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GALLERY ARGAN: Qurum Shopping Area, Al-Bustan Palace, Bareeq Al Shati Soon at Shangr-la-Barr-Al-Jissah, Muscat Grand Mall PRIMA GOLD: Muscat City Centre, Qurum City Centre, Bareeq Al Shati

GALLERY ARGAN: Qurum Shopping Area, Al-Bustan Palace, Bareeq Al Shati Soon at Shangr-la-Barr-Al-Jissah, Muscat Grand Mall PRIMA GOLD: Muscat City Centre, Qurum City Centre, Bareeq Al Shati


GALLERY ARGAN: Qurum Shopping Area, Al-Bustan Palace, Bareeq Al Shati Soon at Shangr-la-Barr-Al-Jissah, Muscat Grand Mall PRIMA GOLD: Muscat City Centre, Qurum City Centre, Bareeq Al Shati



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Platinum Club


TRAILBLAZER Cruise holidays have become a preferred vacation choice for many discerning travellers. A look at the best names from the luxury cruise industry



ADVERTORIAL Talented violinist Sophia Al Busaidy talks about her passion and her musical career. She was chosen by NBO as one of the top women achievers to feature in their 2010 desktop calendar

VIEW BMW 5 Series remains one of the German luxury auto makers top selling brands. A walk down history since the launch of the first of the models to the force that it is today


BIKES Harley-Davidson has expanded its youth-focused Dark Custom line with a daring new addition-the Sportster Forty-Eight. The bike boasts of a radical new stylish approach to its design and features a multitude of blacked out components

Art and Design





REAL ESTATE With prices still to jump back to pre-economic gloom days, there are many great destinations where a vacation home or a second home can be bought. Here’s our pick…

CANVAS A passionate artist, Alia Al Farsi has been one of he major players of the Omani art scene. Her love for art has taken her beyond boundaries and yet she remains grounded IMPRESSIONS Jebel Sifah showcases a striking balance between modern architecture and traditional surroundings, a reputable and prestigious project by the Muriya Tourism Development of Oman is now few months away from its completion


Gourmet & Hospitality



DRIVE The second generation Porsche Cayenne is undoubtedly bears a the DNA that the sports car manufacturer is renowned for. A fascinating ride ensures that this one automotive that is serious about motoring



Finance and Investment

ASSET Investing in Timeshares enjoyed great popularity till 2008, following which the economic crisis dampened many an investor. But now timeshares are again back on the radar and this could be a great time to look at this investment option


July 2010

AMBROSIA Preferred diet of the France’s King Louis XIV, white asparagus is more exclusive and appetising than the more easily available green variety. This delicacy from Bassano is mostly found in the European region



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Travel and Lifestyle


REVIEW Sultanah offers an enticing range of fine dining cuisine along with a captivating ambience that will make every connoisseur’s culinary journey unique and memorable


DESTINATION A visit to the city of ‘Scots’ where culture, tradition and historic places are the major highlights. Scotland is known to be one of the most scenic countries in the world, from rugged mountains to awesome coastal scenery, this destination is a haven for tourists


ESCAPE Get away from the heat as hotels in Oman offer some great deals this summer. The choices could very well provide you with the holiday boost you yearn for


LOUNGE The Shack by WM Paul Young and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein are New York Bestsellers and should not be missed by readers who enjoy thrill, suspense and humour at the same time

LAUNCH A fascinating journey that revolves around the library has been undertaken by Creative Director of Amouage, Christopher Chong. The result is the luxury perfume house’s new range of fragrances - Library Collection SHOWCASE Based on aesthetic design, functionality and finesse, the British brand, Graham London creates a set of evocative wrist machines that are unique and irresistible


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SIMPLY MUSTS A selection of the finest buys for connoisseurs of


I, ME, MYSELF A chat with Krupa Khimji, Business Development - Arsenal Schools, Oman

Style and Beauty


FASHION Savile Row is renowned for legendary British tailoring. Ray Stowers, one of the popular tailoring houses on Savile Row, are particular about offering true English tailoring

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Reflections Spending on passions… A report by Reuters last month showed that the rich increased their expenditure on passion investments in 2009, despite the global economy struggle. Many of the world’s millionaires indulged in their passions that include art, luxury cars, yachts and jewellery. In the Middle East, money was has been increasingly spend on gems, jewellery and watches. Yet another passion that is predominant among the wealthy is travelling. Although the travel industry was hit in many pockets of the world, the truly passionate continued to explore and go beyond boundaries. Cruising, in particular, has received renewed interest among the well-heeled. Cruise lines realising this interest has over the past one year come up with irresistible and amazing packages for the discerning traveller. In our Cover Story we pay tribute to the world of luxury cruising - we list the top players in the industry. Each cruise line has been selected based on their history, service, facilities and popularity. Your next holiday could very well be planned to be on one of these marvelous cruises. Real estate is gradually regaining some of its lost ground and if you are looking to buy a holiday or second home, we have listed some of the most preferred destinations to choose from. And if you are going to be in Oman during the hot months, then do take a look at the fantastic options being offered by hotels here to getaway from the heat. This is a glorious month for Oman as everyone rejoices in the 40th year of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said’s accession to the throne. All of us at Crème de la Crème would like to wish the visionary ruler and the people of this beautiful nation a prosperous year. That’s it from my desk. I hope you enjoy the July issue of Crème de la Crème. Do let us know your comments; every mail that pops into our inbox is valuable. Here’s to a lovely month ahead!



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Suite 20-21, Assarain House, Greater Muttrah, Muscat PO Box 2058, Ruwi, PC 112, Sultanate of Oman Tel.: +968 24789680, Fax: +968 24751019 Advertising & Sales Enquiries: +968 99822501 Subscriptions: +968 96781712 E-mail:



July 2010 Vol - II Issue - 20










Web Design D. SHERWIN

International Correspondent VAILIA FERNANDES







All rights reserved. No part of Crème de la Crème or any part of the contents there of may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. The publishers regret they cannot accept liability for errors or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers


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Platinum Club

Trailblazer w Advertorial July 2010


Platinum Club


with the Best Cruise vacations are on the rise and with so many operators on the horizon finding the best can be tough. Here is a list of the topmost who ranked for their service, comfort and luxury ď ŽScript: Ashok Kumar


July 2010


or a holiday that spells luxury, refinement and splendour, a cruise is probably the best option. From cruises that offer the regal and majestic experiences to freestyle cruising, this is one spectrum from the luxury leisure segment that has gained popularity, even during hard hit times. Cruising appeals to a wide range of tastes, lifestyles, budgets and interests. Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes, catering to few hundreds guests to over 3000 guests. With such a wide range of options, it is important to learn what you are looking for in a cruise vacation and what kinds of activities you will enjoy. Here’s a pick of the cream of luxury cruises;

these are the best in the industry and the preferred choices of travel connoisseurs. The family cruise - Disney Cruise Line If you are looking for a great time with your family, then the Disney Cruise Line would be the perfect choice. With spacious staterooms, original Disney entertainment and activities, exotic ports and extraordinary onshore excursions, there’s something for everyone on Disney Cruise Line. Disney ships cater to adults just as much as they amuse kids. The ships offer amenities and activities which let adults, families; teens and children play together as well as separately, creating magical memories that last a lifetime. A Disney cruise offers the whole family something to look forward to - relaxing ‘me time for the adults and fun for the kids. Both parents and kids are guaranteed a great time aboard the Disney cruise line. Broadway-calibre Disney musicals, firstrun Disney Digital 3-D movies and exciting live performances are only some of the entertainment options available on a Disney cruise. The family comes together for unique themed celebrations on deck, including the only fireworks spectacular at sea.

A special attraction of Disney cruise line is the Castaway Cay, a port-of-call paradise on Disney Cruise Line Bahamian and Caribbean cruise vacations. Here guests are treated to snorkelling, boating, swimming and old-fashioned sunbathing options. Disney Cruise Line offers regular schedules to Bahamas and Caribbean from its home port in Port Canaveral, Florida. During summer, Disney sails in European waters and beginning 2011, will offer cruises to Alaska. Relax and rejuvenate - Princess Cruises Those who want to get away from their hectic lifestyles would rejoice on board Princess Cruises. The cruise line offers everything required for a relaxed, rejuvenating retreat, including a comfortably elegant onboard atmosphere, a wide variety of freshly prepared cuisine, and intriguing activities to suit any style and mood. To top it, guests are treated to warm, welcoming service from an onboard crew dedicated to anticipating every need. Guests can choose from a different adventure aboard a Princess cruise ship everyday, where luxury and service combine to create the perfect place to play. Whether you’re on the putting

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green, in the casino or taking a dip in the pool, you’re bound to find fun around every corner. There’s even a Kids Club and video arcade for our younger guests. At night, Princess Cruise offers fine dining, live music and dancing, and dazzling stage shows. The most recognized cruise line in the world was catapulted to stardom in 1977 when Pacific Princess was featured in a television show called The Love Boat. The weekly series introduced millions of viewers to cruise vacation. Princess offers concept of putting passengers in control of their own cruise experience. Personal Choice Cruising offers passengers the freedom to choose from a wide range of flexible onboard facilities, amenities and services in order to create a personal vacation experience to suit their own needs and preferences. Ships in the Princess fleet are specifically designed to provide the ultimate in affordable luxury, with an


July 2010

emphasis on “big ship choice with small ship feel.” Public spaces are designed to feel intimate and are decorated in a contemporary style, allowing passengers to enjoy themselves in an informal, relaxed onboard atmosphere. Princess’ fleet offers one of the highest percentages of balcony cabins in the industry. Princess offers “Personal Choice Dining”, a new approach to shipboard dining which enhances Princess’s trademark 24-hour restaurant choice with yet another option. Guests can dine where, when and with whom they want in their signature dining rooms. Princess is the only cruise line to give passengers both Traditional Fixed Seating and restaurant-style Anytime Dining. Whichever dining option you choose, you’ll enjoy the same delectable menus and follow the same dress code as in the dining rooms each night. Princess sails to some of the most beautiful and exotic destinations in the world. Princess is famous for their

An important questions arises is which cruise line is suitable for individual lifestyle and tastes. Very simple! Look at the hotel industry - you have an entry level, a premium and deluxe or luxury hotel

fabulous Caribbean Cruises, but even more popular for their Alaska and European Cruises. Princess covers the globe with hundreds of itineraries to Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America. Freestyle cruising - Norwegian Cruise Line Often referred to as the youngest fleet of cruise ships at sea, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is credited with introducing ‘Freestyle Cruising’. Imagine sailing on a world-class resort without boundaries. No need to hurry to breakfast or lunch. And you can spend the entire trip tiefree, unless you just want to wear one. With Freestyle Cruising, you can dine where you want, when you want, and with whomever you want. Choose from gourmet or ethnic cuisine, from a chocolate buffet or a White House presidential menu. With NCL’s Freestyle Cruising, the sky’s the limit. Norwegian Cruise Line is recommended for Firsttime cruisers and active travellers of all ages who want an all-around fun vacation. Middle-income travellers who like entertainment and recreational variety of a large ship - but not as large as a megaliner. NCL sails to over 200 ports

worldwide and offers popular schedules in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Greek Isles, Baltic, Alaska and Hawaii. It is the only cruise line to offer year-round sailings to Hawaiian islands. The grand experience - Crystal Cruises Founded in 1990, Crystal Cruises is one of the premier cruise lines in the world. The cruise line has amassed accolades and hospitality industry awards ever since its first vessel set sail. The cruise line offers guests grandeur of the past along with all the modern touches that today’s discerning passengers demand. Crystal Cruises are distinctive by their superior service, variety of dining options, spacious and comfortable accommodations, and some of the highest ratios of space per passenger of any cruise ship. The ship designs are based on the principles of Feng Shui with no detail being overlooked to provide passengers with the most exclusive experience. Crystal Cruises has the reputation of catering to the whims and fancies of their guests and as a result is extremely popular among the cruising crowd. Crystal Cruises offer a variety of programmes for their

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passengers, which are unique and interesting. Guests can participate in the hands-on Computer University@Sea, interactive Creative Learning Institute classes, or attend lectures featuring top experts in their fields: keyboard lessons with Yamaha, language classes by Berlitz, wellness lectures with the Cleveland Clinic, and an introduction to tai chi with the Tai Chi Cultural Center. Professional ACBL Bridge instructors are on every cruise, and dance instructors offer lessons in contemporary and social dance styles. A delightful daily event is afternoon tea in the Palm Court that is reminiscent of days bygone. Guests are greeted by staff members in 18th-century Viennese brocade and velvet costumes for Mozart Tea; traditional scones and clotted cream are served during English Colonial Tea; and American Tea is a summertime classic created by Crystal culinary artists. Crystal Cruise Line offers voyages to all the popular destinations as well as Middle East. The eclectic line - Regent Seven Seas Cruises Eclectic, exquisite and unique probably best describes Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The cruise line is renowned for maintaining its traditional tried-and-true formula — wonderful ships offering exquisite service, spacious staterooms with plenty of amenities, a plethora of dining options and amazing programmes formulated especially for the guests. Regent Seven Seas Cruises consider guests as priority and their staff is always at hand to attend to their needs. One of their highlights is the all-inclusive beverage policy that offers not only soft drinks and bottled water, but also select 40

July 2010

beverages at all their dining outlets throughout the ships. The cruises are destination-focused, and most sailings host guest lecturers—historians, anthropologists, naturalists, and diplomats. Spotlight cruises’s popular pastimes and themes include food, photography, history, archaeology, literature, performing arts, design and cultures, active exploration and health, antiques, jewellery and shopping, the environment, and marine life. Passengers find this extremely enriching and exciting; most discussions and workshops are led by celebrated experts. All passengers have access to these fantastic experiences on board and on shore. Regent Seven Seas Cruises offer activities and entertainment tailor-made for each of the line’s distinctive ships with the tastes of sophisticated passengers in mind. At the show lounges you can watch production revues, cabaret acts, concert-style piano performances, solo performers, and comedians, with combos playing for listening and dancing in lounges and bars throughout the ships. Regent Seven Seas offers memorable voyages to popular destinations all over the globe. Luxury at its best - Cunard Line If there is a cruise line that is considered a legend in the industry, then it is Cunard Line. For more than 160 years, Cunard ships have reigned the high seas and have worked to make the art of cruising indistinguishable from the art of living well. Aboard each five-star vessel, guests blend music and painting with cuisine and conversation, invigorating walks with reading and relaxation, explorations of historic

Regent Seven Seas Cruises offer activities and entertainment tailor-made for each of the line’s distinctive ships with the tastes of sophisticated passengers in mind

landmarks with the spectacle and purity of nature. This is the Cunard legacy: timeless elegance, incomparable service, intriguing destinations and, quite simply, a more cultured experience. Cunard understands that travelers who choose their luxury fleet for its unrivaled service and intriguing destinations also count on them to make their shipboard experience truly memorable with top-quality entertainment to suit every taste. After nearly two centuries in business, you will see there are hallmarks that are always found when you sail with the most famous ocean liners in the world: • World-wide itineraries to exotic ports of call • A regularly-scheduled transatlantic service • A highly-extensive onboard enrichment programme • The “ultimate” in pampering opportunities in the spa and salon

• Award winning dining and accommodation - Queens and Princess Grills awarded five stars in the 2005 Berlitz Guide to cruising and Cruise Ships. Cunard continues this celebration of style with Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and soon to join Queen Elizabeth proving once again, with Cunard, the journey may be even more magnificent that the destination. One of the joys of sailing with Cunard is the glamour of evenings at sea. The evening dining experience is definitely one of the highlights of a Cunard voyage. Attentive waiting staff will show you to your reserved table, with polished silver, crisp white damask and fascinating ocean view. Cunard cruises feature predominantly entertainment that has an English flavor with nightly production shows or cabaret-style performances and even plays starring Great Britain’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts alumni. Cunard Line introduced the first-ever shipboard planetarium that showcases high-tech presentations and virtual-reality shows which dramatize the origins of the universe and the history of the galaxies on a virtual ride through space. True to its heritage, Cunard has fine enrichment programmes. Classes differ by cruise and feature a great variety of topics taught by top designers, master chefs, and artists. On board Cunard line events like afternoon tea and the maritime tradition of sounding the ship’s bell at noon are highly anticipated by guests. Queen Mary 2 continues the tradition of North Atlantic crossings and seasonal short cruises. Queen Victoria sails in Northern Europe and offers Mediterranean voyages in the autumn. Queen Mary 2 and new Queen Elizabeth will be sailing through the Middle East in first quarter of 2011 as part of their world voyages. Personalisation rules - Silversea Cruises Silversea has always been committed to defining the ultra-luxury travel experience, exceeding expectations to achieve ‘World’s Best’ again and again. Their five elegant and intimate vessels deliver the ultimate all-inclusive holiday providing guests with the highest standards of accommodation and sublime service that is both refined and relaxed. With no more than 382 guests, Silversea places an accent on space with the ships averaging the highest ratio of space per guest of any fleet. Silversea’s all-suite accommodation allows guests to greet the world’s most desirable ports of call from their very own private veranda. Everything is included in their fare – exquisite à la carte dining, all onboard gratuities and even complimentary beverages throughout the ship. With open seating dining and fine cuisine in association with Relais & Châteaux, Silversea has set a new cruise industry standard in the ultra-luxury market by bridging the gap between the facilities of an ocean liner and the intimacy of small ship cruising. Silversea Cruises have indepth yet interesting programmes onboard all their vessels. Guest lecturers July 2010


CRUISING AT A GLANCE An important questions arises is which cruise line is suitable for individual lifestyle and tastes. Very simple! Look at the hotel industry - you have an entry level, a premium and deluxe or luxury hotel. However, unlike hotel industry, there is no grading system for cruise lines. CLIA and related industry organizations used to rate cruise lines in the past which cruise experts now use as a guideline. Generally, cruise lines can be categorized as: Contemporary / Resort Cruise Lines: This category of cruise vacation represents the equivalent of floating “Resorts at Sea.” Ships are of ample size with a vast array of activities and amenities including pools, health clubs, spas and a selection of dining options including dining rooms, casual restaurants, pizzerias and a variety of specialty themed restaurants. Evening entertainment includes “Broadway” or “Vegas” style productions or one can go dancing or just relax in one of many lounges. Generally relaxed attire with opportunities to dress more “formally” on select evenings. Programs for kids are extensive and segmented by age. Cruises lines in this category are Star Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruises, Costa Cruises. Premium Cruise Lines: An upscale experience that caters to all age groups and interests. A premium cruise product features all of the same shipboard amenities as a typical resort / contemporary cruise - spas, health clubs, pools, multiple dining options and restaurants, intimate lounges and incredible entertainment, age specific children’s programs and offers additional upscale features for discerning travelers. Ships are well appointed with a unique blend of itineraries and onboard amenities. Passengers to staff ratio is low and service is superb. Dining is upscale and well presented. Attire is more reserved or causal with certain dress requirements in the evening. Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America. Luxury Cruise Lines: Appeals to more sophisticated travelers who demand the finest quality. Ship size varies from small, intimate yacht like vessels to mid sized ships hosting 700 guests. Cruise ships offer services and amenities that rival the best resorts worldwide. The passengers to staff ratio is low, thus providing more refined personalized services! Most ships are suites only. Attire is more country-club during the day and upscale / elegant in the evening. One can expect a spacious environment, comfort, luxury, choice and unparalleled service.


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Ships in the Princess fleet are specifically designed to provide the ultimate in affordable luxury, with an emphasis on “big ship choice with small ship feel”

are featured on nearly every cruise; language, dance, and culinary lessons are part of the schedule of events. Silversea also features culinary arts cruises that feature awardwinning authors and acclaimed chefs from the world’s top restaurants. Almost 80 percent of the suites feature a furnished, private teak veranda. The cruise line is perfect for travellers who do not wish to indulge in set dining timetables and rules. There are no assigned dining times and no assigned tables. You can dine where you please, with who you choose. In-suite dining and 24-hour room service are all included in the price of the cruise. A formal dinner served course-by-course, a latenight snack, or a full breakfast delivered at your request comes at no extra charge. In fact, all onboard gratuities are included in the price of the cruise. Silversea Cruises live up to the European elegance and expertise the line promises. Silversea guests are typically affluent, educated and well-travelled with sophisticated tastes. They are looking for luxury, attention to detail, pampering & comfort. They rate value and experience over price. Ultra-luxury guests are interested in the experience and service levels and are less likely to shop around. The average age of a Silversea guest is 45-55 years Of course, this is an average and many younger guests thoroughly enjoy the Silversea experience. 40% of Silversea guests have never cruised before. They would typically have stayed at resorts and hotels such as The Four Seasons or One & Only Resorts. Once guests experience Silversea, they come back for more and more. Silversea sails to some of the world’s most vibrant and exotic destinations. The ships size means that they are able to visit ports inaccessible to larger vessels. In numerous ports, ships stay overnight offering the opportunity to fully explore, unhurried by the restrictions of time. Small ship luxury - Seabourn Cruise Seabourn was founded on the principle that dedication to personal service in elegant surroundings would appeal to sophisticated, independent-minded passengers whose

lifestyles demand the best. Lovingly maintained since their introduction in 1987 - and routinely updated with new features - the megayachts of Seabourn have proved to be a smashing success over the years. They remain favorites with people who can take care of themselves but would rather do so aboard a ship that caters to their individual preferences. Recognized as a leader in small-ship, luxury cruising, Seabourn delivers all the expected extras - complimentary wines and spirits, a stocked minibar in all suites, and elegant amenities. Expect the unexpected as well - from travel document portfolios and luggage tags by Tumi to the pleasure of a complimentary mini massage while lounging at the pool. If you don’t want to lift a finger, Seabourn will even arrange to have your luggage picked up at home and delivered directly to your suite - for a price. Best of all, each yacht offers all-suite accommodations, Seabourn’s signature water sports Marina, an open-bar policy serving premium wine, champagne and spirits, and menus by renowned celebrity chef, Charlie Palmer. Dining and evening socializing are generally more stimulating to Seabourn passengers than splashy song-anddance revues; however, proportionately scaled production shows and cabarets are presented in the main showroom and smaller lounge. Movies Under the Stars are shown on the wind-protected sun deck at least one evening on virtually all cruises as long as the weather permits. The

library stocks not only books, but also movies for those who prefer to watch them in the privacy of their suites - popcorn will naturally be delivered with a call to room service. The Dress Circle Series enrichment program features guest appearances by luminaries in the arts and world affairs. Due to the size of Seabourn ships, passengers have the opportunity to mingle with presenters and interact oneon-one. *Ashok Kumar is Director of Cruise Master Middle East FZC. Ashok has been associated with outbound cruises from the Middle East for nearly two decades now. Cruise Master is Preferred Business Partner of many cruise lines.

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Sound of music Sophia Al Busaidy, violinist with Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra and licentiate holder of the Royal College of Music, has been chosen by National Bank of Oman as a role model for women in the Sultanate. A chat with the talented musician…

Please tell us when you got interested in music. My parents tell me I loved music ever since I was a baby, but I guess there are very few babies who don’t like music. Anyway, they got me a small keyboard when I was about six, it was my favourite ‘toy’.

When did music become an integral part of your life? Ever since I became a member in the Orchestra. I am indeed very fortunate to be able to spend my time doing a job that I love.

Have you always been interested in the violin? Or have you played other instruments too? The violin was chosen for me as a suitable instrument when I joined Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra (ROSO). I also played the piano for a few years but I wasn’t very good. The violin is my life. And it is by far the best instrument created!

Are there more musicians in your family? Yes my Auntie is a Soprano teacher and my Grandmother used to play the piano.

Tell us about your education in music. I joined ROSO at the age of 10 and received the standard schooling. Then I had the privilege of undergoing further formal education in music followed by a Diploma and licentiate in violin performing from the Royal College of Music. I was also the first female in the region to complete grade 7 in Music Theory.


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Who has been your inspiration? I think the most inspiring people are actually not even musicians! My family. I

have always looked up to my parents and my siblings and inspired to be as successful as they are in their lives. My husband (who is also a musician) is my best critic and keeps me motivated to always better my playing. And lastly, Anne-Sophie Mutter; I wish I could be her. Please give us your thoughts on the NBO Dana cards. It really is a novelty to have a ladies card in Oman. Dana is a great product which is packed with value. Not only are you presented with a huge variety of offers but one also has the benefit of getting pearl points for every Rial one spends. In theory, NBO is rewarding the ladies for using the card

for everyday shopping like groceries, school fees, utility bills etc. The offers span over a whole range of items that a lady would need to keep her family and herself happy. NBO seems to have thought of everything to keep women of Oman smiling! On the health front there is a subsided insurance premium which covers women for all types of cancer and gives them another incentive to take care of their health. Women are the backbone of a family and it is important that women take care of themselves. With Dana Cards a lady can also visit the gym and use the facilities for free. So with all this value built into the card it makes perfect sense for all women to have a Dana card in their purse!

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Finance & Investment

Asset w Real Estate July 2010


Finance & Investment


The Timeshare I Game

Timeshares continue to be a popular investment option for many around the world. Besides offering the buyer a chance for personal use of the timeshare, it also is a feasible income generator ď ŽScript: Abhishek Agarwal nvesting in timeshares can be beneficial and a source of money for some people. It is also a very profitable investment for most people. But there is more to the story. Though some people reap the immense benefits that timeshares provide there are many others who have had their dreams crushed and lives turned into nightmares because they bought timeshares. Hence, timeshares should always be bought with a high level of caution and alertness. Before you sign the contract papers, make sure that you are aware of the risks and benefits involved. If appropriate safety measures are not taken, this money making venture could incur a huge loss. Do not forget to read the fine print before signing the contract.


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Timeshares are broadly divided into deeded plans and non-deeded contracts. In a deeded contract, a person buys the ownership of a real estate property or land. The property owner gets full rights to the property, including title and the property may be inherited by his heirs. But in a non-deeded plan, the person buy the license or lease or club membership that allows you to utilise the property for a particular number of years for a specified time each year. However, in both cases, the price of the unit depends on the season and time period for which the individual wishes to buy the property. The owner’s rights will expire when the lease becomes outdated, in the case of right-to-use timeshare. People tend to take sufficient care when they are making an important investment. This is applicable to timeshares also. You must ensure that you read each and every document carefully and thoroughly understand what you are gaining through the investment prior to signing of agreements and payment of fees. Taking professional advice is recommended when making large timeshare investments. You can take professional advice from your attorney or from your peers. Mentioned below is a list of things that people must consider carefully before buying a timeshare. 1. When you are planning to invest in a timeshare that comes from a resale company, check if they have a license. A simple way to do this is by noting the broker’s license number. You can use this number at the government offices that handles such transactions and find out the past of the broker. If you buy timeshares from non-licensed firms, your money is at a greater risk level, you would have too much at stake and the chances of a scam are higher. 2. Timeshares are used for personal competitive uses, and you must be fully aware that its resale may or may not give good returns. 3. If you are investing in a non-deed plan timeshare, you must be alert because you are likely to lose your privileges if the sponsor claims bankruptcy. 4. You must insist on a written assurance from the seller when you are investing in a property whose facilities are not completely installed. The undertaking must specify the time limit required for completion. 5. If the seller makes any claims or assumptions about the profits of a timeshare investment, question his statement thoroughly, because a timeshare’s future value is based on various factors. 6. Do not buy timeshares impulsively. Thoroughly study every paper that you have to sign. Spend enough time on research, analysis, and decision making before buying a timeshare. 7. Do not take oral promises or ones made on the phone, or even face-to-face. Ask the seller to give you everything in writing. 8. Check whether you have a guaranteed exchange programme. In certain cases, it is not. Investing in timeshares which does not give you an exchange facility is not of much use, because it lacks schedule flexibility.

The concept of timeshares actually originates from Europe, when the owner of a ski resort in the French Alps marketed his hotel as something that can be bought instead of rented. This innovative idea caught on and increased the hotel’s occupancy rate.  It wasn’t long till the rest of the world adopted the idea as well. Though most commonly used for condominiums and summer or winter homes, timeshares need not be limited to these things.  However, it has been used for other property as well, high end private jets being one of them.  For the purposes of this material, though, we refer to the former instead of the latter when mentioning timeshares. People who own timeshare properties lay claim to their property only during specific periods within the year.  The cost of owning or leasing any piece of property would largely depend on the time of the year that you would want to claim your timeshare.  For example, if you have a beach house in Florida, you would pay considerably more to spend your time there during the summer than during winter.  Different areas would have different costs depending on the popularity of the area during different seasons as well. Timeshare owners have a variety of options available to them.  They may use their time personally or they may rent out the time they own the property.  Timeshare owners may also give the time as a gift to family and friends.  Recent developments have allowed timeshare owners to exchange internally within the same resort or resort group.  This activity has even expanded to included exchanges between other timeshare resorts or groups. The possibilities and options vary widely depending on the company selling the timeshares.  Some companies offer timeshares by the week while others require longer periods of time.  If you are interested in purchasing timeshares, do your homework first and then look at the options that companies have to offer. Abhishek is an Internet Marketer. He is passionate about setting goals and achieving them. He is actionoriented and has a strong work ethic. He enjoys reading, writing, socialising, meeting people, and traveling. He is also fond of good Hollywood movies.

July 2010


Finance & Investment

Real Estate

With property prices remaining stable yet not sky high, it’s a good time to look around for a second or holiday home. A distinct choice of destinations provide buyers with a variety of options around the world Crème de la Crème Report


he real estate market might still seem shaky at certain but for those looking to buy a second or holiday home this might just be the optimum time. Not only does this become an investment for the future, it also serves as a good source of income if you decide to rent it out for specific periods. In many parts of the world real estate rates have taken a beating much to the chagrin of realtors and landlords but buyers are finding this a good period to invest in homes in select places around the globe. Choosing popular destinations to buy your second home could mean bigger crowds, traffic and more rush. But these are also destinations where payback from the investment is sooner and better. A few factors to be kept in mind before buying a second home are:


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Proximity to developing city centers: Choose a home in a place that is ideally within considerable driving distance to the airport as well as recreation points. Weather: When going for a city that gets a good amount of the sun’s rays annually, you don’t want to be stuck in place that is just as sunny. Nor do you want a place where it pours most past of the year. Important commercial investment: The development of malls, shopping centres, hotels and other attractions ensure that an area or city is on its way up. Places of interest: While rest, relaxation and attractiveness of a place are primary motives for most people choosing a second home, you also need to ensure that the destination you choose should also have enough interesting spots like galleries, museums, shopping centres and cultural sites.

Destinations that are seen as viable options to invest in holiday homes change every year yet some remain on top of the rest. Here is a selection of the top destinations that are great choices to buy your second or holiday home in. Spain After the knock-backs of 2009, Spain’s property market is awash with bargains and the sun still shines there! A worthy winner of the top spot, Spain a multitude of property options from bargain apartments from €40,000 – new key-ready and resale, fully furnished and in established thriving communities, townhouses from €89,000 in good locations and a detached villa from just over €140,000 with a private pool, land and fully furnished according to Steve Long at Casacalida Properties.

Florida Year-round sun and plenty of fun is not all the Sunshine State has to offer – today’s property prices are pretty attractive, too. Famous for its swamps, space rockets and wild, wild rides, it’s no surprise the property market in Florida can be described as ‘volatile’ right now. Average annual price falls across Florida were 13 per cent up to October 2009, partly explained by thousands of foreclosed (repossessed) properties being dumped on the market and dragging prices down. $150,000 can secure you an apartment in areas like Naples and South Beach, Miami, whilst a home in the Florida Keys, home to some of the most desirable homes in the US will have an average price of $463,000, 22% down on 2009.

France Hop across the channel and find discounts of over 15 per cent in some areas. Like the French lifestyle that continues to have us under its spell, the French property market was slow in 2009, with prices generally falling throughout the year. Although according to experts France is now a buyer’s market where some bargains can be found, prices in the sought-after areas of France have not dropped drastically. There are a number of vendors who need to sell urgently and are prepared to reduce the price of their properties and who are open to offers.’ Normandy and Brittany are still the favourites for cheap properties, with two-bed house in a habitable condition with a garden for under €100,000. You can find lovely properties in the £100,000-£250,000 range, often with original features

Prices in Barbados have fallen to 25% as some vendors and developers are forced to offer discounts to attract buyers, so there are never-seen-before opportunities, and buyers know now is the time to buy

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in good condition, with three bedrooms, outbuildings and half an acre of land. Portugal The Algarve and Silver Coast have some idyllic spots for second homes thanks to Portugal’s conservational approach to tourism. Compared to other countries, in particular its next-door neighbour, its property market is now relatively buoyant. In Tavira on the Algarve, you can buy a twobedroom apartment 500m from the river for €105,000 and on the Silver Coast the towns of Caldas da Rainha, Foz do Arelho and Salir do Porto offer a good selection of village homes from €100,000. Back on the Algarve, £250,000 will buy you a townhouse or character cottage in the inland town of Paderne or €195,000 a two-bed apartment in Praia da Luz, known for its sheltered beach. Turkey To get the most out of your money, it has to be the latest hot destination for Brits. Being outside the Eurozone meant it attracted holidaymakers looking for value during the recession – 2.1 million British tourists visited Turkey in the first nine months of 2009. It was a similar picture for the property market. While agents report that prices have fallen slightly, the market hasn’t suffered like the rest of Europe, as foreign house-hunters have woken up to Turkey’s delights – and affordable prices. Altinkum is still the cheapest,


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with one-beds including a shared pool, gym pool bar and restaurant from £20,000 whilst a two-bed in the exclusive enclave of Kalkan will set you back around £100,000. Italy You don’t have to be a extremely wealthy to buy in Tuscany – and you can find equally appealing homes in lesser-known regions, too. Prices in Italy haven’t seen the roller-coaster ride that other popular second-home markets have suffered – thanks to there being no real development. That said there are individual cases of large discounts, mainly due to distressed vendors, noticeably in Tuscany’s and Umbria’s restored farmhouse sector. ‘In northern Tuscany you can find a three-bedroom semi-detached property that’s ready to move into, with a patio, garden and spacious attic where mode bedrooms could be made, for €100,000,’ says Linda Travella of Casa Travella. Cyprus Property prices on this year-round sunny island have been affected by the weak pound, but discounts are still available. Dependent largely on tourists and buyers from the UK to keep its economy ticking over, home-seekers there should note that prices have been affected by the plummeting pound/euro exchange rate – by up to 30%. If you’ve got £100,000 to spend, you really only have the option of a one bed apartment and in Paphos even this could be scarce.

In the villages and hills outside Paphos a three-bedroom detached villa costs around £300,000. Greece With dozens of islands to choose from, as well as an equally attractive mainland, there are property options to suit everyone in Greece. The financial crisis has hit Greece hard and international and domestic demand for property has dropped off. Everyone wants a bargain and is holding out for rock-bottom prices. But, more positively, and unusually for a Eurozone country in this economic climate, holiday rentals are up by 67% year on year. A budget of less than £100,000 can still buy you a place in Greece, particularly on Paros and western Crete where there is a surplus of studios and one-bed apartments. For those with £250,000 to spend, northern Crete, Skopelos and Skiathos offer a good range of properties. Aegean Blue is selling two-bedroom apartments in Skopelos town, 500 metres from the beach, from £156,000, ‘whilst in northern Crete £250,000 will buy you a three-bedroom house on a large plot,’ says John Batty. Caribbean Just because it looks idyllic doesn’t mean you can’t afford the Caribbean – especially given the current discounts available. In 2009, Barbados saw prices fall, whilst St Lucia, its wilder, less developed neighbour came to the

With dozens of islands to choose from, as well as an equally attractive mainland, there are property options to suit everyone in Greece

fore offering greater value for money. ‘Prices in Barbados have fallen to 25% as some vendors and developers are forced to offer discounts to attract buyers, so there are never-seen-before opportunities, and buyers know now is the time to buy,’ says Kieran Kelly of Cluttons Barbados. Unbelievable though it may seem, a budget of a little over £100,000 will buy you a place in Barbados. If you can stretch to £124,000, Savills will sell you a three bedroom villa at the Bay View Resort on St Lucia, or for £92,000 through Knight Frank head to the British Virgin Islands, where you could own a stunning beachfront plot on Jost Van Dyke. Bulgaria Prices have dropped by up to 30% in Bulgaria – making it a great time to snap up a beach, ski or even country pad. In the final months of 2007, Bulgaria was topping Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index with an annual growth of 33%. But in the final throes of 2009, they were fourth from the bottom with prices dropping 28% within a year. The fall has been rapid and dramatic, not so much driven by the country’s credit problem – its lending culture has yet to evolve – but by the fall out of the global economic crisis, coupled with an oversupply of properties in an emerging market.

July 2010


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First Look w view w Bikes July 2010





The Cayenne

July 2010

Chronicles The new Porsche Cayenne is an absolute pleasure to drive. Versatile, powerful and performance oriented, the Cayenne brings in passion to driving Crème de la Crème Report

Based on the manufacturer’s principle of “Porsche Intelligent Performance”, all Cayenne vehicles offer more power on less fuel, greater efficiency and lower CO2 emissions

July 2010



orsche rewrote history with the launch of Cayenne, the sports car manufacturer’s first four wheel adaptation. The German auto manufacturer recently launched its second generation Cayenne which bears the distinctive Porsche DNA, even more prominent than in the earlier version. The highly anticipated new Porsche Cayenne was launched in Oman last month amongst much fanfare at the Grant Hyatt Muscat. The new Cayenne’s


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redesign was based on feedback received from Cayenne customers who wanted a vehicle that had more Porsche features, more fuel efficient and better performance, among other aspects. Following the launch Crème de la Crème was invited to a unique Cayenne test drive – one that put the second generation Porsche 4WD to test. The journey which started from Porsche Centre Oman, Sata LLC, included a select fleet of Cayenne Turbo

and Cayenne S that were driven from Muscat till Fanja and back. The vehicles were taken off road at different points and were put to test on rocky and rough terrains. Needless to say, the new Cayenne performed like a dream. Rocks and stones on the path seemed to disappear under the tires of the Cayenne. Steep descent and climb seemed but a miniscule task for the new Cayenne, which took to curves and sharp bends with ease. Pure driving pleasure – now that would be behind the second generation Cayenne.

Based on the auto manufacturer’s principle of “Porsche Intelligent Performance”, all Cayenne vehicles now offer more power on less fuel, greater efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. Compared with the previous generation, fuel consumption is down by up to 23 per cent making the new models trendsetters in their respective segments. These objectives result from the introduction of the new Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic transmission with Auto-Start-Stop and a wide spread of gear ratios, thermal management on the engine and transmission cooling circuit, on-board network recuperation, variable engine cut-off and intelligent lightweight construction. As a result of its special combination of materials for optimum weight as well as changes in the overall concept of the vehicle such as the Cayenne’s new active and extra light all-wheel drive, weight is down considerably, for example on the Cayenne S by 180 kilos. The lighter body weight did not prevent further improvements in product substance and an even higher standard of safety. The console is reminiscent of the Panamera while the interiors of the new Cayenne are more spacious. For maximum comfort also in the back, the rear seat bench now moves fore-and-aft by 160 millimetres, with the backrest angle adjusting to three different settings. Undoubtedly, the new Cayenne bears marked resemblance to the Porsche mould, with a sharper fender and its curvy body structure. The new Porsche Cayenne is a chip off the old block, but is extremely individualistic.

July 2010




The BMW 5 Series remains one of the most popular luxury sedans in its class. An automotive story that began in 1960, the iconic model is in its sixth generation and still leads the pack Crème de la Crème Report


MW recently launched the new version of its most popular model, the 5 Series packed with extensive features that offer improved dynamics, performance and design. The sporty sedan has had an illustrious ride since its launch. A look at the journey of BMW 5 Series… The iconic model The BMW 5 Series has been the archetypical sport sedan for more than 30 years, characterised by its unmistakable design, performance and overall excellence and boasts sales of over 5.5million units it just five generations. While the sixth generation naturally follows the great heritage of its predecessors, its roots go back much further. During the 1960s BMW developed its reputation as manufacturer to provide distinctive, yet elegant and powerful cars and

The Power of 5 60

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which to this day is personified by the BMW 5 Series. The BMW 5 Series actually traces its heritage back to BMW’s “Neue Klasse” or the New Class, a type of vehicle that went on sale in 1962 with the BMW 1500, 1800 and the 2000. The 1500 was the first German touring engine which had an 80 horsepower engine capable of 5700 rpm and had an impressive top speed of 93 miles per hour. These three vehicles alone enabled BMW to develop its profile as a premium manufacturer of sporting but elegant, powerful and technically innovative mid-range four-door sedans. Switching from the “New Class” range to the BMW 5 Series in 1972, BMW not only introduced new classification system for all its vehicles known as “Series”, but also a new era in design. Indeed, the number “5” immediately became the synonym for unmistakable driving pleasure in this segment, and remains so to this day. Ever since the sedans which, through their design, offer particularly harmonious balance of sportiness and elegance authentically reflecting a unique combination of driving dynamics and motoring comfort ensured by superior drivetrain and suspension technology. 1972: The BMW 5 Series makes its debut In 1972 at the Frankfurt Motor Show a significant advancement was presented to the automotive industry in the shape of the BMW 520 and 520i. Both of these models came with four cylinder power units capable of developing 115 and 130hp respectively.

From 2005 to 2008, the BMW 5 Series was the best-selling car in its segment for four years in a row, with worldwide sales of amounting to more than a million units by the end of 2007 These models also brought back memories of legendary 1950s BMWs such as the BMW 501 “Baroque Angel” and the iconic BMW 507 sports car. In its design, the first BMW 5 Series stood out from the competition with its stretched and sleek lines, large windows and low waistline. As design elements typical of the brand, the dual headlights and the famous Hofmeister kink in the C-pillar were re-interpreted in new style and technology, by French designer Paul Bracq. In the 1970s, BMW’s engineers used superior computer technology in the interest of advanced occupant safety and in the second year of production the BMW 525 was also introduced. The bigger engine hailed the entry of the first six cylinder engine into the market and delivered an impressive 145 hp. The desire for additional power became one of the most important reasons for expanding the model range with BMW Motorsport GmbH, launched in 1972, which provided a particularly spectacular advancement in 1980 with the

BMW M535i with its 160 kW/218 hp six-cylinder. 1981: Second-generation. Accounting for sales of almost 700,000 units, the firstgeneration of the BMW 5 Series more than doubled the success of the “Neue Klasse” in the market. The second-generation launched in 1982 and continued this story of success. With its even more striking design front and rear, this second-generation 5 Series offered far greater presence and flair on the road. Engineering refinements and intelligent lightweight technology provided more space within the interior and improved occupant safety. The newly developed suspension enhanced motoring comfort, while modern electronic systems were also introduced into the 5 Series at this point to improve safety and efficiency. Right from the start, this sedan came with a broad model range and engines extending from 90 to 184 hp. In 1984 a significant July 2010


development was made through the introduction of the BMW M535i with 218 hp and followed it up a year later at the Frankfurt Motor show with the BMW M5. By the mid 1980s, BMW had completed a large number of studies and innovations in developing fuel-efficient technologies and looking for alternative sources of energy. With this development was the launch of The BMW 525e, named after the Greek letter “eta”. New engine electronics, optimised weight and a five-speed transmission with an overdrive economy function helped to give this model outstanding efficiency. The second-generation of the BMW 5 Series was replaced after seven years of production, with sales having amounted to more than 722, 000 units, again setting a new record. 1988: Third-generation of the BMW 5 Series With the third-generation of the BMW 5 Series in 1988 came more efficient fuel management throughout the range; BMW 520i, BMW 525i, BMW 530i, BMW 535i and the BMW 524td – all with six cylinders and electronic fuel injection. The power range extended from 115 all the way to 211 hp, very powerful for its time. At t his time the M division were also busy updating the range and produced

a new BMW M5 with an engine output of 315 hp which increased by 1992 to 340 hp, an increase of 123 hp on the second generation. Passenger safety also benefited with defined deformation zones and even stiffer passenger cells, setting new standards for safety. Technological advances improved the weight distribution of the vehicle and stability control were introduced, thus making it the most superior all fourwheel-drive systems available on the market. Compared with its predecessor, the third-generation BMW 5 Series was significantly longer and came with more space inside. The new sedan created by Chief Designer Claus Luthe combined sporting elegance and flowing lines with a distinctive wedge shape. This stylish character was then carried over by the designers to the first BMW 5 Series Touring, this unique five-door revealed at the 1992 Frankfurt Motor Show. Following this three engine variants were also added to the line up including; the BMW 530i, BMW540i and an entry level BMW 518i in 1993. Such advances to this generation helped BMW to amass total sales of this BMW 5 Series generation to 1.3 million units the world over.

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Switching from the “New Class” range to the BMW 5 Series in 1972, BMW not only introduced new classification system for all its vehicles known as “Series”, but also a new era in design

1995: The fourth-generation The fourth-generation of the BMW 5 Series made its debut at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show, offering an evolutionary development of the previous model’s sporting and elegant style. A particular feature was the dual round front headlights behind a glass cover, which became symbolic of the BMW design. Both the sedan and the Touring introduced in 1997 once again offered even more space within the passenger compartment. Boasting features such as a multifunction steering wheel, a navigation system, active seats and Dynamic Stability Control, the BMW 5 Series was acknowledged as a particularly outstanding high-tech representative of its segment. The fourth-generation BMW 5 Series was the first largescale production car worldwide made almost completely of light alloy. In the interest of enhanced driving dynamics and safety, the body came with a significant increase in torsional stiffness. This also helped to significantly reduce the weight of the car. 62

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The fourth-generation of the BMW 5 Series once again set up a new sales record accounting for 1.47 million units sold up to the end of production in early 2004. 2003: The fifth-generation BMW 5 Series Introduced in 2003, the fifth-generation 5 Series stood out with its impressive design and innovative technology. The newly developed integral rear axle made of aluminium and the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) were two significant and innovative contributions to the car’s dynamics providing excellent suspension technology. The fifth-generation 5 Series also featured cutting-edge technologies such as the Head-Up Display and BMW Night Vision, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Departure Warning introduced as new systems in the car. The range of engines in the fifth-generation 5 Series was expanded to six petrol and four diesel engines extending from 125 kW/170 hp in the BMW 520i all the way to 270 kW/367 hp in the BMW 550i. In 2007, all versions of the fifth-generation 5 Series were enhanced with BMW’s EfficientDynamics, a strategy that encompasses many technology innovations to minimise

fuel consumption and CO2 emissions while maximising power and dynamic performance. From 2005 to 2008, the BMW 5 Series was the best-selling car in its segment for four years in a row, with worldwide sales of amounting to more than a million units by the end of 2007. In January 2008, BMW Plant Dingolfing celebrated a particularly impressive anniversary, with five million BMW 5 Series having come off the production line since 1973. 2010: Ahead of its class Launched in the Middle East in March this year, the new BMW 5 Series marks the epitome of aesthetic design and supreme driving pleasure in the upper midrange segment. The new BMW 5 Series has longest wheelbase in the segment, a long and sleek engine compartment lid, short

overhangs front and rear and a coupé-like roofline. The interior has a stylish and modern design with exciting lines that create a generous and harmonious ambience. High quality materials and superior craftsmanship underline the premium feel. The top model is the BMW 550i powered by a V8 with BMW TwinPower Turbo featuring High Precision Injection (407 hp).The straight-six with BMW TwinPower Turbo, High Precision Injection and VALVETRONIC in the BMW 535i delivers maximum output of 306 hp; while the two straight-six power deliver 258 hp in the BMW 528i and 204 hp in the BMW 523i. The new BMW 5 Series is also a class leader in emissions reduction. A wide range of sophisticated driving and comfort features are offered in the new BMW 5 Series include Dynamic Drive Control with four modes; Multi-Channel Audio System, Rear Seat Entertainment; Four-Zone Automatic Air Conditioning and BMW iDrive control. The launch of the new BMW 5 Series opens up the latest chapter in a truly impressive success story. In the course of five model generations, overall global sales amount to more than 5.5 million units.

In 1972 at the Frankfurt Motor Show a significant advancement was presented to the automotive industry in the shape of the BMW 520 and 520i. Both of these models came with four cylinder power units capable of developing 115 and 130hp respectively

July 2010






July 2010

Harley-Davidson recently revealed yet another new motorcycle in their range of the 2010 Sportster 1200 lineup, the Forty-Eight. The bike boasts of a radical new stylish approach to its design and features a multitude of blacked out components Crème de la Crème Report

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The Forty-Eight boasts chopped fenders, slammed rear suspension, a low profile handlebar, and lightening holes on the fork brace and tank mount.


arley-Davidson has expanded its youth-focused Dark Custom line with a daring new addition - the Sportster Forty-Eight (48). Utilising the Sportsters’ fuel-injected 1200cc Evolution power plant, the Forty-Eight rides low with slammed suspension and a classic peanut tank that holds up to 2.1 gallons. The 2.1 gallon peanut tank complements the bike’s style and evokes images of Harleys from as far back as 1948, when Harley first employed the tank style. Although with such a small capacity when compared to other Sportsters’ 3.3-gallon petrol holder, range will be limited. Nevertheless, Harley says to expect 42 to 57 mpg from the Forty-Eight depending on the distance the bike has travelled within city limits.

The new version of the Sportster Forty-Eight resembles its prototype that was introduced back in 1957, when hot rod custom culture ruled the roads, from street corners to drag strips. This time the bike comes with a new feature ‘new front fork sliders’. Along with the new Forty-Eight, Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom line includes the Nightster, Iron 883, Cross Bones, Fat Bob and Street Bob. The Forty-Eight boasts chopped fenders, slammed rear suspension, a low profile handlebar, and lightening holes on the fork brace and tank mount. Lying low from tire-totire, the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight motorcycle model showcases more of its black 1200 Evolution V-Twin engine

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Features of the Forty-Eight: * Blacked out rubber-mounted Evolution 1200 cc V-Twin engine with polished covers * Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) * Steel 2.1-gallon peanut fuel tank * One-piece, solo Sportster classic seat * Inch 26 inch seat height * Tall and fat 130 mm Dunlop MT90 front tire * 16-inch Black Steel Laced wheels * Low profile custom handlebar


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Under-mounted mirrors New front forks with wide triple clamps Chopped front fender Chopped rear fender Stop-turn-tail lights Optional Harley-Davidson Smart Security System Blacked out rubber-mounted Evolution 1200 cc V-Twin engine with polished covers

with polished accents and other components with a clean look highlighted by the traditional peanut fuel tank. The Forty-Eight has more than just custom cool styling with the smooth ride on new front fork sliders, a tall and fat front tire and slammed rear suspension. With Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) and performance tuning with a broad torque curve, the Forty-Eight motorcycle delivers a powerful responsive ride with smooth clutch effort. The pipes on the chrome, shorty dual exhaust pound out the distinctive Harley-Davidson American V-Twin sound. The black chopped rear fender comes with a combination stop/turn/tail lights and 150 mm rear tire and 16-inch black steel laced wheels. The front tire also rides on a wide black wheel.

The Sportster Forty-Eight’s strengths lie in the areas it has delicately honed since the model first appeared in 1957, its street smart style! This cruiser exudes character and authenticity, and its durable design gives it a road presence that’s uniquely Harley-Davidson. The 48’s compromised comfort or the impractical edge of its runabout personality is an engaging steed for city cruising needs. The Forty-Eight model comes in Vivid Black, Brilliant Silver and Mirage Orange Pearl colours. Overall this new Sporty is fun to ride, especially in cityscapes where you can ride down the long winding roads of Oman or roads along the beach with a bunch of like-minded riders. The 2010 Forty-Eight, Harley adds another cool and affordable bike to its stable of Sportsters.

The Sportster Forty-Eight’s strengths lie in the areas it has delicately honed since the model first appeared in 1957, its street smart style! This cruiser exudes character and authenticity, and its durable design gives it a road presence that’s uniquely Harley-Davidson.

July 2010


A non-profit organization offering a wide range of high-quality and exclusive handcrafted products interpreting the country’s history and culture. Bring home the essence of Oman’s rich heritage from a range of classy yet traditional products and at the same time turn your shopping passion into a cause by helping our craftspeople and artists. The Gallery works closely with artisans from the province and features products that are designed by them.

Jawharat A' Shati Complex Next to Muscat Intercontinental Hotel Tel. 24696974

Art & Design

Canvas w Impressions July 2010



Art & Design


Renowned artist Alia Al Farsi has always been fascinated by art and did not take long to it up as a serious hobby. The gifted artist has not only exhibited in Oman but also in various other countries Crème de la Crème Interview


n early interest in art I always had a passion for art. I recall how my teachers at school always remarked about my talent. Ever since then my life has been intertwined with art. It has shaped my personality, lifestyle and perspective on life. I do not consider art as a profession. It has always been a hobby and a means to express myself and to present something that helps promote my country. This allows me the freedom to work on matters that I like and not be pressurised by work commitments. Having said that, I have been lucky enough to sell paintings to prominent collectors that are being enjoyed by people in many countries. The journey so far… I led a typical childhood in Oman seeing how the country was rapidly modernising with summers spent abroad. My father loved travelling and driving so we spent several vacations driving around abroad. One of the most memorable was buying a car in Germany and driving around Europe and then driving back all the way to Oman. That was a great experience since it showed me the contrasting landscapes and cultures in Europe. We had a similar experience when we drove to Turkey in a converted bus and back. It was a


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fascinating journey seeing parts that tourists do not venture to and life has not changed for the locals in any way for many years. An early supporter of my love for art was my father and he made it a point to allow me to see art exhibitions abroad. On the educational front, I have a Masters in Business Administration from Luton University in the UK. A few years back I took a very tough decision of studying full time in the UK. Being married and with two young kids, it was a very difficult decision but I had the full support of my husband and family. The reason I insisted on a full time MBA as opposed to the other route of part time or correspondence was that I always wanted to experience class work and interaction with students of different nationalities. This was indeed very enriching and far more beneficial than the learning process. With the internet, I was still able to talk to my kids every day and helped them with their homework through chatting forums and video conferencing. I also made sure I did not miss any major art shows and exhibitions while I was in the UK. It is so touching to see families taking young children to galleries and exhibitions allowing them to appreciate art from a young age or school trips to museums where paintings are explained to them. A constantly evolving style My art is constantly evolving. To follow a formula is a recipe for being left behind and I also need to maintain my drive and passion for art by constantly changing and updating my style.


I want to use art to further good causes such as the environment and raise awareness about some of the issues and challenges we face


July 2010


My main source of inspiration has always been Oman. It is such a rich source of ideas and so multi-faceted that I do not think I will ever need to find other subjects

Over the years I have moved from landscapes and portraits which were accurate depictions of the subject matter to more abstract forms. The latter is more accepted now since previously abstract art was not appreciated and not even considered art. I have had people come up to me and enquire what my paintings meant and why I could not paint something more meaningful like a horse or a fort. However, the vast majority of artists now paint abstract or calligraphy and this is seen as the norm. Reinvention is the need of the moment. I believe that artists need to continue to reinvent themselves. In an age where attention spans are declining and we are inundated with a plethora of information daily, it is imperative that an artist presents new ideas and concepts


July 2010

to remain relevant. Otherwise, you become marginalised. This is a major motivation for me and forces me to continue to be self critical and to seek to improve my style or to experiment with something new. I also decided that the ‘green’ message of caring for the environment should not be confined to corporations or NGOs and felt that artists should also play a role. Hence, I used recycled material in my paintings and one of the paintings was auctioned with proceeds donated to ESO. This goes to prove that nothing is worthless or without ability to lead a new life. What was a useless piece of cardboard now adorns the wall of a corporate office in Jordan. I used old coins from Muttrah souq, textiles, cinnamon sticks, recycled material and even small carpet patches. These were weaved into the paintings and the effect was very well received. It adds another dimension to the painting and gives it more texture and provokes a stronger response from the viewer. Oman has been my source of inspiration. My main source of inspiration has always been Oman. It is such a rich source of ideas and so multi-faceted that I do not think I will ever need to find other subjects. It is like my muse. While my initial work was accurate representation, I now represent the key profile of a fort in a more subtle manner. It is still recognisable but it requires more exploration by the viewer. I have also seen an international

trend of large installations and not just paintings. I am not as keen on this but I have recently used some large wadi stones as a painting surface and the results have been very encouraging. Again it is linked to Oman and even more literally this way. The world is my oyster. I have been lucky indeed to have exhibited in Oman for close to 20 years and in all major art capitals. At the end of the day artists are like performers who need a stage for their talent to be visible and we need the interaction with spectators to get feedback. To see Omani art slowly carve a place in major art exhibitions and to grow confident of being in the larger world is very satisfying and leads me to push myself further. Through my web site I also interact with artists daily and occasionally sell a painting so it has opened up another platform for “exhibiting” my work. To date I have had

I met a Dutch artist who forced me to seriously consider changing some of my techniques to allow other media. I was recently at the Kuwait art exhibitions and had a long conversation with a veteran and founder of the Bahrain art movement who has been painting from the 50s. His passion for art and the glint in his eyes when talking about it moved me tremendously and I hope I can still have this huge passion for art when I am his age. The energy he has was so inspiring. The burgeoning art scene is Oman has been a direct result of the support and interest of His Majesty. His role has been pivotal in helping young Omanis like me pursue our dreams and to develop beyond our borders. I hope to see the day when parents bring their children to the exhibitions and that will be a true sign that art has peculated into all levels of our society. Why not? Our forefathers expressed art in the patterns of a khanjar or on doors. So it is clear we always appreciated beauty and

My art is constantly evolving. To follow a formula is a recipe for being left behind and I also need to maintain my drive and passion for art by constantly changing and updating my style

visitors from close to 50 countries, some that I had not even heard about and it is so heartening to see this response and ability to connect with artists with different viewpoints and to seek their views on my work and means of improving it. The Omani art scene Over the years, I have interacted with artists from many countries and I feel indebted to many who have influenced my work directly or even subconsciously. I vividly remember a talented Nigerian Artist in a workshop in Alexandria who showed me how he depicted African women and I adapted that for painting Omani women. Attending Art Abu Dhabi,

sought to move beyond the functionality of objects. It is in our DNA so I am certain it is a matter of time before art becomes a part of our daily life again. I have a dream. I want to use art to further good causes such as the environment and raise awareness about some of the issues and challenges we face. I also feel the time is right for Oman to have its own major art exhibition like an Oman Biennial. It would create an ideal platform for Omani artists to showcase their work and for promoting the country as a land of culture and appreciation for beauty.

July 2010


Art & Design


The Muriya Tourism Development of Oman is one of the most reputed and prestigious property development firms in the country. As one of their iconic properties in Sifah is on the threshold of completion, it evokes a sense of unique architectural style and beauty blended with rich and vibrant Omani influence Script: Sudipta Dasgupta


An Architectural Beauty

ebel Sifah, the iconic property developed by Muriya Tourism Development that lies amidst sandy white beach, the pristine waters of Arabian Sea and the majestic Hajjar mountain range, is a haven of tranquility. A destination by itself, Jebel Sifah showcases a striking balance of modern architecture and traditional surroundings. The unique architectural style of Jebel Sifah is the blend of centuries of indigenous elements with the classic style of middle-eastern designs, along with a strong essence of traditional Omani influence; rich and vibrant. A 45km drive away from downtown Muscat, Jebel Sifah promises well-planned apartments and terraced homes combined with spacious landscaped pathways, making each home the embodiment of relaxation. As construction work is in progress at different stages in all 18 apartment blocks, a mock-up apartment is being completed on five blocks. The 63 villas part of the initial 74

July 2010

release will be designed in eight different styles of which 41 are nearing completion. Designer Haven … A total of ten different architects are involved in the existing project at Jebel Sifah that covers all the Hotels, Villas and Marina apartment blocks. Af-Studio is the architectural consultant behind the marina apartment’s buildings. Their office was first established in Italy, many years ago, by the world renowned architect Alfredo Freda. Af-Studio has a long history working closely with Orascom on some very unique projects in destinations across the globe. Blend of designs … Designers have drawn a predominant Omani style in each of their design element; however there will be a combination of modern and traditional styles used for various buildings. For example the Four Seasons Hotel will

Since Oman has a particular style where culture and traditions are concerned, the designers and architects involved in the project made sure to create designs that have a traditional look yet have a subtle touch of modernity to it follow a more traditional style while the Missoni Hotel will be contemporary as it is a well known fashion brand. A timely progress … The first phase is currently under development but the Marina apartments are due to open by the end of this year. There are other projects within the ‘Phase 1’ limits, like Missoni Hotel and the first five holes from the golf course (12 to 16). Designed to safeguard … Due to the extreme heat and moisture related climatic conditions of Oman, consultants have considered that as a major factor in the designing of all the buildings. The external facades have been designed following international standards and the walls have specific insulation materials that can decrease the effect of high temperature and humidity. Signature design … The restaurants and cafés alongside the marina are designed by AF Studio consultants. The same designers have designed the property’s marina blocks to maintain a

universal architectural style all over the property. The local influence… Since Oman has a particular style where culture and traditions are concerned, the designers and architects involved in the project made sure to create designs that have a traditional look yet have a subtle touch of modernity to it. Unique design proposition … Although the property boasts of some of the most iconic and famous international brand names in hotels like Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Angsana Resorts & Spas and Missoni Hotel, the Marina Boutique Hotel is one of the major highlights at Jebel Sifah. The main concept of the Marina Boutique Hotel is to create a hotel directly accessible from the marina. By doing so, it becomes a central hub for guests and residents alike as it integrates with the marina and adjacent marina apartments. It allows all visitors to enjoy the breathtaking marina views July 2010


and active life style with all the shops, restaurant and cafes along the marina basin. Architecturally the design language compliments the adjacent Marina apartments as well. The Design Specialists … Another major highlight of this project is the establishment of the Home Design Department which works as an independent body rendering design services to potential clients. Architect Sherine Metry, Muriya Home Design Manager, Real Estate explains, “The department renders

services to clients who want to make their own dream home according to their needs. The team of designers working for this department provides services like furniture packages, interior finishing, audio-visual packages, landscaping and upgrade options. We discuss with clients about their requirement and needs and accordingly get their choice of finishing, fittings, landscaping etc done.” “We assist our clients in making the right choice and we have a panel of expertise in the team who render full support to our clients without any charge. We also offer ideas and concepts to our clients on designing their future

A 45km drive away from downtown Muscat, Jebel Sifah promises well-planned apartments and terraced homes combined with spacious landscaped pathways, making each home the embodiment of relaxation


July 2010

homes,” Metry added. Corporate Social Responsibility … The Sifah Public beach was conceived and implemented to be of direct social and economic benefit to the Al Sifah community and visitors to the site. A detailed EIA scoping document (Environment Impact Assessment) was submitted to the Ministries to mitigate any impacts on the natural environment. Muriya Tourism Development has currently tied up with NHI to provide training facilities to local Omanis who will later be inducted to work in one of the projects of Muriya Tourism Development. The beach shore clean up is in progress as a CSR initiative for the project site, with a installation of waste /litter bins at every 400m interval on the project beach. Care for Nature … Muriya Tourism Development won the Green Habitat Award in the recently held Oman Green Awards for their third project in As Sodah Island. *Muriya was established in 2006 when Egypt’s Orascom Hotels and Development (with 70 percent stake) and Omani government owned Omran (with 30 per cent stake) came together in a joint venture. July 2010


Flavours that matter

We specialise in authentic Mughlai Cuisine ... Come and experience a rainbow of culinary choices that will leave your taste buds enticed!

CBD Main Street, Next to NBO Head OfďŹ ce. Reservation: 24781901 97015530 Timings: Sat to Thu 12 noon to 3pm & 7pm to 12am - Fri 12 noon to 3pm & 7pm to 12am


Ambrosia w Review July 2010


Gourmet & Hospitality


The Bassano Delicacy


egend has it that white asparagus was discovered in Bassano del Grappa, Veneto during the 16th century. A hailstorm had destroyed the crop above ground, forcing people to subsist on what was left underneath. It was then that they discovered the tender sweetness of white asparagus. While the ancient Greeks and Romans favoured it for its medicinal and aphrodisiac properties, France’s Louis XIV liked it so much that he got his gardener to develop a cultivation method that would allow him to have fresh white asparagus all year round. Technically speaking, white asparagus is green asparagus that has been deprived of light during cultivation. However, the similarities between the two end at the formation of the shoot. While the choicest green spears are as slim as sprouts, prised white spears – smooth, straight and with a perfect white tip – run almost an inch in diameter. The pungent bitter flavours of the green asparagus are less apparent in the white, allowing the naturally sweet and nutty flavours of the white to come through. As far as texture goes, white asparagus is more tender, making it more versatile for cooking. White asparagus is cultivated through etiolation (deprivation of light). Traditionally, soil is mounded around the growing stalks to prevent them from breaking through and receiving sunlight. Modern methods simplify this by placing black plastic sheets over the soil.

Though the green variety is more popular, white asparagus is considered to be more tasty and flavoursome. The vegetable was once the preferred choice of France’s King Louis XIV Crème de la Crème Report


July 2010


Bassano is an obvious place to look if you want the top stalk. The royal vegetable produced here even has an official name, issued by the Italian government: Asparagi DOC di Bassano


July 2010


Cultivation however, remains tedious and labourintensive – farmers have to closely observe their crop to make sure that the temperature does not get too hot under the covers, resulting in the unfurling of the tips It is this difficulty of cultivation – and the demand for this delicacy – that doubles the value of the white asparagus compared to its mechanically harvested green counterpart. Where can you find it Bassano is an obvious place to look if you want the best stalk. The royal vegetable produced here even has an official name, issued by the Italian government: Asparagi DOC di Bassano. It is the Germans however, who have really claimed the vegetable as their own. The best spargel – as white asparagus is called in Germany – comes from regions like Schwetzingen, Beelitz, Bruchsal and Schrobenhausen. Schwetzingen, in particular, claims to be the “Asparagus Capital of the World”, and it is here that one finds the annual Spargelfest. In France, Argenteuil (located in the suburbs of Paris) produces the “Précoce d’Argenteuil”, a large-speared heirloom varietal that dates back to the 18th century. Other areas of France that produce white asparagus include the French Alsace region, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. The French asparagus season coincides with that in Germany.

The pungent bitter flavours of the green asparagus are less apparent in the white, allowing the naturally sweet and nutty flavours of the white to come through


July 2010

Serving it right White asparagus has a much more delicate taste than its green cousin, and can be served as a cold or hot appetizer, side dish and soup, or tossed in with salads and pastas. Traditionally, the stalks are simply boiled or steamed until tender. As it has a lean taste, asparagus is often paired with ‘fatty’ ingredients such as hollandaise sauce, butter and eggs (à la flammande). Some chefs serve them au naturel or with just a drizzling of olive oil and shavings of Parmesan cheese. Traditional German foods such as hams, mustards and vinaigrettes also go well with white asparagus, and are served in these combinations in fine restaurants.

“ ”

Asparagus is often paired with ‘fatty’ ingredients such as hollandaise sauce, butter and eggs (à la flammande). Some chefs serve them au naturel or with just a drizzling of olive oil and shavings of Parmesan cheese July 2010


Gourmet & Hospitality



ultanah is a perfect blend of imagination and master creativity as guests are welcomed to an ambience that is almost magical. The ambience is complimented with a picturesque backdrop of the azure sea and majestic mountains. The restaurant is designed to look like the interior of a luxury cruise liner offering guests a feeling of opulence. The menu too has been prepared in the most imaginative way as it changes every day based on the ‘port of call’ of the liner’s itinerary, namely Indonesia, United States of America, Greece, Mexico, South Africa, Australia and Japan. As unique as it sounds, Sultanah is an impressive fine dining restaurant that attracts connoisseurs to sample unique dishes prepared with the utmost precision and artistry. “The response is excellent due to the unique dishes that we offer, special service techniques and the extra attention that is paid to every guest who comes to Sultanah. In addition to our cuisine, the service team is trained to perfection in all classic gueridon service. We prepare selected starters, main courses and desserts at the guests’ table. We go back to the roots of fine dining and our guests appreciate it as this is not something you will easily find even in Europe. In addition, our culinary team is always happy to cater to any dietary needs or considerations that guests may have,” says Ralf Kohler, Restaurant Manager.


July 2010

Our chefs interact with our guests and offer the less common service of preparing dishes at the guest’s table, which enhances the guests’ dining experience. We also offer a selection of different dishes from around the world on Sultanah’s menu

A night to remember Designed to entice and surprise, Sultanah offers a unique and artistic dining experience. An exotic ambience, a captivating menu that includes an array of cuisines from around the world and a culinary trip like none other is what you get at this elegant restaurant at Al Husn ď ŽScript: Sudipta Dasgupta

July 2010


The restaurant is part of Al Husn Hotel in Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa and truly lives up to the reputation of being upscale, trendy and is a hallmark of luxury. A warm and hospitable reception by the restaurant manager and his staff was proof enough to feel the unique service the restaurant offers. As we settled ourselves, the manager explained the unique concept of the restaurant and gave us an overview of their exclusive menu. I was quite overwhelmed as the dishes were not only new but different. It goes without saying that I was ready to experiment and be surprised! Kohler explains, “Our chefs interact with our guests and offer the less common service of preparing dishes at the guest’s table, which enhances the guests’ dining experience. We also offer a selection of different dishes from around the world on Sultanah’s menu.” Award winning Sous Chef, Sebastian Arnold is the man behind some of the most fascinating dishes on the menu. “I constantly read about new cooking trends and products available. My imagination starts working as soon as I read about them and I cannot wait to try them out. It is fascinating to work with new instruments and base my dishes on trends, work with them and do my own fusions

Sous Chef Sebastian Arnold

We go back to the roots of fine dining and our guests appreciate it as this is not something you will easily find even in Europe


July 2010

We make ‘Fusion’ happen...

Cool off this summer with a range of wholesome fusion fruit drinks!

and creations,” explains Sous Chef, Sebastian Arnold when asked about his unique culinary creations. Sous Chef, Sebastian suggested his favourites from the menu for our main course. I relished Sultanah’s Surf and Turf (duo of filled chicken breast and tiger prawn on squid ink pasta and lobster reduction) and Elvis, our photographer enjoyed his rather exquisite dish of Wagyu Beef Tenderloin (on wild mushroom puree with mille feuilles of potato and butternut squash in Merlot sauce). When asked about the restaurant’s most popular dishes, Kohler explained, “For starters it has to be the Caesar salad, a very traditional dish which is specially prepared in front of the guest. For the main course, the Rib Eye Steak is the biggest seller. We serve the best part of the Australian Black Angus beef which is juicy and tender. It is created with a fusion of classic and contemporary cooking styles, as we prepare it with pepper sauce, turkey bacon wrapped beans, sweet potato chips and onion jam. Our seven-course set menu ‘Sultanah delight’ is our best seller because guests sample our suggested dishes in one set menu. This features mouth-watering dishes such as Oxtail Ravioli, Turbot Fillet, Wagyu Beef and flambé Crepes Suzette with a mustsee preparation at the table.” So the next time guests visit this rather fascinating

restaurant, they know how to make their evening special. The dishes on the ‘Ports of Call’ menu changes every summer with the introduction of newer and innovative dishes as summer is the perfect time for chefs to brainstorm each other with different ideas and concepts on cooking. Sous Chef, Sebastian works best when he gets suggestions and feedback from his guests, “I take any suggestions as an opportunity to improve my culinary skills or to personalise dishes for my guests. I like to come up with creative ideas and put my ‘signature’ in every dish. Overall, cooking is my ultimate passion so I am always motivated when I am in the kitchen.” Our ‘Sweet Ending’ (as mentioned on the menu) to the fine dining affair was exotic too, while I enjoyed my Death By Chocolate as I am a pure chocolate fan, Elvis on the other hand settled for the Coconut and Raspberry Mille Feuilles with Malibu ice cream which was another unique combination of biscuits and ice cream. The fine dining experience was quite unique as it was the first time I had experienced anything like this, the whole affair right from the food itself, presentation, service and ambience was a worthwhile experience. Each and every dish was perfectly executed and it sure left me enticed for good!

July 2010


Travel & Lifestyle

Destination w Escape w Lounge July 2010


Travel & Lifestyle


The next morning, we set off for Dunedin, one of the nicknames for Edinburgh. The castle atop a hill dominated the skyline of the capital. The citadel was replete with the struggles of its history and preserved the charm, drama and allure of its time


or a family of four that has never done bungee jumping, hang gliding or even white water rafting, a palpable sense of adventure came from the fact that we had not booked our bed and breakfast places beforehand. On a certain clear day in the month of June, we set out from London in a car that was borrowed with an insurance that was all our own. Packed, more in the boot, than to the boot with just a few pieces of clothing, even fewer pieces of accessories and two sub-teen kids in the backseat, we set out directly from the garage of my aunt’s Kew Gardens London garage on to the M1 highway. I must add here that


July 2010

even though my husband held the steering wheel and was doing the driving, I felt no less important because I held the map and was doing the navigation. We were travelling up North from the East. On our way to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, we came across the famed Hadrian’s Wall. Apparently this stretch takes walkers as well as bikers along the riverside route through farmland, grazing upland dominated by an escarpment and then gradually descends to the rich pastures and finally ends at the salt marsh. While my kids, still at an age not so given to asserting their will, gave in to giving up on a walk or bike ride. I was happy to see a glimpse

of the vestiges of Roman history from the car window itself. It was kind of obvious that if a 73 mile long hoary wall is named after you, then you have surely built it. My very knowledgeable husband lost no time in showing off his knowledge and spoke to no one in particular, but spoke a lot. Of all that he shared, I only remember that this Roman ordered the wall to be built in AD 122. At places, it still measures 8’ wide and 18’ high. What I gathered was that it was not only made to keep at bay an expansionist neighbour but also to separate “Romans from the barbarians”. My husband and son then had and still have an insatiable thirst for history. Me, I’m always ready to wallow

On a Scottish Trail

The city of Scotland is rich in culture, tradition and historic places, it is known to be one of the most scenic countries in the world. From rugged mountains to unique coastal scenery, this place is a haven for tourists Script: Sushmita Gupta

July 2010


allure of its time. From right on top the new town looked tranquil and organised. Standing next to a cannon that is fired at 1 every day, I was feeling peaceful and then suddenly the air was stricken with an incredibly noisy drum, fife and bagpipe. The band members were leading a small wedding party. Two people had decided to take their marriage vows in that magical place. For someone like me, who is excruciatingly sentimental wished to watch the whole ceremony uninvited, standing among the well-dressed ladies and kilt-clad men. The only reason my family found success in pulling me away was because there was wind whipping and I had images of kilted men in my mind I had seen on the internet, when wind whipped! Time to travel further north. Firth of Forth. The steel bridge with lattice work that spans across this estuary to the North Sea is often called the ‘Eiffel Tower of Scotland’. It is that beautiful. We enter Inverness, literally means the mouth of Ness. Here it rains a lot and so the rivers run and the lochs almost overflow. Picture this, serene lochs, verdant glens and the picturesque mountains barely rising above the mist bring you closer to the soft emotion of love far more than the guy in your life can. Packed to the gills with an awesome breakfast at the ‘new roof ’ over our head, we set out again. The food really matched the scenery that overlooked the dining area. It was a huge spread of toast, bacon, eggs, baked beans, haggis, black pudding, sausages, oat cakes, porridge, cereals, potato scones, fried mushrooms and half a tomato. Then there was milk and cream, jam and preserves, black tea and orange juice. The food was good enough to rejuvenate any tired

About Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, anybody can see her if they really, really wish to. It is usually the same with the genre of creatures called monsters. You always see them if you want to

in the beauty of nature and my little girl those days was busy reciting poems and rhymes she had just learned in her mother tongue. So, this motley group hit the highway which was disguised as a country road. Then we chanced upon this arrow on a somehow put-together wooden sign saying B&B. Needless to say we were living out our collective dream of choosing to stay in any place that caught our fancy. Each evening, find a new roof over our head was our excited motto! The next morning, we set off for Dunedin, one of the nicknames for Edinburgh. The castle atop a hill dominated the skyline of the capital. The citadel was replete with the struggles of its history and preserved the charm, drama and


July 2010

soul or limb. To top all that, the hosts at the B&Bs were like my mom that I left behind at home. Loch Ness. A cruise was essential of course. It has the largest volume of water and is the second largest loch to Loch Lomond. About Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, anybody can see her if they really, really wish to. It is usually the same with the genre of creatures called monsters. You always see them if you want to. The water was very dark and kept shifting only from the top as our cruise cut through. I for one surely felt her presence. The cruise, also took us to Urquhart Castle. Totally run down and totally fantastic, you do not have to be a prince or a prisoner to get excited about this ruin. And what do you think happens when you keep travelling north in a small country? You come to ‘The Last House’ in the most northerly settlement of mainland Great Britain, John O’Groats. It is a collection of houses, fields and a lot of flat land on one side and the vast expanse of the cold North Sea on the other. If you want to de-clutter your mind, then in this feeling of space is the place to do so. It was time to turn southwards. We drove on and reached Fort William, a small town on the shores of Loch Linnhe. No description of this town will be complete

without a mention of Ben Nevis, the highest peak of United Kingdom. Often called the Ben, it dominates the town in distant views especially across Loch Linnhe where we stayed overnight. Fort William had everything one could possibly need. The High Street had a reasonable range of shops and one large supermarket that served well on a self catering holiday like ours. The next day was a drive through the busy streets of Glasgow that instantly brought us back from the haven of heaven back to everyday trials of getting through traffic, pollution and milling crowds. Idle days make for idle ways! That was clearly over. From Glasgow we moved back to England and continued our journey back to London stopping at various places. After a week of passing through, glens and lochs, rain and shine, and with moods to match we bid adieu to the unspoilt and therefore enigmatic landscape, with a tug in my heart. Sushmita Gupta is a resident of Muscat and a passionate writer. Her interests include travelling, socialising, reading, painting and quizzing. An Art of Living follower, Sushmita enjoys a positive approach to life. She is also fond of cooking and enjoys trying out new recipes and culinary techniques. July 2010


Travel & Lifestyle


The Chedi Muscat


hile cooler climes are definitely what we need this summer as the heat seems to be more, there seems to be quite a few of us who will not be taking off to the Alps or countryside to get away from the heat. Yet if you are looking for a change of scenery and taking a break from the bustle, many hotels in Oman and other countries have put together some enticing short stay packages that are sure to provide some respite from the heat.

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Musandam


July 2010

The Chedi Muscat Created especially for residents of Oman, The Chedi Muscat has introduced an enticing package that is definitely worth availing. Room rates start at RO 76.000 (taxes as applicable) for a night and is inclusive of breakfast for two, early check-in from 10am and late check-out at 6pm (subject to availability). The offer also includes a 10 per cent discount on food and beverage at The Restaurant and 25 per cent discount on any spa treatment at The Spa. The offer is valid until September 30, 2010. For more details and reservations contact the hotel at 24524400.

If a long summer break is not on the cards for you this time round, hotels both in Oman and around have interesting short stay packages that are perfect to get away from the heat Crème de la Crème Report

Summer Retreat

Al Nahda Resort & Spa, Barka The resort located in a green oasis is an ideal option during the hot months. Al Nahda Resort & Spa’s Summer Special Package includes three different choices. The Executive Suite (Single/Double) is priced at RO 40.000 while the Premium Suite (Single/Double) is priced at RO 50.000. The Suite Royale is priced at RO 100.000. All charges are per room and per night; it is inclusive of buffet breakfast and taxes. Two children below 12 years can stay free in a double room with parents. The offer is valid till August 31, 2010. For more details and reservations contact  or call on 26883710. The Dolder Grand, Zurich If a little more than a weekend break comes your way, then head straight for one of the most scenic and heartwarming cities in Europe – Zurich. The majestic Dolder Grand in Zurich is now offering visitors three nights’ stay for the price of two. This offer is valid till August 31, 2010. For more details contact

Al Nahda Resort & Spa, Barka

July 2010


IHG Hotels, Oman The IHG chain of hotels in Oman offers a special package for summer across all their properties in the Sultanate. Enjoy three nights for the price of two at the following hotels: Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat, InterContinental Muscat, Crowne Plaza Muscat, Crowne Plaza Sohar and Crowne Plaza Salalah. The Sukhothai, Bangkok Have an extended weekend? Then head to Muscat residents’ favourite getaway - Bangkok. Here The Sukhothai’s special package lets you stay for three nights for the price of two. The hotel also offers complimentary breakfast and a 60-minute Thai massage. The offer is valid until August 31, 2010 For more information and reservations visit Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental Muscat

The Dolder Grand, Zurich


July 2010

Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai Summer brings a special package from Atlantis, The Palm, the iconic property in our neighbourhood. Guests can avail of a special rate starting from AED 895 per room, per night including a long list of complimentary activities to ensure the perfect holiday getaway for the entire family. Younger resort guests can enjoy one complimentary day at the Atlantis Kids Club which offers daily supervised activity programmes with a focus on adventure, play, exploration and education where the entire resort acts as a playground for kids, including the fish hospital at the marine habitat. For the older kids, there is one complimentary day at Club Rush, the fully supervised ‘No Adults’ private club. Atlantis recognises the importance of treating teenagers as young adults and has created an entire part of the resort exclusively for this age group providing a haven for them to socialise in – a first in Dubai. They can watch movies, hang out in the music lounge area, make use of the latest games and consoles in the game zone or catch up on emails at the internet lounge. Guests can also experience the fun and education of a

dolphin interaction at Dolphin Bay. Live the underwater wonderland experience of The Lost Chambers which includes over 20 marine habitats and 65,000 fish and marine life. Hotel guests can keep exploring and discovering the Lost City of Atlantis with unlimited complimentary access to The Lost Chambers. Ideally situated within the resort, The Atlantis Dive Centre enables guests to enjoy a new underwater world in one of the most iconic destination resorts. For more log onto or call +97144261000. Six Senses Zighy Bay, Musandam For a truly out of this world experience head to Six Senses Zighy Bay in Musandam. The resort is offering guests two nights stay for the price of one. Moreover, kids under the age of 12 stay and eat free. This offer is valid till August 31, 2010 and is only available for GCC residents. For more information and reservations contact 26735555 or *With inputs from The Travel Collection, Dubai.

July 2010


Travel & Lifestyle


The Shack William

Paul Young


ackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and strong evidence is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever. Moving, inspirational and uplifting, this is a book that everyone should read and have it stocked in their library. The Shack will help all those who are struggling with their spiritual beliefs and give a new sense of the Lord and Savior and his generous love and understanding. The beautiful writing from this author is more then you could imagine as the book opens up a whole new outlook towards life with a better understanding in the walk with the Lord. Not only is this novel filled with suspense, the plot is bursting with action. The book is life-changing as it makes readers think about their own life challenges and struggles. William Paul Young was born a Canadian and raised among a Stone Age tribe by his missionary parents in the highlands of former New Guinea. He suffered great loss as a child and young adult and now enjoys the ‘wastefulness of grace’ with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

Not only is this novel filled with suspense, the plot is bursting with action. The book is life-changing as it makes readers think about their own life challenges and struggles.


July 2010


nzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul, he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man. A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and unexpectedness of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it. Stein’s daring use of a four-legged narrator doesn’t distract us from the story of would-be NASCAR driver Swift; in fact, it effectively lightens the tone of Denny’s bumpy ride. Garth Stein, a former documentary film maker, was co-producer of the Academy Award-winning short film, The Lunch Date, and director of When Your Head’s Not a Head, It’s a Nut. He is the author of three novels, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, Raven Stole the Moon, and The Art of Racing in the Rain, and a play, Brother Jones. He lives in Seattle with his family.

The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth


A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and unexpectedness of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

July 2010


Style & Beauty

Fashion w Launch w Showcase July 2010


Style & Beauty



avile Row is famous as the hub of English tailoring. Impeccable tailoring coupled with unmatched quality is the USP of Savile Row tailoring. Stowers Bespoke, one of the foremost tailoring houses on Savile Row offers Bespoke and Made-to-Measure clothing that is authentic British. Stowers Bespoke consists of three well-experienced Savile Row experts – Ray Stowers, Brian Jeffrey and Brian Pusey. Together they bring 120 years of experience to Stowers Bespoke. A chat with Ray Stowers and his team who have dressed Royal Family members, celebrities, movie stars and the military in Oman. Please tell us about the setting up of Stowers Bespoke. With an influx of non-tailoring brands onto Savile Row, many of the traditional tailors started heading towards the mass market and outsourcing off-shore


July 2010

manufacturing; resulting in Savile Row losing key members of the workforce and technical staff, along with its traditions, culture and craft. We therefore observed an opportunity to start our own company with ‘genuine’ Bespoke tailoring being at the heart of it; offering a very good, honest and ethically produced product combined with a flexible and firstclass service. We saw this as an integral part of the reprisal and preservation of the bespoke tailoring craft. Our vision was to reinvigorate authentic bespoke tailoring, whilst combining new thinking and new designs, with traditional values. We live in such a ‘throwaway’ society today, that I believe people are rebelling and becoming bored of cheap, generic clothes which more often than not, come with poor service and value.

True to Tradition

120 years of Savile Row tailoring experience is what Stowers Bespoke offers. The reputed English tailoring house is renowned as one of the most reliable and honest on Savile Row offering bespoke and made-to-measure merchandise that is British Crème de la Crème Report

The traditions culture and craft of Savile Row is being lost in most cases for the sake of bigger profits and with no real professional body to police and monitor professional and moral standards

Ray Stowers

July 2010


How did Ray Stowers, Brian Jeffrey and Brian Pusey get together (the three team members at Stowers Bespoke)? We all previously worked at Gieves and Hawke with me as Head of Design. Brian Pusey worked there for 35 years, 15 of which were working with me. Seven of those years, I worked closely with Brian Jeffery. Together we saw the traditions of Savile Row decline and decided to join forces so that we could put our knowledge, experience and expertise into the launch of a successful and genuine bespoke tailoring company. How do the three of you complement each other’s works? Both Brian Jeffery and Brian Pusey have over 50 years experience of working on Savile Row, so their knowledge and expertise are unsurpassed. Pusey’s expertise was military tailoring, as well as civilian clothing. He has produced clothing for Royal Families and the military from all across the globe. Jeffery’s expertise was shooting and hunting clothing and he also cut civilian, military and ladies clothing. My personal expertise is design, business and military having designed and developed clothing for armed forces in the Middle East, South America and Africa. Between us we can offer and make pretty much any garment, of any style or design and with the help of our excellent team of bespoke tailors and craftsmen, Stowers Bespoke are able to create the ultimate in bespoke clothing, and offer customers tailoring that is perfectly suited to their own personal tastes, style and aspirations without limitations. What sets Stowers Bespoke apart from the rest on Savile Row? I would say it is our expertise, knowledge and our willingness to produce whatever the individual customer desires. Most of the older, more traditional shops offer a ‘house’ style or a cut, which vastly limits the style options open to the client. They often stick to simple options, which mean


July 2010

The longevity of our designs is hugely important; our customers know that a suit from us won’t look dated in five or ten year’s time. We design timeless, classic pieces with ‘contemporary’ elements, and we just do it well

playing it safe within their capabilities. I prefer not to, I believe you need to offer the customer a blank canvas, allowing them to have whatever they want without limitations. We produce any style, cut or design whether classic, fashion or individually designed pieces for both ladies and gents including dress wear, formal wear and uniforms. Our business is also small and very personal which gives us an advantage because we get the chance to know our customers and understand them and give them the time and personal service you cannot obtain within a large company. Also I believe we are the only Savile Row company whose products are solely made in England, which is the traditional Savile Row tailoring ethos. Please tell us about the Savile Row heritage that is world renowned and how you have been able to inculcate this in your work? Beau Brummell is renowned for popularising Savile Row with Royalty and the Gentry during the 1800s. The gentry became concerned with neat dress, and Brummell epitomised the well-dressed man or ‘Dandy’ and popularised the tailors congregated around Savile Row. English men’s fashions only became increasingly important in the early 19th century. It was precisely at this time that Brummel was in his ascendancy as a fashion arbiter in England and Savile Row became popular. His influence on men’s fashion was of the utmost importance and with the Savile Row tailors of the time he was able to stress the importance of the cut of the garment and the quality of the fabric. He also popularised trousers rather than knee breeches and discouraged not only the fancy trim, but also the bright colours that were popular in France. Savile Row has been popular since this period and graced Royalty, world leaders and the rich and famous from across the globe. Stowers Bespoke fully understand the heritage and principals that made Savile Row a world renowned destination. This is key to our business and becoming a success and eventually world renowned ourselves!

Despite facing many problems over the years, the Row continues to be the destination for modern day ‘Dandy’s’ and discerning men from around the world who want the finest tailoring money can buy. Please tell us about some of the famous people you have dressed and the extent to where your work takes you. Where are your clients based? Our client base is very international and includes customers from the U.S, Europe, the Far East, Russia and the Middle East. Over the years we have tailored uniforms and clothing for hundreds of Royalty, VIPs, Presidents, Statesmen and celebrities from across the globe. Individual customers have included HRH Princess Diana, HRH Prince Charles, HM King Hussein, HM The Sultan of Brunei, HM King Abdullah of Jordan, HM The King of Thailand and family, HM The King of Malaysia, The Sultan of Perak, The Sultan of Pahang and family, Mikael Gorbachev, Colonel Gadafi and Royalty from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and The UAE. Celebrities have included Robbie Williams, Michael Jackson, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Josh Hartnett, Jack Black and George Benson to name a few. We have also designed and produced clothing for the military in Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia along with Palace and protocol staff.

“ ”

We have also designed and produced clothing for the military in Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia along with Palace and protocol staff Savile Row is traditionally known for men’s tailoring. But women too have turned to Savile Row for their impeccable tailoring. Even at Stowers Bespoke you cater to women. Please tell us more about this trend. In my opinion, women are now on an equal footing with men when it comes to spending and power and they to want the best that money can buy and this now includes bespoke clothing. Ladies have now discovered that they can have an individually and truly unique item of clothing personally tailored to their own design/vision. These are not throw away items and offer very good value for money and can typically last from 5 to 20 years or more. Compared to mass-produced and often poorly-produced designer clothing, bespoke clothing can be altered or just re-

July 2010


invented with changes to the cut or detailing; so it really does have a long life and is versatile. One of my original aims with Stowers Bespoke was to bridge the gap between bespoke tailoring and designer clothing. We are designing items of clothing for individuals routinely everyday of the week without it really being recognised. I now employ female and male members of staff with fashion backgrounds, who we train to design bespoke items. We now have the capability to produce and design fashion pieces as well as classic pieces; even drawing designs for clients, should they request us to do so. Our skill set now enables us to complete whole outfits, i.e. the suit, handbag, hat, coat and other accessories – which are totally unique to our clientele. In my opinion most luxury or branded products are poorly made, vastly overpriced and offer very little in the way of service, professional advice and an after sale ‘value’. Very few brands are true to the traditions of producing quality products and have resorted to mass production and outsourced manufacturing, often for the sake of bigger profits. So for me in most cases the history of a brand is unfortunately merely a marketing tool. I like luxury brands such as Hermés and Berlutti because they have stayed true to producing quality products. Personally I will look for value in a quality product and with our bespoke clothing you have to appreciate the whole process and truly understand the principles behind it. Our bespoke clothing is a luxury product that can be resized, reinvented and serviced by us. Our service extends to visiting our customers at home or abroad, this is true luxury and long term value for money.

Our business is also small and very personal which gives us an advantage because we get the chance to know our customers and understand them and give them the time and personal service you cannot obtain within a large company


July 2010

There’s much spoken about the bespoke Savile Row tailoring culture. Yet there has been a lot of controversy regarding the authenticity of certain tailors. How do you manage to be one of the most talked about and reliable on Savile Row? As a relatively new company we do not have the money or resources to compete with the large brands now congregating on Savile Row. Our business is totally reliant on our reputation, honesty, integrity a first-class product and our customer service. The Row is gradually being taken over by large brands. Unfortunately the fact is some form of imported and poorly made tailored clothing is now being masqueraded as real Savile Row bespoke products and sold at a fraction of the price. The traditions culture and craft of Savile Row is being lost in most cases for the sake of bigger profits and with no real professional body to police and monitor professional and moral standards. Savile Row has become a street where brands seek credibility in order to sell cheaper ready-towear suits around the world.        I try never to say no to my customers and will go out of my way to accommodate them, whether finding

a particular product or making myself available at their convenience, regularly making personal visits to their own countries. Our aim is to always build a committed long term honest and personal relationship with our customers built on trust with an exceptional, friendly, flexible and first-class customer service. We firmly believe in ethical trading, all our clothing is made with passion, commitment and conscience and is much more than just a transaction. The longevity of our designs is hugely important; our customers know that a suit from us won’t look dated in five or ten year’s time. We design timeless, classic pieces with ‘contemporary’ elements, and we just do it well. We have gained a very good reputation, without this we do not have a business. Would you agree that luxury in general is an essential element of life for a modern man as it creates ‘inner’comfort and acts as an anti-stress cure? For the modern businessman who needs to create a persona of authority, social standing and respect amongst his peers, a beautifully tailored outfit that fits correctly will obviously make them feel good, and experience the ‘inner’ comfort you mention. As tailors we believe in coordinating an entire image to suit each and every occasion, we will not only construct the suit but also the shirt, tie, and even make the shoes. If you look good, you feel good so will give you self belief and confidence. Confucius had a saying: Be thankful for small things and you will gain more. Do you think a luxury lifestyle could spoil someone dramatically or it could make someone better? Both really when someone comes from a privileged background, in some cases it’s harder for the individual to appreciate the true value of something and it can spoil some people. Equally when someone has worked hard to earn money they naturally see luxury from both sides of the fence and will appreciate being able to afford and live a luxury lifestyle much more. This person could however, also change dramatically and want the best of everything and become a completely different or spoilt person. Some people appreciate things more than others, for instance if someone is really informed as to why their bespoke suit from us costs £3500, they will look after it, and understand that they are buying into the whole ethos of an article of clothing that can be repaired altered and serviced and could last anything from 5 to 20 years. They will value it more and really appreciate why it costs this much. Who is your favourite designer — modern, contemporary and the classical one? Why? I really like Givenchy from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s dressing iconic ladies such as Audrey Hepburn and Jackie

Onassis and early Yves Saint Laurent, especially the ladies trouser suits. It’s difficult to say that I admire any contemporary designers in particular, as a lot of menswear today, whether it be high-end or high-street are recycled ideas and poorly constructed. There are certain people however, that I admire as businessmen however nobody seems to stay true to their roots or craft. I liked Tommy Nutter’s approach to bespoke tailoring, in that a suit didn’t have to conform to a style stereotype. He injected exciting/creative design into a well tailored garment, yet still maintaining its classical elements. Clothing in the late 40’s and early 50’s are interesting as they are extremely indicative of the era. This post war period was an exciting time for the fashion industry as people were beginning to appreciate clothes again. Having been suppressed by rationing for a time, they were also demanding more and designers such as Dior and Givenchy really took advantage of this. This is also similar to people’s attitude today as we emerge from a financially turbulent period, people’s confidence is growing and they are demanding more.

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Clothing in the late 40’s and early 50’s are interesting as they are extremely indicative of the era. This post war period was an exciting time for the fashion industry as people were beginning to appreciate clothes again. July 2010



AL ATHAIBA ✆ 24617401 | JAWHARAT A’SHATI COMPLEX ✆ 24694922 |


Style & Beauty


The story of a collection Inspired by books and the charm of libraries, Amouage’s latest fragrance collection is one-of-its-kind. The Library Collection by Amouage’s Creative Director, Christopher Chong, explores new realms in the world of perfumery Script: Anne Kurian

Christopher Chong


July 2010


mouage is renowned for creating distinctive and spellbinding fragrances. Over the last 25 years, the Omani luxury perfume house has introduced some of the most marvellous creations that are best described as ‘fit for royalty’. The Library Collection, the latest offering from the perfume house is a celebration of integrity, creativity and virtuosity. Created by Christopher Chong, Amouage’s extremely talented Creative Director, the collection takes inspiration from the allure of a library. Chong worked along with world-renowned perfumers in Grasse to compose these masterpieces. As with all great works, each fragrance is named Opus followed by a Roman numeral. Slated to become modern classics, the Collection begins with an odyssey – each revealing the many facets of a discovery. In an exclusive interview to Crème de la Crème, Chong takes us through the making of Amouage’s Library Collection. How did the idea for the Library Collection come up? “I have always been fascinated with the space of a library filled with volumes of knowledge evolved from man’s life experience. I love the aura of such an omniscient ambience. For me, as you already can tell from the vision behind the mainline collection, a perfume’s birth begins with a story and in this story contains the emotions masterminded by the creator. And what better place to find these stories and emotions created over many centuries than a library. “Moreover, the magic of perfumery is about remembrances and recollections. In each step of the process of remembrance we collect remnants from our surroundings. These remnants could be a sound, a word, a gesture, a gaze or a glimpse. To recollect, there is no definitive way of assembling these remnants. Perfumes are ethereal instruments that open our unconscious to remnants of an experience. And with reference to what I said earlier about knowledge, it is about the justification of a belief, a memory or an experience that we filter into a bottle of perfume. This is the very reason that the knowledge drawn from a library gives a bottle of perfume the soul and power to be something that is beyond smell. In short, I achieve this by giving my creations the soul to form a dialogue with the wearer. This is all about creating a harmony.”

The bottle was inspired by the shape of a small book or a journal to record research notes and we refined the shape with clean lines and gentle curves

July 2010


This collection draws inspirations from the knowledge cultured and collected in a library and celebrates the artistry of perfumery. Each fragrance is like a great tome of work at a library that is both timeless and beyond fashion


July 2010

Library is not a theme/mood chosen in the world of perfume. Is this is a first of its kind? “I wish I had such omniscient power to tell you that it is the first. It is impossible to make such a claim. However, perhaps, it is, better to say that I have made it my own with my own interpretation inspired by my own art of living.” Why were the fragrances separated into three varieties? Is there a distinction in this collection as men’s and women’s fragrances? “They are not three varieties. The first launch is made up of three fragrances and we will be adding more to this collection with another one planned to be released in December for a special cause. In terms of categorising for man or for woman, this collection started with the purpose of being non-gender specific. The reason for doing so is to place the focus on the sources of inspiration at the foreground and to empower the freedom to the customers to decide for themselves.” What was the inspiration for choosing Opus as name for the fragrances? “This collection draws inspirations from the knowledge cultured and collected in a library and celebrates the artistry

of perfumery. Each fragrance is like a great tome of work at a library that is both timeless and beyond fashion.” Could you please tell us more of your experience of creating the Library Collection? “I wouldn’t take “no” or “that’s not possible” for an answer. During the process, I enjoyed breaking conventions by combining contradictory accords. Perhaps not having the traditional background of perfume training helps me to be bold and adventurous with the creations. For instance, I am fascinated with deconstructing a note and reassembling it from a different angle. That is, making the marginalised aspects of a note much more pronounced.” How would you describe the collection? It must have been difficult to create such distinctive fragrances in one collection! “Difficult in the sense that it is frustrating to capture beauty in the best and most perfect way. Opus I is a glorious fragrance inspired by the start of an inquisitive journey for knowledge when all ideas and thoughts are fragmented. Opus II is a majestic fragrance inspired by the aura of a great library. It is stately, refined and noble. This fragrance captures the smell of books, dark wood book shelves and leather sofa. Opus III is an enchanting and captivating fragrance inspired by the research process from the darkest frustration to the brightest moment of finding the truth.”

The Library Collection Comprised of three unique and classic fragrances, the Library Collection is undoubtedly among Amouage’s outstanding olfactory creations. A look at Opus 1, II and III. Opus I is a glorious and timeless chypre inspired by the start of an inquisitive journey for knowledge. The sophisticated fragrance is a mélange of vibrant citrus notes of Bigarade and succulent Plum with a fresh bouquet of florals in the heart note which is richly woven with an earthy accord of Papyrus, Guaiac Wood, Frankincense, Vetiver and creamy Tonka Bean in the base. The majestic fragrance of Opus II captures the aura of a great library and is an opulent fougere which opens with mesmerizing Absinth and aromatic Lavender in the top notes with a spicy-floral heart of Rose, Jasmine and Cardamom, warmed by an irresistible woody base of Amber, Musk, Patchouli and Frankincense. The research process from the darkest moment of frustration to the brightest moment of finding the truth is reflected in Opus III – an enchanting floral oriental fragrance where the radiant heart reveals Violet with woody accents of captivating White Musk, Ambrette Seed, Cedarwood, Sandalwood and sweet Vanilla in the base.

How was the packaging and design concept for the fragrance selected? “The bottle was inspired by the shape of a small book or a journal to record research notes and we refined the shape with clean lines and gentle curves. Reminiscent of a book label, we decorated each bottle with a gold label simply stating Opus and the number of the fragrance in Roman numeral. “To complement the bottle, we designed the box to look like a volume of scholarly book. We further gave it a timeless elegant touch by covering it in an ivory fabric to give it an illustrious appearance.” What is your message to your clients through this collection? “Trust your own judgment. Be brave and have fun even if you think you are being eccentric. Break conventions. No new knowledge will ever be formed if we remain static and don’t trust our instinct to go one step or many steps further. Don’t allow a perfume to wear you and don’t try too hard to accommodate a fragrance. Believe in that love at first smell experience. If you form a dialogue or relationship with this collection, then it will be the beginning of an affair immortalised.” July 2010


Style & Beauty


Based on inventive concepts that define an aesthetic design, functionality and finesse, the British brand, Graham London creates imposing wrist machines Crème de la Crème Report

Of Speed & Beauty G

raham Watches evoke a powerful fascination among connoisseurs and collectors with technically and aesthetically playful objects that combine originality, exclusivity and avant-garde with the excellence of traditional know-how. The impressive racing timepiece, available at Gallery Argan, is dedicated to breathless lives and speed addicts. A specific streamlined design and highly-specialised feature make the Silverstone Stowe Racing line unique. Graham-London’s knack for performance led to the creation of these beautiful bi-compax chronographs which features tachymeter and GMT functions

Conception of a masterpiece Conceived originally for pilots to follow routes given as a function of heading, speed and time, the Flyback function allows to reset and restart the stopwatch in one go and without stopping it first. Pilots don’t have the time to stop, reset and restart their chronograph on each turn. Neither do racers want to do this each lap. Graham London designed this watch with the minds of racing engineers: Average 116

July 2010

speed is taken with the help of the tachymeter scale, the crown is secured by an additional hexagonal lock nut and the oval pushers of the chronograph controls have the same grip surface as the pedals of a racing car. Perfect Timing The GMT function enables the simultaneous reading of two time zones: The 24-hour hand can be adjusted in steps of one hour independently from the regular hour hand and can be set to GMT or any other time zone. Finally, the big two-digit display allows quick and easy reading of the date. Designed to perfection The racing outfit would be incomplete without the tyre tread strap with red or green insets echoing the colour of the dial and a ceramic buckle. The inspiring 48 mm steel case watch is a true racing machine and is limited to 250 pieces for each dial version. The crown is secured by an additional hexagonal bolt, whereas the oval pushers for the chronograph controls bear the same grip surface as the pedals of a racing car. Every single detail exudes the atmosphere of speed and adrenaline. The watch offers a sophisticated Flyback mechanism enabling the user to reset the chronograph to zero without stopping it first. After releasing the Flyback pusher, the seconds hand will restart immediately from zero. The Flyback function allows the user to re-start timing quickly with one push of a button. Paying a Tribute The harmony of the different versions is dedicated to traditional racing colours and the name is derived from a right-angled sharp turn of the Silverstone Circuit, the Stowe Corner. They have been chosen to pay tribute to racing events of the 60s. Made with Precision A tachymeter scale has been added to provide even more functionality to this already dynamic time instrument, offering a sophisticated function which enables the measuring of average speed over a certain distance.

A specific streamlined design and highly-specialised feature make the Silverstone Stowe Racing line unique. Graham-London’s knack for performance led to the creation of these beautiful bi-compax chronographs which features tachymeter and GMT functions

July 2010


Unwind - Unbecome - Unleash! Liberate your senses…

1st. Floor, Khyber Restaurant, CBD Main Street, Next to NBO Head Office Timings: Sat to Thu 12pm to 3pm & 6pm to 2am Fri 2pm to 2am 24781901 97015530




Simply Musts w I, Me, Myself July 2010



Simply Musts

A selection of the finest buys for connoisseurs of luxury

Military Fashion The design of the Bell & Ross 03 Military Ceramic is drawn from a plane’s cockpit clock. The Swiss movement of this timepiece was designed for professionals and is based on being easy-to-read, functional, precise and waterproof. It is 42mm in diameter making it highly adaptable to all users. Bell & Ross has pulled off a genuine technical feat with the BR Instrument case that is made entirely of ceramic. A precious material incorporating the technological advances of the 21st century, ceramic was chosen for its many qualities like scratch proof, light and comfortable. For more information contact Khimji’s Watches, Shatti

Creating a Milestone Smart, trendy and most of all fashionable, Motorola Milestone is indeed setting new standards as far as mobile experience is concerned. Powered by Android 2.1, it offers the ability to use multiple applications at once and is one of the world’s thinnest QWERTY sliders (13.7mm). The Milestone also boasts a hi-resolution, multi-touch, pinch and zoom display with twice the pixels of the leading competitor. Milestone is a smart phone without compromise, delivering a wiser, richer web and messaging experience. This is possible through the combination of Motorola’s expertise in design and a truly differentiated Android experience. Available at Cellucom, Emax and Carrefour.


July 2010

Smart Accessory The latest addition to the Victorinox family symbolises far more than just impeccable function and perfect reason. The limited edition Pioneer knife with its elegant Damascus blade and black anodised aluminium handles is based on the original Soldier Swiss Army Knife. The black grip handles made from structured aluminium are the perfect complement to the intricately patterned Damascus blade that deliver exceptional stability and sit securely and comfortable in the hand. Available at Khimji’s Luxury & Lifestyle Store

An Exquisite Ensemble The new John Galliano FW2010 timepieces fuse the designer’s romantic style and imagination to create exclusive new versions for women in the new season. Lady Galliano, the latest design, is very feminine and the extravagant designer creates a very genteel range for women’s wrists this season. There are eight new styles in the first section where bracelets, with delicate 32mm case, come with diamonds, ceramic or pave diamond bezels, rose gold or stainless steel casing and bracelets.

July 2010


Majestic Creations A one of a kind neck piece that can be teamed with a classic evening gown, something that will make a perfect fashion statement! Hand crafted in 18 kt gold with Egyptian turquoise, this neck piece is by far one of the rarest creations by Nupur, an extremely creative jewellery designer based in Paris.

Sparkling Beauty Possession is a connection, a story of love or friendship, whether official or secret, it is an indiscreet jewel. For its twentieth birthday, Piaget cultivates an air of mystery surrounding it as the rings have a new, rather provocative look. Two interwined rings, one on top of the other, in white or yellow gold creates a magical piece. The piece has never been more sensual. In white or yellow gold, paved with diamonds or nude, it looks magnificent. For more information contact Khimji’s Watches, Shatti


July 2010

Creating a Statement This unique long handled designer shoe horn is made in Italy and is approximately 18” long. The exquisite classic long handled shoe horn is topped with a beautifully crafted silver eagle face. Exquisite Italian design makes this highly functional classic long handled shoe horn handsome enough to be displayed. It is equipped with a hanging strap and is very easy to use. Available at Salam Studio & Stores, Qurum

Beauty Redefined In its unending quest for excellence to enhance women’s beauty, Guerlain is reinventing its legendary cream, Orchidee Imperiale. The new generation exceptional complete care infuses the skin with even more extraordinary longevity. Guerlain researchers have hunted down, isolated, extracted and selected from among all the species of orchids with the richest supply and then tested for its biological actions. The extract thus has the ability to help the skin not only to preserve its longevity, but also to ‘turn back cellular time’. Available at Capital Store outlets

July 2010


! a t s e i f g n i p p o re sh

m m u AS

You just can’t STOP ... while you SHOP at JAS

• A’Shamok Fragrances • Adam Opticals • Al Azure Tours • Al Emad Computers • Aon Majan • Beach Shop • Beauty Center • Celebrate • Connexions • Crystal City • D’Arcy’s Kitchen • Dairy Queen • Dimaniyat Diving • Eastern Mirage • Elegance Barber • Eye Candy • Febal Kitchens • Foto Magic • Golden Pearl Jewellery • Gulf Jewellery House • Gulf Property World • Hair Spa • Jazz • Light Moon Herbals • Little Shop of Flowers • Moustache • Muscat Pharmacy & Stores • Nails • Nick & Friends • O Sole Mio • Oman Post • Omani Heritage Gallery • Ozone • Pane Caldo • Perfumes & Cosmetics • Persian Carpet Bazaar • Raj Relics • Salubrious • Shoe Palace • Shuram Tourism • Snowhite • Starbucks Coffee • Stomach • Tahani Antiques • Tahani Fashions • The Spa Bar • Totem • Treasure Palace • Tulip Shoes • WH Smith


I, Me, Myself

Mantra in life  Be positive! And then nothing is impossible with hard work, commitment, honest attitude and most importantly, passion. At the end of the day, it just all works out and there is always a bright side to everything. What motivates me  Self motivation! No one can motivate me as much as I can motivate myself. Once I’m convinced about my goals then the sky is the limit for me. Most precious to me  My family

Krupa Khimji, Business Development - Arsenal Soccer Schools, Oman, talks about her favourites – people, places and things

My inspiration  My father - for his hard work, commitment and unconditional love.  My mum - for her selflessness and love towards the family.  My parents-in-law - for their relentless service towards social causes.  My husband - for his passion to follow his dreams and persistence to be self-made person. Cannot leave home without  My Blackberry and iPad Prized possessions  My handbags and jewellery Favourite holiday destinations  Boston - I studied there and have many fond memories; I met my husband, Mihir there. I also love spa destinations like Maldives. Favourite hangouts in Muscat  For laidback dining out - Pavo Real and Kargeen  For formal and classy ambience – The Chedi, Muscat Fashion style  Bling, flattering and elegant. I don’t like to follow any trends. I like to wear what I can carry off well. I shop  From local designers around the world since they are so creative and not commercial. I also like designing my own clothes. On a day off  I’m tucked in bed watching TV and movies or get a massage and have simple home cooked food. Luxury is  Anything I’m blessed to have beyond my basic needs


July 2010

Designer Fashion Boutiques

Showcasing 26 European & American Designers

Join Our Privilege Card Membership Free of Charge & Enjoy: • Discounts & Offers • Invitations to Preview New Collections • Special Member Evenings • New Boutique Openings • And Much More!

Ladies & Menswear at: • Jawharat A’Shati Complex • Shangri-la’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa • Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental Muscat For More Information Contact | Fiona on +968 96101176 | E-mail:

Painting A Beautiful World

Let’s turn a common drea m into reality! Care for your nature...



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