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PHOTOGRAPH: NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center)



“Diving under the water, I felt my lungs burn and the months of city living come back to haunt me”

What’s hot this month, from Japanese cherry blossom to Sydney’s beaches 10 Photography 14 Go With The Flow 15 Means Of Escape 16 Head To Head 18 Checklist 24 Instant Anorak 26 In Brief: Venice 29 The Tourist 30 Top Five Breaks 34 Winging It 38 Reader Questions

Maldives, Indian Ocean



30 44 Nice, France

”If you tire of Nice, gambling away your lack of fortune in nearby Monaco is an option…”

“Indulge your inner prom queen with Laura Dols’ array of cocktail dresses” Amsterdam, Netherlands


Snowdonia, UK

“The area is home to Europe’s longest zip line” “The face of a cow diagram on an Angus beef chart looks down at me as I cut into the hide” Hong Kong, China


Ultimate short breaks, with some tropical surfing for good measure 44 Top mini breaks The best short-haul trips this Spring 52 Amsterdam Cycling and shopping in the Dutch capital 58 Hong Kong Explore HK’s newest design district 64 Surf Maldives In search of the Yin Yang wave

foodism Eat your way around the world with our tasty guides and tools 76 Eat Puglia 81 Reviews 82 Eat the World 85 Whisky

COMPETITIONS Check the back of the magazine for big competitions and offers 88 Fine Dining 90 Santa Monica 92 Family Dubai

London’s secret escapes, with five star services

View from the Tower penthouse

Cheval Three Quays, a stunning serviced residence situated next to the historic Tower of London, is launching in March this year and will offer a unique selection of architecturally designed apartments and penthouses with unrivalled panoramic views of the Thames. Part of Cheval Residences boutique collection of luxury-serviced apartments, Cheval Three Quays is an ideal location to explore London’s iconic landmarks. This 5 star property offers a range of lifestyle services to support your requirements, providing the perfect balance between apartment-style and hotel living. Cheval Serviced Residences – for short or long stays, for business or pleasure. 020 7205 2471


hen we set out to create escapism last year, we wanted to make a magazine that captured a feeling – that sense of transportation from the day-to-day to somewhere altogether different, that you can only get by going away. We’d have called it ‘Transportationism’, but we couldn’t fit all the letters on the cover. Of course, for most of us it’s a feeling we get to experience only a few times a year, and that includes me. (Despite what most people I meet seem to think, I actually spend 365 days of the year chained to my desk, with a solitary afternoon off to visit Alton Towers.) This is where the mini-break comes in. With minimal damage to your annual leave allowance (and, if you’re canny and careful, your wallet), you can escape the city and get an instant fix of that good feeling, whatever it takes to transport you there. And if you’re bored of the usual suspects, we’re sure you’ll find some inspiration in our round-up of amazing mini-breaks [p44], from well-trodden destinations to the new towns, cities and beaches on the block. It’s an essential guide for anyone after a quick holiday hit this spring. Finally, I’m proud to say escapism has officially been named the UK’s largestM E D I A circulating independent travel magazine. If EDITOR EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jon Hawkins you’re a regular reader, thanks for helping Mark Hedley ART DIRECTOR COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR us get there. To first time readers, welcome Matthew Hasteley Mike Gluckman ASSOCIATE EDITOR SALES DIRECTORS aboard – if you’re passionate about getting Cathy Adams Mike Berrett, Alex Watson SUB EDITORS out there and seeing the world differently, SALES MANAGER Janelle Butterfield, Will Preston Oliver Pickup you’ve come to the right place. e PRINT ADVERTISING



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1 Clare Vooght prefers a suitcase to roughing it with a backpack, but after hitting 58mph on a luge she’s a firm believer in embracing any travel experience that requires signing a disclaimer. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t have to in Hong Kong. [p58] 2 Sophie McLean’s love affair with Italy started while snuffling truffles and working for a wine company in Piedmont, aged 22. She’s now on a perma-quest to match this version of casa dolce casa elsewhere. Find out how Puglia compared on page 76. 3 Duncan Madden has spent the best part of 20 years trawling the world’s coastlines in search of empty waves, natural wonders and the perpetual sensation of always being on holiday. This issue he and his board take a romantic trip to the Maldives [p64].




Krista Faist



MICHELINSTAR MEALS To win a year’s worth of meals at 12 top Michelinstarred restaurants in London, go to page 88…


Š 2014 Offi ce of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.



Boutique Shopping

Outdoor Adventure

Contemporary Cuisine

Exciting Nightlife

Discover Your Inner Cowboy A twice-daily cattle drive, year-round rodeo, authentic Texas cuisine and artisan craft spirits. Think you know cowboy? Saddle Up. See Fort Worth, Texas.

Enter to Win the Ultimate Texas Adventure at Roundtrip Air  Luxury Accommodation  Racecar Ride Along  Cowboy Cuisine  Private Whiskey Tasting  And So Much More!

BELOW: Wilfred Berthelsen took this picture of a polar bear in Norway’s remote Svalbard archipelago. The image is a finalist in the travel category of this year’s Sony World Photography Awards.

Photograph by ###

14 15 16 18 20 24 26 29 30 34 38



BELOW: This stunning image by British snapper Simon Morris, entitled The Mongol, will be exhibited at the Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House in May. It depicts a hunter and his hooded eagle resting on the bleak-looking plains of western Mongolia, Asia.



Photograph by ###




HAPPY HUNTING 2014 SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS EXHIBITION We’ve all been there: well lubricated and high on life with friends, the desire for competition is irrepressible. These two Oktoberfest revellers weigh up their chances of winning a prize at a kitsch stall peddling tat – including a large Smurf cuddly toy. Will the tipsy gentlemen give it a drunken go, and most likely miss their target? Here Chinese snapper Li Hao sneaks behind two whitesock-wearing boozers, whose judgement may not be at its sharpest at 10pm in the evening, when the shot – named Beer Festival in Munich – was taken. The picture, selected from 139,554 images, has made the shortlist of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, and will be exhibited at Somerset House in London between 1 and 18 May. For more information visit Photograph by ###



Go with the FLOW Navigate your way through this month’s top global events…




















Cherry blossom season is now in full swing in Japan – spot the iconic pink trees in parks all over the country. Head to Okinawa for the full cherry blossom experience: the warmer temperature here means it’s in full bloom.

The Indian capital is the place to be for the Holi festival of colour in mid-March. It gets pretty rowdy: think street parties, music and great food, all while throwing coloured powder over your friends.

Bali is already one of the most beautiful places on earth, and how better to see it than by meditating on a yoga mat? The Bali Spirit yoga festival also involves dance and world music, so it’s not all about the downward dog.

Hit up the ultimate party city for its annual Winter Music Conference. It’s technically more of a trade show, but with more than 500 events and parties, the city becomes one huge celebration of music.

Grab your last chance for a powder fix this year in the still-snowy Alps. Snowbombing in Austria’s Mayrhofen takes place at the start of April – think of it as après-ski all day, in a week-long party with international acts.



WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This issue: fragrant bank notes; double trouble; and where the orcs live TASTY EARNER Let’s be honest, there’s rarely much to say about bank notes. But then Canadian bank notes aren’t just regular dollars – for years, residents have sworn their paper money smells like maple syrup. (The Bank of Canada has denied impregnating them with scent, but we’ll ignore this.) That, kids, is what consuming too much tree sap does to you.

MEANS OF ESCAPE Is this a glimpse of the future of transport in Asia? We hope not, but points for effort, Mr Wu #7 ROBOT RICKSHAW

Photograph by Imaginechina/Corbis

Land pretty much anywhere in Asia and chances are the first mode of transport you’ll see won’t be a taxi, but a ramshackle rickshaw charging dubious prices to get into town. We’ve hailed rickshaws with a bike on the front and been thrown around the back of an auto rickshaw (or a tuk tuk) with a motor attached. But a rickshaw pulled by a robot – now that’s a new one. But being dragged along by a robot could soon be a thing. For almost three decades, Wu Yulu, a Chinese farmer on the outskirts of Beijing, has lived out his dream and built tens of these robotic creations to lug him around his local village, much to

the surprise of locals. Aside from driving rickshaws, the robots can also jump, paint and, er, perform massage. Obviously. Building robot rickshaws is a fairly loveless task, as Mr Wu has reportedly burned his house down, had battery acid spilled over him, run himself in to debt and been left by his wife (though she’s back now, apparently) over his obsession with his robots, which he fondly, and oddly, refers to as his sons. They were exhibited at the Shanghai Expo back in 2010, though sadly for those who dream of being massaged and chauffered around by an overgrown toy, we won’t see them here anytime soon.

TWIN TOWN Mothers and fathers from Candido Godoi, in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, certainly have their hands full. The small town (population 6,500 and rising, quickly) is famous for the high number of fraternal twins born there – the rate is more than 500% of the state average, all apparently down to a rogue gene. Now that’s what we call buying one and getting one free…

TOLKIEN INSPIRATION Fiction sometimes has a habit of breaking into reality, nevertheless it’s rare to come across a crew of orcs or hear elvish on your commute. But in small Dutch town Geldrop, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is everywhere you look. You can stroll down Arwen Road or Legolas Street until you reach Tolkien Avenue. Can we live on Gandalf street, please?


Head to


This month we’re zooming Down Under to adjudicate on the great Australian city debate on the southeast coast, between one hip hotspot and its free-spirited competitor…


MELBOURNE Population: 4.4m

SYDNEY Population: 4.8m

Nickname: The Second City

Nickname: The Emerald City



People in tea-cosy hats in their tenth year of university, working at eco-organic coffee houses. All of whom are healthier, happier and nicer than you. 7/10

Beautiful bronzed people fanning themselves lazily with polymer banknotes on the beach in sizzling, +35 °C heat before their next well-rewarded modelling job. 7/10





“London certainly has better coffee”

“What’s the best way to St Kilda?”

“I got sea sick on the Manly ferry”

“This place is all beauty and no brains”



Melbourne has a bustling music and art scene, so hop on a bike and cycle your way through the Europeanstyle streets, spotting the diverse array of street art as you go; Hosier Lane is a good place to start. Then chill out in Federation Square ( and watch live music and dance performances. Or, if all else fails, head to the beautiful St Kilda beach. 7/10

You can’t go wrong with the beach, and it’s not just Bondi – Bronte, Tamarama, Manly, Freshwater, Coogee and a dozen others are all 15-30 minutes drive from Australia’s most populous city. Then hit the Museum of Contemporary Art ( opposite the Opera House and take the Skywalk high up Sydney Tower ( for stunning views. 8/10



The Cullen Hotel ( is a boutique hotel inspired by contemporary artist Adam Cullen, whose vibrant works hang in every room. Or head to the Brooklyn Arts Hotel ( in a big converted house. 8/10

Inner-city ‘designer boutique’ QT Hotel is the new kid on the block – in an old department store ( – or head down to the uber-establishment Park Hyatt Sydney (sydney. smack bang on the attractive harbour. 8/10



The South Melbourne Trader offers fresh, quality ingredients, from local and sustainable suppliers ( If that’s too worthy, head to restaurant by day, club by night Big Mouth ( 7/10



AND THE WINNER IS... Sydney’s city and beach combo wins


Brunch institution Bills ( is a popular spot. Check out Freda’s (fredas. for drinks and tapas in the hip Chippendale neighbourhood, or one of the Fratelli Fresh eateries across the city ( 8/10



THE SUNGLASSES HAN KJOBENHAVN TIMELESS HORN CLIP-ON SUNGLASSES, £125. Flip-up shades from the cult Danish designers, with retro style for the modern traveller.




1 VULPINE, Harrington rain jacket in indigo, £195. Rain- and wind-proof cotton jacket, equally at home on or off the bike. 2 WANT LES ESSENTIELS, beige Orly tote bag, £130. Easily rolled-up for easy storage, with an internal laptop pocket. 3 BUTTERO, grey suede sneakers, £190. Minimalist trainers with perforated upper, perfect for pounding the city streets.







1 HELMUT LANG, Jersey and ponte jacket, £400. Thanks to its neutral colour blocks, this versatile jacket matches everything. 2 ZARA, Leopard print trousers, £29.99. Dress up with a black jacket and heels for a night out, or a plain white t-shirt for all-day style. 3 NIKE, Flyknit Lunar2 trainer, £135. These ultra-lightweight running shoes are the ideal blend of strength, support and comfort.

THE BAG THE BRIDGE ARTISAN CASE, £414. Keep maps, boarding passes and passports safe in this stylish terracotta case in Italian leather.




The latest GoPro, the Hero3+ Black Edition, is 20% smaller and lighter than its predecessor, with a 33% improvement in image sharpness.

THE ACTIONCAM GOPRO HERO3+ BLACK, ÂŁ359.99. This year the GoPro, the ubiquitous documentary tool of nutcases everywhere, turns 10 years old. The first Hero was designed for surfers and, believe it or not, only shot still images on 35mm film.


PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###

The wifi remote can be paired with up to 50 GoPros simultaneously, in case you happen to be choreographing an army of adrenaline-fuelled lunatics.


Gear The M1BTs use Bluetooth 4.0 technology to give improved energy efficiency, and supports aptX for wireless audio with no trade off in quality.

Controls are built into the ear cans, which feature memory foam pads for outstanding comfort when you’re wearing them for long periods.

THE HEADPHONES PHILIPS FIDELIO M1BT, £249.99. Beautifully designed and heroically comfortable ‘phones, perfect for long-haul flights.







£6.99 IOS



Off on a cruise? Download ShipMate – it has detailed plans of the ship’s deck, and if you’re in port for a day it’s got information on that too. Best of all, it works offline so no more pesky roaming charges.

The future is here: run this app over any foreign word, and Word Lens will translate it verbatim instantly. Paying for the app is certainly cheaper, easier and lazier than taking language lessons…

Described as the ‘The World’s Largest Audio Guide,’ this app acts as your very own personal tour guide. No more having to follow that embarrassing crowd around the heritage sites.

Why are rude words always the first we want to learn? Swearport knows us too well and has provided a catalogue of international expletives. Now you can fit right in with the locals.

Photograph by David Harrison


Morning: Go trekking in Tamerza Evening: Relax in the spa in Tozeur

free to live it all

Instant ANORAK March is blooming marvellous, as evidenced by conga records, wacky festivals and millions of pints in honour of Saint Patrick



The number of cherry blossom trees gifted from Japan to the US in 1912. A festival now takes place in DC every year

500 700


The number of people that turned up to the first SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in 1987. This year, around 300,000 are expected


The cost of a papier-mâché doll at Valencia’s las Fallas festival in mid-March




The number of films screened at the Tampere Film Festival in Finland at the start of March





The number of people that joined the world’s longest conga line in March 1998, at Miami’s Calle Ocho


Take a punt on the canal before the romantic, popular Italian city sinks






Elspeth Merry dives into the Floating City, follows the footsteps of Casanova, sips Bellinis and dons her mask for carnival debauchery

enice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go,” author Truman Capote said of the Floating City, immortalised in the luxurious large-scale canvases by painter Canaletto. If that means opulent, indulgent and intoxicating, then the In Cold Blood scribe nailed it in one. First, upon arriving into Venice you feel as though you’re entering a kind of water theme park. Built on an archipelago of 117 islands and connected by 409 bridges, the city has no roads – everything is accessed via the canals which snake through the city. With an average of 50,000 tourists dropping in on the city every day, it’s little surprise the city is supposedly sinking. The lagoon, St Mark’s Square and Basilica and the Grand Canal are all venerated landmarks, worthy of a visit. But there’s much more to the city than its architectural triumphs. Romantics can follow in legendary womaniser Giacomo Casanova’s footsteps by climbing through the private rooms of The Doge’s Palace and


into the cell that the 18th-century Venetian adventurer and author escaped from. And you can’t leave without trying Venice’s most famous cocktail, the Bellini – masterminded in the city’s famous Harry’s Bar – knocked back in view of the Rialto Bridge. Casanova would certainly approve. And while the city is a World Heritage Site, its locals certainly aren’t afraid to party hard. For carnival, which ended earlier this month, Venice hosts a dizzying series of parades and decadent balls, where locals and visitors alike don traditional masks to hide their true identities. Indulgent and intoxicating, indeed. e

NEED TO KNOW British Airways flies to Venice from both Gatwick and Heathrow. Twonight flights and B&B from £199pp. Ts&Cs apply.

There’s still plenty of snow left in the Alps – so make the most of it over the next month or so. Luxury chalet specialist Ski Verbier has several last-minute snow offers. Over the Easter week, chalets are available from £3,800. In addition, there’s free childcare for March bookings, and if you book for next season before 1 April, you’ll enjoy a 10% discount.

VEGAS SHOPPING Vegas isn’t just known for the slot machines, you know. The city has become a one-stop shopping mecca, with everything from colourful souvenir shops to haute couture boutiques along the strip and surrounding areas. You won’t be alone in swapping the roulette wheel for the stores. Plan your shopping holiday now at

SHANGRI-LA IN THE SHARD The Shangri-La hotel in the Shard has been on the verge of opening for what seems like decades, but it’s finally set to welcome guests this May. It will be the highest hotel in Western Europe, occupying levels 34 to 52 of the skyscraper. Alongside 202 rooms and suites, the Shangri-La Shard will also have London’s highest infinity pool, which opens in July.

Welc ome to Sk i Verbier t he Verbier spe cia l i st

Ski Verbier is the oldest and most established chalet operator in Verbier offering: E xc luSi V E ch a l E tS i n V E r bi E r i m pEcc a bl E fi V E S ta r SE rV ic E E xcEp t iona l c u iSi n E t h roughou t you r S tay pr i Vat E i n-r E Sort dr i V i ng SE rV ic E i n-houSE ch i l dc a r E complimEntary childcarE in march*

10% Early bird offEr for nExt SEaSon*

w w | +44 (0) 207 401 1101 *offers valid until 1st april 2014, subject to availability and not in conjunction with any other offers.

Summer holidayS




Gear up for summer! Get set for a holiday where you can combine exhilarating activities and relaxation for the perfect summer escape. Choose from our selection of sunny beach resorts from Portugal to Turkey. With so much included in the price from watersports to mountain biking, plus a choice of pools and beautiful beaches, it’s easy to be as energetic or lazy as you like!

Mark Warner summer holidays include: Flights | Transfers | Accommodation | All inclusive, full board and half board options | Tennis | Sailing | Windsurfing | Mountain biking Fitness and aerobics | Childcare (over 2yrs) | Childcare (4mths - 2yrs) available at extra cost | 0844 273 6823 Greece |

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ATOL1176 protected. £490 price shown is per person including fuel supplement, applies to 7 nights at San Lucianu Beach Resort, Corsica departing 20th September 2014. Prices featured are for new bookings only, cannot be offered in retrospect, cannot be combined with other offers, are subject to availability and can be withdrawn at any time. Facilities and inclusives vary between resorts. Tennis and mountain biking are chargeable at Sea Garden and there are no watersports at Ocean Club. See website for Mark Warner Ltd’s full terms and conditions.




Cathy Adams tries her utmost to escape India’s notorious Delhi belly and overcrowding when visiting the in-laws, but it catches up with her in the end, with a predictably messy conclusion


here are so many preconceptions about India – food poisoning, overcrowding, Delhi belly (so more food poisoning, then) – that it’s hard to know what the subcontinent is really like without listening to friends’ warped tales of being mugged outside the Taj Mahal or contracting dysentery after eating street food. But stereotypes are meant to be broken, right? Arriving into Mumbai airport – right by one of the most choked slums in the world, a place where the guide books tell you to apply mosquito spray before leaving the arrivals hall due to a suspected malaria outbreak just outside – perhaps, er, not. But, no matter. I have an ‘in’ that nobody else does: my boyfriend’s family live two hours outside of Mumbai, and we’re off to meet them. After all, nothing says welcome to India like being driven to meet what feels like a firing squad at more than 100mph in a battered car with no seatbelt, right? Mine’s the only dodgy tummy in sight, but only because I fear I’m going to be thrown through the windscreen whenever we change the haphazard lanes. And so my first night in India was spent in an airy living room, with a creaky fan whipping around overhead, being stared at by three generations of my other half’s extended family. I’ve only met a few of them before, and he’s not seen most of them for years. Turns out they’re all totally nice and normal, don’t quiz me too much about my nefarious intentions with their nephew, and my milky skin is only moderately gawped at by the younger members of the family – but rather than appreciate how welcomed I feel, all I can think about is where my next anti-bacterial handwash hit is going to come

from. I guess they must assume that all Brits are deeply paranoid about hand health. Rather than endless cups of tea, I’m offered handwipes. Rather than a formal meal, they smirk as I attack my plate of curry and chapati with a knife and fork.

MUMBAI TOP 3 1 Check out top seafood restaurant Trishna in Colaba. Try the soft shell crab with lime. 2 Take a boat out to Elephanta Island to escape the Mumbai heat – and check out the caves. 3 The grand gothic revival Victoria Station is worth a look, although it’s the busiest station in India so don’t hang around.

Sure, there are some cultural differences between us to overcome, especially when I have to ask how to use that weird spray thing in the toilet (just point and, er, shoot, apparently), but I’m sure I’ve found the ‘real India’ right here in Maharashtra, with the commuter trains heaving by outside. I’d love to write that we spent the rest of the holiday debunking similar stereotypes. Instead, we fended off untreated bottles of water and under-cooked curries in Goa, were near-asphyxiated in a wooden box down a backstreet in Kerala (in the name of ‘relaxation’) and were filmed on cheap camera phones walking around Mumbai. As for that bloody Delhi belly, it caught up with us in Kerala, where the topic of our battered digestive systems had started to grate so much we referred to it in code. Talking about the ‘red report’ felt much more like a covert operation than a rather gross medical issue. And I can only hope it had absolutely nothing to do with my in-laws’ outrageously spicy curry… e


5 BREAKS IN... wales




Chances are that for many, a past family holiday will have involved Pembrokeshire. Its scenic coastline, boasting white sandy beaches and rugged cliffs that kids will love playing on, is a huge draw for many families looking for a good value break. The town of Tenby also has much to offer young ones: there’s a dinosaur park, an adventure park and a zoo, as well as nearby Saundersfoot Beach.

Stay: Celtic Haven near Tenby is a cluster of white-washed self-catering cottages with a leisure club to keep kids entertained and a spa for adults to retreat to. Cottages available from ÂŁ79 per person, per night.





ABERGAVENNY Abergavenny might be difficult to say, but you better get used to it. The town outside the Brecon Beacons is the food capital of Wales – home to the Abergavenny Food Festival ( in September, the Michelin-starred The Walnut Tree Inn, ( and a string of local delis serving up local produce. Gastropubs are a huge part of the area too – we like The Hardwick on Raglan Road, which sources its dishes from south Wales.

Stay: The Angel Inn in Abergavenny is the sister property to the Walnut Tree Inn, and is equally luxurious. Come for the cosy, rustic vibe and stay for the afternoon tea. Doubles from £111, including breakfast.

ABOVE: As well as fantastic scenery and great beaches, Wales is fast becoming a destination for foodies in search of gastropubs, independent restaurants and fresh locally made produce



You’ll have a hard time believing that the gorgeous beaches along the Gower Peninsula are in Wales. With white sandy strips and turquoise seas, this southern part of the country is spectacularly beautiful, and can relax even the most stressed of travellers. Spend your days strolling around the Gower Coastal Path (, jumping into the rock pool at Blue Pool, watching the sunset in nearby Rhossili or take some time out in one of the region’s many spa hotels. It’s not a hard life here. Stay: The Worms Head hotel overlooks the Gower (and has been voted one of the best views in Wales). If that won’t relax you, what will? Doubles from £80.




If the newspaper reports about Cardiff are to be believed, you’ll spend a Saturday night glassy-eyed in a local pub, before walking barefoot to the chippy. But behind the headlines is a city full of lively drinking spots – from local microbreweries to trendy cocktail bars. Cardiff Bay ( is a good sundowner spot, with plenty of bars and pubs to kick back in. Buffalo Bar and 33 Windsor Place are both good nightspots in town without the crowds, or if you’re looking for a post-rugby pint, crack open a beer in the Brewery quarter.



Stay: Jolyon’s claims to be the best boutique hotel in town, and is close to the city centre if you’re too blotto to make it much further. Double rooms start from £100.

TOP: Cardiff has become a destination spot for a night out, as a growing choice of watering holes make for a great night out in the country’s capital; BELOW: Snowdonia’s rugged landscapes

Home to Wales’ biggest mountain, the eponymous Snowdonia region is the clear Welsh adventure destination. There’s the mountain hiking (it’s quite possible to summit in a day) as well as scrambling over gorges and rock climbing in the huge 823 sq mile national park. The area is also home to Europe’s longest zip line (, which is sure to quicken your heart rate, if the regular land-based adventure activities don’t…

Stay: Bron-y-Graig in Corwen is on the edge of Snowdonia, and a proper Welsh Victorian country bolthole. Relaxing by the fire is a must – you’ve just scaled Snowdonia, right? Double rooms start from £59.

Photograph (above and top left) by Visit Wales (below) by Getty Images/Andrew Peacock


Photograph by ###


Sail Croatia, Greece and Turkey on your own yacht

Spend seven days sailing the most breathtaking islands the Mediterranean has to offer. Explore historic towns, relax on board your own yacht and have the time of your life at the best night spots. The perfect balance for the perfect holiday.

Skippered Sailing Holidays For 20-35 Year Olds


This month, we soak up the spirit of Rio de Janeiro, celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, raise a glass or two in Barcelona, and swing into Austin, the music festival capital of Texas

RIO DE JANEIRO DO: Learn to samba Can’t shake your samba spirit after the Rio carnival? Thankfully, the city is home to more than 100 samba schools and clubs that offer classes for wannabe dancers with two left feet. Learn from the moves of the experts and you never know, it could be you in feathers shaking your stuff at the Sambadrome next February. STAY: Copacabana Palace, Avenida Atlântica. Rooms from £400 a night There’s nothing understated about the Copacabana Palace. The granddaddy of Rio beachfront hotels – boasting seven penthouse suites – overlooks the crashy Atlantic. You’ll be in good company (Marlene Dietrich and Orson Welles are past guests), so spend your days relaxing next to the turquoise pool – if you’re too lazy to make it to Rio’s famous beach.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Rio’s world-famous carnival is held before Lent every year and attracts more than two million party-goers a day; Copacabana Palace pool – the hottest spot in Rio to sunbathe, swim and people watch; The distinctive tiled steps of Escadaria Selarón in Lapa are the work of artist Jorge Selarón


DRINK: Caipirinhas The caipirinha has reached legendary status inside and outside of Brazil, and for good reason. Packed with industrial quantities of lime, sugar, ice and cachaça (a Brazilian sugarcane spirit), the signature cocktail is found on every street corner. The spiritual home of the caipirinha is the district of Lapa. Go down on a Friday night, grab a glass of Brazil’s favourite drink and dance to the city’s beat.




DO: St Patrick’s Day, 17 March Been there, done that, bought the Guinness factory T-shirt? There’s more to Dublin than St Paddy – although he’s still a pretty big deal. Over the festive weekend, St Patrick’s Festival offers a diverse programme of events: traditional Irish dancing, a parade through the city on St Patrick’s Day itself and a treasure hunt through Dublin’s most famous landmarks. And, if all else fails, there’s always Temple Bar.

DO: ACL, 3-5 and 10-12 October Austin is fast becoming one of the hottest places to be. British Airways is about to launch its direct Austin flight (the first from London), just in time for a belter of a summer music season. If you’ve done alternative music festival South by Southwest (SXSW), book tickets for ACL at Austin’s Zilker Park. There’s more than 130 artists from around the world playing, and food trucks galore. Who needs Glasto?

STAY: The Westin, College Green, Westmoreland Street. Doubles from £150 a night Nurse your hangover in fivestar luxury at The Westin, smack bang in the heart of town. Set in a historic 19th-century building, book into one of the Writer Rooms, named after some of Ireland’s greatest writers. Or, if you haven’t overdone it on the Guinness, head to the hotel’s quirky Mint Bar, hidden below in an old bank vault. DRINK: Fallon & Byrne This concept joint has the best of all worlds; a fine wine bar, sprawling food hall and a lavish restaurant. Plus, it’s got some of Dublin’s best coffee if you need a hangover cure. But we won’t pretend you’re not in Ireland to drink, and with more than 600 wines on the shelves, you’re definitely in the right place.

BARCELONA DO: Barcelona Beer Festival, 11-13 April For three days in April, the Catalonian capital is overtaken by lager: there’s more than 200 international beers, as well as talks from breweries. It’s not exactly Oktoberfest (so leave the lederhosen at home), but the atmosphere gets pretty boisterous. STAY: W Barcelona, Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents. Doubles from £172 a night Down on the iconic Barcelona beachfront, the W Barcelona (see above) overlooks both the city and the Med. In true W style it’s got a top restaurant with a Michelinstarred chef at the helm, a hip rooftop bar and a pool surrounded by loungers and cabanas. It’s also the only hotel with direct access to Barcelona’s beautiful beach.

STAY: Hotel Saint Cecilia, 112 Academy Drive. Doubles from £300 a night We’re suckers for a flickering neon sign. Which is why we like Hotel Saint Cecilia – it’s uber-colourful without being garish. Think striped floors, furniture in primary colours and a giant neon sign spelling out ‘soul’ over the pool (see below). Set in Austin’s trendy Congress district, it’s the ideal place to keep your post-ACL eardrums happy. EAT: Qui, 1600 E 6th Street Qui, which opened last year, has garnered itself plenty of publicity thanks to its star chef Paul Qui. It’s mostly no reservations, but the menu changes regularly, with treats such as ‘rabbit seven ways’, ‘broken arrow venison’ and a cheddar cheese ice cream sandwich, so is worth the long wait at the weekend.

WANDER: Eixample We mainly like this place for its confusing mix of vowels. The Eixample, translated as ‘the expansion’, is an area of central Barca known for its modernist architecture (you know the Sagrada Familia, right?), tree-lined avenues and neighbourhood restaurants. Head to Taranná café for vintage furniture and beer.


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Encounter cunning predators, majestic mammals and sparse open plains on safari in Kenya before relaxing on powder-soft beaches and soaking up the atmosphere on the paradise island of Zanzibar.




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reader QUESTIONS Feel majestic in Split, hit the Toronto beaches and take a hike in the Southwest with the expert aid of the Insight Guides team

My girlfriend and I are visiting Split in Croatia this summer. Where should we go, what should we do? Chris Cooper Dear Chris, Split has it all: one of the Adriatic’s liveliest and most alluring cities, it is also an excellent base for island-hopping. A key feature is the remarkably intact Diocletian’s Palace, built on the waterfront by Roman emperor Diocletian in 295 AD. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, today, cafés, bars, shops, hotels and apartments jostle for space within the palace’s protective outer walls, which enclose Split’s old town. North of Diocletian’s Palace, through the Golden Gate (Zlatna Vrata), stands the monumental sculpture of the 10th-century bishop Grgur of Nin (Gregory of Nin), which was created by Ivan Meštrovic in 1929. Opposite the statue is the Split Gallery of Modern Art, housing an incredible selection of masterpieces. For an insight into the life and work of the Split-born sculptor, head to the Meštrovic Gallery, west of the city.

At night, you’ll be spoilt for choice as Split is known for its vibrant nightlife, which centres on Diocletian’s Palace until 10pm, after which the bars and clubs on the waterfront become the focal point. Split is a great base for a series of excursions. South of Split is Omiš, the centre of Dalmatia’s pirate history and its folk music (klapa); an annual folk festival is held here every summer. If you fancy something more outdoorsy, the surrounding Biokovo mountains and Cetina river gorge are perfect for hiking, mountaineering and river rafting. Further south, tumbling down the hillside towards the pine-fringed Adriatic beaches are the various resorts and towns of the Makarska Riviera. Offshore, the stunning Dalmatian islands of Brac and Hvar bask in the Adriatic sun; both are accessible by ferry from Split. For a cheap overnight stay in Split I’d recommend Hotel Slavija (, at the heart of the Diocletian’s Palace. For a quieter and more luxurious experience, Vestibul Palace ( is a chic boutique hotel with just seven rooms in an old stone house near the vestibule of Diocletian’s Palace. Carine Tracanelli, Insight Guides’ Europe editor

We’re going to a friend’s wedding in September in Toronto and need inspiration for things to do. Sam Buckley Dear Sam, Do not despair! Thankfully, there is loads to do in Toronto. The city’s setting means that lakeside trails on Toronto’s waterfront run through it, and you can walk, cycle and skate for miles alongside Lake Ontario.


CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Split is a gem on the Adriatic Coast, with its rich history and nightlife; Toronto harbour is nice, but not half as funny as the city’s many comedy stores; the Grand Canyon, one of the pearls of America’s Southwest region

Toronto Islands on Lake Ontario is about 10 minutes by ferry. This huge park offers secluded beaches, bike trails and an amusement park. It’s hard to beat an evening picnic watching the sunset here. The East Beaches are perfect for a stroll on weekdays and evenings, and you can cut up to Queen Street for a great assortment of places to eat and drink. The Yonge Street Strip between King and Bloor streets is worth investigating for its bizarre mix of restaurants and stores. More leafy surroundings, trendy restaurants and smart boutiques are further up Yonge, north from Bloor. West Queen Street, especially between Bathurst and Ossington, is full of interesting galleries, alternative boutiques and trendy eateries and bars. The Distillery district on Mill Street is an arts centre with studios, galleries, performance spaces, boutiques, restaurants and a microbrewery.


St Lawrence Market, busiest on Saturdays, sells a vast array of fresh produce and all sorts of organic edibles. Toronto’s nightlife is excellent. The live music scene is eclectic and very good, offering pretty much anything you might be into. Many places are open until 2am and buses run all night. The Harbourfront Centre (not far from the CN Tower) houses shops, and restaurants with lakeshore views. You can also take a dinner cruise circling the Toronto Islands. Toronto also has a thriving stand-up comedy scene. Listings are available online at If you’re a culture vulture, check out TIFF Bell Lightbox, the city’s top arts centre. Home of the annual Toronto International Film Festival, in September it has five cinemas, a bistro, café and bar and two galleries. The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum both boast art, science and archaeology collections. Spectacular Niagara Falls is an easy trip by car or train from Toronto (about 80 miles), and you can get up close to the 14 million litres of water that cascade over

the falls every minute on a Maid of the Mist boat, or by taking a lift up through the rock to emerge behind the water. Just down the road is Niagara-on-the-Lake, one of the bestpreserved colonial towns in North America. Rachel Fox, head of content at Insight Guides

I’m planning a trip to Southwest USA this spring – around New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. What should I not miss while I’m there? James Aiman Dear James, The Southwest is characterised by wide open spaces and, for that reason, driving is by far the most flexible and convenient way of exploring. These are favourite states for road trips, especially as New Mexico retains a good section of the legendary Route 66. Monument Valley, which spans the Arizona– Utah border, is instantly recognisable from classic Westerns and road movies. The Southwest is home to incredible national parks and justifiably the most famous is the Grand Canyon. From the South Rim you can access free shuttle buses

to trailheads and spectacular viewpoints. Bright Angel Trail is a popular day hike into the canyon, but there are also much easier routes along the rim. Across the border in Utah lies Bryce Canyon, a geologic fantasyland of technicoloured spires, natural stone bridges and sky-filled windows, all carved into the orange-coloured cliffs. In Zion National Park, the Virgin River and erosion by water and wind have created remarkable soaring red cliffs of Navajo sandstone, replete with waterfalls. Further north, Arches national park has more natural sandstone arches than anywhere else in the world – along with fins, pinnacles, and other fantastic shapes. Dubbed the land of enchantment, New Mexico seduces with its other-worldly scenery and its deep historic roots. Its capital, Santa Fe, is the oldest in the US. Canyon Road is the artists’ main drag, lined with studios and galleries. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has the world’s largest collection of her work. e Rachel Lawrence, North America editor at Insight Guides.

ASK US Every month we’ll be giving away an Insight Guide for each question answered. This month, it’s Istanbul. Email experts@ or tweet us @escapismmag


Viennese Whirl In Association with British Airways

Immerse yourself in Vienna, where history, art and culture abound. With great deals on flights and hotels from British Airways, Europe’s most beautiful capital is at your fingertips


ienna, Europe’s most cultural city, is beautiful to visit at any time of year, but no more so than in springtime when the city’s historic squares and boulevards come alive. With great deals on flights and hotels from British Airways, now’s the time to visit. Immerse yourself in the Austrian capital’s imperial architecture and historic palaces, which have inspired some of the world’s most famous classical musicians and thinkers, from Mozart and Brahms to psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Delve into historic Vienna – or Wien, as it’s known locally – by wandering along its narrow alleyways and across its majestic squares, or visiting some of the city’s world famous landmarks: the Schonbrunn Palace or


the Imperial Palace, following the footsteps of Austrian royalty. It’s easy to get around: trams number one or two offer a genteel way to see the scenic Ringstrasse, a circular route around the city’s sights that many residents walk daily. Vienna’s main draws are in its romantic and statuesque palaces. The 1,141 room Schonbrunn Palace is a true Rococo gem, and a must-see while in Vienna. Likewise, spend an evening soaking up the atmosphere at the world-famous opera house – some tickets start from as little as €10 – or exploring the Sigmund Freud Museum. And as you might expect from this culturally diverse city, the MuseumsQuartier is a vibrant place to hang out. Tucked away in more than 60,000m2 of exhibition space, you’ll find lively

bars, museums and restaurants that make a great place to meet friends on a warm evening. And with great deals on hotels and holidays from British Airways, you can soon be there. Prost!

Three-night breaks from £195pp. Book by 11 April.

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Vienna’s Ringstrasse is a major draw; the city’s musical heritage includes classical artists such as Strauss and Mozart; Vienna’s majestic Imperial Palace; the legendary opera house; chill out in the famous MuseumsQuartier Photographs (clockwise from top): View of the Volksgarten, museums and Parliament by WienTourismus/Christian Stemper; Johann Strauss: Stadtpark byWienTourismus/Willfried Gredler-Oxenbauer; Imperial Palace: detail cupola by WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud; Opera: Wiener Staatsoper by WienTourismus/Christian Stemper; MuseumsQuartier by WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud



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ABOVE: Vibrant street art is just one of the reasons to visit Amsterdam – the Dutch capital also has boutique shops, flea markets and a buzzing nightlife scene. And you can see it all on two wheels. [Page 52]


A BREAK FROM THE NORM Don’t spend the next few bank holidays waiting to go back to work. We’ve rounded up hot city breaks just a short flight from London – from the usual suspects to the new pretenders





Photograph by ###



WHERE TO STAY In the trendy Marais district, Christopher Lacroix-designed Hotel du Petit Moulin is a fun, properly sexy hotel to hole up in for the weekend. Doubles from €195 a night,

Paris, France Paris – the city of love, the city of lights, the city of cheese and wine – is one of the easiest city breaks in Europe for Londoners, not least because it only takes two hours to reach and can easily be nailed in a weekend. The city is so compact you’ll need only your two feet or a velo to get around. Head to the up-and-coming 11th arrondissement or the Marais in the 3rd to find plenty of trendy boutiques, bars and restaurants.

1 hour flight time from London. What to see - the Louvre. What to pack - stripes

GETTING THERE Eurostar offers returns to Paris from £59 return.

THE EASTERN EUROPE BREAK THE ORIGINAL Prague, Czech Republic You’ll know Prague probably from the myriad stag dos, the majestic Charles Bridge and the cheap pints of Staropramen. But the Czech Republic’s first city has got a lot going for it: just 20 years after Czechoslovakia disbanded, it boasts more glitzy shopping streets and trendy clubs than many other Western European cities. Plus, its old town is postcard-perfect, particularly if you visit in the winter months. British Airways offers two night breaks from £149pp including return flights, a three-star hotel and breakfast.


3 hours flight time from London. What to see - Mount Dajti. What to pack - a torch



Tirana, Albania Around half a million people live in Tirana proper, which makes it one of the smallest European capitals. It’s one of the only cities left in Europe that is still properly undiscovered: power cuts happen regularly, outside of the city centre there’s little infrastructure, but it retains the best eastern European trait: it’s great value. Head to the trendy Blloku district at night, or wander around the food markets by day. Hotel Kotoni ( is one of the few boutique options in Albania’s capital, in Blloku. It’s small and cosy, and serves up a decent Albanian breakfast the morning after. Double rooms start from €140. Return flights to Tirana with British Airways start from around £220.


WHERE TO STAY In typical W style, the St Petersburg outpost is design-led, and features a great roof terrace cocktail bar. Rooms from £152 a night,



THE PRETENDER 3 hours flight time from London. What to see - the Hermitage Museum. What to pack - a hipflask

GETTING THERE Return flights from around £300 with British Airways.

St Petersburg, Russia Russia has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to the Winter Olympics in sub-tropical Sochi. But forget capital Moscow – its European, genteel neighbour St Petersburg (St Pete’s for short) should be first on your list for a Russian trip. There’s the cavernous Hermitage Museum to wander around, but the real fun can be found inside USSR-throwback bars: head to Shamrock Bar (next to Kirov Theatre) or restaurant Kvartirka for your soviet-era fix.

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THE ORIGINAL Nice, France Londoners are spoiled for choice when it comes to options for a short-haul beach break. While we’ll always have the Algarve and the Costa del Sol, the Côte D’Azur’s Nice tops the list for one of the most stunning strips of coastline. Sure, it’s a pebble beach – but when the water looks this dazzling, it’s a sure-fire way to impress. Plus, if you tire of Nice’s laidback cafes and waterfront vibe, then gambling away your lack of fortune in nearby Monaco is always an option…

GETTING THERE Return flights from £50 with easyJet.

2hours flight time from London. What to see - Promenade des Anglais. What to pack - designer sunglasses


WHERE TO STAY The concept Hi Hotel is designed by young French artist Matali Crasset. Double rooms start from £82.

GETTING THERE Return flights to Podgorica from £100 with Ryanair.

THE PRETENDER Budva, Montenegro

2hours flight time from London. What to see - The old town. What to pack - a snorkel

The Astoria Budva has a roof terrace to enjoy the sunset. Double rooms start from €75,


Photograph by ###


Montenegro isn’t exactly new on the weekend tripper radar, but the small nation, which runs along the sparkling Adriatic Sea, makes for a great budget beach break. The coastline runs for more than 11,000 metres and with plenty of little coves dotted along the shore, it’s like an undiscovered (and better value) Croatia. Make a proper Adriatic trip of it by combining your stay with a drive from Dubrovnik or an overnight boat from Italy.

DESTINATION FASHION Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom Quote “Escapism” at the oulet’s information centre to receive an extra 10% off. Valid until 30th April. Conditions apply.




Norwegian Air has just launched one-way fares to New York £150.

New York, USA Ask anybody what the ultimate big-scale city break is, and chances are the Big Apple will feature high on the list – if they’re willing to put up with the jet lag on the way back. From walking the High Line, scaling the Rockefeller Centre or brunching in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, a long weekend in NYC is the best way to see it. But rather than stick to Manhattan, head east to Queens to pick up dim sum and Chinese savoury treats in its Asian American community, Flushing.

WHERE TO STAY Recently opened luxury bolthole The Viceroy is in trendy midtown, with the towering views over Central Park. Double rooms start from £167 a night.

7.5 hours flight time from London. What to see - the view from the Highline. What to pack - elasticated trousers


WHERE TO STAY The James Chicago is a design-led boutique hotel right in the centre of town, with – you’ve guessed it – a bacon bar. Doubles from £149 a night.

8 hours flight time from London. What to see - Millennium Park. What to pack - bacon


GETTING THERE Return flights start from around £500 with Virgin Atlantic.


We predict that 2014 will be the year that Chicago steps out of New York’s shadow as a tourist destination – and it’s down to a heady mix of skyscrapers, bluesy music and bacon. Yep, the city’s obsession with bacon (there’s an annual bacon festival, bacon bars and bacon pubs) is one way to differentiate it from its East Coast neighbour. The clutch of well-groomed skyscrapers – the Willis Tower, once the highest building in the world and the Trump Tower are the two tallest – means you’re never far away from a good photo opportunity.

Rene Redzepi’s three-Michelin starred Noma, once the best restaurant in the world, is not the only reason that hungry weekend visitors flee to the Danish capital. It’s got underground restaurants, huge food markets and popup stalls galore. Torvehallerne (, next to the Norreport metro, is a covered food market selling everything from tapas and sushi to juices and high-end chocolate. Meanwhile, you’ll find neon-fronted bars and a string of no-reservations restaurants in the gritty meatpacking district. If all else fails, head for a smørrebrød (an open sandwich) at one of the city’s famous cafes.

THE ORIGINAL Berlin, Germany Berlin has rightfully held onto its crown as Europe’s premier party destination. We’re not talking about a couple of nightclubs though: Berlin is home to some of the best electronic music in the world, with top-flight clubs and acts playing here throughout the year. Techno club Watergate ( should be top of any music fan’s list – the terrace outside looks over the river Spree if you’re done with bopping around glassily to the DJs underneath. Techno might rule the roost, but don’t fly back home without eating up the revolving TV tower or crawling the bars in boho Kreuzberg.

GETTING THERE British Airways offers a two-night break including return flights from £149pp.




THE PRETENDER Jamtland, Sweden

WHERE TO STAY Handily located for Torvehallerne, Ibsens Hotel offers bike hire at a decent price, so you can drink as much Tuborg as you like and still make it home in one piece (we hope). Doubles from £80,

2 hours flight time from London. What to see - coloured houses at Nyhavn. What to pack Gaviscon

GETTING THERE A high-speed train to Östersund from Stockholm runs a daily service. Return flights to Stockholm with Norwegian Air start from around £50.


The northernmost region in Sweden before you hit Lapland, Jamtland is a local food producers’ heaven. As it’s one of the most sparsely populated regions of Scandinavia, everything is locally sourced and produced: it doesn’t come much fresher than this. Here you’ll find fresh coffee producers, artisan cheese using local milk or glasses of SAV Sparkling – made from pure birch sap from Jamtlandic trees. This is an area that relies heavily on tradition, and you’ll be glad it does. Östersund is Jamtland’s only city, and makes a good base.

WHERE TO STAY GETTING THERE From £40 return with EasyJet.

Framgarden is a rustic, cosy B&B just outside of Östersund with a restaurant that prides itself on local produce.


2hours flight time from London. What to see - Lake Storsjön. What to pack - Tupperware and layers

GETTING THERE: WizzAir flies from London Luton from £180 return.

WHERE TO STAY Generator Berlin Mitte is a fun and quirky hostel right in the heart of the city. In true hostel style there’s a cool lounge and a bar. Dorm beds from €10 per night.

1.5 hours flight time from London. What to see - the Berlin Wall. What to pack - neon fancy dress


WHERE TO STAY: Square Nine Hotel, set in Belgrade’s historic district, has been dubbed the city’s first worldclass luxury hotel. Unsurprising, as the hotel boasts a 500m2 natural stone spa. Doubles start at £220 a night.

3 hours flight time from London. What to see - Old Town architecture. What to pack - Alka Seltzer

THE PRETENDER Belgrade, Serbia

Photograph by ###

What Glasto did for the West Country, EXIT festival has done for Serbia. What else would you expect from a capital city that boasts one of the coolest summer music festivals? From underground bars and clubs on barges, Belgrade is Europe’s new party city and not afraid to show it. You’ll find much of its feted nightlife on floating river clubs along the Danube, although in the Serbian city every night is ripe for a party: many clubs are open Mondays, and drinking all night and getting up for work the next morning is no big deal. Just remember the paracetamol…





Photograph by ###


Once voted the world’s most bike-friendly capital, Amsterdam is not just a cycling paradise for locals – us tourists can get involved, too. Alistair MacQueen saddles up for a shopping adventure that takes in boutiques, bargains, pubs and parklife...



ennon and McCartney, ebony and ivory, flotsam and jetsam, shopping and cycling, Robson and Jerome... All of these things are better together. Sure, shopping can be done independently of two wheels (and who can forget Wings?), but what’s better than cycling over cobbled streets, baskets and bags loaded up with goods freshly procured from independent stores? This isn’t just nostalgic whimsy, this is daily life in Amsterdam, and for the sartorially savvy, the Dutch capital is a place to pick up bargains and peruse trendy shops – all while cycling around with an ease that London bikers will find virtually unrecognisable. For those who love bikes and boutiques, Amstererdam is heaven. Here’s how to make the most of it…

Speculate to accumulate The Damstraat, Rokin and Kalverstraat areas in the centre of the city offer the same high-street names we know and love, like H&M, Zara and Urban Outfitters, but also worth a visit is Holland’s own Peek&Cloppenburg on 20 Dam Square. This large department store mixes Selfridgesesque labels with casual chic. For luxury items PC Hoofstraat, situated near the Rijksmuseum, is akin to Bond Street without the crowds. Brands like Ermenegildo Zegna, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and American Vintage are found here, while the street’s location – in the heart of the fashion and museum district – next to the home of Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch and Vondelpark, makes for an afternoon of consumerism with culture. Uniqueness though, can seldom be bought from a brand. So thank your lucky shopping stars for the Negen Straatjes (nine





ABOVE: Cycling is the favoured mode of transport among Amsterdam locals – shopping bags and tulips are optional

Photograph (above) by Carole Hewer/Alamy, (bottom right) by ENP/Alamy

streets) quarter of the city. Comprising of – you guessed it – nine streets stretched over three roads parallel to each other, it would be easy to fill two days alone just rifling through the countless quirky boutiques and vintage fashion stores. Amsterdam’s own couture label Scotch & Soda has two outlets here (Huidenstraat 3-5 and Berenstraat 15), both with Barbour-esque attire, quilted jackets, cosy tops and designer denim. On a more homespun tip, hip shop Exota is one for the Fair Isle-obsessed children in your family (Hartenstraat 10), and also mixes a plethora of kooky vintage prints for ladies and skinny jackets, knitwear and retro T-shirt designs for men (Hartenstraat 13). Sticking to the Hartenstraat, chic outfitters Lock Stock & Barrel (at number 26) have a good choice of togs and accessories for men and women, from independent designers such as Universal Works, Filippa K and Folk.

From the kitsch to the quirky, those looking for a real statement piece will find them in abundance, snap up custom-made floral 3D jackets and accessories.

PS AKA Depot Deluxe (Herengracht 305) is a girl’s treasure trove of all things vintage; find treats from Chanel, Prada and Chloe, while Laura Dols (Wolvenstraat 7) is a place where women can indulge their inner prom queen with the kaleidoscopic array of evening and bridal dresses. The men can causally slope off to Episode (Berenstraat 1), where two floors of vintage denim, peacoats, jumpers and T-shirts await some serious rifling. Wandering around the area, you’ll see even more shops proffering retro interior knick-knacks, antique books and jewellery, sharp second-hand suits and vintage watches harking back to the 1950s. Another place to focus your boutique and vintage radar on is Oude Hoogstraat and

If you’re near the centre of the Dutch capital, your first port of call should be the Westermarkt on Westerstraat (every Monday & Saturday) in the Jordaan district of the city. The stalls here are for those looking for designerlabel attire, where ex-display or seconds of Versace and Gucci and other big brands make it feel like an open-air sample sale. Running parallel to it every Saturday is the slightly smaller Lindenmarket, which has more of a farmer’s market feel, with its range of fresh and just-baked offerings. The fleamarket in Waterlooplein (Mon-Sat) certainly lives up to its name. There’s more than l’espirit du Camden here with its trinkets, T-shirts emblazoned with revolutionary leaders, hash leaves and reggae singers toking on jazz cigarettes. There’s still the odd stall dealing in old cameras, medals, coins or postcards, so a trip is warranted for the curious. The Albert Cuypmarket (Albert Cuypstraat, Mon-Sat) is a bit of a trot out of the centre, but easily reachable by the city’s tram service (or bike). Here, you’ll get to see Amsterdam’s rich mix of locals and enjoy foraging through an estimated 260 stalls. It’s best to visit early as it does get busy around lunchtime, by which time you’ll soon find yourself haggling over shoes and checked shirts, admiring the flower stalls, chomping on herrings, or any of the produce from the numerous veg stalls and authentic food shops in the area. If it’s bargain designer goods you’re after, McArthurGlen Roermond (about 110 miles outside of Amsterdam) has got up to 70% off everything from Prada and Armani to Nike and Adidas.




Nieuwe Hoogstraat to the west of the city, on the cusp of Amsterdam’s infamous red light district (where ladies wear suits of the birthday variety). Marbles Vintage & Design, The End & Time Machine and Zipper vintage shops are some of the best in this area, where women can pick up good quality 1950s summer dresses, and men can toy with purchasing any of the grandad cardigans, Hawaiian shirts or store-refreshed band T-shirts.

The ride of your life If you thought it was just coffee shops and UNESCO-protected canals that were everywhere in Amsterdam, think again. Cycling is just as ubiquitous in the capital, and inhabitants of the city can be found biking along while chatting on their mobiles, carrying children or friends side-saddle on the back or in specially-crafted bakfiets on the front of their bikes. Rapha’s City Cycling Amsterdam guide is a useful purchase from the British bikewear brand and will provide you with the lowdown on local restaurants, bars, and sights, as well as helpful tips on cycling etiquette. Once you’re in the city, head to one of the many bike hire shops that the guide advises and saddle up for a spin. They will provide you with a lock (use it, or lose your bike at your peril) and while Dutch bikes are heavy, remember you’re riding the real thing. Must-do cycling routes take in the whole city, but if you’ve only got time for one, head to the Vondelpark in the museum district.


Chances are, you’ll be visiting a museum here anyway, but first indulge your inner wanderer with a journey on two wheels around Amsterdam’s biggest park. Long and spacious paths allow pedestrians and bikes to peacefully coexist together, so give yourself plenty of time to explore it and drink in the varied scenery. You’ll pass Het Blauwe Theehuis, a twostorey Art Deco cafe Champions of all with plenty of outside things independent, space to soak up the this brewery – in a atmosphere. It’s also former bath house – began creating open in the evening, artisan ales in and is lauded for its 1985 following a diner vibe and tasty society backlash on burger and barbeque mainstream beers. menu. In the summer, free concerts are put on at the park’s Openluchttheater; a traditional bandstand. Other places to visit by bike are the Flevoparkbad outdoor swimming pools, great for a dip in the warmer months, or the windmill-cum-brewery Brouwerij ‘t Ij, where everything brewed is 100% organic: get stuck into delicious Amsterdam ales, soaked up by cheese and salami. Cross the river on one of the city’s free ferries to access yet more lush green spaces such as the Florapark or Volkspark before checking out the docklands regeneration that has resulted in the sprouting of plenty of art complexes in true Shoreditch style. So forget the hackneyed portrayal of the Dutch capital as just a city of ‘shrooms, stag dos and ladies of the night and instead remember it as the place where threads and pedals go hand in hand. e ‘City Cycling: Europe’ (Thames & Hudson/ Rapha) £25 (Guide to Amsterdam, £4),

WHERE TO STAY There are about as many choices to stay in Amsterdam as there are unpronounceable words in the Dutch language. If you’re looking to be right in the centre of things, be inspired, and brush shoulders with the in-crowd, then the Art’otel opposite the railway station is the place to stay. Encapsulating the city’s creativity, eccentricity and vibrant art culture, there’s a gallery on the lower floor designed for exhibitions and DJ nights, with bold and modern style. The funky rooms have four different choices of mood lighting, a bed spacious enough to house the Waltons, and a television the size of your desk on the wall. And after a hard day’s shopping you’ll want to head down to the swimming pool and sauna to ease those tired bag-carrying limbs. Come night time, let yourself be sated by the hotel’s own restaurant and bar, 5&33. Enjoy drinks while surrounded by popculture books and the city’s cool crowd, before taking your seat to dig into a selection of cichetti dishes cooked by ex-Soho House Group chefs Daniele Pampagnin and Mattia Pedroni. Prins Hendrikkade 33; rates from €259 per room per night, based on two sharing. Inclusive of breakfast and tax.


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Mrs B’s Cakery, Gough St

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Photograph Photograph by Yiuby Yu ### Hoi

As the West looks east for the latest in art, design and innovation, Hong Kong’s Po Hing Fong district is leading the way, discovers Clare Vooght 59

T Konzepp, Tung St

DESIGN FOOD AND DRINK DUDDELL’S The modern Cantonese dim sum and Champagne brunch – all you can eat black truffle dumplings and all the bubbles you can quaff – is as exciting as all the art on the walls of this restaurant cum exhibition space. The latest exhibit is curated by Ai Weiwei.

THE COFFEE ACADEMICS If Walt shunned meth in favour of coffee in Breaking Bad, this would be his flagship. Hand-brewed, custom-blended coffee, at the optimum temperature, is served in scientific beakers at this uberhip brew bar, with exposed red bricks and chandeliers.

HUTONG Sister to the London Shard’s Aqua bar, this is the place to be seen. Serving up spicy northern Chinese food, concept restaurant Hutong’s design is based on eastern dynasties and old ‘Hutong’ alleys that can be found in Beijing.

ZUMA The design principle in this sleek bar is to balance out the elements; lots of glass and a huge ice block behind the bar, counteract the ‘fire’ from the kitchen. Order the Zuma Bellini, laced with Campari.


he face of a cow diagram on an Angus beef chart looks down at me as I cut into blue-dyed leather hide, while jazz pours out from a sound system. Records are propped up next to huge leather rolls, while offcuts hang down from the walls.“The leather comes in different thicknesses; it’s thicker towards the back, but thinner and softer towards the belly. Like a human,” laughs my teacher Baldwin, a fashion designer who turned to leather because he was sick of sewing. He’s advised me to use the soft stuff for the iPhone case I’m making. I’m learning the art of leatherwork at the Fungus Workshop in Hong Kong’s Po Hing Fong district, or PoHo, so dubbed by those who are gentrifying it. A clash of ideas from a Harvey Nics-stocked leather bag label and a handmade lifestyle brand, the workshop’s ethos is unique and back to basics. This may be vom-inducing for committed vegetarians, but I’m a carnivore and unfazed; I draw the line at fur, but I say anyone happy to order a juicy rib-eye, or just wear shoes in general, should be prepared to get hands-on with leather. After rubbing a clear substance, the consistency of Chinese soup, into the underside of my two pieces of leather – to prevent fraying – I hammer in some holes around the edges so the case is ready to stitch. Baldwin catches me making tentative notches and tells me to use more force. Make no mistake, this isn’t a night in




ABOVE: The buzzing district of PoHo has seen an emergence of funky restaurants, hip hotels and cool boutiques – such as Mrs B’s Cakery – with young locals influencing a new wave of design creativity

Photograph (left) by Getty/ Yiu Yu Hoi, (top and bottom) by Clare Vooght

darning doilies with the twee brigade. Cool creative spots like these are spreading through the city, which was once synonymous with skyscrapers and expat playtime. So much so that Sir Terence Conran said: “If I were a young designer, Hong Kong is where I’d be setting up my pitch.” Welcome to Hong Kong Island’s Hipsterville, aka PoHo in Sheung Wan. On its way to becoming a design hub, Hong Kong is being taken seriously on the world art map. Art Basel – previously of Switzerland and the US – debuted in 2013, providing a global stage for local artists. A walk around PoHo sees a neighbourhood abuzz with both the local and the trendy: couples shop for lightfittings, butchers hack at slabs of meat, rich kids pillage Ralph Lauren, Filipino nannies crack jokes on pavements and bespectacled (minus lenses) kids sell bedroom-made designs on blankets in side streets. Konzepp on Tung Street is one of the area’s best design boutiques, flogging original, exclusive and limited-edition watches, clothes and gadgets. Its bright yellow asymmetric façade smacks of Pacman visiting LA and Berlin on acid. Inside I find a light fitting made from black, white and cream lampshades hanging from S-shaped meat hooks. Towards Central on Hollywood Road is Edit fashion boutique, which stocks pieces from small fashion brands and unique kitsch jewellery.

Hollywood Road lots are now also renting floor space to contemporary galleries, such as film and video-focused Experimenta, alongside the Chinese antique shops. Visit Blindspot Gallery on Aberdeen Street for cutting-edge photography; while nearby White Cube, From computerisedthe London gallery’s sound sculpture to first international multimedia video space, has exhibited installations, the art space pushes the Gilbert & George boundaries across and Damien Hirst. a range of artistic Hungry after mediums, creating diverse material. so much visual

bombardment, I head to Mrs B’s Cakery, with its enormous stained glass-effect butterfly behind the counter. Owner Bonnae Gokson has worked with Chanel, Prada and W Hotels. Needless to say, the cakes here are as much about looks as taste, and would make Marie Antoinette proud. Better Than Sex gets its name from a giant pair of sugarcrafted red lips and Be Gaga’d is topped with jagged white and dark chocolate lightning bolts. I pick a Blessing in Disguise; a carrot and cheesecake treat with a sticky red berry glaze, topped with raspberries and green pumpkin seeds. Delicious.



FROM TOP: Design boutique Konzepp; Hotel Icon is one of the design capital’s most original places to stay, marrying technology with contemporary style and traditional eastern philosophies of harmony and balance

Last on my PoHo to-do list is The Nail Library, which is as design focused as they come, complete with wooden shelves filled with decorative bell jars, flowers and rainbows of nail polish – Dior, YSL, Mac. Upstairs by a treatment room is an obligatory old-fashioned typewriter. I left after an IN-CREDIBLE shoulder massage, foot spa and flawless shellac nail art. Sheung Wan is changing fast, and soon Kowloon will be too. The West Kowloon Cultural District is under construction, and slated for a 2017 opening is the M+ museum for visual culture, with founding director of the Tate Modern, Lars Nittve on board. Kowloon is a great place to stay if you’re close to the harbour, placing you in front of one of the world’s best cityscapes. This is where I find myself, gazing from my room at Hotel Icon, dumbstruck by the dozens of litup skyscrapers across the Victoria Harbour; the IFC building has 100m on the Shard. Rewind five minutes and I was looking up at the hotel’s leafy, vertical garden on the wall of the lobby, and tall glass panelling with dissected elements of the Chinese character for ‘one’. It’s a unique hotel. The £2,590 a night Vivienne Tam designer suite – panoramic views included – takes inspiration from Shanghai’s Art Deco era and the fashion designer’s own New York home. My more Originally a source wallet-friendly of trade and a link room is still pretty to the West, the spectacular with harbour still sees 220,000 ships a year, Bose speakers, a as well as being a curved black mosaicbuzzing nightspot walled bathroom (the of vibrant bars and fantastic views. shape reflects the


hotel’s yin-yang design ethos) and a guide to all the art in the building, chosen by Hong Kong curator Freeman Lau. Each floor has different artwork, from fashion shoots to ink paintings, and mine has Justin Wong’s Ai~City!, a graphic bird’s eye view of Hong Kong in black, white and primary colours. A few floors down is Above & Beyond. The restaurant is designed to champion the skyline with mirrors to reflect the view. Eating my poached eggs, crabmeat and asparagus, I think, “If I had superhero vision, I’d be able to spot another concept store opening across the water in PoHo.” e Return flights to Hong Kong Interntational start at £399;

huge black and white photo of a Hong Kong city scene. All guests get a free mug made by local design brand Goods of Desire.

The centrally located, fashion-obsessed J Plus Boutique hotel, was decked out by French designer Philippe Starck. Sandersonstyle white net drapes cordon off the studios’ kitchenettes and decor ranges from sleek marble bathrooms to chairs made of cardboard (they’re actually very sturdy). Staff uniforms are designed by international luxury brand Shanghai Tang, and guests get priority reservations for hip local hangouts such as Duddell’s and restaurant/bar/club Dragon-i (Rihanna has been), plus discounts for fashion and lifestyle brands across the city.

Photograph (to left and bottom) by Clare Vooght




PENTAHOTEL (RIGHT) The brand new East Kowloon hotel masters the concept – pronounced sik-zhu-wan in Cantonese – of eating, sleeping and playing. In big communal spaces, with Banksystyle stencils and exposed red brickwork, guests can choose to play Wii, pool, listen to their own choice of music, or eat in the conjoined, local market-style restaurant. The vibe here is a grown-up, luxury hostel, except rooms aren’t communal. They feature clean lines, glass and a wall that’s a




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Evoking the spirit of thrill-seeking pioneer Tony Hussein Hinde, the ‘father of surfing in the Maldives’, Duncan Madden finds longboard perfection on the Indian Ocean’s Yin Yang Break 64




Photograph by Henk Badenhorst/Getty

n his new documentary, Serendipity (no relation to the Kate Beckinsale cheese-fest), Australian surfer-director Simon Lamb focuses on one of the world’s most obvious yet least visited surfing destinations, the Maldives. Set in the 1970s it tells the tale of surf pioneer Tony Hussein Hinde, a 20-year-old Aussie who wanted to escape the alreadycrowded breaks of Indonesia and so set out on a journey of discovery. What he found was a scattering of 26 atolls and hundreds of mostly-uninhabited islands playing host to the pristine waves of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean. It was a secret he kept, and surfed, for more than a decade. Although set in the golden era of surf discovery when the concept of world travel in search of waves was in its infancy, Serendipity is just as relevant today. Ask most people – surfers included – about the Maldives and you’ll invariably hear about honeymoons and high prices. Granted, the waves are spread far and wide and reaching them can challenge commitment and cash flow, but that’s always been a fundamental part of surf travel: to overcome obstacles in search of crowd-free perfection, and the Maldives has that in abundance. Today’s journey to the Maldives is of course entirely different to Hinde’s. Three flights, a spectacular nighttime speedboat ride and 20 hours from London, my destination was the Laamu Atoll, and the Six Senses resort on Laamu Atoll, which Olhuveli Island. Not boasts a cluster of 82 islands, forms exactly pioneering the southern limit exploration, but the of Central Maldives Six Senses is home and is rimmed by to something very barrier reefs. Confusingly, locals call it special besides its ‘Haddhunmathi’. luxury villas, fine dining and crunchy white sands. Hidden from view on the eastern side of the island, a short boat ride through luminous blue seas from the resort’s watersports centre, breaks one of the Indian Ocean’s lesser-known gems, the Yin Yang Break. Back on dry land – of sorts – the Six Senses is unique to my Maldivian experiences. Its main complex of reception, restaurants, dive centre and wine ‘vault’ (a six-metre-tall tower, the island’s highest point) stands atop stilts over the blue lagoon. It’s an awesome welcome, even more so at night. And once my shoes are removed – island policy – I am soon peddling my two-wheeled transport, with individual number plate, towards my villa.








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A short 30-minute sea plane ride from Male international airport, amidst

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Among a mix of beach and water villas available, I’d opted for the latter in the hopes of sneaking a view of the fabled Yin Yang wave. While that view didn’t materialise from my watery palace, I couldn’t complain. Huge canopy bed, indoor/outdoor bathroom, sprawling terrace with day bed, over-water hammocks,


submerged dining table, steps into the sea – and to top it off a crow’s nest with views to the horizon. My mind pondered the hardships Tony Hinde endured when he first surfed these virgin waves – and I felt stoked that times have changed somewhat. After a decent sleep, morning onshore winds put pay to an early surf but gave me time to cycle the island’s sandy tracks and orientate myself. The Yin Yang breaks to the south, on the outer reef of neighbouring island Hithadhoo. Closer to shore, towards the northern side, are the imaginatively named Jetty C and Turtles breaks (they break off Jetty C and next to the turtle breeding grounds), suitable for novices and learners, though not entirely free from risk. I had lunch in Six Senses’ Leaf restaurant (huge prawn salad, if you’re interested) for its outlook towards the Yin Yang, and was joined by Steve, the resident watersports commander-in-chief and surf guru. A lifelong surfer and world traveller, he always seemed to end up in the cold waves of north Devon before he found his Maldivian calling. “It’s great here,” he enthuses, with one eye on the conversation, the other on the ocean. “I get to surf and I get to teach people how to surf, and on my days off work, I surf!” There’s a waft of stereotype about Steve as he waxes lyrical about life here and not having to cook his meals, wash his clothes or really even think that much: the ultimate surfer paradise. But you can’t knock his sheer love of the ocean and dedication to

So named after the Chinese philosophical concept symbolising the two conflicting but interrelated sides of nature, the Yin Yang break has two sides to its personality. A right-hander initially breaking over deep water, it first pitches gently but cleanly allowing for an easy paddle-in before trundling its big, open face on to the corner of the reef where it morphs into a spitting barrel that races over shallow coral to its eventual demise. Two waves in one then – and depending on the size and power of the swell, certainly not for the uninitiated.

it – and it soon becomes clear his affections extend equally to the local islands and their residents. With a dearth of opportunity and shortage of work and resources, local life away from the resorts can be hard and problems with boredom and its associated evils are rife, especially for the young. Steve organises surf lessons and competitions for the local kids, providing surfboards from the resort and those left by travelling surfers as gifts. “Some of the boys are getting really good and we’ve even had a few girls out there too,” he continues. “It’s a way of showing them there are other Hithadhoo, a small things to do, other island in the Laamu opportunities to try Atoll, is home to new things.” turtles and – in the surrounding waters As if to prove the – dolphins, stingrays point, when I show and schools of up for the quick boat fish, including reef sharks. ride out to the Yin


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Yang and my first surf that afternoon, it’s local surfer Maude who acts as my guide. Ushering me into the RIB for the five-minute ride to the reef, we’re spectacularly waylaid by a pod of spinner dolphins putting on a flipping great show all around us. When they eventually tire from their dizzying front flips, we motor to the main agenda and pull up alongside the Yin Yang, at last. What looked rather small and perhaps a little mediocre from the beach was altogether bigger and better up close. A clean, four-foot swell was unloading with a rhythmic, urgent rumble that beckoned us into the water – me with such haste I forgot to take off my new sunglasses and lost them to the watery depths.

BELOW: When the surf is not playing ball there are plenty of other activities to indulge in, including turtle spotting under the waves

Even more of a surprise is the new addition to the Yin Yang. At its far right end, a dhoni (local fishing boat) has snagged on the reef and stuck fast. Maude explains it happened a few weeks before and all efforts from local boats and even a tug dispatched from Malé to retrieve it have failed. “So there it will stay until it eventually sinks,” she says, before adding with a twinkle in his eye: “and becomes a part of the reef itself, perhaps making the wave stretch a little farther.” Maude’s a surfer, no mistake. For the next two hours it’s me, Maude, the odd turtle and clean empty surf peeling endlessly before us. I take my time to get my bearings and work out where and how the waves break, watching Maude stroke into waves with practised ease after two years of The city of Malé (formerly Mahal), surfing here and only traditionally the here. After a few King’s Island where reasonable but short ancient Maldive rides, I paddle into Royal dynasties resided, is where the the largest I’ve yet Maldives takes its seen and connect all name from. the way through to the fast and ferocious inside section, not quite getting barrelled but close enough to feel my adrenaline pulse and smile grow ever wider. The Yin Yang had other ideas though and my smile was soon extinguished by a gruelling paddle back out to the safety of deep water. Having foolishly ridden the first wave of the previous set (a classic no-no), I turn to face six more waves and another set beyond unloading on the reef in front of me. Duck diving my board, then just diving


under, I felt my lungs burn and the months of city living coming back to haunt me. I’m woefully unfit and, rather embarrassingly, after the tenth or eleventh dive down am in need of a break. I surface to find Maude next to me, smiling away as he beckons the boat over. Nice timing. Salted and sated, I drift back to my villa and then wander to meet my companions



WHERE TO STAY IN THE MALDIVES BEST FOR: ROMANCE Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, an exclusive and private island resort, is found 15 minutes away by luxury speedboat from Malé. Here you can stay in one of 64 villas, each of which has been furnished in natural tones and textures. All of them offer ocean views. Enjoy total relaxation at this high-end resort, make the most of the spa and lap up cocktails and wines.

BEST FOR: WILDLIFE Four Seasons at Landaa Graavaru allows guests to join sealife experts to learn about manta rays, which are found in temperate and tropical waters. Conceived in conjunction with The Manta Trust – the world’s leading manta ray charity – and escorted by its founder and world-renowned manta honcho Guy Stevens, allinclusive seven-day expeditions will immerse those who take part in every aspect of the Trust’s research and conservation efforts.

BEST FOR: RELAXATION Atmosphere Kanifushi, which opened last year, brings together a fusion of modern design and Maldivian architecture. Located among tropical vegetation in Lhaviyani Atoll, lapped by the Indian Ocean, it spreads along a two-kilometre-long lagoon, offering maximum privacy.


for cocktails and dinner. Gorging on lobster, scallops, unspecified local-caught reef fish and bottomless whisky sours we dip our toes (and in my friend Natalia’s case, half her possessions) in the still-blue waters below and reflect on this earthly paradise. It was a proper post-surf wind down, and gratefully received, I can tell you. As is the way with island life, the rest of the week unfolds in much the same fashion. When there are waves, I surf, and always with only Maude except only once when a group of Aussies descends on us from a touring boat trip. But on this particular occasion I actually welcome the crowd, Inshore reefs tend to attract a wide such is the multitude variety of sea life of waves on offer. and – with the right And when the surf guidance – in the Maldives you will isn’t cooperating, be able to see an there is plenty to impressive number keep us occupied of fish and turtles. beyond resting prostrate on the dazzling white beaches. For instance, we dive inshore reefs with the resident marine biologist and hear her plans to sustain the water life in the area. We also take sunset boat trips in search of more dolphins and – my personal highlight – are abandoned for a day on a tiny desert island with only hermit crabs for company. And like that, my week in the Maldives is over. Island time rules state that everything feels like slow motion, but it disappears in the blink of an eye. As we take to our 5am speedboat I can still hear the roar of the Yin Yang Break detonating tantilisingly on the reef behind me, sounding more powerful than ever before through the inky night.


GORGING ON LOBSTER AND SCALLOPS, AND SUPPING WHISKY SOURS, OUR TOES DIP INTO THE WATERS I find myself yearning for one more wave, and as we fly back overhead I crane my neck to get a view of other surf spots tucked away among the atolls. Honky’s, Sultans, Jailbreaks and most of all, Pasta Point, the wave that claimed the life of Tony Hussein Hinde 33 years after he first discovered it. So much history here in the Maldives, and so many reasons to come back. e

GETTING THERE Trips to Six Senses are available from Turquoise Holidays starting from £2,279 per person half board for one week including flights from London Heathrow with Sri Lankan airlines. See and

Be Special Be DeStineD for BaroS For 40 years, we have been dedicated to one single goal: making you happy! You are special to us; we know you by name, not villa number. We are delighted to have you staying with us so we can attend to your desires and make your holiday special too. Come to Baros to celebrate the best there is; discover the Essence of the Maldives, and the holiday of your dreams! . Baros Maldives is a small private coral island in the Indian Ocean ringed by a sun-kissed beach and a vibrant house-reef. The awardwinning boutique luxury resort is proud of a long and outstanding history of service excellence. Awards include the Traveller’s Choice by TripAdvisor in 2013 as the Number 1 Hotel in Maldives, Number 8 Hotel in the World and Number 5 Hotel for Romance in the World as well as The Most Romantic Resort in the World by World Travel Awards 2013.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Le Meridien Limassol Spa and Resort is set on a stunning strip of turquoise beach; the hotel’s Japanese restaurant Kojima serves sushi and teppanyaki; relax at the award-winning spa




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he luxurious, residents-only Le Meridien Limassol Spa & Resort couldn’t ask for a better location. Set in 100,000m2 of private landscaped gardens, this gorgeous luxury hotel is Cyprus’s only international five-star chain hotel found right on the beach. British Airways has partnered with the luxury hotel to offer discerning holidaymakers the chance to enjoy a seven-night summer break including breakfast and lunch or dinner at a top-flight spa resort from just £699 per person. Aside from Limassol’s beautiful beach, unrivalled children’s facilities including Penguin Village and Leisure Land, and impeccable service and warm hospitality, this superb luxury hotel’s award-winning Le Spa is reason enough to visit. Set over 3,000m2, the spa boasts seven stunning mosaic indoor/outdoor seawater pools, more than 120 treatments, as well as a hammam and sauna. And with breathtaking views out over the Mediterranean Sea, it’s one of the most relaxing places you could dream of. And if unwinding in the spa puts you in the mood for something to eat, then you’re in the right place. The hotel has eight restaurants and five bars to enjoy fine global cuisine and some precious family time together.

Alongside the sapphire sea, Limassol has culture hidden among its beaches and boulevards. With this outstanding deal from British Airways and Le Meridien Limassol Spa & Resort, a sun break is closer than you think.

The Deal Seven-night holidays to five-star Le Meridien Limassol Spa & Resort start from £699pp. Package includes breakfast daily, free half board (with a choice of lunch or dinner to be taken at Le Fleuri restaurant), accommodation in a Garden View room and return British Airways Euro Traveller flights from London Gatwick to Larnaca. Price valid for selected travel between 1-31 May. Book by 31 March.

Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited.


what will your kids learn this


Inspiring Mini-Gourmets in Our Scallywags Programme Experience our unique children’s programmes and dedicated in-resort service at a selection of hand-picked luxury hotels in Sardinia, Elba, Portugal and Crete this July & August.

+44 (0)20 8246 5300



THE HEEL THING Puglia – at the heel of Italy’s boot – has risen from humble roots to become a culinary powerhouse. Sophie McLean finds heaven on a plate, and in a beautiful old farmhouse



Puglia’s distinctive pasta is hand made on wooden boards

Photograph by ###

Orecchiette is so called because it looks like a tiny ear



ranted, it is not the prettiest of drives from Bari airport towards Fasano. Indeed, Puglia, or Apulia as the locals call it, is often tarnished with the reputation of being northern Italy’s poor agricultural cousin. It is my first time this far south, and I’m not quite sure what to expect. Winding our way on small roads along the Adriatic coast we scan row upon row of olive trees – a sea of green and blue punctuated by the odd whitewashed building. Finally, our car turns up a neat, bush-lined avenue and we arrive at our destination. Masseria San Domenico is a farmhouse transformed into a five-star boutique hotel, set deep in the heart of 100 hectares of century-old olive groves and pomegranate trees. The Masseria is drenched in history: the main building dates back to the 15th

GARGANO Aphrodisiac oysters Not only does Gargano, on the spur of Italy’s boot, have ludicrous natural beauty to spare, but it’s prodigiously productive on the culinary front, too. Oil made from the area’s Ogliarola Gargano (labelled DOP Dauno) is legendary, while the local seafood – as you might expect – is out of this world. The distinctively flavoured oysters, in particular, are unmissable.


ABOVE: Puglian restaurants source seafood dishes straight from the Adriatic Sea

century and was originally used as a watch tower by the knights of Malta. Since then, it has been family owned for 30 years and still functions as a family home. The furniture that decorates the bar and the 47 bedrooms is the same that was in the original house: canine motif cushions adorn upholstered antique chairs, and there’s an old record player, along with dark wood panelling. Outside is an old frantoio, or olive mill – the hotel uses its own oil in the kitchens, in its bath products, and even in its spa. Being covered head to toe in olive oil and smelling of oranges, lemons and sea salt, the aromatics used in the spa treatments are gentle reminders of Puglia’s local industry. The region is home to a staggering 60 million olive trees, a sight to behold from high ground.

BRINDISI Seafood mecca Meat barely gets a look-in in Brindisi, where seafood – including swordfish, sea urchin and prawn – dominates kitchens and menus, backed up by fruit and vegetables from the fertile, sun-drenched land. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try mandorla riccia (or curly almonds) from the town of Francavilla Fontana – roasted almonds with a knobbly sugar, vanilla and lemon coating.


BARI Local flavour

THINK PUGLIA Brush up on your cooking skills

THE TRABUCCHI OF PUGLIA Fresh catches galore Dotted along the coast in Puglia, in particular the stretch between the towns of Peschici and Vieste in Foggia, you’ll find Trabucchi – elaborate-looking wooden trebuchets that extend out over the sea, originally built and used by fishermen to catch fish without the need for a boat. Today, some have been restored and exist as restaurants where you can eat catch fresh from the nets.

Photograph (far left) by Carlos Solito, (above) by Tips Images/Alamy

Apulia stems from the Latin apluvia – ‘land without rain’ – and 70% of the land is limestone based. This makes it ideal for growing olives, but also cherries, prickly pears and figs. It is also the perfect climate and soil for producing grapes – as shown by the vines that we pass on our way. The villages here are like something out of one of Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Trulli houses adorn the narrow streets in nearby Alberobello – a place that means ‘tree of war’ (and not in fact ‘beautiful tree’, as one might imagine). This was Italy’s first illegal village – run under a feudal system before being set free by the King of Naples in 1797. Among other things local delicatessens will offer you prickly pear-based sweet liqueurs and cacio sopressata – an unusual cheese that, once cut, reveals salami hidden inside it. Locals tell me it has been made this

If you’re lucky enough to be holed up in a Think Puglia ( villa, take advantage of the cooking lessons from resident chef Anna Maria Chirone Arno. Available in-villa or at her school in Lecce, the classes are bespoke, but will probably include making orecchiette, Puglia’s signature pasta.

way to fool the customs authorities in years gone by. Wine bars in turn will offer you Nero di Troia, Negroamaro, Susumaniello and Verdeca – glasses brim full of local Puglian sunshine. We walk back down to Alberbello’s main street, clutching olive-infused foccacia. In Ostuni, known as la città bianca (the white town), the Greek influences are difficult to ignore. Bright blues and white decorate the pretty streets and you could easily wander around for hours with a well-thumbed guidebook for company. The city was rebuilt by the ancient Greeks after Hannibal destroyed it between the first and second century AD. Of course, it was the ancient Greeks who first brought the olive trees to this region – dubbed ‘the patriarchs’, here to guard the region’s staunchly proud people. We meet Antonello, whose family has been growing olives for seven generations. He takes us out to see some of his trees – what he calls ‘natural monuments’, like ethereal sculptures rising out of the ground. He shows us the knotted, gnarly humped mamellone (‘big breasts’) on those that are almost ready for harvest. We are also led underground to the caves where his family once milled them and reflect on an industry relatively unchanged

You won’t struggle for chances to try orecchiette – Puglia’s tiny, ear-shaped pasta – anywhere in the region, but in Bari Vecchia, the city’s old town, you’ll find streets filled with women making the shapes by hand on wooden boards and stuffing them with the freshest ingredients they can find. Seek out orecchiette alla Barese (Bari style), which is traditionally made with a local type of broccoli called rapini.

in centuries. Indeed, some of Antonello’s trees here date back as far as 3,000 years – meaning that we are still eating fruit from the same trees that fed the Romans. This is living history at its most incredible – one that blends the rural landscape into its warm and authentic personality. And it remains a haven largely undiscovered by many. Go now before Puglia’s secret is out. Masseria San Domenico costs from €300 per night, including breakfast but excluding taxes.


Lamia Bianca, near Fasano

The most desirable villas in Puglia 40 hand-picked properties including charming Trulli, luxurious Masserie, palatial townhouses and panoramic seafront villas.

020 7377 8518 | At the CondÊ Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2007-2013:

Best villa rental company | Best on the ground service | Best range of villas and facilities | Best presentation of villas

foodism Five’s the magic number – if you’ve got a hefty appetite

REVIEWS We unleash our hungry hounds on London’s latest restaurant openings

FIVE GUYS 1-3 Long Acre, WC2E; Danish style meets Japanese substance at Sticks’n’Sushi

STICKS’N’SUSHI 11 Henrietta St, WC2E;

What have the Danes ever done for us? Pastries, a Shakespearean prince and a red-conked goalie apart, not a lot – but things are looking up. After opening in Wimbledon in 2012, Japanese-influenced Danish restaurant Sticks’n’Sushi now has a second London home near Covent Garden. Inside you’ll find bare brick and dark tones, and raw fish and yakitori-style skewers. The uramaki rolls (from £6.50 for eight) taste as delicate as they look, while the spicy chicken bites (£6.50) are sticky-fingered fun to fight over. – Jon Hawkins



Photograph by ###

With an all-American aesthetic and a bistro drawing ingredients from the local area, the Gallivant offers the best of both worlds. It’s well worth gallivanting off to, says Jon Hawkins

If there’s an unmistakably American flavour to the Gallivant – from its roadside motel roots and East Coast-style exterior, to the ‘locavore’ approach to food-sourcing – it comes with the unmistakable imprint of the British coast. A short step from the eerie beauty of Camber Sands, the hotel does a neat line in relaxed, understated luxury, with gleaming white walls and driftwoodeffect tables steering mercifully clear of that whitewashed wood and seashells-in-a-bowl aesthetic beloved of seaside B&Bs in the ‘90s.

Five unknown American guys have a lot to answer for: snaking queues, burger comas, and seasoning that’ll keep you licking your fingers for hours. We’re talking about US burger joint Five Guys, which landed in Covent Garden last year. It’s upmarket drunk food: juicy patties with cheese, smoky bacon cheese hot dogs and chips smothered in Five Guys spices – so good they should patent it. Wash it down with 150 (150!) types of Coke from the drinks machine, and you’re good to go. Hangover, what hangover? – Cathy Adams

At its heart is the Beach Bistro, which serves unpretentious but achingly delicious food, most of it made with ingredients from the local area. Rye Bay scallops with a celeriac purée were sweet and plump, while the local sole in a bacon and balsamic reduction was as good a piece of fish as you’ll find anywhere. If you still have room for the chocolate doughnuts with a cream dip, you’re a better man than me – or an American. In which case you’ll feel right at home. Doubles from £115 per night, bed and breakfast; Camber, East Sussex, TN31 7RB;



3 HAPPY HOUR Bring the bar into your home with four cocktails for sophisticates. Or, if you’re lazy, get the pros to mix them for you…


FOOD ON FILM Three great films, three iconic restaurants that actually exist – we’ll have what she’s having


Tokyo, Japan

This bar does indeed exist outside the misanthropic world of Lost in Translation, serving, as you’d expect, New York food with Japanese twists thrown in.

2. CA FÉ DE S DE UX M OUL INS Paris, France

A quiet little bistro serving coffee and cocktails in the off-season, this café turns into a throng of hipsters looking to live out the plot of Amélie in the summer months.

3. K ATZ’S DE L I New York, USA

When Harry Met Sally raised Katz’s Deli’s profile, but in truth it has been NYC’s go-to sandwich shop since 1888.

▼ Celtic Elixir, Caorunn Gin

▼ Spicy Fifty, Salvatore’s Bar

• 50ml Caorunn gin • 35ml fresh clementine juice • 25ml Stag Breath Liqueur or Old Pulteney 12yo • 15ml sugar syrup

• • • • •

Shake all the ingredients into a mixing glass and double strain into a martini glass. Finish it off by garnishing with a daffodil flower.

Place all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a red eye chilli.

50ml Stolichnaya vanilla vodka 15ml elderflower cordial 15ml fresh lime juice 10ml honey syrup 2 thin slices of red chilli



1. T HE OBERO I Dubai, UAE

This pan-Asian-style hotel boasts three fine dining restaurants: Umai, Ananta and the modernist Nine7One.


No longer an afterthought, hotel restaurants are more and more for the gourmand

2. T HE H I LTO N Park Lane, London, UK

As well as Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows, the Hilton’s home to French-Polynesian Trader Vic’s and the aristocratic Podium Restaurant & Bar.


Amsterdam, Netherlands Packed with arresting art and sculpture, the real string to Art’otel’s bow is its restaurant, 5&33, which serves spectacular Italian sharing plates.


▼ Flowery Godmother, The Fable

▼ Plata Fuego, Las Iguanas

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

40ml Brockman’s gin 50ml Montrose rosé wine 25ml lime juice 25ml gomme syrup 5ml rose water 6 rose petals

Slice the rose petals and add them to a wine glass full of crushed ice with the other ingredients. Churn, and garnish with mint and more rose petals.

35ml Olmeca Blanco tequila 20ml brandy 35ml lemon juice 2 teaspoons sugar syrup 25ml mango juice 25ml pineapple juice

Shake all the ingredients and pour into a chilled cocktail glass dipped in Tajin. Garnish with a drizzle of chilli sauce.






Suntory is a modern giant of the liquor world, but the heritage of its whiskies has never been in question – it’s been at the forefront of Japan’s burgeoning whisky tradition for 90 years. The Japanese concept of hibiki loosely translates as the sublety of nature, and the Hibiki 12 reflects this: a blend of pure single malts, it’s fruity on the nose and palate with a complex, sweet and sour finish. 50cl, £35.95

Created by Augustus Bulleit in 1830s Kentucky, Bulleit’s recipe was almost lost to the sands of time – until his great-greatgrandson reprised it on his farm in 1987. The brand’s flagship bottle, now a firm favourite with bourbon drinkers, is sweet and spicy, with a characteristic aroma owing to its high rye content. 70cl, £27.95




A blended Scotch with all the heritage of a single malt is hard to find, but Chivas Regal has been distilled in one form or another since the early 1800s. Already a stalwart in Britain, its Regal 12 blend took off in Manhattan just after the end of US Prohibition, becoming popular with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. It’s known for its particularly refined taste – especially for a blend. 70cl, £27.43

Photograph Photograph by David Harrison by ###

THE HOLY SPIRIT Three times as much Scotch is sold globally as whisky from any other country. Which isn’t to say the rest of the world has given up the chase…


foodism Squeeze the sides to control the size of the blade

WEAPONS OF CHOICE Things getting fruity in the kitchen? Fear not, we’ve got the tools to tame those rogue apples and oranges

A SHARP IDEA Chef’n Scoop’n Slice fruit tool, £12 The ominous looking spike cuts straight through the peel


Excuse the gratuitous apostrophising – Chef’n’ Scoop’n Slice tool does the jobs of a knife and a spoon, making short work of all kinds of tropical fruit. Scoop the seeds out, then score the flesh with blades that pop out of the end, drag the curved blade across and you’re done.

Black + Blum Fruit Loop, £28 Anglo-Swiss homeware brand Black + Blum is all about playing with form, so it’s pretty unsurprising that its fruit bowl – the cleverly named Fruit Loop – isn’t really a bowl at all, more an Art Deco collection of metal strands which securely encase your fruit in a slick, contemporary-looking cage.

A PIECE OF PITH Alessi Apostrophe orange peeler, £15.50 If we’re getting technical, Alessi’s orange peeler is more of an opening speech mark than an apostrophe, but that doesn’t really have the same ring to it. Just rake it down the orange and easily peel off the skin for a largely unnecessary but quite cool solution to all those peeling problems.


Fruit bowl or astronomy diagram? You decide Goodbye plans. Hello possibilities. Fly direct to Fort Lauderdale from London Gatwick on Norwegian Airlines, from only ÂŁ769 per person. Stay 7 nights at the B Ocean Resort. Book by calling American Sky on 0843 636 4509.


Scan to see this sunny moment come to life.

TERMS & CONDITIONS: Price based on 2 adults sharing in a Captivating King Room. Departures on 8th or 15th September 2014. Why not explore all that the Fort Lauderdale area has to offer by adding a car from only ÂŁ25 per day inclusive of insurances.



1 2

Win a year’s supply of Michelinstarred dinners for you and a friend. We know, we’re spoiling you…


ou didn’t read it wrong – we’ve teamed up with 12 Michelin-starred London restaurants to give one lucky Foodism reader a year’s supply of fine dining. The winner and a guest will be treated to 12 meals at a dozen of London’s finest restaurants, spanning cuisine from India, France, Spain, Britain and more…

Lemon sole, crab and asparagus at Outlaw’s – it prides itself on fresh seafood from the Cornish coast


4. T EXT U R E



Overseen by charismatic fish expert Nathan Outlaw, and helmed by head chef Pete Biggs, the team at Outlaw’s at the Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge only source seafood from fishermen they know personally on the Cornwall coast. 22-24 Basil St, Knightsbridge SW3 1AT;

Story, which opened last year, is a love letter to British cooking, with a menu bursting with seasonal meat and fish dishes made with local produce. Diners are encouraged to bring a book. 201 Tooley Street, SE1 2UE;



Since 2012, Alyn Williams has won the Craft Guild of Chefs’ National Chef Of The Year title, his first Michelin Star and three AA rosettes. Impressive, non? The Westbury Hotel, Bond Street, W1S 2YF;

Possibly the most eclectic restaurant on the list, Texture is a Scandinavian-influenced, pan-European restaurant and champagne bar. Indeed, the folk at Texture claim to have the most extensive list of bubbles in the whole capital. 34 Portman Street, W1H 7BY;

A small, intimate restaurant, William Drabble’s Seven Park Place serves French-influenced seasonal British cuisine at the exquisitely elegant five-star St James’s Hotel. 7-8 Park Place, St James’s, SW1A 1LS;


Chinese restaurants aren’t always synonymous with fine dining, but Hakkasan was awarded its Michelin star less than a year after opening. With dishes like steamed New Zealand mini lobster, black truffle roast duck, and sliced blue abalone in Hakka sauce, it’s unsurprising it’s such a hit. 17 Bruton Street, W1J 6Q;

7 88







Located in the heart of Belgravia, Ametsa serves up ‘New Basque Cuisine’, which combines rich, earthy flavours with a contemporary aesthetic (including 7,000 pots of spice on the ceiling). The Halkin by COMO, Halkin Street, SW1X 7DJ;

If the name didn’t give it away, this Smithfields institution has a menu filled with plates from Gascony in south-west France. The food is classic French fine dining, with meat and seafood dishes lovingly made with local ingredients. 57 West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS;


Head chef Atul Kochhar cooks modern Indian food with influences from throughout the subcontinent, but with a recognisably British twist. The vegetarian dishes are among the best in London, and the desserts are pretty spectacular too. 12a Berkeley Square House, W1J 6BS;

Photograph by ###



A classic French brasserie based in the opulent Westbury hotel, Brasserie Chavot’s menu is French cuisine with British ingredients. The soft shell crab is a favourite. 41 Conduit Street, W1S 2YF;

An informal, ‘semi-alfresco’ restaurant, Trishna serves south-west Indian food in Marylebone Village and won a Michelin star in 2012. The seafood dishes are a particular highlight, served up in a convivial, sociable environment. 15-17 Blandford Street, W1U 3DG;


Situated in the City of London’s South Place Hotel, Angler serves a simple, modern seafood menu with a big emphasis on using the best and freshest ingredients available – and its meat dishes and excellent wine list aren’t to be ignored, either. South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF;


Texture’s cold smoked Scottish salmon, horseradish, apple, pickled vegetables and sorrel

5 HOW TO WIN To be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize, go to and answer one simple question…

11 12 89

LIFE’S A BEACH IN SANTA MONICA We’re giving one lucky couple the chance to win a luxury seven-day trip to the stylish beach city of Santa Monica, worth more than £8,000


icture California in your head – blonde beaches stretching out for miles, rollerblading on the promenade and those iconic lifeguard huts, right? You’re thinking of Santa Monica: its blue skies and crimson sunsets hanging over the Pacific Ocean are hard to forget. Just 13km from LAX airport, this cosmopolitan and stylish beach city is simple to navigate on foot, and is a great escape from the commotion of nearby Los Angeles. Santa Monica’s eight districts boast a host of farmers’ markets, trendy rooftop bars, galleries and a mile of pedestrianised shopping. Its iconic vintage pier, 26-mile long beach and internationally famous food scene shows off the city’s laid back elegance and makes it easy to fall in love with.

THE PRIZE We’ve got a luxury Santa Monica and Beverly Hills holiday for two, worth more than £8,000, to win. The prize includes: ◆ Return Business Premier flights with Air New Zealand from London to LAX ◆ Five nights’ accommodation at The Huntley Hotel, Santa Monica ◆ Two nights’ accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Beverley Hills ◆ Seven days’ full-size car hire from rental firm Alamo


We’re offering one lucky couple the chance to win a luxury seven-day holiday to Santa Monica with Flight Centre First and Business and Air New Zealand. The winners will fly in style from London direct to LAX with Air New Zealand, which offers an outstanding long-haul experience once a day from London to Los Angeles. You’ll be put up in the airline’s exceptional Business Premier cabin, which features a lie-flat bed, chef-designed menus and award-winning wines. The airline also boasts the unique Premium Economy Spaceseat™, which provides more space and privacy. Once in Santa Monica, you will be whisked off to the boutique Huntley Hotel for five nights, followed by two nights in Los Angeles. And if you did want to explore further afield (although with Santa Monica’s

HOW TO WIN To win this luxury holiday, courtesy of Flight Centre First and Business, answer one simple question: which airport will Air New Zealand fly the lucky winners to? To enter, visit firstandbusiness. travel/escapism. For more details and ts&cs, see the website.

stunning beach on your doorstep, why would you?) there’s a rental car from USA car hire experts Alamo ready for you to discover wider California. For more information, call 0800 082 5920 or visit


LUXE SERVICE As the luxury division of Flight Centre, Flight Centre First and Business offers the widest choice of discount premium economy, business class and first class airfares in the UK as well as savings on luxury holidays. Working with over 85 airlines and many luxury hotels, Flight Centre First and Business uses its expertise to find you the right deal at the best price. It even promises to give you the flight free if it is unable to beat a competitor’s quote (conditions apply).

ABOVE: Air New Zealand Business Premier cabin


SUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY Craving a sunny escape for the whole family? Enter our competition to win a five-night holiday to luxurious JA Palm Tree Court in Dubai


f you’re dreaming of a sun-soaked tropical escape this spring but haven’t found the time to book one, then help is at hand. We’ve teamed up with JA Resorts & Hotels to offer one lucky reader and their family a luxurious five-day holiday to glittering Dubai. The winners will spend five days at the five-star family-friendly beach resort JA Palm Tree Court on Dubai’s coastline, set within the award-winning JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort.


The hallmark of this unpretentious Dubai resort is casual luxury – and with a palm-lined private beach, four swimming pools and a spa with views out over the Arabian Gulf, relaxation is understandably high on many guests’ priority lists. But JA Palm Tree Court isn’t just great for a laid-back family break. There are plenty of leisure activities and sports facilities to enjoy, including a nine-hole golf course, fishing trips and camel rides on the beach, which should keep the kids – not to mention the adults – entertained. Plus, with 15 restaurants on site – ranging from Italian and Middle Eastern food to Japanese teppanyaki – as well as beachside bars where you can enjoy a drink while watching the famous Dubai sunset, JA Palm Tree Court is the perfect destination for your dream family break.

HOW TO WIN To win a five-day holiday to Dubai with your family, just answer one simple question: which hotel will the lucky winners be staying in? To enter, visit escapismmagazine. com/competition/ja-resorts. For more details and for full terms and conditions, see the website.


HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL WIN The prize, a five-day holiday for a family of four to JA Palm Tree Court, includes: ◆ Return flights for four people

Photograph by ###

from London to Dubai with Emirates ◆ Five nights at JA Palm Tree Court for two adults and two children under 16 on a bed and breakfast meal plan ◆ General access to the hotel’s swimming pools, tennis courts and golf course


â?– To advertise in this section please call Fairlie or Sophie on 020 7819 9999

HOLIDAYS COLLECTION Over 300 hand-picked holiday villas, apartments and cottages throughout the UK and Europe call 0800 111 6106


Want to work for the UK’s biggest independent travel mag? Join our young, fun sales team. No experience necessary. For details, email:

â?– To advertise in this section please call Fairlie or Sophie on 020 7819 9999 HP_Inhouse_ad.indd 1






28/02/2014 16:52

FREEDOM FOUND... Allow yourself to imagine a simpler, more beautiful place, like nowhere else in England.

The exclusive wellbeing retreat for women

L I V E W E L L , E AT W E L L

Word of mouth and local recommendation is the best way to find the right villa for a holiday in Italy. By connecting first with family and friends in his home town of Cefalu, Sicily, then elsewhere in Italy, Massimo has carefully gathered a beautiful collection of Italian holiday villas and a loyal band of guests who return year after year to book a villa recommended by Massimo and his friends. Each with a private pool or by the beach, his villa collection now extends to

Our signature retreats are designed to be a complete wellbeing break for mind, body and soul in beautiful luxurious surrounds. These include: BALANCE YOUR LIFE • YOGA & HEALTHY EATING • PUT YOURSELF FIRST GOODBYE DIETS, HELLO LIFE • CONFIDENT YOU • PRIVATE 1:1 RETREATS

some of the most stunning regions of natural beauty in Italy.

“We travel with Massimo Provenza & his professional team for the 10th year this autumn. They offer outstanding hospitality and continue to make us all happy – every time”

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Contact Massimo and friends for a truly Italian guide to some of the best

The Retreat, Split Farthing Hall, Bagby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 2AF

villas on offer in Sicily, Puglia, Sardinia and Tuscany.

+44 01845 597 041 • •

❖ To advertise in this section please call Fairlie or Sophie on 020 7819 9999

â?– To advertise in this section please call Fairlie or Sophie on 020 7819 9999

HANGER ON An alternative look at the world


Photograph by ###

At 450ft high, the Helmcken Falls, found within Wells Gray Provincial Park in British Columbia, provides “the gnarliest mixed route in the world�, according to Canadian ice climber Will Gadd. After two decades eyeing it up, the 47-yearold finally bossed it in February.

Photograph Photography by Romina by Christian Amato/Red Pondella/Red Bull Cliff Diving; Bull Content Pool;


ROTTERDAM’S NEVER BEEN CLOSER One minute you’re in London, the next you could be flying to Rotterdam from London City Airport, less than 30 minutes from central London. Book at To Fly. To Serve. To Europe.

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Escapism - 7 - Mini Breaks  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 7 - Mini Breaks

Escapism - 7 - Mini Breaks  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 7 - Mini Breaks