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Editorial

December 2012

Season’s Greetings! Indeed a very challenging year for all of us in the region I may say. The whole team of Khaleej Tourism Guide (KTG) takes pride in giving you new destinations and travel updates in the tourism industry. KTG will make your travel planning easier as we share personalised travel adventures of our team from across the globe. Planning for a romantic trip? KTG offers you an advance honeymoon destination, which is a couple’s choice. Memoir of selected destinations like Muscat, Jerash, Turkey and Brunei are exquisitely visualized engaging your imaginations. Experience authentic Middle Eastern cooking featured as our cover story, as we provide you a guide to Arabic gastronomy with much appreciation to Saudi Aramco World for the re-print rights and images way back from 1988. Bahrain-based KTG is highlighted with recent tourism updates in Island Buzz; local Kingdom information listed in the directory page for inquisitive readers. KTG’s main vision is to guide every reader; local, expat or incoming tourist, quarterly with the latest travel trends offering options as you plan either family or business trips. Travel and tourism is surely part of human growth and social existence – exactly where KTG wants to be responsibly involved. Seven continents, four seasons, twenty four hours – KTG takes great pleasure in traveling with you.

Leila Jaravata Dulay Managing Editor

Unless otherwise stated, the copyright in all contents of this tourism guide is owned by Modern Age WLL Bahrain. All related contents on this tourism guide are provided for general information purposes only. Part of this tourism guide contains materials submitted by third parties. Third parties are responsible for ensuring that materials submitted for inclusion on this tourism guide complies with national and relevant foreign law. If there are any corrections or suggestions, please email us at info@modernagebh.com or info@ khaleejtourismguide.com All of the information in this guide is valid as of November-December 2012 / Published by Modern Age W.L.L / Printed in the Kingdom of Bahrain.


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Claudia Hardt Claudia Hardt has traveled extensively around the world and, over the past twenty years, lived and worked in different regions including Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Claudia regularly used her passion for adventurous trips and photography to create travel stories and columns which have been published in places such as Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong ,Cyprus, Bahrain and Germany. Claudia Molteni Ryan & Charles Ryan Claudia Molteni Ryan an Italian journalist since 1997, authored three books: “L’atto del vedere” in 2001, “Giro di boa” in 2010 and “Virginia” in 2012, which recently won the International Literary Competition “Villa Selmi” in Italy. Claudia writes about design and travel articles. Charles Ryan is an Australian, who has a passion for literature and history. He recently started to work with Claudia in writing. The married couple both love travelling and you will see their first article about Honeymooners. Claudia Roden Claudia Roden is the author of A Book of Middle Eastern Food, published by Knopf in the United States and, in a new edition, by Viking in Britain. Her latest book is Mediterranean Cookery, which accompanies the BBC television series of the same name, and is also published by Knopf in the United States.

Michael Teupel Michael Teupel has been working in the tourism market since 1982 and has traveled the world. In addition to living in Japan, South Africa (Namibia) and the Middle East, he lived in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the late 90s followed by the Sultanate of Oman. In 2001, Michael returned to his home country of Germany where to date he has published nearly 20 books promoting heritage, culture and tourism within the Arab World. In 2012 he successfully published two books on Kerala and Goa (India) through his publishing company. Along with writing travel guides and articles for European and international travel magazines, Michael is also involved in writing scripts for documentary films.

EDITORIAL BOX Publisher Abdulla Fouad Alqattari Managing Editor Leila Jaravata Dulay International Editor Mary Coons Online Sales & Marketing Lavina Harris Account Manager Imad Modern Age Bahrain PO Box 40704 www.khaleejtourismguide.com

Photo Credits: Cover Image by Jhun Mojica Middle Eastern Cooking (Cover story) Bob Wilkins/Saudi Aramco World/SAWDIA Katrina Thomas/Saudi Aramco World/ SAWDIA A Family Weekend in Muscat Oman Tourism Board Ammouge

Jerash Heritage and History Mary Coon Brunei Treasure Claudia Hardt Think Romance Think Costiera Amalfitana Claudia Molteni Ryan Turkish Delight Mary Coons

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CONTENTS

A Family Weekend in Muscat

Brunei’s Treasures

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December 2012

Middle Eastern Cooking The Legacy

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Jerash: Heritage and History

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Sun, sand, sea and snow KTG brings your choices for winter destinations

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17 34 48 Turkey’s Delight 46

Think Romance, Think Costiera Amalfitana

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Home away from home:

Top list of hotel brands that you will not .…miss as you travel around the globe

Amman Marriott Hotel Amman, Jordan

Mideast Tourism Recovering After Arab Spring


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CONTENTS

December 2012

Island Buzz

U MAKE WE BAKE

The Ritz Gourmet Lounge

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A True Oasis in the Heart of the City

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. . . . What is latest in the island !!!

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KTG chat with Brian Tsoi

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Mรถvenpick Hotel Bahrain

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Bahrain Airport and Lounges

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Middle Eastern Cooking The Legacy

Great value is attached to cooking in the Middle East. In that world of strong family ties, large clans and women at home, hospitality gregariousness are deeply entrenched; offering food is the central act in the highly developed art of pleasing.

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The cooking is different in every town, every village and indeed in every family: There are rural foods and urban ones, foods which belong to the desert, others which belong to the mountain, the plain or the seacoast, nomadic foods and street foods. Middle Eastern cooking outside the Middle East shows its own variations, too. But there are nonetheless many general characteristics which all these foods, and all the countries, share. It is a very sensual kind of cooking, using herbs, spices and aromatics generously. Certain methods, like skewer cooking over charcoal or long, slow simmering in unglazed covered pots, are typical of the whole region. All the countries have rice and wheat dishes, stuffed vegetables, pies wrapped in paper-thin pastry, meatballs, thick omelettes, cold vegetables cooked in oil, scented rice puddings, nut-filled pastries, fritters soaked in syrup and many other common elements. You find raisins with pine nuts everywhere, garnishes of chopped pistachios and almonds, and the same food combinations, such as chickpeas with spinach. It is a shared history, including that of two great world empires, which has brought unity to the kitchens of the Middle East. The spread of Islam and the establishment of an enormous Islamic state stretching across Asia, North Africa and the Mediterranean was the most important factor in the development of a gastronomic tradition comparable to that of France and China. As the state grew, the Arabs brought to each new region their own tastes as well as those of the countries they had already conquered. Styles of cooking traveled within this vast area with the massive migrations of people; large-scale transport brought into the cities, and even into distant parts of the empire, local produce such as truffles from the desert, olive oil from Syria, dates from Iraq and coffee from Arabia. Crops such as rice, sugar, eggplants (aubergines) and spinach, originally from outside the state, spread throughout it.

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The Abassid period, from the ninth to the 12th century, when Islam was the most powerful influence in the world and Baghdad was the political and cultural hub of the state, saw great marriages of cooking styles and great refinements in eating habits. A prosperous cosmopolitan ruling elite had emerged whose members led a life of luxury. Everyone - poet, astronomer physician and prince - took an interest in gastronomy and dietetics. Writings on food were abundant and popular. The taste for spiced foods and sweet things appeared then: Before that, spices had been only merchandise. Aromatics were used in tiny quantities but in great number and in a variety of combinations. Cooking was transformed into an art which reached magnificent heights. The banquets at the courts of the caliphs of Baghdad were proverbial for their lavishness. A court cuisine had developed which made use of expensive ingredients and elaborate and sophisticated techniques, and in which visual appeal was extremely important. It amalgamated the peasant dishes of the area and the Bedouin foods of the desert with those of Syria Damascus had been the capital of the empire before Baghdad - and, especially of Persia. The enormous Ottoman Empire, which expanded right into the heart of Europe from the 14th December 2012

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century and into the 20th produced a new court cuisine in its turn. The sultans’ courts became notorious for their luxury and their devotion to the pleasures of the table. The imperial kitchens catered for some 4,000 or 5,000 people on the days the Divan (cabinet) met, and for up to 10,000 on special occasions such as the reception of a foreign ambassador. An army of cooks was required and that, in turn, required codification: Strict rules were adopted so that chefs could more, easily train apprentices, and these rules formed the basis of a classic Ottoman cuisine. In the early days of the Ottomans, all the palace cooks were slaves who had been captured, bought or given as gifts by Venetian traders. A cooking school was established for their children. The position of cook was important, even glorious., and it meant that, by ingratiating themselves with their noble employers or even the sultan, individual cooks could rise to become part of the ruling class. Köprülü Mehmet Paşa, the Ottoman Empire’s most powerful vizier, began his career as a cook. The first Turkish-born cooks employed in Topkapı Palace were recruited as camp cooks in the mountain region of Bolu, in northwestern Anatolia, where the sultans went hunting. It became the tradition that every boy of Bolu left at the age of 13 to work in the palace kitchen or in the houses of the nobles in Istanbul.

December 2012


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The type of cooking that was passed on grew out of an amalgam of traditions borrowed from the empire’s conquered territories. The tastes of Byzantium and of the Arabs predominated, and nomadic Turkish foods combined with Chinese and Mongolian ones passed on through Turkestan. The result was the sophisticated cuisine that spread from the Danube to the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, from the Balkans to the shores of North Africa and to parts of what is now the USSR - often by means of the battalions of cooks that marched with the Ottoman armies. The cooking of the Middle East can be broadly divided into four main general styles: Arab, Iranian, North African and Turkish. Iranian cooking, based on rice, is the most complex and the least known. Arab cooking is highly developed in Syria, where Aleppo is considered the great gastronomic city, and in Lebanon - one of only two Middle Eastern countries to have developed a restaurant tradition. (The other is Turkey.) It is Lebanon, with her emigrant cooks and restaurateurs, which has brought the grilled meats and mazzah of the Arab restaurant menu to the attention of the world. This menu evolved 70 years ago in the region of Zahlah, in the open-air cafÊs along the cascading river Bardawni. The cafÊs, which filled the valley, vied to attract customers with an ever varied selection of appetizers, which were in fact the local village foods. Moroccan food is the richest and most varied

of North Africa, and that which has not bean influenced at all by France. It illustrates the kind of kaleidoscopic diversity that exists in the Middle East. The national dish, kuskus (couscous), is of Berber origin. Many other dishes were brought by the Arabs in waves of invasions which started in the seventh century; they have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages. Still other dishes have their origin in Spain and bear witness to the long Muslim domination of that country. December 2012

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The food of Marakesh is Berber with an African element, while the bourgeois cooking of Fez, the dominant cuisine, is more Andalusian, as is that of Tetouan. And on the Atlantic side of the country certain strategic locations reveal the Portuguese incursions of the 15th and 16th centuries. Food in the mountain regions is predominantly Berber, while the desert has the usual food of the nomadic Arab tribesmen, based on dates. There is hardly any Ottoman influence except in Tetouan, where there was an exchange of cooks when the Ottoman army stopped. There is great regional diversity in Turkey, but the classic cooking we know abroad belongs to Istanbul. Despite the diversity, restaurants all over modern Turkey offer the same menu of meat and appetizers because professional cooks, who still mostly come from the region of Bolu, cook the same dishes in the same way. It is called saray (palace) cooking. The food trade is highly specialized, and its division into guilds is a legacy of the rigid hierarchy and elaborate organization

December 2012

of the imperial Ottoman kitchens, where butchers, grocers, icemen, collectors of herbs, soup-makers, confectioners and bakers were all organized into separate corps with their own quarters and sometimes even their own mosques. Finally, each of these general kinds of Middle Eastern cooking is cut across by other divisions. The cities of Iraq, for example, each exhibit the effects of different culinary influences - Iranian in one, Turkish in another, Syrian and Indian in a third and fourth. In another example, while the cooking of Istanbul is like that of Cairo and Jerusalem - they were also major Ottoman centers in their day - it is different from that of other Turkish cities whose imperial role was less important. All these currents and connections have to do with the centers of power and the network of influence of the historical Middle East. Today, picking up a fork is as much a historical act - and as potentially illuminating - as picking up a spade at a Middle Eastern archeological site.


Top hotels around the world

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Home away from home: Top list of hotel brands that you will not miss as you travel around the globe….

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Accor Group

The Group’s hotel operations include complementary brands -from luxury to budget that are recognized and appreciated around the world for their service quality: Sofitel, Pullman, M Gallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, ibis, all ibis Styles, ibis budget, hotel F1, Thalassa sea & spa... Present in 92 countries, with more than 3,500 hotels and 440,000 rooms, Accor’s brands offer hotel stays tailored to the specific needs of each business and leisure customer. Base in Paris France Accor’s five-star Pullman brand has announced that with the rebranding of the Quay Grand Suites Sydney to Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, it has become Australia’s largest five-star hotel brand.

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Top hotels around the world

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Best Western

Best Western International, Inc., is The World’s Biggest Hotel Family® with more than †4,000 hotels in over †100 countries and territories worldwide. Each of our hotels is independently owned — which means there’s always someone there who cares and rewards you for your loyalty Another major development in the Middle East’s hotel scene: Best Western International, which franchises hotels across its Best Western Plus, Best Western Premier and Best Western brand, is set to open its first luxury properties in the Middle East by the end of the 2012.

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Choices Hotels

Carlson Hospitality

Carlson entrepreneurial spirit is deeply rooted in more than 70-year history and the Carlson Credo. Looking ahead, Carlson hospitality is driven by purpose, its Ambition 2015 strategy and core values. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., Carlson encompasses more than 1,300 hotels in operation and development in more than 80 countries and territories For Carlson, hospitality is more than a market: it represents the essence of what we do for our guests. We simply like to take care of them and bring them extraordinary service. Carlson brands include Radisson Blu, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, Hotel Missoni are among the most recognized and respected in the business.

Choice Hotels International is one of the largest lodging franchisors in the world. Choice Hotels currently franchises more than 6,200 hotels globally, representing more than 495,000 rooms. Ranging from limited service to full service hotels in the economy, mid-scale and upscale segments, Choice Hotels franchised properties provide business and leisure travellers with a range of high-value accommodation options for individuals and groups. Choice Hotels Europe provides travellers with single access to a network of 500 locations in Europe, including approximately 40 in the UK, under the Comfort, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, and Clarion Collection brands.

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Hilton Worldwide

Conrad N. Hilton began with a 40-room hotel in a small Texas town in 1919. Today, Hilton Worldwide is the world’s preeminent hospitality company, stretching across 24 time zones Ten brands. 91 countries. 3,800 hotels. 630,000 rooms. Brands under Hilton Worlwide, Offers Luxury Lifestyle to Full service suites; Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts; Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Hotels and Resort, Double Tree, Embassy Suites & Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites & Home 2

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Hyatt

Hyatt was founded by Jay Pritzker in 1957, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago. A global hospitality company with widely recognized, industry leading brands and a tradition of innovation developed over our more than fifty-year history The Company’s subsidiaries manage, franchise, own and develop hotels and resorts under the Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brand names and have locations on six continents. Hyatt Residential Group, Inc., a Hyatt Hotels Corporation subsidiary, develops, operates, markets or licenses Hyatt Residences and Hyatt Residence Club. As of September 30, 2012, the Company’s worldwide portfolio consisted of 496 properties in 45 countries

Intercontinental Hotel Group

IHG is a global hotel company whose goal is to create Great Hotels Guests Love. IHG have more guest rooms than any other hotel company in the world – that’s more than 672,000 rooms in over 4,500 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. IHG operates nine hotel brands – InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, EVEN Hotels and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts

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Marriott International

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. is a leading lodging company with more than 3,400 lodging properties in 68 countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, Towne Place Suites, Fairfield Inn, Spring Hill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; licenses and manages whole-ownership residential brands, including The Ritz-Carlton Residences, JW Marriott Residences and Marriott Residences; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott Execu Stay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Starwood Hotels

One of the world’s largest hotel and leisure companies. conduct hotel and leisure business both directly and through our subsidiaries. Our brand names include the following: St. Regis® The Luxury Collection® W® Westin® Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points®, Aloft® and Element(SM). Starwood group offers not less than 644,600 rooms from 2188 hotels found in almost 100 countries. Four Points® by Sheraton Berlin Airport will be the first Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Berlin and the third for the brand in Germany. Four Points by Sheraton Berlin Airport will feature 253 comfortable and stylish guest rooms, two restaurants, a lobby bar, a 24-hour fitness centre as well as meeting and event space and a fully-equipped business centre.

Wyndham Worldwide

With more than 30 brands Wyndham is on the top list for most number of rooms across the globe. Brands include Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Grand Collection, Wyndham Garden, TRYP Brand, Wingate by Wyndham brand, Hawthorn Suites, Microtel Inn & Suites Brand, Dreams Hotels, planet Hollywood, Ramada Worldwide, Night, Baymont Inn & Suites, Days Inn, Super 8 Brand, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Knights Inn Brand, Wyndham Vacation Rentals, Landal Green Parks, Novasol Brand, Cottages 4 you, Canvas Holidays, James Villa Holidays, Hoseasons, RCI Brand, Registry Collections, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Wyndham Vacation Resort Asia Pacific and World Mark Currently under development, the five-star Wyndham Grand Manama is expected to open by the end of next year with more than 260 spacious guest rooms ranging from 46 to 120 square metres (approximately 495 to 1,290 square feet).


Managed by:

Feels like home


A Family Weekend in

Muscat

Oman’s capital is simply one big marvelous adventure, as this family finds out.

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t was eight years ago when I last travelled to the Sultanate of Oman. I was excited to visit Muscat again, as I had read that quite a lot had changed. As our plane taxied into Muscat airport, my young son, Peter, and my wife could barely contain their excitement. The new terminal, scheduled for completion in 2014, was already boasting a sleek, modern shape while retaining the traditional Arabic architecture. As tourism in the Sultanate increases, more European travellers are discovering Oman, where visitor visas are quite easy to obtain. We paid just five Omani Riyals upon arrival, allowing us a 28-day stay. Of course, our quick trip was just for a weekend in order to experience Oman’s new developments.

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Making It Happen Country: Muscat, Oman Getting There Fly into Muscat airport When to Go High season is End of October - April Climate November to April temperatures range between 24 C and 29C. May through October they are in the low to mid 30 C range. Web Resources Official tourist site: www.omantourism.gov.om

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(1) Omani henna (2) Explore traditional architecture at Bait Al Zubair Museum (3) Mosaic floor

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Our driver from the Al Bustan Palace Hotel Muscat was waiting as we cleared Customs. Peter, sitting next to the window, was waving at every car we passed all the while talking nonstop. As we pulled up, I must admit the hotel looked as I remembered it had. The Al Bustan has received many international awards as one of the world’s best hotels. I still recall the romantic moments my wife and I spent in the glorious lobby and beautiful garden, despite this being many years ago. Will it be the same? I reflected, as we entered the hotel. The lobby – 38 metres high – was totally new, while a delightful fragrance of Arabic bahur overtook us. Looking up, I marvelled and then wondered how they cleaned the huge Austrian luster above blinking in the sunlight as if

thousands of diamonds. While I left our passports and hotel voucher with Reception, we were welcomed with a cup of tea. Once finished, we were escorted to our lagoon room on the lower level. Need I mention that our luggage was already there? While my wife unpacked, Peter and I checked out the newly designed garden, where we found the Children’s Club. An attendant greeted Peter by name – I no longer wonder how she knew – and he left with a smile when he saw other kids playing. I found the Beach Pavilion, ordered a refreshing beverage and read about the upcoming Children’s Programs. Tennis, kayaking, table tennis, sailing trips, kids in the kitchen; each day offers four different activities. I had no doubt Peter would be kept busy!


(4) Amouage MCC (5) Khanjar & Male Attire Gallery at Bait Al Bagh on Bait Al Zubair Museum (6) Al Bustan Palace (7) Omani soceity2

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Venturing out, you must visit the Muttrah Souk, the oldest in Oman, to experience local bargaining. A hotel shuttle provides complimentary transport several times a day. Passing the corniche, I noticed a new facelift. As we entered the souq’s main gate, I felt as though I was being transported into a fairytale.

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Can it be that nothing has changed in hundreds of years in this old marketplace? Here, you will find every souvenir imaginable – from silverware, traditionally carved wood, and unique fabrics to exotic frankincense and antiques. Be sure you walk to the end of the souk in order to visit the glamorous gold souk. The next morning we took a taxi to the expansive Amouage store in SABCO Centre. In the late 1980s, this outlet sold only the Amouage Gold perfume. Today, in addition to luxury soaps, there are exclusive candles (priced up to 100 BD), which have the same scents as the many new brands of Amouage shampoos, body lotions, and its other beauty products. December


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(8) Camel racing (9) The ground floor of the newly opened building at Bait AL Zubair Museum Complex called Bait Al Nahdhah. (10) Green Sea Turtles (11) The white tower entrance of Bait Al Zubair Museum.

Muscat offers many family activities, but if you have only a weekend, I recommend the following:

Dolphin Watching

Dolphin shoals visit the Omani shores in large numbers. Muscat and Musandam are famous for dolphin watching. We went to Marina Bandar Al Rawdha, 10 minutes from Al Bustan Palace, for an early morning glimpse of these fascinating mammals. It is something Peter will always remember.

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Camel Racing

This popular sport has camels competing at speeds up to 64 kilometers per hour - as we learned - on tracks specially built for camel racing. Races are held on Fridays

Green Turtles Reserve

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If you want to see the turtles, you must be an early riser; however, it’s definitely worth it. Go to Ras Al Jinz Reserve 70 Km off Sur City to see the biggest Green Turtle reserve in the world (50,000 Green Sea Turtles live within five kilometres). And, if spectacular sunrises are your thing, Ras Al Hadd near Ras Al Jinz, is one of Oman’s best beach locations.

Bait Al Zubair

(House of Al Zubair)

This is a must-see. The Bait Al Zubair, a private museum, exhibits the Zubair family’s collection of Omani artifacts spanning many centuries. It is an Omani architectural icon with artifacts relating to culture and heritage, the arts, the community, history and publishing. The three nights we spent in Muscat were surely much too short to properly discover all the city has to offer. Then again, that gives us a very good reason to return.


Jerash

Heritage and History Ancient provides a pretty broad frame of reference in mystical Arabian Jordan. And Jerash with its medieval character and former glory is likened to the grandeur of Imperial Rome, as it is one of the world’s largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture outside Italy.

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(1) & (5) Jerash’s colonaded street (2) Jerash complex (3) Friezes behind cathedral arch (4) front of Hadrien’s arch

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isiting Jerash is like walking through a mirror and tunneling back through two thousand years into the deepest depths of history. Modern Jerash rises up next – and in some places upon buried rubble – to ancient Jerash and the two are connected by roads and a river. The ancient city of Gerasa – with the modern name Jerash – was founded in the fourth century BC by Semitic peoples on a site that had been occupied during the Neolithic period (9500 BC) that is conservatively considered the end stage of the Stone Age. It is nestled in a low-lying valley surrounded by the Gilead Mountains approximately 30 miles from Jordan’s capital city of Amman.

Jerash’s multi-layered history is a fascinating blend of the Greco-Roman world and ancient Arab traditions with its unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. Briefly, the earliest Arabic/ Semitic residents called their village Garshu. The Romans Hellenized the Arabic name (translating it into a Greek word) to Gerasa sometime during the fourth century BC. Arab inhabitants transformed the Roman Gerasa into the Arabic Jerash in the late 19th century. The ancient city was hidden in sand for centuries before being discovered in 1806 by a German traveler who recognized a portion of the ruins. Its remarkable preservation is due to its burial in sand. Excavation


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began in 1925 and continues today. Its medieval, cobbled colonnaded streets, hilltop temples, two amphitheaters, hippodrome, spacious public squares, Roman baths, fountains, and city walls exemplify its exceptional condition. Ornately carved friezes are scattered everywhere, most having toppled from Ionic and Corinthian columns. An Islamic mosque was discovered with excavation beginning in August 2006. An early Islamic housing quarters inhabited from 660-800 AD was also unearthed depicting Islamic architecture and also undergoing restoration. These Islamic discoveries are not yet open to the public.

Historical Roots

Alexander the Great, was born in 356 BC in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia. He spent his childhood watching his father transforming Macedonia into a great military power, winning victory after victory on the battlefields throughout the Balkans. When Alexander was 13, his father hired the Greek philosopher Aristotle to be his personal tutor under whose tutelage Alexander excelled. Jerash quickly began to develop under Alexander the Great’s rule in the fourth century BC, and it enjoyed a gloried golden age. In 63 BC soon after Rome seized control of Syria, Emperor Pompey proclaimed the conquered city as one of the great cities of the Decapolis

League (a confederation of ten main cities). As a result, Jerash enjoyed tremendous economic benefits with flourishing trade routes. Roman emperor Trajan annexed the wealthy Nabataean Kingdom (now known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) in 106 AD and created Arabia, which conveyed even greater trading riches into Gerasa. Some 20 years later (129 AD) Emperor Hadrian visited the city. To commemorate his arrival, the citizens constructed a monumental arch at the city’s south end – Hadrian’s Arch – that was supposed to become the main southern gate of the city but expansion plans were never completed. The city’s prosperity peaked early in the third century AD December 2012

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(6) Jerash Hippodrome (7) Elliptical shaped Forum (8) Cathedral arch

once bestowed with the rank of Roman Colony. During this golden age, approximately 20,000 people inhabited Gerasa. With the advance of shipping routes during the third century and land trade routes ultimately seeing less travel, the city began its decline. By the mid fifth century, Christianity was the region’s principal religion. Pagan temples were razed with their solid stones commonly used to construct the many new Byzantine churches featuring mosaic floors. With the Persian invasion of 614 AD followed by the Muslim conquest of 636 AD, the city’s decline continued to spiral downward as did its population. Finally, in 749 AD, a series of powerful earthquakes struck Jerash seriously debilitating the city’s infrastructure. Historical records indicate that the Crusaders described Jerash as uninhabited; thus, it remained abandoned until its rediscovery in 1806.

A Self-Guided Journey

Entering from the south gate, the mighty Hadrian’s Arch with its finely carved acanthus wreaths strategically resting above the honey-colored stone pillar bases exemplifies the unusual Roman architectural construction detail. The Triumphal Arch exudes this aura as one passes through. The massive 265-yard Hippodrome, immediately to the left once passing through Hadrian’s Arch, set the scene for athletic competitions, horse races, chariot races (currently, re-enactments are performed twice weekly), and other sporting 6

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venues. In its heyday, the arena accommodated 15,000 spectators. The Hippodrome was constructed sometime between the mid second and third centuries AD, and only a portion of it has been restored. Venturing into one of many unmarked doorways of partially preserved structures along the outer wall of the Hippodrome, I was pleasantly surprised to happen upon the remains of a once white patterned mosaic tiled floor dating back to the third century AD. Jerash’s long principal road runs north to south and is known as the Cardo Maximum. This colonnaded street, still paved with the original stones, served as the city’s architectural spine and focal point. The previous Ionic columns were replaced some time after 170 AD with the current elaborate Corinthian columns. A broad sidewalk on either side remains clearly visible and spills in to the spacious Oval Plaza (Forum). The columns once covered a row of shops along the Cardo. It is therefore believed that the Forum plaza predominantly existed for economic purposes rather than political or religious reasons. Passing through the remains of the Cathedral arch, a richly carved gateway of the second century Roman Temple of Dionysus, brings you to the start of the colonnaded street from where the major temples, monuments and shops were an extension. The timeworn city also boasted two theaters –South and North. The older South Theater,

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constructed between 90 and 92 AD, seats more than 3,000. The first level of the two-story stage was reconstructed, and due to its remarkable acoustics, is still used for community cultural festivals. Panoramic views from the top row of seats looking out over the Jerash ruins are stunningly spectacular. The Temple of Zeus, erected in 162 AD,

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occupies the remnants of earlier sacred Pagan sites with its Sanctuary lying immediately to the north of the southern gate of the city and composes structures spread across two stepped terraces. Eight of the 46-foot columns framing the front remain upright unscathed from earthquakes. Restoration of the Zeus sanctuary began in 1982 and continues today. The original sacred sanctuary space was developed around a natural cavity in the rock estimated to be as early as the 7th to 8th century BC. During the Hellenistic period, a platform was constructed followed by the actual temple. By the mid 2nd century AD, the Sanctuary was extended onto the upper part of the hill to rival the construction of the new Temple of Artemis sanctuary. To allow access to this new part of the Zeus Sanctuary from the lower terrace, a monumental staircase was built. The pagan Temple of Artemis also remains standing for the most part with 11 of its original 12 Corinthian columns spiraling upward. Artemis, the daughter of Zeus and sister of Apollo, was Gerasa’s patron goddess. The sacrificial temple was dedicated to Artemis and built in 150 AD.

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(9) Jerash remains of nymphaeum (10) Temple of Artemis (11) Temple of Zeus

At least 15 Byzantine churches have been discovered with more believed to remain buried under the site. Among other Roman monuments worth exploring are the Nymphaeum, a second century AD ornamental fountain dedicated to the Nymphs, Macellum (marketplace) with its 211 AD inscription on the adjacent lion’s head fountain, the Temple Esplanade and its monumental staircases leading gracefully through a colonnade of 22 Corinthian columns, two massive Roman baths extolled for their therapeutic virtues lying where they fell from the January 749 AD earthquake, and four major Christian churches. A visitor’s information center is located near the southern gate across from a restaurant. If you visit, you will certainly want to spend time browsing the large marketplace brimming with indigenous handicrafts, local artwork, and traditional clothing and textiles. The layered history of Jerash’s remote wonders spanning 2,000 years and encompassing various well-preserved architectural styles and three major religions is simply unimaginable.


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Hotel Review

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Amman Marriott Hotel Amman, Jordan

A lot can be said about a well-branded international property in a foreign country when peace of mind and security are front and center. The Amman Marriott Hotel in Amman, Jordan provided just that. Admittedly, I was caught off guard when our taxi pulled up and was routinely searched inside and under before the security barriers dropped back into their assigned slots beneath the pavement. I had heard that the four and five-star hotels in Jordan had x-ray security and screenings similar to airport screenings in their lobbies – which the Amman Marriott also had. I dismissed it as a result of the global world we now live in. My husband and I had a nicely appointed room with high speed Internet connection (at an additional charge). After a ten-hour December 2012


Hotel Review

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flight, the comfy bed was most welcome. The specialty Dead Sea bath products standard in the room was a nice touch. Renovated in 2009, the new room designs feature a contemporary classic style with wood wall paneling and new furnishings. The spacious lobby area actually was multi tiered; an open concept that was warm and inviting with numerous cozy conversation areas where one could meet privately. Security was ever present almost to a fault. I’ve travelled throughout the Middle East before – numerous stays in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Manama, Bahrain at four and five-star properties – and have never been told that taking photos inside or out was forbidden. The head of security stopped me both outside and in and insisted on watching as I dutifully deleted the shots in question from my digital camera. And this was despite my identifying myself as a member of the press here to do a property review.

Restaurants

The Amman Marriot has four very different restaurant/lounges plus a great little bakery with delicacies on the third level of the open floor lobby area. We chose Villa Mediterrano Restaurant for our first evening meal. Naturally lit by a skylight, guests have the opportunity to watch their food being prepared in the exhibition-style kitchen. As it was dark outside and dimly lit within, I felt the lighting was a bit too low not really adding to the ambience as promoted. Jordanian chef Pelal Wezewz oversees the Mediterranean fare of the restaurant. I chose an Italian fruity white wine to accompany my Seabass Fillet of oven-roasted fish topped with a horseradish crust and served with lemon in a creamy lemon sauce. My entrée was accompanied by sautéed vegetables (carrot strips, green beans, broccoli, green peppers and zucchini) and mashed potatoes. In a word, the food was fabulous! Ahmed, our Jordanian server, was obviously and outwardly pleased with the report.

My husband selected Grilled Chicken Lebanese, a boneless half chicken marinated in olive oil, garlic, fresh lemon juice, char grilled, and served with Arabic rice sprinkled with raisins, pine seeds and almonds. Grilled vegetables accompanied his meal. A yogurt cucumber salad was offered; however, not a cucumber fan, Ahmed quickly suggested he opt for plain yogurt instead, and easily accommodated the request. The chicken was wonderfully flavorful with an interesting lemony tang, but a bit chewy. Could it be that Jordanian chickens are different than U.S. chickens? We split Mousse di Surprise for dessert; a great decision. A rich mixture of dark and white chocolate mousse garnished with sweet tasting strawberries, it was deliciously rich, yet not too much. December 2012

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The majority of guests dining appeared to be European and Japanese the evening we dined. I needed special permission from the restaurant manager to photograph my food with the assurance that the privacy of the diners in the background would be respected. Champions Sports Bar, located across the hall from the Villa Mediterrano, was the usual hotel sports bar common to many hotels. The Library Lounge & Cigar Bar, however, was not. Elegantly appointed, the Library is billed as the ideal place to enjoy

three of life’s pleasures: gourmet food, a fine drink, and a smooth cigar. Although a Muslim country, Jordan’s branded hotels offer alcoholic beverages. The Piano Lounge, located on the twotiered lobby and first floor, was a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or favorite drink. We spent time here mapping out our following days’ sightseeing itinerary. Staff was courteous and friendly – even when reminding me that no photography was allowed. But the person who stands out the most is Wael Ibrahim, one of Marriott’s taxi-for-hire drivers, whom we booked for our sightseeing excursions over our three-day stay. This wonderful Palestinian man was extremely knowledgeable, very pleasant, and always prompt, spoke very good English, and was an absolutely ideal representative for his employer, the Amman Marriot Hotel. I hope they realize that! Overall, the Amman Marriott Hotel was an attractive property inside, had great food, a helpful and friendly staff, and a good value for the money. The country and its sites are pretty amazing too!

Bahrain Science Centre

The Bahrain Science Centre (BSC) is an interactive educational facility that targets children, youth and families of Bahrain. It is located in building 334, Road 109, Block 801, December 2012

Riyadh Avenue, Isa Town, Kingdom of Bahrain. The science centre has six interactive exhibition galleries, an auditorium, four laboratories and a café/shop. The role of the BSC is to promote awareness of the importance of science and technology, complement the school curriculum, stimulate curiosity and innovation, and create a forum for public debate on science and technology issues. The topics covered by current exhibitions include junior engineering, human health, the five senses, earth sciences and biodiversity. Focusing on hands-on learning using interactive displays and people-centred programmes, such as science shows, Bahrain Science Centre also strongly promotes creativity and innovation as well as cross-generational learning. The science centre will also endeavour to promote an awareness of Bahrain’s contributions to science and technology and a strong Bahraini identity. It is an ideal family edutainment destination.


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Brunei’s Treasures Just a short trip from the capital, the tiny sultanate of Brunei boasts of Ulu Temburong National Park [DASH] where abundant life and plenty of surprises await the avid traveller, as Claudia Hardt discovers.

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ne of the most surprising things about Brunei is just how close nature is to the city. Getting to the Ulu Temburong National Park, you first use a water taxi from Brunei city which takes about 45 minutes, then you board a coach to reach a small river where you’ll have a beautiful 25-minute drive in a local speed longboat before you arrive in the middle of the jungle. Just the drive in the speedy longboat is worth a trip, and the amazing scenery around you is simply breathtaking! On the way back via longboat you can stop by at a little waterfall. You have to wade through it [DASH] the water can be as high up to your knees depending on whether it is rainy

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season or not [DASH] but it’s nice and refreshing for your feet and legs after the walk through the rainforest. The walk from the river to the waterfall takes about seven minutes, and once you get there, you’ll find a little natural basin in front of you where you can have a dip and swim. But heads up, the waterfall basin has these little fishes that nibble on your skin, the ones you’ll find in spas in Singapore and where you’ll usually have to pay a lot of money for, so smile… because it’s for free. Although if no one tells you that these fishes are present inside the waterfall basin, you will jump up immediately the minute a little fish tries to ‘eat’ your skin as you will be shocked and

The Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of His Majesty’s accession to the throne. The Mosque was officially opened in 1994.


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surprised at the same time. It’s really fun as the fishes are toothless and they don’t harm you at all. Brunei in general is a peaceful, friendly, hospital country. I stayed at the Empire Hotel and from the minute I arrived, everything was taken care of. There was amazing communication amongst everyone which meant that each of my requests were handled immediately. The staff are totally switched on and the hotel’s facilities are perfect for a chill-out weekend. I was very lucky to get an upgrade to a sea view room and I could even listen to the movements of the waves at night, a view onto the ocean that’s simply to dream of. I even slept with an open balcony door. During my stay, I also did a City Tour which included a water village, two mosques and The Royal Regalia Museum. Little hint: You can visit the mosque as a non-Muslim except on Thursdays and Fridays (and sometimes Sundays). I was clever enough to have my [ITALS abaya] with me on my trip which always makes situations like these easier. If you don’t have anything your clothes with, you will be provided with a cloak.

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque which was built in 1958. It was named after Omar Ali Saifuddien, the 28th Sultan of Brunei.

Ulu Temburong National Park Rainforest. You have to climb up 42 meters on a tower/bridge construction in order to be above the rainforest trees and to see the entire beauty of the national park

Making It Happen Country: Brunei Getting There Fly into the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan Visa requirements vary widely by country and length of stay. Check before you fly. Getting Around Many attractions are within walking distance of each other; otherwise, taxis, public bus system or chauffeur-driven cars are available for hire from major hotels and the airport. Climate/When to Go With a tropical rainforest climate, December .-to February. has the best average temperatures (27 C). March is the driest month and November the wettest. January is the coolest and July the warmest. Web Resources www.bruneitourism.travel

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Sun, sand, sea and snow KTG brings your choices for winter destinations

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Petra

Petra’s magnificent temples and tombs are like no other religious buildings in the world, and the surrounding rugged landscape dotted with historical sites are a hiker’s paradise. Petra has been a city of great religious significance since ancient times. First, it has a number of connections with the Old Testament: the nearby Ain Mousa (Spring of Moses) is believed to be where Moses struck a rock to extract water; and Aaron is said to have died in the Petra area and been buried atop Jabal Haroun (Mount Aaron). Petra’s dramatic history contrasting its fascinating sights continues to awe tourists, attracting up to 3,000 visitors daily.

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Abu Dhabi

Year-round sunshine, pristine beaches, spectacular sand dunes and pulsating cosmopolitan lifestyle await every guest in Abu Dhabi. These, combined with distinctive Arabian hospitality, mystique and world-class infrastructure, make Abu Dhabi an enchanting destination for experienced and novice travellers. The Emirate hosts the United Arab Emirates’ capital – Abu Dhabi city. This island capital is characterised by its signature Corniche, which fronts the amazing turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. You can stroll, cycle, roller-blade or drive the Corniche for a journey to the tip where the majestic Emirates Palace – one of the world’s most opulent hotels – sits on 1.3 kilometres of pristine beach. Recommended places to visit include Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Capital Gate building (noted as ‘The World’s Farthest Leaning Manmade Tower’ in the Guinness Book of World Records), Carpet Souk at the Mina (Port), Saadiyat and Yas Islands, and much more as you visit www.abudhabievents.ae.

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Sharm El Shiek

Sharm El Sheikh, once called the “City of Peace”,is the most extraordinary diving destination in Red Sea, Egypt.Submerge in crystal clear water as you explore magnificent corals, exotic underwater flora and rare tropical fish when you visit Sharm El Sheikh on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Make sure you plan accordingly in order to have time to experience each of the three regions: Na’ama Bay, Ras Um Sid Cliff and Sharm El Maya.

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Thailand

Thailand is a wondrous kingdom, featuring Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife, and spectacular islands. Along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage, Thailand features a modern capital city and friendly people who epitomize Thailand’s “land of smiles” reputation.

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Australia

Surely you will enjoy summer suntanning in regions from Perth to Cairns to Melbourne, including the Gold Coast, if you are looking for a traditional holiday style. For deep sea lovers, go diving and snorkelling in the far northern region of the Great Barrier Reef, or submerge to a variety of beaches and islands to cruise. Apart from the sun, enjoy the Bungle Bungles in The Kimberley, Sydney’s harbour, Uluru Hayman Islands, Freycinet in Tasmania and South Australia’s Kangaroo Island.

Canary Island

With spring-like weather all year round and the comfort and safety of a European destination, enjoy the authenticity and village traditions at any of these charming Canary Islands: El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Explore seven very different yet spectacular islands with volcanic origin and impressive beaches. The hospitality and magnificent opportunities for leisure and avant-garde accommodation will make yourstay an unforgettable experience. For more information, log on to www.turismodecanarias.com

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Caribbean

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Ski Dubai

It is commonly proclaimed as heaven-on-earth by travellers. With 34 destination options, the Caribbean Island offers royal blue beaches highlighted by options of a black sand beach at Martiniques Anse Ceron or pink sand at Bermuda’s South Shore Park. Enjoy a diverse culture from music and culinary delights to festivities including beach parties as you island hop. The largest tropical island in the western hemisphere, Cuba, Jamaica further on, the Bahamas and Bermudaall boast tropical fruits like pineapple, banana and a taste of star apple. For more information log on to www.doitcaribbean.com

An indoor ski resort located in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the world’s third largest indoor ski slope: It is 74,000 square feet and uses 6,000 tons of snow. Yes, man-made snow in the desert that is open the entire year. Now that’s what we call technology. Snow is made by shooting water at high pressure into the atmosphere. Ski Dubai has five ski runs plus a “freestyle zone” for snowboarders. At the adjoining Snow Park, there are sled and toboggan runs, an ice body slide, a snowball-shooting gallery, an ice cave and a snowman-making area. And, since most people aren’t used to wearing parkas in the desert, winter clothing, skis and other equipment are included in the price of admission!

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Blue Lagoon Iceland

A unique escapade as you experience the Midnight Sun or the Northern Lights, while boiling mud pots might just intrigue you. Otherwise, take a dip ina massive 10,000 square foot outdoor geothermal bath surrounded by snowcapped lava rocks. Steam escapes off the milky blue seawater, which is more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The bath is known for its healing properties, particularly for those suffering with the skin disease, psoriasis.

Preda-BergunAlbula Switzerland

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Switzerland’s first floodlit toboggan run extends from Preda to Bergün, covering a distance of six kilometres, and making it Europe’s longest floodlit sledding run.The unspoiled alpine village of Bergün lies at the foot of the Albula Pass at the gateway to the Engadine. You do not have to be a railway historian to be amazed by the Albula railway line, which is still maintained in its entirety in almost its original condition, 100 years after its construction. In winter, the resort of Bergün is a mecca for dog sledders.

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Turkey’s Delight You probably already know that Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents that was also the capital of three great empires for more than 2,000 years: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.

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stanbul naturally draws the majority of visitors to its major historical attractions as the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. It’s a must-see city, but requires more than a long weekend to do it justice. Top attractions include the 17th Century Blue Mosque, famous for its blue tile work and six minarets ranking its importance as most mosques have two or four minarets; the Haghia Sophia Museum, originally a Byzantine church converted to a mosque in the 15th Century, and today showcasing Christian and Islamic art. Two important palaces to see are Topkapi and Dolmabahce. The former has been the centre of state administration for nearly four centuries during the Ottoman Empire while the latter was home to six sultans from 1856-1924. The Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar are an experience not to miss. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar with its 4,000 shops is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. There are local restaurants within the bazaars offering lunch and a brief respite. The Byzantine Hippodrome, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and the Basilica Cistern make a great half-day tour. After a long day, a Turkish

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Did you know that in 2011 more than 31.5 million foreign travelers visited Turkey, ranking it the sixth most popular tourist destination in the world?

bath can be amazingly refreshing. In addition to historic and cultural sites, areas surrounding Taskim Square offer a taste of modern Istanbul. Promoted as the centre of art and culture, Beyoglu and Istikial Streets feature national, international and local art and entertainment venues. If shopping is a must, three malls are at your service. Of these, Ceyahir Mall is the largest in Europe and seventh largest shopping centre in the world! You really must extend your stay to experience all Turkey has to offer. For example, the stunning


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(1) Blue Mosque day time (2) Blue Mosque interior (3) Dolmabache Palace seaside view (4) Egyptian obelisks (5) Spice shop from Spice Market (6) Haghia Sophia in morning clouds (7) Celsus library

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Turkish Riviera (Antalya) on the Mediterranean coast; Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city along the long and narrow gulf strait with its beaches and holiday resorts, and the historic cities of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, including Ephesus where the Virgin Mary spent her last years; Cappadocia region with its subterranean Christian churches and underground dwellings popular for trekking among stunning rock formations. In Goreme many villagers still live in caves; and finally, the Princes’ Islands tour via ferry. Buyukkada, the largest of the fourisland chain, features ornate Ottoman mansions. Vehicle-free, tourists feel as though they have retreated to the opulent 19th Century as they traverse the island and its waterfront promenade in horse-drawn carriages. Hotels, spas and resorts offer a range of amenities to fit any budget, along with traditional and international restaurants. Turkey is rated as one of the top ten countries where travellers cannot escape without gaining weight because of the fabulous food. So, what are you waiting for? Turkey beckons!

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Travel Update

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Mideast Tourism Recovering After Arab Spring Holiday packages for affluent travelers interested in purchasing luxury goods will continue to rise predicts Euromonitor International, a market research firm.

Their report, released in mid-November in the [ITALS Global Trends Report], claims the trends are indicating shoppers from Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries), where economies are seeing rapid growth rates, are expected

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to converge on European cities for luxury buying sprees. According to the Euromonitor, Chinese visitors to Europe alone reserve a third of their holiday budget for shopping. Tourists from India are anticipated to continue their buying trips to Middle East countries where they purchase gold jewellery and precious metals for wedding gifts and investments. Luxury hotels in the Middle East continue to locate within or next to upscale malls to tap into this developing market trend. Nine major malls are nearing completion across the MENA region between 2012 and 2014, the report states. One of these, Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, will feature seven hotels. As a result of the Arab Spring, the Middle East suffered a ten percent decline in tourism in 2011. A positive growth is

“Luxury hotels in the Middle East continue to locate within or next to upscale malls to tap into this developing market trend.� forecast for the region into 2013 and beyond, according to the news release. The report maintains, however, that any growth in tourism arrivals will come via Eastern Europe countries. Holiday options, such as spa, cruise and railway travel are also predicted to perform particularly well through 2016.


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Think Romance, Think Costiera Amalfitana When you think of romance, quite often you think of a holiday away with the one you love. So, the question begs: ‘Where to go for a romantic holiday, a holiday with great scenery, friendly people and fine cuisine … How about Italy?’ For Italians, the sea is the ideal place to escape the pressure of work and the big city, to relax on the beach, or escape the northern winter.

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outh of Naples is a location regarded as one of the most beautiful locations in Europe: Costiera Amalfitana, a UNESCO-protected area along the Tyrrhenian Sea. An outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape and cultural heritage, four of these villages nestled in a dramatic setting of mountains and cliff faces that touch the sea each offers unique qualities.

Amalfi

Amalfi was one of the Maritime Republics between the 9th and 12th centuries with a grand history. It became a key trading link and great rival between the Byzantinian and European powers. The city square (piazza), dominated by the ancient Amalfi Cathedral and beautiful

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chiming bell tower, is a constant reminder of passing time. A sunset stroll along the beach is delightful or just relax with an aperitif at one of the cafĂŠs. Limoncello one of the regional liqueurs renowned for its rich local lemons. Restaurants abound with many choices in the small piazza inside town where the food is quite often exceptional and service always friendly. Walking through the narrow corridors and tunnels of the old city bring to mind Dumaresq images of the past. An evening walk is even more intriguing.


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(1) Amalfi Cathedral (2) Amalfi street (3) Amalfi coastline (4) Amalfi cathedral steps

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Ravello

A short drive from Amalfi into the mountains is the ancient town of Ravello. From here you can view the Amalfi coastline and beautiful azure of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The panorama is majestic and the countryside bountiful. The Duomo (Cathedral) of Ravello dominates the apex of the town while two local villas, Villa Rufolo and Cimbrone, are worth visiting. Villa Rufolo, famous for its beautiful gardens, is believed to have inspired Richard Wagner. Ravello has been a destination for writers, artists and musicians. Notable personalities who have stayed in Ravello were inspired by its beauty include Greta Garbo, Gore Vidal and Graham Greene. Authentic Italian evening meals created from local produce can be discovered in many of the local ‘ristorantes’ located near the Duomo.

November 2012


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Positano

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(5) & (7) Positano tourist (6) Positano art gallery

Positano was an ancient port in Medieval times and a key part of the Amalfi Republic. Its importance declined and by the early 20th century was a humble fishing village. With Hemmingway’s literature and the sheer beauty of the Amalfi coast influencing area tourism, visitors arrived and tourism flourished. The changes never spoiled Positano; it still retains its connections to the sea and its stunning vistas. The tiny village, built with small cubic white houses, is brimming with shops and art galleries and is the trendiest place of the Costiera Amalfitana. A local legend of the Black Madonna that was stolen from the Byzantines by pirates is well known. Visit her statue in the church of Santa Maria Assunta, whose dome is adorned by brilliant Majorca glazed tiles. From Positano, catch a ferry to the Isle of Capri. December 2012

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(8) Sorrento sunset view (9) Sorrento famous lemons

Sorrento

Sorrento is located on the penisola sorrentina, just near the Costiera Amalfitana. Similar to the other Amalfi coastal villages, you’ll marvel over sea cliffs with brightly coloured villas sitting precariously above crystalline sea water, each with breathtaking views. Sorrento is famous for its lemons, in fact, gardens of lemon trees are everywhere. It is a very romantic place, especially at night. Music fills the air while the smell of flowers and candles of the many different restaurants and lounges create an unforgettable atmosphere. Book your dive trips and boat cruises in Sorrento, or for the more energetic, hike the trails across the peninsula. Leaving Sorrento, drive along the coastline to Amalfi, via the hair-raisingly spectacular coast road (originally built by Roman engineers), which has been carved out of cliff faces (Strade Statale 163). Other destinations close by include Naples and the Roman cities of antiquity, Pompeii and Herculaneum. Costiera Amalfitana temperatures are moderate year-round; the maximum varies between 13 and 30 degrees Celsius. Accommodation can vary widely by the season; customarily, good hotels provide a December 2012

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delicious buffet breakfast catering to Western tastes along with the Italian custom of good espresso coffee. Don’t be surprised to see quality cakes, croissants, sliced meat and cheeses that can sustain you for a good part of the day with only a light lunch required. Later, indulge your senses with an epicurean evening meal by candlelight, of course, with musicians serenading in the background. For couples longing for a romantic interlude, this wondrous coastline is beckoning!


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What’s New

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Island Buzz

. . . . What is latest in the island !!! Sky Bar Located at the top of DIVA Hotel Juffair that offers new, fresh and bright era of hospitality, an innovative new hotel with a dynamic vision to transform Bahrain´s hotel landscape including a sky’s the limit entertainment at Sky Bar. Enjoy the best skyline view of Manama from the roof top of Diva Hotel.

Awtar Enjoy live Arabic music with the extravagant oriental interiors and authentic cuisine that will tantalise your palette. Awtar is located at Elite Crystal Juffair, a recent pride of the Elite Hospitality Group.

Prince Khalifa Public Park Overlooking Prince Khalifa bridge in Hidd, Muharraq is the only park that have a sea view and water activities for family and visitors. The park have 80,000 square metre in area is the latest family destination in the island having wide parking, restaurants, play area for the kids and a tower to enjoy the skyline of Kingdom.

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What’s New

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Bahrain National Theater

Giulio Gatti Giulio Gatti is the new chef de cuisine at the redesigned and re-launched Italian restaurant Primavera at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa. Chef Giulio Gatti oversees the daily culinary operations of Primavera and a stellar cast of six chefs.Italian born Giulio Gatti has over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. He started his career in bakery specializing in pastries while working alongside with well know chefs such as Paracucchi, Sodano and Pierangelini

National Theatre has an area of 11,869 square metres and has the capacity to seat 1,001 guests, making it the third largest theatre in the Middle East region. Located at the heart of the city the amphitheater features an insular landscape. The design of the National Theatre symbolises the union between Bahrain and the sea. The National Theatre is organised laround a void central space, in the manner of an Arabian palace. The patio turns here into a hall/foyer. The main auditorium is located in the middle of this majestic area.

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What’s New

Majestic Arjaan Majestic Arjaan by Rotana is located in Manama and offers 128 apartments, which are modernly designed, consisting of studios, 1, 2 & 3 bedrooms, developed as duplexes. Majestic Arjaan by Rotana is a first-class property, which has been developed with both short and long term guests in mind.

Da Rae Jung For our Korean guest and Korean food lovers enjoy the authentic Kimchi, sesame spinach and the mouth-watering Korean Beef BBQ. Be ready to experience live cooking right on your very own tables the Korean way. A casual dining located at Adliya, Manama call +973 17002490 for details.

Al Murooj Hotel The hotel proposes 126 fully equipped rooms with countless amenities & services such as 24 hours Reception Desk, tea and coffee maker, wireless internet access, daily housekeeping, hair dryer, wake-up calls, bathrobes, bathroom scale, welcome amenities, bathtub & shower, separate seating area, desk, sewing kit, shoe polish, mini bar, air conditioning, slippers, in-room safe, baby cot, iron & ironing board and more. Providing you a privacy and high eminence of services and classically related with international hotels combining space, security and a perfect sanctuary while you away from home.

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What’s New

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Edible Arrangements Thinking of healthy gifts, visit the newly open branch of edible arrangements in Al Enma Mall, RIffa Bahrain. Edible Arrangement is one of the fastest growing franchise business chain from the US with more than 1000 stores worldwide. Fresh fruits shaped and arrange in bouquet with toppings of your choice and chocolate dip, for more information visit www. ediblearrangements.com

338 Market

U MAKE WE BAKE

The Market 338 is part of various initiatives to provide the public with innovative events, and aims to attract top local talent to create an atmosphere that will inspire fresh ideas. It will feature works of art that have been created by Bahrainis and expatriate artists that are based in the Kingdom. Market 338 will take place from 5pm to 10pm on Thursday outside Al Riwaq Art Space, situated in Block 338 in Adliya’s restaurant district.

U MAKE WE BAKE welcomes you to a new and unique concept of the best Neapolitan Pizza and Pasta. All of our food is fresh and handcrafted to perfection. We give these classic Italian dishes a new world of settings. We offer a wide range of seasonal ingredients and top quality flavors that could sooth your taste buds with perfection. Why don’t you come and try it out for yourself? We promise to satisfy your hunger with the taste of Italy!

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Press Release

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Sales for the first nine months increased by 30%. Turkish Airlines recorded 1.08 Billion TRY Operating Profit, 868 Million Net profit. Turkish Airlines’ 2012 consolidated financial statements for the first 9 months of 2012 were reported to the Istanbul Stock Exchange. Compared with the same period in 2011, Turkish Airlines increased its sales revenue by 30% to 11,2 Billion TRY and recorded an operating profit of 1,08 Billion TRY. Net profit increased 655% compared to the previous period; to 868 Million TRY. During the period, Turkish Airlines carried a total of 29.1 million passengers--an increase of 20%. Available Seat Kilometers (ASK) and Revenue Per Kilometer (RPK) increased by 19% and 27%, respectively. The load factor increased by 5.3 points, reaching 77,9% systemwide. Compared with 2011, international to international transfer passengers grew by 46%, equaling 41,8% of all passengers carried. Also in 2012, 21 new international destinations were added, bringing the total to 170 in 90 countries. With these additional destinations, the Turkish Airlines’ network now includes the

greatest number of countries served--fulfilling our CEO’s vision as announced to IATA. Turkish Airlines has placed firm orders for 35 wide body aircraft to be delivered by 2017, and the 200th aircraft has just joined the fleet. Turkish Airlines has been recognized around the world for it progress in the last 10 years--not only for its spectacular growth but also for its high standards of customer care and quality service. We will continue to maintain high standards and successful performance into the future as well.

Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) is an ultra-modern racing facility that rises magnificently in the heart of the Sakhir desert. The circuit hosts the very best international racing series each year, highlighted by the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Many regional and local championships have chosen to base their operations at the globally renowned track, further cementing BIC’s role as ‘The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East’. While BIC is a regional leader in auto racing, its contributions to the Kingdom of Bahrain and the wider Gulf region go well beyond the sport. Its state-of-the-art facilities and five-star catering and services make it one of the Middle East’s most sought-after venues for business gatherings, December 2012

conferences, product launches and a wide variety of social and charity events. The circuit has helped place the Kingdom of Bahrain prominently on the world map, and that has resulted in the country’s rapid development into the hub of international

trade and tourism it is today. As an iconic figure that represents the Kingdom of Bahrain, BIC acts as a gateway that links the country to the rest of the world. For more information, visit www.bahraingp.com or call the BIC Hotline on +973-17-450000.


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Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre:

Nestled in the heart of Bahrain’s fashionable Seef district and connected to the island’s premier leisure and entertainment destination, Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre offers a new level of luxury and exclusivity to stylish and discerning travellers through outstanding culinary experiences, world-class conference and business facilities, a blissful Pure Spa and remarkable 5-star European hospitality. The hotel has 460 lavish guest rooms including 79 suites, which provide the comfortand luxury consistent with Kempinski’s philosophy. Therooms are outfitted with the most elegant furnishings, reflecting sheer indulgence, while crystal table lamps, walk-in wardrobes and sculpted baths accentuate the décor and showcase Kempinski’s attention to detail.

menu. Boudoiris the answer to opulence boasting a collection of premium beverages and the finest cigarsin an intimate setting. Nasmat has a Mediterranean-style setting with al fresco ambiance overlooking wooden cabanas and the infinity pool.Bizarreis the most luxurious night lounge in Bahrain where all the fashionable people party.Baharatoffers an eclectic selection of modern Arabic cuisine featuring live entertainment and a Shisha tent. To book or for further information please call (+973) 17171000 or reservations.bahrain@ kempinski.com or visit www.kempinski.com/ Bahrain

Culinary Portfolio: T-Spoonis an exclusive boutique café, featuring the finest selection of teas and coffees together with a delectable selection of savouries, cakes and pastries. Award winning Saveur offers a fine dining experience with lunch buffet, a la carte dinner and popular Friday Family Brunch. Mezzanine Loungefeatures individual private “media pods” allowing guests to stay connected and entertained by modern technology withdelicious platters and beverages on the December 2012

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U MAKE WE BAKE KTG – What made you decide to engage in this kind of business? As the saying goes opportunity knocks once but as businessmen we believe otherwise. We hunt opportunity and we found this new AmericanItalian restaurant franchise concept not yet available in the Middle East and here we are ready to serve your pizza in minutes. U Make We Bake is considered one of the 21ts century restaurant-concept with a cost effective franchise procedure will not be hard-sell in the Middle East. KTG – What is unique about your business? Serving your pizza in 3 minutes is inimitably challenging. Cost effective as you pay for what you eat as prize is determined by the weight of your choice eliminating food waste. U Make We Bake breaks the boundaries of traditional unhealthy fast-food with fresh ingredient, sauce and brown dough. Apart from toppings of your choice, we also excite costumer by bringing their playful bliss of designing your own crust. KTG – What do you expect in the middle east market? Competition in the restaurant business is very much visible from local to international chain yet we have a diversified clientele in the region waiting to be served. We expect that curiosity, good nose and sensitive palette will bring costumer digging to our counters. I would expect investors from all over to jump on this opportunity to be a part of U MAKE WE BAKE family. It’s so beautiful to own a restaurant especially to see a smiling customer walking away saying they had a good time and that is what we care about. KTG – As a franchise where did the concept originated from? U MAKE WE BAKE is a new ground-breaking idea in the field of restaurants and dinning. This American-Italian franchise has been incorporated in Delaware, USA, where our restaurant has created a combination of a lively atmosphere and authentic Italian menu for all to enjoy. The recipe and originality has been combined between Neapolitan cuisine mixed with American creativity, thus, giving us a unique experience that satisfies your senses and tastes. December 2012


Press Release

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The Ritz Gourmet Lounge

The Ritz Gourmet Lounge is inspired by the golden age of Cesar Ritz and Auguste Escoffier who came to fame in the late 19thcentury and embraces the heritage of these two pioneers in international hospitality with a dedicated menu influenced by some of Escoffier’s world classics served in a splendid royal ambience. You may enjoy Escoffier’s signature dishes such as Peach Melba, named after the Australian opera singer Nellie Melba, Belle Helene or Strawberries Romanoff. Beluga Caviar served the traditional way with blini and sour cream can be sampled as well. Imported leaf teas from Sri Lanka, China and South America are on offer from the tisane trolley, freshly cut in front of you and served in silver pots. Hot chocolate drinks are presented made with Valrhona chocolate from France. For coffee aficionados, a freshly roasted selection of various coffees from Arabica to Turkish is available daily and can be purchased in the gourmet lounge retail area to be enjoyed even at home - along with home-made breads, croissants, pates, tartines, richly decorated desserts, chocolates, ice cream, fine olive oils and caviar. The highlight of the74-seat restaurant is the shisha terrace lounge serving exotic and newly composed flavours in oversized contemporary

Meduse pipes, made of Czech hand-blown Bohemian Glass which has been held in high regard for centuries. Guests can sample Meduse Beach, a blend of watermelon, lemon and coconut, Eden’s Apple, a composition of eskandarani apple, chocolate and mint or for example Karkade Mist, mixed with pomegranate, strawberry and plum. December 2012

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A True Oasis in the Heart of the City

Elite Seef Residence & Hotel offers an all spacious suites, truly a home while you are away from home. Located at the center of bustling Al Seef District in the Kingdom of Bahrain . . . Truly a Lifestyle A red-carpet welcome awaits you. once you step in the lobby you will be inspired and mesmerized by a contemporary innovative interiors with a touch of Lebanese and Mediterranean mix. The Front Office is efficiently and reliably manned round-the-clock. Our services includes: Valet Parking; Business Centre and Rental Car Service among others. Airport Transfer facility is available at a very nominal cost. There is ample parking space in and around the hotel premises and it is covered by CCTV surveillance 24 hours. Comprising of 3 Bedroom, 2 Bedroom and 1 Bedroom, all our Suites are very spacious, fully

December 2012

furnished and serviced daily. Each Suite has a living and dining area, with a host of amenities including wi-fi internet facility; a fully equipped modular kitchen, lavish bathrooms with elegant fittings, home theatre surround-sound and DVD , OSN digital satellite television system , safe deposit box and 24-hour courteous and friendly room service. 24 hour Laundry Service. Staff is always available right at your door step. Satisfy your senses in our “OASIS” an outdoor pool facility on the first floor. Surrounded by trees and manicured lawn is our temperature-controlled swimming pool and the child-friendly kids’ pool. RELAX, indulge and pamper yourself after a day work at our Spa and Salon. DINE, enjoy and savor you’re self with our sumptuous healthy line-up of cuisine at its best at our IL GIARDINO restaurant and take cool drinks while listening to our house music to an ambiane of South African inspired Sip & Dip bar. We are always in the move and adapt to changes, our great edge to our traveler guest thru our state-of-the-art KINETIX Health Club, stylish, spacious and truly dynamic fitness environment. Only the best of the best as Kinetix boasts a large selection of Technogym sophisticated cardiovascular, weight and resistance machine, Power Plates and proud to say we’re the first in the Kingdom of Bahrain with dedicated Kinesis Studio, a superb amenities every guest enjoy from our indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi, Gazebo at the health club roof, steam room at it’s best and each of every shower room inspire with a unique tile design like a painting in paradise. Our goal in Kinetix is to help individuals attain a healthy lifestyle . . . our health club is more than about fitness, it’s a way of life. A complementing facility for mother and kids will be available starting first quarter of 2013 and a ladies dance studio to provide Zumba exercise and dance steps.


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Interview

KTG chat with

Brian Tsoi

Country Manager, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Offline Middle East

How did you started with your career? I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and was raised in Hong Kong. I studied Global Business and Marketing in Hong Kong and Canada, before joining Cathay Pacific in 2005. Since then I have held a number of managerial positions in the company, including online and passenger sales, product development and cabin crew development. I also spent 2 years in Indonesia and this is my second time back in Bahrain with Cathay Pacific. The first time was in 2006-07. Now I am back looking after Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Offline Middle East. What are Cathay Pacific/Dragonair’s latest innovations? As a full service carrier offering premium service to passengers, Cathay Pacific is investing more than HKD3 billion in its products and service enhancements.

We will be bringing the new generation Business Class to Bahrain this year, which was produced with added luxury. These flat-bed suites stretch out to just over 2 metres long with a perfect balance between privacy and openness. We have the configuration which fulfills everyone’s needs. On board our aircrafts we have individuals seat facing the windows for lone travelers where as the center seats can accommodate couples. The seats can move forward enough that the two can talk and dine together, and move backward for privacy. Each seat is also fitted with a 15.4 inch TV with Audio and Video on Demand featuring over 100 movies and 500 TV shows to ensure that nobody gets bored in-flight. We have also launched our brand new Premium Economy Class cabins and new Economy Class seats on our long-haul routes, and have brought them to Bahrain along with the new Business Class. These products are available from Bahrain from 2 December 2012, and therest of Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh and Jeddah) from 1 January 2013. We have reopened our newly renovated Business Class lounge at “The Wing” in Hong Kong International Airport. Renovations at the First Class lounge is expected to complete by the first quarter of 2013. In addition to Hong Kong lounges, we have also re-opened newly furbished lounges in Frankfurt, San Francisco and Paris. Cathay Pacific was named Best Airline in the World and Best Airline First Class in the 2012 Business Traveller China Awards in Nov 2012.

December 2012


Interview

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What are Cathay Pacific/Dragoanir’s newest destinations? Cathay Pacific will launch a new four-times weekly service between Hong Kong and Hyderabad commencing 1 December 2012. The new service complements the airline’s existing passenger services to Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai and will further boost both leisure and business travel between Hong Kong and India. Our sister airline Dragonair has recently put 5 more destinations on the map with Haikou, Zhengzhou, Wenzhou in China, Kolkata in India and Yangon in Myanmar. Have you seen any significant change in trends as far as travelers’ habits (buying, booking, etc.), and have you capitalized on this trend? How? The Internet has grown significantly in the last few years especially on the social front. Before passengers used to go travel agents or airlines even in the pre-journey planning stage, however now thanks to online travel guides, social media and forums, people can go through vast amount of research online before choosing where to go, how to fly and where to stay. Passengers are also more comfortable with online purchases and the use of credit cards, and we

see an increasing trend in online sales. We also provide convenient e-services to our passengers (such as online booking change, seat selection, SMS reminders, online and mobile check-in, duty-free pre-order etc.) to cater to their needs even in the comfort of their own homes. We also continue to update our iOS/Android Apps “CX Mobile” and “KA Mobile” with the increasing use of smartphones. With the global financial difficulties, we have seen some shift from front-end to back-end, especially for corporate travelers. Looking at the needs and comforts of our frequent travelers, we have positioned a product just right for them. We call it the Premium Economy Class. It has elements of business class though affordable in the fare range of economy class.

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Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain

Warm hospitality is always the pride of Bahrain, considered as one of the most popular destinations in the Gulf region. Whether leisure holiday or business trip, Movenpick Hotel is a stylish-classic home for travellers where everything about the hotel speaks of five-star luxury. As you walk into the chic foyer, you will be welcomed by the contemporary architecture providing a cosy ambience perfectly blended with Arabian tradition as you are served with either Arabic coffee or tea accompanied by dates. Movenpick Hotel is ideally situated across from Bahrain International Airport and a ten-minute drive to the business city centre. If you fancy visiting a tourist area, such as the old historical Muharraq Houses (recently restored) or the Old Muharraq souq’s (market) for traditional spices, Movenpick Hotel is just a few kilometres away. It is also within walking distance to the Arad Walk area.

Along with its strategic location and ambience, Movenpick offers dedicated business services and smart conference facilities and can host business meetings and festive events. The fusion of Arabic and Swiss culture makes Movenpick Hotel’s gastronomy one of a kind. On the island of multicultural cuisine, this will surely spoil you. If you’re staying over the weekend,don’t miss out on their lavish brunch with a mouth-watering variety of fresh sea food, freshly baked bread, and irresistible thin crust Italian pizza, not to forget the authentic Arabic starters (cold mezze). Movenpick Hotel has three outstanding restaurants ( names ???), a bar and a cigar lounge. Theme night, live cooking and December 2012

entertainmentareavailable nightly so no need to drive around searching for nightlife. After a long day or a crazy night or a hard workout from the gym, enjoy Bahrain’s warm weather as you lie beside the infinity pool surrounded by palm trees.Friendly staff are always on hand to serve you a drink or light meal poolside.

Staying in any of the 106 rooms at Movenpick Hotel is not only about indulgence,but just as much as genuine satisfaction with corporate social responsibility. A portion of the fabric and values of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has always been to conduct its business in a responsible and caring way; encouraging a personal touch in its relationships with all its stakeholders. The values of quality, reliability and care are fundamental in guiding the company towards sustainable business practices. For Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, sustainability is about meeting current needs while at the same time preserving and contributing to the future for generations to come. The success of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ sustainability efforts lie in its integration into the company’s business strategy, operating processes and quality standards. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts believes that people want to be part of the solution and want to contribute to a positive future.


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Bahrain Airport and Lounges with VIP and royalties on board. While waiting for yourflight to take off or ontransit, guests can relax in luxurious airport; Falcon Gold Lounge Designed to reflect the essence of Gulf Air and its traditions of hospitality, the Gulf Air lounge at Bahrain International Airport features personalized service in a contemporary setting. Every facility is available, for those who wish to work, to snooze or simply to catch up on global events. A panoramic view of aircraft taking off and landing provides a diverting backdrop to the sleek minimalist Arabian style incorporated throughout the lounge. Elevated seating areas offer comfort and privacy to guests, while plasma screens hanging from the ceiling provide news and entertainment.

The Dilmun Lounge

The Bahrain International Airport, located in Muharraq, is about 15 minutes drive to the city center or approximately 7 kilometers away to the Central Business District. Considered as one of the oldest runway in the region, the Bahrain International Airport maintain its flagship in welcoming guest making first impression last with warm welcome of courtesy and traditional culture of Bahrain. The first recoded commercial flight was October 1932 enroute from London to Delhi and was operated by a Handley page HP-42 aircraft named “Hannibal”. Prior to the commencement of scheduled services, Imperial Airways, the forerunner of BOAC and later British Airways had operated several proving flights through the Gulf in the late 1920’s. According to records, the first Imperial Airways flight to Bahrain occurred in August 1927 when a local pearl merchant chartered a de Havilland aircraft from Baghdad to Bahrain. Today, the Airport has the widest range and highest frequency of regional services with great connections to all main international destinations in the seven continents. Gulf Air and Bahrain Air makes more than 50 percent of the traffic other international carriers like Cathay Pacific, British Airways, KLM with 38 other airlines touching down Bahrain Airport as well as chartered flights

Holder of four consecutive awards for being the Lounge of the Year in the Middle East and Africa region for the Priority Pass Lounge of the Year. Dilmun Lounge is one of only 15 lounges worldwide to win an award out of well over 600 in the Priority Pass Lounge programme - the award, which acknowledges the high standard of customer service, and satisfaction that the lounge continues to provide to each guest.

Marhaba Lounge

marhaba, or “welcome” in Arabic, is an exclusive meet & greet service that makes the airport something to look forward to. From speedy clearance through arrivals or departures to helping with transfers, baggage and family travel, travelers are guaranteed of swift, smooth and safe passage through the airport. So whether you want to roll out the red carpet, or simply ensure your guests arrive relaxed—knowing they’re in safe hands— marhaba will deliver on your promise of a warm welcome. December 2012

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CHECK IN/ CHECK OUT

Hotel Listing

Al-Areen Palace & Spa

Al Areen Palace & Spa features a total of 78 Pool Villas in a one-storey setting. Guests can choose from two types of luxuriously appointed Villa-style accommodations. Both types of Villas come with separate living areas and modern amenities. The resort is only a few minutes away from the world-famous Bahrain International Circuit. Email: alareen@alareenpalace.com

Crowne Plaza Bahrain

The Crowne Plaza Bahrain provides exceptionally warm and friendly service to all its guests, while offering upscale accommodations at a fair price. It is certainly a venue for all occasions with its wide choice of 6 restaurants and bars, and the adjoining Conference Center that caters for 8 to 1700 people. Email: cp@cp-bahrain.com

Golden Tulip Bahrain

Golden Tulip Bahrain Hotel is strategically located on Old Palace Road facing the newest Bahrain’s landmark - the World Trade Center and within the banking and government headquarters. Golden Tulip Bahrain is just walking distance from Manama Bab Al Bahrain souk, Exhibition Road and only 6 km from the Bahrain International Airport. Email: info@goldentulipbahrain.com

December 2012

Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa

The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa is exclusively located in the city’s Diplomatic area. Guests can experience accommodation and services that are designed to inspire relaxation; from four on-site pools and a comprehensive spa to international dining and upscale rooms, this hotel provides amenities to ensure a perfect stay in Bahrain. Email: sales.diplomat@radissonblu.com

InterContinental Regency Bahrain

InterContinental Regency Bahrain is ideally located at the heart of the city, next to Bab Al Bahrain, walking distance to Bahrain Financial Harbor and World Trade Center and about ten minutes away from the airport. The hotel is ideal for a fun-filled getaway or a place to host your next business event. Email: info@icbahrain.com


Hotel Listing

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Gulf Hotel

Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel

The legendary 5-Star hotel in the heart of Bahrain, Gulf Hotel offers quality Bahraini hospitality and unrivaled luxury facilities: 357 luxurious rooms and suites, 97 premium apartments, 16 fine-dining restaurants and bars, lagoon-style swimming-pool, squash, tennis, gyms, shops and executive facilities. The best address for business or leisure luxury stays. Email: info@gulfhotelbahrain.com

Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre is approximately a 15-minute drive from Bahrain International Airport. The Hotel is adjoined to Manama’s Bahrain City Centre Mall featuring a wide range of entertainment facilities. Email: onetouch.bahrain@kempinski.com

Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain

Conveniently situated just across Bahrain International Airport, Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain offers an enticing blend of Arabian tradition and Swiss hospitality. The hotel features elegant rooms, complete with tasteful furnishings and facilities as well as a variety of dining options and leisure amenities. Email: hotel.bahrain@moevenpick.com

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel and Spa is conveniently located just minutes from the Manama City Center. This exceptional Bahrain luxury resort features worldclass cuisine, a nurturing spa, a 37-slip marina and an array of water sports. With superb amenities and impeccable service, the hotel and resort provides lavish accommodations to guests. Email: bahrz.leads@ritzcarlton.com

Sheraton Bahrain Hotel

Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa

Sheraton Bahrain Hotel is centrally located in the heart of Manama, the capital of Bahrain and only seven kilometers (or a 15-minute drive) from Bahrain International Airport. The hotel is adjacent to the impressive Bahrain World Trade Centre and shows magnificent views of the city as well as the Arabian Gulf. Email: reservations.manama.bahrain@sheraton.com

The Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa is the first hotel to offer thalassotherapy treatments in the GCC countries. Close to the Bahrain International Circuit and Manama city, this is an exclusive Bahrain resort catering to leisure and business travellers, reputed for its refinement and attention to detail with a distinct French flair. Email: H6722@sofitel.com December 2012

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4 Star Hotels Al Safir Hotel Juffair Tel: 17827888

Gulf Pearl Hotel Manama Tel: 17217333

Phoenicia Tower Hotel Hoora Tel: 17311666

Baisan International Hotel Hoora Tel: 17290147

L Hotel Seef Area Tel: 17567222

Ramada Hotel Adliya Tel: 17742000

Days Hotel Hoora Tel: 17290555

Manama Tower Hotel Manama Tel: 17295111

Ramada Palace Gudaibiya Tel: 17296660

Delmon International Hotel Manama Tel: 17224000

Mansouri Mansions Hotel Adliya Tel: 17716999

Ramee California Juffair Tel: 17826001

Hotel Diva Juffair Tel: 17810555

Mashtan Hotel Manama Tel: 17226671

Ramee International Hotel Manama Tel: 17727230

Elite Crystal Al Fateh Tel: 17360360

Mercure Grand Hotel Seef Seef Tel: 17584400

Ramee Palace Hotel Manama Tel: 17811688

Elite Hotel Tel: Juffair 17827600

Mirador Hotel Manama Tel: 17312000

Elite Grande Hotel Seef Area Tel: 17565888

Monroe Hotel Hoora Tel: 17296699

Samada Hoora Hotel & Suites Hoora Tel: 17318899

Elite Resort & Spa Muharraq Tel: 17313344

Novotel Al Dana Resort Muharraq Tel: 17298008

Elite Seef Residence and Hotel Seef Area Tel: 17583388

Panorama Hotel Manama Tel: 17826888

Grand Safir Residence Juffair Tel: 17811888

Pars International Hotel Juffair Tel: 17814777

Gulf Gate Hotel Manama Tel: 17210210

Phoenicia Hotel Hoora Tel: 17295544

Taj Plaza Hotel Manama Tel: 17815815 The K hotel Juffair Tel: 17360000 Tulip in Hawar Beach Hawar Tel: 17849111

Car Rentals Budget Airport: 17321268 Main: 17534100 www.budget.com Europcar Airport: 17321249 Main: 17226688 www.europcar.com Hanco Airport: 1732129 Main: 17310656 www.hanco-ksa.com Hertz Airport: 17321358 Main: 17297117 www.hertz.com

December 2012

Oscar Airport: 17321313 Main: 17211682 National Car Rental Airport: 17321306 Main: 17311169 www.national-me.com Avis Airport: 17321239 Main: 17531144 www.avisbahrain.com Gulf Airport: 17321301 Main: 17291691 Fax No. 17291791

Al Kobaisi Airport: No. 17321263 Main: 17735991 www.alkobaisicarrental.com Montreal Airport: 17329383 Mobile: 36001002 www.montrealbh.com Sixt Mobile: 17329338 Main: 17711770 www.sixtbahrain.com Limousina Airport: 17329386 Main: 17329339 www.limousina.net


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Bahrain Visa Guidelines Visa Requirements Applications for visas must include the following: • A valid passport: must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of entry • Completed visa application form with one (1) recent photo attached • Itinerary • Must provide Address and contact information in Bahrain (see application form) • Must provide sufficient financial documents to support the travel (bank statement) • A letter stating the following For an official or diplomatic visa: (Gratis) Diplomatic & Official visa applications will take at least 2 weeks time to process. For a business visa: An original letter (on company letterhead) stating the purpose and duration of the visit and that the applicant is responsible for all travel expenses. (Photocopies are not accepted). The Embassies of Bahrain abroad and the General Directorate of Immigration and Passports may issue a multiple visa valid for five years which allows Citizens of the United States of America, Canada who are businessmen, tourists or visitors to enter the country and stay for a period not to exceed four weeks per entry. Citizens of other countries: Citizens from the following 35 countries (Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Japan, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, United States of America, Portugal, Malaysia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Greece, Monaco, San Marino, Singapore, Brunei, Vatican City, Andorra, China and Thailand) can obtain a visa valid for two weeks issued from access points inside the country without pre-arrangement or local sponsor’s request. This visa may be extended for another two weeks.

certificate from a Bahraini sponsor. • For citizens of USA, Canada and UK the fee is US $228.00 • Money order or company check only. Cash or personal checks are not acceptable. • Prepaid, self-addressed envelope with the applicant’s address Please make sure that your name and address appears in both the sender and the recipient fields of the prepaid airbill. Foreigners living in other GCC countries Foreigners living in GCC countries can get an entry visa to Bahrain for two weeks provided they have had a valid residence permit in any of the GCC countries for six months and the remaining validity is for a similar period. The visa is also issued to foreigners, who are employed as housemaids, chauffeurs or nannies by families residing in GCC countries. These domestic workers must arrive in and leave with their employers. Foreigners living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Foreigners living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia arriving in Bahrain via the King Fahad Causeway may obtain a two-week visa free of charge at the Immigration and passports office at the access point. This visa may be extended for another two weeks without charge. Also, this type of visa may be issued to foreigners employed as housemaids, chauffeurs, nannies, babysitter and accompanying families entering Bahrain. Those families may not leave Bahrain without the employee’s escorts who arrived with them to Bahrain. All visa applications can be completed online: www.evisa.gov.bh

Business and Visitors visa applications will take at least 2 weeks time to process. A letter of consent must accompany all applications for minors from both parents and a photocopy of both parents’ passports. Parents travelling without their spouses need a legal document stating that he/she is the legal guardian for the minor child. The following conditions must be met in order to issue this Visa: • Completed visa application form • Visitor’s entry must not violate the Security and National welfare of the country. • Visitor must be able to support himself or his dependents, if any, during his visit. • Note: All nationals of countries that are not listed above must obtain a non-objection December 2012

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Global Pen Stroke

Mary Coons Correspondent

December 2012

Istanbul, Turkey has been on my bucket list for a long time. I first read about the city in a travel magazine, such as this. It piqued my interest, and I began saving articles I came across about the city and its various historical sites and cultural fabric. The written stories of others and their traveling experiences affect me like that. Finally, this month, my bucket list dream trip to Istanbul becomes reality. Prior to the Internet, it was hit or miss researching foreign countries one might want to visit. Basically, you bought a guidebook, checked out books at the local library or saved article clippings from magazines and newspapers. Today, the process is digital and much more streamlined though the printed word remains the starting point for me. True, you still can’t trust everything that you find on the Internet, but savvy searchers who investigate official country tourism websites, hospitality properties and their links, and official tourist websites have more assurance of reading and receiving correct information along with referrals to reliable resources. Selecting a potential destination or two now allows the searcher to research various countries and compare and/or match up interests, ranging from historical, architectural, cultural, adventure, beach, cruise, family travel, price and location, seasonal times to visit, as well as suggested places to visit, and stay and eat, making it that much easier to zero in on that perfect holiday destination that best meets your specific interests. Interactive maps are now the norm and very helpful when planning your own itinerary, particularly if you intend to rent a car and drive to different areas of a state or country. Once you have determined your ultimate destination, the Internet allows for detailed investigation of hotels. Most have a website tab with visitor testimonials (and they are not only the positive experiences of other travelers) and a listing of nearby recommended sites – usually within walking distance – along with information and amenities associated with their properties. If you plan a week or longer in an unfamiliar country and want to experience as much as possible, booking a travel package with a reputable tourism agency (licensed by the country’s tourism board) might be right for you. Most tour agencies will plan an itinerary for you, but they should also be open to customizing it to address any specific interests. They are a great resource; provide tour guides fluent in major languages, and often have inside information that visitors are unaware of. Flights can be booked directly on the carrier’s website (most airlines also offer package vacations) with visa requirements provided. Happy travels. Who knows; maybe our paths will cross in Turkey.


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Khaleej Tourism Guide will tour you locally to across the continents from every page you turn.