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Luxury Travel

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Over 520 hotels in more than 70 countries

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squaremile Gu i des

nE Of tHE most memorable (not to mention oddest)

holiday experiences of my travelling life involved a stay at a hotel in the beautiful, remote and incredibly high Altiplano bordering Chile and Bolivia. The hotel was terrifyingly basic, and my friend and I had nothing but a shared child’s bed-sheet covered in cartoon teddy bears to keep out the bitter cold and wind. I awoke, predictably, absolutely freezing and crippled by stomach cramps caused by the high altitude, facing opposite a window looking out across a bright red lagoon where flamingoes waded. As hotel stays go it was unforgettable, uncomfortable and undeniably quirky. But it wouldn’t make it onto the list of our favourite quirky hotels (page 17), because, this being square mile, we like our idiosyncrasies with a healthy side of luxury. So, how about a boutique Manhattan haunt inspired by the humble library, or a Polish design-hotel with iPhone door keys and where rooms are apparently allocated based on each guest’s spirit animal? You got it. If you’re looking for a distinctive, exclusive and memorable holiday with a little less focus on the bizarre we’ve got plenty for you too, from racing classic cars in the Bahamas to the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. We’ve also picked out the finest watches to take on your travels, so whether you’re staying in a Swedish tree house, holed-up in South Africa’s answer to Las Vegas, or riding a motorbike across the Namibian desert, you’ll always know what time it is. Or perhaps, if you’re anything like us, you’d rather remain blissfully unaware. Either way, there’s a vast array of options available for every kind of traveller. And if you’re still stuck for ideas, I know a great place in the Bolivian Altiplano...

08 . luxury travel kit

From psychedelic Brazilian beach shorts to a summer handbag for all occasions…

12 . from the hotel to your home

Five experts from SLH hotels across the world on how to get the five-star effect in your home.

17 . the world’s quirkiest hotels

From UFO tree houses to a converted library: our pick of the world’s most unusual hotels.

24 . a passage to india

Antonia Methuen and Martin Deeson visit three locations in North India – a world of contrasts.

30 . deep blue sea

Tim Ecott rounds up the top global diving destinations from the SLH collection.

37 . new beds on the block

There’s competition looming on the horizon for the old timers of the London hotel scene.

40 . the many faces of africa

From the natural beauty and power of Victoria Falls to the twinkling splendour of Sun City…

46 . the ride of a lifetime

Warren Pole, and his faithful BMW enduro bike, tackle the harsh brutality of Namibia’s desert.

50 . sun, sea and speed

In the 1950s and 1960s, the world’s fastest cars and drivers gathered in the Bahamas once a year. Now Speed Week’s back, and better than ever.

55 . it’s spa-tee time

Scotland’s Archerfield may be best known for its golf, but it now has a spa every bit the equal of its links. As Siobhan McFadyen can testify.

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Jon Hawkins art director

Matthew Hasteley sub editor

Peter Cardwell senior designer

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Judith Baker, Martin Deeson, Tim Ecott, Lee Mannion, Siobhan McFadyen, Antonia Methuen, Loren Penney, Warren Pole, Pete Simpson printing

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editor, square mile

Mark Hedley editor-in-chief

Martin Deeson head of digital

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Lauren Neale head of marketing & pr

Loren Penney marketing & events

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Michael Berrett print advertising

Jake Bennett, Geraldine Gaffney, Will Preston, Sophie Spencer, Will Taylor accounts

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020 7819 9999

61 . time travel

Six watches for the modern globetrotter with a discerning sense of both style and timing.

square mile supports the Mayor’s Fund for London. Please give generously.

Jon Hawkins, Guides Editor

66 . course you would

The Old Head is not just the most striking golf course in the Ireland, but probably in the world.

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hotels off the beaten track

out of this world Hacked off with the Hilton? Marred by the Marriot? It’s time to look a little further afield – at some of the quirkiest hotels from around the world, says Pete SimPSon




TREEHOTEL If you enjoy the idea of spending the night under the stars, but want more luxury than a tent can provide, then the treehotel in sweden may be the answer. located in harads, near the lule river, the treehotel offers rooms housed in the trees amidst the unspoilt nature of the area. the Mirror cube, the Ufo, and the bird’s nest all boast views of the surroundings from high up on their perches; but if you don’t have a head for heights, then the blue cone offers luxury on the ground floor. Designed and built by top scandinavian architects, they are hopefully sturdier and more comfortable than the tree house your dad built in the back garden when you were five years old, bless him.

© Square Up Media Limited 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Square Up Media cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Square Up Media a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Square Up Media nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Square Up Media endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.

Edeforsväg 2 A, 960 24 Harads, Sweden

Quirkiest Hotels_v2.indd 17



25/04/2012 13:18

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Secluded beaches of golden sand, Thai massages at a rooftop spa, sipping champagne in a rose petal bath, and a meal on a private beach. Get special extra content with the Aurasma Lite app by pointing your device to this image.

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For expert advice and to book, visit your local store or For a brochure, call 08 44 557 3777

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Plane crazy While most of us are happy to use steps or a gangway to get into a plane, Czech trialbiking legend Petr Kraus has a slightly unconventional approach. His, demonstrated here on a dilapidated plane on the Caribbean island of Grenada, involves bunny hopping onto the cabin, before stopping and balancing perfectly on his front wheel, where he presumably waits for the cabin crew to direct him to his seat. It sure beats Speedy Boarding. â–


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Adventure trAvel red Bull

Bespoke Boarding

finds out there’s more than one way to push some tin. Forget queuing – or even a luxury lounge – and get on your bike with Czech trialbiking legend Petr Kraus

Jon Hawkins

Photo by Agustin Munoz (


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Accessories for Him

going short


Whether you have a beach bod or you are a beach bum, a studious search of the sands by Jon Hawkins will help you stay cool and, er, stay cool this summer…




1 SPERRY TOP-SIDER AUTHENTIC ORIGINAL, £95: In super-soft burnished grey leather with yellow accents, the Authentic Originals are a modern take on a classic shoe, so perfect for sailors and landlubbers alike.

2 FB COLLECTION NIEMEYER TRUNKS, £140: With a design by ace Brazilian artist Caio Locke, the psychedelic Niemeyers are not for the faint of heart or flabby of body. All the more reason to hit the gym before you hit the beach, we say.

3 RAF SIMONS AVIATORS, £225: The aviator is the style that refuses to die, and these slick Raf Simons shades demonstrate why. With black frames and metal arms, they’re equally at home on Cheapside and at the seaside. Just like you. ■

We l c o m e to the Clubs

You’re always on the guest list. Travel in our two premium cabins, Club Premier and Club Classic, and you will be treated to Hong Kong Airlines’ exclusive signature service. Our dedicated fleet of brand new Airbus A330‑200s is exclusively configured with just 116 seats for a truly VIP flying experience. No-one else comes close.

Gatwick North to Hong Kong International daily For more information visit or call 0844 371 8393

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Accessories for her

In the bag

As the ‘blazing hot’ summer rushes in, Loren Penney reads the fashion runes to help you acclimatise while you accessorise




1 MARC CAIN DRESS, £315: Fit for a flower show, this beautiful Marc Cain silk sheath dress is both fresh and formal, with a bold floral design. The modest neckline and just-above-theknee length make it the perfect dress for any summer occasion. In short, blooming marvellous.


2 ASPINAL OF LONDON LIBERTINE BAG, £275: The royal blue suede Libertine is an eyecatching shoulder bag; small enough not to be a burden but big enough to be a faithful travel companion. A removable chain and capacious inner pocket make this a winner.

3 KIRK ORIGINALS SUNBEAM SUNGLASSES, £390: These handmade Sunbeams add a touch of retro summer flair to any outfit. Sunglasses shouldn’t be an afterthought, and these are a fun way to protect your peepers in the ‘blazing’ British sunshine. ■

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hotel tips

hotelling it like it is…

Six experts from Small Luxury Hotels of the World TM (SLH) explain how to bring the professional touches of a hotel back to your home


hether it’s the crisp feel of the sheets on an expertly made bed, the perfect way the sommelier pairs your wine with dinner or simply the welcoming atmosphere that greets you as soon as you step through the door, it’s those classic, professional touches that make a hotel experience so enjoyable. The team at Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM has gone behind the scenes at a selection of properties within the portfolio to get insider tips and industry tricks from the resident experts at each hotel to enable guests to recreate those special hotel touches in their own home. Follow these steps to bring some five-star finesse into your home… Choosing art to Complement your spaCe “The moment they step into the lobby here at Pudi Boutique Hotel, guests feel as if they are staying in an art gallery. We mix oil paintings and sculpture from young Chinese artists with a modern style. Guests may purchase these art works and take them home to add to their own collection. A few tips I’d offer when choosing art for your own home are as follows: choose a painting the width of your mattress to hang over your bed for dramatic effect in the

bedroom; pick out colours from the painting in your cushions and bedding too; it is well worth investing in special lighting to highlight your artwork; and I like to choose one colour as a central theme and select pieces incorporating this colour to draw my whole art collection together – at Pudi Boutique Hotel red copper is featured in most of our artwork to add a strong Shanghai feel.” Janet Bao, General Manager, Pudi Boutique Hotel Pudi Boutique Hotel, Shanghai, China;

hoW to Create a stylish vase of floWers “Our flower displays change in design from week to week to keep up the wow factor for our regular visitors. So that would be my first tip – keep changing your displays every time you entertain. We take inspiration from new quirky venues in the city, study interior magazines religiously and keep up with current exhibitions in all the London galleries and when abroad. Inspiration can strike anywhere and anytime so keep your eyes peeled. Shop windows can be another great source. Another tip: if you pick from the garden or have a limited budget, a small number of the same blooms have more impact if they are put individually in vases. The vases could be the same or a variety depending on what goes with your theme or decor.” Yan Skates, Director, Bespoke Flowers – Flemings Mayfair

Khun Surasak Jaijumpa, Head Florist at Hansar Bangkok shares his step-by-step technique to create a beautiful flower arrangement for your home: You will need: • Variety of flowers of varying colours and sizes – I’ve used long stem roses, alstroemeria, lisianthus, amaryllis and tulips. • Medium-sized glass vase • Bundles of twigs – I’ve chosen red wood • Fresh water


Easy Steps: 1 Begin by cutting the wood sticks to the height of the glass vase. Next line the glass vase with smaller glass tubes (if you do not have glass tubes at home you can use the wood sticks in place of this). 2 After the glass tubes are positioned, put the cut red wood in between each tube to keep the overall display sturdy and to provide a


Art direction: red copper colour is used in most artwork at the Pudi Boutique hotel, to add a strong Shanghai feel; (left) a beautiful selection of flowers can brighten your home, and your mood, too.

nice colour accent and texture to the flowers you are arranging in it. 3 After all the cut wood sticks are placed, add some additional uncut red wood branches to give the arrangement some height. 4 Now fill the vase with water. You can use a large syringe to squirt the water to keep the arrangement tidy and clean. 5 Now you can begin to cut your flowers and

begin placing them into the arrangement. A good tip – start with the larger size flowers first then fill out the empty areas with the smaller flowers to enhance your arrangement even further. 6 Et voilà, it’s finished. Khun Surasak Jaijumpa, Head Florist, Hansar Bangkok Hansar Bangkok, Thailand;


Keep up with current exhibitions in all the galleries and when abroad. inspiration can striKe anywhere 013

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It Is amazIng how many tImes the guest wIll comment how much more pleasIng the wIne was here at the restaurant How to create your own Home spa “Relaxation is a question of atmosphere – even in the most ordinary bathroom, you can recreate the atmosphere of a luxury spa, thanks to some accessories and products. Here are my tips to spa bliss in your own home. Firstly, put some scented candles around your bath. A soft light and fragrance will fill your bathroom, for an immediate sensation of wellbeing right around you. Secondly, put on some soothing music. Classical, background music or natural sounds, choose what has the most relaxing effect on you. Then, take your time. Be sure that you won’t be interrupted during this ‘spa session’, give yourself some time to focus on you. Prepare yourself a cup of green tea and a plate of fresh fruits high in potassium, like banana, kiwi, or avocado, to help relieve stress and anxiety before your experience. Finally, choose new beauty products, with soft textures and delicate fragrances. Take care of your body with a scrub, take time for a facial mask, massage and moisturise your entire body and your face.”

by the glass: (right) Just a few of the wines available at the Wentworth mansion; (top) the spa at les sources de Caudalie; (middle) a classic martini

Delphine Duffours, Spa Manager, Les Sources de Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa

with lemon peel oil 4 Add this lemon peel and serve

Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux, France;

Alessandro Palazzi, Head Barman, Dukes Bar, Dukes St James, Mayfair, London, UK;

How to mix a spot-on martini Drinks at Dukes Bar, famously frequented by James Bond author Ian Fleming, is something of an occasion; the Martinis served here allegedly inspired the classic line, “shaken, not stirred”. Mix your own at home by placing the following in a frozen martini glass: 1 A few drops of Martini Dukes Special blend dry vermouth 2 75ml of frozen gin or vodka 3 Squeeze oil from a sliver of organic Amalfi lemon peel into the drink and ream glass

5. How to serve wine like a sommelier “I have many guests order a bottle of wine that they are familiar with and have enjoyed at home. It is amazing how many times the guest will comment how much more pleasing the wine was here at the restaurant. The first step in wine presentation is making sure your bottle of wine is at the correct temperature. The temperature will be different for whites and reds, as well as for wines with different weights. Once the bottle is selected and you have the correct temperature, I like to present the bottle of wine. Tell your guest which wine you are serving, including the year it was created. When pouring, twist the bottle about 180 degrees and wipe against a napkin so that no wine is spilled. For white wines I will typically ask whether they would like the bottle kept on ice. Some of your heavier whites (chardonnay) will benefit from a little warmer temperature.” Mark Severs, Restaurant Manager, Wentworth Mansion, USA; ■ To book any of the hotels featured, please call 0800 037 1888 or visit

To book any of the 520 SLH hotels around the world, please call 0800 037 1888 or visit


The Olde Bell

A modern coaching inn

The Olde Bell, reputed to be the oldest inn in England, only 10 minutes’ drive from Henley-on-Thames and a 5 minute walk from the river Thames, in the picturesque village of Hurley. A 5 star inn with crooked floors, wooden beams, inglenook fireplaces and modern rustic design, combining warm service, robust food, relaxed surroundings and rambling meadow gardens.

A M O d Er n COAC H i n g i n n H i g H S T r EE T · H u r lE y · B Er k S H i r E · S l 6 5 l X T El : 01628 825 881 · w w w. T H E O ld EB Ell . CO. u k

Intimate, Relaxing, Lovely...

Enjoy your 5th. Night Free

with our Romance Getaway Package

Coveted Isla Mujeres small luxury beach hotel featuring only 35 beautiful ocean view Suites w/Jacuzzi Terrace; award-wining cuisine at Casa Rolandi Restaurant; private beach, world class service & resort amenities, a 5-star Thalasso Spa & its own 42-ft private luxury Yacht.

For reservations, contact your preferred Travel Agent or call us at +52 (998) 999.2000 or visit: |

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hotels off the beaten track

out of this world Hacked off with the Hilton? Marred by the Marriot? It’s time to look a little further afield – at some of the quirkiest hotels from around the world, says Pete SimPSon

TREEHOTEL If you enjoy the idea of spending the night under the stars, but want more luxury than a tent can provide, then the treehotel in sweden may be the answer. located in harads, near the lule river, the treehotel offers rooms housed in the trees amidst the unspoilt nature of the area. the Mirror cube, the Ufo, and the bird’s nest all boast views of the surroundings from high up on their perches; but if you don’t have a head for heights, then the blue cone offers luxury on the ground floor. Designed and built by top scandinavian architects, they are hopefully sturdier and more comfortable than the tree house your dad built in the back garden when you were five years old, bless him. Edeforsväg 2 A, 960 24 Harads, Sweden


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MARQUES DE RISCAL A chateau with an elegant courtyard may be what you would expect a luxury hotel in a famous wine-making region to be; but Marques de Riscal offers something completely different. Located in the Spanish medieval village of Elciego, the hotel’s 21st century avant-garde design provides a contrast to the traditional setting of the Rioja Alavesa region. Wearing the signature wavy steel design of renowned architect Frank O Gehry – and reminiscent of his famous works, such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao – the Marques de Riscal’s exterior is certainly eye-catching; and its interior continues the avant-garde theme with 43 uniquelydesigned luxury rooms and suites. Offering up fine wine and cuisine from the Basque region, it’s certainly more than just a building with a hairstyle. C/ Torrea, 1. 01340 Elciego (Álava), Spain

HOTEL BLOW UP HALL 5050 In the historic Polish city of Poznan sits the hotel of the future. (Well, the present – if we’re being pedantic.) Blow Up Hall 5050 is no ordinary place to lay your head on a business trip; but rather an art project that eschews the traditional trappings of conventional hotels, with their antiquated ideas of reception areas and using keys to open doors. How quaint of them. That’s right, iPhones with IT recognition technology help you find and open the door to your room. Which, incidentally, has no number on its door and will be assigned to each guest depending on their spirit animal. The hotel says its guests not only experience the hotel’s art, but participate in its creation. That’s why you are filmed throughout your stay, and the images shown on a screen in the main lobby. Sadly, for any exhibitionists out there, your modesty is preserved. Ul. Kosciuszki 42  61-001 Pozna, Poland


isn’t it time you made the rules... fly private and make some money

The world’s first marketplace for private jet charters and pay-per-seat bookings. We are a community of like-minded people who have combined their buying power to reduce the cost of private jet travel. Charter a jet at the most competitive price and profit from selling spare seats on either your outbound or returning flight to other members; or you can simply use Victor to buy a seat on another member’s aircraft. It’s where the smart money is moving. Membership is free - Victor is approved by the CAA for ATOL License 10378

Fabulous Five Your time, Your stYle, Your world time to take a holiday. time to select a destination. time to choose your own way of relaxing. centara has five hotel brands for you to choose from. seven countries. nine islands. thailand, maldives, Philippines, Vietnam, Bali, sri lanka and mauritius. time for the time of your life.

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REMOTA PATAGONIA With all the pressures of the City inevitably piling up, finding a relaxing getaway is a necessity. Arguably the further away from the City and its multiple stress-related distractions the better. Chile’s Remota Hotel is certainly… well, remote. To get to the hotel you must first fly to Santiago, before flying to Punta Arenas, and then transferring through the immensity of Chilean Patagonia to reach the hotel’s location in Puerto Natales. Once there, you are presented with the hotel’s remarkable architectural form, based on the region’s distinctive warehouses. Following a hectic work schedule, isolation may sound pretty appealing… for a day or two, perhaps. Not to worry – there is still mobile phone coverage and internet access to distract you from the area’s natural beauty. (And to allow you to continue logging on to, to keep right up to date, of course.) Ruta 9 Norte Km 1.5 Huerto 279. Puerto Natales, Chile

THE LIBRARY HOTEL The best hotels provide you with an environment of peace and quiet; so where better to place a hotel than in a library? Thinking about it, an actual library may not be the best idea – what with the premise of a library being that its contents are there to be shared with the public. However, the Library Hotel in New York City offers the peace and quiet without allowing strangers to walk in off the street and rent your possessions out. Its ten floors are based on the Dewey Decimal system, and each room is stacked with books and art based on the individual theme that appeals to your interests. Obviously, this might cause something of a dilemma if your interests happen to encompass both economics and erotica; there’s a room for both. Still, we see no reason why you can’t book the Erotic Literature room and bring your own, wellworn copy of, say, Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. That should spice things up. Madison Avenue at 41st Street, New York


step into


Over 520 hotels in more than 70 countries Book early for up to 33% off our Summer Offers

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IndIa ShImla, amrItSar & VaranaSI

indian Summer and MARTIN DEESON head to North India to explore some of its most historically interesting – and relaxing – retreats…



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hey say IndIa is a land of extremes: poverty, climate and culture all playing their part in creating huge divides within the country. However, while these extremes can often unsettle the first-timer in India, it is often these very contrasts that can reveal more about not only India’s past, but also its future. Shimla and Amritsar are two diverse locations in the north east of the country. Amritsar on the plains of the Punjab and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, set 2,500m above sea level. Both locations stand as major players within India’s chequered social history and despite their climatic and topographical differences, both have more in common than one would realise at first glance, having been pivotal locations in the political upheaval that has swept the country over the last century. shIMLa & Mashobra Set in the foothills of the Himalayas, Shimla offers refuge in the shade of its deodar trees. This small hideaway became a little England and began to punch way above its weight during the 19th century. Its alpine climate made it the summer capital for the Raj as the verdant hillsides became dotted with baronial mansions, mock Tudor cottages and bungalows around its landscape. India rarely does “restoration” – things get built, things fall down, things get recycled and then they start again. So to find a town that is still very close to how the Brits of the 1940s would have left it, albeit it one packed with middle class teenagers from Chandigarh, sporting jeans and Lady Gaga T-Shirts, is rare. The Gaiety Theatre, once the centre of Shimla’s mountainous social scene, has been restored to its original beauty. Traffic, spitting and smoking are all banned from the centre of Shimla, mirroring the turn of the century when only the viceroy, the governor-general and the commanderin-chief where allowed to drive cars in the town. Even now, Shimla today is eerily silent of the constant ”horn please” that pervades the rest of India. Built on the success of the East India Trading Company – spices, indigo and opium brought riches to Britain – the establishment of a hill town whose climate was more like Godalming in summertime, provided a needy respite to the first, second and third generations of Brits, who still called England home, and still found the summer heats of the plains of India stifling in their crinolines and starched collars as the sun blazed. In 1888, the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin, built the architectural smorgasbord that is the viceregal lodge in Shimla. The later Vicereine, Edwina Mountbatten, called the house “hideous” and:

“Hollywood’s idea of a Viceregal Lodge”. A huge edifice of ego, mock Elizabethan and Tudor motifs sit alongside Georgian and Scottish Baronial – but still the house perspires with history. Now a university, it has hosted some of the most important meetings during the transition from the height of British power under Dufferin to the move for independence under Mountbatten 60 years later. Staying at the multiple award-winning resort Wildflower Hall at Mashobra [pictured left], however, is a real treat. A building that is certainly more at one with its environment, Wildflower is one of the jewels in the Oberoi crown, and well worth a visit. The 85-room hotel is situated a mountainfresh 45 minutes from Shimla. Set in a 22-acre forest just off the famous Hindustan-Tibet road, the hotel is now sited where Lord Kitchener once lived and just 300km of potholes, buses and jack-knifed trucks from the hotel and you will be in Tibet. Surrounded by cedars, pines, oak trees and the snow-capped mountains in the distance of Manali, the hotel and its stunning spa pavilion peer out over the landscape around and provides one of the most spectacular views from a bed you are likely to come across. Yoga sessions are available and well worth the early morning stretch which should be followed by a jump in the outdoor heated whirlpool with its Himalayan panorama. The Burmese teak wood interior reflects the past – large drawing rooms and roaring fires all set the tone. The Top Gear threesome had been filming at Wildflower just before we arrived, and apparently had descended with some vigour on the signature Himachal Thali banquet. Jeremy et al would have loved it. From Wild Strawberry walks, where you can learn about the flora and fauna of the area, to picnics, treks and white water rafting – there is talk of setting up a luxury campsite where you may get to spot the local mountain leopards, and also mutterings of setting up helicopter rides up to Tibet – that is, as soon as a helipad is found as the rumour flying around is that the President of India, who lives nearby, doesn’t want to share his. ➤

To find a town that is still very close to how the 1940s Brits would have left it, albeit with middle class teens, is rare 025

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NortherN star: the rooftop pool at amritsar’s Ista hotel provides an oasis away from the bustle of the streets; (bottom left) a massage in the elements at the stunning Wildflower hall

➤ AMRITSAR An eight-hour car drive, a tortuous train journey down the narrow gauge track – or just one hour in the Oberoi King Air private jet – takes you from hill town of Shimla to the heat of the plains. Amritsar tends to inspire a variety of responses, its often violent past seemingly sitting somewhat uncomfortably


with the magical mystery of having a floating temple, made of gold, sitting at its centre. Flying into Amritsar, the Golden Temple is an instant pull – Modern Amritsar and the Akal Takht complex in which the temple sits, is a wonderfully calm and tranquil place. This belies its tumultuous political history, and the constant battles that have raged around its walls. The Sikhs, the Afghans, the Hindus, the Muslims and the Mughals, the British and the Gandhis have all had a hand in this. But there is a serenity that pervades the temple and its compound that is nothing short of profound as granthis (readers) are dotted around the temple and the site, constantly reading the Adi Granth holy book, which has to be read at all times, either silently or aloud, making it the most continuously read book in the world. You can wander freely around the temple compound, even up to the roof where you come cheek to cheek with the golden onion domes and look out over the lake that gives the temple its unique backdrop. The complex houses pilgrims in the white wedding cake-like buildings that encircle the water that gives Amritsar its name – ‘Pool of the Nectar of Immortality’. A walk around the kitchens reveals the means by which a staggering 100,000 daily meals are produced. Sitting just a few hundred yards from the

contemplation that is offered at The Golden Temple is a public garden square whose serenity, set away from the chaos of the nearest road, once again belies its bloody history. The Jallianwala Bagh witnessed one of the worst public massacres during the Raj. In 1919, a British officer, Brigadier General Dyer ordered the death of more than 1,000 people and injured over 1,500 people. The site had been the location of a peaceful political protest, which turned to a bloodbath, as Dyer ordered his men to shoot on the crowd. The event was to be one of the single most important factors giving momentum to the claim for independence from the British. Today the gardens are well looked after, with statues and an eternal flame providing a contemplative space for families and couples taking a quiet walk in the afternoon. ➤

The Golden Temple is a public garden square whose serenity, away from the chaos, once again belies its bloody history

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Mark Twain said Varanasi is “older than history, older than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together”

A PASSAGE To INDIA: The Taj Nadesar Palace has been restored with an incredible mastery of detail

➤ Returning from the temple to the contemporary Ista Hotel, this sense of calm is continued. The hotel, with its water features, slick service and rooftop pool, sits like an oasis above the beeping horns and heavy traffic of Amritsar. Good-sized bedrooms, and great food in the three dining areas – Thai Chi, Collage and The Lotus Lounge – are joined by one of the world’s best spas, The Ananda, offering a range of treatments that use elements such as sound, temperature, smell and touch to remove any sense of stress left behind from a long flight, enabling you to enter feet first into the best that India can offer.

VARANASI “Varanasi… city of the dead…” drawled the hippy sitting behind me on the steps leading down to the edge of the mighty Ganges as its brown vastness slid by, the opaque waters hiding God knows what unspeakable matter. He was wrong of course, or at least he had missed the central point of Varanasi’s position in the Hindu philosophy of death and re-birth. Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Benaras as it is also known, or Kashi, is, according to Hindu belief, a place where final release from the cycle of death and re-birth can be attained. Hindus believe that bathing in the waters of

Travel DeTails BMI flies between London Heathrow and Amritsar (via Almaty) three times a week. BMI is the only airline to offer a direct flight from the UK to Amritsar. For more information and to book visit Greaves Travel offers tailor-made tours to the Indian subcontinent (020 7487 9111; Prices for an eight-day itinerary to Amritsar and Shimla, start from £1,850pp based on two people travelling together onboard BMI and staying in a double/twin bedroom B&B with all private transfers and sightseeing included. The Oberoi group’s King Air C-90A private aircraft seats up to five passengers and can be chartered at £650 per hour. (00 98 11 2567 1516; Taj Nadesar Palace, Varanasi; (91-542) 666 000 206;

the Ganges washes away sins and that dying in the city guarantees an end to that cycle. For that reason Hindus from India and beyond come to Varanasi to die and many are cremated on the riverside burning pyres where their ashes are then washed into the river. Varanasi is also the founding place of Buddhism, a holy city for Jains and a key location in the founding story of Sikhism. So there may be a lot of death in Varanasi, but it is the surfeit of life and pilgrims that threatens to overwhelm the modern visitor. Many of the city’s alleyways follow a medieval, or older, street plan and are so narrow that even cycle rickshaws are banned. All Indian cities are busy, frantic even, but Benaras in rush hour makes downtown Mumbai seem almost tranquil in comparison. For this reason, the visitor needs a retreat from the mass of life. After a day spent walking the riverside ghats, watching the sunset rituals and taking a boat out into midstream in an effort to get some perspective on this unforgettable city, an oasis is called for, and for this purpose there is nowhere finer than the Taj Nadesar Palace. Once the city residence of the Maharjah of Varanasi, this riverside palace has been restored with an incredible mastery of detail. Each of the ten rooms is named after one of the Maharaja’s guests, who over the years have included Lord Mountbatten, Emperor Haile Selassie, Pandit Jawahrial Nehru, Queen Elizabeth II and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The grounds are a lush landscaped respite from the bustle of the city; the cuisine, whether taken in the regal dining room, on the verandah or maybe by the pool, is inspired and the Jiva Spa is the best place in Benares to wash away the dust of this holy city, rather than the Ganges perhaps… The author and wit Mark Twain famously said of Varanasi that it is “older than history, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” You’ll find nowhere better in India to reflect on these words than from the tranquillity of the Nadesar Palace and its surroundings in this very special part of magnificent India. ■


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dive into the blue

Diving expert Tim EcoTT rounds up the top global diving destinations from the Small Luxury Hotels of the World TM (SLH) collection. So, take a deep breath and dive down‌



Harbour Village beacH club Bonaire, netherlands antilles Residential-feel retreat on a private, white-sand beach. • Top dive spot: Right off the beach, or take a boat from the resort’s dive centre to one of 85 sites around the island. The Dive Into Luxury package includes seven nights B&B, six dives and airport transfers. • Other activities: Enjoy the spa, play tennis, or take advantage of the supervised children’s programme there.


lue. It’s the colour of the sea when it

reflects a cloudless sky. Flying over a tropical ocean, I always try to imagine what might be swimming below the surface, inhabiting that secret liquid world that divers discover when they slip beneath the waves. The glittering Indian Ocean first captivated me this way, and I have explored its reefs from the east coast of Africa all the way to the Seychelles, the Maldives and Indonesia, where it starts to blend with the fringes of the Pacific. I discovered the Caribbean later, but have often returned to its plunging coral walls, drawn by the mystery of its darkening depths. The highest concentration of fish and corals live in these warm seas, with the greatest biodiversity of all found in the ‘coral triangle’ between Borneo, Indonesia and the Philippines. But after many hundreds of dives I remember individual destinations because of the encounters I have had there with particular creatures. In the Caribbean, especially on the ➤


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Cotton tree Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Exclusive beachside resort with four boutique luxury cottages. • Top dive spot: Cobalt Coast and Lighthouse Point. Cotton Tree does not have its own dive centre, but can arrange diving and snorkelling excursions. • Other activities: Relax in the lush gardens, freshwater pool, on the 400ft private beach, or with a spa treatment; ask your private chef to cook dinner in your villa; take a Cayman cooking class; go on a tailored sightseeing tour.

➤ deep reef walls of the Cayman Islands, there were barrel sponges as tall as a man, turtles and elegant stingrays to view. Cayman waters are the clearest in the world thanks to deepwater canyons surrounding the three small islands, and the Cotton Tree is well placed for accessing the diving centres along the Cobalt Coast and at Lighthouse Point. Other extraordinary sponges and corals, including azure vase sponges and orange ball corallimorphs, can be seen right off the beach at the Harbour Village Beach Club on Bonaire. In the Maldives, it was all about the peaceful giants, manta rays and the whale sharks: these gentle plankton feeders are remarkably tolerant of human company underwater. Baros Maldives has a good house reef and some of the classic North Malé dive sites are within a short boat ride of the island. In Tahiti I remember dolphins singing underwater and triggerfish darting through the shallows, and surfacing from a dive with views of magical islands on the horizon. Vahine Island is an excellent location for ➤


The ManTa rays and whale sharks are genTle plankTon feeders and are reMarkably ToleranT of huMan coMpany 032

Baros maldives maldIves Understatedly elegant private island resort in the North Malé Atoll. • Top dive spot: Two Manta Points (where Manta rays are cleaned by cleaner wrasse); Nassimo Thila (coral overhangs packed with blue hanging soft corals, plus whitetip sharks, bigeye trevallies, tuna, turtles, and schools of fusiliers); Rameez Place (stingrays, nurse sharks, eagle rays and much more). • Other activities: Enjoy a sunset cruise on a traditional Maldivian dhoni, dinner à deux on a secluded sandbank, supper at the over-water Lighthouse Restaurant, or a session with the resident yogi.

This is Greece This is the best of Greece. This is the brightest sunshine. This is the purest sea air. A small, luxurious hotel for the most discerning of guests, an authentic Greek Island retreat, with the best quality, comfort and service: this is Greece.

Thessi Nissi - P.O. Box 47 – GR 72100 Agios Nikolaos – Crete – Greece Tel: + 30-28410-90200 Fax: +30-28410-24556 .

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ZeaVOla koh PhI PhI, thaILand Understated resort on Phi Phi Don. • Top dive spot: Phi Phi Don (nudibranchs, scorpionfish and, in season, seahorses); Phi Phi Leh (lobster, octopus, barrel sponges and wire corals); Bida Islands (batfish, turtles, reef sharks and eagle rays). The five-night, full-board Zaan Zanook Dive package includes eight dives, use of the dive photo computer station and transfers from Phuket. • Other activities: Island hop; kayak and snorkel; relax in the spa.

Vahine island ••

I am frequently asked for my favourIte dIvIng locatIon. my answer Is always the same: every dIve Is InterestIng

The OberOi Lombok, IndonesIa Thatched villas and pavilions on the tropical island of Lombok in Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands. • Top dive spot: Shark Point (whitetip reef sharks) and Sunset Reef (hawksbill turtles and a giant clam with a blue mantle). The Unforgettable Dive package includes five nights B&B, five dives and airport transfers. • Other activities: Trek from one waterfall to another; adopt a coral to help restore the reefs; participate in a baby turtle release programme; visit a local pearl farm.

➤ exploring the Tahaa lagoon with its healthy reefs and vibrant soft corals, as well as several channels through the reef into the open ocean. In Indonesia I saw my first bamboo shark, and was mesmerised by pygmy sea horses, perfectly camouflaged as they hid among the fronds of soft corals. This is a rich region, and Lombok – the location of The Oberoi, Lombok – is a good place from which to explore the dive sites of the magical Gili islands. And in Thailand there were dainty butterflyfish, cunning scorpionfish lurking in the coral crevices and majestic eagle rays. I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked to name my favourite diving location. My answer is always the same: every dive is interesting, no matter how much or how little you see. And the notes you make – mentally or on paper – will time and again transport you back into the magical world of the blue, and what lies beneath. ■ Tim Ecott is the author of Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World (Penguin, £9.99). This article originally appeared in the new magazine, Be Inspired by Small

socIety IsLands, French PoLynesIa Nine bungalows on a private island near Bora Bora. • Top dive spot: The Nordby wreck; the North Reef (blue jacks, barracudas and black- and whitetip sharks in up to 40m visibility); the Octopus Hole (a 55m cave awash with legends). • Other activities: Visit Tahaa Island, with its vanilla plantation and pearl farm; fish for your own supper; cruise the lagoon on a catamaran.

To book any of the 520 SLH hotels around the world, please call 0800 037 1888 or go online to

Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM. To book any of the hotels featured, call 0800 037 1888 or visit


Stapleford Park Luxury Golf Break

Stapleford Park Golf Course was designed by Donald Steel, and is a 6,944 yard par 73 championship level course which wraps around the heart of Stapleford Park in two extended loops. Stay with us between 28th May and 7th June 2012 (Monday - Thursday) and receive a free room upgrade and early check in from 12.00pm on your day of arrival. Book for a party of more than 8 and we will also include for you a Private Dining room to host your party in style (all subject to availability).

For further information please contact us on 01572 787 000 or visit as restrictions do apply. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Stapleford Park, Stapleford, Nr Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 2EF

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L u x u r y T r av e L : S u m m e r

HoTeLs New LAuNcHes

Five-Star Fever

There’s not exactly a shortage of luxury lodgings in London, but never before have so many exciting new hotel openings been scheduled in the capital. Here’s our pick of the finest...

SHANGRI-LA THE SHARD, LONDON SE1 9SY As if going inside The Shard won’t be cool enough, soon you’ll be able to stay there too. Shangri-La is opening a hotel in London’s newest skyline icon in 2013. Designed by Renzo Piano, The Shard’s other 70 storeys will have shops, offices, restaurants, residences and public viewing galleries to peruse. And a hotel. Eighteen floors of hotel, to be precise; in fact it’s the first hotel in the UK for the luxury Asian brand Shangri-La, adding to its 72 hotels and resorts across the globe. “The authentic and gracious Asian style of service will position this new property at the forefront of the world’s finest hotels,” says CEO Greg Dogan. And as if this isn’t enough, there are even special beds, featuring patented body-contouring technology, as well as a themed bar on level 52 where you can wave to your friends – or foes – as it will have sweeping views across The City.

BULGARI HOTEL AND RESIDENCES 171 KNiGHTSbRiDGE, SW7 1DW Later this month, Knightsbridge is getting its first new luxury hotel for 40 years. The silver-themed design (it’s Bulgari, remember) continues right throughout the hotel, through Il Bar and Il Ristorante, along to two solid silver chandeliers in the ballroom. Many of the furnishings and textiles throughout the hotel and residences were made exclusively for Bulgari by Italian manufacturers; the very best in the trade. As well as everything you would expect from a luxury hotel such as a spacious spa and business centre, there’s a 47-seat screening room which will show 500 films. The room is available for press events, advance screening film premieres and private screenings for you and mates. The hotel also prides itself on pioneering sustainable luxury; it has a ‘green’ roof with bird and bat boxes, and sponsors electric car charging points in the surrounding area too.


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Me bY MeLIA ALDWYCH, WC2 Lord Norman Foster doesn’t design just any building. Wembley Stadium, the Gherkin and the Greater London Authority Building (dubbed “the glass gonad” by Boris) are all his impressive creations. Now he’s turned his company’s hands to the ME London, whose design is set to shake up London’s high-end hotel scene. Having taken over the BBC Marconi Building, the ME London will offer 157 rooms and suites, including one which opens onto the roof terrace. Each guest’s stay will be arranged by the ‘Aura Experience Manager’ (bear with us), whose job will be to make sure you have everything in your room just the way you like it, from the lighting to putting your favourite chocolate on the pillow.

CAFÉ ROYAL hOteL 68 regent street, W1b 5eL Let’s face it, we all want to hang out with the greatest figures of our age, or at least hang out where they hang out. Or hung out. Oscar Wilde, george bernard shaw, elizabeth taylor, Winston Churchill and Princess Diana are just some of the figures who sipped drinks at the grill room of the Café royal. the good news is the Café is reopening in July as a hotel, as over the last three years it has undergone its third architectural reincarnation, under David Chipperfield Architects. Frequent visitors to the hotel may also be familiar with the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam. the third leg of this stool, Hotel Lutetia Paris, is scheduled to re-open soon too. ■


I N N O V A T I V E P L E A S U R E 5 GL

To say the Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real was a feast for the senses would be an understatement. This magical place is a treasure trove of luxury where time stands still and the mind indulges. Set in the perfect location facing the turquoise sea and next to the spectacular sand dunes of Corralejo in Fuerteventura where the waves lap at its feet and the breeze twists through its damask drapes on balconies overlooking the ocean. No wonder it is its regulars’ best-kept secret.

Tel: + 34 928 537 153 / reservations.bahiareal @ /

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AfricA VicTOriA fALLS

Water Works The thunderous roar of the Victoria Falls is getting Lee Mannion ’s heart pumping; and Sun City gets the pulse racing even more


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reat plumes of smoke are being forced

upwards over the lip of the horizon, rising to join the Simpsons-esque clouds in the sky overhead. Ahead, the smooth flowing road of the river has a line drawn through it. As you edge closer to the abyss, there is a roar from the monster in front of you. Now you see the ‘smoke’ is vast swarms of spray that will fall as unceasing rainfall when you make it onto the island. And then you see the drop... Not for nothing do Zambians call Victoria Falls ‘the smoke that thunders’. Livingstone island sits right in the middle of the Zambezi touching the lip and it was here in 1855 that David Livingstone first encountered them. We’d been taken over by boat for breakfast; we were only let loose on the bacon and eggs once they’d scared the bejesus out of us by walking us up to the chasm and having us peer over (while maintaining a tight grip of course – losing tourists is bad for business). Before encountering the monster up close, you’re made to feel very comfortable at the Royal Livingstone Hotel. Livingstone is a twohour hop from Johannesburg and the hotel trades big on first impressions. The wind in your face on the water taxi along the Zambezi should throw off any lingering jet lag before arrival on to manicured lawns, iced tea and, of course, sumptuous canapes. The hotel is ideally situated: while sipping a gin and tonic around the pool, you can see the plume of spray from the waterfall, with the rushing sound of the water a couple of hundred metres down the riverbank a gentle, untroubling constant. My room was all cool creams and reminders that you’re in Mother Africa with sketches of zebras and elephants. Animals are not just confined to the walls, here – a giraffe outside my bedroom door one morning was a great start to the day. Beautiful little impala were a lot more skittish, requiring quick reactions with the camera shutter button before they scooted onto their next port of call. There are several ways to see the falls and most of them will have your heart pumping a little faster. Smashing 500 million litres of the Zambezi per minute into the valley 110m below, they are one of the seven ➤

Sipping a gin and tonic around the pool, you can see the plume of spray from the waterfall down the riverbank


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StreSS level fallS: riverside patio leading to reception at the royal livingstone Hotel; (bottom left) zebra grazing on the lawns at the royal livingstone by the riverside sun deck

With the Victoria Falls you get a sense of something much bigger at work than our own piddling existence


➤ natural wonders of the world. If American teenagers hadn’t hijacked ‘awesome’ for any number of things that aren’t, that word would just about describe them. Encountering the force of them is a little terrifying in a way – you get a sense of something much bigger at work than our own piddling existence. Walking around them breaks you in gently with a series of views that leave you increasingly incredulous until you get nearer to the bridge that passes right across one face of the mile-wide cascade. You’ll know you’re getting closer by the procession of soggy humans coming from the other direction who didn’t want to cough up for the raincoats. It’s like walking through a hurricane, the rain and spray pelting you from every direction, the crash of the thundering flow rendering conversations redundant beyond one word ‘wow’s at the roaring torrent going on to one side of you. Weird winds thrown up by the watery explosions down in the gorge give you a good wet slap across the chops when you least expect it too. It is nothing if not exhilarating. It really is something else. If that much excitement is still not enough, there’s another way to ramp up your

adrenalin levels. You can soar over the falls in a microlight, a machine that looks like the madcap result of a DIY experiment with a hang glider, some tent poles and a bi-plane propeller. Being a total big girl’s blouse when it comes to heights I didn’t sleep much the night before, even with the belly full of booze I’d tried to anaesthetise myself with. After several bowel movements and the resolve to do my job properly holding firm, I found myself soaring skywards, peppering the airwaves of air traffic control with petrified expletives. Microlights don’t do the gradual ascent of a nice comfortable jet plane; they soar skywards on what feels like a 45-degree angle, the ground falling away from you with a lurch and the amount of nothingness under your feet getting bigger every second. At first every cell in my body reacted in protest, telling me that I shouldn’t be up there at all. Once I’d manned up, my expletives turned to more ‘wow’s. Way up there, the Falls make more sense; from the ground it’s difficult to get a sense of the whole. When you’re overhead, you can see the great crevice the water is pouring into in all its mile-wide glory. As we looped around the spray that is thrown ➤

Nestled at the foot of the magnificent Paarl Rock is a small, luxury hotel like no other. It is a place where history interacts with modern comforts...where the atmosphere of a bygone era brings a sense of gracious, unhurried living. Experience the privacy and tranquillity of comfortable and stylish suites nestled among the vineyards of our working fruit farm Feel a sense of belonging as you explore our centuries-old buildings and the rich biodiversity of the Paarl nature reserve Take your taste buds on a journey of culinary delight in the award-winning restaurants Be inspired by the unique mix of heritage, innovation and elegance Tel: +27 21 863 5100 Email:

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➤ upwards out of the chasm and 1,500 feet into the air, it felt surreal and magical. On our second loop, the pilot flew lower over the Zambezi so that I could make out the dark forms of hippos. As their eyes and ears are the only part of them above the surface when they’re wallowing, they’re much harder to spot from the riverbank. Also in the bush was an elephant herd, the pilot pointing out the water hole they’d just moved on from. Fifteen minutes later I was back on the ground, completely elated and enjoying a big buzz that lasted way beyond breakfast.

There is a kind of vertical water death slide where your shorts will try and castrate you if you don’t cross your legs

SUN CITY If Victoria Falls is all about the wonder of nature, Sun City feels like the apogee that ambition, imagination and money can produce in a capitalist world. It’s a playground for adults. The decor feels like it’s trying to outVegas America’s most over-the-top town especially if you’re staying at the Palace of the Lost City, one of four hotels here. Nothing is plain here – on the corners of the turrets sit lions and the huge domed entrance hall has enormous African frescoes. A massive dining room has a central fountain with water pouring from the trunks of four elephants. It’s like Elton John was given free and dictated the theme be ‘Africa’ with money no object. There are waterfalls everywhere. And if you’re not a mean-spirited type who sneers at such overblown gaudiness, the weird thing is it all starts to become rather wonderful – you start to marvel at the imagination on show. All those minimal hotels out there with

SOAK UP SUN CITY: (from top to bottom) Al fresco dining outside the Crystal Court Dining Room at the Palace of the Lost City Hotel; Palace of the Lost City Hotel; the Palace is surrounded by lush gardens

their white walls and church candles start to feel dull in comparison. My eyeballs were tantalised at every turn and I liked it, Goddamn it. And once you’ve stopped gawping at the decor, you can start enjoying all the toys you’ve got to play with, the best of which is the Valley of the Waves. An artificial beach that looks like it’s been plonked in the middle of a lost kingdom, klaxons regularly announce the unleashing of a small tsunami in the pool. All swimmers try to escape from it, then everyone hoots with laughter as it sweeps them backwards or crashes on their head. If you’ve forgotten what fun a water park can be, the Valley is here to remind you. There are flumes you can zip down on inflatable doughnuts (one in the dark) and there is a kind of water death slide that’s near vertical where your shorts will try and castrate you if you don’t cross your legs. I know you’re all serious business-minded professionals but honestly, it is all, quite frankly, ENORMOUS FUN. Whatever you fancy doing at Sun City, it’s likely you’ll be able to do it. Like Vegas, there’s the gambling and the shows but there are also two golf courses, a plethora of restaurants where you can pretend you’re somewhere else in the world (we went to Santorini and pretended we were in Greece) and random stuff like Segway tours. They even built a lake just so you can do some jet skiing. Despite all this man-made pleasure, one of the big draws is a natural one: being able to go on safari. Next door to Sun City is Pilanesburg National Park, 570 square kilometres of African savannah that couldn’t feel further removed from the theme park ten minutes down the road. It’s possible to see the Big Five, (lion, rhino, buffalo, leopard, elephant) and in a couple of hours there we managed four, if you include a lion’s backside. Savage beasts, the awesome spectacle of the Falls, the bonkers brilliance of Sun City and all in a week. One thing’s for sure: it sure beats Benidorm. ■ For packages to both hotels, call 0871 703 4240; The Royal Livingstone hotel supports the Lubasi home for children, many of whom have been left without parents owing to HIV and AIDS;


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Namibia bmW TREK

THE WHEELIE WILD SHOW Warren Pole takes his trusty BMW more than 1,000 miles through desert and bush on the ultimate adventure ride across Namibia


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dventure riding is a seductive thing. First there are the bikes, epic off-road monsters just as comfortable cruising French autoroutes or attacking Swiss Alpine passes as they are battering through filthy jungle swamps in the middle of nowhere. Then there’s the gear, from satnavs to toolkits and carbon fibre helmets to monstrous motocross boots, tooling up for a trip is half the fun. Finally, there’s the adventure. With a goanywhere bike, you can live and breathe the environments you’re hacking through in a way no other vehicle will let you. You become a part of the landscape and the culture around you on a bike, and the pleasure’s in soaking it all in in some really challenging environments. But adventure riding’s also bloody hard work. It requires a huge amount of organisation from sorting visas, to clearing bikes in customs and spending days at remote border crossings trying to bribe your way through en route. And what if you crash? Having a bust bike and a broken femur in

With a bike, you can live and breathe the environments you’re hacking through like no other vehicle allows deepest Bogota doesn’t bear thinking about and suddenly makes adventure riding look a little bit, well, difficult. But it doesn’t have to be this way because there are a host of companies worldwide who’ll do all the hard the work for you, letting riders pay and play for the adventure ride of a lifetime. All you have to do is turn up with a crash helmet, a bike licence, and a vague idea how to ride on the dirt and have fun. BMW is a big player in this market, and when the overall boss of the company’s motorcycle division, Hendrik von Kuenheim – a keen enduro rider – wanted a tough and exotic riding holiday he had his people arrange just that. Being the boss, he also made sure the hotels, restaurants and wine lists along the way were the best money could buy, and then he invited a select handful of journalists to join him. Given the trip involved a week tearing across Namibia aboard a brace of BMW F800GSs, I couldn’t pack quickly enough. On day one, riding out of Windhoek, the ➤


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➤ Namibian capital, there was inevitably tarmac to deal with but 70 miles later we hit the dirt, which was pretty much where we stayed for the rest of the trip. This first day was a gentle one, with the trails wide, open and predictable which meant ample opportunity to soak up the sights, smells, and sounds of wild Africa as they floated around us. With our previously pristine bikes now suitably sand-blasted, we rolled into the Erindi private game reserve that evening in time for ice cold sundowner beers on their terrace. After a deep night’s sleep in Erindi’s palatial individual bungalows with their terraces opening directly onto the plains and the wildlife wandering by, we hit the trail again heading for Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast. Swakopmund itself is unremarkable, a sort of Namibian Margate, and wouldn’t be worth staying in if it weren’t for the riding to get there which was something else. Following 150-odd miles of trails to get into the groove, we had left the town of Uis and joined an arrow straight dusty trail heading for the coast. For 70 miles this track never kinked or curved an inch, remaining resolutely, mind-bendingly, hallucinatingly straight. Above us a giant blue sky stretched from wingtip to wingtip across the horizon, and ahead the road narrowed to a point shrouded in a heat haze where the sky melted into the earth. We chased that point for what felt like an age, speedos swaying around the 90mph mark, rev counters dancing as back wheels

OUT IN AFRICA: (from top) Tearing up the dirt in a BMW; taking in the veld; making a spash

endlessly gripped, slipped, gripped, slipped, and gripped again. It was as close to an outof-body experience as I’ve come on a bike, and more than made up for the impending night in Swakopmund’s drab, grey mire. Which we gladly left the following morning for what turned out to be the most amazing dune riding session. Dune Seven, just outside of Swakopmund, may have a dull name, but don’t be fooled because this 200-metre natural sand bowl could just be the greatest thing you’ve never ridden. Sand riding is an acquired skill, but the basics are simple. Lots of gas, and look way ahead – never anywhere near your front wheel, no matter how many knots it’s tying itself in. Follow these basics and you’ll be fine, forget either and you’ll be wearing your bike before you know it. And we don’t want that. On a giant dune like this, the only additional tip is to add even more gas, which meant we were tearing up this beast of dune flat in third gear tipping 80mph, turning for the base again just as the momentum ran out and surfing back down to terra firma, whooping and hollering inside our crash helmets. An all-time riding high. Journey’s end this day was at the Sossusvlei Lodge in the southern Namib desert. A peach of a place, the lodge is in the heart of big dune country and lies at the end of a huge, snaking dirt track bordering the Namib-Naukluft national park. A stellar dinner in the middle of the vast and empty desert was a standout here, as was a tour deep into the park itself where the views are spellbinding, especially if you’ve got the legs for some serious dune climbing. The last day was the trawl back to Windhoek and here the going got tough. We’d

It was as close as I’ve come on a bike to an out-of-body experience, as the back wheel endlessly gripped and slipped crossed the Tropic of Capricorn that morning as the sun blazed high in the sky, and the weather was just as scorching as we scaled the Spreetshoogte Pass which climbs up off the desert floor offering stunning views back across this beautiful landscape. However, as we took a breather to enjoy these very views, our vantage point also allowed us a grandstand view of the massive bank of filthy black rain clouds that were headed our way. We may have been on 800cc bikes with plenty of punch here, but they would be no match for the natural forces coming towards us and within half an hour the clouds had settled above us and the heavens opened in grand African fashion. The previously dusty, sandy trails we were on became oily, slimy swamps in minutes with river crossings springing up all over the place as the hard ground struggled to cope with the massive amount of water pouring from the sky. So it was a soaked, filthy, bunch of riders who arrived back in Windhoek that night as the trip drew to a close, but there wasn’t one who wasn’t grinning from ear to ear. Like I said, adventure riding’s a seductive thing. ■ For more information, go to:

PhotograPhs by Jon Beck


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Pure Safari

Specialists in luxury safaris and tailor made adventures

Responsible Safaris With Style: “The only one of its kind. Inspiring, authentic and holistic, the SkySafari engages every sense from beginning to end. Experience Tanzania’s safari circuit in the lap of luxury: fly to and from each destination in the luxury of an executive aircraft, stay in world class accommodation while feasting on gourmet cuisine and quenching the desire for the adventure leading you to experience our Africa in awe and wonder”.

Ref: TAN-IT-ELEW01-SS Call us now for your private luxury Sky Safari uk | Tel: +44 (0)1227 753181

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Bahamas speed week

the need for speed

travelled to the bahamas for the revival of Speed Week in Nassau – an amazing spectacle that saw $100m worth of cars take to its tropical coast for the first time in 45 years

Judith Baker


L u x u r y T r av e L : s u m m e r


omething Strange waS happening at

Arawak Cay on the Nassau shorefront. In front of a row of brightly coloured food shacks with names like Da Fish Fry and L’il Hut, and with the turquoise Caribbean Sea in the background, stood a line-up of some of the most expensive cars in the world. Road cars dating from the 1950s to the present day had congregated to rev their engines and shatter the calm of this pretty island spot in a nostalgic move to revive one of the most glamorous motoring events in history. The original Bahamas Speed Week was an annual affair that ran in Nassau from 1954 to 1966, traditionally in the first week of December, bringing together stars from the USA and Europe in an end-of-season play-off. After years of planning and hoping, car enthusiasts from the Bahamas and around the world received the support they needed to revive the Bahamas Speed Week in December 2011, and it is now set to return as an annual event in the racing calendar, if the island’s minister of tourism and aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace has his way. A neat link to Speed Week’s past was provided by the presence of Sir Stirling Moss, now 81 and, as of last year, officially retired from a racing career that began in the 1940s. But he revealed he is still a deft hand at the wheel of his 1950s-era Osca FS372 sport racer. Jay Michaels, moderator at the opening ceremony, compared Speed Week to the success of other racing events such as Le Mans, Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. “The Speed Week Revival 2011 was merely an idea and a vision of so many people too numerous to mention, who wanted to capture an excitement that hasn’t occurred here in Nassau for some 45 years,” said Michaels. “It was through that vision that we stand before you today with the first of what we feel will be an incredible annual event.”

the CarS Historically, they included everything from Minis to Chapparals, great Ferraris and Maseratis. In 2011, sports and GT cars from the period, capable of running in a Tour Auto-type road event, were on show, and road cars from the 1950s to the present day drove essentially the same route around the island as their predecessors had in the past. The 40-plus entries in 2011 ranged from a local Austin-Healey ‘Bugeye’ Sprite to a likely $10m-plus Ferrari Testa Rossa and a $7m Maserati 450S entered by Wal-Mart chairman Rob Walton. Mercedes SL, Aston Martin Vanquish and a Ferrari F40 among others sparkled in the tropical sunshine as their

PhotograPh by Dante Carrer

owners fussed over their pride and joys. Their precious cargo had come by ship from the UK, Europe and the US East Coast. Entries for the 2011 Revival began earlier in the year at the UK’s Donington Festival with some stunning cars including a Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Jaguar XKSs Corvette, Lotus 11 and 15 among other classic car royalty. Classic car festivals throughout Europe and North America followed as key recruitment venues for Speed week, which culminated in $100m worth of cars being entered for the Revival.

the CirCUitS Speed Week got under way in a Le Mans-style ceremony led by patrons Sir Stirling Moss in his red OSCA, accompanied by GovernorGeneral Sir Arthur Foulkes. “Gentlemen, start your engines,” says Michaels, only to be admonished later as two of the drivers were women. Whoops. Because it was not possible to replicate the old Windsor Field track (which is now the airport) the organisers decided to take advantage of the natural topography of the Arawak cay and Fort Charlotte areas for the Hill Climb and Sprint circuits – the more serious hill-climb and road race events were Speed Week’s centrepieces. These were augmented by a new addition to Speed Week: the 007 Island Tour, which saw the cars parade around New Providence Island stopping at points of interest with a James Bond theme. Much of Casino Royale was filmed on Paradise Island – and Daniel Craig as Mr Bond waded out of the sea at Albany Resort in his Speedos was a memorable moment for many. It was no coincidence that the Concours d’Elegance line-up took place at the exclusive Lyford Cay Club, which just happens to be home to Sir Sean Connery, who obligingly stepped out of his front door to wave at the passing motorists. This setting provided an opportunity to see some veterans from the original races in a line-up that included 16 entries that had made their way from the UK. Among these, Richard Lake’s AC Ace ➤

The 007 tour saw the cars stopping at points of interest around New Providence Island with a James Bond theme 051

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DRIVE TIME: (top) Sir Stirling Moss with the minister of tourism Senator Vincent VanderpoolWallace; (below, from top to bottom) ready for the off; having a gander; fine cars and fine watches

Former Playboy Bunnies, wealthy car owners and, er, Ray Mullings mingled with government ministers… ➤ Bristol had been here in 1958, while from the US, Rob Walton’s Maserati 450S had come over in 1957 (coming third in the Governor’s Trophy) and a 1959 Bocar, was here in 1960 as the spare car on the Scarab team.

THE WINNERS Stephen Bond sped to victory in his Lister Bristol in the time trials held at Arawak Cay. Bond completed the circuit in one minute, nineteen seconds and thirty-eight milliseconds edging out Phil Brett who finished with a time of one minute, 19 seconds and 62 milliseconds. The Hill Climb was won by the most modern of the entries a Ford GT, owned by City worker Phil Brety, with David Cottingham coming in as the most nimble of the classics in his blue Jaguar E-type.



British Airways operates a direct nonstop service from London Heathrow to Nassau, five days a week; Hotels:; More info:;

PhotograPhs by Derek smith

As in the 1950s, the sparkle of Speed Week was as much about the socialising as it was about the racing. On the terrace of Government House, an elegant gathering of VIPs mingled, drinking champagne and looking out to sea in much the same way as the jet set may have done in the days when the Duke and Duchess of Windsor resided here after the Duke’s stormy abdication as King Edward VIII. To remove him from the public eye, the Duke was made Governor of The Bahamas and swapped palaces for palm trees. But this particular group of glitterati were here to toast motoring royalty and the launch of the 2011 Speed Week revival. Former Playboy Bunnies, wealthy car owners and Ray Mullings, composer of the 1970s hit Funky Nassau, mixed with government ministers. No-one can come to the Bahamas without trying conch. Pronounced konk, this tasty mollusc is the most famous Bahamian delicacy and is eaten all over the islands. Conch shacks are found all over Nassau, especially at Arawak Cay where the motorists enjoyed an informal fish fry and Bahamian feast, washed down with a local Kalik beer or a Bahama Mama, the islands’ own version of Caribbean rum punch.

Later in the week the cars were escorted to Bay Street in downtown Nassau where they were parked up on display in front of the capitals’ exclusive shops. Open air barbecue was on offer as local musicians played and the competitors took advantage of some retail therapy at the tax free stores. After the Concours d’Elegance on day three, the party moved to Graycliff, one of Nassau’s most famous old hotels and owned by an Italian family steeped in motoring history. Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli turned the former private home of Lord and Lady Dudley, third Earl of Staffordshire, into the elegant hotel and restaurant that it is today. In 2000, following a major expansion the hotel inaugurated a new section at the Graycliff Cigar Company. The hotel has 20 rooms and two restaurants, a gym and two swimming pools. It has one of the world’s finest wine cellars of which Speed Week guests were given a private tour and their palates were graced with some rare vintages. It’s certainly worth a look. And a taste. As the sun came down on a week of fast living: the combination of exhilarating fast racing, fine dining and some seriously good partying in the tropics seemed certain to cement Speed Week in the diaries of the international motoring crowd. ■

Villa Kathleen, majestically dominates the hillside of Galley Bay Heights Antigua, offering over 13,000 square feet of relaxed living/entertaining space, infinity edged pool, jacuzzi and a private full sized flood-lit tennis court. This beautifully appointed luxury villa enjoys panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and its neighbouring islands, St. Kitts and Montserrat.

Villa Kathleen is built on two levels and comprises of a spacious gourmet kitchen, open floor plan lounge/living area, indoor and outdoor dining, conservatory, TV/family room, fully equipped gym and seven air conditioned bedrooms with ensuite bath/shower rooms.

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The villa with its huge windows, white washed vaulted ceilings, marbled floors and soft neutral decor gives a feeling of calm serenity with an openness and sunlit ambience. Villa Kathleen’s complement of staff include a house manager, personal chef, driver/security, waitress, kitchen assistant, maid, laundress and gardener to attend your every need during your stay. Private transfers to and from the airport, along with a personal driver to take you wherever you want to go will ensure your stay is both relaxing and carefree from start to finish.


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Scotland archerfield

WELL ABOVE PAR Escaping from the busy streets of Edinburgh, Siobhan McFadyen travels to a golfing resort with a difference. And you don’t even need to pick up a club to enjoy it, which is just as well… IN THE CLUB: Sit back and relax at this superior spa and golf links resort in Scotland. Cinnamoninfused hot toddy and a foot rub? That’ll do nicely, thanks


rom the second I stepped out onto the cobbled streets outside Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, I knew my trip to Scotland’s windswept southeast coast was going to be something rather special. I had wondered, on the train journey north, whether a jaunt to Archerfield – a place synonymous with golfing excellence – was something I’d be likely to enjoy because, if the truth be told, I’ve never fully understood why an albatross is better than a birdie.

Maybe it was the fresh sea air breezing through the window, or the fact that I had extra legroom in the back of my chauffeurdriven Mercedes S Class, but during the 35-minute trip from the city to the beach, I realised I’d perhaps been underestimating the lure of links golf, and needed to rethink. As we closed in on our destination I was intrigued by the stories of King Edward I who had camped his troops on the land before battle in 1298, how Franklin D Roosevelt had

held secret World War II meetings when Herbert Asquith was in residence, not to mention the close presence of Concorde, living out its retirement in an airfield museum nearby, which is well worth a visit. From the vast open spaces of the clubhouse, resplendent with an array of African art, to the fully restored 18th Century Mansion House retaining features by acclaimed architect Robert Adam, it occurred to me this place had a presence like no other. ➤


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RUSTIC LUXURY: (top) the splendour of Archerfield at night; (middle) one of the treatment rooms at Archerfield; (bottom) a relaxing drawing room

➤ Over breakfast, owner Kevin Doyle, an Irish-Scots immigrant, told me he started his £55m project in 2005, before the onslaught of the financial meltdown. But rather than stagnate, Archerfield has happily bucked the global trend, and blossomed.  In the seven years under his stewardship, it has become a ‘name’ on the international golf scene thanks to its two world-class links courses, which overlook the Firth of Forth. Doyle has spent a fortune taking care of his 550-hectare estate and even appointed teams of archeologists to protect a tomb of ancient Scots kings in their standing grave, as well as the remains of a Druid village from 3,500BC. Archerfield’s golfing history dates back to 1869, but its status is mysterious from when the British War Department took it over in 1940. The Duke of Hamilton later bought it. Its current owner has breathed new life into the land. It’s a heritage site that comes with 28 hectares of waterfront that offers an epic view of the North Star on a clear night. Doyle’s most recent addition is Fletcher’s Cottage, the brainchild of spa visionary Sian Parry Jones, who is setting new standards in luxury. The glass and wood front-walled cottage is more like a secret garden of rustic


wellness, complete with outside yoga space and private treatment cabins. Inside, it retains its earthy atmosphere thanks to reclaimed materials such as potato boxes, Himalayan salt bricks, sheepskin rugs, chicken-wire lighting as well as lots of tender loving care. Sian’s desire to build from grass roots level has paid off, it seems. The spa offers bespoke treatments and retreats, all helping to make the setting an amalgam of country chic and positive karma. There’s an eye-catching brand collection there too, including unique South African Frazer Perfumes. With a handpicked team of experts including Katie Light, a visiting healer and Nora Luppo, another peripatetic Argentinean ➤

It was easy to don the fluffy bathrobe and slippers and give myself time to sample the mini cream cakes and sip some tea

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Experience Rome in splendour


N THE HEART of Rome, Villa Spalletti Trivelli is unique among the historic residences: a splendid Italian garden, elegant and refined environments furnished with genuine antiques, exclusive wellness center and sumptuous rooms with every comfort

such as Complimentary Wi-Fi, Complimentary Minibars and much more. Peaceful and overlooking either the Italian gardens of Villa Spalletti Trivelli or the Quirinal Palace Gardens, the rooms of the Villa offer the height of romance and luxury.

Villa Spalletti Trivelli

Via Piacenza 4 - 00184 Roma, Italia Tel. 39 06 48907934 Fax. 39 06 4871409 Email.

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Watch the birdie A GOLFING GUIDE TO ARCHERFIELD While I didn’t pick up a club at Archerfield, I did take an inspiring six-mile walk along the sandy dunes and through the enchanting woods that make up the incredible links course Fidra. Even a novice could see that a game of golf that starts in what seems like a magical forest and later opens up to the view that inspired Treasure Island is something pretty incredible. Both Fidra and the Dirleton Links, designed by European senior tour player and former Ryder Cup vice captain David J Russell, have hosted Major winners including Sir Bob Charles, Gary Player, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke. At the vast clubhouse, there’s no oldfashioned dress codes, stuffy golf club rules or overblown egos. And the personal touches are simply out of this world. You can leave your bags and clubs at the door, and rest assured they’ll be on hand when you need them. ■

➤ who performs facial reflexology and lymph drainage, it was easy to don the fluffy bathrobe and slippers and give myself time to sample the mini cream cakes and sip some tea. It took a lot of effort to drink in the surroundings before heading off for an afternoon of unbridled pampering – pure bliss. Fletcher’s Cottage Spa has running themes in each of its seven comfortable treatment rooms. Its fire-lit communal resting area, with beautiful table-book collection combined with first-class service could keep you there for days. The sauna and steam facilities are also marvellous, with every last detail right down to the kikois made at Ukunda University in Kenya being hand-picked by Parry Jones.   Staying at archerfield was peaceful, the stunning Marine Villa, home to Robert Louis Stevenson when he wrote his epic novel Treasure Island, was a film-like experience; its soundtrack the lapping waves of the sea. The home-from-home atmosphere, spacious living areas, roll-top baths, and jaw-dropping kitchen (it has with just about every newfangled gadget you could imagine) was topped only by the Punch collection and roaring log fire to keep you warm. Each night, the friendly and unobtrusive

The sauna and steam facilities are also marvellous, right down to the kikois made at Ukunda University in Kenya staff were on hand to offer anything your heart could desire; whether it was haggis nibbles, lobster frites, a harpist and kilted storyteller, and even a cinnamon-infused hot toddy. While I admit, in the beginning, I thought Archerfield was just another boring old golf club, in reality it’s a window into another world, a true work of art. And, as Kevin McCloud might say, it’s built with respect for the land it embodies. ■ Archerfield Links, Golf Club House, Golf Green Dirleton, North Berwick, East Lothian , EH39 5HU Exclusive Hire: Sun-Thu £5,995 (exc Vat). Sat & Sun £6,500 (exc Vat), includes dinner and B&B for 30 guests in 15 double bedrooms, includes all house beers, wines and spirits. Per night: three-bedroom lodges £550; four-bedroom lodges £650.


THE DEFINITION of EUROPEAN LUXURY Private balconies. Panoramic views of Beverly Hills & Los Angeles. European trunk style furniture. Impeccable service. True European luxury has finally arrived in Beverly Hills.

For reservations call 682.514.4009 or email 1224 Beverwil Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90035 |

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travel watches

Time and emoTion

For the discerning business traveller, a fine travel watch is as important as a good holdall. jon hawkins has flown the globe (well, to Switzerland, anyway) to find the watch for you… 1


1 Breitling transocean Unitime, £8,460: Harking back to the days when air travel wasn’t just several joyless hours spent in the intimate company of the great unwashed, the Unitime brings retro glamour to the modern globetrotter.


2 grand seiko gmt, £5,300: seiko’s fine watchmaking arm was founded with the simple goal of producing the best watches possible. over 50 years of applying that philosophy have resulted in the gmt; stylish, businesslike and unfussy. Unlike customs at Heathrow.

3 zenitH pilot doUBlomatic, £8,600: the doublomatic is a rare beast, being clever, beautiful and practical. along with a world time complication and a chronograph it also has an alarm, so there’s no excuse for tardiness, no matter where you are in the world.


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4 OMEGA sEAMAstEr AquA tErrA GMt, £4,780: Equipped with a revolutionary Co-Axial movement, the Aqua terra GMt fuses high performance with classic style. the red GMt hand can also be used for compass orientation, should you get lost in the first-class lounge.



5 iwC biG pilOt’s wAtCh pErpEtuAl CAlENDAr tOp GuN, £29,500: A timepiece no Maverick should be without, this is one of the most complex pilot’s watches ever made. And the top Gun’s ceramic case and titanium crown make it sufficiently durable for playing with the boys.

6 liNDE wErDEliN OktOpus ii, £7,485: if your dream holiday involves sightseeing below sea level rather than above it, linde werdelin’s latest creation should float your boat. A separate ‘reef’ diving instrument can be attached for added Cousteau kudos.


Eco-conscious, Themonies Luxury Suites revives an idiosyncratic settlement and a benchmark hospitality among the Cycladic standards On the untouched Cycladic island of Folegandros, nestled at the fringe of its Hora, THEMONIES Luxury Suites, harmonious blend of the traditional and the new, serenely overlooks the city and, further in the horizon, the Aegean. Preserving the 19th century agricultural settlement of “themonies” – as these idiosyncratic rectangular stone entities are called in Folegandros-, THEMONIES Luxury Suites’ five residences made of stone filter the traditional notion of hospitality through the principles of bioclimatic architecture, energy saving, and environmental sensitization. Conforming to the tenet of minimal environmental intervention, disperced building volumes become utterly harmonized with the fully renovated complex of the old “themonies”. The suites and villa deliver unpretentious style and homely comfort, in a context that retains the distinctiveness of the authentic. Their names are inspired from the local dialect, further enhancing their character. Earthy colors and shades of white, combined with careful touches of linen and cotton fabrics, rare antiques, as well as special objects d’ art, compose a unique living area. In this captivating homely retreat, the hosts are devoted to providing warm hospitality and to offering memorable personal moments to their guests. The visitor relaxes, in an atmosphere of “Cycladic Zen”.

Themonies Luxury Suites • Folegandros Hora, 84011 • Cyclades • Greece Τ: + 30 22860 41517 • M: + 30 6940 773967 • E:


Live the high life in this impressive coastal retreat! Enjoying an elevated & imposing location with commanding sea views of Torbay & Brixham’s picturesque harbour; this Edwardian mansion, known as Wolborough House has an indoor pool, snooker room, sauna, table tennis & much more. Sleeping 16, it’s perfect for a memorable ‘family or friend’ occasion! T: 01803 211116 • E:

the unspoilt Turkish coastline and Dodecanese Islands Eon boardxplorea traditional wooden schooner with fabulous food. Small group escorted itineraries, on land and sea, for single travellers and couples. Archaeological sites - Historic towns - Picturesque villages - Remote forestry trails for walking. Tailor made private boat charters and tours Istanbul – house parties and bespoke holidays

DayDreams Travel Limited Tel. 01884 849200

Welcome to Villa Dubrovnik, Croatian most exclusive hotel introducing a unique level of luxury and style. With spectacular views of the Old City and Island of Lokrum, newly rebuilt Villa Dubrovnik welcomes you with luxurious accommodation of 56 sea-view residences. Discover personalized treatments at the Villa Spa wellness and excitement of Vaporeto speedboat transfers to the Old City of Dubrovnik and back.

Dubrovnik's most elegant 5-star hotel invites you to share its unique experience of Romance forever. VILLA DUBROVNIK Vlaha Bukovca 6 - Dubrovnik, Croatia - T. +385 20 500 300 - F. +385 20 500 310 E.

1987 - 2012 Celebrating years


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Tee-Time In our last issue, editor of Golf News Nick Bayly named Old Head in Kinsale, Ireland, as one of the top ten golf courses to play before you die. But this amazing links course is not just about great golf – but also a dramatic piece of the island itself, protruding more than two miles into the Atlantic. This peninsula is the sole preserve of the golf course and clubhouse. Every square foot of the 180 acres is put to brilliant golfing use. With nine holes playing directly along the cliffs, it’s not for the faint-hearted, either. The real trick is remembering to focus on your next shot, rather than the amazing views. After your adventures on the greens, why not retire to your suite in the clubhouse? Or tuck into some incredible nosh at the five-star de Courcey restaurant. Retire to the Lusitania bar to subtly display your scorecard. Or hide it, perhaps… ■

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Want a challenge, with luxury? Want the views to be as stunning as the greens? Pack up your clubs and head over to Old Head… 066


BE SPECIAL BE DESTINED FOR BAROS For nearly 40 years, we have been dedicated to one single goal: making you happy! You are special to us; we know you by name, not villa number. We are delighted to have you staying with us so we can attend to your desires and make your holiday special too. Come to Baros to celebrate the best there is; discover the Essence of the Maldives, and the holiday of your dreams! . Baros Maldives is a small exclusive coral island in the Indian Ocean ringed by a sun-kissed beach and a vibrant house-reef. The awardwinning boutique luxury resort is proud of a long and outstanding history of service excellence. Awards include the Traveller‘s Choice by TripAdvisor in 2012 and 2011 as one of the Top Ten Hotels in Asia, and in 2010 as the Best Luxury Resort in Asia.

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Square Mile Guides - Luxury Travel: Summer - 2012  

Square Mile Guides - Issue 68 - Luxury Travel: Summer - 2012

Square Mile Guides - Luxury Travel: Summer - 2012  

Square Mile Guides - Issue 68 - Luxury Travel: Summer - 2012