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Volume 07 / Issue 08

Contents

August 2013 Features 102 Sandy Seems the Golden Sky The tiny island idylls of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi are hidden in plain sight. Sail into the karst-strewn horizon of Phang Nga Bay with J EN IN N E LEE - ST. JOH N and the 12,000 residents keeping up their southern Thai traditions. PHO T OGR A PHED BY SHINSU K E M ATSU K AWA . GU IDE A N D M A P

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109 World’s Best Awards 2013 Travel + Leisure spotlights the year’s top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruises, airlines and more. 120 Language Lessons J USTIN PE T ER S tries a range of language-learning methods, then heads to Milan to test his knowledge. 124 Is This the Best Airport in the World? Singapore’s Changi is a paragon of modern airport operation, but its appeal is deeper, reports K A R R IE JACOBS . Plus More great terminals. PHO T OGR A PHED

130 Camping: A Love Story Great indoors-lover J EFF CH U goes off the grid, deep in a Kiwi valley, and finds a new respect for possums, pup tents and his own willpower in the wilderness. ILLUSTR ATED BY WASIN EE CH A N TA KOR N . GUIDE 134 136 Odessa Returning to the coastal town of her childhood summers, A N YA VON BR EMZEN kindles an unlikely love affair with the most eccentric characters on the Black Sea. PHO T OGR A PHED BY M A RT H A CA M A R ILLO . GU IDE A N D M A P 143

S H I N S U K E M AT S U K A W A

BY DA R R EN SOH

A spa room at Six Senses Yao Noi, page 102. T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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Contents

DEST I NAT IONS

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What to Eat in the Heat SA M A N T H A BROW N asks four of Bali’s top chefs to share their favorite warm-weather dishes. Megapode Quest Journey to the volcanoes of Papua New Guinea with I A N LLOY D N E U BAU ER in search of edible treasure.

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LIN DBERG says you

T+L’s Guide to Photography Our step-by-step tutorial has all the tools you’ll need to create lasting memories of your next trip.

shouldn’t write off the old-school travel guide just yet.

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The Fix How to get work done and stay connected while traveling.

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Tech Which websites help find the cheapest airfares?

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Deals A high-class escape in Brunei; a cultural tour of Shanghai; a spa package in Hong Kong; and more.

Art and Seoul N ELL MCSH A N E W U LFH A RT serves as your docent through Korea’s hottest upcoming art exhibitions. Plus Countryside retreats; a new hot spot in Bangkok; an insider’s take on Mumbai; and more.

Trip Doctor

Plus Planning an all-inclusive vacation; foldable summer carryalls; and more. Point of View 96

They Books They Carried PE T ER JON

Prahran Hotel, Melbourne, page 32.

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Decoder 144 Manila “It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila.” While you probably won’t find any wild apes in the Philippine capital, ST EPH A N IE ZU BIR I swears that Muhammad Ali’s impression still holds true in this chaotic and bustling town.

On the Cover At Salon de Ning at the Peninsula Manila. Photographer: Francisco Guerrero; stylist: Guada Reyes; hair and make up: Renen Bautista; model: Ana Sideco. Hand-loomed knit dress by Tan Gan, Labradorite ring by Alchemista and heels by Janylin.

PHO T OGR A PHED BY FR A NCISCO GU ER R ERO

Last Look 150 Beijing A backstage glimpse of the city’s thriving indie music scene. PHO T OGR A PHED BY K AT H A R INA HESSE

COURTESY OF PR AHR AN HOTEL

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Piping Hot A new look for an old haunt has Melburnians flocking for a brew. BY R ICH MCLEISH

Departments 16 18 … I N B O X 2 0

E D I T O R ’S N O T E

CONTR IBU TORS

Radar 32

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Destinations

August 2013 123

MILAN

120

136

ODESSA

74

BA N G KOK

106

36

144

S EOU L

MANILA

M E LBOU R N E

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DESTINATION

PAGE

WHEN TO GO

WHAT US$5 BUYS

WHO TO FOLLOW

Melbourne

32

February through May and September to November, for temperate weather with fewer tourists

A 285-milliliter beer or cider on tap at Prahran Hotel

@cityofmelbourne

Bangkok

36

November to early March to avoid the highest temperatures, stifling humidity and seasonal rains

A half-hour foot massage at a local spa

@ThailandInsider

Seoul

74

April, May and September to avoid the chilly winter and sweltering summer

A bowl of bibimbap at an inexpensive restaurant

@KoreanTravel

Milan

120

September through November, to avoid the onslaught of summer tourists

A hike up the 919 steps to the top of the Duomo for a spectacular view

@ItalyTravel

Odessa

136

The summertime sea is mild and warm but, come July, the hordes of tourists descend from the northern cities. The city’s birthday in September brings a big public festival to the area around the Potemkin Steps

Three tall napoleon cakes at the Privoz Market

@ActiveUkraine

Manila

144

December through February is the coolest and driest time of year

Admission for two to the Metropolitan Museum of Manila

@WhenInManila

Long Weekend

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Beach

Active

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Food+Drink

Shopping

Arts+Culture


Editor’s Note

    chrisk@mediatransasia.com @CKucway on Twitter

Southeast Asia in the Spotlight

In Shanghai, at Travel+Leisure’s night out.

  

Kyushu

Bangkok Phnom Penh New York City

The T+L Code 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. 16

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JEFFREY XIE

O

ur annual World’s Best Awards is a cornerstone on our calendar, a muchanticipated summary of the year’s top hotels, resorts, cities, islands and airlines. The results always cause a stir, but one thing is certain: Asia is forever making its presence felt when it comes to the rankings by Travel + Leisure readers around the globe. Without spoiling the surprise and before you turn to page 109 for this year’s results, consider that four of the top 10 islands in the world are a short flight away for those of us in Southeast Asia; the top-rated city in the world is as well; six of the top 10 airlines call Asia home; and two of the best five airports are also here. If you’d like to know more about the voting, turn to page 119. Also, don’t miss out on our look at Singapore’s Changi Airport by Karrie Jacobs (page 124), who answers why it is one of the best in the world. When it comes to travel, never forget that we have it pretty good in this part of the world, so get out and enjoy all Southeast Asia has to offer. Admittedly, that’s a strange segue to Jeff Chu’s take on camping this month. As a child, he loathed the forced-upon-him pastime. Years later as an adult, he ventures off to New Zealand (“Camping: A Love Story,” page 130), hoping to relax so much that he and his companion get bored. Not wanting to give away too much, I’ll only tell you here that this big-city boy manages to do the—for him— unthinkable and shut off his smartphone. Gadgets are a given in all our luggage these days—how many adaptors, cables and rechargers do you pack?—but a favorite of mine remains the digital camera. This month, our Strategies section takes a look at photography (page 77) with advice on which camera best suits you, tips on shooting like a pro, how to easily fine tune your photos and much more. Camera in hand, there’s no better way to preserve your travel memories of Asia.— CHR ISTOPHER K UC WAY


Contributors

Martha Camarillo

Shinsuke Matsukawa

Writer “Camping: A Love Story” (page 130).

Photographer “Odessa” (page 136).

Photographer “Sandy Seems the Golden Sky” (page 102).

      We’ve grown up; though I still have flashbacks about that camping trip, I don’t hold it against him anymore.   … The only place where I’ve considered being an illegal immigrant. ’ ,  ,    Hubris. Also, I had bought a great pair of hiking boots, and it seems silly to call them hiking boots unless you hike in them.      “” I’m grateful to Minaret Station for helping us understand “camping” in a new way. It’s a camp, so what’s staying there if not camping? “Glamping” is a hideous neologism that refers to attempts at camping by people even less equipped to do it than I am. There is nothing glamorous about me, so I think it’s impossible for me to go glamping.

   ... Budapest, from the vibe, but it has a character all its own. It is a very petite, intimate city, with an old-world charm that’s hard to find anymore in this big world.   Dacha, hands down. They serve the sweetest, tastiest dumplings on the planet! The restaurant’s gardens are also beautiful and great for photo ops.    I expected Odessa’s architecture to be cold and Soviet-looking, but was taken aback by the beautiful buildings and dreamy streets.    A non-diet attitude! The food is so fresh, healthy and delicious that it’s impossible to resist.

  , ’      .            They were peaceful and friendly. It’s such a different world from busy Bangkok.       They always gave me the warmest smiles—and free food, like fruits and dried fish. ’       Move slowly, be quiet and be patient.     … One hour before and after both sunrise and sunset. Those are the most beautiful times in a day.

‘“Glamping” is a hideous neologism that refers to attempts at camping by people even less equipped to do it than I am.’ ’JEFF CHU

F R O M L E F T: R O X A N N E L O W I T; C A M ; C O U R T E S Y O F S H I N S U K E M AT S U K A W A

Jeff Chu


Inbox

Dreaming of Africa Just read “Zambia Up Close” in your June issue. Great piece. Now I’m obsessed with safaris in Zambia. #iwanttoseeitall @immigesqmiami

Z A M B I A U P C LOS E

WITH TOPTIER GUIDES, PLENTIFUL WILDLIFE AND A CIRCUIT OF SIMPLE YET STYLISH BUSH CAMPS AND RIVER LODGES, THIS UNDER THERADAR SAFARI DESTINATION IS AFRICA FOR PURISTS. ON WHEELS, ON WATER AND ON FOOTAND FROM THE VANTAGE OF HIS OWN BATHTUB PETER JON LINDBERG GETS AN INTIMATE LOOK AT ZAMBIA.

Sunrise breakfast at the Chamilandu Bushcamp, in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.

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Keeping Cool

Losing Sleep

I have a major weakness for great hotels. Daydreaming/planning after reading @TravlandLeisure’s coolest new hotels [“It List,” June]. @alexis__rebecca Maybe this is silly, but I felt proud to see three women running some of the best brand hotels in Asia [“Views from the River” and “2013 World’s Best Service,” June]. As a recent graduate of Cornell School of Hotel Administration, I’m grateful to have such models to look up to in my chosen career. Amber Molloy

Being an insomniac myself, I looked forward to reading Henry Alford’s article “Chasing Sleep” [March]. Tucked in comfortably, I read his first sentence: “My insomnia—I’m up for an hour or so a couple of nights a week....” An hour or so? Talk to me when an hour or so of sleep is all you get a couple of nights a week. Perhaps if Mr. Alford drank less and made healthier food choices, especially in the middle of the night, or, by his own statement, had any intention of making changes that would promote sleep, he’d resolve his “insomnia.” Nancy O’Rourke

HONG KONG

USA

Grande Dames

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TRAVEL+LEISURE SOUTHEAST ASIA VOL. 7, ISSUE 8 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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Radar On Our

Daigoji Temple Gardens, Japan.

News. Finds. Opinions. Obsessions.



SECRET GARDENS

© DAV I D M E S S E N T / G E T T Y I M AG E S .C O M

Peace. Quiet. Shade. These hidden, flower-filled oases are summertime favorites. By Merritt Gurley and Paula Deitz , 

, 

 

 

, 

Daigoji Temple Gardens Inside a designated  World Heritage Site—a Shingon Buddhist temple that’s been around since 874—these garden grounds are particulary stunning in the fall when the leaves change, and in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. japan-guide.com.

Yu Garden This 2-hectare Suzhoustyle Chinese garden in the northeast of Old City is a mix of classic pavilions, ponds, bridges and lush foliage. The pièce de résistance is a the Exquisite Jade Rock, a 5-tonne boulder with odd porous outcroppings. yugarden.com.cn.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya Just 5.5 kilometers from Kandy, this sprawling and verdant piece of land is home to 4,000 species of plants, including a large variety of orchids, medicinal herbs, spices and—a tropical touch— palm trees. botanicgardens.gov.lk.

Mughal Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan Towering lotus-shaped fountains, maulsari trees and parterres that appear to float on waterways are just a few of the fantastical elements you’ll see at the President’s House garden. By appointment; presidentofindia.nic.in.

Nong Nooch At 202 hectares, Nong Nooch is Thailand’s largest garden, with more than a dozen divisions covering all manner of plant life, from pontoon flower beds, to a cactus garden, to one of the world’s most robust collections of cycads. nongnoochgarden.com. ✚

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Radar



Bask in Vask Those familiar with one of Vask’s (pronounced “Bask”) key backers, Juan Carlo Calma, will know to expect something special from the restaurant’s interior. One of Manila’s most celebrated architects, designers and artists, he is renowned for his unconventional work, and the free reign he was allowed at this ultra-cool tapas joint has paid off. Art enlivens the space in several playful ways, from the neon-skull lightbulbs, to the surrealist fork and knife sculptures that vie for attention with a view of downtown Makati, to the 20-seater Degustation Art Gallery.

With Vask’s design credentials, it would be easy for the visual experience to overshadow the culinary, but chef Jose Luis Gonzalez is not one to be outdone. He joined Vask after working with such luminaries as Chef Mugaritz at his eponymous San Sebastian restaurant and Ferran Adrià at molecular gastronomy’s now defunct epicenter, elBulli. The challenge for Gonzalez at Vask is producing the same level of food at what he described as “casual dining” prices. To help him achieve this, he is armed with an array of food-enhancing gadgets that would make Heston Blumenthal green.

Gonzalez focuses on the cuisine of his home country, specifically the Basque (er, “Bask”) region, with the menu split equally between modern interpretations of regional staples and his creative ideas. Highlights include smoked foie gras with banana in espresso sauce and the calamaras à la plancha—baby squid with vacuumed onion essence. Both the owners and the chefs are having plenty of fun with Vask and we’re more than happy to go along for the ride. 5F CLIPP Center, corner of 39th St. and 11th Ave., Fort Bonifacio; 63-915/507-7047; tapas and drinks for two P3,000.

 

ELEVATED IMMIGRATION What globetrotter doesn’t want to skip the entire immigration process? Well, airlines are getting wise, and there may come a day when the whole headache is but a distant memory. Leading the way: Garuda Indonesia, which just launched “Immigration on Board” for travelers zipping from Shanghai to Jakarta, an add-on to the service’s existing six routes—Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo to Jakarta; and Osaka, Sydney and Tokyo to Denpasar. We’re hoping other airlines cotton on to Garuda’s service. Simply purchase a visa-on-arrival voucher from the check-in counter at your departure airport, then, when the plane is in the air, two immigration officers will come by your seat, conduct passport checks and issue your visa. Easy. Once you land at your destination you can bypass queues at the immigration counters and get right to enjoying your holiday. Now, about that taxi queue... garuda-indonesia.com.

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F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F V A S K R E S TA U R A N T, © F R A N C E S C A B A L A G U E R ¸ M E R C A D O ; COURTESY OF GARUDA INDONESIA

A new high-designed restaurant is bringing a hot kick of flavor to Manila. By David Lloyd Buglar


From top: A ballerina takes the stage; beloved classic The Nutcracker.



© JOCHEN KLENK

Dance Fever This September marks the 15th annual International Festival of Dance & Music in Bangkok, bringing together opera, ballet, modern dance, jazz and a foot-tapping bevy of musical numbers. “We started rather modestly with just six performances and 200 artists,” fest chairman J.S. Uberoi says. “Today it has evolved into a program of great magnitude.” Spanning five weeks with more than 1,000 artists taking the stage, this year’s lineup is upping the ante with everything from classic numbers by the lauded Karlsruhe Ballet from Germany, to a Michael Jackson Tribute concert. If you’re after something more South Asian, The Ramayana by Shri Ram Bharataya Kala Kalendra brings the epic Indian poem to life with vibrant costumes and gravity-defying dance routines. Thailand Cultural Center, Ratchadapisek Rd., Huay Kwang, Bangkok; September 13 to October 14; bangkokfestivals. com; tickets range from Bt500 to Bt1,500.


Radar   

Gilded Rules

More than just home to one of the world’s tallest buildings, Taipei’s Xinyi District hosts Taiwan’s Barbarians at the Gate by day, and its gilded party set by night. Cain Nunns navigates the urban canyons. 1

ZHON GX AOI E AST RD.

X I N G I RD.

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3 Nestled in the boutique Home Hotel, Marsalis Home x Whisky Gallery’s rich wood-paneled interior, chocolate leather sofas and marble bar evoke the jazz age. Of course, the four-piece jazz band also helps. The technicians working the bar serve cocktails with aplomb. 90 Song Ren Rd.; homehotel.com.tw; drinks from NT$10.

2

3

4 Despite looking more like a love hotel—replete with mirrors, tacky plastic chandeliers, faux-Victorian wallpaper and human-size birdcages—Niao Wo Wo delivers some of the best Chinese Imperial dynasty food in the city… and you needn’t travel back in time to get it. Try the fried shrimp balls, chili crab, and fatty pork with soybeen paste. 6F, 19 Song Kao Rd.; birdwowo. com; set menus for two from NT$40. 5 Straddling Da’an and Xinyi Districts, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall’s Chinese gardens are a welcome respite from the surrounding urban jungle. For a touch of the high brow, check out the regular performances of Chinese opera and touring symphonies, along with art exhibitions. 505 Ren-Ai Rd., Section 4; yatsen. gov.tw; admission to the gardens is free, but ticket prices vary for performances. ✚

CLOCK WISE FROM TOP: COURTESY OF MARSALIS HOME X WHISK Y BAR; COURTESY OF NIAO W O W O ; © S E PAVO / D R E A M S T I M E .C O M ; C O U R T E S Y O F W H OT E L S

Clockwise from top: Good spirits at Marsalis Home x Whisky Gallery; thinly sliced pork with flair at Niao Wo Wo; Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall; lounging poolside at ber-trendy W Taipei.

1 W Hotels brought its eclectic sense of all things hip to Xinyi’s steel-and-glass commercial nerve center. WET Bar’s lounge terraces, up on the tenth floor, are great spots to indulge in refreshing summer drinks in the capital. With state-ofthe-art electronics, including Bose sound systems, massive flat-screen TVs and iPod chargers at every turn, the minimalist retroinspired rooms scream contemporary cool. 10 Zhongxaoi East Rd., Section 5; wtaipei.com. tw; doubles from NT$600.

2 How fortunate for Taiwanese foodies that the first Michelin-starred chef to open a restaurant here is also the one regarded by many as the world’s top. The dramatic red-andblack interior of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon engulfs a straight-edged dining bar and open kitchen. The idea to foster an interactive vibe between diners and a kitchen serving some of the best contemporary French fare this side of Paris works, and works well. 5F Bella Vita, 28 Song Ren Rd.; robuchon. com.tw; dinner for two from NT$200.

SON G RE N RD.

S EC TION 4, RE NœA I RD

S H I F RD.

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Radar

Prahran Hotel’s eye-luring makeover. Inside, the pipes offer cozy two-banquette seating.

Happy hour drinks within a honeycomb of concrete.

       

Piping Hot

It’s not difficult to find a decent bar in Melbourne, which has stayed true to its happy-hour heritage from Britain by maintaining a strong local pub culture. One such watering hole in hip inner-city comfort zone Prahran is literally piping customers in through its recently renovated doors, riding a wave of gentry ale houses that have popped up around the city. The venue in question is the Prahran Hotel (82 High St., Prahran, Victoria; 61-3/ 9529-2168; prahranhotel. com; beers from A$8.50 and wines from A$38 per bottle), which opened way back in the 1850’s but has recently 32

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undergone a revival by local studio Techne Architects, which was briefed by owners Sand Hill Road to deliver something “safe, achievable and outlandish,” —a seemingly incongruous blend of directives. The result: a striking redesign marked by an eye-luring honeycomb of 17 concrete pipe cross-sections stacked like kegs that manage to complement the adjacent classic 1940 façade. The custom pipes were carted in on three semitrailers, requiring nine riggers 11 days to install. “No one had attempted this anywhere on earth” says Matt Mullins, one of Sand

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Hill’s founders. “We were making it up as we went.” Not just aesthetic, the pipes act as private nooks for two-banquette seating. And benches in the middle of the space make way for dancing on weekend nights. Prahran Hotel is decidedly local, from the food to the mood, with deals like A$13 steak or “chicken parma” on Tuesdays and Wednedays. Gastro-tinged meals, a robust wine list and a generous spread of beers are available all week. Fridays the pub plays Good Samaritan, selling pay-asyou-wish pints of Carlton, with all proceeds going to small, area charities.

Mullins and his brother Andy had lived near the pub for years, drinking in its front bar and waxing wistfully about taking it over. They pulled it off in 2011 and two years later their vision is stopping passersby in their tracks. “We wanted to create something no one had seen in a Melbourne pub,” Matt Mullins says. “We learned with the Bridge Hotel’s laneway and the Richmond Club’s rooftop that bold architecture can sit comfortably within a traditional pub, creating something completely new.” Venues don’t survive in Melbourne without such flair and execution. ✚

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A new look for an old haunt has Melburnians flocking for a brew, in a nod to the city’s growing thirst for suds with style. By Rich Mcleish


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YURI EZHKOV The carry-on only creative director offers his compact ways to look slick while on the road.

“This Alexander McQueen (alexander mcqueen.com)leather jacket is well-tailored and super light so it gives an element of style without adding much bulk.”

As the head of digital creative agency The Hub, New York-based Yuri Ezhkov is consistently hopping from film sets to photo shoots on every continent, for clients including beauty heavyweights Maybelline, Dr. Jart+, Sisley Cosmetics and L’Oreal Paris. “Asia is always on my itinerary; I spend about two months here each year,” he says. “We’ve worked with our clients on commercial shoots in Hong Kong and Thailand, and it’s definitely my favorite part of the world to explore after the jobs are done.”—M AR K LEA N “Most people think I’m crazy traveling in denim, but Prada (prada.com) adds stretch to their jeans—they move without being constricting.” “I toss into my Bottega Veneta (bottegaveneta. com) tote all essentials —things I’ll need from lounge to flight. It’s big enough to hold a toiletry case and a sweater.”

“It’s compact but surprisingly roomy—and when you’re waiting at the gate, this Rimowa Salsa Deluxe (rimowa.com) makes a great impromptu chair.”

Packing tips Ezhkov is all about getting maximum wear out of each piece of clothing, all of which are precision-picked and color-themed. “I don’t check luggage, even when traveling for a month, so the goal is to be focused on the essentials, keeping things simple and classic.” Besides, he adds, there’s such great shopping in Asia that it’s easy to pick up something new—including beauty products: “If you can’t already tell by my client list, I’m a pharmacy and skincare junkie.” Must have items “In Thailand, it’s the Dr. Somchai (drsomchai.com) range of skincare products. In Paris, I love Amilab lip balm, which can only be found in French pharmacies. I also stock up on Blue Lagoon (bluelagoon.com) silica mud masks from Iceland.”

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“With these Onitsuka Tiger (onitsukatiger.com) sneakers, I mix a color with functionality. They’re my secret weapon because they’re stylish but are perfect when you need to sprint.”

Photographed by Jonathan Pozniak


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Seasonal Sweets

Michelin-starred pastry wizard Roger Van Damme whips up fresh desserts with Southeast Asia’s fave fruits. By Diana Hubbell

Four Seasons World Gourmet Festival (fourseasons.com/

bangkok; September 2–8) and has fallen hard for the flavors of Thailand. Already, local herbs such as lemongrass and pandan perfume his ornate confections, and he looks forward to experimenting further with the wealth of local produce here. “The

taste of your fruit,” he says, “is so much better than the fruit we have in Europe.” Van Damme’s word on the subject carries quite a bit of weight. While continuing to churn out innovative, spun-sugar art at his Michelin-starred teahouse, Het Gebaar, this “godfather of molecular pastry” has managed to publish two bestselling cookbooks and star in his own TV show. We caught up with the globetrotting celeb to steal some of his suggestions for each season. ✚ WINTER “I love to pair pineapple with coconut. Also, you can freshen it up with some lime. I would combine jackfruit with sweet potato. Both contain a lot of starch and are perfect to make dessert crisps.”

FALL “Dragonfruit forms a beautiful combination with hibiscus. I also like to add black pepper and clove. Kaffir lime is perfect to add body to a dessert —just cook the leaves in milk.”

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The much-lauded chef Roger van Damme.

SPRING “Rambutan combines perfectly with flowers in general, but specifically with beautiful, romantic elderflowers. Lychee is superb with roses and white chocolate.”

SUMMER “Mango is magnificent with passion fruit and almond—together they provide a match of sweet and sour. Durian goes well with dark chocolate, as its bitterness blends perfectly with the sweet flesh.”

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When it comes to top-notch local produce, we’re spoiled for choice in Southeast Asia. Just ask Roger Van Damme, the world renowned pastry chef who’s on a sojourn in Bangkok for the upcoming


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House-made pickles from every season.

Umami-rich anchovy butter with radishes.

Shared tables are part of the experience.

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Though Thailand’s capital has a wealth of fine dining restaurants, until recently most were formal affairs. Not so with the newly opened Opposite Mess Hall. Headed by chef Jess Barnes, a veteran of the city’s growing pop-up scene, this gallery and exhibition space is drawing hipsters and creative types with the promise of smoked bone marrow dumplings and savory waffles piled high with duck pâté, confit and ultra-crisp skin. On the side are craft beers and tipples featuring farm-stand ingredients like local peaches poached until melting. Even if the fare is decidedly haute, the joint has an easygoing irreverence. There’s no parking, no backs to the benches, no reservations for small groups, no waiters to take your order, and everything from the perpetually changing small plates to the long tables is meant to be shared. It’s a convivial sort of vibe that wouldn’t feel out of place in Brooklyn, but is somehow very much at home in Bangkok. 27/2 Sukhumvit Rd. Soi 51; 66-2/662-6330; oppositebangkok.com; dinner for two Bt1,100.—DH

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The actress, singer and godmother of Quantum of the Seas—the new ship from Royal Caribbean International (royalcaribbean.com)—reveals her in-flight must-haves. 1 Tiger Balm (tigerbalm. com). “Really good for neck pain—it’s basically Icy Hot times 10.”

4 Nivea A Kiss of Shimmer Radiant Lip Care (niveacom;). “My lips get so dry when I fly.”

under your nose keeps the germs out.”

2 Dental floss “It’s always nice to have clean teeth.”

5 Vitamin E oil. “Put this on wrinkles and creases. People ask for my secret—this is it.”

8 Tylenol (tylenol.com). “Stops a migraine before it starts. Wow, I sound like a walking ad!” — 

3 Purell hand sanitizer (purell.com). “For when I can’t wash my hands.”

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6 Vicks VapoRub (vicks.com). “I believe that just a little bit

7 Kleenex. “I don’t want to sneeze and not be prepared.”

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Hot Mess


The organic garden at Ana Mandara, Dalat.

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A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

COURTESY OF ANA MANDAR A

T+L’s Diana Hubbell checks out countryside getaways that offer green escapes with a sense of style. A few years ago, I spent one happy summer holed up in a farmhouse-turned-agriturismo in the Sardinian countryside. The surroundings were starkly beautiful, all rolling fields of pale grass and vast, empty sky, and the simple, elegantly designed guestrooms were a perfect match for the boundless landscape. I’ve never forgotten that place, which might explain why I’m so intrigued by the Toscano Resort Castelfalfi (castelfalfi.co.uk), an 800-year-old Italian village that has been converted into a luxury retreat. Guests can rent stylishly refurbished farmhouses, or stop by to dine at one of the three restaurants serving the local specialty: white truffles. + Closer to home, Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa (anamandara-resort.com), in central Vietnam’s hill country, features 17 of the coziest colonial-style villas imaginable. On chilly nights, huddle up next to your very own wood-burning fireplace, soak in your antique clawfoot or head over to the spa. + Thailand’s Khon Kaen retains much of its rustic charm, and I can think of few better ways to enjoy it than by spending a weekend tucked away by the lush gardens at Supanniga Home (secret-retreats.com). Teak wood, local silks and thoughtful design touches only add to the charm. ✚


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Right on Cue

This season’s glittering accessories are primed for play. Macau, here we come. By Mimi Lombardo 1 Sterling silver and lapis ring, David Yurman (davidyurman.com). 2 Automatic Capeland Worldtimer in 18-karat red gold by Baume & Mercier (baume-et-mercier.com). 3 Stainless-steel watch with rotating bezel, Victorinox Swiss Army (victorinox.com). 4 Rose-gold-plated Fifth Season cuff, Roberto Coin (en.robertocoin.com). 5 Gold-finished bracelet with Swarovski Elements crystals, Louis Vuitton (louisvuitton.com). 6 Sterling silver Atlas bangle, Tiffany & Co. (tiffany.com). 7 18-karat rose gold and diamond ring from the Paris Nouvelle Vague collection, Cartier (cartier. com). 8 18-karat white gold and diamond Magic Alhambra between-the-fingers ring, Van Cleef & Arpels (vancleefarpels.com). 9 Stainless-steel automatic Octo watch, Bulgari (bulgari.com). 10 Diamond dial and steel case watch on teju-lizard strap, Gucci (gucci.com). 11 Tambour Monogram steel and diamond timepiece, Louis Vuitton (see above). 12 Stainless-steel GMT watch with ceramic bezel, Rolex (rolex.com).

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Photographed by James Wojcik

H A N D M O D E L S : R I C H A R D G L A S S E R A N D L A U R A W I L L I A M S . P R O P S T Y L I S T: A M Y C H I N W I T H W A LT E R S C H U M P F E R . N A I L S B Y D I D A F O R C H A N E L B E A U T E AT R AY B R O W N

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Surrealist sculptures abound in this high-design hotel.

Swim in style.

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It’s only fitting that the property housing the largest private collection of Salvador Dalí artworks outside of Europe, not to mention signature pieces by Andy Warhol, would go cutting-edge glam in its highest-end rooms. The privately owned, one-of-akind Hotel Éclat opened in Beijing only this past spring, yet is already vamping up with new luxury rooms: what they’re boasting are China’s first individually designed pool suites. Wacky themes like Alice’s Mad Hatter, The Eternal Bachelor, Great Love for

Classic Sport, and The Old Boy’s Club reflect a whimsical aesthetic—there’s even a room called The Real BAPE, inspired by the fashion brand A Bathing Ape, with comic-style illustrations on the wall and over-thetop brightly colored furnishings. Plus, you get a personal 5-meter jet pool, perfect for a quiet dip. Definitely worth a trip down the rabbit hole. No. 9 Dongdaqiao Rd., Chaoyang Dist., Beijing; 86-10/8581-2888; eclathotels. com; Deluxe Pool suites from RMB14,800.

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Dive In


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KING OF SCOTLAND Ahead of Glasgow-based band Franz Ferdinand’s new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, front man Alex Kapranos shows T+L there’s more to touring than partying like a rock star. What are some perks of traveling as a musician?

You pick up all sorts of musical influences. I love Colombian cumbia and Peruvian chicha. The melodies have great melancholy, but the rhythms are lively.

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Do you bring home souvenirs?

I try to collect unusual instruments. My favorite is an earthenware bowl used at weddings in Peru. It has a space between two layers

that’s filled with fine stones. After you eat, you shake the bowl to make a percussive sound while everyone dances. Have you experienced other local traditions?

In Ethiopia, there’s a coffee ceremony during which they grind beans in a mortar, boil the grounds on a charcoal fire and burn frankincense when it’s served. It’s as if your taste buds and sense of smell collide in your brain.

Any recommendations closer to home?

Glasgow is famous for its buildings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who rebelled against 19thcentury stuffiness. There’s a corridor linking two parts of his Glasgow School of Art that has a breathtaking view. Get up there on a summer day; the sun illuminates the huge cumulonimbus clouds. It’s a stirring sight. —MARGUERITE A . SUOZZI


The Seagull Penthouse at Taj Mahal Palace.

The Taj represents the spirit of Bombay.

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Mumbai à la Mode

the stars Designer to ram. ja Ra Pavitra

Artist and interior designer Pavitra Rajaram shares her favorite places in India’s largest metropolis. By Karryn Miller Stay Check in to the InterContinental Marine Drive-Mumbai (135 Marine

Dr.; 91-22/3987-9999; ihg. com; doubles from US$150) for the boutique vibe. Head to its rooftop bar Dome for the view of Marine Drive, or “the Queen’s Necklace.” For luxury, there’s Taj Mahal Palace (Apollo Bunder; 91-22/6665- 3366; tajhotels. com; doubles from US$200). More than a just piece of history, the Taj represents the spirit of Bombay.

Shopping For a taste of

contemporary Indian design try Good Earth (Senpati Bapat Marg; 91-22/2495-1954; goodearth.in). If you’re after antique finds, stop by Taherally’s in Chor Bazaar (28 Mutton St; taherallys.in). Vaya (558 Jeevan Kiran, SV Rd., Bandra West; 91-22/26436556) is also a little gem with beautiful handmade textiles curated from every corner of the country.

A savory selection at Thai Pavillion.

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Local designs at Good Earth.

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Eat I go to Café Madras

(King’s Circle, Matunga; 91-22/2401-4419) when I’m craving south Indian food. Be sure to try the butter idlis there. One upscale option is Thai Pavilion (Vivanta by Taj President Hotel; 91-80/6660-4444; vivantabytaj.com). It’s an iconic place, where many romances have been made or broken over hot bowls of tom yum soup.

Do Visit Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Dr. Baba Saheb

Ambedkar Marg, Byculla East; bdlmuseum.org), the oldest museum in the city, in a beautiful restored building from the 1870’s. Watching a Bollywood movie (pvrcinemas.com) is another must. We tell our stories through song and music so even though the language is different you can still understand. ✚

A little Bollywood romance.

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 P A V I T R A R A J A R A M ; C O U R T E S Y O F TA J M A H A L P A L A C E ; © B A S P H O T O / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; © D R E A M P I C T U R E S / G E T T Y I M A G E S . C O M ; C O U R T E S Y O F G O O D E A R T H ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H A I P A V I L I O N

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What to Eat in the Heat Phillip Davenport, Ku De Ta

“I generally like to eat carpaccio or ceviche—salmon, tuna, swordfish, hamachi—served with a sorbet, maybe mandarin. It’s something refreshing and light that’s also nice and easy.” Any advice on equatorial home-cooking? “Keep it light and fresh. If you’re in the tropics, you’ve got amazing produce… If you’re going to do something heavy with meat, lighten it up with a salad.”

Nicolas “Doudou” N T Tourneville, Metis

“If I’m not working, it would be a barbecue—a nice lobster, put on the grill with some beautiful virgin olive oil, some garlic, basil, a little bit of something spicy. Then I would put on the side a nice, sweet tomato salad with fresh-chopped Italian parsley and a good, homemade vinegar dressing. I know it’s very simple—but with that dish I’d be very happy.” Which beach would you like to eat it on? “On one of those beaches in Flores, close to Komodo—this I would love.”

C L O C K W I S E F R O M L E F T: © M A R C O M AY E R / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; C O U R T E S Y O F M A R T I N W E S T L A K E ; © C A LY X 2 2 / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; © D A V I D B U R D E N

Samantha Brown asks four of Bali’s top chefs to share their favorite warm-weather dishes to take the edge off the summer swelter.


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Chris Salans, Mozaic

“A salad with a sour-citrusy dressing—something with a lot of acidity that’s refreshing, thirst-quenching and light, with a lot of crunch, water, juice, a little bit of spice and heat—that’s what I like to eat. And, obviously, I like using local flavors as much as possible—nothing too bland or boring.” What ingredients do you prefer in your salads? “I’m thinking shallots, garlic, lemongrass, torch ginger, dried shrimp, coconut oil—it’s not really my type of cooking, but between what I cook and what I eat is a different world. I’d have to go eat at another chef’s restaurant; I really never enjoy my own cooking.”

Will Meyrick, Sarong and Mamasan “What I enjoy eating the most is actually Indonesian food—it’s comfort food for me now, the food my wife cooks at home. Living in an Indonesian household, we cook in the morning and then graze over the dishes during the day.”

What’s your favorite Indonesian dish? “Dendeng balado (chili beef), Acehnese curries for their spice and I love Padang food as well. When I first arrived in Bali I didn’t like Indonesian food; I liked Thai and Indian. But I suppose your palate adapts, and with time you get addicted.”✚


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Boating to the megapode farm. From bottom: A clutch of eggs; a hunter; a megapode perches.

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Hunting for eggs is a lucrative and dangerous livelihood on the volcanoes of Papua New Guinea. By Ian Lloyd Neubauer

How far would you go for an omelette? On the northern tip of New Britain—the largest island of Papua New Guinea’s Bismarck Archipelago, where twin volcanic eruptions leveled the city of Rabaul in 1994—locals risk their lives digging around the base of a smoking volcano in search of megapode eggs. Also known as incubator birds, megapodes are bush turkeys that rely on the geothermal heat of volcanic soil rather than the warmth of their own bodies to incubate their eggs, burying them in burrows and crevices up to 3 meters deep. Megapodes are also unique among avians in that they’re superprecocial: from eggs, they hatch fully formed with feathers, eyesight and all the strength and coordination needed to survive. But it is only pre-embryonic eggs that are a delicacy in New Britain: twice the size of a hen’s eggs and with an inside of mostly yolk, they’re the island’s only readily available source of protein other than fish. “Hunting megapode eggs is one of the toughest and most dangerous jobs 54

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on earth; if you think it’s hot up here, try working down there,” says Suzie McGrade, owner of the Rabaul Hotel (675/982-1999; rabaulhotel.com.pg; two-hour tours of Mother Volcano and megapode crevices, 100 kina per person), pointing to a burrow, inside of which a local man wearing nothing but a raggedy T-shirt and underpants digs with his bare hands. This is actually something of a uniform: hunters can’t wear pants or shoes because the soil collects inside them and makes working cumbersome, and they can’t dig with tools because they are more likely to break the fragile eggs. These guys are constantly breathing in sulphur dioxide and the burrows often cave in. Sometimes hunters are buried alive. “But it’s worth the risk,” McGrade says. “A megapode egg sells for 2.50 kina [US$1]—about the same as the hourly minimum wage in this country. And a good hunter can harvest 40 eggs a day.” So while the hazards are high, so are the rewards. And after all, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. ✚

F R O M B O T T O M : L AY N E S T E V E N S O N ; C O U R T E S Y O F T O U R I S M P R O M O T I O N A U T H O R I T Y O F P A P U A N E W G U I N E A ; L AY N E S T E V E N S O N Ç 2 È

Megapode Quest


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China Calling As Shang Xia, the Chinese luxury brand backed by Hermès, expands with a third boutique opening in Paris this September, Artistic Director Jiang Qiong’er shares her inspirations. By Lim Sio Hui

Gem art → Jewelry is designed as an object of poetry: the Essence series incorporates fine filigree inlay inset into zitan wood, which exudes a delicate scent when donned, thanks to the wearer’s body heat.

↓ Scent of tradition Shang Xia (shang-xia.com) champions the Chinese art of living, starting with drinking tea. The Beijing boutique, designed by Kengo Kuma, has a section of walls lined with bricks made from compressed tea leaves, perfuming the space with the smell of Pu’er.

↑ Eastern dialogue Jiang credits her upbringing in the Chinese arts for shaping her design philosophy: “Our ink and brush painting is a dialogue between emptiness and fullness; without emptiness, the ink does not have any meaning.”

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↓ Sculpted clothing Jiang’s favorite collection is Sculpture, in which each item is created using a single swath of cashmere. “It’s entirely formed by hand like sculpture—nothing is stitched on. It’s a piece of art.”

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Crafting a renaissance → Ancient Chinese craÕs, like bamboo weaving, inspire Jiang. “But you have to transform it into a contemporary design,” she says. “Only when you need these handmade objects in your daily life, then maybe traditional craÕs can have a new life, a renaissance.”


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Smooth Operators Rolling out now: multi-wheeled suitcases that are as timeless as they are nimble. By Mimi Lombardo

Hard-sided polypropylene carry-on, Tumi (tumi.com).

Monogrammed compressedcanvas rolling bag, Louis Vuitton (louis vuitton.com).

Leather-trimmed trolley, Gucci (gucci.com).

Polycarbonate suitcase with cowhide trim, Longchamp (longchamp.com).

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Photographed by Tom Schierlitz

PROP ST YLING BY OLIVIA SAMMONS FOR JED ROOT

Aluminum roller, Rimowa (rimowa.com).

Calfskin-trimmed polycarbonate steamer, Dressage Collection (dressage collection.com).


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Charm School

Avoiding travel’s occasional pitfalls requires a dose of luck, wherever you roam. Can you guess each fortune-holding souvenir’s country of origin? 1 Ideal for warding off covetous gazes in the Grand Bazaar. 2 Shake a fist (with the thumb tucked in) to say ciao to the malocchio. 3 Which came first, the chicken Kiev or the egg?

4 Wear this with even the teeniest bikini to give bad luck a “chili” reception. 5 A prayer scroll or water from the Ganges can give this amulet its protective power.

6 In this Middle Eastern state, tell the evil eye to talk to the hand— whether it’s Miriam’s, Fatima’s or Mary’s. 7 Paint in one eye on the Daruma doll and make a wish. When it

comes true, paint in the other eye and say arigato.

to give malevolent spirits a scare.

8 If your tuk-tuk is stuck, this elephant-headed god will remove all obstacles.

10 If you tell these high-country amigas your troubles, they’ll solve them while you sleep.

9 Powerful feng shui: hang outdoors

11 Keep this “Amish spare tire” pointed

up to keep luck from spilling out—or down, to let it flow. 12 The eagle is connected to the sky and creation; the turquoise arrowhead provides protection. —PATRICK SHEEHAN

A N S W E R S 1 T U R K E Y Ç N A Z A R È 2 I TA LY Ç M A N O F I C O È 3 U K R A I N E Ç E G G È 4 B R A Z I L Ç P I M E N TA È 5 I N D I A Ç K AVA C H A È 6 I S R A E L Ç H A M S A È 7 J A P A N Ç D A R U M A È 8 T H A I L A N D Ç G A N E S H A M U L E T È 9 C H I N A Ç B A G U A M I R R O R È 10 G U AT E M A L A Ç W O R R Y D O L L S È 11 U . S . Ç H O R S E S H O E È 12 U . S . Ç Z U N I F E T I S H È

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ROAD READS Calcutta: Two Years in the City by Amit Chaudhuri (Knopf; Sept.) In this portrait of one of India’s lesser-known cities, the celebrated novelist tackles the effects of rapid modernization.

Castaway with The Luxe Nomad.

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The Posh Pack

CLOCK WISE FROM TOP: COURTESY OF THE LUXE NOMAD; © TOM SCHIERLITZ

Want a luxury vacation that won’t empty your bank? Join the club… Online travel clubs have been around for a while— notable trailblazer LuxuryLink (luxurylink. com) launched in 1997—but over the past few years the trend has been picking up speed, especially here in Southeast Asia. Sifting through hundreds of TripAdvisor reviews can be exhausting, so these websites hire real journalists to write nonbiased evaluations of each property listed on their sites, and provide exclusive rates on pre-screened gems for their members. For travelers searching for high-end accommodations at mid-level prices, this adds up to savings of both time and money. Here are three free sites worth joining for deep discounts on luxury properties, from five-star hotels to home rentals and everything in between.

Jetsetter: Brought to you

by the Gilt Groupe, the same people behind luxury goods website gilt.com, this travel club understands the subtle art of class. Perhaps the most of famous of the three websites listed here, Jetsetter has a clean interface, using the same template of information for every property so you can compare apples to apples for each hotel, with useful info like the percentage of reviewers who would recommend the place and what you should know before you go. Bonus: There’s a byline for each listing, so over time you can figure out which editors share your travel style. jetsetter.com

The Luxe Nomad: Since its

launch earlier this summer, this site has corralled 160 of the most in-demand luxury spots in the region, with

discounts of up to 70 percent. Bonus: The Luxe Nomad leverages star power on their Celebrity Nomad page—actors and models such as Singaporean Allan Wu and Hong Konger Jennifer Tse give firsthand reviews and share their personal travel stories. theluxenomad.com PrivéPass: Hong Kongbased PrivéPass looks to simplify the challenges of planning trips for young, cosmopolitan and affluent travelers in Asia Pacific. This site offers a variety of products including themed travel, such as “party centric” itineraries chockablock with bars and clubs, and flash deals of up to 80 percent off. Bonus: PrivéPass also has a planning service and they’ll create something custom for you. privepass.com

The Greek House by Christian Brechneff with Tim Lovejoy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Brechneff, an artist, recounts his love affair with the Greek island of Sífnos, where the quality of light and the serenity are equally inspirational. The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti (Dial) The author of Driving Mr. Albert visits a Spanish village to meet the maker of a cheese he’d tasted a decade earlier. Enthralled, he moves there, and finds there’s more to the place than old-world charm. On the Noodle Road by Jen Lin-Liu (Riverhead) Is pasta from China, Italy or some place in between? Looking for answers, the Chengdubased chef eats her way along the Silk Road. — 

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The breezy central courtyard, now dotted with fishponds, was once simply a parking lot.

Despite the extensive refit, one wall was deliberately leÕ bare to serve as a reminder of the hotel’s tenure as a dilapidated guesthouse, to which the many blackand-white photos lining it will attest.

The threadbare dorm rooms of the past are now suites with flatscreen TVs and minibars. A few even have terraces.



THE MEMORY AT ON ON

A Chinese medicine cabinet is the inspiration for these key-holders, a nod to the Hokkien immigrants who founded Phuket’s Old Town.

Dial 999 for trouble, or 100 for the operator. Though replicas, these rotary phones evoke The Memory at On On’s storied past.

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Many of the old furnishings have been dusted off and given a new lease on life as statement pieces throughout the hotel, such as this retro desk set complete with an antique German “wireless.”

Reopened this spring aÕer a six-month refit, The Memory at On On is the new name for the oldest hotel in Phuket. Guests once arrived at the 1929-built On On Hotel in the back of a rickshaw from the nearby ferry pier. Back then, it offered the height of luxury for tin-mine tycoons and traders. But as the decades passed, the property fell into such disrepair that it became the perfect substitute for a shabby Khao San Road hostel in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The Beach. With its new look—a mix of heritage and modernity—it’s once again the toast of the town. 19 Phang Nga Rd., Phuket; thememoryhotel.com; doubles from Bt2,800. —  Photographed by Kiri Heald


Radar

The Rooftop Garden at Rex Hotel in Saigon.

+    

Timeless Tipples 



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



Mumbai’s oldest licensed drinking spot, The Taj Mahal Palace’s Harbour Bar, turns 80 this year. Take a seat at the solid marble bar or in a comfy chair overlooking the Gateway of India. Order their signature cocktail, aptly named From the Harbour Since 1933 (Rs950), and hear the history of the fruit-flavored drink as it’s mixed. Apollo Bunder, Mumbai; tajhotels.com.

Originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Old Imperial Bar at Imperial Hotel Toyko survived the Grand Kanto Earthquake and World War II, and retains classic touches like a 1923 wall fresco. Sip on a Mount Fuji (¥470), first served in 1924, which, according to the hotel, “evokes a snow covered Mount Fuji at sunrise.” 1-1-1 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda, Tokyo; imperialhotel.co.jp.

The Jazz Bar at Fairmont Peace Hotel, has seen major changes since it opened in 1929 but it’s kept its Art Deco aesthetic—and musical act—from the eighties. Two of the surviving band members still play at the club. Watch them perform while sampling an Around the World (RMB98), a blend of pineapple juice, Cointreau and gin. 20 Nanjing Rd. East, Shanghai; fairmont.com.

A regular tourist haunt, the two-story Raffles Hotel Long Bar is well known as the birthplace of the Singapore Sling (S$26). The historic bar opened in the early 1900’s and the iconic gin- and brandy-based drink was added to the menu in 1915. The current decor is inspired by 1920’s Malayan plantations, with rattan chairs and paddle fans. 1 Beach Rd.; raffles.com.

The Rex Hotel became famous during the war era for the daily “Five O’Clock Follies”—press briefings held by the U.S. military. Afterwards, journalists and officers drank on the vast terrace overlooking the heart of Saigon. Order the cocktail of the month (VND220,000) to go with a great sunset view of the colonial boulevards and modernizing skyline. 141 Nguyen Hue Blvd., MainSaigon; Lobby rexhotelvietnam.com. ✚ xxxxxxxx

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COURTESY OF RE X HOTEL

If these walls could talk, oh the stories they would tell. Karryn Miller takes a look at hotel bars across Asia with history—places that have seen empires rise and fall, trends blossom and fade, and, through it all, are still the hot spots for a cocktail.


Radar

From Left: Local jeans dominate; designer Hasri Chie shows off CheeseDenim.



Good Jeans

If you can’t find it in stores, perhaps the best bet is to roll up your sleeves and make it yourself. This was exactly what two KL guys decided to do when they couldn’t find jeans with that elusive perfect fit. Since 2010, Hasri Chie and Didi Fairuz’s individual experiments in fashion inadvertently led to a mini denim revolution in their native Malaysia. Chie’s label CheeseDenim (facebook.com/CheeseDenim; available at the Yard Backdoor Dry Goods; 60A-1 Jln. SS15/4, Subang Jaya; 60-12/359-4085; and online at depotbydevise.com and theyard.bigcartel.com) draws from big names in the business by sourcing from Japan’s Kaihara Mill, and enlisting the talents of a former Levi’s pattern-cutter. 70

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“It all started when my wife kept complaining that I bought too many pairs of jeans but didn’t really wear them, and that I kept altering the cut,” says Chie who wanted to offer non-selvage and selvage at affordable prices without compromising on craftsmanship and materials. The bestsellers in the present collection of 16 designs are the stretch skinnies and the tight straight selvedge. Despite the brand being a hit with the city’s hipsters, pricing is kept relatively low, ranging from RM165 to RM180 for non-selvedge, to RM450 to RM480 for selvedge. Meanwhile, Fairuz’s Ceremony Fine Wear

(available at the Yard Backdoor Dry Goods; 60A-1

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Jln. SS15/4, Subang Jaya; 60-12/359-4085), named after the New Order song Ceremony, is his personal riff on denim wear with prices starting at RM280. “I wanted to challenge myself. I found that in learning about jeans’ construction I uncovered so much stuff that people in the industry weren’t taught and had no awareness of,” he reveals. Up until January this year, Fairuz worked from home, but has since expanded to a studio where he now develops his designs. “All our fits are made from scratch, starting with 90degree-angle horizontal and vertical lines,” he explains. “This is then followed with test wear and modifications for months until we are satisfied.” The self-taught

pattern-cutter says that making jeans has opened him up to a whole new way of thinking. Made from pre-shrunk Japanese 425-gram denim, the label’s most famous fit—the DSX211—on which specs for the entire collection is based, took seven months to design, and has gained somewhat of a cult status among fashion insiders. Expansion, however, doesn’t figure in the designer’s current plans. “The universe is getting larger, and I guess that I should too, but I can’t get excited about it,” he says. While to go mainstream might be smart, Chie says he doesn’t feel bound to the classic model. “I’m just mostly interested in making clothing.” ✚

F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F T H E O F F D AY; C O U R T E S Y O F C H E E S E D E N I M

Two Malaysian designers are giving denim in Kuala Lumpur a stylish overhaul. By Mark Lean


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Radar

Clockwise from left: Ink and color art by Park Sang Mi; still from the movie Columbo Eats Columbo by Anthony Gross, 2009; Inkjet print on fine art paper by Jo Sook Jin; Textile 7 in wash basins, by Kim Juyeon.

Art and Seoul

Autumn is art season in Korea. Nell McShane Wulfhart serves as your docent through some of the stellar events lined up. Increasingly, the most innovative works in the super-hot Asian art scene are stamped “Made in Korea.” Take photographer Myoung Ho Lee’s Tree series: captivating arboreal “portraits” taken against white backdrops, and then placed in natural settings. His rave international reviews are matched by those of Seoul-based Yee Sookyung (yeesookyung.com), who is producing sculptures of broken Korean ceramics soldered together with gold leaf. But these two are just the gilded tip of the iceberg. Here are a few ways to deep-dive into the autumn art season. 74

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C L O C K W I S E F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F K O R E A N A R T I S T P R O J E C T; © A N T H O N Y G R O S S ; COURTESY OF KORE A N A RTIST PROJECT Ç2È

     


In Seoul’s Jongno-gu neighborhood,

PKM Gallery (74-9, 3 Yulgok-ro,

Jongno-gu, Seoul; 82-2/734-9467; pkmgallery.com; Monday to Friday), known for introducing critically acclaimed international artists to Korea, will be showing an exhibit of Donghee Koo’s work from August 16 to September 14. The Seoul-born Koo is one of the most exciting of Korea’s next wave of innovative artists, producing installations, video and photography that eschew straightforward narrative in favor of ambiguous interpretations. Her 2012 work Helter Skelter combined everyday items like mosquito coils with the artist’s personal memorabilia in a convention-challenging installation that took the 2012 Hermès Foundation Art Award. More than 180 Korean and international galleries will converge on the capital’s gargantuan COEX center for the 12th annual Korea International Art Fair (kiaf.org; admission W15,000; open from 11 a.m. to

8 p.m., closing at 5 p.m. on Oct. 7). Running this year from October 3 to 7, the fair is an opportunity for serious collectors and overseas galleries to spot the latest Korean talent and trends in the Asian art scene. But it’s also simply a great way for interested visitors—last year’s fair drew more than 80,000—to ogle the work of Asia’s best and brightest artists. Each year the organizers turn the spotlight on a featured country, which in 2013 is Germany, so expect an emphasis on up-and-coming German artists. No matter where you are in Seoul, it probably won’t be far to Douglasism, a citywide festival organized by Kim Kim Gallery (kimkimgallery.com) in celebration of the work of UK-born artist/actor/writer Douglas Park. More of a catalyst than a straightforward producer, Park’s oeuvre is almost intangible. As the person who perhaps most perfectly embodies 21st-century curatorship, his primary function is to facilitate creative expression and new

ideas through spoken-word commentary and visual displays. Throughout October and November, a number of galleries and venues around town will host exhibits, performances and concerts featuring Park himself, along with work that he has inspired by several other international artists and curators. Finally, check out Korean Artist Project (koreanartist project.com), a website that creates virtual exhibits of work from outstanding Korean artists, H private selected by curators from xxxxx museums. Organized by thexxxx Korean Art Museum Association, the site debuted two years ago and is now a top resource for contemporary Korean creativity. Immersive 360-degree “galleries” allow visitors to zoom in to explore the details of each artist’s work up close, as well as learn about their lives and get critical perspectives on each of their pieces. If an arty sojourn to Seoul isn’t in the cards for 2013, this is the next best thing. ✚


     H O W D O Y O U S T A Y P R O D U C T I V E A N D G E T W O R K D O N E W H I L E T R AV E L I N G 84 S M A R T E R F L I G H T S E A R C H I N G 86 … S T Y L I S H T O T E S 88 … A L L - I N C L U S I V E R E S O R T S 90 … D E A L S 92

Trip Doctor

by Amy Farley

T+L’s Photography Special T U R N T H E PAG E

OUR FAVORITE CAMERA BAG FOR THE ROAD Made with waterresistant canvas and full-grain leather, ONA’s stylish Brixton is designed to hold a camera, several lenses and various accessories—all under an unassuming cover. When you’re not lugging photo gear, the adjustable foam panels can secure your laptop, while a padded shoulder strap makes it easy to carry heavy loads. onabags.com. FOR OUR PICKS OF THE BEST NEW CAMERAS, T U R N TO PAG E 80

Photographed by Tom Schierlitz

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Our step-by-step tutorial has all the tools you’ll need to create lasting memories of your next trip, whether you’re looking for the right camera or to sharpen your snapshots. By Tom Samiljan, with David Alexander Arnold, Elizabeth Boyle, Christopher Kucway, Malley Priebe and Peter Schlesinger

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GET THE R IGHT GE A R

 80 SHOOT LIK E A N EXPERT

 81 FINE-TUNE YOU R PICS

 82 STOR E A N D SHARE

 83

MORGAN OMMER

T+L’s Guide to Photography

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Strategies

If you want travel-friendly size—we’re talking fits-in-your-pocket portability— and the ability to shoot RAW images in one package, we’ve got three cameras that make the cut. This trio of compact cameras is aimed at shutterbugs who don’t want to lug around additional lenses but still aim to produce high-quality images—enthusiasts, in industry jargon. The surrender in size means you give up the longer zoom lenses but, as Robert Capa famously put it, if your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. Best for

- 

Canon PowerShot S110 At 198 grams, the S110 fits in the palm of your hand and shoots RAW images that, once processed, look like they came from a larger, fully loaded camera. For those whose fingers are accustomed to a mobile phone, the latest innovation with the S110 is a highly usable touchscreen, while its Wi-Fi capability allows W you to print directly from the camera. canon.com.

 

Pentax K-30

Traditionalists who prefer the heft of a DSLR will approve of this rugged, dust- and waterresistant camera. Thanks to its HD capability, it’s also great for videos. pentaxwebstore. com.

  - 

Samsung NX300

Samsung’s smart connectivity features let you wirelessly transfer images to any mobile device or post them online. Connect the 20.3 megapixel camera to your smartphone for a second viewfinder. samsung.com.

Best for

- 

Best for

 

Nikon Coolpix A This Nikon’s wealth of functions will make you think you’re handling a DSLR—and, —and, $1,000, costing more than US$1,000, that’s how it should feel. With a 16.2-megapixel sensor, a fixed 28mm lens and a manual focus ring that can override autofocus, this a camera for serious snappers. nikon.com.

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Lumix DMC-LX7

  

As is oÕen the case with Lumix cameras, the LX7 is notable for the quality of its lens, which is a superfast f1.4—particularly useful when shooting in RAW format and in low-light situations—and offers a zoom range of 24-90mm. The battery life on the camera is a particularly good, up to 330 shots. If there are drawbacks it’s that the sensor could be larger and there’s no touchscreen. panasonic.com.

This palm-size, Wi-Fi-equipped model outperforms iPhone and Android cameras with its 8x optical zoom and innovative controls—located on the camera’s lens rather than around its frame— perfect for onehanded use. canon.com.

Canon PowerShot N

R I G H T, F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F P E N TA X ; C O U R T E S Y O F S A M S U N G ; C O U R T E S Y O F C A N O N ; L E F T, F R O M B O T T O M : C O U R T E S Y O F P A N A S O N I C ; C O U R T E S Y O F N I K O N ; C O U R T E S Y O F C A N O N

Get the Right Gear


2

Shoot Like an Expert Want to step up your game? We asked our team of photo editors to share their tips for refining your skills, all based on images from some of the magazine’s favorite photographers.

FOR NIGHT SHOTS

In low-light settings, find illuminated areas—streetlights, reflections or brightly lit buildings— to add color. Keep your camera stable and set it on a higher ISO speed to capture more details.

FOR INTERIORS

Add context by standing outside the room itself. If possible, look for repeated designs, such as archways or windows, to add depth to your image.

WEST L AKE, IN HANGZHOU, CHINA

ROME’S RESIDENZ A NAPOLEONE III

F R O M B O T T O M L E F T: C H R I S T O P H E R C H U R C H I L L ; D A V I D R O B E R T E L L I O T; D A V I D L E V E N T I ; C H R I S T O P H E R K U C W AY; G E O R D I E W O O D

FOR FOOD

Zooming out to show part of the table can create an alluring sense of place. For a foolproof angle, look straight down onto the plate. LUNCH AT LAKE AUSTIN SPA RESORT, TEXAS

FOR ARCHITECTURE

FOR PORTRAITS

Sometimes body language can be as evocative as a facial expression. Also, a little patience goes a long way: give your subject time to get comfortable in front of the lens. ON THE DOCK AT MIGIS LODGE, IN SOUTH CASCO, MAINE

Highlight unique details by experimenting with focus: varying your aperture can create an interesting contrast between foreground and background. MUK TESWAR TEMPLE, IN ODISHA, INDIA

T+L Editors’ Pick Filled with more than 200 simple tips, The Unforgettable Photograph (Workman, September 2013) offers a visual toolbox for creative thinking, from capturing tender moments to finding unique angles, from seasoned portrait photographer George Lange.

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Strategies

3

Fine-Tune Your Pics

Sorting and editing thousands of digital images can seem like a daunting task, but, with the right tools, the process can be both fun and rewarding. Here, a closer look at the most effective apps and programs for your digital darkroom.

SOFTWARE FACE OFF

When it comes to photo-editing programs, Adobe’s Photoshop products are the clear leaders. We break down the differences between their two most popular tools so you can choose the one that’s right for you.

vs.

Lightroom 5

//. Photo enthusiasts working with a large volume of images. Despite the slight learning curve, it is the preferred program of creative professionals.

WHO IT’S FOR

Elements 11

//. Experts and amateurs alike. It has the bells and whistles of Photoshop’s more expensive Pro version, plus easy-to-navigate tutorials for beginners. It’s intuitive. Learn new skills in Guided mode, work on simple retouching in Quick mode or try your hand at more advanced moves (such as hybridizing images) in Expert mode.

It’s mega-efficient. Not only does it geo-tag and group your snaps automatically but it also lets you apply edits to entire batches at once (perfect for those 100 shots you took on a cloudy day).

USER EXPERIENCE

Works with all types of files, from RAW to video and music, lending itself to multimedia slideshows.

COMPATIBILITY

Requires a companion program for video editing and a plug-in for RAW files.

FUNCTIONALITY

Has numerous options for detailed and precise editing. We love the Auto-Analyzer feature, which picks out your best shots.

Offers fewer effects in favor of simplicity and practicality. The Upright tool, for instance, keeps skyline shots from looking like they’re leaning.

Checklist: Making a Great Album

BEST MOBILE EDITING APPS Our favorite tools for photographers on the go. Camera+ (iOS, iPad) While we love the subtle and sophisticated filters of Camera+, the true selling point is its impressive ability to adjust problematic pictures with just one tap. The Clarity button automatically brightens, saturates and sharpens shots, making it the best instant retoucher we’ve seen.

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Photoshop Touch (Android, iOS, iPad, Kindle Fire) The smartphone version of this desktop classic has fun features such as Scribble Selection, which borrows elements from various photos and turns them into one great mash-up. Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud means it’s easy to keep editing back home.

Snapseed (Android, iOS, iPad) This app offers countless manipulations— from adding vintage-inspired filters to shifting perspective. Thanks to an intuitive interface, it’s easy to tweak the intensity of each effect with swipe motions, while a handy Compare function lets you view your edits alongside the original.

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iPhoto (iOS, iPad) For iPhone users, this multifaceted app offers a broad range of capabilities. See similar pics side by side to choose the best ones, then apply localized fixes by “finger painting” modifications directly onto problem spots. After you finish, everything is organized into an online scrapbook.

Cinemagram (Android, iOS, iPad) It’s less a tool for photo editing than a nifty one-trick pony, but what a trick: shoot a still image and animate parts of it with looping video (say, a portrait taken in front of Chicago’s Navy Pier with just the Ferris wheel moving in the background). The premise is simple, but the result is surprisingly captivating.

1. Start with a scene setter. An opening shot illustrating the theme of your trip will draw the viewer in. 2. Tell a clear story. Identify a logical structure— say, chronology or region. 3. Shake it up. Alternate between landscapes and portraits, as well as close-ups and wide shots. 4. Think about color. A black-and-white shot can change up the mood and emphasize graphic qualities. 5. Less is more. Being selective about images improves pacing. 6. Zoom out. Consider ending with a pulled-back shot to create a final moment of reflection.


PHOTO ALBUMS

Three great tools to help you show off your vacation snaps.

4

Store and Share

If you haven’t already embraced the cloud, it’s time to get acquainted. Like a massive attic for your hard drive, the cloud stores your files and cuts your clutter—simply upload your photos, movies and music and they’re all reachable from nearly any Web-connected device. Below, our favorite cloud services.

What You Get

DROPBOX 2GB free; US$99 per year for 100GB.

MICROSOFT SKYDRIVE

GOOGLE DRIVE

SMUGMUG

7GB free; annual packages from US$10.

15GB free; US$4.99 per month for 100GB.

US$60 per year for unlimited photo and video uploads.

Compatible with

How It Works

Why We Like It

T+L Tip

Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Kindle Fire

“Drop” files into dedicated folders, and they’ll instantly be updated on DropBox’s servers. Share each folder via a secure link.

It’s beyond intuitive—who doesn’t know how to click and drag?

Earn free space by referring friends to the service.

Android, iOS, iPad, Windows Phone

Upload your mobile files, including images, which you can easily turn into galleries, then access them from any other device via the app or website.

A sleek interface, generous free storage and easy integration with Facebook and Twitter.

Images taken on Windows Phones get auto-stored in SkyDrive as soon as they’re taken.

Android, iOS, iPad

The real estate titan of the cloud, Google Drive offers up to 16 terabytes of storage space—equivalent to about 8,000 hours of high-definition video footage.

You can benefit from the company’s endless products, from editing tool Picasa to sharing platform Google+.

Use Google+ as a companion to Drive for easy sharing and editing.

Android, iOS

No music or text files allowed here: SmugMug only stores images and videos. Uploading is fast and easy—and the program knows to skip duplicates.

Photo-driven features let you edit, add filters, organize files into albums and share content.

Order prints straight from the service’s site.

One to Watch Though it had long been declining in popularity, Flickr has recently given its site a game-changing makeover, with eye-catching galleries that can hold one terabyte of content—at no cost. Suddenly, Flickr is once again the service to beat.

DIGITAL COLLAGE Montages of four to six stitched-together images are a great way to recap your trip in one frame. Flayvr (Android, iOS) automatically groups shots based on when and where they were taken and produces sleek compilations, which you can upload directly to social media sites. ONLINE SLIDESHOW If you’re looking to combine images and videos, Qwiki (iOS) can weave both media into one narrative: one slide might be a still shot, while another might come to life as a short clip. Compile the album yourself, or let the app do it all for you—it can even add a soundtrack for extra texture. Share it with friends with the push of a button. PHOTO BOOK When it comes to physical mementos, we love the Webbased photo-book program Blurb (blurb.com), which offers a wide range of templates, paper stocks and cover options to suit your style. The best part? Your finished product will arrive promptly— usually within a week.

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The Fix

A: Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, work does not respect time zones. Depart without a strategy in place and you can find your trip ruined by looming deadlines. Here are some parameters for staying on top of your workload while on the road. Schedule a specific time of the day to work.

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or a post dinner check-in, designating a particular time as “work time” is essential to enjoying the rest of your day. Checking e-mails on your phone while trying to explore Angkor Wat is a fast way to ruin that ostensibly peaceful vacation, but if you know that you’ll be online from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. that night, you can relax. Try to establish a kinesthetic cue– sitting at a particular table,

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wearing the same shirt, drinking an espresso–to help your mind focus quickly and transition into “work mode.”

and two “if time permits” tasks) ensures that the most important things get checked off and that you know exactly what to work on if you have extra time.

Work more efficiently.

Spend the first five minutes of each work session making a list of what you need to get done. Bouncing from one task to another, and having to constantly refocus, can add hours. Following the 3+2 rule (three must-do items

Eliminate distractions.

If you, like most of us, punctuate your regular work day with visits to Facebook and other time-wasting sites, you’ll need to kick that habit while traveling. Extensions like

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y W A S I N E E C H A N TA K O R N

Q: HOW DO I STAY PRODUCTIVE AND GET WORK DONE WHILE TRAVELING?


By Nell McShane Wulfhart and Amy Farley

StayFocusd (stayfocusd.en.

softonic.com) for Chrome and LeechBlock (leechblock. en.softonic.com) for Firefox allow you to limit the time you spend on certain websites, or even block them entirely for as long as you would like. Go nuclear.

If answering e-mails while you’re away isn’t essential to getting work done, a last resort for avoiding distraction can be the simplest, pre-smartphoneera option: set up an effective “out of office” reply to inform everyone that any e-mails received between your departure and return dates will be deleted. Yes, deleted. Add that if the information is really important, they should resend their e-mail once you’re back in the office. This way you don’t return home to a massive, overwhelming backlog. And you’ll be surprised at how many problems get solved without your participation.

Q: WHAT’S THE EASIEST WAY FOR ME TO STAY CONNECTED WHEN I TRAVEL? A: It’s increasingly easy

to stay in touch while abroad. The simplest option is to use your carrier’s roaming plan, so you can keep your own number. Check with your provider, though, as many require that you inform them in advance of international use. Still, if you fear coming home to a bloated bill, a cheaper option is to buy a SIM card in each country you visit. These generally cost less than US$10 in Southeast Asia and, with Internet access, international calls from your phone can be made via Skype or Viber. This only works for unlocked GSM phones, so check your handset before you leave. If you need to be available on your usual number for emergencies,

are still trying to keep costs down and don’t mind toting two handsets, spend US$30 or less on a basic phone from which you can swap out the SIM, or buy a budget Huawei (huaweidevice.com) smartphone—just make sure to check that your new phone’s technology is compatible with the networks in the country you’re planning to visit. Renting a phone is also a possibility in many places. Handy (handy.travel), for example, rents smartphones in the Hong Kong and Singapore airports, starting at HK$48 and S$15 per day. Need more screen space but don’t want to carry a laptop? Touristpads.com, which operates in Singapore, rents iPads (US$24 a day for three days) that come with unlimited Internet access and plenty of useful travel apps. Book them before arriving and they’ll be delivered without charge to your hotel room or the airport.

What’s Your Problem? An inattentive waiter

I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y B E N W I S E M A N

Do...

Get the attention of another waiter or waitress and ask for help tracking down your server.

Don’t...

Ask for the manager. If you feel you are being ignored, it’s important to speak up.

Snap your fingers, wave your napkin in the air or try to draw attention in any flagrant way.

Assume it’s bad service. In some cultures, for example, guests customarily signal to waiters when they’re ready for the check.

  

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO CARRY VALUABLES? A: While

the flat pouches that hang around the neck or buckle around the waist have their perks, they are often visible underneath a shirt or above a belt. A more discreet (and less predictable) solution is to use a leg band. One of these, fastened around a calf or thigh, is much harder for thieves to spot and virtually impossible to snatch.

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Tech

by Tom Samiljan and Merritt Gurley

BEST WEBSITES FOR BETTER FLIGHT BOOKING It’s easier than ever to find great airfare, a painless flight or both—if you’re using the right resources. Here, the latest options for planning your next trip. FOR A SMARTER SEARCH Routehappy.com Price may be the most important factor when booking a flight—but it’s not the only one. Enter Routehappy, whose “intelligent” searches one-up Hipmunk’s agony index (which prioritizes flights by a combination of length and price) by scoring each route based on age and type of plane, in-flight entertainment options, legroom, traveler feedback, Wi-Fi availability, cabin layout and more—all in a slick, clear interface.

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FOR SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISONS Pintrips.com Used to shopping across countless browser tabs? Pintrips acts like a digital bulletin board, letting you compare flights from multiple sites (say, two from Expedia, three from Orbitz and two from Priceline) all on one page. Fares are updated in real time as they change, and you can invite others to access your boards and add to them—perfect for group planning.

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FOR ANALYTICS Momondo.com The interactive dashboard and various view options of Momondo make it easy to hone in on your ideal flight. You can sort results by “price calendar,” which shows the difference in cost for itinaries spread over the selected month, or “best fit flights,” which features a series of sliders that allow you to set your priorities, be it flight time, cost or schedule. You can rank the results based on a rating system from one to 10 that averages price and flight time, simplifying matters into well-rounded values.

FOR LOW FARE ALERTS TripWatcher.com Launched by Hotwire in May, this new service offers real-time alerts for airfare drops on the routes you’re interested in booking. Just enter the dates you want to travel and where you’d like to go and site will scour the internet 24/7 monitoring ticket fares, then send you the best new price as soon as it’s available—either via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook—making it the fastest new way to snag a great bargain.

FOR BUDGET CARRIERS Dohop.com Most flight-booking sites exclude fares from low-cost carriers, but the recently revamped Dohop travel metasearch engine culls the more affordable airlines like AirAsia and Nok Air in their results. It also shows price drops as they occur, so if your search lists the most affordable ticket at US$300 and a better deal surfaces, a pop-up will alert you to the new lowest price.

Illustrated by Ben Wiseman


Packing

by Mimi Lombardo

1

2

3

A: Totes top our list—they blend functionality with fashion, and many fold flat. This season add a splash of color thanks to a Pantone-worthy array of options: Rebecca Minkoff’s (rebecca minkoff.com) purple leather number 1 is minimalist, save for an interior pocket to hold your cash; Tila March’s (tilamarch.com) version 2 offers zipped inner compartments and a skinny flap closure for an extra sense of security; and Mywalit’s (mywalit. com) lemony carryall 3 is all about the details, down to the attached elephant charm.

Q: I need a tummy-concealing swimsuit for our family trip to Pranburi, a beach town in central Thailand. A: Miraclesuit (miraclesuit.com) is called a miracle for good reason: their maillot—available in multiple patterns—has three times the amount of Lycra as other brands, plus slimming ruching. Presto.

Q: How can I get more looks out of my travel wardrobe? — , , . A: Invest in multiuse pieces. Eileen Fisher’s (eileenfisher. com) whisper-thin linen shirtdress and crepe pencil skirt can be transformed to fit your needs (see below for a few winning combinations). Dress it up with a statement necklace; we love the embroidered velour piece, right, from Swarovski (swarovski.com).

Jet hematite crystals

Three ways to maximize these items:

1.

Pair the dress with black leggings or a slim-cut jean.

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2.

For more polish, try a thin black belt.

3.

Wear the skirt with a knit top and a clutch to dinner.

B A G S : T O M S C H I E R L I T Z , S T Y L E D B Y A L E J A N D R A S A R M I E N T O / H A L L E Y R E S O U R C E S . S W I M S U I T: J O H N L A W T O N , S T Y L E D B Y R I C H I E O W I N G S / H A L L E Y R E S O U R C E S . N E C K L A C E : C O U R T E S Y O F S W A R O V S K I . M O D E L : C O U R T E S Y O F E I L E E N F I S H E R . I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y B R O W N B I R D D E S I G N

Q: I’M LOOKING FOR A PACKABLE BAG TO TAKE ON MY WHIRLWIND TOUR OF ASIA THIS SUMMER. SUGGESTIONS?


Planning

Going for a swim at Thanyapura Phuket.

Q: I’M LOOKING FOR AN AFFORDABLE GETAWAY, BUT I DON’T WANT TO JUST SIT AROUND. GOT ANY IDEAS? Some of the greatest values both for couples and families can be found at resorts that offer a flat rate covering a host of activities gratis. Here, four standout options.  

 

Lewa Safari Camp, Kenya

Go on a day or evening game drive, hike with a Masai warrior, fly-fish at nearby Lake Rutundu or relax at the 15-meter-long pool at Lewa, set in the 25,000-hectare Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Families can add an extra bed to one of the 12 spacious tents or book separate accommodations connected by a short path. lewasafaricamp.com; from US$345 per adult, US$260 for children six to 17, children under six stay free; two-night minimum, all-inclusive.

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Fusion Maia Resort, Da Nang, Vietnam

There’s a lot to love about a place that lets you to indulge in as many spa treatments as you’d like, especially one with a daily changing collection of aromatherapy oils and a small army of masseuses. Get a Fusion Feeling massage (or two), then sign up for a yoga class, or simply luxuriate in one of the relaxation pavillions. Life at the all-pool villa resort moves at a leisurely pace—breakfast is served whenever and wherever you want. fusionmaiadanang.com; doubles from US$390, inclusive of all spa and beauty treatments.

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 

 

Thanyapura Phuket, Thailand

For those who like to break a sweat on vacation, Thanyapura offers guests a dizzying array of fitness classes. Muay Thai, spinning, body toning, water polo—it’s all on the agenda. International Olympic teams regularly use the hotel as a training ground, so you can bet the facilities are top-flight. thanyapura.com; doubles from Bt4,500, inclusive of breakfast, access to facilities and unlimited select fitness courses.

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Costa Rica

This lush hideaway near vast Tortuguero National Park is an amateur zoologist’s dream: explore the rain forest by kayak on the nearby Tortuguero River, watch a 140-kilogram turtle lay her eggs or spot exotic bird species from the veranda of one of the 27 guest rooms. tortugalodge.com; from US$196 per adult, US$99 for children 10 and under, all-inclusive. —DIANA HUBBELL AND BREE SPOSATO

Keep an eye out for howler monkeys at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens.

F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F F U S I O N M A I A D A N A N G ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H A N YA P U R A P H U K E T; I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y B E N W I S E M A N

Serene sunset dining at Fusion Maia, Da Nang.


Deals

Thailand

Bt3,525 per night

A seaside view at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket.

VIETNAM

Island

What Life’s a Beach at Chen Sea Resort & Spa Phu Quoc (centarahotelsandresorts.com). Details Four nights in a Seaview villa. Highlights Complimentary 60-minute massage treatment for two, complimentary welcome cocktails and complimentary daily breakfast for two. Cost From US$656 (US$164 per night), double, through October 31. Savings 44 percent.

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THAILAND

What Stay 4, Pay 3 at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket (dusit.com). Details Four nights in a Deluxe Lagoon View room. Highlights A complimentary fourth night, in addition to complimentary daily breakfast for two and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the resort. Cost From Bt14,100 (Bt3,525 per night), double, through September 30. Savings 25 percent.

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MALDIVES

What Stay 7 Nights, Pay for 5 at One&Only Reethi Rah (oneandonlyresorts.com). Details Two nights in a Beach villa. Highlights Complimentary daily breakfast for two and complimentary roundtrip yacht transfers to MalĂŠ International Airport. Cost From US$9,400 (US$1,343 per night), double, through September 30. Savings 29 percent.

PHILIPPINES

What Exclusively for T+L Readers at Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan (crimsonhotel.com). Details Two nights in a Private Pool villa. Highlights A massage for two; one dinner; daily breakfast; bottle of wine; and a 20 percent discount on select activities, dining and spa. Cost From P42,000 (P21,000 per night), double, through December 20. Savings Up to 28 percent.

COURTESY OF DUSIT THANI L AGUNA PHUKET

Beach


Deals

RMB2,600, double, through December 31. Savings Up to 40 percent.

Outside 88 Xintiandi Boutique Hotel.

MALAYSIA

What Distinctively Borneo at Gaya Island Resort (gayaislandresort.com). Details Four nights in a Bayu villa. Highlights An exclusive tailored trail eight-hour Borneo excursion for two through Kinabalu Park; a Gaya Snorkeling exploration with the resident marine biologist; a Guided Nature Walk with the resident naturalist; complimentary daily breakfast; and return speedboat transfers. Cost From RM4,060 (RM1,015 per night), double, through March 28, 2014. Savings 20 percent.

Spa THAILAND

What Honeymoon Bliss at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa (marriott.com). Details Five nights in a Deluxe Sala Garden View room. Highlights One 90-minute Mandara Romantic spa package for two, one romantic dinner for two at Andaman Grill, roundtrip airport transfers, daily international breakfast buffet and special turndown service amenities on the first night. Cost From Bt44,100 (Bt8,820 per night), double, through December 26. Savings 30 percent.

HONG KONG

TAIWAN

What Sunday Splash at W Taipei (starwoodhotels.com). Details A stay in a Wonderful room. Highlights Complimentary breakfast for two at the Kitchen Table restaurant, access to gym and pool, free entrance to the weekly Sunday Splash parties while at the hotel (applicable only if staying on Sunday), two welcome cocktails, two in-room movies and complimentary snacks. Cost From NT$10,800, double, through September 1. Savings 43 percent.

HONG KONG

What Escape Summer package at Auberge Discovery Bay Hong Kong (aubergediscoverybay.com). Details A stay in a Mountain View room. Highlights Complimentary daily breakfast for two at Café Bord de Mer. Cost From HK$1,240, double, through August 31. Savings Up to 12 percent.

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What National Day Birthday Treat at Hotel Fort Canning (hfcsingapore.com). Details A stay in a Deluxe room. Highlights Complimentary daily buffet breakfast at The Glass House Restaurant and daily drinks at the Private Lounge from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Cost From S$244, double, through August 31. Savings 48 percent.

Culture CHINA

What Xintiandi Insiders at 88 Xintiandi Boutique Hotel (shanghai.88xintiandi.com). Details A stay in a Tiandi One-Bedroom suite. Highlights One-hour tour of the city on vintage motorbikes for two with Shanghai Insiders Tours; two tickets to the Shikumen Open House Museum; and access to the Club Lounge with full privileges, including complimentary breakfast, all-day refreshments, and complimentary evening cocktails and canapés. Cost From

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BRUNEI

What Royal Weekend Getaway at Empire Hotel and Country Club (theempirehotel.com). Details Three nights in an Executive suite. Highlights One round of golf on the resort’s championship course for one, a signature spa treatment, a four-course dinner for two at either Spaghettini or Pantai restaurant, VIP access to the E-Lounge, complimentary daily breakfast, complimentary high tea, return airport transfer by luxury car, complimentary welcome drinks and a 30 percent discount on all spa, food and beverage purchases. Cost US$1,600 (US$533 per night), double, through March 31, 2014. Savings 20 percent.

COURTESY OF 88 XINTIA NDI

SINGAPORE

City

What Sodashi Spa Room package at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong (mandarinoriental.com). Details Two nights in a Superior room. Highlights One 60-minute Full Body Skin Renewal or Pure Illuminating Facial, one afternoon tea for two, and daily breakfast. Cost From HK$9,400 (HK$4,700 per night), double, through December 31. Savings 40 percent.


The Books They Carried

Rumors of the death of guidebooks are mounting, but Peter Jon Lindberg isn’t writing off the old-school travel guide just yet.

I

was cleaning out my storage space last weekend and found a box of dusty books marked COLLEGE . Inside were the usual suspects: Kundera; Kerouac; the Old Mr. Boston bartending guide; Atlas Shrugged. The books were dog-eared, in various states of distress, but none so much as the coverless, curry-stained paperback at the bottom of the box.

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It’s safe to say that no book I’ve owned before or since has received that amount of wear-and-tear, nor the amount of devotion that implies. The book was Let’s Go: Europe 1990. I’d packed a copy for my junior year abroad. At 912 pages, the thing was a beast, crammed with an absurd amount of info, from the going rate at Lisbon laundromats to current ferry

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schedules to the Peloponnese. It was like a proto-Internet, except you could sleep on it when you couldn’t afford a pillow. Nine months in bunk beds and backpacks had worn it soft like a baseball glove. The cover fell off on a ferry to the Peloponnese. Good lord, the sense of possibility that came from holding that tome in your hands. Like a lit scholar with her Norton, or a geek with his Dungeon Master’s Guide, the bearer of Let’s Go felt osmotically conferred with knowledge, and the boundless confidence that came with it. Add a 30-day rail pass, and the Continent was your oyster—Oslo to Brindisi; Bruges to Nicosia. Unless, in the interest of lightening your load, you’d ripped out the 10-page Cyprus chapter back home (“Well, I’ll never wind up there”) so the book now skipped crudely from Bulgaria to Czechoslovakia, leaving you to wander the streets of Nicosia at 3 a.m., hapless and bedless. That might have happened to someone once.

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n an age when the entire planet can be mapped from our phones— restaurant tips quickly crowdsourced; hotels booked with just a few taps—we forget how powerless travelers once were without a guidebook to show us the way. And we forget how powerful that humble book was in arranging the landscape. A single blurb in Let’s Go or Lonely Planet could make or break a pensione (or, some argued, ruin it forever). Which is odd, since the guides’ descriptions were terse at best—just a few key words like “centrally located” or “friendly staff.” (In Lonely Planet, lodgings were either “clean” or “very clean,” which said little about the lodgings but a lot about readers’ Û Photographed by Jamie Chung

P R O P S T Y L I S T: B R I A N B Y R N E . B O O K S C O U R T E S Y O F T H E C O M P L E T E T R A V E L L E R , N Y C

Point of View


Point of View priorities.) Gleaning the gist of those reviews was like parsing passages of Deuteronomy—yet the faith we placed in the source was implacable. This became clear as soon as you entered the establishment in question, only to find a dozen fellow travelers clutching the same book. Trust us, guidebooks said, and we did—partly because they conveyed authority, with their glossy covers and smart-looking appendices, but mostly because there was nobody else to trust. For what seemed like forever, travelers and travel guides were happily codependent, never imagining anything might come between them. Well: you know how that panned out. Of all the years that people have been predicting the guidebook’s demise—through real crises and false alarms—2013 has so far been most anxious-making. In March, parent company BBC Worldwide unloaded Lonely Planet for US$120 million less than it paid for the brand a few years earlier. That same month, rumors flew that Google—which had bought the stalwart Frommer’s imprint last summer—was killing off print editions. (Two weeks later, Arthur Frommer himself took back his namesake, vowing to continue in book form.) The latest iteration of Google Maps revealed the company’s real

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reason for acquiring Frommer’s and, a year earlier, Zagat: both series had essentially been strip-mined for digital content. Meanwhile, as print sales wane, mergers are shrinking the industry, threatening titles such as Rough Guides and DK’s Eyewitness series. So could it finally be coming to pass? With travelers young and old turning to flashier, cheaper (or free) resources, might the quaint old guidebook go the way of the traveler’s cheque?

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ur attachment to the medium may be largely sentimental. But the guidebook’s decline isn’t just about the death of another outmoded format—it’s about the end of a whole way of encountering the world. Back in the Limited Information Age, the paperback travel guide was our touchstone, our shared reference point. If its heyday is indeed over, then it stands as a marker of the last time travelers agreed on something, the last time we drew inspiration from a common source. The modern travel guide took its current form in the 1830’s, back when Karl Baedeker was charting paths across Europe with his famous red book. Not until the mid 20th century did the genre go truly global. In America, the postwar era ushered in a new wave of guidebooks for a broader array of travelers—cresting in 1957 with the debut of Arthur Frommer’s Europe on $5 a Day. As the field grew and diversified, publishers targeted more specific demographics, and travelers could size each other up by the books they carried. Setting a course down the mainstream, Frommer’s and rival brand Fodor’s were the Time and Newsweek of American travel guides: reliable and balanced, if a bit squarish regarding pop culture. Later came more raffish and youthful titles like the hip Rough Guides and the adrenalinized Footprint Travel Guides, from the U.K., and the gorp-y Moon Handbooks, from California. Dense, scholarly books like Britain’s

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Blue Guides plotted out high-minded journeys with an erudite tone. The Michelin Guides targeted protofoodies. At the opposite pole were mass brands like Birnbaum Travel Guides, publishers of the official guides to Walt Disney World. Last and least pretentious were the budget series, aimed at backpackers, tentpitchers, hostel-crashers and phonebooth-sleepers the world over. Two brands ruled the field: Lonely Planet, based in Australia, and Let’s Go, published by and for college students. Introduced in 1961—two years after the Eurail pass—Let’s Go: Europe became the de facto handbook for at least two generations of country-hopping American innocents abroad. I wound up writing for Let’s Go myself when I returned from my year overseas. (The series is still produced entirely by Harvard undergraduates.) Working there gave me an early, prophetic sense of how inefficient guidebook publishing really was. Reporting was costly, even for


a budget series; the work was actually pretty thankless (you try spending your days checking laundry rates in Portuguese); and, despite the relatively short turnaround time—reporting in summer, releasing in the fall—the books quickly went out of date. As early as 1992, long before digital flipped the medium on its end, the guidebook’s fatal flaws were evident to anyone who worked on one. If travel guides were cheap to produce, like sudoku books, the endeavor might work quite well. But they’re enormously expensive to research, design and print—and although prices appear high, margins are notoriously low. (Lonely Planet: Western Europe sells for US$30; it ought to cost twice that.) Factor in their almost instant obsolescence—nobody wants last year’s Time Out: Paris—and you’ve got a risky business model in the best of times. One guy who’s weathered the storm well is Rick Steves, whose namesake travel empire (comprising books, Web,

radio, television, a tour company and a gear store) raked in unprecedented print royalties last year. Starting in 1980 with his now-annual Europe Through the Back Door guide, this affable Northwesterner—partial to exclamations like “fun!” or “neat!”—has become America’s unlikely authority on European travel. His books divine the quotidian mysteries of the Continent: how to weigh bananas at a French supermarket, or how to say tap water in Polish. In the wake of the Google/ Frommer’s news this spring, Steves wrote a blog post about the challenges of the guidebook business, likening them to those faced by the news media, which pays for on-the-ground reporting that ends up being cannibalized by the Internet. Guidebook publishers, he noted, “have a similar problem in hiring trained researchers to actually research their books in person. And new crowdsourcing alternatives give travelers the impression that they have all the reviews they’ll ever need.” But crowdsourced sites—as useful as they are, particularly for hotel and restaurant reviews—are no substitute for the depth and authority of a professionally written guide (or, I would humbly add, a magazine article). They’re a helpful complement, but not a replacement, Steves argued—“just as you wouldn’t want to get all of your news from amateur bloggers.” I depend on both crowdsourced and expert advice on my trips, and my experience is far better for it. Print and digital do make perfect complements— so much so that it amazes me how we lived without the latter for so long, and how we can fathom going on without the former. Still, when the enormity of the digital world overwhelms, guidebooks offer something else: the sweet relief of being able to stop. To stop clicking, stop searching, stop worrying what else is out there. The Web too often devolves into an infinite series of questions— since a whole different answer is just another click away. The great

advantage of a guidebook, it turns out, is that it is blessedly, reassuringly finite: a closed loop, a finished product, providing only answers. Answers, and perhaps a makeshift pillow.

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his was brought home for me on a recent trip to Africa, where I found myself turning to the Bradt Travel Guides, a 40-year-old British series focusing on the developing world. Well-reported and smartly written, the books are a favorite of traveling academics, journalists and NGO workers from Uganda to Ukraine. For my safari I packed Bradt’s hefty Zambia guide—at 0.5 kilograms, a considerable chunk of my 9-kilogram luggage allotment. It wound up being as indispensable as a zoom lens. Every night I’d lie awake for hours reading by flashlight, devouring the guide like a potboiler. What I wouldn’t have known about Zambia without Bradt would have filled…well, a 550-page book. The funny thing was that everybody I met on the trip—every last one of them—was carrying an identical copy. There were even communal Bradt guides at each camp. It was the safari-lodge equivalent of a Gideons Bible. And like Sunday-school students, we spent our days poring over those well-worn pages, solving our flora and fauna quandaries by rifling through what we simply called “the book.” (“Well, the book says.…”) Apart from our human guides, there was no greater authority. Besides, we were in the bush, with no Internet. We couldn’t just Google our way to an understanding of this place. It was the first time in ages that I’d felt so disconnected from the digital realm, from the crutch of search engines and Yelp reviews—and, at the same time, so connected to and dependent on the printed page. What I felt most of all was a sense of selfcontainment: the certainty that all I needed to survive was this halfkilogram, 550-page paperback book. You know what? It felt a lot like gratitude. ²

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COURTESY OF THE PENINSUL A HONG KONG

August 2013

In This Issue 102 Thai Islands 109 World’s Best Awards 2013 120 Learning a Language 124 Changi Airport 130 New Zealand 136 Odessa

At the Peninsula Hong Kong, a World’s Best Awards winner, page 109.

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Sandy Seems the Golden Sky

THE TINY ISLAND IDYLLS OF KOH YAO YAI AND KOH YAO NOI ARE HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT. SAIL INTO THE KARST†STREWN HORIZON OF PHANG NGA BAY WITH JENINNE LEEÛST. JOHN AND THE 12,000 RESIDENTS KEEPING UP THEIR SOUTHERN THAI TRADITIONS. PHOTOGRAPHED BY SHINSUKE MATSUKAWA


Eastward bound from Six Senses Yao Noi. Opposite: Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa.

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lectricity came to Koh Yao Yai a mere 20 years ago. Which means that until he was 10, Sophol (Phol) Chokkuae did his homework each night sitting in a ring of kids around a flickering candle. Five years later, he left the island to finish high school because, with just 8,000 residents, Koh Yao Yai offers only the first half of secondary education; the last three years must be completed while boarding on the mainland. After half a life away, eight months ago was Phol’s homecoming. He returned with his wife, Nittaya, and their two young children, Muhammad Sareef and Janwa, to the plot of land in Tha Pru village where he grew up and his family has lived for some 200 years. Like most of the people of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi to its north, Phol is descended from Indonesian and Malay migrants who made their way to these verdant islets seeking plentiful fishing, arable land and safety from the wars over occupation of their homelands. At least 95 percent Muslim, Koh Yao Yai has 20 mosques, its northern neighbor (population: 4,000) about half that. Koh Yao Yai has a liquor store; Koh Yao Noi a 7-Eleven. Both are replete with the protected lands of Ao Phang Nga National Park. More than half of the planted vegetation is rubber trees; the majority of residents have a hand in that industry, as they have for generations. What tempted Phol home was the opening last December of the rustic-plush Santhiya Resort and Spa, where he serves as recreation director. What will keep him there is a love of nature, a respect for his neighbors, and a desire to better his islands while staying true to their traditions, religion and way of life. Happily, these ideals are practically embedded into the low-impact, locavore mission statements of both his employer and the Six Senses Yao Noi, the lone high-end a 45-minute car/longtail boat/tuk-tuk journey northeast on Koh Yao Yai’s sister isle. Together, these distinctly southern Thai resorts make their island homes—10 minutes across a narrow sound from each other and midway between Phuket and Krabi— destinations in their own right, peaceful alternatives to those peddler-packed ports, where you can wrap yourself in a local, yet luxe, cocoon. “This is not like Patong Beach,” Phol emphasizes. “If there aren’t many tourists, that’s good for the islands.” ycling through Koh Yao Noi’s emerald paddies with only nonchalant Chariff Nilsamut and the odd languid water buffalo for company, one feels a certain freedom—and, I’ll say it, smugness—at being the only tourist in town. Down shady country lanes and along the island’s “busy” roads, Chariff called out a near-constant stream of greetings and teases to friends and family. Like Phol on Koh Yao Yai, Chariff’s ancestry here goes

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back two centuries. His parents run a grocery store and his own house sits on a plot directly behind. His neighbors and cousins run wet markets, fishing boats and durian fields. His affection for his island is clear, his estimation of my cycling stamina less so. About three-quarters of the way through our 16-kilometer tour of the island, we hit an insurmountable (for me) mountain. Okay, hill—but definitely not a molehill. When I could no longer propel myself forward on even the lowest of my 10 gears, I got off and hung my head. “No problem,” Chariff said lightly. “We can walk and talk...” About the best time of day to buy fresh crabs (around 10 a.m.)... his grandfather’s remembrances of things past (the paving of the first street)... what the teenage girls who live along one of the island’s few khlongs were doing when we rode by (one: waxing her legs; the other: babysitting a toddler splashing in a bucket of water). Waiting at the top, and the end of our chat: a peek over at Koh Yao Noi’s eastern waters and a steep downhill coast astride my bike marked by the presence of both of my hands on the brakes and my strengthening-by-the second appreciation of service-tastic hotels. For I knew that back at the Six Senses upon my return would be a cool-towel and -tea wielding valet to take my bike, from which I fell off and collapsed as soon as I saw him; a plethora of daybeds in my hillside pool villa; free homemade ice cream all day; and a hastily requested yet graciously arranged islandhopping afternoon via cushion-covered, refreshment-filled longtail boat. No, we didn’t spring for the yacht, but we still felt sorry for those wooden bench-sitting masses of tourists tooling around on bus-boats from Krabi. No picnic lunches with a butler and snorkeling with an aquatic expert for them. So maybe two passengers in a boat is less eco-friendly than 20. But you can’t fault us for wanting to explore at our own pace the limestone-encircled, crystalline lagoon of Koh Hong, as well as its shallow beach along a lengthy cove whose wet sand is the exact color and consistency of cookie dough. Mmm. And who wouldn’t want to linger on the low-tide sandbar that emerges between the keys of Koh Pakbia? When the waters recede, you can actually stand in the middle of the ocean; when the waters rise, launch yourself into the suddenly deep sea from northern bank’s wood-and-rope tree-swing for three. The late-afternoon westward cruise back to Koh Yao Noi was no less inspiring, as we had the descending sun over the hillocks in our sights


Clockwise from top left: Selling sodas on Koh Yao Yai; Koh Pakbia; sardines are a big catch on the islands; a treatment room at Six Senses Spa; mangroves in Tha Lane Bay; dragonfruit; Six Senses’s pier to everywhere; guay tiew moo for breakfast. Middle: A local hornbill.


and the complimentary happy-hour cocktails on our docket. In fact, as an afternoon person, I had wondered to our butler, Nan, when she first picked us up from the southward Manoh pier— just try taking a public taxi-boat from Koh Yao Yai without encountering both sacks of sardines for seatmates and the politesse of random strangers helping with your bags on either dock—why the Six Senses was built on the east side of Koh Yao Noi. “The view,” she explained. The view!, she meant. Ascend the Hilltop, the resort’s literal and figurative high point, where the infinity pool seems to cascade into the karst-sprinkled cerulean seascape off the peninsular mainland. If you can pull yourself out of bed for the fire-and-mist sunrise from this vantage point, do it. Otherwise, sleep in a bit until the morning yoga session on the elevated platform nestled in the hornbill-filled woods, and let the view from there help you get your zen on. Otherwise (if not all three), sail into said view on a locally owned longtail from the resort’s private pier for any number of islands (Koh Phi Phi or Koh Khao Phing Kan, from The Man with the Golden Gun…) and excursions for diving or rock climbing or fishing. We went kayaking through the pristine mangrove channels of Tha Lane Bay. As our voices echoed off the canyon walls, as we navigated narrow overhangs, and as we silently spied on families of nit-picking monkeys, the sense of place was deep and, I’m told, abiding. It is, after all, one of the things that drew our guide Jitnuwat (Kee) Kay, 31, back from Phuket to his job on Koh Yao Noi and to his childhood home on Koh Yao Yai, with his wife and children in tow and visions of both progress and simplicity for their lives ahead. From top: The Six Senses beach turns into a movie theater at night; Santhiya’s Phol, in brown shirt, with his (left to right) mom, niece, son, wife and daughter.

ep. I thought that story sounded familiar, too. Back at Santhiya, Phol waxes optimistic about his hopes for Koh Yao Yai. “I want to educate the kids to be proud of their hometown and take care of nature,” he says. He also wants to be a role model: “If you see someone like me speaking English, but you don’t understand, maybe you’ll want to learn. Yes, I want to get foreign teachers here, but first we need to inspire the children to want them.” Phol credits Santhiya’s owners for encouraging managed, slow growth, and for efforts to boost Koh Yao Yai’s economy and culture simultaneously. The meticulously planned, aesthetically stunning, entirely teak property is filled with enormous hand-carvings,

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crafted by the island’s two master carpenters. And a new program has commissioned the construction by Koh Yao Yai shipwrights of several mangrove-faring boats for Santhiya to give tours of the wild inland channels. On a more basic level, the resort draws from the island’s residents all the boat captains for its guest excursions as well as more than half of its staff. Without discounting well-known Thai hospitality, I’d venture that this preponderance of Yao Yai’ers in particular is what gives the service its quirky and playful feel. This is a place where a handful of the recreation staff will dive, unrequested, in the giant main pool with you to pad out your water polo teams. Where your carving-rich, precipice-perched pool villa is thoughtfully laid-out to maximize visual access to the western horizon. Where the waiter Boy brings you your favorite ginger tea as soon as he sees you’re done at the gym, and where rec director Phol is so excited to show off his island that your two-hour motorbike tour takes three and a half, including a stop at home to meet his wife and kids and mom and uncle and aunt and nieces and uncle’s pet monkey. In fact, it’s this feeling of family and homestead that make a visit to these two islands, despite their non-Buddhist majorities and location smack in the center of tourism hell, a trip to the true Thailand. No one on the streets or docks is trying to sell you any tchotckes, nor, for that matter, are they particularly interested in selling their land to the highest bidders. (“What would I buy with the money? Another longtail boat? I can only sail one a time,” an elderly man says pragmatically.) Everyone, it seems, does a little subsistence fishing and farming and a little commerce—from building crab traps to producing rubber in their own open-air workshops, outside of which clotheslines strung with off-white sheets of the organic material flap in the wind, ready for factories in Bangkok or Phuket—passing down the skills to each successive generation. Meanwhile, one Phuket export to Koh Yao Noi, Somphop (On) Sukanan, teaches muay Thai in Six Senses’s beachfront ring, imparting the chops he needed to become a three-time champion—aged 16, 17 and 18—in Phuket, which he gleaned from his dad, another former titleholder who runs a boxing gym there. And so even On has become yet one more example of the Koh Yao’ers managing, for now at least, the most delicate of balancing acts: carrying on the old ways while making way for a little modernization. “Now, if you light a candle,

it’s really exciting for the kids,” Phol compares his own children to himself as a tot. “They’ve never seen that glow, and say, ‘Wow!’” With flag-bearers like Phol, Kee, Chariff and Boy, the two islands have just about convinced me that they can retain that spirit of discovery and genuineness and wonder. The Six Senses here had been billing itself as “Beyond Phuket”—but, besides the airport, there’s no reason to factor that island-opolis into your vacation equation. I’ll take the raw over the processed any day. ¡

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T L Guide Getting There On Phuket, take a car to the Royal Phuket Marina for Santhiya’s speedboat to Koh Yao Yai, or to Ao Por Grand Marina for Six Senses’s speedboat to Koh Yao Noi. Catch a longtail taxi-boat between the two islets for Bt50 per person.

STAY Six Senses Yao Noi FiŽy-five super-private pool villas perched on a hill; an on-site, boardwalk-linked mangrove forest; local produce growing in gardens (and a Smurfy mushroom hut) dotting the resort; and an über-tranquil Six Senses Spa filled with frogs and birdsongs, shady salas for meditation classes, and one of the best dual-therapist treatments ever: the Sensory Spa Journey—a four-hand body massage followed by a facial and head-massage combo. 56 Moo 5, Tambol, Koh Yao Noi, Phang Nga; 66-76/418-500; sixsenses.com; doubles from Bt12,358. Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort and Spa You probably won’t want to leave the comfort or beyond-beautiful view

of your horizontally stretched cliff-dangling pool villa, but do try to down some free cocktails at the bar between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.; chat up the friendly local staff; play mermaid (or merman) on the rock formations or under the three-story waterfall in the ginormous main pool; and get a Thai massage at the spa. Just make sure you get home in time for sunset. 88 Moo 7, Prunai, Koh Yao Yai, Phang Nga; 66-76/592-888; santhiya.com; doubles from Bt15,633. EAT Six Senses Private Chef’s Table Amiable executive chef Anthony Reynolds, a peripatetic Melburnian, will consult you on your tastes and then whip up a surprise six-course meal over casual banter in the second-story open kitchen of the Dining Room. Bt5,400 per person, or Bt8,440 with wine pairing; maximum seating for six. Santhiya Private Barbecue A candlelit, white-curtained, bamboo tent on the beach or pier with lobster, tenderloin and tiger prawns served by waitstaff who could take any Parisian matre in subtlety and intuition will have you feeling like you’re at your own wedding. From Bt5,500 for two.

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Travel + Leisure spotlights the year’s top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruises, airlines and more.

→ For T+L’s annual poll, we asked our discerning readers once again to cast their votes for the hotels, destinations and companies that define the very best in travel. The result? One of our most robust lists to date, with new categories including top hotel brands and airports. We’ve highlighted 78 newcomers, 33 properties with great value and 102 Hall of Fame winners that have appeared on our list for a decade or longer. Plus A snapshot of the next great places to visit.

ANNIE SCHLECHTER

EDITED BY JENNIFER FLOWERS WITH MARGUERITE A. SUOZZI

Castello di Casole, in Tuscany, Italy, voted No. 1 Resort in Europe this year.

TURN THE PAGE AND OPEN THE FLAPS FOR THE 2013 WORLD’S BEST AWARDS WINNERS. ¦ CONTACT INFORMATION FOR ALL LISTED PROPERTIES AND COMPANIES IS AVAILABLE AT TRAVELANDLEISURE.COM. FULL SURVEY METHODOLOGY APPEARS ON PAGE 175.

Lettering by A Friend Mine M O N T Hof 2 01 2 3

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TOP ISLANDS 1 2 3 4 5

Palawan Philippines 95.04 Boracay Philippines 93.58 Maui Hawaii 89.83 Santorini Greece 89.37 Prince Edward Island Canada 89.23

6 7 8 9 10

Bali Indonesia 88.70 Kauai Hawaii 88.50 Sicily Italy 88.06 Koh Samui Thailand 87.43 Galรกpagos Ecuador 86.95

ASIA 1 2 3 4 5

Palawan Philippines 95.04 Boracay Philippines 93.58 Bali Indonesia 88.70 Koh Samui Thailand 87.43 Phuket Thailand 85.81

AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC 1 Great Barrier Reef Australia 86.16

2 3 4 5

Moorea French Polynesia 85.48 Cook Islands 85.00 Fiji 84.91 Bora-Bora French Polynesia 84.06

EUROPE 1 2 3 4 5

Santorini Greece 89.37 Sicily Italy 88.06 Crete Greece 85.62 Majorca Spain 85.30 Capri Italy 85.01

CONTINENTAL U.S. AND CANADA 1 Prince Edward Island Canada 89.23

2 Vancouver Island British Columbia 86.42 3 Nantucket Massachusetts 84.94 4 Mount Desert Island Maine 84.64

5 Florida Keys 83.63 HAWAII 1 2 3 4 5

Maui 89.83 Kauai 88.50 Oahu 86.69 Hawaii, the Big Island 86.53 Lanai 80.00

THE CARIBBEAN, BERMUDA AND THE BAHAMAS 1 Culebra Puerto Rico 85.28 2 Virgin Gorda British Virgin Islands 85.08

3 Anguilla 84.03 4 Harbour Island Bahamas 83.78 5 St. John U.S. Virgin Islands 83.66 MEXICO, AND CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA 1 2 3 4 5

Galรกpagos Ecuador 86.95 Ambergris Cay Belize 83.64 Isla Mujeres Mexico 80.93 Roatรกn Honduras 79.70 Cozumel Mexico 79.04

ISLAND OVERALL

PALAWAN 86 86

0122 AAUUGGUUSSTT 2201

AV VEEL+ L+LLEEIISSU URREE TTRRA

FR A NCISCO GUERRERO. MODEL : N A DINE LIMA . S T Y L I S T: G U A D A R E Y E S . S W I M S U I T B Y K Y C S

TOP 10 OVERALL

The Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island, in the Palawan archipelago, Philippines.


TOP CITIES TOP 10 OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Bangkok 90.40 Istanbul 89.96 Florence 89.84 Cape Town 89.57 Kyoto Japan 89.31 Rome 89.09 Charleston South Carolina 88.65 Barcelona 88.45 Paris 88.35 Chiang Mai Thailand 88.15

ASIA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Bangkok 90.40 Kyoto Japan 89.31 Chiang Mai Thailand 88.15 Siem Reap Cambodia 87.56 Hong Kong 86.76 Tokyo 86.44 Singapore 86.11 Shanghai 83.97 Seoul 83.01 Hanoi Vietnam 81.93

AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC 1 Sydney 87.74 2 Queenstown New Zealand 86.13 3 Melbourne 85.95 EUROPE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Istanbul 89.96 Florence 89.84 Rome 89.09 Barcelona 88.45 Paris 88.35 Venice 86.10 Prague 85.97 Bruges Belgium 85.89 Vienna 85.89 London 85.43

CITY OVERALL

BANGKOK 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Chicago 87.45 Santa Fe New Mexico 86.95 New Orleans 86.25 Savannah Georgia 86.23 Quebec City 85.68 Vancouver 85.32 Washington, D.C. 83.81

MEXICO, AND CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Cuzco Peru 87.09 Buenos Aires 84.82 Mexico City 83.31 Rio de Janeiro 81.86 Puerto Vallarta Mexico 78.90 Lima Peru 78.75 Santiago Chile 78.64 Playa del Carmen Mexico 77.88 Panama City 76.82 Cancún Mexico 74.40

AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST 1 2 3 4 5

Cape Town 89.57 Jerusalem 87.29 Tel Aviv 85.34 Dubai 79.60 Cairo 78.89

CITIES Once again this year, Bangkok takes the top overall spot, with its northern cousin Chiang Mai placing a respectable No. 10 and Kyoto slotting in at No. 5, up four places from last year. Asia’s other big cities—Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Seoul—also fare well, while Siem Reap and Hanoi make it to the regional top 10. Istanbul tops the list of European cities, marginally ahead of Florence. Down under, Sydney and Melbourne also rate highly with voters, as does adventure capital Queenstown. In North America, Charleston is No. 1.

UNITED STATES AND CANADA

CEDRIC ARNOLD

1 Charleston South Carolina 88.65 2 San Francisco 87.76 3 New York 87.71

Bangkok’s Grand Palace at night.


TOP SPAS TOP DESTINATION SPAS OVERALL

1 Rancho La Puerta Fitness Resort & Spa Tecate, Mexico 94.33 2 Ranch at Live Oak Malibu, California 93.67

3 Lake Austin Spa Resort Texas 93.16

4 Westglow Resort & Spa Blowing Rock, North Carolina 93.04

5 Miraval Resort & Spa Tucson, Arizona 91.72

6 Mii Amo Spa, a Destination Spa at Enchantment Resort Sedona, Arizona 91.61

7 The BodyHoliday Castries, St. Lucia 91.57

8 Lodge at Woodloch, a Destination Spa Resort Hawley, Pennsylvania 91.08

9 Cal-a-Vie Health Spa Vista, California 90.67

10 Sundara Inn & Spa Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 88.22 TOP HOTEL SPAS OVERALL

1 Ritz-Carlton Toronto 98.18 2 Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch Avon, Colorado 97.86 3 Discovery Shores Boracay, Philippines 97.83 4 Nam Hai Hoi An, Vietnam 97.81

5 Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Vietnam 97.50

6 Mohonk Mountain House Hudson Valley, New York 97.14

7 Ocean House Watch Hill, Rhode Island 97.08

8 Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens La Fortuna, Costa Rica 96.72

9 The Cloister Sea Island, Georgia 96.40

10 Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort Chiang Rai, Thailand 96.00 TOP 5 HOTEL SPAS, ASIA

1 Discovery Shores Boracay,

Philippines 97.83

2 Nam Hai Hoi An, Vietnam 97.81 3 Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Vietnam 97.50

4 Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort Chiang Rai, Thailand 96.00

5 Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Thailand 95.00 TOP HOTEL SPA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC

1 St. Regis Bora Bora Resort French Polynesia 89.09 TOP 5 HOTEL SPAS, EUROPE

1 Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus 93.64 2 Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris 93.26

3 Four Seasons Hotel Firenze Florence 92.92

4 Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts 92.81 5 Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel Athens 92.00 TOP 5 HOTEL SPAS, CONTINENTAL U.S.

1 Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch Avon, Colorado 97.86

2 Mohonk Mountain House Hudson Valley, New York 97.14

3 Ocean House Watch Hill, Rhode Island 97.08

4 The Cloister Sea Island, Georgia 96.40

5 Grand Del Mar San Diego 94.83 TOP 3 HOTEL SPAS, HAWAII

1 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

HOTEL SPA OVERALL

RITZCARLTON, TORONTO


Hawaii, the Big Island 92.73

2 St. Regis Princeville Resort Kauai 91.50

3 Fairmont Orchid Hawaii, the Big Island 91.25 TOP HOTEL SPA, CANADA

1 Ritz-Carlton Toronto 98.18 TOP 3 HOTEL SPAS, THE CARIBBEAN, BERMUDA AND THE BAHAMAS

1 Couples Tower Isle St. Mary, Jamaica 93.97

2 Parrot Cay Turks and Caicos 93.46 3 Couples Sans Souci St. Mary, Jamaica 93.13 TOP 3 HOTEL SPAS, MEXICO

1 Rosewood Mayakoba Riviera Maya 95.77

2 Esperanza, an Auberge Resort Los Cabos 94.33

3 One&Only Palmilla Los Cabos 94.17 TOP 3 HOTEL SPAS, CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

1 Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens La Fortuna, Costa Rica 96.72

2 JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica 92.08 3 Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort La Fortuna, Costa Rica 89.06 TOP HOTEL SPA, AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

The pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto’s spa.

C O U R T E S Y O F T H E R I T Z¸ C A R LT O N , T O R O N T O

1 One&Only Cape Town 85.36


TOP CRUISE LINES MEGAœSHIP CRUISE LINES

1 2 3 4 5

Celebrity Cruises 85.07 Disney Cruise Line 84.87 Cunard Line 83.09 Princess Cruises 82.40 Royal Caribbean International

80.09

6 Norwegian Cruise Line 77.98 7 Carnival Cruises 76.71 8 Costa Cruises 76.66 LARGEœSHIP CRUISE LINES

1 Crystal Cruises 90.10 2 Regent Seven Seas Cruises 89.95

3 4 5 6

Azamara Club Cruises 88.86 Oceania Cruises 87.54 Holland America Line 86.42 Royal Caribbean International

82.36

7 8 9 10

SMALLœSHIP CRUISE LINES

1 2 3 4 5 6

Seabourn 92.63 SeaDream Yacht Club 92.37 Windstar Cruises 90.96 Lindblad Expeditions 90.80 Silversea Cruises 89.88 Regent Seven Seas Cruises 88.91

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Reflection, off the Atlantic coast near Miami.

7 Paul Gauguin Cruises 86.99 8 Star Clippers 84.77 RIVER CRUISE LINES

1 Tauck 93.71 2 Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection 92.87 3 Grand Circle Cruise Line 92.79

4 Viking Rivers 91.66 5 AmaWaterways 90.02 6 Avalon Waterways 86.23

Princess Cruises 82.00 Cunard Line 81.78 Celebrity Cruises 80.92 Norwegian Cruise Line 75.24

MEGA®SHIP CRUISE LINE

World’s Best Awards debut New Category Great Value (rate of $250 or less) Hall of Fame (listed every year for the past decade) T+L Find (first featured in the T+L It List or previously included as a World’s Best One to Watch)

ANDRE W HETHERINGTON

CELEBRITY CRUISES


INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE

SINGAPORE AIRLINES INTERNATIONAL

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Singapore Airlines 91.86 Emirates Airline 88.44 Qatar Airways 87.36 Asiana Airlines 87.11 Cathay Pacific Airways 86.06 Virgin Atlantic Airways 85.89 Korean Air 85.06 Air New Zealand 85.00 Thai Airways International 84.86

© A IR BUS S. A .S. 2009_ E M C O M PA N Y / H . GOUSSÉ

10 All Nippon Airways 83.97

Singapore Airlines tops in the world.

TOP AIRPORTS 1 Singapore Changi Airport 88.26 2 Dubai International United Arab Emirates 84.02

3 Hong Kong International Airport 83.65 4 Abu Dhabi International Airport United Arab Emirates 81.39

5 Ben Gurion International Airport Tel Aviv 80.79

TOP CAR†RENTAL AGENCIES 1 2 3 4 5

Hertz Rent A Car 80.11 Enterprise Rent-A-Car 79.27 National Car Rental 79.07 Avis Car Rental 77.62 Sixt AG 76.73

TOP SAFARI OUTFITTERS 1 2 3 4 5

Rothschild Safaris 98.21 Micato Safaris 97.77 Thomson Safaris 96.29 Ker & Downey 95.52 Wilderness Safaris 95.49

TOP TOUR OPERATORS 1 Absolute Travel 94.92 2 CW (formerly Country Walkers) 94.67

3 Butterfield & Robinson 94.56 4 VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations 94.42 5 Boundless Journeys 94.33


A testament to our peripatetic Travel + Leisure readers: far-flung retreats sit at the top of the hotels list again this year and also distinguish the winners on our new Top 5 Hotel Brands category (see opposite). Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp, in Botswana, took No. 1, while the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, in New Zealand, and the Four Seasons Resort Bora-Bora made Top 10 debuts for their respective regions. In Europe, rising star Castello di Casole grabbed No. 1 in Resorts (and No. 2 in Hotels Overall). THE TOP 100 HOTELS 1 Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana 96.60 2 Castello di Casole—A Timbers Resorts Hotel & Residences Casole d’Elsa, Italy 96.18 3 Singita Kruger National Park South Africa 96.14 4 Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens La Fortuna, Costa Rica 96.14 5 Four Seasons Resort Bora-Bora, French Polynesia 96.00 5 Lodge at Kauri Cliffs Matauri Bay, New Zealand 96.00 5 Ritz-Carlton Berlin 96.00 8 Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur, India 95.73 9 Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve Kruger National Park Area, South Africa 95.71 10 Singita Sabi Sand Kruger National Park Area, South Africa 95.64 11 Discovery Shores Boracay, Philippines 95.57 12 Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest 95.52 13 Triple Creek Ranch Darby, Montana 95.36 14 Jade Mountain St. Lucia 95.33 14 Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, India 95.33 16 The Lodge Sea Island, Georgia 95.29 17 Post Hotel & Spa Lake Louise, Alberta 94.93 18 The Peninsula Hong Kong 94.88 19 Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur, India 94.84 20 Cavas Wine Lodge Mendoza, Argentina 94.80 21 Anse Chastanet Resort St. Lucia 94.78 22 Nisbet Plantation Beach Club Nevis 94.67 23 The Cloister Sea Island, Georgia 94.63 24 Old Edwards Inn & Spa Highlands, North Carolina 94.63 25 Elizabeth Pointe Lodge Amelia Island, Florida 94.60 26 Cape Grace Cape Town 94.55 27 La Résidence Phou Vao Luang Prabang, Laos 94.53

28 The Peninsula Beverly Hills, California 94.51 29 Taj Lake Palace Udaipur, India 94.50 29 Wickaninnish Inn Tofino, British Columbia 94.50 31 Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 94.47 32 Rosewood Mayakoba Riviera Maya, Mexico 94.40 33 Stafford London by Kempinski 94.37 34 andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya 94.35 35 Amansara Siem Reap, Cambodia 94.18 35 Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong 94.18 35 The Peninsula Shanghai 94.18 38 Farmhouse Inn Forestville, California 94.09 39 Londolozi Game Reserve Kruger National Park Area, South Africa 94.08 40 Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza 94.00 41 Capella Pedregal Los Cabos, Mexico 93.81 42 Alvear Palace Hotel Buenos Aires 93.77 43 Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Thailand 93.76 44 Waldorf Astoria Chicago 93.75 45 St. Regis Punta Mita Resort Mexico 93.64 46 Primland Meadows of Dan, Virginia 93.63 47 Four Seasons Hotel Amman, Jordan 93.60 47 Grand Hyatt Istanbul 93.60 47 Palazzo Avino (formerly Palazzo Sasso) Ravello, Italy 93.60 50 Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa Johannesburg, South Africa 93.50 51 Oberoi Amarvilas Agra, India 93.44 52 Augustine Hotel Prague 93.33 52 Market Pavilion Hotel Charleston, South Carolina 93.33 52 The Oberoi Gurgaon, India 93.33 52 Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Vietnam 93.33

Dusk at Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp, in Botswana.

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T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

56 Grand Del Mar San Diego 93.27 57 Mandarin Oriental Munich 93.25 58 Domaine Les Crayères Reims, France 93.24 59 Cavallo Point—The Lodge at the Golden Gate Sausalito, California 93.22 60 Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas 93.19 61 Ashford Castle County Mayo, Ireland 93.17 62 The Peninsula Tokyo 93.11 63 Huka Lodge Taupo, New Zealand 93.07 64 Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi Santa Fe, New Mexico 93.03 65 Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai 93.02 66 Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street 93.00 67 Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán, Mexico 92.94 68 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Hawaii, the Big Island 92.90 69 The Peninsula Bangkok 92.87 70 Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain Tucson, Arizona 92.77 71 Four Seasons Resort Whistler, British Columbia 92.74 71 Hotel Santa Caterina Amalfi, Italy 92.74 73 The Oberoi Mumbai 92.71 74 Sunset Key Guest Cottages Key West, Florida 92.71 75 Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel Vienna 92.69 76 Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa Baden-Baden, Germany 92.67 77 Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet 92.65 78 Esperanza, an Auberge Resort Los Cabos, Mexico 92.62 79 Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Siem Reap, Cambodia 92.57 Throughout the World’s Best Awards, scores shown have been rounded to the nearest hundredth of a point; in the event of a true tie, properties, companies or destinations share the same ranking.

80 Wentworth Mansion Charleston, South Carolina 92.56 81 Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence 92.53 82 White Elephant Nantucket, Massachusetts 92.47 83 Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis 92.46 83 The Peninsula Chicago 92.46 85 Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore 92.44 86 The Connaught, a Maybourne Hotel London 92.36 86 Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver 92.36 88 Le Sirenuse Positano, Italy 92.31 89 Il San Pietro di Positano Italy 92.28 90 Stephanie Inn Cannon Beach, Oregon 92.26 91 One&Only Palmilla Los Cabos, Mexico 92.26 92 Corinthia Hotel London 92.24 93 Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris 92.18 94 Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo 92.13 95 Ocean House Watch Hill, Rhode Island 92.07 96 Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an Auberge Resort Bluffton, South Carolina 92.06 97 Hotel Punta Islita Guanacaste, Costa Rica 92.00 97 Ritz-Carlton Toronto 92.00 97 The Sebastian Vail, Colorado 92.00 97 WaterColor Inn & Resort Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 92.00

World’s Best Awards debut New Category Great Value (rate of $250 or less) Hall of Fame (listed every year for the past decade) T+L Find (first featured in the T+L It List or previously included as a World’s Best One to Watch)


THE TOP 5 HOTEL BRANDS 1 Oberoi Hotels & Resorts 94.44 2 Amanresorts 93.74 3 One&Only Resorts 92.54 4 Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts 92.33 5 Auberge Resorts 91.88

DOOK

HOTEL OVERALL

MOMBO CAMP AND LITTLE MOMBO CAMP


On our Asia list this year, China properties represent exactly half of the region’s City Hotels category—more than double the number last year—with the Peninsula Hong Kong landing the No. 1 spot. The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok (No. 2) has the distinction of being the only hotel in the world to rank in T+L’s Top 100 Overall category for 18 years straight, and it consistently scores in the Top 10 in Asia. Meanwhile, the Philippine Islands have officially arrived: Palawan came in at No. 1 Island Overall (and in Asia), while Boracay was No. 2 in both categories; Discovery Shores Boracay took No. 1 in top Asian Hotel Spas. ASIA CITY HOTELS

RESORTS

1 The Peninsula Hong Kong 94.88 2 Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 94.47 3 Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong 94.18 3 The Peninsula Shanghai 94.18 5 Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Vietnam 93.33 5 The Oberoi Gurgaon, India 93.33 7 The Peninsula Tokyo 93.11 8 Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai 93.02 9 Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street 93.00 10 The Peninsula Bangkok 92.87 11 The Oberoi Mumbai 92.71 12 Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore 92.44 13 Island Shangri-La Hong Kong 91.47 14 JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok 91.29 15 Shangri-La Hotel Beijing 91.24 16 La Résidence d’Angkor Siem Reap, Cambodia 91.17 17 Park Hyatt Saigon Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 91.13 18 Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok 91.12 19 St. Regis Hotel Singapore 91.11 20 The Langham Hong Kong 91.06 21 The Peninsula Beijing 90.79 22 Pudong Shangri-La East Shanghai 90.71 23 St. Regis Beijing 90.67 24 Park Hyatt Shanghai 90.53 25 Ritz-Carlton Tokyo 90.40 26 Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok 90.36 27 JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square 90.29 28 Regent Beijing 90.25 29 Westin Bund Center Shanghai 90.20 30 Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong 90.13

1 Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur, India 95.73 2 Discovery Shores Boracay, Philippines 95.57 3 Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, India 95.33 4 Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur, India 94.84 5 La Résidence Phou Vao Luang Prabang, Laos 94.53 6 Taj Lake Palace Udaipur, India 94.50 7 Amansara Siem Reap, Cambodia 94.18 8 Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Thailand 93.76 9 Oberoi Amarvilas Agra, India 93.44 10 Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Siem Reap, Cambodia 92.57 11 Rambagh Palace Jaipur, India 91.76 12 Nam Hai Hoi An, Vietnam 91.71 13 Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Thailand 91.59 14 Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor Siem Reap, Cambodia 90.67 15 Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa Boracay, Philippines 89.92

AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST CITY HOTELS

7 Burj Al Arab Dubai 90.51 8 La Mamounia Marrakesh, Morocco 90.29 9 Mena House Oberoi Cairo 90.24 10 Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa Cape Town 89.48 11 One&Only Cape Town 88.67 12 King David Hotel Jerusalem 87.93 13 Victoria & Alfred Hotel Cape Town 87.48 14 Westcliff Hotel Johannesburg, South Africa 87.03 15 David InterContinental Tel Aviv 85.14 LODGES AND RESORTS 1 Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana 96.60 2 Singita Kruger National Park South Africa 96.14 3 Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve Kruger National Park Area, South Africa 95.71 4 Singita Sabi Sand Kruger National Park Area, South Africa 95.64 5 andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya 94.35 6 Londolozi Game Reserve Kruger National Park Area, South Africa 94.08 7 MalaMala Game Reserve Kruger National Park Area, South Africa 91.53 8 Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club Nanyuki, Kenya 91.23 9 Fairmont Mara Safari Club Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya 91.20

10 andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Tanzania 91.11 11 Tortilis Camp Amboseli National Park, Kenya 91.00 12 Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls, Zambia 90.80 13 Giraffe Manor Nairobi, Kenya 90.13 14 Le Quartier Français Franschhoek, South Africa 89.23 15 Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge Tanzania 89.09 16 Gibb’s Farm Karatu, Tanzania 89.07 17 Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge Amboseli National Park, Kenya 88.96 18 Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge Serengeti National Park, Tanzania 88.71 19 Chobe Game Lodge Chobe National Park, Botswana 87.17 20 Arusha Coffee Lodge Tanzania 84.32

1 Cape Grace Cape Town 94.55 2 Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza 94.00 3 Four Seasons Hotel Amman, Jordan 93.60 4 Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa Johannesburg, South Africa 93.50 5 Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence 92.53 6 Mount Nelson Hotel Cape Town 91.50

RESORT, ASIA

OBEROI UDAIVILAS

DUSTIN AKSL AND

On the roof of the Oberoi Udaivilas, in Udaipur, India.


CITY HOTELS, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC

AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC CITY HOTELS 1 2 3 4 5 6

COURTESY OF THE L ANGHAM MELBOURNE

7 8 9 10

The Langham Melbourne 89.60 Shangri-La Hotel Sydney 88.36 InterContinental Sydney 88.22 Park Hyatt Sydney 88.15 Four Seasons Hotel Sydney 85.72 Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel Sydney 85.60 The George Christchurch, New Zealand 85.00 Hilton Auckland, New Zealand 83.13 Sheraton on the Park Sydney 82.62 Park Hyatt Melbourne 82.31

RESORTS 1 Four Seasons Resort Bora-Bora, French Polynesia 96.00 1 Lodge at Kauri Cliffs Matauri Bay, New Zealand 96.00 3 Huka Lodge Taupo, New Zealand 93.07 4 St. Regis Bora Bora Resort French Polynesia 91.61

THE LANGHAM MELBOURNE

5 Hayman Great Barrier Reef, Australia 91.11 6 Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa French Polynesia 84.27 7 Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa French Polynesia 83.37 8 Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina Cairns, Australia 82.67 9 InterContinental Tahiti Resort French Polynesia 78.71 10 Le Méridien Tahiti, French Polynesia 74.00

THE CARIBBEAN, BERMUDA AND THE BAHAMAS RESORTS 1 Jade Mountain St. Lucia 95.33 2 Anse Chastanet Resort St. Lucia 94.78 3 Nisbet Plantation Beach Club Nevis 94.67 4 Curtain Bluff Resort Antigua 91.79

5 Galley Bay Resort & Spa Antigua 91.33 5 Rockhouse Hotel Negril, Jamaica 91.33 7 Jamaica Inn Ocho Rios, Jamaica 90.91 8 Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France St. Bart’s 90.89 9 Seven Stars Resort Turks and Caicos 90.75 10 Four Seasons Resort Nevis 90.48 11 Eden Rock St. Bart’s 90.42 12 Ladera Resort St. Lucia 90.35 13 Couples Negril Jamaica 90.17 14 Couples Tower Isle St. Mary, Jamaica 89.91 15 Rosewood Little Dix Bay Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands 89.85 16 Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort Antigua 89.83 17 Key West Luxury Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Village & Spa (formerly the Veranda Resort) 89.65

18 Grace Bay Club Turks and Caicos 89.49 19 Couples Swept Away Negril, Jamaica 89.39 20 Somerset on Grace Bay Turks and Caicos 89.33 21 Reefs Resort & Club Bermuda 89.26 22 Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands 89.20 23 Sandals Royal Plantation Ocho Rios, Jamaica 88.89 24 Round Hill Hotel & Villas Montego Bay, Jamaica 88.40 25 Couples Sans Souci St. Mary, Jamaica 88.32

Poolside at The Langham Melbourne.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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14 Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta 90.38

LARGE CITY HOTELS 100 ROOMS OR MORE

15 Ritz-Carlton Dallas 90.37 16 London West Hollywood California 89.91 17 Montage Beverly Hills, California 89.81 18 Hotel Monaco Portland, Oregon 89.81 19 Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows California 89.74 20 Ritz-Carlton Chicago, a Four Seasons Hotel 89.65 21 Ritz-Carlton St. Louis 89.60 22 Raphael Hotel Kansas City 89.57

1 The Peninsula Beverly Hills, California 94.51 2 Waldorf Astoria Chicago 93.75 3 Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas 93.19 4 Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis 92.46 4 The Peninsula Chicago 92.46 6 Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago 91.39 7 St. Regis New York City 91.00 8 Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, Miami 90.83 9 The Palazzo Las Vegas 90.65 10 Boston Harbor Hotel 90.65 11 Inn & Spa at Loretto Santa Fe, New Mexico 90.63 12 St. Regis Atlanta 90.60 13 Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park 90.55

LARGE CITY HOTEL, U.S.

23 Four Seasons Hotel New York City 89.56 24 Hermitage Hotel Nashville 89.52 25 Trump International Hotel & Tower New York City 89.46 26 Mandarin Oriental Miami 89.39 27 The Hay-Adams Washington, D.C. 89.37 28 Four Seasons Hotel Chicago 89.35 29 Mandarin Oriental New York City 89.33 30 Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia 89.25 30 Hutton Hotel Nashville 89.25 32 Hotel Teatro Denver 89.23 33 Charleston Place Hotel South Carolina 89.11 34 Hotel Bel-Air, Dorchester Collection Los Angeles 89.10 35 Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek Dallas 89.08

THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS

Suite balconies at the Peninsula Beverly Hills.

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T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

36 Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa San Francisco 89.06 37 L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, California 89.04 38 Windsor Court Hotel New Orleans 88.91 39 Saint Paul Hotel Minnesota 88.87 40 NoMad Hotel New York City 88.80 41 Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas 88.76 42 Four Seasons Hotel Austin, Texas 88.72 43 Andaz Wall Street New York City 88.67 43 Mandarin Oriental San Francisco 88.67 45 Lenox Hotel, Back Bay Boston 88.64 46 Four Seasons Hotel Seattle 88.63 47 Sofitel Chicago Water Tower 88.62 48 Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead Atlanta 88.56 49 Taj Boston 88.47 50 Andaz 5th Avenue New York City 88.40 SMALL CITY HOTELS FEWER THAN 100 ROOMS 1 Market Pavilion Hotel Charleston, South Carolina 93.33 2 Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi Santa Fe, New Mexico 93.03 3 Wentworth Mansion Charleston, South Carolina 92.56 4 French Quarter Inn Charleston, South Carolina 90.74 5 Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square San Francisco 90.59 6 Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach Miami Beach 90.50 7 Planters Inn Charleston, South Carolina 90.40 8 XV Beacon Boston 88.75 9 King & Grove Tides Miami Beach 88.53 10 Arizona Inn Tucson, Arizona 88.50

RESORTS 40 ROOMS OR MORE 1 The Lodge Sea Island, Georgia 95.29 2 The Cloister Sea Island, Georgia 94.63 3 Old Edwards Inn & Spa Highlands, North Carolina 94.63 4 Grand Del Mar San Diego 93.27 5 Cavallo Point—The Lodge at the Golden Gate Sausalito, California 93.22 6 Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain Tucson, Arizona 92.77 7 Sunset Key Guest Cottages Key West, Florida 92.71 8 White Elephant Nantucket, Massachusetts 92.47 9 Stephanie Inn Cannon Beach, Oregon 92.26 10 Ocean House Watch Hill, Rhode Island 92.07 11 Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an Auberge Resort Bluffton, South Carolina 92.06 12 The Sebastian Vail, Colorado 92.00 12 WaterColor Inn & Resort Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 92.00 14 Auberge du Soleil Rutherford, California 91.87 15 Blackberry Farm Walland, Tennessee 91.77 16 Marco Beach Ocean Resort Marco Island, Florida 91.73 17 Coeur d’Alene Golf & Spa Resort Idaho 91.65 18 Stowe Mountain Lodge Stowe, Vermont 91.55 19 Resort at Pelican Hill Newport Beach, California 91.09 20 Carneros Inn Napa, California 90.93 21 Ponte Vedra Inn & Club Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 90.86 22 San Ysidro Ranch Santa Barbara, California 90.80 23 Inn at Spanish Bay Pebble Beach, California 90.77 24 Ritz-Carlton Naples, Florida 90.74

DAV E L A U R I D S E N

CONTINENTAL U.S.


25 Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley Park City, Utah 90.67 26 Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch Avon, Colorado 90.55 27 Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort South Carolina 90.52 28 Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach Florida 90.50 29 Sonnenalp Hotel Vail, Colorado 90.48 30 Solage Calistoga, California 90.44 31 Little Nell Aspen, Colorado 90.42 32 LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort Naples, Florida 90.37 33 Enchantment Resort Sedona, Arizona 90.34 34 L’Auberge Del Mar Del Mar, California 90.30 35 Osthoff Resort Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin 90.22 36 Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, Florida 90.20 37 Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa Rancho Santa Fe, California 90.18 38 Allison Inn & Spa Newberg, Oregon 90.15 39 The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida 90.15 40 Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, California 90.08 41 Keswick Hall at Monticello Keswick, Virginia 90.00 42 Tides Inn Irvington, Virginia 89.88 43 Seagate Hotel & Spa Delray Beach, Florida 89.79 44 Calistoga Ranch California 89.68 45 Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North Arizona 89.61

46 Willows Lodge Woodinville, Washington 89.57 47 Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort & Spa San Diego, California 89.46 48 Meadowood Napa Valley St. Helena, California 89.30 49 Hotel Healdsburg California 89.29 50 Inn on Biltmore Estate Asheville, North Carolina 89.24 INNS AND SMALL LODGES FEWER THAN 40 ROOMS

1 Triple Creek Ranch Darby, Montana 95.36 2 Elizabeth Pointe Lodge Amelia Island, Florida 94.60 3 Farmhouse Inn Forestville, California 94.09 4 Primland Meadows of Dan, Virginia 93.63 5 Weekapaug Inn Westerly, Rhode Island 91.60 6 Post Ranch Inn Big Sur, California 91.50 7 The Willcox Aiken, South Carolina 91.45 8 Inn at Little Washington Washington, Virginia 91.27 9 Marquesa Hotel Key West, Florida 90.67 9 Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge Gold Beach, Oregon 90.67

HAWAII RESORTS 1 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Hawaii, the Big Island 92.90 2 Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea 91.73 3 Kahala Hotel & Resort Oahu 91.27 4 Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele 91.07 5 St. Regis Princeville Resort Kauai 90.43

6 Halekulani Oahu 90.28 7 Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort Oahu 90.15 8 Fairmont Kea Lani Maui 88.90 9 Honua Kai Resort & Spa Maui 88.80 10 Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Hawaii, the Big Island 87.71 11 Koa Kea Hotel & Resort Kauai 87.54 12 Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay 87.08 13 Fairmont Orchid Hawaii, the Big Island 86.60 14 Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Maui 86.59 15 Travaasa Hana, Maui 86.00 16 Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Hawaii, the Big Island 85.66 17 JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa Oahu 85.27 18 Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach Oahu 85.27 19 Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Kauai 84.90 20 Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Maui 84.50 21 Sheraton Kauai Resort 84.29 22 Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa 83.92 23 Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa Oahu 83.70 24 Grand Wailea Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort Maui 83.70 25 Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk Oahu 82.89

MEXICO CITY HOTELS 1 Four Seasons Hotel, MĂŠxico, D.F. Mexico City 90.61 2 JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City 86.93 3 W Mexico City 79.77 RESORTS 1 Rosewood Mayakoba Riviera Maya 94.40 2 Capella Pedregal Los Cabos 93.81

3 St. Regis Punta Mita Resort 93.64 4 Pueblo Bonito Mazatlån 92.94 5 Esperanza, an Auberge Resort Los Cabos 92.62 6 One&Only Palmilla Los Cabos 92.26 7 Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Mazatlån 91.83 8 Banyan Tree Mayakoba Resort & Spa Riviera Maya 91.43 9 Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancún 91.33 10 Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Nuevo Vallarta 91.13 11 Grand Velas Riviera Maya 90.97 12 Ritz-Carlton Cancún 90.68 13 La Casa Que Canta Zihuatanejo 90.60 14 Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort Los Cabos 90.24 15 Excellence Playa Mujeres Cancún 90.17 16 Maroma Resort & Spa by OrientExpress Riviera Maya 89.57 17 Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita 88.91 18 Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos 88.30 19 JW Marriott Resort & Spa Cancún 87.70 20 Royal Cancún 87.44 21 Fairmont Mayakoba Riviera Maya 87.32 22 Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancún 87.20 23 Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancún Resort & Spa 87.06 24 Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort & Spa Los Cabos 87.00 25 Royal Hideaway Playacar Riviera Maya 86.93 25 Viceroy Riviera Maya 86.93 World’s Best Awards debut New Category Great Value (rate of $250 or less) Hall of Fame (listed every year for the past decade) T+L Find (first featured in the T+L It List or previously included as a World’s Best One to Watch)

COURTESY OF ROSEWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS

RESORT, MEXICO

ROSEWOOD MAYAKOBA The beachside lounge at the Rosewood Mayakoba, in Mexico.


CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

CANADA CITY HOTELS 1 Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver 92.36 2 Ritz-Carlton Toronto 92.00 3 Auberge Saint-Antoine Quebec City 90.71 4 Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver 90.20 5 Wedgewood Hotel & Spa Vancouver 89.71 6 Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver 89.56 7 Auberge du Vieux-Port Montreal 89.20 8 Fairmont Vancouver Airport 89.14 9 Fairmont Château Laurier Ottawa 88.15 10 Fairmont Empress Victoria, British Columbia 88.05 RESORTS 1 Post Hotel & Spa Lake Louise, Alberta 94.93 2 Wickaninnish Inn Tofino, British Columbia 94.50 3 Four Seasons Resort Whistler, British Columbia 92.74 4 Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Alberta 89.77 5 Fairmont Chateau Whistler British Columbia 88.78 6 Rimrock Resort Hotel Banff, Alberta 88.31 7 Fairmont Banff Springs Alberta 85.98 8 Westin Resort & Spa Whistler, British Columbia 85.03 9 Pillar & Post Niagara-on-theLake, Ontario 84.00 10 Prince of Wales Hotel Niagaraon-the-Lake, Ontario 82.94

CITY HOTELS 1 Alvear Palace Hotel Buenos Aires 93.77 2 Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires 91.23 3 Hotel Monasterio Cuzco, Peru 91.14 4 Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena, Colombia 90.53 5 Palacio Duhau–Park Hyatt Buenos Aires 90.18 6 JW Marriott Hotel Quito, Ecuador 89.05 7 Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores Lima, Peru 87.50 8 Park Hyatt Mendoza, Argentina 86.91 9 Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo Antigua, Guatemala 86.74 10 Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel Cuzco, Peru 86.67 11 JW Marriott Lima Hotel Peru 86.53 12 Hotel Grano de Oro San JosÊ, Costa Rica 85.60 13 Ritz-Carlton Santiago, Chile 85.37 14 Park Tower Buenos Aires, a Luxury Collection Hotel 85.07 15 Grand Hyatt Santiago, Chile 84.95 RESORTS 1 Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens La Fortuna, Costa Rica 96.14 2 Cavas Wine Lodge Mendoza, Argentina 94.80 3 Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo 92.13 4 Hotel Punta Islita Guanacaste, Costa Rica 92.00 5 Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica 90.67 6 Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, GolfSpa Bariloche, Argentina 89.88 7 Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel Peru 89.60 8 JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica 87.29

9 Four Seasons Resort Carmelo, Uruguay 87.16 10 Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Peru 86.44

EUROPE LARGE CITY HOTELS 100 ROOMS OR MORE 1 Ritz-Carlton Berlin 96.00 2 Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest 95.52 3 Stafford London by Kempinski 94.37 4 Grand Hyatt Istanbul 93.60 5 Augustine Hotel Prague 93.33 6 Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel Vienna 92.69 7 Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa Baden-Baden, Germany 92.67 8 The Connaught, a Maybourne Hotel London 92.36 9 Corinthia Hotel London 92.24 10 Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris 92.18 11 St. Regis Florence 91.87 12 Hôtel Le Bristol Paris 91.84 13 Hotel Ritz Madrid 91.73 14 Four Seasons Hotel Firenze Florence 91.73 15 Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London 91.69 SMALL CITY HOTELS FEWER THAN 100 ROOMS 1 Mandarin Oriental Munich 93.25 2 Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet 92.65 3 Hôtel D’Europe Avignon, France 91.85 4 Milestone Hotel London 91.82 5 Hotel Cipriani Venice 91.00 6 Hotel Hassler Roma Rome 90.88 7 La Mirande Avignon, France 90.75 8 41 London 90.67 8 Hotel Helvetia & Bristol Florence 90.67 9 Hotel Lungarno Florence 90.31

RESORTS 40 ROOMS OR MORE 1 Castello di Casole—A Timbers Resorts Hotel & Residences Casole d’Elsa, Italy 96.18 2 Palazzo Avino (formerly Palazzo Sasso) Ravello, Italy 93.60 3 Ashford Castle County Mayo, Ireland 93.17 4 Hotel Santa Caterina Amalfi, Italy 92.74 5 Le Sirenuse Positano, Italy 92.31 6 Il San Pietro di Positano Italy 92.28 7 Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria Sorrento, Italy 91.45 8 Villa d’Este Cernobbio, Italy 90.39 9 Grand Hotel Quisisana Capri, Italy 89.76 10 Dromoland Castle Hotel County Clare, Ireland 89.50 INNS AND SMALL COUNTRY HOTELS FEWER THAN 40 ROOMS 1 Domaine Les Crayères Reims, France 93.24 2 Hôtel Crillon le Brave Crillon-leBrave, France 90.53 3 Oustau de Baumanière & Spa Les Baux-de-Provence, France 90.00 4 Château Eza Eze Village, France 89.88 5 La Chèvre d’Or Eze Village, France 89.47 6 Cliveden House Taplow, England 89.33 7 Villa Gallici Aix-en-Provence, France 89.22 8 Waterford Castle Waterford, Ireland 88.94 9 Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Great Milton, England 88.27 10 Hotel Villa Cipriani Asolo, Italy 87.78 World’s Best Awards debut New Category Great Value (rate of $250 or less) Hall of Fame (listed every year for the past decade) T+L Find (first featured in the T+L It List or previously included as a World’s Best One to Watch)

The rooftop terrace at the Mandarin Oriental, Munich.

MANDARIN ORIENTAL, MUNICH

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J EN S SC H WA R Z

SMALL CITY HOTEL, EUROPE


METHODOLOGY FOR THE TRAVEL + LEISURE 2013 WORLD’S BEST AWARDS A questionnaire developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure, in association with ROI Research Inc., was made available to Travel + Leisure readers at tlworldsbest.com from December 1, 2012, to April 1, 2013. Readers were invited to participate through Travel + Leisure magazine (January, February, March and April issues), T+L iPad® editions and newsletters, and online at travelandleisure.com. To protect the integrity of the data, after April 1, 2013, respondents were screened by Travel + Leisure and responses from any identified travel-industry professionals who completed the survey were eliminated from the final tally. The survey website, tlworldsbest.com, was maintained, monitored and kept secure by ROI Research Inc., which collected and tabulated the responses and kept them confidential. The scores are indexed averages of responses concerning applicable characteristics. Respondents were asked to rate airlines on four characteristics; hotels, hotel spas, islands and car-rental agencies on five characteristics; and cities, tour operators, safari outfitters, hotel brands, airports, cruise ships

and destination spas on six characteristics (see below). In most categories, respondents could also rate additional optional characteristics; these ratings were not included in the final score. For each characteristic, respondents were asked to rate a candidate on a scale of 1 to 5, where “1” means poor and “5” means excellent. Required component ratings were then averaged, creating an overall score. For the cruise category, respondents were asked to rate individual ships, and scores were rolled up into four categories organized by type of cruise and ship size. There is one category for river cruises (any capacity), and three categories for ocean cruises: mega-ship cruise lines (capacity of 2,200 passengers or more), large-ship cruise lines (capacity between 600 to 2,199 passengers) and small–ship cruise lines (capacity of fewer than 600 passengers). Some cruise lines may appear in multiple categories depending on the fleet of ships they own. A minimum number of responses was necessary for a candidate to be eligible for inclusion in the World’s Best Awards listings. Some companies were eligible to be rated in multiple categories, including cruise lines, tour operators and safari outfitters; some properties were rated in both the destination spas and hotel spas categories. In all cases, companies and properties have different scores for each category. Throughout the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, scores shown have been rounded to the nearest hundredth of a point; in the event of a true tie, properties, companies, or destinations share the same ranking. These were the categories and characteristics: Hotels Rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants/food, value. Optional: for business, for families, for romance. Cities Sights, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people, shopping, value. Optional: for romance.

Islands Natural attractions/beaches, activities/ sights, restaurants/food, people, value. Optional: for romance. Cruise ships Cabins, restaurants/food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities, value. Optional: for families, for romance. Tour operators and safari outfitters Staff/guides, itineraries/destinations, activities, accommodations, food, value. Optional: for families, for conservation/philanthropy. Airlines Cabin comfort, in-flight service, customer service, value. Optional: for food, for timeliness/ reliability, for loyalty programs. Airports Location/access, check-in/security, restaurants/food, shopping, design, flight delays. Optional: for business, for families. Car-rental agencies Vehicle selection, vehicle availability, car-rental location, service, value. Destination spas Accommodations/ambience, treatments, service, food, facilities, value. Optional: for romance. Hotel spas Ambience, treatments, service, facilities, value. Optional: for romance. Hotel brands Locations, rooms/facilities, restaurants/food, service, design, value. Optional: for business, for families, for romance, for loyalty programs. Great Value icons represent a starting price of less than US$250 for a standard double in August; for resorts, icons represent a starting price of less than US$250 in high season. All top tour operators and safari outfitters for families welcome children, though some impose age restrictions. Travelers should confirm details before booking.


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Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers


LANGUAGE LESSONS

ANDREA WYNER

One man’s attempt to speak Italian: Justin Peters tries a range of popular language-learning methods and programs, then heads to Milan to test his knowledge.


HOW TO LEARN A LANGUAGE 7 Program Options BBC LANGUAGES Free online courses that provide introductions to 40 languages. A decent overview of the basics, but they won’t take you very far on their own. bbc.com/languages. LIVEMOCHA Online course offering a community of native speakers with whom you can exchange messages or talk to in video chats. A good way to test burgeoning language skills in a conversational setting. livemocha.com; modules from US$2. LIVING LANGUAGE Live, focused classes taught by an online instructor. The best feature is a mobile app, which offers lessons, games and “flash cards” for on-the-go learners. livinglanguage.com; from US$99. MICHEL THOMAS METHOD Audio-based course that uses a questionand-answer process to teach the basics of conversation without rote memorization. It’s the most entertaining of the courses sampled, but it doesn’t deliver on its extravagant claims to effectiveness. michelthomas.com; from US$108.

The book made it sound so easy. Teach Yourself Italian, it was called, and for two years it sat on my desk, silently mocking my inability to do just that. I’m not sure why I thought an obscure book from 1947 would do the trick; still, I dutifully studied its archaic instructions on railroad etiquette and talking to porters and boatmen. But after two years of halting, ineffective study, I could barely even remember how to say “porter,” let alone command one to carry my steamer trunk. Thanks for nothing, Teach Yourself Italian. The lesson here: learning a language the traditional way is hard—endless vocabulary lists and translation exercises can make anyone’s brain glaze over. But now there are numerous programs on the market that promise to make it easy—even fun. From audio courses that eschew tests and memorization to comprehensive online lessons that incorporate games and hilariously stilted chat sessions with bona fide native speakers, there have never been more options for the aspiring polyglot. But do any of them actually work? I decided to see for myself. I gathered several of the most prominent language-learning programs and tested them out, evaluating them on how well I remembered the lessons and how engaging I found the teaching methods. I followed their instructions, force-feeding my brain verbs, nouns and unfamiliar accent marks, in hopes of fulfilling my long-deferred dream of learning the Italian language. Then I traveled to Italy and did my best to go native. I practiced for a month before the trip, which I figured would be enough time to get a sense of how these programs work (and whether they work) and to learn enough Italian to hold my own. If not, I could always fall back on enthusiastic grunts and hand gestures. The grunts came in handy. Basically, you shouldn’t trust any system that claims you can actually learn a language in a week, or a month, or any other ludicrously short time span. I had studied very hard before my trip, and my first day in Milan was still a wreck. I was unable to find my way out of a railroad station, was too intimidated to ask for change for a €50 note, and flubbed my first real conversational gambit so badly that my interlocutor switched to English out of pity. Needless to say, in the short term, these programs won’t give you fluency unless you have some experience with the language already.

What these programs will do, with varying degrees of efficacy, is give you a baseline familiarity with the Italian language. Each program approaches this task differently. I had the least success with those courses that emphasized situational vocabulary—phrases and words that might prove handy in a restaurant or hotel, for instance. With these, it felt less like I was learning a language and more like I was just memorizing foreign phrases that I would inevitably forget when it came time to use them. Take the online service Livemocha, which was recently purchased by Rosetta Stone, but which, as of this writing, continues to operate as an independent site. There are plenty of nice, progressive things about it, such as its robust online community of native speakers and language learners, who correct your assignments and occasionally send you brief and confusing e-mails. But at its core, Livemocha is an oldfashioned course, offering a series of traditionally structured lessons that begin with a video of two Italian speakers performing everyday tasks, such as ordering coffee. Then it delves into the vocabulary and themes from the dialogue and concludes with a vocabulary quiz. I passed all of Livemocha’s tests, but I retained few of its teachings and developed little of the conversational flexibility that would make them useful in real life. My first day in Milan, for example, I wandered into an authentic-looking restaurant and fumbled my way through ordering what I thought was some sort of meat-centric entrée. (The menu description had the word prosciutto in it, after all.) Instead, I got a molded cauliflower dish called sformato di cavolfiori— half soufflé, half custard, 100 percent confusing. Though I had been studying restaurant vocabulary for a month, I had no idea how to say, “I did not expect this cauliflower casserole.” So instead I grinned weakly and tried to enjoy it. I had greater success with the programs that took a more innovative approach to vocabulary building. I sampled the Rosetta Stone Totale online service, and it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive language-learning software suite. You can use it to play language-related computer games, talk with a live instructor over video link and converse with fellow language students in a chat room. It’s extraordinarily immersive. But those things are all add-ons; the core of the Rosetta Stone experience is its unique instructional method, which teaches grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation through sight and sound. Rosetta Stone displays a series of photographs—a little boy (un bambino) and a little girl (una bambina), for example. You match the word bambino to the boy’s picture, and vice versa;


you say bambino and bambina out loud through a special headset that lets the program judge your pronunciation, and so on. By the end of a unit you’ll have developed an abiding hatred for half of the models in the stock photos, but, that aside, the method works. You will remember the words and phrases that Rosetta Stone teaches you. But it doesn’t do as good a job showing you how to use that vocabulary in casual conversation. I can’t speak to the program’s long-term efficacy, but in the short term at least, Rosetta Stone gave me the bricks to build a house but not enough cement to put it together. I had the greatest success with the Pimsleur method, a series of audio lessons that barely bothers teaching vocabulary at all. You learn how to speak in sentences with Pimsleur, and you do so organically. You spend each 20- to 30-minute audio lesson focusing on a few words and phrases. The instructor will ask a simple question, something like “How would you say, in Italian, ‘I don’t understand Italian?’ ” You answer it, then the instructor asks variations on the question again and again, and you answer again and again. Occasionally he’ll ask about words and phrases you’ve learned in earlier lessons. It’s 20 to 30 minutes of constant drilling—and it works. The grammar and sentence structure seep into your long-term memory. To me, it seemed like a very natural way of learning a language. Most of my successes in Italy came as a result of the Pimsleur method. (A quick note: given that I was testing multiple language-learning methods at once, my findings, needless to say, should in no way be construed as scientific. Follow my layman’s advice at your own risk!) I found that,

if you’re learning a language for travel purposes, you don’t really need a huge vocabulary, but rather the ability to adapt to unpredictable situations. When I got sick halfway through my trip, for instance, I felt comfortable entering a pharmacy and getting the medicine I needed, despite not knowing the words for “nose,” “throat” or “medicine.” But I think it’s notable that most of these successes came after I had been there several days, immersing myself in the language and the culture. On my second day in Milan, I contacted Lorenzo De Feo, a local tutor I discovered on the Internet, and arranged to meet him at a café in the Palazzo Reale near the Duomo. The lesson proved how 90 minutes of effective, in-person instruction can trump days spent with a computerized course. With a pen and a few sheets of yellow paper, we worked through the basics of Italian conversation: what to say, what not to say, and where and when to say or not say it. It was exactly what I needed. Obviously, this session didn’t make me fluent, either, but De Feo’s advice and encouragement made me much more comfortable in real-life situations. This was perhaps the best lesson of all: no matter where you go, confidence and enthusiasm are the better parts of communication. If you enter a new country with a base of learning and an open mind for learning more, you will pick things up as you go and you will have a better travel experience. I took that lesson to heart. On my last day in Milan, I moved through the city determined not to be ashamed of my limited language ability. When two Italians stopped and asked me the way to the Duomo, I was able to help them out: “È proprio là,” I said confidently, pointing behind me. (I didn’t say they were great directions.) When I came across an open-air market in the piazza outside the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, I decided to engage in a little haggling. I went to a tent selling foods from the Alto Adige region of Italy and, fixing my eyes on a delicious-looking Linzer tart, bargained the proprietor down from €3 per slice to €2.50. And as day turned to night, I treated myself to a meal at an obscure little trattoria near the place where I’d been staying—exactly the sort of place I had dreamed about visiting during my failed two-year odyssey with the Teach Yourself Italian book. As I entered, the host sized me up. “English menu?” he asked. “No,” I said, without stumbling once. “I speak a little Italian.” ² T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

PIMSLEUR This series of audio lessons focuses on embedding the language in the learner’s long-term memory, and excels in teaching conversational flexibility. While vocabulary building isn’t emphasized, users should be able to hold a basic conversation by the end of a 30-lesson unit. pimsleur.com; from US$120. ROCKET LANGUAGES An online audio course that teaches situational vocabulary and phrases that may be needed in a pinch. Instructors are engaging, but too much banter between hosts cuts into practice time. Still, it’s useful to consult for a last-minute vocab refresher before walking into unfamiliar situations. rocketlanguages.com; from US$99. ROSETTA STONE This extremely comprehensive program hits your brain from all angles. In addition to the basic course work, its Totale software suite offers one-on-one sessions with an instructor via Skype. If you don’t make significant progress while using Rosetta Stone, you’re doing something wrong. rosettastone. com; from US$179.

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Overlooking baggage claim in Terminal 3 at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Opposite: The flight-control tower.


IS THIS THE BEST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD? ↓

Singapore’s Changi is a paragon of modern, smooth-functioning, award-winning airport operation, but its appeal is deeper than that. Karrie Jacobs discovers the secret to airport success. PLUS Six more great terminals.    


SIX MORE AIRPORTS WORTH THE TRIP

The world’s best airports handle the essentials well, but it’s the extras that set them apart. AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL Efficient rail connections. Outdoor terraces. The world’s first airport library, complete with armchairs. Chic design. CINCINNATI/ NORTHERN KENTUCKY INTERNATIONAL Ranked number one in the United States (and number 30 in the world) by Skytrax. Stunning Art Deco mosaics of the American worker, and Graeter’s ice cream. COPENHAGEN Highly regarded for its security processing, with illuminated signs indicating wait time. Also: handsome wood floors and comfortable Scandinavian chairs.

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C

hangi Airport, in Singapore, is the 15th busiest airport in the world. It serves more than 51 million passengers a year—about the same as New York City’s JFK—but very much unlike JFK, it is universally popular, beloved even. Changi has placed in the top three of the Skytrax “best airport” rankings for the past 14 years, and it topped the list for the fourth time again this year. Why? I recently spent several days at Changi trying to find out. In contrast to the airports that have gotten the most attention in recent years, such as Beijing’s international terminal (designed by Norman Foster) or Madrid Barajas Terminal 4 (designed by Richard Rogers), Changi doesn’t dazzle with architectural spectacle. As I stood on a moving walkway and glided past a lengthy expanse of green carpet, I wondered if I’d somehow arrived in the wrong airport. What does it even mean to be the best airport in the world? Efficiency is certainly at the top of the list. You want all the moving parts to work. Check-in should be flawless. Security procedures should be swift and rationally organized. You should be able to find your gate, your suitcase and anything else you need without thinking about it. And flights should take off and land more or less on schedule. But those tasks are the baseline; any airport, in theory, should be able to get them right. Being the best requires more. According to architect Bill Hooper, who heads the aviation practice at Gensler, a global firm and leader in airport design, the best terminals “anticipate what your needs are when you need them.” Those needs—the varied desires of tens of millions of travelers a year—might include plentiful daylight, comfortable seating, reliable free Wi-Fi, and good or even great restaurants. But there are also qualities that are harder to pin

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down, an aviation “it” factor. “When I fly through Munich, it’s crisp, but not so sterile as to be unwelcoming,” says Hooper of his personal favorite outside the United States. Another architect who designs airports for a living, Anthony Mosellie of Kohn Pedersen Fox, champions Hong Kong for the almost miraculous way it whooshes passengers from the train station in Central, where there’s an airline baggage check, to an airport that is famously a breeze to navigate. “The airport is a reflection of the mentality of Hong Kong,” Mosellie notes. Indeed, it was when I began to see Changi as a reflection of Singapore’s mentality that I really came to


appreciate the place. Staying at the exceptional Crowne Plaza Changi Airport (great swimming pool), I explored the public areas of the airport’s three terminals as I might an exotic urban neighborhood. And I could see that Changi’s goodness isn’t so much about how the place looks—although it definitely has its aesthetic moments—but how it feels. Somehow Singapore’s airport authority has managed to embed the island nation’s oxymoronic culture—call it technocratic humanism—into a transportation facility. No, Singapore’s airport isn’t as overtly futuristic as Seoul’s Incheon, nor does it have the calculated coziness of Amsterdam’s Schiphol. But it is of a piece with its city, at once hyper-organized and packed with carefully crafted pleasures. My most vivid memories of Changi are of the thousands of butterflies in the idyllic two-level Butterfly Garden in the new Terminal 3 (T3). One of five specialty gardens throughout the airport—others feature sunflowers, cacti, orchids and ferns—this one muffles airport din with a

waterfall and has a see-through “Emergence Enclosure” where the cocoons come of age. More than the airport’s two movie theaters, various TV-watching lounges and endless other diversions, this contrived encounter with nature was, for me, the antidote to that pickled sensation I get from spending a solid day in flight. Changi is also well-equipped for napping. All three terminals have dedicated areas such as the Snooze Lounge in T3, where travelers can stretch out on chaises for as long as they’d like. I dozed for a bit ahead of my 12:30 a.m. departure to Tokyo in T2’s Sanctuary, where upholstered chairs face a babbling indoor brook and mini

Clockwise from top left: An experiencerating panel; outside Changi’s Terminal 2; travelers in Terminal 1; baggage claim in Terminal 3; the Butterfly Garden in T3; an airport Experience Agent; the multistory slide inside T3; Terminal 3 departures; artwork at a children’s activity station in T2.


Inside the Butterfly Garden in Terminal 3.

↓ HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL You can check your bag at Hong Kong Central station, hop a train and practically glide from downtown to your gate. Also: terrific dumplings. INCHEON INTERNATIONAL, SEOUL A perennial favorite. Best features: a Korean cultural museum with artifacts that span 5,000 years of history; an ice rink; and a spa. Free showers. MADRID BARAJAS Beauty counts. At Madrid’s T4, a glorious man-made canyon of color-coded “trees” supports an undulating bamboo roof.

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jungle of broad-leafed tropical plants. And it’s a terrific airport for eating: I had several memorable meals, including a credible version of the local specialty, Hainanese chicken rice. Mostly, though, Changi aims to be a place where people are happy to idle, whether they’re travelers with long layovers or—and this is the curious part—Singaporeans who want to do a little shopping or let their children loose in the public areas. “We are a land-scarce country,” explains Ivan Tan, who works in the airport’s communications department. Singaporeans regard Changi as “a big open space where kids can roam free,” he says. Indeed, T3 is stocked with a most amazing collection of toy stores and video arcades and a pay-to-enter playground with rides, long slides and surreal inflated animals, all accessible without passing through security. All of this is what the management refers to as the “Changi experience.” No, Changi isn’t beautiful, exactly—it’s humane. And humanity is something at which the staff works overtime. “Every day on the ground at Changi we conduct surveys,” Tan says. “We know when things don’t work.” Even objects offer surveys: every restroom, for instance, has a wall-mounted screen that says PLEASE RATE YOUR EXPERIENCE. Below that is a row of simple faces ranging from grinning to frowning. If you tap anything lower than “good” (a smile), you’ll get a questionnaire: Wet floor? No toilet paper? The real-time feedback means problems are solved very quickly. And, in theory, if you simply stand around looking perplexed, one of more than 200 iPad-wielding Changi Experience Agents—men in purple blazers and women in T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

pink—will buttonhole you, ask what’s wrong and attempt to fix the problem. I had coffee with a couple of them who told me stories of helping passengers who’d missed flights or whose relatives were trapped in passport control with visa issues, or were simply looking for an outlet to charge a cell phone. In a small, densely populated nation like Singapore, little things count. Many of Changi’s best innovations are small and considerate, such as the charging stations with rows of little lockable boxes, so you can safely leave your cell phone while you wander the terminal. There are free foot-massage machines (socks on, please) on every concourse. Even the acres of carpeting are part of the thoughtful culture: you can tell you’ve crossed from one terminal to the next when the pattern shifts. I’ve come to realize that the amenities that make an airport exceptional are antithetical to the beeline nature of airports. And against all odds, Changi is as good at getting you in and out and on your way as it is at welcoming you to stay awhile. ✚


CAMPING:

A LOVE STORY

Great indoors-lover   goes off the grid, deep in a Kiwi valley, and finds new respect for possums, pup tents and his own willpower in the wilderness.    

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The Peace River wends gently through central Florida. It shimmers in the sunshine. The trees along its banks—pine and oak and moss-bearded cypress—speckle the waters with shade.

I hate the place. I’ve hated it since I was 12. I’ll hate it forever. The big event on my church youth group’s calendar was an annual three-day camping-and-canoeing trip on the river. I signed up with my best friend, Shamus. We divided the labor: I’d feed us (my meticulously planned menu included fried rice on one night and steak and potatoes on another), and he’d house us, setting up and breaking down the tent. On the first night, it poured. To my ear, few things soothe more than the thrum of a good, hard rain. If you’re in a house. But in our pup tent, two things became thunderingly apparent amid the darkness and storm: 1) Shamus didn’t know how to pitch a tent; 2) our waterproof tent was not, in fact, waterproof. I woke when soaking nylon slapped me in the face. Everything was sodden—my sleeping bag, my clothes, my spirits. Though I sullenly soldiered on for 48 miserable hours, there were casualties. By trip’s end, the river’s name seemed like a perverse joke, Shamus was no longer my best friend, and I pledged that I’d never camp again.

For 23 years, I kept that promise. Until my honeymoon. We decided to go as far from our urban everyday reality as possible. We sought techfree rusticity. We wished to hike. We wanted mountains. We hoped to relax so much that we might even get a little bored. So we settled on New Zealand’s otherworldly South Island. And one day, Google delivered me to a website for Minaret Station, the Wallis family’s 26,000-hectare farm in the mountains west of Lake Wanaka. A few years ago, the Wallises—who raise sheep, deer and cattle on the land, and also own a helicopter company that takes tourists on charter flights over the majestic Southern Alps—decided to diversify their business. They chose a spot in a deep valley where herders had long ago erected a hut, and began shuttling in materials to construct a highcountry camp. The photos showed spectacular, Hobbit-friendly landscapes and herds of frolicking sheep, and the words described a place so remote that you can’t get to it by road and cell-phone signals can’t get there at all. This was it. This was where we could get away from it all—and where I finally could, perhaps, exorcise my camping demons.

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ou have to helicopter in to Minaret Station. On a blindingly sunny late-summer day, Jerry Rowley, who manages the place with his effervescent wife Shirl, picked us up at the tiny airport in Wanaka, 90 kilometers north of Queenstown, for the 15-minute ride to Minaret in his four-seat chopper. We buzzed over near-harvest vineyards, verdant hillsides, the glistening turquoise waters of Lake Wanaka—and, apparently, an invisible property line. Suddenly, Jerry took a sweeping westward turn, dipping us into a V between two steep hills that opened up into a grassy, green-and-gold valley. “Welcome to Minaret,” he said.


The only word on Minaret’s website that had concerned me before we arrived was “tent.” I enjoy the outdoors, and I like nature. I just don’t want to sleep in it. I believe that we and the rest of the animal kingdom should stay in separate bedrooms. So I was delighted to discover that each of Minaret’s four tents was pitched on a platform above the valley floor, arrayed in a semicircle around the main lodge, to which they’re all connected by wooden walkways. Upon landing, Shirl, the selfdescribed “Camp Mum,” greeted us with an enormous grin and took us to our quarters, which forever redefined the word “tent” in my mind. After pointing out the hot tub on our wraparound wooden deck, she unzipped the entrance and led us inside. Atop the king-size bed were a fluffy white duvet and a throw made from the fur of possums (all shot on the property, I learned later). Underfoot were super-soft, creamcolored rugs—the skins of some sacrificial Minaret lambs. If the heated towel rail and the waterfall showerhead in the bathroom did not clarify the relationship of this place to traditional camping, eavesdropping on Shirl talking about toiletries did. One afternoon, I heard her gently berating her toilet-paper supplier for sending rolls embossed with a blue-gray print. “I have never had that,” she said. “Never! Never, never, never. It just doesn’t look right. It’s always been the white on white.”

Yes. Maybe this was my kind of camping.

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hat Minaret does not have in abundance: technology. The tents have no televisions, although there is Wi-Fi. But a part of me hoped that even that would fail, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to log on, check in, update my status or tweet something stupid. This was, after all, my honeymoon, and the only person with whom I needed or wanted to communicate was right there in that tent. It was on the first morning, shortly after I woke up, that I realized how rarely we are actually alone as a couple. Technology constantly tethers us to others; loose as those bonds may be, according to sociologists, they’re still ever present—on Facebook, on Twitter, on Foursquare, on LinkedIn. When, still groggy, I grabbed my iPhone reflexively, it dawned on me that unplugging has less to do with the machine than it does with me and my retweet-addicted brain. It’s about turning that “No service” that appeared on the corner of my iPhone screen (wait, did I really hope for this?) into more than an electronic statement of disconnected reality—it had to be my mindset. Over the days at Minaret, I felt increasingly aware of the world around me as I emerged from the microcosm in my smartphone. The colors seemed brighter, noises more noisy, smells more pungent—as if by giving up my sense of virtual connectedness, my natural senses rushed in to compensate. Also helpful: the South Island’s swarms of vexatious sandflies, which I wish I could tell you were virtual. The funny thing is, I didn’t mind the nasty little creatures or their wicked bites, which normally would have driven me mad. Here, they simply saved me the trouble of pinching myself to make sure this was all real. T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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start the fur trade in the 19th century, has no predators except humans, and has, along with other invasive species, helped decimate the nativebird population, devouring chicks and eggs. As the possum scampered off the deck, I wondered whether it had been disturbed by the fact that I was wrapped in the throw made of its slaughtered brethren. Then I looked up. The ceiling of the world was ablaze with constellations I couldn’t recognize, because I’d never seen them before. The white of the Milky Way was smeared across the black of the night, and for the first time in my life, I saw a shooting star. I plopped backward onto a beanbag and, as I stared up at the sky, I thought that there could be no better way to embark on the new adventure that is a marriage than with the new adventure that was this honeymoon—day after day, night after night, fears conquered and discoveries made.

There were bigger pests, too. One night, I awoke around 4 a.m. to the pitter-patter of little animal feet, first on top of our tent, then clambering down one of the poles to the wooden deck. I have to confess that, as an urbanite, the pitter-patter of little animal feet does not inspire thoughts like “How cute!” or “Yay!” Rather, I thought, “Crap. Vermin!” Truthfully, I froze. The damn thing kept running up and down, atop the tent and then down on the deck, up and down. Curiosity trumped fear. Quietly, I unzipped the tent door. Gazing at me from the far corner of the deck was a cat-sized creature with a bushy tail and beady eyes: a possum! It’s as foreign to New Zealand as I was, but far less welcome; it hails from Australia, was introduced to kick134

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n our last afternoon at Minaret, we climbed the mountain at the end of the valley. Jerry told us that only two guests before us had ever done it, but up we went, equipped with six bottles of water, manukawood walking sticks, a walkie-talkie so that Jerry could check in on us, and ample amounts of naïveté. For about 30 minutes, we followed an old, faint deer track—a ribbon of hardpacked, dung-spotted dirt twisting uphill. But then we lost it, and we were left to zigzag among the thickening bushes and wade through sometimes knee-high grass. At times, we had to hoist ourselves up, grasping clumps of snow tussock. After about four hours of climbing, we got to the top. I radioed Jerry to let him know. He’d been following us, via binocular, from camp. “That’s not the top,” he said. As I lifted my eyes, my spirits sank and my legs trembled. I saw a

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Hollywood-ready ridge about 300 meters long and 2 meters wide, flattish and bare rock with hillside tumbling down to the left and right. So on we went, two sticks of wobbly Jell-O propelling my head and torso along; even if I had to crawl Gollumlike on hands and knees, I was determined to get there. We did. The summit view was stunning—Mount Aspiring National Park’s white-capped peaks stretching west and south, snow-crowned Mount Cook to the north. Even more magical: the loud whir announcing Jerry’s arrival by helicopter. He whisked us back to camp—if he hadn’t, I think I would have sat and died atop that mountain—where he had the hot tub hot and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc cold. That night, I asked Jerry whether the river that coursed through this valley had a name. He told me that the whole thing—the water and the valley that rose from its banks—was called Estuary Burn. John Turnbull Thomson, the 19th century surveyor who gave names to many of the mountains, valleys and streams in the Otago, was the son of a Scotsman, and the word “burn” comes from the Scots-Gaelic for “fresh water.” But he must have been jaded by the time he got here, because the name is as bland as the landscape is bewitching. From the lodge’s deck, I watched orderly lines of sheep continue their long march to nowhere. A pair of paradise shelducks squawked as they circled the valley floor. The water of the burn glistened, as if a thousand buckets of glitter had been scattered on its surface. Right then, I knew I had to rename it: To me, it will always be the Peace River. ✚ Minaret Station 10 Lloyd Dunn Ave; Wanaka Airport, New Zealand; 64-3/443-5860; minaretstation.com; Tented Suite double, NZ$3,500 per night with a minimum stay of two nights (NZ$1,950 per night thereafter) inclusive of full-board, alcoholic beverages and helicopter transfers from Wanaka Airport.


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✶ PHOTOGR APHED BY MARTHA CAMARILLO ✶

ODЭSSA

Co-owner Savely Libkin and some of his waitstaff at Dacha, a pan-Soviet restaurant on Odessa’s French Boulevard.

od dho l i h er c ir of h affa n nd e w v o t re a lo l u y t a l t c e ite lik oas arch n un he c a t e v s o i ct gt ea. ndle istin rnin ck S n ki u d a e t l , z e e B in e em ✶R cuis n th n Br o o c i v s t r en te nya arac auth s, A h r s c e t i c m ntri with sum cce e t mos the


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History never feels musty or dead in Odessa. Partly that’s because this flamboyant Black Sea port, geopolitically in Ukraine but with a soul and esprit all its own, is such a young city, just over two centuries old. But mainly it’s because Odessites gossip about historical personages as if they had all shared a Soviet communal apartment with them. “Our duke!” proclaims a vendor of sailor shirts, gesturing at the gray Neoclassical statue. We’re on Primorsky Boulevard, the acacia-lined promenade fronting the city’s seaside heights. Our duke is, of course, Armand-Emmanuel du Plessis, Duke de Richelieu—a relative of the famous French cardinal, exile from the French Revolution and, as the city’s mayor between 1803 and 1814, the man credited with the splendid emergence of this “Pearl by the Sea.” “Our duke had to flee France,” Comrade Sailor Shirts confides, luridly. “On account of an arranged marriage...to a hunchback dwarf!”

His transhistorical scandal-mongering delights me. Suddenly the statue’s stony gaze under his laurel wreath turns a lot less aloof. My mom and I sit on a Primorsky bench, doing what the locals do—cracking sunflower seeds. Nearby, on the iconic granite Potemkin Steps, my boyfriend, Barry, is gleefully “re-enacting” the famous close-ups from Battleship Potemkin, Sergey Eisenstein’s 1925 masterpiece of cinema (and propaganda fabrication) about a shipboard mutiny. We’ve been in Odessa only a few hours and already our heads are spinning. But that’s why we’ve come: to soak up the outsize lore of this vibrant, garrulous port variously known as Southern Palmyra, Babylon on the Black Sea or “Odessa-Mama” to its inhabitants. After St. Petersburg (Peter the Great’s northern window on Europe), sunny Odessa (Catherine the Great’s southern window on Europe) is the most mythologized place in Russian cultural history, the birthplace of some of last century’s greatest musicians, writers, humorists and gangsters. Even if it has formally “belonged” to Ukraine since 1991.


The Odessa National Theater of Opera & Ballet, a neo-Baroque building by Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer. Opposite: House-made cookies and marmalades on display at Café Kompot, on Deribasovskaya.

My mother and I bring with us our own Odessa issues. Though born here in 1934, Mom grew up in Moscow, and only knew her native city from her 1970’s seaside vacations with me. Ah, our un-idyllic Odessa Augusts, bivouacking on flimsy cots with mom’s local relatives. In the concrete courtyard of their communal-apartment block, giant underwear flapped, drying, while neighbors fried smelly fish on their Primus stoves. As a kid I regarded Odessa with imperialist Muscovite condescension—and wild curiosity. The Odessites seemed piratical and operatic. They spoke a strangely accented Russian, and answered questions with questions—So? And? They gave directions in negatives: See our gorgeous, glorious opera house? Well, you don’t want to turn there. At Langeron beach we’d spread our meager towels, squeezed amid reddened Socialist flesh. Mom would smear my frail Moscow body with healing mineral Odessa mud, and there I’d lie—an encrusted young mummy—pining for our cold northern capital. And yet after my mother and I emigrated to America in 1974, I found myself missing Odessa. The myth of Odessa.

Now, strolling here again, I recognize Odessa-Mama, and don’t. The new Southern Palmyra seems like another freshly dolled up semi-globalized post-Soviet city of around one million, with the requisite Max Mara boutiques and smiley youths herding at a chain called Top Sendvich. Signs are in Ukrainian now, even if potbellied domino players tell jokes—loudly—in Russian. The Soviet grime and provincial inferiority have been covered up with fresh, blazing pastels— pistachio, custard, sky blue. But still. Off wide, arrow-straight avenues, laundry flaps in crumbling courtyards and melonbosomed matrons shriek at their husbands: “Moron! DON’T nauseate into my ear!” And once again Mom and I gape at the fantastical trove of architectural detail: lascivious caryatids bare their breasts to the pungent Black Sea breezes; Atlases writhe under the weight of preposterously ornate porticoes. The taste for such flamboyant eclecticism was set in the mid 19th century, when Odessa was so flush from its status as a grain-shipping free port that its bindiuzhniki (draymen) rolled cigarettes from 10-ruble bills. The local populace was eclectic from the start. Greeks, Russians, Italians, Armenians, French T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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The Presidential suite at Hotel Bristol, in the city’s historic district. Clockwise from above: Taking in the sun at Odessa’s Big Fountain beach; a view of Preobrazhenskaya, one of Odessa’s main thoroughfares; a fishmonger at Privoz Market.


We’ve come to soa brant, k up th garrul e outs ous po ize lor rt city mytho e of , the m logize ost d plac e in Ru ssian cultur al hist ory

this vi

and, especially, Jews—all flocked to the rollicking port seeking their fortunes. The center’s Neoclassical layout? The work of a Dutch engineer. The cakelike neo-Baroque opera house? Built in the 1880’s by the Viennese architects who designed the Vienna State Opera. Even the Potemkin Steps were a British job. Odessa has a Greek Street, an Italian Boulevard and a French Boulevard. But “the queen of all streets,” to quote one native son, is Deribasovskaya—named after José de Ribas, a Neapolitan (of Irish and Catalan stock) who in 1789, while in the service of Catherine the Great, conquered the dusty Ottoman fort that would become Odessa. We watch the action on the cobblestones below from the second floor of Café Kompot. Belles in stilt-high stilettos; bêtes in black leather jackets; oldsters in panama hats— everyone eventually ends up here at Kompot, the grand café named after the idyllic fruit compotes of our Soviet summers. At the bakery counter, airy Gallic brioches preen beside dense Ukrainian poppy-seed rolls. The bi-level space itself is a canny mash-up of U.S.S.R. nostalgia and flea-market chic straight out of Brooklyn or London’s Islington. At our antique wooden table we chase spoonfuls of bracing solianka, a meat soup zesty with capers and olives, with shots of devilishly warming horseradish-and-honey vodka. “Just like my grandma’s!” Mom moons over the plump syrniki (farmer-cheese patties).

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Kompot’s co-owner, local restaurant czar Savely (Savva) Libkin, stops by. Fiftyish, wiry and dapper, Libkin exemplifies your post-Soviet biznesman, but with savvy and soul. Like me, he grew up in a crammed Soviet apartment with a grandfather who “didn’t have one bad word for Stalin.” In 1993, “still pre-koka-kola,” he opened Odessa’s first pizza chain, then graduated to far more stylish concepts such as Kompot, the nostalgic Dacha and the haute-rustic Steakhouse nearby. “Moscow?” he snorts. “The poor can’t afford it; the rich spit on it.” Libkin himself jets to Paris or Piedmont, Italy, on eating research trips. And yet hearing him talk about old Odessa’s Jewish cuisine you can practically taste the garlicky wallop of his grandmother’s kotleti (Soviet burgers) or picture his grandpa laboring over forshmak, the iconic local chopped herring. Libkin espouses a mission: “To return Odessa cuisine to the Odessites.” His hipster daughter, a fashion photographer living in Tokyo, turns up. “Papa,” she says, “I need a severed head for a photo shoot.” “Nyet problem,” Papa replies casually. “Human or animal?” T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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The Potemkin Steps, which connect the city to the harbor.

We bid them good luck and zoom off to the opera. From our orchestra seats, the interior of the recently restored theater resembles a red-velvet-lined hatbox inside of which a delirious prankster has exploded a bag of gold dust. Plaster angels throw their limbs from high perches. How operacrazy are Odessites? So crazy that moms used to name their girls Traviata (never mind the connotation in Italian). On tonight’s bill is Iolanta, a Tchaikovsky caper about a blind princess. The soprano shrieks; the tenor bleats; but still I’m overcome with emotion. This is the building where my grandfather proposed to my grandmother. Anna Pavlova, Enrico Caruso and Sarah Bernhardt all roamed this stage. During World War II bombardments, radio bulletins began with, “The opera house is still standing.”

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Next day, we’re off in Libkin’s black Audi for a tour of the famous Privoz Market, which dates from the early 19th century. Libkin laments recent modernizations—“all that’s left is the cheating”—but I’m fascinated by the cacophonous sprawl. On teeming sidewalks Moldovan gypsies hawk potions (herbal Viagra, anyone?). Inside the vintage meat hall, Mom and I swoon first at the pristinely preserved Stalin-era artwork of Soviet “abundance,” then at the porcine extravagance: kielbasa garlands, mosaics of quivering headcheese, fat-studded blood pudding sold by hulking dames in outrageously frilly aprons. After trying 17 iterations of salo (that wholesome Ukrainian lardo), I suddenly realize: Today is Passover. Nyet problem: a guy next to me piles bacon slices onto a piece of matzoh and merrily scarfs it all down. The produce aisles are resounding with endearing Odessa vernacular.

“Rybonka, my little fishie! Stop touching my cucumbers already. They won’t get any harder!” We stroll on, lost in this post-Soviet melting pot. Carpathians with their briny blocks of creamy-white feta. Northern Caucasian vendors peddling cheremsha (pickled ramps) next to Tajik boys with gold teeth and high cheekbones and amber pyramids of sun-dried Central Asian apricots. In the dairy hall, ruddy-faced babushkas from the Ukrainian hinterlands proffer samples of thick village smetana (sour cream) and ryazhenka, fermented milk slow-baked to a caramel tan. “Remember the Soviet dairy grift?” Savva hoots. “Smetana-diluted-with-buttermilk-diluted-with-milkdiluted-with-water?” As if on cue, a shopper shrieks at a dairyman: “Your milk’s watered down!” “Madame,” he retorts. “It rained heavily just now!” “And? So?” she bellows back. “You couldn’t get your cows an umbrella?” Ah, Odessa-Mama. That night we have an ecumenical seder at Libkin’s best restaurant, Dacha. On leafy French Boulevard, which is lined with 19th-century summer houses, he has restored a cream-colored mansion set in a rambling garden of poplar and fruit trees. The warm twilight is scented with apple blossoms; Soviet sixties pop wafts moonward. Waiters greet customers with herbal vodkas, garlicky house-made pickles in wooden tubs and, yes, more Ukrainian lardo. “Oy gevalt! My childhood, I’m gonna faint,” an old matron gulps, touring the cozy rooms decorated with sentimental knickknacks from Soviet apartments. “In Odessa we had like a hundred nationalities,” declares Sasha, the suave service manager, as he loads our table with appetizers. “Our passion for feta, a Greek legacy. Roasted peppers, a Moldovan touch. Grilling from the Armenians; borscht, vareniki dumplings and stuffed cabbage from the Ukrainians.” Dacha’s stuffed cabbage is succulent and petite as a pinkie. And here are the Jewish specialties we’ve been promised: velvety hand-chopped forshmak of fat herring; poached rooster suspended in flavorful aspic. And sheika, that ur-babushka treat. “Sheika is not a dish; it’s a project,” Sasha declares. “You haggle for a hen at Privoz; skin and bone it; stuff it with minced chicken meat and many eggs....” I nod, my mouth full of this Jewish chicken soufflé. We finish with majestic kambala, the meaty, snow-white Black Sea turbot sizzled on an iron griddle. “The piscine equivalent of a Kobe-beef porterhouse!” Barry coos, while Mom abandons all decorum and loudly sucks the rich, fatty flesh around the bones. On our last day we diet on museums—and cultural myths. Our morning perambulation takes us past a tawnyyellow Neoclassical building. Anxious kids haul cello and violin cases inside. This is the Stolyarsky Music School, I realize—a legendary production plant of young virtuosi named after the early-20th-century violin instructor Pyotr Stolyarsky. According to local lore, the maestro himself could barely play, but he taught David Oistrakh and Nathan


Milstein. Other exports from this music-mad city include pianists Shura Cherkassky and Emil Gilels. “They send us their Jews from Odessa,” quipped Ukrainian-born American violinist Isaac Stern about U.S.-U.S.S.R. cultural exchanges, “and we send them our Jews from Odessa.” Frenetic Paganini passages soar from a Stolyarsky window. I think of another Odessa virtuoso: Isaac Babel, the magician of the Russian short story. Born in the Jewish neighborhood of Modolvanka in 1894, Babel captured Odessa’s brash kolorit (atmosphere) in compressed, pungent prose that’s electric, almost violent, with metaphor. A “factory that churned out child prodigies,” Babel wrote, hinting at Stolyarsky, “of Jewish dwarfs in lace collars and patent-leather shoes.” Reminiscences about Babel draw us to the Odessa Literary Museum, founded in the late 1980’s, near the Opera, by a (bitterest irony) book-loving KGB officer. Inside the powder-blue 19th-century palace, sumptuous rooms host displays on Odessa’s cultural eras and the writers who were either born or wrote here. Gogol, hypochondriac gluttonous master of the grotesque, worked on his ill-starred second volume of Dead Souls during his stay in 1850. Chekhov, we learn, gorged on local ice cream. The green hall dedicated to Pushkin is the museum’s crowd-pleaser; Russia’s Byron still enjoys rock-star status. Pushkin spent a year of political exile in Odessa in the 1820’s, immortalizing the city in the so-called “Odessa stanzas” of his verse novel, Eugene Onegin. Immortal too is the gossip: how Pushkin cuckolded the regional governor, who got him back by giving the poet the assignment of making a survey of locust infestation. The Soviet century had a different plague in store for writers and poets. We halt before the museum’s most chilling artifact: the signature wire spectacles of Isaac Babel. The writer had worn glasses since childhood. He was,

Odessa

he wrote, one of that tribe with spectacles on their noses and autumn in their hearts. The NKVD (the KGB’s predecessor) came for him in 1939, torturing and then killing him. The last photo of Babel shows him in captivity, battered and—so piercingly—without his glasses. We walk out into bright sunshine wiping away stabbing tears. The city’s greatest fiddlers, litterateurs, gangsters and wits were Jewish, of course. And so we devote our last hours to Migdal Shorashim, the tiny Jewish museum. Being within the czarist Pale of Settlement, the cosmopolitan port attracted Jews from all over the empire, fomenting Jewish commerce and intellectual life. “By the early 20th century,” explains the museum’s doleful curator, “Odessa had the world’s third-largest Jewish population after New York and Warsaw.” The Gateway to Zion, it was called. This is where native son Vladimir Jabotinsky developed his firebrand right-wing Jewish nationalism because cosmopolitan Odessa also suffered some of Europe’s ugliest pogroms (my own great-grandparents’ baby was murdered in front of them in 1905). Some 100,000 Odessa Jews perished in World War II; starting in the 1970’s, thousands emigrated to Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach, establishing a parallel myth—a Little Odessa frozen in late-Soviet aspic. Today, Odessa’s Jews number only around 35,000. “But we’re still a vibrant community,” declares the curator. We peruse the cramped little museum’s dense ethnographic hodgepodge. A century-old cleaver has my mom flashing back to her grandmother Maria’s gefilte fish. “Next year in Jerusalem,” the mournful man salutes as we leave. “No! Next year I want to rent an apartment here in Odessa!” my mother exclaims. “Can it be?” she wonders to me. “After 79 years, I’ve finally fallen in love with the city where I was born?” ²

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T L Guide KIEV

UKRAINE ODESSA

0

480 KM

BLACK SEA

Getting There Aeroflot, Austrian and Turkish Airlines fly to Odessa via Moscow, Vienna and Istanbul, respectively.

The Basics Exeter International (exeterinternational.com) can help customize your trip and book a local city guide.

STAY Hotel Bristol A late-19thcentury landmark painstakingly restored in 2010 in an over-thetop Baroque style. 15 Pushkinskaya Ul.; bristol-hotel. com.ua; doubles from 2,900. Londonskaya Hotel This slightly faded 1827 grande dame once welcomed the likes of Anton Chekhov and Marcello Mastroianni. Book a room overlooking the leafy boulevard. 11 Primorsky Bul.; londred.com; doubles from 1,380. EAT Café Kompot 20 Deribasovskaya Ul.; compot.ua; lunch from two 500.

Dacha 85 Frantsuzky Bul.; dacha. com.ua; dinner for two 800. Gogol Mogol A charmingly boho, antique-filled café located in the historic center. Try the potato pancakes. 2 Nekrasova Per.; 380-48/784-5384; lunch for two 400. Steakhouse Haute-rustic temple to red wine and delicious Ukrainian beef. 20 Deribasovskaya Ul.; steak.od.ua; dinner for two 800. DO Migdal Shorashim (Jewish Museum) 66 Nezhinskaya Ul., apartment 10; migdal.ru. Odessa Literary Museum 2 Lanzheronovskaya Ul.;

museum-literature.odessa.ua. Odessa National Theater of Opera & Ballet. A vintage jewel. 1 Tchaikovsky Per.; opera. odessa.ua. Privoz Market A perfect immersion into local flavors. Privoznaya Ul. READ Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams by Charles King (Norton). A lively historical portrait of a great city. “The Odessa Stories” in The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel (Norton). Babel’s celebrated prose in a masterful translation by Peter Constantine.

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Our Definitive Guide to

Fixed-gear bikers brave Makati. Opposite: At Aracama, a fish skewer.


“It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila.” While you probably won’t find any wild apes in the Philippine capital, Stephanie Zubiri swears that Muhammad Ali’s impression still holds true in this chaotic and bustling town. Photographed by Francisco Guerrero


MANILA

From left: A room at Solaire Resort and Casino; the art deco Salon de Ning on top of the iconic Peninsula hotel.

N QUEZON CITY

GREENHILLSœ ORTIGASœSAN JUAN OLD MANILA MANILA BAY

0

MAKATI CITY BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY PASAY

4 KM

Lay of the Land With 17 municipalities and an unofficial population of more than 18 million, Metro Manila is no place for wandering; take taxis and turn on the meter. Makati City The CBD, holding most nice hotels, restaurants and shops, Makati is a hard-tonavigate hodgepodge. Fear not: without street-side commerce, most interesting things are in malls. Bonifacio Global City BGC, or The Fort, is one of the town’s fastest-growing spots: all the newest food, drink and nightlife. It’s one place you can walk around, with nice parks, sidewalks and the latest attraction, the Mind Museum. Pasay and Old Manila Old Manila has Luneta Park, Roxas Boulevard and Intramuros. South along the bay, Pasay has the airport and “Entertainment City.” Greenhills-Ortigas-San Juan Bustling with lots of residences, small commerce and hole-in-the-wall cafés. Quezon City Manila’s biggest district has a local vibe with universities and family businesses. Bring a local to guide you through.

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Stay You’re sure to want an oasis of calm in which to seek refuge after busy days traversing this hectic city. RAFFLES MAKATI The new Raffles has set the luxury standard. Plush colonial-style rooms in the heart of the action and a fantastic long bar at which to wind down. 1 Raffles Dr., Makati Ave., Makati; 63-2/5559777; raffles.com; P14,800.

FAIRMONT MAKATI Perfect for business travelers. Practical luxury with a lovely rooÕop pool. 1 Raffles Dr., Makati Ave., Makati; 63-2/555-9888; fairmont.com; P8,800.

SOLAIRE RESORT AND CASINO This behemoth boasts

Hipster Manila

The young, the fun and the trendy.

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live entertainment, high-end restos and wines, and views of Manila Bay. Murano chandeliers and golden edges are craÕed in the Chinese traditions of luck—so do try your hand at the roulette wheel. 1 Solaire Blvd.; 63-2/888-8888; solairemanila.com; P8,000.

THE PENINSULA MANILA This oldie but goodie has housed much of the international Who’s Who. With socialites, politicians and movie stars mingling over tea and bubbly, the iconic lobby is the place to be. Try the deadly fun gummy bear shots at

the eclectic bar, Salon de Ning. Ayala corner of Makati Ave., Makati; 63-2/887-2888; peninsula.com; P9,000.

SHANGRIœLA MANILA Fantastic service and dining in two branches. The Makati hotel is near most malls; the Edsa branch is near the other business district, Ortigas. Makati Shangri-La: Ayala cor. Makati Ave., Makati; 63-2/813-8888; P12,000. Edsa Shangri-La: 1 Garden Way, Ortigas Centre, Mandaluyong; 63-2/633-8888; shangrila.com; P8,000.

SEDA BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY This business-cumboutique hotel with a pleasant roof bar has nice, affordable and comtemporary rooms in this booming district. 30th St. cor. 11th Ave., BCG; 63-2/945-8888; sedahotels.com; P4,700.

HOLIDAY INN AND SUITES MAKATI A welcome addition to the hotel scene, next to the main shopping centers and great value for money. Palm Drive, Ayala Center, Makati; 63-2/908-0888; ihg. com; P4,950.

Hotel prices are starting rates for double occupancy.

Cubao X The cobblers of a former shoe expo have been replaced with artsy shops, galleries and boho bars and restaurants. Fred’s Revolucion at Shop 66 is a self-dubbed “home for sincere drinkers.” Cubao X General Romulo Ave., Araneta Cen., Quezon City.

The Collective In the heart of Makati is the perfect hipster hideaway: a graffiti-walled complex of creative eats, vintage stores and a great bar, B-Side, with a leÕish musical lineup. 7274 Malugay, San Antonio Village, Makati; facebook.com/thecollectivemanila.


Shop Local designers lead the way in statement accessories and one-of-a-kind furniture. FIRMA Like Ali Baba’s cave, this trove of world finds has unique pieces from high-end jewelry designers. Check out Wynn Wynn Ong’s ornate pieces crafted of precious metals, wood and other natural materials. GF Greenbelt 3, Greenbelt Mall, Ayala Center; 63-2/757-4009.

KISH Ito Kish has won countless awards for his inventive and inspired furniture. Woodwork reminiscent of chapels makes for gorgeous, one-of-a-kind display pieces. 233 N. Garcia St.; 63-2/896-8366; kish.ph.

PEARL MARKET To check if they’re real, scratch the pearls against your teeth, in search of a grainy, gritty texture; they should also feel cool on the skin. A strand of 1-centimeter freshwater pearls should run about P3,500. Decide how much you’re willing to pay and negotiate a little lower than that. Jewelry Zone, 2F Greenhills

Shopping Center Ortigas Ave., Greenhills; greenhills.com.ph.

FILIPINO ZONE One-stop shop for local designs: Charina Sarte for flirty dresses and sexy bathing suits; L Manila for local fabrics and knits done modern; Joanna Preysler for python purses; Arnel Papa for handcraÕed bronze. 2F Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati.

CURA V A well-curated boutique with the city’s best accessories: Natalya Lagdameo’s revisited antique Filipino colonial jewelry and Janina Dizon Hoshka’s gorgeous stingray clutches. 2F, Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati.

A11 FURNITURE GALLERY Local interior designer Eric Paras has turned four old homes into a gorgeous art gallery and furniture store. Go just to gawk at the vintage-inspired, creative pieces. 2680 F.B. Harrison St., Pasay; 63-2/832-9972.

+

See Do METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF MANILA Renovated last year, the Met Museum has added to their classic artworks, pre-Hispanic artifacts and gold collection a fantastic permanent exhibit of Philippine contemporary art, beginning with modern masters such as Fernando Amorsolo and H.R. Ocampo up to the young avant-garde like Ronald Ventura. BSP Complex Roxas Blvd., Pasay City; 63-2/250-5271; metmuseum.ph; admission P100.

Intramuros is one of the few colonial-era areas.

OLD MANILA AND INTRAMUROS (No) thanks to extensive bombing during World War II and

From top: A treasure trove at Firma; interior designer Eric Paras at his gallery, A11 Furniture; Cura V sells great accessories, like these fedoras.

Art, history, religious rites and sundowners: five places to find the Philippines’s soul. a lack of conservation efforts, Old Manila and Intramuros are some of the few places leÕ where you can get the feel for the colonial-era city. Take a walking tour with Carlos Celdran for some juicy historical gossip. Don’t miss out on the National Museum and newly renovated Senate Hall. Carlos Celdran: 63-2/484-4945; celdrantours.blogspot.com; tours from P1,100 for adults and P600 for students.

SUNSET SESSIONS The Manila Bay sunset is world famous for its colors. The best experience is at the Sofitel’s pool garden lounge: laze on

beanbags and sip on cold San Miguel. Sofitel Manila CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd, Pasay City; 63-2/551-5555; sofitel.com.

QUIAPO CHURCH Only for the truly adventurous, Quaipo Church is the best way to see real local culture. Housing the Black Nazarene (dark statue of Jesus Christ), reputed to work miracles, it is frequented by the varied faithful. Paradoxically, in its environs are palm readers and vendors of local folkloric potions (gayuma) and amulets (anting-anting). Be extremely wary of pickpockets and bamboozlers! 910 Plaza Miranda, Quiapo; quiapochurch.com.

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MANILA

Elbert’s Steakroom. Right: Drinks, Rocket Room.

Nightlife

What the city lacks in cultural heritage, it makes up for in an unparalleled energy aÕer dark. Blind Pig Channel your inner Gatsby in this Prohibition-themed bar. Candlelight, bricks, vintage jazz, damn good classic cocktails and decadent truffle fries. Definitely reserve; the nondescript, brail-embossed door will literally shut in your face if you have no seat. 227 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati; 63-2/478-6990; drinks for two P740.

Eat The best food in town is not necessarily Filipino—which many argue is done better in the provinces or in someone’s home. VASK The place to be right now, with experimental and molecular takes on tapas, a trendy interior and the best deck in the city to ponder the rapidly changing crane-filled skyline over really great cocktails. Reservations are a must. 11th Ave. cor. 39th St., BFC; 63-91/5507-7047; tapas and drinks for two P3,000. (See page 26 for more on Vask.)

MASSETO Named aÕer the famed Italian vino, this fine dining establishment has one of the best wine lists in town, as well as cozy, contemporary

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interiors and continental cuisine made with the best ingredients possible. Their chorizo empanadas and cheese soufflé are to die for. 114 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati; 63-2/810-3565; masseto.com.ph; dinner for two P4,000.

mushrooms, ricotta and white truffle oil are a must-try. A. Locsin Building, Ayala Ave. cor. Makati Ave., Makati; 63-2/750-1555; salarestaurant.com; five-course tasting menu for two P4,200.

SALA

The nondescript, dingy building and dusty staircase… No you aren’t in the wrong place. Hidden in the heart of the CBD is a haven for fine meat set in Mad Men-like, mid-century modern décor. 3F Sagittarius Building III, 111 H.V. de la Costa, Salcedo Village, Makati;

The epitome of a great restaurant experience in Manila: soÕ lighting, beautiful wines, impeccable service and creative European fare of exquisite quality. Perfect for a celebratory dinner or to end your stay in style. The ravioli stuffed with portabella

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ELBERT’S STEAKROOM

63-2/519-8665; steakroom.com; dinner for two P5,000.

EL CIRKULO AND MILKY WAY Classic El Cirkulo is a Spanish-Filipino restaurant serving the best version of a local favorite: sisig, a crispy pork dish perfect with cold beer. If you’re craving more Filipino delicacies, head upstairs to their sister resto, the canteen-like Milky Way for some honest home-cooking. GF Milkyway Building 900 Arnaiz Ave., Makati; 63-2/810-8735; elcirkulo.com; dinner for two P3,000.

Rocket Room The chic set, expats in the know and leggy models come here not for the Jetsonsmeets-Soho interiors, nor the treacherous Rocket Fuels, nor even the great wood-oven pizzas—but for the town’s best music. Eclectic beats, hip-hop, retro, Motown, Parisian electro… Always a great vibe. GF Bonifacio High St. Central, 7th Ave. cor. 30th St., BGC; 63-2/621-3222; drinks for two P400. The Fort Strip For a full Manileno night out, start with fried bar chow at DraÞ, washed down with a cold pint. Then to Kasbah for Black Mojitos and live music. Turn it up with a pickled-chili laced Dirty Pierre Martini at Aracama. Have a shot (or three!) at Imperial’s vodka ice bar. Dance the night away at Prive with mash-up club hits or Haze for deep house techno. The Fort Strip, 7th Ave. cnr. Katipunan Cir., BGC.


From left: At the Art Fair Philippines; the jeepney means a different dining experience; at Martini’s in the Mandarin Oriental.

Local Take F R O M T O P M I D D L E : C O U R T E S Y O F A R T F A I R P H I L I P P I N E S ; C O U R T E S Y O F P I N O Y E AT S W O R L D ; C O U R T E S Y O F M A N D A R I N O R I E N TA L . I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y W A S I N E E C H A N TA K O R N

Get the scoop on the city from three insiders. DORIS HO

LOUIE YSMAEL

President and CEO, A. Magsaysay Inc.; boardmember, Met Museum

A local icon, club and bar owner and Manila nightlife’s man-about-town

“The contemporary art scene is vibrant and integral. Exciting local events: Salcedo Auctions, September 12; Art Fair Philippines, February 20 to 23, 2014; and Art in the Park, a benefit project of the Museum Foundation, next spring. Pinto Art Gallery Museum in Antipolo is a nice place to take in the breeze and the permanent collection. St. Luke’s Hospital in Fort Bonifacio seems an unusual place, but has wonderful art curated by Dr. Joven Cuanan in the corridors.”

Dining OnTrend

“Without being biased, Prive (priveluxuryclub.com) is still the place to be for music, crowd and service as far as clubs are concerned, however, I would like to see more intimate jazz bars like Calesa, Birds and Papillon, from the seventies. Strumm’s (110 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati; 63-2/895-4636) is quite good for bands depending on the night and Mandarin Oriental’s Martini’s (mandarinoriental.com) is also a nice option.”

Brunch Grab your biggest sunnies and see and be seen in one these hot spots: Apartment 1B (GF One Rockwell East, Rockwell, Makati; 63-2/869-3530; apartment1b.com) has homey ambience and all-day breakfast with fantastic eggs Benedict, crab cakes and mussels with chorizo. Or: New York-y Wildflour Café + Bakery (4th Ave. cor. 26th St., BGC; 63-2/856-7600), with fresh baked

ALICIA SY

Lifestyle Editor at Town and Country, and author of Eat Out Now

“Manila has seen a rise in pop-up food events. Watch out for new schedules of Pinoy Eats World (63-91/78044433) or Manila Pop Up (manilapopup.com) for a unique exciting dining experience. Otherwise, take a nice sidetrip to Quezon province to the workshop of Ugu Bigyan (490 Alvarez Village, Brgy Lusacan, 4325 Tiaong, Quezon; 63-42/545-9144) in Tiaong for a nice fresh Filipino lunch and then shop for pottery in his atelier.”

breads, tarte flambée and inventive dishes like kimchi steak rice. Little Tokyo The needs of Japanese businessmen have created an excellent Little Tokyo (2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati), a small square full of authentic restos, with Japanese baseball on TV. Check out: Izakaya Kikufuji (632/893-7319) for sashimi and shabu-

shabu; Seryna (63-2/895-3855) for creative sushi; Urameshi-Ya Yakiniku (63-2/813-2210); and Shinjuku Ramen House (63-2/819-1242). Dampa Buy fresh seafood at the dampa (fish market) along Macapagal Avenue in Pasay, then bring it to Hong Kong Master Chef, where, for P100 to P200 per kilo, they’ll cook it up.

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Last Look

Photographed by Katharina Hesse

Beijing

I keep dancing on my own A smoky club crammed with alterna-kids hoping to catch the next big band, the recently closed D-22 was run by American finance professor Michael Petis, who still promotes upcoming acts via record label Maybe Mars.

Purple haze China’s capital has a happening indie music scene—if you know where to look. Here, punk band Anarchy Boys’ bassist jams at Yugong Yishan, one of Beijing’s top venues, hidden behind a seemingly staid red door.

Hello, Brooklyn Think you can hang with the club kids? This throwback Betty glams it up at School Bar, an always packed scenester live-rock spot in now-popular Wudaoying Hutong.

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Tonight, we are young Indie queen Helen Feng and Ziyo, one of two bands she fronts, at Mao Live House. A former MTV VJ, Feng is a classically trained singer who now works to bring more electro-pop acts to Beijing.


SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT WITH T+L SOUTHEAST ASIA AUGUST ISSUE


August 2013  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia August 2013

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