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THE UK’S BIGGEST INDEPENDENT TRAVEL MAGAZINE

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PERU’S ECO HAVEN + WHEELS & WINE IN SOUTH AFRICA + CROATIAN CRICKET

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e t a m i t The ulfornia Cali trip road


Elegance is an attitude Kate Winslet


Conquest Classic


DEPARTURES What’s new this month, from surfing in Cornwall to going off-strip in Las Vegas

23 Muscat, Oman

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78 Franschhoek, South Africa

“Our 4x4 refuses to shift above third gear, has sporadic air-con and comes with a huge dent”

“Having a Mexican standoff with a baboon isn’t how I roll on cycle rides back in the leafy Surrey hills”

“Fire red, with piercing white eyes, the cock-ofthe-rock hops from branch to branch as females watch, aloof” Manu, Peru

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12 Photography 16 Instant Anorak 17 Means Of Escape 18 Head To Head 20 In Brief: Antigua 23 The Tourist 25 Five breaks 26 Alternative Vegas 28 Reader Questions 30 Checklist: style 32 Checklist: gear

EXPERIENCES Bed down in some of the best hotels on the planet 38 Cool Hotels Trendy, tropical and plain weird hotels 48 California The ultimate West Coast road trip 62 Peru Exploring the Manu Biosphere Reserve 68 Cricket in Croatia Cricket on the quiet Croatian island of Vis

foodism 68 Vis, Croatia

“Balls are bowled and batted vigorously, often getting lost in the vines at one end of the pitch”

Eat your way around the world with our tasty guides and tools 78 Franschhoek 84 Reviews 85 Feast Festival

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1 Laura Millar‘s career as a journalist has seen her wrangle with D-listers, track down impossible causes and talk people into appearing naked in magazines. She can now add watching cricket to that list. [p68] 2 Susannah Osborne might be a keen cyclist, but she’s not going to let a 600km ride through South Africa’s Western Cape get in the way of her quest for a decent meal. Luckily for her, there’s an abundance of great local food and wine on the route. [p78] 3 Duncan Madden has spent 20 years dragging body and board along the coastlines of the world in search of empty waves, but he left his board at home to head into the depths of the Peruvian rainforest. Wise move. [p62]

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’ve never liked the word ‘cool’. Whatever you’re referring to ceases to be cool – with a handful of notable exceptions: Steve McQueen, the Eames lounge chair, those hats with propellers on top – the instant you use it. And when I say ‘you’, I obviously mean me. Anything I anoint as ‘cool’ receives an instant kiss of death. But when the escapism team got together to find the coolest hotels on the planet [p38], I was confident that even we couldn’t do a reverse-Midas on them. It is, as you’d expect given the slippery, indefinable nature of cool, an eclectic list – from hyper-modern cubes seemingly carved out of glass to a creative hub so trendy it hosts ‘art tasting dinners’ and the staff run their own indie record label. Of course they do. Which reminds me of the first stop on my recent road trip to California – which you can read all about on page 48 – a restaurant so edgy it has a wall made entirely from piranha jaws. Sounds terrible, I know, but in sunny, laid-back San Diego it feels right at home. I, on the other hand, felt far too at home in California’s restaurants, where the flavours are big and the portions even bigger, and now I need to take a leaf out of Susannah Osborne’s book. Earlier this year, she paired a foodie trip to South Africa with the Cape Rouleur, a 600km endurance cycling event through the vineyards and valleys of the Western Cape [p78]. The epic ride finished with a ‘relaxed’ 112km blast from Franschhoek to Cape Town via lunch at a winery, escorted by Police motorbikes, which sounds pretty cool to us. Sorry, Cape Town… e

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INSTANT ANORAK MEANS OF ESCAPE HEAD TO HEAD IN BRIEF: ANTIGUA THE TOURIST FIVE UK BREAKS OFF-STRIP VEGAS ASK THE EXPERTS CHECKLIST: STYLE CHECKLIST: GEAR


DEPARTURES

PENGUIN CALLING: To head, or not to head, into the sea? That’s the question for a group of emperor penguins on Volunteer Beach in the Falkland Islands, captured here by Stanley Leroux. It’s one of 50 pictures vying for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award.

Photograph by Stanley Leroux

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FLIGHT OF FANCY WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD American snapper Jack Dykinga took this stunning image of snow geese flocking into the sky over Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico just as the sun was coming up, with the moon still setting. While the fleeing birds give the sky a pinkish hue, there are some snow geese and sand hill cranes that evidently can’t be bothered with the early start, choosing instead to remain in the icy ponds beneath the surrounding Chupadera Mountains. Dykinga’s remarkable picture is one of a shortlist of 50 in contention for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award, for which voting closes on 5 September. nhm.ac.uk

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DEPARTURES

Photograph by ###

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Instant ANORAK

100

Summer's here – and that means the festival season is kicking off with a bang. Here's what you need to know about carnivals, camping, and bagpipes

THE NUMBER OF TOMATOES THROWN AT VALENCIA’S LA TOMATINA FESTIVAL

The first year of the Notting Hill Carnival, held over August bank holiday weekend

21 10 16

1964

THE EDITION OF THIS YEAR'S INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE FESTIVAL, HELD IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN LATE AUGUST

THE NUMBER OF HORSES AND RIDERS TAKING PART IN IL PALLO DI SIENA, A HORSE RACE AROUND THE TUSCAN CITY DURING JULY AND AUGUST

24,157

150,000

THE NUMBER OF HOT AIR BALLOONS LAUNCHED AT ONE TIME DURING BRISTOL'S BALLOON FIESTA AT THE START OF AUGUST

THE NUMBER OF ARTISTS AT LAST YEAR'S FRINGE FESTIVAL IN EDINBURGH

115

ACRES

The size of the field at Chicago's Lollapalooza festival, at the start of August

75,000 THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ATTEND ELVIS WEEK, A CELEBRATION OF THE KING OF ROCK'N'ROLL, IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

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DEPARTURES

WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This time: artistic potholes, it’s a dog’s life and the town that’s a star CHICAGO, USA We’ll start with the less interesting fact: after some seriously brutal winters, Chicago’s streets have a record number of potholes. Now for the interesting bit: local artist Jim Bachor couldn’t hang around waiting for the city to sort them out, so he instead chose to fill them with red, white and blue tile artworks that say ‘pothole’: both prettifying and practical. Good work.

MEANS OF ESCAPE The best way to get to your island base when the tide’s in? Nope, not boat. Try tractor #11 SEA TRACTOR

Photograph by Tom Viggars / Alamy

Just off the coast of Devon, across from Bigbury-on-Sea, lurks Burgh Island, home to the art deco hotel that inspired Agatha Christie to write Evil Under the Sun. But how are guests supposed to get across to it when the tide is in or coming in? On a sea tractor, that’s how. Or – as it appears – something cartoonist Heath Robinson, illustrator of implausible machines, could have devised. Sea tractors, trundling their way through the water with passengers seated safely out of reach of the waves, were popular in the 1930s, but Burgh Island is one of the few places still to use one. The current hydraulic model was devised in

1969 by Robert Jackson CBE, a pioneer of Britain’s nuclear power station programme in the 1950s. In exchange for providing his updated version of this quirkily practical solution to Burgh Island’s access problem, Jackson received a case of champagne – now that sounds like our kind of pay cheque. So while it may not strictly be a case of arriving in style, it is a case of arriving in unique style: this is the only hydraulic sea tractor in the world. But it does have a close relative: a sea tractor is used at South Sands Beach near Salcombe, also in Devon, taking ferry passengers between boat and shore in the absence of a jetty.

COTTONWOOD, USA Idaho’s Dog Bark Park Inn gives the phrase ‘in the doghouse’ a whole new meaning – because you’ll be sleeping in the belly of a giant wooden beagle. The hotel, created by a dog-mad chainsaw artist, doesn’t restrict its theme to the exterior – the interior is full of miniature dog art. You’ll be pleased to know that reallife dogs are welcome too: there’s space in the muzzle.

PALMANOVA, ITALY No, that strange shape to the right isn’t a mysterious crop circle – it’s a city in north-eastern Italy designed by artist Vincenzo Scamozzi. Built in the 1600s, it’s shaped like a star and resembles a concentric fortress with a huge square in the middle. Imagine the games of hide and seek you could play inside! It’s just a shame the cool shape is only visible from the air…

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Head to

DEPARTURES THINK WE’RE WRONG? HAVE YOUR SAY AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM

HEAD

This month, the second cities of Sweden and Norway battle it out in a Scandinavian scrap for supremacy – but which one will take the spoils?

GOTHENBURG Population: 533,300

TROMSØ Population: 69,000

Nickname: Little London

Nickname: Gateway to the Arctic

INHABITANTS

INHABITANTS

Gothenburg is home to two universities, meaning it has a big student population – so you’ll find plenty of people studying by day but painting the town red by night. 8/10

Education, research, fishing and satellite technology are the mainstays of life here – expect to find learned and/ or seagoing types. Oh, and snowsport junkies. 8/10

WHAT NOT TO SAY IN GOTHENBURG ”Can’t wait to see Stockholm”

WHAT TO SAY IN GOTHENBURG

WHAT TO SAY IN TROMSØ

WHAT NOT TO SAY IN TROMSØ

”I prefer a theme park to an ABBA museum”

“No, seriously, I just love the cold!”

“So what time does this light show start, eh?”

DO

DO

Take in the bulk of the city’s sights in a manner far more relaxing than pounding the pavements. Boat tours leave every half hour during the summer months, or head further afield and island-hop around the city’s archipelago. If you’re feeling more energetic, make the most of a network of rental bikes or head for the Liseberg amusement park (liseberg.se): try its wooden-tracked rollercoaster. 9/10

Tromsø is right in the middle of the Northern Lights zone, making it one of the best places in the world in which to revel in this phenomenon. And while you’re waiting for nature’s show to start, have a wander round the city centre – it contains the highest number of old wooden houses in northern Norway, with the oldest of these structures dating back to the late 1780s.10/10

STAY

STAY

Hotel Royal (hotel-royal.com), the oldest in the city, has been welcoming guests since 1852. Constructed on part of the old city fortifications and smack-bang in the centre, it boasts mural-bedecked ceilings and an art nouveau main staircase. For something a bit different, try the floating Barken Viking (barkenviking.com), a four-masted ship built in 1907. 8/10

Enjoy sweeping waterfront and mountain views from the Clarion Collection Hotel With (clarionhotel.com), beautifully located on the wharfside in the historic Skansen area. And talking of historic, the Rundhaug Gjestegård (rundhauggjestegard.no) is a 107-year-old, fairytale-style wooden hotel on the banks of the river Målselva. 9/10

EAT AND DRINK Head for Saluhall Briggen (saluhallbriggen.se), a popular place for fika – having a chat with your friends over cinnamon rolls and coffee. 8/10

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EAT AND DRINK

8/10

AND THE WINNER IS... Northern Lights trumps all: Tromsø

9/10

Seafood rules the roost, and Fiskekompaniet (fiskekompani.no), boasts a mouthwatering array of shellfish and other delights. 9/10


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DEPARTURES

WINGING IT INSTANT GUIDES FOR THE LAZY TRAVELLER

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN DO: WAY OUT WEST, 7-9 AUGUST

in BRIEF

ANTIGUA

Antigua is heaving with British history thanks to Norfolk’s Lord Nelson

Some of the finest beaches you could hope to find, along with a wealth of history, make Antigua special, says Chris Borg

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If rambling up that historical hill is a bit much for you, there’s always the lure of Antigua’s beaches – and what beaches they are. The crumpled coastline and the coral reef have gifted the island legions of secluded beaches with white, powdery sands, while the abundance of marine life makes for world-class snorkelling. There’s a lot to be said for just wandering the shoreline and picking your spot. But if even more seclusion seems the ticket, head for tiny Barbuda next door: once known for its shipwrecks (that reef was unforgiving), it’s now a bird sanctuary of dazzling variety. Go on, take flight. e

NEED TO KNOW British Airways offers flights to Antigua, with seven-night, allinclusive accommodation, starting from £869pp. ba.com/antigua

STAY: CLARION HOTEL POST Nordic cool doesn’t come cooler than at the Clarion Hotel Post. Set in an old post office building in the centre of the city, it’s got a top-notch Swedish/US fusion restaurant, and its main selling point is a rooftop pool and sun terrace. As it’s Sweden you can probably only use it for maybe two days a year, but still – we want in. clarionpost.se

DRINK: HOTEL PIGALLE So new not many people know about it yet, the new roof terrace at this boutique hotel in Gothenburg is a seriously hot place to spend a light Scandinavian summer night. You might need to wrap up in several blankets, sure – but go while the trendy Gothenburg crew still thinks it’s hot. hotelpigalle.se

Photographs by (main): Banana Pancake/Alamy (top): Beatrice Törnros

A

visit to Antigua is about more than hopping on a plane to find somewhere nice and sunny. The island is rich in history – as well as rugged scenery – with Admiral Horatio Nelson (also associated with Norfolk and, er, Merton, south London) playing a central role in its story. Back in the 1780s, Nelson realised that Antigua’s craggy, complex coastline, with its safe harbours and a protective coral reef, made it the perfect place to conceal a fleet. So off he sailed, establishing Antigua as the most important British naval base of the era. Ghosts of those days live on in some of the island’s loveliest places: ramble your way up Shirley Heights, with its gun emplacements and military architecture, and drink in the views over English Harbour (and while you’re at it, drink in some of the rum punch served at the barbecues held up there on Sundays). The area takes its name from another Brit, General Shirley, who was the governor of the nearby Leeward Islands when they were fortified in the 18th century.

Day festivals are a big deal – London’s got enough of them, after all – and as the Swedes do everything more glamorously than us, head to Swedish second city Gothenburg for Way Out West. It’s a small, eclectic affair, with top-notch food on site. Oh, and Outkast, Röyksopp and Robyn are headlining. wayoutwest.se


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DEPARTURES

the TOURIST

DRIVEN INSANE

I

Illustration by Mark Boardman

’m not one of life’s natural drivers. I failed my first test before leaving the test centre car park, blew my hubcap off while racing across the Spanish border and almost rear-ended a fellow 4x4 in driving rain in Lesotho. But, I reasoned, if you can survive the drizzly Sani Pass (a twisty, pebble-covered high route that marks a border between Lesotho and South Africa), driving in Oman would be a cinch – even in a 4x4 that refuses to shift above third gear, has sporadic air-con and comes with a huge dent in the rear door. Navigating from Muscat airport into town should have been easy – the Omani airport clerk waved us off impatiently, saying: “It’s just one straight road,” which seemed reassuring – but after clambering into the passenger seat armed only with an outdated city map from a guide book, it, er, wasn’t. We’re talking about the Middle East: roads here are built and steamrollered quicker than the ink can dry on maps and road signs. Wealthy Omanis leave their flash sport cars parked at the side of the road with the keys in Muscat is home the ignition (to run to the spectacular the air-con) while Sultan Qaboos they do errands; Grand Mosque, freeways have a habit which has capacity for 20,000 visitors of disappearing into at a time. dirt tracks with little notice. We eventually found our way to our hotel four hours after skidding onto the blistering tarmac and not before looping pointlessly around the old town, past the Sultan’s mega-yacht and joining the slip road back to the airport. But still-developing Muscat is a drive in the proverbial park compared to the provinces. It’s while winding up the mountainous interior that we really start

Roads are built and then steamrollered quicker than ink can dry on maps to discover just how bad an idea cruising around independently in our own 4x4 is. Minutes after leaving the city, the back seat is already strewn with water bottles, Pepsi cans and wrappers covered in melted ice cream – if you don’t swallow it whole, it doesn’t stand a chance in Oman’s 45ºC heat – and we’ve already driven around Muscat’s

Laughing in the face of her dodgy motoring track record, Cathy Adams hires a 4x4 to get around the mountains of Oman. She finds herself with no road signs, no fourth or fifth gears and absolutely no idea where she’s going…

gnarled roundabouts three times each while trying to get out. The mountain-top town of Jabal Akhdar, 2,000 metres above sea level, is accessed only through a police checkpoint (you’re counted both in and out) via steep gravelly roads that twist sickeningly around the Hajar peaks. Road signs are non-existent and, as the sun dips behind the scorched brown mountains, it’s a case of trial and error as the engine revs frantically, a megastorm brews and Oman’s kamikaze drivers start to come out for the night. Rather than face-plant headfirst into the deep canyon below, we do eventually arrive, several hours late, at a newly opened mountainous retreat – much to the bemusement of the staff. The relief is shortlived, though, as only 36 hours later we’re shunting the battered Nissan Pathfinder back down to the airport again, ears popping, still stuck firmly in third gear. Next time I venture out to the Middle East, I’m making like the Sultan and hiring a yacht. e

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St. Michael’s Mount

St. Ives

Porth Nanven

BE A GREAT WESTERNER. The Brisons

Explore Cornwall by train this summer. Book now at firstgreatwestern.co.uk


DEPARTURES

UK TOP FIVE

CORNWALL Buzzing party towns, beautiful beaches, luxury hotels, music festivals and the sunniest place in Britain – Cornwall offers a wealth of reasons for heading out west

Photography by Visit Cornwall/Adam Gibbard, David Griffen Photography

1. On the town: Newquay

2. Sleep: The Scarlet

Newquay is famous for being Cornwall’s party town – and with good reason. During the summer months, the place buzzes with surfers, daytrippers and people on weekend escapes, all determined to make the most of what is the sunniest place in the UK. There’s a wide choice of places to drink, from laidback surfer bars and quirky pubs to more impromptu barbecues on the beach. Head to the streets off the beach for a warm-up pub crawl before setting off for one of the town’s many nightclubs. Nobody does a night out quite like Newquay, especially if you’re stuck in Sailors at 2am…

It might feel as though you’re overlooking the Mediterranean, but the Scarlet Hotel is actually only a few miles from Newquay. Expect locally sourced food, a top spa and private hot tubs, while the hotel also has some serious eco credentials (it recycles rainwater). No children are allowed here, making this a destination for a proper, grown-up country escape. Rooms start from £195pn, with the price including breakfast.

newquay.co.uk

scarlethotel.co.uk

3. Action: Polzeath Newquay might get all the credit for its surfer vibe, but Polzeath, just to its north,

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: Polzeath is great all year round for surfing; Cornwall’s fabulous food; luxury adults-only escape The Scarlet; Cornwall’s most famous music gig, the Looe Music Festival

is where the serious surf kids head to. Boasting some of the best breaks in the country, Polzeath’s surf is consistent throughout the year, while its sweeping golden beaches aren’t anything to be sniffed at, either. Although it’s a great destination all year round, summer is still the best time to visit – well, this is England, after all... polzeath.co.uk

4. Food: Restaurant Nathan Outlaw As the old adage goes: ‘When in Cornwall, it’d be criminal not to snarf all the fresh seafood that the county and its slew of top restaurants has to offer.’ Chef Nathan Outlaw’s two Michelin-starred joint in Rock, north Cornwall, does a storming tasting menu sourced from the freshest catches out of the Atlantic. Pair the food with matching wines – you can thank us later. Tasting menu costs £99, and a matching wine flight costs £72. nathan-outlaw.com

5. Music: Looe Music Festival

Photograph by ###

If you thought the UK music festival scene packed up and went home after Bestival in early September: ha! You’re wrong. The town of Looe hosts its eponymous music festival over the weekend of 19-21 September and, in true Cornish fashion, it takes place on the (long and beautiful) beach. This year, more than 90 acts, including The Brand New Heavies and Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, are on the bill for what will be three days of nonstop partying. There’s also a band called the Red Hot Chili Pipers playing. Your guess is as good as ours... looemusic.co.uk e

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reader QUESTIONS Stroll, swim and eat hearty food in Budapest or enjoy the beaches and wildlife of Brazil, all with the help of the Insight Guides experts LIGHTS FANTASTIC: Historic Budapest is best explored on foot and any walking tour should begin in the Old Town, with its network of beautiful streets

I’m going to Budapest for four nights next month. Could you recommend the best things to see, places to eat and any good day trips outside the city? Tom Scully Budapest is a beautiful city with a rich history and lots to offer. A walking tour is a great way to get an overview, and also means you can work out where you want to revisit. Absolute Walking Tours offers a range. First stop is a stroll around the Old Town – Buda, on the western bank of the Danube – a small area of picturesque streets packed with colourful houses, historic monuments and small museums. Be sure to check out the castle and the spectacular interior of Matthias Church. Then I would suggest heading to the City Park in Pest. It covers a huge area and has plenty to keep you occupied for a day, including a zoo, several museums, an amusement park and boating lake. In the north-west corner of the park are the beautiful Szechenyi Baths, one of

the largest medicinal bath complexes in Europe, where you can enjoy year-round, open-air swimming at a constant temperature of 27ºC. For a day trip, head upstream to Visegrad. The citadel, on a hill above the ruins of the old palace, offers panoramic views – and the palace itself once held Vlad the Impaler as prisoner. To get a glimpse of Budapest’s heyday, take tea at the New York Café, on Erzsebet korut, with its amazing neo-baroque interior – but lunch is the biggest meal of the day for Hungarians. Visit Nancsi Neni Vendegloje, located in the Buda Hills, for a taste of traditional rustic Hungarian food, or head for Central Kavehaz in Pest, a legendary place that’s great for good, affordable grub at any time of day. The house specialty, café pepperino – espresso with chocolate and pepper – is well worth a try. Rachel Fox, Head of Content

South America is a great choice for a honeymoon, offering a perfect combination of adventure, romance and relaxation. Seasons in the southern hemisphere are inverted, so August will be winter – but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find good weather. I would recommend heading to north-east Brazil, where it’s warm and sunny all year and the beaches are among the best in the country. The state of Bahia, set apart from the rest of the north-east by its strong African roots, has a rich heritage. It’s where the Portuguese first landed, and is home to beautiful colonial towns. Itacaré, south of regional capital Salvador, has

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

Photograph by Cultura RM / Alamy

I’m planning my honeymoon for next August. We’d like a mixture of adventure and some beach time, and thought South America would be a possible option. Can you recommend anywhere particularly good? Stef Powell

become one of the most popular destinations in Bahia because of its magnificent beaches and scenery. It offers opportunities for adventure including diving, surfing and walks through the Atlantic rainforest. Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte state and one of the region’s nicest beach resorts, is further north. Ponta Negra is the most popular beach, with a wide variety of hotels, bars, and restaurants. If you fancy seeing some of Brazil’s incredible wildlife, the Pantanal, an enormous wetland in the west of the country, is home to an abundance of birds, animals and plants. There are similar species here to those in the Amazon, but a lack of dense vegetation makes the birds and mammals far easier to spot. Access to the Pantanal is usually from Corumbá, Campo Grande, or Cuiabá, and lodges are reached via 4x4 trips along a combination of paved and bumpy roads. Rachel Lawrence, South America editor Visit insightguides.com to find out more. e


GUYS

checklist

THE T-SHIRT SERGE DE NIMES VERTICAL SYMBOL PRINT T-SHIRT, £55. Simple symbols from the new apparel brand, inspired by photos from the 1978 Rio Carnival. sergedenimes.com

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1 OAKLEY, Eyeshade, £200. Channel the spirit of ‘80s cycling maverick Greg Le Mond with Oakley’s so-retro-it-hurts Eyeshade. oakley.com 2 ICE WATCH, Orange ice-sunshine watch, £79.95. Stay bright and on trend with Ice Watch’s unisex orange timepiece. uk.ice-watch.com 3 GANDYS, Liberty Hera D flip flops, £30. Cool and kind: a portion of Gandys’ profits go towards disadvantaged children. gandysflipflops.com

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DEPARTURES

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GIRLS

1 CURREN/ELLIOTT, The Gam cut-off stretch denim shorts, £170. Off-duty denim doesn’t come cooler than frayed hems. net-a-porter.com 2 QUAY, Kitti sunglasses, £22. Retro tortoiseshell shades from the hottest Aussie sunglasses brand on the block. quayeyewear.com.au 3 JUJU JELLIES, Babe in orange, £28. Remember those heady childhood beach days with a fluorescent pair of jellies. jujushoes.co.uk

THE TOP ASOS CAMI IN CUTWORK, £35. As much at home on a tropical beach as in a seriously cool rooftop bar, this cut out camisole from ASOS will see you through from day to night in style. asos.com

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DEPARTURES

A cut above most multi-use knives out there, the Work Champ packs in not only pliers, but pliers with wire cutters and wire crimping tool. Just in case your holiday goes very, very wrong...

Gear This device is so versatile, it offers five different screwdrivers to suit a series of sticky situations. They include a can opener with a screwdriver and a cap lifter with auto locking screwdriver, plus two types of Phillips.

THE MULTI-USE TOOL VICTORINOX WORK CHAMP, £48.99. Not just a fancy knife, but a self-styled ‘work champ’, this Swiss master offers everything from wire strippers to a tooth pick for your travel needs. snowandrock.com

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Wherever you are, and whatever culinary craving you have, this clever app lets you search by dish and city and view recommendations (plus drool-inducing pics) uploaded by users. foodspotting.com

How many thousands of travel photos do you have languishing, unloved, on your phone or Instagram? With Printic, you select photos to be printed and delivered to your door at the tap of a touchscreen. printicapp.com

You’ve escaped to the deepest African bush or a desert island paradise. And the silence is creeping you out. No fear, city slickers: download 500+ natural and urban sounds to help rock you to sleep. sleepsoundshq.com

Photograph by David Harrison

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Moon Palace’s impressive pool area; Le Blanc’s elegant beachfront location; relax in one of Moon Palace’s restaurants; fun at Moon Palace; kick back at Le Blanc’s sophisticated pool area

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HOTEL SPLENDIDE ROYAL ∙ ROMA HOTEL SPLENDIDE ROYAL ∙ ROMA Il piacere più immenso è averla come nostro ospite. Our greatest privilege is to welcome you to our world. Il piacere più immenso è averla come nostro ospite. Rttbttttfftt Nffttttff Cttttttttffffffttff è ttff ttttttffttttttfftt ttffffttttfffftttt ttff ffttbttttttttff ttff ttttfffftt ttbffffffffff ffff Our greatest privilege is to welcome you to our world.

fffffffffffffffffffffffffffftttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt Rttbttttfftt Nffttttff Cttttttttffffffttff è ttff ttttttffttttttfftt ttffffttttfffftttt ttff ffttbttttttttff ttff ttttfffftt ttbffffffffff ffff fffffffffffffffffffffffffffftttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt Roberto Naldi Collection is an exclusive portfolio of luxury hotels, located tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt in fascinating cities and European tourist destinations, created to satisfy the needs of International clientele and offer them a unique guest experience. Roberto Naldi Collection is an exclusive portfolio of luxury hotels, located in fascinating cities and European tourist destinations, created to satisfy the needs of International clientele and offer them a unique guest experience.

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Roberto Naldi Collection - Via G. Frescobaldi, 5 - 00198 Rome - Italy - tel. +39 06 854421 - fax +39 06 8845104 - e-mail: info@robertonaldicollection.com - www.robertonaldicollection.com

collection inserzione speciale Roma 210x265 - versione 2013

© Roberto Naldi Collection - 19.09.13 EDP


GET MORE ADVENTURE AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM

EXPERIENCES 38 48 58 62 68

COOL HOTELS CALIFORNIA WHALE SHARKS PERU RAINFOREST CROATIA CRICKET

ON TOP OF THE WORLD: All the best hotels come with a rooftop bar – or at least they do in Madrid, at the ME Madrid Reina Sofia, overlooking the Plaza de Santa Ana. Check out our other top hotels from page 38.

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Experiences

HOTELS

Photograph by ###

Bored of the same old hotel room? We’ve rounded up our pick of the blingiest, buzziest and most downright bizarre boltholes on the planet. Come in and get comfortable‌ 39


Explora, Patagonia At the very tip of South America, this hotel is pretty much as remote as remote gets – and, as a result, the scenery is as beautiful as beautiful gets, too. Chile’s Explora Patagonia is separated from the rest of the world by mountains and ice, a modern building made conspicuous by the most natural of surroundings. Here, in the heart of the Torres del Paine National Park, an almost comically good-looking assemblage of mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers mark ‘the end of the world’: as far south as you can travel before crossing into the Antarctic Circle. Its mountainous majesty and crystal-clear lakes have made this region the most popular in the country for hikers, too. Reward a day of trekking by holing up in your room to soak in views of the snow-dusted Paine Massif and revel in your isolation – there’s no wifi in the rooms, and no television. Bliss. Rooms from: £3,500, based on two sharing for four nights. explora.com

Mona Pavilions, Tasmania In the glorious setting of a private peninsula above the Derwent River, yet only a short drive from the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, Mona Pavilions crams a lot into its serene

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The peaks of Torres del Paine loom above the Explora hotel; party your way through the day at Ibiza’s Ushuaïa; the pool at Ace in Palm Springs; view from Alila Jabal Akhdar; the Mona Pavilions in Tasmania

location: an avant-garde array of angular pavilions, a vineyard and a microbrewery, plus – to cap it all – the Museum of Old and New Art (the Mona of the name), Australia’s largest private museum. The latter boasts works by St Kilda-born painter and Aussie legend Sidney Nolan, and British artist Damien Hirst. Rooms from: £206 per night mrandmrssmith.com/luxury-hotels/mona-pavilions

Lakshman Sagar, India

houses near the famous sandstone Mehrangarh Fort.

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Rooms from: £150 i-escape.com

At 2,000m above sea level in Oman’s Al Hajar mountains, Alila Jabal Akhdar is a collection of luxury stone and wooden huts overlooking a giant gorge – it’s not called the Grand Canyon of the Middle East for nothing. Being so high up means it’s cool and airy here, which gives you the perfect excuse to laze around in the infinity pool overlooking the craggy terrain, with just a few mountain goats for company. Rooms from: around £180pn alilahotels.com

EDITOR’S PICK

Photograph by ###

An artful blend of traditional architecture and modern comforts, Lakshman Sagar, in the heart of rural Rajasthan, is a slice of lakeside bliss and solitude for the worldweary. You’ll stay in one of 12 individual mud and stone cottages, set in a 32-acre former hunting preserve, now an eco-retreat that blends discreetly into the rugged surroundings. With thatched rooftops and private plunge pools, the lodgings are centred on a small, serene lake in an impressively remote location: the blue city of Jodhpur is a Jodhpur is known 2.5-hour drive away. as both the ‘sun city’ Nature walks and – for its year-round, tours of local villages er, sun – and the ‘blue city’ after some are as high-octane as vivid blue painted this escape gets.

ALILA JABAL AKHDAR, OMAN


Experiences

HOTELS

Ace Hotel, Palm Springs

While Oregon’s Portland has gained a reputation as a top hipster city over the past few years, it also apparently has the most strip clubs per capita anywhere else in America.

Once upon a time, this was a tired former Westward Ho motel with a Denny’s pancake house attached – but then Ace freshened it up with a lick of the hipster style they previously used with great success in both Seattle and Portland. Now its whitewashed 1960s look is accented with cool vintage furniture and local arts (though the ghost of Denny’s remains). Communal fireplaces dotted about the property encourage your clinking craft beer bottles with fellow cool customers; on weekends there’s a DJ by the pool. Though slightly off the beaten track around a mile from the centre of downtown, you can spend your days lazing by the pool, browsing the vinyl record library or sculpting that hipster beard in the onsite barbershop – it’s the perfect retro-chic hideaway for a city so self-consciously steeped in nostalgia. The hot tub outside is open until 2am too, which always seems like a good idea once you’ve sipped one too many martinis in the local piano bars… Rooms from: around £90 per night acehotel.com

Mama Shelter, Paris

Photograph by ###

Rooms from: around £63 per night mamashelter.com

Ushuaïa Beach Hotel, Ibiza Party central on party island this one, to the extent that you can stand on the balcony

Rooms from: £194 per night ushuaiabeachhotel.com

THE HOT TUB IS OPEN UNTIL 2AM, WHICH ALWAYS SEEMS LIKE A GOOD IDEA AFTER A FEW MARTINIS 41

Photographs by (Ace Hotel) Alex Pasternak

This budget design hotel buzzes late into the night thanks to a top bar boasting live music on weekends (the in-hotel pizzeria and busy French restaurant keep things lively, too). It’s out on a limb in the 20th arrondissement (think of it as Paris’s trendier version of Shoreditch), but what Mama Shelter lacks in convenience, it makes up for in style. Philippe Starck’s interiors are cool and quirky, featuring a wealth of unique touches including Darth Vader masks as bedside lights. Despite attracting an international trendoid set and arty types, rates don’t break the bank. A cool enough combo to have inspired outposts in Istanbul and, coming soon, LA.

of your room to watch world-class DJs like David Guetta, Avicii and Armin Van Buuren spin tunes to huge crowds thronging around the hotel pool. This is luxe turned up to the max: stay at the original beach club for a view of that pool stage, or head up the newer Tower for built-in Jacuzzis and outdoor terraces that give a bird’s eye view of the beautiful things (and people) below. And if you tire of the all-day parties, the legendary Playa d’en Bossa is just below, where the party just keeps on going…


Treehotel, Sweden

by dog sled in winter or kayak the nearby Lule River in summer.

There are hotel rooms, and then there are tree houses – and the big kid in us knows which we prefer. Deep in a Swedish pine forest near the tiny village of Harads, this hotel suspends its living spaces up in the trees, high above the ground, so you can feel truly at one with nature. Each tree room is unique (designed by a different architect), and getting into some of these space agestyle creations includes entering by ramp, bridge or escalator. As you’d expect from such a progressive place, there are myriad eco innovations, too: think electric toilets and low-energy LED systems. It’s also a great escape for any season, whether you want to go out stalking the Northern Lights

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Rooms from: around £370 per night treehotel.se

Whitepod Resort, Switzerland Amid sweeping vistas of alpine beauty, a cluster of geodesic pods sit on wooden platforms, coming off like some sort of futuristic hippie commune. If those hippies were also embracing a five-star lifestyle, that is. Here, in the Swiss countryside, guests ‘camp’ in self-contained pods, each fitted with king-size bed, bathroom, stove, kettle, bay windows and a mezzanine level. Think more luxury igloo than tent. If you can tear yourself away from your kooky

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Lule River was used as a defensive line against Russia. Bunkers and fortifications still exist today along the banks of the river.

ERDAM

GRAND AMST

ERDAM

EX AMST AL 197, 1012 ORBURGW VO S JD 1 ZI 11 3 OUDE 20 555 TEL. +31 (0) L.COM 783@SOFITE E-MAIL. : H2

https://www.facebook.com/ SofitelLegendTheGrandAmsterdam https://twitter.com/SofitelAMSGrand

Located between t th the ttwo oldest ld t canals l iin tthe heart of the city, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam is a true gem among the other five star luxury hotels. It is home to the acclaimed Michelin star Restaurant Bridges, the Parisian themed Le Petit Bistro, the private inner garden, the suites with Butler Service and to the multiple award-winning luxury hotel SoSPA including pool and hamam.   The history of The Grand is deeply entwined with the past of the city – from a 15th-century convent to royal lodgings to Dutch Admiralty to the City Hall of Amsterdam where Netherland’s former queen, princess Beatrix, married in 1966. Poetry and a rich history captivate and seduce everyone into visiting the hotel.


Experiences

HOTELS

In March 2011, living quarters, there Brody House Sounds are mountain dishes signed its first act, and spit-roasted indie rock band The Stagger Rats. The specialties on offer in record label has a nearby chalet, and also worked with a sauna in the central many local and pod house. And if international DJs. this isn’t striking you as quite off-the-wall enough, the resort also offers dog-karting, where you’re pulled along the sunny mountain trails by a pack of panting mutts.

Rooms from: around £250 per night whitepod.com

Brody House, Budapest

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Spend a night suspended in mid-air at Sweden’s Treehotel; the clean lines of Budapest’s arty Brody House; hail a dog sled at Whitepod; relax among the stunning Swiss countryside

Warning: only committed trendies need apply. This self-styled ‘hub for creativity and innovation’ comprises a portfolio of venues for short stays and long-term tenancies, its hotel rooms, apartments and houses all uniquely furnished to inspire those who stay. The result is a thriving community of talented customers, meaning you can expect art events, book readings and film and fashion shoots as background noise. The staff even has its own record label, Brody House Sounds. But don’t fret, you won’t feel left out of all this cutting-edge coolness: all guests are invited to members’ club events, which include art tasting dinners. Rooms from: £56 mrandmrssmith.com/luxury-hotels/brody-house

Photograph by ###

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Experiences

HOTELS

ME hotel, Madrid Don’t be fooled by the external look of this hotel, which has been created within the four splendid walls of what was once the historic Hotel Reina Victoria. Inside, United Designers have created something ultramodern and stylish (think clean, straight lines and airy lobbies) complete with a sprawling rooftop bar that has been voted one of Madrid’s ten best places to drink. There’s designer furniture and an eclectic range of art alongside its restaurant Ana la Santa, which brings traditional Madrilenian tapas up to date with inventive flavours and combinations.

ABOVE: The giant, airy roof terrace of the ME Hotel in Madrid, which overlooks La Plaza de Santa Ana and BELOW: London’s hottest new hotel, the Shangri-La, takes up floors 34 to 52 of Renzo Piano’s vertiginous Shard

Rooms from: £220 per night melia.com

The Berlin-born

Michelberger, Berlin Trendy, arty, relaxed and informal in that way Berlin does so well, this buzzing hotel is located near the nightlife hotspot of Friedrichshain, and its fresh and original look is the brainchild of internationally

COOL IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO EARN, BUT THE GREAT VIEW OF LONDON IS THE WORK OF CENTURIES 44

SHANGRI-LA AT THE SHARD, LONDON Cool is something you have to earn, and while the Shangri-La Shard hotel and its vertiginous, pointy home are as new as they come, the extraordinary view of London and beyond is the work of centuries. And you needn’t even book a room to appreciate it. Gong, the surprisingly intimate, Asian-styled bar on level 52 – making it London’s highest bar – serves great cocktails to go with the giddy vista. Rooms from: £450 per night shangri-la.com

renowned designer furniture designer Werner Aisslinger. has such designs including the ‘bikini (Even the website wood chair’ and is unusual, showing ‘bikini island’, the hotel as a space neither of which look station.) Back that much like the swimwear item. on terra firma, Michelberger’s 119 rooms are modelled on a variety of different themes, there’s plenty of junk shop chic furniture, the crowd is eclectic and there’s regular concerts EDITOR’S PICK on the patio outside, which also hosts ‘Hollywood swings and huts’, whatever they are. Rooms from: around £50 per night michelbergerhotel.com

Gladstone Hotel, Toronto This is a boutique art hotel par excellence, with its high-ceilinged, big-windowed Victorian rooms having provided artists from all over the place with 37 different blank canvases on which to create… whatever they wanted. The result is a wonderful mishmash of looks, feels and colours in the city’s up-and-coming neighbourhood of Parkdale. Unsurprisingly, it’s an art hub for downtown Toronto (there are over 70 exhibitions a year), alongside live bands and regular late-night DJ sets and kareoke, to really get you going after dark. Rooms from: around £90 per night gladstonehotel.com


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Experiences

HOTELS

Kanifushi, Maldives Imagine being surrounded by the bluest water imaginable, and preparing to settle down for the day on some of the whitest sandy beaches you’ve ever seen. Well, that’s pretty much the picture at Kanifushi, set in the Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives. It’s one of the most sought-after all-inclusive resorts on the beautiful island cluster in the Indian Ocean. If you can tear yourself away from the beach, or your traditionally styled beach villa with its simple and stylish Maldivian interior, you could even indulge in a little snorkelling, fishing, swimming or boating in a serene natural lagoon. I mean, it’s a tough life, isn’t it? Rooms from: around £240pppn in a Sunset Beach villa, based on three people sharing atmosphere-kanifushi.com

Asia Gardens, Spain This is something else – an Asian garden in a Mediterranean Pre 1960s, Benidorm climate – and it’s on the Costa Blanca every bit as stunning was a quiet village. as that would Now, it’s got the most high-rise suggest. The outskirts buildings per capita of Benidorm might in the world, thanks not be the first place to its booming tourist industry. you’d expect to find a

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Asia in Spain at Asia Gardens; Jamaica’s intimate Mount Edge; Bar Bleu at Outrigger in Mauritius

five-star tropical Thai-style resort, but don’t think that Asia Gardens isn’t pure luxury, despite being nowhere near a desert island. Rather than packed beaches, there’s an acre of lush gardens (with 200 Asian plants that have been brought over, including a 200-year-old bonsai and more than 40 varieties of bamboo), seven swimming pools and a Thai spa that rivals the real deal. The site, 150 metres above sea level, benefits from idyllic views over the Costa Blanca but, really, the place to wander – once you’ve sauntered out of your individually designed bedroom – is the garden. Rooms from: around £160 per night barcelo.com

Outrigger, Mauritius Mauritius is hardly lacking in places to lay your head after a hard day sunbathing,windsurfing, or if you’re really feeling energetic, a hike through its verdant interior. But none come cooler than Outrigger’s Hawaii-styled Mauritius outpost: all the rooms in the private beachfront resort face the azure Indian Ocean, white Ibiza-style daybeds line up around the palmfringed pool, and there are cabanas dotted along its private stretch of beach. It gives a nod to the island’s multicultural heritage with its wide range of bars and restaurants, including self-styled ‘party palace’ and cocktail joint Bar Bleu, or Willie’s Rum & Crab Shack, serving, er, fresh crab dishes and a top selection of rums. e Rooms from: £595pp for seven nights on a half board basis until 30 September outrigger.com

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EDITOR’S PICK

MOUNT EDGE GUEST HOUSE, JAMAICA Among the treetops in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains you’ll find Mount Edge Guest House, which sleeps 12 across a scattering of cabins, each one hand-built into the side of the mountain. The views are breathtaking, with balconies that open out onto mountain vistas, the city lights of Kingston just visible in the distance. ‘Rustic’ doesn’t do it justice, but when you’re surrounded by green peaks halfway up a winding mountain path, it’s exactly the way you want to live. Rooms from: £35 mountedge.com


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California soul The trip begins with a night drive from Los Angeles to our first stop on the northern outskirts of San Diego – a two and half-hour sleep-deprived slog along the big, busy highways that have replaced Highway 1 as the coast’s main artery. As it turns out, San Diego is a perfect place to start a California road trip, though its location at the south-west corner of the state means many routes don’t make it that far. That’s a shame, because while San Diego

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SAN DIEGO STAY: PARADISE POINT, MISSION BAY Paradise Point is a genuine private island resort, located just a few minutes’ drive from downtown San Diego, in the watersports haven of Mission Bay. With a tropical setting, fire pits – perfect for cooking s’mores – five different pools and its own spa, it’s a great place to kick back at the start or end of a road trip, and ideal for exploring San Diego and its coast. From $145 per night paradisepoint.com

EAT: IRONSIDE, LITTLE ITALY From its faux-dilapidated nautical frontage to the wall decorated with piranha jaws, new kid on the block Ironside hits all the right notes. The seafood-dominated menu and suitably hip drinks list (loaded with great cocktails and local beers) are a match for the super-cool ambiance. ironsidefishandoyster.com

DO: STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING There’s something magical about standing on top of the ocean looking back at the shore, and unless you’re able to walk on water, stand-up paddleboarding is probably your best bet. Surf Diva in La Jolla can arrange lessons so you can learn how to sup with the best of them. surfdiva.com

HIGHWAY 1 IS NEVER LESS THAN INTERESTING, IN FACT MOST OF THE TIME IT’S SPECTACULAR

Photograph (top) by Prisma Bildagentur AG / Alamy; (freeway) nobleIMAGES / Alamy

hat are you driving?” the woman in the winery asks when I explain where we’re going next. She’d winced when I told her we were off to Big Sur – a 90-odd-mile strip of coastline so beautiful that the road that wraps along it has stopping points every few metres so you can screech to a halt and gawp at the scenery – her arms waving theatrically as she mimed the perilously narrow width of the road. “Oh, you’ll be fine, it’s tiny,” she says as I point to the silver Chevy my wife and I are driving – a car so large you’d probably need an HGV licence to drive it in the UK. You have to recalibrate your brain in California, where the default size and impact of just about everything is ‘epic’, including the roads (Big Sur’s tight and winding roads are vast by UK standards) and the cars, and most of all the scenery. This, though, is why California’s coast is the road trip capital of the world – a place that seems to have been created for the kind of free-spirited mile-munching journey anyone who ever California is the drives in London can third largest state in only dream about – the US by area, and and at its centre is the largest by population (37,679,000). Highway 1. Capital Sacramento Beginning in the has only the sixth tiny town of Leggett largest population in the state. in the North of the state, the One traces the coastline as far as Dana Point – roughly half way between LA and San Diego – and, depending on where you are, it gets called the Coast Highway, the Shoreline Highway, the Cabrillo Highway and the Pacific Coast Highway. Along its considerable length it winds up coastal mountains, runs along beaches, bisects cities and occasionally gets momentarily engulfed by other, bigger highways, but it’s never less than interesting. Most of the time, in fact, it’s spectacular.


Experiences

CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES STAY: ANDAZ WEST HOLLYWOOD Known as the ‘Riot House’ in its previous incarnation as a 1970s rockstar hangout, the Andaz is now a slick, impeccably cool oasis on the bustling Sunset strip. The rooms are spacious and stylish, while the rooftop pool has some of the best views in town – you can just picture yourself living in one of the enormous houses on the hill. From $199 per night. westhollywood.andaz.hyatt.com

EAT: THE HART & THE HUNTER, MELROSE Set in the boutique Palihotel, the Hart & the Hunter puts southern classics through an LA filter. Biscuits with maple butter and booze-soaked blackberries are indecently good. thehartandthehunter.com

DO: THE GROVE

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: San Diego blends big city clout with relaxed, beach town charm; its beaches are a mecca for surfers; the pool at the Andaz West Hollywood has stunning views; the Santa Monica freeway

The old farmer’s market at West 3rd and South Fairfax Avenue has been going for 80 years, but it’s now neighboured by the Grove – a tastefully done outdoor shopping mall with so many big brands it’ll make your head spin – and your credit card explode. thegrovela.com

Photograph by ###

lacks the scale and glamour of LA and the prettiness of San Francisco, it has a laidback, unassuming charm running through its beaches, historic streets and people. No doubt the sun and coastline help, but the 85-odd craft breweries in the area might have something to do with it, too, and even if you weren’t aware that San Diego is kind of a big deal on the beer scene (the city took home 11 awards in the recent World Beer Cup, while brewers from the whole of the UK won just five) you’d figure it out pretty quickly. Go into any bar or restaurant, and the beer list will run to the length of a decent, leather-bound wine list in London. The city’s historic Gaslamp quarter – built mid-boom in the late 19th century, run into seediness in the mid-20th century and subject to continual improvement from the 1970s on – is a good place to start, where old, colourful buildings are filled with hundreds of bars, restaurants and shops. Not far away, there’s a welcome dose of culture, too; in the middle of the huge Balboa Park (home of the city’s famous

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Experiences

CALIFORNIA

BIG SUR STAY: GLEN OAKS Hidden away in a forest, and based around a 1950s adobe motor lodge, Glen Sur is a designer sanctuary tucked off Highway 1. The lodge itself is cool and cosy, but for getting-awayfrom-it-all isolation, Big Sur-style, the wooden cabins are hard to beat. The attached Roadhouse restaurant, with Matt Glazer at the helm, puts a Californian twist on Southern classics, in a hip, artladen setting. From $225 per night. glenoaksbigsur.com

EAT: NEPENTHE A local dining institution, Nepenthe’s food, wine and spectacular views have been pulling in the crowds since 1949. Insofar as anything in such a vast place is unmissable, this is. nepenthebigsur.com

DO: ESALEN INSTITUTE HOT SPRINGS Spiritual retreat Esalen opens its doors to the public once a day, between 1am-3am. Guests gather on the highway before being led down to bathe in the ‘clothing optional’ hot springs where the moonlit views are simply jaw-dropping. $25, book in advance; esalen.org

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Star quality By the time we leave San Diego – full of beer, scorched by the sun and utterly relaxed – we’re ready to make our acquaintance with the Pacific Coast

Try adopting ‘robot arms’ – straight and solid – to propel yourself through the water and maintain balance, alternating sides to keep on course. Also, try not to repeatedly fall off.

CAYUCOS STAY: PIER VIEW SUITES With stylish suites overlooking the pretty town of Cayucos and friendly service, family run Pier View Suites makes a great place to stop off on the drive from LA. It’s also a handy jumping-off point for exploring San Luis Obispo County’s wine country – just ask the Pier View staff to recommend their favourite wineries and help you plot a route. From $239 per night. pierviewsuites.com

DO: HEARST CASTLE, SAN SIMEON Tycoon William Randolph Hearst loved the hills above the San Simeon coast so much he built his dream house there. Taking inspiration from his travels in Europe, the architectural style’s not for everyone, but close your eyes and imagine you’re at one of Hearst’s lavish, star-laden parties in the 1920s and it all makes sense. hearstcastle.org

Photograph (top) by Andreas Hub / laif

WE’RE GREETED BY THE SIGHT OF HIPPIES PLAYING PING PONG AT THE HENRY MILLER LIBRARY

zoo) you can find museum after museum, covering everything from science and anthropology to modern art and history. We park up on a nearby street and walk the length of the park before the strength of the sun forces us to seek solace – we’re Brits, remember – in the one thing San Diego does better than beer: beaches. Some of the best are found to the north of the city, starting with the kitsch but fun seaside towns of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. We stay just long enough to pick up sunburn and frozen yoghurt, before heading further north to chilled-out, upscale La Jolla, where the scene couldn’t contrast more with its coastal neighbours – instead of taquerías, surf shops and groups of kids, there are bistros, pristine shopping boulevards and seals playing in the surf. Taking our cue from the sprightly sea mammals, we book ourselves into lessons in stand-up paddleboarding (or ‘sup’, if you like acronyms). Our instructor leads us through the waves and out into the crystal clear water beyond the swell, and before long I’ve got the hang of the stand-up bit and start paddling, inane grin plastered across my face, towards the horizon. “Are you sure you’ve never done this before?” the instructor asks, and at the exact same moment I lose balance, hurl my paddle aside and crash into the water. Question answered.


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Experiences

CALIFORNIA

YOSEMITE STAY: BLACKBERRY INN, GROVELAND Just a short drive outside the park, tucked away in the Stanislaus National Forest, is the charming Blackberry Inn. Modern amenities mix with traditional looks and great hospitality, and there’s the added bonus of hummingbirds feeding on the porch. Freshly cooked breakfasts are delicious and vast in equal measure – you’ll need a big walk ahead of you to work it off. From $195 per night. blackberry-inn.com

EAT: CHARLOTTE HOTEL, GROVELAND This diminutive boutique hotel does great small plates, backed up with a stonking wine and cocktail list. hotelcharlotte.com

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ABOVE: Climbers love Yosemite for its challenging granite cliffs, but the remarkable views and spectacular natural environment can be enjoyed by absolutely anyone

Photograph by ###

Highway, which takes an impossibly photogenic route north through the city beaches of Orange County. Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach are the sort of towns you can imagine retiring to and spending your days guzzling coffee, playing volleyball and polishing your Mustang, if only you had the cash. Before long, though, the vast expanse of LA opens up in front of you – whatever people say about the second-largest city in the US, it has undeniable presence. The palm-lined boulevards, looming Downtown ’scrapers, gritty streets and lush green hills studded with mansions stretch out into

by Italophile developer Abbott Kinney. Houses – from clapper-board summer set-ups to cubic, ultra-modern palaces – line interlinked canals to create a scene so quiet and pretty you’d barely believe it was five minutes’ walk from the beach. It’s also only a short walk from Abbott Kinney Boulevard – a too-cool-forschool street lined with shops, bars and restaurants that blend the achingly hip with the sun-soaked hippie spirit that seeps into everything in LA. We drive north out of the city via the huge mansions tucked away in gated drives on the Hollywood Hills – all of which, I imagine, contain at least one Kardashian – until Sunset Boulevard hits the PCH once again and the bustle and density of LA gives way to relaxed beach towns, and the urban seafronts soon become increasingly wild.

Photograph by Andreas Hub / laif

YOSEMITE’S SOARING GREY CLIFFS AND GREEN VALLEY ARE THE STUFF OF LEGEND

the hazy distance and, perhaps more than anywhere else I’ve visited, the question of where the hell to start nags straight away. Things become a little easier to get your head around once you break the city down into its constituent parts, each with a personality of their own. That West Hollywood (or WeHo), where we’re based, was the 84th of 88 cities in LA County to be founded gives you some idea of the scale of the place, but it’s usefully central in terms of location and importance, the latter thanks to the notorious hotel, bar and nightclublined Sunset Strip, and a rich history as a countercultural and creative hub. It’s both a great place to hang out and soak up the city’s considerable atmosphere, and a good starting point for just about everything LA has to offer, from vista-filled hikes up nearby Runyon Canyon in the company of the beautiful, Lycra-clad people, to a traffic-clogged drive down Sunset Boulevard, via Santa Monica Boulevard, towards the beach. We soon find ourselves jostling with weightlifters, skateboarders, peddlers of medicinal weed and hordes of gawpers like us on the touristy but Getting togged up in fascinating Venice designer sports gear Beach. Luckily, it’s is de rigueur for the only a couple of hordes of locals who hike through Runyon blocks from the Canyon every day. rather more sedate The people-watching Venice canals, built in is as good as the views across LA. the early 20th century


Travelling together on the open road certainly has its rewards.

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It’s also where wine country proper really begins, and once you venture away from the coast you soon encounter vineyard after vineyard offering tours and tasting amid rolling hills baked by the Californian sun and rows of packed, green vines. We stop for a couple of days in the impossibly chilled beach town of Cayucos, with a windswept, surfy beach and easy access to the wineries of Paso Robles. While obviously I can’t condone drinking and driving, I can condone drinking, spitting into a bucket, buying, driving and then drinking when you get back home.

Size matters You don’t really arrive in Big Sur – the place just gradually dawns on you, as the mountains get bigger, the hills get greener, and the sea gets bluer as Highway 1 wraps its way along the whole thing. While the roads aren’t quite as narrow as our winemaking friend had suggested, it’s not

SAN FRANCISCO STAY: INN ABOVE TIDE, SAUSALITO Not content to fall back on the spectacular views out across to the mainland, the intimate Inn Above Tide has style in spades. Suites are spacious, luxurious and modern, while service is slick and friendly. Stick around in the evening for complimentary local wines and cheese in the relaxed lounge. From $340 per night; innabovetide.com

EAT: FERRY PLAZA FARMER’S MARKET On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, San Francisco’s Ferry Building opens up to local food producers and ravenous punters.

DO: AUBERGE DU SOLEIL, RUTHERFORD The wine valleys of Napa are only a short drive from San Francisco. Lunch at uber-luxe Auberge du Soleil guarantees great food, top local wines and breathtaking scenery. aubergedusoleil.com

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Henry Miller’s 1957 memoir ‘Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch’ is a good place to start if you want to understand Big Sur’s unique composition of people and places.

an easy drive, as your gaze is so frequently wrenched away from the road towards the steep cliffs shelving the Pacific below. Big Sur is freakishly, jawdroppingly beautiful and it’s unsurprising to learn that generations of free-spirited creative types have headed there to work, walk, think and generally cut themselves off from civilisation. At the small and folksy Henry Miller library (the writer lived in Big Sur between 1942 and 1962) we’re greeted by the surreal sight of the next generation of young hippies playing ping pong (a Henry Miller reference) and aerating the lawn (which almost certainly isn’t). Much as Big Sur rises gradually up in front of you as you enter, it slowly falls back, via historic bridges and rocky coves, to sea level as you exit to the north, and we’re spat out into the pristine town of Carmel before heading on our longest drive yet, west through mile after mile of flat agricultural land towards Yosemite national park. If Big Sur blows the mind with its scale

and beauty, Yosemite blows your whole body to smithereens – just looking at it is like swallowing an entire geology textbook whole. Its lush green meadows and the valley’s soaring granite cliffs and peaks – beloved by antlike climbers and made famous by pioneering photographer Ansel Adams – are the stuff of legend, but the sheer drama is something it’s impossible to comprehend until you see it first hand. It’s even better once you’re actually in the scenery, rather than just observing it, and we drive to the top of the valley, put on our hiking boots and head out to walk for hours, barely bumping into a soul, breaking only to take in the staggering views that appear through gaps in the soaring redwoods. There are more impressive views – at the top of Glacier Point, for example, where you compete with coachloads of oglers – but the ones earned through hard graft are the best. Soon we descend to the valley floor, where meadows so green they look painted fill the gaps between colossal granite walls like El Capitan and Half Dome. At this point, the idea of returning to urban sprawl couldn’t be less appealing, and our fears are confirmed as we make our

IN ITS OWN WAY, SAN FRAN IS AS STRIKING AS THE STATE’S NATURAL WONDERS


Experiences

CALIFORNIA

GETTING THERE

Photograph (bridge) by Brian Jannsen / Alamy; (‘Painted Ladies’) by Andreas Hub / laif

Earlier this year, American Airlines introduced an industry first – the US’s only three-class transcontinental service. The stateof-the-art Airbus A321T might be small, but it packs first, business and economy all into the same aircraft, with first and business both equipped with fully lie-flat beds and in-seat entertainment systems in all classes. There’s no more sophisticated or luxurious way to get from coast to coast. Return business flights on A321T from JFK to LAX or SFO from £1,169. Return economy flights from London to LA from £590. americanairlines.co.uk

ABOVE: The Oakland Bay Bridge at twilight, with the San Francisco skyline in the background; BELOW the ‘painted ladies’ in Alamo Square are one of San Francisco’s most popular sights

Photograph by ###

way through unremarkable inland towns and get stuck in crawling traffic on our way back towards the real world, via a short detour for lunch in Napa Valley. Our base is Sausalito, a short hop over the Golden Gate Bridge to the north of San Francisco, and any concerns are steamrollered the minute we catch sight of the city. San Francisco is, in its own way, as visually striking as the state’s natural wonders, with its collision of coastal peninsulars and estuarine bays, joined up by a network of bridges and dotted with islands. Most of it is visible from Sausalito, a polished and well-heeled town with an embarrassing abundance of great restaurants and shops, all looked over by the houses tucked away on the hills behind. But there are even better views from the top of San Francisco itself, so we drive into the heart of the city and, after a mammoth walking session that takes in wildly varying glimpses of the east side of the city – from the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building to

the boho bars and boutiques of Hayes Valley via colourful Chinatown – we flake onto a bench at the top of Telegraph Hill. The view stretches out over rooftops, down perilously steep streets and out over the bay. Or it does, until a troop of worryingly happy looking people in skintight athletic gear line up in front of us in formation. “Raise yourself up to the sky,” says a lone voice, and in unison around a dozen pairs of arms lift up and hang in the air. I ask a lost looking tagger-on what they’re up to – yoga hiking tours, apparently. “Perhaps we should have done that,” my wife says as they bound energetically on to their next stop. Anywhere else in the world, at any other time, I’d have laughed. But in California, on this road trip? Sure. Not that we did, of course – I’m still not that Californian. Not yet, anyway. e For more information, go to visitcalifornia.com. Car rental with Rhino Car Hire from £20 per day, with Los Angeles Airport collection. 0845 508 9845; rhinocarhire.com

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THE GENTLE GIANT

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AVERAGE SIZE OF WHALE SHARKS SPOTTED AROUND TAIWAN

Photograph by incamerastock / Alamy

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Ningaloo reef, the Maldives, Mexico and the Philippines. Science has had a hard time catching up, and little is known about the bus-sized beasts. However, researchers have found cause for concern. Higher numbers of tourist boats increase risk of death from boat strikes, while hunters profit from the Orient’s love of shark fin soup, and Chinese medicine prizes their cartilage. But human interest in whale sharks can also highlight their plight. The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, for example, has improved tourist operations in the area, and offers volunteer programmes that put your time swimming with whale sharks to good use. So don’t stop being fascinated by these colossal creatures. They provide life-long memories for tourists: just make sure you do them some favours in return. e

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he whale shark is not nicknamed a ‘gentle giant’ for nothing: the world’s biggest fish can reach up to 40 metres in length, and despite sporting gargantuan jaws (their mouths often measure 1.5 metres wide), are content to feed on tiny ocean-dwellers like plankton and krill. The World Conservation Union has whale sharks down as ‘vulnerable’. And, when you consider the only known predator of adult whale sharks is humans, our growing involvement with the species – swimming alongside these spotted mammoths is now a booming business, scrawled on most travellers’ bucket lists – gets a bit iffy. Human interest in whale sharks has soared over the past 20 years, fuelling tourism in hotspots such as Australia’s

AMOUNT A 10,000KG WHALE SHARK SELLS FOR IN TAIWAN

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The surge of human interest in whale sharks has been to their detriment, with massive tour operations posing a threat. But swimming with these creatures can also be to their benefit...

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Experiences

3M

WHALE SHARK

WHERE TO GO

DISTANCE A SWIMMER SHOULD KEEP FROM A WHALE SHARK

You can swim with whale sharks in the warm waters of Cancun on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, or travel to the South Ari Atoll in the Maldives to experience a weekly snorkelling trip run by the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, in conjunction with the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort (bonus: the hotel has a Cheese Bar with 101 varieties). The Travel Foundation guidelines ensure tours are conducted responsibly, and help educate local fishermen on their biology and ecology. A six-night stay at Conrad Maldives Rangali including flights starts from £2,140pp. For more info, go to virginholidays.com

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CELEBRITY CRUISES HAS EVERYTHING YOU COULD WANT FROM A LUXURY BREAK, ALL ROLLED INTO ONE 60

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CREATU COMFO 62


Experiences

Duncan Madden switches London’s urban jungle for the Manu National Park in Peru, getting up close and personal with rainforest wildlife and learning how to preserve its fragile beauty for future generations

Photograph by ###

URE ORTS

PERU

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t’s about practising a tourism that’s sustainable and educational as well as fun and exciting,” my guide Ronnie, barely audible over the incessant hum of a million mosquitoes, says. I nod in silent agreement, wondering exactly what that means. We’re standing in the thick of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, deep in eastern Peru, straining to peer through murky light to the canopy overhead and the pack of brown titi monkeys resting contentedly there. The question of sustainable tourism has been playing on my mind ever since I landed in Cusco and met up with Quinn Meyer, the charismatic founder of the not-for-profit Crees Foundation. A Brit who decamped from New York in 2003 and now divides his time between the urban and tropical jungles of London and Manu, Quinn set up Crees to conduct research into rainforest ecology and help local communities practise sustainable agriculture. It’s a worthy ambition, and one Quinn discusses with subtle but convincing urgency. He talks of the devastating slash and burn agriculture spreading through Peru like a plague, leaving unmanageable, barren soil in its wake. He speaks of the students, volunteers, researchers and scientists from around the world who have gathered to work and live in the Crees camp deep in the Manu Biosphere Reserve – a ramshackle global family with a single collective goal – and of his ambition to spread the message to the world as educator and guardian of his little slice of paradise. That paradise, the Manu Rainforest, is Peru’s largest national park. It’s a vast, diverse and abundant ecosystem that stretches 15,328km2 from the chilly heights of the Andean foothills to the steamy depths of the Amazon jungle. Exploring Manu is the purpose of my visit to Peru – but for now, my current surroundings are holding my attention as I stroll cobbled streets in the ancient Andean capital of Cusco. It’s raining hard. Drains have turned to fountains and streets to rivers, hampering our exploration of the extraordinary Incan ruins that were revealed by an earthquake in 1950. We take shelter in the cathedral and watch locals Cusco was once busying themselves the capital of the with preparations for Inca empire. Its a festival – women indigenous name is Qusqu, from the in rainbow colours phrase qusqu wanka with layers of pollera (no laughing at the skirts and bright back), meaning ‘rock of the owl’. llicllas, the woven

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Experiences

ABOVE: The Andean national bird cock-ofthe-rock, no doubt preparing for a ‘lek’ – to entice the less colourful brown females

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WE SEARCH FOR MONKEYS, ANTEATERS, DEADLY SNAKES AND THE RUMOUR OF A JAGUAR soon we pull up safe and dry(ish) to an almost unnoticeable gap in the dense river bush at the Manu Learning Centre. A cluster of beautiful open-air thatched huts set in a small clearing on the edge of prime regenerative forest, the learning centre is the jewel in the Crees Foundation crown and the hub of its scientific research. After lunch, we tour the bio garden and then venture deeper into the jungle in search of monkeys, giant anteaters, deadly fer-delance snakes and the rumour of a jaguar. We stumble upon Crees volunteers rigging camera traps high in the trees and erecting safe bird nets, and huddle with some new arrivals in a viewing cabin over a wetland as the heavens open once more.

Photograph (top left) by Bertie Gregory

cloth shawls about their shoulders that often conceal a sleeping toddler on their backs. Bowler hat monteras sit on top of every head in a riot of jaunty angles. Morning dawns grey and wet as we start the day-long drive to our first port of call, the wonderfully named Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge high in the cloudforests of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. We chug along the winding roads of the Sacred Valley, through ravines wet with rain that has run off from the surrounding mountains and over a 4,100m pass where we find ancient wall paintings and a lone farmer tilling the land. The final ascent along the Kosnipata Road to the cloudforest entrance is steep and perilous, but rewards us with incomparable views from the summit over a dense jungle that stretches to the horizon. Quinn picks out the tiniest trail in the distance, and soon we’re trundling along it. The Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge takes its name from Peru’s national bird. And after a comfy night in my own private cabin (a luxury I definitely wasn’t expecting), we’re up in the dawn murk to see whether we can catch a glimpse of these bizarre and ethereal creatures. Our destination is a ramshackle treehouse a 30-minute tramp away where, if we’re lucky, we’ll see the lek – a collection of males engaging in competitive displays with the aim of enticing visiting females. Before the sun rises and the predators wake, a dozen male cock-of-the-rocks are putting on a show on dripping branches amid a tangled mass of ferns. Fire red, with bulbous heads and piercing white eyes, they hop madly from branch to branch as a troupe of brown females watch, aloof, deciding which has earned their courtship. As morning dawns, the show comes to a close. Birds pair off and the lek is over for

another day. We drift back to camp, our first chance to properly investigate the strange and abundant environment around us. Manu’s diversity is almost unparalleled. More than 1,000 bird species call it home (twice as many as the whole of Europe) – blurs of colour flitting between branches too fast for my eyes to see. I walk with Andy, a likeable northerner who heads the Crees Foundation’s research and conservation activities while undertaking his PhD. Mesmerised by tropical rainforests since a trip to Tanzania seven years ago, he lived in the depths of Ecuador before Manu, and his knowledge of the jungle around us is profound. He identifies birds from their calls – highland motmots, silver-beaked tanagers, many-spotted hummingbirds – describes different bromeliads, points out alienlooking insects and sparks an interest in the intricacies of nature I never knew I had. We pile back into the minibus for our descent through the famous cocaine town of Patria, where the roads are lined with mounds of cocoa leaves left in the sun to dry, to the rickety dock at Atalya on the banks of the Madre de Dios River. Swollen and raging from the recent deluges, the Madre bounces our riverboat downstream in a rollercoaster ride as we dodge trees and other debris. We pass a series of lodges that have crashed into the river as the ground below them gave way, with residents Peru’s cocaine scrabbling to save heritage runs what they can before deep – it’s the it’s lost to the angry biggest producer of the narcotic in the brown depths. Yelsin world. It is thought and Willy, our sibling sales of Peruvian pilots, show deft cocaine amount to around £12.8bn. touch though, and

PERU


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Experiences

PERU

ABOVE: Manu’s intoxicating mixture of wetland and dense rainforest provides a home for more than 1,000 species of bird

SLEEP COMES SURPRISINGLY EASILY, ALTHOUGH I DREAM OF EYES BLINKING IN THE DARK

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to toast the jungle with bottomless pisco sours, Ronnie bursts in to tell us, excitedly, that Vanessa has come to say hello. I wander out expecting to meet another member of the Crees Foundation, only to be confronted by a large tapir. Revelling in the attention, Vanessa gobbles the fruit that we offer her, happy to let us rub her nose and pat her meaty and scarred haunches. “She was raised here as an orphan and lives wild in the area but comes back for treats from time to time,” Ronnie explains. Over a final pisco sour, my mind wanders back to Ronnie’s dictum of sustainable and educative tourism, and I begin to understand what he means. For Ronnie, born locally in Puerto Maldonado, guiding us through the rainforests is about letting the jungle magic rub off on his guests, opening our eyes to its precarious future. We’re aliens in this astonishing environment, but we’re still somehow in control of its future. It’s a powerful persuader. At the airport, I wait to say goodbye to Quinn, Andy and Ronnie, and find that I am in awe at these three guys from different worlds, who are so dedicated to the mission of making a difference in their chosen corner of the world. I realise it isn’t only the jungle that has left its mark on me, but also these jungle ambassadors, these self-appointed guardians. With the Crees Foundation watching over it, the Manu Biosphere Reserve has a fighting chance – and, in me, it has an ardent new supporter. But it could always use more. e Exodus has a 12-day Amazon Wildlife Discovery trip supporting the Crees Foundation in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, including return flights from London, most meals, a professional local guide, and stays at The Cock-of-theRock lodge, Manu Learning Centre, Romero Rainforest Lodge and Manu Wildlife Centre from £3,299pp. exodus.co.uk

Photograph by Tom Mason

That night, Andy describes Crees’ primary research purpose – to establish the value of conserving regenerative secondary forest rather than focusing on older primary forest. “Old research that hasn’t been properly quantified describes secondary forest as supporting only 30% of wildlife species in Manu, but Crees’ research shows it’s closer to 90%,” he explains. As he talks, another researcher unveils some catches from around the camp in large boxes. A huge, angry emerald tree boa snaps at us, while Andy demonstrates what a snake bite looks like by letting another harmless specimen clamp down on his forearm. Later, in the ink black night and to the sound of a deafening frog chorus, we don wellies and head back into the saturated jungle. Torches pick out deadly caterpillars, orb spiders, a moustached jungle frog that oozes toxic white foam and, back at

the wetland, the silvery eyes of a smoothfronted cayman as it drifts silently across the waters. Sleep comes surprisingly easily that night, although I dream of eyes blinking in the dark. The morning sees us back on the river, heading to our deepest jungle point – the pristine forests around the Romero Lodge on a tributary of the Madre de Dios. The river ride is long, but we’re kept entertained by the spectacular wildlife shows all around. Blue, gold, red and green macaws flap and screech overhead, snowy egrets fish in the shallows, and we keep a watchful eye for a glimpse of that elusive jaguar. Quinn teaches us how to chew cocoa leaves, and we stop for a dip in a natural thermal pool with numb tongues. Explorations here take us even further into Manu’s tangled depths, and we’re greeted with families of spider monkeys swinging through towering ironwoods, responding to Andy’s calls with their own throaty roars, making them sound something like chainsaws in the distance. Our last day brings us out of the depths to Manu Wildlife Centre, a sprawling jungle bound complex of cabins that’s as close to civilisation as we’ve seen since Cusco. We take a silent float over a nearby oxbow lake in search of giant river otters but instead spy a three-toed sloth hanging lazily from a cecropia as prehistoric hoatzins lumber comically from branch to branch, their strange dimensions making flight seem impossible until, finally, they rise ponderously from The hoatzin is their perches. also known as the Manu has one stinkbird, because of last treat in store its odd manure-like odour. It’s thanks to for us that night. As its unusual digestion we’re gathered in system, which is the candlelight at very similar to that of cattle. the Wildlife Centre


Who would have thought that a tiny Croatian island would be home to a cricket club with 200-yearold roots? Cricket WAG Laura Millar finds a secret sanctuary of jolly good games, staggering scenery and sociable taverns

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Experiences

H

owZAT?! comes the cry from the cricket pitch near the little village of Plisko Polje, where a disgruntled fielder now urges the umpire to reconsider his decision not to give ‘out’ to the batsman. It’s a scene played out on cricket pitches the world over, whether televised for millions of viewers or, in this instance, an audience of the rest of the batting team, one player’s mum, a small dog, and me. Under the scorching September sun, balls are bowled and batted vigorously, often getting lost among the vines at one end of the pitch, which are bursting with bunches of deep purple grapes. In fact, the whole pitch used to be a vineyard until the space was cleared for cricket five years ago. (The non-cricket minded among us may well find that a travesty.) This is cricket Croatia-style – or, to be more accurate, Vis-style. Vis, a tiny island, is a two-hour ferry journey south from Split. Its relationship with cricket began more than 200 years ago, thanks to an Englishman who was posted here in 1809 to guard the island against attack from the French on behalf of Lord Nelson. That man, celebrated sea captain Sir William Hoste, did what any occasionally bored civil servant would do – he encouraged his sailors to take up their favourite sport to pass the time between naval skirmishes. In a letter home to his mother during the Napoleonic Wars, he wrote: “We have established a cricket club, and when we anchor for a few hours it passes away the time quite wonderfully.” But that still doesn’t explain what I was doing cheering on a London-based team called The Journeymen as they competed in a two-day tournament against a bevy of enthusiastic locals. Well, the truth is that I am a cricket WAG: girlfriend to a man who is mad about the game, and whose own playing season had come to an abrupt end when he broke a finger while wicketkeeping. Wonderful girlfriend that I am, when I heard about the tournament taking place in Vis, I suggested it as a way in which my other half – whose finger had by

CROATIA

THE CROWD CONSISTS OF A PLAYER’S MUM, ONE SMALL DOG, AND ME now healed, but whose team had finished their fixtures – could have one last match. The fact this would necessitate a trip to an idyllic island had little bearing on my selfless suggestion. Vis is almost unbearably scenic. Fewer than 3,500 people live here, divided between the ports of Vis Town, on the north-east of the island, and Komiza, to the southwest. You can drive around it in a few hours – something I highly recommend, as the views of the coast from the top of its highest peak, Mount Hum, are staggering and its rugged, mountainous terrain contrasts prettily with the cobbled streets of the ports. Kut, the oldest part of Vis Town, is worth a picturesque wander and is home to Pojoda, one of the best and most characterful seafood restaurants I’ve ever been to; I particularly enjoyed being genially introduced to my fish before it was cooked. The island is very popular with the nautical set. Every summer, both harbours are thronged with yachts, some registered as far away as St Kitts, which dock here between visits to nearby Hvar and Brac. People flock to spend a few days enjoying the local food and wine and partying nights away at one of the many taverns and bars (try the buzzy Bejbis, near the ferry docks), which spring to

Photograph Photograph by Stipeby Surac ### /Solomango/4Corners

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Experiences

OTHER UNLIKELY CRICKET TEAMS… > Last October, the Vatican launched St Peter’s Cricket Club as part of an initiative to bring different faiths together. It’s rumoured that the Pope is a fan of the game… > A group of Maasai warriors from the Laikipia region of Kenya formed a team to empower youngsters, who play in Maasai attire. > Two teams of explorers got together at the South Pole in January 2012 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Captain Scott’s arrival there. They celebrated by playing what they described as ‘extreme cricket’ on the ice.

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farewell dinner shared by visiting and local players take place at Oliver’s tavern, Konoba Roki. A Dalmatian specialty is to cook fish and meat in a peka, an iron dish covered in a dome and hot coals, and this is what we’re treated to at the end of a sunny, successful weekend Peka, a blend of (the Journeymen win meat or fish and vegetables, is cooked both games and my slowly under a bloke makes several bell-like dome known runs). Delicious local as an ispod čripnje. red wine flows, and It is traditional for each team presents it to be cooked in family fireplaces. the other with a souvenir. It’s all jolly well good fun for the chaps. “We Croatians take sport very seriously,” says Oliver. “We have to fight and win. But cricket is something very different: it is a very social game. We meet new people, we eat together, we exchange stories – what more could you ask for?” Well, anything else just wouldn’t be cricket… e

GETTING THERE Return flights to Split with Croatia Airlines start from around £155. For more information, visit croatiaairlines.com. For more details on The Sir William Hoste Cricket Club, see viscricket.com. A double room at the Tamaris Hotel in Vis Town costs from around £60 per night – see hotelsvis.com

Photograph by Stipe Surac/Solomango/4Corners

WE TAKE SPORT VERY SERIOUSLY, BUT CRICKET IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT: A SOCIAL GAME

rowdy life between April and October. The owner of one such tavern is Oliver Roki, a tanned, grizzled fortysomething who is singlehandedly responsible for resurrecting Sir William Hoste’s favourite game here. “I discovered cricket through my father,” he tells me over lunch. His Visborn dad lived in Australia for 15 years, and passed on his love for the game to his son. Cricket disappeared from Croatia after Sir William and his men were posted back to Britain, but Oliver was inspired to resurrect the local team after finding a reference to it in a book called Remember Nelson: The Life of Sir William Hoste. “I thought – why not start a club?” he says between mouthfuls of thick, meaty dumplings. “I knew it would be a challenge because the game isn’t known here – and I’d personally never actually played, either.” So he sourced some equipment, asked a professional coach to come over from the UK and set about inspiring some sporting spirit in as many of his fellow islanders as he could. Then a team of expat Brits in France got in touch and came over for what was the island’s first tournament in over two centuries. News of the club spread and now several regulars get together to play visiting teams like The Journeymen between 10 and 12 times a year. The Sir William Hoste Cricket Club is captained by a tall, lean Lancastrian called Craig Wear, who came to Vis with his wife 10 years ago and bought a house for use in the summer. But after it became “too hard to keep leaving”, the Wears stayed and set up a tourism business. Hearing about the club, and having played as a youth, Craig was keen to get involved. “I soon realised I’d played more cricket than everyone else on the team,” he laughs – and he didn’t take much persuading to become their skipper. Lunches between matches and the

CROATIA


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WELCOME TO foodism A TRIP THROUGH THE LATEST GLOBAL EATING TRENDS AND DESTINATIONS. IT’S THE WORLD ON A PLATE

78 FOOD AND CYCLING IN THE WESTERN CAPE 84 REVIEWS 85 FEAST FESTIVAL 86 FLAVOURED VODKA


Looking for a good excuse to feast on Franschhoek grub? The next Cape Rouleur event is on 1-5 March 2015.

Photograph by Gary Perkin

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foodism

WORKING UP AN APPETITE Where better to restore your energy following a gruelling bike ride around the Western Cape than South Africa's foodie heartland, Franschhoek? Susannah Osborne tucks in

Stage 2 of the Cape Rouleur, a return trip to Franschhoek, is 148km and climbs 1,939m.

Photograph by ###

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foodism

H

aving a Mexican standoff with a baboon isn’t how I roll on cycle rides back in leafy Surrey. But on the Franschhoek Pass, in South Africa’s Western Cape, it’s just the way things are – and I’m not entirely sure how to play the situation. I lack confidence in my ability to negotiate a way through to the other side with only the dregs of a bottle of energy drink to offer as a bribe. But I need to get down this mountain because, after 148km of biking this stage of the gruelling Cape Rouleur cycling event, I need food. Franschhoek, a small, picture-postcard town with a fizzing reputation as the culinary capital of South Africa, is at the bottom of the mountain. In the Berg River valley, guarded by the commanding Franschhoek peaks, it’s a gem of a place where fertile soils meet a gorgeously warm Mediterranean climate, and where the atmosphere is ‘relaxed northern California meets cheery southern France’. Herds of elephants once roamed the valley, which was originally known as Olifantshoek (Elephants’ corner), but the town, originally settled in the late 1680s by French Huguenot refugees, is now a cocoon of gardens and Dutch Cape architecture. A quick ride out towards vast farms,

WINNING FORM lqf.co.za

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BY THE BOOKING franschhoek.org.za

where the vines are laden with grapes and the trees are heavy with fruit, offers a further glimpse into the heritage of this place. La Cotte, Cabrière, Provence, Chamonix, La Dauphine – the names of the estates show that, despite being one of South Africa’s oldest towns, the extensive viticulture that exists here has its roots firmly in France. This is the Francophone corner of the Western Cape, and alongside its successful wine industry there is a unique foodie culture – there are 36 restaurants and four five-star South African chefs in a town of 15,000 people. Armed with that sort of information, and after seven hours on a bike, I’m starving. Thankfully, minutes after I eventually roll along Huguenot Street (the baboon’s skulking somewhere back up the mountain), I’m engaged in a love affair with thick-cut French toast, bacon and maple syrup (R40) at Essence Café (Shop 7, Huguenot Square; +27 21 876 4135) on the main drag, where a surprising number of customers are wearing Lycra and tucking into grilled banana pancakes in caramel sauce (R39). Along with its culinary credentials, Franschhoek is fast developing a reputation as a base for road cyclists exploring the routes around the Western Cape. My day had started at the foot of the Franschhoek Pass, where the 7km-long, 7% climb was a nasty shock after a relaxed, filling breakfast of fresh strawberries and rough, sweet, homemade granola. From the summit of the pass, the cycle route sweeps down past the vast Theewaterskloof Dam and edges along a disparate jigsaw of geographical landscapes – craggy peaks reminiscent of the Lake District (only bathed in

When the weekend arrives, Cape Town’s urbanites make a beeline for Franschhoek, which is one of the country’s most desirable rural outposts – and that means dining out here isn’t as straightforward as rocking up to a restaurant and finding an empty table. You have to book – take note. But as night falls, the chefs in this part of the world start to get heated up and there's a buzz about town.

SALAD DAYS colcacchio.co.za

The pizzas and salads at Col’ Cacchio, which admittedly is a chain restaurant, are cheap and really rather yum – and if you’re treating your body like a temple, the Sorriso salad of quinoa, sunflower seeds, baby spinach, roasted butternut and mint (R60) comes with a side serving of smugness.

sunshine rather than mist and rain), pineforested hills that belong in deepest British Columbia and fertile agricultural plains that could sit easily in California’s salad bowl. The Viljoens Pass, a stretch of beautiful tarmac first laid in the 1800s, winds its way up from fruit orchards and into the Groenland Mountains. Below the pass, the views stretch into Apple Valley – Sir Antonie Viljoen kick-started the area’s apple industry here in 1902 – but at the peak, in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, the hills are thick with fynbos, the fine shrubland vegetation of this belt of the Western Cape. After nearly 70km, the issue of food >>

Photograph by Gary Perkin; Getty Carla McMahon

At the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, which has won plaudits including being named Best Restaurant in Africa and getting listed in the San Pellegrino World's Best Restaurants Awards on eight occasions, Margot Janse uses native plants and local produce to conjure up Africaninspired cuisine (R850 for eight courses). Café des Arts, which is tucked away at the bottom of Huguenot Street (cafedesarts. co.za) is a cool, relaxed kind of place where the menu changes daily. Feast on delights including pork belly with super-crispy crackling in the restful, lantern-lit garden.

The Cape Rouleur event winds 600km through the Western Cape


Rosewood London 252 High Holborn London WC1V 7EN info@holborndiningroom.com T. 020 3747 8633 holborndiningroom.com


foodism

>> rears its head again. As a cyclist, slowly burning calories for many hours a day creates a hunger that gnaws at your insides and makes you, well, just a little bit mad. To keep turning the pedals when you’re hungry requires deep concentration and a stalwart sense of humour which, when your next food is 40km away, can disappear fast. Luckily, then, it’s not only Franschhoek where you can get great roadside grub. A network of farm stalls and eateries serves the ever-increasing number of cyclists who roll along these roads. On the main N2 from Cape Town east to Port Elizabeth, there are pitstops aplenty, bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables and home-baked produce. At Houw Hoek Farm Stall (houwhoekfarmstall.co.za) guests revitalise, refresh and regroup with a pie – steaming bundles of chicken and mushroom, steak and pepper (R20), or venison (R21) wrapped in hot, flaky, crumbling pastry. It’s certainly not the food of athletes – especially when it’s followed by a slab of dark, rich brownie laced with thumb-sized chunks of chocolate (R10) – but the feast contains enough calories to replace every joule of energy already expended. And considering that the pedal home is another 77km in the afternoon sun (which, after all that food, feels more like 200km), I need every last bit of that energy injection. Sweeping along the long, smooth Hellshoogte Road descent to Stellenbosch,

my speed knocking on 45mph, a fierce headwind rages, battering my bike. But down in the City of Oaks – its founder Simon van der Stel planted oaks to grace the streets and provide an antidote to the elements – I find a tranquil, al fresco café society. Under the shade of the trees, we sip coffee at Fabio’s gelateria (fabiosgelato.com) on the corner of Andringa and Church Street. Fabio’s makes revered homemade ice cream, and the vast queue of people waiting to be served a massive cone of Tiramisu Gelato (R50) is an affirmation that this one really needs to be sampled. After four food-filled days of cycling the Western Cape, my legs are in shape but my belly feels like I’ve been bingeing at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I’ve made a dent in the foodie offerings available – but with so many places left to try, I can safely say I’ll be wheeling my way back again. f

BA (ba.com) operates twice daily flights from London Heathrow to Cape Town, with return fares starting from £959. The Protea Hotel, Franschhoek (proteahotels.com) offers doubles from £141 (R2,470) for bed and breakfast, based on two sharing. For more information on Franschhoek, visit franschhoek. org.za, and for information on South Africa and the Western Cape go to southafrica.net.

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Wine is the tipple of choice in Franschhoek, where pinot grapes thrive

A fertile valley Wine is, naturally, the drink of choice in Franschhoek (which, for cyclists, admittedly isn’t the best way to hydrate). A spin out to the university town of Stellenbosch would have been a lot easier if more moderate quantities of rich, red Chocolate Block, made on Franschhoek's Boekenhoutskloof estate (boekenhoutskloof.co.za), had been consumed over dinner the night before. The party next to ours had been indulging in another local wine – a pinot noir from the Chamonix estate (chamonix.co.za). Pinot likes the cooler mountain air in Franschhoek and, thanks to the weak state of the rand, a rather lovely bottle of award-winning 2012 pinot noir will set you back a mere £14 or so (R250). Bargain. Said group evidently thought so too, and happily ordered at least a dozen bottles. More expensive wines are also available…

Photograph by Getty/Joy Skipper; Hoberman Collection; Photograph Joost Rooijmans by ###

GETTING THERE

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Kurobuta’s barbecued pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy

KUROBUTA

Blackfoot occupies the site of the recently closed Clarks in the foodie stronghold that is Exmouth Market. Just as its predecessor blazed a trail in green liquor and jellied eels, Blackfoot is trumpeting pork – in a big, fat way, starting with its weekend piggy brunches. We tried the simple sobrasada soldiers and eggs (£6.50), the classic brunch dish with a twist of lardo, and the blow-out, pig lovin’ breakfast (£10.50), essentially an epic porcine hit with added eggs: think thick slices of bacon, black pudding, sausage and whipped lardo on toast, washed down with a Bloody Mary. You weren’t really thinking about a light brekkie, were you? – Cathy Adams

17 Kendal Street, W2 2AW; kurobuta-london.com

Pop-up, then restaurant, more restaurants, empire – it’s becoming a tried and tested formula for talented young chefs, and Scott Hallsworth, who has opened Kurobuta’s second location in Marble Arch, has the first three of those steps down to a tee. Armed with a formidable lineup of cocktails, sake and sharing plates (and a buzzy atmosphere), Kurobuta is already one of the most exciting Japanese restaurants in London. We tried far too much to list, but the tuna sashimi pizza, drenched in sweet truffle ponzu (£9.50), unctuous tea-smoked lamb (£15.50), and the restaurant’s signature miso grilled aubergine (£8) – one of the finest vegetarian dishes we’ve ever tried – were particular highlights. The empire surely awaits… – Mike Gibson

Blackfoot’s simple, delicious sobrasada soldiers and eggs

HUTONG hutong.co.uk

When it comes to being lazy, you have to pick your moments. Sleeping at work, for example, isn’t ideal. But tiny parcels of food that you barely have to chew, let alone cut? That’s something I can get on board with, and the lunchtime-only dim sum menu at Hutong makes an art form of the lazy lunch. Each dish is a finely judged balance of flavour and texture

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Photograph by (Korobuta) Paul Clarke Photography

Hutong, The Shard, SE1 9RY;

– the crystal crab dumplings (£6.80) are sweet, intense translucent blobs, while the vegetable and bamboo pith dumplings (£6.50) are more delicate than the name suggests. The Wagyu beef puffs’ (£8) buttery outer gives way to a sweet, creamy filling – so good that I’d happily have it made into a full-sized pie. Then again, that would require complex coordination of cutlery, food and mouth. And that’s a bit too much like hard work. – Jon Hawkins


foodism foodism

WEAPONS OF CHOICE NICE BIRD Alessi parrot corkscrew, £36

FEAST FOR YOUR EYES This weekend’s Feast festival brings together London’s most exciting restaurants and food vendors. Here’s three you’d be a fool to miss…

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he street food revolution means big business – and with new markets popping up around London on a near daily basis, it’s tough to choose the best. Luckily, we’ve done it for you. Street food mecca Feast returns this year with some of London’s top restaurants and vendors, and we pick three of the best.

2 FOR 1 TICKETS

Union Street Café Swing by the stand from Union Street Café, Gordon Ramsay’s Mediterranean restaurant, for simple Italian dishes with a modern twist. Fresh meat, fish and pasta are the order of the day.

Hutong Usually on level 33 of the Shard, Hutong returns to terra firma here, serving up the fiery cuisine of northern China. Expect spicy broths and fresh seafood.

Anna Mae’s Mac N Cheese Feast is held at Tobacco Dock from 31 July to 3 August. Get two for one tickets by quoting ‘Foodism’ at the checkout. wefeast.co.uk

Expect lots of cheese (and cheesy humour) at Anna Mae’s stand. The much-loved pasta dish gets a modern Southern twist, with some dishes topped with pulled pork, beef hot dog or crispy bacon and pesto. f

It’s not strictly necessary that your corkscrew looks like a parrot, but it sure helps. Unfortunately, it only opens wine and beer bottles and doesn’t respond when you shout “pieces of eight” at it. johnlewis.com

STIR HAPPY Lakeland stainless steel cocktail stirrers, £7.99 Shame on you if you’ve only ever stirred your cocktail (or wine, or beer…) with a straw. Switch immediately to these sleek cocktail stirrers. Functional AND decorative – stay classy, cocktail makers. lakeland.com

SHAKEN UP John Lewis cocktail shaker, £25 Do your cocktails the justice they deserve with this elegant stainless steel cocktail shaker from John Lewis. It’s part of the ‘half hammered’ range, which actually refers to the crenelated bottom half, not to the state you’ll be in after mixing several (strong) drinks. johnlewis.com

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Ja M i E O l i v E r & A l E x J a M Es p r E s E N t. . .

Big thanks

29-31 AUGUST ALEX JAMES’ FARM, THE COTSWOLDS

Fatboy Slim Jamie Cullum Kelis de la Soul Laura Mvula

NORMAN JAY MBE STORNOWAY CUBAN BROTHERS JACK SAVORETTI KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS LEE THOMPSON SKA ORCHESTRA MOLOTOV JUKEBOX DUKE GUILTY PLEASURES ft BJÖRN AGAIN & FLEETWOOD BAC

A F E E L- G O O D F EST I VA L O F FO O D & M US I C FO R A L L T H E FAM I LY JAMIE OLIVER GENNARO CONTALDO MONICA GALETTI NATHAN OUTLAW GIZZI ERSKINE ASHLEY PALMER-WATTS MARTIN MORALES MARK HIX RACHEL KHOO LEVI ROOTS NATALIE COLEMAN DJ BBQ & MANY MORE!

Family

ALSO FEATURING

FUN

THE BEST OF BRITISH STREET FOOD, ARTISAN PRODUCERS, BOUTIQUE FOOD AND DRINK MARKETS

CBEEBIES SUPERSTARS JUSTIN FLETCHER AND MR BLOOM ADAM HENSON’S COTSWOLD FARM PARK LITTLE DUDES DEN BIG TOP THE BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE ROALD DAHL MUSEUM & MUCH MORE!

TA K E T H E T RA I N TO K I NG H AM – J UST 3 M I N U T ES ’ WA L K TO T H E F EST I VA L S I T E

THEBIGFEASTIVAL.COM TICKET HOTLINE 0844 995 9673 IN SUPPORT OF: Registered charity number 1094536.


foodism WIN VODKA You can win all four of these vodkas – enter at foodism.co.uk/ competition/flavouredvodka. T&Cs apply.

SQUARE ONE BASIL

Who says you can only add basil to your food? American brand Square One believes the herb has an equally big role to play in cocktail creativity, and the result is a spirit infused with four varieties. £32.25; squareoneorganic spirits.com

CHASE RHUBARB VODKA

Rhubarb, they say, is an acquired taste – and what better way to acquire it than through this fusion of Chase Original vodka and the finest Herefordshire rhubarb? £34.35; chasedistillery.co.uk

CIROC PEACH

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BELVEDERE BLOODY MARY

Here’s an idea that’s easy to like – all the flavours of a Bloody Mary in one bottle. This vodka is packed with tomatoes, peppers, vinegar, lemon, and horseradish. A tempting combination of punchy and smooth. £34.35; belvederevodka.com

BEARING FRUIT

When is a vodka not merely a vodka? When it’s one of these four flavoured favourites

Photograph Photograph by David Harrison by ###

For this super-premium taste of summer, Ciroc reaches for peaches to produce a five-times distilled delight, a blend of its Ultra-Premium vodka and natural peach flavours. Add a little dash of sparkling wine – and voila, the perfect peach bellini. £34.95; ciroc.com


Holiday of the month

Discover Michelin-starred food, beautiful beaches and rugged clifftops on a trip to Jersey. Explore the island from just £99pp for a two-night break with British Airways

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arm weather, beautiful beaches, excellent food and a unique combination of English and French influences – welcome to Jersey, over 100 miles from mainland Britain and just 14 miles from France in the Bay of St Malo. Jersey packs a mighty punch when it comes to things to do – despite being only nine miles long and five miles wide – and is fit to bursting with glorious beaches, castles, topclass restaurants and spas, alongside plenty of greenery, making it an ideal destination for both adults and families. There’s a full events and festival calendar throughout the year too, with highlights this autumn including the Jersey Air Display, the UBS Jersey Regatta, Tennerfest and the autumn walking week. Thanks to its proximity to the French mainland, Jersey boasts a special combination of both English and continental influences, with the best bits of Britain and France rolled into one – it’s not unusual to find traditional ice creams (made using cream from the famous Jersey cows) and bowls of moules frites sat side by side on a menu.

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JERSEY PACKS A MIGHTY PUNCH WHEN IT COMES TO THINGS TO DO, AND IS FIT TO BURSTING WITH GLORIOUS BEACHES, CASTLES, RESTAURANTS, SPAS AND LOTS OF GREENERY

Indeed, the Channel island – officially the warmest place in the British Isles – makes quite an impression with its world-class restaurant scene; not hard when the island has rich milk and fresh seafood in abundance. Whether it’s grabbing a tasty bite to eat at a beachfront cafe or a Michelin-starred fine dining experience, the island caters comfortably to every palate. And this autumn, you can enjoy Jersey’s excellent food at Tennerfest, where over 180 top-notch restaurants offer menus at set prices. But it’s not just a strong gastronomic heritage that Jersey is known for. The island boasts a wide variety of terrain, including rugged cliff tops and picturesque harbours, making it an ideal spot for either laid-back walking or watersports such as sea kayaking and blokarting. Not forgetting its 27 stunning beaches, though, with the favourite found at St Brelade’s Bay in the south-west corner of the island. It’s under an hour’s flight from London, and there are up to six flights a day. With great deals available from British Airways, you could be enjoying Jersey’s beauty and Michelin-starred food sooner than you think… ◆


Promotion

BRITISH AIRWAYS

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: St Aubin’s harbour is stunning throughout the day, but looks magical at night; come for a mix of blue sea and green hills; the ecréhous is just one visitor attraction; eating out is what Jersey does spectacularly; kayaking in St Brelade’s Bay

The Deal 1. Two-night breaks from £99pp, including return British Airways flights from London Gatwick to Jersey and accommodation at the 3* Revere hotel including breakfast. 2. Two-night breaks from £175pp, including return British Airways flights from London Gatwick to Jersey and accommodation at the 5* Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa. To book, visit ba.com/jersey

Valid for selected travel between (1) 1 Nov 14 28 Feb 15 and (2) between 1 - 31 Oct 2014. Terms and

conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited.

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HOMES WITH HEART Enter our competition to win £500 to spend on your ideal holiday home with Airbnb, and find out why it’s becoming the only way to stay abroad

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here aren’t many things better than staying in some of the world’s most innovative, inventive and outright incredible holiday homes, but we think we just might have found one: staying in them for free. The Airbnb revolution is now in full swing, having gathered together over 600,000 of the most diverse lodgings on the planet, from treehouses in the middle of forests to seashell houses in Spain. If you can picture a weird and wonderful place to stay, Airbnb can make it a reality. We’re giving away £500 in Airbnb vouchers to one lucky reader, so you can find somewhere that ticks all of your boxes. All that’s left is to book, fly, arrive and enjoy. It couldn’t be simpler to choose a place that fits perfectly with your individual taste. Just browse airbnb.co.uk/views, find the perfect holiday accommodation, and book direct through the website. There’s also airbnb.co.uk/wishlists – where users group their favourite accommodation by a common theme, in case you’re in need of some inspiration. It’s not only out-there accommodation that Airbnb specialises in, either; if you’re after a more standard place, or you’re looking for a different view of a popular city, it’s got you covered, too. What’s always evident, though, is the creativity of the host, whether it’s designing a 21st century masterpiece of a home or just adding personal touches to make you feel welcome.

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In addition to inside the home, your host is also on hand to give the kind of insider tips that a tour guide wouldn’t be able to. You’ll discover hidden gems around the neighbourhood and get recommendations that you know you can trust. If you’re still not sure about where you’re going this summer, have a look at some of Airbnb’s properties online. And if you like what you see (hint: you will), enter our competition and get yourself in the running to win £500 to spend on accommodation. Your dream holiday home is waiting to be discovered – you just have to look for it. For more information, go to airbnb.co.uk/views.

HOW TO WIN You can win £500 worth of Airbnb vouchers to spend on a holiday home booking anywhere in the world. To enter, all you have to do it answer this one question: how many properties does Airbnb list? To enter, simply visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/airbnb-vouchers. For more details, as well as a full list of terms and conditions, see the website.


COMPETITION

Photograph by ###

PICTURE A WEIRD AND WONDERFUL PLACE TO STAY – AIRBNB CAN MAKE IT A REALITY 91


WHY GO ANWHERE ELSE? CORNWALL’S FAVOURITE FAMILY DESTINATION • OVER 80 HOTEL ROOMS TO CHOOSE FROM • 70 UNIQUE SELF-CATERING PROPERTIES • 72 ACRE ESTATE WITH BREATHTAKING SEA VIEWS • A PERFECT VENUE FOR FAMILIES, WEDDINGS & BUSINESS EVENTS

@lovetregenna

FOR RESERVATIONS PLEASE CONTACT 01736 795254 www.tregenna-castle.co.uk

❖ To advertise in this section please call Chloe on 020 7819 9999


INTRODUCING AMAZING VENUES. The antidote to boring experiences.

We are famous for organising breath-taking weddings, events and of course…our legendary staycations. We like to go the extra mile to make your dreams become a reality and we do everything with a certain “je ne sais quoi”. Come and celebrate that milestone birthday or anniversary at one of our Island Fortresses or dance your heart away in a Scottish Highland Castle. AmaZing Venues enjoy nothing more than organising a party for family and friends. So, if you are looking for somewhere Suitably Different and Special, well you’ve found us…

We are AmaZing Venues.

AmaZingVenues.co.uk

0330 333 7 222


Lugenda - Escapism Ad.pdf

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â?– To advertise in this section please call Chloe on 020 7819 9999


Unique gastronomical adventures in Sicily and its Aeolian Islands... www.aeolianadventures.co.uk 07704 136 539 A 7 night and 6 day all inclusive cooking and winetasting holiday, with cooking lessons, vineyard tours and trips to local producers, with a chance to explore the islands and their volcanoes! Each week long adventure is run in small intimate groups with a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 10 people

Aeolian_Adventures_QP_May.indd 1

01/05/2014 10:43

Hidden in the Heart of Scotland Rich in history and legend, Dalmunzie is Scotland’s first genealogy hotel. Dalmunzie’s gloriously remote location is less than 2 hours from Edinburgh, with fires and comfy sofas creating a relaxing haven from the outside world. Experience unique bedrooms and British country house cuisine in one of our two rosette dining rooms. The first tee of Dalmunzie's golf course is 50 yards away, with tennis, mountain bikes, fishing, hiking, stalking & skiing on offer. Explore Scotland with daytrips to Scone Palace, Blair, Balmoral, Glamis & Braemar Castle, distilleries and villages all within one hours drive. Complimentary afternoon tea during your stay and a bottle of house wine when booking a 2 night break dinner bed and breakfast. Quote booking reference Dal 1510

DALMUNZIE CASTLE HOTEL GLENSHEE • PERTHSHIRE PH10 7QG

Tel: 01250 885224 • email: reservations@dalmunzie.com • www.dalmunzie.com

❖ To advertise in this section please call Chloe on 020 7819 9999

ICONIC, DESIGNER SWIMWEAR AND HOLIDAY LIFESTYLE BOUTIQUE WWW.VERITELOUISESWIMWEAR.CO.UK


REAR VIEW

An alternative look at the world There are easier ways to get a look at Mont Blanc, but daredevil skydiving duo Fred Fugen and Vincent Reffet aren’t interested in doing things simply. Leaping from 10km, the flight took seven minutes – a good six minutes 59 seconds longer than we’d last. redbull.com

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Photograph by Dom Daher/Red Bull Content Pool

THE FALL GUYS


THREE ENTICING OFFERS TO CHOOSE FROM TO MAKE YOUR CRUISE EXTRA SPECIAL Complimentary drinks package | Up to $300 to spend on board | Gratuities included ON SELECTED SAILINGS & STATEROOM TYPES*

GO furTher wiTh 123go At Celebrity Cruises®, we take the best parts of the holidays you’d enjoy most, and roll them into one extraordinary experience. And to make even more of your luxury getaway, we’d like to you to enjoy our incredible 123go! offer – but hurry; it ends in just a few days. Book an Ocean View stateroom or above before 31 July 2014, and you can choose up to two enticing offers on selected worldwide sailings. Or book any selected European cruise and choose two offers.*. Treat yourself to a relaxing spa treatment with up to $300 to spend on board, enjoy free gratuities or a complimentary drinks package worth up to $1,400. So book today.

TODAY LONDON. TOMORROW THE WORLD. VI SI T CE L E B RI T YCRUI SE S.CO.UK/E SCAPI SM CA LL 084 4 493 2 037 CO NTACT YOUR T RAVE L AGE NT

/UKCelebrityCruises Winner Best Premium Cruise Company

Winner of 10 Cruise Critic awards

@CelebrityUK

*123Go! promotion valid for new bookings of Ocean View staterooms and above made before 31 Jul 2014 on selected sailings and stateroom types, subject to availability. Up to two offers can be chosen on selected Worldwide itineraries. The first two guests in an eligible stateroom can each select up to two of the following: a) complimentary classic drinks package for guests aged 18 and over. Please drink responsibly, b) up to $300 on-board spend depending on sailing duration, or c) inclusive gratuities. 3rd and 4th guests in eligible staterooms also have selected benefi ts. Combinable with Captain’s Club loyalty savings vouchers but not applicable with any other promotion. For full terms and conditions including full itinerary details, visit celebritycruises.co.uk or contact your travel agent. Promoter is RCL Cruises Ltd (UK company number 07366612) with registered office address at Building 3, The Heights, Brooklands, Weybridge KT13 0NY as UK sales and marketing agent of Celebrity Cruises Inc. of Miami, Florida trading as Celebrity Cruises®.


TODAY LONDON. TOMORROW THE WORLD.

celebritycruises.co.uk/e scAPisM

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Escapism - 11 - The Cool Hotels Issue  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 11 - The Cool Hotels Issue

Escapism - 11 - The Cool Hotels Issue  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 11 - The Cool Hotels Issue