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SOUTHEAST ASIA

ANTHONY BOURDAIN

ON SET, AND ON KHMER CUISINE

2011 TIP SHEET

JANUARY 2011

HAWAII’S

AUTHENTIC CULTURE TRAVEL TECH Smartphone navigation tips

Your must-know new destinations

SINGAPORE

20 SECRET ADDRESSES

A-Z GUIDE TO SNAGGING SENSATIONAL SERVICE

SINGAPORE SG$7.90 ● HONG KONG HK$43 THAILAND THB175 ● INDONESIA IDR50,000 MALAYSIA MYR17● VIETNAM VND85,000 MACAU MOP44 ● PHILIPPINES PHP240 BURMA MMK35 ● CAMBODIA KHR22,000 BRUNEI BND7.90 ● LAOS LAK52,000

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Carried by the Elite, the world over.

By invitation only. For expression of interest, please call Singapore: + (65) 6295 6293


contents

january 2011

volume 05 : issue 01

features 93 T+L 500 Each year, T+L asks readers to vote on their favorite hotels around the globe. What makes our annual compendium of top-ranked hotels stand out? For starters, 67 of them are located in Asia, with both China and India leading the way, and the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam prominent as well. 114 Pure Kauai Beyond the sun, surf and sand, beyond the routinely jaw-dropping beauty of the natural landscape, andrew mccarthy finds in Kauai a palpable sense of community—and a lowkey, almost spiritual sense of place. photographed by peter frank edwards. guide and map 121

132 Above the Clouds Trekking up the 3,952-meter Yushan, brent hannon discovers it’s more than just the high point of Taiwan. With a bit of luck, he’s able to stop, look and listen to what the mountain has to say. photographed by alberto buzzola. guide 141

6 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

93

At Huka Lodge, New Zealand.

courtesy of Huka Lodge

122 Singapore on the Move For this island city-state, where efficiency and order have long been national virtues, the arrival of a cutting-edge art scene, celebrity chefs, mega-resorts and, yes, even casinos heralds a seismic shift. guy trebay reports. photographed by morgan & owens. guide and map 131


contents

january 2011 volume 05 : issue 01 T+L SOUTHEAST ASIA T+L 500 WORLD’S BEST HOTELS / SINGAPORE / BEST SERVICE / THAILAND / BALI / TAJIKISTAN / TAIWAN / CAMBODIA

SOUTHEAST ASIA

JANUARY 2011

ANTHONY BOURDAIN

AUTHENTIC CULTURE

ON SET, AND ON KHMER CUISINE

2011 TIP SHEET

HAWAII’S

TRAVEL TECH Smartphone navigation tips

Your must-know new destinations

SINGAPORE

JA N UA RY 2 011

20 SECRET ADDRESSES

A-Z GUIDE TO SNAGGING SENSATIONAL SERVICE

01Jan CoverMLv3.indd 1

SINGAPORE SG$7.90 ● HONG KONG HK$43 THAILAND THB175 ● INDONESIA IDR50,000 MALAYSIA MYR17● VIETNAM VND85,000 MACAU MOP44 ● PHILIPPINES PHP240 BURMA MMK35 ● CAMBODIA KHR22,000 BRUNEI BND7.90 ● LAOS LAK52,000

TravelandLeisureAsia.com

10/12/2010 13:30

On the cover

Photographed by Brent T. Madison. Assistant: Richard Jones. Model: Vicky Kroon. Styling by Karin Madison. Hair and makeup by Albert Schippers. Swimsuit by Phuket Mermaids. Accessories by LOLA and Ginger at Plaza Surin. Aboard Andara, one of the yachts from Andara Resort & Villas, in the waters near Phuket, Thailand.

strategies 27 How to get the best treatment around the globe in any situation. Your A to Z guide.

45

34 Kuala Lumpur’s new hideaway, Playboy fever hits Macau, high tea on location, a boutique music festival in Singapore and more.

insider 45 Where to go next Whether you’re a sybarite or an adventurer, T+L spotlights four up-and-coming places to travel to this year.

74 8 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

48 Cool jobs In Thailand, meet John Roberts, a man with the unlikely title of director of elephants. by lara day

50 Detour For a taste of authentic island life, escape Bali’s beaches and head to a charming family-run teak farm in Jelantik. by sara schonhardt

52 Preservation As the Manila Hotel gears up for its 100th anniversary, we take a look »

f r o m to p : © J e r e m y E d wa r d s / i s to c k p h oto . c o m ; c o u r t e s y o f C e y l o n T e a T r a i l s

newsflash


contents

84

behind the scenes at the storied property. by lara day

56 Tech One man, one iPhone, one unfamiliar European city and 1,000 apps (at least). justin peters goes to Madrid to test the limits of smartphone travel. 61 48 hours Jo’burg has become South Africa’s creative hub, with stylish hotels and restaurants to match. by diane vadino

74 Design These days, good design is everywhere—from showstopping skyscrapers and innovative pedestrian bridges to industrial-chic hotel rooms— including in some unexpected places. karrie jacobs picks seven modern icons that are worth the trip.

journal

64 Food From the heart of Mumbai to its emerging neighborhoods, we’ve rounded up the best boutiques, galleries, restaurants and hotels. by david kaufman

79 Adventure Do not confuse Tajikistan's Pamir Highway with some romantic notion of the Silk Route, writes garry marchant. But the scenery in this part of Central Asia remains timeless.

stylish traveler

84 Food On his second trip to the Kingdom of Cambodia, American TV chef Anthony Bourdain uncovers a cuisine that mirrors the progress the country has made in the past 20 years. by brendan brady 88 Opinion Hotels and restaurants from Paris to L.A. are blurring the line between upscale and down. But even in this brash new world, peter jon lindberg finds that quality still matters.

69 Icon A swimsuit that makes a splash by Norma Kamali Maillot. by jennifer alfano. styled by mimi lombardo

70 Navigator Asian cities are pushing the envelope with both homegrown and expat design talent. Here, a guide to the places that are redefining Hong Kong. by jennifer chen

10 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

departments 12 index 14 Editor’s Note 18 Contributors­ 20 mail 22 Best Deals 24 ask t+l 142 My Favorite Place

56

f r o m t o p l e f t : M a t t h i e u P a l e y ; v i n h d a o . b o t t o m : c o u r t e s y o f j u s t i n p e t e r s ; i Ph o n e i s a t r a d e m a r k o f a p p l e i n c .

79

january 2011 volume 05 : issue 01


Dining room.

Living room.

Bedroom.

Full flat-bed seats. Globally awarded cuisine. Best of in-flight entertainment. And more than 160 destinations around the world. All thru Istanbul. All in the Business Class concept of our new A330-300 and B777-300 ER aircraft. All globally yours. turkishairlines.com


in this issue

Beijing 24, 64 Tajikistan 79

Kauai 114

Taiwan 132

Singapore 38, 122

Johannesburg

trip ideas

DESTINATIONS

travel tip

Asia Beijing 24, 64 Hangzhou 37 Shanghai 22 Sri Lanka 37 Taiwan 132 Tajikistan 79 Tibet 45 Tokyo 24

Australia and New Zealand Kimberley 45 Rotorua 74 Western Australia 24 Europe Germany 74 Ireland 34 Madrid 56 Poland 74 Portugal 74 Spain 35 The Americas Kauai 114 Los Angeles 142 Mexico 45

Active and Adventure

79, 132

Arts + Culture

38

Beaches + Islands

114

City

61, 122

Culture + History

48, 50

Design

70, 74

Fashion

69

Food + Drink

64, 84

Hotels + Resorts

52, 93, 142

Shopping

36, 38

Travel Tips

24, 27, 45, 56

Africa Johannesburg 61 Zambia 45 Middle East Qatar 74

Featured Destination

Kauai

This month is a prime time to visit the Hawaiian island, so booking ahead is a must. Weather wise, temperatures average between 21 and 29 degrees Celsius. This is an island of microclimates, so remember that the leeward sides (the west and south) of the island are normally hot and dry, and the windward sides (east and north) are cooler and wetter. (See page 114 for more on Kauai.)

12 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

P e t e r F r a n k E d wa r d s ( 3 )

Southeast Asia Bali 22, 50 Bangkok 38 Chiang Mai 37 Danang 22 Hong Kong 70 Indonesia 22, 36 Kuala Lumpur 34 Macau 36 Malaysia 22, 24 Manila 52 Phnom Penh 84 Singapore 38, 122 Thailand 22, 35, 48


editor’s note where to find me )) matt@mediatransasia.com )) matt leppard tlsea on Facebook

PICKS OF THE MONTH Some of my personal travel favorites. BALI St. Regis Bali One of Bali's finest five-star properties. Don't miss the Gourmand Deli for quiche and coffee. Kawasan Pariwisata, Nusa Dua; starwood hotels.com.

we love and have yet to love. What better way to start with the ninth annual “T+L 500”—the definitive and expanded list of the hotels around the world that made the cut to the World’s Best Awards (page 93). And while we’re on the subject of the only independently run reader-voted global travel awards that count, see page 26 for details of how to vote this year for your travel best-ofs for the World’s Best Awards 2011. This year—and this is one of many New Year resolutions I’ve made (including getting onto Twitter)—I hope to get out and about even more (yes, being a desk-bound travel editor-in-chief is a little restrictive, but we’re three years into T+L SEA now) and visit many of these destinations and properties. Meanwhile, I hope to see more of our readers on my personal Facebook page, and to e-mail me letters and questions for our Ask T+L section (page 24). These are changing times for the media (don’t forget our digital edition for the

iPad is available from www.zinio.com), and we really do want to know what you think about our magazine, website and your own travels; this makes T+L SEA a real community and not just a product, and this is how it should be. That’s how we can share insider tips like those in Strategies (page 27) in which we run through an A–Z of tricks and ideas to get better service and treatment while you travel. Got more ideas? Let me know! You can also let me know what you think about our five new destination ideas (“The Next ‘It’ Destinations,” page 45), since I’ve had my eye on Lhasa for a while now. Take a peek at the outstanding photos in the piece and tell me you don’t agree! Also, we managed to snag Anthony Bourdain for a behind-the-scenes look at his TV show and the notable (read: fascinatingly scary) moments of his career (“Cambodia Confidential,” page 84). I only hope that, when I’m his age, I have equally captivating tales to tell. — m at t l e p pa r d

The Rock Bar The perfect place for perfect sunsets. Chill out to the laidback vibes with waves crashing around you. Jl Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran; ayanaresort.com/ rockbarbali. Mades Warung Dine on authentic food and soak up the lively local atmosphere with a cool mojito in hand. Br. Pande Mas, Kuta; madeswarung.com. One to watch... THAILAND The Siam Hotel Coming onto our radar screens is this upmarket Bangkok property, designed by feted architect Bill Bensley. With an opening in mid-2011, watch this space for more! Thanon Khao, Vachirapayabal; thesiamhotel.com.

travel + leisure editors , writers and photographers are the industry ’s most reliable sources . while on assignment, they travel incognito whenever possible and do not take press trips or accept free travel of any kind.

14 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

tom hoo ps

Happy New Year to all our readers and supporters! I hope 2011 is a magical and marvelous year for all of us, and that our travels take us to the places


come for the

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travel+leisure southeast asia Vol. 5, Issue 1 Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia is published monthly by Media Transasia Limited, Room 1205-06, 12/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2851-6963; Fax: +852 2851-1933; under license from American Express Publishing Corporation, 1120 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, United States of America. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the Publisher. Produced and distributed by Media Transasia Thailand Ltd., 14th Floor, Ocean Tower II, 75/8 Soi Sukhumvit 19, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoeynue, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. Tel: +66 2 204-2370. Printed by Comform Co., Ltd. (+66 2 368-2942–7). Color separation by Classic Scan Co., Ltd. (+66 2 291-7575). While the editors do their utmost to verify information published, they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy.

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throughout Southeast Asia

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jen lin-liu writer

brent hannon writer

Assignment Wrote “Capital Feast” (page 64). Fave ethnic food in Beijing Gotta go with the low-brow one-yuan lamb skewers on the streets. When to eat in China Autumn for all the delicious in-season pumpkins and produce. Or the late spring for cherries, lychees and lotus roots. Favorite food destinations I was surprised by Xian recently— great street food. Shanghai for the mix of street and high-end food. New York and San Francisco, too. Chopsticks or forks Chopsticks. My grandma taught me how to eat pizza with chopsticks! Second choice: spoons. They’re better than forks for Asian food. Can’t leave home without... My husband. Home is wherever we’re together.

Assignment Wrote “Above the Clouds.” Best of Taiwan I love to prowl the night markets and soak up the atmosphere and eat the food. But cycling and hiking would probably be top of the list. And the Taiwanese are good people—they make everything fun. Best time to visit Spring, when the flowers bloom, the butterflies come out and the sweet young things show off the latest fashions. Don’t go hiking without... Scotch whisky and good friends. Best scenery The southeast coast is flat-out spectacular, but then, so are the central mountains, anything above 2,000 meters. But the southeast coast is truly one of Asia’s undiscovered secrets. Next big trip To Australia—Perth and Margaret River—to drink wine and visit old friends.

alberto buzzola photographer Assignment Photographed “Above the Clouds” (page 132). Taiwan in three words Jewel. Unknown. Hospitable. Favorite place to shoot on Yushan The Patonguan Trail in winter when the mountain peak is covered in snow. Best time to shoot I particularly like April when the mountain slopes are full of flowers. Photography tip No matter what time of year you climb, Yushan always has something to offer. If you have a DSLR and a compact camera, carry both. Dream assignment It would be to walk from north to south through Taiwan’s central mountain range. A tough journey that would keep me out of the city and give me a chance to see Taiwan at its best.

T o p R o w , F r o m L e f t : COURTESY OF j e n l i n - l i u ; COURTESY OF a l b e r t o b u z z o l a ; COURTESY OF b r e n t h a n n o n . BOTTOM ROW , FROM L EFT : c r a i g s i m o n s ; a l b e r t o b u z z o l a ( 2 )

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Send your letters to editor@travelandleisuresea.com and let us know your thoughts on recent stories or new places to visit. Letters chosen may be edited for clarity and space. The letter of the month receives a free one-year subscription to Travel + Leisure (Southeast Asia only). Reader opinions expressed in letters do not necessarily reflect those of Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Media Transasia Ltd., or American Express Publishing.

hot topic

Letter of the month Street Stars

December’s Smart Traveler column about eating like a local when you travel garnered a lot of feedback. Below, some suggestions from readers:

As much as I enjoyed reading about high-end Thai food [“Flavor Culture,” December 2010] in Bangkok, and still hoping that I’ll be able to afford any one of the restaurants mentioned in the story, I’m also glad to know that the best food I’ve ever eaten in the country I’ve always found on the street. Whether it’s at the weekend market, where spice seems to hold sway, or at night at the stalls along Sukhumvit Soi 38, I’ve had unforgettable lunches and dinners. It’s one of the main reasons I keep returning to Bangkok for weekend visits. —carmen choy, hong kong

Clean and Cheap

I like your new look. It’s clean and easy on the eye, but I just want to remind you to keep mixing in inexpensive but quality places to eat, sleep and shop. There’s nothing wrong with high-end this and that, but we all want to be a bit thrifty when the chance arises, particularly when visiting Asia’s big cities where costs can be as high as some of the buildings they are home to. —mannfred wilong, kuala lumpur Surprising City

Some days I don’t like your magazine. This is one of those days. Your take on New Orleans [“Dreamland: New Orleans,” December 2010] lived up to the hype in the headline. I’d never really thought about visiting the city, particularly after its problems in the past few years, but the photography alone makes me want to book a flight tomorrow. It was also great to hear the photographer’s take on the story and I dare anyone to see those pictures 20 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

TAKE IT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT Add to the list: don’t always use locally published advice, which often is only about the new and trendy. —T+L SEA reader Dorothy Cheung. GO WITH THE HUNGRY FLOW Follow the crowds, they’re rarely wrong.—T+L SEA blogger Mary. BEEN THERE, ATE THAT Asking local friends is good advice, but also pick the brains of those who have visited the city recently.—T+L SEA reader Phil Hughes.

and decide that they don’t want to visit The Big Easy. Music, food, characters—the city seems to have it all, which is all the more impressive after it’s recent disasters. If only it were closer to Asia! —peter noonan, singapore Heated Suggestions

I found the gifts you suggest a bit odd [“40 Great Travel Gifts,” December 2010] since we’re in tropical Asia. Nordic sweaters, self-heating waterproof boots, cashmere and deerskin slippers, down-filled jackets? Why not include the latest in swimwear, cool cotton clothing and sun block? The equator is never far off in this part of the world! —arin black, singapore Correction In an October article about Singapore’s casinos, a quote about the expectations for casino gaming in the city was incorrectly attributed to Marina Bay Sands president Thomas Arasi. T+L regrets the error.

[st] gift guide

40

GREAT TRAVEL GIFTS

 SHOPPING FOR YOUR FAVORITE  GLOBE-TROTTERS? HERE, OUR    PICKS FOR PRESENTS   THAT WILL  GET THEM IN THE SPIRIT.  PHOTOGRAPHED BY LARS KLOVE  STYLED BY MIMI LOMBARD O

1

Dress up your tree with a glittering ornament, Eliot Raffit.

102

DECEMBER 2010 | TRAVELANDLEISUR

EASIA.COM

12StylishGiftGuideML

.indd 1 10/11/2010 15:00


Is Measured in Moments The first night away. A private sunset. A silky cabernet. It’s the personal part of travel that stays with us, that changes us, and becomes some of the indelible memories of our lives. Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Boutique offer a world that knows you before you even arrive and serves you with anticipation of the moment. Explore over 350 epic destinations at MyPreferredWorld.com.

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California — member of Preferred Boutique Photo: Kodiak Greenwood


bestdeals

budget-friendly tips for your travel planning

CELEBRATE A NEW YEAR

deal of the month s n a p

Nikko Bali Resort & Spa.

Away Koh Kood, Thailand.

BUNd Chic

The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

SPAS ON THE SAND

CHINA Discover Orient Package at Les Suites Orient Bund Shanghai (86-21/63200088; lessuitesorient.com). What’s Included

INDONESIA Seventh Heaven package at Nikko Bali Resort & Spa (62-361/773-377; nikkobali.com). What’s Included Two

Accommodation in a Bund studio; daily buffet breakfast; Wi-Fi Internet; 24-hour complimentary refreshments in the lounge; and late check-out until 3 p.m. Cost From RMB1,699 per night, double, through February 28. Savings 20 percent.

nights in a Seventh Heaven room; daily breakfast; an en-suite Mandara Spa treatment for two; access to Nikko Club Lounge, including all-day refreshments and a private swimming pool; and a gift set of Thai trousers, sarong wrap and aromatherapy kit. Cost From US$850 (US$425 per night), double, through March 31. Savings Up to 60 percent.

Stay 3 Pay 2 package at The Waterhouse at South Bund (86-21/6080-

2988; waterhouseshanghai.com) in Shanghai. What’s Included Two nights in a Copula One room with a complimentary third night; daily breakfast; free Wi-Fi access; and mini-bar soft drinks. Cost From RMB3,600 (1,200 per night), double, three-night minimum, through February 28. Savings 33 percent.

CULTURE DISCOVERY

INDONESIA Memorable Moment package at The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta (62-274/566-617; mgallery.com). What’s Included Two nights in a Deluxe room;

a six-hour excursion to batik, silver and leather puppet workshops with round-trip vintage car transfers; and an Indonesian lunch at the hotel. Cost From US$706 (US$353 per night), double, through April 1. Savings 20 percent. 22 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

VIETNAM Da Nang Deluxe package from Life Resort Da Nang (84-511/395-8888; liferesorts.com). What’s Included Two nights

in a Superior room with ocean views; one 60-minute massage per person; dinner at Life Resort’s restaurant; one round of golf. Cost US$516 (US$258 per night), double, through January 31. Savings 50 percent.

ISLAND ADVENTURES

THAILAND Boutique Break package at Away Koh Kood Resort (66-81/835-4517; centarahotelsresorts.com/akk). What’s Included Two nights in an Island Canvas

Retreat tent; round-trip boat transfers; six meals including a seafood BBQ dinner; kayaking; and a half-day snorkeling trip. Cost Bt12,999 (Bt6,470 per night), double, through March 31. Savings 23 percent.

Everybody Loves Rain package at Tanjong Jara Resort (60-3/2783-1000; tanjongjararesort.com), close to Dungun, Malaysia. What’s Included Two nights in a Bumbung room with a free third night if rainfall exceeds 3 cm per day; return tickets between Singapore and Kuantan; all meals; and a two-day Raindrop Retreat spa experience. Cost From US$536 per person (US$179 per night), double, through February 28. Savings 50 percent. Tanjong Jara Resort, Malaysia.

c l o c kw i s e f r o m t o p l e f t : c o u r t e s y o f N i kk o B a l i R e s o r t a n d Sp a ; c o u r t e s y o f Aw a y K o h K o o d ; c o u r t e s y o f Th e P h o e n i x H o t e l Y o g y a k a r t a ; c o u r t e s y o f T a n j o n g J a r a R e s o r t

i t


askt+l Can you recommend any wine tours that are easily accessible when visiting Perth?

A corner of Beijing’s Forbidden City.

Malaysia’s secluded Pangkor Laut Resort.

you’re not loyal to a single airline, then check out seatguru.com, where the good seats are separated from the bad and the ugly by airline, aircraft type and route. The good seats aren’t always where you would expect, so log on to this site before you book.

—lindsey morgan, singapore

Q: I’m tired of bad airline seats. how can I choose better? —mary so, kuala lumpur

Western Australian wine tours.

As with anything, do your homework. For starters, the best advice is to familiarize yourself with the airlines you’re going to travel with most. While no airline’s seating plans are standard throughout their fleet, most are comparable on similar types of aircraft. Joining a frequent-flier club also enables you to outline and save your seat preferences, and in some instances, can help you avoid extra fees for “preferred” seats. At times, it can also help you pinpoint where a carrier’s older aircraft are flying (hint: normally on the less-profitable routes), which means a more dated cabin. If

24 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

If the idea of another water fight has you down, it might be a good time to take in the historic splendor of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Beijing averages about 20 degrees Celsius with five days of rain during April as it moves into the summer months. An alternative to the Chinese capital is Tokyo, where the thermometer averages between 10 and 18 degrees Celsius, though there’s normally an unpredictable 10 days of precipitation. And if you’re thinking of the Japanese capital’s famous cherry blossoms, remember you’ll be a few weeks late for those. Q: Can you recommend a good, relaxing island break in Malaysia? —gary manes, paris

A few kilometers off the west coast of Malaysia, Pangkor Laut is a relatively quiet getaway, with Pangkor Laut Resort (60-5/699-1100; pangkorlautresort.com; doubles from US$350) the accommodation of choice. The resort itself is 15 minutes from the main island and plays on its dense forest and secluded beach atmosphere. As well as garden villas, the resort also features a series of sea and spa villas perched on stilts over the water. what’s your travel question?

» E-mail us at editor@travelandleisuresea.com » Post queries at Facebook.com/TravelandLeisureAsia » Follow us on Twitter at @TravLeisureAsia

(Questions may be edited for clarity and space.)

c l o c k w i s e FROM t o p L EFT : d e a n k a u f m a n ; © N i c k R a v e n / i s t o c k p h o t o . c o m ; c o u r t e s y o f o u t & a b o u t w i n e t o u r s

Close to the Western Australian city are both the Swan Valley and Margaret River wine regions. Out & About Wine Tours (618/9377-3376; outandabouttours.com.au) offers day-long trips to Swan Valley covering five wineries (A$105 per person) or further afield, twice weekly, tours of four Margaret River wine makers (A$245 with lunch). If you’ve got enough time, the Margaret River tour is the better option, though it does involve a 12-hour day starting at 7.30 a.m. on Tuesdays or Thursdays. It also includes morning tea and a sampling at a local brewery.

Q: while thailand’s Songkran is FUN, I want to stay dry. where can I travel to that’s close by? —lucy horn, bangkok


vote for your 2011 favorites www.TLWorldsBest.com/intl For your favorite hotels, spas, airlines, cruise lines, travel companies and the destinations you love—in the only truly GLOBAL travel survey that matters! Dear Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia readers, We trust you. We trust your judgment. That’s why we want you to rate your global travel experiences for us, in the 2011 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. These awards are recognized as travel’s highest honor, so it’s time to give back to those hotels, spas, airlines, cruise lines, travel companies and destinations you love. And this year is a very special year, with readers of all global editions of Travel + Leisure now able to participate in the awards. So visit www.TLWorldsBest.com/intl and tell us exactly what you think. The full global results will be published in our August edition. Matt Leppard Editor-in-Chief Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia

]


Strategies travel smarter

How to get the best treatment around the globe Your a to z guide

Ever wonder why some travelers have all the luck? You know the ones we’re talking about: on packed flights, they always seem to score a seat at the front of the plane. Checking into hotels, they’RE upgraded to a larger room. And at restaurants, they get just the right table. we asked frequent travelers and industry insiders alike to let us in on their secrets. Here, 26 tips to getting better service on the road. By alexandra wolfe Illustrated by Brown Bird Design

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 27


strategies a to z service

Appearances do matter Airlines want people who look like they paid for a first- or business-class ticket in the front of the cabin, so dress appropriately if you want that elusive at-thegate upgrade. “A friend of mine was once bumped up to business class by a gate agent,” recalls George ­Hobica, founder of airfarewatchdog.com. “When he asked why, she simply said, ‘Because you’re wearing a suit.’ ”

be enthusiastic If you’re trying to secure a hard-to-get dinner reservation, ask for it in person. “That extra effort, showing us how important it is to you, doesn’t go unrecognized,” says Kevin Mahan, managing partner at New York City’s Gramercy Tavern.

carry local numbers Avoid dealing with long-distance calls to offices of airlines and car-rental agencies when you’re traveling abroad. Instead, use Skype (skype.com) or find out local numbers in advance.

Exercise the golden rule Some hotels offer cash rewards to employees who receive good marks on guest comment cards. Those people are likely to remember your praise when you return. On the other hand, if you’re rude to housekeeping, it “will be noted in your profile,” cautions Michael Rawson, the general manager of New York City’s Mercer Hotel.

28 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

Disarm them with a smile

“It’s the first thing I do no matter how stressful the situation,” says Lisa Sun, associate principal at ­McKinsey & ­Company. “People are so used to dealing with angry ­travelers. If you don’t make yourself into a ­human ­being, you become a transaction.”

find the freebies

Priceline recently introduced a new service called Hotel ­Freebies (priceline.com) that shows you which hotels are offering upgrades, complimentary breakfast and parking, spa credits and other such amenities.


Give them a reason

harness technology

...when asking hotels for an upgrade, says Bjorn Hanson, dean of the Tisch Center for Hospitality at New York University: “If you say, ‘I’m traveling alone with a child,’ hotels are much more likely to respond than

if you just say, ‘Do you have anything better?’ ”

Travel companies court—and reward—early adopters. Look for special sales and exclusive perks on e-mail newsletters and company Twitter feeds.

Speak up about your good experiences via social media, TripAdvisor, and other online review sites. (Hotels, especially, track these reviewers.) Use Foursquare (foursquare.com), ­Facebook Places and other mobile check-in services to demonstrate your loyalty—and reap the attendant deals and discounts.

Introduce yourself

One of the hardest parts of service is trying to intuit a guest’s tastes. Help your concierge out by explaining your specific style and aesthetic, says interior designer Lisa Jackson: “When I get to a hotel, I go straight to the concierge and tell him that I really like modern, chic, new and next. I say I want everything I do to fit into that theme.” Likewise, don’t be shy about telling your sommelier about your favorite recent wines, or letting your tour guide know of your hobbies and interests. The more they know, the more they can tailor the experience.

Keep it personal

If you’re moving from one hotel to another, ask the manager of your current property to make an introductory call on your behalf. See if the concierge knows someone at the restaurant where you’ll be dining, or if your travel agent is friendly with your cruise’s chief purser. You’ll be surprised how your social network grows.

Just ask

Car-rental agencies often have more economy reservations than they have vehicles, and are eager to hand out upgrades. “I recently swapped a Kia Optima for an enormous Chevy Traverse simply by asking at the Hertz counter in Baltimore,” says T+L’s Peter Jon Lindberg.

learn the language

Or at least a few key phrases. “It’ll help you develop a rapport with locals, and can get you insider access,” says Lorie Karnath, president of the Explorers Club. “I recently returned from the Marquesas Islands, where locals opened their doors to me thanks to my French.” » travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 29


strategies a to z service

make a good impression

note when offer up peak season is alternatives If you want special attention­—and the chance for a ­better cabin—

On a large cruise ship with thousands of passengers, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Make a good first impression, and bartenders, waitstaff and

stewards will remember you throughout the voyage. If you

do have a complaint or request, address it (nicely) to the staff member with whom you have a relationship or the operations manager for that department.

Quell your fears …of must-use tech products breaking down on the road. Buy extended warranties

and 24-hour support packages for faster service—no matter where you are.

remember names

Write down the name of everyone you deal with: reservationists, concierges and front-desk staff. If you have to follow up on a request or complaint, it pays to be able to reference the staffer with whom you originally spoke. 30 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

try booking your cruise during offpeak times.

Be creative in your requests. Some hotels may not be able to afford to give you a room discount, but they can offer you things that don’t cost them much, such as an airport pick-up, free valet parking or a resort credit, says Michael McCall, professor and chair of marketing at New York’s Ithaca College. Similarly, although airlines may not give business travelers a break on an airfare, they can offer frequent fliers a free day pass to their lounges.

PICK YOUR LOYALTIES WISELY

On average, about 70 to 80 percent of first-class seats are upgrades, says former American Airlines employee and senior director of TripAdvisor flights search Jami Counter. It pays to join an airline’s frequent-flier program—but not just any airline. Don’t pick a carrier headquartered in your city, because there will be a larger pool of elite fliers. “It’s a lot easier to get upgraded on airlines that are based elsewhere,” Counter says.

show them the money

“I always overtip,” says author Gay Talese, “especially at restaurants I want to go back to. I start with the maître d’.” »


strategies a to z service

travel like your mom

understand how a restaurant works Don’t call during the lunch and dinner rushes. “They’ll put you on hold for 20 minutes and then talk to you for five seconds,” says Marino Monferrato, general manager of Cecconi’s, in West Hollywood, California. And know that most restaurants are wary of the 7:30 dinner reservation. “If they seat

you then, they’ll only be able to get one seating at that table that night,” says Rocky Cirino, general manager of Marea, in New York. For a great table, you’re better off aiming for either 6:45 or 8:15 p.m.

“Talk to everyone—taxi drivers, doormen, anyone,” says Fred Dust, partner at Ideo. “It’s not so much about the questions, it’s about listening. My greatest tips come from something I learned through a longer conversation.”

vent productively

If you have a bad experience, refrain from firing off a nasty letter to the president of the company. Instead, do some online research to find out who the right person is, or post a note on an online message board. “Cruise lines, for example, are much more likely to respond to complaints on social networks, since they have staff who monitor those posts and report them to the higher-ups,” says cruisecritic.com editor Carolyn Spencer Brown.

Yelling doesn’t work. Trust us.

32 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

write a formal thank-you Had a good experience? Put it down on paper and send it to the general manager—and don’t be surprised if a bottle of champagne comes your way on your next visit.

x marks the spot

Finding the right seat on a plane is crucial. “I use seatguru.com to avoid bulkhead seats as well as ones that are drafty or narrower,” says Lisa Dennison, chairman for North and South America at Sotheby’s.

remain zen If all else fails, make this your travel mantra. ✚


newsflash your global guide to what’s happening right now...

The lagoon at Villa Samadhi.

hotel

Check-in: Kuala Lumpur

Just 15 minutes from Kuala Lumpur’s traffic-choked center, on a leafy street close to the city’s embassy district, you’ll find Villa Samadhi, a modern Malay retreat that makes it easy to forget city life altogether. Owners Federico and Maple Asaro—the couple behind the Japamala Resort, Malaysia’s first and only Relais & Chateaux property, as well as restaurants such as the famed Tamarind Springs—have handcrafted from scratch the kampung-inspired bolt-hole, with 28 haute-rustic guest rooms ranging from 55 to 185 square meters. All feature polished concrete, salvaged timber, plush bed linens, contemporary Asian artworks and outsize antique bathtubs, while some also offer private plunge pools or direct access to a central lagoon. At the exclusive-to-residents restaurant Mandi Mandi, chef Shiva Kumar reinterprets Malay flavors—we loved the lamb loin served in curry reduction, and the wok-fried fettuccine in garlic and soy. For those who want to complete their escape, the hotel can even arrange gourmet jungle picnics and mountain bike rides in nearby villages. Jln. Madge, off Jln. U-Thant; samadhiretreats.com; doubles from RM1,100. —bru no l e e

34 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

courtesy of villa samadhi

A small boutique hideaway is turning heads in Malaysia’s capital


Holiday Trips

ILLUSTRAT e d B Y r y a n h e s hk a

HAVE RESOLUTIONS, WILL TRAVEL

Looking to start 2011 on the right foot? Here, four trips to get you motivated. — c o l l e e n c l a r k stay Fit Ian Fleming penned the James Bond character at what is now the GoldenEye Hotel & Resort (goldeneye.com), which recently reopened in Jamaica. On-site trainer and Olympian Iona Wynter draws on 007’s athleticism with Jet Ski ab workouts and snorkel classes.

De-Stress In Ireland, due south of Dublin, Monart Destination Spa (monart.ie) helps guests get back to the ­day-to-day grind with physical ­therapy– inspired exercises that seek to improve posture at the desk, stimulate circulation and promote relaxation.

Quit Smoking ­Do away with nicotine for good at Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa (anantara. com), in Trang province in southern Thailand. A naturopathic doctor leads support sessions, treats withdrawal symptoms and recommends ayurvedic treatments.

rest up During the four- to seven-day sleepimprovement program at Design Hotels’ Hospes Maricel (­designhotels.com), in Majorca, ­doctors use electrodes to ­examine your REM cycles and spa technicians ­perform ­soporific oceanside ­massages.


newsflash  Shopping 

ALL ABOUT BAtik

Clockwise from left: Co-owner Katherine Dupps displaying Katherine Rally’s pillows; colorful textiles in the showroom; a tablecloth at Katherine Rally, in Bali.

At the table with chef Eric Sapet in Provence’s La Petite Maison. Below: A traditional market in Nice, France.

 tours 

a food lover’s road trip Foodies, take note: Michelin has gone beyond its guidebooks to launch a series of Food & Travel excursions in and around France with Canada-based tour operator Roadtrips—all customizable to suit your own taste. You can sample artisanal olive oils near Monaco at the private plantation that supplies chef Alain Ducasse—and dine at his Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo. Go truffle hunting in the Dordogne and spend the night at 12th-century monastery Le Château de la Fleunie. Or try traditional fare (suckling pig with chanterelles) at La Petite Maison in the medieval village of Curcuron, Provence. Next up? Trips in Italy, England and the United States. 1-204/9477189; michelinfoodandtravel.com; from US$1,ooo per person, all-inclusive.  —bree sposato

on the radar  

playboy in mACAU Itʼs a good time to be a bunny: not only does the Year of the Rabbit begin next month, but a certain iconic bunny-logoed brand has turned its attentions to Asia, with its first ever club in China unveiled this November. Sited at the Sands Macao, Playboy Club Macau heralds another hotly anticipated opening: the Playboy Mansion Macau, including a Hugh Hefner Villa, set to open in 2012. For now, the 1,115-squaremeter space offers cocktails (Playboy Woo Woo shooters; Fluffy Pink martinis), live music, DJ sets and private gaming rooms for big spenders. Thereʼs also a flock of winsome bunnies, decked out in cheongsam-inspired uniforms by Hong Kong fashion designer Pacino Wan, complete with trademark bunny ears, cotton tail, cuffs and bow tie. Largo de Monte Carlo No. 203; 853/2888-3388; playboymacao.com; drinks for two MOP240. —h e l e n da l l ey 36 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

A Playboy bunny entertains in the brand’s signature uniform.

c l o c kw i s e f r o m t o p l e f t : COURTESY O F K AT H ERINE RALLY ( 3 ) ; C o u r t e s y o f LA P ETITE MAISON ; COURTESY O F M i c h e l i n F o o d & T r a v e l ; c o u r t e s y o f p o m p e o p o s a r

Designers are reviving ­Indonesia’s centuries-old fabric with new dyeing techniques, materials and cuts. BALI You can spend an entire day browsing ­Seattle native Susi Johnston’s Icon Asian Arts (17 Jln. Oberoi, ­Seminyak; 62-361/733-875; iconasianarts. com), where shelves are filled with vibrant textiles from across Java. • American husband-and-wife team Katherine and Rally Dupps create bold geometric patterns for Katherine Rally (by appointment; 18 Jln. Kajeng; 62-87/860-580-964; katherinerally. com), their cheery line of pillows, table linens and wall hangings. JAKARTA Silk dresses in t­ urquoise, crimson and saffron, plus oneof-a-kind cashmere shawls, are the standouts at Bin House (10 Jln. Purworejo; 62-21/3193-4948; binhouse.com). —j e n n i f e r c h e n


tea time Clockwise from above left: At Amanfayun, in Hangzhou; the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai makes bespoke teas; Ceylon Tea Trails offers high tea in style.

drink

c l o c kw i s e f r o m t o p l e f t : c o u r t e s y o f A m a n f a y u n ; courtesy of four seasons; courtesy of Ceylon Tea Trails

TEA IN THE FIELDS Fancy a cuppa with a twist? Sample your next brew on location. CHINA In Hangzhou, the Jaya Ibrahim– designed Amanfayun (amanresorts.com/amanfayun) was once a tea plantation village; head to the woodbeamed He Tea House to sip delicately fragrant longjing (dragonwell) tea harvested from the surrounding fields. THAILAND Amid the lush rice paddies of the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai (fourseasons.com/chiangmai), sit down at a private pavilion and relax with the property’s own refreshing Thai-grown infusions (Chiang Rai oolong; Chiang Mai lemongrass). SRI LANKA Take afternoon tea to new heights on the green lawns of Ceylon Tea Trails (teatrails.com), 1,200 meters above sea level; converted from four colonial tea-planter bungalows built in 1890, the 20-room property offers an eye-opening Tea Experience, where guests learn the secrets behind artisanal black-tea making. — l a r a day


newsflash music

SINGAPORE sounds

shop

Clothes make the man

Audiophiles, rejoice: Australia’s most cuttingedge music festival lands in Asia on January 29, with the St. Jerome’s

T+L gets a sneak peek at London’s latest go-to spot for men’s fashion

Laneway Festival

Mats Klingberg at his new men’s boutique, Trunk Clothiers, in London.

A cabin on the Eastern & Oriental Express, left. Right: The train traverses some of Asia’s most stunning landscapes.

(singapore.lanewayfestival. com.au; tickets from S$109.50) in Singapore’s Fort Canning Park. The nine-act lineup includes the likes of Deerhunter, Beach House, Warpaint and the Temper Trap. Our tip? Book a stay next door at the newly opened Hotel Fort Canning

(hfcsingapore.com; doubles from S$295), an 86-room heritage property that was formerly the British Far East Command headquarters.—l . d.

journeys

on the rails

Train travel in Asia isn’t just for backpackers, as anyone who has experienced the Eastern & Oriental Express will know. For those who haven’t, now is the time to check into one of its luxuriously appointed cabins: from now until March 15, book a Classic Journey between Singapore and Bangkok or vice versa, and not only can you enjoy the best of the region by rail—stops along the way include a River Kwai cruise and a tour of historic Georgetown, in Penang—but you’ll also receive two free nights at one of seven ultra-luxurious Orient-Express hotels: Jimbaran Puri Bali, Ubud Hanging Gardens, La Residence d’Angkor, La Residence Phou Vao, the Governor’s Residence in Yangon and the Napasai. Be sure to complete your journey before October 11, when the offer expires. orientexpress.com; from US$2,320.—carol tse

38 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

Beach House. Below: Deerhunter.

c l o c kw i s e f r o m t o p l e f t : C o u r t e s Y O F TRUN K CLOT H IERS ; c o u r t e s y o f b e a c h h o u s e ; c o u r t e s y o f d e e r h u n t e r ; c o u r t e s y o f E & O

“Shopping in places like Italy and Japan is like going on a treasure hunt,” says Sweden-born Mats Klingberg about his inspiration for Trunk Clothiers, in London. “You discover amazing brands from all corners of the world, and I wanted to bring them together under one roof—with a personal touch.” Klingberg, who had previous stints at Nordiska Kompaniet, Sweden’s iconic department store, and Giorgio Armani, chose the sophisticated Marylebone neighborhood for his cozy (there’s even a log fireplace), Scandi-style men’s store. His highly curated collection— from wintry quilted jackets by Italian label Aspesi to lamb’s-wool cardigans from Beams+, of Tokyo—is lovingly handpicked on his travels around the globe. 8 Chiltern St.; 44-20/7486-2357; trunkclothiers.com.— k a t e b o w m a n


Courtesy of Osia

When it comes to fine dining and retail therapy, Singapore should be at the centre of your world.

Valrhona Hot Chocolate Soup at osia


ers favor Les Amis for its fine French-Asian fusion. Since 1994, this upmarket venue has been “an institution in fine dining, credited with putting Singapore on the world’s gourmet map,” according to Reuters. Iggy’s has consistently won consistently rave reviews for its four-course table d’hôte and eight-course degustation menus; listed in the prestigious San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2009. Another respected primer, The Miele Guide, also features Jaan, revamped into a Gallic nouvelle cuisine hotspot after chef Andre Chiang entered its kitchen in 2008.

I

n Singapore, one can also choose to browse food-focused locations rather than head to specific restaurants. Such diverse precincts include trendy Dempsey Hill, set among Tanglin Village’s 40 hectares of rolling lawns. Regulars reckon spicy Vintage India offers both the best food and service here, though some prefer fresh sashimi at Rakuichi. Meanwhile, Australia’s Jones the Grocer stocks premium artisan imports and classy readymade meals – while chefs also perform cooking live on site demos. Of additional note is The White Rabbit at Dempsey—a restaurant and bar housed within a beautiful old chapel. Located within heritage colonial bungalows in a lush

Clockwise from top left: © Iggy’s; © Les Amis; The Fullerton Hotel; © Jaan

ingapore is famous for being both the fiscal powerhouse and chief melting pot of Southeast Asia. Its oft-cited financial smarts are only increasing. And prosperity breeds good living – explaining Singapore’s ranking as top-scoring Asian city in Mercer’s influential annual Quality of Living Survey. As The Australian newspaper observed in August 2010, however, Singapore “has loads more than just duty-free shopping on offer … and you only have to scratch the surface a little to be well rewarded.” The prizes are not just astronomical – but literally gastronomical. Perhaps this is why the island regularly draws so many A-list chefs. They come to open restaurants, enjoy the unique local flavors – or likely both. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain told T+L that Singapore is “foodie heaven.” Having traveled the globe seeking the world’s standout eats, he sees the isle as “one of the more exciting places to eat … because of the heady, natural mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian.” He also commends the “strong and well-supported culture of street food and hawker centers.” When it comes to the multifarious restaurant scene, many din-


Clockwise from left: © Marina Bay Sands; Wynnie Kwok (2); © Iggy’s; © Singapore Tourism Board

this page, clockwise from top: Escargot aT THE SKY on 57; jones the grocer at dempsey hill; the colorful lounge at iggy’s; vibrant décor at chinois. Opposite page from top left: cold somen with caviar at Iggy’s; a dish at les amis; THE courtyard at the FULLERTON HOTEL; scallop, apple and hazlenut at jaan.

“I am delighted to be opening at Marina Bay Sands, to bring the flavour of my Sydney restaurant to Singapore’s vibrant and international community.” – Chef Tetsuya Wakuda garden setting, restaurants at Rochester Park offer another unique dining experience. Here, Roast specializes in “communal dining” set menu of entrees, pastas, roasts, salads, desserts and cheeses – all designed for sharing. Those who prefer the romance of waterfront dining can do so at the Fullerton Heritage precinct, consisting of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, The Fullerton Waterboat House, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, Clifford Pier, Customs House and One Fullerton. The latter presents a glass-and-steel structure housing swanky restaurants and bars, most offering magnificent views of Marina Bay. Eminent epicures are naturally turning their salivating attentions and rumbling stomachs towards the latest A-list dining set. An influx of international celebrity chefs is now mixing culinary magic in the Republic. Numerous personalities representing a veritable who’s who in today’s culinary world are launching their

first restaurants here, heightening Singapore’s taste factor on the global stage. According to Marina Bay Sands’ (MBS) CEO and President Thomas Arasi, “Singapore will become the culinary epicenter of Asia.” Little wonder he’s confident: a crack squadron of awardwinning international chefs is debuting signature eateries at MBS. Among the luminaries are TV’s Iron Chef America, Mario Batali, as well as Santi Santamaria and Wolfgang Puck. Then there is a brace of celebrated Gallicbon vivants – Daniel Boulud and Guy Savoy, whose eponymous Paris restaurant boasts the coveted three Michelin stars. Tetsuya Wakuda, hailed by some as Australia’s finest chef, has the only outpost to his acclaimed Sydney restaurant here. Atop the triple towers at Sands Skypark, local celebrity chef Justin Quek helms The Sky on 57. The good eating is not confined to the mainland. The island hosting Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) offers a variety of


W

hen appetites have been tantalized, stimulated and eventually sated, many opt to sample Singapore’s sprawling and multifaceted consumer culture. The island bristles with shopaholics utterly spoilt for choice. From luxury goods and trend-setting fashions to state-of-the-art technology, and everything in between, this is a consumerist

mecca. The main decision is where to start splurging. The Shoppes at MBS flaunts myriad high-end brands, like Breguet, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Gucci, Miu Miu, Tiffany & Co. and Yves Saint Laurent. Fashionistas can additionally peruse Louis Vuitton’s flagship boutique enshrined within MBS’ remarkable crystal pavilion. Also at the Marina Bay area, a pan-Asian-style wonderland can be found within the distinctively Japanese PARCO store at Millenia Walk. This 3-storey style emporium is a great place to source interesting threads. For example, on level two is the Next NEXT Fashion Incubator housing a showcase for the collections of promising local designers. Complementary fashion labels and boutiques from Korea, Japan and Hong Kong have also set up shop here. High-end boutiques nesting alongside niche designer labels are sums of the deal at RWS’ retail esplanade. Here avant-garde concept stores, like the breathtaking Chihuly Gallery of glassblown art, mingle with exclusive outlets, such as the unique Michael Graves Gallery, where the illustrious American architect and designer’s branded art, décor, fashion, and homeware are offered.

Clockwise from left: © Marina Bay Sands; Lynn Chen; © Chinois; © Jacetan | Dreamstime.com.

dining experiences, spanning a spectrum of tastes and flavors courtesy of more international kitchen maestros, in one destination. The names to drop start with Joël Robuchon, the world’s most Michelin-decorated chef, with 25 stars under his belt. His French haute cuisine can be sampled at three venues – Joël Robuchon Fine Dining, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and The Pastry Shop & Lounge – at RWS’ FestiveWalk waterfront. Other star chefs here include the Japanese master of haute Kaiseki cuisine, Kunio Tokuoka, at all-suite hotel Crockfords Tower. Australian chef Scott Webster is re-inventing his famous London restaurant Osia under the same roof. Meanwhile, boutique Hotel Michael boasts Chinois by Susur Lee – dubbed one of “Ten Chefs of the Millennium” by Food & Wine magazine, and “a culinary genius” by the world-famous Zagat Survey.


Clockwise from left: © Osia; © Choo Yut Shing (2).

Discerning rack browsers will love Luxury Fashion, which collates over 45 stores for a seamless shopping experience, offering on-the-spot tax refunds for tourists. Talk about streamlined retail therapy. Entries debuting here include Victoria’s Secret, the first branch of outside of the US, Canali, Damiani and Swiss Watch Gallery. Over at Orchard Road, Singapore’s premier shopping belt, the massive ION Orchard offers a host of top luxury brands and concept stores all under one roof. Aesthetes will find its color-shifting canvas media wall and permanent art gallery appealing. ION Sky, the observation deck on the 55th and 56th floors offers a panoramic view of the area. “You can’t find better people-watching than on Orchard Road every Saturday afternoon, when it seems like every Singaporean crawls out of the woodwork to join the parade of shoppers, strollers, hipsters, posers, lovers, geeks, and gabbers,” says Frommers Singapore. “Everybody is here, milling around every mall, clustered around every sidewalk bench, checking everybody else out.” Look within the renovated and re-branded five-star Grand Park Orchard hotel’s herringbone-designed glass facade, for

this page, clockwise from below; seafood ice experience at osia; mandarin gallery; the victoria’s secret store at rws. Opposite page from top left: the ShopPEs AT MBS; penne with truffle from justin quek; ion orchard; stufffed crab claw at chinois.

example, and this is where you find Knightsbridge, named after London’s premier socialite address, promises timeless chic and classic style in the most refined surroundings. Another must-visit destination in this vicinity is the sleek Mandarin Gallery. Sophisticated accoutrements like Just Cavalli, Vertu and Montblanc lure punters within, along with Singapore’s most famous fashion designer, Ashley Isham’s boutiques. 313@somerset, meanwhile, features eight levels of shopping, dining as well as leading lifestyle stores. And from Autumn, Orchard Building will serve as “the perfect first step” into Southeast Asia for Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), according to CEO KarlJohan Persson. For quirkier finds and vintage duds look no further than the increasingly popular Haji Lane. An experience akin to a mix ‘n’ match treasure hunt, there you’ll find rows of adorable local boutiques brimming with local designs, all at great prices. There is also Ann Siang Road, a slice of bohemia nestling amid Singapore’s bustling financial district. Tucked away behind old shophouse facades lie an amalgamation of designer boutiques, niche bookstores, patisseries, and


clockwise from top left: a quirky shop at haji lane; Michael Graves gallery; the nordic shop in ann siang hill; the next next fashion incubator at PARCO; the rooftop terrace at the screening room.

“You can’t find better peoplewatching ... when everybody joins the parade of shoppers.” – Frommers Singapore

Essentials Les Amis 1 Scotts Road, #02-16, Shaw Centre; www.lesamis.com.sg

Rakuichi 10, Dempsey Road, #01-22; www.rakuichi.com.sg

Marina Bay Sands 10 Bayfront Avenue; www.marinabaysands.com

Knightsbridge 270 Orchard Road; www.knightsbridge.com.sg

Iggy’s The Hilton Hotel, 581 Orchard Road, Level 3; www.iggys.com.sg

Jones the Grocer 9, #01-12, Dempsey Road; www.jonesthegrocer.com

Resorts World Sentosa 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island; www.rwsentosa.com

Mandarin Gallery 333 Orchard Road; www.mandaringallery.com.sg

Jaan Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissotel the Stamford; www.equinoxcomplex.com Vintage India 10, #01-21, Dempsey Road; www.palatevine.com.sg

The White Rabbit 39C, Harding Road; www.thewhiterabbit.com.sg Roast 1 Rochester Park; www.onerochester.com

PARCO 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk; www.parco.com.sg

The Fullerton Heritage Fullerton Road; www.thefullertonheritage.com

ION Orchard 2 Orchard Turn; www.ionorchard.com

313@somerset 313 Orchard Road; www.313somerset.com.sg The Screening Room: 12 Ann Siang Road; www.screeningroom.com.sg

Clockwise from top left: © Fullerton Hotel; Courtesy of RWS; Courtesy of Parco; © Singapore Tourism Board; © Marina Bay Sands.

the Screening Room cinema with its rooftop bar. So set the pace or simply go with the flow with this smorgasbord of diverse delights. This city-state really does offer abundant opportunities for every visitor to fashion his or her own personal, rewarding – and uniquely Singaporean – experience.


insider

destinations trends restaurants + more

the next ‘it’ destinations.

whether you’re a sybarite or an adventurer, T+L spotlights four up-and-coming Places where you should be going this year

The Potala Palace, in Lhasa, Tibet.

© J e r e m y E dwa r ds / i sto c k p h oto.co m

lhasa, tibet

Few places feel so enticingly remote as Lhasa, surrounded by the Himalayas, cloaked in ­Tibetan Buddhism and—at 3,650 meters—one of the highest cities in the world. Now this mystical destination is not just for the backpacker set, thanks to the month-old St. Regis Lhasa Resort (22 Jiangsu Rd.; 86-891/680-8888; stregis.com; doubles from US$253; dinner for two US$57), the first of a handful of new hotels that are upping the ante on luxury on Tibet’s CHINA windswept plateau (Shangri-La N Tibet and InterContinental are on the Lhasa NEPAL horizon for 2012). The hotel pays homage to local architecture INDIA with sloping white façades and Indian Ocean long, narrow windows. All 162 1046 km 0 guest rooms are decorated with

latticed-wood furniture and photographs depicting local daily life; many rooms face the iconic Potala Palace. If you’re having trouble adapting to the altitude, the resort’s Iridium Spa promises to melt away any malaise with a massage using the region’s cypress and azalea herbs. The on-site Si Zi Kang restaurant serves Tibetan-­Nepalese dishes such as shamdey, a yak-and-potato stew served with pag (handmolded barley cakes). A short stroll from the property is the seventh-­century Jokhang ­Temple, which houses Tibet’s most sacred statue of ­the Buddha. A few steps east you’ll find a warren of market stalls selling handmade turquoise earrings and silk thangka paintings. For top-quality artisanal crafts, head to Dropenling Handicrafts Center ( 11 Chak Tsal Gang Rd.; tibetcraft.com), a nonprofit shop selling everything from scarves made from soft yak hair to embroidered door curtains. —c h r i s t o p h e r k u c w a y travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 45


insider where to go next

kimberley, australia

The rust-colored landscape in northwestern Australia is as wild as it gets—it’s one of the last frontiers in a country known for having plenty of rugged, off-the-­ beaten-path areas. Until recently, mostly archaeologists and thrill seekers ventured into the ­K imberley’s untouched territory (roughly three times the size of the U.K.), which has over 3,000 kilometes of virgin coastline and caves with ­Aboriginal paintings said to date back 40,000 years. That’s all changing now that more cruise vessels are dropping anchor along the Kimberley’s rugged shore. The most notable among them is the 106-passenger Orion of Orion Expedition ­Cruises (877/ 674-6687; orionexpeditions.com; 10 nights

from A$7,840), which has 53 lightfilled cabins—some with private balconies—and marble-clad bathrooms. After a stop in Broome, the region’s largest town, with white-sand beaches and 19th-century Japanese-style architecture dating to the heyday of the area’s pearl industry, it’s all wet landings: ­Zodiac boats are your only transportation to the natural wonders that await. You’ll travel up a ­wildlife-filled river to King George Falls, the mightiest waterfalls on the Kimberley coast, and make an ex­cur­sion to ­Montgomery Reef, where green sea turtles, sharks and rays can be spotted in the waters below. Just be sure to take lots of pictures— there’s no place to buy a postcard. —sherri eisenberg

zambia, central africa 

Democratic Republic of the congo

ZAMBIA Lusaka

Lower Zambezi National Park 0

257 km

N South Luangwa National Park

zimbabwe

A private veranda at Bushcamp Company’s Chindeni tented camp, in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.

46 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

N The Kimberley

AUSTRALIA Sydney Indian Ocean 0

Canberra

805 km

Reddell Beach, in Broome, Australia.

Raw and undeveloped, the game-rich nation of Zambia has long attracted veteran travelers for its rugged walking safaris and rustic bush lodges, but it has remained relatively under the radar. Now, with a handful of major safari players entering the scene, the country is poised to become the next great African destination. In June, ­Sanctuary Retreats ­(sanctuaryretreats.com; from US$550 per person per night) will open Zebra Plains, four luxe tents—vintage campaign furniture; an old-world library— on South Luangwa ­National Park’s eponymous river, which is frequented by elephants, leopards and giraffes. ­Eco­ tourism operator Wilderness Safaris (wilderness-safaris.com; from US$530 per person) has expanded to Victoria Falls with Toka Leya, where 12 tents on a riverbank are linked by teak

walkways. The best of a handful of new camps along the Zambezi River, known for its adventurous canoe tours, is Sanctuary’s Zambezi Kulefu, where a large pavilion is lit with lanterns at dinnertime. Not to be outdone, the smaller, familyowned operators are revamping their long-established bases as well. Bushcamp ­Company ­(bushcampcompany.com; from US$350 per person), which pioneered South Luangwa walking safaris with N ­ orman Carr Safaris (­normancarrsafaris. com; from US$432 per person per night) and Robin Pope Safaris (robinpopesafaris.net; from US$400 per person per night), has renovated all six of its park camps, most stunningly at Zungulila, where four thatchedroof dwellings have canopy beds and plunge pools facing the antelope-filled plain.   —d o u g l a s r o g e r s

F ROM TOP : C o u r t e s y o f T o u r i s m W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a ; C o u r t e s y o f B u s h c a m p C o m p a n y


san miguel de allende, mexico

D av e L a u r i d s e n

With its colonial architecture and cobblestoned streets, San Miguel de Allende may be a model for historic preservation, but a recent influx of ­innovative restaurants, art spaces and ­hotels is adding a vibrant modern edge to this unesco-­ protected city. The most telling sign of the city’s evolution? The new Rosewood San Miguel de ­Allende (11 Nemesio Diez; 888/767-3966; ­rosewoodhotels.com; doubles from M$3,659), the first international luxury resort, tucked away on four palm-studded acres near the historic center. Handcarved furniture from Guadalajara decorates the 67 guest rooms, some of UNITED N STATES which have verandas Gulf of Mexico facing the GothicMEXICO San Miguel inspired La Parroquia de Allende Mexico City cathedral, while public Pacific Ocean 483 km 0 spaces evoke a hacienda

with arcaded walkways and courtyards. Design aficionados will fall for Fábrica La Aurora (­Colonia Aurora; fabricalaaurora.com), a 1902 factory turned art center a 10-minute walk from downtown, with more than two dozen contemporary galleries and boutiques that showcase the region’s best artisans. Stop in at ­Superficie for colorful tiles made in the nearby town of Dolores Hidalgo, famous for its pottery. At creative Café Rama (7 Calle Nueva; 52415/154-9655; lunch for two M$210), a bustling downtown lunch spot, try international dishes (Andalusian pulled-pork sandwich) with indigenous ingredients (crunchy jicama). After dark, follow well-heeled locals to the laid-back terrace bar La Azotea (6 Umarán; 52-415/152-8265; drinks for two M$160) and try the cactus martini, a ­tequila-andvodka concoction blended with Cointreau, lemon and cranberry. —c a t e s b y h o l m e s

The rooftop tapas bar at Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 47


insider cool jobs

PACHYDERM CHAMPION. Meet John

Roberts, the director of elephants at two luxury thai resorts. By Lara Day

D

evon-born John Roberts never expected to become a champion of Thailand’s elephants. “I’d done volunteering at national parks in Australia and the U.S., and spent five years working on tiger conservation at Chitwan National Park, in Nepal,” he says. “Anantara wanted to do something different with a new resort close to Chiang Rai, and we talked about a few concepts.” That was back in 2003, when everything was trial and error—literally. Says Roberts: “I had a three-month trial period. I didn’t speak a word of Thai. When I arrived, I thought it was a bit like Chitwan, but there were no wild tigers or rhinos. There was a lot to learn.” Not that he lacked in ambition. “I wanted to prove a camp could be

48 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

relevant without doing anything that smacked of a gimmick, and give mahouts and elephants an alternative to walking the streets.” Now, seven years later, Roberts speaks Thai fluently and goes by the grand title of director of elephants at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa (goldentriangle.anantara.com) and the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle (fourseasons.com/goldentriangle), which opened in 2006; both donate his time to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. “Now many other places are offerings similar experiences, but we were the first,” he says. “And while our guests learn what it’s like to be a mahout, they also have the advantage of creature comforts every day, so they don’t go home feeling like they’ve run a marathon.” It’s not just guests who benefit from the program. Mahouts get lodging, food, schooling for children and even insurance for their elephant. “We don’t own the elephants, so our existence depends on the mahouts wanting to be here,” Roberts explains. “We can’t guarantee that they won’t go back onto the streets, but that only happened once, in 2006—not a bad track record.” These days, Roberts works with scientists on research projects such as the Thai Elephant Therapy Project at Chiang Mai University, in addition to his hands-on duties at the camp of 30odd pachyderms. “We do have a village of 65 adults, and I’m chief of the village,” he says. “If there’s a problem, I’m there, even if that means waking up at 3 a.m. to track down a missing elephant.” Amazingly, Roberts insists that his job is a lot like working in an office. “I write e-mails, update my blog, go on Twitter, too much Twitter,” he laughs, adding: “It’s good for us to know what the world thinks about elephants. There’s a lot of misinformation.” But he admits the work has some unique payoffs: “This is the only job I’ve had where if I’ve had a stressful day at work, I can take a baby elephant down to the river to unwind.” ✚

l e f t: c a r o l st e v e n s o n p h oto g r a p h y

John Roberts with a baby elephant, left. Right: Mahout training at Anantara’s elephant camp.


insider detour Sunrise over Bali Teak Farms, in Jelantik.

HEART OF BALI. For a taste of authentic island life,

escape the coastline and head to a family-run teak farm just two hours from denpasar. By Sara Schonhardt

T

he gods have been good to Jelantik. Far away from the heaving nightclubs and touristthronged beaches of Bali’s coast— and less than two hours from Denpasar—this verdant patch at the island’s center is fragrant with siren-red banana torch flowers and the pink and purple pacha petals that pepper daily temple offerings. Behind an expanse of bright green rice paddies, tall stands of teak offer a clue to what you’ll find here: the delightful Bali Teak Farms (62-813/3859-9889; baliteakfarms.com; day tours from US$45, including picnic lunch), where small groups of visitors are welcome to visit for a day or more. Farm director Sayu Made Putri planted her first 50 teak trees in Jelantik six years ago, sparking a business that has grown to 36,000 trees in more than a dozen locations, as well as vanilla, cacao and coffee. “I’m always happy to see my trees,” says Sayu, who started the farm as a hobby and now employs local farmers to clear and care for the land. “I enjoy giving opportunities to small farmers because I know I can keep them working here in their village rather than in Denpasar.” Now, she gives visitors a chance to get an insider’s glimpse into Balinese village life—and learn a thing or two about farming—as they 50 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

A teak tree at the farm.

wander among teak saplings on the compound or take guided walks through native forest or rice fields. From Apuan, a winding path leads to a teak grove where coffee plants and creeping vanilla vines thrive. Ready to get your hands dirty? Hop barefoot into a paddy and help out with planting rice. Further along, a Campuan Ridge walk takes you to a hidden temple A Bali Teak Farms guide close to where two trickling creeks converge, picks edible plants during followed by a ridge-top teak gazebo, which sets a walk in Jelantik. the scene for a picnic lunch—we had tempeh, rice and water spinach, though the farm caters to personal preferences—laid out on traditional banana leaves. Down at the Yeh Sungi River, bathe beneath a gentle waterfall, then drop by the village market and pick up local snacks like crispy lonteng garing, made of cassava, tapioca and soybeans. And, for those who want to stay Food for the gods, on overnight, there’s a modest cottage attached to an offering tray. Sayu’s family home. Jelantik’s charm lies in its minutiae: small Hindu ceremonies; courtyard cockfights; tiny palmleaf offerings to Bali’s hundreds of deities (yes, there is a god of trees). Thankfully, you can take a slice of it home with you, in a teakwood gift box filled with farm-grown coffee, vanilla and organic paper. ✚ A morning prayer offering. Photographed by Melanie Wood


insider preservation living history From left: Manila Hotel’s lobby continues to impress; the hotel’s Art Deco façade.

Manila’s Grande Dame. As the

fabled Manila Hotel gears up for its 100th anniversary, T+L takes a behind-thescenes look at the property’s past, present and future. By Lara Day

52 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

L

egend has it that Ernest Hemingway, when quizzed by a reporter on the secret to strong storytelling, replied: “It’s a good story if it’s like Manila Hotel.” Granted, the simile was elliptical—its resonance depends on whether you’ve stayed there, as Hemingway did in 1941 with his new wife Martha Gellhorn, who left him four years later. But even looking at the hotel’s history, it’s clear it shares many of the elements of a rewarding novel: character, setting and style, not to mention plenty of back story and intrigue. The property began as a fantasy. In 1904, American urban planner Daniel Hudson Burnham, the man behind Chicago, envisioned a stately seaside boulevard culminating in a grand hotel as part of his master plan for the Philippine capital under U.S. occupation. For better or worse, the Burnham Plan never came to fruition, but the dreamed-about Manila Hotel opened its doors in 1912, with a green pitched roof, a resplendent lobby, 99 guest rooms and an upscale California mission aesthetic, realized by École des Beaux-Arts– trained New York architect William Parsons, and taking pride of place on Manila Bay’s famed crescent, close to the Spanish walled citadel of Intramuros. In many ways, Manila Hotel was ahead of its time. “It set the standard for hotels in the region,” says Filipino artist Carlos Celdran, whose hugely popular historical walking tours were for a time offered in conjunction with a stay at the hotel. “It had the most modern American amenities available such as CocaCola, ice and air-conditioning. It was the first air-conditioned hotel in Asia.” What’s more, the place had—and has—a deep-rooted cultural significance. Says Celdran: “It was Manila; the national guestroom, so to speak. Anyone who » Photographed by Philipp Engelhorn


insider preservation

philippine chic Clockwise from

below: The MacArthur suite at Manila Hotel; the Champagne Room; stylish Dedon Orbit loungers by the hotel pool.

was anyone who came to visit someone who was somebody stayed at Manila Hotel.” To this day, the hotel’s guest list reads like a roll call of glittering 20th century icons. Think, in no particular order, Neil Armstrong, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Brooke Shields, John F. Kennedy, Marlon Brando, Prince Charles, Nelson Mandela and, of course, General Douglas MacArthur, who resided here with his family between 1936 and 1941, before it was seized by Japanese troops during World War II (nowadays, the sprawling bayview MacArthur suite features a replica of the general’s original penthouse study and comes with a personal butler for US$2,500 a night). But, as with any good tale, there’s no light without shade. The hotel saw its darkest hour in 1945, when, as one of the Philippine capital’s last Japanese strongholds, it became the site of fierce, floor-by-floor fighting. The damage to the property took years to repair, and despite a full refurbishment in 1975 helmed by the venerable Filipino architect Leandro V. Locsin, 54 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

including a new tower wing resulting in a total of 500 guest rooms, the hotel’s grandeur slowly waned. Interiors grew threadbare; standards slipped; newer, shinier properties rose up in gleaming Makati, luring visitors away from Manila’s historic heart with five-star luster. For all its vaunted history, Manila Hotel couldn’t survive on nostalgia alone. Thankfully, the past two years have seen a turn in its fortunes. In 2008, long-awaited renovations began in preparation for the hotel’s centennial anniversary on October 6, 2012. Today, the marble lobby’s red carpet may have seen better days, but its brass-and-capiz chandeliers and vaulted mahogany ceiling are sparkling, the new spa and gym dazzling, the outdoor pool and garden reimagined with designer Orbit seats and lush tropical planting, and the rooms smartly updated with free Wi-Fi, L’Occitane amenities and waterproof LCD TV’s in the bathrooms. There’s also a splashy new Chinese restaurant, Mabuhay Palace, but we prefer the newly reopened Café Ilang-Ilang, a choice spot for Filipino high tea, and, for those with cause to celebrate, the perennially stunning Champagne Room, which offers a taste of the cosmopolitan Manila of yore (its Asianinflected French cuisine is served amid twinkling crystal-chandelier trees). It will be another year before the hotel completes its makeover, but for now, we look forward to its next chapter. One Rizal Park; 63-2/527-0011; manila-hotel.com.ph; doubles from US$300. ✚


insider tech

5:30 P.M. Locals on the Calle de Fuencarral pedestrian mall, which the author found by using the mTrip Madrid app.

The digital guide. One man, one iPhone, one unfamiliar

European city and 1,000 apps (at least!): Justin Peters goes to Madrid to test the limits of smartphone travel

6 p.m. The author used the Viewlity app to find ATM’s near the Puerta del Sol.

56 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

t h e i P h o n e i s a t r a d e m a r k o f a p p l e i n c . s pa i n i m ag e s co u rt e sy o f j u st i n p e t e r s

11:30 p.m. Madrid’s Puerta de Alcalá, identified in real time via the Cyclopedia app.


T

he iphone is decidedly not a Spanish invention. Unlimited instant mobile connectivity is perhaps not essential in a country that traditionally takes a three-hour nap in the middle of the workday. Over the past few years, though, mobile developers have released numerous smartphone apps for travelers: apps that can help you navigate any subway; GPS-equipped restaurant guides; directions to hospitals with 24-hour emergency rooms. Using your smart phone for travel is like having a very intelligent tour guide in your pocket at all times. I wanted to find out how advanced smart-phone travel really was. So I booked a flight to Madrid— using the Wanderlust app, one of the few that lets you purchase your plane ticket without being redirected to a website—and resolved to surrender my will to my iPhone. I’d use it to take pictures, to translate unfamiliar phrases, to wake me up in the morning. For three days, I would not tour, drink or dine anywhere unless an app brought me there. This might seem a risky prospect, but I wasn’t worried, as my phone is both smarter and more attractive than I am. Arriving in Madrid, I made my way toward the Plaza de Santa Ana, a lively central square filled with literary monuments, outdoor cafés, and, late at night, enterprising vagrants who will sell you cans of beer for one euro apiece. Using an app from booking.com, I had secured a room at the ME Madrid Reina ­Victoria, a grand early-20thcentury building retrofitted into ultramodernity that anchors the plaza’s west end. The desk clerk greeted me with a disconcertingly cheerful grin and informed me that he had absolutely no record of my reservation. Although he eventually found it—thanks to an app called TripIt, which had stored all of my travel data and confirmation numbers—this was my first indication that many travel apps are still in their beta phase. A tapas-finder app called De Tapas por Madrid often gave excellent recommendations, yet tended to omit crucial contextual details, such as “Does a tapas bar prominently advertise Long Island iced tea in its window?” and “Are the menus laminated, and in English?” And while the mTrip mobile travel app provided step-by-step directions to the Museo de Historia, which is dedicated to Madrid’s urban history, it failed to mention that the museum was closed for renovations until March.

Perhaps most exciting are the many dedicated “augmented reality” (AR) apps, which promise to enhance your experience by sending you relevant information as you travel through a city. These apps use your phone’s GPS signal to determine your physical location. Like RoboCop on a vacation, you hold up your phone as if you’re taking a photograph and information appears on your screen as you walk: historical facts about nearby landmarks; the location of the nearest ATM; your proximity to other people who are also using augmented-reality apps. Their day is definitely coming, but it’s not here yet. The AR apps that I tested proved difficult to use and ultimately not all that helpful. Case in point: I was excited to use the Cyclopedia app, which displays relevant Wikipedia entries as you walk through a city. I was less excited to learn that there are proportionally nowhere near as many geo-tagged Wikipedia articles about real-world places as there are about, say, Star Wars characters. Walking down the Paseo del Prado, the Cyclopedia app was showing me entries for landmarks several miles away. Either the data set for Madrid was limited or Cyclopedia’s ability to access that data was limited; either way, it made the app less useful. Once you adjust your expectations, however, travel apps can still enhance your trip. Its occasional failing notwithstanding, I ultimately found the mTrip Madrid guidebook to be a great mobile guide to the city. The company makes them for 17 cities worldwide; they let you create an itinerary based on length of stay and hotel ­location or travel interests and design an on-the-fly tour that leads you to nearby restaurants and attractions. One afternoon I rode up to the Canal stop in northern Madrid and started walking, letting the mTrip guide my steps. In this way, I found the lovely Museo Sorolla, which focuses on the works of the turn-of-the-20th-century Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida and housed in his beautifully preserved villa on the outskirts of a leafy residential neighborhood. Museo ­Sorolla should be a key stop on any Madrid trip—and yet I ­never would have found it if the phone hadn’t brought me there. Aside from enhancing your actual touring, apps can go into greater depth on small matters than any guidebook ever would. One app, Taxi Madrid, takes your current location and your intended destination and calculates how much the fare » travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 57


insider tech should be and how long it should take to get there. (My trip to the airport cost €29, almost exactly as much as the app said it should.) Another one, from a company called Viewlity, told me how far I was from the nearest banks, ATM’s, gas stations, fast-food restaurants and movie theaters. And the amazing SpanishDict app is not only a handy Spanish-English dictionary, it also includes a list of pre­recorded Spanish phrases that your phone will pronounce for you at the touch of a button. ¡Encantado, SpanishDict! At night, my phone became a valuable guide to tapas bars. Lack of contextual details aside, De Tapas por Madrid organized restaurants by district, subway stop and proximity, offering a synopsis of each one’s specialty. One night, using the app, I toured the upscale ­Salamanca neighborhood, stopping for tapas at a series of restaurants, each of which seemed to be a neighborhood secret—cod, caramelized onions and beer at Taberna de la Daniela; cheese, gazpacho and beer at El Olivar de ­Ayala; croquetas and wine at Estay. And yet by merely eating, drinking and scurrying to find new places at which to eat and drink, I was missing what seemed to be the true point of tapas: the social interactions that go with them. In restaurants across the city, I was inevitably hunched in a corner, rapidly eating chorizo as I scrolled through my iPhone, searching for information about other tapas bars I could visit that night. Used obsessively, ­iPhone touring promotes antisocial behavior, which isn’t Spanish in the slightest. I was almost hit by cars four times in three days, each time because I was engrossed in something on my phone’s screen. Traveling in this manner, you will inevitably spend more time looking at your phone than looking at the city—an irresponsible practice anywhere, but positively unforgivable in Madrid. Luckily, there was an app for that. Two hours later, I was sitting in Fresno 75, a small restaurant in the northern part of the city, one of the participants in the “Inglés y Tapas” Meetup. I had found the Meetup using the Wikitude AR app, and was sitting among a group of Spaniards who wanted to improve their English and an American tourist killing time before her friend arrived at the airport. The tapas came: chopitos—small bits of fried squid; lacón gallego—cured ham from Galicia thinly 58 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

7 p.m. Early-evening tapas at the Mercado de San Miguel, a gastronomic food hall near Plaza Mayor—a Wikitude app recommendation.

sliced and dusted with spices; a savory tortilla española; and tinto de verano, wine diluted with soda water, a tactical beverage meant to prolong one’s sobriety across a long night of eating. The food was delicious but, for once, it was secondary to the conversation. The country’s economy is in shambles, with almost 20 percent unemployment. And yet my new friends seemed confident that everything would be OK, eventually. “We will work it out because we are Spanish, and the ­Spanish people survive everything,” said one woman, and the rest of the table agreed. I pulled out my phone to jot down the quote, and then returned it to my pocket. I would need it later, but right now there was food and conversation, and I didn’t want to miss it. I was finally in Spain. ✚


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48 hours

insider

In Parkhurst, the Attic restaurant.

L

ong known as a quick overnight stop for safari-bound travelers, Johannesburg has evolved into a dynamic metropolis worthy of an extended layover. Though the city famously imploded in the 1990’s, Jo’burg has reemerged with a thriving arts and culture scene, thanks to the innovative designers and developers who have led the city’s revivification. Plus, last summer’s World Cup brought new infrastructure and a clutch of sophisticated hotels and restaurants.

DAY 1 CHECK IN The all-suite Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas & Spa (36 Saxon Rd.; 27-11/292-

jo’burg on the rise. South

Africa’s largest city has  become its creative  hub,  with stylish hotels and restaurants  to match. By Diane Vadino 

Photographed by David Cicconi

6000; thesaxon.com; doubles from R8,282), set on 2.4 hectares of landscaped gardens in the northern Sandhurst neighborhood, is just a 15-minute train ride from the O. R. Tambo International Airport, thanks to the new Gautrain (gautrain.co.za; R99) mass-­transit system. The Saxon is where Nelson ­Mandela completed his book Long Walk to Freedom following his release from prison in 1990. In nearby Sandton, just steps from the Gautrain, the ­GREAT VALUE Radisson Blu ­Gautrain (Rivonia Rd. at West St.; 27-11/286-1000; radissonblu.com; doubles from R1,305) opened in May, with bright, spacious guest rooms and a popular outdoor terrace. Another recent arrival is the sleek Radisson Blu Hotel ­Sandton (Rivonia Rd. at Daisy St.; 27-11/245-8000; ­radissonblu.com; doubles from R2,485). All 290 guest rooms have large windows that overlook the skyline and surrounding veld. LUNCH Hop in a cab for a five-minute drive to » travelandleisureasia.com | January 2011 61


insider 48 Hours Sandton

n Ja

S

m ut s

Av e.

Sandhurst parkhurst

Melrose

Parktown north rosebank Namibia

botswana

Johannesburg

Atlantic Ocean

South Africa

M1

Pretoria

Indian Ocean

N

braamfontein 0

1.75 km

A penthouse suite at the Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton, above. Left: The lounge at the Saxon Boutique Hotel, in Sandhurst.

Moemas (Third Ave. at Seventh Ave.; 27-11/7887725; lunch for two R170), a pocket-size café and bakery in upscale Parktown North. Photo-ready sweets like raspberry-coulis meringues and bread-and-butter pudding are the top sellers— but don’t skip the inventive salads, such as dillinfused couscous with butternut squash and caramelized onions. ART The burgeoning gallery district in Parkhurst is anchored by David Krut Art Resource (140 Jan Smuts Ave.; 27-11/447-0627;

davidkrutpublishing.com), which hosts rotating exhibitions by experimental artists including U. K.-born painter and sculptor Boo Ritson, and has a well-curated selection of art books. Stop nearby at design studio Maker (142 Jan Smuts Ave.; 27-11/447-6680; makerstudio.co.za) to see furniture and ceramics by cutting-edge local product designers such as Dokter & Misses. Gallery 2 (140 Jan Smuts Ave.; 27-11/447-0155; gallery2.co.za) recently relocated here from Sandton—look for colorful woodblock prints by Western Cape native Joshua Miles. Across the street is a branch of the country’s premier Goodman Gallery (163 Jan Smuts Ave.; 2711/788-1113; goodman-gallery.com), which represents established regional artists such as ­Kudzanai Chiurai, an exiled Zimbabwean painter based in Johannesburg. In neighboring Rosebank, striking Circa on ­Jellicoe (2 Jellicoe Ave.; 27-11/788-4805; ­circaonjellicoe.co.za), known for contemporary South African art, is surrounded by 400 nine-meter-tall variegated aluminum “fins” that reference a protective Zulu kraal, or livestock enclosure. DINNER Parkhurst’s restaurant row along Fourth Avenue is a rare walkable block of the city, with everything from sushi to rustic Italian fare. The casual, antiques-filled Attic (Fourth Ave. and 10th St.; 27-11/880-6102; dinner for two R398) serves an eclectic menu (French guinea fowl risotto; ­Namibian mussels; Scottish salmon) ­inspired by the travels of globe-trotting owners Thom Hughes and Martin ­Jacoby. DAY 2 BREAKFAST The revitalized eastern edge of

the Central Business District is now home to Arts on Main, a stylish shopping and gallery complex that’s lured top local artists such as 62 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com


multimedia icon ­William Kentridge, who opened studios here. Snag a table in the treeshaded central courtyard at C ­ anteen (2452 Main St.; 27-11/334-5947; breakfast for two R185) for the “Canteen breakfast,” with eggs, lamb sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes. culture The Apartheid Museum (Northern Pkwy. at Gold Reef Rd.; 27-11/309-4700; apartheidmuseum.org), south of the city center, is an invaluable primer on apartheid-era race divisions, as well as the 19th-century gold rush that brought prospectors from around the world. Traveling shows have included a recent cut-paper silhouette installation by New York City–based artist Kara Walker. LUNCH Head back into town for lunch at the

Melrose Arch mall location of mini-chain Tashas (Shop No. 14, Melrose Arch; 27-11/6841781; lunch for two R227), Jo’burg’s liveliest lunch spot, and take in the scene over the thyme and white wine–infused chicken pot pie, made fresh on order and served with crisp fries. SHOPPING Jo’burg has no shortage of malls, but the 44 Stanley (44 Stanley Ave.; 27-11/482-4444; 44stanley.co.za) complex, in Milpark, has the area’s best shopping, thanks to its many boutiques that showcase creative young talent. Be sure to check out the breezy, sophisticated dresses and shirts by local Tiaan Nagel and the retro furnishings—restored record players and old wall clocks—at Vintage Cowboys. DINNER It’s 20 minutes up the M1 highway back to Melrose Arch for a pan-African dinner at Moyo (Shop No. 5, High St.; 27-11/684-1477; dinner for two R327), where diners order sosaties (curried, skewered beef ), braised springbok shank, and Ethiopian beef marinated in fenugreek, a clover-like herb, while taking in live African-influenced jazz and folk music. DRINKS The century-old Kitchener’s Carvery Bar (Juta St. at De Beer St.; 27-79/266-5077; drinks

New African look

Clockwise from above: Eggplant and potato salads at Parktown North’s Moemas restaurant; Vintage Cowboys, a retro furnishing shop; Circa on Jellicoe, in Rosebank.

for two R35), in Braamfontein, once hosted the titular commander of Britain’s Boer War force; with a dance floor, disco ball and a healthy supply of the local Castle Lager, it’s now a favorite with the design crowd—and the best place for a toast in this vibrant city. ✚ travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 63


insider eat culture notes Clockwise from left:

At Dali Courtyard; a waitress at Tulufan; bohe ban doufu pi, a mint and tofu salad at Dali Courtyard.

CAPITAL FEAST.

beijing is a culinary crossroads for China’s diverse flavors. here, our four must-try eateries. By Jen Lin-Liu

T

hough China is home to 56 ethnic minorities, whose far-reaching cuisines stretch from the Manchurian northwest to the southwest regions bordering Burma, Laos and Vietnam, it’s rare to find non-Han fare outside of the country. Thankfully, you don’t even have to venture beyond the capital to sample the range of flavors on offer, from pan-fried goat’s cheese to cumin-grilled lamb skewers. Here, four must-try Beijing restaurants that reveal China’s culinary depths.

Turks and Persians. Several of the vendors come from families who’ve handed down their recipes for as many as five generations; displaced from their original locations at Qianmen and Ox Street in the capital’s south, they banded together in this protected historic district in 2006. T+L Tip After your meal, check out the former residence of Soong Ching Ling, the wife of Sun Yat-sen, next door, and stroll around the lake. 1 Jiaoyou Hutong, near Gulou Xi Dajie, Dongcheng District; 86-10/64026868; bjsnack.com; dinner for two RMB60. ■ Dali Courtyard

■ Jiumen Xiaochi

Best visited at lunchtime, this food-court-style restaurant next to Hou Hai Lake offers an enchanting setting: canaries sing in birdcages in the narrow alley in front of the courtyard house, while indoors, down a long corridor, hawkers tout their xiaochi, or snacks, from stalls bearing traditional wooden placards. Three-quarters of the dishes here—including jiang niu rou shao bing (corned beef wrapped in freshly baked sesame buns), bao du (beef tripe soup) and dou zi (fermented soy milk)—originate from the Hui people, some of whom can trace their bloodlines to 64 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

Trendy Beijing artists and expats flock to this charming courtyard-style Yunnanese restaurant with alfresco seating; pomegranate trees, a small pond and rustic wooden furniture make for a warm, laid-back vibe. There’s no menu here; instead, expect to pay RMB100 for an eight-course meal featuring plenty of chilies, lemongrass and mint, drawing from the culinary traditions of Yunnan’s Dai ethnic-minority group. The Han Chinese chef Chen Mingbin seeks inspiration from his Dai wife. The dishes change constantly, but on a recent evening, we sampled a delicious bohe ban doufu pi (mint and tofu-skin salad), zha jikuai Photographed by Craig Simons


culinary depths

Clockwise from left: Jiumen Xiaochi’s foodcourt style; Manchurian dishes at Na Jia Xiao Guan; the restaurant’s wood-paneled interior; jiang niu rou shao bing at Jiumen Xiaochi.

(deep-fried chicken with chilies and lemongrass) and a novel jian nai lao, or pan-fried goat’s cheese— proof, if any were needed, of China’s culinary breadth. T+L Tip Try the refreshing mojitos—they go well with the spicy, mint-laced food. 67 Xiao Jingchang Hutong; 86-10/8404-1430; dalicourtyard. com; dinner for two RMB300. ■ Tulufan

Nestled in the city’s best-known Muslim neighborhood, this Ox Street institution was one of the first Uighur restaurants here and has been serving up tasty halal cuisine to queuing locals for more than 20 years. The menu balances recipes from China’s two largest Muslim ethnic minorities: the Hui and the Uighurs of northwest China. Popular Hui dishes include pa rou tiao (stewed and thinly sliced lamb) and tang juan guo (candied mountain yams), while Uighur offerings include juicy and large yang rou chuan’r (grilled lamb skewers with cumin and chili) and lightly spiced shou zhua fan (lamb pilaf with carrot). If you speak Mandarin, don’t miss out on the chance to chat with 75-year-old general manager Chen Liansheng, who began his restaurant career in 1948. T+L Tip Beat the lunchtime crowds and arrive after 1 p.m.,

but be sure to come before 2 p.m. when the kitchen closes. 6 Niu Jie, Xicheng District; 86-10/8316-4691; bjxiangda.com; dinner for two RMB150. ■ Na Jia Xiao Guan

Hidden amid a crowd of high-rises, this cozy twostory brick eatery with wood-paneled walls offers a welcome respite from Beijing’s characterless CBD. Co-owned by a 30-something Manchurian who goes by the name of Zhou—his passion is preserving the cuisine of his ethnic group, which conquered China during the Qing dynasty, Na Jia Xiao Guan rolls out consistently excellent fare that reflects the semi-nomadic tastes of Manchurians, including exotic dishes such as braised ox with turtle and seahorses, and soup with venison, shark’s fin and abalone. Don’t miss the hongzhao zhurou (date-simmered pork) and zha xia (fried prawns in crispy shells), and be sure to order a traditional juice, like sour plum soup, suan mei zhi, to go with your meal. T+L Tip Be sure to book a table in advance, though bear in mind that reservations are only taken for groups of four or more. 10 Yangan Xili, Jianguomen Wai Dajie, Chaoyang District; 86-10/6567-3663; najia.com.cn; dinner for two RMB200. ✚ travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 65


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ntimate in-Villa

Spa Treatment

& Dinner


stylish traveler

[st ]

icon

in the swim

ASSISTANT F AS H ION ED i TOR : JESSIE B AND y. P RO P STYLIST : H EAT H ER C H ONTOS

looking for a suit that will make a splash? the Norma Kamali maillot is a modern classic. by jennifer alfano. Styled by Mimi Lombardo If there is such a thing as a universally flattering swimsuit, it’s the Norma Kamali maillot. Since 1968, the airline agent turned fashion innovator has been taking atypical materials (parachutes; FedEx Tyvek envelopes) and transforming them into timelessly modern—and travel-­friendly—designs. Today, Kamali is best known for her swimwear. Take this retro maillot— reminiscent of the 1920’s one-pieces that were created more for lounging à la plage than actual swimming, and popularized in 1950’s Hollywood by the likes of Janet Leigh and Marilyn Monroe. Kamali’s version is cut from a high-tech Japanese jersey that dries quickly, with strategic ruching that highlights all the right places. Who wouldn’t feel like a silver-screen siren wearing it poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel or lunching at La Fontelina in Capri? ✚ Jersey Maillot swimsuit by Norma Kamali.

Photographed by Charles Masters

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the style capital

asian cities are pushing the envelope with both homegrown and expat design talent. here, a guide to the places that are redefining hong kong. By Jennifer Chen

fashion forward

Clockwise from top: Moustache, a trendy men’swear shop in Sheung Wan; Moustache co-owner Alex Daye outside the store; a mint julep at Lily & Bloom, in Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district.

70 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

Photographed by Philipp Engelhorn


■ SHOPs In Hong Kong’s fast-gentrifying Sheung Wan neighborhood, 1960’s fashion is the inspiration at men’s-wear shop Moustache (31 Aberdeen St., Sheung Wan; 852/2541-1955), where New York City transplants Ellis Kreuger and Alex Daye use high-tech Japanese fabrics for their bright knit sweaters and piped pajamas. A 10-minute walk away, Fiona Kotur Marin— another former New Yorker— showcases her snakeskin, shell and silk brocade clutches at Kotur (10A Casey Bldg., 38 Lok Ku Rd., Sheung Wan; 852/2815-8708; by appointment only), which has earned a following by the likes of Renée Zellweger and Tory Burch. Fashion editors and stylists flock to Kanchan Couture (108–110 Wellington St., second floor, Central; 852/21171782; by appointment only), nearby in the Central district, for feminine frocks and separates made with bright Indian textiles. Head east to lively Wan Chai to find Kapok (3 Sun St., Wan Chai; 852/2520-0114), which stocks a mix of inventive accessories (look for neon wristwatches and silk-screened totes). In fashionable SoHo—South of Hollywood Road—Forest Bird (39 Staunton St., Central; 852/2810-1166) displays a fashionforward selection of clothes and handmade jewelry from small European and Japanese labels. Need a lift? Refuel with espresso and macarons at the boutique’s tiny café. Unique housewares can be found along Gough Street in burgeoning NoHo. Greenminded Ecols (8–10 Gough St., Central; 852/3106-4918) carries colorful dinner platters made from wine bottles, while Homeless (28 Gough St., Central; 852/2851-1160) sells ceiling lights

inspired by brass cooking pots as well as whimsical prints by local ­illustrator Carrie Chau. SCENE Lan Kwai Fong, the city’s

city by design

From top: Digital watches at Kapok, in Wan Chai; Republik lounge, in Sheung Wan; poached egg with n’duja pork sausage at Sheung Wan’s 208 Duecento Otto.

nightlife epicenter, is where you’ll find the speakeasy-like Lily & Bloom (LKF Tower, fifth and sixth floors, 33 Wyndham St., Central; 852/2810-6166; drinks for two HK$230), a moodily lit, wood-paneled brasserie and bar. Start downstairs with oyster shooters at Bloom before heading upstairs for cocktails at Prohibition-inspired Lily. Try the popular Old-Fashioned made with aged Zacapa rum. A fiveminute cab ride away lies ­ epublik (108 Hollywood Rd., R ­Sheung Wan; 852/2261-1111; drinks for two HK$270), in Sheung Wan. It’s also split between two levels: bankers and media types unwind in leather rockers in the groundfloor bar, while DJ’s spin tunes in the wood-floored upstairs lounge. One of the newest alfresco bars is Sugar (29 Taikoo Shing Rd., Quarry Bay; 852/39683738; drinks for two HK$190), on the 32nd floor of the East Hotel on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island. Join the beautiful people on an overstuffed ottoman on the sprawling outdoor deck. ■ FOOD At the 16-seat counter at the industrial-chic Liberty Private Works (12 Wellington St.,

third floor, Central; 852/5186-3282; dinner for two HK$1,200), diners watch Jean Georges–trained chef ­Makoto Ono prepare a seven-course omakase meal in an open kitchen. The seasonal menu is devoted to Japaneseinflected French cuisine—think hamachi tartare, with daikon and ­g rapefruit-ginger jelly, and wasabi-spiked poached salmon. Inside Hollywood Road’s » travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 71


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■ ROOMS Skyline views are a key attraction at Hullett House Hotel (2A Canton Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui; 852/3988-0000; hulletthouse. com; suites from HK$4,400), a 10-suite property located in an 1881 colonnaded building, the former headquarters of the maritime police. No two rooms are the same, from the contemporary art–filled Casam Suite to the 84-square-meter Stanley Suite, which evokes Hong Kong’s past with delicate murals of bamboo forests and birds on celadon walls. Just north of Sheung Wan, along the water, Italian mosaic tiles and customdesigned furniture by French interior designer Andrée Putman lend a Continental touch to the 72 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

N WEST KOWLOON

KOWLOON peninsula TSIM SHA TSUI

Victoria Harbour

WESTERN DISTRICT SHEUNG WAN soho

CENTRAL

WAN CHAI

QUARRY BAY

Hong kong island 0

1.2 km

AIRPORT NEWS

new look

From top: The Aldridge Suite at the Hullett House Hotel, in Tsim Sha Tsui; bartender Jovi Fong at Nanhai No. 1, in Tsim Sha Tsui.

A year ago, Hong Kong ­International Airport unveiled a 1,500-square-meter ferry terminal with high-speed links to six cities, including Macau and Guangzhou. Other recent additions include a pay-bythe-hour lounge in Terminal 1’s East Hall, with Wi-Fi, a spa and private suites with showers (HK$400 for two hours), as well as the glassand-steel North ­Satellite Concourse, near ­Terminal 1, designed to accommodate over 5 million passengers.

50 blue-and-white suites at the year-old GREAT VALUE Le Rivage (138 Connaught Rd. W., Western District; 852/3607-3333; lerivage. hk; suites from HK$1,240). Design literally reaches new heights in March with the much anticipated opening of Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

(International ­Commerce Centre, 102nd to 118th floors, 1 Austin Rd. W., West Kowloon; 852/37609000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from HK$4,480), which, at 490 meters, will be the city’s tallest hotel. Designed by cutting-edge firms including Japan’s Wonderwall, the 312-room hotel is sure to be a showstopper: the top-floor infinity pool will have a ceiling of LCD monitors showing the sky outside in real time. ✚

i n s e t : © M w i ll e m s / D r e a m s t i m e . c o m

equally pint-size TBLS (31 ­Hollywood Rd., seventh floor, Central; 852/2544-3433; dinner for two HK$950), chef-owner Que Vinh Dang, who has worked for Rocco DiSpirito and Geoffrey Zakarian, injects playful Americana into his set menu with riffs on alphabet soup and sloppy joes. A more rollicking crowd can be found at 208 Duecento Otto (208 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan; 852/2549-0208; dinner for two HK$1,200), in Sheung Wan. Babbo alumnus Vinny Lauria serves hearty Italian standards—bucatini all’amatriciana; Neapolitan-style pizza—against a backdrop of toile-patterned walls and solid walnut floors. It’s a five-minute ride across the harbor on the Star Ferry to Kowloon’s Nanhai No. 1 (iSquare, 30th floor, 63 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui; 852/2487-3688; dinner for two HK$550). Try Cantonese classics such as tea-smoked chicken and barbecued pork belly in the sleek, harbor-facing dining room.


AUTHENTIC

/adjective/

bona fide, convincing, credible, genuine, original, pure, real, sure, true

Authentic dishes and original creations for sophisticated palates. 155 Rajadamri Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Tel: 66 (0) 2 250-1000 Fax: 66 (0) 2 253-9195 Email: restaurants.bangkok@fourseasons.com w w w . f o u r s e a s o n s . c o m


[st] design

the new design pilgrimages These days, good design is everywhere—from showstopping skyscrapers and innovative pedestrian bridges to industrial-chic hotel rooms—including in some unexpected places. Karrie Jacobs picks seven modern icons that are worth the trip

Furniture manufacturer Vitra’s grassy headquarters at the meeting point of France, Germany and Switzerland (just outside Basel) has been an architecture destination since its Frank Gehry–designed museum opened in 1989. There are also buildings by Zaha Hadid and Tadao Ando, but the most remarkable sight may be the new showroom and store designed by the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. The architects have taken the archetypal pitched-roof house, elongated it, and stacked 12 of them up like fireplace logs. Inside, you can follow winding staircases through the dreamlike space and look for home furnishings.

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I wa n B a a n / C o u r t e s y V i t r a

Herzog & de Meuron’s showroom at VitraHaus, in Weil am Rhein, Germany


Andels Hotel, in Lodz, Poland

A sister property of the ultramodern Andels Hotel in Prague, the Polish version is notable for its setting, an immense red-brick mill built by the 19th-century Jewish entrepreneur Izrael Poznanski. The hotel is just one component of a fantastic cultural and shopping district that somehow escaped destruction during World War II. An electrical plant from 1912 is now a disco. An ornate 1877 weaving mill houses restaurants and shops. And, in a former finishing mill, you’ll now find the Museum of the Factory.

FROM TOP : C o u r t e s y o f V i e n n a I n t e r n a t i o n a l H o t e l m a n a g e m e n t AG ; C o u r t e s y o f Sh w e e B a t A g r o v e n t u r e s

Shweeb, in Rotorua, New Zealand

Australian inventor Geoffrey Barnett dreamed up his human-powered monorail while living in Tokyo, when he wished he could pedal above that city’s endless traffic jams. Since 2007, it’s been possible to test-drive Barnett’s fantasy on the world’s first Shweeb, at the Agroventures adventure theme park in Rotorua, New Zealand. Last year, his company, Shweeb Holdings Limited, received US$1 million from Google to invest in research on a commuter-powered transit system in a city still to be determined. »

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[st] design Arachon Winery, in Horitschon, Austria

Souk Waqif, in Doha, Qatar

Pedestrian Bridge in Covilhã, Portugal

High-style pedestrian bridges are popping up all over: an epic example now spans the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, New York, and residents of Copenhagen are looking forward to next year’s completion of the Cirkelbroen. But the most impressive of all may be in Covilhã, Portugal, where Lisbon-based minimalist architect João Luis Carrilho da Graça’s walkway zigzags high above the Carpinteira river valley.

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Souk Waqif is the one great public space that remains in Doha, Qatar, a city that is reinventing itself at lightning speed. In the souk, locals congregate to dine, smoke shishas, meander through a maze of alleys and shop. The 2008 restoration by designer Mohamed Al Abdullah replaced all structures that seemed at odds with tradition, revitalizing the historic spot.

Cl o c k w i s e f r o m t o p : C o u r t e s y o f H o l z b a u e r a n d P a r t n e r ; © A g a Kh a n A w a r d f o r A r c h i t e c t u r e / Z i y a d Sh a w k a t ; FG + SG F o t o g r a f i a d e A r q u i t e c t u r a ; C o u r t e s y o f H e l d e r S i lv a

The “Wine Architecture” movement has dropped stunningly modern wineries in all of Austria’s grape-growing regions. However, Burgenland, about an hour southwest of Vienna, has the lion’s share. Destinations include the angular Esterhazy, near Eisenstadt, by Anton Mayerhofer; the sleek Leo Hillinger, in Jois, by Gerner Gerner Plus; and the Arachon, in Horitschon, with its dramatically angled stone archway, by Wilhelm Holzbauer and Dieter Irresberger. A full list, by region, is available from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (winesfromaustria.com).


© S t e v e n H o ll A r c h i t e c t s

Vanke Center, in Shenzhen, China

Steven Holl, of Steven Holl Architects, refers to this building as “the horizontal skyscraper.” Situated in Shenzhen, the building is about as long as the Empire State Building is tall (380 meters) and is mounted on massive, illuminated stilts, called “cores,” above a network of tropical gardens. Much of the Vanke Center will be used for offices, but a 200-plus-room hotel will open in fall 2011, offering an unusually tranquil retreat in this bustling city. ✚

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travel topics in depth, vivid visuals and more

Do not confuse Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway with some romantic notion of the Silk Route, writes Garry Marchant, but the scenery in this part of Central Asia remains timeless. Photographed by Matthieu Paley

A peek at the Wakhan Corridor, from Tajikistan.

High and Outside travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 79


journal adventure

T

he news, when it comes, is most welcome. We can’t take the helicopter as planned, because the tight passage between Tajikistan’s 6,000-meter peaks prevents flights in anything but cloudless skies. Instead, we will drive the arduous 523 kilometers to Khorog, capital of the country’s Gorno-Badakhshan region. Some in our group groan. I’m delighted. We’ll head overland through some of the world’s most remote and dramatic countryside. The return journey we’ll likely be able to make by helicopter, but today is our chance to follow some of the Silk Route, where Marco Polo traveled overland to China in the 13th century. We start in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, a Central Asian crossroads due north of Afghanistan and Pakistan and just west of China. Few outsiders have ventured to this remote region, which was out of bounds to visitors during the Soviet era. As recently as 2005, only 500 tourists a year visited the region, and that number increased to only about 3,000 in 2009. Like something out of a bad novel, the city was dubbed Stalinabad from 1929 to 1961, and today Dushanbe still has a vaguely Soviet feel, with stolid architecture and broad streets. Here, police and army

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officers sport hats with huge brims that wouldn’t look out of place in a Russian May Day parade. Yet, I also find Tajikistan a modern, relaxed Muslim country. It is like Turkey, locals say. “People confuse us with Afghanistan,” one man, in a suit and tie, complains. “They think we are covered with veils, grow big beards, have guns in the street.” Here, men are mainly in Western clothing and sometimes ornate, square hats called toqi. Women, especially in the countryside, wear colorful, brightly patterned dresses that usually hang down to the ankles, but rarely veils. Mid-morning, instead of taking that easy 90-minute helicopter ride, we start on what should be a 15-hour drive to Khorog. Our group of a dozen foreigners, accompanied by a handful of locals, travels in a convoy of a half-dozen new 4 x 4s. On the wide, quiet Pamir Highway outside the capital, there is no evidence that the 1992–1997 civil war here was the most violent in any of the post-Soviet states, resulting in more than 50,000 dead and creating some 1.2 million refugees. Instead, today it’s a rustic scene. Fuel trucks parked at the side of the road sell gas by the bottle to farmers. Small donkeys pull carts piled high with hay. Farmers plow fields with large, ancient wooden plows and young boys sell bunches of rhubarb. Before starting on our journey, locals warn us that the mountainous country is more prone to landslides, avalanches and floods than to political upheavals. The warning proves prophetic: Tajikistan is both blessed and cursed by geography. The scenery along the Pamir


Trekking high in the Pamir Mountains. Indoors on a bitter night, opposite. Right: A weathered face along the Pamir highway.

Highway—the world’s second highest roadway after the Karakoram that links China and Pakistan—is stunning. All day, we pass outsize snow-capped peaks, broad valleys, glacial lakes and rushing rivers. But geography can also be an obstacle. In places, we slow to splash through water that reaches the floorboards, where rivers cut through the gravel road. All too frequently, we drive around fallen boulders that could easily crush our convoy like so many beer cans. A few hours out of Dushanbe, the road veers south towards the Khaburabot Pass where the valley drops off on one side to a river hundreds of meters below. There are no guardrails, and there’s little sign of human habitation. The road surface deteriorates to a mix of gravel, mud and waterfilled potholes the size of bathtubs. We started late, lingered too long over lunch, and at the end of our first day our headlights are the only light to slice through the darkness. In the black night, we pass through white tunnels of snow. Our descent, which lasts for hours, ends in the town of Qalai Khum. It’s too late to continue. Our home for the night, a two-story guesthouse, stands out for its peeling paint and a single Western toilet. And it’s the best accommodation in town. The next morning, after a fitful night’s sleep, I awake to an early breakfast of instant coffee, an omelet with tinned sausages, bread and delicious honey, and small sweet cherries. Then it’s time to hit the road. Today’s route follows the Panj River, a twisting, shallow but fast flowing tributary of the Oxus fed by the snowmelt. The Panj forms much of Tajikistan’s 1,330-kilometer border with Afghanistan.

Although only a few hundred meters separate the two countries, it feels like we’re a universe away and in a different century. On the far side, in the Afghan province of Badakhshan, there is no road, just a precarious path that cuts its way high across a steep cliff of solid rock, in some places with flimsy wood supports. It looks terrifying, but our Tajik guides say the locals even take donkeys and horses along the treacherous trail. Further along, where the valley broadens, Afghans in traditional shalwar kameez, baggy pants and a long brown jacket, work the fields, a dull contrast to the Tajiks on this side. Where this narrow valley widens, level patches of green appear, examples of local agriculture. Young Tajik soldiers in camouflage and floppy jungle hats, carry what look to me like AK-47’s, and patrol the road in groups of three, a reminder that this is one of the world’s major heroin trails. From Afghanistan, the drug passes through Tajikistan and the neighboring Central Asian »

On the far side, there is no road, just a precarious path that cuts its way across a steep cliff of SOLID rock

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journal adventure

A policeman in Khorog. Right: The Serena Inn with Afghanistan beyond. Opposite: At the market in Khorog.

republics into Europe. Weapons head in the opposite direction through Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Finally, almost a full day after leaving Dushanbe, we reach the pleasant town of Khorog, where the streets are lined with poplar trees and the Aga Khan Foundation is present at every turn. It’s the jumping-off point for Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. This long, narrow strip of land separating Tajikistan from Pakistan is the safest part of Afghanistan, so attracts adventure tourists, who come to trek and climb in the Pamir mountains. Leaving the Pamir Highway we head south, sleeping and eating in home stays. In these windowless Tajik-style houses, five pillars support the roof and carpets are spread on raised platforms around an open area of the main room. With no tables and chairs, we eat sitting cross-legged on the elevated benches, an ordeal for the less nimble. Typical Tajik meals include nuts, raisins, dried fruit and chocolates, as well as sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and green onions, potato salad, cabbage with dill, yogurt soup with potatoes or noodles and beef, cold soggy chips, and flat bread. One place also serves a local dumpling filled with cabbage and ground meat. It is tasty, but messy and greasy. A bridge over the Panj River to the Afghan market town of Ishkashim at the western end of the corridor was built in 2006, but it was difficult to cross the border there until two years ago. Now, visitors can get an Afghan visa in a few hours in Khorog. We stop to look across at the forbidden land but without visas, can’t go further. The Tajik armed guards who glare at us are intimidating, so we don’t linger. Staring at Afghanistan arouses my curiosity: what must it be like now? I can only wonder. I’d traveled across southern Afghanistan years ago, but others in our group are disappointed at missing this rare chance to set foot in the 82 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

country. A few decades ago, Afghanistan was part of the backpackers’ trail between Europe and Asia. Kabul was relatively open then, peaceful and not severely strict. There were Western-style hotels, clothing, movie theaters and music. However, in rural Afghanistan, men wore a traditional headdress and knee-length coat with baggy trousers, women were in burqas. Looking across the river today, I see only men in traditional garb, but no women. A few hours further east, we do spot some colorful tents in the gray landscape. It’s a group of yak trekkers, across the shallow river. We shout across, and discover they are from Canada and the U.S. on a week-long excursion along the corridor. I envy the hiking, as we travel by car the whole time, but not the camping, which looks even more uncomfortable than the home stays. After bidding farewell, we continue up a flat, wide valley, where the wind begins to howl and the rain pelts down. Women harvesting the fields wrap their faces in their bright scarves for protection. Further along, a guide in a fedora waits at the side of the road to lead us up a steep path to the huge but decrepit, third century B.C. Qah-Qaha Fort. The fort has deteriorated so badly, it is difficult to identify the towers and walls, which are piles of grey mud eroded by the


late in the morning after stopping at the local market. Unlike in Afghanistan, where the market traffics in heroin, weapons and women, this one is a mundane affair, selling produce, household goods and brightly patterned clothes. So we continue the long ride home. A few hours out of Khorog, a landslide blocks the road, with dilapidated trucks and muddied jeeps are backed up a dozen deep in both directions. The drivers keep adding rocks to a makeshift ramp, and one by one we cross. Finally, late one afternoon at Qalai Khum, we leave the river and start the long climb back up to the Khoburabot Pass. The road climbs steadily up the mountain, reaching the snow line we passed in the dark a few days before. Finally, we reach the summit at dusk, and scramble out of the cars to snap pictures in the fading light. Then we plow down the stone-strewn, potholed road in the dark. At one point, we’re separated from the convoy, and about 2 a.m., we get stuck. Three of us get out to push, shindeep in the mud. The driver is grateful. We’re just tired. Finally, at 5 a.m., we arrive back in Dushanbe and those essentials of civilization, hot showers and cold beer. ✚

wind. From the top of the ruin, we look over the Hindu Kush to the south, and along what was the southernmost part of the Silk Route. From here, when the rest of the group moves on, I stand alone on the wall. The only sound in this wide-open space is of the wind howling down the valley, a feeling of utter solitude. Detouring up into the mountains, we pass crumbling Yamchun Fort on the way to Bibi Fatima Springs, where several of the men, and all the women, separately soak in the hot water in a bare concrete block room. On the way down, we pause to look up the cliff at a Buddhist stupa and some caves near the town of Vrang. Returning to Khorog along a different route, our convoy leaves the valley and heads into the mountains, up a terrifying, winding road. Often the cars pass within centimeters of sheer drop-offs, hundreds of meters down to the broad and barren valley. A windswept and ruggedly beautiful drive, it’s also stomach-churning. On the way, at a bleak military post, a former Soviet army base, boy soldiers in worn, ill-fitting uniforms check our papers. The landscape here is bare and desolate, stark but stunning. Along the wild Khargush Pass, marmots stand atop rocks to inspect our passing convoy. Where the road rejoins the Pamir Highway, we dine on dried fish from a nearby lake and drink yak milk at a Kyrgyz yurt. From here, it is another long, bone-jarring ride back to Khorog. Our last day breaks sunny and clear, so that helicopter is looking good. Mid-morning, word comes: the pass is socked in with clouds. We will have to return by road. We depart

N

guide to tajikistan Traveling in Tajikistan offers the rare opportunity to go to a safe part of Afghanistan, the historic Wakhan Corridor, with its traditional culture. Travelers must get a multiple-entry visa (US$160) for Tajikistan before they arrive so they can cross the bridge and come back. Tour operators can now arrange an Afghan visa in Khorog in just a few hours. A car and driver for the Afghan side costs about US$1.20 per kilometer.

Pamir Silk Tour When traveling in Tajikistan, it is essential to work through a reliable tour operator. Azizbekova 1 St., Khorog; 9923522/22299; info@pamirsilk. travel. Khorog Serena Inn While accommodation outside Dushanbe is basic, the Aga Khan Foundation operates this pleasant six-room hotel in Khorog. 992-3522/23288; serenahotels.com/serenakhorog/; doubles from US$95.

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journal food

cambodia confidential On his second trip to the kingdom, american TV chef Anthony Bourdain uncovers a simple cuisine that mirrors the progress the country has made in the past 20 years. By Brendan Brady. Photographed by Vinh Dao

I

’s late evening outside Phnom Penh’s O’Russei Market, and Anthony Bourdain is sitting at a foldout table on the street, slurping a bowl of beef noodle soup. Around him, food stalls hawk everything from the obvious to the exotic, from pork buns to bird fetuses to fried snake. As he spoons chili sauce onto his beef balls, a camera zooms in for a close-up. But something, in the made-for-TV

84 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

Anthony Bourdain, filming on the streets of Phnom Penh.

sense, isn’t right. “More condiments!” a crewman calls out, and a bottle of fish sauce and bowl of fresh basil are placed on the table just so. Bourdain takes a swig of his Angkor beer, as motorcycle drivers, vendors and strolling families look on curiously. This must be the most rigorous mise-en-scène this humble street-side joint has ever seen. “Those noodles were really good,” the American TV chef and author tells me after


the shot. The camera has stopped rolling, his bowl of noodles remains half-eaten. This might well be his fourth meal of the night, and he and his crew are wrapping up a 10-day trip to Cambodia for his hugely popular food-andtravel show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. In the past decade, Bourdain has eaten his way through every continent and become a seasoned globe-trotter, following the breakout success of his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential, an insider’s account of the not-so-fine side of New York’s fine-dining restaurants. But this wasn’t always so. Back in 2001, when he was catapulted into Cambodia for an episode of his first TV series, Cook’s Tour, Bourdain was still relatively untraveled, making his odyssey to the country all the more startling. “I had just come out of 28 years in a kitchen, having been almost nowhere, and I found myself making television first in Japan, then in Vietnam and then here. Japan was like dropping acid—like living inside a pinball machine—and exciting and luxurious. Vietnam fit in with my romantic notions of a place I’d always wanted to go.” Then there was Cambodia. “I came here really stupid and arrogant and was just unprepared for it,” he says, with a pause. “Frankly, it was horrifying, enraging and heartbreaking, and I had a very difficult time handling that.” It didn’t help that Bourdain flew headlong into Cambodia’s darker corridors in his search for an experience out of Apocalypse Now. In his show’s episode on Cambodia, he mentions traveling by boat from Siem Reap to Battambang, not in search of Colonel Kurtz but in order to get to Pailin. The bleak border outpost—notorious for black-market gems, bandits and sex workers—headlined an itinerary that honed in on Cambodia’s shellshocked state following three decades of civil war, a stretch of brutal Khmer Rouge rule, a Vietnamese invasion and factional fighting that finally ended in 1997. Back then, Bourdain notes, the country couldn’t afford the luxury of a “cuisine,” and his quest for food worth traveling for was foiled by encounters with tripe that, he observed at the time, smelled “like wet dog.” At one point on that journey, he packed a baguette, honey-baked ham and Camembert cheese, all washed down with a white Bordeaux, to ease a long boat trip »

Food culture From top: Bourdain alone with

his street food; chicken satay; local fruits for sale along the Phnom Penh riverfront.

Get more online for more with Anthony Bourdain and his take on the Asian food scene, please visit travelandleisureasia.com

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 85


journal food up Cambodia’s Tonle Sap river. Even this blissful throwback to the fine dining of the former French colony was interrupted when a motley collection of men in military fatigues interrupted the voyage and insisted the boat take a “shortcut.” Bourdain, carefully pondering what intentions these men had, talked himself out of that predicament. Fast-forward to October 2010 and the instantly recognizable TV chef is enjoying grilled pepper squid with one of Cambodia’s leading human-rights advocates, Kek Galabru, while strolling in the town of Kep on the country’s tranquil coast. “The pepper squid and the crabs out there are awesome,” he tells me.

With the eyes of a chef, Bourdain sees tell-tale signs of Cambodia’s IMPROVED quality of life

Riverfront food stalls in the Cambodian capital.

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To be sure, the seaside villas he and his crew are touring were laid to ruin by the Khmer Rouge, but overall Bourdain’s return to the country has been positive. “I’m overjoyed to say that Cambodia has changed a lot,” he says. With the eyes of a chef used to understanding— and spotlighting—cultures through food, Bourdain sees tell-tale signs of Cambodia’s improved quality of life: families enjoying morning katuey noodles together at roadside restaurants, vendors roasting hearty cuts of beef, children munching on satay on their way home from school. It also helps that he’s now seen more of the world. “I’ve been to Liberia since. I’ve been to Nicaragua. I’ve been to other places where really bad things have happened and people have suffered,” he says. “So I’m now better prepared to visit Cambodia and deal with it in a non-hyperbolic way.” Just as Cambodia has stabilized, so too has Bourdain, whose former life as a sleepless, drug-dependent chef in New York was welldocumented in his first book. Nowadays, he presents himself as a family man—he has a wife and three-year-old daughter—and his energies are spent writing and filming TV shows. Not that he’s lost his edge. His response to food remains refreshingly raw, something that’s essential to his appeal. Says Bourdain: “When you’re making food porn”—a favorite expression of his for TV programming about food—“does it really help if I tell you it’s a ginger-garlic with a mineral component? No, it’s ‘This is fucking good.’ That’s enough for me to get off on watching someone eat a bowl of noodles on TV. I just think food is fundamentally a non-intellectual pursuit in a best-case scenario.” If Bourdain still has some demons, he’s exercising them in much safer platforms these days. His most recent adventure: a gory graphic novel that’s scheduled to come out next year. “It’s Yojimbo-like,” he says, referring to the 1960’s samurai cult-classic flick directed by Akira Kurosawa. “It revolves around a stranger, and two clans with opposing culinary philosophies want control of this very talented individual.” Though, in case this medium doesn’t prove cathartic enough, he did make a return trip to Phnom Penh’s notorious shooting range. With no food in sight, he fired off a few clips from an AK-47—just for good measure. ✚


journal opinion

The Allure of the Casual face off

Hotels and restaurants from Paris to L.A. are blurring the line between upscale and down. But even in this brash new world, Peter Jon Lindberg finds that quality still matters. Photographed by Glenn Glasser 88 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

Ph o t o g r a p h e d a t E a g l e s N e s t s t u d i o s , N e w Y o r k . S t y l e d b y m i m i l o m b a r d o . G r o o m e r : s e r g e y l o g v i n o v/ S a r a h l a i r d . s u i t , s h i r t a n d t i e : h u g o b o s s ; Sh o e s : g u c c i

The author, two ways.


L

ast week I walked into a five-star Manhattan hotel to find a guy sprawled on the lobby’s brocade sofa, his shoes off and feet kicked up, eating a hamburger in his robe. In his robe. Nobody was giving him any grief, least of all the hotel staff. Sometimes I wonder if we all just want to be at home in the world, literally. We make ourselves at home in places where we never have before. Realms once considered public are now treated like private playrooms; activities that once demanded a certain rigor of presentation—on behalf of the host and the guest, the provider and the provided—are now open to interpretation. Some people even think it’s okay to wear shorts on airplanes. It’s not just us. The places that cater to us are undoing the proverbial top button—even the really good places. Nowadays the most transporting experiences often come in the least assuming locations, and vice-versa. Lately I’ve had revelatory meals on mismatched plates and dead-boring dinners on Limoges china. I’ve had gracious service from dudes in Wilco shirts and desultory service at Michelinstarred restaurants with five waiters to a table. You never can tell. More than ever, the old rules—our trusted measuring sticks for gauging worth and ambition—no longer apply. This is most evident in the food world, where the dichotomy of high-end versus low-end, of casual versus “fine” dining, has finally lost all meaning. But it holds true for all aspects of travel, from hotels to shopping to nightlife. The welcome result is an explosion of possibilities in how we identify great experiences and where we expect to find them.

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ne of my favorite recent meals out was at Animal, a deceptively relaxed restaurant in Los Angeles. In the spartan, concrete-floored dining room, the atmosphere is more noisy canteen than culinary mecca. But the service is warm and engaging, the cooking inventive and unfathomably delicious. “When we opened, we were just focused on making good food,” says co-owner and chef Vinny Dotolo. “I remember thinking, ‘Maybe we should hang some art or something?’ But we haven’t gotten much further.” Indeed, the stripped-down look has become part of the Animal gestalt—a necessity that wound up a statement. Given the critical acclaim the restaurant has garnered, Dotolo’s main concern these days is managing expectations. “Animal is not fine dining,” he warns. “It’s loud in here. The »

I’ve had gracious service from DUDES in Wilco shirts and desultory service at Michelin-starred restaurants with five waiters to a table. You never can tell. More than ever, the old rules no longer apply

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 89


journal opinion

Glamour is still a powerful tool, but it can also be a liability, undercutting worth rather than conveying it. This explains why SWANK boutiques like to masquerade as thrift stores

service is not overly elaborate. But we still use fine-dining ingredients—sustainable meats, farmers’ market produce, foie gras and sweetbreads.” The intention, he says, is “to take great food off the pedestal and bring it onto our own stage.” More and more restaurants are on a similar tack, blurring the lines between upscale and down to coax out something thrillingly inbetween. Dotolo cites the pioneering example of Noma, in Copenhagen, which has a similarly raw, bare-bones interior—yet recently topped a list of the world’s best restaurants. The haute-casual mash-up finds its apogee in Paris’s burgeoning bistronomie scene, where upstarts such as Le Chateaubriand and Rino offer hyper-creative cooking at modest prices in an unpretentious, homespun setting.

T

he dressing-down of hospitality is nothing new in itself. (Top-hatted doormen are so 1896.) The economy has certainly exacerbated the trend—witness the parade of chefs cashing in with recession-themed “comfort food”—but casualism was in play well before the bottom 90 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

fell out. For one thing, the rigidity of formal service makes most people anxious. “The point of service is to make you comfortable, isn’t it?” asks Clark Wolf, a food-and-restaurant consultant. “Yet grand service often does the opposite. It’s like sitting up front at a comedy club. It requires participation and effort.” God forbid we make an effort. But there’s a deeper reason as well. An absence of polish can actually connote honesty, integrity, authenticity. “Formality is about show, but we’re more interested in resonance,” Wolf says. “We want real. We want to grab the damn thing by the root and pull it out.” Think of casualism as less a revolution than a reformation—a removal of vestigial trappings to bring us closer to the meaningful core. The field-to-fork movement is one example (drawing us closer to the farmer); pop-up shops and galleries are another (drawing us closer to the designer or artist). Glamour is still a powerful tool, but it can also be a liability, undercutting worth rather than conveying it. This explains why swank boutiques like to masquerade as thrift stores, draping US$800 scarves over rusticated


ladders; why A-list nightspots like to pretend they’re grungy dive bars; and why so many upmarket hotels are rejecting sleekness for homey, proletarian charm. (Never mind that they’re still as set-designed as any Philippe Starck fantasia.) The latter underscores the pitfalls of the trend. The problem with buttoned-up formality, after all, was that its parameters were always too narrow, so eventually everything deemed fancy wound up looking or at least feeling the same. Now the risk is that our strict definitions simply invert themselves, such that in the future we’ll expect all great restaurants to have exposed ductwork, Porkslap ale in cans, and sleevetattooed waiters urging you to check out this supergnarly celeriac, bro! Of course casualism is about more than skinny jeans, Chilewich place mats or any single aesthetic choice. It’s about choice itself. We’ve essentially shifted control from provider to consumer, from hotel to guest, from restaurant to diner. (Rare is the prix fixe stalwart that hasn’t given in and introduced a bar menu of small plates. And rare is the luxury resort that isn’t doing away with formalized check-in.) Mostly for better, occasionally for worse, no more will any of us be told what we can or can’t do. And we’ll enjoy our burgers right here on the sofa, thank you very much.

S

till, let’s not write off formality just yet. The second-best meal I had recently was at Del Posto, in New York—a throwback wonderland of gilt and silk that recalls the captain’s dining room on a mid-century ocean liner. There’s even a pianist glissing out Gershwin tunes. What’s weird is that the first time I went, five years ago, I kind of hated the place. It felt joyless and rote. It’s hard to say if the restaurant itself has improved (the New York Times thinks so, finally awarding Del Posto four stars last fall) or if I’ve just come around to a nostalgia for fancy old-school service. No longer musty and stiff, it felt….well, fun. And the plushness was frankly a relief. Liberating as the new casualism may be,

there are only so many nights I can spend parked on a hardwood bench, shouting to be heard over the Black Keys. “Fine dining isn’t going away, nor would I want it to,” Animal’s Dotolo says. “When it’s done right, it’s beautiful. The pacing of the courses, the smoothness of the service—it’s like synchronized swimming.” And there’s an inarguable appeal to, say, having a stool to put your handbag on, or watching your salad prepared tableside. You remember a time not that long ago when going out for dinner, checking in to a hotel and boarding a plane were also seen as occasions to wear something nice, sit up straight and transcend the routine of the everyday.

S

o does all this downscaling mean we’ve become less discriminating, less sophisticated? I’d argue the opposite is true. Our standards haven’t fallen; our criteria are simply broader. Sophistication today demands another degree of discernment—the ability to distinguish an experience from its context, the value of a product from its packaging. We now answer to a new hierarchy of taste, founded not on traditional emblems of luxury but on a cultishly defined notion of quality. We’ll go out of our way to unearth it, and we’ll overlook the untidy edges, as long as they don’t compromise the thing itself. “Today’s diners are far more knowledgeable about ingredients, cooking techniques, the nuances of food,” the consultant Wolf notes. “As a result, restaurant service has shifted from being about manners to being about information. We want a waiter to know where the chicken ran around, a bartender to describe every herb and twig that went into that cocktail. We’re not asking for less—we’re actually asking for more.” I certainly don’t need a coat-check girl to tell me I’m having a fabulous meal. Nor do I require a starched-collared butler to tell me I’m enjoying my stay. That feeling derives from the easy confidence of people who care about what they’re doing, and are doing it extremely well—no matter how wrinkly their T-shirts or unruly their beards. ✚ travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 91


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World’s Best Hotels Each year, Travel + Leisure asks readers to vote on their favorite hotels around the globe. What makes our annual compendium of the top-ranked hotels from the World’s Best Awards survey stand out? For starters, 67 of the hotels are located in Asia, with both China and India leading the way, and the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam prominent as well. Whether in the urban jungle of Hong Kong or the wilds of an Indian national park, the winners are found in every setting. Globally, 62 hotels offer rates of less than US$250 a night. 

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CAMBODIA P HNO M P ENH

Raffles Hotel Le Royal (86.29) A 1920’s French colonial–era mansion, updated with top-tier amenities. 92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh; 855-23/981-888; raffles. com; doubles from US$290. SIE M REA P

Hotel de la Paix (93.75) Cool and stylish 1950’s hotel in the heart of Siem Reap. Sivutha Blvd.; 855-63/ 966-000; hoteldelapaixangkor. com; doubles from US$330. Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor (88.21) Artfully restored grande dame with exacting service and a lap pool inspired by Angkor’s royal baths. 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle; 855-63/963-888; raffles. com; doubles from US$350.

CHINA BEIJING

NEW Grand Hotel (86.62)

A 209-room imperial-style hotel adjacent to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. 35 E. Chang An Ave.; 86-10/6513-7788; grandhotelbeijing.com; doubles from US$445, including breakfast. Grand Hyatt (86.42) Glittering, crescent-shaped building, a quick stroll from Tiananmen Square and next to Wangfujing Street, renowned for its silk shops. 1 E. Chang An Ave.; 86-10/8518-1234; grand.hyatt.com; doubles from US$208.

$

Peninsula Beijing (92.88) Opulent hotel with Chinese-inflected design, up-to-the-minute amenities and one of the city’s finest spas. 8 Goldfish Lane; 8610/8516-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from US$417. Ritz-Carlton, Financial Street (93.04) A stylish hotel in a glassand-steel skyscraper in the buzzy financial district, near upscale shopping at Seasons Place. 1 Jin Cheng Fang St.; 86-10/59088888; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$311. Shangri-La Hotel (86.30) Two financial district towers offering a tranquil refuge (the grounds feature koi ponds and pavilions). 29 Zizhuyuan Rd.; 86-10/5908-8888; shangri-la.com; doubles from US$190.

$

St. Regis (90.67) Alexandra Champalimaud–designed interiors (lacquered wood cabinetry; copper- and gold-hued fabrics) and exceptional service (all rooms have 24-hour butlers) are the draw at this tony hotel. 21 Jianguomenwai Dajie; 8610/6460-6688; stregis.com; doubles from US$440.

Westin Chaoyang (87.46) Threeyear-old hotel with a soaring lobby atrium, 20 minutes by car from the airport—closer than most. 7 N. Dongsanhuan Rd.; 86-10/5922-8888; westin.com; doubles from US$260. HONG KONG

Conrad (88.28) Larger-thanaverage guest rooms on floors 40 through 61 of the Pacific Place towers. 88 Queensway; 852/25213838; conradhotels.com; doubles from US$554. Four Seasons Hotel (91.86) Sleek, minimalist, altogether luxurious: this 399-room property is set in a tower in the International Finance Center, near the Star Ferry. 8 Finance St.; 852/3196-8888; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$554. InterContinental (89.17) Home to restaurants by Alain Ducasse and Nobu Matsuhisa and the best Victoria Harbour views in town. 18 Salisbury Rd.; 852/2721-1211; intercontinental.com; doubles from US$486. Island Shangri-La (91.43) The city’s tallest hotel attracts financiers and shoppers thanks to its proximity to major banks and the Pacific Place Mall. Pacific Place, Supreme Court Rd.; 852/2817-3838; shangri-la.com; doubles from US$475. Kowloon Shangri-La (88.80) A 688-room hotel on the Tsim Sha Tsui East waterfront, with floorto-ceiling bay windows in every room. 64 Mody Rd.; 852/2721-2111; shangri-la.com; doubles from US$477. Mandarin Oriental (92.84) A 1960’s era mid-rise hotel, graciously updated and filled with Asian antiques, at the heart of bustling Central. 5 Connaught Rd.; 852/2522-0111; mandarinoriental. com; doubles from US$580. Peninsula Hong Kong (94.11) Colonial-style Kowloon landmark with a dazzling Philippe Starck–designed rooftop restaurant. Salisbury Rd.; china 852/2920-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from US$541. SHANGHAI

Four Seasons Hotel (89.90) A 421-room building—one block from Nanking Road shopping— with the city’s grandest lobby. 500 Weihai Rd.; 86-21/62568888; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$477. JW Marriott Hotel at Tomorrow Square (87.17) Still among the best-located of Shanghai’s hotels, occupying the upper floors of a steel-and-glass skyscraper at the edge of People’s Square. 399

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Nanjing W. Rd.; 86-21/5359-4969; jwmarriott.com; doubles from US$312. Pudong Shangri-La (89.90) In Pudong’s financial district, this 952-room hotel includes topnotch extras (a tennis court; an Adam Tihany–designed restaurant). 33 Fu Cheng Rd.; 86-21/6882-8888; shangri-la.com; doubles from US$306. St. Regis (89.91) Red-granite Pudong high-rise that mixes classic interiors with Chinese art and ceramics. 889 Dong Fang Rd.; 86-21/5050-4567; stregis. com; doubles from US$506. Westin Bund Center (87.05) Two 26-story towers with streamlined interiors, a 5-minute walk from the Bund. 88 Henan Central Rd.; 86-21/6335-1888; westin.com; doubles from US$463.

INDIA AGRA

Oberoi Amarvilas (95.94) Moghul-themed palace mirroring the nearby Taj Mahal—all Moorish archways, intricate pavilions and fountained courtyards. Taj E. Gate Rd.; 91-562/223-1515; oberoi hotels.com; doubles from US$895. BANGALORE

NEW Leela Palace Kempinski (92.27) Opulent, domed hotel situated on a 3-hectare oasis with a 3-meter waterfall, close to the city’s airport and I.T. hubs. 23 Airport Rd.; 91-22/2521-1234; kempinski.com; doubles from US$438.

JAIP UR

Oberoi Rajvilas (94.78) Modern Rajasthani retreat that combines exacting standards with the romance of a bygone era. Goner Rd.; 91-141/268-0101; oberoihotels. com; doubles from US$765. Rambagh Palace (93.60) Former 19th-century royal hunting lodge and guesthouse on 19 manicured hectares. Bhawani Singh Rd.; 91-141/221-1919; tajhotels.com; doubles from US$833. JODHP UR

Umaid Bhawan Palace (90.96) At one time, the world’s largest private residence; now this enormous sandstone structure with a 44-meter-high cupola is a Taj Hotel. 91-291/251-0101; tajhotels.com; doubles from US$965, including breakfast. MU MBAI

The Oberoi (88.00) Renovated tower, rising above the Queen’s Necklace along Back Bay. Nariman Point; 91-22/6632-5757; oberoihotels.com; doubles from US$625. $

Taj Mahal Palace (93.83) A 1903 emblem of Raj-era Bombay and still the city’s grande dame, overlooking the Gateway of India. Apollo Bunder; 91-22/6665-3366; tajhotels.com; doubles from US$510. NEW DE LHI

The Imperial (90.27) Art Deco icon, filled with potted palms and colonial antiques, steps from Connaught Place. Janpath; 9111/2334-1234; theimperialindia. com; doubles from US$388. The Oberoi (86.38) Businessfriendly hotel close to Humayun’s Tomb and Khan Market, with superb on-site restaurants and bars. Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg; 9111/2436-3030; oberoihotels.com; doubles from US$425. Taj Mahal Hotel (89.09) An 11-story landmark in Lutyens’ Delhi, near government and diplomatic offices. 1 Mansingh Rd.; 91-11/2302-6162; tajhotels. com; doubles from US$487. Taj Palace Hotel (89.39) Threewing building with a business focus (24-hour concierge desk; private check-in for club level guests), close to the airport. Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave; 91-11/2611-0202; tajhotels. com; doubles from US$455. SAWAI MADHOP UR

Oberoi Vanyavilas (97.26) A total of 25 luxe jungle tents, a frescopainted haveli main lodge and a three-room spa spread across 8 overall hectares next to Ranthambore National Park & Tiger Reserve. Ranthambhore Rd.; 91-7462/ 223-999; oberoihotels.com; doubles from US$885. UDAIP UR

Oberoi Udaivilas (94.71) Opulent Mewari palace-style hotel spread across 12 hectares next to Lake Pichola. Haridasji Ki Magri; 91294/243-3300; oberoihotels.com; doubles from US$765. Taj Lake Palace (93.46) This lavishly restored 18th-century white-marble palace is set on its own island at the center of Lake Pichola. Lake Pichola; 91-294/2428800; tajhotels.com; doubles from US$833.

INDONESIA BALI

Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay (90.80) A total of 156 thatched-roof villas, all with private plunge pools, on a hillside above a secluded white-sand beach. Jimbaran; 62-36/701-010; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$680.

Denotes Great Value (room rates of US$250 or less)

NEW

Indicates a debut on the T+L 500

o p p o s i t e c lo c kw i s e f r o m to p l e f t: c o u r t e sy o f h ot e l d e l a pa i x ; c o u r t e s y o f p e n i n s u l a h o n g k o n g ; d av i d c i c c o n i ( 2 )

Asia


asian style Clockwise from above left: A suite at the Hôtel de la Paix in Siem Reap; luxury at the Peninsula Hong Kong; the spa courtyard at India’s Oberoi Vanyavilas, the number one hotel as voted by readers; one of 25 luxury tents at Oberoi Vanyavilas.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 125


tropical splendor Clockwise from above left: A plunge pool at the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, the top-ranked resort on

Bali; poolside at the Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore; the stylish lobby lounge at the Makati Shangri-La, a reader favorite in Manila.

000 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com


JAPAN KYOTO

Hyatt Regency (86.60) Traditional touches—kimonocovered headboards; washi paper lampshades—in the Higashiyama Shichijo district. 6-44-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari; 8175/541-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from US$261. TOKYO

Grand Hyatt (86.82) A tranquil 21-story hotel with 389 rooms in Roppongi Hills, one of the city’s premier shopping districts. 6-10-3 Roppongi; 81-3/4333-1234; hyatt. com; doubles from US$534.

LAOS LUANG PRABANG

La Résidence Phou Vao (87.77) French colonial–style hotel on a hill covered with frangipani on the southern edge of town. 85671/212-194; residencephouvao. com; doubles from US$440, including breakfast.

COURTESY OF MANDARIN ORIENTA L H OTE L GROUP . o p p o s i t e c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p l e f t : c o u r t e s y o f F o u r S e a s o n s R e s o r t J i m b a r a n B ay ; c o u r t e s y o f f o u r s e a s o n s h o t e l s i n g a p o r e ; c o u r t e s y o f m a k a t i s h a n g r i - l a

MALAYSIA $

KUA LA LUM P UR

Mandarin Oriental (89.69) A 643-room retreat (plush fabrics; floor-to-ceiling windows) next to the Petronas Twin Towers. Kuala Lumpur City Centre; 60-3/23808888; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from US$210, including breakfast.

PHILIPPINES BORACAY

NEW Discovery Shores (90.35) Whitewashed buildings and a new spa on a stretch of Long Beach. 63-36/288-4500; discoveryshores boracay.com; doubles from US$400, including breakfast.

C EBU

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa (88.89) A 13-hectare retreat with an enormous pool and a private white-sand beach. Punta Engano Rd., Lapu Lapu; 6332/231-0288; shangri-la.com; doubles from US$311, including breakfast. M ANI L A

Makati Shangri-La (91.03) A 699room hotel in the city’s financial center. Ayala and Makati Aves.; 63-2/813-8888; shangri-la.com; doubles from US$328. Peninsula Manila (90.82) Completely renovated in 2008, the hotel is convenient to banks and boutiques. 1226 Makati City; 63-2/887-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from US$296.

the bustling Orchard Road shopping district. 190 Orchard Blvd.; 65/6734-1110; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$429.

buzzing Bangrak district. 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Rd.; 66-2/2367777; shangri-la.com; doubles from US$258.

Fullerton Hotel (90.50) Colonnaded Neoclassical building on lively Marina Bay. 1 Fullerton Square; 65/6733-8388; fullerton hotel.com; doubles from US$453.

Grande $ Sheraton Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel (87.27) Central city property with 420 rooms, a third-floor lagoon pool and a top-tier concierge. 250 Sukhumvit Rd.; 66-2/649-8888; luxury collection.com; doubles from US$240.

Pan Pacific (87.05) In all, 778 rooms, a relaxation deck, and a John Portman–designed atrium, on Marina Bay Harbour. 7 Raffles Blvd.; 65/6336-8111; panpacific. com; doubles from US$299. Raffles Hotel (90.76) A total of 103 high-ceilinged suites in cloister-like buildings; former guests include Ava Gardner and Pablo Neruda. 1 Beach Rd.; 65/6337-1886; raffles.com; doubles from US$1,021. Ritz-Carlton, Millenia (86.83) Soaring tower designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Kevin Roche, on Marina Bay. 7 Raffles Ave.; 65/6337-8888; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$532.

Four Seasons Resort (93.95) Tranquil refuge outside the city, with haute-rustic wood pavilions perched above a working rice paddy. Mae Rim-Samoeng Old Rd.; 66-53/298-181; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$651. Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi (93.26) A miniature Thai kingdom: 123 Lanna-inspired suites and villas on 24 hectares. 51/4 Sankampaeng Rd.; 66-53/888888; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from US$634. CHIANG SAEN

Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa (90.67) A total of 19 thatched-roof suites on a misty mountain ridge along the Mekong. 229 Moo 1; 66-53/784084; anantara.com; doubles from US$584.

THAILAND

P HUK E T

Four Seasons Hotel (90.72) Colonial charm meets Asian flair at this oasis of gardens and hand-painted silks. 155 Rajadamri Rd.; 66-2/126-8866; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$240.

$

Hyatt Erawan (87.25) $ Grand Ultramodern retreat overlooking the Erawan Shrine. The 2,130-square-meter spa was designed by Tony Chi. 494 Rajdamri Rd.; 66-2/254-1234; grand.hyatt.com; doubles from US$219. Le Méridien (89.60) The hotel company’s relaunched flagship, with tech-savvy amenities (touchscreen phones; LCD TV’s). 40/5 Surawong Rd.; 66-2/23298888; lemeridien.com; doubles from US$290, including breakfast. Mandarin Oriental (92.89) A 135-year-old landmark with a rich literary history on the Chao Phraya River. 48 Oriental Ave.; 662/659-0000; mandarinoriental. com; doubles from US$419.

SINGAPORE

Peninsula Bangkok (95.69) In all, 370 rooms, a three-story spa, and top dining—all at the river’s edge. 333 Charoennakorn Rd.; 66-2/ 861-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from US$435.

Four Seasons Hotel (94.75) The city’s largest guest rooms, right in

Shangri-La Hotel (88.90) A 801room riverfront tower in the

Unexpected Tech Amenities

CHIANG MAI

Shangri-La Hotel (94.32) Three wings plus 6 landscaped hectares in the city’s shopping hub. 22 Orange Grove Rd.;65/6737-3644; shangri-la.com; doubles from US$653.

BANGKOK

T+L Picks | Asia

Amanpuri (90.60) The first entry in the Amanresorts collection and as stylish as ever: 40 tabak-wood pavilions on the Andaman Sea. Pansea Beach; 66-76/324-333; amanresorts.com; doubles from US$850. JW Marriott Resort & Spa (89.03) Secluded eco-resort and spa beside a pristine stretch of Mai Khao Beach. 231 Moo 3, Mai Khao; 66-76/338-000; jwmarriott.com; doubles from US$320.

VIETNAM HANOI

Hilton Opera (87.53) Business-friendly hotel in Hanoi’s French Quarter, blocks from Hoan Kiem Lake. 1 Le Thanh Tong St.; 84-4/3933-0500; hilton. com; doubles from US$195.

$

Sofitel Legend Metropole (90.87) Hanoi’s grande dame. All 364 rooms include modern amenities, those in the original wing have a traditional feel. 15 Ngo Quyen St.; 84-4/3826-6919; sofitel.com; doubles from US$265.

Bangkok Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, A Luxury Collection hotel

The new GoConcierge service sends confirmations— restaurant reservations; airline itineraries—to the guest’s e-mail address or phone. Bonus Feature For easy access to the SkyTrain, the hotel website includes aerial views and maps of the nearby Asok station.

Cebu, Philippines Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa

The E-Zone is a digerati’s dream, with computers, arcade games and a dedicated Wii area. Bonus Feature For fun: two karaoke rooms with 20,000 songs in English, Mandarin, Korean and Tagalog.

Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental

This flagship covers all the tech bases: high-speed Wi-Fi, surround-sound media centers and LCD TV’s with 62 channels. Bonus Feature An auxiliary panel for adjusting room temperature: it doubles as a game console.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Hôtel de la Paix

HO CHI MINH CIT Y

NEW Caravelle Hotel (88.40) As

The Lichfield suite at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.

central as it gets: Two Art Deco buildings with 335 rooms on Lam Son Square. 19 Lam Son Square, District 1; 84-8/3823-4999; caravellehotel.com; doubles from US$280.

Each room comes with an iPod preloaded with curated music— both indigenous and Western. Bonus Feature Don’t miss the audio self-guided tours of the unesco World Heritage Site Angkor Wat.

travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 97


Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific AUSTRALIA

GREAT BARRIER REE F

Hayman (90.00) Luxurious private island hotel that just added eight new suites. Hayman Island; 61-7/4940-1234; hayman. com.au; doubles from US$575, including breakfast. M E LBOURNE

The Langham (91.50) Langham’s first outpost; now featuring marble bathrooms and Waterford crystal chandeliers—near the australia Royal Botanic Garden. 1 Southgate Ave; 61-3/ 8696-8888; langhamhotels.com; doubles from US$298. Park Hyatt (87.06) Art Deco gem overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 1 Parliament Square; 61-3/9224-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$265. SYDNEY

Park Hyatt (87.68) It’s all about location at this 155-room harborside hotel, which is a fiveminute stroll from downtown. 7 Hickson Rd.; 61-2/9256-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$672. Shangri-La Hotel (86.89) Set in the Rocks, a historic neighborhood, it offers Sydney’s largest rooms. 176 Cumberland St.; 61-2/9250-6000; shangri-la. com; doubles from US$279.

FRENCH POLYNESIA BORA- BORA

InterContinental Resort & Thalasso Spa (89.87) The ultimate beachgoer’s fantasy: 80 overwater villas above an azure lagoon. Motu Piti Auau; 689/607-600; ichotelsgroup.com; doubles from US$1,287.

NEW ZEALAND AU CKL AND

NEW Hilton (86.71) Light-filled showstopper (floor-to-ceiling windows) on a pier. 147 Quay St.; 64-9/978-2000; hilton.com; doubles from US$534.

Hyatt Regency (86.20) A 347-room high-rise hotel with views of Auckland Harbour.

$

Corner of Princes St. and Waterloo Quadrant; 64-9/3551234; hyatt.com; doubles from US$215. C HRI STC HUR CH

The George (88.13) The region’s leading boutique hotel, with a 1-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio. 50 Park Terrace; 64-3/379-4560; thegeorge.com; doubles from US$343. TAUP O

Huka Lodge (91.25) The sine qua non of North Island lodges, thanks to a roster of activities and an idyllic Lake Taupo setting. 271 Huka Falls Rd.; 64-7/378-5791; hukaretreats.com; doubles from US$2,023, including breakfast and dinner.

Europe AUSTRIA SALZ BURG

Hotel Goldener Hirsch, a Luxury Collection Hotel (88.08) Atmospheric 70-room property dating to the 15th century near Mozart’s former residence in Old Town. 37 Getreidegasse; 43662/80840; goldenerhirsch salzburg.com; doubles from US$751. Hotel Sacher Salzburg (89.82) An 1866 hotel on the Salzach River. Oversize windows look out onto postcard-worthy views of Old Town. 5-7 Schwarzstrasse; 43-662/889-770; sacher.com; doubles from US$541. VIENNA

Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel (91.52) An 1863 palace on the Ring, with traditional interiors—crystal chandeliers, brocade curtains— and a stellar concierge staff. 16 Karntner Ring; 43-1/501-100; hotelimperialvienna.com; doubles from US$605. Hotel Sacher Wien (90.17) Belle Epoque property opposite the opera house; Pierre-Yves Rochon is refurbishing the rooms. 4 Philharmonikerstrasse; 43-1/514560; sacher.com; doubles from US$657.

BELGIUM BRU SS ELS

Hotel Amigo (86.95) A former 16th-century brick prison near the Grand Place, now a light-filled hotel with surrealist art, including Magritte drawings. Rue de l’Amigo; 32-2/547-4747; hotel amigo.com; doubles from US$416.

CZECH REPUBLIC PRAGUE

Four Seasons Hotel (90.33) Four architecturally distinct buildings

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on the east bank of the Vltava River. Renovations will be completed in June. 2A/1098 Veleslavinova; 420-221/427-000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$503.

touches with the best of British design (Nina Campbell; Tim Gosling; Russell Sage). Beeston Place; 44-20/7396-9000; thegoring.com; doubles from US$591.

NEW Mandarin Oriental (92.94) Restored 14th-century monastery, plus a modern wing, in the heart of the historic Mala Strana district. 459/1 Nebovidska; 420-233/088888; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from US$344.

The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel (93.47) Elegant Georgian building right on Hyde Park Corner with 95 rooms. The Library Bar england stocks hard-to-find whiskys; the Garden Room has a new walk-in humidor. Hyde Park Corner; 44-20/72595599; lanesborough.com; doubles from US$783.

ENGLAND BAT H

Royal Crescent Hotel (90.90) Two 18th-century row houses and a holistic spa at the center of Bath’s semicircle of Georgian-era residences. 16 Royal Crescent; 44-1225/823-333; royalcrescent. co.uk; doubles from US$545, including breakfast. LONDON

Brown’s Hotel (90.43) Eleven Georgian town houses in Mayfair combine history (Churchill and Kipling were guests) with contemporary interiors. Albemarle St.; 44-20/7493-6020; roccofortecollection.com; doubles from US$585. Claridge’s (89.79) Landmark Mayfair property, steps from Bond Street boutiques, revered for its Art Deco elements and Gordon Ramsay restaurant. Diane von Furstenberg designed 20 rooms and suites. Brook St.; 44-20/ 7629-8860; claridges.co.uk; doubles from US$473. The Connaught (88.00) A redbrick Victorian classic in Mayfair with a stylish bar by designer David Collins. Carlos Place; 44-20/7499-7070; theconnaught.co.uk; doubles from US$618. Covent Garden Hotel (86.55) A total of 58 rooms in the heart of the theater district with an eclectic mix of traditional English furniture and modern art. 10 Monmouth St.; 44-20/7806-1000; firmdale.com; doubles from US$380. Dukes Hotel (87.39) Discreet 90-room hotel on a quiet cul-desac steps from Green Park and St. James’s Palace. St. James’s Place; 44-20/7491-4840; dukeshotel. com; doubles from US$522. Four Seasons Hotel (86.76) An 11-story tower near Hyde Park Corner, newly reopened after a two-year, head-to-toe renovation by Pierre-Yves Rochon. Hamilton Place; 44-20/7499-0888; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$705. The Goring (91.06) A familyowned hotel near Buckingham Palace that layers charming

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (87.39) This former Victorian gentleman’s club across from Harvey Nichols has new restaurants from Daniel Boulud and Heston Blumenthal. 66 Knightsbridge; 44-20/7201-3773; mandarin oriental.com; doubles from US$876. The Milestone (89.47) The 62 rooms opposite Kensington Palace are individually decorated for a residential feel. 1 Kensington Court; 44-20/7917-1000; milestonehotel.com; doubles from US$443. The Savoy (87.41) Legendary Edwardian and Art Deco Thamesfront property, recently reopened after a three-year US$350 million restoration. The Strand; 4420/7836-4343; the-savoy.com; doubles from US$553. The Stafford (93.44) Refined town house (currently undergoing a renovation) behind Green Park with an extraordinary wine cellar and a world-class restaurant opening this summer. St. James’s Place; 44-20/7493-0111; thestaffordhotel.co.uk; doubles from US$300.

FRANCE BURGUNDY

Hôtel Le Cep (88.75) Cluster of small 14th- to 18th-century mansions housing 64 antiquesfilled rooms in the heart of wine country. Beaune; 33-3/80223548; hotel-cepbeaune.com; doubles from US$243.

$

CANNE S

InterContinental Carlton (86.63) A 1911 palace, set on see-and-beseen Promenade de la Croisette. New this year: nine refurbished suites on the 7th floor. 58 Blvd. de la Croisette; 33-4/9306-4006; intercontinental.com; doubles from US$879, including breakfast. CARC ASSONNE

Hôtel de la Cité (90.48) A 1909 hotel with stained-glass windows —plus a new terrace bar for small plates. 33-4/6871-9871;

o p p o s i t e f r o m to p : co u rt e sy o f h u k a lo d g e ; co u rt e sy o f t h e l a n g h a m

Park Hyatt Saigon (87.72) Colonial-style contemporary on the main square, with two good restaurants and the city’s only nonsmoking bar. 2 Lam Son Square, District 1; 84-8/38241234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$290.


Wonders down under Above: On New Zealand’s North Island, a cottage at the Huka Lodge next to Lake

Taupo. Below: In Melbourne, Australia’s top-rated hotel as voted by T+L readers, The Langham.

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hoteldelacite.com; doubles from US$620. CÔT E D’A ZUR

Château de la Chèvre d’Or (92.71) A complex of stone buildings and a Michelin two-starred restaurant set on a cliff high above the Mediterranean. Èze Village; 33-4/ 9210-6666; chevredor.com; doubles from US$388. Hôtel Château Eza (93.33) Secluded 17th-century hotel built into the ancient rock walls of the medieval village. Èze Village; 33-4/9341-1224; chateaueza.com; doubles from US$500. LOIRE VAL L EY

Domaine des Hauts de Loire (95.00) Former hunting lodge with 32 rooms (some Empire style) on 72 forested hectares between Blois and Amboise. Onzain; 33-2/54207257; domainehautsloire.com; doubles from US$182.

$

PARIS

Four Seasons Hôtel George V (92.76) A 1928 icon near the Champs-Elysées, with commanding views of Paris, and an award-winning spa. 31 Ave. George V; 33-1/4952-7000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$1,149. Hôtel de Crillon (94.40) Louis XV–commissioned palace on the

Place de la Concorde; Les Ambassadeurs restaurant recently reopened with a new head chef. 10 Place de la Concorde; 33-1/ 4471-1500; crillon.com; doubles from US$1,020. Hôtel Le Bristol (88.16) Grand 20th-century property, beloved by fashion photographers in the sixties and known for 30-squaremeter standard rooms—the city’s largest. 112 Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré; 33-1/5343-4300; lebristolparis.com; doubles from US$1,073. Hôtel Le Meurice (90.04) Regal Dorchester Collection hotel with Louis XVI–style interiors and modern public spaces by Philippe Starck, across from the Tuileries. All 205 rooms and suites were just redesigned by Charles Jouffre. 228 Rue de Rivoli; 331/4458-1010; lemeurice.com; doubles from US$927. Hôtel Plaza Athénée (89.60) A Haussmann-era Dorchester Collection hotel with marble bathrooms, a Michelin threestarred restaurant and Eiffel Tower views. 25 Ave. Montaigne; 33-1/5367-6065; plaza-atheneeparis.com; doubles from US$1,156. Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme (91.33) Palace-style hotel defined by sleek interiors—a daring

departure from its more traditional neighbors—just off Place Vendôme. 5 Rue de la Paix; 33-1/5871-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$1,115. Ritz Paris (89.94) A 159-room manse (filled with gilded touches and fresh flowers) built by César Ritz in 1898 and the home of Coco Chanel for 37 years. 15 Place Vendo^me; 33-1/43163178; ritzparis.com; doubles from US$1,185. P ROVENC E

La Colombe d’Or (91.67) Originally an inn where artists gathered in the 1920’s; now a charming hotel with 25 rooms filled with paintings by luminaries including Klee and Calder. 1 Place du Général de Gaulle, St.-Paul de Vence; 33-4/9332-8002; la-colombe-dor.com; doubles from US$411. L’Oustau de Baumanière (89.14) Provencal property near Arles comprising three farmhouses, two pools and a renowned restaurant. Les-Baux-deProvence; 33-4/9054-3307; oustaude baumaniere.com; doubles from US$412. Villa Gallici (87.05) 19th-century villa surrounded by Florentine gardens; the 22 rooms are furnished with canopy beds and

chinoiserie-style wallpaper. Ave. de la Violette , Aix-en-Provence; 33-4/42-23-29-23; villagallici.com; doubles from US$544. REIMS

Les Crayères (91.09) Impeccable turn-of-the-20th-century château in the heart of the Champagne region. 64 Blvd. Henry Vasnier; 33-3/2624-9000; lescrayeres. com; doubles from US$517.

GERMANY ROT HENBURG OB DER TAUBER

Hotel Eisenhut (89.56) A series of 15th- and 16thcentury mansions in the Bavarian town’s medieval walled center. 49-98/617-050; arvena.de; doubles from US$134.

$

GREECE ATHENS

Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel (89.97) An 1874 property opposite the Parliament Building with antiques and whitegloved valets. Constitution Square; 30-210/333-0000; grandebretagne.gr; doubles from US$848. King George Palace (86.85) Glitzy Neoclassical hotel just off Constitution Square; the 102 rooms feature raw-silk


bedspreads and Murano chandeliers. 3 Vas. Georgiou A’ Str.; 30-210/322-2210; classical hotels.com; doubles from US$400, including breakfast. SAN TORINI

Katikies Hotel (89.33) Newly renovated white-on-white property seemingly sculpted into the cliffs above the Aegean. Oia; 30-228/607-1401; katikieshotel santorini.com; doubles from US$512.

HUNGARY BUDA PEST

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace (92.96) Art Nouveau masterpiece (gold mosaic towers; 19th-century stained glass) at the base of the Chain Bridge. 5-6 Roosevelt Tér; 361/268-6000; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$468. NEW InterContinental (87.05) A 402-room hotel and spa with views from the Danube to Castle Hill. 12-14 Apáczai Csere János Utca; 361/327-6333; intercontinental. com; doubles from US$174.

$

IRELAND COUN TY CL ARE

Dromoland Castle (90.62) A 16th-century estate along Lough Dromoland, 15 minutes north of Shannon Airport. NewmarketonFergus; 353-61/368-144; dromoland.ie; doubles from US$431. COUN TY K ERRY

Sheen Falls Lodge (91.47) Waterside property with classic interiors on 121 hectares off the Ring of Kerry. Kenmare; 35364/664-1600; sheenfallslodge.ie; doubles from US$418. COUN TY K I LK ENNY

Mount Juliet (87.53) Irish sporting estate that offers a full roster of activities, including golf and horseback riding. Thomastown; 353-56/777-3000; mountjuliet.ie; doubles from US$276.

r o b e rto f r a n k e n b e r g ( 2 ) . opposite: courtesy of the lanesborough

COUN TY LI MERI CK

Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort (87.78) An 1832 Gothic Revival castle set among parterre gardens. Adare; 353-61/605-200; adaremanor.com; doubles from US$596. COUN TY MAYO

Ashford Castle (90.63) A 1228 crenellated estate on 142 hectares along the banks of the salmonand trout-filled Lough Corrib. 353-94/954-6003; ashford.ie; doubles from US$488, including breakfast. DUB LIN

Seasons Hotel (93.68) $ Four New-build hotel done up in British country style in an affluent

suburb just outside the city center. Simmonscourt Rd.; 353-1/ 665-4000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$233. The Merrion (90.67) Four Georgian houses near the National Gallery; the hotel’s art collection includes works by 20th-century Irish painters. Upper Merrion St.; 353-1/603-0600; merrionhotel.com; doubles from US$758. The Shelbourne (89.03) Historic Georgian building—Ireland’s first constitution was drafted here in 1922—facing St. Stephen’s Green. 27 St. Stephen’s Green; 353-1/ 663-4500; renaissancehotels. com; doubles from US$281.

ITALY AMA LF I COAST

Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria (88.67) Three adjoining brick buildings above the Bay of Naples, owned and operated by the same family since 1834. Sorrento; 39-081/877-7111; excelsiorvittoria.com; doubles from US$525, including breakfast. Hotel Santa Caterina (90.72) A 94-room seaside villa owned by the same family since 1880. An infinity pool will be added this year. Amalfi; 39-089/871-012; hotelsantacaterina.it; doubles from US$572, including breakfast.

Spotlight on Europe Above: The terrace at Domaine des Hauts de Loire, in France; inside the former hunting lodge, below. Opposite: Apsleys at The Lanesborough, in London.

Il San Pietro (90.71) Cliff-hanging architectural wonder, set high above the Amalfi Coast with 84 rooms and a private beach reachable via elevator. Positano; 39-089/875-455; ilsanpietro.it; doubles from US$749, including breakfast. Le Sirenuse (94.88) A dignified 61-room hotel (the former 1951 summer residence of the Marchesi Sersale); four junior suites are on the horizon. Positano; 39089/875-066; sirenuse.it; doubles from US$680, including breakfast. Palazzo Sasso (95.17) A 12th-century aristocratic Italian palazzo with 43 rooms and a Michelinstarred restaurant. Ravello; 39-089/818-181; italy palazzosasso.com; doubles from US$444, including breakfast. ASO LO

Hotel Villa Cipriani (90.11) Once the home of author Robert Browning, set in a garden of pomegranate trees above the town of Asolo. 39-04/2352-3411; villaciprianiasolo.com; doubles from US$226, including breakfast.

$

BO LOGNA

Grand Hotel Majestic Gia` Baglioni (86.75) An 18th-century columned property, steps from the galleries and cathedral of

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C APRI

Grand Hotel Quisisana (89.93) A luxurious 148-room hotel and spa (with Capri’s only hammam) near Piazza Umberto. 39-081/8370788; quisisana.com; doubles from US$489, including breakfast. COR TONA

Il Falconiere (88.75) Classic 17thcentury Tuscan villa-estate outside Arezzo, with 22 rooms and a 10-hectare vineyard. 390575/612-679; ilfalconiere.it; doubles from US$391, including breakfast. F LOREN C E

NEW Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

(91.27) A 1472 palace near the Duomo, with 160 impeccable rooms, next to a centuries-old private park. 99 Borgo Pinti; 39055/26261; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$740.

promontory that stretches out to the center of Lake Como. Bellagio; 39-031/950-216; villa serbelloni.com; doubles from US$627, including breakfast.

Baroque rooms will be refurbished by new owner OrientExpress this year. 39-0942/6270200; grandhoteltimeo.com; doubles from US$617.

Villa d’Este (93.66) 1568 lakefront estate built as a private residence for a cardinal, set within 10 hectares of parkland along Lake Como. Cernobbio; 39-031/3481; villadeste.it; doubles from US$848, including breakfast.

VENIC E

M ILAN

Bauer Hotel (88.22) Sustainability (solar-powered boat; all-natural amenities) is the focus at this sister hotel to Bauer Il Palazzo. San Marco 1459; 39-041/5207022; bauervenezia.com; doubles from US$531, including breakfast.

Four Seasons Hotel (91.77) A dramatic 118-room hotel in a 15thcentury convent, just steps from Milan’s best shopping; a new spa will open later this year. 6/8 Via Gesù; 39-02/77088; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$808.

Bauer Il Palazzo (86.44) Peaceful, 82-room palazzo turned boutique hotel in the heart of Venice, with its own Grand Canal berth. San Marco 1413/d; 39-041/520-7022; ilpalazzovenezia.com; doubles from US$695, including breakfast.

Hotel Principe di Savoia (88.55) Part of the Dorchester Collection, this Neoclassical building—a gathering place since the 1920’s— has modern amenities (and a full-service gym, too). 17 Piazza della Repubblica; 39-02/62301; hotelprincipedisavoia.com; doubles from US$1,104.

Hotel Cipriani (87.30) Two historic palazzos and a 1950’s era main building, on Giudecca Island. The hotel just added an arcade with couture boutiques. Giudecca 10; 39-041/520-7744; hotel cipriani.com; doubles from US$1,424, including breakfast. Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel (86.95) Three palaces from the 14th, 19th and 20th centuries, with 225 rooms overlooking the Venice lagoon. 4196 Riva degli Schiavoni; 39-041/522-6480; danielihotelvenice.com; doubles from US$1,185.

Grand Hotel Villa Medici (87.86) An 18th-century hotel near the Uffizi with exquisite details (vaulted ceilings; 18th-century furniture) and the only outdoor pool in Florence. 42 Via Il Prato; 39-055/277-171; villamedicihotel. com; doubles from US$702.

PORTOFINO

Hotel Helvetia & Bristol (86.44) A 67-room palazzo featuring 17thcentury paintings and antiques, situated in front of the 1489 Palazzo Strozzi palace in the centro storico. 2 Via Dei Pescioni; 39-055/26651; royaldemeure.com; doubles from US$633.

ROME

Hotel de Russie (90.59) Stylish 1814 palazzo located on the fashionable Via del Babuino, best known for its terraced gardens. 9 Via del Babuino; 39-06/328-881; roccofortecollection.com; doubles from US$929.

Hotel Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel (89.94) An oldworld atmosphere in a 16thcentury Renaissance palace on the banks of the Grand Canal. 2467 Campo Santa Maria del Giglio; 39-041/794-611; hotelgrittipalacevenice.com; doubles from US$1,338.

Hotel Lungarno (86.36) Handsome 73-room medieval building filled with modern art— Picasso and Cocteau—on the Arno’s south bank near the Ponte Vecchio. 14 Borgo San Jacopo; 39-055/27261; lungarnohotels. com; doubles from US$569.

Hotel Hassler Roma (90.94) Turnof-the-century palace hotel at the top of the Spanish Steps. Its II Vicolletto wing was just renovated. 6 Piazza Trinita` dei Monti; 39-06/699-340; hotel hasslerroma.com; doubles from US$808.

Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal (88.00) A 17th-century pedigreed palazzo at the mouth of the Grand Canal, with sweeping views of San Giorgio Island. San Marco 1332; 39-041/520-0211; hotelmonaco.it; doubles from US$877, including breakfast.

Westin Excelsior (88.66) A 300-label wine cellar and a new Mediterranean rooftop restaurant, plus 171 rooms, in a 15th-century palace near the Ponte Vecchio. 3 Piazza Ognissanti; 39-055/27151; westin.com; doubles from US$632.

NEW Regina Hotel Baglioni (89.87) Belle Epoque property with Art Deco furnishings in all 135 rooms, minutes from the Spanish Steps. 72 Via Veneto; 39-06/421-111; baglionihotels.com; doubles from US$855.

Luna Hotel Baglioni (89.00) A 900-year-old aristocratic palazzo—the oldest in Venice— steps from the famed Piazza San Marco. San Marco 1243; 39-041/ 965-5930; baglionihotels.com; doubles from US$1,028.

St. Regis Grand Hotel (86.93) Beds come with tufted headboards and bathrooms are done in travertine marble at this 184-room retreat near the Trevi Fountain. 3 Via Vittorio E. Orlando; 39-06/47091; stregis. com; doubles from US$544.

Westin Europa & Regina (88.31) Five 18th- and 19th-century Venetian palaces on the Grand Canal, with views of Santa Maria della Salute, the city’s iconic 17thcentury church. San Marco 2159; 39-041/240-0001; westin.com; doubles from US$1,129.

F LOREN C E AREA

Hotel Villa San Michele (91.80) Lemon-scented gardens and a facade attributed to Michelangelo at a 15th-century hilltop Renaissance villa. Fiesole; 39055/567-8200; villasanmichele. com; doubles from US$1,170, including breakfast. LA K E CO MO

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni (87.91) Aristocratic 19th-century villa flanked by woodlands, on a

Hotel Splendido (93.52) A flowerfilled hillside villa (a monastery in the 14th and 15th centuries) that overlooks the bay. 39-0185/267801; hotelsplendido.com; doubles from US$1,344, including breakfast.

TAOR MINA

Grand Hotel Timeo (90.22) A 19th-century residence inherited from Sicilian nobility—the first hotel to be built in Taormina— overlooking Mount Etna. The 72

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MONACO MONTE C AR LO

Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo (90.91) Marble-and-gilt Belle

Epoque structure on the Place du Casino, home to Alain Ducasse’s Louis XV restaurant. Place Du Casino; 377-9806-3000; en.hotel deparismontecarlo.com; doubles from US$759.

NETHERLANDS A MSTERDAM

Hotel Pulitzer, a Luxury Collection Hotel (86.88) A total of 25 interconnected canal houses (exposed wood beams; brick walls) dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. 315-331 Prinsengracht; 31-20/523-5235; pulitzeramsterdam.com; doubles from US$654.

POLAND WARSAW

Le Méridien Bristol (87.47) Finde-siècle property near Old Town on Warsaw’s architecture-rich Royal Route. 42-44 Krakowskie Przedmiescie; 48-22/551-1000; lemeridien.com; doubles from US$354.

PORTUGAL L IS BON

Olissippo Lapa Palace (94.60) Hilltop hotel surrounded by gardens in the embassy district, built in 1870 as a private villa. 4 Rua do Pau de Bandeira; 351291/724-325; lapapalace.com; doubles from US$499.

SCOTLAND EDINBURGH

The Balmoral (90.25) Edwardian hotel with a 59-meter clock tower and subtly modern interiors next to Waverly Station. 1 Princes St.; 44-131/556-2414; thebalmoral hotel.com; doubles from US$601. ST. ANDREWS

Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa (89.33) Adjacent to the world’s oldest course, this golf resort has touches both classic (striped wallpapers) and contemporary (23 suites by Jacques Garcia). 44-133/4474371; oldcoursehotel.co.uk; doubles from US$600.

SPAIN BARCE LONA

Hotel Arts (89.66) A Ritz-Carlton–managed hotel in a 44-story tower rising above the seafront at the city’s Port Olimpic. 19-21 Carr. de la spain Marina; 34-93/221-1000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$536. MADRID

Westin Palace (87.28) A 1912 hotel with massive stained-glass dome, steps from the Prado and

o p p o s i t e f r o m l e f t : COURTESY OF H OTE L PA L AZZO SASSO ; c o u r t e s y o f w i c k a n i n n i s h i n n

Bologna. A wellness center—the site of a Turkish bath—will open this year. 8 Via Indipendenza; 39-051/225-445; duetorrihotels. com; doubles from US$607, including breakfast.


Thyssen museums. 7 Plaza de las Cortes; 34-91/360-8000; westin. com; doubles from US$700. M ARBE L L A

Marbella Club Hotel (87.06) Discreet beachfront property on Marbella’s Golden Mile. Blvd. Principe Alfonso Von Hohenlohe; 34-95/282-2211; marbellaclub. com; doubles from US$600. SAN SEBAST IAN

Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel (87.00) Belle Epoque hotel known for its oldworld style. 4 Paseo Republica Argentina; 34-943/437-600; luxurycollection.com; doubles from US$237.

SWEDEN STO C K HOLM

Grand Hôtel (88.61) Waterfront landmark—site of the first Nobel Prize ceremony—noted for culinary achievement (the Mathias Dahlgren dining room has two Michelin stars). 8 Södra Blasieholmshamnen; 46-8/6793500; grandhotel.se; doubles from US$754.

SWITZERLAND IN T ER L AK EN

Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa (89.91) A 212-room Alpine

resort—tennis, hiking, kids’ club— with an Asian-style spa. 41-33/ 828-2828; victoria-jungfrau.ch; doubles from US$1,123. Z URI CH

Baur au Lac (92.20) Freshly renovated classic hotel—family owned since 1844—with formal gardens overlooking Lake Zurich. 1 Talstrasse; 41-44/220-5020; bauraulac.ch; doubles from US$887. NEW Park Hyatt (87.20)

Contemporary (2004) building in the financial district, steps from Bahnhofstrasse boutiques. 21 Beethoven-Str.; 41-43/888-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$460.

TURKEY ISTANBU L

Ciragan Palace Hotel Kempinski (89.33) Former sultan’s palace with a modern annex on the European shores of the Bosporus. 32 Ciragan Cadd.; 90-212/3264646; kempinski.com; doubles from US$875. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet (92.63) Restored Neoclassical prison in the Old City—around the corner from Hagia Sophia. 1 Tevkifhane Sk.; 90-212/402-3000; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$579.

Ritz-Carlton (86.74) Ottomanstyle luxury in a hilltop skyscraper near Taksim Square; rooms were refurbished in 2010. 9 Elmadag Sisli; 90-212/334-4444; ritz carlton.com; doubles from US$523.

VANCOUVER

Pan Pacific (87.35) A total of 503 waterfront rooms in downtown Vancouver. 300-999 Canada Place; 1-604/662-8111; panpacific.com; doubles from US$244.

$

VIC TORIA

Canada ALBERTA BANF F

Fairmont Banff Springs (87.26) A 19th-century Scottish castle amid the peaks of Banff National Park. 1-403/762-2211; fairmont.com; doubles from US$290. L A KE LOUIS E

Post Hotel & Spa (93.07) Chaletstyle lodge with a 26,000-bottle wine cellar. 1-403/522-3989; posthotel.com; doubles from US$305.

BRITISH COLUMBIA TOF INO

Wickaninnish Inn (93.14) Nature- and foodfocused inn on a rocky promontory, with the Pacific Rim National Park and the ocean as a canada sweeping backdrop. 1-250/725-3100; wickinn. com; doubles from US$286.

Palazzo Sasso, on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, left. Right: On Vancouver Island, the Wickaninnish Inn.

Fairmont Empress (87.69) An Edwardian landmark overlooking Inner Harbour and known for its afternoon tea (served under a portrait of Queen Mary). 1-250/ 384-8111; fairmont.com; doubles from US$299. WHIST L ER

Fairmont Chateau Whistler (86.32) Ski-in, ski-out resort in the upper village, with a Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed golf course and GPS-equipped golf carts. 1-604/938-8000; fairmont.com; doubles from US$487. Four Seasons Resort (89.57) Stone-and-timber lodge with a new steak house, Sidecut, at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. 1-604/935-3455; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$393.

ONTARIO TORONTO

Park Hyatt (87.33) In Yorkville— the epicenter of activity during the Toronto Film Festival—across from the Royal Ontario Museum.


American flair From left: In Santa Barbara, California, the San Ysidro Ranch; at the Peninsula Beverly Hills; San Ysidro Ranch’s Gardenia Cottage.

QUEBEC QUEBE C C ITY

Auberge Saint-Antoine (92.80) With 95 rooms—some showcasing 300-year-old artifacts found onsite—on the St. Lawrence River. 8 Rue St.-Antoine; 1-418/ 692-2211; saint-antoine.com; doubles from US$350. Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (87.51) A 1893 castle overlooking the St. Lawrence River in Old Quebec, with a just-opened Payot spa. 1 Rue des Carrières; 1-418/692-3861; fairmont.com; doubles from US$174.

$

United States ALABAMA P OIN T CL EAR

NEW Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa (89.62) The look is traditional at the 405-room resort on 222 hectares overlooking Mobile Bay. 1-251/928-9201; marriottgrand. com; doubles from US$229.

$

ALASKA GIRDWOOD

Hotel Alyeska (86.93) A 301room hotel 65 kilometers south of Anchorage in a valley below a ski mountain. 1-907/754-2111; alyeska resort.com; doubles from US$269.

ARIZONA C ARE F REE

Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa (86.59) A total of 221 casitas and villas, set in a 12-million-year-old rock

$

outcropping, with a legendary spa. 1-480/488-9009; the boulders.com; doubles from US$249. PHOENIX /SCOT TSDALE

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North (86.72) This 210room property has hiking trails and a high-powered telescope for stargazing. 10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr., Scottsdale; 1-480/5155700; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$325. NEW InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa (91.45) Andalusian style (arched entryways; Moroccan antiques), with a happening arizona poolside scene. 4949 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale; 1-480/627-3200; icmontelucia. com; doubles from US$429.

JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa (86.78) With 453 Pueblo-style casitas and 27 suites at this family-friendly resort on 50 hectares. 5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale; 1-480/948-1700; camelbackinn.com; doubles from US$500. The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort (89.51) A classic resort on 100 hectares. New restaurants include the Relish Burger Bistro. 6000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale; 1-480/941-8200; thephoenician. com; doubles from US$779. Royal Palms Resort & Spa (89.58) One of the area’s most intimate hotels: a 1929 Spanish colonial– style mansion on 3.5 leafy hectares. 5200 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix; 1-602/840-6927; royalpalmshotel.com; doubles from US$499. SEDONA

Enchantment Resort & Mii Amo Spa (88.08) With 218 adobe rooms in a red-rock canyon, plus

104 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

the award-winning spa. 1-928/ 282-2900; enchantmentresort. com; doubles from US$450. L’Auberge de Sedona (89.73) Romantic creek-side retreat fresh from a US$25 million expansion that added 31 cottages. 1-928/ 282-1661; lauberge.com; doubles from US$300. TU CS ON

Arizona Inn (87.09) A 95-room estate that evokes a bygone era. 1-520/325-1541; arizonainn.com; doubles from US$329.

CALIFORNIA BIG S UR

Post Ranch Inn (93.13) 41 solarpowered rooms in free-standing cottages made from wood, glass and slate. 1-831/667-2200; postranchinn.com; doubles from US$550, including breakfast. Ventana Inn & Spa (87.08) Adults-only retreat of 55 rooms and three cedar villas. 1-831/6672331; ventanainn.com; doubles from US$600, including breakfast. CARM EL

Bernardus Lodge (87.57) In all, 57 rooms at this Provencal-style hotel. 1-831/658-3400; bernardus. com; doubles from US$545. Hyatt Carmel Highlands (87.58) Craftsman-style hotel with redesigned rooms and floor-toceiling windows. 1-831/624-8578; hyatt.com; doubles from US$719. L’Auberge Carmel (87.06) A 20room inn around a brick courtyard. 1-831/624-8578; laubergecarmel.com; doubles from US$650, including breakfast. DEL MAR

NEW L’Auberge Del Mar (88.86) With 120 rooms with a renovated spa one block from the beach. 1-858/259-1515; laubergedelmar. com; doubles from US$395.

HAL F MOON BAY

Ritz-Carlton (88.72) Two golf courses and 261 rooms (some with patio fire pits). 1-650/7127000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$469. LOS ANGE L E S AREA

Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows (87.77) A 225-room Dorchester Collection pink palace, with two new bungalows opening in March. 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills; 1-310/276-2251; beverlyhillshotel. com; doubles from US$635. Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel (87.29) Reinvented 1928 legend at Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard. 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; 1-310/2755200; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$445. Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows (86.42) Bungalows and a 10-story tower, plus a spa, restaurant and BMW cruiser bikes—just a 7-minute walk from the Pacific. 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 1-310/576-7777; fairmont.com; doubles from US$429. Hotel Bel-Air (93.67) A cloistered retreat set to reopen this summer with 103 rooms (including 12 new canyon-view suites) and a spa. 701 Stone Canyon Rd., Los Angeles; 1-310/472-1211; hotelbel air.com; doubles from US$565. NEW Montage Beverly Hills (87.71) Built in 2008 yet exuding old-world glamour in the rooms and piano bar. Smart tech amenities are a plus for business travelers. 225 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills; 1-310/860-7800; montagebeverlyhills.com; doubles from US$525.

Peninsula Beverly Hills (91.92) A 196-room oasis modeled after a French country estate. Highwattage guests congregate at the pool and bar. 9882 S. Santa

f r o m l e f t : J e s s i c a s a m p l e ; D av e L a u r i d s e n ; J e s s i c a s a m p l e

4 Avenue Rd.; 1-416/925-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$277.


Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 1-310/551-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from US$555. NAPA /S ONO M A

Auberge du Soleil (91.61) A string of 48 rooms and two cottages and a French restaurant that has some of the best sunset views in wine country. Rutherford; 1-707/963-1211; aubergedusoleil. com; doubles from US$800.

lying hotel on the Monterey Peninsula. Guests have access to the Pebble Beach Golf Links. 1-831/647-7500; pebblebeach. com; doubles from US$595.

St. Regis (88.22) Gleaming highrise adjacent to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 125 3rd St.; 1-415/284-4000; stregis.com; doubles from US$649.

Lodge at Pebble Beach (89.86) A 1919 Georgian-style golf haven. 1-831/647-7500; pebblebeach. com; doubles from US$695.

SAN TA BARBARA

SAN DIEGO AREA

Calistoga Ranch (90.13) With 48 comfortably rustic cabins, with open-air showers. Calistoga; 1-707/254-2800; calistogaranch. com; doubles from US$735.

Grand Del Mar (87.36) An opulent resort that exudes an air of European refinement. 5300 Grand Del Mar Court, San Diego; 1-858/314-2000; thegranddelmar. com; doubles from US$395.

Carneros Inn (86.38) Country cottages, plus three pools, three restaurants and a spa. Napa; 1-707/299-4900; thecarnerosinn. com; doubles from US$575.

La Valencia Hotel (87.09) A 1926 hideaway with murals and mosaics, in a tiny suburb. La Jolla; 1-858/551-3715; lavalencia.com; doubles from US$300.

Hotel Healdsburg (90.89) With a celebrated restaurant and wine room near some 60 vineyards. Healdsburg; 1-707/431-2800; hotelhealdsburg.com; doubles from US$315, including breakfast.

Lodge at Torrey Pines (86.36) Craftsman-style golf resort on a Pacific cliff next to a 810-hectare nature preserve. La Jolla; 1-858/ 543-4420; lodgetorreypines.com; doubles from US$305.

Meadowood Napa Valley (91.67) A grand country estate: rooms are tucked among fir trees; resort amenities include wine classes and croquet. St. Helena; 1-707/963-3646; meadowood. com; doubles from US$575. Villagio Inn & Spa (89.00) Many of the 112 rooms overlook a bluetiled waterway at this Italianate hotel. Yountville; 1-707/944-8877; villagio.com; doubles from US$380, including breakfast. ORANGE COUN T Y

Montage Laguna Beach (92.15) Relaxed 250-room resort above the Pacific. Laguna Beach; 1-949/ 715-6000; montagelagunabeach. com; doubles from US$895. NEW Pelican Hill Resort (90.49)

A total of 324 bungalows and villas reminiscent of seaside Tuscany. Newport Coast; 1-949/ 467-6800; pelicanhill.com; doubles from US$695.

Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel (89.85) Four-story hideaway with a bevy of marine-oriented programs above a legendary wave break. Dana Point; 1-949/240-2000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$425. St. Regis Monarch Beach (86.80) With 400 super-sleek rooms and white-glove butler service. Dana Point; 1-949/234-3200; stregis. com; doubles from US$675. PASADENA

Langham Huntington (86.67) Dignified 1907 property next to the San Gabriel Mountains. 1-626/568-3900; langhamhotels. com; doubles from US$269. P EBB L E BEACH

Inn at Spanish Bay (91.20) Low-

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort (formerly Four Seasons Resort Aviara) (88.85) A Spanishcolonial escape. Outdoor living rooms take advantage of the seaside location. Carlsbad; 1760/448-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$480. Westgate Hotel (87.65) A 223room hotel filled with gilded antiques and 18th-century tapestries. 1055 2nd Ave., San Diego; 1-619/238-1818; westgate hotel.com; doubles from US$350. SAN FRANCI SCO

Fairmont San Francisco (86.78) A 1907 palace with restored original details and an organic garden. 950 Mason St.; 1-415/772-5000; fairmont.com; doubles from US$241.

$

Four Seasons Hotel (89.15) Situated in the Yerba Buena Arts District and offering notable furnishings such as Herman Miller Eames chairs. 757 Market St.; 1-415/633-3000; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$395. Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa (88.52) A 1924 hotel with townhouse touches. 1075 California St.; 1-415/474-5400; huntingtonhotel.com; doubles from US$395.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore (88.53) A 207-room, clay-tiled-roof resort surrounded by palm trees. 1-805/969-2261; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$595. San Ysidro Ranch, A Rosewood Resort (96.17) With 200 bucolic hectares and clapboard cottages for only 90 guests; a renovation califonia updated the rooms and restaurants and added a wine cellar. 1-805/565-1700; rosewoodhotels.com; doubles from US$650.

COLORADO AS PEN

Little Nell (91.78) Aspen’s only ski-in/ski-out property has adventure specialists and revamped rooms by designer Holly Hunt. 1-970/920-4600; thelittlenell.com; doubles from US$840.

ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$279. VAIL

Sonnenalp Resort (92.52) A Bavarian-style lodge—recently awarded Sustainable Travel International LECS certification— with 112 suites. 1-970/476-5656; sonnenalp.com; doubles from US$625, including breakfast. NEW Vail Cascade Resort & Spa (86.61) Amenities at the 292room hotel include a new infinity pool and its own lift. 1-970/4767111; vailcascade.com; doubles from US$349.

CONNECTICUT WAS HINGTON

Mayflower Inn & Spa (90.44) With 30 rooms and a 1,900square-meter spa in a stately English country–style inn on 24 hectares in the Litchfield Hills. 1-860/868-9466; mayflowerinn. com; doubles from US$745.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WAS HINGTON, D.C .

Four Seasons Hotel (88.44) Redbrick Georgetown stalwart with a well-edited art collection (Warhol; Frankenthaler) and iPads and Kindles for guest use. 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 1-202/ 342-0444; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$595.

St. Regis Aspen Resort (87.47) A 179-room hotel between Aspen Mountain’s two main ski lifts. Suites come with butler service. 1-970/920-3300; stregisaspen. com; doubles from US$749. BEAVER CREEK

Park Hyatt Resort & Spa (86.77) A 190-room lodge at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain known for its 2,800-square-meter spa. 1970/949-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$466. Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch (89.58) Gabled-roof lodge on Beaver Creek Mountain with a staff of ski concierges. 1-970/7486200; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$699. CO LORADO S P RINGS

The Broadmoor (89.57) This 1918 lakeside mainstay is set on 1,200 hectares; off-property excursions include horseback riding, rock climbing and flyfishing. 1-719/5775775; broadmoor.com; doubles from US$420.

The Hay-Adams (87.63) A 1928 Italian Renaissance grande dame across from the White House. 16th and H Sts. NW; 1-202/638-6600; hayadams.com; doubles from US$495. The Jefferson (87.77) Beaux-Arts landmark reopened with modern amenities after a two-year renovation. 1200 16th St. NW; 1-202/347-2200; jeffersondc.com; doubles from US$550. Ritz-Carlton Georgetown (87.33) Updated technology (new HD flat-screen televisions; iPod docking stations) in a National Historic Landmark. 3100 South St. NW; 1-202/912-4100; ritzcarlton. com; doubles from US$379.

Mandarin Oriental (88.47) With 158 rooms in warm reds and golds. 222 Sansome St.; 1-415/ 276-9888; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from US$495.

Hotel Teatro (86.71) Renaissance Revival building across from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. 1100 14th St.; 1-303/228-1100; hotelteatro.com; doubles from US$179.

Sofitel Washington D.C. Lafayette Square (91.72) Art Deco icon renovated by PierreYves Rochon but still featuring original gold-leaf details. The 75-seat restaurant sources produce from a farmers’ market near the White House. 806 15th St. NW; 1-202/730-8800; sofitel. com; doubles from US$175.

Ritz-Carlton (89.98) This elegant 336-room Nob Hill hotel has rain showers and 400-thread-count sheets. 600 Stockton St.; 1-415/ 296-7465; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$359.

NEW Ritz-Carlton (86.22) Denver’s toniest address: 202 spacious rooms and a steak house named after Broncos quarterback John Elway. 1881 Curtis St.; 1-303/312-3800;

St. Regis (88.15) Stately 1926 hotel with a new Alain Ducasse restaurant and an in-hotel historian. 16th and K Sts. NW; 1-202/638-2626; stregis.com; doubles from US$875.

DENVER

$

$

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FLORIDA AM ELIA ISLAND

Ritz-Carlton (89.52) With 444 rooms and a roster of daily activities on a quiet barrier island. 1-904/277-1100; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$279. CLEARWATER BEACH NEW Sandpearl Resort (89.30) A 253-room LEED Silver–certified property. The educational program includes a local artistsin-residence initiative. 1-727/4412425; sandpearl.com; doubles from US$379. F LORIDA KEYS

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa (92.97) Cluster of thatched-roof bungalows and a new Chef’s Table, accessible by a 15-minute boat ride florida or by seaplane from the mainland. Little Torch Key; 1-305/515-4004; littlepalm island.com; doubles from US$795. Marquesa Hotel (88.94) A 1884 clapboard houses set back from busy Duval Street. A no-mobilephones-in-public-spaces policy helps to keep the peace. Key West; 1-305/292-1919; marquesa. com; doubles from US$330. NEW Sunset Key Guest Cottages, a Westin Resort (88.55 Whitewashed cottages on a secluded island near Key West. Sunset Key; 1-305/292-5300; westin.com; doubles from US$645, including breakfast.

F ORT LAUDERDA LE

NEW Atlantic Resort & Spa

(88.73) Popular with families for its 56-square-meter or larger rooms with kitchenettes. 1-954/ 567-8020 atlantichotelfl.com; doubles from US$269. M IA MI AREA

Biltmore Hotel (87.10) Storied 1920’s hotel surrounded by 60 manicured hectares. The 270 airy rooms feature Egyptian-cotton sheets and Frette robes. Coral Gables; 1-305/913-3158; biltmore hotel.com; doubles from US$359. Four Seasons Hotel (87.87) Housed in the 20th through 29th floors of a 70-story high-rise in Miami’s financial district. 1435 Brickell Ave., Miami; 1-305/3583535; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$395. Mandarin Oriental (87.64) Newly renovated high-rise with a private beach, on Brickell Key. 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami; 1-305/9138383; mandarinoriental.com; doubles from US$479. Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne (88.11) With 440 rooms in tropical colors, four restaurants and 11 tennis courts, on a barrier island south of Miami Beach. Key Biscayne;

1-305/365-4500; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$459. Ritz-Carlton, South Beach (86.80) With 416 Art Deco rooms in two poolside wings and a multimillion-dollar art collection. 1 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 1-786/ 276-4000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$479. NEW W South Beach (86.44) All 332 French-bohemian rooms are appointed with marble vanity countertops and photos of musicians by Danny Clinch. 2201 Collins Ave., Miami 1-305/9383000; whotels.com; doubles from US$929.

NAPLES

Ritz-Carlton (90.10) A 450-room stronghold set along the Gulf of Mexico’s Paradise Coast. 1-239/598-3300; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$549. Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort (89.46) With 295 elegant rooms and two Greg Norman–designed courses that double as an Audubon sanctuary. 1-239/593-2000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$469. ORL ANDO AREA

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (87.32) A 972-room lodge offering lobby-side wildlife spotting. Lake Buena Vista; 1-407/934-7639; disneyworld. disney.go.com; doubles from US$450. Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas (87.96) A 904-room spread with endless activities. Lake Buena Vista; 1-407/934-7639; disneyworld.disney.go.com; doubles from US$555. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (88.64) The empire’s flagship: six red-roofed gabled buildings set along the park’s monorail loop. Lake Buena Vista; 1-407/934-7639; disneyworld. disney.go.com; doubles from US$705. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (86.81) A 727-room behemoth with Western-inspired décor and a seven-story lobby in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Lake Buena Vista; 1-407/934-7639; disney world.disney.go.com; doubles from US$450. Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes (87.83) A 14-story tower modeled after an Italian palazzo. 4012 Central Florida Pkwy., Orlando; 1-407/206-2400; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$499. Villas of Grand Cypress (88.00) With 146 suites and Jack Nicklaus Signature courses. 1 North Jacaranda, Orlando; 1-407/2394700; grandcypress.com; doubles from US$279.

106 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

PAL M BEACH

Brazilian Court Hotel & Beach Club (90.00) A 1926 hotel, renovated three years ago to the tune of US$35 million, with updated Colonial-style interiors and a Daniel Boulud restaurant. 1-561/655-7740; thebraziliancourt. com; doubles from US$619. The Breakers (89.95) Italian Renaissance icon with a culinary focus and a prime spot on Palm Beach. 1-561/655-6611; thebreakers.com; doubles from US$499. Four Seasons Resort (87.00) Low-rise beachfront property with an old-world feel, plus a new 929-square-meter spa, just 15 minutes from downtown. 1-561/ 582-2800; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$399. P ON TE VEDRA BEACH

Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach (86.22) Spanish colonial– inspired resort on a barrier island; high staff-to-guest ratio ensures an intimate experience. 1-904/ 273-9500; pvresorts.com; doubles from US$279. Ponte Vedra Inn & Club (89.62) The 26 rooms at the Summer House were just refurbished, but the golf-andtennis center remains the top attraction. 1-904/285-1111; pontevedra.com; doubles from US$219.

$

SAN TA ROSA BEAC H

WaterColor Inn & Resort (88.50) New Urbanist enclave on the Panhandle made up of a David Rockwell–designed inn near a coastal dune lake. 1-850/5345000; watercolorresort.com; doubles from US$345, including breakfast. SARAS OTA

Ritz-Carlton (88.94) An 18-story tower on Sarasota Bay, offering access to a beach club on neighboring Lido Key. 1-941/3092000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$289.

GEORGIA AT L ANTA

Four Seasons Hotel (87.54) The first 19 floors of a 53-story building, within walking distance of the Atlanta Symphony. 75 14th St.; 1-404/881-9898; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$400. InterContinental Buckhead (86.67) Business hotel that offers luxuries like Jurlique products and a chef’s table. 3315 Peachtree Rd. N.E.; 1-404/9469000; intercontinental.com; doubles from US$179.

$

Ritz-Carlton (87.09) Elegant 444-room structure in the heart of downtown Atlanta. 181 Peachtree St. N.E.; 1-404/659-

0400; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$399. Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead (87.14) A 517-room high-rise well-suited for fitness buffs, across from highend shopping. 3434 Peachtree Rd. N.E.; 1-404/237-2700; ritz carlton.com; doubles from US$479. GREENS BORO

Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation (87.70) Lakefront resort lauded for 99 holes of coveted championship golf. 1706/467-0600; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$399. SAVANNAH

NEW Mansion on Forsyth Park (88.16) A 126-room hotel built alongside a restored 1888 mansion that now houses a romantic low-country restaurant. 1-912/238-5158; mansiononforsyth park.com; doubles from US$239.

$

S EA IS L AND

The Cloister (90.55) A historic 1928 Mediterranean-style mansion with four pools, set on a secluded beach. 1-912/638-3611; seaisland. com; doubles from US$395. Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club (91.00) Genteel lodge with 40 country-style rooms and on-site access to a legendary golf course. 1-912/638-3611; seaisland.com; doubles from US$395.

HAWAII BIG IS L AND

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (92.74) String of two-story bungalows built upon ancient lava rock. The updated Hualalai Spa now has 10 hawaii outdoor treatment rooms. 1-808/325-8000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$775. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (87.47) Golf-and-tennis resort on Kaunaoa Beach with updated interiors (crisp white bedding; rectangular soaking tubs) after a US$150 million renovation. 1-808/882-7222; princeresorts hawaii.com; doubles from US$375. Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows (88.96) A 343-room eco-friendly hotel and five bungalows constructed on a 16thcentury lava flow, currently the nesting ground of eight endangered sea turtles (thanks to the hotel’s rehabilitation program). 1-808/885-6622; maunalani.com; doubles from US$395. KAUAI

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (88.41) A 602-room resort with a network of pools and a cliff-top


Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed golf course. Parts of the property will be closed through March. 1-808/742-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from US$540.

with tech-savvy details and the new Table One restaurant—plus cove-table views of Diamond Head. 1-808/923-2311; halekulani. com; doubles from US$425.

LANAI

Kahala Hotel & Resort (91.53) A 338-room Hawaiian classic with furniture by notable designers (Nicole Miller; Ralph Lauren) in refurbished suites. 1-808/7398888; kahalaresort.com; doubles from US$515.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay (89.52) A 236-room beach resort fronted by a marine preserve. Service is geared toward vacationing urbanites: at the pool, attendants give hand massages for texting-weary fingers. 1-808/565-2000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$395.

Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort (87.41) Recognizable pink facade and, after a monumental US$60 million renovation, 529 updated rooms and an intimate new pool. 1-808/923-7311; royal-hawaiian. com; doubles from US$590.

Peninsula Chicago (93.09) Sleek 20-story tower and two of the city’s hottest restaurants, Avenues and Shanghai Terrace, in the heart of the Magnificent Mile shopping district. 108 E. Superior St.; 1-312/ 337-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from US$450. Ritz-Carlton (A Four Seasons Hotel) (89.12) Lavish 21-floor Magnificent Mile high-rise. The renovated lobby has a marble fountain and Art Nouveau–style reliefs. 160 E. Pearson St.; 1-312/266-4000; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$325.

ILLINOIS

M AUI

C HI C AGO

NEW Sutton Place Hotel (92.27)

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (89.91) Modern 380-room retreat has a slew of free activities (twice-daily scuba lessons) and an infinity-edge pool with an underwater sound system. 1-808/874-8000; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$465. Hotel Hana-Maui & Honua Spa (88.64) This collection of 47 cottages and 22 suites on a seaside bluff is a quiet alternative to the island’s mega-resorts. 1-808/248-7202; hotelhanamaui. com; doubles from US$325. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa (87.20) Upscale resort with Polynesian-inspired design, justrenovated rooms and a new Asian-fusion restaurant, Japengo, on the northwest side of the island. 1-808/661-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from US$379.

$

The Drake (86.67) A storied history, and 535 rooms and suites with Regency-style furnishings. 140 E. Walton Place; 1-312/787-1431; thedrakehotel. com; doubles from US$229.

A 246-room contemporary tower on the Gold Coast, near luxe boutiques and top dining options. 21 E. Bellevue Place; 1-312/2662100; suttonplace.com; doubles from US$259.

Four Seasons Hotel (91.77) Floors 30 through 46 of a skyscraper with a mix of 20th-century French design and Art Deco details. All 345 rooms overlook Lake Michigan. 120 E. Delaware Place; 1-312/280-8800; four seasons.com; doubles from US$375.

Swissôtel (86.58) Swiss efficiency in Chicago with services aimed at business travelers. 323 E. Wacker Dr.; 1-312/565-0565; swissotel chicago.com; doubles from US$249.

Park Hyatt (87.80) A 198-room hotel on Water Tower Square with a modern art collection (including works by Isam Noguchi) and views of the lake and the Museum of Contemporary Art. 800 N. Michigan Ave.; 1-312/565-1234; park.hyatt.com; doubles from US$315.

NEW 21c Museum Hotel (89.60) With 90 polishedyet-industrial rooms and a multimillion-dollar art collection of works by living sculptors, printmakers and painters. 1-502/ 217-6300; 21cmuseumhotel.com; doubles from US$229.

$

NEW ORL EANS

Sofitel Water Tower (88.38) Sofitel’s North American flagship is a 32-floor light-filled glass prism, with a new Parisianinspired restaurant. 20 E. Chestnut St.; 1-312/324-4000; sofitel.com; doubles from US$175.

$

LOUISVIL LE

LOUISIANA

Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele (91.39) Manele Bay’s tiled sister property, complete with gardens and a horse stable. 1-808/565-4000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$345. Fairmont Kea Lani (87.69) Whitewashed all-suite retreat on Polo Beach maintains an air of tranquillity despite its size. Every room was just spruced up with new furnishings. 1-808/875-4100; fairmont.com; doubles from US$399.

KENTUCKY

Ritz-Carlton (86.91) Converted department store located one block from Bourbon Street. PostKatrina, the hotel underwent a US$150 million renovation. 921 Canal St.; 1-504/524-1331; ritz carlton.com; doubles from US$319. Windsor Court Hotel (88.84) With 322 traditional accommodations—mostly suites— with bay windows, near the French Quarter. 300 Gravier St.; 1-504/523-6000; windsorcourt hotel.com; doubles from US$170.

$

MAINE

$

CA PE E LI Z ABET H

NEW Trump International Hotel & Tower (94.32) Located in a minimalist, 92-story stainless-steel monolith next to the Chicago illinois River, with a 2,100square-meter spa. 401 N. Wabash Ave.; 1-312/588-8000; trumpchicagohotel.com; doubles from US$425.

Inn by the Sea (86.89) This twohectare resort reopened in June 2008 after multimillion-dollar, green-focused renovations. 1-207/799-3134; innbythesea.com; doubles from US$350. KENNEBUNK POR T

White Barn Inn (89.86) A series of 19th-century buildings furnished with sleigh beds and rain showers. The namesake restaurant updates its four-course prix fixe menu weekly. 1-207/9672321; whitebarninn.com; doubles from US$420, including breakfast.

SUSAN SEUBERT

NEW Makena Beach & Golf Resort (86.67) Low-key hotel on 728 hectares abutting a crescent of white sand. New this year: the Makena Kai Day Spa and a seafood-focused restaurant. 1-808/874-1111; makenaresortmaui. com; doubles from US$259.

Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua (87.49) Former pineapple plantation known for its eco-education program. Updated guest rooms have dark-wood floors and watercolor paintings. 1-808/6096200; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$615. OAHU

Halekulani (92.43) Century-old, two-hectare Waikiki Beach gem

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, on the Big Island.

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MAC KINAC IS LAND

Grand Hotel (86.36) A grand retreat built in 1887. 1-906/8473331; grand hotel.com; doubles from US$480, including breakfast and dinner.

MINNESOTA MINNEAP OLI S

NEW Graves 601 Hotel (87.00) With 255 modern rooms within walking distance of restaurants, theaters and a new baseball stadium. 601 1st Ave. N.; 1-612/677-1100; graves601hotel. com; doubles from US$199.

$

MISSOURI KAN SAS CI T Y

Raphael Hotel (88.80) A 1920’s European-style property overlooking the first outdoor suburban shopping center in the U.S. 325 Ward Pkwy.; 1-816/756-3800; raphaelkc.com; doubles from US$169.

$

The Atrium Gallery at the 21c Museum Hotel, in Louisville, Kentucky.

MARYLAND ST. MIC HAE L S

Inn at Perry Cabin (88.32) Colonial-style 1816 manor on private Chesapeake Bay inlet. 1-410/745-2200; perrycabin.com; doubles from US$390.

MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON AREA

NEW Charles Hotel (86.53) Hotel

with a New England aesthetic and two excellent restaurants. 1 Bennett St., Cambridge; 1-617/864-1200; charleshotel.com; doubles from US$299. Eliot Hotel (90.15) Elegant Back Bay hotel—traditional without being stuffy, and family owned for 50 years. 370 Commonwealth Ave.; 1-617/267-1607; eliothotel. com; doubles from US$255. Four Seasons Hotel (88.83) A 273-room brick landmark, across the street from the Boston Common. 200 Boylston St.; 1-617/338-4400; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$600. NEW Hotel Commonwealth

(90.59) Retro-looking but techsavvy property next to Fenway Park. 500 Commonwealth Ave.; 1-617/933-5000; hotelcommon wealth.com; doubles from US$289.

$

The Taj (88.00) Legendary 1927 hotel (formerly the

flagship Ritz-Carlton) beside the Public Garden. 15 Arlington St.; 1-617/536-5700; tajhotels.com; doubles from US$239. XV Beacon (87.71) Cozy 60-room boutique hotel with bold décor that contrasts nicely with its 1903 Beaux-Arts exterior. All rooms have fireplaces. 15 Beacon St.; 1-617/670-1500; xvbeacon.com; doubles from US$445. CAPE COD Wequassett Resort & Golf Club (88.00) On a sailboat-filled bay, with a 1740’s Colonial reception area and recently renovated rooms in clapboard cottages with 12 hectares of gardens. Chatham; 1-508/432-5400; wequassett. com; doubles from US$575. NANTUCKET White Elephant (88.50) Harbor views are best from the patio, chaise-dotted green lawns and updated Garden cottages. 1-508/228-2500; whiteelephant hotel.com; doubles from US$550.

ST. LOUIS

NEW Four Seasons Hotel (89.83) A 200-room hotel with streamlined interiors, near the Gateway Arch. 999 N. 2nd St.; 1-314/881-5800; four seasons. com; doubles from US$235.

$

Ritz-Carlton (86.74) An 18-story hotel in an upscale residential neighborhood. 100 Carondelet Plaza; 1-314/8636300; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$199.

$

MONTANA DARBY

Triple Creek Ranch (96.76) Adults-only mountain retreat on thousands of hectares with recently refreshed log cabins (woodunited burning fireplaces; hot states tubs). 1-406/821-4600; triplecreekranch.com; doubles from US$750, all-inclusive.

NEVADA L AS VEGAS AREA

amenities and no casino. 3960 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/6325000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$229. NEW Loews Lake (87.06) Child- and pet-friendly resort on the lake, plus activities including watersports galore and a 836-square-meter spa. 101 Montelago Blvd., Henderson; 1-702/567-6000; loewshotels. com; doubles from US$179.

$

The Palazzo (89.94) Allsuite property with a twostory fountain in the entryway. 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/ 607-7777; palazzolasvegas.com; doubles from US$199.

$

Venetian Resort Hotel Casino (88.37) A condensed version of its namesake city, with some of the largest rooms on the Strip. 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/414-1000; venetian.com; doubles from US$199.

$

Wynn Las Vegas (89.68) The flagship property has 2,716 rooms, plus a collection of restaurants overseen by rising celebrity chefs. 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/770-7100; wynnlas vegas.com; doubles from US$159.

$

NEW HAMPSHIRE NEW CAST L E

NEW Wentworth by the Sea, a Marriott Hotel & Spa (88.30) Meticulously restored hotel dating to 1874, on an Atlantic island. 1-603/422-7322; wentworth.com; doubles from US$309.

NEW MEXICO SAN TA F E

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi (90.15) A boutique property with Native American– style design. 113 Washington Ave.; 1-505/988-3030; innoftheanasazi. com; doubles from US$249.

$

NEW YORK ADIRONDAC KS

Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa (89.71) Family-friendly compound near downtown Lake Placid. Lake Placid; 1-518/523-2544; mirrorlake inn.com; doubles from US$285.

Bellagio (88.89) With a palatial spa and 14 restaurants. 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/693-7111; bellagio.com; doubles from US$159.

Whiteface Lodge (91.25) Rustic, all-suite lodge featuring fireplaces and full kitchens. Lake Placid; 1-518/523-0500; thewhiteface lodge.com; doubles from US$618.

Inn at Bay Harbor (86.86) Traditional Victorian resort along Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. 1231/439-4000; innatbayharbor.com; doubles from US$254.

Encore at Wynn (88.52) Steve Wynn’s latest resort feels like a desert oasis. 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/770-8000; encorelas vegas.com; doubles from US$159.

FINGER LAK E S

BIR MINGHAM

Four Seasons Hotel (88.64) One of the more tranquil Las Vegas locations, with plush room

NEW YORK CIT Y

MICHIGAN BAY HARBOR

Townsend Hotel (90.26) With 150 rooms in a gilded Detroit suburb

108 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

$

$

$

Mirbeau Inn & Spa (89.25) Styled after a French estate, with Monetinspired gardens. Skaneateles; 1-315/685-5006; mirbeau.com; doubles from US$259. Four Seasons Hotel (89.36) I. M. Pei–designed tower with views of

ANNIE SC H L EC H TER

that’s convenient to the city. 1-248/642-7900; townsendhotel. com; doubles from US$375.


midtown. 57 E. 57th St.; 1-212/7585700; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$1,050. NEW London NYC (86.34) Elegant midtown hotel composed mainly of suites. 151 W. 54th St.; 1-212/468-8856; thelondonnyc. com; doubles from US$329.

Mandarin Oriental (88.26) In the Time Warner building, with Asianinspired details. 80 Columbus Circle; 1-212/805-8800; mandarin oriental.com; doubles from US$695. New York Palace (86.20) A 19thcentury mansion and 55-story building in midtown. The Towers will reopen in September. 455 Madison Ave.; 1-212/888-7000; newyorkpalace.com; doubles from US$1,000. Peninsula New York (90.05) Classic Beaux-Arts facade and a refurbished modern interior. 700 5th Ave.; 1-212/956-2888; peninsula.com; doubles from US$975. NEW The Plaza (89.60) This landmark hotel reopened in 2008 after extensive renovations. 5th Ave. at Central Park S.; 1-212/7593000; theplaza.com; doubles from US$1,295.

Ritz-Carlton Central Park (92.17) A 33-story limestone tower with stunning views from the southern edge of Central Park. 50 Central new york Park S.; 1-212/308-9100; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$975. St. Regis (90.97) A 1904 BeauxArts icon on Fifth Avenue with an Alain Ducasse restaurant. 2 E. 55th St.; 1-212/753-4500; stregis. com; doubles from US$995. Trump International Hotel & Tower (89.58) The Donald’s glass monolith on Central Park. 1 Central Park W.; 1-212/ 299-1000; trumpintl.com; doubles from US$695.

NORTH CAROLINA ASHEVI LL E

Inn on Biltmore Estate (90.76) A 210-room mansion set on 3,200 hectares on George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore estate. 1-828/225-1600; biltmore.com; doubles from US$299. C ARY

Umstead Hotel & Spa (88.80) Tranquil 150-room property on five wooded hectares. 1-919/4474000; theumstead.com; doubles from US$279. P I TTSBORO

Fearrington House Country Inn (92.47) A 32-room inn with gardens, a restaurant set in a 1927

farmhouse and, this fall, a bi-level spa. 1-919/542-2121; fearrington. com; doubles from US$275.

OHIO CL EVE LAND

Ritz-Carlton (88.53) A 205-room downtown tower. 1515 W. 3rd St.; 1-216/ 623-1300; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$299.

OREGON C ANNON BEAC H

Stephanie Inn Hotel (89.12) All 41 rooms here are equipped with fireplaces and private balconies. 1-503/436-2221; stephanie-inn. com; doubles from US$359, including breakfast. PORT LAND

NEW The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel (89.29) A 331-room LEED Silver–certified hotel. 525 S.W. Morrison St.; 1-503/222-9996; thenines.com; doubles from US$209.

$

PENNSYLVANIA BEDF ORD

NEW Omni Bedford Springs Resort (87.62) Sprawling 890-hectare getaway, with 216 rooms and two pools, just outside of town. 1-814/623-8100; omni hotels.com; doubles from US$239.

$

PHI LADELPHIA

Four Seasons Hotel (88.37) An 8-story granite hotel. 1 Logan Square; 1-215/963-1500; four seasons.com; doubles from US$295.

$

NEW Loews Hotel (86.67)

Housed in a 1932 former bank building. 1200 Market St.; 1-215/627-1200; loewshotels.com; doubles from US$169. Rittenhouse Hotel (92.97) Prestigious address, unbeatable service and 98 large rooms. 210 W. Rittenhouse Square; 1-215/5469000; rittenhousehotel.com; doubles from US$520.

RHODE ISLAND NEWPOR T

Castle Hill (89.20) A 19th-century Victorian mansion set on an Atlantic peninsula. 1-401/8493800; castlehillinn.com; doubles from US$809, including breakfast.

SOUTH CAROLINA BLUFFTON Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an Auberge Resort (93.43) Southern-style resort on coastal marshland. 1-843/706-6500; palmettobluff resort.com; doubles from US$475. SUM MERVI LLE

$

Woodlands Inn (94.12) NeoGeorgian mansion from

1906; a bastion of hospitality. 1-843/875-2600; woodlandsinn. com; doubles from US$229. CHARL E STON

Charleston Place (90.68) One of the city’s most luxurious hotels. 205 Meeting St.; 1-843/722-4900; charlestonplace.com; doubles from US$350. Planters Inn (89.70) Peaceful 19th-century building and modern addition in the center of town. 112 N. Market St.; 1-843/722-2345; plantersinn. com; doubles from US$250.

$

220 contemporary rooms and an outpost of Nobu. 400 Crescent Court, Dallas; 1-214/871-3200; rosewoodhotels.com; doubles from US$595. Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (92.28) This 143-room resort was recently refreshed. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., Dallas; 1-214/559-2100; mansiononturtle creek.com; doubles from US$525. HOUSTON

KIAWAH I S LAND

Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (89.09) Stately 255-room hotel on the grounds of one of the country’s top golf resorts. 1-843/768-2121; kiawahresort.com; doubles from US$435.

Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa (91.51) Lodge-style hotel with indoor tennis. 111 N. Post Oak Lane; 1-713/680-2626; houstonian. com; doubles from US$390. St. Regis (86.44) Texas-inspired hotel situated on a wooded lot. 1919 Briar Oaks Lane; 1-713/8407600; stregis.com; doubles from US$595. SAN AN TONIO

TENNESSEE NAS HVIL L E

Hermitage Hotel (90.91) By far the city’s choicest digs with a fresh look after a recent US$17 million overhaul. 231 6th Ave. N.; 1-615/244-3121; thehermitagehotel. com; doubles from US$269.

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk (86.38) A 213-room palazzo on a quiet stretch of the River Walk, that blends striking interiors with a Mediterranean exterior. 150 E. Houston St.; 1-210/227-9700; hotelvalencia-riverwalk.com; doubles from US$469.

WA L LAND

NEW JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa (87.20) Six-story resort in Texas Hill Country, 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio. 23808 Resort Pkwy.; 1-210/276-2500; jwmarriott.com; doubles from US$259.

TEXAS

Omni La Mansion del Rio (86.64) An 1852 Spanishcolonial building, with 338 rooms. 112 College St.; 1-210/518-1000; omnihotels.com; doubles from US$199

Blackberry Farm (91.46) The ultimate in rural luxury set on a farmstead. 1-865/ 984-8166; blackberryfarm.com; doubles from US$795.

$

AUST IN

Four Seasons Hotel (90.55) A 291-room Southwestern-style structure. 98 San Jacinto Blvd.; 1-512/478-4500; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$440. DA L LAS AREA

The Adolphus (91.48) Opulent hotel opened in 1912. 1321 Commerce St., Dallas 1-214/7428200; hoteladolphus.com; doubles from US$329. Four Seasons Resort & Club at Las Colinas (86.42) Within 161 hectares of North Texas hills. 4150 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving; 1-972/717-0700; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$275. Hotel ZaZa (88.90) A stylish French Mediterranean–inspired villa overlooking Uptown’s McKinney Avenue. 2332 Leonard St., Dallas; 1-214/468-8399; hotelzazadallas.com; doubles from US$295.

Westin La Cantera Resort (86.90) Pools, tennis courts, golf and views of the area’s live oak groves. 16641 La Cantera Pkwy.; 1-210/558-6500; westin lacantera. com; doubles from US$439.

UTAH PARK CIT Y

Stein Eriksen Lodge (90.88) Timeless Norwegian-style chalet at Deer Valley ski resort. 1-435/ 649-3700; steinlodge.com; doubles from US$630, including breakfast during ski season. SALT LAKE CIT Y

Grand America Hotel (86.27) An opulent 24-story structure with handcrafted furniture in the 775 guest rooms. 555 S. Main St.; 1-801/258-6000; grandamerica.com; doubles from US$179.

$

Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas (86.93) Businessdistrict hotel with Burmese-style antiques. 221 E. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving; 1-972/556-0800; omni hotels.com; doubles from US$229.

$

Rosewood Crescent Hotel (89.48) Limestone landmark with

VERMONT STOWE

$

Topnotch Resort & Spa (88.18) The first full resort at

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Stowe. 1-802/253-8585; topnotch resort.com; doubles from US$225.

1-206/624-8000; hotelvintage park.com; doubles from US$299.

VIRGINIA AR LINGTON

Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City (88.52) On the Potomac River, near the major monuments. 1250 S. Hayes St.; 1-703/415-5000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$349. C HAR LOTTESVIL L E

Keswick Hall (87.81) Stately Tuscan-style structure dating from 1912, with one of Virginia’s top restaurants. 701 Club Dr.; 1-434/979-3440; keswick.com; doubles from US$395. HOT SP RING S

The Homestead (86.87) A 1766 grand property. 1-540/ 839-1766; thehomestead.com; doubles from US$250.

$

M C LEAN

Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner (88.93) Contemporary tower with traditional interiors. 1-703/5064300; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$419. RIC H MOND

Jefferson Hotel (87.38) An 1895 Beaux-Arts property. 101 W. Franklin St.; 1-804/7888000; jeffersonhotel.com; doubles from US$335.

W HIDBEY I SLAND

JW Marriott (86.44) Resortstyle property. Ring Rd.; 202/2411-5588; marriott.com; doubles from US$250.

19th-century palace overlooking the Fez medina. Bab Guissa; 212535/634-331; sofitel.com; doubles from US$270. MARRAK ES H

WEST VIRGINIA

Mena House Oberoi (86.87) A 19th-century lodge with justrenovated modern wings on 16 hectares abutting the Great Pyramid of Khufu. 6 Pyramids Rd.; 202/3377-3222; oberoihotels. com; doubles from US$274.

Inn at Langley (87.56) An intimate retreat on Puget Sound. Langley; 1-360/221-3033; innatlangley.com; doubles from US$290, including breakfast.

W HI TE S ULPHUR SPRING S

The Greenbrier (88.48) Recently renovated 1913 resort. 300 W. Main St.; 1-304/ 536-1110; greenbrier.com; doubles from US$249.

$

WYOMING JACKS ON /GRAND TETON

Four Seasons Resort (93.43) Adventure concierges are at the ready at this lodge. Teton Village; 1-307/732-5000; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$650. Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa (86.40) A 31-room lodge-pole pine inn. 1-307/733-2000; rusty parrot.com; doubles from US$260.

$

WASHINGTON

Inn at Little Washington (88.25) Romantic early-20th-century manor—a theatrical riot of fabrics and wallpapers. 1-540/675-3800; theinnatlittlewashington.com; doubles from US$425.

WASHINGTON SEATTLE

Alexis Hotel (87.33) Walls of this boutique hotel display art chosen by a Seattle curator. 1007 1st Ave.; 1-206/624-4844; alexishotel.com; doubles from US$389. Fairmont Olympic Hotel (86.32) Over-the-top property exuding old-world glamour. 411 University St.; 1-206/ 621-1700; fairmont. com; doubles from US$269. NEW Four Seasons Hotel (88.24)

Two-year-old hotel with views of Puget Sound. 99 Union St.; 1-206/ 749-7000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$365. Hyatt (87.29) $ Grand Downtown tower, convenient to Pike Place Market. 721 Pine St.; 1-206/774-1234; hyatt.com; doubles from US$199. Hotel Monaco (86.20) Playful 11-story property. 1101 4th Ave.; 1-206/621-1770; monaco-seattle. com; doubles from US$349. Vintage Park (87.25) A 1922 brick structure downtown that looks like a European inn. 1100 5th Ave.;

$

ISRAEL JERUSA L E M

King David Hotel (87.02) A 1930’s property redone by Adam Tihany. 23 King David St.; 972-3/5202552; danhotels.com; doubles from US$490.

JORDAN A MMAN

Four Seasons Hotel (86.72) A 15-story stone-and-glass hotel. 5th Circle, Al-Kindi St.; 962-6/ 550-5555; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$350, including breakfast.

KENYA A MBOS E L I NAT IONAL PAR K

Africa and the Middle East BOTSWANA

Tortilis Camp (94.12) The park’s only luxe property, facing Mount Kilimanjaro. 254-20/603-090; chelipeacock.com; doubles from US$1,020, all-inclusive.

C HOBE NATIONAL PARK

MASAI M ARA

Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero (86.53) A total of 15 cottages and Botswana’s only full spa. 27-11/ 438-4650; sanctuaryretreats.com; doubles from US$1,990, allinclusive. M OREMI GAM E RE SERVE

Sanctuary Chief’s Camp (90.40) Bush pavilions furnished with canopy beds. 27-11/438-4650; sanctuary retreats.com; doubles from US$3,320, all-inclusive

EGYPT ALEXANDRIA

Four Seasons Hotel at San Stefano (90.25) With 118 rooms in a crescent-shaped building on the Corniche. 399 El Geish Rd.; 203/ 581-8000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$500. C AIRO

Four Seasons Hotel at Nile Plaza (89.95) A 30-story high-rise with an award-winning spa and new Palace Suite by Pierre-Yves Rochon. 1089 Corniche El Nil; 202/2791-7000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$460. Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence (93.27) A 269room glass tower on the Nile. 35 Giza St.; 202/3567-1600; four seasons.com; doubles from US$440.

110 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

andBeyond Kichwa Tembo (93.71) Two camps managed by the outfitter andBeyond, recently lauded for its conservation efforts. 27-11/809-4314; andbeyondafrica.com; doubles from US$980, all-inclusive. Fairmont Mara Safari Club (96.31) A total of 50 renovated tents on a Mara River oxbow (prime for hippoviewing) known for africa activities including balloon safaris. 254717/969-610; fairmont. com; doubles from US$1,058. NAIROBI

Fairmont the Norfolk (86.76) Tudor-style hotel and tropical gardens. Harry Thuku Rd. 25420/226-5000; fairmont.com; doubles from US$279. NANYUKI

Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club (92.29) Updated 1950’s-era hunting lodge, with croquet fields and stables. 254-20/226-5000; fairmont.com; doubles from US$598.

MOROCCO FE Z

Sofitel Fes Palais Jamai (86.56) Moorish- and Arabic-inspired

La Mamounia (86.74) Legendary 1923 hotel, gleaming after a threeyear renovation. Ave. Bab Jdid; 212-524/388-600; mamounia. com; doubles from US$700.

SOUTH AFRICA CA PE TOWN

Cape Grace (92.52) Refurbished hotel with 120 rooms, a spa and a yacht. W. Quay Rd.; 27-21/4107100; capegrace.com; doubles from US$550. Mount Nelson Hotel (87.64) A 209-room 1899 property on 3.5 leafy hectares. 76 Orange St.; 27-21/483-1000; mountnelson.co. za; doubles from US$390, including breakfast. Table Bay Hotel (87.17) Maritimethemed hotel featuring a 75-meter driveway lined with palm trees. Quay 6, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront; 27-21/4065000; suninternational.com; doubles from US$635, including breakfast. Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa (93.62) Exclusive Cape Dutch– style hideaway, tucked between mountains and sea. Victoria Rd.; 27-21/437-9000; 12apostleshotel. com; doubles from US$1,024, including breakfast. JOHANNES BURG

Michelangelo Hotel (87.11) Italian Renaissance–inspired hotel with 242 suites. 135 West St.; 2711/282-7000; lhw.com; doubles from US$585, including breakfast. Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas & Spa (90.86) All-suite estate where Nelson Mandela was an extended guest in the 1990’s. 36 Saxon Rd.; 27-11/292-6000; saxon. co.za; doubles from US$1,177, including breakfast. The Westcliff (89.22) Nine palatial structures overlooking a courtyard and the city center. 67 Jan Smuts Ave.; 27-11/481-6000; westcliff.co.za; doubles from US$399, including breakfast. KRUGER NAT IONAL PARK AREA

Londolozi Private Game Reserve (94.18) Five family-run camps in an area known for leopard sightings. 27-11/280-6655; londolozi.com; doubles from US$1,650, all-inclusive. MalaMala Game Reserve (93.07) Trio of renowned lodges on South Africa’s largest private Big Five preserve. 27-11/442-2267; malamala.com; doubles from US$1,350, all-inclusive.


Royal Malewane (94.67) A 20room bush camp with throwback activities (antique biplanes; trips on horseback). 27-15/793-0150; royalmalewane.com; doubles from US$3,054, all-inclusive. Singita Kruger National Park (94.25) Two raised lodges with fashionable interiors by up-andcoming African designers. 2721/683-3424; singita.com; doubles from US$3,340, all-inclusive. Singita Sabi Sand (94.67) Pair of lodges along the Sand River. 2721/683-3424; singita.com; doubles from US$3,340, all-inclusive.

TANZANIA

Four Seasons Hotel (91.00) A 1916 mansion and tower. 10861088 Calle Posadas; 54-11/43211200; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$495. NEW Hilton (86.44) Business hotel with a rooftop pool. 351 Macacha Guemes; 54-11/48910000; hilton.com; doubles from US$189.

$

Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt (92.00) Belle Epoque mansion and a 17-story addition. 1661 Avda. Alvear; 54-11/5171-1234; park.hyatt. com; doubles from US$515.

ECUADOR QUITO

JW Marriott Hotel (88.35) Pyramid-shaped hotel with the city's largest heated pool. 1172 Avda. Orellana; 593-2/297-2000; jwmarriott.com; doubles from US$175.

$

GUATEMALA ANT IGUA

Park Tower, a Luxury Collection Hotel (86.22) Every guest gets a butler at this mainstay. 1193 Avda. Alem; 54-11/4318-9100; luxury collection.com; doubles from US$400, including breakfast.

ACAP U LCO

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (88.55) Rondavels with floor-to-ceiling windows that look down into the crater. 1-941/951-6611; sopalodges. com; doubles from US$450, including meals.

Sofitel Arroyo (87.81) Landmark Neoclassical high-rise. Art Deco interiors were designed by PierreYves Rochon. 841 Calle Arroyo; 54-11/4131-0000; sofitel.com; doubles from US$510.

CANC Ú N

Serengeti Sopa Lodge (92.57) Secluded hotel with African interiors, set in an acacia grove. 1-941/951-6611; sopalodges. com; doubles from US$450, including meals.

BELIZE

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES DUBAI

SAN IGNAC IO

ZAMBIA LIVING STONE

Royal Livingstone (92.59) With 173 colonial rooms next to Victoria Falls. 260-21/332-1122; suninternational.com; doubles from US$934, including breakfast.

Mexico, and Central and South America ARGENTINA BARI LOCHE

Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, GolfSpa (87.68) A 1940 lakeside lodge in the snowcapped Andes. 542944/448-530; llaollao.com.ar; doubles from US$385. BUENOS AIRE S

Alvear Palace Hotel (92.25)

Ritz-Carlton (89.84) A 365-room retreat with tequila tastings and salsa lessons. 36 Retorno del Rey; 52-998/881-0808; ritzcarlton. com; doubles from US$459. LOS CABOS

Esperanza, an Auberge Resort (92.91) With 57 rooms and a pool overlooking a private cove. Punta Ballena; 52-624/145-6400; esperanzaresort.com; doubles from US$675, including breakfast. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort (90.40) A 71-suite hideaway. San José del Cabo; 52-624/144-2800; lasven tanas.com; doubles from US$815.

PL ACEN CIA

Turtle Inn (86.29) Director Francis Ford Coppola’s Balinese-inspired cottages on the country’s only white-sand beach. 011-501/5233244; coppolaresorts.com; doubles from US$375, including breakfast.

Burj Al Arab (91.57) Sail-shaped icon, on its own island. Jumeirah Beach Rd.; 971-4/301-7777; jumeirah.com; doubles from US$2,722, including breakfast.

Las Brisas (89.28) With 251 pinkand-white casitas. 5255 Crta. Escénica; 52-744/469-6900; brisashotelonline.com; doubles from US$295, including breakfast. CasaMagna Marriott Resort (87.83) Family-friendly hacienda with nine restaurants. Km 14.5, Blvd. Kukulcán; 52998/881-20000; casamagna cancun.com; doubles from US$179.

Hilton Cancún Golf & Spa Resort (87.04) A 426-room resort with seven infinity pools. Km 17, Blvd. Kukulcán; 52998/881-8000; hilton.com; doubles from US$239.

$

$

MEXICO

$

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa (87.20) Mammoth resort. Km 9.5, Blvd. Kukulcán; 52-998/881-3200; fiestamericanagrand.com; doubles from US$318.

Le Méridien Resort & Spa (87.56) A European-style spa is the draw at this resort. 37-1 Retorno del Rey; 52-998/8812200; lemeridien.com; doubles from US$245.

Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo (90.00) A 16thcentury convent turned hotel. 502/7820-1222; casasanto domingo.com.gt; doubles from US$210.

$

NGORONGORO CRATER Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (89.90) Masai-inspired huts with Victorian touches (Persian carpets; red roses) along a volcano rim. 27-11/809-4300; andbeyond africa.com; doubles from US$1,370, all-inclusive.

SERENGE TI NAT IONAL PARK

KATIE DUNN

French-inspired 1932 building in stylish Recoleta. 1891 Avda. Alvear; 54-11/4808-2100; alvearpalace.com; doubles from US$480, including breakfast.

Overlooking Puget Sound at the Inn at Langley, in Washington.

Blancaneaux Lodge (92.73) Another Coppola-owned property: 20 cabanas set amid waterfalls near the central Mayan ruins of Caracol. & south 011-501/824-3878; america coppolaresorts.com; doubles from US$280, including breakfast.

CHILE SANTIAGO

Ritz-Carlton (91.65) With 205 rooms in the chic El Golf neighborhood; three new restaurants will open this year. 15 Calle El Alcalde; 56-2/470-8500; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$389, including breakfast.

COSTA RICA GUANAC ASTE

Four Seasons Resort at Peninsula Papagayo (88.44) A resort with all the trimmings in a tropical dry forest. 506/2696-0000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$695.

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One&Only Palmilla (92.69) A resort with the sensibility of a boutique hotel. San José del Cabo; 52-624/146-7000; oneand onlyresorts.com; doubles from US$675. Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa (89.52) New adults-only oasis. Cabo San Lucas; 52-624/ 142-9696; pueblobonito pacifica. com; doubles from US$375. M EXICO CITY

mexico

Four Seasons Hotel (95.00) A colonial-style hacienda with the city’s largest rooms. 500 Paseo de la Reforma; 52-55/5230-1818; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$415.

JW Marriott Hotel (89.14) A 26-story business hotel. 29 Calle Andrés Bello; 52-55/5999-0000; jwmarriott.com; doubles from US$368. P UN TA M ITA

Four Seasons Resort (90.92) With 173 rooms on an isthmus near Puerto Vallarta. 52-329/2916000; fourseasons.com; doubles from US$630. RIVIERA MAYA

Fairmont Mayakoba (87.20) This eco-resort looks onto beaches, lagoons and canals. Solidaridad: 984/206-3000; fairmont.com; doubles from US$799.

PERU C UZCO

hotel.com; doubles from US$1,025, all-inclusive.

Island; 1-407/629-0757; peter island.com; doubles from US$740.

Uruguay

CAYMAN ISLANDS

C ARMELO

Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman (89.50) A 365-room haven with nature tours by Jean-Michel Cousteau. Seven Mile Beach; 345/943-9000; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$459.

Four Seasons Resort (91.53) Nestled among eucalyptus and pine trees, with golf and an Asianinfluenced spa. Km 262, Ruta 21; 598/4542-9000; fourseasons. com; doubles from US$410.

JAMAICA

The Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas ANGUILLA

Cap Juluca (86.39) A 95-room Greco-Moorish resort. Maundays Bay; 264/497-6666; capjuluca. com; doubles from US$995, including breakfast. CuisinArt Resort & Spa (86.76) White-washed villas. Rendezvous Bay; 264/498-2000; cuisinart resort.com; doubles from US$815.

ANTIGUA Curtain Bluff Resort (89.33) A 1950’s beach house. St. John’s; 268/462-8400; curtainbluff.com; doubles from US$1,050, allinclusive.

BAHAMAS One&Only Ocean Club (89.14) A British-colonial plantation. Paradise Island; 954/809-2150; oneandonly resorts.com; doubles from US$795.

BARBADOS

Hotel Monasterio (90.88) Converted 16th-century monastery with Cuzquenian art. 136 Calle Palacio, Plazoleta Nazarenas; 51-84/604-000; monasteriohotel.com; doubles from US$635, including breakfast.

Sandy Lane (90.24) A Palladianstyle palace on a quiet bay. St. James; 1-246/444-2000; sandylane.com; doubles from US$3,200, including breakfast.

LI M A

Reefs Hotel & Club (89.08) A 57-room property. Southampton; 441/238-0222; thereefs.com; doubles from US$650, including breakfast and dinner.

JW Marriott Hotel (89.09) Glass tower near the cliffs of Miraflores. 615 Malecón de la Reserva; 511/217-7000; jwmarriott.com; doubles from US$350. M AC HU P ICCHU

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (90.69) Terra-cotta-roofed casitas below Machu Picchu. 511/610-0400; inkaterra.com; doubles from US$498, including breakfast and dinner. Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (88.21) A 31-room luxury stone lodge next to the Incan site. 5184/ 984-816-956; sanctuarylodge

BERMUDA

NEW Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa (90.59) A British-colonial-style resort. Hamilton Parish; 441/2984000; tuckerspoint.com; doubles from US$650.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS TORTO LA

Peter Island Resort & Spa (89.85) A private island getaway. Peter

Couples Negril (88.41) A sevenhectare retreat. Negril; 876/9575960; couples.com; doubles from US$683, all inclusive, three-night minimum. Couples Sans Souci (91.00) Adults-only resort. Ocho Rios; 876/994-1206; couples.com; doubles from US$735, allinclusive, three-night minimum. Couples Swept Away (91.38) An all-suite hideaway. Westmoreland; 876/957-4061; couples.com; doubles from US$761, allinclusive, three-night minimum. Couples Tower Isle (92.47) A 226-room resort and spa. Ocho Rios; 876/975-4271; couples.com; doubles from US$681, allinclusive, three-night minimum. Jamaica Inn (93.50) A 1950 colonial manor. Ocho Rios; 876/974-2514; jamaicainn.com; doubles from US$598. Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall (86.84) Uber-opulent mansion. Montego Bay; 87-6/953-2800; ritzcarlton. com; doubles from US$329. Round Hill Hotel & Villas (87.33) A 119-room hideaway. Montego Bay; 876/956-7050; roundhill jamaica.com; doubles from US$550. NEW Sandals Whitehouse

European Village & Spa (88.50) Set along a 3-kilometer beach. Westmoreland; 1-305/284-1300; sandals.com; doubles from US$1,052, including all meals.

NEVIS NEW Nisbet Plantation Beach Club (95.75) Consisting of 15 yellow cottages; the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn set on the caribbean beach. 869/469-9325; nisbetplantation.com; doubles from US$656.

ST. BART’S Eden Rock (87.57) A 34-room hotel on a rocky promontory. Baie de St. Jean; 590-590/297-999; edenrockhotel.com; doubles from US$907, including breakfast. Hôtel Guanahani & Spa (88.71) Creole manse and a stand-alone spa. Grand Cul de Sac; 590590/276-660; leguanahani.com; doubles from US$1,132. Hôtel Le Toiny (89.18) Fifteen bungalows, each with a plunge pool. Anse de Toiny; 590-590/ 278-888; letoiny.com; doubles from US$2,417. Hôtel Saint-Barth Isle de France (88.60) Beach club–style boutique hotel. Baie de Flamands; 590-590/276-181; isle-de-france. com; doubles from US$945, including breakfast.

ST. LUCIA Anse Chastanet Resort (88.00) Hillside cottages set in a 243hectare forest. Soufrière; 758/ 459-7000; ansechastanet.com; doubles from US$495. Jade Mountain (94.91) Twentyeight open-air suites. Soufrière; 758/459-4000; jademountain stlucia.com; doubles from US$1,200. Ladera (88.00) With 32 villas and suites. Soufrière; 866/290-0978; ladera.com; doubles from US$615, including breakfast. Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa (87.33) A 331-room mega-resort. Castries; 1-305/2841300; sandals.com; doubles from US$1,108, all inclusive.

TURKS AND CAICOS Grace Bay Club (86.40) Resort complex with an adults-only wing, and a new spa. Providenciales; 1-786/299-5930; gracebayresorts. com; doubles from US$1,250, including breakfast. Parrot Cay (87.40) Feng shui– approved Asian accents along two kilometers of shoreline. Providenciales; 1-649/946-7788; parrotcay.como.bz; doubles from US$938, including breakfast. NEW Regent Palms (89.19) With 72 suites. Grace Bay Beach; 1-649/941-7770; theregentgrand resort.com; doubles from US$900, including breakfast. ✚

ROOM RATES Hotel and resort prices in the T+L 500 represent the starting rack rate during high season and, where applicable, reflect exchange rates at press time. Lower rates are often available when you call the property directly or book through the hotel’s website.

Ed it e d by Sa r a h Spag n alo a n d Br e e Sposato, w it h P et e r J. F r a n k a n d P et e r J o n L i n d b e r g . R e p o rt ed by K e r e n Ba ltze r, Cl a i r e D ow n e y, Er i n F lo r i o, S o r e n L a rso n , Jan e M a r g ol i es , Al i s o n M i ll er , M a ry Stau b a n d M e e g h a n T r u elov e .

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o p p o s i t e : c o u r t e s y o f fa i r m o n t m a r a s a fa r i c l u b

NEW Meliá Cabo Real AllInclusive Beach & Golf Resort (87.29) Family-friendly hotel. San José del Cabo; 52-624/144-2222; meliacaboreal.com; doubles from US$280, all-inclusive.


At the Fairmont Mara Safari Club in Kenya.

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Surfing at Hideaways Beach in Princeville. Opposite: The Napali Coast, on the northwest shore.


Pure Kauai

Beyond the sun, surf and sand, beyond the routinely jaw-dropping beauty of the natural landscape, Andrew McCarthy finds in Kauai a palpable sense of community—and a low-key, almost spiritual sense of place. Photographed by Peter Frank Edwards


island life Clockwise from left: The lobby at

the St. Regis Princeville Resort; Auntie Rose at Waimea’s Wrangler’s Steakhouse; kayaking at Hideaways Beach; the historic Hanapepe Swinging Bridge; Tunnels Beach, on the North Shore.

thought you’d like to sit out here, so you can watch the traffic go by,” Auntie Rose suggests, offering me a chair. “Thanks, Auntie. But do you mind if I sit over on this side and look at the mountains?” She smiles, shrugs and turns to go. I take a seat and settle in on the porch out front of Wrangler’s Steakhouse, in Waimea, on the southwestern coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I’ve become a regular at Wrangler’s— never mind that there are few other options for eating in town. Auntie Rose (auntie is a Hawaiian term of respect and affection, one not limited to blood relations) is a tiny woman with large glasses over dark eyes. She’s taken me under her wing. Her offer of a prime seat to watch the action along the street shows just how much she cares. Across the way is the Waimea Hawaiian Church—Sunday services said in Hawaiian. Down the street is the local cinema—five showings weekly. Pickup trucks hum by on the two lane Kaumualii Highway. Same as yesterday. I’m getting the hang of this particular island. I know Hawaii pretty well. I had a house for 10 years on Maui. I trudged across my share of lava on the Big Island. I partied in 116 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com


Community feel Clockwise from left: Preparing for a surf lesson in Hanalei; the entrance to the West Side village of Hanapepe; central Kauai; onigiri (rice balls) at the Grove Café at the Waimea Brewing Company; Talk Story Bookstore, a local gathering spot in Hanapepe; at the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, in Koloa.

Honolulu, golfed on Lanai and slunk around insular Molokai. But Kauai remained off my personal radar—until now. The oldest and farthest west of the major Hawaiian Islands, Kauai bubbled up from the ocean floor 5 million years ago. Roughly circular in shape and covering more than 1,400 square kilometers, the island is sunbaked and dry in the south and west, while the north is lush and green. Dictating this weather pattern is Mount Waialeale, at the island’s center, which traps the passing clouds and often gets more rain than any place on the planet (1,170 centimeters annually). On the bluffs above the eastern tip of Hanalei Bay, on the Eden-like North Shore, I look out on a near-perfect crescentshaped beach. Tireless waterfalls spill from jagged cliffs in deep green valleys. Clouds hover and vaporize, altering the light, changing perspective. It is, simply, the most dramatic vista I have seen anywhere in Hawaii. Stephanie Kaluahine Reid, the 10th-generation Hawaiian standing by my side, takes it a step further. “It’s not a physical thing,” she says. She looks out over the deep blue bay. “It’s a sense of connection to the place. I feel rooted here.” I understand her meaning as much as a nonnative can. Perhaps that’s why I always feel like a better version of myself when I’m in the islands, and why I

keep returning. A rain shower rolls across the far side of the bay while the sun blazes down on us. Anchoring this camera-ready spot is the recently renovated and re-branded St. Regis Princeville Resort: 252 rooms carved into the side of the cliff, taking the best advantage of their greatest asset—the view. My wall-to-wall window catches me up short every time I glance out to see Mount Makana. The elegant grounds roll down past the low-key pool to the beach and bay and beyond. But it’s around the point, along a narrow path, then down a 32-meter descent, reached by clinging to a fraying twine anchored to a rotting palm tree, that I find a piece of sandy paradise. Pali Ke Kua Beach, known to the locals as Hideaways, is tucked under a canopy of false kamani trees beneath 10-meter high black lava-rock walls. At dawn each day, I watch the sky soften and the sea take form. One morning, with the sun not yet over the cliffs, my eye catches something far down the beach. It’s coming up out of the water. A closer look reveals a green sea turtle lunging its way up onto the sand. It’s huge, at least a meter long and maybe a couple hundred kilograms. In the sea the turtle is power and grace in motion, but hoisting itself up by its front flippers » travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 117


on the windward coast, the sun asserts itself on a more consistent basis and the anahola mountains begin to dominate the terrain and flopping back down onto the sand, making only a few centimeters’ progress, this is tough going. I settle in for a closer look. The turtle lifts its head to turn my way. We blink at each other. It lunges another few centimeters up the beach. Sea turtles saw the dinosaurs come and go, but up here on the sand, even under the armor of its massive shell, it seems vulnerable and exposed. We sit silently together, the waves lapping the shore. I relax in its patient presence and feel myself land fully on Kauai. I experience the same sensation I have so often felt in Hawaii while doing seemingly nothing—the feeling that my time is being well spent. As the sun breaks over the cliffs, I take a swim and leave my friend to its solitude while I head back to the mansion on the hill. Sitting on the Makana Terrace at the St. Regis, watching as the clouds reveal a half-dozen waterfalls deep in Waioli Valley and seeing a double rainbow materialize over the early morning surfers in Hanalei Bay, I find myself thinking: life is sweet. But eventually having my every whim met begins to get under my skin, and I need to move. Just a few kilometers along the coast road, past the beach where Mitzi Gaynor washed that man right out of her hair in South Pacific back in 1958, is the most famous of Hawaii’s places to hike. The Kalalau Trail clings to the Napali Coast for 18 untamed kilometers of killer views and switchbacks. I set out in the sun, soon the wind picks up, then sheets of rain lash down, then sun again. I pass bamboo and ohia trees. Ocean views from vertigo-inducing drop-offs open up. I step across streams and past waterfalls—all within a kilometer of the trailhead. An hour further on, after rising and falling and twisting and rising again, the trail descends. I can hear the growing sound of running water—Hanakapiai Falls. I come upon a hand-carved wooden sign, nailed onto a guava tree.

hanakapiai beach warning! do not go near the water unseen currents have killed |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| ||| visitors I get a stronger sense here that nature is still calling the shots than I’ve felt on any of the other islands. 118 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

Rock ’n’ roll icon Graham Nash and his wife, Susan, became North Shore locals back in 1976, and they’re well acquainted with nature’s power. “I remember after Iniki....” Susan starts to tell me before her voice trails off. (Hurricane Iniki destroyed or damaged more than half the island’s homes in 1992.) “It’s very precarious out here. Hawaii is the most isolated population center on earth, and we’re at its far edge.” Like so many I meet on Kauai, Susan speaks with fervor about the island. “There’s an accountability here—it’s all about the community,” she tells me from the lanai of their house, amid the guava, banana and avocado trees. “Even though our family has lived here for over thirty years, we’re relative newcomers,” Graham adds. With views deep up into the Wainiha Valley and out to the sea, they’ve created a lowkey, eclectic idyll. Over on the windward coast, just after the ring road begins to turn south, the sun asserts itself on a more consistent basis and the Anahola Mountains begin to dominate the terrain. Spike-shaped Kalalea Mountain is considered sacred land, and the village of Anahola rests comfortably in its shadow. It was here that the Dalai Lama made an unscheduled visit during his trip to the islands in 1994. “Anahola is the portal where the souls enter the earth,” Agnes Marti-Kini, a longtime resident, tells me somewhat portentously. MartiKini and I are on the beach near her house. She asks permission from unseen spirits to bring an outsider to this sacred Hawaiian spot, then offers an incantation. Marti-Kini recently published a definitive book on Anahola, and she’s brought me to see several large lava rocks with circular bowls hollowed into them—“A mano [shark] altar,” she explains. “It was here that the ancestors would leave offerings to the spirit world to ensure an abundant catch and a safe journey.” Perhaps it’s because the area isn’t developed or built up, or perhaps there are other reasons, but I can feel the power surrounding us on the beach, with the wind ripping, the waves crashing. A few kilometers and a world away down the coast, I get lost in the resort development of Poipu. I’d been wondering where all the overbuilding was on Kauai. I found it. It’s sometimes difficult to reconcile places of such unaltered power like Anahola with what’s been done on the South Shore, but it’s a sight common to portions of nearly all the islands—condominiums and hotels battling for beachfront, all natural flow of the land overtaken. This often uneasy coexistence of sacred and profane is something you need »


The Wishing Well Shave Ice truck, in Hanalei.

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water world Clockwise from left: Wailua Falls, near Lihue; a view of the Napali Coast; Agnes MartiKini, a longtime resident of Anahola; a cottage at Waimea Plantation; the 635-square-meter infinity pool at the St. Regis.

‘it’s a rugged island, kind of like the local culture. respect it, and it’ll respect you,’ justus tells me to come to terms with if you’re going to spend any real time in Hawaii. Farther west, the island reasserts itself. Out past Kalaheo, past fields of coffee trees (the last of the sugarcane, once Kauai’s staple, was plowed under in late 2009), the surrounding terrain becomes even drier, the sun stronger and the pace of life considerably slower. I drive down a deserted main street in the near–ghost town of Hanapepe. Founded by Chinese rice farmers in the late 1800’s, the place has a notorious past, replete with opium dens and brawler bars—of course, those days are long gone. I crawl through the village late in the afternoon only to find that all the doors are closed, all except one, that is. The lights in Talk Story Bookstore are still blazing. Sorting used books, alone inside the plantation-style single-wall-construction building, is Ed Justus. A pale, bearded man with a direct gaze, Justus could be a young college lit professor. He came to Kauai with his wife, Cynthia, from Virginia seven years ago, “because the plane ticket was fifty dollars cheaper than going to Honolulu.” The fit was 120 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

immediate. “We never left. Never sent for anything. Never went back.” We stand in the doorway, watching the day decline. Justus exchanges waves with every driver who passes. “The best part of the West Side is you get to know your community, your neighbors,” he says. A battered car with several day laborers rolls by, and the boys inside shout out greetings. “It’s a rugged island, kind of like the local culture. Respect it, and it’ll respect you.” Although each of the Hawaiian islands garners its own loyalty, what I’m seeing here on Kauai is different. Twice, Kauai withstood assaults by King Kamehameha to take the island by force. More recently, in 2007, about 100 locals leapt into the water at Nawiliwili Harbor to prevent the unwanted interisland Superferry from docking on its maiden voyage. The ferry idea was abandoned. That kind of pride is evident on the neighborhood level as well. In Waimea, 81-year-old Nancy Golden—founder of the local family-support center Nana’s House—tells me: “The West Side is what the whole island used to be like.”


Waimea was once a home to Kaumualii, Kauai’s last great king, and it was here that Captain Cook first set foot on the Hawaiian Islands in 1778. (He was killed a year later by locals on the Big Island.) It’s got everything I need in a Hawaiian town—a friendly, authentic local scene, a few decent restaurants and a Hawaiian place to stay. The Waimea Plantation Cottages are exactly what the name suggests: 61 former sugar-plantation cottages refitted as guest accommodations. They are scattered around 11 hectares of wide lawns, where groves of ironwood and coconut palms, empty hammocks, and several massive banyan trees anchor and preside over the land. The place is pure old-school Hawaiian “aloha.” I suppose I could imagine a more comfortable spot, but why try? The days begin to roll by unaccounted for—a hike up in Waimea Canyon State Park, a swim at a deserted stretch of beach in Polihale State Park, watching the local kids play an evening game of baseball. And then I’m on the porch at Wrangler’s Steakhouse for an early dinner, just like I was the night before. Auntie Rose greets me by name, and I settle in and look out beyond the green corrugated-iron awning of the

Big Save market across the street and up into the foothills of Mount Waialeale. The clouds are briefly pink, then give way to an uneventful gray as the sun fades behind me. The few tired streetlamps come on. A pickup truck eases past. The night falls silent. I remember back on the North Shore Stephanie Kaluahine Reid had talked about the feeling of unity on Kauai and the Hawaiian word she used for it, “kakou—the power of we.” And that’s been my experience here, from the Nashes up north and Agnes Marti-Kini, in Anahola, to Ed Justus in the west and dozens of others along the way. That strong sense of community, of “us”—it exists on all the islands, but here I’ve found it to be a dominant force, a motivating code. It’s something that exists beyond the mere physical beauty, and goes to the heart of the island and the commitment people have to it, and to one another. Auntie Rose returns. She tells me that the daily specials are exactly the same as the day before. Then she leans close and confides, “I thought you’d be back tonight, so I had them put aside an ahi poke appetizer.” It’s all I need to hear to feel Kauai’s pull. ✚

guide to kauai STAY Hanalei Colony Resort Twohectare beachfront hotel with 48 rooms on the north shore. 5-7130 Kuhio Hwy., Haena; 1-808/8266235; hcr.com; doubles from US$212 with a three-night minimum.

Waimea; 1-808/338-9733; dinner for two US$50.

Kauai Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach Recently renovated, with a Jack Nicklaus golf course. 3610 Rice St., Lihue; 1-808/245-5050; marriott.com; doubles from US$249.

Kauai Grill Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the St. Regis Princeville Resort. 5520 Ka Haku Rd., Princeville; 1-808/826-0600; dinner for two US$62.

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort A 121room boutique hotel fronting the south shore’s Poipu Beach. 2251 Poipu Rd., Koloa; 1-808/8288888; koakea.com; doubles from US$329. St. Regis Princeville Resort 5520 Ka Haku Rd., Princeville; 1-808/ 826-9644; stregisprince ville. com; doubles from US$360. GREAT VALUE Waimea

Plantation Cottages 9400 Kaumualii Hwy., Waimea; 1-808/338-1625; waimea plantation.com; doubles from US$234. EAT AND DRINK Grove Café at the Waimea Brewing Company Brewpubrestaurant at Waimea Plantation cottages. 9400 Kaumualii Hwy.,

Merriman’s Kauai Chef Peter Merriman was one of the first to celebrate Hawaiian regional cuisine. 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St., Poipu; 1-808/742-8385; dinner for two US$100.

Princeville

Kalalau Trail

Mount Makana

W Ca aime ny o a n

Anahola Mountains

Waimea

Kauai

Pacific Ocean

Poipu 0

8.9 km

Kaumualii Hwy., Waimea; 1-808/338-1218 ; dinner for two US$60.

22° North Meals are prepared with ingredients sourced from the restaurant’s one-hectare farm. 3-2087 Kaumualii Hwy., Lihue; 1-808/245-9593; dinner for two US$90.

SHOP Talk Story Bookstore 3785 Hanapepe Rd., Hanapepe; 1-808/335-6469; talkstorybook store.com.

Wrangler’s Steakhouse 9852

Anahola

Hanapepe

Oasis on the Beach Organic, locally grown fare at outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort. 4-820 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa; 1-808/8229332; dinner for two US$40.

Wishing Well Shave Ice A stand serving flavored ice cream cones. 5-5070 Kuhio Hwy., Hanalei; no phone; cones for two US$9.

N

Hanalei Bay

Josselin’s Tapas Bar & Grill Chef Jean Marie Josselin prepares a wide selection of tapas. 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St., Poipu; 1808/742-7117; dinner for two US$80.

1-808/274-3444 ; hawaiistateparks.org. Kukui Trail In Waimea Canyon State Park, north of Kekaha on Kokee Rd.; 1-808/274-3444; hawaiistateparks.org.

DO Beach at Polihale State Park End of an 8-kilometer-long dirt road north from Mana village, off Kaumualii Hwy. (Rte. 50);

Outfitters Kauai The most popular outfitter on the island. 2827a Poipu Rd., Poipu Beach; 1-808/742-9667; outfitters kauai.com. Pali Ke Kua Beach Also known as Hideaways; off the community path in Princeville.

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Zaihan Kariyani (left) and Ricky Francisco, directors of White Canvas Gallery, in Singapore’s Tiong Bahru district. Opposite: Sol LeWitt’s 1999 Wall Drawing #917, Arcs and Circles, in a lobby area at the Marina Bay Sands hotel.


Singapore on the Move For this island city-state, where efficiency and order have long been national virtues, the arrival of a cutting-edge art scene, celebrity chefs, mega-resorts and, yes, even casinos heralds a seismic shift. Guy Trebay reports. Photographed by Morgan & Owens


In shiny, happy Singapore, superlatives come at you with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Not two minutes after my arrival at Changi Airport, rated Tip-Top Number One Most Excellent Airport in the Universe (or something like that) by Skytrax, I was being regaled with tales of crackerjack government efficiency. See the scarlet-flowered rain trees lining East Coast Parkway like a regiment of neon-green umbrellas! They are actually planted in tubs! At a word, superbly trained government workers appearing out of nowhere can swarm the asphalt and whisk the trees away in 30 minutes, converting the road into an emergency runway! In Singapore—improbable geopolitical phenomenon, tiny banking and trade powerhouse, a nation transformed in a half-century from a scruffy, licentious port into the squeakyclean economic heavyweight of Southeast Asia—the way is ever forward.

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For the better part of the 20th century, the dynamics of Singapore’s futurist trajectory dominated the national narrative, and today there is no reason to think that will change anytime soon. In the past several years alone, the island nation has poured billions of dollars into efforts to refashion itself as an equatorial Vegas, green-lighted the creation of two immense new “integrated resorts” with casinos at their heart, gone on a hotel-building spree that transformed many remnants of the colonial era into chic hostelries, like the brand-new Fullerton Bay, and renovated or else seriously rethought its institutions of culture, as if to


asia modern From left: Staff at

Kunio Tokuoka; Wagyu beef with gobo root and homemade tofu at Kunio Tokuoka, on Sentosa Island. Opposite: Pedestrians along Orchard Road.

rebuke those (and there are many) who have long griped that Singapore lacks soul. These changes, unimaginable not so long ago, owe to a number of factors, not least of which are the irresistible incursions of the Internet, the return home of the country’s young and educated expatriate caste, and the first stirrings of cultural relaxation on the part of the social engineers who govern the place. It’s not exactly as if Singapore’s dubious global reputation is altogether unwarranted. It remains in some ways the place its critics deride: vaguely sterile, overregulated—the so-called Asian Switzerland. It is still a country where press freedoms are scant; where both homosexuality and gum-chewing are highly restricted; where certain criminal offenses are punishable by the stroke of the cane. It is still possible in Singapore to lose days in the lightly chilled limbo of air-conditioned shopping centers, seldom encountering sunlight and yet rarely out of sight of Chanel. But behind the gleaming palisades of glass and the modern office towers and malls, another Singaporean reality lies hidden in plain sight. “All those criticisms, the nanny-state thing, are outdated,” Kenson Kwok, the former director of the Asian Civilisations Museum, told me one afternoon at his early 20th-century terrace house near the city’s commercial center. “It’s a different country now. You’ve got politicians in their thirties and forties who will effect change.” Those politi-

cians, like many among the country’s hyper-educated management set, must be aware of the costs of Singapore’s unsavory Big Brother reputation. So it is no coincidence that the country also seems suddenly eager to spotlight those parts of the cultural past thrown overboard as ballast during its race to modernity. “Singapore is a tiny country, a tiny island,’’ Kwok said. “And the government, since independence, felt it first had to meet people’s material needs.” Now that everyone makes a living wage and has cable, the government appears eager to promote the jumbled immigrant cultures—Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan, European—that in some ways render Singapore surprisingly less like Geneva than my hometown of New York City. This other Singapore is made up of funky gay bars, the wondrously humble culinary dreamlands called hawker centers, a nascent assortment of galleries displaying contemporary art and brothels that, of all things, are sanctioned by the government. Once you manage to escape the dead zone of the »

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banking district, it is easy enough to uncover a subtly different cityscape in the sinuous streets of the Muslim quarter, the noisome lanes in Chinatown, the leafy outlying districts that deviate altogether from the compact grid. And in that transition you can occasionally find yourself slipping into the ghostly embrace of old Singapura. The spirit of a premodern city percolates quietly and surprisingly through daily life, whether on Serangoon Road, in Little India, where dour Brahman priests perform their timehonored devotions to the destroyer goddess Kali at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, or along the former cart paths off Pagoda Street—center in the 19th century of slaving, opium dens, and every form of crime and vice—that teem with food stalls called coffee shops and the trinket stores that signify Chinatown all over the world. The past settles around you as you wander the vaults of the venerable botanical garden, where century-and-a-half-old banyans rise from buttressed roots, where orchids are trained to grow into through-the-looking-glass archways, and where frangipani trees scatter their sweet-smelling blossoms all over, lending the place an air of floral deshabille.

A

surprisingly rewarding dimension of a visit to Singapore is the discovery of so many hardstructure remnants from earlier times. The country appears to have retained more intact buildings from the colonial era than most cities in the region. In Vientiane or Phnom Penh or Hanoi, the little-cherished vestiges of the colonial past have generally been left to rot when they were not razed to make way for “progress.” Yet Singapore is still studded with old terrace houses, stucco riverside godowns, neo-Gothic churches, colonnaded convents and vast government buildings designed in what you might call the Anglo-bombastic style. That old Singapore can be seen easily enough at the Singapore Cricket Club, a relic smack in the heart of the city. Ducking into the lobby of the club one afternoon to escape a driving rain, I surreptitiously jotted down the names of past club governors listed on a gilded signboard above a porter’s desk. There, in innocent patronymic sequence, hung a social and racial history of the former British colony formalized by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. For the first century or so the roster of this exclusive institution was dominated by men with surnames staunchly representative of imperial Britain. Then—following the founding of modern Singapore, with its constitutionally enshrined policy of racial equality—names like Swettenham and Broadrick give way to those of people whose ancestors originated in southern Fujian or Tamil Nadu rather than »

000


singapore is still studded with old terrace houses, riverside godowns, neo-gothic churches, colonnaded convents and vast government buildings designed in what you might call the anglo-bombastic style

A classic laksa dish made with coconut milk and cockles at Sungei Road Laksa. Opposite from top: The Ion Orchard mall, in the Orchard Road shopping district; diners at Sungei Road Laksa.

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Cornwall or Yorkshire. A club that was once frequented almost exclusively by whites became one that welcomed descendants of the brown- or yellow-skinned people who performed the back-breaking labor of building Singapore. This is as it should be, of course, not least because a richly blended cultural mix has always been a central feature of this trade port propitiously situated on the Malacca Strait. It is geographic good fortune that Singapore is located where the Indian Ocean meets the South China Sea, and thus at the convergence of the great monsoonal winds that literally propelled early globalization. Traveling along east-west axes, every manner of material goods and also human flotsam fetched up in Singapore, creating the motley, dynamic, polyglot metropolis one would never imagine existed if all one saw on a visit was the city’s numberless malls. And yet malls remain the first local feature every Singaporean is keen to flaunt. In particular, they can barely seem to contain their excitement at showing off the particularly retail-intensive stretch of Orchard Road, where an easy hour’s hike becomes the modern consumer’s equivalent of a trek through the jungles of Borneo. In places like the Centrepoint Mall, the Far East Plaza, the Paragon, the Ion Orchard, the Orchard Point, the Far East Shopping Centre, the Orchard Emerald, the Orchard Towers, the Shaw House or the Tanglin Mall, dense thickets of clothes and handbags and electronics and foodstuffs lure and assault the senses. Seeking shelter from the strike-you-dead heat of one summer afternoon, I hopped in a taxi to the Ion Orchard 128 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

within the past decade, the government seemed to take a close look at the growing wealth of the mainland chinese and deduce that banking alone might not suffice to ensure the island’s future


and passed the sandcastle spire of St. Andrew’s Cathedral on the way. I briefly considered stopping to visit but then remembered where I was and pressed on to the pagan temple of Prada instead. It is doubtless this kind of philistinism that the government hoped to offset when it inaugurated a Renaissance City initiative a decade ago aimed at recasting Singapore as a global creative capital. Since then the fine, jewel-box Asian Civilisations Museum was opened in a colonial-era riverfront structure; the small Peranakan Museum, devoted to the fusion cultures of Singapore, was installed in a disused middle school; and Kwok Kian Chow, the former head of the Singapore Art Museum, was appointed to oversee the creation of a new National Art Gallery, which will open in the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings in roughly two years. The country recently hosted two well-received Singapore Biennales, created a duty-free and tax-free depot

The lobby of the Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore. Opposite from left: A typical street in Chinatown; Marina Bay Sands, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, just after sunset.

as a haven for international art collectors, and announced plans to launch Art Stage Singapore, hosting more than 80 international galleries, in the country’s bid to make Singapore a necessary whistle-stop on the global art-fair gravy train. Tellingly, perhaps, Art Stage Singapore will be held at the Marina Bay Sands resort, as impressive a monument to both tourism and expedient politics as you are ever likely to find. It was also within the past decade that the government seemed to take a close look at the growing wealth of the mainland Chinese and deduce that banking alone might not suffice to ensure the island’s fiscal future. With typically Singaporean pragmatism, the country’s leaders reversed a long-term puritanical opposition to gaming and decided to turn the country into Vegas-sur-Mer. Never mind that the real Las Vegas was sliding toward oblivion, with unemployment at all-time highs and gambling revenue in the hole. The competitor that Singapore focused on was not situated in the Nevada desert but on a geographical flyspeck facing the South China Sea. Last year alone the gaming revenue from Macau’s 33 casinos outpaced those in Las Vegas, said David G. Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. And it was likely the lure of all that mainland Chinese gambling money that prompted the government to shift its stance and welcome the importation of hundreds of gaming tables and thousands of slot machines, most of them located either at a brand-new “integrated resort” on Sentosa Island or at the glamorous Marina Bay Sands. Only a week before my arrival, Diana Ross inaugurated the place, crooning “I’m Coming Out” at a party for 2,500 invited guests of the US$5.5 billion resort. Unusually for Singapore, the casino opened behind schedule. All the same, its construction was a feat of some sort because, even in boom times, few countries—let alone one as small as Singapore—could allocate hectares of space for the creation of an instant landmark or find the funds to erect on it a trio of 55-story towers topped with an aerial park that resembles an immense vessel stranded by the retreat of an ancient sea. From the so-called SkyPark atop Marina Bay Sands, designed by the Israeli American Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, you can take in the harbor and the colonial quarter and the city center and the East Coast Park and, on a clear day, the Indonesian island Batam and Malaysia’s Johor state. Of course, most visitors to Marina Bay Sands are destined to spend their time gazing instead at the hypnotic glow of cherries or lemons cascading down the screens of one-armed bandits, but that’s beside the point. At the Marina Bay Sands everything has been supersized, from the number of guest rooms (2,561) and area of the »

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locals seated all around us were absorbed in their food—Singaporeans of all classes eat passionately, constantly, at any hour of the day and night—with a concentration bordering on reverence adjacent convention center (121,000 square meters) to a quantity of retail space exceeding even that of Changi Airport. By the time of my visit, the resort was already logging 25,000 visitors a day, many presumably headed for the tables. What makes that statistic particularly impressive is the knowledge that the government imposes a 100 Singaporean dollar tariff on locals to deter them from blowing the rent on sic-bo or blackjack. And yet, as a Singaporean Chinese friend explained on my visit, “If you think another S$100 is going to keep a Chinese person from gambling, you’re nuts.’’ That same friend, who had flown in from her current home in Munich to meet me, gazed around at the hordes cramming the colossal lobby of the Marina Bay Sands that first week and likened the place to an “intergalactic Bahnhof.” So large are the spaces that even the ogling mobs seemed swamped in the air-conditioned vastness; huge elevator banks led to floors reserved for high rollers; huge art installations floated high in the air; a huge basin called Rain Oculus, by the American environmental artist and sculptor Ned Kahn, awaited the plumbing that would turn it into a fountain (or a big dentist’s rinse bowl, depending on your viewpoint) cascading through a pedestrian plaza and onto the retail center below. The big culinary stars that are a requisite of every new tourist enterprise are naturally part of the scheme at Marina Bay Sands. Yet, where most hotels might content themselves with a single celebrity chef, Marina Bay Sands has seven: Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, Santi Santamaria, Guy Savoy, Justin Quek and Tetsuya Wakuda. It may seem far-fetched to suggest that by installing slot machines and fancy guys in chef toques Singapore’s government is signaling a philosophical climate shift. But gaming is not the only indicator of a climate shift, the good kind, as a trip to the National Museum of Singapore made clear. 130 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

A smartly installed show there, “Singapore: 1960,” looked to evoke a time before the country was overtaken by the tumultuousness that led to its expulsion from the Malaysian states, a placid interlude between the bitter years of Japanese occupation and the wrenching creation of the modern citystate. As a brochure for “Singapore: 1960” was careful to explain, the show did not seek to “tell the political struggle of the political parties.” That would be a little dicey, even now. Anyway, why bother, when that particular narrative has been drummed into every Singaporean’s head? Instead, the exhibition slyly celebrated the politics of being Singaporean. It did this by assembling the stuff of daily life, objects as ephemeral as postcards, sarong kebaya dresses, news clippings, rock-and-roll records and movie clips. More ambitiously it sought to summon up, through sound and smell, the atmospherics of this tropical city—clamorous, redolent and lush—that in its early incarnation was so entirely unlike the laboratory for social engineering that Singapore would become. In one installation visitors were invited to squeeze an atomizer bulb beneath a glass tube, triggering the release of a specific smell. The aromas of street foods, of spices, of rubber set off no concrete memories for a visitor like me, and yet any Singaporean above a certain age would recognize the ripe and earthy smells of the country as it was before shopping mall-modernity covered it in an intoxicating consumerist cloud. As it happened, there was also another show in town, an exhibition of the artist Ming Wong’s “Life of Imitation.” Like Wong Kar-wai, the Hong Kong director of tonal masterpieces such as the 2000 film In the Mood for Love, the Berlin-based Ming Wong is unapologetically affectionate for a bygone version of Asia. As Singapore’s representative to the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, Ming Wong set up shop in a


maritime warehouse and showed videos that put inverted commas around the overheated Singaporean melodramas of the 1950’s. He also erected a series of movie-style billboards painted by the last surviving billboard artist of the era, Neo Chon Teck. At the Singapore Art Museum, Wong reprised the effort as a way of engaging the viewer in “questions related to roots, hybridity and the politics of becoming.” The politics of becoming were the last of my concerns on the final night of my stay, although I was curious about the delicious culinary contradictions set in front of me. My Singaporean friend and I had gone to dine at the open-air Lavender Street Hawker Centre, where we feasted on fish-ball noodles, prawn crackers with shrimp bits and oyster omelettes, all washed down with cold Tiger beer. Locals seated all around us at picnic tables were absorbed

in their food—Singaporeans of all classes eat passionately, constantly, at any hour of the day and night—with a degree of concentration that bordered on reverence. No talk seemed to issue from our fellow diners beyond orders for more beer or requests to pass a jar of the incendiary chili sauce. My friend and I ordered a first course, and then a second, and then we decided to go for broke and finish up with bowls of assam laksa. The sweetish noodle broth of this classic dish is sometimes spiked with the mouth-watering piquancy of tamarind paste. A confetti of mint added a bright, cooling note. The unfamiliar hybrid elements were not easy to reconcile at first taste, and yet, as the flavors developed, it began to dawn on me that there was something Singaporean in the meal set before us, full of sweet and bitter contradictions that unfold on the tongue. ✚

guide to singapore STAY Capella Singapore Escape the city at this understated resort spread across 12 hectares with three pools, a beach and a golf club. 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island; 65/6377-8888; capellasingapore. com; doubles from S$700.

EAT AND DRINK Kunio Tokuoka The eponymous chef’s kaiseki restaurant serves not-to-be-missed dishes that mimic the seasons. Crockfords Tower, 26 Sentosa Gateway No. 02-139; 65/6577-8899; dinner for two S$606.

Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore Sister property to the classic Fullerton Hotel. 80 Collyer Quay; 65/6333-8388; fullertonbayhotel. com; doubles from S$420, including breakfast.

Lantern Cabanas surrounding the Fullerton Bay Hotel’s pool, stellar views of the cityscape— no wonder throngs line up to get in. 80 Collyer Quay; 65/6877-8911; drinks for two S$50.

Marina Bay Sands 10 Bayfront Ave.; 65/6688-8868; marinabaysands.com; doubles from S$379.

My Humble House Contemporary Chinese fusion, with great people watching. Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Ave.; 65/6423-1881; dinner for two S$220.

GREAT VALUE New Majestic Thirty rooms in Chinatown emphasize edgy design and feature works of local artists (try the “hanging-bed rooms”). 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Rd.; 65/6511-4700; newmajestichotel.com; doubles from S$202.

LITTLE INDIA CHINA

Serangoon Rd. SINGAPORE

Or ch a rd R d.

Singapore River tiong bahru CHINATOWN CENTRAL BUSINESS Sentosa district Island

1-Altitude Hovering 300 meters above the city, this three-story establishment includes a sports bar, a restaurant and an alfresco cocktail hot spot. 1 Raffles Place; 65/6438-0410; drinks for two S$29.

high-end shops. 333A Orchard Rd.; 65/6831-6363; mandarin gallery.com.

Raffles Hotel A landmark building that’s been on the global traveler’s must-stop list since its opening in 1887. 1 Beach Rd.; 65/6337-1886; raffles.com; doubles from S$790.

Sungei Road Laksa Founder Wong Yew Hwa slowly simmers his spicy noodle soups over a traditional charcoal fire. Block 27, Jalan Berseh; lunch for two S$13.

SEE AND DO Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place; 65/6332-7798; acm.org.sg.

St. Regis Singapore A glass tower with 299 rooms downtown, within walking distance of Orchard Road. 29 Tanglin Rd.; 65/65066888; stregis.com; doubles from S$540.

SHOP Ion Orchard 2 Orchard Turn; 65/6238-8228; ionorchard.com. Mandarin Gallery Each floor of this glass-enclosed mall is designed to showcase its 100

N

MUSLIM QUARTER

Pacific Ocean

0

Marina Bay

0.64 km

Basah Rd.; 65/6332-3222; singaporeartmuseum.sg. Singapore Botanic Gardens Historic green space dating to 1859. Cluny Rd.; 65/6471-7138; sbg.org.sg. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple 141 Serangoon Rd.; 65/6295-4538; sriveeramakaliamman.com.

National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Rd.; 65/6332-3659, nationalmuseum.sg. Peranakan Museum 39 Armenian St.; 65/6332-7591; peranakan museum.sg. Singapore Art Museum 71 Bras

White Canvas Gallery Specializes in showcasing the works of emerging Asian artists. 78 Guan Chuan St., No. 01-41 Tiong Bahru Estate; 65/6220-8723; whitecanvas-gallery.com.

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Above the

Clouds


A weather station with a view on Yushan’s northern peak.

Trekking up the 3,952-meter Yushan, Brent Hannon discovers it’s more than just the high point of Taiwan. With a bit of luck, he’s able to stop, look and listen to what the mountain has to say. Photographed by Alberto Buzzola


ust before ascending the trail up Yushan, we spot Taiwan’s good luck charm: a Mikado pheasant. It’s also known as the “king of the mists,” a bird much loved for its beautiful blue-black plumage and gentle, reclusive ways. But the football-size bird doesn’t stick around. It looks at us for a moment, then vanishes into a damp forest of Taiwan oak. Along with two friends, Mike Bauer and Jim Cumming, I’m at the start a three-day trek to the top of Yushan, or Jade Mountain, so the pheasant is a good omen, except for the mist into which it vanishes. The weather can always be a hurdle, but our permits prove a bigger, if temporary, problem. We had lined up our dominoes weeks in advance, applying online for a pass from Yushan National Park, which we would then use to pick up a mountain permit at the Tatajia police station. That’s where we find ourselves watching nervously as a policeman scans the computer for our names, shaking his head doubtfully. We’re lost in a computer. Eventually, the rubber stamp hovers and, thump, we’re in. Shouldering our backpacks, we walk into Taiwan’s most famous wilderness. Yushan is the queen of the country’s national park system, a pristine expanse of peaks and valleys that was sheltered from developers first by its forbidding terrain, and later by the protection it gained when it became a national park in 1985. The park’s crowning glory, at 3,952 meters, is Yushan, the iconic fan-shaped peak that adorns the back of the NT$1,000 note, along with the Mikado pheasant. As we start up the trail, the mist parts and the sun shines through. We’ve breached the Sea of Clouds, a dense bank of fog that hangs over the lowlands of Taiwan, and high above, the Yushan range is radiant in the early morning sunlight. The summit is still 11 134 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

kilometers away and 1,340 meters higher, but for the first few kilometers the hiking is easy as the trail climbs gently up the valley. Taiwan pines and Yushan bamboo flank the path, while blue and red butterflies float through the glades. Sky-blue lady bells, lemon-yellow gentians, pale purple dianthus and other wildflowers add splashes of colour to the grassy meadows. The trail is wide and well groomed, but in places it slices through steep drop-offs and across deep chasms, demanding respect. One of these cliffs claimed the life of Dr. J. E. Monroe, a tax attorney who fell to his death here in 1952. After four kilometers the valley narrows and tightens. We arrive at Ghost Tree Forest, a solemn cemetery of bleached white trunks set against a grassy hillside. Towering above the trees is Yushan, visible for the first time, while far below, flocks of white-rumped swifts flicker like diamonds in the alpine sun. We press on, huffing and puffing up a never-ending set of switchbacks. Before long the three of us enter a magnificent forest of fir and hemlock, the high-mountain giants that dominate the slopes above 3,000 meters. With their weathered two-meter trunks and towering umbrella-shaped canopies, these Taiwan firs are the signature flora of Yushan. Steep though it is, the hiking trail is excellent, with sturdy bridges and boardwalks to help us over the steeper sections. Some of those bridges span near-bottomless gorges, and in places the trail has been chipped by hand through tall cliffs. The downslope faces of these cliffs are thickly carpeted in Yushan bamboo, forming a would-be welcome mat that looks solid, but is comparable to nature’s version of a trap door. Mike finds this out the hard way: stepping on the green bamboo, he plunges through, barely stopping himself before falling any further. “I wasn’t looking, and I fell in up to my neck,” he says afterwards. “My head was level with the trail.” »


jade Mountain Clockwise from left: Enjoying

the shade amid the verdant landscape on the lower slopes of Yushan; a dramatic photo opportunity on a high peak; outside Paiyun Lodge, the final stop for many before summiting; Taiwanese hikers returning after their ascent of Yushan; trails are well-marked throughout the national park.

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Ascending the 3,952-meter Yushan is a point of pride for many Taiwanese.


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yushan is a tortured chunk sandstone mass pounded into

on top of Taiwan Clockwise

from right: A group of climbers enjoy their evening meal at Paiyun Lodge; strolling the shaded lower slopes; once past the tree line, the trail becomes more technical; a chilly sunrise, but one with amazing views of the island; capturing the moment.


I tell him to pay more attention. “I was paying attention,” he insists. “To that waterfall over there.” We laugh, but still, you could fall a long way. Just ask the tax attorney. Moving on, we flog up the switchbacks, and finally arrive at Paiyun Lodge at about noon. Park ranger Chen Yu-chuan checks our permits and gives us some excellent advice: After summiting Yushan the following morning, we should head south down the ridge rather than returning on the same trail. “If you want to see the best scenery that’s the way to go, although it is longer,” he explains. “Just be careful.” We drop our packs, pitch our tent and relax in the sun. Before long, a cheerful Taiwanese guide arrives, unslungs an enormous backpack and introduces himself as Da Xiong, or Big Bear. He’s leading a group of 19 Germans, who will be along shortly. Big Bear has no time to relax: stationing

tits zip through the firs. It’s fantastic, and I don’t move for two hours. How often do you get a chance to do nothing in a setting like that? The sun begins to drop and far below, the Sea of Clouds put on a dazzling display, turning from white to pink to blazing orange. We cook our dinner— spaghetti with butter and parmesan cheese—and by 6 p.m. it is pitch black. The mountain air turns frosty, and with little else to do, we turn in.

M

orning dawns bright and clear. The fir and hemlock forests are dark and brooding, and the moon floats in the sky like a silver dollar. The early rising Germans were already on the trail, but Big Bear is busy once again. What are the Germans having for breakfast? “Bread, potatoes, sausages, stuff like that,” he tells us with a laugh. “Just like back home.”

of a mountain, A slate and shape by tectonic plates himself at the rustic cooking area, he begins chopping, slicing and preparing dinner for the Germans. It was a feast in the making, with Hakkastyle preserved pork, beef short rib, sautéed mushrooms, stir-fried vegetables and more, along with a vast mountain of pasta. Food is more than simple sustenance on treks like this. It also becomes part of the entertainment. Jim, a 68-year-old Scot, cracks open three cans of Taiwan Beer and we enjoy a high-mountain happy hour, supplemented by sips of whisky. Despite the weight of my pack, I forgot a key item: entertainment. Mike has a science fiction paperback, and Jim his MP3 player loaded with audio books and podcasts, while I have nothing to do. So I’m left with my Scotch—Jim’s whisky, actually—and my thoughts. Relaxing on a sleeping pad, I watch the white clouds float up and down the distant ridges. Sounds bring the forest alive. The mountain air moans, waterfalls hum and a pair of Taiwan Laughing thrushes fill the air with high-pitched harmonic warbles that sound like children at play. As the thrushes hunt for food on the patio, red Rose finches and yellow Taiwan

After a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal, and carrying only day packs, we head for the summit, 2.4 kilometers away. As the trail switchbacks up a  scree slope, the firs and hemlocks disappear, ceding the high alpine slopes to junipers and rhododendrons. Soon the sun jumps over the ridge, illuminating a glorious landscape of lime-green junipers and yellow-green rhododendrons, backdropped by golden slopes of scree and dominated by the formidable bulk of Yushan itself. The rising sun gives us a good look at the famous peak. Yushan is a tortured chunk of a mountain, a slate and meta-sandstone mass that was pounded into shape by the savage collision of the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates. The impact didn’t fuse the rocks into marble the way it did further north in Taroko Gorge, but the twisted lines of slate and sandstone, and the diagonal streaks of snow-white quartz, attest to the force of the collision. The geology is still active. During a September 1999 earthquake, the entire mountain jumped a meter into the air before subsiding. Fortunately, it doesn’t move as we climb. Not » travelandleisureasia.com | january 2011 139


it’s been a day in which our stars aligned perfectly long afterward, we are standing atop the tallest peak in East Asia. For a few minutes we admire the landmark summits of the Central Mountain Range, aligned on a north–south axis and jutting like islands through the Sea of Clouds. A little brown Alpine Accentor arrives and keeps us company for a few moments. Like the Mikado pheasant and the Laughing thrush, the Accentor is endemic, found only in Taiwan, and we are lucky to see the candybar-size bird. Following the advice of ranger Chen, we walk south down the tilted slate and shale ridge, holding tightly to a series of chains and enjoying IMAX views in every direction. Far below, as before, the lowlands are cloaked in a cloudy blanket of gloom, but the bad weather never threatens us. We are untouchable in our mountain paradise, surrounded by green lichens and golden stones and red azaleas, all hyper-illuminated by the subtropical sunlight. For two unforgettable hours we walk down the ridge toward Yuanfong Lodge, then double back toward Yushan itself, before dropping once again into the fir and hemlock forests, and back to Paiyun Lodge. It’s been a perfect day, a day in which our lucky stars aligned perfectly. We’re elated as we

break out the whisky and settle in for another night. As we sip our single-malt, more trekkers roll in to Paiyun. The first to arrive is Lin, a Bunun aboriginal guide carrying a piano-size backpack. He’s followed by 11 tired Taiwanese students. Soon Lin is pitching tents and prepping dinner, just like Big Bear the previous day. For dinner that night we have UK Army rations provided by Jim’s daughter. The menu includes tuna rigatoni, chicken with herb dumplings and lemon sponge pudding. As we spoon the rapidly cooling army rations from plastic bags, the Taiwanese tuck into a lavish feast prepared by Lin, a meal that includes beef with green peppers and cabbage with xiang chang, or sausages. On our third and final morning we sleep in. The sun is high in the sky by the time we pack our bags and depart. Back down the mountain we walk, retracing our steps through the streaming sunlight: over the hanging bridges, through the fir forests, across the cliff faces, under the ghost trees and back into the pine groves, where once again we see the wildflowers and butterflies. We never see another Mikado, but just the one was more than enough to bring us good luck and a memorable trek. ✚

guide to yushan When to Go The weather is best from March to November, though storms and typhoons are common in summer. The trails are closed in February. Getting There The trailhead at Tatajia is a five-hour drive from Taipei. Two permits are required: a Yushan National Park Ecological Protected Area Permit, and a Mountain Entry Permit. The Yushan park permit costs NT$300 per night, and includes reservations and lodging at Paiyun or Yuanfong lodges. The Mountain

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Entry Permit is free, and can be picked up at the police station at Tatajia. ysnp.gov.tw. Stay Dongpu Lodge Tatajia's lone guesthouse with dorm rooms, a common kitchen and no restaurant. 886-49/270-2213; NT$100 per person. Alishan House A comfortable, 35-room hotel. No. 16 Xialin Village; 886-05/267-9811; doubles from NT$7,260. Paiyun Lodge and Yuanfong Lodge The mountain's two overnight options both have dorm

beds and campsites. Book through the park office well in advance, anywhere from 7 to 33 days before your stay. Do Hikers need a sleeping bag, boots, warm clothes, rain gear, a stove and fuel, food, and a tent, unless they plan to sleep in a dorm bed. Paiyun Lodge is currently being rebuilt and will re-open in June. Batonguan, an alternate trail to the top of Yushan, was closed by Typhoon Morakot in 2009, but is expected to reopen later this year.


Hiking in Taiwan’s most famous park.

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sofia coppola’s

favorite place by Dani Shapiro

Film director Sofia Coppola, above. Left: Chateau Marmont.

travel tips

Hollywood, CAlifornia

“I have vivid memories of staying at the Chateau Marmont with my father when I was a little kid. This was in the early eighties, before André Balazs owned the hotel, and it was a lot funkier, with a seedy kind of glamour. Now the Chateau has become a real paparazzi place. When I started writing my film Somewhere I was living in Paris, and friends would visit and bring tabloids and I would read about all the scandalous things that happened there. I was writing about contemporary Los Angeles, and it was very clear to me that the story had to take place in the Chateau. It has such decadence. For the month we were shooting Somewhere, we took over the fifth floor of the Gothic hotel. Each department had a room instead of a trailer. Stephen Dorff actually slept in a room identical to the one we shot many of his scenes in, so he stayed in character the whole time. You can’t help but be aware that a lot has happened in those rooms. Naughty things go on, but still, it feels homey and personal. The stories and the history of the hotel are what I love the most. Years ago, I met my idol, the photographer Helmut Newton, in the elevator. He lived there for months at a time, and took many of his iconic photographs on the property. I’m pretty shy, but I had to introduce myself. Later that day, he was killed in a car accident in the driveway of the Chateau, so it was the last time, the last possible moment I could have talked to him. That exemplifies the Chateau’s strange, haunted magic.” ✚ Sofia Coppola’s latest film, Somewhere, stars Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning.

142 january 2011 | travelandleisureasia.com

BEVERLY HILLS DISHES “I always order the chopped salad at La Scala (434 N. Canon Dr.; 1-310/275-0579; lunch for two US$85) and the veal at Madeo Restaurant (8897 Beverly Blvd.; 1-310/859-0242; dinner for two US$140). Ask to sit in a leather booth.” IT’S WHO YOU KNOW “The best maître d’ in L.A. is Dimitri Dimitrov at the Tower Bar (8358 Sunset Blvd.; 1-323/ 654-7100; drinks for two US$35). He’s a gentleman— a character out of a movie.”

f r o m l e f t : c o u r t e s y o f Ch a t e a u M a r m o n t ; a f p / g e t t y

chateau marmont

HOLLYWOOD HIDEAWAY “Be sure to people-watch in the lobby at the Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd.; 1-323/656-1010; chateaumarmont. com; doubles from US$370).”



January 2011