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squaremile Gu i de s
squaremile Gu i des
Jon Hawkins Art dirEctor
Matthew Hasteley SUB Editor
Jason Riley SEnior dESignEr
Lucy Phillips JUnior dESignEr
Ali Davidson StAff writEr
Matt Huckle contriBUtorS
Graham Bell, Charlie Birkett, Neil Davey, Martin Deeson, James GraceJayasundera, Paul Kerr, Laura Latham, Tom Marchant, Ross Marshall, Lizzie Rivera, Tristan Rutherford Printing
Editor, SqUArE MilE
Mark Hedley HEAd of digitAl
Mike Gluckman MArKEting & EvEntS
Loren Penney, Danielle Kent SAlES dirEctorS
Michael Berrett, Lauren Neale HEAd of drinKS & vEnUES
Alex Watson Print AdvErtiSing
Jack Bennett, Will Preston, Sophie Spencer, Will Taylor AccoUntS
Steve Cole, Laura Otabor, Claude Alabi cEo
Tim Slee cHAirMAn
Tom Kelly OBE
HaT muST iT feel like to stand on a ledge 24 miles above ground and stare down at the earth below? Only Felix Baumgartner, whose parachute jump from the edge of space has made him a household name, knows the answer to that one, but which of us hasn’t imagined surveying the world from high above, as though standing above a toy globe? While getting a view like Baumgartner’s is restricted to incredibly few (for now, at least), fortunately there’s plenty to enjoy back on terra firma, whether your taste’s for the truly adventurous or something more sedate. Either way, we hope you’ll find plenty to whet your appetite in the annual square mile Luxury Travel guide. We’ve got everything from Cuba to cowboys, fly-fishing to freerunning, and plenty more in between. And, in the spirit of writer Don Williams’s famous line that “our lessons come from the journey, not the destination,” we’ve looked at some of the more refined ways of going on holiday – private jet and superyacht. Back home in London, Matt Huckle visits East London’s Hoxton hotel to meet its CEO, Sharan Pasricha, a man with ambitious plans to take the Hoxton concept abroad; New York and Amsterdam are in his sights already [p25]. Meanwhile, in the colder but considerably less urban Verbier, Laura Latham chats to another bullish boss – a certain Sir Richard Branson – about his lodge in that most decadent of Swiss ski towns [p38]. With barely time for her to take a breath, we send Laura to Havana to discover a Cuban capital finally waking up to luxury travel, while clinging on to the eccentricities that make it one of the world’s most vibrant cities to visit [p48]. Cultural vibrancy might not be what you’d expect from a ranch in Montana, but nevertheless Neil Davey finds himself expertly wined and dined, and singing karaoke, at The Ranch at Rock Creek [p65]. But whatever floats your 184ft superyacht (yes, we’ve got that, too), there are loads of great ideas in our Directory – we’ve asked some of our most knowledgeable friends to name their top five travel destinations. From adventure travel to gastronomic pilgrimages, if you’re not inspired to get straight on the first plane (or balloon into the stratosphere), you’re probably beyond help…
A former five-time Olympic skier and the anchor presenter of BBC’s Ski Sunday, Graham Bell is the face of British skiing. Luckily for him that doesn’t mean he’s restricted to British pistes, which makes him the ideal person to name the five best places to ski anywhere in the world [p122].
lizziE rivErA Lizzie Rivera is a freelance writer specialising in travel and lifestyle, who launched her career at this venerable organ. When she’s not jetting around Europe in a Learjet [p92], she can be found diving with sharks in the Indian Ocean or in her North London kitchen drinking tea with friends.
nEil dAvEy A former banker, Neil Davey sensibly jacked in the business to become a journalist. His CV also features a year working as a cheesemonger in Borough Market. He now writes about food, drink, cars and anything else you can do sitting down. He did try fly-fishing in Montana, though [p65].
lAUrA lAtHAM Laura Latham is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about travel, food and international property. She contributes to a wide variety of publications, including the Sunday Times, National Geographic Traveller and the International Herald Tribune.
020 7819 9999
Jon Hawkins, Guides Editor
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Contents luxury travel
14 . Epic TomaTo’s UlTimaTE Trip 17 . NEws & opENiNgs 20 . Eco gamE rEsErvE 22 . UNdErwaTEr rEsTaUraNT 25 . iNTErviEw: HoxToN cEo 28 . abErcrombiE & kENT sTorE 31 . café royal rETUrNs To loNdoN
38 . visiTiNg vErbiEr 44 . viNTagE TravEl posTErs 48 . lUxUry TravEl iN cUba 54 . THE rENaissaNcE of bodrUm 58 . parkoUr aroUNd THE world 65 . from HEdgE fUNds To HorsEs
76 . bEcomE a TravEl gENiUs 78 . masTEriNg coUNTry sporTs 84 . sTylE aNd accEssoriEs 94 . sailiNg sUpEr-yacHT 96 . growN-Up gap yEars
110 . foodiE ExpEriENcEs 112 . grEaT golf HoTEls 114 . sEcrET bEacHEs 122 . THE world’s bEsT skiiNg 126 . oENopHilE EscapEs 128 . spEcTacUlar spa rEsorTs
A new culture to discover, a place that will take our breath away, somewhere we can get lost, then find ourselves again and wonâ€™t cost the earth. Get special extra content with the Aurasma Lite app by pointing your device to this image.
Requested by Alex and Victoria...
For expert advice and to book, visit your local store or kuoni.co.uk For a brochure, call 08 44 557 3777
LUXURY OFFER IN THE MALDIVES.
A great reason for a tropical winter holiday. The spectacular two-island Conrad Maldives Rangali Island boasts the most luxurious villas, three spas and the best dining experience in the Maldives, including Ithaa undersea restaurant, the only one of its kind in the world. * Offer details: Stay 5 nights and pay for 4 and enjoy a free upgrade to our half board meal plan. Your kids eat and sleep for free when sharing the villa with you. Offer valid for stays from now till 25th December 2012.
* Terms & Conditions apply. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island For reservations contact MLEHI.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ConradMaldives.com
d e pa r t u r e s
In this section 014 Epic Tomatoâ€™s ultimate trip 017 News and new openings 020 An eco friendly game reserve 022 Underwater restaurant 025 How the Hoxton is going global
departures world first
on top of the world The epic tabletop peak of Mount Roraima and Kaieteur Falls – the largest single-drop waterfall in the world – are utterly unique landscapes, even for South America…
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fall guys These days, a unique travel experience usually means going where at least a few thousand others have gone before, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You won’t find many tour operators, tourists or, for that matter, people at Mount Roraima, on the border of Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela. Here, in one of the most remote parts of the South American jungle, you’ll find yourself at the top of the continent’s highest tabletop mountain and, around 60 miles away, next to one of the world’s most powerful waterfalls. As part of Epic Tomato’s remarkable World First trip, travellers will have the opportunity to complete two truly unique experiences: to abseil 1,500ft down the prow of Roraima to the jungle floor and to enter the cave behind Kaieteur Falls – feats never before achieved. Kaieteur’s cave is reputed to be home to thousands of swallows, though of course, only you would be able to confirm if that’s true. To do so will set you back just a few pounds short of £25,000, excluding flights. But as any Olympian, moonwalker or explorer will tell you, being first always has its price. And as any winner will know, it’s usually worth it. ■
PHOTOGRAPH by iStock
A hotel designed and created for your utmost enjoyment. Truly breathtaking in every aspect, D-Hotel Maris surpasses expectations. www.dhotel.com.tr
Datça Yolu Hisarönü Mevkii, 48700 Marmaris, Muğla, TURKEY, +90 252 441 2000
L u x u r y T r av e L g u i d e
Banyan Tree Opens hOTel in VieTnam This November, Banyan Tree is opening Vietnam’s first integrated resort, Laguna Lăng Cô. Sitting on the coast of Thua Thien Hue Province at Lăng Cô Bay, the resort will be Banyan Tree’s first in the country. Lăng Cô is internationally recognised as one of the most beautiful bays in the world and the area in general is known for its pristine charm. If you don’t believe us, the 3km of beach and countryside surrounding the resort may want to have a word with you. Alongside stunning landscapes Laguna Lăng Cô is within a stone’s throw of several Unesco World Heritage Sites which give a real feel of the history and splendour of Vietnam. And those who want to spoil a good walk will enjoy the challenging 18-hole, par 71 golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo. The accommodation is just as impressive as the scenery with the villas on offer being particularly impressive and luxurious. They’re inspired by the artistic heritage of past Vietnamese dynasties, with 32 onebedroom lagoon villas (131 sq m) and 17 one-bedroom beach villas (124 sq m) set on the shores of Canh Duong beach. banyantree.com
SPa Relaunch ▽ The Columbia Beach Resort in Pissouri Bay, Cyprus has relaunched its spa, with a range of new treatments and products available. For people familiar with the spa already the most immediately noticeable change is the new name. The spa is now named Hébe, after the Ancient Greek god of youth and bearer of ambrosia (that’s the life-giving nectar one, not the custard). As Cyprus is renowned for exporting its high quality produce across the world, the spa has launched a range of bespoke signature treatments based on the essential oils and ingredients naturally found on the island. The 1,050 sq m spa boasts five treatment rooms, a spa bath, plunge pool, sauna and steam room. What that means in layman terms is that it’s jolly well relaxing.
Sky SafaRi If you’ve been on a couple of safaris and are looking for something a little more exciting we might just have the perfect solution for you. Pure Safari hosts an eight-day adventure called Sky Safari which crosses the Serengeti National Park, The Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, Treetops’ Private 87,000 acre game concession and an excursion to Lake Manyara National Park with optional beach extensions. It beats a quick stroll around Richmond with Benton, at least. There are numerous activities and experiences to indulge in along the way, from the plantation house at the Arusha Coffee Lodge, to a tree house at Treetops, and from a lavish private estate at the Manor to a luxurious tented camp in the Serengeti, you’ll come away with several tales to tell. If you’re looking for an adventure safari, this has got to be the best way to do it. 01227 753 181;
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The BeauTiful SouTh South Place Hotel in Moorgate opened last month with an impressive launch party. It is the City’s first independent luxury hotel and also marks restaurateur D&D’s first foray into London’s hotel scene. The hotel’s personality stands out among other more sombre hotels in the Square Mile and is likely to attract a loyal following. As expected from a D&D product the food is a real highlight. On the ground floor, 3
South Place offers relaxed and informal dining and Anglers, on the seventh floor, impresses with its British seafood dishes. The rooms don’t disappoint, either. Understated elegance is the order of the day, with all the art in the rooms handpicked from local galleries and featuring excellent Bang & Olufsen sound systems. South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF; 020 3503 0777; southplacehotel.com
Royal Palm ▽ The youngesT chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars, Tom Aikens will be cooking at the prestigious Royal Palm Hotel in Mauritius from 25-27 March 2013. During this time guests will be able to get involved in a series of one-off master classes and sit down to private four-course dinners cooked by the celebrity chef. Alongside the food you’ll be able to enjoy the famous Mauritian hospitality and perfect weather. Beach Comber Tours are organising week long stays starting at £3,950 per person to coincide with the opportunity. If you consider yourself a foodie this is an opportunity that is far too good to miss. beachcombertours.co.uk
Festive CheeR If you’re after a stylish place to kick back and relax this Christmas then No.11 Cadogan Gardens has an eye opening offer to get you to spend Christmas in Chelsea. As if you needed an incentive for that. Throughout November and until before Christmas in December, the hotel is offering guests a two-night stay, full English breakfast, a festive afternoon tea, and a festive dinner from just £205 per person. The boutique hotel is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and has 54 bespoke rooms as well as four one bedroom suits that all offer a welcome break from the hustle and bustle outside. There is a lovely mix of old-fashioned excess, with four-poster beds and ornate headboards, and the latest technology in the hotel rooms. Merry Christmas, one and all. Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge, London SW3 2RJ; 020 7730 7000; slh.com/No11CadoganGardens
W Retreat & Spa Maldives From ÂŁ3,399* Offer includes 7 nights in an Ocean Oasis with complimentary half board, seaplane transfers and return flights with British Airways from London.
INCLUDES ONE FREE NIGHT * Prices are per person based on 2 sharing for selected dates and include all relevant taxes. For all bookings made 60 days or more before date of travel, a further 10% discount will be applicable. Conditions apply.
0808 129 6070
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Safe from harm Spectacular and popular as safaris may be, it’s impossible not to question the stress that sheer visitor numbers put on the environment. So it’s heartening to come across a game reserve like Londolozi, found at the heart of the largest transfrontier peace park in the world (a staggering six million acres) in the heart of South Africa. It has Relais & Châteaux status, and ticks all the right marketing boxes – its very name means ‘protector of all living things’ and it was endorsed by Nelson Mandela, who said: “Londolozi represents a model of the dream I cherish for the future of nature preservation in our country.” But Londolozi also has countless plans for land management and wildlife rehabilitation, ranging from a strategy to control alien plants to teaching the art of tracking animals. Most refreshing of all is the reserve’s commitment to people and communities, which is so often overlooked in conservation efforts that focus on the landscape and animals. ■
As safaris continue to threaten the environment, there’s one progressive eco reserve that stands out from the crowd... squaremile.com
l u x u r y t r av e l g u i d e
FISH GO DEEP At a height of 422m, At.mosphere in Dubai holds the Guinness World Record for highest restaurant from ground level. Elsewhere, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant, Ithaa in the Maldives, is 4.8m below sea level – which is plenty deep enough for us. Being here is like venturing into a new underwater world, one that makes the most of the Indian Ocean’s high-visibility waters, coral reefs and marine life, all enhanced by glorious year-round sunshine. You just can’t imagine the sun’s rays filtered through the grey waters of Leigh-OnSea having the same dazzling effect, or variety of fish. Ithaa’s all-glass roof offers 180° views of the reef and fish swimming overhead – far superior to a glass-bottomed boat. It’s almost a reversal of roles: you are now in the fish bowl, except that the fish are too polite to point, stare or poke at the glass. And the food? The Maldivian-Western cuisine and wine selection are of the high standard you’d expect from a Conrad resort. And yes, we highly recommend the fish. ■
A BRAVE BLUE WORLD
The Maldives, a place that’s not exactly short of impossibly beauty things to see, now has another unique attraction
BAR CE LO NA
NEXT BANGKOK BEIJING MILAN SINGAPORE VERBIER WHOTELS.COM/ BARCELONA
©2012 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Méridien, Sheraton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.
l u x u r y t r av e l g u i d e
departures hoxton hotel
hoxton hero The Hoxton hotel has been a Shoreditch institution since its launch in 2006. Now a visionary new CEO, Sharan Pasricha, has plans to take the Hoxton brand global, says Matt Huckle
ince being founded in 2006, the Hoxton hotel has been a runaway success, showing that it’s possible to offer fourstar value for three-star prices, and ensuring customers don’t get stung by those annoying little extra charges. But anyone who’s visited the Hoxton will be able to tell you that it’s a little different to other hotels in London. From the exhibition of local art as you walk into the lobby, to the tech start-ups conducting meetings on the sofas, the Hoxton has the kind of identity that most marketing execs spend their lives dreaming they could conjure up. Sharan Pasricha worked with his investment firm, Ennismore Capital, to buy the Hoxton after spotting a great opportunity while researching the hospitality sector for squaremile.com
his previous employer, turnaround investment fund Better Capital. “I’d spent ten months in the business and that sparked my curiosity,” explains Pasricha. “During that time we’d come across a series of investors who were willing to provide backing. They rallied round me and said, ‘why don’t you go out there and find an asset-backed proposition that we could grow?’ The criteria was to find a fundamentally profitable business, something that occupied a unique niche within the marketplace and that had a strong brand. If you step back, the Hoxton ticks a lot of those boxes.” The Hoxton’s location is one of its strongest points. Being in Shoreditch means it’s close to the City and the technology community of Silicon Roundabout, as well as the burgeoning
fashion scene in the East End. “It’s kind of a cultural epicentre and hub,” says Pasricha. “If you look in our public spaces they’re filled with a mix of all those groups. We love to see hustle in our public spaces, and if you look around, everyone’s hustling. Everyone’s ➤
The Hoxton has the kind of identity that marketing execs spend their lives dreaming they could conjure up 025
L u x u r y t r av e L g u i d e
New York has the appetite for at least two Hoxtons and Amsterdam would be a perfect fit for us. We’re ambitious…
➤ trying to sell something, they’re trying to buy something. They’re trying to get that one step further. A traditional hotel might not encourage it, because they’re not spending as much as they should be, but we foster it because that’s a big part of our community.” Indeed, the communal areas represent a significant chunk of the Hoxton’s appeal. They’re also operated by Soho House, and Pasricha says no one else does public spaces as well as them. “You walk into our public spaces and there’s almost a private members’ club feel to it, but actually it’s a public members’ club. We’re not exclusive, we’re inclusive. We’ve got something that sets us apart from a traditional hotel lobby, and we’re having some fun with that.” That ‘fun’ is being realised in the form of ‘Hoxtown’, a collaboration with local artists, local musicians and local fashion companies to put on events for its public members. The rooms are also set to have a Shoreditch touch as well; Pasricha has recruited a diverse pool of designers, including some from the local area, to work on a revamp. “We shortlisted four designers to create four very different rooms,” he says. “We’re going to get our customers to sleep in them and hang out in them... then we’ll choose one for the roll-out.”
This kind of customer engagement goes some way to explaining why a single hotel has earned a following you might more readily associate with a larger brand. But the wider plan for Pasricha has always been to expand the Hoxton beyond its East London roots, he says: “We’ve got the capital in place now to do five Hoxtons.” Initially, London is the target, “We’ve got to make sure that we’re in the right areas, places that are gentrifying but are also close to corporates, to our core customer.
Areas that interest us at the moment in London are Southwark, Kings Cross and Holborn.” But there are also plans to expand further afield, “New York has the appetite to do at least two and people always tell me Amsterdam would be a perfect fit for us. We’re a small team and we’ve got ambitious plans.” Taking a brand that is so deeply rooted in Shoreditch abroad certainly poses some challenges, but Pasricha is bullish. “For me the Hoxton is Shoreditch and when we expand we’re going to try and take a bit of Shoreditch wherever we go. But you’ve got to embrace the local culture and the local community too.” “We’ve got to be careful how we expand, though,” says Pasricha. “I think the consumer we’re going after is a value-driven consumer who wants to know he’s getting value for money wherever he travels.” Pasricha has secured the funding for the expansion from family offices scattered across Europe, Asia and the US. “These are individuals that don’t need to get rich, they need to stay rich. So for them it’s about wealth preservation, diversification and core investments in gateway cities,” says Pasricha. This combination of stable funding and a strong brand vision should see Pasricha’s vision for expansion realised. “I describe the Hoxton as a Holiday Inn on steroids, and there’s no shortage of Holiday Inns around the world.” ■
ESCAPE THE CITY
Ashdown Park Hotel, East Sussex
Luton Hoo Hotel, Bedfordshire
Tylney Hall Hotel, Hampshire
DISTINCTIVE HOTELS, DISTINCTIVE EXPERIENCES In their beautiful settings and with quintessential English charm and traditional values of outstanding hospitality, each Elite Hotel allows guests to step outside the stresses of everyday life and breathe.
With over 1,500 acres to explore, gourmet restaurants, the latest health, beauty and spa amenities, family breaks, dog friendly rooms and extensive meeting facilities. Elite Hotels have an escape for every occasion.
The Grand Hotel, East Sussex
ASHDOWN PARK HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB: NR FOREST ROW, EAST SUSSEX, RH18 5JR, 01342 824988 LUTON HOO HOTEL, GOLF & SPA: LUTON, BEDFORDSHIRE, LU1 3TQ, 01582 734437 TYLNEY HALL HOTEL: ROTHERWICK, HAMPSHIRE, RG27 9AZ, 01256 764881 THE GRAND HOTEL: EASTBOURNE, EAST SUSSEX, BN21 4EQ, 01323 412345
Visit www.elitehotels.co.uk and start planning your escape from the city
Meetings & Events
L U X U R Y T R AV E L G U I D E
departures abercrombie & Kent
NOT-SOSECRET AGENT Thanks to Abercrombie & Kent, booking a holiday has never been more enjoyable
e are firm believers in travel being a pleasurable experience from the moment you decide you want to get away, not just after you’ve jumped through the hoops of booking your trip, getting your kit together and finally reach your destination. Which is why we were happy to hear that luxury travel agent Abercrombie & Kent has launched its flagship store in Cheapside. If the thought of a travel agent strikes you with glossy-brochure dread, fear not. Its pairing of British design and modern technology has made holiday booking exciting and enjoyable again. You can talk face-to-face with consultants in booths crafted from vintagestyle trunks, use iPads to consider your options and even video-call overseas consultants to access their specialist knowledge. Can’t decide where to go? Simply take a look at an entire wall dedicated to revolving images until a destination jumps out at you. Take inspiration through your exotic drink of choice at the free bar. Or open a deep chest to unravel one of its Treasure Islandstyle maps before placing a finger on its canvas and saying “There!”. Much bigger decisions have been made going on a lot less – and let’s be honest, this really is one of those few situations when you can’t lose. ■ abercrombiekent.co.uk
The pairing of Brit design and modern technology has made holiday booking exciting again 028
Discover No.11 Cadogan Gardens
Uncover a luxury urban hideaway, discreetly situated in the heart of Knightsbridge, only moments away from prestigious Sloane Street
54 Elegant Rooms and Suites • Restaurant • Cocktail Bar • Drawing Room • Gymnasium • Outside Terrace For more information or to make a reservation, please call reservations on 020 7730 7000 or email email@example.com (Please quote ‘Square Mile’ at the point of booking) www.no11cadogangardens.com No.11 Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 2RJ
Jump the Queue
Fast track to the slopes this winter with Victor and The Oxford Ski Company. The Oxford Ski Company provides the best luxury ski chalets and hotels in the world and Victor will get you there faster and smarter - get an extra half day at either end of your holiday. Victor is the world’s first marketplace for private jet travel with the largest contracted fleet of aircraft in Europe, reaching destinations that commercial aircraft cannot fly. The Oxford Ski Company provides unrivalled levels of expertise on the world’s most luxurious ski resorts – their tailored concierge service will ensure an exceptional experience. Private flight and accommodation packages available – request a quote today.
www.flyvictor.com – www.oxfordski.com Victor is approved by the CAA for ATOL License 10378
l u x u r y t r av e l g u i d e
departures cafÉ royal
Right ROYAL RevivAL Café Royal was a city institution for more than 140 years. After four years of closure, it’s back, but in a new guise, this time as a luxury hotel. Lizzie RiveRa celebrates the resurrection of a London icon
hen regent street’s historic Café
PHOTOGRAPH by Amit Geron
Royal closed in December 2008, after 143 years of service, a part of British history went with it. Patrons included Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, William Churchill and the Prince of Wales, to name but a few, and its Domino Room was once called a “haunt of intellect and daring”. It’s where some of the early rules of boxing were first recorded, and where Oscar Wilde began his failed libel case against the Marquis of Queensberry, leading to his own prosecution and ruin. Luckily, this is not a story of recession, but one of restoration. And in December, almost exactly four years after its doors were closed, The Café Royal is being relaunched as a luxury hotel. David Chipperfield Architects were
tasked with a transformation that seamlessly connects the old with the new. The Grade I-listed building is now home to everything you’d expect from a five-star establishment – 159 rooms and suites, an array of dining options, a private members’ club, high-tech meeting rooms, a spa and gym – and the legendary Grill Room and Domino rooms have been sensitively restored to sit alongside its new, contemporary spaces. The Café Royal is the second addition to The Set, Alfred and Georgi Akirov’s collection of hotels that are defined by their history and location. Amsterdam’s Conservatorium Hotel was the first, and the Hotel Lutetia in Paris will be next, but for now all eyes are on the rebirth of a London icon. ■ hotelcaferoyal.com
The Domino Room, once called a “haunt of intellect and daring”, is where some of the early rules of boxing were first recorded 031
view to a thrill
There are few better ways to see the sights than from the comfort of your own lofty perch. The experts at Small luxury HotelS of tHe Worldâ„˘ track down some of the finest rooftop experiences on earthâ€Ś
on top of the world: (clockwise from main image) the pool at naumi offers unrivalled views of the Singapore skyline; the Betsy in Miami beach has a rooftop solarium and garden; puerto rico’s olive Boutique hotel opens this autumn
s the finAl days of summer disappear into the distance, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has put together the best rooftop experiences from its collection of over 520 hotels in more than 70 countries worldwide. From a rooftop restaurant in the heart of Rome to a pool overlooking the Mexican city of Monterrey, there’s an SLH experience to suit every taste…
Olive Boutique Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico The Olive Boutique Hotel is a new, innovative property influenced by the art and culture of the Mediterranean. With an emphasis on the work of artisans and artists from Provence and Tuscany, the four floors of the hotel are decorated to reflect France, Spain, Italy and Morocco. Opening this autumn, the Olive’s rooftop terrace overlooks the city of San Juan. From $184 per night. slh.com/oliveboutique ➤
AsiA Hotel Emperor, Beijing, China – Nestled in the heart of the Forbidden City, Hotel Emperor’s rooftop terrace allows guests to enjoy meals and drinks with views of Bei Hai Park and the Beijing skyline. From CNY 861 (USD $135) per night.
Naumi, Bugis, Singapore – Exclusivity meets urban hip at Naumi Boutique Hotel, a slick, stylish, all-suite haven in Singapore providing an entire floor dedicated solely to women, a rooftop infinity pool and sundeck, lounge restaurant and bar, as well as a personal aide to meet your every need.
The roofTop solarium and garden aT The beTsy hoTel are designed To sooThe The senses…
From SGD 360 (USD $288) per night. slh.com/naumi
the AmericAs The Betsy, Miami Beach, USA – An intriguing departure from the many Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach, The Betsy Hotel is the sole surviving example of Florida Georgian architecture on Ocean Drive. For views of the ocean, guests can relax at the rooftop solarium and garden, designed to soothe the senses. From $209 per night. slh.com/betsyhotel
the MarMara features a terrace with views of the city, rooftops and the aegean sea ➤ Hotel Habita Monterrey, Monterrey,
Mexico – Set at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Hotel Habita has two rooftop infinity pools that offer 360 degree views of the city. Guests will enjoy the various cocktails offered at its popular rooftop pool bar – a local favourite gathering space for Monterrey´s Elite. From $123 per night. slh.com/habitamty
EuropE/ MiddlE East The Marmara, Bodrum, Turkey – Perched on a virtual cliff-face high above the city of Bodrum, the Marmara features a terrace with breathtaking views of the city, rooftops and the Aegean Sea. A pool, fitness centre and sauna boast share these same views. From €200 (approx $250) per night slh.com/marmara
Hotel Bernini Bristol, Rome, Italy – Situated on the top floor of Bernini Bristol, L’Olimpo Roof Restaurant is the highest rooftop garden in Rome where guests can enjoy traditional Mediterranean dishes accompanied by a carefully selected wine list.
skyline seduction: (clockwise from top left) Hotel claris has spectacular views of Barcelona; the Marmara in Bodrum is set on a virtual cliff face; Villa dubrovnik; the Bernini Bristol’s rooftop looks out over central Rome
From €220 (approx $273) per night.
Hotel Claris, Barcelona, Spain – A broad range of culinary delights is offered at La Terraza del Claris, located on the top floor of Hotel Claris. Guests can take in spectacular views of vibrant Barcelona while enjoying live Jazz on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. From €170 (approx $209) per night. slh.com/claris
Villa Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia – A contemporary design with glorious views of the Adriatic, guests can enjoy evening drinks in the hotel’s Sky Bar looking out to the Island of Lokrum, and the Old City of Dubrovnik. From €449 (approx $553) per night.
To book any of the 520 SLH hotels around the world, please call 0800 037 1888 or go online to slh.com
About SLH The Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) brand is an unrivalled portfolio of some of the world’s finest small independent hotels. Comprising over 520 hotels in more than 70 countries, the diversity of the individual hotels, and the experiences that they offer, is exceptional. From cutting-edge design hotels to palatial 17th century mansions, city centre sanctuaries to remote private islands, historic country houses to idyllic resorts, Small Luxury Hotels of the World offers only the very best. Reservations can be made at any Small Luxury Hotels of the World property online at slh.com, via the free SLH iPhone app or by contacting your favourite travel agent. You can also call a Small Luxury Hotels of the World reservations office; to view a listing by country please visit
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In this section 044 Vintage travel posters 048 Luxury travel in Cuba 054 The renaissance of Bodrum 058 Freerunning across the world 065 Trading hedge funds for horses
Peak of Perfection Sir Richard Branson has done it again with The Lodge in Verbier, says laura latham , by turning what was once a tired Swiss chalet into one seriously cool ski property
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PHOTOGRAPHS BY Yves Garneau, 2009, g1photo.com
f you want to improve your downhill speed this season, take full advantage of the food and drink on offer at Sir Richard Branson’s Swiss chalet, The Lodge. Within days, the extra weight you’ll carry will drag you down the pistes faster than top ski racer Klaus Kröll. As catered chalet holidays are concerned, The Lodge is hard to beat – but what else would you expect from the man who owns Necker Island, surely the best all-inclusive of them all? Verbier was already in the process of becoming one of the coolest ski resorts in Europe when Branson purchased the dilapidated chalet, turning into a stylish, ninebedroom luxury winter hangout. Part of the Virgin Limited Edition group, The Lodge is the epitome of fully catered, high-end chic. Sitting on an elevated plot behind the main resort, with its chi-chi boutiques and cool clubs and bars, The Lodge is backed by pine forest, while its balconies and terrace look out over the town, with the sweep of the Val de Bagnes before you. The chalet sleeps up to 18, and the focal point of daily socialising is a vast open-plan lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows that capture the views. It also has comfy sofas, lots of books and a long dining table for communal breakfasts and dinners. Rooms include a well-designed six-bed bunkroom for kids complete with beanbags, Xbox, DVDs and a flatscreen TV. The floors above have six beautifully designed double bedrooms aimed squarely at grown-ups, with chic bathrooms, Cowshed toiletries and picture windows. Couples may have to draw lots for the two huge, top-floor master suites, however, with spectacular mountain views, super-king beds, romantic fireplaces, wet rooms and Olympic-size, free-standing bathtubs. For those attracted to the resort for its excellent skiing and buzzing après scene, Branson’s mountainside home has a fun, unstuffy atmosphere and delivers a level of service and product that you’d expect to find at a high-level branded hotel. Our group found that it spanned the gap perfectly between relaxed home-from-home and a personal party central – although, admittedly, it was more raucous laughter than dancing ’til dawn. ➤
What else would you expect from Sir Richard Branson, the man who owns Necker Island – surely the best all-inclusive of all? squaremile.com
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RANCHO RELAxO: (clockwise from main) The Lodge’s whirlpool bath is perfect for a nocturnal dip; free-standing bathtubs in rooms come with playful accessories; dining at The Lodge is a mix of traditional Swiss and global cuisine
Dan Inniss-Fitzhugh and his team serve exciting meat and fish dishes that are somehow both hearty and elegant ➤ Skiers of all levels of expertise are well catered for in the surrounding ‘Four Valleys’ – collectively the resorts of Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz and Thyon – which offer around 400 kilometres of pistes on one lift pass. There are two nursery slopes and several accredited ski schools in town, and the intermediate slopes of Lac Des Vaux or the lengthy ‘cruising’ pistes of the Attelas and Combes are also within easy reach. The Médran lift is just a few minutes walk from the Lodge and will take you to up to La Chaux, from where you can access a variety of runs that range from beginner to fearless. Expert skiers can opt for the black runs of the Col de Chassoure and Chassoure-
Tortin, Mont Fort and Mont Gelee – both at more than 3,000 metres – or heliskiing to a variety of locations that offer vertical and glacier terrains. If that doesn’t quite get the adrenaline going, there’s also paragliding and ice climbing, while less gung-ho guests can opt for sledging or guided snow shoeing. Staff at The Lodge are knowledgeable about both the region and the services and activities available, and will lead skiing trips and walks, if requested. They can also put you in touch with experienced professionals, including Claudia Schiffer’s ski instructor. And it’s after a day’s strenuous activity that The Lodge really comes into its own. You’re barely through the door, shaking the snow from your boots, when a member of staff is handing you a flute of champagne and offering afternoon tea, lunch or a snack. And you’ll find yourself responding in the affirmative, even though you’ve scoffed a huge breakfast of eggs Benedict, demolished the juice, beer, fruit and Pringles from the complimentary mini-bar in your room and eyed up the dinner menu for the evening. One of the highlights is being catered to by Dan Inniss-Fitzhugh, a former sous chef
at lauded Oxford restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. His small team is as fine as any employed at a first-rate restaurant anywhere in the world, serving exciting meat and fish dishes that are somehow both hearty and elegant. Meals are relaxed and taken with canapés and cocktails, followed by three courses and a cheese plate served with wine, chosen either by the staff or yourself, from an extensive and excellent cellar. On our last night, we were treated to a storming 1998 St Emilion to go with our spot-on steak and chips. The menu is also available during the day, allowing guests ample opportunity to discuss dislikes or preferences with Dan. Kids are also taken care of with their own menu – and if you happen to find chicken nuggets or fish fingers on it, you can be sure that, just like the other menu’s dishes, they’ll be homemade using ingredients that are as fresh, locally sourced and as unadulterated as possible. The kitchen is visible through a picture window, and the team invites in guests to chat and view proceedings. Though, like us, you’ll probably prefer to lounge around feeling jolly lucky, waiting for the next fabulous creation to be offered for consumption. ➤
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THe Big CHill: (from top) Master suites of The lodge allow impressive views; the lounge offers comfort and a friendly dog
Some women in our party would disappear to the spa after breakfast and reappear only for afternoon tea looking scrubbed ➤ Non-skiers, despair not: you have no cause to feel left out here. Downstairs they have a heated indoor pool, hamam (Turkish spa) and one of The Lodge’s two hot tubs. There’s also Victoria Wade, a full-time, on-site therapist who offers a complete range of relaxation and beauty treatments. For days on end, some of the women in our party would disappear down to the spa after breakfast and reappear only for afternoon tea looking scrubbed, wrapped and glowing. All through the winter season, the lawn adjacent to The Lodge’s main terrace is turned into an ice rink, and a large outdoor hot tub is perfectly positioned to take in the views. In summer, there’s croquet and hammocks and the garden is transformed into a badminton court. The team can also arrange cycle hire, guided hikes for you to take a turn around the town golf course. After dinner, guests generally retire to one of the clubs in town or The Lodge’s own basement games room, with squashy sofas, a full bar and a pool table kitted out in Virginred baize. A 68-inch flatscreen TV dominates the room, with all the games consoles, CDs and DVDs you – or the kids – could want. There’s even a glitter ball, should you wish to crank up the sound system and indulge in a spot of disco fever or karaoke. And if the staff, forced to stay up to keep the drinks coming, were ever fed up or tired of our hilarious antics and pool table face-offs, they were far too polite to say so. Though you won’t want for anything in this glossy, hillside hideaway, The Lodge is neither stuffy nor overly glam. It actively welcomes children and has been designed foremost to feel like a home, with quirky touches and treats, such as the rubber ducks in the bathrooms, toy St Bernard dogs on the beds and bars of giant Toblerones left in the rooms by the turndown service each morning. The staff are one of the most special things about the place, and are incredibly professional and highly efficient at everything from mixing cocktails and entertaining the kids to, say, organising a driver to collect you from the legendary Farm Club after an
Sir richard BranSon the man behind the lodge
all-nighter. There’s even an in-house dog to take you for walks and receive secret tidbits from your plate under the table. Sadly, BamBam, the popular Labrador and face of The Lodge’s postcards, has just been retired, but the team’s new puppy, Pebbles, is already winning the same affections. Those who can’t bear the sight of snow can stay in the summer, when rooms can be rented out individually per night. You won’t necessarily be certain who your dining and hot tub companions might be, but groups generally gel and there’s plenty of space to escape them should you wish to. On occasion, guests have come down to breakfast to find Sir Richard himself at the communal table, so you may want to have that red-hot investment opportunity ready to fly, just in case. ■ The Lodge is available to rent through Virgin Limited
Virgin boss Sir Richard is a keen skier and loves the alps, so he tries to visit his chalet at least a couple of times a year. “though sadly it can’t be more than a few weeks at a time,” he says. he’ll often holiday there at Christmas, and likes to drop in through summer. “i’d skied at Verbier before buying the lodge, and i’ve always enjoyed it. the town has some of the best restaurants and nightlife in the alps and has a lot going on – even in summer it has concerts and festivals, and there’s a beach volleyball tournament.” Sir Richard claims that the idea for the lodge is the same as that of necker island, his Kasbah tamdot retreat in morocco and other properties that he only uses occasionally. “i like to create unique environments run as private homes. the lodge is cosy and comfortable, and i have a fun group of young people to run it in a professional but relaxed way. having been a dad, i know that kids want to get away from the adults, which is why we gave them their own space in the bunk room with PC games and dVds.” the sports fan also paraglides from the peaks above Verbier, despite having once had a close call: “i thought it would be cool to go paragliding on new Year’s eve, and launched myself off the mountain at midnight. it was great until fireworks started going off around me. So i won’t do it at that time of year again.”
Edition. Use of The Lodge is exclusive in winter, starting from CHF 82,500 (£55,000) per week. In summer, nightly rentals of are from CHF 840 (£557) per room and from
£5,400 (CHF 8,200) for the entire venue. 020 8600 0430.
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features travel posters
The arT of Travel The halcyon days of travel in the mid-20th century, when people were able to holiday in far-flung destinations for the first time, is remembered through a collection of travel posters exhibiting in Berlin
Safety, Speed, comfort The ubiquity of modern travel has undeniably rubbed off some of its sheen. As anyone who has travelled by domestic train or budget airline will testify, the limitless possibilities of rail and air travel aren’t so magical when you’ve been waiting at a station for six hours, or have just been informed that your luggage has been sent to Nicaragua rather than Nice. It’s easy to forget the days when stepping onto a plane, train or boat was a genuinely special occasion, so these vintage posters from the golden age of travel provide a timely reminder – although you’ll have to go to Germany to see them. Why not take a Zeppelin? ■ Safety Speed Comfort – Travel Posters 1920–1950 is running until 9 December at the Zeitlos Gallery, Kantstraße 17, 10623 Berlin
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signs of the time: the bold colours and striking images used in these adverts reflects the wave of excitement that surrounded the possibilities of global travel in the middle of the 20th century
cuba libre! Cuba is starting to shake off the Communist mantle and finally offer travellers a luxury experience, says Laura Latham
vEn if you’rE prepared for the bustle of
Havana, seeing it for the first time can still be a shock to the senses. Fifty years of Communism and austerity hasn’t dampened its spirits, and it still offers thrilling street culture, creative flair and a sexy vibe that you’d associate with Buenos Aires or Barcelona. Right now, Cuba is hot in all senses of the word. You won’t find championship golf courses, Michelin-starred eateries or Armani outlets, but you will find fabulous beaches, music on every street corner, fine restaurants hidden behind beautiful, crumbling buildings, and a globally renowned arts scene. Havana’s unique atmosphere makes the island a mustvisit before it becomes just another stop-off point for Caribbean cruise liners. Until recently, all that was missing from the Cuban capital was half-decent accommodation. No matter what their budget, visitors have generally squeezed into bog-standard tourist hotels or forced to share beach space at an all-inclusive resort in Varadero, two hours from Havana. Which might suit some people, but not those who want to understand the core of Cuba without sacrificing the comforts. Granted, there’s the occasional boutique hotel. But these are so sought-after that tour companies block-book and you need to secure rooms months in advance. Under Castro’s rule, families could offer rooms for rent in their own homes, or casas particulares, and though most are clean and friendly, few could be classed as luxurious. Last year, however, it became legal for owners of private homes to rent out entire villas and apartments to tourists. And though most of these are not as upscale as what you’d normally find in Barbados and St Tropez, they
At this penthouse apartment in the Atlantic building, you can’t help but feel as though you’re starring in a 1930s movie. 048
do offer the opportunity to stay independently in a fully serviced property. It’s such a new market that only one or two firms currently offer private properties for rent in this manner. The most established is Esencia Experiences, a concierge-style travel firm that specialises in high-end, bespoke Cuban travel. They’ll find you a property to suit your group and budget, in either the city centre or suburbs, with rentals starting at $400 per night. It currently offers colonialstyle mansions with wrought-iron balconies and Art Deco cottages and Modernist-style residences dating from the 1950s, alongside contemporary, architect-designed villas and swanky penthouses. Several firms offer fabulous waterfront settings – semi-tropical gardens and pools allowing welcome retreat from the often-intense Havana heat. From the penthouse apartment on the 15th floor of the contemporary Atlantic building, on Havana’s famous seafront strip the Malecón, there’s nothing to disturb your isolation and peace. The ocean stretches before you, the clamour of the city falls away behind. The four-bed pad is decorated throughout in chic monochrome shades, and sitting in its long, sea-facing living room, you can’t help but feel as though you’re starring in a 1930s movie. A driver and chef can be hired to look after you, and there are all the standard amenities you’d expect: whirlpool bath tubs, flat-screen TVs and an on-site gym and concierge. However, it’s the vast, top-floor roof terrace with its roomy seating area and a large lap pool with amazing sea views that truly sells the place. Esencia Experiences has two of these properties to rent from around $1,400 per night, and the agent tells me that Naomi Campbell has visited her previously, as have several famous actors and heads of state – although he’s not allowed to name them. For those who wish to step outside the cocooned indulgence of a tower block, there are suburban retreats in areas of the city that, before the revolution, housed wealthy sugar barons and rum merchants. Leafy areas such as Miramar and Siboney, ten minutes from the city centre, are a mix of early 20th-century and 18th-century Colonial-style residences. ➤
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PhotograPh by Peeter Viisimaa
DISCOVER NATURE DISCOVER YOURSELF… Peace, Serenity, Solitude. These are the words that come to mind for Pimalai. Add to that luxury, elegance, natural surroundings and genuine friendly service. Be it for a honeymoon, a wedding ceremony, a diving experience, a break from it all or even for a business meeting in Krabi or in Thailand then Pimalai, nestled in a lush tropical forest, is the Andaman luxury destination to set your sights on. This exclusive beach resort combines all the right ingredients - subtle five star comforts, natural beauty, environmental friendliness and lots of space. Located well distant from crowded beaches and other boutique resorts on Koh Lanta and close to Lanta Marine National Park, the only sound is that
of the waves sliding in and out and slowly breaking onto the sandy beach. Built within the rainforest as it meets the silver ocean strand, you would hardly know Pimalai was there. This boutique beach resort occupies 100 acres of tropical vegetation with direct access to a 900 meters stretch of pristine sandy beach and offers 121 accommodation units - all very elegantly appointed. From Krabi mainland, it takes about 1 hour by the resort boat to reach Koh Lanta and Pimalai but it is worth bearing this “hardship” in order to find such a unique lost boutique paradise in tourist Thailand... Visit once and you will return again and again...
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TOP EATS paladar la Guarida don’t panic when the taxi drops you in what appears to be a scary side street – this really is the most talked-about restaurant in town. up the crumbling marble staircase of this former mansion, you’ll find a Bodegastyle wood-panelled dining room and bar, packed with tourists yet still feeling local. The food is italian-Cuban and the mojitos are some of the best you’ll find in town. Concordia 418 (between Gervasio and Escobar), Siboney; +53 7 866 9047
Café laurenT The ancient lift that takes you to the penthouse restaurant of this 1950s apartment building can be a little temperamental, but fortunately the cuisine – including incredible seafood – is bang up to date. The décor is funky and retro, and on fine days the patio offers refreshing breezes and some unmissable sea views. Penthouse 19 and 21, Calle M 257, Vedado; +53 7 831 2090
la esperanza Justifiably regarded as one of the best restaurants in Cuba, this 1930s-built family home in well-heeled Miramar, offers a quality menu that change daily. House specialities include tender casseroled pork, Thai-style chicken with mango salsa, and white fish and vegetables with black bean sauce. The dining room is packed with pre-revolution antiques and curios.
BAROQUE ’N’ STROLL: The Baroquefronted Havana Cathedral on the Plaza de la Catedral, one of many must-see attractions of Old Havana
Calle 16 105 (between Avenues 1 and 3), Miramar; +53 7 202 4361
➤ Properties not rented out to foreign workers and local dignitaries are often in a poor state and lived in by several families, who split floors and gardens between them. Among these are private rental homes that have been restored and elegantly maintained by owners and their staff. Staying in such properties offers the chance to see a side of Havana that’s off-limits to many tourists as well as escape from the city’s noise and dense heat. The 1937-built villa of designer and art collector Idalgo Martinez is in the suburb of Playa. Like many other areas of the city’s outskirts, it’s safe but with a slightly ramshackle feel – like a genteel lady who’s let herself go. Idalgo’s place, however, resembles the centre spread of an interiors magazine, blending high style with a Bohemian twist. There’s a pretty covered porch with steamer chairs and a big roof terrace with sunset views. The stylish bedrooms and bathrooms, designed by Martinez himself, lead off a central corridor and, under a mango tree in a courtyard garden, there are two lovely suites, designed in keeping with the period style ➤
Havana’s suburb of Playa is safe but with a slightly ramshackle feel – like a genteel lady who’s let herself go
paladar le CHansonnier a fabulous contemporary restaurant located within an elegant, 19th-century residence in Vedado. popular with hip locals and tourists, owner Hector Higueras and his brilliant chef enrique serve up innovative, european-inspired, locally influenced cuisine in a buzzy and relaxed environment. The bar does a fine line in cocktails and vintage rums and, unusually for Cuban restaurants, the desserts are to die for. Calle J 257 (between Calles 13 and 15), Vedado; +53 7 8321576
Casa MiGlis The location of this attractive townhouse could be called ‘earthy’ and the concept of a swedish-Cuban restaurant seems bizarre, but it works. The owner, enthusiastic swedish filmmaker Michel Miglis, also has Greek heritage. as such, the culinary mix includes pork souvlaki (a Greek dish of skewered meat), locally caught fish, seafood casseroles and huge salads. Lealtad 120 (entrance via Ánimas and Lagunas), Central Havana; +53 7 864 1486
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LATIN AMERICAN BEAUTY: Havana is famed for its grand architecture, including former government building the Capitolio Nacional (left), and equally classic American automobiles
InsIde havana Wandering around Havana, you might catch on to the spirit of the city, but you’re unlikely to get under its skin. For that, travel firm Esencia Experiences can create bespoke tours with professional guides which will really open local doors – sometimes literally. On a visit to Old Havana, the original heart of the city, our guide, a retired university professor, met someone that she knew. In a flash we were invited to see the local’s home, behind the 16thcentury façade of a former merchant’s house. You don’t get that kind of invitation on a tour with 40 other people. Equally fascinating were the hidden gems of the city’s unrivalled historic buildings, introduced by a practising architect, who also stopped by a friend’s house to show us the original art nouveau interiors. Highbrow tours of Cuban contemporary art are undertaken by qualified art historians, and include visits to the studios of some of Cuba’s bestknown established and up-and-coming artists. Don’t miss the opportunity to step into the world of Cuban dance (there’s more to it than just salsa) and live music, with performances and workshops introduced by professionals in the field and tailored to your preferences. And if culture’s not really your thing, Esencia Experiences can also rustle up a vintage American car and tickets to the hottest shows in town for a more 1950s-themed holiday. It can find experts to teach you about the finer points of Cuban cigars and rum, with plantation and factory tours, tastings and shopping expeditions. Equally, it can provide experts to introduce you to the country’s number one sporting passion, baseball.
➤ of the property. On every surface there are antiques and works by contemporary Cuban artists, many of which are for sale. Because it’s been impossible to import furnishings for decades, little has been thrown away, so you’re likely to find yourself seated at 1950s dining table, reclining in chairs from the 1930s and eating off 19th-century porcelain. It all adds to the rather haphazard and timeless feel of the rest of the city.
Letting agents and owners can arrange for drivers to transfer you into town. Having seen the local driving, traffic lights that go haywire in the rain and the size of the potholes, transfers are advised. And if you want to party, you can be whisked to one of Cuba’s legendary – and popular – nightclubs, like the Tropicana, a hip new bar or live music venue. Cuba may be shabby as well as chic, and is definitely a little bit crazy, but Havana’s calm urban retreats will let you soak up the atmosphere without losing your cool. ■ Esencia Experiences can arrange accommodation in a rented property, and can ask for its concierge service
And if you want to party, you can be whisked to one of Cuba’s legendary and popular nightclubs, like the Tropicana
to organise your entire trip. Escenia is able to arrange flights, a car with driver, and an airport VIP service to fast-track you through customs and immigration. Local staff can also make you reservations at recommended restaurants, and arrange a variety of bespoke guided tours and visits. For more information visit
esenciaexperiences.com; 01481 714 898
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BORN AGAIN BODRUM Bodrum in Turkey, once a place of poets, dissidents and Ancient Greek wonders, is undergoing a remarkable renaissance, says Martin Deeson
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e had been told that Bodrum was ‘the new St Tropez’. Previously a jet-set destination for the international party crowd (Mick Jagger, Princess Margaret and Yves Saint Laurent have all been regular visitors to Bodrum’s legendary open-air nightclub, Halikarnas, which reopened this year after a multi-million pound refurbishment), and the entire peninsula is undergoing something of a rebirth, once again becoming a playground for the world’s super-rich. Recent visitors have included Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tom Cruise, while Al Waleed Bin Talal of the Saudi royal family has been a regular visitor to Bodrum this year. Early next year, he will break ground on a new Bodrum Four Seasons development, which promises to propel the peninsula firmly on to the centre of the international stage and offer opportunities for smart investors to jump in to the booming property market. In recent years, the city has witnessed a property explosion so big that a popular joke doing the rounds in Turkey has it that people in Bodrum only know about two things: the best raki and the best interest rates. It’s said that even if you inherited only the simplest fisherman’s dwelling in this village-turnedplayground, you would now be sitting on considerable wealth. And this is in a country that until recently posted the highest growth rate of any other after China, and which only introduced mortgages in the last 20 years: previously, all property was owned outright – hence the Turkish resilience to a global economic downturn built on property bubbles and all-too-easy access to credit. A turning point in Bodrum’s property market came last year, when laws were passed that made it easier for foreign nationals to buy land. This was swiftly followed by an influx of Middle Eastern, Russian and CIS money, especially from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan – countries where the people are considered ethnically close to the Turks. In 1927, the Turkish poet and novelist Cevat S¸akir Kabaag˘ açlı discovered the fishing town when he was exiled to the area. He became so enamoured of the place that he took on the
If you inherited only the simplest fisherman’s dwelling in this village playground, you could be sitting on considerable wealth PHOTOGRAPH BY Tolga Yurdaer
pen name The Fisherman of Halicarnassus – a reference to the town’s Ancient Greek name of Halicarnassus of Caria. During that time it was home to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and now a ruin. Later, in the 1950s, Bodrum had become a retreat for the artists and dissidents who came to stay there, this group of intellectuals gathering around Kabaag˘ açlı, who had voluntarily stayed on long after his three-year exile had come to an end. In 1979, the huge Halikarnas nightclub opened, turning Bodrum into a destination for the international jet set that ranked as highly as Ibiza and the South of France. Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records, owned a striking property on Bodrum’s harbour that he visited regularly. With him came his friends in the film and music industry: Michael Caine, Mick Jagger and Dustin Hoffman all partied at the club. The Jagger influence on the area was extended in 2012 when Jade Jagger concluded her honeymoon with new husband Adrian Fillary, the DJ and co-founder of the Lovebox festival, by cruising up and down the Turkish Riviera. Jagger stayed on in Bodrum to design the Secret Garden, a new open-air restaurant that’s part of the refurbished Halikarnas. The club itself is the largest outdoor venue of its kind in Europe, with a capacity of 6,500 in its amphitheatre on Bodrum’s harbour and throughout its many more intimate areas, including a Zen garden, five restaurants, the Arabesque Room – all Middle Eastern house music and hookah pipes – with a super-yacht jetty and beach club by the dancefloor on Bodrum Bay itself opening in spring 2013. Beach clubs are very much the way to go on the Bodrum Peninsula: the ones in the upmarket fishing town of Türkbükü, where nearly half of Istanbul comes to party each weekend, are among the best beach clubs on the planet. A highlight is the stunning boutique hotel Maca Kizi – chef Aret Sahakyan’s in-house restaurant is legendary and the views from the beach bar are worthy of adorning a postcard. Another highlight is the Kocadon Restaurant in Bodrum’s town, where molecular gastronomy-influenced takes on local classics might pair wild mushrooms with bergamot (a type of citrus fruit) foam. The best hotel on the peninsula is undoubtedly the Kempinski Hotel Barbados Bay, a five-star haven with its own private beach and beach club, and a Six Senses Spa that’s one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. The glitz and the glam are most personified in the Palmarina Bodrum development in the town of Yalikavak, ➤
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TURKISH DELIGHTS: (from top) The stunning infinity pool at the Kempinski Hotel Barbary Bay; the Secret Garden, designed by Jade Jagger; Halikarnas, the largest outdoor club in Europe
photographs by Benjamin Eagle (middle) and tom horton (bottom)
➤ where Azerbaijani-born shipping tycoon Mubariz Mansimov has added 34 new berths for 100-metre-long mega-yachts to the marina. This marina will shortly have the capacity to house 700 boats, as well as a branch of Cipriani’s Billionaire Club. Yet it’s still possible to enjoy a simpler way of being on the peninsula. Here, there are many restaurants where you can feast on the same local ingredients used at many of the upscale joints (seafood, local herbs and vegetables, some of the best kebabs you’ll ever taste) but at a fraction of the cost, and all the more authentic for being served on Formica tables rather than, say, starched white tablecloths at Jade Jagger’s Secret Garden. After a spectacular night at Halikarnas – open ´til 5am, it doesn’t really hot up until after midnight; Turks love to go out late – enjoying a Vegas-style floorshow, we are introduced to the delights of Turkish soup. This traditional end to a night out is served at many small and simple places all around the peninsula, and is considered the perfect method of anticipating and, hopefully, defeating a hangover. Emboldened by the drink, I opted for ‘head and foot soup’, which a soberer man might have shied away from, seeing as it consists of brains and trotters. It was delicious. And when I woke up just a few hours later, I had to admit that, yes, my hangover was not quite as bad as what I might have expected.
After a spectacular night at Halikarnas, I was introduced to the delights of ‘head and foot soup’. It was delicious… The afternoon is spent in the delightful fishing village of Gümüs¸lük, where I enjoyed a long, slow lunch at the boho – and yet reassuringly pricey – Mimoza, which has some of its tables stood in the clear Aegean Sea. In the evening, back at the Kempinski, we relaxed at one of the hotel’s poolside bars, which was almost deserted. Just one other guy was sitting at a table, dressed down and with a couple of strapping mates who looked a lot like heavies. “Is that…?” I asked my better half. “Yes, that is Roman Abramovich,” she confirmed. “And he is drinking alone. See, money can’t buy you everything,” she added, pointing at herself. Make me an offer, Roman, I thought to myself. But in the interests of holiday harmony, I said nothing. ■ For more information on Halikarnas, call +90 252 316 8000 or visit halikarnas.com.tr. For more information on the Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, call +90 252 311 0303 or visit kempinski.com
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rocking all over the world Some people travel to relax. Not Ryan Doyle, whose epic global trip took him freerunning in – and on – some of the most remarkable places on Earth PHOTOGRAPHS by SebASTiAn MARkO/Red bull COnTenT POOl
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petra-fied: On his epic tour of world wonders, British traceur (or freerunning athlete) ryan doyle visited the ancient Jordanian city of petra. Built around 2,400 years ago, its buildings, caverns and monuments are carved directly from sandstone
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off the wall: Incredibly, Doyle suffers from extremely poor eyesight, which he claims is an advantage when he’s attempting tricks such as handstanding on the edge of the Great wall of China. “If I knew how high it was, I might not do it at all,” he said of this stunt.
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Flipping crazy: Doyle admits that he was blown away by the chance to perform at the Taj Mahal. “it is incredibly beautiful,” he says of the 17th-century mausoleum in agra, india. “it really is a wonder of symmetry and harmony.”
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The real ciTy slicker Jim Manley realised a childhood ambition when he traded in hedge funds for horses, launching his luxury adults’ playground, The Ranch at Rock Creek, in Granite County. Neil Davey saddles up
ontana. Cowboys. The famous Big Sky. Brokeback Mountain. Karaoke. I’d ask you to spot the odd one out, but it’s a trick question: all of the above are synonymous with Montana – although the final one does depend on whether you’ve stayed at The Ranch at Rock Creek or not. You could be forgiven for the confusion – The Ranch at Rock Creek has that effect. The ranch takes things that you wouldn’t expect from a luxury resort – ten-pin bowling, tents, karaoke, that dreaded term ‘all inclusive’ – and together makes them into one of the finest resorts in the US, if not the world. The man responsible for this is Jim Manley. Jim ran a successful hedge fund, started his own investment bank and yet never lost sight of a Western-inspired childhood dream: owning his own ranch, with horses, guns and wide, open spaces. When he was finally able to make it a reality, things weren’t as easy as Jim had expected, as he had very specific squaremile.com
requirements for himself, his family and the friends he’d long envisaged as his guests. The property had to have low elevation but a high alpine feel. Skiing had to be at least an easy drive away. There had to be a waterway on the property and a sense of being completely removed from busy roads and reality. His hunt took in the US and Canada, before the 2,670 hectares of The Ranch at Rock Creek – a former mining claim at the base of the John Long Mountains – ticked all of his boxes. Jim quickly realised that his vision of “a playground for adults” was saleable to a wider public, an act that would also ensure that his children could one day inherit the property. It’s this sense of playfulness that makes The Ranch at Rock Creek so remarkable. While there’s much that is traditional – horses, homestead-style buildings (some are originals), fly fishing, shooting – Jim’s amiable nature shines through and, if ever a resort could be described as tongue in cheek, this is it. ➤
Jim ran a hedge fund, started an investment bank and yet never lost sight of a Westerninspired childhood dream
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Barriers are not so much broken down as blown out of the water: within minutes we’re singing What’s New, Pussycat?
➤ On paper, my accommodation could be described as a tent, but it’s like no tent you’ve ever seen. Yes, the walls are made of canvas, but the floor, porch and – seriously – en suite bathroom are hardwood. There’s electricity. There are wood burners. There’s a double bed and, further in, two single beds. There’s wifi. Essentially, it’s a canvas-walled suite. It may lack a TV and iPod dock, but if you had those, you wouldn’t appreciate the calm quiet of the Montana night and the soothing sounds of the creek running mere metres from your door. And then, by day, you have the run of the ranch: 30-something square miles of incredible greenery, water, hills and that famous sky for which ‘big’ is something of an understatement. The term ‘all-inclusive’ may carry dreadful connotations of buffets, cheap lager and redfaced Brits in Spain, but there’s nothing like that here: one of its selling points is the sheer
range of activities available. Horse riding is, naturally, a big part of this. I resisted – I may be a slip of a thing by US standards, but I believe that the horses appreciated the gesture – but the decision was borne less from equine concern and more from having limited time and so many other things to do. Sporting clays, of a quite superb and challenging range, left me beaming. Archery – just myself, a bow and several lifesize replicas of animals dotted around the forest – had a similar effect. The rifle and pistol range gave me the chance to fire a replica Winchester that looked uncannily like the toy rifle I owned as a kid, and left me this close to buying a Stetson. Under the expert guidance of all at the Rod & Gun, the central hub of the ranch’s activities, I indulged in countless cowboy and outdoor fantasies. My personal highlight was fly fishing. There are well-stocked lakes, should you be desperate to
catch something, but they’re no challenge. The real fun is to be had on, and in, Rock Creek itself – particularly as a patient guide was on hand to remind me gently of the technique they’d taught me earlier and help untangle my line from various bushes and trees that, inevitably, I snagged more often than trout. There’s a Zen-like quality to this sort of skilled fishing: real life fades away until it’s just you, the rod, the line and the water… and, actually, snaring a fish proved oddly disruptive. I had several strikes. One was successful – although the wriggling little sod jumped out of my hands before I could secure photographic evidence. The rest could be seen as failures, yet I still returned as happy as I’ve ever been. Activities – and clean air – build a hearty appetite, and the food, from chef Josh Drage, was excellent, with a healthy reliance on Montana’s natural larder, particularly when it comes to game. There are also local wines – better than you’d expect – a wide range of good international bottles and some excellent, locally brewed beers. And then, after dinner, there’s the logic-defying Silver Dollar Saloon. Bowling alleys, karaoke, darts, pool and assorted big screens – one showing classic Westerns, two showing live sport – seem at odds with the ranch’s tranquillity, but somehow it works. Barriers are not so much broken down as blown out of the water: within just a couple of minutes of meeting Jim, we’re “wohwohwoh”-ing our way through a rousing chorus of Tom Jones’ What’s New, Pussycat? Our karaoke bonding turns out to be so efficient that, if Nike were to sponsor this place, its tagline would have to be ‘Just duet’. When your final night sees you sitting around a campfire with people you didn’t know 48 hours previously, smoking cigars, toasting marshmallows and swapping email addresses – which you then use to actually stay in touch – you know that something remarkable has happened. Sometimes, ‘allinclusive’ isn’t a service, it’s a feeling. ■ Double rooms start from $950 per night per person, inclusive of accommodation, telephone calls, internet, mini-bar, food, drink and two ranch activities per day. +1 87 7786 1545; theranchatrockcreek.com
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It’s It’s the the Ultimate Ultimate Canadian Canadian Ski Ski Holiday. Holiday. It’s the Ultimate Canadian Ski Holiday. It’s the Ultimate Canadian Ski Holiday. Visit all of the top resorts Whistler, Visit all of the top resorts - Whistler, Visit all of the top resorts Whistler, Visit all of the top resorts - Whistler, Tremblant, Vancouver, Banff and Tremblant, Vancouver, Banff and Jasper. Jasper. Tremblant, Vancouver, Banff and Jasper. Tremblant, Vancouver, Banff and Jasper. Includes travel with Air Canada and Includes travel with Air Canada and Includes travel with Air Canada and Includes travel with Air Canada and 5-star accommodation. 5-star luxury luxury accommodation. 5-star luxury accommodation. 5-star luxury accommodation. We literally thought We have have literally thought of of everything. everything. We have literally thought We have literally thought of of everything. everything. All All you you need need to to do do is is enter enter at at All you need to do is enter at All you need to do is enter at www.skisolutions.com. www.skisolutions.com. www.skisolutions.com. www.skisolutions.com.
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GET INTO THE GULF CLUB
Dubai may be a small emirate, but it’s one of the fastest-growing luxury holiday destinations around. and the sprawling Desert Palm, with its polo, spa treatments and fine dining, is among its best
ith just 38 suites and villas, Desert Palm by Per AQUUM is quite the exclusive boutique retreat, and certainly a refreshing alternative for Dubai. It also has 300 stables, four polo fields and more than 150 acres of green space. Suites overlook the main polo field while villas have their own pools, allowing for the ultimate in privacy. Desert Palm is offering the perfect weekend getaway package for those looking to escape to warmer climes in the uniquely luxurious setting of a private polo estate surrounded by green fields, palm trees and lush vegetation.
Desert Palm offers the Perfect weekenD escaPe to warmer climes in a luxurious setting 068
Guests at Desert Palm can enjoy four days of sun, spa and shopping, during which they’ll be able to sip sundowners on the terrace while watching polo, relax by an infinity pool and dine at one of two award-winning restaurants overlooking the Dubai skyline. Then why not head to the spa for some head-to-toe pampering or venture to the famous Dubai Mall for world-class shopping? The Arabian Avant-Garde package includes four nights in a Palm Suite, daily breakfasts for two people, a 60-minute Intuitive massage for two at the LIME Spa, a three-course dinner for two (excluding drinks), round-trip airport transfers by private car for two, and a roundtrip transfer to and from The Dubai Mall. This offer is valid from 4 January to 20 December 2013, priced $1,500. Please note that the above package cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers, or exchanged for cash or any other services. To book please email reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
jewel of arabia: each of Desert Palm’s private villas has its own swimming pool, while the resort’s communal areas are packed with lush, green vegetation – not to mention 300 stables and four championshipsized polo fields for lovers of the sport of kings
Over 520 hotels in more than 70 countries Whether you are an accomplished skier seeking out the most challenging of slopes, or more of an ‘armchair skier’ lured by the appeal of the après-ski, be sure to experience one of our luxurious ski retreats this winter.
Experience another World
passion for powder
fantastic service, the highest quality and a real understanding of what skiers want makes a powder Byrne holiday the ultimate ski experience, with something to suit eager powder hounds of all ages
egaRded as the leading luxury family
ski specialist, Powder Byrne has been delivering personalised holidays since 1985. Its focus on the highest quality, flexibility and service adds real value for skiers. “Nothing is too much trouble,” says company founder Rory Byrne. “It’s the dedication and passion of our people, both on and off the slopes, which delivers the little extras that make all the difference when travelling with Powder Byrne.”
tots and toddleRs in tow Award-winning children’s ski programmes have been developed over the past 27 years, so Powder Byrne can cater for every member of the family. The PB crèche service is a snowy paradise for infants and toddlers from the ages of four months to three years, and is available throughout the season at selected resorts. Powder Byrne staff make it their mission to reassure parents who may be anxious about leaving their little ones in someone else’s care for the first time. The crèche is run by fully qualified and enthusiastic nannies, who think of all the little details that make going on a skiing holiday with young children an absolute doddle. The crèche manager will call before clients leave home to answer any concerns, and will purchase any baby essentials to await their arrival. Keen and child-friendly staff will ensure that little tots settle in from the start.
school’s out foR skiing! During the school holidays, Powder Byrne runs a number of fun-packed ski programmes to suit all levels of young powder hounds. Yeti, for four to nine year olds, gives children the perfect introduction to skiing. The carefully designed programme combines the best instruction with oodles of fun, and kids are placed in very small groups of skiers of the same standard. New friends made on the slopes can get together in the evenings for Yeti Suppers and DVD evenings.
PaRadise foR PaRents Powder Byrne provides a completely bespoke experience for all members of the family. Beautiful hotels and properties have been selected at a variety of handpicked resorts, and the company even offers private flights
into smaller airports, ensuring that transfer times are kept to a minimum. For families with young children, Powder Byrne recommends the resort of St Christoph in Austria. This charming Tyrolean hamlet has direct access to the vast Arlberg ski area, linking up with St Anton, Lech and Zurs. Being small, it is a quiet and safe haven for parents with young children, with skiing to suit all levels. The Hotel Maiensee is a wonderful family friendly hotel, conveniently located and ideal for clients with small children. Foodies will think
the dedication and passion of our people, on and off the slopes, makes all the difference
they have landed in heaven – there are many world-class restaurants in St Christoph, on the mountains and in neighbouring villages – while the buzzing nightlife of St Anton is close by. With babysitting services available and a complimentary shuttle bus provided by Powder Byrne, a memorable evening out can be had in some of the most stylish and glamorous aprèsski venues to be found in the Alps. Wherever you choose to go, the dedicated Powder Byrne team will provide a seamless service, managing all the little details before you depart (they’re a safety net for busy parents) and delivering a personal yet unobtrusive service in your resort. ■ Ski with Powder Byrne for the February 2013 half-term in St Christoph, Austria. Prices start from £2,852 per adult, staying at the Hotel Maiensee for seven nights from 16 February on a half-board basis. Package includes a private flight to Friedrichshafen, transfers and full Powder Byrne service. For more information call 020 8246 5300 or visit powderbyrne.com
Hidden from the world lies an oasis of tranquility to invigorate the senses. Set in a tropical garden renowned for its natural beauty, Banyan Tree Phuketâ€™s signature DoublePool Villas promise an excluseve experience to fulfill every intimate pleasure. For more information, 020 7874 1595 or email email@example.com
t r av e l g u r u
In this section 076 How to be a travel genius 078 Country sports: a rough guide 084 Travel accessories 094 The super-yacht to own
travel guru Quintessentially
how to be a travel guru Next time that you’re planning a holiday, whether it’s a 14-day jungle trek in Africa or a weekend break in Paris, take a leaf out of the book of trip concierge Quintessentially travel 1. Pack like a Pro These days, people are travelling more than ever, flight routes are expanding by the month and flight times are getting shorter. So why not opt to forego packing a suitcase? It’s amazing what can be put into a stowaway bag: they’re always with you – so won’t get lost – and, more importantly, there’s no wait at the other end. The first thing that we all want to do on holiday is either jump into the swimming pool or sea, or kick back with a stiff drink in your hand, so you need to make it to your destination as quickly and easily as possible. Most of our clients are avid travellers, so when we hear about new gear, such as the Travelteq Trip Sound carry-on, we will recommend them. Not only is this nifty little suitcase practical with spacious compartments, it also doubles as a chair, with an expandable sitting area and upholstered padded cushion. Plus it comes with a built-in sound system that can be used for up to eight hours before needing a recharge – perfect for long queues and unexpected delays.
2. Don’t ask, Don’t get In today’s world, sometimes if you don’t ask, you simply don’t get. Whether it’s Quintessentially Travel or a personal concierge at your destination, make sure that you ask for exactly what you want and need – after all, it’s your holiday. Also, try to get to know your holiday manager on a personal level:
3. airPort, Post office, Where? People usually don’t think about their holiday preparation until a few weeks before departure. A couple of days before most people leave, they’ll buy holiday clothes and mull over the idea of getting money exchanged. Airport Bureau de Change outlets may save time – if you get to the airport early – but won’t save you money. If you’re busy and likely to end up taking cash out at an ATM abroad, sign up with a currency card provider like Caxton FX. Money can be transferred in minutes by SMS, phonecall or online sign-in. We don’t travel without one. Otherwise, the Post Office and Marks & Spencer offer decent rates.
4. a reliable frienD at home When people close their front doors before setting off on holiday, many of them experience a strange feeling whereby they think they’ve forgotten something. Fortunately this soon fades, and they don’t think of home until the end of their holiday. Keep it that way. We always suggest to our clients who leave an empty house to check that friends and household staff have keys in case of an emergency. Nothing puts a good holiday to an
end more than discovering that your flat has a leak or that your home has been burgled. Some tour companies might offer the added extra of supplying you with a house guardian. So don’t forget: it’s always worth asking.
5. be fearless Travelling is all about experiencing the new, the unknown and the exciting. Be fearless on all counts with your destination choice – from adrenaline-fuelled adventures to eating
IllustratIon by adam larkum
Travelling is all about experiencing the new, the unknown and the exciting. Be fearless on all counts
it’s essential that they know what you like to do and your way of life. They should offer quality, inside-track local information and time-saving services. There are many tour operators out there, so be sure to pick one that best understands what you want to get the most out of your holiday. The ones that can pull strings on the ground are an absolute must, as it’s the little touches that make things extra-special. So if you want a private gorilla safari in Uganda with National Geographic presenter Hayden Turner, it’s probably not as tricky as you’d think. If you do make a request, you’ll either have a laugh over it or it will be looked into seriously. So always ask.
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exotic delicacies. Today, increasingly welltravelled individuals look for new and exciting experiences that intrigue, entertain and enlighten – they are seeking above-and-beyond adventures in lesser-known destinations. The jet set don’t just populate five-star hotels any more – they prize uniqueness and limitededition luxury, and original and one-of-a-kind experiences, such as access to inaccessible and unique hotels. People are more inclined to travel further to discover the real, unspoilt
parts of a country as opposed to sticking close to the airport. And why not? Be bold with your choices to help guarantee a totally unforgettable experience.
6. BRING A BOOK OR TWO Be it a tablet or a good old-fashioned paperback – and no matter what type of holiday – take the opportunity to read, and remember to buy a few books before leaving. If you’re going on an action-packed escape,
do some reading-up on the area – local people love to know if you’re familiar with and interested in their customs and traditions. We always come away from trips with a wealth of local knowledge that can later be shared with colleagues, friends and clients along the way. Those more inclined to relax on sun loungers by the sea, however, can switch off entirely. Try to read the books that you’ve always wanted to but only ever got a few chapters into, and try to be patient with them. ■
travel guru city to country
King of the castle
Can a country-shy Londoner be turned into a shootin’ and fishin’ rural renaissance man in just a single weekend? We sent staunch urbanite jon hawkins to Devon’s Bovey Castle to find out
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hile these days I might proudly call myself a fully urbanised Londoner, complete with concrete tan and fear of open spaces, it wasn’t always this way. I grew up in the New Forest, with views from my bedroom of open fields, clumps of ancient trees and the river Avon winding its way alongside the road opposite. But in spite of my bona fide countryside credentials, I’ve never owned any tweed, the only thing I’ve ever shot is a rubber tyre with an air-rifle in my friend’s garden (with predictably disastrous results) and the only fishing rod I have owned never left the packet. With hindsight, my fate as a city-dweller was sealed from an early age. Which isn’t to say city and country are mutually exclusive. Quite the opposite, in fact: every weekend hordes of Londoners swap urban life for rural idyll, and the sort of clothes that used to be confined to owners of muddy Range Rovers and gun dogs – think tweed, Barbour jackets and the ubiquitous Hunter welly – are now as likely to be spotted in Dalston as on Dartmoor. Perhaps even a staunch urbanite like me could be converted to the pleasures of country pursuits? Where better to start my initiation than Farlows, one of London’s best known and most revered purveyors of kit and clothing for countryside activities? Farlows’ specialism is fly-fishing, and the first thing you see when you enter the grand old building on the corner of Pall Mall and Waterloo Place is rack after rack of skinny carbon-fibre rods stretching up towards the ceiling, and rows of boxes filled with flies of every imaginable shape, size and colour on the far side. Even for an innocent like me it’s a treasure-trove of desirable, functional gear. That I know nothing about any of it makes it all the more exciting. Fishing expert Sean Clarke takes me through the countless flies, each designed to entice fish into taking a bite. Some mimic insects, while others use bright colours and metallic beads to grab the attention of particular fish. Picking the right fly for the place, fish, season and conditions is a crucial component in the battle between man and fish, both in the shop and on the day, explains Clarke. “If the fish are feeding and you’re not catching them, you’re doing something wrong.” These are words I sense will haunt me in two days time when I visit Bovey Castle, a luxury country house retreat specialising in rural activities, on the Eastern edge of Dartmoor in Devon. Once there I’ll be trying my hand at fly-fishing and clay pigeon shooting, but first I’m kitted-out so I don’t stick out like a sore, city thumb when I get there. Along with fly-fishing equipment, Farlows
has a vast selection of clothing from breeks (essentially country plus-fours), tattersall shirts, sweaters and silk ties to jackets in every colour as long as it’s green. There are also brightly coloured gartered socks and beautifully made leather boots that look as capable of surviving rural Armageddon as they do ruggedly handsome. I walk away with a Schöffel Ptarmigan jacket and a pair of Dubarry boots, both of which will protect me from the elements, but not necessarily against the curse of ‘all the gear, no idea’ label. To arrive at Bovey Castle on a sunny autumn day is to see England in just about its finest light. Built in the early 20th century by the son of stationer WH Smith, the neoElizabeth manor house sits in the middle of rolling Dartmoor hills in the company of a spectacular 18-hole championship course, several estate lakes and local farms. Our luxurious suite has views overlooking it all, which I wouldn’t trade for a Caribbean vista or snow-capped mountains in the distance. But we’re not here to stare at the scenery, we’re here to get in among it and our first ➤
The only thing I’ve ever shot is a rubber tyre with an airrifle in a friend’s garden, with predictably disastrous results
Swiss movement, English heart
Swiss made / High-tech ceramic bezel and bracelet centre / Marine-grade stainless steel/PVD gold case and bracelet / Anti-reflective sapphire crystal / SuperLuminovaTM filled hands and indexes / Deep-etched back plate engraving / Luxury presentation case and owners handbook
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farlows Farlows on Pall Mall has been a mecca for country pursuits for over 170 years, and it remains a bustling haven for all things fishing and shooting today. The shop’s two floors and 6,500 sq ft of floor-space is packed to the rafters with the latest fly-fishing kit (it holds a royal warrant for the sport), shooting attire and accessories for rural life. You'll also find experts on hand, whose knowledge of, and passion for, country sports is as much of a draw as the products on sale. 9 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5NP; 020 7484 1000
➤ assignment is with the hotel’s shooting instructor. The shooting ground is only a short walk from the hotel, which isn’t as intrusive as you might think because the estate uses silenced shotguns in line with local rules. Instructor Iain Wylie has set up two traps in a forested glade, each designed to mimic the flight of game birds. My partner is up first, and misses every clay. “This,” I think to myself, “is going to be a breeze.” How wrong I am. In the course of the lesson, despite Wiley’s expert tuition, I manage to hit two clays, while my partner’s early poor form turns out to be a false dawn. I’m roundly beaten in an end of lesson shootout by a pure-breed Londoner with even flimsier country credentials than me. Poor performance aside, I love it, a sentiment probably enhanced by the odd intoxicating whiff of smoke from the gun. Of course, taking part in country sports at Bovey isn’t a prerequisite – there’s plenty else besides, including a spa and fitness centre, two restaurants and the Oak bar, with a frightening array of spirits overseen by expert mixologists. At the Edwardian Grill you’ll find a nose-to-tail menu built around Dartmoor beef – homesmoked sirloin steak was a real standout, and my partner’s steak burger with foie gras and horseradish cream was surely the ultimate incarnation of the fast-food favourite. All this, of course, meant we were wellfuelled for fly-fishing the following morning. Instructor Mike Stone starts us out on a
The fish don’t seem to be impressed. I swear one even laughs at me as it brazenly swims over the top of my line patch of grass next to the estate’s fishing lake, stocked with brown and rainbow trout, and takes us patiently through the art of casting the fishing line, with its fly attached to the end. Flicking the rod back to load it with enough energy to propel the long yellow line forward in a perfectly straight line proves remarkably difficult, though when I move to the lake everything seems to be clicking into place, and Stone seems impressed. The fish aren’t, however, one even brazenly swimming over the top of my line; I swear it laughs as it cruises by. Then I hear a splash and a shout, and look across just in time to see my partner pulling in a huge trout. We finish with me trailing her 2-0 in the countryside stakes, but with us both vowing to return for the rematch. The fish might not have been biting, but I left well and truly bitten by the country bug. Perhaps I could make a country gent yet… ■ Rooms at Bovey Castle start from £229 per room per night. boveycastle.com
Peru ÂŁ1449 from
Includes flights from UK, hotels & transfers
020 7263 3000
SwiSS ValaiS SerVice
Matt Huckle says the swiss region of Valais should be your top pick for team incentive trips. Its
resorts offer a mix of great meeting facilities as well as numerous opportunities to let your hair down.
et’s be honest, planning an incentive trip
PHOTOGRAPH by Switzerland Tourism
can be a nightmare. Not only do you have to ensure that there are the proper facilities to hold whatever meetings you need to take care of, you also have to make sure the trip is actually fun enough for your staff to want to be there. Otherwise the word ‘incentive’ becomes a little redundant and you’ll forever be remembered as ‘boring trip guy.’ If you’ve found yourself in this position then the Valais region of Switzerland should be top of your list. The area is full of resorts that pride themselves on the quality of their conference and incentive facilities and the natural beauty that surrounds you is unparalleled. Of course, you may not notice that when you’re hurtling down one of the numerous mountains that peak at 4,000 metres. The main resorts in the region are CransMontana, Saas-Fee, Verbier, and Zermatt. Between them they cater for almost every set of needs. But, if for some reason, these four don’t suit you then there are many more unique places to stay in the region. Crans-Montana will immediately strike you with its panoramic view over the peaks of the Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn, Matterhorn, and Mont Blanc. As one of the sunniest resorts in Switzerland you’ll be able to enjoy activities ranging from golf to hiking along with the kilometres of snow to ski on. Le Régent conference centre can accommodate groups ranging in size from 30 to 2,000. Quick access to Geneva also opens up a whole range of further possibilities. If Crans-Montana is characterised by its breathtaking views then Saas-Fee makes its mark by emphasising relaxation. It’s the perfect place to clear your head and indulge a little. This car-free village is home to the world’s highest restaurant and an impressive infrastructure so travel and meetings are a breeze, with facilities able to cope with up to 500 people. Nestled among thirteen 4,000 metre peaks Sass-Fee is often referred to the ‘Pearl of the Alps.’ While it goes without saying that the skiing opportunities at any of these resorts are spectacular but perhaps Verbier is the most well known for its slopes. During the winter it turns into the winter sports mecca of ‘4 Vallées’. As well as skiing there are hundreds
It goes wIthout sayIng that the skIIng opportunItIes at these resorts are spectacular
of kilometres of hiking and mountain bike trails. With a short two-hour connection from Geneva and a new hotel opening in December, Verbier is a great place to take your team. Zermatt is surrounded by 38 4,000 metre peaks and sits at the foot at the iconic Matterhorn. The village is totally car-free and features Europe’s highest aerial cableway. Zermatt offers numerous activities to try, including downhill skiing in the moonlight, sunset dinners and spending a night in an igloo. Your team will be able to dine in style at any one of the 13 GaultMillau restaurants. As with all of the resorts staff will help cater the facilities to match the needs of your meetings. Of course you could always just do your own research and pick somewhere else but don’t come crying to us if you’re team stop wanting to be seen with you after. ■ For information: myswitzerland.com/meetings or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
travel guru Style
What’s hot to Wear Looking good on holiday needn’t mean bringing several suitcases of gear. Loren Penney tracks down clever holiday kit for the girls, while Jon Hawkins finds the best for the boys
SMytHSon PlaceS to reMeMber book, £45 With sections for every adventure, including ‘hotels’, ‘entertainment’ and ‘shopping’, you can share your travel tips even when you’ve arrived back on home soil.
diane von furStenberg Jodi SandalS, £230 In attention-grabbing red and purple suede, these multi-strap sandals will make your holiday wardrobe pop.
Mara HoffMan beaded SwiMSuit, £240 Show off sun-kissed skin in this plungefront, low-cut back swimsuit, with beadembellished straps and an eye-catching mulberry colour.
eMilio Pucci Printed Silk Scarf, £220 In signature Pucci print, this vibrant silk scarf is a great way to introduce a touch of colour to any holiday outfit.
carven anaStaSie SunglaSSeS, £235 Protect your peepers from the sun in colourful retro style with these acetate flip-up sunglasses by Carven.
l u x u r y t r av e l g u i d e
perSol foldable 714 SunglaSSeS, £265 Immortalised by Steve McQueen in the 1960s, the 714s are no less elegant and practical today. mrporter.com
ralph lauren Safari rl67 chrono, £6,850 Its hardened case and Jaeger-LeCoultre-made movement mean the Safari RL67 won’t let you down. ralph-
cherchbi SquireS holdall, £495 Designed and made in Britain, Cherchbi’s Herdwyck tweed and saddle leather Squires holdall is the perfect holiday all-rounder.
barbour mount Shirt jacket, £449 The military-inspired Mount Shirt blends Barbour values with Gore-Tex fabric for practicality and style.
Sperry oxford lug boot, £130 A razor-cut, nonmarking sole means this Sperry classic is as happy on the boat as it is in the bar. sperry-
l u x u r y t r av e l g u i d e
travel guru snow style
beauty is ski deep This winter’s best ski gear proves you can have it all, blending style with cutting-edge function. From magnetic goggles to electric boots, jon hawkins has the pick of new pieces for the piste
killy spartacus jacket, £850 The Spartacus uses Schoeller PCM, a phase-changing, heat reactive material that stores excess heat when you’re warm and releases it when the temperature drops.
columbia bugaboot electric, £200 The Bugaboots take a rather more sober approach to blocking out the aprés-ski chill than is traditional, thanks to thermal electric heat at the push of a button.
anon m1, £180 Thanks to Anon’s clever magnetic technology, the M1’s lenses can be switched effortlessly when conditions change. It helps that they’ll make you look like you’re about to go into space, too.
christopher ward c60 trident cosc, £675 This super-accurate and stylish dive watch will be just as comfortable on the slopes as it is under the sea. chris-
In association with Kenwood Travel
Etihad Airways is delighted to have been voted the World’s leading airline for the third year running at the World Travel Awards. Inspired by their home Abu Dhabi, the heart of modern Arabia, Etihad Airways takes the spirit of Warm Arabian hospitality into the air. You can enjoy outstanding service on their new fleet of luxury aircraft. Experience more choices in Coral Economy Class or stretch out on an award-winning fully flat bed in Pearl Business Class. Etihad have spread their wings and launched a service to Mahe in The Seychelles and has been a huge success. This destination is famed for its serene beaches, turquoise waters and natural beauty. Also new is the direct service from Abu Dhabi to Phuket; making it the perfect twin centre. Spend several nights shopping in Abu Dhabi or visiting one of the many attractions this destination has to offer and fly to Phuket to explore this magnificent island in Thailand.
Imagine you could leave right now. When you wake tomorrow, what would be the view? Emerald oceans from an island in the Maldives? The lush rainforests of Thailand from a spa retreat? Maybe it’s Las Vegas from the 60th floor? At Kenwood Travel we have tailor-made the finest luxury holidays for more than three decades. The first thing our customers see as they wake are the undulating deserts of the Emirates, the morning pulse of Times Square, the Pitons of St Lucia, or the golden beaches of Phuket. We send travelers to hotels and resorts of impeccable service, indulgent spas, glowing rooftop pools and cocktail bars, and restaurants of only the finest fare cooked by the world’s leading chefs. We’ve even designed dream weddings on sunset-kissed beaches and sent couples to even further flung lands to celebrate their new life together. We tailor holidays to your personal needs because we know that everyone has their own viewpoint. So, what’s your view?
when booking 45 days prior to arrival 5 nights from
Nestled in the exotic, family-friendly surroundings of Sir Bani Yas island - a traditional wildlife park – this majestic resort lets guests get face-toface with nature without compromising luxurious, five-star comfort. A horde of leisure activities – including wildlife drive, beach access snorkeling, horse riding, diving, mountain biking, archery, kayaking, nature and wildlife walk - provide perfect family excursions, while the island’s natural beauty provides a romantic setting for couples or honeymooners. Offer based on Room & Breakfast.
when booking 45 days prior to arrival 5 nights from
Rising from the undulating Liwa Desert sands, this five-star resort is inspired by traditional Arabian fort-style architecture and represents the ultimate adventure destination. With glowing sunsets and towering sand dunes providing typically Arabian backdrops, this incredibly romantic getaway features rooms, suites and private villas for every budget. Offer based on Room & Breakfast.
when booking 45 days prior to arrival 5 nights from
Lying alongside the abundant greenery of Abu Dhabi city’s flourishing mangroves district - an environmentally-protected nature reserve – this recently-opened property completes Anantara’s Abu Dhabi proposition of island-desert-city resorts. Only a short distance from the hustle and bustle of downtown Abu Dhabi, guests can take a break and relax amid gentle ocean breezes. Offer based on Room & Breakfast.
Free Transfer Offer
Why not combine 5 nights between Eastern Mangroves and Desert Islands Resort & Spa or Qasr Al Sarab and receive FREE inter-hotel transfer. Valid selected travel dates 2013. 2 nights Eastern Mangroves and 3 nights Desert Islands Resort & Spa from £765 per adult including transfers 2 nights Eastern Mangroves and 3 nights Qasr Al Sarab from £765 per adult including transfers
Fly in Style
Guests wanting to stay at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara can now be flown to Sir Bani Yas Island aboard a luxurious jet. Rotana Jet are now operating flights from Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi, 3 times a week from £75 per person return! Flying on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, guests can enjoy the scenic 25-minute flight along the Abu Dhabi coastline to the beautiful island haven of Sir Bani Yas.
020 7749 8417 www.kenwoodtravel.co.uk Find us on
for exclusive features, big competitions and great offers.
Denis Island – The Complete Getaway People talk about getting away from it all. But there’s always that something that brings you back to Earth. That niggling stress you just can’t leave no matter how far you go. What if you could just get away to another world, if just for a while? Welcome to Denis Island, a self-sustaining private isle – the second northernmost rock of the Seychelles – that is nothing short of a dream. Quaint villas dot a paradise scene, each residence ecologically in tune with its surroundings. There’s exhilarating ocean sports, Scuba diving and big game fishing off-shore, while inland explore the endless beach, indulge in the beachfront spa, and wander through the unique flora of its tropical rainforest, all to be enjoyed at your pace. And as evening draws in, taste delicious fine dining using only locally sourced ingredients. For those needing to get away from it all, discover a world that’s entirely yours. Denis Island.
7 nights from £3389 per adult 14 nights from £5459 per adult
DOUBLE YOUR STAY OFFER 8 nights from
£1265 per adult 14 nights from
£1727 per adult
The gorgeous surroundings and dedicated service at Casa de La Flora will ease your worries and welcome you into a sanctuary of rest and recreation. This beachfront resort is located in Khao Lak, an area of astounding natural beauty. Coupled with first class service, attention and facilities of a truly top-of-the-range resort and you have a recipe for relaxation. Offer based on Studio Pool Villa, Room & Breakfast.
DOUBLE YOUR STAY OFFER 8 nights from
£1259 per adult 14 nights from
£1499 per adult
For true escapism, the Layana Resort and Spa has it all. Nestled on the peaceful island of Koh Lanta Yai on the west coast, the resort is situated on a three-kilometre stretch of white sand beach. There are 50 beautifully designed guestrooms that are surrounded by tropical gardens and the sounds of waves washing onto the shore. Adults Only! Newly renovated rooms and Spa! Offer based on Garden Pavillion, Room & Breakfast.
STAY 7 PAY 5
7 nights from
£1125 per adult 14 nights from
£1632 per adult
Aleenta Phuket – Phang Nga Resort & Spa is one of Phuket’s best kept secrets, located just 15 minutes north of Phuket offers a true Thai escape. This boutique beach resort on the gorgeous and secluded 20km Natai Beach is a 5-star hotel in the homely comfort of a private villa set up. More intimate and absorbing than any resort in this stunning region of the Far East, its tidy, modern and impeccably stylish rooms each look out onto a perfect blue Andaman Sea. Most feature wide sundecks and personal infinity pools that undulate seamlessly into the horizon. Offer based on Garden Pavillion, Room & Breakfast.
Kenwood Luxury Romance Upgrade offer - Aleenta Phuket
Stay 7 nights and receive the following; Upgrade from Ocean View Loft to Beach Front Suite, Stay 7 pay 5, 1 x bottle of sparkling wine on arrival, Romantic turndown with magical moments arrangements , tropical fruit basket, aromatic herbal milk bath, Release of 2 flying lanterns, complimentary return transfers from Phuket International Airport. Travel Dates 01 May – 15 October 2013
020 7749 8417 www.kenwoodtravel.co.uk Find us on
for exclusive features, big competitions and great offers.
travel guru private jet
the best a man can jet
“Face it: flying privately is essential for business travel.” That’s the line Lizzie RiveRa gave us for flying her to Venice and back in a day, and it’s the one that she’s sticking to…
e all have that ‘thing’ – that benchmark
that lets you know when you know you’ve made it. For some, it might be buying your first Patek Philippe or owning an Aston Martin, or perhaps it’s making your first million. Flying on a private jet on business has to be up there, however. Swivelling your fully adjustable leather armchair in order to chair an in-flight meeting, or stretching out while you nonchalantly tap away at your laptop just radiates ‘I’m at the top of my game’. Even your plane soars 10,000ft higher than its closest commercial airline competitor, for goodness’ sake – it doesn’t get more symbolic than that. As it turned out, my first private jet flight simply happened to be the most convenient way of meeting client turned co-owner of Manhattan Jets, Mark Stephenson, a man who says that he has stopped counting the number
I thought: ‘In three hours, I’m going to be in my factory in Venice rather than wondering if my luggage made it 092
of times he has flown privately. “But everyone remembers their first flight,” he explains. “It was January, exactly the time of year that I hated travelling. I remember sitting on the plane thinking: ‘In three hours’ time, I’m going to be in my factory in Venice rather than wondering whether my luggage has made the connection in Amsterdam’.” He was back on the plane by 9pm that evening, having done a full day’s work. “That was unthinkable before.” It meant getting up at 7am for a direct flight to Venice rather than getting up at 3am to catch two flights to Venice. This is just one of the reasons that the market is opening up considerably. Jets are no longer deemed the playthings of billionaires: in a global economy, they are now part of the fabric of many multinational corporations. Which is why on top of the usual ski traffic to the mountains and South of France, most jet companies are seeing a rise in business flights to Tel Aviv, Moscow and other financial centres. It took 10 years of being out of the country up to five days a week, while his wife brought up their three children in Teeside, for him to even consider flying privately. Missing yet another family party owing to delays finally pushed him to tentatively call the company he’d read about two years earlier, the clipping stowed away in his personal organiser. “Like everyone else, I thought it was for rock stars and royalty,” he says. “But I was at breaking point, and the business could afford it.” In a group, flying privately can be competitive with first-class travel, but that isn’t the case flying solo. “You can’t compare the costs. It’s significantly more expensive,” says Stephenson. “What you have to take into account is what it gives you back. I wouldn’t have the business I’ve got now if it wasn’t for making that change. I would have said: ‘I can’t do it any more’. It gave me back my sanity, and I have no doubt that what I’ve spent over the years I’ve more than recovered.” As well as becoming friends with company
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Manhattan Jets is unique in the private aviation industry. It’s a smaller player, but supplies to Sony and EMI
PRIVATE PROPERLY A guide to flying privAtely
PhotograPhs by glenn Foster Photography
• Start by chartering a jet for a return journey – you can fly from an airfield closest to you, and most providers will be happy to send a car to pick you up. prices vary, but around £3,600 is the typical cost for a london to paris flight. • if you decide that you’re going to be making regular trips, purchase block hours. typically sold in blocks of 25, these should be valid for about two years. • if you’re at a point where you’re purchasing more than 75 hours, consider fractional ownership. up to eight people can ‘buy in’ on a plane, and you’ll pay lower hourly rates and reduced management costs. ■
founder Steve Westlake, Stephenson knew he could use his experience and expertise to show time-poor businessmen their other options, and when the opportunity arose for Westlake to buy out his jet management company last year, Stephenson didn’t hesitate to come on board. This makes Manhattan Jets unique in the private aviation industry. It is considerably smaller than the big players, but this doesn’t stop it being used regularly by the likes of Sony and EMI and the choice of royalty and businessmen. With the much-coveted AOC licence that allows them to manage other people’s aircraft, Manhattan Jets is the only player able to compete with Europe’s largest operator, NetJets, by offering jet management as well as chartering services. It manages all of the Premier 1 jets (large cabin sizes, but fairly short range) in the UK, and is looking to take larger planes under its wing, including the super-mid-sized Challenger and ultra-long range Global Express. The company also owns two Learjets – or Pocket Rockets, as they are known – and plans to buy five more to complete the set, named after the Seven Dwarfs. Fast and with the power to get off the ground quickly, Learjets can take off from almost any runway and have a range of 1,700 nautical miles – easily getting you from London to Marrakech, and perfect for jetting around Europe. They are the pilots’ first choice: “Everything about them is quality,” Eddy, our captain, tells us. Quality is the buzzword that pervades every area of the business: in a competitive market, giving customers the best service is the only way to keep them. This means Manhattan Jets will bend over backwards to fulfil requests on less than 24 hours’ notice, and make sure you are on a familiar plane and flying with your favourite crew. Are there drawbacks? “I now find business and first-class very impersonal,” says Stephenson. “And I have developed a complete aversion to low-fare operators in Europe. But I force my children to fly with them occasionally – to keep them grounded.” Unlike his children’s cheaper travels, Stephenson is truly flying high. ■ For more information, call 01252 375 500.
travel guru yacht
Wave of desire
The latest super-yacht has got everyone talking, with its hi-tech gadgetry, flawless composition and perfect finishes. tristan rutherford sets sail
Foster + Partners
16,146 sq ft
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Panthalassa When Italy’s leading shipbuilder, Perini Navi, teamed up with Britain’s leading architectural agency, Foster + Partners, the result was bound to be bold. Racing lines taper up to a powerful prow, as over 16,000 sq ft of pure white sail urges the vessel forward at speeds of up to 18 knots. In a stiff breeze she can sail from Antibes to Elba or from Dominica to Martinique in a single day. Panthalassa hosts a veritable flotilla of onboard craft. A squadron of kayaks and an onboard instructor lie on hand to guide guests around the beaches of Corsica or down Venice’s Grand Canal. Her new 14m Alen tender – uniquely grand in yachting terms – will cause a ripple of envy in St Tropez’s Vieux Port. The six-cabin, Foster + Partners designed interior has more in common with Milan’s new Armani Hotel than a classic sailing yacht. Each spacepodstyle stateroom boasts rainforest showers and L’Occitane products, and is bathed in natural light. Electronic distractions are similarly upscale; think Denon amps, MacBook Airs and touchpad entertainment screens. On the stern there’s a ‘beach club’ replete with wake boards, Seabobs, expedition RIBs and an inflatable swimming pool. The ten-strong crew can even pitch a Tuareg tent on a real stretch of sand with campfire, lanterns and leather beanbags. For a final dose of intimacy, Panthalassa’s Australian chef will prepare pre-dinner aperitivi on deck as the Mediterranean drifts by. ■ Panthalassa is available to charter through Y.CO from €155,000 per week
Rich pickings: Le caméléon in costa Rica is a laid-back caribbean beach retreat. At the nearby Manzanillo wildlife refuge you can spot manatees, dolphins and sea turtles
Find the gap
the humble student gap year has been given a grown-up, luxury makeover courtesy of Small luxury HotelS of tHe World tm
t’s that tIme of year again, when thousands
of fresh-faced school and university graduates embark on that popular rite of passage, the ‘gap year’, heading to the shores of New Zealand, Thailand, India and beyond for a grand adventure. But gap years needn’t be confined to the youngsters. A growing
A growing number wAnt off-the-beAtentrAck experiences, Albeit in A little more style 096
number of professionals, empty-nesters and retirees are hankering after the same kind of round-the-world, off-the-beaten-track experiences, albeit in a little more style than the traditional gapper. Here luxury boutique travel specialists from Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) share their dream itineraries and experiences for a grown-up gap year. Whether inspired by retirement, redundancy, a sabbatical or just fancying an escape from the rat race, and if you have a full year, a few months, or a couple of weeks, these are the destinations to dream about. Or you can always make your own way, with 520 hotels in 70 countries the choices are endless; call one of their travel experts to come up with a specially tailored gap year itinerary. ■
A journey through Costa Rica makes for the trip of a lifetime. Explore this ecologically rich country with SLH – from quiet beaches to wild rivers, a Central American adventure awaits. Our dream itinerary would include a stay at Hotel Punta Islita (slh.com/punta); overlooking a rugged bay on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, Punta Islita is a picturesque beach-front resort set on a tiered hillside. Expect a close-up view of authentic Costa Rican culture amid forest-covered mountains, with plenty of fast-paced activities such as zip lining and forest trekking, and a relaxing spa with treatments inspired by nature. From there, head to Le Caméléon in Puerto Viejo (slh.com/cameleon). Close to some of the world’s quietest beaches in Puerto Viejo, this is a sophisticated yet relaxed beach retreat where a laid-back Caribbean lifestyle becomes second nature for all guests. Laze by the pool and enjoy a massage, or visit the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, renowned for manatees, dolphins and sea turtles that nest on the beaches from February to May. Rancho Pacifico in Puntarenas slh.com/ranchopacifico is an idyllic spot to end the journey – expect ultra-comfortable isolation in the midst of tropical jungle. Set high on a secluded hilltop, surrounded by 250 acres of rainforest, this eco-luxury resort provides ten dramatic rooms – choose from suite, villa and treehouse accommodation. Activities abound: take the private Bosque Puro Trail 1,000 feet up to the top of the coastal mountains into the cloud forest, or journey into a remote part of the Osa Peninsula via the Sierpe River by boat. Sightings of monkeys, sloths, jaguarundis, anteaters, tree frogs and toucans are commonplace in the area.
An iconic hotel brilliantly reinvented for the 21st century where an unashamedly old fashioned glamour sparkles with a new lustre. Perfectly positioned on the banks of the Thames, the excitement of London is waiting just beyond the world famous entrance.
Great escapes: (clockwise from top) the setting for spa Village tembok Bali is a dramatic volcanic landscape; the JK place Firenze hotel in Florence is a diner’s delight; the Fragrant Nature resort in Kerala overlooks a stunning lake
Find yourselF Seeking a spiritual retreat? Why not follow in the footsteps of Julia Roberts and embark upon a journey of self-discovery as portrayed in the novel and movie Eat, Pray, Love? SLH offers a charming selection of luxury escapes in Florence, India and Bali, the three destinations the protagonist famously visited on her journey. 1 DIne LIke RoyaLty In FLoRence: Jk PLace FIRenze HoteL Suspended in a bubble of refinement in the heart of the city, Jk Place Firenze Hotel is an exceptional retreat, adored by everyone who stays behind its modest townhouse façade. Inside, it is elegance epitomised, with centuries’ worth of artefacts and lovely homemade food served all day in a glasscovered courtyard. slh.com/jkplace 2 FInD InneR caLm In InDIa: FRagRant natuRe RetReat & ReSoRt, keRaLa the natural village setting of Fragrant nature Retreat & Resort reflects the authentic keralean way of life. In a stunning setting overlooking a fresh water lake, the extremely comfortable rooms and villas bring you close to nature, while finedining, a pampering spa and a traditional cruise boat provide more than a touch of supreme comfort. slh.com/fragrantnature 3 Love youRSeLF In BaLI: SPa vILLage temBok, BaLI Set amid a dramatic volcanic landscape on Bali’s north-eastern coast, Spa village Resort tembok, Bali is where your restorative journey begins. Dedicated to top-to-toe pampering and personalised spa treatments, this uniquely peaceful and tranquil spot is surrounded by tropical gardens and provides a beach-side restaurant, a spectacular infinity pool and stunning accommodation. slh.com/tembok
Fully Included With Honeymoon Package · A Private Granite Suite · The Honeymoon Safari Land Rover with private guide and tracker · Personalised itinerary for each day · Private dinners · Romantic turn downs · A couples wilderness massage overlooking the Sand River · Limitless Champagne · Wilderness picnics (We recommend a minimum 3 night stay)
Honeymoon Safari Land Rover
Honeymoon Safari Land Rover
Africa... The very name of the continent is romantic. One of the last wild places where the great herds of elephant still roam, where the night is sequined with a million stars and where lions may be found gliding across a clearing in the dawn light. At Londolozi we have come to understand that safaris are not just enjoyable holidays but punctuation marks in the journey of life. We know Africa as a place where sunsets are intrinsically romantic and the awe of the wild makes for a thrilling feeling in the very marrow of our bones. It is against this backdrop of impossible wonderment that we launch the “Londolozi Honeymoon Experience”. By combining pristine service and meditative luxury with an authentic wilderness adventure, Londolozi has set out to ensure
that the honeymoon experience becomes the standout defining moment that will live in the hearts of newlyweds for the rest of time. Pride of place is given to the game viewing vehicle, a one of a kind sturdy short wheelbase Land Rover, bedecked with a sumptuous safari couch for two. The newlyweds’ chariot awaits, along with a dedicated ranger, ensuring not only supreme flexibility in game drive arrangements – midnight or midday are equally possible – but also opportunity for extraordinary discoveries. The small vehicle can explore the hidden dells and secret places of Londolozi with great agility. Private Granite Suites, play host to the couple - each suite is situated along the Sand River and includes an elegant sitting room and bedroom, glass encased en-suite bathroom,
outdoor shower, heated swimming pool and, quite extraordinarily, a private outdoor riverview bath. The bath, spacious enough for two and positioned so that you feel the warm sun on your shoulders or see the moon river reflected at your feet, is in itself the ultimate honeymoon accessory. In this intimate setting the newlyweds are invited to be co-creators of their safari experience, venturing beyond the classic interpretive game drive to explore bush yoga, meditative walks, animal tracking, champagne sunsets and full moon bush dinners, as well as the opportunity for wilderness couples massages on an elevated look out deck deep in the heart of the reserve. For more information contact: email@example.com
Off the beaten track
SKI SEASON Art & relAx Hotel Bergwelt, AustriA At a heady 1950m, Obergurgl in Austria boasts a long ski season for maximum snow days. The typically Tyrolean village has magnificent scenery and lively après ski to boot. Stay at the Art & Relax Hotel Bergwelt, a fabulous ski-in ski-out property set high on a sunny plateau. The lodge offers a panoramic restaurant, a spa with the highest pool in the Alps and a fantastic welcoming bar with blazing fire. We wouldn’t mind holing up here all winter long. slh.com/bergwelt
Hotel terelj, MongoliA set on the banks of the terelj river in a remote spot surrounded by lush tree-covered mountains in the gorkhiterelj national Park, the terelj Hotel is a polished sanctuary of relaxation just 50 kilometres from Mongolia’s capital city, ulaanbaatar. An almost untouched corner of the earth, near the birthplace of genghis khan, the pristine wilderness surrounding the property is some of the most carefully protected parkland in the country. guests enjoy outdoor adventures from bird watching to hiking and climbing or horseback riding through meadows of edelweiss, grassy steppes and forest-covered mountains. Although sparsely populated, the park is also home to nomadic Mongolians, offering visitors the chance to meet with the authentic people of Mongolia. Admire the khagiin khar glacial lake, the yestii hot springs, and spot-brown bears, wild boar, wolves and more than 250 bird species before retreating to the hotel’s veranda to relax in an armchair under a cashmere blanket. this is the grown-up way to experience the wilderness. slh.com/terelj
royAl PArk Hotel kAndersteg, switzerlAnd From Austria, head across the border to Switzerland to the small alpine resort of Kandersteg. Excellent skiing, snowboarding, heli-skiing, cross country skiing, skating, tobogganing and even ice hockey await! Stay at the Royal Park Hotel Kandersteg, which sits in a huge park, perfectly located for all the activities on offer in the area. The ski season staples of fondue and râclett served at Berner Stübli restaurant are truly legendary. slh.com/royalpark
To book any of the 520 SLH hotels around the world, please call 0800 037 1888 or go online to slh.com
Photography: Bruno Fournier - Archive CIO
2012/2013 Fall-Winter Collection Spartacus Men Jacket
3 THE MANOR AT NGORONGORO
ARUSHA COFFEE LODGE
After breakfast at Treetops you will enjoy a full day of activities including, game drives, a game-walk, sundowners atop Sunset Hill and a night game drive.
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) where you will be welcomed by your driver and chauffeured to The Arusha Coffee Lodge. Here you will enjoy a complimentary upgrade to one of the 12 Plantation Suites. Surrounded by endless acres of berry-laden coffee bushes in Tanzania’s largest coffee plantation, the Arusha Coffee Lodge is designed around the original plantation houses with luxuriant décor and the stylish undertones of a bygone era.
4 Enjoy a morning game drive through Tarangire National Park on your way to Kuro Airstrip and connect to Manyara. On arrival, our team from The Manor at Ngorongoro will meet you and take you on a visit of an authentic African market in the township of Karatu. 2 TARANGIRE TREETOPS After a leisurely breakfast enjoy a Coffee Estate tour and then an alfresco lunch in the garden. After lunch you will be chauffeured to Arusha Airport to board our Executive Grand Caravan and fly to Kuro Airstrip in Tarangire National Park. At the airstrip, the Tarangire Treetops team will meet you for an afternoon game drive in Tarangire National Park after which you will enter through Treetops’ private reserve.. Tarangire Treetops has a magical nevernever land feel appealing to any with a sense of fun and romance. Distinctively furnished blending natural materials and contemporary décor, the tree houses provide guests with a unique safari experience. Each tree house is perched up in the Baobab and Marula trees and has a large private balcony, an exotic double shower and stunning views.
The Manor at Ngorongoro is located adjacent to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area within the 1500 acre, Shangri-La Estate. The Manor is reminiscent of an elegant, up-country farm home in the Cape Dutch-style of architecture. The Manor at Ngorongoro, with its luxurious all suite guest cottages is the first luxury safari experience in the region to fuse East African safari hospitality with old world Afro- European architecture and décor. Each cottage commands fantastic views of the landscapes, surrounded by fragrant flowering gardens and age-old trees.
Pure Safari: www.puresafari.co.uk|+44 (0)1227 753181 SKY SAFARI: The only one of its kind. Inspiring, authentic and holistic, the Sky Safari 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 comfort of an executive aircraft, stay in world class accommodation while feasting on gourmet cuisine and quenching the desire for adventure. Experience Africa in complete awe and wonder.
5 SERENGETI MIGRATION CAMP After breakfast, embark on a full day of exploration of the Ngorongoro Crater with a picnic hamper lunch, before heading back to the Manor for evening cocktails and dinner. 6
7 THE SERENGETI After breakfast you will spend the full day exploring the vast Serengeti. Enjoy a Bush lunch, after which the afternoon will be spent game viewing. You will return to Serengeti Migration Camp in time for sundowners and dinner.
Today, you have the option of visiting the Lake Manyara National Park or staying at the lodge to explore the estate. Choose from a host of activities including horseback riding, cycling, an estate tour or a massage treatment. After lunch you will fly to the Serengeti. The afternoon will be spent on a game drive with arrival at Serengeti Migration Camp in time for sundowners. Serengeti Migration Camp is hidden among the rocky outcrops and is a camp that exudes a decadence reminiscent of old Africa. Its spacious tents have been carefully placed to provide privacy and blend into nature’s architecture, overlooking the Grumeti River and its resident hippos. Richly furnished throughout, the camp provides a haven of sumptuous indulgence among the raw splendour of the surrounding bush. Surrounded by a 360 degree verandah deck and with a capacious, 45 square metre internal floor space, each guest tent is its own private sanctuary.
OPTIONAL BEACH EXTENSION Explore the banks of the great Grumeti River on a guided game walk. Enjoy a leisurely lunch and a game drive en-route to the airstrip for your onward flight to Arusha, where on arrival you will be chauffeured to your day room at Arusha Coffee Lodge to freshen up and relax before departing for your onward journey. Alternatively why not fly to Zanzibar for some rest and relaxation on one of its pristine white coral sand beaches. Zanzibar is home to some outstanding, high quality lodges in a range of styles. Please call our experts to discuss the options or visit www.zanzibar.co.uk for further details.
Travelling in Comfort and Style: SkySafari is all about providing a personal service to help create the ultimate safari experience. There is no better example of this than the custom built Cessna Caravan – currently the only aircraft of its kind flying in Tanzania and the fleet of fully-equipped Safari Cruisers to match. Fitted with bespoke leather seating – a total of 8 seats in all – the configuration of your aircraft allows maximum comfort whilst offering excellent viewing opportunities through the aircraft’s windows. The Safari Cruiser vehicles offer a similar experience, with premium game viewing from all the seats.
With over 34 oose destinations to ch e ar ly al re u yo , from ce oi ch spoilt for ers, of our key partn e on As . ic nt la At u fly in yo rg r Vi he th et offers, wh when flying wi give you the best s. Kenwood Travel to ed ht lig de e sines we ar ks to our m Economy or Bu Economy, Premiu ents Award 2 years running than id . has won the Pres ort of this airline unwaivering supp Atlantic’s that make Virgin e fully special touches th e th ’s s at It’ th y er th om Whe Econ so comfortable. rvice, the cabin crew do se Economy cabin ur neys. or their attentive adjustable seats le to give you the smoothest of jo ib ss po everything t and relax in omy - Stretch ou 38 fabulous ith Premium Econ W s. at leather se traveling in be their luxurious you’re sure to , m oo hr tc pi of inches comfort. spoilt! From ss - Prepare to bethe queue at Business Clans ng fer, to jumpi a chauffeur tra clusive Clubhouse access to ex m fro , ow t beds, you Heathr their 33’’ wide fla stretching out on nce the royal treatment! really will experie
Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua
The Jumby Bay by Rosewood Resort is located on three hundred acres of solitude on a private island to the northeastern coast of Antigua. Renowned for its verdant landscape, statuesque palms and the use of three luxurious beaches, Jumby Bay is one of the most exclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Accessible only via boat this secluded resort provides a high sense of luxury that only a private island location can offer. The all-inclusive rate includes breakfast, lunch and dinner on a quotidian basis. There are drinks including cocktails, and house wines, whilst there’s also afternoon tea to enjoy. You’ll have the benefit of a concierge service, the beaches, non-motorised water-sports, sail boarding, snorkeling, a cocktail cruise at sunset, sunfish sail boating, putting greens and croquet.
7 nights from £3659 per adult 14 nights from £6149 per adult Upgrade to Business Class from £1559 per adult
Calabash Cove, St Lucia
Rest your weary mind and body in the splendid isolation of the Calabash Cove Hotel situated on the scenic island of St Lucia. With a tranquil setting, magnificent scenery and beautiful surroundings, the Calabash Cove Hotel is one of the world’s finest romantic getaways. Curled up tight to the tropical hillside, the hotel positively radiates romance. The sand-powdered coastline and tropical azure sea are the perfect location for an after dinner moonlight stroll. Few hotels offer the secluded luxury of the resort and you can benefit from unparalleled privacy while enjoying the spectacular Caribbean views from your porch or balcony.
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Resort Credit for bookings of 7 nights or longer in a Sunset Jr. Suite
7 nights from £1519 per adult 14 nights from £2359 per adult Offer details: Book by 31 Jan 2013, Valid now - 20 Dec 2013, peak blackout dates apply.
The Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Barbados
Located on the west coast of Barbados, The Fairmont Royal Pavilion is the embodiment of 5 star luxury and the perfect place for your Barbados holiday. The resort has 72 deluxe guestrooms and suites where you can awaken every morning to unspoiled views of glorious golden beaches and the magnificent turquoise colours of the Caribbean sea. With all guestrooms in close proximity to the sea, you can unwind on your balcony or private deck right on the beach, listening to the calming sound of the waves. For those more energetic tennis, watersports and our swim with the turtles excursion are complementary. Set on a half mile crescent bay and 11 acres of tropical gardens, the Fairmont Royal Pavilion mixes classic elegance with contemporary style.
7 nights from £1409 per adult 14 nights from £2289 per adult Offer details: Room & Breakfast, Valid 01 May - 31 Oct 2013, peak blackout dates apply.
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A hotel renowned worldwide, located in the heart of Beaune and part of the great tradition of hospitality in Burgundy. Accomodation consists of 64 air-conditioned rooms, suites or apartments. A private garage and parking, garden in the French style, 2 listed 16th century courtyards, bar, cellar and function rooms give our hotel its unique atmosphere. Our new restaurant gourmet restaurant Loiseau des Vignes, already 1 star Michelin, is a unique concept in Europe and offers up to 70 wines by the glass!... 27 Rue Jean Franรงois Maufoux - B.P. 224 - 21200 BEAUNE Tel: +33 380 22 35 48 - Fax: +33 380 22 76 80 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - www.hotel-cep-beaune.com
In this section 110 Top five foodie experiences 112 Top five golf hotels 122 Top five skiing breaks 126 Top five wine escapes 128 Top five spa resorts
DIRECTORY There’s no shortage of world out there to discover, so choosing the right destination can be an arduous task. But fear not, because square mile has assembled a team of experts to guide you to the perfect holiday…
110 gastronomy around the world 112 great golf hotels 114 secret islands and superyachts 116 sailing anchorages 118 amazing asian experiences 121 adventure travel 122 the world’s best ski resorts 124 high-end ski chalets 126 wine hotels 128 the best spas on earth
As a food and travel writer, Davey has sought out extraordinary gastronomic experiences all over the globe. These are five of the most memorable.
here are obvious things you must do in terms of the culinary bucket list and all sorts of destination restaurants. You can build that list yourself. And you can go and do all sorts of bravura eating, if that’s your thing. Frankly, fugu is overrated though, and some animals – and bits of animals – are just unappetising. That’s why we’re suggesting some things that are a little different…
1 breakfasT aT Tanque verde Tucson Arizona is more famous for that Beatles reference than its food but breakfast at Tanque Verde deserves to change that. It starts on horseback, as you negotiate desert
scenery and attempt to avoid a cactus or two. It ends with breakfast on the range: homemade sausage, crispy bacon, steak, coffee you can stand a spoon in, biscuits, apple butter, chilaquiles and cinnamon buns that have been caramelised seconds before over the camp fire. It’s pure cowboy fantasy but it’ll take you a week to wipe the smile off your face.
2 sirocco, bangkok There is a lot of good eating in Bangkok but Sirocco is, quite literally, an experience above all others. It’s on the 63rd floor of Tower Club at lebua – their lower case not ours – which makes it the world’s highest al fresco restaurant. The views are breathtaking, be it sunset over Bangkok or under a clear, starry sky. The food is excellent but Mediterranean in influence, so we’d probably suggest drinks – at the aptly named Skybar – with dinner back down on terra firma unless you’ve truly had your fill of vibrant Thai streetfood. lebua.com
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Sky high dining: great views from the 63rd floor of the Lebua hotel in Bangkok; (opposite left) Tokyo’s Tsukeji market has some of the best fish you’ll ever eat
3 Vinkeles on the Water, amsterdam
IllustratIons in this section by Mark Boardman
Private dining. That’s a good idea. But what do you do when you want to add an exclusive dining room to your restaurant but just don’t have the space? If you’re The Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam, and you want to expand on your Michelin-starred Restaurant Vinkeles, you take to the canals. Vinkeles on the Water serves the same award-winning (and frequently astonishing) dishes on a renovated 19th century wooden salon boat called The Muze, as it cruises gently around the city’s waterways. Knife and fork in hand: it’s the only way to see a city. dylanamsterdam.com
4 Chef on Wheels, Jade mountain Every suite at Jade Mountain has an infinity pool and that classic St Lucia view of crystal waters and distant mountains. Why would you ever want to leave your room, then? Particularly when you can dial room service and get the chef to cook in your room. Little wonder that guests have been known to check-
in and not leave their suite for up to five days. It’s not just the view, though: chef Allen Susser is a James Beard award winner (sometimes called the ‘Oscars of food’) and the local, tropical fare he uses is exceptional. The hotel also makes its own chocolate. You know, just saying… jademountain.com
5 sushi at tsukeJi market Wandering around Tokyo’s mindblowing Tsukeji fish market is a fascinating, if not always friendly, experience. As well as illustrating just how much we’re taking out of the oceans every day, you will see things flapping around you’ve never seen before and get scowled at by many of the traders. Once you’ve had enough of those looks, retire to one of the many sushi places in the market’s warren of side streets and savour some of the finest seafood you’ll ever have. You can queue at the popular ones – often for hours – but you’ll have just as good a time at any hole-inthe-wall place. tsukiji-market.or.jp
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top Quinta do Lago is my favourite club for many reasons; it feels so much part of the fabric of the area, has a wonderful maturity and, of course, three magnificent courses. The South would probably be the one I’d play every day for the rest of my life, if I could choose just one. quintadolago.com
4 legend golf & safari resort, south africa I like to travel to places that offer a distinctive experience, be it a course packed with history, an ocean-front hotel or something entirely different. Legend falls into that last bracket. On my last visit, I had a single day that began with a game drive, followed by 18 holes of golf (each designed by a different tour professional), a massage and then the Xtreme 19th Hole. If you haven’t played it, you must. Head to the top of the cliffs by helicopter and take aim at a green 430 metres below. A holein-one’s worth $1m! legendgolfsafari.com
Marshall is founder of yourgolftravel.com, which makes him something of an authority on the world’s best golf courses. This is his top five.
1 turnberry Turnberry has the perfect blend of old and new. The 1906 Restaurant and its Escoffier -inspired menu is incredible, while the new re-fit gives the hotel a sleek look. The oceanfacing deluxe rooms are among my favourite in any UK resort, and the views over the Ailsa Course to Arran must be seen to be believed. When I play the Ailsa I find it hard not to get caught up in the history of the course, especially the ‘Duel in the Sun’ between Nicklaus and Watson, and Tom’s near miss in 2009. Without doubt my favourite UK golf resort. turnberry.co.uk
5 pelican hill golf club, usa This is the ultimate chillout destination, and I wholeheartedly agree with its recent billing as the top resort in the US. Waking up to the sight of the waves breaking at Newport Beach is pretty special, and the resort is just as much of a treat. I prefer the Ocean North [pictured] of the two courses at Pelican Hill, but they’re both fantastic and the setting is up there with Pebble Beach. There’s plenty going on both on and off site and it’s quick to get to and from LAX, making it easy to combine in any California Coastal Trip. pelicanhill.com
2 the wynn, las Vegas, usa
photograph courtesy of pelican hill
The Wynn is everything Turnberry isn’t, but it appeals to me just as much. You get easy access to the Las Vegas Strip but the Wynn never feels chaotic, like lots of the other big casino hotels can. SW Steakhouse is a real treat for dinner, the shows are excellent and you have access to the Fazio Wynn Course. I don’t even bother taking clubs as they provide free Callaway gear and Footjoy shoes.
3 Quinta do lago, portugal I spent many a school holiday on the Algarve and it remains particularly close to my heart.
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Top Baron steered his two-square-mile island into a palm-lined den of privacy. Development is still limited to 100 private homes, and there remains just one beach hotel and, of course, the famous Firefly guest house. Indeed, Mustique is more private playground than members’ club. You’re likely to see a few famous faces sipping Drambuies barefoot at the bar, as others play on the piano. Captains of industry might referee the beach volleyball competition, while European royals line up to shoot pool. What happens on Mustique, stays on Mustique.
2 Lavezzi arChipeLago, CorsiCa
Charlie Birkett, CEO of luxury yacht charter agency Y.CO, selects his favourite secret beaches around the world. Super-yacht optional, but recommended.
1 musTique, Caribbean You don’t have to be a millionaire to moor off Mustique [below]. I’ve seen everything from 10m flotilla yachts to 100m superyachts drop anchor in the crystalline sea surrounding the island. The coconut palm panorama is the same whatever your charge. More importantly, one of the only ways to enjoy Mustique is by boat. Back in 1958 Colin Tennant, the 3rd Baron Glenconner, purchased it lock, stock and barrel for $67,500. The noble
Some Mediterranean islands like Mallorca and Ibiza have sandy but saturated shores. Others, like Mykonos, attract A-listers – and the inevitable paparazzi followers – by the score. For privacy and purity Corsica’s beautiful Lavezzi Archipelago trumps the lot. These sand-ringed granite islands are carpeted with campion, eucalyptus and scented maquis herbs. The Lavezzi now form a 79,000-hectare protected marine park. Nowhere on earth has there ever been a luckier population of shearwaters, cormorants, dolphins and grouper. Many of our luxury yacht charter guests like to pair sailing with golf. Conveniently, France’s most southerly golf course, Golf de Sperone, sits atop a spectacular line of cliffs on the Corsican mainland a short sail north. Its bunkers use sand from Sperone beach, which lies midway between the links. Yachts may moor close enough to this stunning coastline for golfers to drive a nine iron from the foredeck onto the 15th green.
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3 TahiTi, French Polynesia Tahiti leaves sailors spellbound. The island is crowned by volcanoes, carpeted by rainforest, and ringed by heaven-sent spa resorts. All that’s needed to explore Tahiti’s depths is a mask, snorkel and luxury superyacht. Y.CO’s crews can lead undersea expeditions to ship wrecks, coral reefs and tuna fish breeding grounds. Softer safaris include sea kayaking, sunset swims and paddle-boarding around the Punaauia Lagoon. Be aware that Tahitians are tough nuts. Hardy islanders can offer tips on their hardcore local pastime: barefoot waterskiing. Hedonists can also ‘skysurf’ down to the turquoise seas with a snowboard tied to their feet. Half-day guided island hikes are the order of the day for most of our guests. They lead to stone Tiki sanctuaries through ironwood, breadfruit and mango groves.
4 ile sT-honoraT, French riviera Bobbing off the coast a mile from Cannes, the Ile St-Honorat boasts subtropical fauna onshore and a marine paradise just off of it. It’s not only car-free status that keeps the island pristine. It’s served by only a strictly limited ferry service from the mainland, so the best way to visit is by private yacht. Ile St-Honorat has been a place of restive retreat for two thousand years. French monk Saint Honoratus retired here to gaze at the sea in the 4th century. A wise man indeed. But word of Eden travels faster than a London restaurant recommendation, and Europe’s Cistercian community soon arrived en masse. Thankfully, privacy and tranquillity are assured today. The monks have taken a
vow of silence and they’re unlikely to use a telephoto lens. Aside from the monastery, the only other establishment on this 1.5kmlong paradise is La Tonnelle, a restaurant as exclusive as it is sublime.
5 vis, croaTia Vis was off-limits to all-comers until 20 years ago. A single daily ferry runs this far out into the Adriatic, so it’s only visitors with their own yacht who frequent these crystal clear waters. Twenty bays await sailors in search of laid-back sun-kissed charm. A particular Y.CO favourite
is Stiniva Bay, where tall cliffs form a stone curtain around a perfect crescent of beach. The island isn’t big, but there’s so much to explore. And in true Vis style, every hire car is a cabriolet. Two very different roads link Vis town with the village of Komiža on the other side. The first was built by the Austrians two centuries ago and runs pancake-flat for 20km through vineyards and orchards. The Yugoslavs built the second 50 years ago, and it barrels like a rollercoaster for 10km across a mountainside. On a scooter it’s seriously fun.
sunset strip: (clockwise from top) the Bannister in the Dominican republic is the perfect place to rest your sea legs; Canaves Oia Hotel on the island of santorini; the racha, Muang
The CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ is a notoriously keen sailor. Here he picks five favourite anchorages, from Southeast Asia to the Caribbean.
1 Muang, Thailand Check out the Racha Hotel in Muang, Thailand, where you can find great anchorage. Protection from the elements is key; the water is just the right depth and the ground provides a good holding, making it just about perfect. While there, you’ll need to check out the Lighthouse, one of the incredible suites at the Racha, for the ultimate in sophisticated living. It’s a gleaming white, five-storey retreat with 360-degree views across the island and the Andaman Sea. slh.com/theracha
2 Sardinia, iTaly An absolute must see, Porto Cervo Marina in Sardinia is one of the world’s most welcoming ports, with over 700 berths, all with water and electricity supplies. If you want to escape the crowds, then just a hop, skip and a jump from the marina is an SLH hotel, Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu, which has its own marina in a wonderful setting. Dine at one of its three restaurants or spend the day lounging on the private beach. slh.com/poltuquatu
Open year round, Marina Yacht Club has stunning views of both the Bodrum harbour and the Historical Bodrum castle. It’s a very busy marina, and you’ll be lucky to get a spot as the boats are parked cheek-by-jowl, so be
4 SanTorini, greece The 80km2 island is only one stop in a series of must-see Greek islands. Most visitors are told there is only one safe place to anchor, but if you travel around the island to the other side you’ll find a secret jetty just beneath Canaves Oia Hotel, an SLH with some of the most
romantic rooms on the island and traditional Cycladic architecture. Failing that, feel free to check out any of SLH’s 11 hotels on Santorini.
5 SaMana, doMinican repuBlic A true hidden gem, The Bannister Hotel in the Dominican Republic has its own private marina that makes for the perfect stop while cruising in the Caribbean. Overlooking Samana Bay, it’s the ideal place to revive your sea legs. But not for long, as you’ll soon be off enjoying Los Haitises National Park, mountain biking, snorkelling, scuba diving, or discovering caves with pre-Columbian drawings. slh.com/bannisterhotelia squaremile.com
PHOTOGRAPH BY Mark Lewis
3 BodruM, Turkey
sure to book in advance. Or, equally, just make sure you have the right contacts; SLH hotel The Marmara Bodrum, conveniently located just minutes away, might be able to help you secure a spot. Then enjoy a rigorous work out in the gym while taking in the breathtaking views below, or relax in the world’s most scenic sauna. slh.com/marmara
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top emerald green moats beneath you and the blue-walled city in the distance, this cuttingedge activity is perfect for daredevil sightseers, and one of the highlights of visiting Rajasthan. You’ll be strapped into your harness told to keep your head to one side of the wire and pull your knees up towards your chest. Those that don’t may end up in a spin or lose momentum, which will leave you dangling mid-line. But don’t worry, it’s possible to haul yourself along the line towards the ramp – mildly humiliating, but good amusement for everyone else. For a slower but still thrilling way to see the ‘Blue City’, jump in a hot air balloon at sunset and capture some eagle-eyed photographs.
2 luxury surfIng: sumba Island, IndonesIa
james grace-jayasundera Grace-Jayasundera set up Asia travel specialist Ampersand Travel 10 years ago. He dips into his knowledge of the region to find five breathtaking trips.
1 adventure and culture : Jodhpur, IndIa Want a dose of extreme adrenaline with your history lesson? Try zip-lining over Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort in true Batman style (Batman buffs may recognise it as the setting for scenes of the new film). Built in the 17th century by Maharaja Jaswant Singh, the fort is 400ft high, and zipping across each of the six wire routes provides dramatic views of its ruins. With
For Asia’s sexiest swells, head to Nihiwatu Lodge on Sumba Island – an exclusive retreat with fabled sky-high waves for surfers. A Spice Island first mentioned in the 16th century by a travelling companion of Magellan, Sumba is one of Indonesia’s most unexplored islands, located a two-hour flight southeast of Bali. Nihiwatu has been featured in several surf movies. ‘God’s Left’ is the main attraction: these left breaking waves reel for over 300 metres and crest off the resort’s outstretched reef, reserved for a maximum of nine surfers at a time. The surf is good at 2ft all the way up to 10ft, and is consistent all year round. Non-surfers will be perfectly pampered, too. Nihiwatu has just ten thatched-roofed villas fronted by a 2.5 mile scoop of sand and backed by 175 hectares of lush jungle and rice terraces. Colourful coral and marine life makes for sensational scuba diving and snorkelling, or you can go on forest treks and village excursions – traditional animist communities and Stone Age sites have remained unchanged here for centuries.
3 pIoneerIng travel: bagan, burma
PHOTOGRAPH BY: Djuna Ivereigh
For an Indiana Jones-style adventure, head off the beaten track for a spot of temple hunting. Less famous but possibly even more spectacular than Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Burma’s Bagan plains are an undiscovered treasure strewn with over 3,000 gold-clad stupas, shrines and ruins. Close to a thousand years ago, Anawrahta, king of the first Myanmar Empire and a staunch advocate of Theravada Buddhism, embarked on one of the most ambitious religious construction programs in history in his kingdom’s capital, Bagan. It is a mesmerising moment when you first set eyes on so many ancient temples peeking out from this vast, savannah-like horizon stretching as far as the Irrawaddy River; some are gnarled by jungle, but most
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EyriE goings on: The Tiger’s nest monastery in Bhutan, perched perilously on the edge of a cliff; (opposite left) nihiwatu in indonesia is home to the fearsome ‘god’s Left’ surf break
are untouched. To fully get to grips with the scale of this historical site, take a balloon ride, or if you prefer to stay grounded, hop on a bicycle at dawn to have the plains to yourself. If you get too templed out, head to the coast to experience one of Asia’s best secret beaches: the palm-fringed and footprint-free sands of Ngapali and its delightfully quirky resort, Sandoway. Tourism has only recently opened up in Burma, so inquisitive adventurers should go now to experience it ahead of the crowds.
4 wildlife spotting: sri lanka’s south coast The tear drop-shaped island of Sri Lanka is a bountiful Page 3 stunner of a nation, spilling over with natural wonders – from the 2,500m peaks in her interior to the long flat panoramas of Yala and the curvaceous caramel sands of the south coast. Base yourself at the Amanwella in Tangalle, a super slick, James Bond-esque resort on one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. You’ll be near the 17th century Dutch walled fort town of Galle (described by some as the St Tropez of Asia) as well as Yala National Park, one of the best wildlife destinations outside of Africa. Here you can explore the park by open-back jeep
safari accompanied by an expert guide and an enchanting chorus of tropical birdlife. You may meet with elephants, monkeys, crocodiles, buffalo, bears and, most excitingly, the elusive leopard – more leopards pad through this park per square metre than anywhere else on earth. Just offshore you can take a boat safari to spot blue whales and sperm whales – there’s no better place on earth to spot both at the same time. If you’re lucky, you may be escorted by a pod of friendly dolphins – up to 300 of them can be spotted racing through these waters.
5 high-altitude romance: punakha, Bhutan
lust for life, evident by their unique style of decorative painting: enormous erect penises can be seen painted on the walls of houses to drive away evil spirits. If that’s not enough to put you in the mood for romance, the luxury lodges will. COMO Hotel’s brand new 11-room Uma Punakha is particularly suited to sporty couples who like yoga, hiking and mountain biking, and there’s an incredible spa to return to afterwards (hot stone massages work wonders on achy bones). Visit in spring when the rhododendrons are in bloom, or in winter when the landscape is dusted with snow. ampersandtravel.com; 020 7289 6100
Love and happiness abound in this magical Himalayan kingdom, ranked No 1 in the world for Gross National Happiness. The scenery is truly soul-stirring – mountains are blanketed in evergreen forests and dotted with Buddhist temples; monasteries cling to cliffs (the Tiger’s Nest Monastery does so most dramatically); valleys are sliced by glacial rivers and the air is delicious and clean. It’s a bit like Switzerland, but with dzongs and prayer wheels in place of churches. Dressed in their colourful national costume, the Bhutanese are incredibly charming and quick to laugh. They have a
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ToP bordering Brunei. The trek takes you up through dense forest which makes for a very tough trek but provides the unique chance to interact with the semi-nomadic tribes of the region. The camping spots en route are absolutely stunning, but it really is a gruelling and unmapped journey. The chance to learn from the Penan tribe, famed hunter gatherers who live off the jungle, makes up for the pain.
4 PaPua new GuInea Top of any intrepid explorer’s hit list should be the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. Trekking over the Star Mountains and down to the May River, through completely remote areas where it is unknown how many tribes still live there, makes for a remarkable experience. It’s so rare to find somewhere truly unknown these days, and the sense of
adventure really is special. It’s a privilege to have the chance to experience this, and certain parts of the trip have never been done before. Once you set off there’s no turning back – it’s a proper adventure.
5 Morocco In Marrakech travelling into the Atlas mountains is not uncommon, but the best way to do this is to avoid the crowds and head to the remote Berber village of Magdaz. From here you can climb the second highest mountain in North Africa, M’Goun, without bumping into tourists. From M’Goun you can head into the desert and meet nomadic tribes and see how they cope with the unforgiving environment. Trekking across the desert on camel is the only way to cross the high dunes.
Marchant is the founder of high-end travel company Black Tomato, making him perfectly placed to name five of the best global travel adventures.
1 Iceland Since the Eyjafjallajökull volcano stopped erupting, my to-do list now includes a visit to the site to check out the altered landscape, which has been created by the lava during the eruption. Where the lava has cooled, huge boulders have been formed which will make for a great trek up to the crater to see how it all started. While I’m in Iceland I really want to revisit the Thingvellir National Park where the Almannagjá fault is located. It’s an incredible place to dive, bang in the middle of the European and American tectonic plate, where the water is crystal clear. It was actually the first trip we launched for Black Tomato, so it has a special significance for me.
2 chIle and BolIvIa One of my favourite trips of all time was travelling across the Atacama desert by horseback and 4x4, and experiencing the vast expanse and heat of the desert. Just over the border into Bolivia, climb the Tunupa volcano which has 360 degree views from the top – it’s absolutely breathtaking. From there it’s a quick journey to the salt flats (pictured), which are the largest on the planet and well worth a visit.
3 Borneo In Borneo there is a fantastic six- to sevenday trek up to the Mulu World Heritage Park,
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tOP 1 Luxury If you have the budget and want the ‘perfect ski holiday’, Zermatt [pictured] is the place to go. The list of five-star hotels is long, but topped by the Mont Cervin Palace. The best rooms have a jacuzzi with a view of the Matterhorn, and the spa complex is huge. Zermatt’s skiing is varied and extensive, with the option of popping over to Italy. The only drawback is its suitability for beginners, so brush up on the skills before you go.
The Olympian turned TV presenter has skied everywhere you can possibly imagine. Here he picks five of his favourite places to ski in the world...
The small, relatively unknown resort of Champoluc in the Monterosa ski area is a personal off-piste favourite. There are no hoards of seasonaires looking to rip up the fresh powder; a massive drawback for resorts like Chamonix and Verbier. The Punta Indren cablecar, at 3,275m, is the highest lift in the region and accesses a number of off-piste runs, either down to Gressoney or Alagna. The really adventurous (with a guide) can skin-up or use a helicopter to reach the top of the Monterosa, where you can ski off-piste into Switzerland and return via Zermatt’s lift system.
3 POsh transPOrtatiOn Saalbach-Hinterglemm has invested millions on its lift system and has a higher proportion of high-speed lifts than any of the world’s other major ski resorts. A combination of gondolas and comfortable, heated chairlifts whizz you around the well-planned resort. The runs are fast, cruising, open pistes, so you can clock-up some incredible distances in a day.
4 heLiskiing Bell 2 Lodge in Northern British Columbia is a converted gas station on the road north to Alaska, and its beautiful wooden lodges are the base for Last Frontier Heliskiing. This is the largest single heliski area on the planet so the range of terrain is incredible, with runs starting high on the mountain peaks and ending with blasts through glades of trees on the valley floor.
5 MOuntain fOOd
PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Portmann
A sun-trap, south-facing resort, Courmayeur in the Valley d’Aosta specialises in the al fresco long lunch with amazing views of Mont Blanc. The rustic Maison Vielle, run by the charismatic Giacomo Calosi, serves great homemade pasta, and excellent antipasti. Tucked away at the top of the Masion Vielle chair, many of my lunches here have run so long that the ski lifts closed and the pisteurs have cleared us off the mountain.
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high-end ski chalets Luxury and skiing go hand in hand, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the battle for supremacy at the top end of the market has turned into something of a chalet arms race, with each gunning to out-lavish the next. The good news is there’s never been more choice, or more bang for your alpine buck. We’ve tracked down five of the best, each boasting features that would have been unimaginable in a ski chalet not so long ago.
1 La FoLie BLanche, courcheveL, France
4 chaLet Les anges, Zermatt, switZerLand
After a hard day’s skiing, what you really want to do is pound away on a squash court. Well, possibly not, but it’s nice to know the option’s there. Like it’s nice to know you have the benefits of a complimentary in-resort chauffeur service, and top-quality staff on hand to cater to your every whim. With chic white contemporary design, La Folie Blanche [pictured] also offers a huge spa area with indoor swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. Pretty much everything you need après-ski, then. alpleisure.com
Whether you play Chopin or Chopsticks, a ski lodge that comfortably fits a baby grand piano into the living room is pretty special by most standards. Barely two years old, this contemporary chalet incorporates high ceilings, double-height windows and a skylight, plus a central fireplace made of steel and glass set amid interior walls of dark stained reclaimed wood. The lower floor houses a wellness area, with a steam room, sauna and a bubbling hot tub that is literally a step from the spa. The bonus being that gentle bird song playing over a water feature will disguise any less than harmonious attempts at a sing-along. chicchaletguide.co.uk
2 chaLet himaLaya, vaL d’isere, France
However dubious it may sound, an invisible swimming pool is not a case of the Emperor’s new clothes – you can swim in it and you will get wet. You just have to find it first. (Clue: it’s hidden by a removable floor between the dining area and cigar room, which, if you choose to leave it closed can also double as your own private nightclub.) But that’s not even the coolest thing about this chalet. It’s a former monastery dating back to the 17th century that has been transformed to include luxurious modern comforts, including a bath that commands a rain shower and converts into a steam room. akvillas.com
5 one happo, hakuBa, Japan Still relatively undiscovered by Western skiers, Habuka is almost guaranteed to provide you
with dry powder snow, and some of Japan’s best skiing terrain. It’s also home to chalet One Happa, a three-storied, five-bedroom luxury abode, directly facing the 1998 Olympic slopes. The attention to detail is everything you’d hope for from a top-of-the-range chalet completed just last year, with iPads to control the lighting, retractable 3D plasmas from the ceiling and a 250 on-demand movie library. The glasstop pool table and floor-to-ceiling glass wine room offer hours of fun, as do the teppanyaki counter, cocktail bar, infrared sauna and onsen (hot tub). Designed using Western red cedar, you are cocooned in luxury, while floor-toceiling glass panels bring the Wadano forest and mountain vistas into the warmth of your home. Just don’t forget to go outside; One Happo is undeniably special in its own right, but the skiing’s the real star here. onechalets.com
3 Bighorn, reveLstoke, canada
From the moment you touch down onto your own private helipad you realise you have landed in one giant playground on the slopes. There’s the pool room with games consoles, a private cinema, a full gym, two massage rooms, an indoor plunge pool and outdoor hot tub. The resort itself features the longest lift-serviced vertical descent in North America, three exclusive alpine bowls for cat-skiing and half-a-million acres of snow-cat and helicopter skiing and snowboarding terrain. Basically, it boasts similar amenities and services to the most luxury offerings in France and Switzerland but, as with all things North American, on a much bigger scale and with larger cups of coffee to keep you going.
ASTRON. The search for totally precise time, everywhere on the planet, is over. By developing a low-energy-consumption GPS receiver, Seiko has been able to create a watch that connects to the GPS network and uses it to identify both time of day and time zone. The new Astron recognises all 39 time zones on earth, is precise to one second every 100,000 years,and by taking all the energy it needs from light, never needs a battery change. If you can see the sky, you will know the local time, anywhere on our planet. Finally, time and space are united in a prestige watch. seiko-astron.com
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wine hotels It’s all very well enjoying a glass of wine (or five), but if you’re really serious about what’s in the bottle you’ll need to travel a little further afield than your local Corney & Barrow. Fortunately there’s no shortage of destinations to slake a thirst for oenological delights, from Europe to the New World and from an estate in the middle of a vineyard to a hotel with a kilometre-long cellar. We raise a glass to five of the very best.
1 Delaire Graff estate, south africa The Delaire Graff Estate is located on an award-winning vineyard along the picturesque Helshoogte Mountain Pass near Stellenbosch. When Laurence Graff, chairman of Graff Diamonds International, acquired the hotel in 2003 he vowed to transform it into South Africa’s most desirable art, hospitality and wine destination. Whether you’re staying in a luxury room or a lodge equipped with a private infinity pool, it’s hard to deny that he’s succeeded. Two acclaimed restaurants offer great dining, and private-dining in the lodges or vineyards can also be arranged. A daily shuttle will take you into Stellenbosch, or you can take wine-tasting, cellar tours and guided walks through the vineyards. Alternatively, explore the vines in your own time, or simply take in the views from the spa’s infinity pool.
2 Marqués De riscal, spain La Ciudad del Vino [pictured] in the heart of the Rioja wine region is home to the area’s first wine cellar (built in 1858) as well as Europe’s largest wine museum. The striking avant-garde exterior, designed by Frank O Gehry no less, is complemented by the stateof-the-art technology, and furniture designed exclusively for the hotel. The traditional Bistro 1860 and gourmet Marqués de Riscal restaurant are both overseen by Michelinstarred chef Francis Paniego, and offer traditional specialities accompanied by an impressive wine menu. The vinous delights even extend to the award-winning spa, which incorporates skincare products made using grape and vine extracts, said to have excellent anti-aging and exfoliating properties.
The awe-inspiring Hotel De Paris Monte Carlo could top most luxury hotel lists, not least for its majestic architecture or the three Michelinstarred Le Louis XV Alain Ducasse restaurant. Across the hotel’s restaurants, chefs and
arrange private tastings and touring options including hot-air ballooning. The suites offer contemporary luxury, complete privacy and breathtaking views. The Seppeltsfield Suites are particularly impressive, with private terraces, fireplaces and outdoor rainshowers.
There are any number of reasons to fall in love with L´And hotel, and not all of them concern wine. Take the ceilings in the private suite collection, which are retractable so you can sleep under the stars. Or the stunning Alentejo landscape, with views of the lake and Medieval hilltop castle of Montemor. But ultimately it all comes back to the prize-winning vineyard, wine cellar and wine club. And perhaps best of all, vineyard producers can mix their own grapes with those from the common vineyards, creating unique blends from the best of the crops. Guests can also produce their own unique and completely personalised wine with the help of a resident oenologist.
4 the louise, australia There’s fresh, local produce and then there’s the cuisine at one of Australia’s finest dining destinations, Appellation. Executive chef Ryan Edwards and his team harvest from their kitchen garden, bake their own breads and even butcher and cure their own meats. The multi award-winning wine offering is equally impressive, and includes a 500-strong selection of local and international options. But then you’d expect no less from a hotel located in Barossa, Australia’s most renowned wine growing region. The hoteliers have excellent local knowledge of Barossa wineries, and can
5 l´anD VineyarDs, portuGal
photograph BY Eric Cuvillier
3 hotel De paris, Monte carlo
sommeliers work together with cellarmen to create wine lists that pair the dishes with wines reaching their peak in the cellars beneath. The wine cellars, hollowed out of the rock, host a kilometre of wine racks holding hundreds of thousands of bottles from the most prestigious vineyards in the world. For a truly memorable experience, head down to the cellar to host a dinner party with serious oenological cachet.
VILLA DUBROVNIK DUBROVNIK, CROATIA
VILLA DUBROVNIK DUBROVNIK, CROATIA
Cliffside location overlooking Dubrovnik’s city walls •
VILLA DUBROVNIK Surrounded by Mediterranean gardens •
DUBROVNIK, 56 residences, allCROATIA with terraces or balconies with the sea view • Villa Kolin standalone Villa residences • Traditional Venetian Vaporeto roundtrip transfer to
Cliffside location overlooking Dubrovnik’s city walls • the Old City • Private beach • Villa Spa with Sodashi
Surrounded by Mediterranean gardens •
treatments • Fine cuisine at Pjerin • Al fresco dining
56 residences, all with terraces or balconies with the at Giardino • SkyBar rooftop lounge •
sea view • Villa Kolin standalone Villa residences • Customized excursions and special programs •
Traditional Venetian Vaporeto roundtrip transfer to Conference and executive meeting facilities
the Old City • Private beach • Villa Spa with Sodashi treatments • Fine cuisine at Pjerin • Al fresco dining Cliffside location overlooking Dubrovnik’s city walls • at Giardino • SkyBar rooftop lounge • Surrounded by Mediterranean gardens • Customized excursions and special programs • 56 residences, all with terraces or balconies with the Conference and executive meeting facilities sea view • Villa Kolin standalone Villa residences • Traditional Venetian Vaporeto roundtrip transfer to the Old City • Private beach • Villa Spa with Sodashi treatments • Fine cuisine at Pjerin • Al fresco dining at Giardino • SkyBar rooftop lounge • Customized excursions and special programs • Conference and executive meeting facilities virtuoso 2012b.indd 3
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spa hotels Even the most adventurous traveller has to find room for some rest and relaxation every now and again, and a visit to the spa is a time-tested way of doing just that. In fact, spas have been around since prehistoric times, which is plenty long enough for them to have refined the art of cleansing and unwinding. As a result, you won’t find a shortage of spas anywhere in the world, but there are spas and there are spas. These are five square mile favourites.
1 Heritage le telfair, Mauritius This 19th century colonial-inspired resort is focused on wellbeing. Taking inspiration from ancient Mauritian healing techniques, therapists tailor treatments to meet each guest’s needs. Framed by white sandy beaches, aquamarine lagoons, and lush tropical palms in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Heritage Le Telfair is ideally located. Private suites allow couples to experience side-by-side treatments and a relaxation area, complete with an outdoor bath, make this the ultimate romantic retreat. The 18-hole, Par 72 golf course is just a nice little addition, sweetheart. slh.com/telfair
2 Baros, Maldives If you’re looking for a little more than R&R, and are open to alternative approaches to healing, then Baros Maldives [pictured] is where you should be heading. As well as top quality traditional spa treatments, their
resident specialist has trained extensively in a range of alternative medicines, including traditional Chinese. Start your stay with a 15-minute complimentary Auriculotherapy (ear diagnosis) consultation, and have a wellbeing programme designed especially for you. Also a fantastic spa for yoga, Baros’s resident yogi will conduct private and group classes on the beach or lighthouse deck, from sunrise to sunset. slh.com/baros
3 PiMalai resort & sPa, tHailand For feeling completely lost in nature, there are few spa hotels better than Pimalai. Nestled in lush, tropical rainforest on the island of Koh Lanta, it’s built in the traditional village style with small bamboo and straw-roofed ‘salas’ (open pavilions) exposing you to 100 acres of tropical vegetation. Closer to Lanta Marine National Park than the beach resorts, and at least an hour’s boat ride from the mainland, the only sounds you’ll hear outside of the jungle are those of the waves breaking. With a choice of eight restaurants and bars, all scenically placed and including views overlooking the Andaman Sea, the quality of treatments more than lives up to the setting. pimalai.com
4 agadir sofitel, Morocco Morocco is famed for its Hammams, and the Agadir Sofitel, located on the Atlantic coast, doesn’t disappoint. But its Thalassotherapy centre, based on the beneficial properties of seawater and seaweed, is where it really excels. Specially devised programmes to restore your inner balance can last for anything from two to seven days, helping you to achieve maximum benefits from your stay. The hotel also boasts a fitness centre, tennis courts, saunas, and solariums, making it easy to mix physical activity and relaxation. sofitel.com
5 esPa riga, latvia The cutting-edge design of this six-floor spa will blow you away. Spiral staircases, mosaics of black crystal and gold, and lighting sculptures, reflect the art nouveau surroundings of Riga and are perfectly suited to the state-of-the-art facilities. The rooftop vitality pool, ice fountains, and Chi studio are not to be missed and the swimming pool, with sleek granite pool bar overlooked by a sanarium and rock sauna with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, have to be dipped in, too. The amber crystal massage relieves muscular tension and the botanical facial ritual is an intensive boost for dry skin. An invigorating escape in the heart of a city. espariga.com
THE FINEST VILLA HOLIDAYS IN GREECE & THE GREEK ISLANDS www.fivestargreece.com
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Great escape Usa
UTAh SAINT From the other-worldly beauty of the landscape, to the sculptured perfection of the architecture, Mark Hedley says that Southern Utah’s Amangiri resort is simply heavenly…
AmAngiri Arriving at Amangiri is like discovering a desert oasis. Located deep within a 600-acre estate in Southern Utah’s Canyon Point, the resort simmers among ancient sandstone monuments. The achingly elegant rooms reveal epic views of the Grand StaircaseEscalante National Monument which unfolds in the distance – especially impressive at sunset, enjoyed by a flickering fire on your private terrace. A blissful spa and fine-dining restaurant border the heart of the resort, a stunning swimming pool that is carved out of the landscape. Not many hotels can claim so literally to be ‘out of this world’. ■ To book your stay at Amangiri call Select Collection on: 020 7491 7171.
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!
firstname.lastname@example.org . www.baros.com 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 Travellerâ€˜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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