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Summer 2011

Welcome...

Contents

...to the latest issue of our luxury travel magazine packed full of interesting ideas and destinations to inspire your holiday plans. We hope that this issue will help to refocus on some excellent European Mediterranean winners. We also draw attention to some truly exciting holiday options further afield in USA, Peru, South Africa, Mauritius and South-East Asia. For the family what could be more fun than to spend time at a Dude ranch in Montana? The Ranch at Rock Creek has it all! Of course, if it is sun and sea that you are after then this issue is packed with great family friendly options in Croatia, Crete and Mauritius. We have also discovered an absolute gem of a resort with the Finca Cortesin in southern Spain. Join us on the ultimate journey of discovery in Peru as we outline a 14-night adventure taking in the riverine wonders of the Amazon, the mysteries of ancient civilisations and the world’s deepest canyon. Alternatively, we are pleased to review the new rail journeys in South-East Asia aboard the amazing Eastern & Oriental Express.

Europe & Mediterranean 3

European & Mediterranean News

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Dalmatian Delights The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens offers a world-class resort that puts Croatia into the Mediterranean top league.

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Mountainside, countryside and seaside - splendid backdrops and demanding fairways at Italy’s finest resorts.

Finca Cortesin Hotel Spa & Golf offers a relaxing and stylish refuge in the heart of the glitzy Costa del Sol.

10 Elounda Variations Three stylish resorts with shared facilities in one amazing location.

Worldwide 14

I am sure you will agree that there are a lot of great ideas from which to plan a great escape, so sit back, have a good read then give us a call to discuss your perfect holiday...

A Peruvian Adventure Breathtaking combinations of landscapes and cultures laced with ancient mysteries makes Peru the most exciting South American destination.

Jeff & Paul Rhodes Proprietors

Italian Landscapes

6 The Jewel of Andalucia

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12 The Ranch at Rock Creek The big country experience in frontier land Montana.

Boutique Cape

Published by Travelspeak Limited - 020 8944 6050

The Last Word in bespoke South African hospitality.

travel 9 St Mary’s Court Market Place,Tickhill Doncaster, DN11 9LX

Tel: 01302 742139 Fax: 01302 744112 Email: info@small-world-travel.co.uk

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A Perfect Combination How Shanti Maurice has combined the right ingredients to create the ideal allround beach retreat on the South coast of Mauritius.

20 Chronicles of SouthEast Asia The Eastern & Oriental Express offers a tantalising range of special rail journeys.

22 World News


European & Mediterranean News Venice Simplon-Orient-Express adds Krakow and Dresden to its Central European circuit Krakow, the enchanting former capital of Poland, and the recently restored baroque city of Dresden are your contrasting destinations on this new and exclusive itinerary. The classic trip features a journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Venice to Krakow and Dresden, with two nights included in both Krakow and Dresden before arriving in London. Passenger numbers will be strictly limited to enable all passengers to be accommodated in luxurious cabin suites.

The Mantis Collection expand their portfolio in UK & Europe

The ambitions of the Mantis Collection to expand their selection of “stand out” European boutique hotels and resorts continues to gather pace. Most recently they have added Cannizaro House in SW London and Ellenborough Park near Cheltenham to a prestigious list that already includes Cap Estel on the French Riviera and the Icehotel in Northern Sweden.

The villa at Le Clos Saint-Martin on the Ile de Ré. With plentiful flights into La Rochelle and a record for as much sunshine as the French Riviera there has never been a better time to plan a break to the popular west coast French island of Ile de Ré. Known as the summer retreat of wealthy Parisians, the pretty, Napoleonic fortress port of Saint Martin de Re is a focal point for the best restaurants and hotels. This season why not plan a group break for up to 12 people with family or friends and book the stylish 6-bedroom villa at the chic Le Clos Saint Martin Hotel. www.le-clos-saint-martin.com

The Canny Traveller - Tipping etiquette across the Americas USA/Canada

North America is the home of tipping and the general rule is ...anytime you are being served you tip. in restaurants 18% of the bill is the average. Give the bartender a dollar per round and a taxi driver at least two dollars but increasing in line with 15% of the fare.

Mexico

Similar to the United States or Canada , with some exceptions. Most service employees earn very little or no base salary and the tips they earn comprise the vast majority of their overall income. Try to pay in cash in local currency.

South America

Tipping is not as much part of the culture in South America. In most South American countries 10-15% service charge is usually added to restaurant bills, though a small additional gratuity given directly to the waiter is usually appreciated.

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Dalmatian Delights Introducing Dubrovnik Sun Gardens, Croatia’s premier coastal resort.

roatia is often described as the “Hidden Mediterranean”. Mass tourism has not defaced its coastline and a natural seascape with hundreds of off-lying islands in the glistening Adriatic has created one of Europe’s most alluring summer getaways. Dubrovnik Old Town with its distinctive medieval battlements and ochre rooftops is a world heritage site and the surrounding hills are carpeted with fragrant mediterranean pine forests dropping onto a craggy coastline.

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Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Resort, which is situated 20 minutes from Dubrovnik Old Town is one of the first fully equipped resorts in this young country to fully embrace the demanding standards of a world-class 5 star category. It is situated on the coast near to the village of Orašac, a short drive to the historic town of Ston, a quick boat ride away from the Elafiti Islands and just 45 minutes from Dubrovnik International Airport.

1. Panoramic view of resort 2. Dubrovnik Old Town 3. Pool detail 4. The Beach 5. Sunset Bar & Grill

At the heart of the resort is the 201 room Radisson Blu Resort & Spa. Each of the elegant and spacious rooms has a private terrace with a view across the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic to the nearby Elafiti Islands. For the family market the resort also offers 207 one, two and three bedroom fully appointed Mediterranean style residences located just a few steps away from the sea, with outdoor terraces and patios offering garden and sea views, perfect for that all important family getaway during the school holidays or at half term. The resort has excellent facilities including three large outdoor swimming pools, an award winning Spa & Wellness Centre, extensive restaurants and bars featuring local and international cuisine, a professionally supervised Kids Club, a sports and recreation centre with a range of facilities including a gym, a squash court, outdoor tennis courts, and a five-a-side football pitch. 4

6. Award winning Spa & Wellness Centre 7. Spectacular sea-facing rooms & apartments


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The Jewel of Andalucia Finca Cortesin Hotel Spa & Golf offers a relaxing and stylish refuge in Southern Spain

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estled below the pretty whitewashed Andalusian hilltop village of Casares in the rugged Sierra Bermeja and between the buzzing Mediterranean playgrounds of Marbella, Puerto Banus and Sotogrande it is a very pleasant surprise to enter the gates of the Finca Cortesin estate. Lying a scant 5 minutes detour from the main coastal road the lucky visitor will be set on the right path to holiday bliss by the distinctly laid back luxury of the surroundings.

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with fruit trees and a central fountain is approached through a Moroccan lounge whose vaulted and painted wooden ceiling is bordered by intricate moorish tracery. Ornate panelled doors acquired from monasteries and other old buildings lead off the two-storey courtyard into spacious junior suites, whilst in another part of the building of more contemporary design larger suites prevail including some fine roof top suites with their own private plunge pools.

At the heart of the estate and surrounded by the world famous championship golf course (now home to the Volvo Matchplay Classic) lies a small but immaculately designed 5 star deluxe hotel of just 67 suites and an adjoining but discreet development of villas, four of which are owned by the hotel and would make the perfect option for families or groups of friends looking for a little more independence. Also, 2011 rates for these four-bedroom villas offer excellent value for money and families will love the clever room layouts.

Too often in Spain one is disappointed by the excesses of development, which is why the hotel at Finca Cortesin has already attracted such praise in such a short time as a prestige boutique property. Guests will quickly relax in the ambient atmosphere. The facilities are superb for non-golfers including both an indoor and two outdoor pools, the 2,200m2 spa, a dedicated Kids club and various restaurants offering a range of gourmet delights that includes innovative tasting menus by the acclaimed Dutch chef, Schilo van Coevorden.

The main hotel buildings offer a tantalising maze of elegant public rooms, restaurants, state of the art spa and sumptuous suites that pull their inspired designs and faultless finishing from Spanish colonial, Andalusian, Portuguese and Moorish traditions. A beautiful courtyard

The lure of the Mediterranean itself has not been forgotten as a new beach club will open this summer allowing guests the opportunity to relax on an exclusive strip of nearby beachfront complete with restaurant and luxury recliners including two-person cabanas.


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Italian Landscapes Mountainside, countryside and seaside - splendid backdrops and demanding fairways at Italy’s finest resorts

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urprising as it may seem but the popularity of Italy as a golf destination has only recently begun to take hold in the UK. This is surprising when you consider how dramatic and varied the Italian countryside can be with vast mountain ranges, idyllic Mediterranean coastlines and the quintessential rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria.

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Perhaps one of the reasons for the recent change of direction can be linked to the popular combination of golf and spa resorts. Certainly, there is a very healthy association with the game of golf in that 18 holes of play is punctuated by a substantial amount of walking! Golf courses add an important refinement to natural landscapes and are critical in maintaining open spaces. To gauge the variety on offer we review four very different golfing properties across the length and breadth of Italy:

1. Cala di Volpe (Pevero), Sardinia This world-renowned 18-hole Pevero golf course, owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc, stretches from the gulf of Pevero to the bay of Cala di Volpe. It is a magical place, with views of the sea from every hole. Located just minutes from the magical Cala di Volpe Hotel and chic Porto Cervo, this course takes full advantage of the magnificent natural surroundings of the exclusive Costa Smeralda.

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Top images from left to right: Verdura, Terme di Saturnia, Cortina Golf and Pevero

2. Cristallo Hotel Spa & Golf, Dolomites The prospect of playing at one of the most exciting new golf courses, Cortina Golf, will certainly be drawing new clients to the famous Cristallo Hotel Spa & Golf from late spring all the way into autumn. Nine holes are in play with a further nine holes in development. A special arrangement enables guests at the hotel to play at this exclusive club.

3. Terme di Saturnia, Southern Tuscany The Tuscan Maremma’s mild climate and nearby hot springs makes this course an ideal all-year-round golf destination. The project is the brainchild of architect Ronald Fream of Golfplan, who has been involved with some of the most prestigious courses in the world. The 18-hole, par 72 and 6,294m course is gently undulating and full of hazards and bunkers defending wide and long greens.

4. Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily The resort is set over 230 hectares of stunning landscape with 1.8km of private coastline, yet has just 203 rooms and suites, giving a true sense of space and privacy. All rooms have private terraces and sea views and the Olga Polizzi-designed interiors combine modern luxury with authentic Sicilian motifs. There are two 18-hole championship golf courses and a 9-hole, designed by leading architect Kyle Phillips.

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Elounda Variations

Three stylish resorts with shared facilities in one amazing location. he secluded family of luxury hotels of Elounda Mare, Porto Elounda and Elounda Peninsula are located in prime position on the beautiful Gulf of Mirabello, an area of striking beauty on the north coast of Crete renowned for beautiful beaches and chic developments.

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Each resort has its own personality and tends to attract different clientele, yet each benefits from sharing their combined facilities to offer a level of recreation and dining that it is simply unmatched. There is a sumptuous choice of seven restaurants and five bars. Guests can choose from the Mediterranean cuisine Old Mill and the Seafood Yacht Club restaurant of Elounda Mare hotel to the Cretan Elies restaurant of Porto Elounda or the gourmet Italian Calypso restaurant of Elounda Peninsula with Michelin star holder chef, Eric Maio.

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A demanding nine-hole golf course is a unique benefit, which along with the new and impressive Six Senses Spa ensures that the resorts attract guests from late spring through to early autumn. There is a strong family appeal, particularly at Porto Elounda and the Elounda Peninsula, where there is a large area of 3000m2 next to the golf course called “Children’s World� including a large outdoor park and an indoor facility with experienced childcare professionals. From 2011 water slides are added at the pool of the Children's World. It would be true to say that the secret of success at these resorts has always been due to a constant drive for innovation and excellence. It was the first resort to offer private pool bungalows and you will look hard to find finer sand beaches than those fronting each of these winning properties.


Porto Elounda

De Luxe Resort

The largest of the three resorts with 140 rooms and suites all of them overlooking the seafront. In addition, 70 of them have access to individual or shared pools! Families will especially appreciate the spacious suites or the interconnecting rooms that are guaranteed.

Elounda Mare Elounda Mare is the first hotel in the world that had bungalows with private pools. In 1987 the hotel became a member of Relais & Chateaux and has remained so ever since. Traditional, aristocratic Elounda Mare has 50 bungalows, all of them with a private pool and 50 rooms and suites in the main building.

Elounda Peninsula All suite hotel

Private and secluded, the Elounda Peninsula is a an all-suite, boutique hotel within the resort. All 50 suites have their own private pool located on the seafront. The “hippier� feel to the accommodation tends to attract a very trendy, younger crowd of couples and new families with young children. 11


The Ranch at Rock Creek The big country experience in frontier land Montana

fter a day’s trekking across “BIG” Montana landscapes cowboys and cowgirls alike will appreciate a “Saddle Soar Soak” as administered at the spa at Rock Creek. Welcome to ranch life with a difference.

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The Ranch at Rock Creek, located on over 6,800 acres of rolling hillsides near the town of Philipsburg, offers guests the opportunity to escape mundane urbanite existences and share the lifelong love of the big outdoors that spurred former banker, Jim Manley, to develop this most remote, yet engaging and luxurious of frontier style activity resorts. The ranch offers a range of accommodation with elegant rooms in the main Granite Lodge, rooms and lofts in a remodeled 19th-century barn, luxury 12

canvas tents by the edge of the creek including the highly recommended Trapper tent and finally two larger log homes. Each style has been impeccably designed, and whilst of recent construction have that old feel. Small families should consider booking adjacent rooms in the lodge whilst larger groups should opt for the three or five bedroom log homes. For a wilderness romance to the rhythm of the gurgling, trout-rich creek, couples should consider the Trapper Tent. A good description of everyday life would be cowboy culture without the dusty, uncomfortable bits. Guests can try barrel racing, trail rides, mountain biking, clay shooting and fly fishing. The kids can go on adventurous mountain hikes. There is even a paintball course for the trigger happy.


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Once sated by the rigours of the day, retire to a suite or the soothing spa. Come sundown re-congregate with your fellow “city slickers” for some excellent ranch fare with local cuisine as prepared by chef Josh Drage (specialities include elk and bison) followed by some honest wilderness entertainment around the bar at the Silver Dollar Saloon including a 4-lane ten-pin bowling alley and a fourteen foot high-definition screen. In fact, this is the ideal family getaway or, as the owner would say, “I think people these days want to rough it during the day, then have a great meal and slip into some comfortable sheets at night.” The Ranch at Rock Creek is a 1.5 hour transfer from local airports of Missoula and Butte. Transfer time is based on motorised transport and not by stagecoach!

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1. Trapper tent at the river’s edge

4. We start our cowboys early!

2. In the saddle at the Silver Dollar Saloon.

5. Granite Lodge

3. Under canvas in style inside the Trapper Tent

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A Peruvian Adventure Breathtaking combinations of landscapes and cultures laced with ancient mysteries makes Peru the most exciting South American destination.

ew countries can offer the spectacle and geographic diversity of Peru. There is a rich history with mysterious pre-Columbian cultures reaching back 5,000 years and the more recent legacy of Spanish colonial rule. Consider the sharp juxtaposition of the narrow and arid coastal plains, the mighty wall of the towering Andes Corridor behind which stretch the tropical forests of the upper Amazon basin and its mighty tributaries. Then add to this the sights and sounds of modern day Peru and you will have the measure of a truly remarkable destination that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. And if this be the case ...then do it in style!

experiences beginning with a 3, 4 or 7 night river discovery cruise on the Northern Amazon aboard the small, but ultra luxurious all-suite vessels of Aqua Expeditions.

The vibrant and gastronomically rich capital of Lima offers a fascinating international gateway and visitors should consider a short stay in town at the Miraflores Park before embarking on a circuit of domestic flights linking the cities of Iquitos, Cuzco and Arequipa opening up a splendid combination of Peruvian

What better way to conclude an amazing Peruvian adventure than to head southwards to the remote Colca Canyon, an area of outstanding beauty that remains relatively undiscovered by tourism affording the opportunity to completely wind down the tempo at the sublime hideaway of Las Casitas de Colca.

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The cultural climax to the trip introduces a spectacular network of properties owned by OrientExpress in and around Cuzco and the Urubamba Valley beginning with The Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco and culminating in a mountain-top stay at the uniquely positioned Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. Travel up the valley on Orient Express’ luxury train, Hiram Bingham, stopping off for some magical days at the newly opened Hotel Rio Sagrado.


Las Casitas de Colca

Aqua Expeditions

Las Casitas del Colca is Peru's hidden gem, a collection of luxurious cottage villas with a fabulous spa, set in the peace and serenity of the remote Colca Canyon. Nestled high in the Andes, this Orient-Express secluded retreat offers a rare opportunity to experience the traditional beauty of Peru. Spot condors high overhead, hike through the fields or visit the hotel’s farm. Spend time in harmony with this lush valley’s nature and local community, with complete freedom to do as much or as little as you wish.

Iquitos

Lima

The brainchild of Francesco Galli-Zugaro, Aqua Expeditions is entirely unique to the Peruvian Amazon. Trips cater to discriminating, adventurous travellers and explore the more remote and pristine areas of the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve in the upper Amazon River and its tributaries. M/V Aqua is 140-feet long with 12 spacious and luxurious guest suites. All of the suites have large outward-facing picture windows and en-suite sitting areas.

Cuzco

Aqua Expeditions' new vessel, the M/V Aria, features 16 suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, Jacuzzi, a gym, sundeck, and the same Pedro Miguel Schiaffino-designed menus.

Arequipa

Hotel Monasterio

Hotel Rio Sagrado

Machu Picchu

Cuzco

Urubamba Valley

Sanctuary Lodge

A former monastery raised on Inca stones, this is a haven of near-religious calm. Yet just outside its tranquil cloisters is Cuzco’s lively city centre, where brightly-clad traders hawk their wares, trekkers prepare to hike the Andes trails and Peruvian musicians gather enthusiastic crowds.

Nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, surrounded by ancient remains, is this tranquil, rural retreat. Yet close by is all the colour and vigour of contemporary Peruvian life: local markets, adventurous activities and the rugged trail to Machu Picchu.

One of the world’s most fabled ancient sites, Machu Picchu is a place of most wonder and awe when the daytime crowds have left. Wreathed in the mists that add mystery to its spectacular sunrises and moonlit nights, to sleep at the only lodge beside this mountain citadel is an all-time travel great: pure adventure.

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Boutique Cape The Last Word in bespoke South African hospitality

he Cape Town peninsula and the adjoining Cape winelands offer a beautiful variety of leafy suburbs, glorious beachfronts and vine-filled valleys, dominated by stunning chains of mountains and most notably the iconic flat topped peak of Table Mountain. It is therefore not surprising that discerning visitors to Cape Province will look well outside of Cape Town city centre in search of that elusive and relaxing boutique Cape retreat. It will be unlikely that they will find a better choice than the aptly named “Last Word” collection of 5 star sanctuaries.

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Rarely has the term boutique been more appropriate as each of the four hotels only offer between five and nine oversized rooms and suites all with private patios or terraces. Unlike larger hotels this promotes a more engaging experience for each guest and the owners are keen to extend genuine home-spun hospitality, charm and local knowledge so that the maximum enjoyment is achieved. By combining stays in two or more of the hotels it is possible in just one visit to discover the rich variety of the area. Imagine a few days enjoying magnificent mountain views amid tranquil gardens in Cape Town’s most exclusive suburbs Constantia and Bishopscourt, ultimate relaxation and romance on the beach front at Long Beach, or simply a couple of nights wining and dining in South Africa’s gourmet capital Franschhoek. 16

The Last Word Constantia Situated in the Cape’s oldest and most beautiful wine valley, The Last Word Constantia is close to seven of South Africa’s top wine estates and many internationally celebrated restaurants. (images 3 & 5)

The Last Word Bishopscourt The Last Word Bishopscourt is situated in what is arguably Cape Town's most beautiful and prestigious suburb, so close to Table Mountain, you'll want to reach out and touch it. (images 1 & 6)

The Last Word Franschhoek An exclusive five star historic residence in the heart of Franschhoek village, the gourmet capital of South Africa. It’s only a minute’s walk from the many excellent awardwinning restaurants and numerous character-filled boutique style shops and art galleries. (images 2 & 7)

The Last Word Long Beach Located right on the beach in the picturesque lobster-fishing village of Kommetjie, a short 30 minute drive from Cape Town. The eight kilometres of fine white powdered sand set against a backdrop of the most stunning sea views offers Cape Town’s most romantic hideaway. (images 4 & above)


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A Perfect Balance Shanti Maurice, a Nira Resort, has combined the right ingredients to create the ideal all-round beach retreat in Mauritius

hanti Maurice prides itself in being the perfect Mauritian boutique retreat. Firstly it is small with only 61 junior suites and villas dotted across 36 acres of exquisite tropical gardens and around a pristine horseshoe coral sand cove. Secondly, everybody gets that picture perfect sea view and the orientation of the resort is perfect for romantic offshore sunsets. Most importantly, the attitude and service is spot on with staff who genuinely spoil their clients and cuisine that is the envy of the “oh so� hotels in the not so close vicinity. In a nutshell Shanti Maurice is a little gem that prides itself in promoting the creole* culture of Mauritius.

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The largely untouched south coast means that the resort feels richly detached from the ribbons of gimmicky developments now redolent to the north. Instead, Shanti Maurice has taken enormous care to work with the community both to respect its environs and minimise the impact of the resort on it.

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Bring the family to Shanti Maurice and nobody will be disappointed. Between 8am and 9pm a dedicated kids club, toddlers pool and play area together with many planned activities will keep children between the ages of 412 well occupied (younger children will need parental/nanny supervision). Unburdened, parents can mingle with other guests reliving life before..., recharge their batteries with a range of restorative massages and treatments at the award winning and expansive Nira Spa or indulge in a range of land and watersports (non-motorised in resort but with waterskiing and deep sea fishing available locally). Of course, the ultimate objective will be simple relaxation and on this the resort will deliver! The luxury one and two bedroom beachfront villas are ideal for families and come complete with temperaturecontrolled private pools, Jacuzzi, an outdoor rain shower in an enclosed courtyard and a private garden with Salas (pavilions) for dining or relaxation. Shanti Maurice offers extensive dining options, with an emphasis on locally-sourced fresh fare. Head Chef Willibald Reinbacher sources the vast majority of ingredients from the island’s farmers and fishermen, as well as utilising herbs and vegetables grown on the estate to offer dishes which are sustainable, seasonal and delicious.

*Creole Mauritius Reflecting a colourful history as an important island crossroads for trade across the Indian Ocean Mauritian culture is a unique mix of Indian, African, French and Chinese influences.

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Chronicles of South-East Asia The Eastern & Oriental Express offers a tantalising range of special rail journeys

outh-East Asia’s premier rail service, the Eastern & Oriental Express, renowned for its superlative 3 to 4-day classic itineraries across the Malay peninsula between Singapore and Bangkok, has now introduced a fascinating new programme of extended rail journeys to explore destinations a little more off the beaten track with extended itineraries and new routes.

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Entitled Chronicles of South-East Asia, these four journeys offer guests not only the quintessential Orient-Express step back in time experience of life on board the luxury train but also the most elegant mode of transport wherein to visit some very special retreats. For instance, there are two extended 6-night journeys along the classic route between Singapore and Bangkok. Fables of the Hills includes a detour to the mist-shrouded Cameron Highlands with its tea plantations and lush jungles. The southward variation of this journey, Legends of the Peninsula, breaks the journey for a leisurely sojourn on the sparkling Andaman coast at Trang. Both journeys visit the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Tham Kasai Viaduct. Another 6-night journey, Epic Thailand, leads from Bangkok through Thailand’s remote north-east plain, with its exquisite Khmer temples, and on to culture-rich city of Chiang Mai. Also departing and returning to Bangkok, the final journey, Tales of Laos, offers a truly unique experience as passengers once again head through North-East Thailand and then onwards across the mighty Mekong river on newly laid tracks to neighbouring Laos and its capital, Vientiane. The city will delight with its old-world air, traditional markets, golden temples and colonial residences lining leafy boulevards.

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Call to order your copy of “Chronicles of South-East Asia”.


On Board The Eastern & Oriental Express The fully air-conditioned train consists of four types of well-appointed private cabins with ensuite facilities ranging from single and twin (upper and lower berths beds) pullmans to State Cabins and Presidential Suites. All are beautifully decorated and finished with panelling of cherry wood and elm burr. Dining on board is a culinary tour de force in splendid dining carriages where tables are laid for dinner with distinctive European cutlery and hand-cut crystal glassware. Evening dining offers the guests an opportunity to dress up for the occasion with glamour and style. Pre and post-dinner entertainment may be sought in the Piano Bar and Observation Car, or simply relax in the charming Saloon car where there is also a boutique. During the daytime the train will organise fully escorted sightseeing excursions thus ensuring the perfect balance of relaxation on board with the opportunity for interesting and fascinating experiences off the train.

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Caribbean News Round Hill near Montego Bay extends beach and opens a new restaurant

Honeymooners get the ultimate suite at Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios

Round Hill was the first resort to embrace the idea of a hotel amid privately owned villas. This has created a unique resort environment where guests can either stay in the main Pineapple House or select one of the individually designed villas that line the hillside above. The famous fashion designer, Ralph Lauren, owns one of these villas and has contributed to design makeovers of the main building over the last 25 years. This year the resort plans to increase the size of the beach and a new restaurant, The Grill, will open in June offering al fresco dining.

Jamaica Inn lies in its own, private horseshoe bay and offers an intimate retreat on the north coast of Jamaica. Whilst the main hotel nestles around its beautiful beach there are also some detached cottages on the bluff (headland). Cottage 7 lies at the very tip with just the bright blue Caribbean beyond! Plans are now underway to give this private retreat a thorough refurbishment that will transform it this autumn from two bedrooms into a regal 1-bedroom suite with infinity pool on point overlooking the Caribbean sea ...surely a honeymooners’ dream!

Readers will be fascinated by the concept of Round Hill and it is strongly recommended that they view the resort’s excellent website, especially the section that shows the extraordinary plan of the resort and the individual properties - www.roundhill.com

Also, there are fabulous, new bathrooms in all the suites – including the White Suite (where Winston Churchill once stayed) which has also had its pool refurbished into a relaxing, cooling space.

Beach front dining is all the rage at the fabulous new Bequia Beach Hotel Everyone agrees that the best beach on the romantic Caribbean island of Bequia is Friendship Beach and nobody knows this better than Bengt Mortstedt, owner of the fabulous Bequia Beach Hotel. Indeed, he has created an idyllic boutique haven above the beach that offers cutting edge luxury with a superb selection of accommodation consisting 27 spacious suites, 6 villas and 10 classic rooms. Bengt has been quick to realise the popularity of his beachfront restaurant, Bagatelle, which will be extended this summer whilst the hotel is closed. Al fresco dining on the veranda is a firm favourite with guests as they enjoy the fine cuisine. Bengt also intends to raise the bar on the gastronomy next season by inviting two Michelin starred Swedish guest chefs to join the kitchen team to create an inspired Caribbean/European food experience. 22



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