Issuu on Google+



IN-STORE • 0844 557 3868 • VIRGINHOLIDAYS.CO.UK *Prices are for departure dates stated and are per adult based on two adults travelling with return economy flights and include all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are correct at time of print and are subject to change. Prices advertised are for online bookings only; when booked in-store or by telephone a higher price may apply. Peak season and weekend supplements may apply. Savings where shown are per adult and are the maximum saving within the date shown. Price includes saving. Offer applicable until 13 Oct ’14. All offers are for new direct bookings and are subject to availability and Virgin Holidays standard terms and conditions. Offers cannot be combined with any other offer, promotion or discount including Tesco Clubcard points. Paying by VISA/MasterCard will incur a charge of 2% of the value of the transaction. Paying by American Express will incur a charge of 2.6% of the value of the transaction. All calls charged at 5p per minute at all times from a BT landline including

Dubai FROM

£499 Bali







Thailand FROM




Mauritius FROM




Sri Lanka FROM




Maldives FROM




VAT. Charges may vary from other networks or mobile networks. Offer valid for Virgin Holidays division of the Virgin Holidays Group only, for definition visit ATOL protected (2358) and ABTA (V2043). All the flight and flight inclusive holidays featured are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotel and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotel and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to



Photograph by Jimmy Nelson

14 15 16 18 20 23 24 28 30 32


TRIBAL RITUAL: British photographer Jimmy Nelson has travelled the world to document the lives of millions of people in 35 of the last remaining indigenous tribes. The results are astonishing images of cultures that have been almost forgotten, among them the Maasai in Tanzania (pictured).




BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY: DOCUMENTING THE LAST INDIGENOUS TRIBES Photographer Jimmy Nelson recalls that the ice-cold winds of Mongolia “made the going terribly tough” – but his persistence brought him face to face with the Kazakh, a semi-nomadic people who roam the snowy mountains and colossal valleys of western Mongolia. Eagle hunting is among the skills passed from generation to generation since the tribe’s 19th-century beginnings, with its people believing in ancient cults of the sky, fire and the supernatural forces of both good and evil spirits. Nelson’s photographs of the Kazakh and other tribes can be seen at London’s Atlas Gallery this autumn, with the exhibition of his work running from 25 September until 16 November.

Photograph by ###


Instant ANORAK You know what festivals don't have enough of? Accordions, that's what – unless you're in Tulle this month, where there will be 60,000 of the things. All together, now…



















WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This time: dolls in memoriam, unibrows and the house that sings NAGORO, JAPAN Things have taken a slightly unsettling turn in Nagoro, on the Japanese island of Shikoku, where inhabitants have found a novel way of remembering the gone. Presumably bored of the tried and tested funeral, mourning and moving on, villagers place a life-sized doll somewhere in the village when a person passes on or leaves. Anyone fancy a midnight stroll?

MEANS OF ESCAPE You’re imagining fiery disasters, aren’t you? Don’t – the airship’s back, and this time it’s safe #12 ZEPPELIN

Photograph by Tom Viggars / Alamy

Way back in the mists of time, an otherworldly aircraft emerged from a floating hangar near the town of Friedrichshafen, Germany. The cigar-shaped airship floated over dazzled locals on a balmy day in 1900. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s creation had arrived. Mention the word Zeppelin to most people and they’ll probably think of the Hindenburg. In 1937, the hydrogen-filled ship exploded over Lakehurst airfield in New Jersey, killing 36 people. Newsreel cameras made it the first disaster ever to be filmed as it happened. But the airship story goes on, and Zeppelin aircraft (using inert helium these days) still carry

passengers from Friedrichshafen, where it all began. As was the case in the 1920s and 30s, flying by Zeppelin doesn’t come cheap – but think of the possibilities. Ask them nicely, and they can tailor a flight to your whims. A time travelstyle airship trip to Berlin or Paris? They could sort that one out. But there are plenty of options if you want something more local. Look down on Munich as your airship cruises low, or admire the views that would have greeted Count Zeppelin as you gaze out over the tranquil expanses of the Bodensee. More than a century on, this serene form of flying can still send the spirits soaring.

TAJIKISTAN For those unfamiliar with Tajikistan, it’s a mountainous, landlocked nation in central Asia where 70% of the population are under 30. But that’s not all. Here, the unibrow is seen as highly attractive (in both men and women), and there are even herbal remedies to stimulate growth if the middle bit refuses to sprout. You can greet that news with... a raised eyebrow.

DRESDEN, GERMANY Singin’ in the rain takes on a whole new meaning with Dresden’s singing wall. Each time it rains (which, let’s face it, is pretty often) the drains and funnels attached to a colourful house in the city become musical instruments as part of an art project. It looks unhinged, like something from a cartoon – but it’s great. We imagine that, if there were one in London, it’d never shut up.



Head t


BUCHAREST, ROMANIA Population: 2.2m


WARSAW, POLAND Population: 1.6 million

Nickname: Little Paris

Nickname: The Phoenix City



Cosmopolitan city dwellers, students, stray dogs – but don't worry, there's not a vampire in sight. 7/10

Trendoids, vodka-lovers, Chopin wannabes and a host of other musicians, as andwell lotsas and lotslots and oflots clubbers. of clubbers. 8/10 8/10





"Sheep pastrami? Sounds delicious."

"You’d have thought they could have finished the Palace... "

"Zubrowka is definitely my favourite vodka."

"Beethoven? Mozart? Chopin? They're all the same."







Bucharest’s architecture is impressive, and the unfinished Palace of Parliament is a must-see. Spend a day on Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue) and take in some of the museums and monuments. 7/10

There are plenty of decent hostels in Bucharest (try the Doors Hostel doorshostel. com) – but if you’re looking for something with a touch of luxury, then go for the Z Executive Boutique Hotel. ( 7/10

Meat is big business, and you can enjoy traditional food at La Mama (lamama. ro) or Bucharest’s oldest beer house, Caru’cu Bere (carucubere. ro). Trendy cafe options include Atelier Mecanic in the Old Town. 8/10

If you’re a Chopin fan (he’s Warsaw’s most famous export), check out the museum dedicated to him ( or climb the iconic clock tower – once the tallest in the world – for panoramic views over the city. 7/10

Enjoy something different at the central Hostel Oki Doki (, where each room has been designed by a different artist, or wallow in the five-star art deco opulence of the Hotel Rialto. (rialtowarsaw. com).8/10

Trendy Praga is fit to burst with warehouse bars and restaurants, while main street Nowy Swiat has enough pubs and clubs to sustain a decent crawl. Or try traditional Polish grub at U Fukiera in the Old Town – a celeb favourite. 9/10


AND THE WINNER IS... Trendy Warsaw does it better






upper floors, which is where the aforementioned shuffleboard comes in. Up here, there’s row upon row of black pleather recliners, with guests in the Hawaiian pyjamas in various states of undress (fortunately, the pyjamas are mandatory up here). It’s like a sleepover in an airport lounge – all beds have TVs and inbuilt music systems (weirdly, mostly dedicated to Mariah Carey), and you can call over an attendant if you want a green tea, noodles or a massage with the push of a button. And you can slope about across all five floors dressed in Hawaiian print. This really is the best spa EVER. Since my first encounter with semipublic nudity, I’ve jumped in with both feet. Starkers in a Swedish outdoor spa and the Baltic Sea? Done (although that really was cold). Stripping off in a Moroccan hammam? It’s what the Chinese would’ve wanted. e

Illustration by Mark Boardman

I’M BEING UNCEREMONIOUSLY shoved towards a small doorway covered by a drape, with insipid Hawaiian print pyjamas, slippers and wristband in hand. I’ve faffed about for so long that the only thing left is do is, er, strip off. Completely. I’m in Shanghai’s Xiao Nan Guo spa, a fivestorey bathing behemoth inconspicuously set behind a DVD store off a smoggy trunk road. So far, it’s about as unrelaxing as it comes, but I’m willing to give it a go – it’s under a tenner for entry, and for that you get full access to the huge bath complex, steam rooms and saunas. There’s even a shuffleboard thrown in good measure. But there’s one key difference between UK spas and Chinese spas, namely that you have to be totally naked (well, most of the time). I wasn’t going in Literally: ‘Small totally blind – a friend south country’

had pre-warned me that I was expected to strip everything off (and thankfully, she had to work. There are some parts of each other we really don’t ever need to see). But when push comes to shove, it’s a different matter – removing my last piece of clothing feels like trying to move concrete, and the beady eyes of the spa attendant don’t make me feel any more at ease. Oh, and I find that I'm feeling cold in places I’ve never felt cold before. After being gawped at for several minutes by fellow bathers (thankfully, men and women are separated) I soon forget I’m in my birthday suit after peering at the array of free toiletries on offer. Razors! Shampoo! Toothpaste! For free! Laden with an armful of this stuff, I join the women who are sitting (naked) brushing their teeth, and those (also naked) rubbing conditioner on their hair and using combs to detangle it. I’ve changed my mind about this place already – anywhere you have a wash in public is a good place in my book. The even better part comes with the relaxation areas on the


r e k k e r T


? r e ll i h C

RN FLIGHTS U T E R S S A L C R UPPE TLANTIC WITH VIRGIN A fast Inc. • 4.5 7nts • Break

INT LUCIA A S , T E N A T S A H ANSE C * £3,339pp



£2Oc,t7’144 5pp 05


IN-STORE 0844 557 3868

VIRGINHOLIDAYS.CO.UK *Prices are for departure dates stated and are per adult based on two adults travelling with return economy flights and include all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are correct at time of print and are subject to change. Prices advertised are for online bookings only; when booked in-store or by telephone a higher price may apply. Peak season and weekend supplements may apply. Savings where shown are per adult and are the maximum saving within the date shown. Price includes saving. Offer applicable until 13 Oct ’14. All offers are for new direct bookings and are subject to availability and Virgin Holidays standard terms and conditions. Offers cannot be combined with any other offer, promotion or discount including Tesco Clubcard points. Paying by VISA/MasterCard will incur a charge of 2% of the value of the transaction. Paying by American Express will incur a charge of 2.6% of the value of the transaction. All calls charged at 5p per minute at all times from a BT landline including VAT. Charges may vary from other networks or mobile networks. Offer valid for Virgin Holidays division of the Virgin Holidays Group only, for definition visit ATOL protected (2358) and ABTA (V2043). All the flight and flight inclusive holidays featured are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotel and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to






The sail-shaped Burj al Arab Jumeirah hotel has its own private beach

Whether it’s champagne brunches or haggling in the gold souk, Dubai has something for everyone, says Cathy Adams


nly 30 years ago, Dubai was a sleepy fishing village. Fast forward to 2014 and it’s a buzzing Middle Eastern metropolis, stuffed with high-end (and high up) restaurants, bars and hotels (anybody for a cocktail at the seven-star Burj al Arab?). Dubai is the Middle East’s premier supercity, with a huge variety of activities and spectacles on offer. It might boast an average temperature of around 30ºC, but that doesn’t slow it down. There’s a packed events calendar throughout the year, including the Dubai Shopping Festival and the Dubai Film Festival as well as regular big-name DJs and the Rugby Sevens. And if all that doesn’t appeal, you can zoom to the top of one of its many ‘scrapers to peer out at the views. But while Dubai’s glittering skyline – including the world’s tallest building, the Burj al Khalifa, which stands an eyewatering 2,717ft tall – and miles of almost deserted white sand beaches continue to draw millions of visitors in each year, it’s also got some lower-key charms.


The city’s old town, in Deira, is testament to this, with its renowned spice and gold souks – you’ll have to haggle to get a good deal here. Cross the creek on a traditional abra and watch the sun setting from one of the bars (with a soft drink, of course) for a taste of life before the skyscrapers arrived. There’s also the miles of uninterrupted desert that surround Dubai to play in. If you fancy something a little more adventurous, hire a dune buggy or go off-road in a 4x4. It might be just the way to work off the hangover from the all-day Champagne brunch you’ve just indulged in. Yes, Dubai is a city where you really can do it all. e

NEED TO KNOW British Airways offers three-night holidays from £529pp, travelling between 20 October and 11 November.

This festival does exactly what it says on the tin – namely sausage and palinka (a fruit brandy) – but here’s the kicker: it takes place in the city’s castle district, complete with historic churches and palaces and views across the Danube. Be warned: if you’re looking to pull, it’s a bit of a sausage fest.

STAY: ART’OTEL BUDAPEST Slap-bang on the banks of the Danube, design hotel chain Art’otel’s Budapest outpost is compact, sleek and modern, with enough art inside to enable you to slake your cultural thirst without having to get out of your dressing gown. As well as paintings and sculpture, there are exhibitions by the hotel’s resident artist, Donald Sultan.

BATHE: GELLERT SPA The Hungarian capital is a spa city, and a dip in one of its myriad thermal baths is the thing to do. Gellert Spa’s huge, vaulted ceilings, lavish interior architecture and labyrinthine layout mean enough hidden away baths and pools to spread across a whole day. Top tip: they’re particularly good for a hangover.

WORLD MARKETS Few things in a city give visitors a better flavour of both its heritage and its day-to-day life than markets. Here, we round up six of the world’s most distinctive, from an 11th-century square to a 1970s space, and their wide range of wares



OTAVALO WHERE? Otavalo Market, Otavalo, in Imbabura Province, Ecuador. WHAT TO BUY: This is one of the most famous textile markets in the world, in one of its most famous textile towns – which should give you some idea. Otavaleños are renowned for making textiles, usually using wool, so take your pick from blankets, ponchos, sweaters, scarves, bags or rugs. NEED TO KNOW: The market takes place on Saturdays, and its design is a one-off: in 1970, Dutch architect Tonny Zwollo designed its mushroom-shaped stalls.

Photographs by Alamy

WHERE? The Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market is held at the Ferry Building on the city’s eastern waterfront. WHAT TO BUY: It’s hard to know where to start with this one – ‘almost everything edible’ is probably the best answer. Exactly what’s on offer varies between the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday markets, but here’s a taster: fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, meats and eggs from regional farmers, along with artisan specialities such as jams, breads and cheeses. NEED TO KNOW: This popular market began life as a one-off back in 1992. Since then, operated by the nonprofit Centre for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, it has become a vital link between Californian farmers and the city.


KURANDA WHERE? A stunning mountain retreat near Cairns, Australia, surrounded by lush rainforest. WHAT TO BUY: A huge selection of opals, recognised as being among the finest anywhere, a wide range of local foods and tropical fruit juices, books of all sorts and handmade souvenirs that are unique to this part of the world. NEED TO KNOW: The markets have helped Kuranda, a former coffee and timber area, develop a thriving tourism trade in recent years.

TOKYO WHERE? The Tsukiji Market is central, located near Japan’s Sumida River. WHAT TO BUY: This fish market is a seafood lover’s haven, with more than 400 different types of seafood available. Whatever your tastes, it’s all here – from the finest caviar to the most minuscule sardines or the chunkiest tuna. Other sea-based delicacies, including various sorts of edible seaweed, can also be found. NEED TO KNOW: The scale of this operation is staggering: it’s the biggest wholesale fish market anywhere in the world. With a 3am start (every day except Sundays), this is one for the early birds.


• San Francisco, USA: Virgin Holidays


Photograph by ###

WHERE? Jemaa el-Fna, in the medina of the Morrocan city. WHAT TO BUY: Food, glorious food: this amazing square comes into its own at night as the food traders set up – at which point chaotic competition sets in. Everyone’s trying to sell you something, from grilled meats of all kinds to piping hot soup and fresh orange juice. NEED TO KNOW: This 11th-century site is recognised by UNESCO for its crucial part in Moroccan culture.

DELHI WHERE? Chandni Chowk, in the northern area of Delhi, India. WHAT TO BUY: As markets within markets abound in this huge square, anything from a bewildering range of Indian food to clothes, books, shoes, electronic goods and hardware. NEED TO KNOW: The name of this market, one of the oldest in Delhi, translates as either ‘moonlight market’ or ‘moonlight square’. Its areas were once divided by canals that reflected the moon’s glow.

• • • • •

Worldwide Journeys runs several tours that visit San Francisco and wider California. From £1,569pp Otavalo, Ecuador: Ecuador and Galapagos tour with Virgin Holidays Worldwide Journeys. From £3,279pp Marrakech, Morocco: Marrakech and the Ourika valley with Bales Worldwide. From £1,195pp Delhi, India: Taste of India tour with Virgin Holidays Worldwide Journeys. From £1,125pp Tokyo, Japan: Highlights of Japan tour with Virgin Holidays Worldwide Journeys. From £1,869pp Kuranda, Australia: East Coast tour with Virgin Holidays Worldwide Journeys. From £3,265pp or for more information




CHANNEL ISLANDS Beautiful scenery, beaches where you can kick back or catch a wave, and amazing fish and chips. Count us in… 1. Beach: Herm Only one and a half miles long and under half a mile wide, the Channel Island of Herm is car-free and almost people-free (at the last count, only 67 live here). What that means is that its beaches are unspoiled and picture-perfect: expect turquoise water and white sandy shores, framed by the lush green hills of the island behind. Shell Beach is one of the best, and the walk down from the top of the island offers sweeping views of the beach and the neighbouring island of Sark. Herm might be part of the British Isles

ABOVE: By the water’s edge at Rocquaine Bay, on Guernsey, and (BELOW) beach bliss at Le Petit Port

(it’s only a 20-minute ferry journey from Guernsey) but it doesn’t feel like it. Crossings with Travel Trident ( cost £12pp.

2. Sleep: La Fregate Hotel Overlooking Guernsey’s busy St Peter Port harbour and former tidal island Castle Cornet, La Fregate Hotel is a four-star country house with large terraces perfect for catching sunsets. You can also spot the fellow Channel islands of Jersey, Alderney, Sark and Herm in the distance and you can see all the way to France on a clear day.

4. On the Town: St Anne St Anne is the capital of Alderney, which lies just ten miles off France. Alderney feels more French than the other islands, with old-school cobbled streets and quirky shops along St Anne’s high street. The island may be small, but it punches well above its weight in terms of watering holes – there are nine pubs in town, and some Alderney people seem to spend more time in them than in their homes. The Georgian House is the prime drinking spot, with a quaint beer garden and decent ales.

Double rooms start from £185 per night.

5. Food: Cobo Bay

Cobo Bay, on the west coast of Guernsey, has two big things going for it – a sweeping, sandy beach and a corrugated iron shack on the beachfront that sells some of the freshest fish and chips you’ll find in the whole of the Channel Islands. Get your cod and chips to take away, perch on the nearby sea wall and watch the sun setting as you eat. There’s a small supermarket opposite the chippy, so you can supplement your carb and fat intake with something a little healthier. Like beer, for example. e

3. Action: Vazon Bay

Photograph by ###

Given that the Channel Islands sit off the north coast of France in the notoriously choppy Atlantic, the surf is always going to be good. Vazon Bay, in north-west Guernsey, is an ideal place to start – it boasts big waves from the Atlantic (some can hit 10ft), and the northern end of the beach gets some serious swell. If you’re not a surfer, it’s an ideal spot for kayaking, windsurfing and snorkelling. The relaxed vibe is best at the weekend, although you’ll have to be prepared to share the beach with the rest of the wave-seekers.

Return flights from London Gatwick to Guernsey start from £79 with Aurigny; For more information, see


checklist ★ G U YS ★ 3 2


FORM AND FUNCTION Like a bike with no wheels, looks will only get you so far. But they’re a pretty good place to start, as demonstrated by this haul of new gear from some of the most innovative – not to mention stylish – brands from the UK and beyond.


4 VULPINE, Cotton rain shorts, £57.50. Just because it’s raining, you don’t need to give shorts the elbow – as these tough and great looking shorts from Vulpine prove. Tough enough for cycling, stylish enough for the pub. 5 VULPINE, Softshell jacket, £175. Inspired by military tailoring, so you know this jacket isn’t messing around. Shower-resistant and windproof, with a breathable fleece inner.

6 TED BAKER, Rockall headphones, £179.99. The Brit fashion brand turns its hands to retro cans, with great results. 7 RIDGEMONT, Outback, £109. Urban looks and off-road capability, thanks to waxedleather and vulcanised rubber. 8 SHINOLA, Runwell chrono, £700. Detroit-made watch with hard-as-nails leather NATO strap and Motor City aesthetics.


Photograph by David Harrison

1 FINISTERRE, Gylly shirt, £75. Wind and abrasionresistant heavyweight shirt from the Cornish surf brand. 2 FINISTERRE, Zephyr boxer, £30. No ordinary undies, in merino wool for temperature regulation and comfort. 3 FINISTERRE, Cribber crew, £80. Lightweight jumper made with organic cotton, for layering up in classic fisherman style. You’ll need to supply the beard and trawler.





8 25



1 KNOMO, Beauchamp backpack, £129. Go hands-free with this techfilled pack. 2 ECCO, Ecco Touch, £130. Stylish and practical, these are ideal for pounding city streets. 3 BANANA REPUBLIC, Black ankle zip trousers, £59.50. Stay true to Banana Republic’s safari roots with these black stretch leggings. 4 MINIMUM, Marie sweat, £60. Bold print is the way forward with this sweater from the Danish designer.


5 BANANA REPUBLIC, Americana Rope Necklace, £39.50. Toughen up any outfit with this chunky necklace. 6 ERIC BOMPARD, Cashmere stole, £165. Wrap up on cooler nights. 7 HAPPY PLUGS In-ear gold, £34.99. Give your ears the Midas touch with gold ‘phones from the Swedish brand. 8 SOPHIE ANDERSON, Alma Clutch, £300. Aztec meets stylish practicality in this woven clutch bag.



4 6 5



PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###




with your rays. 4 nts • 4.5




fast Inc. • 5

7nts • Break


75pp FROM £1,0 Dec ’14



ast 7nts • Breakf

Inc. • 4.5


£1,a0y ’145 0p

06 M

fast Inc. • 5

7 nts • Break



£1,c3t ’194 9pp 05 O

IN-STORE 0844 557 3868

VIRGINHOLIDAYS.CO.UK *Prices are for departure dates stated and are per adult based on two adults travelling with return economy flights and include all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are correct at time of print and are subject to change. Prices advertised are for online bookings only; when booked in-store or by telephone a higher price may apply. Peak season and weekend supplements may apply. Savings where shown are per adult and are the maximum saving within the date shown. Price includes saving. Offer applicable until 13 Oct ’14. All offers are for new direct bookings and are subject to availability and Virgin Holidays standard terms and conditions. Offers cannot be combined with any other offer, promotion or discount including Tesco Clubcard points. Paying by VISA/MasterCard will incur a charge of 2% of the value of the transaction. Paying by American Express will incur a charge of 2.6% of the value of the transaction. All calls charged at 5p per minute at all times from a BT landline including VAT. Charges may vary from other networks or mobile networks. Offer valid for Virgin Holidays division of the Virgin Holidays Group only, for definition visit ATOL protected (2358) and ABTA (V2043). All the flight and flight inclusive holidays featured are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotel and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to




2 3



3 JO MALONE, Wood Sage & Sea Salt cologne, 100ml, £65.60. A bottled ode to the windswept English coast – lively, bracing and aromatic. 4 ACQUA DI PARMA, Colonia leather cologne, 100ml, £140. Inspired by Tuscan tanneries, for an instant dose of sophisticated, masculine dolce vita.

PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###

1 JIMMY CHOO, Man eau de toilette, 100ml, £62. The eponymous first men’s fragrance from the fashion brand’s growing luxury stable. 2 NARCISO RODRIGUEZ, Narciso eau de parfum, 90ml, £69. Notes of vetiver, cedar and florals combine in the designer’s new feminine fragrance.

Š 2011 Hilton Worldwide


The Conrad Executive Experience. From luxuriously appointed guestrooms and suites to a newly renovated Executive Lounge featuring a unique residential design concept, complemented with a host of award-winning culinary options, Conrad Hong Kong takes you on a journey of utmost comfort and relaxation.

Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong. For reservations, call 800 96 8391 or visit


★ GEAR ★ The nubuck leather and breathable mesh are bonded directly to the midsole for added durability.

HIKING BOOTS Anodised buckles and hooks mean the laces – and your feet – stay put when things get rough.

KEEN: Durand WP Mid, £140. Fresh out of Keen’s new factory in Portland, Oregon, the Durand is a tough and featureladen performance hiker.








Get an upgraded city break (and discover new places while you’re at it) with AudioTrip, which combines audio destination guides by local experts with added video and image functionality.

Ever wish you could share your holiday snaps with your friends and family back home? Now you can with Postsnap, which sends a postcard back home from your mobile. Jealousy guaranteed.

Hailed as an Uber for private jets, Jetsmarter searches, books and pays for private jet charters from your mobile. Ideal for that late-night trip to Paris with your mates you’ve been, er, planning.

The Entertainer used to be a coupon book before upgrading to an app. It gives deals for restaurants, bars and attractions across 23 cities in Asia and the Middle East, including Dubai.

PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###

★ APPS ★ 30


DISCOVER A WHOLE WORLD IN ONE CITY With its ancient Chinese temples, bustling street markets and sparkling nightlife, the thriving city of Hong Kong is a world waiting to be discovered. Fly with us and experience the modern luxury of our Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircrafts from London Heathrow’s state-of-the-art Terminal 5, with a choice of up to 14 flights a week. Book now at

24hrs In HONG KONG Whether you’re into shopping, food, historic sites or peaceful islands, Hong Kong has something for everyone. Here’s some inspiration on how to spend a day in the city…

10:00 08:00

EAT LIKE A LOCAL Given that Hong Kong has an overload of tasty, cheap places to eat, start the day off eating like a local in a trendy cafe, a local teahouse (cha chaan teng in Cantonese) or an open-air cafe (dai pai dong). One of the many dai pai dongs in the city is Sing Heung Yuen in Sheung Wan, a favourite of chefs Anthony Bourdain and Ching-He Huang – try the milk tea, crispy pork bun and tomato broth with noodles for a tasty and filling start to the day. Or take in a cha chaan teng, which often specialise in Yuanyang (half tea, half coffee), pineapple buns and egg tarts. Yum.


GET CULTURED GET OUTDOORS After a filling breakfast, how about working it off with a hike? Hong Kong is surrounded by greenery, and 70% of the territory is actually rural countryside. Try the Dragon’s Back hike on Hong Kong Island, or Lamma Island for breathtaking scenic views. Or, charter a boat to one of Hong Kong’s many islands. A trip from Causeway Bay to Sai Kung will take you past the city’s beautiful bays, and give you a chance to explore the geoparks from Sai Kung.

Hong Kong is a melting pot of East and West, where skyscrapers sit next to ancient temples. Visit Wong Tai Sin Temple, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s home to three religions – Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism – and is set in a typically ornate building. Then head to Nan Lian Garden, a tranquil public park built in the style of the Tang Dynasty. The small landscaped garden also has a vegetarian restaurant and a teahouse, if you need a mid-morning pick me up.

“Hong Kong encompasses the true vibrant spirit of modern Asia. My perfect day would include a trip up to the Peak to take in the breathtaking views, followed by sampling many of Hong Kong’s unique delicacies from traditional Cantonese to modern fusion. A journey on the Aqua Luna is a must, particularly in the early evening to watch the Symphony of Lights from the water.” – Ching-He Huang, international TV chef, food writer and regular Hong Kong visitor



GO TO THE RACES Even if you’re not a hippophile (that’s somebody who loves horses, FYI), head to the races in the early evening. The two major racecourses – Happy Valley and Sha Tin – host events between September and June, so check the calendar for race meets.


EAT WELL 16:00

There are over 11,000 restaurants in the city, meaning you could eat out three times a day for ten years and never eat at the same restaurant twice. Hong Kong’s specialty is Cantonese cuisine such as dim sum, wonton noodles and congee, but it’s also a great place to try other cuisines. Michelin-starred Pierre has great views of the Hong Kong skyline.


LEARN KUNG FU Photograph by

Quick on your feet? Maybe not – but you can learn to be. Take a ‘Wing Chun’ tour – the kung fu technique adapted by Bruce Lee – including a class, a visit to the Avenue of the Stars to see a statue of Bruce Lee, and a trip to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum for an exhibition dedicated to the martial artist.

VISIT PMQ Spend the afternoon wandering around PMQ, a hub for the city’s creative and design industries. PMQ stands for Police Married Quarters (it is the former home to the families of the Hong Kong police force) and once housed a school. Now, it’s home to an eclectic mix of boutique shops, exhibitions and artists’ residences, as well as restaurants including Jason Atherton’s Aberdeen Street Social. Alternatively, check out one of Hong Kong’s events throughout the year, such as the Chinese New Year (in February 2015), the Dragon Boat Carnival in June or the Wine & Dine Festival in October.

After a busy day exploring the city, wind down with a cold drink overlooking the world-famous skyline. On Hong Kong Island, head to Sevva, Sugar or Armani Prive, or in Kowloon head to Wooloomooloo and Ozone (the highest bar in the world) to watch night fall over Hong Kong’s many high-rise buildings.



Cathay Pacific flies from London to Hong Kong from £579pp. To be in with the chance of winning a trip to Hong Kong and creating your own perfect day, visit


With 5 daily flights to Hong Kong, we bring you closer to Asia Step on board one of our 5 daily flights from London Heathrow to Hong Kong and your experience of Asia has already begun. Our tradition of hospitality and our total commitment to your comfort will ease you into your exotic adventures whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure or both. Start planning your journey now on our website or call us on 020 8834 8888. Return flights from £579*

*Travel dates: 04 April 2015 – 09 June 2015. Book by date: 30 September 2014. Other travel dates and fares available. Fares include all taxes and surcharges. Fares are correct at time of going to press. All fares are subject to availability.



Top Class

Eyeing a trip to Asia this autumn? Dorsett Hospitality International has a contemporary, vibrant hotel to suit every kind of traveller, and it’s expanding from Asia into the UK


f you’re looking for a chic, inviting and contemporary place to stay in Asia this autumn, look no further than Dorsett Hospitality International’s 30-strong portfolio, across diverse cities and regions in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. The hospitality group – which alongside its string of properties has eight hotels in the pipeline in key Asian cities and the UK – has opened four more hotels this year alone: in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Jiangxi in China and its first UK hotel, the Dorsett Shepherds Bush London. The group is eyeing further London expansion, with the second property, Dorsett City London (formerly known as The Matrix) scheduled to open next year. Dorsett Hospitality International has three different hotel brands under its belt, all retaining its commitment to providing a memorable experience with Asian grace and warmth, and

there’s one to suit every type of traveller. Do you fancy staying in a boutique d.Collection hotel – upscale, charismatic and in the heart of the city – or in one of the inviting and tasteful Dorsett Hotels & Resorts? How about one of its value-led Silka Hotels, which are famed for their convenience and attractive rates? Whatever you’re after, Dorsett is guaranteed to offer the perfect hotel for your Asian adventure. And it’s a winning concept – over the past few years, Dorsett Hospitality International has won numerous accolades for its Asian-inspired hospitality offering, proving to consumers across the world that it’s one of the most innovative and inspirational hotel groups in the region. You could soon be discovering the unique blend of local Asian culture, timeless British elegance and modern chic at a Dorsett Hospitality International hotel – see right for details on how to book for half price. ◆

Stay For Less GET 50% OFF BEST RATES

Book and stay at selected Dorsett hotels and enjoy 50% off best available rates for your next stay between 1-7 October 2014. Book by 7 October. Terms and conditions apply. Book at using promo code NHP 2014.


Shore Winner

Bermuda has one of the finest coastlines on earth, and luxury resorts to match. With great deals from British Airways, you can experience both from £929pp


he Atlantic island of Bermuda might be small, but it squeezes in a vast array of attractions – from pink sand beaches and coral reefs to sophisticated cities and historical sites. Whatever you’re looking for in a holiday, you’re bound to find it in Bermuda – and with unbeatable offers from British Airways, you could be sunning yourself at one of the island’s top resorts for less than you might think. Book by 23 September for travel until 31 March 2015 and save up to 40% at one of the island’s luxurious Fairmont resorts. Prices start from as little as £929pp.

Fairmont Hamilton Princess

Known as ‘the Pink Palace’ due to its pastel exterior, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess is Bermuda’s only luxury urban resort. With stunning views across the harbour, it’s both a chic, modern city retreat in the island’s capital and a relaxing tropical paradise. Fairmont Hamilton Princess is a haven for food lovers, too, with two top destination restaurants, each offering a different dining experience. 1609 Bar & Restaurant combines stunning views with delicious food and


innovative cocktails, while the Heritage Court takes its style cues from Bermuda’s colonial past and serves a famously good afternoon tea. For those in search of relaxation, the resort also has its own day spa and fitness centre, while the harbour’s edge infinity pool is the perfect place to kick back and soak up the atmosphere of this spectacular resort in the heart of the island.

Fairmont Southampton

The south shore of Bermuda is a treasure trove for beach lovers, with mile after mile of pink sand beaches, and the Fairmont Southampton has it all on its doorstep. This extensive resort sits in 100 acres of green, sculpted land, dotted with lush bougainvillea and towering coconut palms. The focal point, though, is the sprawling oceanfront beach club, where guests can enjoy activities from diving and jet skiing to tennis, or simply pull up a chaise longue and relax with a soundtrack of gently lapping waves. Not only does the Fairmont Southampton have eight restaurants offering a diverse range of cuisines and styles, but it also boasts Turtle Hill Golf Club, a challenging, 18-hole golf course

with views of the ocean and a dramatic, subtropical backdrop. For golfers and non-golfers alike, it’s an island paradise. ◆

The Deal 1. Seven-night holidays at Fairmont Hamilton Princess start from £1,099pp including return British Airways World Traveller flights from London Gatwick. 2. Seven-night holidays at Fairmont Southampton start from £929pp including return British Airways World Traveller flights from London Gatwick. To book, or for more information:

Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited. Prices valid for selected travel between 11 November and 12 December 2014. Book by 23 September 2014.







THAN ANY OTHER RESORTS ON THE PLANET Anytime Dining; Exclusive Dine-Around Programme in up to 15 fine dining restaurants per resort • Land sports including unlimited golf** • Offshore Islands Adventures • Most unique suites inc. Love Nest Dream Suites • Unlimited Premium Brand drinks in up to 9 Bars per Resort • Water sports including unlimited Scuba Diving plus Waterskiing** • Complimentary Instruction & Equipment • Exclusive English Guild Trained Personal Butlers • Caribbean’s Best Beaches • Stay at 1, Play at 3 Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia and Montego Bay in Jamaica • FREE† Weddings • The Caribbean’s FamilyOwned Resorts • Tips & Taxes included • FREE Wi-Fi and Calls included in Club Level Rooms or higher

TO B O O K T H E W O R L D ’ S L E A D I N G A L L- I N C LU S I V E R E S O R T S Call 0800 742 742 | Visit See your local travel agent **At Selected Resorts. †Minimum 6 night stay. Government & administration fees apply


EXPERIENCES 42 52 60 66 70


PEAK PERFORMANCE: The hoodoos of Utah’s Bryce Canyon are stone pillars formed by millions of years of erosion. The park is a two-hour drive from the achingly hip Amangiri resort, on the Arizona border.






t u o l l i l a i h c e p C S

e h T

Suffering from burnout? We’ve found the best places on the planet to kick back, from yoga retreats and private islands to stress-free UK breaks and top spa hotels, and you’re guaranteed to return more relaxed than when you set off. You can thank us later… Photograph by ###


g n i x a l Re

y t i v i t s k c a e r A B Walk Japan If you like the idea of doing yourself some good, soaking up scenery and learning plenty at the same time, a walking tour through the peaceful backcountry of Japan could be for you. The Nakasendo Way tour, a ten-night excursion beginning in Kyoto and ending in Tokyo, is a no-stress way to see the sights and life surrounding one of the most ancient highways in Japan.

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Morocco offers some of the best Atlantic surf; Thailand’s Tongsai Bay; Basecamp Spitsbergen; the beach at South Africa’s Wilderness; rest and recuperation on a Celebrity Cruise

RATES: Return flights to Tokyo start from £598 with British Airways. HOW TO GET THERE: The Nakasendo Way tour, including accommodation, breakfast and evening meals, costs £2,585pp.

Surf Maroc, Taghazout A beachside base, beautiful sands and powerful waves – this is what you’ll get if you take a break with Surf Maroc, based in Taghazout on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. This haven of sun, sea and sand is a short journey from Agadir, and the Surf Camp packages on offer provide visitors with expert guidance to help find the right waves for their ability and 4x4s to take them there. RATES: A seven-day Surf Camp package with accommodation at the Taghazout Villa costs from £375pp. HOW TO GET THERE: Return flights to Agadir start from £120 with easyJet.

Going on a cruise Setting off on a cruise might not seem the best way to relax at first – but once you get on board, find a seat out on deck and realise that, for the next week,


Taghazout is now a famous surfing destination, but if you want a beer after the waves, you’ll be frustrated – it’s a dry town, and the nearest alcohol is found in Agadir.

there’s nothing to do apart from indulging in good food, watching shows and maybe meandering through a couple of European cities, you might change your mind. Celebrity Cruises’ Canyon Ranch SpaClub means you can indulge while looking out on miles and miles of nothing but ocean. RATES: A 12-night cruise with Celebrity Cruises starts from £1,859pp for an Ocean View stateroom.


Photographs by Hemis / Alamy, Quentin Bacon, Sioen Gerard/Alamy, Matthew Hasteley


e t o m e R

s y a w a e d Hi Bom Bom Island, Principe You might not know where Principe is (it’s off the coast of West Africa, FYI), but you’re unlikely to care when you see its secluded beaches and lush rainforest. You could make the most of the natural environment with hiking, bird-watching, and canoeing, or just relax for a few days on Bom Bom Island’s verandas before falling asleep to the sound of the waves. RATES: Double rooms start from £108pppn. HOW TO GET THERE: Return flights to São Tomé start from around £400 with TAP.

Poovar Island Resort, Kerala

WILDERNESS WESTERN CAPE, S AFRICA On the Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, the seaside town of Wilderness lies almost exactly halfway between those two cities. It’s famous for its long white sandy beaches and crashy waves, making it an ideal place to grab a board and catch a crest. Whales (the big blue ones, not the killer variety) also think it’s a pretty good place to hang out, so keep your eyes peeled for them throughout the autumn months.


Water is the ultimate relaxer, and you’ll find plenty of it at Kerala’s Poovar Island Resort. Whether you choose to take a backwater cruise, sleep in a floating cottage or spend the day on a beach with views of the Arabian Sea, there’s plenty of it to go around, making you realise why the rest of India calls Kerala ‘God’s Own Country’.

TONGSAI BAY KOH SAMUI, THAILAND Tucked away on Koh Samui’s east coast is the achingly beautiful Tongsai Bay. It might lack the flawless sand on the other side of the island (this is pebble territory here), but makes up for it with the eponymous resort cut into a palm tree-bedecked hillside that curves around the bay. No motorised boats are allowed here, which means you’ll enjoy almost total silence as you stare out over the bay from the infinity pool. It’s a nice life.

RATES: Doubles start from £44pn. HOW TO GET THERE: Return flights from London to Trivandrum start from £476pp with Air India.

Basecamp Spitsbergen, Norway

Photograph by ###

Four locations Kerala, on the southbuilt from recycled west coast, stacks materials and up well in India’s driftwood, some statistics: it has of which are only the highest literary rate, the highest accessible by dog life expectancy and sled and snowmobile is the least corrupt in the winter, provide state in the country. the chance to live like a proper old-school trapper (or just somebody who hunts all their own food). And at the Nordenskiöld Lodge, there’s neither running water nor electricity… RATES: Magnetic North Travel offers a four-night break to Nordenskiöld Lodge, plus one night either side at the Trapper’s Hotel in Longyearbyen, from £2,383pp including return flights.


s t a e r t Re

RATES: From £205pn. HOW TO GET THERE: Return flights to

Mauritius start from around £660 with Air Mauritius.


Kaliyoga, Puglia

Heritage Le Telfair, Mauritius A stunning five-star resort on this Indian Ocean island, Heritage Le Telfair is a retreat in more ways than one. Inspired by the natural beauty of its setting, the resort is a tribute to the Irish botanist and naturalist Charles Telfair. But it also boasts thoroughly impressive golfing facilities: come and practise your swing and perfect your putting on an 18-hole championship course that stretches out over 100 hectares.

A week away from it all can never be a bad idea – and it’s an especially good one if it involves basing yourself in a 17th century Italian manor house with a bit of yoga, detoxing and meditation. The week-long retreats at Kaliyoga, near Bari, include accommodation for seven nights, two daily yoga classes, guided mediation and the best of local food (all healthy, of course). Trips to nearby beaches and cycling and walking tours to local sights are also on the agenda.

RATES: Prices for retreats in Italy start at £895pp for twin room accommodation. HOW TO GET THERE: Return flights from London to Bari start from £152 with Alitalia.

Gwinganna, Queensland

Brisbane has various nicknames, including BrisVegas, Brissy and even Britbane, thanks to the large number of British emigrants to the Queensland state capital.

There can’t be many better places in which to escape from the day-to-day than this, with its spectacular scenery, fresh mountain air and – best of all – a ban on mobile devices of any sort. It also offers a series of seminars designed to restore a bit of balance to your life. You’re within easy access of Brisbane, too. CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Gaze out over Queensland; Big Sur’s Esalen hot springs; head to Puglia for a week-long yoga retreat

RATES: A two-night weekend package for two starts from £560pp. HOW TO GET THERE: Return flights to Brisbane with Qantas start from £846.

The Esalen Institute is almost as much a part of the Big Sur fabric as the jaw-dropping scenery in which it is set. A place of spiritual retreat since the 1960s, Esalen’s community runs workshops and supports local initiatives, and members of the public can get access to the hot springs once a day between 1 and 3am to experience this iconic slice of modern Californian history. $25 in advance;


Photograph by Zuma Press Inc/Alamy; Aurora Photos/Alany;





Enjoy three of the most beautiful Spas in the South of England Invigorate, relax & indulge – spa days, treatments and retreats available

Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa, Climping

Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa, Cuckfield

Surrounded by 30 acres of private parkland and just a stone’s throw from Climping beach To book call 01903 723576

Under an hour from London with stunning views of Cuckfield Park and fabulous Michelin star restaurant To book call 01444 449191

The The Spread Spread Eagle Eagle Hotel Spa & Spa, Midhurst

One of the oldest coaching inns in England, set Set in the heart of the South Downs. in the heart of the South Downs National Park One of the oldest coaching inn’s in England. To book call 01730 8198291

At Historic Sussex Hotels, each spa offers you a haven of peace and tranquillity, award winning food and friendly efficient service. Quote ‘Escapism’ when booking your spa day or retreat to receive your free REN gift (while stocks last)


s a p S Lake Vyrnwy, Wales There’s a regular spa hotel, and then there’s a spa hotel overlooking the biggest and most beautiful lake in Wales. Lake Vyrnwy boasts a thoughtfully placed waterside Jacuzzi that makes the most of its setting and, with its

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Enjoy floor-to-ceiling views at Utah’s Amangiri; blue seas at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef; day beds at Es Vive in Ibiza


Arriving at Amangiri is like discovering a genuine desert oasis. Located deep within a 600-acre estate in Southern Utah’s Canyon Point, the resort shimmers among ancient sandstone monuments. Its elegant rooms have floor-to-ceiling vistas of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, while a blissful spa and fine-dining restaurant border the heart of the whole place – a beautiful swimming pool that’s carved out of the landscape. Not many hotels can claim to be quite so serene, and that’s how it makes you feel.

ESPA spa treatments and grand, luxurious rooms, there’s a chance you’ll never leave.

shiny, bright, art deco-inspired Es Vive.

RATES: Double rooms start from around

HOW TO GET THERE: Return flights to Ibiza start from around £50 with easyJet.

£140pn. HOW TO GET THERE: Trains to Newtown (Powys) take around three hours from London, with a change at Birmingham.

Es Vive, Ibiza Subtract the partying and the hangover, and Ibiza is actually an ideal place to chill out – and there’s nowhere better than

Ibiza might be famous for its electronic dance music scene, but it was once covered completely in pines. It and neighbouring Formentera are known as ‘Pityuses’.

RATES: Doubles start from £90pn.

Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef, Maldives Azure seas, dramatic sunsets and cold drinks on tap – this is relaxation, Maldivian style. As expected, the hotel’s Jiva spa is rather special – signature treatments overlooking a gorgeous atoll. RATES: Rooms start from £292pppn. HOW TO GET THERE: Return flights to Malé start from around £750 with British Airways.



K U Camp Katur, Yorkshire There’s no need to worry about the rain at Camp Katur, a glamping destination in the middle of beautiful Yorkshire countryside. Accommodation options include bell tents, hobbit pods and teepees, and the destination boasts a dome (known as a Unidome) that’s glazed on all sides, enabling its lucky occupants to revel in their woodland surroundings and, when night falls, look up through the glass roof at the twinkling stars (or the scudding clouds – this is Britain, after all). But the sense of seclusion and peace around here means that, whatever the weather – and stars or no stars – you’ll feel as serene as can be.


Photographs by Ken Hayden; Clive Sawyer; Visit Wales; Pink Lily Photography

The UK’s only desert. Two nuclear power stations. One miniature steam railway. Miles and miles of emptiness. This blustery headland on the Kent coast is strange, fascinating and completely relaxing. Dungeness might not be awash with accommodation, but the Gallivant, in nearby Camber, is a good place to put your feet up and has an outstanding restaurant, too.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Stay in a glam yurt at Yorkshire’s Camp Katur; pitch up on a North Wales beach or head to Dungeness

RATES: From £170pppn. HOW TO GET THERE: Trains to nearby Thirsk station take around 2.5 hours.

Camping, North Wales The mountains, quiet villages and oldfashioned seaside towns of North Wales give that feeling of being nicely disconnected from any need to rush as you explore a part of the world that seems remote despite being within easy reach of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. Shell Island, set on North Cardigan Bay in Snowdonia National Park, offers an abundance of camping opportunities: turn up and choose a pitch anywhere in its 300 acres. Wherever you opt for, you’re Cardigan Bay within easy reach of has the largest three beaches. population of RATES: £37.50 per adult per week on Shell Island. HOW TO GET THERE:

bottlenose dolphins in the UK, often seen from the coast path, and is also home to a sizeable number of spider crabs.

Driving is the only option and the nearest village is Llanbedr, on the A496.

WHEN NIGHT FALLS, LOOK UP THROUGH THE GLASS ROOF AT THE STARS ABOVE RATES: Five nights half board, including flights from Land’s End to St Mary’s, from £895pp. HOW TO GET THERE: Trains from London to Penzance take around five hours.

Yoga, Tresco Spending a little time amidst the remote beauty of the Isles of Scilly is a relaxing enough thought, but here’s a way for you to up the relaxation ante: between 27 September and 2 October, you can combine that scenery and the closeness of the sea with a spot of Iyengar yoga. There are classes in the morning and afternoon, and that means you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the island of Tresco or take a boat trip out to one of its neighbours. e


Island Remedy Release your everyday stresses on a wellness break to Mauritius, where relaxation is woven into your holiday experience. With world-class spas, stunning scenery and an eclectic local culture, you’re guaranteed to return home refreshed and rejuvenated


ith its soft golden sands, endless days of sunshine and turquoise waters stretching along the island’s 205 miles of stunning coastline, there could hardly be a better place to relax than Mauritius. This beautiful Indian Ocean tropical hideaway is encircled by the coral reef just a few hundred metres off shore, with a verdant interior full of swaying sugar cane and dramatic volcanic peaks. The gorgeous setting and the tranquil sounds of the island is only the first part of your holiday relaxation plan, though. The second part is checking into one of Mauritius’s world-class top luxury resorts. The island, a small enclave off Madagascar, is famous not only for its stunning beaches, lush interior and eclectic mix of Indian, African, Asian and European cultures – it’s also well known for its superior spa and wellness offerings. Guests on the tropical island can benefit from a wealth of locally sourced wellness products made from exotic ingredients such as Mauritian sugar or coconut oil, although that’s not to say that there aren’t the leading international spa brands here either.


Mauritius’s spas lead the way in wellness, using a huge variety of treatments including traditional Indian ayurvedic massages to age-old African and Creole remedies using local herbs and flowers. The key to Mauritian island remedy is the beautiful setting. Where else can you indulge in early morning yoga sessions on the beach, meditation under the palm trees or hikes through its verdant mountain forests to reset and revive your mind? On a holiday to Mauritius, wellness is woven into the whole holiday experience, from the moment you arrive at your hotel to when you set foot into one of its top-class spas. The island is also renowned for its attentive service – which helps to release your everyday stresses the moment you touch down on the airport tarmac – its warm and friendly people and its tranquil setting in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Superior spas, lapping waves and golden sands. What could be more relaxing? ◆


The Holiday Place is here to create an experience to remember. They’ll create a holiday to suit your every need, from arranging a private dinner on a Mauritian beach to bringing the ancient wonders of the world alive with magical stories. It’s their attention to the detail that makes your holiday so special. Relax and unwind at Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa from just £1,279pp for seven nights, saving £600. The package includes spa experiences, access to its eleven restaurants, and free golf at its championship golf course. To book, visit or call 020 7644 1763.



Mauritius at Alexander House


The Alexander House Hotel and Utopia Spa in West Sussex is giving you and a guest the chance to win a taste of Mauritius with a luxury spa break giveaway. The hotel is giving away one night in a Cedar Lodge Garden Suite, breakfast for two, £100 to spend in the restaurant, late checkout, full use of the Utopia Spa and one 55-minute spa treatment pp. To win, see escapismmagazine. com/competition/ alexander-house

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Barefoot luxury on the Indian Ocean tropical island; relax among a tranquil setting; revive in Mauritius’ glittering waters; the beautiful beachfront Le Telfair Gold & Spa





Photograph by ###

Forget those visions of palm trees, white sands, coconuts, piùa coladas and rum punch. The real essence of Jamaica lies in its people, its rituals, its scenery – and its coffee. Mike Gibson returns to a country he first visited as a child and uncovers a slice of island life he never knew existed 53


ad I made a list of all the thoughts I expected to run through my head as I stood barefoot in the dirt during a Rastafari ritual in the peaks of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, ‘I know that song’ probably wouldn’t have troubled the top ten. But as I cast aside any awkwardness to dance to the pounding of 15 or so drums, I get the feeling that I do. It’s a few seconds before I realise this isn’t just my mind playing tricks – I actually do recognise the song that’s being chanted among the drumming and the wild but languid dancing. It’s Lady Gaga, and it’s followed by excerpts from Heavy D and the Boyz’ ‘Now That We Found Love’ and – of course – Rick Astley’s seminal classic ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. No, really. It’s only after the ceremony has been wrapped up that I realise there’s no reason why the Rastafari commune – known as the School of Vision – should be in complete disconnect from the rest of the world – or, evidently, from one-hit wonders of the ‘80s and ‘90s. It’s slightly less than an hour by car from Kingston, and the journey’s only that long because of the tiny roads that snake their way up the mountain passes. In fact, gazing at the breathtaking view over Kingston – spectacular in daylight but even more so lit up at night – suggests that Jamaica’s capital city isn’t as far away as it feels. The distance, metaphorically speaking, only seems so great thanks to the overwhelming feeling of seclusion. It’s a far cry from teeming streets or tourist beaches. For many, that vision of Jamaica – of palm trees, white sands and coconuts, piña coladas and rum punch on the beach or


At least 15 drums of all shapes and sizes are pounded at the Nyah Binghi ritual, providing the backing for vibrant dancing and hearty chanting (spiritual and otherwise).

snorkelling in shallow blue waters – is the dominant one. The country has all those things, of course, if they’re what you want – but to me, they’re not Jamaica. To me, Jamaica’s beating heart may as well be those drums and the throng dancing to them. It’s the Blue Mountains. It’s coffee. It’s music. Up in the commune, I’ve got two of those three bases covered (the coffee has to wait until tomorrow). And after a speech from the high priest to mark the culmination of the Nyahbinghi ritual, I-and-I, a particularly smiley member of the congregation, makes me realise my naivety when he tells me that although some of the community live in hand-built houses metres from the school’s centre and farm the land, there are plenty who live in and commute from Kingston. In fact, Selassie, the teenager who guides us back down the mountain trail to


YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS There’s a reason why there are only two things in the world that Richard Branson puts his name to personally. One is the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa, and the other is the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in – you guessed it – Jamaica. In Montego Bay, to be absolutely precise. Opened by the man himself in September 2011, the centre celebrates entrepreneurship among the local community as well as providing courses and qualifications and helping people to make the leap into setting up their own businesses. This, in turn, boosts the economy and creates jobs for more than just the centre’s graduates. The positive impact of the centre’s work is both abundantly clear and hugely heartening. Not only is my tour guide a product of the centre, the host at the guesthouse where I’m staying is, too. That’s in addition to graduates who now own successful businesses in everything from cake baking and hot sauce manufacturing to marketing, book publishing and even coral reef repair. In a country polarised by extreme wealth and abject poverty, projects like the Branson Centre make the task of filling in the gaps look more attainable than it might seem. The future certainly appears bright. To find out more about the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, visit:

our guesthouse (a task made that bit more tricky by both the fast-approaching twilight and the second-hand cannabis fumes I’ve spent the last hour and a half breathing in) is lighting the way with an iPhone while simultaneously playing music on it. It’s not reggae or tribal drums and chanting, but contemporary US hip hop. Hearing that, the pop culture references make more sense. Some of the kids go to school in the capital, and some of the adults work there and come up just for the ritual on the Sabbath. They have phones; they use the internet. Of course they do – they’re as connected to the world as anyone else. I suppose it’s tempting to think of Rastafari, a movement that worships a Biblical vision of God as Jah and holds emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia as the true Messiah, as distant and exotic; to trivialise it with images of smiling, stoned Rastas dressed in red, yellow and green. In my surprise at the community’s grasp of pop culture from the last 30 years, I’m probably guilty of having a similar – and equally naive – misconception.


Some people estimate that only around 1% of Jamaica’s population are Rastafari, but others claim more than 100,000 of its 2.8 million people class themselves as such, along with thousands of others around the world – in part down to Bob Marley’s influence as the highest-profile figurehead for the movement until his death in 1981. Regardless of whether you class it as a religion in its own right, which borders on the mainstream, or a movement followed by an enlightened few, there’s no novelty to be found here. Full of heatwaves and marijuana smoke from a flaming barrel, and backed by the sound of pounding drums, the room is a centre of spiritual intensity. It’s the first time I’ve seen a Rastafari ritual at first hand, although I’ve been to these peaks before (on a family holiday when I was seven). Cannabis is a I was raised on sacrament of the reggae, with a father Rastafari movement. whose frequenting Smoked in a joint or by using a longof south London stemmed pipe, it dancehalls in the aids meditation and 1980s fostered a love is supposed to bring users closer to Jah. of Jamaican culture that he passed on, and who took us to Jamaica as soon as the opportunity arose. I can recall, hazily, memories of fruit punch and snorkelling. But what stuck with me were memories of mountain hospitality and, even more strongly, the taste of Blue Mountain coffee. At a tiny house perched high above rolling valleys, with a spectacular view across the plantations, I get to try that famous coffee again. I meet the elderly

WAKE UP AND TASTE THE COFFEE: It may not have the weird factor that Kopi Luwak – civet coffee – has, but there’s no doubt that Blue Mountain coffee is among the best in the world. Served black with a drizzle of honey, it’s beautifully smooth and rich.

Photograph by ###



HOME AWAY FROM HOME As well as the rustic-as-it-gets Mount Edge Guest House, host Robyn also runs EITS Cafe, a restaurant catering for her guests as well as for those who are just dropping by. It’s classic Jamaican fare – rum and Ting is drunk, snapper is marinated and goat curry is enthusiastically devoured. What’s notable is that all of the food comes from Mount Edge’s farm outpost. It’s mountain food, grown mountainside – and what better way to eat in the peaks? Rooms at Mount Edge start from £36pppn;


woman who has been selling the best in the land for decades and – of course – I absolutely have to try some. First, I crunch beans ranging from mild to strong, then an extra-special roast that’s been aged for five years, before trays of mugs containing hot, strong, black coffee with spoonfuls of honey (which must have replaced condensed milk as the way to drink it in the mountains since I was last here) are brought out and eagerly drunk. If I were worried that the taste wouldn’t live up to my memories, I really needn’t have been. You can keep your Kopi Luwak – for me, there’s no better coffee than this anywhere in the world. The drawback? The bag of beans I brought home with me is getting perilously close to running out, and it’s a long way to go for a top-up. I’ve ticked off the music, and I’ve definitely taken care of the coffee. Thankfully, the final piece of the jigsaw – the mountain hospitality – isn’t far behind. Hand-built into the side of the mountains is Mount Edge, a guesthouse where labyrinthine networks of stone paths weave and wind under trees, between wooden sleeping cabins and – if you’re not careful – off the edge and down the rolling hills. If the School of Vision felt secluded, Mount Edge feels frozen in time. I’m not surprised when Robyn, our host and the owner of the house, its restaurant and farm, tells us that she regularly gets guests staying for weeks at a time so they can sit on its tranquil wooden balconies and write. I imagine it’s the kind Each room in Mount of place where you Edge has a balcony, don’t just forget what and some have day it is – you stop terraces. Luckily, they’re built into caring altogether. the same side of the My room has mountain, so they a floor-to-ceiling all share the same incredible views. window that I


don’t notice when I drop my bags off but which, upon returning after a spectacular dinner, floods the room with moonlight and provides an ethereal view across the mountains and beyond that is so spellbinding I can barely bring myself to leave it and turn in to go to sleep. It’s a fitting end to a day and a half that has often been surreal. But as I get into the minibus that’s heading back down the mountains to Kingston and then on to Montego Bay, I’m glad. I got to dance with Rastas; I tasted Blue Mountain coffee when I was old enough to really appreciate it; and I drifted off in a place that was unlike anywhere I’ve ever stayed. But mostly, I’m glad that my Jamaica is still, pretty much, exactly as it was when I left it. e Virgin Holidays offers seven nights in Jamaica from £900pp; visit to book.

TOUR DE FORCE If you’re going to Jamaica for more than just sun, sea and sand, This is Jamaica can create an itinerary that takes you from Montego Bay to Kingston, up to the mountains and back again. The company was founded by Tamia Harker, a travel enthusiast and graduate of the Branson Centre, who describes it as a “no-hassle, personal experience of Jamaica”. It lives up to that description, too: there are no complex guide books and no unnecessary frills at all – just an involving, vibrant and real look at this beautiful country. Mountain packages start at £180pp, including all travel and accommodation;

s p a fi sp a

spa days, spa breaks, facials, massage & more Spafinder Wellness 365™ is your online resource for finding the perfect spa experience in the UK & worldwide, plus inspiration for living well.


k r.c o .u fi n d e afi nd er.c o. uk


• Find a Spa Near You

• Discover Top Trends

• Get Special Offers

• Read Expert Advice

• Explore Wellness Breaks

• Become a Spa Insider





oga ia ls , y e, fac assag

re & mo

Accepted at over 850 locations in the UK and thousands more worldwide – the perfect gift of wellness! the

bannatyne S



m as sa ge , fa ci al s, yo ga & m or e

The Sandals® Destination You’ve Been Waiting For

BARBADOS Where Exclusive Is Always Inclusive

Barbados’ Only Five-Star Luxury Included® Resort


Dover Beach

Ocean Village Beachfront One Bedroom Butler Suite





ntroducing the new Sandals Barbados. Distinctively chic. Decidedly luxurious. Unmistakably Sandals. Nestled on one of the most beautiful beaches, it’s the only five-star resort in Barbados that’s designed exclusively for couples. From the decadently romantic suites with private plunge pools and English Guild-Trained Butlers to world-class dining in 11 specialty restaurants, Sandals Barbados is everything you’d expect a Luxury Included® resort to be. Plus, the majority of rooms & suites feature a tranquility soaking tub on the balcony or patio, and no other resort in Barbados includes more unlimited land and water sports like waterskiing and scuba.

Crystal Lagoon Swim-Up Club Level Luxury Room







OMAN FROM ABOVE: The image pictured was generated using satellite data. The data is ray-traced at extremely high resolution quality to give the amazingly lifelike result seen here. For more details and to order your own custom prints for anywhere on Earth please vist

Photograph by ###

Oman may lack the glitzy skyscrapers and trendy rooftop bars of Dubai or Doha, but its spectacular and peaceful mountain retreats and beautiful coastline more than make up for that, says Cathy Adams 61



HIGH LIFE: The spectacular setting of Jabal Akhdar, a hillside village where life feels so detached that goats seem the only company



giant gorge. It’s so detached from the rest of the world that there are only a few mountain goats for company – until the first fat drops of rain start to fall, when they disappear back into the canyon – and the guard at the gate is so bemused to see another human being that it takes him a while to remember to open the gate for us. During what is a mildly terrifying night without power, we sit on our balcony in the blackness, overlooking a craggy ravine, with the dregs of a bottle of merlot for company. The storm quickly passes, and Jabal Akhdar becomes lifeless once again. This is the Middle East as it should be – there’s none of the glitz of Dubai or the skyscrapers of Doha and, with temperatures hovering around the mid-20s, it’s brisk enough to warrant jeans and a jumper (in May). It’s hardly the Middle East I know. A hike around Jabal Akhdar the next morning rather underlines the point. Spring means rose season, and the peaks are covered in bushes with roses in all shades of pink sprouting from their tops. The views, stretching for miles over brown and green rocks, are some of the most arresting I’ve ever seen, and the locals welcome us with open arms (although if you’re offered Omani coffee, think twice – it’s bitter and watery, and tastes like cement at the bottom). There’s little to keep you in Jabal Akhdar for longer than a couple of days, though

– life slows down to a crawl up here, and despite those jaw-dropping views of deep ravines from every angle, it’s got none of the buzz (or the thick desert heat) of the city. But before we shunt our rented Nissan Pathfinder back to Muscat, we take a


Photograph by Steve Graham

hen you’re 2,000 metres above sea level in the northeast corner of Oman, standing over a deep canyon in the mountains of Jabal Akhdar, you can bet your last rial there’ll be a mega-storm raging. This is the second storm I’ve seen in 36 hours. Thick bolts The higher rainfall of purple lightning at higher altitudes are zigzagging down means shrubs and to the ground – trees grow and agriculture can be slightly too close supported – and that for my liking – and explains why Jabal Akhdar translates as the wind whips the ‘green mountain’. dust around in all directions. This kind of storm would probably decimate the UK, but in the rocky Hajar mountains it’s just standard after-hours entertainment. My friends and I had driven in a battered 4x4 for four hours from Muscat to get here. The hillside village of Jabal Akhdar is so remote that you’re counted in and out by military personnel, and it’s not unusual to drive for miles without seeing another living thing. But, as the old adage goes, good things come to those who wait – and after a frightening journey around hairpin bends and down dirt tracks, we finally arrive at the vertiginous retreat of Alila Jabal Akhdar, a clutch of luxury stone huts overlooking a














The Sultanate of Oman was once at the heart of the exotic spice route between the east and Zanzibar. Today, it retains a timeless charm and epitomises the authentic soul of Arabia. Bathed in year round sunshine, Oman is particularly traveller friendly, offering a beguiling combination of traditional Arabic culture, mighty forts, dramatic desert scenery, wild mountains and idyllic beaches. • Small group tours, tailor-made & self-drive • Highest quality services • Unrivalled experience • Exceptional value • Personal service

9-DAY OMAN TOURS FROM ONLY £1,595 To speak to an expert or request a brochure, please call 020 7873 5000 quoting ref: ESCM



NEED TO KNOW ◆ A double room at Shangri-La’s

detour to Wadi Shab, on the outskirts of the city. It’s a narrow valley, hemmed in by sandstone cliffs, with aquamarine freshwater pools ripe for swimming. It takes a steaming 30-minute clamber over the rocks before we slide into the cool water, swimming beneath jagged rocks from which cliff divers jump. The deeper into the valley


and its complex of caves you swim, the more beautiful it all becomes. Sufficiently cooled down and ready to face Muscat, Oman’s capital, we cruise along alternatively modern and ramshackle highways back into urbanisation. Muscat is essentially a sprawl of low rises and souqs scooped out of the rocky Hajar mountains, and it feels like somewhere that only exists because it has to. It’s got all the ornate tradition that the Middle East does so well – there’s the giant Sultan Qaboos mosque (its huge chandelier, the largest in the world, weighs 8.5 tonnes) and the Muttrah Souq in the oldest part of the city, selling almost everything – but some things are changing quickly. Muscat still makes its money primarily through the export of fish, pearls and dates, but the tourism industry is gradually picking up strength. Unfortunately, we don’t stumble across any glitzy rooftop hotel bars, and nightlife is almost limited to a tiki cocktail at Trader Vic’s at the InterContinental, which feels more like gatecrashing a wedding than a night out. But what Muscat does have is miles and miles of beautiful coastline facing the glittering Gulf Omanis refer to of Oman, with the souq, which is golden sands, a around 200 years sizeable population old, as the Market of Darkness because of dolphins and its dense network of the looming Hajar narrow alleys, lined mountains in the with shops, keeps out the daylight. background. The

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah mega-resort, slightly outside the city, offers the best of both worlds: close to Muscat proper, but with a private slice of Omani sea. While it’s tempting to lounge in the infinity pool at the resort’s Al Husn hotel or eat fresh fish and watch the sun set at traditional Omani seafood restaurant Bait al Bahr, a speedboat trip into the bay reveals spinner dolphins splashing around in the clear water. There may be no skyscrapers in sight, and the mountain storms might be kneetremblingly frightening, but I think I like this quiet version of the Middle East. e

Photographs by Mlenny Photography/Getty Images, Haytham Pictures / Alamy

MARBLE MARVEL: An area of Muscat’s huge and beautiful Sultan Qaboos mosque, which boasts the world’s biggest chandelier

Barr Al Jissah resort starts from around £144 a night. ◆ Rooms at Alila Jabal Akhdar start from around £180 a night. ◆ Return economy fares to Muscat with Qatar Airways start from £577pp. Qatar Airways operates 45 flights per week from London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh to Doha, flying to over 130 worldwide destinations including Asia, Australia and Africa. Return business class flights start from £5,474pp.

“A Luxurious Retreat within a Secluded Destination”

Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Muscat

Nestled in between the dramatic backdrop of rugged mountains and pristine waters of the Sea of Oman, Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is set on 124 acres of stunning scenery and home to three luxury hotels.

The 500-metre Lazy River enables guests an unusual method to travel between Al Bandar and Al Waha by floating between the two hotels’ main swimming pools on controlled water current.

The property comprises the exclusive Al Husn, the business Al Bandar and the family-oriented Al Waha hotel. All 640 rooms and suites overlook the Sea of Oman providing guests with 600 metres of pristine coastline.

The name of Al Waha means “The Oasis”. The hotel is nestled at the foot of a mountain range through which vehicular access has been made possible by a manmade tunnel. An ideal family getaway, Al Waha is Oman’s first dedicated leisure hotel and has been designed in such a way that the hotel’s swimming pools form an oasis incorporating many date palm trees. The hotel has a total of 262 rooms and suites.

Al Husn means “The Castle” and the hotel’s design reflects a fusion of Moorish architecture in the style of the Alhambra emphasizing the Portuguese influence on Oman’s architecture. With its 180 rooms and suites, unique services, amenities and privileges; guests of Al Husn hotel enjoy the exclusive use of a fully appointed gym, private beach and beach bar, Infinity pool, library and hospitality lounge. Moreover, Al Husn guests are welcomed to a daily afternoon tea, pre-dinner evening drinks and complimentary in-room mini bar.

/Shangrilabaraljissa @shangrilamuscat


Al Bandar means “The Town” and the hotel’s architecture is inspired by old Muscat, featuring buildings of varying heights and a variety of ornate balconies. With 198 rooms and suites in Al Bandar, the hotel’s dominant feature is its large unconventionally shaped swimming pool spanning 1,400 square metres. Its unique fixed tiled sun beds are half-immersed to allow guests to lie down and relax within the pool. Al Bandar also provides a Jacuzzi and children’s pool.

Other leisure facilities include CHI, The Spa, Adventure Zone, GameZ, Mini Golf, Al Mazaar Souk, Cool Zone Kids Club, Marina and Extra Divers Dive Centre.

The resort boasts 21 dining outlets serving unique cuisines such as Lebanese, Moroccan, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian and South American.

Tel.: +968 2477 6666 Email: Website:




There’s an undeniable laziness that comes with having English as a first language, and it’s easy to make the assumption that, wherever you are, someone’s going to parle anglais. But if you bother to learn just a handful of words and phrases in the local language, chances are you’ll find people friendlier, more helpful and more welcoming. INSIDER TIP: “If you’re heading to the Far East, it pays to learn some key phrases before you go. Google Translate is an obvious starting point and apps like Pleco really help in China. For multiple places, consider downloading the 50 Languages app.” Lucy McGuire, Virgin Holidays Brand Journalist

Different countries have different codes of etiquette, so what’s ok in London or Sydney might be wildly offensive, or even illegal, elsewhere. Before you travel, it’s a good idea to find out what goes – and what doesn’t. By respecting customs and etiquette, you’ll get a warmer welcome and smooth the passage for your fellow travellers. INSIDER TIP: “In Japan, people greet each other by bowing. When bowing to someone of higher social status, a deeper, longer bow indicates respect. For foreigners, a nod of the head is usually sufficient.” Sue Livsey, Virgin Holidays Product Development Manager

Everyone wants to experience destinations ‘like a local’ on holiday, and there’s a lot to be said for giving the tourist trail a wide berth and seeking out spots where the locals hang out. And the best way to find out where the natives go to eat, drink and play? Ask them – people at your hotel, in shops, restaurants and bars will be able to tell you where to get a real, unfiltered taste of the place. INSIDER TIP: “Hidden in a back street in the west of Barbados is Wendy’s, a rum shop which always draws a local crowd due to the cheap drinks served by the bottle, great fresh food and karaoke.” Caroline Gallichan, Virgin Holidays Destination Manager, Barbados



Getting to – and getting around in – your destination rarely comes without a price, but there are things you can do to minimise any negative impact. Flying has an environmental cost, and while carriers are working to improve emissions you can do your bit too by taking fewer, longer trips. Once on holiday, local transport, bike hire and walking tours are all great, low-impact ways to see a place. INSIDER TIP: “Cape Town’s perfect for exploring on bike, particularly as the sun sets. Try a guided ride, which finishes with bubbly and canapes on the waterfront.” Faziela Mohideen, Virgin Holidays Concierge

Being a responsible traveller doesn’t have to begin when you get there and end when you leave, and there are plenty of ways to make sure your impact on the place you visit is a positive, rather than a negative, one. Visit to find out more about what you can do, from volunteering to saving water. INSIDER TIP: “Contact your rep before you travel to find excursions or opportunities that benefit communities, like the Dharavi tour, Mumbai’s only social tour operator which invests money right back into the slum community (realitytoursandtravel. com).” Sue Livsey


Being a better traveller isn’t just packing the right clothes, it’s about getting more out of a trip for both you and the locals. Here’s how…

6. IT’S IN THE BAG Pack for a Purpose encourages travellers to make space in their luggage for supplies needed by projects at their destination. Visit for information on how you can help.



3 1




Illustration by Mark Boardman

4 67

Fly Away Home Find your ultimate relaxation by matchmaking chillout locations and homely accommodation in one of Airbnb’s huge range of unique properties around the world


e know when you’re switching on your out of office you can’t wait for a bit of chillout time. But sometimes finding that sanctum of solace can be a gamble. Adding a fancy hotel into the itinerary sounds like an easy and luxurious option but can leave you unable to relax like you would at home. Having that homely feel to your holiday might be just what you need to add that inner peace and quiet. Your own front door, couch, kitchen and all the perks of a real home. We’ve put together some of our top chill locations and homely Airbnbs to match. Whether your idea of de-stressing is kicking back in a beach-front villa, in a buzzy city sanctuary or aboard a canal boat, with Airbnb’s huge range of unique properties your sure to find your idea of feet-up-no-worries happiness. How’s that for a bit of zen-spiration…

Best for: Beaches

Need to hear the sea and feel the sand between your toes to relax? Our top tip for shore-side calm is Bali where you can pick from a range of


Airbnbs including rustic family-run homestays to a cool modern Balinese mansion. If you’re looking for somewhere a bit closer to home, try Portugal. With air conditioning, a pool and heated flooring, this Tavira villa is modern – but the untouched beaches of the Ria Formosa reserve are only a five minute drive away.

Best for: City life

City breaks are buzzy and fun, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be relaxing. Check into a palm tree-sporting apartment in California’s laid-back Santa Barbara – next to Los Padres forest, and close to the sea, it has the best of both worlds.

Best for: Pure escapism

There isn’t much that is much more chilled out than tuning out of real life by going off the beaten track. Airbnb has properties in far flung locations such as Brisbane and Bali, if you really feel like leaving reality behind. Just a word of advice, though: after waking up to the sound of the surroundings on your doorstep, it might be hard to go back…



Check In Check out for more inspiration.

HOME COMFORTS: Feel at home wherever you are in the world with a choice of more than 800,000 unique Airbnb properties


STREET ART NAMED DESIRE: A mural on a building in Friedrichstrasse, in Berlin’s Kreuzberg. The district is at the heart of the city’s revival, with hidden art spaces, great food and a former airfield that’s now a park





REBORN TO BE WILD Photograph Photograph by Eddy Galeotti by ###

Imaginative, artistic reuse of old buildings means Berlin is constantly being reinvented. Victoria Stewart revisits the German capital to experience the shock of the new 71


ERCHED on a brick wall, crumpled maps in hands and in need of refreshment, two of us are sitting among a sea of identical-looking tourists. The past few days have been fun, frenzied and an important part of any Berlin initiation weekend – but having strolled down the Linden Boulevard, taken pictures of the Reichstag and visited Potsdammer Platz, the Berlin Wall Memorial and the Brandenberg Gate, we’ve never once left the sightseeing trail. We haven’t yet worked out what it is that makes this city tick. In the afternoon, we get lost down an alleyway that leads to a secret cinema and are handed leaflets to an all-night party in an old warehouse. We fall into a cafe, once used as something else, where people lounge on ramshackle furniture and chat with their neighbours. This feels like a more real Berlin than the one we’ve been trailing and, as we hop on the plane home, we promise to return for a proper explore. And so in May, during the 25th anniversary year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a friend and I find ourselves in Kreuzberg, in the south of the city, hungry for adventure. But we don’t want to get too stuck in our guidebooks – this time we want to learn about one of Europe’s coolest capitals through its street art, which is prevalent and often highly political, and by walking through its once-forgotten spaces to find out how the various changes that are going on are transforming the cityscape. Our adventure begins near Warschauer Strasse U-bahn station, where we meet our guide, Andrea Peevers from Berlinagenten tours, and walk to Urban Spree. During the 1840s, this gigantic maze-like space was a train repair depot, but it has since


A HEADLESS MONSTER LOOMS OVER A DOORWAY been transformed into a home for artistic projects. On the walls, a headless, tenhanded monster looms over a doorway, a brilliant blue lizard sniffs the roof, a cowboy sprawls backwards as though hit by a bullet and a spotted white baby’s head is silhouetted against a black background. These days, anyone can weave through this labyrinth, discovering beer gardens, an art gallery, a Sunday flea market, street food vans and clubs that host all-night raves. From here we cross Oberbaum Bridge, overlooking a riverside area known as Media Spree, controversial due to the building of HQs for The double-decked media outlets such Oberbaum Bridge, as MTV (in a former which spans the warehouse) and the River Spree, links Friedrichshain and O2 World in an empty Kreuzberg, once shipping warehouse divided by the Berlin by the station, both Wall. It is seen as a symbol of unity. of which are



BITE CLUB Itinerant street feast, currently on Saturdays outside a shipping container building. Try Heisser Hobel’s spätzle (floury noodles tossed in Bavarian cheese, chives and fried onions) and wash all that down with an elderflower, mint and Prosecco cooler. Platoon Kunsthalle, Schönhauser Allee 9, Prenzlauer Berg

BURGERMEISTER Favourite with hipsters and normal punters alike, this converted toilet is home to some first-rate burgers, so expect to queue. Order a Meisterburger (seeded bun, medium rare beef patty, caramelised onions, lettuce, tomatoes) and chase with beer or homemade applesaftscharte. Oberbaumstrasse 8, 10997 Berlin

MARKTHALLE NEUN Huge hall that houses a Thursday street food night and a Saturday fine food/fresh produce market. Top picks include Bonvodou chocolate stall (go early), smoked fish from Glut + Späne and microbrewery HeidenPeters. Eisenbahnstrasse 42, 10997 Berlin

Welcome to Sk i Verbier Ski Verbier is the oldest and most established chalet operator in Verbier offering: E xc luSi V E ch a l E tS i n V E r bi E r i m pEcc a bl E fi V E S ta r SE rV icE E xcEp t iona l c u iSi n E t h roughou t you r S tay pr i Vat E i n-r E Sort dr i V i ng SE rV icE i n-houSE ch i l dc a r E We have recently joined forces with Verbier Exclusive to create the largest specialist tour operator in Verbier.

w w | +44 (0) 207 401 1101 w w | +44 (0) 1608 674 011





A former train repair depot, now home to an array of events and projects from expansive street art to vintage sales, a flea market, clubs and a gallery. Revaler Strasse 99, 10245 Berlin

TEMPELHOFER FREIHEIT Sprawling former Nazi airport boasting plenty of grass to run around on, fly kites, eat ice creams or sunbathe, and tarmac ex-airstrips for cycling and rollerblading. Gigs and exhibitions are laid on inside the old airport. Admission free. Open daily until sunset, entrances at Tempelhofer Damm, Columbiadamm and Oderstrasse

ABOVE: The eye has it in this street mural in Kreuzberg, while (BELOW) it’s contained enthusiasm at Kunsthalle in Prenzlauer Berg.


situated near the wall. Gentrification is evident elsewhere; a one-time marmalade factory is now a residential building, while the future of the impressive, brown-bricked Army Bakery, built in 1805 to store coal and salt, is under negotiation. On the west side of the bridge is Pink Mural, by the artist Blu, which depicts

British Airways flies from Heathrow to Berlin Tegel International from £63 (one way). The Michelberger hotel in Friedrichshain is relaxed, informal and arty. Rooms from £50 per night.


Formerly part of Berlin Wall and death strip, now a public park with a Sunday flea market and live karaoke sessions in an amphitheatre. Gleimstrasse 55, 10437 Berlin

German version of mac’n’cheese) and tacos.  On Sunday, we meet Walid from Fat Tire, who leads us on a Berlin bike tour. Pedalling along the River Spree, we learn that the home of the Tresor techno superclub was once an abandoned power station and pass a garden-cum-gallery filled with parts of the wall. We stop to look at TommyHaus, a squat since the 1970s, which now hosts youth organisations and gigs. Finally, we race each other up the former runways of Tempelhofer Freiheit, an airport built by the Nazis, watching children flying kites and trying to imagine what it was like before its transformation. That afternoon, we join thousands of sweaty Berliners in Mauerpark, Prenzlauer, now home to the city’s largest flea market but in earlier times part of the wall’s ‘death strip’. Here, it isn’t stalls that catch our attention but BearPit Karaoke, an X-Factorstyle singing contest with a huge crowd. As we walk away, we realise we have still only scratched the surface of what modern Berlin can offer. Needless to say, a third trip has been planned – and next time we might ditch the tours and guidebooks altogether. e

Photograph by (main) Alamy and (inset) Manuel Reinartz


a pink human made up of and eating hundreds of tiny terrified pink humans, suggestive of the power of Nazi rule. We move on – this time to satisfy hunger pangs – to Burgermeister, where delicious, heaving bacon and cheese-topped beefburgers are served from a converted toilet under a flyover in the middle of a busy junction. Close by is Markthalle Neun, which was blacked out during World War Two, survived air raids and stood empty for many years. Three years ago, when it was purchased from the council by a supermarket chain, locals collaborated to revive the market instead following a mass sit-in. Today, it hosts a TommyHaus Thursday street food is named after night and a regular Tommy Weisbecker, weekend market. a 23-year-old anarchist killed by Our final stop with West German police Andrea is in Prenzlauer on 2 March 1972. Berg, further north, Weisbecker was part of a leftwing group. where we find an epic structure made out of 34 shipping containers in what was previously empty space. Platoon Kunsthalle describes itself as a “living social sculpture – not an office, not a gallery… a playground for the city”. Depending on the day, you’ll find exhibitions, artist residencies, workshops or club nights. Today, there is a bar and outside it Bite Club, a street feast that plants itself in different parts of Berlin and features around ten stalls and vans that sell Venezuelan arepas, pizza, spätzle (like a

Island of Adventure Whether it’s food, events, activities or history that makes your perfect trip, Jersey has something for everyone. Enjoy a two-night break from just £99pp with British Airways


t’s official: Jersey is the warmest place in the British Isles. And as the sun starts to set on a British summer, escape across the Channel to Jersey from just £99pp with British Airways.


The island packs a huge gastronomic punch for its size, with plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants to whet your appetite. The emphasis of many restaurants is on locally sourced cuisine, and many dishes – such as Jersey’s famous black butter, cream and super fresh seafood – come straight from farm to fork. For a true Jersey foodie experience, try The Oyster Box in St Brelade, overlooking St Brelade’s Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.


For a small island, Jersey manages a packed events calendar. For starters, there’s October’s foodie Tennerfest, where over 100 of Jersey’s restaurants offer fixed price meals, meaning you can try some outstanding cuisine for less. October also sees everything from Minis to rally cars race around the island’s lanes in the 2014 Jersey Paperclix Rally. For something a little less high-octane, the end of September welcomes the Branchage Film Festival, which mixes cutting-edge films with music and other events.

you don’t fancy going it alone. More dynamic activities include sea kayaking, blokarting and coasteering – a fusion of rock climbing, scrambling, swimming and cliff jumping, all taking place on Jersey’s beautiful beaches.


Jersey is rich in historic sites to discover. There are many prehistoric tombs and medieval castles to discover, as well as plenty of reminders of Jersey’s role in World War II. Don’t miss the engaging War Tunnels experience, to learn more about the island’s occupation during World War II – it’s a must-see for history fans. ◆

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


Keen walkers will love Jersey. With its vast network of coastal paths, rugged clifftops and around picturesque harbours, Jersey is an ideal location to discover on foot – and there are plenty of organised walking tours to join if


Valid for selected travel between (1) 1 Nov 14 - 28 Feb 15 and (2) 1 - 31 Oct 14. Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited.





HOME OR AWAY? Airbnb’s model means you’ll always feel at home when you’re abroad, and we’ve got £500 in vouchers for one winner to spend on accommodation of their choice


ometimes it’s great to get out of your comfort zone when you’re travelling. But, equally, every holiday needs a touch of home comfort, no matter who you’re with or where you’re staying. Welcome to doing things differently – and accommodation rental platform Airbnb knows better than any the value of being able to unwind on your travels. With more than 800,000 properties in 190 countries, it’s mastered the art of providing a welcoming and warm holiday experience that won’t leave you feeling like you’re in limbo – whether you’re a few miles from home or on the other side of the world. In an Airbnb property, you’ll benefit from all the perks of home – a front door, a sofa, a kitchen – because you’re staying in somebody else’s. You’ll get that homely feeling at the same time as discovering new and exciting parts of the world. You’ll receive exactly the level of interaction you want with your host, whether that’s being left entirely to your own devices, or chatting with them and getting recommendations about the things to do or places to eat in the area. They could recommend a local market bursting with artisanal treasures, a hiddenaway restaurant away from the tourist traps or a place to swim undisturbed by the crowds – whatever you fancy doing, you’re guaranteed to get impartial advice from someone who’s genuinely in the know.


Near or far, you can’t put a price on the feeling of complete relaxation you can ordinarily only achieve at home, mixed with the excitement of being in a new place and getting out of your routine. And booking couldn’t be easier – just browse Airbnb’s Views and Wishlists online for inspiration, choose a property, and pay directly on the site. What’s more, we’re offering one lucky reader £500 in Airbnb vouchers to spend on any of its properties. So, whether you’re looking out over the lip of an infinity pool in Ko Samui, surveying the forest from a balcony in Costa Rica or having a barbecue in a garden in Lisbon, you’ll always take a bit of home with you. And isn’t that what travelling’s really about?

HOW TO WIN You can win £500 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 competition/airbnb-chilloutvouchers. For more details, as well as a full list of terms and conditions, see the website.


Photograph by ###




The Saltire’s blue was officially specified as Pantone 300 in 2003

THIS IS NO DEEP-FRIED MARS BAR! It wasn’t that long ago that some looked down on the idea of Scottish cuisine – but its reputation now could hardly be better. Neil Davey explores the delights of Glasgow and Edinburgh




hen Glasgow was named European Capital of Culture in 1990, how we laughed. Back then, thanks to Rab C Nesbitt and Russ Abbott, it was synonymous with incoherence, headbutting and drinking. Fast forward a few years and our soft southern perception wasn’t much different. When I said in 2007 that I was doing a culinary tour of Glasgow, the reaction was predictably derogatory. “Gourmet Glaswegian? Vintage Irn-Bru and a deepfried limited edition Mars Bar?” The truth was very different. This was a city on the rise, with a passionate population, stunning architecture and a rapidly developing food scene. There were two standouts on that trip: dinner at the Abode Hotel, where executive chef Michael Caines was encouraging his local brigade to do marvellous things with excellent Scottish produce, and a tasting of some brilliant Bavarian-style beers at WEST Brewery led by its founder, Petra Wetzel. Seven years on, the sneers have stopped and Glasgow has a deserved reputation >>

Not your average pigeon at Timberyard in the Scottish capital

Photograph by ###


>> SNEERING ABOUT GLASGOW HAS NOW STOPPED >> as one of the finest foodie cities in the UK (well, in the UK at the time of writing). This trip also has the satisfying sense of things coming full circle, thanks to a knockout meal at The Gannet (which was started by two men who met while working at the Abode) and the fact that my guide for the first afternoon, after sampling all eight WEST beers on offer and some excellent German drinking food, was the aforementioned Ms Wetzel. She is the perfect person to comment on Glasgow’s culinary scene, having witnessed it both as an adopted Glaswegian – she is German born but has lived here for 21 years – and as part of the culinary industry. “When I was 19, I started studying at Glasgow University,” Petra explains. “My dad came to visit, and said: ‘What’s the Glasgow lager?’ I bought him a Tennent’s, he tried it and said: ‘We’re not drinking that again!’” Over the next decade, from that inspiration came the decision to brew their own beers. “We were the first business to pitch on Dragon’s Den! They thought nobody would drink German beers in Scotland,” she adds. “Boy, have we proved them wrong.” And how. If you can find a single decent establishment in the city that doesn’t stock at least one WEST beer, I’d be very surprised. This success is down to both quality – the St Mungo (named after Glasgow’s patron saint) is probably my favourite lager – and Petra’s zeal: a local restaurateur smiles and tells me he and his colleagues refer to it as “being Petra-fied”. “When I first arrived, mum and dad would say: ‘Do they not have salt and pepper?’ Everything was bland. Now I could


name 20 great restaurants in Glasgow.” While it’s not all good news – “So many burger places! What is it with burgers?” – Petra is proud of her adopted home. “Look at Argyle Street. When I moved here, it was run-down tenement buildings and closed shops. Now there’s The Gannet, the Kelvingrove Café, Crabshakk, Mother India, The Finniestone… within 300 yards, you have some of the best eateries in Glasgow in a street that, ten years ago, nobody in their right mind would have chosen to walk down.”



Glasgow’s relationship with Indian food led to the invention of chicken tikka masala. The mantle now passes to Babu, which sells brilliant, great value heat-athome takeaways and vibrant lunch snacks. It’s an absolutely wonderful hybrid of Indo-Scottish culture – much better than CTM.

11 Blythswood Square,

Yes, it’s a hotel restaurant – but what a hotel restaurant. It adeptly straddles the traditional and the modern, celebrating local ingredients. For anyone who doubts that, here are four words to consider: “Scottish beef, Josper Grill.” And if that doesn’t work, consider Hebridean prawns and that same charcoal-fired cooking method. To finish, there’s camomile tea sorbet.

THE GANNET 1155 Argyle Street,

“Modern, seasonal, Scottish” is the tagline of this bang on the money restaurant. Cooking is faultless, ingredients impeccable, and there’s the occasional twist – scallops with raw peas and confit chicken wing, for example.



21212 3 Royal Terrace,

TIMBERYARD Lady Lawson Street, According to its website, Timberyard is ”aware of sustainability and the environment... Ingredients supplied by small, local, artisan growers, breeders, producers, suppliers & foragers”. If that makes it sound a little pretentious, perhaps it is, but someone here can REALLY cook. And yes, as you’d probably worked out, it’s in a former timberyard.

The big question, of course, is this: how does Glasgow compare to its great rival, Edinburgh? “Edinburgh’s holding its own,” restaurateur Carina Contini says with a laugh. “Scotland’s changed a lot over the last 20 years, but we’ve got more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the UK and all competition keeps you on your toes.” It’s varied competition, too, from the bargain small plate brilliance of The Dogs to 21212, which is either a funky bijou hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant or a Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms. I’m still not sure which – but it’s blooming good, very comfortable, friendly and crazily creative: ingredients from various courses in a lunch there include malt loaf, Branston Pickle and black and white puddings.

Together with her husband Victor, Carina has been part of Edinburgh’s restaurant scene for several years, first at Centotre (recently renamed Contini Ristorante) in the New Town, and more recently – in a perfect hybrid of the couple’s Scottish-Italian roots – at Contini Caffe, which offers its visitors both gelato and a porridge bar. As it happens, the caffe is at the centre of the Contini Venn diagram, the other side being the Scottish Cafe, their award-winning restaurant under the National Gallery of Scotland, where Carina is taking local to a whole new level. Herbs come from just outside the door, as many of the vegetables as possible are from their acre of kitchen garden a few miles away “and we buy from 70 artisan suppliers every week”, she adds. The next step will be their own honey.

PARKLIFE: Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, who was also responsible for the Crystal Palace in London.

There’s very little conventional about Paul Kitching’s cooking – and in the wrong hands, hybrid dishes such as Johnson’s cauliflower cheese (which features risotto, black pudding, apple and walnuts and Branston) could be disastrous. In Kitching’s, they’re delicious. The name refers to the menu options – two choices, one choice, two choices, etc.

BISTRO MODERNE 15 North West Circus Place,

The ethos of a French bistro, the best ingredients from Scotland and the brilliance of Mark Greenaway. It’s ludicrously good value (threecourse lunch for £15, anyone?), gleefully playful, and the drinks list includes experimental offerings.

Photograph by ###

“We lost our food culture for a wee while,” Carina declares. “But we got it back, and the speed it’s moved on from deep-fried Mars Bars to now…” She smiles. “We’ve got scallops, the best beef, our venison is second to none, grouse, raspberries, artisan cheeses… As an Italian, I’ve been brought up eating great food. We’d get fish from the harbour half a mile away, fry it in pig fat from half a mile the other way, the potatoes came from the farm which was five seconds away. It was quality, it was simple, and we’ve just tried to maintain that. We’ve got so much here that we don’t have to look too far to get hold of things.” So which city is best? At the moment, for its sheer energy and vibe, I’m saying Glasgow – but don’t be surprised if that changes in a year or two. Whatever happens (and whether or not you end up needing to flash your passport to visit an independent Scotland) – the real winners in this culinary battle are, happily for us, the diners. f



REVIEWS Cross-Channel style in N1, a touch of Mexico in Clapham, and films, feathers and fire

£ £ £ £

343 Fulham Road, SW10 9TW; Nearest Tube: Fulham Broadway/South Kensington The spicy, chunky garlic prawns at Fire and Feathers are the best thing on its compact menu.

What’s the draw: Peri-peri chicken

may remind you of a certain ubiquitous chain – but this version is smaller, tastier and made with a lot of love.

What to drink: The food menu might be a little on the compact side, but drinks-wise there’s a big and enticing range of authentic Portuguese cocktails, wines and port. What to eat: Start with

delicious garlic prawns (£8.95) – the best dish on the menu – before moving on to a half poussin rubbed with one of three sauces, from mild to ‘dynamite’ (£7.95). Want to swerve the bird? Order the spicy sea bass (£13.95) – it may not have the feathers, but it’s got the fire. – Mike Gibson

ALMEIDA £ £ £ £

30 Almeida Street, N1 1AD; Nearest Tube: Angel

What’s the draw: Anglo-French

Almeida, right next to the Almeida Theatre (funnily enough), is all about food with texture and invention.

What to drink: Course-by-course wine matching from a great list, which goes from classic French and European fare to more modern drops from Some Young Punks and Berry Bros & Rudd.

What to eat: Snails with Parmesan gnocchi (£10) to start and the signature Côte de Boeuf (£32) as the main, with roast vegetables. – Mike Gibson

COMENSAL STEPHEN ST KITCHEN £ £ £ £ 21 Stephen Street, W1T 1LN; Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road

What’s the draw: The BFI’s very own restaurant, where you can dine at the bar, at a table or in one of the private in-house screening rooms.

What to drink: Delicious house

cocktails and an occasionally eccentric spirits list (in a good way).

What to eat: A diverse menu

makes it difficult to know where to start. Everything we tried was both inventive and delicious, with the beetroot and labneh (£6.50, pictured left), a fantastically balanced starter, and the pork belly (£15.50) – always a good yardstick – a tender treat. – Mike Gibson


£ £ £ £ 32 Abbeville Road, SW4 9NG; Nearest Tube: Clapham Common

What’s the draw: One of London’s

most authentic Mexicans, there’s much more to the menu than the Tex-Mex burritos you’ll find elsewhere.

What to drink: Along with 13 tequilas

and mezcals, there are eight superb house cocktails. El Comensal (£7.50), with tequila, mint, lime and a warming hint of red chilli, was our favourite.

What to eat: Start with a colossal molcajete of guacamole, and make sure you try the Taco Tulum (£6.95) – battered cod rolled in a tortilla with crunchy slaw and coriander mayo. But try not to fight over it – it’s meant for sharing. – Krista Faist


CHILL OUT The Great Gift Company Digital Wine Thermometer, £8 Did you know that a riesling is supposed to be served at 8°C, but a chardonnay’s optimum temperature is 9°C? If that’s important to you (as it is to us), you’ll want this digital thermometer. Never again will you be undone by the fridge.

Different wines chill at different temperatures, and even some reds are served chilled

WEAPONS OF CHOICE Wine snob? Gadget freak? You’ll be needing these tools of the expert drinker’s trade

SABRE TOOTH Menu Karim Rashid Champagne Sabre, £100 When it comes to sabrage (that’s opening a champagne bottle by severing its neck to you and me), a bog standard sword is so passé. Use this rather eroticlooking sabre from Menu – just don’t blame us if you end up with a wet floor and a black eye.

STEM SELLS LSA International Velvet Wine Glasses, £60 There’s no greater first-world problem than breaking the stem of a wine glass. If you can relate to that, these arty-looking but slightly more rugged glasses from LSA will make sure you’re looking sophisticated, rather than just clumsy.



1 Wild Card Brewery Jack of Clubs, London. Label? What label? Wild Card Brewery’s signature is a playing card on the bottle, and its Jack of Clubs ruby beer, inspired by American and West Country ales, is a cracker – sweet and malty on the palate, with a bitter, hoppy finish. 4.5%, 330ml, £2.70;



2 Brewers & Union Bernstein, Germany Brewers & Union’s Bernstein is an amber lager in the classic German mould. Unfiltered, and with a maltiness that evokes hearty, bready flavours as well as more subtle toffee ones, it’s a beer that deserves an appreciative palate. 5%, 500ml, £2.70; 3 Wild Beer Co Epic Saison, Somerset Wild Beer Co describes its Epic Saison as a “transcontinental fusion” – which means it’s influenced by Belgian beer with a bitterness that comes from the US/Japanese Sorachi Ace hops. 5%, 330ml, £2.60;


4 To Øl Liquid Confidence, Denmark A large and spicy Imperial Stout, the brilliantly named Liquid Confidence pours almost jet black, with a light, bright head to top it off. There are notes of coffee, chocolate and even a healthy punch of chili to complement a smooth, creamy texture. 12.2%, 375ml, £6.89;



5 Dogfish Head/Charles Wells DNA, USA/UK A tale of two halves in more ways than one, DNA – a collaboration between Delaware craft brewer Dogfish and UK-based Charles Wells – is rich and nutty on the palate with a finish that bursts into life with notes of zingy citrus. 4.5%, 330ml, £1.79; 6 Beavertown 8 Ball, London A nod to Americana and West Coast IPAs, 8 Ball’s heavy dose of rye gives it a hearty spiciness. Dry hops added after fermentation wake it up with punchy, tropical zest. 6.2%, 330ml, £2.95;



7 Speight’s Gold Medal, New Zealand Speight’s has been brewing some of the most popular beer in New Zealand since 1876 and Gold Medal, its flagship ale, is malty and hoppy, with only a tiny hint of sweetness. Pair it with gamey meats to release its full character. 4%, 330ml, £1.75;

Beavertown’s founder is Logan Plant, son of Led Zep singer Robert

The craft beer revolution’s in full swing, and it’s time to wake up and smell the hops. Here are seven favourites to get you started, from the UK and beyond 88

Photograph Photograph by David Harrison by ###


When my best friend, Jess, won a promotion and invited me to celebrate her success by joining her on an all expenses paid, week-long, break. I had visions of sunny beaches, clubs, bars and cocktails. What I got was a Sura Detox 7-day juice fast and colonic retreat, which meant seven days without food and alcohol, limited phone signal and snail’s pace wifi. Was I really up for this? Could I really go without food for a week? No, of course not! But, we agreed, after a summer of festivals and partying it was time to get healthy. The location for our Detox Retreat was a farmhouse in the verdant nature of deepest darkest Devon that reminded me of childhood holidays. It was all fresh air, green fields and starlit skies. The Sura Detox team had hearts as big as Christmas and when they told us all we had to do was to listen to our body and follow its needs, I was shocked. With a lifestyle like mine, where every hour is accounted for, was I really free to stop? Would they really support me in following the programme or not? Could I really choose to sleep for a week instead of going to Daniel’s meditation and Tai Chi, Dao’s nutritional talks and Nikki’s Yoga? Apparently so!

Taking their advice seriously, I wove my own detox programme and dipped in and out of things as my mood dictated. I switched off my phone and only checked my emails every other day. Taking advantage of the incredible range of massage therapies that Benita offered us, and of course, the swimming pool and sauna, my tired muscles and overactive mind began to relax. During my food intolerance test Kate confirmed a problem with gluten that I’d suspected for ages. And my hourlong talking session with her was amazing. I unravelled several personal and work related difficulties that had been plaguing me for years. I went to most of Dao’s nutritional talks and all I can say is that the man is a genius. I won’t say the detox was easy, because it wasn’t. At times I felt terrible. But deep inside me I could feel something profoundly life changing happening. I began to feel clean from the inside out. My skin was soft, my eyes were bright and I could feel a more natural energy and passion for life arising. In short, if you have a Bucket List or a Life Wish List, go do a Detox. You won’t regret it, I promise!

WIN YOUR PERFECT HOLIDAY We’ve teamed up with Hong Kong Tourism Board to give you and three friends the chance to win a trip to Asia’s World City – just compile your perfect itinerary to win!


ou’ll know Hong Kong for its fabulous skyline, beautiful scenery and world-class food and drink scene. But behind the scenes there’s much more to this former British colony

THE PRIZE The prize is for a trip for four people to Hong Kong, including: ◆ Return Premium Economy flights with Cathay Pacific from London Heathrow ◆ A three-night stay at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, including breakfast and round-trip airport transfers ◆ Four VIP tickets for the Dragon Boat Carnival ◆ Dinner for four at the Michelinstarred Pierre restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong and a Discover Hong Kong tour ◆ Second and third place winners will receive vouchers for a cookery class at School of Wok in London

than its cluster of high-rise buildings. Live like a local in Hong Kong’s lesser known areas such as Sheung Wan, Kennedy Town and Kwun Tong, where you’ll find a vibrant eastern city with culture in spades. We’ve teamed up with Hong Kong Tourism Board to give you the chance to experience your perfect day in Hong Kong. You’ll be flying with Cathay Pacific (, which was named the World’s Best Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards. Connecting to more 190 destination from Hong Kong, it flies five times daily from London Heathrow. You’ll also be put up in Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong (, a much-loved address for those seeking an exclusive sanctuary in the heart of the city. But what does your perfect day in Hong Kong look like? Is it hiking The Peak to ogle the famous view down onto Victoria Harbour, or walking along the Hollywoodesque Avenue of Stars, before sitting down for a Michelin-starred meal and enjoying the Symphony of Lights over Hong Kong Island and Kowloon? Whatever your perfect day in this culture capital, discover more by downloading the My Hong Kong Guide app and putting together a unique itinerary from the city’s hundreds of activities. For more info, see


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The skyline from Hong Kong Island; Bruce Lee on the Avenue of Stars; you’ll fly with Cathay Pacific; a Chinese New Year parade; the Ladies’ Market; the Mandarin Oriental



HOW TO WIN To enter, just create your own perfect Hong Kong day using the Discover Hong Kong Facebook page ( discoverhongkong). More details and full Ts&Cs are available at

Photograph by ###


REACH FOR THE SPAS Relax, recuperate and revive with a Spafinder Wellness 365 gift voucher – we’ve got three to give away to lucky readers


s busy city dwellers, we all need to make time for a little bit of pampering to ensure that we return to our normal lives re-energised and revived. And it couldn’t be easier, as we’ve teamed up with global spa brand Spafinder Wellness 365 to give away three gift vouchers to lucky readers. With 25 years of experience as a spa and wellness authority, Spafinder Wellness 365 knows that wellness means different things to different people. Using its online search tool, it couldn’t be easier to find your perfect spa or wellness break – whether it’s in a buzzing city or out in the rural countryside – at over 20,000 locations worldwide. It has plenty of fitness and wellness ideas on its blog to help you live better – how does yoga at the top of the Shard, or learning how to eat well on holiday, sound? To help you de-stress from your regular life, we’ve got three gift cards to give away to three lucky Escapism readers – one worth £500 and two worth £250. The vouchers can be redeemed at over 650 locations in the UK, including locations such as Champneys, Pennyhill Park, Bannatyne Spas, Handpicked Hotels and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London – and they offer total flexibility, meaning you can spend them on anything from an energising yoga or pilates class to a relaxing massage, facial or manicure. And with up to £500 to spend, you won’t even have to choose between them – and what is more relaxing than that?

For more information and to book your own spa or wellness break, see


HOW TO WIN We’ve got three gift vouchers to give away to three lucky Escapism readers – one voucher is worth £500 and two are worth £250. To win, just answer one simple question: how many gift vouchers are we giving away? To enter, visit competition/spafinders For more details, as well as a full list of terms and conditions, see the website.



Paradise Found Eat, drink, relax and discover the surroundings in total luxury with the new Maldives Unlimited offering from Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef


icture the scene: you’re surrounded by sparkling azure seas, pure white sands and you’re watching another dramatic sunset, cold drink in hand. It might sound like something from a dream, but at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef in the Maldives, anything is possible – and what’s more, it’s all available under a luxury fixed price plan. Situated in the Maldives’ North Malé Atoll, Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef has one unique selling point – its Maldives Unlimited offering, which allows guests to indulge on the luxuries on offer an all-inclusive basis. And just because it’s all-inclusive doesn’t mean that the hotel compromises on quality. Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef boasts a range of signature cocktails, an international wine list worthy of any Michelin-starred European restaurant and a variety of impressive indoor and

outdoor eateries. There’s even a secret sandbank to picnic on, where you can dine in style on excellent food and drink surrounded by the lapping Pacific Ocean. If you fancy something a little more highoctane, you can take a champagne-soaked sunset cruise on a traditional Dhoni boat, rent some snorkelling equipment or take part in a guided snorkelling trip to see the surrounding coral reef in all its glory. Get closer to the abundant marine life by taking daily stingray feeding sessions, too. Whether you choose the gentle activities that Maldives Unlimited offers you, or choose to while away your days outside your luxury water villa and watch the spectacular sunset, you’re guaranteed to return to city life completely relaxed and revitalised – welcome to the allinclusive revolution. ◆


Check In One-night rates at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef start from $488 (£292) pppn. Call 00 960 664 0233 or visit for more details and to book.







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 SofitelLegendTheGrandAmsterdam

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.

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

matters OF F

w.g co ate unt 8-l Co ug de ga ge .co .uk


size matters size size size matters matters matters All






20 E % clever one O 20 FF %

XC ‘ES LU CA En SIV PE ter ’ on the E ww Di sco EX w .ga un C ‘ES CA En te8 t C LU S PE tE e ’ on rXtChe lugg ode IVE ‘ES CA En ww LU D age PE ter w.g iSscIV .co o ’ on the u ate Ent .u ww Di 8- Co k s


20 %


lug de w.g co ga ate unt ge 8-l Co .co ug de .uk ga ge .co .uk

All your business in one clever bag

All your business in one cleverbag bag All your business in one clever All your business in one clever bag

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

Unfold for wardrobe Unfold for wardrobe Unfold for wardrobe 1-31-3 day garment garment Unfold for 1-3day day garment storage –wardrobe ‘arrive 1-3 day garment storage ––‘arrive storage ‘arrive Ready-To-Wear’

storage – ‘arrive Ready-To-Wear’ Ready-To-Wear’ Ready-To-Wear’ Unfold wardrobe Zip-offfor Laptop Bag Bag Zip-off Laptop 1-3 day garment – TWO bags in one Zip-off Laptop Bag – TWO bags in one –Laptop ‘arrive Zip-off –storage TWO bags in one Bag Save yourself money, Ready-To-Wear’ Save –yourself money, TWO bags in one time & frustration Save yourself money, time & frustration by by check-in time & avoiding frustration by avoiding check-in Zip-off Laptop Bag avoiding check-in Save yourself money,

– TWO bags in one

CUSTOMER CHECK-IN +44 time & frustration by (0)20 7617 7860 avoiding check-in

CUSTOMER CHECK-IN (0)207617 7617 7860 CUSTOMER CHECK-IN +44 (0)20 7860 Save yourself money, +44

time & frustration by avoiding check-in

Terms & Conditions apply, see website for details – GATE8 work tirelessly to ensure you can travel at pace

Terms & Conditions apply, see website for details – GATE8 work tirelessly to ensure you can travel at pace

Terms & Conditions apply, see website for details – GATE8 work tirelessly to ensure you can travel at pace

CUSTOMER CHECK-IN +44 (0)20 7617 7



Terms & Conditions website for details – GATE8 work ensure you can trave Terms & Conditions apply, seeapply, websitesee for details – GATE8 work tirelessly to ensure youtirelessly can travel attopace

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


MIND THE GAP If Bikram yoga’s not quite tough enough for you, why not find a quiet spot centimetres from the edge of the Grand Canyon and lunge into the abyss? You’ll need a head for heights and thighs of steel, and probably a parachute just in case there’s a freak gust. Good luck with that…


Photograph by Blend Images / Alamy

An alternative look at the world

10PM Rooftop Bar

9AM Lantau Island


Create your perfect day in Hong Kong for a chance to win a luxury trip for you and three friends. See page 90 for details.

1PM Claypot Rice

Escapism, 12, The Chillout Special