,450, Longines (longines.com)

16 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

For four months of the year in the mountains of Shiojiri, Japan, the view from the design studio of Japanese brand Grand Seiko is of nothing but snow. It’s just this sort of blurry, white-out wonderland that has inspired 2017’s wintry watches. The Grand Seiko 9R Spring Drive has an icy-white dial with a diamond-dust effect that subtly sparkles when it catches the light. In contrast, Graff Diamonds has looked skywards for its Snowfall bracelet watch. With a supple strap covered in 278 diamonds, the timepiece is created by a specially designed computer programme that 3-D-prints each tiny white-gold collet and joint. Swiss brand Longines has teamed up with an actual snowy place, St Moritz; it is now the official watch of the mountain village, with two limited-edition timepieces paying tribute to the Alpine World Ski Championships held there every year. Harry Winston’s Premier Blooming Snow features a gem-set dial of randomly placed diamonds, designed to mimic the random falling of flakes. No two watches will be alike. Elsewhere, Boucheron makes a foray into the Arctic with a one-off piece in which a pavé-set polar bear is framed within an icy landscape carved from rock crystal. Even its classic watch, the Reflet, gets the winter treatment, with its ice-blue, mother-of-pearl dial dotted with diamond studs. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. JD

PHOTOGRAPHS: LAUREN BENTLEY; TOM BLAND; JIM GREIPP/IMAGEBRIEF.COM; H MARK WEIDMAN; PUNKBARBY/ALAMY; TODD POWELL/IMAGEBRIEF.COM

Reflet in white gold, mother-of-pearl and diamonds with leather strap, £3,400, Boucheron (boucheron.com)


Graff Snowfall Slim in mother-of-pearl and diamonds, POA, Graff Diamonds (graffdiamonds.com)

Premier Blooming Snow Automatic in white gold, diamonds, tourmalines and sapphires, POA, Harry Winston (harrywinston.com)

Ajourée Arctic Polar Bear in white gold, rock crystal, diamonds and sapphires with satin strap, £73,100, Boucheron (as before)

Grand Seiko 9R Spring Drive in platinum, £50,000, Grand Seiko (grand-seiko.com)


MEN’S

Cellini Moonphase in Everose gold, £19,650, Rolex (rolex.com)

Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon Co-Axial Chronograph in ceramic, £9,360, Omega (omega watches.com)

Tonda 1950 Meteorite in titanium, £14,900, Parmigiani (parmigiani.com)

PanoMatic Lunar in stainless steel, £7,600, Glashütte (glashuetteoriginal.com)


WOMEN’S

Epure Tourbillon Loup in white gold, diamonds, aventurine glass, obsidian and mother-ofpearl, POA, Boucheron (boucheron.com)

Rendez-Vous Celestial in white gold, diamonds and sapphires, POA, Jaeger-LeCoultre (jaeger-lecoultre.com)

Divas’ Dream in white gold, aventurine and diamonds, £25,000, Bulgari (bulgari.com)

G-Timeless Moonphase in stainless steel, £1,070, Gucci (gucci.com)

PHOTOGRAPH: WILL STRATHMANN

the TREND: night sky The inky heavens are a recurring and persistent theme in watchmaking; perhaps with everything going on at ground level we are looking for a moment of escapism. But while sharing a concept, men’s and women’s watches could not be more different in terms of treatment and representation of the night skies. For men, it is practical, sensible, a tool; from Rolex’s first ever Cellini Moonphase in smart Everose gold to Omega’s ongoing celebration of its timepiece being part of the first lunar mission with the navy Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon, honed from a single block of ceramic. More blue-on-blue tones come from Glashütte, with the most elegant moonphase of 2017 in white gold, while Parmigiani takes a piece of the sky, literally, and places it in the minimal Tonda 1950: the dial is made of silvery striated meteorite discovered in Sweden. In contrast, for women it is magical, whimsical and poetic; from Boucheron’s gem-set wolf in a star-studded wintry landscape to Bulgari’s enamelled peacock strutting proudly in a twinkly backdrop. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s spinning astrological chart shimmers in every shade of indigo, and Gucci’s comes in a fashion-forward rainbow palette. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus? Let’s celebrate the difference. JD

December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 19


DELUXE BRAND

LONDON 168 WALTON ST, CHELSEA, LONDON SW3 2JL ATHENS | MYKONOS | SPETSES | PARIS | NEW YORK SHOP ONLINE | WWW.APRIATI.COM


All pieces from Touch Wood collection, Annoushka (annoushka.com). Charm bracelet in gold, diamonds, ebony, aquamarine, £11,295

Tassel charm in gold, diamonds and ebony, £4,500

Ring in gold, diamonds and ebony, £1,900

Drop earrings in gold, diamonds and ebony, £15,000

Ring in gold, diamonds and ebony, £9,800

THE TREND: ONION DOMES

PHOTOGRAPH: IMAGNO/GETTY IMAGES

ANNOUSHKA Think of Russia and the mind is torn between two extremes: of a rich, gilded elite versus a struggling, humble majority. Jeweller Annoushka Ducas’ new collection, Touch Wood, focuses on the latter with the most modest of muses: the rustic churches that dot the country’s vast rural landscapes. As a young child, the British designer would travel here with her mother, who went in search of Russian quarter horses to import. Although relatively spartan, the secluded churches feature beautifully carved wooden cupolas, which Annoushka has replicated using responsibly sourced matte Madagascan ebony, in what she describes as ‘the most personal collection I’ve done to date’. Whether hanging from diamond-paved hoop earrings to wear all day or clipped onto a long necklace alongside an assortment of other

charms, these ebony onions are a pared-back, contemporary approach to a motif that is traditionally more ornamental. And for occasions that require more sparkle, there’s also a selection of bejewelled domes dusted with white diamonds, inspired by the frozen ice palace from Doctor Zhivago. Carved aquamarine and prehnite charms complete the collection, their muted, milky tones reminiscent of the ‘huge, pale skies’ Ducas remembers from her childhood. While the ebony is ultra-light with a silky patina that complements the textured yellow gold, it has a symbolic and aesthetic purpose that’s particularly poignant for Ducas, whose grandparents fled Russia in 1922. From pagans who knocked on trees – they believed spirits lived December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 21


Rostov earrings in white gold, diamonds and aspen wood, POA, Boucheron (as before) Rostov necklace in white gold, diamonds and aspen wood, POA, Boucheron (boucheron.com)

Délices d’Eté necklace in white gold, pink sapphire, multi-coloured sapphires, diamonds and black opals, POA, Fabergé (faberge.com)

Rostov ring in white gold, diamonds and aspen wood, POA, Boucheron (as before)

Yaroslov earrings in white gold and diamonds, POA, Boucheron (as before)

in them – to Christians clutching their wooden crosses, the material has an almost talismanic association with protection and good fortune. ‘It was incredibly brave of my mother to travel to Soviet Russia with a young child at that time, and she always used to wear a dark wooden signet ring which she would touch and say, “keep safe, touch wood,”’ recalls Ducas. ‘Wearing it made her feel secure, and that’s the feeling I want to evoke.’ As such, each piece contains ebony, whether proudly on show or hidden on the inside of a ring, a talismanic secret for the wearer to keep close and treasure.

BOUCHERON Guests battling the heatwave in Paris during July’s haute-couture week found respite at Boucheron, whose high-jewellery presentation saw the showroom converted into a snow-filled landscape, a homage to the Imperial Russian winters that inspired the range. Boucheron was the first French jewellery house to open a boutique in Moscow in 1897, attracting the attention of tsars and tsarinas who warmed to its European aesthetic, and has a long-held affinity with the city. This was heightened when creative director Claire Choisne travelled to the Golden Ring, a circle of historic towns bordering the capital. The trip inspired Hiver Impérial, a collection of icy rock crystal and white diamonds alongside pearls and cool-blue chalcedony, a tribute to the architecture, nature and traditional fashions of this region. A vibrant tanzanite encircled by chalcedony and pearls calls to mind the electric-blue cupolas of the country’s orthodox churches, while 22 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

silvery Siberian aspen wood captures the beautifully bleak northern light of a Russian winter’s day. In the Rostov chapter, small wood panels are intricately inlaid to depict the rooftop domes as seen from above, sprinkled with diamonds designed to sparkle like melting snow.

FABERGE Fabergé, the Russian jewellery house founded in 1842, became a byword for exquisite craftsmanship before and after the revolution. Now owned by the ethical mining company Gemfields, the brand continues to look to its roots with high-jewellery concepts that marry Gemfields’ coloured-gemstone prowess with the splendour associated with Fabergé’s historical designs. Take the Délices d’Eté necklace from the Imperial high-jewellery line. In total contrast to the wintry terrain of Boucheron’s Russian adventure, it celebrates the colour and vibrancy of the changing seasons. It’s difficult not to picture the candy-coloured onion domes of Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral from the kaleidoscopic palette of sapphires in varying sizes, dotted across each piece. The necklace is a highlight: symmetrical, white-diamond domes depict the country’s fairy-tale-like architecture, while the asymmetry of the coloured stones adds a welcome dash of whimsy. Like the architects who added a riot of vibrant ceramic to Moscow’s famous cupolas in the 18th century, Fabergé splashes 67 carats of sapphires in every tone from lavender to mint-green to canary-yellow, adding a few iridescent black opals. The result is majestic. SARAH ROYCE-GREENSILL


24 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

THE TREND: AFRICAN TIFFANY & CO Jewellery with a conscience has become increasingly popular as brands realise that in these times of sociological and environmental awareness it can’t be all take, take, take. Tiffany & Co is focusing on Africa, which is brimming with resources: most famously diamonds, but also emeralds, rubies, sapphires and lesser-known stones too. Tiffany introduced tanzanite to the market in 1968, naming it after its place of origin, and did the same in 1974 with tsavorite, mined close to the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. And it’s in this 4,536 square-mile wilderness that a population of ‘big tuskers’ are found. A capsule collection of gold, diamond, silver and tsavorite charms and brooches in the stylised form of an elephant make up the Save the Wild collection, with all profits going to the Elephant Crisis Fund – an initiative of Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network. The numbers are staggering: up to 30,000 are killed each year. Tiffany has pledged a minimum donation of $1 million by 2019. As Frank Pope, CEO of Save the Elephants, sums up: ‘Tiffany is making an important commitment to protect one of the greatest icons of the natural world. May its leadership prove infectious.’

PHOTOGRAPHS: CROOKES&JACKSON; CHRISTIAN HEEB

Elephant brooch in white gold and diamonds, £18,700, Tiffany & Co (tiffany.co.uk)


Sinim ring in gold plate, £220; Akan Half Moon earrings, £225, both Rokus (rokuslondon.com)

ROKUS Fula ear cuffs in gold plate, £230, Rokus (as before)

It was never Marie-Paule Tano’s intention to replicate African tribal jewellery but rather to mix its characteristic shapes and textures with her own style. Tano originally comes from the Ivory Coast, and she remembers her mother wearing a lot of gold pieces. She studied at Central Saint Martins and later Holts Academy on Hatton Garden (now known as the British Academy of Jewellery), so her pieces are full of African references but have the polish and finesse of her London-based training. ‘Everything is lighter, smaller and more refined than its initial point of inspiration,’ she says. ‘I love the combination of raw, traditional work with a look that’s more modern and rock and roll.’ Highlights include her Akan Half Moon earrings, textured semi-circles in gold vermeil – or solid gold on request – her Fula ear cuffs, based on the shape of the carambola or starfruit, and the Sinim ring, inspired by the Tuareg tribe from the Sahara, which is known for its geometric style of jewellery.

VANLELES

Ring in gold and diamonds, POA; bracelet in gold and diamonds, POA, both Vanleles (vanleles.com)

Designer Vania Leles hasn’t been back to her homeland of Guinea-Bissau since 1997. ‘I lived there until I was 12, and was then sent to boarding school in Portugal,’ she says at her by-appointment showroom on Bond Street. ‘Civil war broke out so we had to leave, and since then it has remained unstable.’ But Leles’ strong connection to Africa is evident in her pieces, whether it be ethically sourced gems or earrings fashioned in the shape of the continent. Her latest collection, Sahara, is based on the conical roofs of mud huts found throughout West Africa and in particular Bijagós, an archipelago off the Guinea-Bissau coast where Leles spent childhood holidays. ‘Look at this ring,’ she says, pointing to a cross-finger composition in yellow gold and diamonds with cone motifs clustered together; ‘look down at it and you feel like you’re David Attenborough floating above a village in a hot-air balloon. My mum was so proud when I showed her this, I think she cried. But then using Africa as my inspiration makes total sense to me. It’s where I’m from and who I am, after all.’ JD


Interiors showroom Studio Oliver Gustav in the city centre. Right, Mads Kornerup. Bottom left, the bar counter at Lidkoep on Vesterbrogade

Bracelet in white gold, diamonds, granite and yellow sapphire, £3,779

All pieces Shamballa Jewels (shamballajewels. com). Necklace in gold and diamonds, £12,330

Necklace in gold and diamonds, £3,306

Copenhagen THREE DESIGNERS ON THE NEW SCANDI SCENE

PHOTOGRAPHS: LINE KLEIN

MADS KORNERUP, CO-FOUNDER OF SHAMBALLA JEWELS East meets West? It’s a familiar concept. But East meets North? Shamballa Jewels is unique in this particular global cross-pollination: its signature beaded pieces are laden with spiritual flavour, but conceived and made in Copenhagen, where cofounder Mads Kornerup lives and works. ‘The East inspires us, of course,’ says Kornerup from his studio in the Østerbro neighbourhood, ‘but Scandinavian design “tones it down” and ensures a sense of casualness.’ Casual maybe, but Shamballa uses only gold, silk cord and a multitude of precious stones including Tahitian pearls, Colombian emeralds, faceted brown diamonds and yellow sapphires. Palettes are calm and minimal – a moonstone, white coral and diamond necklace for example, was inspired by the frozen fire of the northern lights. After living in New York for 15 years, Kornerup moved back to Copenhagen in 2002 and has found the city a source of endless inspiration. ‘I’ve always been fascinated by Scandinavian design traditions. Not just in jewellery, but also furniture and architecture – especially the clean lines and high quality,’ he says. ‘And walking through Copenhagen’s most amazing green areas such as the King’s Garden and Østre Anlæg, or sitting on one of the benches by the city lakes close to my house allows head space in the centre of all this noise and activity. To me, it is so important.’ Bracelet in rose gold, diamonds and Tahiti pearl, £16,405

Necklace in white gold, diamonds akoya pearls, white coral and moonstones, £55,989

Ring in gold and diamonds, £2,859

December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 29


Copenhagen-based designer Sophie Bille Brahe. This page, the Karen Blixen Museum in Rungsted Kyst All pieces Sophie Bille Brahe (Dover Street Market, London; +44 20 7518 0680). Lys de La Vallée single earring in gold and pearls, £510

Bracelet de Tennis in gold and diamonds, £30,780

Petite Yeux ring in gold and diamonds, £1,400 Croissant Amelia single earring in gold and diamonds, £4,290

SOPHIE BILLE BRAHE, FOUNDER Yeux Diamant ring in gold and diamonds, £1,770

Think of pared-back Scandinavian design and Sophie Bille Brahe’s jewellery springs to mind. Since launching her label in 2011, signature pieces such as crescents of diamonds that climb up the ear, or pearls that hang like sculptural installations from the lobe, have become what every clued-up, young jewellery-lover hankers after. The considered designs by Copenhagen born-and-bred Bille Brahe look contemporary and effortless. Her latest collection, therefore, has a surprising point of reference: the old home of Danish author Karen Blixen, situated on the coast just north of the city. ‘My grandmother used to take me there when I was a small child,’ she says. ‘It was always a special treat that I looked forward to.’ Left untouched since Blixen’s death in 1962, the house is full of her belongings, including her writing desk, furniture from her farm in Kenya and her paintings of the people she employed on her estate. It is now a museum, and the only changes here are the vases of fresh flowers, displayed just as Blixen would have done. ‘She was incredibly particular about her floral arrangements, spending days creating them,’ says Bille Brahe. ‘Most importantly, she crafted them in a way to express the mood she was feeling, happy or sad. This really resonated with me, the way of treating them in a very specific way. She would take a tulip and strip off all the leaves, leaving a naked stem. I loved this idea as it is what I do in my own work, removing the unnecessary to present something simple, clean and beautiful.’ Bille Brahe’s new collection encompasses the idea of flora taken back to its bare minimum. A stylised stem falls from the ear while a simplified flower head sits atop a ring or dangles from a band like a naïve charm. ‘I have always wanted to do a flower collection, so the challenge was to find a way to do it in my style. But more than that,’ she says, ‘flowers are part of everyday life here. Having fresh flowers brings life into the home and reminds us that summer is coming.’

30 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

Boucle Ensemble single earring in gold and diamonds, £11,410


PHOTOGRAPHS: LINE KLEIN; NIKOLAJ HOLM MØLLER; HELENE TORESDOTTER/HOUSE OF PICTURES

All pieces Georg Jensen (georgjensen. com). Mobius earrings in sterling silver, £295

NICHOLAS MANVILLE, DESIGN DIRECTOR OF GEORG JENSEN Copenhagen’s famously long, dark winters may seem bleak and oppressive, but one jewellery designer has used it as a source of inspiration. For Georg Jensen, founded in 1904, it proved key in shaping one of its house signatures. ‘From the very beginning we were brave enough to hammer the surface of silver so that light was absorbed rather than reflected,’ says Nicholas Manville, design director. ‘Passing through four Nordic seasons makes one appreciate how this technique creates a complementary warm glow when light is scarce.’ Since the company began, every piece of Georg Jensen jewellery and silverware has been made in Copenhagen, and consequently its roots run deep. ‘We are naturally a part of the fibre of modern Danish life,’ says Manville. ‘Our smithy employs more than 30 silversmiths, and the fact that we can honour this craft and support it within the city limits is something we’re very proud of.’ Classic Danish design traits dominate the Jensen style with clean, minimal shapes characterised in pure and simple lines. ‘We’re a blend of Art Nouveau and contemporary,’ says Manville, ‘with a similar tension as the city itself. But, most importantly, there is no glitzy flash, just bold dynamic forms that show confidence and personality.’ JD

Clockwise from top right: Nicholas Manville; limitededition pieces at Studio Oliver Gustav; Gubi furniture showroom; the palatial façade of Apollo Bar & Kantine

Moonlight Grapes bangle with grape detail in sterling silver, £250

Moonlight Grapes bangle in sterling silver, £225

Alliance ring in sterling silver, £175


KEEP IT SWEET SUGAR RUSH AROUND THE GLOBE WITH THESE SYRUPY GEMS PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATO WELTON. STYLED BY JESSICA DIAMOND ART DIRECTION BY PAULA ELLIS AND PETE WINTERBOTTOM. FOOD STYLING BY JOY SKIPPER

This page, from top: bracelet in white and rose gold, diamonds and pink sapphires, £32,670, William & Son (williamandson.com). Ring in white gold, diamonds and lilac sapphire, POA; necklace in platinum and white and coloured diamonds, POA, both David Morris (david morris.com). Opposite, from top: necklace in platinum and diamonds, £247,500, Tiffany & Co (tiffany.co.uk). Ballet collection earrings in white gold, diamonds and aquamarine, £21,500, William & Son (as before). Lotus ring in white and rose gold and diamonds, POA, Nirav Modi (uk. niravmodi.com). Ring in Leopard Melo pearl, white gold and diamonds, POA, David Morris (as before) December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 33


This page, from top: necklace in gold, amethysts, turquoise, emeralds and diamonds, POA, Bulgari (bulgari.com). Les Perles de Chanel ring in white gold, diamonds and pearl, POA, Chanel High Jewellery (chanel.com). Ring in white and yellow gold, diamonds and tourmaline, ÂŁ40,000, Buccellati (buccellati.com). Opposite, from top: ring in platinum and Burmese ruby, POA, Boodles (boodles.com). Earrings in gold and yellow and white diamonds, POA, Graff Diamonds (graffdiamonds.com). Bracelet in platinum, pink sapphires and diamonds, POA, Harry Winston (harrywinston.com). Ring in gold, tsavorites and citrine, ÂŁ17,500, Buccellati (as before) 34 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


WITH THANKS TO DAVID MELLOR (DAVIDMELLORDESIGN.CO.UK) FOR THE CUTLERY AND CAST-IRON TEAPOT AND MAITRE CHOUX (MAITRECHOUX.COM) FOR THE ECLAIRS

From top: Classique necklace in white gold, diamonds and tourmaline, POA, Chaumet (chaumet.com). Onde ring in white gold, diamonds and rock crystal, £140,000, Cartier (cartier.co.uk). Dear Dior Résille Grenat Exotique ring in yellow and white gold, diamonds, spinels, beryls, emeralds, spessartite garnets and fire opals, POA, Dior Joaillerie (dior.com). Opposite, from top: Aurora Borealis necklace in platinum, pink spinels and diamonds, POA, Boodles (boodles.com). Torta ring in pink gold with chalcedony, agate, emerald and diamonds, POA, Bulgari (bulgari.com). Bracelet in white gold, black lacquer and diamonds, £292,000, Cartier (cartier.co.uk) December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 37


BREGUET Think there are 24 hours in the day? Well, you’re wrong, because the motion of the sun, used as the basis of time for centuries, is irregular, with a discrepancy ranging from -16 to +14 minutes. In fact, there are only four days a year when solar and standard ‘civil’ time are in sync. With a helpful sun-embellished solar minute hand, this Breguet watch allows you to read both; perfect if you want to tell your friends they’re running late, although not so great if you’re the one who’s tardy. Marine Equation 5887 in platinum, £174,800, Breguet (breguet.com)

PATEK PHILIPPE Don’t be fooled by the minimal dial of this design. It houses what is considered to be the grandest of all grand complications: the minute repeater, which means it will chime out the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. The brand first squeezed this highly complex mechanism into a wristwatch in 1916 so you could tell the time in the dark before electric lighting. That function may be obsolete today, but is still impressive. Grand Complication Minute Repeater in white gold, POA, Patek Philippe (patek.com)

VACHERON CONSTANTIN With almost three centuries of watchmaking experience, Vacheron Constantin knows a thing or two about mechanics. As well as the very handsome mix of pink gold with a slate-grey opaline dial, this 42mm manual-wound timepiece has an open-worked tourbillon shaped like a Maltese cross (the manufacturer’s emblem) and an extraordinary 14-day power reserve. This means you could take it off and forget about it for two weeks and it would still be ticking – although why would you want to do that? Malte Tourbillon in pink gold, £159,000, Vacheron Constantin (vacheron-constantin.com)

JURA VALLEY OLD-SCHOOL OR NEW-FANGLED – WHO CAN CLAIM

This region is the horological equivalent of the homeland. Centuries of tradition resonate around these Swiss hills, dating from the 15th century when the Huguenots escaped religious persecution in France and settled here. Beautifully handcrafted grand complications are their artistic legacy, with grand prices too.

JAEGER-LECOULTRE

ZENITH

Who needs conventional hands to tell the time when you can use a flying tourbillon to indicate the hours, and a small arrow to show the minutes? This limited-to-five pink-gold watch is a breathtaking example of Swiss meticulousness, with a skeletonised front and back achieved by hand carving the gold to within 1/100th of a millimetre. It was inspired by lace, a stained-glass window and gothic architecture, so it’s no surprise Jaeger-LeCoultre has coined its own phrase for this craft and others like it – métiers rares. Hybris Artistica Mystérieuse in pink gold, POA, Jaeger-LeCoultre (jaeger-lecoultre.com)

Accuracy is every watchmaker’s nemesis. Even with the most skilled craftsmanship, the friction caused by mechanical moving parts will always result in a slight reduction in precision, however miniscule. Zenith is a master at countering this, and has been since 1969 when it launched the world’s most exact series-produced chronograph. 2017’s Chronomaster El Primero has an open-worked dial so you can view the in-house movement which beats at 36,000 vibrations per hour, for accuracy of within 1/10th of a second. Chronomaster El Primero Full Open in stainless steel and rose gold, £9,600, Zenith (zenith-watches.com)

38 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


LOUIS VUITTON We’ve waxed lyrical before about the Tambour Horizon’s My Flight functionality, which aims to get you on that plane in plenty of time. It also has a geo-locator city guide for seven international destinations (with more to come) to recommend the nearest restaurants, hotels and landmarks in real time. And there’s a 24-hour time-zone indicator around the dial – the perfect travel companion. Tambour Horizon 42 in stainless steel, £2,140, Louis Vuitton (louisvuitton.com)

DE GRISOGONO Why shouldn’t a smartwatch have a rose-gold case, be set with black and white diamonds and sit on a galuchat strap? De Grisogono has discreetly embedded all the Samsung technology for its dedicated ladies’ smartwatch into the timepiece’s bezel. Notifications from your phone, fitness tracking and a mobile payment system are all standard, proving that bejewelled luxury and functionality can go hand in hand. Samsung Gear S2, £13,100, De Grisogono (degrisogono.com)

BREITLING

SILICON VALLEY

Some watches are more connected than others. If you’re after a personal organiser/ travel companion/pedometer, this is not the one for you. Primarily it’s about driving, very fast, in your new Bentley Continental Supersports. A flyback chronograph, lap timer and electronic tachymeter are all here, but it’s the three exclusive functions that record different nuances and outcomes of a race that set this design apart. And all the data is transmittable and storable on your phone, once you’ve downloaded the app. Breitling for Bentley Supersports B55 Connected in titanium, £6,910, Breitling (breitling.com)

THE TIMEKEEPING CROWN? BY JESSICA DIAMOND

PHOTOGRAPHS: DAVID R ROBINSON; SLAWEK STASZCZUK

Everything changed on 24 April 2015 – the date Apple launched its first smartwatch. Initially sniffy, traditional makers are now getting on board, producing useful tech tools for our digital world, and all their connectivity functions are coming out of this part of California. Just don’t expect a significant shelf life.

TAG HEUER

MONTBLANC

This watch brand’s collaboration with Intel continues this year in the Connected Modular 45. Functions include built-in GPS and a contactless payment chip, with up to three additional apps visible on the dial at any one time. There are more than 30 choices for customising the face, but should it all prove too digitalised for you, the entire case can be removed and replaced with a mechanical watch instead – a Tag, of course. Connected Modular 45 in steel, £1,200, Tag Heuer (tagheuer.co.uk)

Montblanc has worked hard to ensure its contribution to the connected market has the appearance of a mechanical watch. Based on the classic good looks of its 1858 collection, the slightly curved sapphire glass is a world first for smartwatches. But don’t let its traditional appearance deceive you. Having hooked up with Google, it has the expected app accessibility, plus an integrated heart-rate monitor, a voiceactivated translator and the ability to play music directly into Bluetooth headphones (no need to take your phone on a run). Summit Smartwatch in titanium, £875, Montblanc (montblanc.com)


From far left: Naomi Watts, jeweller Eva Fehren and Olivia Wilde in her designs. Jewellery, from left: the Chrysler pendant, about £6,050; the XX ring, about £12,500; Empire studs, about £20,000; 1MM line band, about £1,400 each; 2MM line band, about £1,930 each, all Eva Fehren (evafehren.com)


Above, Emma Watson and, right, Taylor Swift in Eva Fehren. Above right, baguette bar ring in rose gold and diamonds, £2,157; left, Cicero ear jackets in white gold and diamonds, £5,797, both Deborah Pagani (deborahpagani.com)

boom town PHOTOGRAPHS: JA/EVERETT COLLECTION/AVALON RED; DIMITRIOUS KAMBOURIS/GETTY IMGES; DAN KULLBERG; JACKSON LEE/SPLASH NEWS; MATRIXPICTURES.CO.UK; JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK’S JEWELLERS CHANNEL ITS UPBEAT ENERGY IN THEIR DYNAMIC DESIGNS. BY RACHEL GARRAHAN This is a city that packs a world’s worth of life, not to mention people, noise and neon, into one tiny island. A city that is a mishmash of cultures, languages and food. And one that is at the heart of the USA’s love affair with jewellery, crammed with gemstone dealers, manufacturers and designers. ‘For me it’s equal parts grit and glamour,’ says Stellene Volandes, author of Jeweler  and editor-in-chief of American Town and Country. ‘It’s as much about the bench jewellers still making pieces on 47th Street today as it is about Bergdorf Goodman and Madison Avenue.’ Fellow native New Yorker and jewellery designer Eva Fehren agrees. ‘I love the contrast between the beauty, luxury and sparkling architecture in Manhattan versus its toughness.’ Fehren’s minimalist collections embody the mix of femininity and strength that characterises much of the city’s gems. With its blackened gold and tiny pavé

From above: open pill black gloss ring in gold, diamonds and enamel, £3,292; Skyscraper studs in gold and diamonds, £2,952, both Deborah Pagani (as before)

December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 41


Left, Rihanna and, below left, Adriana Lima in Deborah Pagani. Jewellery, from below left: Derby ring in rose gold and diamonds, £3,648; Skyscraper mini-fringe earrings in rose gold, diamonds and black enamel; £3,663; double Horseshoe ring in white gold, diamonds and sapphires, £6,039, all Deborah Pagani (deborahpagani.com)

Deborah Pagani

Stephanie Wynne Lalin and Jenny Klatt of Jemma Wynne From centre left: Lauren Santo Domingo in Nina Runsdorf, Olivia Palermo and Gisele Bundchen, both in Jemma Wynne

PHOTOGRAPHS: FASNBERRY.COM; DAN KULLBERG; JEFF KRAVITZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR HBO; JEFF KRAVITZ/FILM MAGIC/GETTY IMAGES; DANNY MARTINDALE/GC IMAGES/GETTY; RABBANI AND SOLIMENE PHOTOGRAPHY/ GETTY IMAGES; CHARLES SYKES/INVISION/SPLASH; THE IMAGE DIRECT

Jewellery, far left: Prive bar-hoop earrings in gold, emeralds and blackened pavé diamonds, £3,825; below, Prive closed cuff in gold and diamond, £5,170, both Jemma Wynne (net-a-porter.com). Right, Freida Pinto in Deborah Pagani at the Met Gala


diamonds, her signature XX ring has become part of the New York woman’s armour for taking on whatever this town might throw at her. Fans include Charlize Theron, who wore a complete Eva Fehren look of earrings, rings and cuffs while appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The beautiful edginess of Fehren’s preferred grey diamonds is practical to boot. Their understated sparkle is perfect for the New Yorker who has to navigate a packed schedule of work and play. ‘This woman might be wearing a $10,000 necklace, but she also needs to jump on the subway to get to work,’ she explains.  As Volandes says, ‘the pace of life means that the usual rules don’t apply. Going home to change and put on evening jewellery? Such practices collapse in a place like this.’ Come six feet of snow in winter or blistering humidity in summer, a Manhattanite must be prepared to do battle with NYC’s unrelenting speed.  She might wear her skyscraper-esque heels at the office but she gets there in sneakers like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. And she wants her jewellery to be equally versatile.  ‘My clients will choose one of my studs in the day and add an ear jacket for night,’ says Deborah Pagani. Accessories are a big deal for the New York girl. ‘Even if she only has one handbag, it’s got to be the best of the best,’ says the designer, who might dash from dropping off her children at school on the Upper East Side to a day working in her studio before ending up at one of Downtown’s hottest restaurants. New York is at its most inspirational at night, according to Pagani, who has had a lifelong love affair with the shiny skyline. ‘It’s so much sexier than in the day.’ Indeed, the glittering, pointy tips of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building are visible throughout her collection.

Jewellery, from surrounding piece: Toujours large curb link bracelet in gold, diamond and blackened pavé diamonds, £10,920; bezel-set open ring in gold, emerald and diamond, POA; Prive ear climbers with blackened pavé diamonds and Tahitian pearls, £2,250, all Jemma Wynne (as before). Left, Mila Kunis in Jemma Wynne

December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 43


From surrounding piece: Slice necklace in white gold, emeralds and diamonds, about £23,250; Citrine flip ring in gold and diamonds, about £3,700; Briolette drop earrings in platinum, emeralds and diamonds, about £141,200; all Nina Runsdorf (modaoperandi.com)

Nina Runsdorf

44 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

From right, Nicki Minaj and Dakota Fanning in Nina Runsdorf. Below, slice earrings in white gold and diamonds, about £36,250, Nina Runsdorf (as before)

PHOTOGRAPHS: DAVID FISHER/REX/ SHUTTERSTOCK; DAN KULLBERG

Fellow designer Susan Foster, who grew up in East Hampton, and now lives on the Upper East Side, is also influenced by the architecture that surrounds her. Her apartment, a stone’s throw from Central Park, was built in the city’s Art Deco heyday, and is reflected in the rigorously clean lines and geometric stones of her own creations. In Foster’s view, though, jewellery from this buzzing metropolis is first and foremost about attitude. ‘What makes a piece quintessentially NYC is the perfect combination of bold but refined, elegant but cool,’ she says.  Ruby Chadwick, a jewellery buyer at Liberty, who has dashed up many a narrow staircase to a Manhattan maker’s tiny studio, believes it is a certain unexpected energy that characterises the city’s designs rather than any one particular aesthetic.  Her stable of East Coast talent includes Anna Sheffield, Larkspur and Hawk, and Maria Tash. Last year, piercing queen Tash became the London department store’s most successful launch ever, and Chadwick thinks this is down to her combination of wearability and understated luxury. ‘It’s just jewellery you want to put on every day – easy and gorgeous. We get women buying four or five items at a time,’ she says, echoing New Yorker Donna Karan’s concept for seven easy pieces of wardrobe essentials from 1985. For Stephanie Wynne Lalin and Jenny Klatt of the label Jemma Wynne, the pace of the New York lifestyle is also the primary influence on their approach to design. ‘The whole philosophy of our brand is go-to jewellery that you can wear all the time,’ says Klatt. ‘Women here go for a style that’s effortlessly put-together. They want to look good but lowkey.’ Socialite Olivia Palermo is one fan who manages to make her Jemma Wynne grey pearl ear climbers work for every outfit. ‘She mixes


Below, fan necklace in white gold diamonds and white enamel, £4,600, Susan Foster (harrods.com)

Susan Foster with Kate Bosworth

Top, Kerry Washington and, left, Nina Dobrev in Susan Foster. Above, double-drop cage earrings in gold, diamonds and white enamel, £10,200; right, fan earrings in white gold, diamonds and white enamel, £4,200, both, Susan Foster (as before) 46 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

the Downtown and Uptown looks with great ease. That might mean a Valentino dress one day and leather overalls the next,’ says Lalin. ‘New York designers are influenced by a fast-paced life, but also by the exciting things happening around them and the need to push the boundaries and be creative,’ says Patti Worth, a buyer at Matchesfashion.com. One of the brands she stocks, Alison Lou, creates playful riffs on contemporary life with emoji designs that have become catnip for a new generation of jewellery lovers. The latest collection by Alison Chemla, the label’s creative director, is even inspired by the city’s appetite for pasta. ‘She is constantly creating new and exciting things,’ says Worth. Chemla has her own store just off Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side and shares the building with Nina Runsdorf, who, in contrast to the modern aesthetic of Alison Lou, is known for her refined mine-cut diamond rivières. Lauren Santo Domingo, the co-founder of online fashion store Moda Operandi, recently wore Runsdorf’s antique starburst diamond necklace at this year’s Met Gala for an Age of Innocence elegance. Her private atelier proves that New York women are not only ahead in the style stakes, but are also the driving force behind a new era of luxury retail.  As well as showcasing her jewellery, the intimate space incorporates Runsdorf’s passion for contemporary art and furniture, delivering precisely what her customers are looking for: originality and exclusivity.  ‘New Yorkers want an experience they won’t get anywhere else,’ she says. Mission more than accomplished.

PHOTOGRAPHS: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILM MAGIC/GETTY; STEPHEN LOVEKIN/GETTY IMAGES; STEVE LUCERO/BFA/REX/ SHUTTERSTOCK; SKYE PARROTT/TRUNK ARCHIVE

Right, palm earrings in gold, £8,600, Susan Foster (as before)


road trip

BROTHERS AND CO-FOUNDERS OF WATCHMAKER BREMONT,

As the brakes on the E-Type instantly seized due to the NYC heat, it was clear this was a far cry from our base in Henley-on-Thames. We just made it to an event at our Madison Avenue store and then spent the night with a mate in Brooklyn.

Our two classic cars turned heads in New York with their UK plates, mostly from people confused about the right-hand drive. One old chap ran out in front of us as we headed up Park Avenue shouting ‘Dress British, think Yiddish’.

At Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Carolina, we got to tick something off our bucket list: drive our cars around the world-famous NASCAR circuit. It was as though we were suddenly Tom Cruise playing Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder.

We got up at 6.30am to take photos on Charleston’s lovely streets. You see a different side to a city when no one else is awake. Then we hit the road again, Atlanta was calling. We put the pedals to the floor and headed down Highway 78.

48 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


NICK AND GILES ENGLISH, DRIVE A 1970 JAGUAR E TYPE AND A 1973 PORSCHE 911 FROM NYC TO TEXAS

PHOTOGRAPHS: KEVIN FLEMING/CORBIS; SQUIRE FOX; NICOLE FRANZEN; RUSSELL KORD/AURORA PHOTOS; WHITNEY LAWSON; STEFANO TORRIONE/SIME/4CORNERS; CAROLINE WEST

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDY WILSON

Along the journey everyone had spoken so highly of Charleston. And we were both blown away by its colonial beauty; planning is very restrictive so there is little commercialisation in the old city and it really has kept its charm.

Our research for great driving routes turned up the Skyline, which would take us through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the foothills of the Appalachians. The scale of the American countryside is truly amazing.

In the little town of Mentone, Alabama, we stumbled across the Wildflower Café, run by the lovely LC Moon and with quirky cowboy-hat interiors. The tomato and peanut-butter pies were our favourite dishes.

Elvis has always been an idol for us, and the rooms at Graceland have been left just as when he lived there: the Sixties kitchen, the rainforest-themed lounge, the TVs in his man-cave basement with its obligatory bar.


Tools at Marco Bicegoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workshop in Vicenza, northern Italy. Opposite, Bulgariâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new factory in Valenza 50 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


the next level WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ITALY'S MASTERFUL MEDIEVAL GOLDSMITHERY MEETS THE MODERN WORLD? BY AVRIL GROOM


Florentine-finish pendant in gold, £2,205, Carolina Bucci (carolinabucci. com). Left, Carolina Bucci in one of her Florence ateliers

Florentine-finish cuff in gold, £7,950, Carolina Bucci (as before)

Earrings in yellow and white gold and diamonds, £115,000, Buccellati (buccellati.com)

Florentine mult-link French-wire earrings in pink gold, £725, Carolina Bucci (as before)

Cuff bracelet in yellow and white gold, diamonds, rubies and sapphires £57,000, Buccellati (as before). Above, using the honeycomb technique at Buccellati’s Milan workshop 52 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

At first sight, jeweller Marco Bicego’s factory near Vicenza in northern Italy looks like many other architect-designed, hi-tech establishments. Inside it is airy and quiet – not dissimilar to an IT enterprise. It is in fact a jewellery workshop practising centuries-old goldsmithing with the aid of modern technology, a sleek hybrid of old and new. Not a million miles from Vicenza, in the Piedmont town of Valenza, perhaps the country’s grandest international jewellery name, Bulgari, has recently opened a new factory, combining technical innovation with award-winning environmental standards, while working closely with its traditional highjewellery ateliers in Rome. Italy prides itself on its artisan crafts, and these factories integrate hundreds of years of know-how into the computer age. In the Marco Bicego workshop, jewellers use lasers to connect fine chains with intermittent, delicately coloured stones for their Jaipur pieces (soldering would affect some of the vibrant tones). Other craftsmen hand-work the bulino method of fine, striated engraving, a hallmark of the Lunaria collection. Another works a specially designed, ancient-looking machine that creates tiny links and settings from sheets of gold worth millions. The family firm was both known for its non-branded gold jewellery, but as Marco Bicego watched many of the companies in the area close down he realised ‘that we needed to develop our own design identity, and communicate about Italian craft’. Traditionally, Italy’s jewellery strengths lie in gold-work techniques and setting coloured stones of all kinds. Styles become more flamboyant the further south you go, according to fourth-generation jeweller Carolina Bucci. She lives in London, but has her elegantly restored family showroom in Florence – it has a huge, old loom for weaving bright silks with gold thread to make bracelets – and several atmospheric workshops there, which are so picturesque that she invites special clients to view them. One is in an old monastery and the other by the Ponte Vecchia, inches above the River Arno, where artisans work the time-honoured, handmade Florentine technique of puntinatura. The method entails punching metal with a diamond-tipped tool that makes tiny, faceted indentations which reflect light and add lively sparkle and texture to the gold. ‘It makes every piece individual because each craftsman works in their own way,’ she says. ‘It’s typically


18ct gold and diamond Crown Rings, from ÂŁ2,500


Secret Mirror necklace in platinum, sapphires, emeralds, spinel, rock crystal and diamonds, POA, Bulgari (bulgari.com)

I Ventagli earrings in platinum, emeralds, and diamonds, POA, Bulgari (as before)

Lunaria necklace in gold, £2,090, Marco Bicego (marco bicego.com)

I Ventagli necklace in platinum, emeralds and diamonds, POA, Bulgari (as before). Above, making jewellery in the Bulgari workshop

Api Reali bracelet in pink gold, sapphires, and yellow and white diamonds, POA, Bulgari (as before)

54 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

Lunaria earrings in gold and lapis lazuli, £1,580, Marco Bicego (as before)

Il Magnifico di Bulgari ring in platinum, sapphire and diamonds, POA, Bulgari (as before)

Florentine. I think it goes back to when Italy was a collection of city states and each one prided itself on its own crafts. Now we need to do that as a nation.’ She believes the Tuscan style is ‘freer, more flamboyant and perhaps less organised than further north, which is closer to the formality of the great French houses. Here, we are perhaps not such experts in setting big gems, but our gold craft is excellent.’ There are also traditional workshops further north. An unassuming apartment in Milan is the working heart of Buccellati, another fourth-generation brand that specialises in fine-gold processes. Its creative director, Andrea Buccellati, describes its ethos as ‘a clear reference to Renaissance goldsmithing methods, and to the extremely refined artisanality of those times’. While both Italy and France set the benchmark for high jewellery, Buccellati believes its gold techniques set his homeland apart. The house is best known for sheeny, gem-set pieces engraved by the rigato technique: fine parallel lines that create a silky appearance, achieved with a single small chisel-like tool called a burin. Buccellati's other hallmark is gold honeycomb, in which the metal is pierced and sawn by hand into a delicate, regular pattern that looks like tulle, and is almost as light. Old-school brand Bulgari, whose new factory in Valenze is just southwest of Milan, never loses sight of its Italian heritage, focusing on exuberant design, bold and unexpected tones, with a predilection for yellow gold. ‘I think our style is more playful, colourful, less classic and formal than French high jewellery,’ says creative director Lucia Silvestri. The new Festa collection is typical of this, being inspired by parties and society balls, with balloons, presents and cakes as motifs alongside Palio di Siena banner insignia. ‘Innovation means our factory and Rome workshops work in tandem,’ says Silvestri. ‘Our toy-train choker had its diamond and emerald design made in Rome, but the gold tubogas coil base was created in the factory.’ The Lvcea Mosaique watch has a similar tale: each dial has 700 tiny, hand-placed gold tiles with a single grain of sand underneath to tilt it and reflect light. The dial comes with a top-quality Swiss case and movement. Hand-crafting fine gold jewellery has been an Italian speciality since the Renaissance – and with a few crafty new ideas it looks set to continue for the next 500 years.

PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ATLAN

Lunaria bracelet in gold, £935, Marco Bicego (as before)


L ACE ring · SNOWFL AKES LEAF · 18K · finejewelr y@tamaracomolli.com

SOUTHAMPTON · LAKE TEGERNSEE · SYLT · PALM BEACH · MUNICH · MARBELLA

Prepare for Christmas and shop online at www.tamaracomolli.com


56 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


let the sunshine in SLAP-BANG IN THE MIDDLE OF PARISâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S MOST FASHIONABLE SQUARE, LOUIS VUITTON HAS UNVEILED A GROUND-BREAKING TEMPLE TO LUXURY. BY RACHEL GARRAHAN


Clockwise from top left: concertina lampshade by Raw Edges at Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme; Audrey Hepburn with a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag; the Place Vendôme store; porters with LV trunks outside the Ritz Paris; Omar Sharif with LV cases; a shoe department at the maison; Jane Fonda with a LV bag in Miami Beach; an in-store display; models with LV luggage in Place Vendôme, 1966


PHOTOGRAPHS: AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; TED BLACKBROW/DAILY MAIL/REX SHUTTERSTOCK; BRUNO BARBERY/MAGNUM PHOTOS; PHOLIOTE AND CLOTULDE FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY/ ARCHIVES LOUIS VUITTON MALLETIER; RA/LEBRECHT MUSIC & ARTS

From above left: necklace in white gold, onyx, and diamonds; ring in white gold, red spinel and diamonds; necklace in white gold, emerald and diamonds, all POA, from the Conquêtes collection, Louis Vuitton (louisvuitton.com)

Louis Vuitton has returned home to where it all began. Within sight of the French brand’s grand new store on Place Vendôme in Paris is the rue des Capucines, where its founder opened his first shop in 1854. And while Vuitton himself may never have created jewellery, it is at the heart of the maison’s latest extraordinary space. Its founder made his name handcrafting luggage for the aristocrats of Napoleon III’s Second Empire. The secret of his success was understanding the needs of his wealthy customers. He located his store-and-atelier a stone’s throw from where they shopped on Place Vendôme, even then a centre of fashion, and he created an innovative product for their 19th-century travel needs. Vuitton was the first person to design flat-topped, weatherproof canvas trunks that could easily be stacked at the shipping dock or on the station platform, and which were distinguishable by their exquisitely hand-painted and personalised crests. The company he founded still sets out to give shoppers exactly what they want today. While the world may now be awash with flagship stores displaying contemporary art and chic interiors, what sets the Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme apart is that it’s also home to two fully functioning workshops. In the fourth-floor Atelier Rare et Exceptionnel, clients can have their Nicolas Ghesquière-designed gowns fitted and customised by in-house seamstresses. Or they can take a private lift straight up to the eaves of the elegant former townhouses and see their high-jewellery order being created by hand. A rooftop artist’s garret usually conjures up an image of cramped, damp dinginess. Here, however, the modern, light-filled space is the perfect environment in which the team of goldsmiths and gem experts can work. Louis Vuitton is relatively new to the high-jewellery world. The brand showed its first collection in 2008, but has quickly distinguished itself with its exceptional coloured stones and a rigorously graphic approach to design that makes for distinctive and wearable pieces. Three sets from its Conquêtes collection, which was unveiled during haute-couture week in July this year, were kept back to celebrate the shop opening. The centrepiece of one necklace is a velvet-rich-coloured, 20-carat red spinel from Tanzania. The gemstone, known for its array of colours

and light-refractive qualities, is a popular feature in many high-jewellery collections today; but this was not the case when Louis Vuitton first used it in 2011. For that reason, spinels hold a special place in the heart of Hamdi Chatti, the company’s vice president for watches and jewellery, and this one is no exception. ‘It’s incredible – almost like a ruby in its intensity,’ he says. This passion for gems is reflected in every single Louis Vuitton high-jewellery piece, which always begins with the stone and not the design. ‘If you start chasing the stone after you have the design, you end up compromising,’ says Chatti. ‘A design can change, but the stone never can.’ The maison’s team of gem experts are constantly travelling the world tracking down stones that are rare enough, big enough and of sufficient quality to make it into their treasure chest. One case in point is a sixcarat, inclusion-free forest-green emerald straight from Colombia. The jewel is the star of another necklace, with the brand’s well-known ‘V’ and monogrammed flower motifs playing second fiddle. Also on display at the new shop is a staggering collection of 29 canaryyellow diamonds from Sierra Leone. Arranged in a circle on blue velvet like a sun emerging from an eclipse, they offer private clients a sneak preview of the next high-jewellery collection. ‘We have cracked open the safe,’ jokes Chatti, adding that it has taken more than 10 years to gather these exceptionally rare stones. Their golden hue is a theme that runs through Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme. A magnificent shimmering sun installation stretches across the entire length of the façade. At the rue Saint-Honoré entrance, shoppers are greeted by a gilded statue of the Sun King himself, Louis XIV. One last feature completes the circle for this heritage brand. A highjewellery trunk with a powder-pink interior has been created especially for the opening, and is strongly reminiscent of the luggage Louis Vuitton himself would have made. This jewellery-box-gone-super-nova can be personalised and comes with a bust for displaying your one-of-a-kind jewels, as well as a removable suitcase for those short hops by private jet. All of which proves that, when it comes to smart travel, Louis Vuitton continues to stay ahead of the times. December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 59


60 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


glow in the dark MOZAMBIQUE’S HAUL OF RUBIES IS ONE OF THE GREAT JEWELLERY FINDS OF THE CENTURY BY JESSICA DIAMOND. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAD DAVENPORT Nothing quite prepares you for the Maninge Nice open pit at the Gemfields’ Montepuez ruby mine in northern Mozambique. Not the 24-hour journey, nor the 40˚C heat, the category-A-prison-style security, or the friendly ruby banter in the bar the night before. Because here, laid out beneath your feet, is a carpet of stones, brilliant red flecks scattered loosely in the ground like glacé cherries on a Christmas cake. They’re everywhere, unmissable, and as we walk gingerly our regulation boots crunch, crunch over the gems. The instinct is immediately to bend down and scoop them up, which I’ve been told not to do, but then suddenly we all are, and the mine manager, Gopal Kumar, starts handing them to me, his expert eye


Necklace in white gold, rubies, diamonds and natural clam pearls, POA, Bina Goenka (binagoenka.com)

Magnipheasant Plumage Couture earrings in white gold, rubies and diamonds, £4,290, Stephen Webster (stephen webster.com)

Magnipheasant Plumage threefinger ring in white gold, rubies and diamonds, £34,850, Stephen Webster (as before)

Couture Voyage New York earrings in white gold and rubies, £39,950, Stephen Webster (as before)

Earrings in white gold, rubies, diamonds, yellow and pink diamonds and mabe pearls, POA, Bina Goenka (as before)

All rubies from Gemfields Mozambique. Below, rough rubies at the mine finding bigger, redder pieces that he casually throws back once we’ve all gawped. ‘That’s the first time these rubies have been touched by human hands,’ he says. ‘They’ve waited 450 million years to be found.’ Such monumental geological time scales may be hard to fathom, but before 2009 – when rubies were first discovered in Mozambique – these gemstones were only mined in Thailand and Burma. Asian rubies were formed around 50 million years ago with the rising up of the Himalayas, creating the necessary conditions of high temperature and pressure; African rubies formed with the moving of the earth’s tectonic plates that happened around 450 to 700 million years ago, making them at least nine times older. When the first stones were discovered in Mozambique, a ruby-rush ensued – thousands of artisanal miners flooded the Montepuez area, able to dig with no more than a shovel and their bare hands (rubies can be found in depths as shallow as four metres). In 2011, Gemfields – the British-based responsible-mining expert which owns Fabergé – formed a joint venture with the local land owner, converting the hunting licence that had been in place for decades to a mining one, which covers 360 square kilometres of land. Seeing the processes first hand, of course, is not pretty. Nine open pits in total have been dug, with top soil shifted to form enormous banks, the exposed ore scooped up by a fleet of HEMM (heavy-earth-moving machinery). They hurtle around the site at break-neck speed, kicking up clouds of terracotta-coloured dust that settles on everything. Each tipper carries 18 tonnes of soil and they travel in guarded convoys, before reaching the large banks of stock-piled earth. Next stop is the wash plant, run by an affable mining expert who introduces himself as ‘Gary from Teeside’ – he spent years in Angola in the diamond industry, and tends to the roaring, 62 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

Emotion Charmeuse ring in rose gold, ruby and pavé-set rubies, POA, Fabergé (faberge.com)

rattling machinery like a rocker tinkering with his motorbike. Huge water jets wash the soil – up to 150 tonnes per hour, and a fine sticky orange mist hangs in the air before the shake-down begins, sifting out bigger rocks. Then a centrifugal spinner like a giant washing machine extracts ruby material (it’s heavier so sinks to the bottom) before it is channelled into one big bucket for manual sorting. And it’s the Sort House where the rubies actually emerge; a grading system specially created by Gemfields is in full use, two young second-generation graders from Burma sit patiently examining each rough nugget under a UV light, checking for inclusions and how much it fluoresces (the more it glows the better the quality). Sorting for size, clarity and colour leads to neat little piles of the raw material, from ‘premium’ top-quality stones to lowervalue pink sapphire. Once a week a parcel is helicoptered out to the port of Pemba with its own ex-Special Forces guard. At least one per cent of all profits from Gemfields’ ruby auctions in Singapore is channelled back into the local community surrounding the mine – which may not seem like a lot but translates into a lot of money. It has helped towards primary schools, two farms run by a female cooperative, numerous sustainable farming initiatives, a mobile clinic and the restoration of backfilled mined land to indigenous bush. With more than 1,000 direct mine employees in and around the area and 250 families benefiting from the extra CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects, the potential for change is genuinely there. Kumar sees even bigger possibilities. ‘Up until June 2017 Gemfields made $283.5 million, which in real terms means we’ve paid $70 million in tax,’ he says. ‘This mine shows no signs of depletion, so in 25 years we will still be here – and our impact isn’t just local, but nationwide. What we’re doing in Montepuez could change the actual economy of Mozambique forever.’


BRILLIANT RED FLECKS ARE SCATTERED ON THE GROUND LIKE CHERRIES IN A CHRISTMAS CAKE. THE INSTINCT IS TO BEND DOWN AND GATHER THEM UP


PHOTOGRAPHS: PANKAJ ANAND; PRABHAT SHETTY

Lotus earrings in white and rose gold, and diamonds, £18,000, Nirav Modi (niravmodi.com)

Jasmine ring in white gold and diamonds, £26,800, Nirav Modi (as before)


Jasmine earrings in white gold and diamonds, £24,900, Nirav Modi (as before). Below, the designer

take me home THE WEEKEND RETREATS WHERE A CLUSTER OF TOP JEWELLERS GO TO RECHARGE NIRAV MODI IN ALIBAUG, INDIA

Lotus cuff in white and rose gold, and diamonds, £34,200, Nirav Modi (as before)

WHERE ‘The house is at Kihim beach, just south of Mumbai. You can get to it by both water and road; if you take a speedboat, it’s about 30 minutes from the buzzing hub of the city. With the sea so close and the centuries-old coconut trees, the surroundings remind me of an old-world fisherman’s village, which immediately puts me at ease. This and its accessibility were the two major factors that drew me towards the area.’ THE CONCEPT ‘We bought the land 15 years ago and it took about five years to build the house from scratch. Of course, like all my projects, a lot of thought went into the design. I wanted to use the space in an innovative and creative way. My inspiration came from two main concepts: first, the notion of a marooned ship, because of the plot’s proximity to the water, and second, I wanted it to resemble the old forts dotted around this part of the coast. The anchor of the structure is a long, curved wall which acts as a threshold, both physically and mentally. The idea is that, as you pass through this barrier, you shed all baggage, leaving the city behind before emerging on the other side – at the ocean. Between the sea and the pool, the living area is an open pavilion lifted on a plinth. It’s a very tactile house: from the massive rough basalt stone to the wood-finish concrete; from the deep, dark recesses in the curved wall to the water – both contained and infinite.’ THE REALITY ‘This place is a retreat for me and my family; we have spent countless relaxing weekends here. We don’t find it necessary to step outside as it really has everything we need. I love to immerse myself in the serene, natural surroundings, which often inspire my work. For example, the idea for the bougainvillaea-theme decor of our booth at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris this year came to me on one of my trips to this house. But above all, my favourite memories are of watching my children grow up here; they have a little plot where they plant vegetables, and it’s amazing to watch them have fun in nature after spending all week in Mumbai.’  December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 65


Multi-gem Chromaphiliac earrings in blackened gold, £7,800, Solange AzaguryPartridge (solange.co.uk), Below, the designer in her Somerset home

WHERE ‘Our weekend home is in a small village just outside Bruton. It feels very secluded and remote, despite being only a five-minute drive into town. We’re surrounded by views of rolling hills and fields of grazing sheep and cows. It’s country-lite for townies.’ THE CONCEPT ‘The house was in very good condition when we bought it in 2010, with some lovely original 19th-century features. We knocked down a few walls to give the feeling of more room as the ceilings are low (it’s an old coach house) and my husband and children are tall. I started off by painting the whole place pink and then layered on all the fabrics and wallpapers over time. It was important to live in it for a while to know how we wanted to use the space.’ THE REALITY ‘We’d been looking for a place out of the city half-heartedly for years but eventually settled on this particular area as we have some very good friends nearby so, as hardcore Londoners, we knew we wouldn’t be totally isolated. The moment I drive past Stonehenge I click into my other self; in other words, relaxed and happy. The abundance of nature is really obvious, and a major factor in my inspiration for decorating it was the idea of bringing the outside inside. Nature is impossible to replicate faithfully, but I like to try. For my Everything jewellery pieces, I remember lying on the lawn in the garden, plucking a blade of grass and wrapping it around my finger – and that’s how the Blade Suite emerged as an idea. While the house is purely for fun, I also wanted it to work all year round, so it feels cosy during the winter, yet fresh and open in summer. Really, it’s about entertaining, lazing around, cooking and hibernating, although we can’t resist going to At The Chapel restaurant. It’s the social hub of Bruton and where we bump into all our local friends.’ 

PHOTOGRAPHS: RACHAEL SMITH

SOL ANGE AZAGURY-PARTRIDGE IN SOMERSET


Chlorophyll earrings in rubies, emeralds, lacquer and blackened gold, ÂŁ17,200, Solange Azagury-Partridge (as before)

Blade earrings in diamond, gold and enamel, ÂŁ7,000, Solange AzaguryPartridge (as before)

December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 67


Flapper earrings in white gold and diamonds, POA, from the Paris est une Fête High Jewellery collection, Messika (messika. com). Right, the designer in her Chartres home

VALERIE MESSIKA IN CHARTRES, FRANCE Swinging Paris necklace in white gold and diamonds, POA, from the Paris est une Fête High Jewellery collection, Messika (as before)

PHOTOGRAPHS: XAVIER BEJOT FOR VOGUE RUSSIA

WHERE ‘As it’s only about an hour from Paris, this place is really easy to escape to for the weekend. We often drive down on a Friday after the children have had their supper and are in their pyjamas. It’s a 19th-century farmhouse with a small mill; it’s not a château, but you can tell from the stone and beautiful ironwork that it was built for quite a wealthy family. The landscape is very flat and the views are of nothing but fields and forest. You really feel as if you’re in the middle of nowhere.’ THE CONCEPT ‘My father bought the property in 1995 but we only renovated it last year. It took nine months. As my home in Paris is very contemporary, I wanted a more relaxed feel here, so it’s a mixture of modernity and comfort. I was inspired by the English style of decorating – that perfect mix of old and new – and it was important to keep most of the original features, including the metal balustrade up the stairs and the black-and-white floor in the living room, which is the soul of the house. We also knocked down a few walls and made some of the windows bigger – as a jewellery designer, light is very important to me.’ THE REALITY ‘The reason we come here is to switch off from life in Paris. We have a coop of chickens and my children love going to collect the eggs. We also have a pair of peacocks, which they love looking for in the woods. And a horse, so we’ll go and feed him, or wander over to the kitchen garden and pick vegetables for lunch. Life is very simple, but for the kids it’s a big adventure. Usually we’re down here with friends or family, and we often all bring food so we don’t even have to leave the house to go shopping. Creatively it refreshes my mind; I can totally relax – it was here that I found the time to read Hemingway’s Paris est une Fête (A Moveable Feast), which gave me the idea for my latest high-jewellery collection. And then I named it after the book. When I spend weekends at home in Paris the days just go so fast, but here? I feel the time passes slowly, and for me that’s everything.’

December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 69


BUCKLE UP WELL-OILED TIMEPIECES ARE PUSHING PEDALS TO THE METAL WORDS BY ROBIN SWITHINBANK. PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATO WELTON. ART DIRECTION BY PAULA ELLIS AND PETE WINTERBOTTOM. STYLED BY JESSICA DIAMOND

70 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


This page, from top: Techframe Ferrari 70 Years Tourbillon Chronograph in carbon with rubber strap, £114,000, Hublot (hublot.com). Breitling for Bentley Supersports B55 in titanium with Bentley rubber strap, £6,910, Breitling (breitling.com). Opposite, from top: Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition in stainless steel with rubber strap, £5,520, Chopard (chopard.co.uk). Night Vision Chronograph in steel with rubber strap, £755, Victorinox (victorinox.com). Daytona in stainless steel, £9,100, Rolex (rolex.com)


From top: Speedmaster Racing Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer, £6,240, Omega (omegawatches.com). Rambler 600 in titanium, £1,295, Shinola (shinola.co.uk). Monobloc Actuator GMT-Chronotimer in titanium, £4,850, Porsche Design (porsche-design.com)


T

behind the link between watches and cars, most of them indisputable. Here’s a universal favourite: the mechanics of a car engine and those of a watch bear easy comparison, and attract similar minds. Or this little aphorism: the fluid lines of a beautiful motorcar mirror those of a perfectly proportioned timepiece. Add parallels of practicality, personal expression, historic significance and, inevitably, timekeeping: and what other conclusion is there but that car and watch make natural bedfellows? But it occurs to me the symmetry is deeper than this. As with a car, a mechanical watch, whether one aimed at drivers or not, requires human control before it becomes useful, or even meaningful: who else would adjust it, wind it, set it running? There is great satisfaction in that process. Or at least, there is to those with a mind for engineering and aesthetics, and an awareness of the relationship between our brains, fingertips and the physical world around us – which I’d argue is most people. And it’s that tangible connection which strikes at the heart of the continued success of the otherwise anachronistic mechanicalwatch industry, and explains why progressive-technology types pushing an autonomous future are viewed with such suspicion by those of us keen to protect that connection. It’s long been my view that in the future we’ll pay a premium for a car we still control ourselves (if not at the point of purchase, then certainly to the insurer), just as we now pay more for a watch with technology devised in the 17th century than we do for one that talks to robots. Consumers are enthralled by the pairing of watches and cars, and have been for generations. Those watch houses that first linked their brands to automotive marques are now household names, with Rolex, Omega and TAG Heuer at the head of the pack. The HERE ARE MANY THEORIES

relationship with Ferrari which made it one of the first brands in Formula 1. Rindt – who in 1970 became the only posthumous world champion in the sport’s history – wore an Autavia that formed the basis for a relaunched chronograph earlier this year. TAG Heuer is still associated with Formula 1, as sponsor to the edgy Red Bull team of young talent. ‘It gives the brand a very strong credibility,’ says Jean-Claude Biver, the company’s CEO. ‘For accuracy, for technology, for performance and for innovation. All these qualities create and shape a strong perception and image of TAG Heuer.’ Hublot – founded in 1980, but reborn as a technical obsessive in 2005 – has followed a similar path. It now collaborates with Ferrari, using it as a springboard for a raft of highly technical pieces, including this year’s Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph series, launched to coincide with the Prancing Horse’s 70th anniversary. The watch’s architecture is dominated by its skeletonised case, which brandishes strut-like pillars with the brand’s signature lack of restraint, and comes in either titanium, Hublot’s reddish King Gold, or Peek carbon fibre. Only 70 of each will be made. Even brands whose stock-in-trade isn’t automotive watches are cashing in on the power of the car-watch link. Bremont, a pilots’watch manufacturer, first paired up with Jaguar a few years back, taking the dashboard instrument-panel designs of the Sixties E-Type as inspiration for the dials of all three Bremont Jaguar models now in production. ‘Our clients appreciate the organic nature of these partnerships,’ says Giles English, Bremont’s co-founder. ‘It helps that we’re working with Jaguar, a great British company.’ With its chronograph – the first complication designed for a motor-sport

WITH THANKS TO: DOUG PALMER AT VINTAGEAUTOMOBILIA.CO.UK; DAVE FIRTH AT F MOTO

As with a car, a mechanical watch requires human control before it becomes useful, or even meaningful trio are inextricably linked with cars and motor sport, and in many cases with lodestar drivers, teams, venues and events. Think of Omega’s Speedmaster, introduced 60 years ago this year and bait for a generation of young, successful men transfixed by the exploits of Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and other racing drivers. The Speedy went to the Moon and will forever be associated with NASA’s lunar missions, but its original destiny was to serve as a sports chronograph, hence the tachymeter printed onto the bezel – a device for calculating speed that’s largely redundant in our computerised age, but carries with it the promise of simpler days, and a first in watchmaking at the time. The new Omega Speedmaster Racing Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer, with its retro orange accents, inherits that mantle. Or think of the Rolex Daytona, named after Florida’s famous speedway and worn by generations of racing giants, including Sir Jackie Stewart and Paul Newman. The latter inspired a nickname for a particular Daytona dial design first seen in the late 1960s that has since become one of the world’s most valuable and collectable vintage wristwatches. Among the current Daytona line-up is a stainless-steel piece with a black-and-white dial and a blackceramic bezel. It too is now one of the hardest watches to come by: waiting lists are said to be years, and already resale values are almost double the retail price. But arguably, the king among motor-sport watch brands is TAG Heuer. In the late 1960s, before the TAG prefix was added, Heuer entered Formula 1 both as timekeeper and as unofficial supplier of watches to many of the most evocative names of the era, from Jo Siffert to Jochen Rindt. The brand also developed a

watch – and dial mirroring the E-Type’s dashboard layout, the Bremont Jaguar MKII feels the purest of the breed. Trading on motor-sport connections is profitable too. Baume & Mercier reignited its Shelby Cobra range again this year, calling on Peter Brock – the original 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe’s designer – as a consultant on the development of the new Clifton Club Shelby Cobra. Despite the fact that there’s no historic connection between the companies, the new piece, like the models that preceded it, has quickly proved one of the most successful designs produced by Baume & Mercier in recent memory. Associations between watches and cars are so beneficial that we’re reaching a point where the number of companies without a watch designed with a car marque might just be outnumbered by those that do. Roger Dubuis? Made a set of watches with straps moulded using rubber from race-winning Pirelli tyres. Zenith? Its Range Rover collection grew over the summer with the launch of the Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition. Montblanc? This year’s Timewalker line is entirely focused around motoring. Chopard? Twenty-nine years sponsoring the Mille Miglia and counting. The rapidly expanding Tudor? Well, it might not have a specific connection, but let’s face it: this year’s Heritage Black Bay Chronograph is aimed squarely at the same audience and, some would say, benefits from the absence of automotive badging. Patek Philippe? The watchmaker’s watchmaker has yet to find the need to align itself to any spheres of reference beyond innovation, design and craftsmanship. And thank goodness: what a car crash it would be if every Swiss watch brand followed the same road map. December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 73


This page, from left: Jaguar MKII in stainless steel with leather strap, £5,195, Bremont (bremont.com). Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964 Limited Edition in stainless steel with leather strap, £3,600, Baume & Mercier (baume-et-mercier.co.uk). Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono £3,610 in stainless steel with denim strap, £3,610, Tudor (tudorwatch.com). Opposite, clockwise from top left: Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover in ceramicised aluminium with leather strap, £7,200, Zenith (zenith-watches.com). Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC in black DLC-coated stainless steel with leather strap, £4,290, Montblanc (montblanc.com). Flyback Chronograph with Annual Calendar in white gold with leather strap, £50,350, Patek Philippe (patek.com). Autavia in stainless steel with brown opaline dial and leather strap, £4,050, TAG Heuer (tagheuer.co.uk) 74 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES THE WORLDWIDE PLACES THAT SPARKED THE SEASONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S MOST HEAD-TURNING PIECES

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AUBAZINE abbey It’s hard to imagine that any orphanage at the end of the 19th century would be a particularly happy place. And it’s impossible to guess how a 12-year-old Gabrielle Chanel felt during the six years it’s thought she spent at the children’s home in Aubazine, a small village in France’s central Auvergne region. But it is known that the design of the abbeyturned-boarding school made a huge impression on the young Coco, with its austere, geometric architecture devoid of any unnecessary ornament, colour or art. And if this monochrome sobriety sounds familiar, it is, of course, the backbone of the Chanel aesthetic – known for an obsession with black and white, and masculine tailoring. Chanel took specific elements from Aubazine and later incorporated them into her La Pausa villa in the South of France, a holiday retreat on the seafront in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin that she designed from scratch. Recently reacquired by the maison, it has monastic proportions and a minimal palette which were made very much with Aubazine in mind. It was an unexpectedly modern vision at the time – and still is – in contrast to the traditional Provençal houses. This year’s Mademoiselle Privé watch, the annual limited-edition collection that aims to unlock the most special and private of Chanel’s inspirations, looks to the strikingly geometric pattern of the stained-glass window at Aubazine, only now with the Mademoiselle individual panes made of bespoke cut diamonds and the lead rendered in black-rhodiumPrivé watch in plated gold thread. And if any proof were needed that the young are impressionable and that white gold and good design endures, the watch confirms just this – with the unusual pattern first seen diamonds, POA, through the eyes of an orphaned young girl now adorning a timepiece 120 years later. JD Chanel Watches (chanel.com)

PHOTOGRAPHS: HERVE CHAMPOLLION/AKG IMAGES; OFFSET; ROGER SCHALL/COLLECTION SCHALL

CENTRAL PARK Such is the popularity of the annual colour show in New York’s Central Park as autumn closes in and the leaves turn that the army of workers who tend to the 843 acres have produced a fall foliage map. No excuses then for missing the best vantage points to see the bronze, scarlet, orange and yellows of the sugar maples, black cherries and pin oaks. Chaumet’s latest high-jewellery collection riffs on these gorgeously rich russet colours with earrings made of two pear-shaped imperial topaz of more than five carats each, rendered to resemble falling leaves that sweep flatteringly around the lobes. JD Rhapsodie Transatlantique earrings in white and yellow gold, imperial topaz, Umba garnets and diamonds, POA, Chaumet (chaumet.com)

December 2017 Watch & Jewellery Special 77


the statue of liberty Remember the heady days when it was two dollars to the pound and a trip to NYC meant only one thing – shopping? For Levi’s, Nike trainers and anything from Gap, all followed by a quick whizz around the Guggenheim corkscrew, a jaunt on the Staten Island ferry and a salt-beef sandwich the size of your head. Now, due to globalisation, authentic momentos from New York City are hard to come by. So, thank goodness for Swatch; as the maker of plastic watches, it is able to duck and dive, avoiding mass exposure while producing limited-edition fun pieces such as this remarkably reliable time-teller, emblazoned with stars and stripes and the Statue of Liberty, and only available to buy in New York. The current leader of the free world might put you off such patriotic wrist candy. Our advice? Keep it in a drawer for less volatile times. JD She Rocks quartz watch, about £50, Swatch (swatch.com)

Palio di Siena High Jewellery necklace, POA, from the Festa collection, Bulgari (bulgari.com)

78 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


PHOTOGRAPHS: OWEN FRANKEN/IMAGEBRIEF.COM; DAN LOH/PA

PALIO DI SIENA It only takes 90 seconds for the horses to race three times around the town square of Siena during the twice-yearly Palio. But the rivalry between all 17 contrade (city wards) is so intense that preparations for the next season’s race begin almost as soon as the clattering hooves have completed their final lap. ‘E Palio tutto l’anno!’ or ‘It is Palio all year long!’ shout the locals, about a tradition that has run since 1200 and taps into the Italian love of ceremony, civic pride and celebration. Using the Palio as a source of inspiration for Bulgari’s latest high-jewellery collection, which is themed entirely around the festa or party, was an easy decision for the brand’s creative director Lucia Silvestri. ‘It’s the most important of all our country’s celebrations, while also being its most vibrant,’ she says. ‘I was fascinated by the colours of the contrade, which leant themselves perfectly to the creation of a necklace composed of each of the 17 flags.’ Close collaboration between Bulgari and Siena’s official Palio committee was crucial to ensure a faithful representation of each symbol. ‘It was incredibly challenging to make while staying true to the tones and shapes of each flag,’ says Silvestri, ‘all the gemstones, including malachite, lapis, onyx and coral, were individually sourced and cut by hand, one by one, like a mosaic. But the end result is an extraordinary piece of art and craftsmanship.’ And the perfect pairing for this one-off necklace? A one-off diamond-and-ruby brooch in the shape of a horse’s head. JD

Cavallo High Jewellery brooch in white gold, rubies and diamonds, POA, Bulgari (as before)


Spessartite Garnet Orangery bracelet, POA, Dior Joaillerie (dior.com)

Paraiba Tourmaline Girandole Grove ring, POA, Dior Joaillerie (as before)

the gardens at VERSAILLES Marie Antoinette was said to adore her private residence in the grounds of Versailles so much that she rarely left. And the palace had a similar allure for Dior’s creative director of fine jewellery, Victoire de Castellane. Last year’s high-jewellery collection was inspired by its elaborate interiors, and this year’s focuses on the botanical gardens created by André Le Nôtre in the 17th century. Dior à Versailles: Côté Jardins is a typically vibrant ode to the gardens in bloom. Gemstones in every shape and hue depict the flowers that spill over onto manicured lawns, their organic exuberance contrasting with the ordered geometry of this most archetypal jardin à la française. In the Rubellite Orangery ring, swirls of channel-set emeralds surround an 8.44-carat rubellite, echoing the immaculate turf patterns and ornamental lake in the building’s parterre. A mix of diamonds, paraiba tourmalines and multicoloured sapphires sprout as delicate petals, with leaves of carved emerald. ‘Each one has been composed like an Impressionist painting,’ says de Castellane. ‘The colours of the stones were chosen to reproduce the most varied flowers possible, from barely blossoming buds to flowers in full bloom.’ An array of species border ponds of black opal and paraiba tourmaline in spectacular cocktail rings, while the gardens’ wrought-iron railings appear as black lacquer in mismatching earrings that de Castellane describes, not as pairs, but ‘couples telling one and the same tale’. Elsewhere, she uses carved rock crystal to depict both the shell sculptures that adorn fountains and the water frothing within them. It takes immense skill to make such a frenzy of shapes and materials work together, and de Castellane is no stranger to pushing her atelier to its limits. At either end of the Spessartite Garnet Orangery bracelet there’s a grove of emeralds, the result of a complex new setting technique which sees the stones held together without metal. ‘I hate being bored – I find it makes me unhappy,’ says the designer. In these abundant bejewelled gardens, there’s no shortage of beauty to keep her entertained. SARAH ROYCE-GREENSILL 80 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

Paraiba Tourmaline Queen’s Hamlet ring, POA, Dior Joaillerie (as before)


rome’s MICRO-MOSAICS Miniaturisation is what watchmaking is all about. What started as the grandfather clock soon shrunk to the carriage clock, before slipping into the pocket, and finally ending up on the wrist. Piaget has taken the concept one step further, using the dial as a mini area of creativity for the métiers d’art craft of micro-mosaic, invented in Rome in the 16th century. The Swiss brand turned to mosaic specialist Cesare Bella (he also assists the Vatican in the preservation and restoration of its micro-mosaic collection) to portray a sprig of bougainvillaea, with each individual tile applied by hand in a process that took two months. ‘While it’s possible to buy strips of coloured glass,’ says Bella, ‘it doesn’t give me the variety of tones I need, so I heat the material to 800°C before stretching and mixing it like paint while it’s still molten.’ Once cooled, the stretched glass is then cut and filed into tiny squares using equally tiny instruments, before they are stuck down with a specially developed glue. ‘It’s my own Paper Flower secret recipe,’ says Bella, ‘which I leave on my Sunlight Journey balcony for a year so it matures.’ The end result watch in white is an image that, on first glance, looks like a gold, diamonds painting, so fine are the individual tiles; it’s and micro-mosaics, a surprise then to learn that each watch has no POA, Piaget less than 2,000 of them. JD (piaget.com)

PHOTOGRAPHS: KYLE FROMAN PHOTOGRAPHY ‘RED SEATS’ 2008; 2017 DIGITAL GLOBE, INC/ EUROPEAN SPACE IMAGING; PABLO REINSCH/500PX

broadway When a small, heritage New York jeweller gets taken over by a massive, multi-faceted Swiss watch company, things can go one of two ways. House signatures can become homogenised and design focus can become blurred. Or, as in the case of Harry Winston and the Swatch Group, a sizeable funding injection can act like a giant welcoming handshake and a creative enabler. You know that a jeweller is ticking along very nicely thank you when it starts producing one-off objets – not even pieces of jewellery, but jewelled objects that are usually a gamble, albeit a beautiful one. Last year saw a black clutch minaudière with a concealed clock in the clasp, the inky sides lined in diamonds as if viewing Manhattan’s night-time avenues from above. This year there is a pair of opera glasses in white gold, titanium and onyx, a perfect expression of the New York Art Deco scene so crucial to Harry Winston’s roots in the city in the 1930s. Encrusted with emeralds and more than 25 carats of diamonds, and with a small watch dial for discreet time checking, the glasses have a reassuring weight about them; although if you’re lucky enough to add them to your collection, you probably have someone to hold them for you while you catch the latest Broadway show. JD Broadway glasses in white gold, titanium, onyx, diamonds and emeralds, POA, Harry Winston (harrywinston.com)


the FRENCH OPEN Who knew Nutella came in 3kg buckets? While Wimbledon is all about strawberries and cream, at RolandGarros the snack of choice are chocolate-spread crêpes, with portable stands wafting their buttery, sweet scent around the ground. And if Wimbledon is also all about the lawn – a perfect checkerboard of trimmed green – the French Open is characterised by the orange clay, revered to the point that tiny glass bottles of the terracotta dust can be bought in the souvenir shops. Swiss watchmaker Longines, whose sporting associations date back to 1878, has sponsored the championship since 2007 and to celebrate it has launched the Conquest 1/100th, a chronograph that can measure 1/100th of a second, powered by a new quartz movement. But it’s the touches of orange on the dial that best reflect this anniversary, coloured in tribute to the clay, or terre battue as the locals call it. JD

Roland Garros 1/100th in stainless steel, £1,090, Longines (longines.com)

It’s hard to present yourself as a credible watch brand if you don’t mention Switzerland. Tiffany & Co’s watch division, which first started in 1847, gets around this by stating dual nationality. ‘We’re half Swiss, half American’, says Nicola Andreatta, VP and general manager of timepieces. And its new Metro collection certainly has a flavour of both, with Swiss-ness in spades from beautifully enamelled dials and credible movements. The New York DNA is no less hidden; the metal bracelet on some models is derived from a cuff from Tiffany’s 1990 Blue Book high-jewellery collection, the case shape is inspired by a pocket watch from the 1930s, and the name Metro is an apt reflection of Metro 34mm the energy of the sky-high metropolis. in stainless Every watch in the collection steel, £5,575, contains diamonds, either on the Tiffany & Co bezel, dial, or on every crown. As (tiffany.co.uk) Andreatta puts it, ‘with Metro we’re mixing our world as a jeweller and our history as a watchmaker.’ JD 82 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017

PHOTOGRAPHS: BILL FRAKES/IMAGEBRIEF.COM; FRED LEBAIN/MILLENIUM IMAGES

Manhattan


If the military depend on them, you can. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not enough to make a timepiece that looks rugged. It actually has to be rugged. Fit for purpose. However tough that purpose might be. Our military watches are developed in cooperation with, among others, US Navy squadrons and leading ejection seat manufacturer Martin-Baker. Like all Bremont timepieces, this new Airco Mach 1 is tested and certified by none other than COSC, the official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute and is hand-built on British shores, at our headquarters in Henley-on-Thames.

British Engineering. Tested Beyond Endurance.


GAME CHANGERS DESIGNERS ARE BREAKING THE MOULD AND DABBLING WITH DELICIOUS THINGS CHEESE BY JEAN-CLAUDE BIVER OF TAG AND HUBLOT Watches and cheese: could the two be more Swiss? Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and Hublot, may have a deep-rooted love of all things horological, but he also has a passion for cheese, specifically the five tonnes he produces on his farm in the Alps. Distribution is niche and limited, so only his closest family and friends receive the stuff, but he has also been known to crack open a wheel during important product launches. As he says, ‘I will be master of my cheese until the last piece.’

CHAMPAGNE BY CARTIER During the Cartier Queen’s Cup polo tournament at Windsor Great Park this year, it reached a balmy 37ºC. To prevent melting in the heat, assembled guests were offered a seemingly endless supply of well-chilled Cartier Champagne, the Parisian jewellers drink of choice at all events it hosts. Not only does the crisp, cuvée brut taste great, but the crystal-cut bottle it’s contained in is faceted as beautifully as one of its pieces of jewellery.

CAKE MIX BY NOMOS GLASHUTTE The Germans love a bit of cake, whether it’s stollen, kuchen, gugelhupf or buchtel. So how suitable, then, that German watchmaker NOMOS Glashütte should celebrate the 25-year anniversary of four of its classic designs – the Tangente, Orion, Ludwig and Tetra – by creating its own cake mix and sending it to clients. Icing your cake to look like a watch is optional.

MACARONS BY SOLANGE AZAGURY-PARTRIDGE If any jeweller is going to collaborate with Ladurée, it would have to be Solange A-P; her signature colourful gems often look good enough to eat. The pairing has resulted in a curation of eight macarons, including one chocolate-and-marmalade Solangette, a nod to her favourite orangette treat of chocolatecovered orange peel. As all jewellers know, packaging is everything, and the rainbow-tone and shape of the box is a real triumph. JD £22 for a box of eight. laduree.com

84 Watch & Jewellery Special December 2017


WENDY B., CRAIG S., JOHNNIE C.

CAROLYN S.

HANDCRAFTED GOODS FROM DETROIT, BUILT TO LAST.

28 FOUBERT ’S PL ACE SOHO, LONDON , W1F 7PR DE TROIT • NE W YORK • CHICAGO • LONDON WAS HINGTON DC • LOS A NGELES • S A N FR A NCIS CO SHINOL A .CO.UK

ALEX S. CLINT J.

S HINOL A P RODUCTS A RE BUILT BY H A ND IN A MERICA W ITH U. S . OR IMP ORTED PA RTS .


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