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Volume 07 / Issue 01


January 2013 Features 66

a Raft of adventure If you think Taiwan is all city and no rural playground, think again. cain nunns heads out into the wilds of Taroko Gorge for mountains, monkeys and trial by water.

down memory lane in search of their cultural roots. melanie lee follows the trail. photographed by darren soh . guide page 77 78

t+l 500 Our annual compendium of the top hotels and resorts—as voted by readers in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards survey.


to India, with love Exploring Bhubaneswar's streets and the elaborate temples of Odisha, guy trebay finds a place to call

photographed by alber to buzzolo . guide page




Soul-Searching in Singapore It’s a common refrain: this modern island’s shine outweighs its substance. But Singaporeans are increasingly strolling

his own. photographed by jake stangel and geordie wood . guide and map page


100 Pure Santa Fe Beyond the turquoise clichés and New Age philosophizing, beyond the thriving art galleries and endless taco joints and huge Southwestern skies, gar y shteyngar t finds the key to Santa Fe in the characters he meets along the way. photographed by alex farnum . guide and map page 108

110 Saving europe’s Icons Across the euro-strapped continent, centuries-old treasures are falling apart—and there’s no easy way to repair the damage. What will it take to preserve these cultural landmarks? michael z . wise reports.

an art installation at Charlotte Jackson Fine art in Santa Fe, new Mexico, page 100. 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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13 for 2013 A baker’s dozen of hot and cool places to go this year. by heidi s . mitchell the Ultimate tokyo Food tour scot t ha as introduces the best in the biz when it comes to uncovering the Japanese capital’s culinary secrets.


Bizarre Beauty New year, new—weird—ways to look younger. by nell mcshane

by levi brown

Plus Singapore’s new SuperTrees; chef Will Meyrick’s new book; history and hipsters meet in Chiang Mai; and more. trip Doctor 53

w ulfhart


Raising the Steaks A crop of meat-centric restaurants in Kuala Lumpur sears some flavor into the city’s dining scene. by mark lean

Riveting Studded bags add attitude—and some serious street cred—to any travel wardrobe. photogr aphed


travel Forecast 2013 What’s in the cards for the next year? T+L taps our network of experts to identify the trends that will impact your travels— on the ground, in the air, at your hotel and more.

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114 washington, D.C. With the Obamas back in the White House, the nation’s capital is in full swing. The cuttingedge has replaced the sleepy and staid, from galleries and boutiques to restaurants, hotels and more. Mr. Smith, it’s time to go back to Washington. by andrew sessa . photogr aphed by

On the Cover In Palawan, the Philippines, one of our 13 places you must visit in 2013. Photographed by John Seaton Callahan.

jason varney

last look 120 Bohol, Philippines Surrounded by natural beauty, here’s a spot for the adventurous. photogr aphed by massimo casal

Deals Cycle, speedboat and river-cruise throughout Vietnam; massage-a-day in Guangzhou; a family retreat in Samui; and more.

taiwan's taroko Gorge, page 66.



Departments 10 12 … i n b o x 14

e d i t o r ’s n o t e

contr ibu tors




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A L bERto bUz zoLo


dest i nat ions


january 2013 123









when tO GO

what US$5 BUYS

whO tO FOllOw



September through November is pleasant and slightly cool. Cherry-blossom season is late March to early April.

An eight-piece sushi set lunch at Heiroku zushi conveyor belt sushi in Shibuya.


Taroko Gorge


june through August for the warmest, watergoing weather, and mid-week to avoid the traffic and crowds of local day-trippers.

A set of indigenous hand-woven, glass-bead bracelets.




Avoid the Lunar New year period—this year from February 10 to 12—when crowds converge and prices soar. june through September are the hottest but also the driest.

three “My Heart” Singaporean flag pins designed by pop-artist Casey Chen.




November through April, when cooler weather coincides with all of the region’s festivals.

two tickets to the bhubaneswar’s Nandankanan zoo, a white-tiger safari and passes to take photos.


Santa Fe


September and october bring mild climes and four annual festivals, including the 300-yearold Santa Fe Fiesta.

A calla lily pen at the Georgia o’Keeffe Museum store.


Washington, D.C.


Cherry blossoms bloom here, too—visit in March and April for the festival; temperatures stay nice through june. boiling, muggy August is the cruelest month by far.

two extra-large, freshly steamed blue crabs with old bay seasoning at the Maine Avenue wharf.


long weekend


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Editor’s Note

where to find me @CKucway on Twitter

Making Plans for your 2013 travels


hen it comes to questions about travel, No. 1 with a bullet is: where to go next? The start of each year is the best time to make new vacation plans, though when the well-traveled general manager of one of Bangkok’s premier hotels asked me which under-the-radar spots she had to see this year, before the package tours arrived, I had to do a quick verbal two-step to avoid simply revisiting my favorite stops on the map. That’s why each January we publish a short list of the world’s hot spots (“13 for 2013,” page 19). This year’s entries cover the globe but in this region include Palawan in the Philippines, which I highly recommend for its secluded islands and pristine environment; trekking in Nepal; and Australia’s Gold Coast. If there’s a theme among this diverse trio, it’s exploration of the great outdoors. Fitting neatly into that category elsewhere in this issue is the often-overlooked Taroko Gorge in Taiwan (“A Raft of Adventure,” page 66), which writer Cain Nunns takes on in a white-water expedition. Not everyone needs a dose of adrenaline with their morning coffee, so this month we also visit big cities, stopping in nocturnal Tokyo (page 28) for an evening food tour; Singapore, taking a look at its current penchant for nostalgia (page 72); and even a revitalized Washington, D.C. (page 114). Heading into a new year, we also review travel trends you should expect (“Travel Forecast 2013,” page 53) in the not-too-distant future. What’s in the cards? We anticipate a spike in more affordable luxury tours; airports that come with an element of fun; and more one-of-akind vacations. Read the rest of the predictions and tell us what you think—and if you’re something of a travel Nostradamus you can share your own prognostications on Twitter using #TLAsia. Otherwise, just let us know where it is you want to go next and why. If we’re not covering the destination already, there’s a good chance you can convince us to do so in the coming months. Like you, we’ll travel anywhere at least once.— christopher k ucway

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. 10

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at Singapore’s Ku Dé ta t for a Travel+Leisure cocktail.

our next stops

Inle lake

Chiang Mai hong Kong Samoa


Melanie Lee

what brought you from new zealand to taiwan? This is my second stint in Taipei. It’s a vastly underrated destination and still occupies a soft spot with me. Compared to the big-ticket cities of Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing, Taipei is something of a Chinese cultural timepiece. chinese new year plans? To not be in a Chinese or Vietnamese city. I’ll most likely head to Burma. getting active in taiwan There seems to be more ways all the time. Cycling is excellent here. Surfing is a growing sport. Hiking and river tracing are also topnotch. next terrain to conquer... Micronesia for a month. I’m not a big fan of Taipei’s damp, gray winters.

why the current nostalgia? Because of the dizzying array of recent changes, many Singaporeans are looking for things that can ground them and help them make sense of what is happening. your own version of proust’s madeleine? Before her eyesight became poor, my second aunt used to make hakka soon kueh (a sticky pork bun of yam and tapioca flour) at Chinese New Year. ancestral legacy My gong gong (maternal grandfather) was amazing—a Chinese physician and an entrepreneur. He built a manor in the 1950’s for his huge brood of 13 children, and my mother and her siblings refuse to tear it down. soak in the real singapore at... Pulau Ubin, a short ferry ride from Changi Point. It feels like Singapore in the early eighties.

Writer “A Raft of Adventure” (page 66).

Writer “Soul-Searching in Singapore” (page 72).

Alex Farnum

Photographer “Pure Santa Fe” (page 100). charm factor For some reason, Santa Fe feels like a city that belongs to everyone. It’s small and quaint, so you can see how nurturing a place it is, with its down-to-earth people and a laid-back mentality. any good food finds? The best meal of my trip was at Tia’s Cocina. Their chiles rellenos were fantastic. travel photography tip Patience. Some of the most incredible things happen when sitting still or chitchatting with a group of people. santa fe’s best feature? The surrounding landscape, from the red rock to the mountains, open plains and high desert, is gorgeous and ever-changing. dream t+l assignment Bali, top to bottom.

Sarah Spagnolo

Nell McShane Wulfhart

Digital Projects Editor “t+L 500 2013” (page 78).

Writer “bizarre beauty” (page 32).

t+l 500 hotel you’d most like to visit Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, a 15th-century palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal. In fact, I’m taking this magazine’s advice and heading to Venice for the holidays. describe your dream stay Some retreat to the beach; others to the country. My perfect hotel would be in an austere desert landscape with a spacious patio and sliding doors that I’d keep open all night long. any quirky hotel facts you learned this year? Guests at Amansara can take early morning yoga classes at Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. I’ve done yoga by the beach in Puerto Rico and in the Costa Rican rainforest, but this is something I need to try.

be honest: how many of the bizarre beauty techniques have you tried? Truth be told, I’m anti-antiaging, but if I had to pick one I’d go for the pig’s feet. I’m a sucker for an easy fix. so what’s with the placenta soup? It sometimes seems like the world values youth over pretty much everything else, so it’s easy to understand. what do you do to stay young? I try to offset a diet of rich food and booze by working out five days a week. where? Body & Seoul Martial Arts in Seoul has fitness classes that are really effective. You can get a full workout in 45 minutes. It’s the only workout I ever became addicted to.

‘My perfect hotel would be in an austere desert landscape with a spacious patio and sliding doors that I’d keep open all night long.’

—Sarah Spagnolo


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F R o M L E F t: C o U R t E S y o F C A I N N U N N S ; y U H A N C H o N G ; N I C o L A S z U R C H E R ; A d A M S PA G N o L o ; C o U R t E S y o F N E L L M C S H A N E w U L F H A R t

Cain Nunns


All downhill From Here Not the obvious choice when it comes to vacations in Asia, but I think you’ve convinced me to strap on some skis and head for the hills [“Ticket to Glide,” November 2012]. I always think of beaches when I need a break but your intro to skiing in Japan has likely changed my plans in the coming months. Bonus: I won’t have to endure a longhaul flight to Europe or North America. f Nancy Smythe, bangkok

else? Was your November issue meant to make me feel like a slacker? If so, mission accomplished. Now, can you devote one month to lazing and grazing, something that doesn’t involve any calorie loss? f Mason Ganser

The Hilton Niseko and the ski village.

Ticket to Glide

Want to go skiing this winter but don’t know where to start? Here’s the lowdown on how you, whether novice or expert, can make the most out of Asia’s ski runs. By Catharine Nicol

11FEAT_Skiing.indd 1

11/10/2012 19:27

adrenaline Rush Skiing, cycling, martial arts, yoga, hiking, fitness apps and who knows what

c o u r t e s y o f A l p e n s i A K o r e A . o p p o s i t e : c o u r t e s y o f H i lt o n n i s e K o V i l l A g e

kuala lumpur

Past, Present and Future I recently visited George Town and was amazed to see how lively the historic city is, so was glad you featured it in your November issue [“An Island for the Arts”]. It’s a story that many other places around Southeast Asia should look to in order to preserve some of their own heritage and do so with a modern take. I do think there are many underutilized residents out there with great ideas about how to improve their own cities and neighborhoods, and we need to do a

better job of incorporating their skills. A place like George Town proves that. Catherine Teo singapore

asian exercises Interesting look at Southeast Asia’s martial arts [“Fight Club,” November 2012]. Everyone knows about muay Thai but I didn’t realize there are variations on the better-known combat styles in almost every country in this region. I’m planning a trip to Burma for the bando. Tony Saron phnom penh

Correction In our November article, “Phuket by the Dozen,” a photograph of the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket was incorrectly identified. We regret the error.

Sounding Off t+L Southeast Asia asked Facebook fans to vote for their favorite magazine cover of 2012. the topic got people talking. Check out the comments about the july 2012 cover:



j A N U A R y 2 01 3

A very alluring cover. It makes me wanna drop everything and be that person lying on the deck chair. f Gabrielle Gabz just looking at the picture makes me feel like I’m on a vacation already! A hideaway dream ocean heaven! f Jitchaya Sarasombath

the empty beds suggest endless possibilities. you don’t need models on every cover, Southeast Asia is beautiful without any adornment. f Guy Ridgeon It’s your best cover of 2012 because it’s unusual. f Suzanne Miao

Got something to say? Tell us at,, @travleisureasia. Comments may be edited for clarity and space. f or T R Av E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M

ediTor-in-cHief arT direcTor feaTureS ediTorS Senior deSigner deSigner aSSiSTanT ediTor—digiTal aSSiSTanT ediTor

Christopher Kucway John Boyer Merritt Gurley Jeninne Lee-St. John Wannapha Nawayon Chotika Sopitarchasak Wasinee Chantakorn Diana Hubbell

regular conTriBuTorS / pHoTograpHerS Cedric Arnold, Jennifer Chen, Robyn Eckhardt, Tom Hoops, Philipp Engelhorn, David Hagerman, Lauryn Ishak, Naomi Lindt, Jen Lin-Liu, Brent Madison, Nat Prakobsantisuk, Aaron Joel Santos, Adam Skolnick, Darren Soh, Daven Wu

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puBliSHer digiTal Media Manager Senior accounT Manager BuSineSS deVelopMenT ManagerS conSulTanT, Hong Kong/Macau cHief financial officer producTion Manager producTion group circulaTion Manager circulaTion aSSiSTanT

J.S. Uberoi Egasith Chotpakditrakul Rasina Uberoi-Bajaj

Robert Fernhout Pichayanee Kitsanayothin Joey Kukielka Michael K. Hirsch Louisa Daly Shea Stanley Gaurav Kumar Kanda Thanakornwongskul Supalak Krewsasaen Porames Sirivejabandhu Yupadee Saebea

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Ed Kelly Mark V. Stanich Paul B. Francis Nancy Novogrod Mark Orwoll Thomas D. Storms

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

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2013 World’s Best AWArds sUrVeY a chancE to win a VOte FOREntEr YOURfor 2013 FaVORIteS

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dear Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia readers, FOR YOUR FaVORIte hOtelS, we trust you. wethE trust your judgement. that’s why we want you to rate granD prizE For each of the prizes, you Go to A $10,000 trip to the pick the destination and our global travel experiences for us, in the 2013 Travel + Leisure world’s SPaS, and rate the hotels, resorts, destination of your of TraveІ + Leisure’s as best Awards, now through April 1, choice, 2013. these one awards are recognized spas,aIRlIneS, cruise lines, airlines, courtesy of TraveІ + Leisure A-List agents will plan travel’s highest honor, so it’s time to give back to those hotels, resorts, airports, travel companies, and an itinerary based on CRUISe lIneS, spas, airlines, cruise travel companies andyour destinations youtravel love twolines, firSt prizES interests and destinations you love most—now tRaVel COMPanIeS A $5,000 trip editions of Travelstyle. the most. Readers of all global + Leisure will participate Two third-prize through April 1, 2013. winners will each receive anD the in the awards. pLUS Enter the giveaway for onE SEconD prizE $1,000. DeStInatIOnS and tell us exactly what you A $2,500 trip a chanceSo tovisit win! YOU lOVe—In the OnlY think. the full global results will be published in our August edition. tRUlY GlOBal tRaVel Christopher Kucway no pUrchaSE nEcESSarY to EntEr or win. The World’s Best Awards Giveaway is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia age 18 or older.SURVeY To enter and view complete Official Rules, which govern this Giveaway, visit Giveaway begins at 12:01 AM Eastern Time (ET) on 12/1/12 Editor-in-Chief that MatteRS! and ends at 11:59 PM (ET) on 4/1/13. Sponsor: American Express Publishing Corporation.

Radar On Our

Khumbila as seen from Kongde, nepal.

News. Finds. Opinions. Obsessions.

1 Nepal

a mountain region returns Its civil war in the past, this Himalayan state, with its elephants, one-horned rhinos and incredible landscapes, is back in play. Yeti Mountain home lodges (yetimountain; from US$190), on the hike to Everest, and the eco-sensitive, renovated tiger tops Karnali lodge (; from US$500) are targeting sophisticated adventurers. âž”

C o U R t E S y o F y E t I M o U N tA I N H o M E L o d G E S


13 for 2013

A still undiscovered (yes!) corner of Italy. A French island hideaway in the Indian Ocean. An unexpected wellness resort on the coast down under. We reveal a baker’s dozen of places to go this year. by heidi s. mitchell

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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Radar 13 for 2013




13 12 1 4 2

3 6 10




eskaya Beach Resort & Spa.



your own private archipelago

Boracay hogs the spotlight, but there are thousands of other islands to lure beach lovers. At eskaya Beach resort & Spa (; from US$448), on Panglao, thatched-roof villas face the sea. Palawan, a unesco Biosphere Reserve, now has el nido resorts pangulasian island (; from P18,500). Groups can reserve ariara (ariara; US$23,940 per week for six guests), a 50.5-hectare private isle.


Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica Surfers’ haunt goes luxe

Surrounded by mountains and jungle-fringed beaches on the Pacific, this pristine bay bordering a national marine park was long the secret of surfers and backpackers—and migrating whales. Now there’s Kura Design Villas (; from US$440) an upscale eco-resort whose six villas are open to the tropical air. 20

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His tenure at 1919 (; tasting menu for two US$140)—the new restaurant inside San juan’s historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, whose rooms will reopen in mid-2013—has been brief. but native son juan josé Cuevas has already created something other Puerto Rican chefs only talk about: a menu dedicated almost entirely to island ingredients. Cuevas is one of the reasons food lovers are homing in on P.R. Another? Dorado Beach, a RitzCarlton Reserve (; from US$1,499)—which opened last month 40 kilometers west of the capital— where culinary wizard josé Andrés showcases his own versions of such classic dishes as lechón asado (roast suckling pig).

the Bachelor Farmer, in Minneapolis.



New Nordic on the Mississippi

Chefs in America’s most Scandinavian city have embraced the farming ethos of Copenhagen’s famed Noma. The pioneering Bachelor Farmer (thebachelorfarmer. com; dinner for two US$60) has the city’s first rooftop garden. The American Swedish Institute recently opened Fika (asimn. org; lunch for two US$22), serving smörgås (open-faced sandwiches). Next to watch: Union (; dinner for two US$80), run by Noma alum Jim Christiansen.



the next Maldives?

This far-flung French département in the Indian Ocean has begun marketing to English speakers, even offering ESL lessons for tourism workers. U.S.- and U.K.-based operator Black Tomato ( is introducing multiple itineraries there this year. The appeal? Secluded beaches, volcanoes—and damn good croissants.

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 E S K AyA b E A C H R E S o R t A N d S PA ; I L L U S t R At I o N b y K y U N G d U K K I M ; C o U R t E S y o F t H E b A C H E L o R FA R M E R . o P P o S I t E , F R o M t o P : C o U R t E S y o F G w I N G A N N A L I F E S t y L E R E t R E At; C o U R t E S y o F t H E b U S H C A M P C o M PA N y

puerto Rico Homegrown Caribbean



Art enough for you?

The Rijksmuseum ( emerges from a 10-year renovation in April, with a wing devoted to Vermeer and Rembrandt, steps from the recently redone Stedelijk Museum ( A few eye-popping design hotels have also debuted, including ones from Andaz (; from €255) and experimental collective Droog (; from €300).


Charlevoix, Quebec A Canadian winter wonderland

Cirque du Soleil cofounder Daniel Gauthier has spent 10 years and C$344 million developing this once-sleepy ski area into le Massif de Charlevoix ( A new diesel train makes the 66-kilometer run from Quebec City to the base of eastern Canada’s largest vertical drop (770 meters). You’ll find the coolest digs and a fireside lounge at hotel la Ferme (from C$174).


9 Uco valley, Argentina oenophile discovery will this sunny expanse outside Mendoza City become Napa South? New hotels are making it easier to sample the region’s Malbecs and Semillons: Francis Mallman—the Argentine thomas Keller—runs the kitchen at Vines Resort & Spa (vines, while Casa de Uco, wine hotel & Spa (; from US$500) has freestanding tubs and outdoor fire pits.


Africa’s wild frontier

Instability in Zimbabwe continues to divert safari-goers and guides across the border. In South Luangwa, walking-safari pioneer Norman Carr’s daughter-in-law is opening Chinzombo (; from US$575), and the Bushcamp Company ( has redone several camps. In the Lower Zambezi, the ana tree lodge ( will have eight luxe tents with private plunge pools when it opens in April.

Bilimungwe Bushcamp, in Zambia.

at Gwinganna lifestyle Retreat.


Gold Coast, Australia Urbane beach resort

More foreigners are joining A-list Aussies in this beachside Queensland city, thanks in part to new daily nonstops from around the region to nearby Brisbane. Tap into the scene at star chef Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill at the buzzy Hilton Surfers paradise (; A$279) and the new gwinganna lifestyle retreat (; rooms from A$490 per night, two-night minimum), a wellness resort coowned by actor Hugh Jackman.


Basilicata, Italy

Ancient region, newfound charms

It’s a mystery—no, a miracle— why this coastal region in the instep of Italy’s boot has remained so overlooked for so long. Known by Italians for its 7,000-year-old cave dwellings, peasant-style cuisine and thermal springs, it grabbed global attention last year when Francis Ford Coppola opened a hotel, Palazzo Margherita (; suites from €360 per night, two-night minimum), in his grandfather’s hometown of bernalda. Now beachfront tavernas are getting paint jobs and sleepy agriturismos such as the 150-hectare tenuta ViscontiSan teodoro nuovo (; from €130) are waking up.


Marseilles, France

Provence gets its groove on

The scruffy charm of France’s edgiest city—one of the European Union’s Capitals of Culture for 2013—will be on full display this year. But clothing designers such as Caroline Hanny and Didier Parakian are also turning heads. Style seekers browse the racks in the Cours Julien district; artists are colonizing the Le Panier area; and trendy types hole up at the evercool Philippe Starck’s Mama Shelter (; from €79). ✚

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Radar Singapore’s skyline from the trees.




Supper in a SuperTree It’s pretty hard not to see the forest for the “supertrees” in Singapore these days. Just turn toward Marina Bay, where the prismatic SuperTree Grove—18 artificial structures of up to 50-meters tall that house diverse flora, decorative light displays and, in some cases, photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy—stands out even on this futuristic skyline. Explorers of the urban jungle can now dine atop one of the towering trunks at the new restaurant SuperTree by IndoChine.


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The menu is as ambitious as the altitude (think: flash-fried lychees stuffed with kurobata pork), and it comes with an environmentally conscious slant. If fusion nibbles aren’t your thing, sip something from their extensive martini list and take in the 360-view of the city from the world’s first alfresco rotating rooftop bar. 18 Marina Bay Gardens Dr., Gardens by the Bay; 65/6694-8490;; dinner for two from S$170.—diana hubbell

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C L o C K w I S E F R o M b o t t o M : C o U R t E S y o F L o M o G R A P H y; C o U R t E S y o F t H E I N d o C H I N E G R o U P

the foliage-filled interior at Supertree.

Long before Hipstamatic and Instagram, the cool kids used lomography cameras to take nostalgiainducing photos on film. Now the Austrian company has a Maps Edition series with cartographic motifs: the diana F+ (pictured) and diana Mini for dreamy, 70’s-style pics; the Fisheye for distorted images; and the wide-angle La Sardina, which produces saturated colors. bonus: they won’t drain your iPhone battery.; from US$99. —jacqueline detwiler



Chef will Meyrick. tuna and herbs piled on a betel leaf.

Chef Will Meyrick of Bali’s Sarong and Mama San fame has released a new recipe book. Sarong Inspirations features his signature dishes and tells tales of his travels around Asia. The Scottish chef is set to open a new Thai restaurant in Jakarta (how’s that for multicultural?) this month and is also busy researching on the ground for a second cookbook on regional Indonesian cuisine, due out later this year. Q: with your wanderings taking up so much time, have you been missing cooking? A: I’m still in the kitchen! Not just on service for both restaurants a few nights a week, but also recipe testing in the Mama San kitchen upstairs. Palm [Amatawet, Meyrick’s second in command] and I go in together and we get all the recipes I’ve got scribbled down on bits of paper or on my iPhone (I love the app Evernote), we get the videos of when we were on the street or cooking with the ibu ibus [family matriarchs] and that’s where the magic happens. And that’s fun! Q: has your approach to work been changing? A: My mindset has definitely changed. I’m all about discovering new things and championing ideas and philosophies, rather than just being a restaurateur


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C L o C K w I S E F R o M b o t t o M : C o U R t E S y o F S A R o N G b A L I ; © d AV I d b U R d E N ; C o U R t E S y o F S A R o N G b A L I

Sarong It’s Right


Sarong Inspirations is a blend of recipes and tales of travel.

Mango atop black sticky rice.

Where To Buy

Sarong Inspirations is available in Southeast Asia at selected bookstores, including Kinokuniya, Times, Toko Gunung Agung, Gramedia and MPH, and directly from Sarong and Mama San. Priced at Rp450,000 in Indonesia.


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Meyrick’s picks

a colorful dish of beef and chilies.

Meryick has been trawling denpasar’s warungs [familyowned businesses] for his next book about Indonesian street food, and recommends these two standouts. warung Betutu Gilimanuk Jln. Merdeka No. 88, Renon; 62-3/61263464; Rp40,000 for a meal for two. warung Mayra Jln. Katrangan No 41 Denpasar; 623/6123-1953; Rp40,000 for a meal for two.

Ajwain fish tikka with a medley of sauces.


(though I’m still that). Preserving the culinary legacy of Indonesian cuisine, all those unique traditions, is foremost in my mind these days. Q: how did Sarong Inspirations come about? A: It was very organic, a natural conclusion from traveling and gathering recipes, exploring so many regional cuisines along the way, meeting great chefs—not restaurateurs, but accomplished home cooks, who held recipes that had been handed down from generation to generation. Sarong became more than just a restaurant—it became a journey of its own, filled with stories. I tell quite a few of these stories in the book, so that you get to see how the recipes happened, where they came from, what they mean. Basically that was how the book came to life, and it also turned out to be the birth of Mama San [which opened in 2011]. Q: what can the book offer home cooks? A: It’s easy to use, not difficult or complex. The ingredients might be new to some, but once you know what you’re cooking with, and have got the methods down pat, it’s simple to put everything together, just like I do. Q: what are your favorite places to travel to? A: Recently Sri Lanka and Burma really surprised me in the best ways. I’m back in Thailand next week, and I always love heading back there. To be honest though, I’m a hungry traveler—my favorite is usually wherever I went last.—holly mcdonald ✚


tokyo culinary tour guide, Shinji nohara.


The Ultimate Tokyo Food Tour when seeking out tokyo’s finest fare, a little guidance goes a long way. Scott haas introduces the best in the biz when it comes uncovering the culinary wonders of japan’s capital. 28

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Photographed by Hisashi Murayama

a threadsail filefish en route to the sashimi table.

Tokyo is one of the greatest 24-hour dining destinations. With more Michelin stars than any other city and a deep array of the most delicious and seasonal—not to mention some of the rarest—food imaginable, you might think the question is: How to decide where to eat? Sushi or yakitori? Fugu or unagi? Ramen or soba? Or just head straight for the jazz bars cranking out smooth, old-school melodies and great cocktails with a side of sake? You can spend hours mulling over the possibilities. But the real question is: How do you find these places? Actually, how do you find anything in Tokyo? Following the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923 and the carpet bombings of the World War II, Tokyo is a maze without many business or street signs. The signs that do exist are usually in Japanese. And for a variety of reasons specific to a culture that was historically isolated from a big chunk of the planet until 160 years ago, a lot of the best establishments are in cellars, office buildings and back alleys. Enter Shinji Nohara. When the world’s best chefs and most notoriously food-obsessed come to Tokyo, Nohara is their man. Anthony Bourdain, Wylie Dufresne, Daniel Humm

and Alan Richman, among many others, have benefited from his expertise. Some Japanese restauranteurs, unable to Skewers of meat cook on a speak English, are edgy, traditional charcoal grill. too, about hosting foreigners. No hurtle for Nohara—he’ll get them in. Since 1998, this unique individual, typically garbed in cargo shorts, a flowing shirt and sneakers, sporting long, orange hair, his broad face usually adorned with a Cheshire Cat grin, has taken it upon himself to steer guests to the very best food in Tokyo. “After trying the sushi I show people in Tokyo,” says Nohara, “many people say that they are unable to eat sushi at home for months!” Not just sushi. Whether he takes you to Tokyo’s latest tapas bar or a restaurant specializing in washoku (pre-Western) cooking, you know it is going to be good—and come with an informed back-story. For example, you’re likely to find yourself sampling the traditional seasoning shio-koji, “the biggest food trend in Japan these days,” he says. “Shio means salt and koji is a fermentation Shochu, a potent fermented starter. So we’re seeing more items root- or grain-based drink. marinated in shio-koji on menus.” 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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Radar An evening with Nohara typically begins around 7 p.m. over cocktails at the cinematically lit lounges of Tokyo’s high-rise hotels: New York Grill, Oriental Lounge or 28 Bar. The bartenders move the metal shakers dramatically in the subdued light and the pour is nearly as much fun as the drink itself. Chicken at Toriyoshi might be next. Nohara will commandeer the menu, ask you how hungry you are, inquire about what parts of the bird you are afraid to try, and order skewers. Keep the cold beer coming while you enjoy thighs, breasts, tail-bone, skin or tsukune, which is a meatball-like press of ground meat. Note: the sake, mirin and shochu dipping sauce that precedes the grilling is key. From Toriyoshi, Nohara might take you to Sasano, a perfect example of an izakaya (Japanese pub). Pick your own sashimi from tanks of swimming fish. Nohara, a natural raconteur, loves stories, and considers himself a guardian of Japan’s centuries-old relationship to food. As you eat, he will explain how the food culture evolved. Once a pescatarian nation, for example, Japan became carnivorous by imperial decree only in 1868 when the emperor lifted the ban on eating western food. Further, Nohara knows the chefs and owners of his favorite haunts, giving foreign guests the rare opportunity to connect with the cooks on a more personal level. Conversations with Nohara find a natural outlet at Azabu Kusafe. The server comes by with a selection of rare shochu (fermented, root- or grain-based drinks that are about 25 percent alcohol) in tiny glasses. You sip, listen to jazz and ease into the evening. Finally: shime. “Shime, means ‘closing the deal,’” explains Nohara, “and ramen is always shime in Japan!” Naturally, he’s got the perfect deal-sealing hole-in-the wall. “There is nothing like Kaduya,” Nohara says. “Homemade noodles and dumplings, crispy honey-roasted pork belly, chopped leeks and great broth—everything about it rejuvenates me.” The trick is to eat and drink small amounts on this food tour, because, before you know it, you’ll find yourself


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Yakitori-style tsukune, minced chicken meatballs.


Bartender prepares a glass of shochu with ice shavings.

loosening your belt just one more notch as orange sweeps the sky. You want to be in it for the long haul: a Nohara-led nocturnal food pilgrimage reveals not only cuisine and culture usually invisible to foreigners, but also why Japan is called The Land of the Rising Sun. ✚ HOW TO BOOK Nohara can be reached at 81-90/30438138; Rates are negotiable, but you can estimate ¥50,000 for a 12-hour tour.

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an “after” picture of the filefish.


a big bowl of ramen noodles, the filling favorite.

GUIDE 1 toriyoshi 2-8-6 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku; 81-3/3716-7644; no reservations; dinner for two ¥5,000. 2 Sasano 9-6-23, Akasaka, Minatoku; 81-3/3475-6055; dinner for two ¥8,000. 3 azabu Kusafue 2-25-13, Nishiazabu, Minato-ku; 81-3/3498-3181; dinner for two ¥5,000. 4 Kaduya 3-2-4 Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku; 81-3/6420-0668; no reservations; dinner for two ¥2,000.


h e a lt h

BIZARRE BEAUTY In the quest for perfect skin sometimes you have to resort to strange measures. by Nell McShane wulfhart January is normally a time to take a hard look in the mirror. And if you find crow’s feet, sagging skin and rogue cellulite staring back at you, it also might be time to take some drastic, possibly perplexing measures. Asia is full of weird and wonderful anti-aging treatments that promise to restore your lost youth, as long as you can get past some gross ingredients and kooky contraptions. Read on for the craziest ways to turn back the clock.


Dishes rich in collagen, like tonsoku (pigs’ feet), are supposedly good for helping skin retain elasticity and moisture. In southwestern Japan, people looking to maintain a youthful glow head to specialty restaurants that serve up tonsoku in a variety of ways. Saburo Restaurant (1656-9 Nakadomari, Onnason, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa) offers savory pigs' feet for around ¥1,000 per person. In China, those in search of eternal youth are eating placenta, brought home from the hospital with the baby, and usually cooked in a soup. The placenta is believed to have anti-aging and energy restoration properties. China’s also got an herbal remedy for almost any sign of growing old. Royal jelly, a honeybee secretion, is ingested to facilitate cell growth; ciwujia, a Northeast Asian shrub, invigorates the body; and Chinese wolfberry fruit is even said to prolong life. You can grab a handful of these cheap and easy antiaging solutions at almost any herbal market in Southeast Asia for a song. ➔


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Illustrated by Wasinee Chantakorn

Radar Treatments

From the humble snail to the limitless potential of stem cells, Korea is on the cutting edge. Seoul’s life Center Chaum (4-1, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnamgu; 82-2/3015-5077; is a medical complex where technicians extract stem cells, send them for analysis to predict future disease, and store the cells in anticipation of the legalization of stem cell reproduction—at which point they’ll use them for treatment. Their customized antiaging programs, which include stem-cellbased “cosmeceuticals” for youngerlooking skin, have garnered the clinic a clientele of sports stars and Arab princes. Korean nationals can buy a membership by ponying up a W170 million deposit, which is returned after 10 years, plus an annual fee of W4.5 million. International visitors are charged per treatment. Head to Japan for lipoSonix (,


There’s a bird-produced facial that got a lot of press when New York and London salons started offering it, but it first took flight in Japan. Nightingale droppings contain guanine, a nucleobase that forms small crystals that are highly


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a slimming treatment for problematic fatty areas that are harder to shift as the years go by, like the stomach and love handles. A highfrequency ultrasound breaks down podgy bits into fatty acids that are eliminated for good when urinated out. Treatments are non-invasive—unless we’re talking about your wallet: licensed clinics charge ¥80,000 a pop. But even a single session is said to be enough to make a noticeable difference, so get ready to squeeze into those skinny jeans . Those, on the other hand, looking to fill out their wardrobes should submit to some abuse by Thailand’s Khunying Tobnom Na Songkla, who claims her breast-slapping techniques increase size and pertness. Ban tobnom (66-2/945-8296; 2/78 Ramintra Rd. Soi 65, Lad Prao; Bt11,400 for six 10-minute slapping sessions) is in Bangkok, though at least one Thai salon owner has exported these slap sessions to San Francisco.

refractive, supposedly creating a “luminous” appearance. Geishas used these droppings to remove their heavy make-up; today, Japanese women buy uguisu no fun, a powder made from sterilized excrement, and use it in facials to repair dull, sun-damaged skin. It’s available at most Japanese cosmetic shops for around ¥1,000 or online at Amazon for US$36. Snail mucus extract has oozed into Korean beauty products over the past couple of years. Myriad face creams featuring “snail slime” claim to have a regenerative effect on skin, even reducing scarring from acne and minimizing pores. The snails are fed red ginseng to ensure the highest quality premium slime. Stock up on sticky goodness at most Korean cosmetic shops for around W50,000, or you can buy Missha Super aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream online at Amazon for US$42.

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If the breast-slapping beauty regimen sounds like something you’d just as soon try at home, perhaps DIY devices are for you. Japan has hundreds of peculiar-looking tools designed to reduce the signs of aging. The Oyasumi Goodnight Brow (US$62) is a headband meant to diminish forehead wrinkles. The Pupeko Face Cheek anti-aging Breathing exercises Mouthpiece (US$37), fits in the mouth and is supposed to tighten jaw muscles while pesky smile lines can be treated with the Kogao! Smile lines Face Belt (US$40). You can buy these products at and while you may look foolish wearing one, the financial risk is small. Besides, looking foolish is surely better than looking old. ✚

Radar the handy tablet Samsung smartphone puts hong Kong in your hands.


Handy Hong Kong Forget those conspicuous travel books. When you land in Hong Kong international airport, swing by Terminal 1 to pick up your personal smart-phone-cum-city-guide. This phone-rental system sets you up with unlimited local and international calling and all-you-can-browse 3G Internet for HK$68 a day. So that takes care of staying plugged in. But for those looking to explore more than just websites, this gadget is fully loaded with maps, coupons, tips on where to shop and eat, and upcoming events. By the time you’ve stepped out of the airport, you’ll already feel like a local. 852/81202233;—merritt gurley

SUpER-SHORT TRAvEL STORIES Social media is a riot of snippets, photos and links. but where are the real stories? we challenged four t+L wordsmiths to tell a pithy travel tale in just 140 characters. Read the results—and submit your own.

Chris Kucway @CKucway bangkok taxi. want to turn left, but bet we’ll go straight…thru a red light. My pleading thai is drowned out by tinny mor lam on the stereo. #tLAsia


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Diana hubbell @Dianahubbell dear Suitcase: I’m sorry it ended this way. I really thought you would follow me. I know you’re mad, but did you have to take my clothes? #tLAsia

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Jeff Chu @jeffchu Me: “I have 2 hours!” Friend: “I’ll show you Malaysia.” Curry + roti come. Fish. Noodles. Rice. I taste a nation, all appetizers. #tLAsia

Merritt Gurley @MakingMerritt Last minute trip to Laos. overnight train. 3rd-class carriage. Fall asleep reading a book, wake up holding a baby. Return policy? #tLAsia.

Now we’re asking you: share your own Super-Short Travel Story on Twitter—using the hashtag #TLAsia—and we’ll retweet them. We’ll publish the best in a future issue.

F R o M t o P : C o U R t E S y o F H A N dy H o N G K o N G . C o M ; I L L U S t R At I o N S b y wA S I N E E C H A N tA K o R N

t w i t t e r at u r e

Radar est’s juicy rib eye, cooked on the bone. Ready for a feast at est.



est South American steakhouse Est, located at the Doubletree Hilton, is not your run-of-the-mill hotel restaurant. Its quirky interiors, featuring a pile of retro-looking leather suitcases illuminated in pink at the entrance, plush high-back chairs, clocks from the 1950’s, old-school stereos and Hi-Fi sets, attest to this. The menu, created by restaurateur Benjamin Yong, includes standouts like the AAco Tomahawk Wagyu, a marbled, juicy rib eye steak cooked on the bone. All steaks are sliced by a Laguiole knife-toting chef, and dressed up with creative side dishes like spicy deep-fried Brussels sprouts and lentils, or eggplant croquettes in a tangy tomato sauce. The Intermark, 182 Jln. Tun Razak; 60-3/2163-5732;; dinner for two RM400.


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Ril’s Bangsar Recently decamped from its Chinatown location, the new Ril’s restaurant and bar is housed in a two-story building at the heart of Bangsar, one of the city’s expatriate enclaves. The new joint sports 1920’s speakeasy-inspired interiors— think high timber ceilings, a marbletopped bar, gold-leaf wallpaper and handmade leather chesterfield sofas. The steak-filled menu from owner, chef and occasional surfer Khairil Ibrahim includes items like Australian Angus rib eye, filet mignon, Wagyu rib eye and porterhouse, all grilled in butter and roasted garlic jus. Desserts are an inventive mesh of East and West. Highlights include: the dark chocolate fondant with salted gula melaka ice cream, and the mango ginger cheesecake topped with lightly spiced mango chutney and crème anglaise with hints of lemongrass. 30 Jln. Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru; 60-3/2181-1634; my; dinner for two RM270.

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el Rincón Located on Changkat Bukit Bintang— arguably the city’s liveliest strip—is El Rincón, a restaurant with a cozy outdoor terrace that channels the environs of a casual Mediterranean eatery with authenticity and considerable flair. Its laid-back charm draws the city’s cool kids, who usually check-in for a late dinner and a jug or three of homemade sangria, before heading to the heaving bars and clubs down the road. Recommended starters include the jamon Ibérico cortado a cuchillo (slivers of cured Ibérico ham), followed by mains like roasted suckling pig, roasted goat, braised Ibérico pork cheeks as well as ribs. Spanish desserts like arroz con leche, sweet rice boiled in milk, provide a satisfying finish. 14&16, Changkat Bukit Bintang; 60-3/2142-7633;; dinner for two RM270. ✚


A crop of meat-centric restaurants in Kuala Lumpur sears some flavor into the city’s dining scene. by Mark Lean

Radar 1

3 2



Riveting Studded bags add attitude—and some serious street cred—to any travel wardrobe. by Mimi Lombardo 1 2 3 4 5


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Rose-gold-embellished nylon bag, by Mz wallace. Leather tote with nickel detail, Calleen Cordero. Calfskin bag with ruthenium studs, Valentino Noir. Patent-leather-spiked shopper, Christian Louboutin. Quilted leather tote, Michael Michael Kors.

Photographed by Levi Brown

M A R K E t A S S I S tA N t: C o U R t N E y K E N E F I C K

st yle

Radar spotlight

Now Arriving: Baku

Baku hilton

Jw Marriott absheron Baku

Four Seasons hotel Baku

Jumeirah Bilgah Beach hotel

Fairmont Baku

Opening date

october 2011

May 2012

September 2012

Fall 2012

Early 2013

number of rooms






what you’ll love

top-floor revolving bar; direct access to the gleaming Park bulvar mall and its planetarium.

Rooftop indoor pool; spa treatment rooms overlooking the Caspian; three restaurants (including Italian and a deli).

Lounge serving 50 types of whiskey; walk-in humidor for rare Cuban cigars.

water park; bowling alley; Caspian Sea views from every room.

Multiplex cinema; designer stores; four restaurants; 18-room spa from Espa.

You know you’re in Baku when you…

...take your first bite of khingal (wheat pasta) with local yogurt and caramelized onions at the Sky Grill.

...see the three large bronze sculptures in the lobby, the work of Azerbaijani artists Salkhab Mamedov and Ali badullaev.

...are slathered in mud from the nearby town of Naftalan at the jaleh spa (the name means “morning dew” in Azerbaijani).

...hear popular local dj Elio Sanchez spinning techno at Equinox Nightclub.

...spy the undulatingflame-shaped building, which pays tribute to the country’s nickname, the Land of the Fire.

the details; doubles from AZN192.; doubles from AZN175.; doubles from AZN300.; doubles from AZN125. Rate not available at press time.

fa s h i o n

TOTE MODERN Paris-based Longchamp, beloved by prepsters for its fold-up nylon travel carryall, is introducing something graphic: this canvas-and-calfskin bag inspired by Argentina’s country estates and the vivid work of Mexican Modernist architect Luis barragán. arragán. Arm candy, indeed.— mimi lombardo 42

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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 H I Lt o N H o t E L S ; C o U R t E S y o F M A R R I o t t I N t E R N At I o N A L ; R I C H A R d wA I t E /C o U R t E S y o F F o U R S E A S o N S H o t E L b A K U ; G E R R I t M E I E R /C o U R t E S y o F j U M E I R A H H o t E L S ; C o U R t E S y o F FA I R M o N t H o t E L S & R E S o R t S ; C o U R t E S y o F L o N G C H A M P

the capital of Azerbaijan has long been a stomping ground for oil-industry tycoons. And with a surge of glam hotels hitting the scene, it’s hoping to become the next destination for the Vuitton set. Here, five notable newcomers. by brooke Porter

Radar on the map

Thai Revival History and hipsters coexist on the leafy, laid-back streets of Chiang Mai’s wat Gate quarter.



4 Vila Cini stocks handwoven silk table runners, betel-nut boxes and a selection of antiques from around the region. 30 Charoenraj;

oi 2 rat s


5 A lively crowd of well-to-


wa tg












3 Unpretentious Japanese



do Bangkok weekenders and expats gathers at Deck 1 for alfresco cocktails, live jazz, traditional Thai cuisine (try the giant prawns in tamarind sauce)—plus unbeatable views of the Ping River. 14 Charoenraj;; dinner for two from Bt1,200. —jennifer chen ✚




house serves terrific (and super-affordable) Indian dishes, like pumpkin curry, aloo gobi and flaky rotis. Save room for the house-made coconut ice cream—a perfect salve for the tropical climate. 8/1 Na Wat Gate; 66-53/324-621; dinner for two from Bt250.

t ara aw

n aew


2 The open-air hinlay Curry

chiang mai


teak exporter East Borneo Company has been revived as 137 Pillars house Chiang Mai, a hotel whose 30 suites are decorated with fourposter beds, claw-foot tubs and bright orchids. Second floor rooms boast a wellshaded veranda. 2 Na Wat Gate Soi 1;; from Bt13,500 double per night.

and shiratama (rice cakes filled with red-bean paste). 18/1 Kaew Nawarat Soi 2; 66-53/247-731; lunch for two from Bt500.

137 Pillars house.



150 m

fare is on the menu at Kitchen hush, in a two-story wooden house. You’ll find street-stall classics including takoyaki (octopus balls) and such mainstays as katsu-don (rice topped with deep-fried pork)

a view of the Ping River from Deck 1.

Inside Vila Cini.


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C LoC K wISE F RoM toP : CoU R t ESy oF 137 PIL L A RS C HIA NG M AI; CoU R t ESy oF dEC K 1; MIGU EL SA NC H E z

1 A former base of 1800’s

the steps leading to


t r av e l u n i f o r m

BARTLEY INGRAM the art arbiter on stress-free style and why he never takes fashion risks when traveling. by Mark Lean


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he likes to keep things simple. “I basically stick to the same style every day. I travel lightly. As long as you have underwear and T-shirts, the rest is easy.” With experience, he has learned the follies of packing “outfits” when on the road: “It doesn’t work.” Instead, he suggests sticking to understated, classic pieces. “I usually take a pair of helmut lang jeans and a pair of Comme des Garçons trousers, freshly laundered (still in the plastic) hermès shirts, Jil Sander crewneck sweaters and slippers, because I don’t like walking on dodgy hotel carpets.” Packing tips: A trip isn’t the best occasion to debut your latest fashion finds. “Whenever I buy a new fashion piece and bring it along just because it is ‘must-have’ or interesting, I never wear it.” Taking advantage of hotel laundry services means you can travel with less and skip the luggage carousel.” ✚

What’s In His Bag “I always bring flight socks. A few years ago I developed deep vein thrombosis on a long-haul flight and it got serious. don’t underestimate the dangers of being in the air for hours.” “My iPod is a must. I seldom watch movies on flights, but I need my playlist.” “I usually pick up a selection of magazines like Vanity Fair and Time at the airport book store.” “If you’re visiting someone, an amazing candle from Jo Malone or Frédéric Malle is the ideal gift. It’s also great for personalizing a generic hotel room.”


As the head of art for luxury retail emporium Joyce, Bartley Ingram straddles two rarefied worlds: fashion and art. Based in Hong Kong, the American streamlines the creative direction for the company’s two galleries (in Paris and Beijing) collaborating with artists, photographers and designers in endeavors that are copied as regularly as they are talked about. Ingram recently put together a dream project, matching edgy talents like Hong Kong-based French photographer Laurent Segretier with model Rick Genest, the star of Thierry Mugler’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way music video. Their collective effort is currently on display at the Joyce Gallery in Paris’s Palais-Royal. Ingram’s go-to destinations for work are, predictably, Paris and Beijing. In these cities,

your travel dilemmas solved ➔


53 …

pl a nning

58 …

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trip Doctor

by Amy Farley

Q: what are my rights if my luggage is delayed? a: There’s nothing quite so forlorn as being the last person left at the baggage carousel, craning to spot a suitcase that’s not coming. It’s like being picked last for dodgeball. I’ve been there— last summer I flew to Denver for a short trip and left the airport with no clothes for myself or my infant daughter. Illustration by Larry Jost

But I did learn a few things from the experience. First, a lost bag is rare. In the United States an average of just three bags were mishandled for every 1,000 passengers in the first half of 2012, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Data from airtransport research company SITA, shows that your odds

are not quite as good if you are traveling internationally, with 8.99 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers globally in 2011 (the latest figures available), but that’s down from 12.07 in 2010, and it is the survey’s best-ever annual baggage-handling performance. Those numbers include luggage that’s lost,

stolen, damaged or delayed. So even if your bag doesn’t show up, chances are it’s not gone for good. A delayed bag, though, is still a major inconvenience. On my Colorado trip, my suitcase materialized a day later—after I had replaced hiking gear, a swimsuit and baby clothes, for starters.

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trip Doctor According to George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog, in the past, most carriers offered fliers whose bags were delayed compensation capped at US$50 a day, which doesn’t get you very far. But a 2009 directive from the DOT ordered U.S. domestic airlines not to place arbitrary limits on compensation; instead, they were to cover all verifiable expenses related to baggage loss, damage or delay up to US$3,300. So if you need more than US$50 a day you can probably get more. You just have to know to ask. On international flights, you’ll need to check the policy by airline. Air India will give you an allowance of Rs3,000 a day if your bags are missing , whereas Thai Airways more broadly assures that “reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket” expenses will be reimbursed. Bear in mind that your airline’s definition of “reasonable expenses” may be different from your own. Discuss your situation with the baggage agent before replacing your things. Below, a few simple tips for keeping your bags in check.

Put an ID both outside and inside your bag. That

way, if your luggage tag falls off, there’s still a way to track you down.

Make your bag distinctive. Prevent

someone from taking it home by mistake—tie something bright and colorful—a ribbon, say—around the handle.

Buy baggage insurance,

either through a vendor such as Travel Guard or Allianz


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or with your credit card provider. Passengers with an American Express Platinum Card (from Travel + Leisure ’s parent company) can get up to US$500 for a delay as short as three hours.

Q: Is it better to book flights with my cruise, or to arrange tickets separately? a: Cruise lines negotiate set fares based on volume, so their flights are often more affordable than what you’ll find on your own—especially for business-class tickets. Perhaps more important, cruise fares protect you if you literally miss the boat because of flight delays; you’ll be flown to the next port of call without any change fees, says Dwain Wall, senior vice president of CruiseOne & Cruises, a network of 1,400 cruise agents. Still, while you’ve got that cruise airfare on hold (you often have a full 10 days to cancel without penalty), you’ll want to shop around. Sale fares and tickets on lowcost carriers are sometimes a better deal than the cruise rates, which are restricted to specific airlines. And because the number of cruise-fare seats is limited on each flight, your itinerary might include an overnight stay. If you do book on your own, be sure to purchase travel insurance in case your flight is delayed.

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what’s Your Problem? an Overzealous tour Member


Isolate the individual that will only make him more likely to further monopolize your guide’s attention.

Be too quick to judge. As the group dynamic shakes out, needy travelers tend to settle down.


Book trips where multiple guides are present at all times. one is there to handle special situations just like this.

talk to your guide, not to the traveler in question. Guides are trained to handle a variety of personalities.


Do I reaΙΙy need to arrive two hours early for an international flight? a: Here’s the official rule: you and your bags must be checked in at least an hour before takeoff, and you’ve got to be at the gate 30 to 45 minutes early. (There are a handful of exceptions; check with your carrier.) If you check in online and only have a carry-on, you’re free to play it closer—just don’t forget about the security lines.


Travel Forecast 2013

what’s in the cards for next year? Each january, t+L taps our network of experts to identify the trends that will impact your travels— on the ground, in the air, at your hotel and more. turn the page for a glimpse of the year ahead. reported by nikki ekstein, amy farley, jennifer flowers, mark orwoll, tom samiljan, bree sposato and jane wooldridge

Photo-illustrations by Bartholomew Cooke

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mobile cruising

YOU WILL SAIL THROUGH UNCHARTED WATERS traditionally, cruise lines have focused on the western Hemisphere, but increasingly they’re setting their course for the Far East. burma has popped up on itineraries from lines including Silversea and azamara Club Cruises. Orient-express is adding a second ship on the Irrawaddy River: the 50-guest Orcaella was designed for the shallower river reaches north of Mandalay. Ships from Uniworld, Viking and, in 2014, aqua expeditions will sail through Vietnam and Cambodia on the Mekong River, with visits to Saigon and the temples of Angkor wat. Crystal Cruises will offer sailings to the lush Malaysian island of Langkawi, and SeaDream Yacht Club will visit southern thailand and java, Indonesia, so hoist the main sail.


You will share a ride

to the delight of kindergarten teachers around the globe, travelers will embrace the idea of sharing this year—at least when it comes to getting around. By Bike ten thousand short-term rental bikes will hit New york City this March—joining the 477 other bike-share programs already in places like taiwan and Seoul. track them with Google’s Bike Sharing world Map (maps.


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By Car the hourly car rental gets even more convenient with Car2go (, which lets you locate and drive a nearby vehicle without a reservation—and park it in any legal space of your choosing. the service is available in 17 cities worldwide.

By taxi two cab-share apps recently launched in Singapore: Split-It! ( and Go My way (gomyway Malaysiabased taxiMonger ( now serves nine countries in Asia, helping passengers split fares.

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By Private Plane offering a new twist on fractional jet ownership, Share-a-Jet exchange (shareajet lets members hitch a ride on someone else’s jet—potentially halving the cost of a private flight.

Paper tickets will become passé one of the most underrated elements of Apple’s ioS6 launch last fall was the debut of its new Passbook app. An “electronic wallet,” it manages everything from hotel and flight reservations to loyalty and gift cards, and makes it easy to access related electronic documents (boarding passes; tickets; coupons). Passbook has already been embraced by airlines including Nok Air, All Nippon Airways and Air China, and hotel groups such as Starwood. Given Apple’s extraordinary reach, it won’t be long before other companies join in, transforming the way we travel.

villa rentals

You will sleep in someone else’s dream house No longer just a resource for practical-minded travelers, online villa- and apartmentrental services are now focusing on fulfilling travel fantasies. has transitioned from a sleep-on-my-couch site to one that offers curated collections of rentals (many of them high-end) that appeal to travelers’ interests and passions, from design to gardening. Portico ( and Inspirato (, two recent additions, have introduced a club-style model for rentals.

you have to pay steep membership fees: for Portico, a one-time charge of US$2,500 plus US$2,500 annually; at Inspirato, US$15,000 up front and US$2,500 yearly. but in return, you get exclusive access to private houses and hotel villas around the world for belowmarket rates—in our tests, they were as much as 45 percent lower than what the hotels themselves were offering. what’s more, all the rentals have been visited and vetted, and each comes with concierge and maid service.


Your tablet and pC will be one and the same From hybrid notebooks with detachable touch screens to tablets with full laptop capability, “laplets” are the next big thing.

navigation →


→ the Samsung atIV Smart PC Pro 700t (US$1,200; is a powerful laptop that runs the full version of windows 8 and has a touch-screen device that detaches from the keyboard for a true tablet feel.

→ the lenovo Yoga 13 Series (US$1,200; lenovo. com) has a 13-inch screen that folds back for tablet-style use. Its i7 Intel Core processor and long-lasting battery are great for multitasking on long-haul flights.

→ Microsoft’s sleek, ultra-slim Surface (US$500; microsoft. com) runs on the tablet-optimized windows Rt and features Microsoft office and a three-millimeterthick detachable keyboard that doubles as a cover.

the “mapocalypse” frenzy surrounding apple’s ioS6 launch last fall revealed just how sophisticated our navigation tools have actually become. Google Maps remains the app to beat, with its comprehensive Street View integration, unparalleled turn-by-turn directions and compass mode, but a slew of competing apps are touting other innovations, from crowd-sourced construction updates to adventure-oriented mapping. Expect Apple to strike back with something even bigger and better before year’s end. the map war rages on.

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responsible travel


Luxury tours will become more affordable that high-end guided trip can be a more-than-once-in-a-lifetime event now that luxury operators are rolling out more casual trips to appeal to a broader range of travelers. → Butterfield & Robinson ( recently launched the bistro collection, which trades luxe hotels for cozy inns and Michelin-starred restaurants for family-run spots in Provence, tuscany, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. → the new Connections line from abercrombie & Kent (abercrombie includes 17 multipledeparture itineraries that visit 22 countries; expect slightly larger groups and more low-key lodgings, but the same unique private experiences.

→ the Escorted discover Group journeys series from Cox & Kings (coxandkingsusa. com) goes to more than 30 countries and includes stays at four-star boutique hotels and lodges. Group size is capped at 25. → natural habitat adventures ( has a three-month-old Expeditions line that features smaller-scale hotels, mom-and-pop restaurants and such activities as kayaking and hiking on trips all over the world, from Kenya to the Galápagos Islands.


airports will get (even) more clubby If you want to avoid long lines, you’d better get yourself into the right club.


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September marked the opening of the 600-room ItC Grand Chola hotel, in Chennai, India, which is poised to join the ranks of 157 other properties worldwide that have received LEEd certification from the U.S. Green building Council. the airports in San Francisco and San jose, California, in the U.S., and New delhi and Hyderabad, India, also now have LEEd-certified facilities. Airlines around the globe, meanwhile, are testing biofuels and flying more efficiently by reducing cabin weight and rethinking their routes. More than a dozen cities, including tokyo, Sydney and Seoul, are using hybrid taxis, and London will debut its first all-electric mini-fleet later this year. your travel footprint is lightening—whether you know it or not.

→ The U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s Global entry (globalentry. gov) allows travelers who have submitted to background checks to swipe their passports at a kiosk and speed through customs. Southeast Asia has yet to implement the program but with 39 airports onboard, the odds are improving.

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→ TSA’s PreCheck

( can eliminate the need to remove shoes, laptops and liquids at nearly three dozen airports. The program taps travelers from Global Entry, domestic airlines’ frequent-flier clubs, and now the Loews Hotels & Resorts loyalty program.

→ The biometrics-based

airport-security program from Clear (, which went bankrupt back in 2009, was resurrected last year. For an annual fee of US$179, members get to jump to the front of security lines at a number of U.S. hubs, including Denver and Dallas, but no word yet on going global.


You will cheat on your airline


Though loyalty is more important than ever when it comes to avoiding fees and getting a good seat, it will be tested again this year. Airfares are predicted to continue rising— by as much as four percent in 2013—while seats remain scarce because of reduced schedules. Fuller planes also make it difficult to claim award seats. A recent study by aviation consultancy Ideaworks found that travelers on Delta, Emirates and US Airways have a less than 50 percent chance of booking basic-level award tickets. (You’ll have an easier time redeeming miles with international alliance partners than domestic U.S. airlines, says Gary Leff, founder of Meanwhile, some airlines—including Southwest and American—have made it harder to manage your account via mileagetracking sites. It’s enough to tempt previously loyal fliers to try their luck and shop around.

air travel

airports will be more fun If there’s anything satisfying about flying this year, you’re more apt to find it on the ground than in the air. For that you can thank the world’s many airports, which are becoming more entertaining as they expand. Changi airport’s terminal 1, in Singapore, recently completed US$500 million in improvements, adding art installations and bringing in more natural light for a “tropical city” aesthetic. Penang International airport has undergone a US$81-million upgrade, building a private lounge and new shopping and dining options, while the Ministry of transportation in taiwan is working to transform taipei International airport into a major busniness travel hub, and Chennai airport, in India, has already begun renovations that should be completed this year. For directions at U.S. airports, including JFK and logan, just ask the holographic avatars. tech



Your vacation will be one-of-a-kind

The pop-up phenomenon started with restaurants, spread to stores and is now catching on with hotels. Design hotels, which opened pop-ups in Tulum, Mexico, and Mykonos, Greece, is bringing yoga ashrams ( to Italy and Bali for two months this spring. And England has two companies devoted to here-todaygone-tomorrow rooms: Pop-Up hotel ( and Snoozebox (

In-flight wi-Fi pioneer Gogo is now available on 1,500 planes flown by nine North American carriers, while Singapore is the latest international carrier to begin a fleet-wide rollout using Onair technology. Row44 is another in-flight wi-Fi provider that uses satellites rather than air-to-ground communciation for seamless connection even over water, with airlines like South Africa-based Mango and U.S.-based Southwest buying in. And there are more innovations in the works, as American, delta, and a handful of other airlines adopt video-streaming in-flight entertainment.

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Planning Q: Can you recommend an adventure trip that will appeal to our entire family, ages seven to 70? the key to planning a multigenerational vacation is to ensure that there are activities for everyone. below, t+L picks three great itineraries. Family fun in Sri lanka.

the details

jetwing travels Sri Lanka

This Sri Lankan expedition starts at the Jetwing Beach resort in Negombo and weaves through the cultural hub of Kandy to the hills of Nuwara Eilya, for a taste of northern tea country. jetwing. com; 13 days from US$1,904 per person.

This 13-day odyssey squeezes lounging by the pool into a packed itinerary that includes bird-watching at Hunasfalls, whale-spotting in Trincomalee, a safari in Yala National Park and a walking tour of the Galle Fort.

Indochine Lodges tatai River, Cambodia

Spend a week exploring the Tatai River in Cambodia, beneath the Cardamom mountains. This floating resort features 12 luxury tents sure to delight adults and kids alike.; seven days from around US$1,160 per person.

Choose your own adventure at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge. Walk the Koh Andet Islands, cruise to the fisherman village of Koh Sralao and take in the mangroves, boat to Tatai Waterfall, or just dive off your veranda into the river for a dip.

Smiling Albino thailand and Cambodia

This five-star, two-country, two-week trip starts in Bangkok, meanders into Cambodia for a tour of Angkor Wat and then loops back to Thailand.; 14 days from US$16,800 per person including all flights during the trip.

Set your own pace as you traverse highlights of each country. See the Khmer ruins from the seat of a bicycle or from the loft of a helicopter flight. Learn to dice papaya, shoot the perfect picture, or serve up a high flyin’ muay Thai kick.

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G E H A N d E S I LVA w I j E y E R At N E / C o U R t E S y o F j E t w I N G S R I L A N K A

the activities

the trip

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a nighttime view of the secluded Kiridara luang Prabang.




what Family Retreat at InterContinental Samui ( Details A stay in an ocean View room. highlights one 60-minute spa treatment for two guests, access to Kids’ Club, complimentary meals for children under the age of 12, free airport transfer and daily breakfast. Cost bt9,600 per night, double, through November 30. Savings 25 percent.

what Have it All at Four Seasons Guangzhou ( Details A stay in a tower room. highlights Complimentary daily 45-minute massage for each guest, a daily hotel dining and entertainment credit of RMb600 per person and complimentary daily breakfast. Cost From RMb3,180 double, through March 3. Savings Up to 32 percent.


what Kiri Suite Sensation at Kiridara Luang Prabang ( Details two nights in a Kiri suite. highlights A 90-minute Kiridara massage for two, traditional ceremony of alms-giving to monks and one Lao set dinner for two at Phudoi restaurant. Cost US$722 (US$361 per night), double, through March 31. Savings 22 percent.

what Free & Easy at Conrad bali (conradbali. com). Details two nights in a deluxe ocean room. highlights one-time 60-minute body massage for two, return airport transfer, daily breakfast buffet for two. Cost From US$646 (US$323 per night), double, through March 31. Savings 35 percent.


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Romance LAOS

what Chic Romance at the Luang Say Residence ( Details three nights in a Pioneer suite. highlights traditional Lao baci ceremony, dinner for two with a bottle of champagne at La belle Epoque restaurant, airport transfers and daily breakfast. Cost From US$1,195 (US$398 per night), double, through october 31. Savings 10 percent.


what Romantic weekend Retreat at Shangri-La Hotel jakarta ( Details A stay in a deluxe room. highlights Complimentary breakfast and lunch for two, as well as a Couples’ massage. Cost From US$232, double, through March 31. Savings 35 percent.




what winter Moments at the Peninsula bangkok ( Details two nights in a Superior room. highlight Guests receive bt3,000 of hotel credit per stay, which can be used at any of the the Peninsula bangkok’s restaurants or bars, or at the spa. Cost From bt9,300 (bt4,650 per night), double, through March 15. Savings 30 percent.


what Extended New year Saver at Swissôtel the Stamford ( Details two nights in a Classic room. highlight Access to the hotel’s facilities, such as the fitness center and tennis courts. Cost From S$416 (S$208 per night), double, through February 25. Savings 20 percent.


what the Lunar year Escapade at Park Hotel Hong Kong ( Details Four nights in a deluxe room. highlight Guests




per day

staying for three consecutive nights will receive an additional complimentary fourth night. the fourth must be used immediately after the preceding three. Cost From HK$5,500 (HK$1,388 per night), double, through February 28. Savings 25 percent.




what Experience Sheraton at Sheraton bali Kuta Resort ( Details A stay in a deluxe room. highlights daily breakfast buffet for two, a resort credit of US$25 to use at selected in-house dining venues and for spa treatments, and one-way airport transfer. Starwood Preferred Guest Members earn double Starpoints. Cost From US$225, double, through june 30. Savings 20 percent.


massage for two, daily buffet breakfast and one romantic terrace breakfast for two. Cost From bt9,300 (bt4,650 per night), double, through March 15 Savings 30 percent.

what Awake the Passion at Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villa Resort & Spa ( Details three nights in a Pool suite. highlights one rose-petal turndown service, sparkling wine and handmade chocolates, one 60-minute

what Stay 3 Pay 2 at the Langham Xintiandi ( Details three nights in a Langham Club junior suite, Parlour suite or Langham suite. highlights Complimentary evening cocktails and canapés, and Langham club privileges such as daily refreshments, as well as complimentary internet and international Skype phone calls Cost From RMb4,066 (RMb1,355 per night), double, through February 28. Savings 33 percent.


what Four-Night Stay Special at best western Shinjuku Astina Hotel tokyo ( Details Four nights in a Standard room. highlight Complimentary daily breakfast. Cost From ¥53,105 (¥13,276 per night), double, through january 31. Savings 35 percent.


VIEtNAM the operator butterfield & Robinson (, one of t+L’s preferred international operators that focuses on active tours around the globe. “VIetnaM BIKInG” tour highlights ➔ Cruise up the Perfume River to the ancient tomb of Minh Mang on a private riverboat. ➔ Experience fine dining and urban glamour in Saigon. ➔ See local markets in unesco heritage site Hoi An. ➔ Explore the Cu Chi tunnels, zipping there via private speedboat. ➔ Savor Vietnamese cuisine with locals, including royal descendants. ➔ Cycle past temples along the coastline near Nha trang on your hybrid bike.

Cycle around hue, and see Vietnam’s Forbidden City.

cost the nine-day itinerary starts at US$6,795 (US$755 per day) and includes hotels, guides, some meals, entrance fees, use of bicycles and most activities. the trip includes stays at Six Senses Hideaway, Ninh Van bay, Park Hyatt Saigon and Life Heritage Resort in Hoi An.

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January 2013

Chye Seng huat hardware, Singapore, page 72.


In This Issue 66 72 78 92 100 110

Taroko Gorge Singapore T+L 500 Odisha, India Santa Fe Saving Europe’s Icons

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Raft of a


If you think Taiwan is all city and no rural playground, think again. Cain Nunns heads out into the wilds of Taroko Gorge for mountains, monkeys and trial by water.

p h oto g r aphed by alberto buzzolo

The Liwu River and the Tunnel of Nine Turns, in Taroko National Park.

trav elandleisureasia . com

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IT’S ONLY DANGEROUS ON SUNNY DAYS FOLLOWING HEAvY RAINS,” SULLY SAYS, AS OUR MINIvAN LURcHES IN AND OUT OF THE pSYcHOLOGIcAL cOMFORT OF THE WHITE LINE SNAkING ITS WAY THROUGH TAIWAN’S TAROkO GORGE. IT’S A ScREENSAvER-pERFEcT DAY, AFTER A TYpHOON HAS jUST RIppED THROUGH. “Heat expands the rocks, and the loose soil does the rest,” his voice trails off as we lean hard into an elbow of the mountain, searching for an overhang to shield us from the dangers forewarned by the achtung landslide signs at every corner. “What’s the most dangerous section of the road?” I say—my voice failing me. “The gorge’s limestone areas break away in massive sheets that fall flat, crushing you,” Sully replies. “In the marble sections, huge boulders roll on top of you, or knock you off the road and down the cliff.” On cue, we turn wide into a shoulder of the road where the guardrail has a minivan-sized hole punched into it—peeled back and ripped apart like a giant metallic straw holder. The open sky, where the guardrail used to be, gives way to a 300-meter drop straight down into the verdant valley below. I blanch. Sully cracks up. Funny guy. Well, I am here for adventure. One way to find it here in Hualien County is river tracing, in which trekkers hike, climb, canyoneer and swim the path of rushing water. But I’m aiming farther, for the rain-engorged Xiuguluan River, a prime piece of whitewaterrafting real estate a few hours away. Thanks to the typhoon, Xiuguluan supposedly has been bumped up from grade III to grade IV rapids. First we have to make it to the launch. Up we continue, under limestone cliffs and loping marble mountains framing the northern tip of the Chungyang Range, a string of 3,000-meter peaks running the spine of the island. Down we wind, through circuitous tunnels dynamited out of sheer rock. And over bridges we cross the ever-patient Liwu River, which took millions of years to carve out the gorge. We pass turquoise swimming pools and aboriginal walking trails—former trade routes for the tattooed headhunter tribes that once made their home in what is now the island


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republic’s population-sparse, biggest province by size, about 170 kilometers south of the capital of Taipei. Squeezed between rugged black- and ash-sand coast, the cobalt Pacific Ocean and East Asia’s highest mountain range, it’s truly impressive country.


ooking out on the island’s premier scenic attraction, it’s difficult to understand why Taiwan isn’t more popular. Because once you get out of Taipei and into the countryside, the contrast is remarkable. “Hualien’s the crown jewel,” says Taipeibased engineer Jens Bergensten, as we pull into the hotel after our 40-minute “joyride” from the train station. “It’s got the mountains, waterfalls, coastline, forests, hiking and swimming holes. Some of them might look more at home on a Fiji tourism brochure. It reminds me of northern Laos or a poor man’s New Zealand. And that’s not a bad thing to be.” A native Kiwi, I tend to agree. And the sublime location of Silks Place Taroko fully supports that assessment. On a fork of the Liwu River, surrounded by seven towering peaks, plum trees and mountainous forest, Silks is the rare five-star hotel built in a national park. Considering it’s a former getaway of the late leader Chiang Ching-kuo, a place he liked to entertain Cold War allies such as former U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew, there’s little wonder that some flexibility was shown in the zoning. Today, the only reminder of Chiang’s time here is a small bronze bust relegated to the outer reaches of a garden, as the hotel has undergone a major revamp. The goal: incorporating Taroko’s environmental elements of mountain, water, wood and rock into the architecture while highlighting the region’s local produce in the menus. For proof that these efforts have succeeded, I could point to the hotel’s listing in the Michelin Green Guide—or I could reminisce

Below: hiking in hualien. Opposite: “Taroko” means “magnificent and beautiful” in the truku indigenous language.


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reakfast highlights the following morning: locally sourced products, and monkeys traversing the river on a trolley wire used to supply the five-story, saddleback-roofed pagoda. The opposite bank feels so close I wonder why the dexterous monkeys don’t just leap across. Unfortunately, we won’t be hitting the water from so proximate a location. The twohour drive south to Ruisui in the heart of the East Coast Rift Valley takes us through mountain ranges overlooking the valley to the East and West and mammoth golden, postharvest paddies. “This has been an amazing trip,” Wong Kwong-Wai, a 34-year-old investment banker and adventure sports junkie from Hong Kong, said during our ride. “I just spent a week hiking around the gorge and, after rafting today, I’ll head down to the coast to go surfing for another week.” Having just left the confines of bar-heavy Taipei, I’m equally interested in unleashing my long-dormant inner adventure-sports-loving Kiwi. And, I’ve been assured that today’s expedition will be anything but dull. Arriving at Ruisui Bridge, we are handed life vests, helmets and rafting boots, before being ushered into a conference room for a safety video. Unfortunately, it’s entirely in Chinese—probably a little problematic, particularly for the Japanese group from Taipei on a company team-building exercise. But the message seems universal: Don’t panic. Lay on your back facing the river and let one of

like mother ducks, guides shepherd rafters in Xiuguluan. Opposite: Silks Place taroko seems to sit in a Chinese painting.

C o U R t E S y o F E A S t C o A S t N At I o N A L S C E N I C A d M I N I S t R At I o N . o P P o S I t E : C o U R t E S y o F S I L K S P L A C E tA R o K o

over our arrival at Silks, its picture-perfect placement in a commanding view of lowhanging mist punctured by mountaintops. It felt like stepping into a Chinese painting. At check-in, the receptionist tells me that the Xiangde Temple, perched across the river, as well as the Catholic church built from river rock behind the hotel, together afford a divine insurance policy to guests who stay here. I’m dubious of spiritual experiences billed through credit cards, but manage to offer thanks to a higher power when I’m upgraded to a river-view suite. Hallelujah indeed. The suite serves up minimalist Zen comfort in warm cherry woods and earth-tone fabrics. There’s a hisand-hers bathroom boasting a Japanese tub and sea salts, and organic coffee and local mountain teas in the minibar. But the room’s best feature is the 15-meter-long balcony overlooking the raging river and the far-side mountain, home to circling hawks, mountain goats and monkeys. I spend the rest of the evening with a few bottles of Chilean red and Taiwan’s best pool, a 30-meter infinity number that falls away to the English gardens and the gushing gorge below. “We’ve had guests who have complained that the river is too loud,” says Lucy Chang, a Silks executive. “I think they think we can turn it off.” I’m dumbfounded. To me, there’s something primal about fast-moving water. It has a soothing cadence that washes away the stresses of the day—especially one filled with Sully’s talk of death-by-enormous-boulder.

long stretches of rapid whitewater, drops, eddies, holes and hazards keep the adrenaline pumping

the guides fish you out. River rocks are apparently bad for your head in any language. Our instructor, Chen Da-Wu, tells us that we should have the river to ourselves. It’s a weekday and the “typhoon scares the locals,” he says. Our boat is made up of me, Kwong-Wai and his girlfriend, plus five more from the Japanese company, including Yoishi Watanabe, a 35-year-old Beatles fan from Kyoto. Judging by how deferential our new raft mates are toward him, it’s clear that Yoishi is the boss. It wouldn’t take us long to find out how far that deference would go. Xiuguluan starts in Mabolasih Mountain, flowing about 100 kilometers through Hualien County before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. But we aren’t going that far. Ours is a 24-kilometer mission down the East Rift Valley before cutting through a gorge in the Chungyang Range. Despite the rains, the first section is sedate, more wide-open flood plains and gentle bends than the seriously fast whitewater I was hoping for. The guides content themselves with buzzing around us on motorized rubber speedboats, like mother ducks nudging their young to safety. Just before lunch, a taste of adventure: After our boat spins a few times and slams into a rock, Yoishi is catapulted into the river. A quick study, he doesn’t seem overly concerned, assuming the position à la the safety video. But his subordinates are concerned. One by one, they dive in to join him. One by one, they are fished out by the guides. Puzzled, and unable to control the raft alone, Kwong-Wai, his girlfriend and I wait on the bank.

The rapids churn faster in the second half. Long stretches of rapid whitewater, drops, eddies, holes and hazards, such as trees and debris left over from the typhoon, keep the adrenaline pumping and the guides busy rescuing us from the frigid confines of the Xiuguluan. At one point, our 2.4-meter hazard-orange rubber charge strikes a partially submerged refrigerator, an unlikely nemesis in this remote corner of the country. The collision brings an immediate end to the meat of a surging stretch of rapids—we all go over. But it is pure bad luck that the only sighting of man-made debris sunk us. The rest of the trip is marked by quick whitewater, injected from tributaries into the narrow limestone-cliff-lined bends of our route. A few wider stretches offer brief respites for aching arms and hoarse throats. One stunner of a section, widening to about 800 meters, is punctuated with rocky islands running down the center of the sapphire water. Flanked by rugged mountains studded with native gum and pine trees, I once again feel transported home to New Zealand’s north. But it isn’t long before we’re back in the throes of a stretch of grade IV turbulence, being chucked around the boat. Of course, Yoishi goes in again. And everyone else voluntarily joins him. And, again we wait while they get fished out. “What’s up with the samurai corporate culture?” I ask Da-Wu. “Maybe it’s a face-saving thing. ‘The boss is in the water, so I should be in the water,’” our guide suggests. “Or maybe they just really like getting wet. I know I do.” ✚


T L Guide Getting there taiwan Rail runs three express trains daily from Shulin station to Hualien. three-hour trips cost Nt$20. No. 28, Shanjia Street, Shulin City, Taipei County; twtraffic.tra. English/e_index.aspx

STAY Silks Place taroko Hualien County, Taroko National Park; 8863/869-1155; taroko.;

doubles from NT$7,000; shuttle from Hualien Train Station is NT$280 per person each way. DO For rafting advice, call Ruisui Rafting Center, part of the East Coast National Scenic Area Administration. No. 215, Section 3, Zhongshan Rd., Ruiliang Village, Ruisui, Hualien County; 886-3/887-5400; River tracing trips offered by Swimmy Tour. 886935/188-137; tour.0935188137@

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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Soul-Searching in Singapore

It’s a common refrain: this modern island’s shine outweighs its substance. But Singaporeans are increasingly strolling down memory lane, looking for their cultural roots. m e l a n i e l e e follows the trail. Photographed by d a r r e n s o h

Clockwise from top left: Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam; the century-old Peranakan Museum façade; craveable Keong Saik Snacks; the Wanderlust hotel in Little India.

trav elandleisureasia . com

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trav elandleisureasia . com

am on a “Sultans of Spice” tour—a three-hour exploration of Kampong Glam, a historical Malaysian precinct in Singapore. “To know Kampong Glam is to know Singapore,” the guide, Geraldine Koh, declares as our group of 10 meanders through the neighborhood, checking in at Sultan Mosque, a former royal palace and collection of sweetsmelling shops selling hajj pilgrimage supplies and tombstones of old Malay kings. In the past, Malay aristocracy resided here, along with Malay and Arab merchant communities who came to this thriving port town to seek their fortunes. Today, colorful rows of restored shophouses are bars, restaurants, shisha joints and indie fashion shops. “By being conscious of some of the things that have taken place here,” YuMei Balasingamchow, co-author of Singapore: A Biography tells me, “you deepen your appreciation of what is there today. This is especially so for Singapore because so much of its past is seemingly invisible and overlooked. Yes, this is a terrific, glitzy, hypermodern city—but that is only one layer of meaning to this place.” It’s this juxtaposition that I’m in Kampong Glam to explore, the layers of the old and new that give this youthful city-state its context. Beneath Singapore’s dazzling cosmopolitan status is a darker, grittier past—150 years when its power as a port wasn’t enough to fend off social problems and racial riots in this ethnic hodgepodge. It’s been 47 years since Singapore parted ways with Malaysia, and in that time the historic has held little hip cachet. Perhaps that’s because the city’s visionaries have been veering on the side of pragmatism, generally valuing

economic development over cultural preservation. Perhaps it has to do with a socially entrenched stoicism: the American pollster Gallup recently ranked Singapore as the least emotional country in the world. But lately Singapore is getting nostalgic. The city-state has realized that clean streets and administrative efficiency do not a complete culture make. Little by little, Singaporeans are clinging to the existing remnants of our past with an attitude akin to reverence. There’s a move to tell old stories and repurpose old structures, as this dynamic city attempts to redefine itself. The most accessible windows to the past nestle a far bit below this skyline of glass towers and Marina Bay Sands. Historic hotels now dot the low-rise landscape, offering interested visitors a place to immerse themselves in the past. The boutique offerings of the Unlisted Collection—Hotel 1929, New Majestic and Wanderlust—are found in restored shophouses and school buildings around Chinatown and Little India. “To me, these ethnic enclaves are unmistakably Southeast Asian and they feel original,” says Unlisted’s managing director, Loh Lik Peng. His approach in restoring old buildings is to “always show some scars of wear and tear to make things interesting”—such as the stripped and exposed lobby ceiling at the New Majestic that reveals previous generations of paintwork. “I lived abroad for a long time so I can’t help but get nostalgic about my childhood here,” Loh says. “While the past can never be brought back in totality, I go for a pastiche of old and new with the idea that the spirit of these buildings is retained.” At The Fullerton Hotel, the building’s spirit is revived three times a week, on hour-long, heritage tours of this grand 1928 Palladian monument that once housed a general post office, government offices, a lighthouse and a country club. “This is really the heart of where From top: hotelier loh lik Peng; the coffee crowd at Chye Seng huat hardware; a mouthful at Keong Saik Snacks. Opposite: wanderlust was a 1920’s school.

From left: a cup of Papa Palheta coffee at Chye Seng huat hardware; trigger happy’s winston Chai and John Chan peruse their Singlish dictionaries; the new Majestic hotel. Opposite: haji lane in Kampong Glam.

So much of the past is invisible and overlooked. yes, this is a terrific, glitzy, hypermodern city—but that is only one layer of meaning to Singapore

Singapore blossomed into a bustling port town,” says Florence Minjoot, the effervescent Fullerton guide who takes me through the hotel’s iconic spots such as the Post Bar (the old Post Office hall) with its polished brass rails, and the elegant Straits Room (the old billiard room of the Singapore Club) with its high, coffered ceiling. The tours were launched as a result of frequent guest inquiries about the building’s history, and an expanded version is in the works of The Fullerton Heritage precinct, which includes other landmarks such as The Fullerton Waterboat House, Clifford Pier and Customs House—to cater to this growing interest in Singapore’s past. Of course, the thing about nostalgia is that it’s interpretive, and what better contemporary commentary on old Singapore than the field of art and design? John Chan and Winston Chai of design-collective trigger happy came up with Singapore Souvenirs, a range of tongue-in-cheek concept tchotckes, for an exhibition three years ago. These products were so well-received that they now are sold commercially in museum shops and book stores. Their “Singlish” notebook contains a glossary of the vernacular English used in Singapore. Chan designed it deliberately to look like a hardcover Bible to give it an air of “formality and credibility,” he says. “We are taught that Singlish is ‘bad English’ but I feel that it is a reflection of our multicultural heritage; this interspersing of Chinese,

Malay and Indian colloquialisms into daily life has been going on for generations.” And the pencil erasers shaped like kueh tutu, a steamed rice flour pastry with shredded coconut filling—Chai, 33, created these because it’s a favorite old childhood snack of his that is getting harder to find. “I don’t want people to forget about its existence,” he says. “These products make a great starting point in helping foreigners understand Singaporean culture at a more intimate level,” Chai says. “We wanted to create souvenirs that really represented what is unique about Singapore. We didn’t want this country to be symbolized by Merlion paper holders or Boat Quay fridge magnets. It is so much more than that.” Adds Chan, 32: “With our parents, life was a lot more pragmatic: earning money, progressing and modernizing. But now that our generation has got everything materially, we are searching for ourselves and this inevitably leads back to our past, especially since things change so dramatically and quickly around here.” Maybe this is why one of the most popular haunts at the moment is Chye Seng Huat Hardware, whose name so appropriately means “to flourish again” in Hokkien. Local specialty coffee brand Papa Palheta has its roastery, tasting lab, school and coffee bar in this conserved Art Deco shophouse in the industrial area of Jalan Besar. Since its opening last August, the latte-loving hordes who

flock here still baffle purveyor Leon Foo, who “never meant for Chye Seng Huat Hardware to become trendy. I figured giving it an industrial look would be a fitting way to complement this area’s hardware heritage,” he says. “Apparently, that makes it hipster.” Further strengthening Chye Seng Huat Hardware’s Brooklyn cred, the Singapore Memory Project recently held an event here called “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” Young folks brought their parents and grandparents down to tell their autobiographies and share memories in exchange for free coffee. Romanticizing the past seems to me a logical form of introspection in a city that predominantly focuses on the present and the future. As hotelier Loh points out, “after a while, all these shopping centers get dehumanizing. You can find all these branded boutiques in any other part of the world, and a sense of rootlessness sets in whether you are a local or a traveler.” That’s why I’m delving into my country’s history and seeking out the humanity. As a third-generation Singaporean, I want to know not just the sparkling success stories, but also the personal hopes and struggles of my predecessors as they attempted to build their dreams here. It is my way of making sense of my own personal history as well. This is what I tell the European and Australian tourists on my “Sultans of Spice” tour, who are surprised to see me, a local, doing the legwork with them. “Don’t you already know this place?” an elderly British lady asks. The answer, as with most things in life, is yes and no. I visit Kampong Glam occasionally to check out vintage clothes, chill over a pint or get my fix of spicy nasi padang. However, besides remnant textbook knowledge that this was once a Malay enclave, I never bothered to find out more about the area, to my own loss, I think. Yes, Singapore often enough seems to value efficiency over personality. But I know we’ve got one: ballsy with a hint of shyness, modern yet sentimental, and always, always evolving to stay on top of the game. And this is why reminiscing is important—not because the past was better, but because it draws out who we are and shows us where we came from. ✚

T+L Guide DO Visit the national Museum of Singapore for an overview of the city’s past. 93 Stamford Rd.; 65/63323659;; S$10 per adult. the Peranakan Museum tells the tales of Singapore’s original foreign traders and their (often mixed-race) descendants. 39 Armenian St.; 65/6332-7591;; S$6 per adult. the Original Singapore walks offers seven half-day tours (including Sultans of Spice) through historical and cultural enclaves. 65/63251631;; S$30 per adult. the Preservation of Monument Boards runs

periodical public tours of national monuments and architectural heritage sites. 65/6332-7953; If you prefer dIy touring, visit Discover Singapore heritage trails for information on the marked heritage trails throughout the city. EAT AND DRINK Chye Seng huat hardware 150 Tyrwhitt Rd.; 65/63960609;; coffee for two S$10. Keong Saik Snacks 49 Keong Saik Rd.; 65/62218338;; dinner for two S$68. STAY the Fullerton hotel 1 Fullerton Sq.; 65/6733-

8388;; doubles from S$440; guided heritage tours on Mondays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m. new Majestic hotel 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Rd.; 65/65114700; newmajestichotel. com; doubles from S$268. wanderlust 2 Dickson Rd.; 65/6396-3322;; doubles from S$198. hotel 1929 50 Keong Saik Rd; 65/6347-1929;; doubles from S$208. SHOp Check out wheniwasfour ( and trigger happy (triggerhappy. sg) for locally made, retro products, and shop listings.

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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THIS YEAR, in our annual compendium of the top hotels and resorts, you’ll find all the listings—as voted by readers in the Travel + Leisure world’s best Awards survey—as well as contact details and spotlights on the winners.

arriving in style at the Peninsula hong Kong.


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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

T+L 500


Paro Uma Paro 87.53 975-8/271-597; uma.paro. $$$


Siem Reap amansara 93.78 855-63/760-333; $$$$ la Résidence d’angkor 90.10 855-63/963-390; residence $$ Park hyatt (formerly hôtel de la Paix; reopening spring 2013) 88.69 Sivutha Blvd.; 855-63/966-000; $$$ Raffles Grand hotel d’angkor 87.56 855-63/ 963-888; $$$ Sofitel angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort 92.86 855-63/ 964-600; sofitel. com. $$


beijing Peninsula Beijing 91.64 8 Goldfish Lane; 8610/8516-2888; peninsula. com. $$$$

Ritz-Carlton 87.80 83A Jian Guo Rd.; 86-10/6629-6699; $$$

Pudong Shangri-la 90.40 33 Fu Cheng Rd.; 86-21/6882-8888; $$

Ritz-Carlton, Financial Street 91.25 1 Jin Cheng Fang St. E., Financial St.; 86-10/5908-8888; $$$$


Hong Kong Four Seasons hotel 91.12 International Finance Centre, 8 Finance St.; 852/31968888 $$$$ InterContinental 89.38 18 Salisbury Rd.;

852/2721-1211; $$$ Island Shangri-la 89.25 Pacific Palace, Supreme Court Rd.; 852/2817-3838; shangri-la. com. $$$$ Kowloon Shangri-la 88.43 64 Mody Rd.; 852/2721-2111; shangri-la. com. $$$ landmark Mandarin Oriental 89.50 15 Queen’s Rd.; 852/21320188; mandarinoriental. com. $$$$ Mandarin Oriental 91.66 5 Connaught Rd.;


852/2522-0111; mandarin $$$$ Hall of Fame Indicates 10 consecutive years in the T+L 500

Peninsula hong Kong 94.34 Salisbury Rd.; 852/2920-2888; $$$$

Debut Indicates a new hotel on the list

Ritz-Carlton 89.00 International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Rd. W.; 852/2263-2263; ritzcarlton. com. $$$$

Great Value Rate of $250 or less

Lessthan than $200 $$Less US$200 $200 toto$350 $$$ $ US$200 US$350 $350 toto$500 $$$$ $ $ US$350 US$500 $500 to toUS$1000 $1,000 $$$$$ $ $ US$350 $$$$$$ $ $ $ More than More than US $1,000 $1,000

Shanghai Park hyatt 89.22 100 Century Ave.; 86-21/6888-1234; park. $$$ Peninsula Shanghai 94.63 32 Zhongshan Dong Yi Rd.; 86-21/23272888; $$$

Agra Oberoi amarvilas 93.56 Taj E. Gate Rd.; 91-562/223-1515; $$$$ bangalore leela Palace 90.11 23 Airport Rd.; 91-22/25211234; $$ jaipur Oberoi Rajvilas 94.45 Goner Rd.; 91-141/268-0101; $$$$ Rambagh Palace 93.00 Bhawani Singh Rd.; 91-141/221-1919; tajhotels. com. $$$ jodhpur Umaid Bhawan Palace 94.07 Circuit House Rd.; 91-291/251-0101; tajhotels. com. $$$$ Mumbai taj Mahal Palace 91.53 Apollo Bunder; 9122/6665-3366; tajhotels. com. $$$ the Oberoi 90.00 Sir Dorab Tata Rd., Nariman Point; 91-22/6632-5757; $$ New delhi the Imperial 88.46 1 Janpath; 91-11/2334-1234; $$ the Oberoi 88.12 Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg; 91-11/2436-3030; $$$ taj Mahal hotel 92.00 1 Mansingh Rd.; 91-11/ 2302-6162; $$ taj Palace hotel 89.09 Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave; 91-11/ 2611-0202; $ Udaipur

no. 1 in Asia

Oberoi Udaivilas 97.50 Haridasji Ki Magri;

91-294/243-3300; $$$$

63-36/288-4500; discovery $$

taj lake Palace 92.92 Lake Pichola; 91-294/2428800; $$$$

Manila edsa Shangri-la 88.00 1 Garden Way; 63-2/ 633-8888; $


bali ayana Resort & Spa 88.80 Jalan Karang Mas Sejahtera; 62-36/170-2222; $$

Makati Shangri-la 88.97 Ayala Ave. and Makati Ave., Makati City; 63-2/813-8888; shangri-la. com. $$

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay 89.47 Jimbaran; 62-36/701-1010; $$$$

Peninsula Manila 88.00 Ayala and Makati Aves.; 63-2/887-2888; peninsula. com. $$$


Kyoto hyatt Regency 88.13 644-2 Sanjusangendomawari, Higashiyama-ku; 81-75/541-1234; $$ tokyo Grand hyatt 90.35 6-10-3 Roppongi; 81-3/4333-1234; $$$$ Mandarin Oriental 89.33 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi; 81-3/32708800; mandarinoriental. com. $$$$ Park hyatt 91.16 Shinjuku Park Tower, 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku; 81-3/5322-1234; com. $$$$ Peninsula tokyo 89.91 1-8-1 Yuraku-cho; 81-3/ 6270-2888; $$$$


Luang Prabang la Résidence Phou Vao 92.80 856-71/212-194; $$$


Kuala Lumpur Ritz-Carlton 91.20 168 Jalan Imbi; 60-3/21428000; $

pHILIppINES boracay

no. 1 Island Hotel in Asia

Discovery Shores 96.77

SINGApORE Capella 93.85 1 The Knolls; 65/6222-8088 $$$$ Conrad Centennial 88.29 2 Temasek Blvd.; 65/6334-8888; $$ Four Seasons hotel 89.25 190 Orchard Blvd.;

65/6733-8111; fourseasons. com. $$ Fullerton Bay hotel 88.21 80 Collyer Quay;

65/6333-8388; fullerton $$$ Fullerton hotel 89.74 1 Fullerton Square; 65/ 6733-8388; fullertonhotel. com. $$ Mandarin Oriental 89.53 5 Raffles Ave.; 65/6338-0066; mandarin $$$ Raffles hotel 91.42 1 Beach Rd.; 65/6337-1886; $$$$$ Ritz-Carlton, Millenia 92.75 7 Raffles Ave.;

65/6337-8888; ritzcarlton. com. $$$$ Shangri-la hotel 91.14 22 Orange Grove Rd.; 65/6737-3644; shangri-la. com. $$$


Seoul Park hyatt 88.00 606 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu; 82-2/2016-


147 79

le MĂŠridien, Chiang Mai Resort 87.69 108 Chang Klan Rd.; 66-53/253-666; $

Melbourne the langham 90.55 1 Southgate Ave.; 61-3/ 9224-1234; langhamhotels. com. $$

Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi 92.38 51/4 Sankampaeng Rd., Moo 1; 66-53/888-888; mandarin $$$$

Sydney Park hyatt 88.20 7 Hickson Rd.; 61-2/92561234; $$$$


Hanoi Sofitel legend Metropole 91.84 15 Ngo Quyen St.; 84-4/38266919; $$ Ho Chi Minh City Park hyatt Saigon 92.62 2 Lam Son Square; 84-8/3824-1234; park. $$ Hoi An nam hai 87.79 84-51/394-0000; $$$$

On the grounds of Capella in Singapore.

1234; com. $$$ the Shilla (reopening august 2013) 91.16 202 Jangchung-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu; 82-2/22333131;


lebua at State tower 89.41 1055 Silom Rd.; 66-2/624-9999; lebua. com. $$$ Mandarin Oriental 95.04 48 Oriental Ave.;

66-2/659-0000; mandarin $$$

bangkok Grand hyatt erawan 90.46 494 Rajdamri Rd.; 66-2/2541234; $$

no. 1 Skyscraper Hotel

Jw Marriott 88.00 4 Sukhumvit Rd., Soi 2; 66-2/656-7700 $$

Royal Orchid Sheraton hotel & towers 90.78 2 Charoen Krung Rd.,


Peninsula Bangkok 95.72333 Charoennakorn

Rd.; 66-2/861-2888; $$$

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Soi 30; 66-2/266-0123; $$ Shangri-la hotel 90.42 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Rd.; 66-2/2367777; $$ the Sukhothai 90.35 13/3 S. Sathorn Rd.; 66-2/344-8888; $$$ Chiang Mai Four Seasons Resort 92.68 Mae Rim-Samoeng Old Rd.; 66-53/298-181; $$$$


Great barrier Reef hayman 89.00 Hayman Island; 61-7/4940-1234; $$$$ lizard Island 94.53 61-3/9426-7550;; meals included. $$$$$ Kangaroo Island

no. 1 in Australia, New zealand and the South Pacific Southern Ocean lodge 97.87 61-8/9918-

4355; southernoceanlodge.; all-inclusive; 2-night minimum. $$$$$

Shangri-la hotel 88.83 176 Cumberland St.; 61-2/9250-6000; $$$


bora-bora Four Seasons Resort 93.68 Motu Tehotu; 689/603-130; $$$$ St. Regis Resort 91.25 Motu Omee;

689/607-898; $$$$$


Christchurch the George 87.77 64-3/371-0251; thegeorge. com. $$$ Matauri bay lodge at Kauri Cliffs 95.25 64-9/407-0010;; all-inclusive. $$$$ taupo huka lodge 93.5064-7/378-5791; huka; all-inclusive. $$$$$



Point Clear Grand hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa 87.64 1-251/928-9201; marriott. com. $$


Phoenix/Scottsdale Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at troon north 90.76 10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr., Scottsdale; 1-480/515-5700; $$$


Chiang Rai anantara Golden triangle Resort & Spa 88.80 Chiang Saen; 66-53/784-084; anantara. com. $$$$$

T+L 500





T+L 500

Jw Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa 87.58 5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale; 1-480/948-1700; $$$ the Phoenician, a luxury Collection Resort 89.66 6000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale; 1-480/9418200; $$$ Royal Palms Resort & Spa 91.15 5200 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix; 1-602/840-3610; $$$


no. 1 for Location in the U.S.

Post Ranch Inn 92.49 1-831/667-2200; $$$$

Half Moon bay Ritz-Carlton 89.10 1-650/712-7000; $$$ Lake tahoe Ritz-Carlton 90.88 Truckee; 1-530/562-3000; $$$

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa 89.10 5700 E. McDonald Dr., Paradise V. ; 1-480/9482100; sanctuaryoncamel $$$

Los Angeles Area Beverly hills hotel, Dorchester Collection 91.07 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills; 1-310/2762251; beverlyhillshotel. com. $$$$

Sedona enchantment Resort 89.55 1-928/2822900; enchantmentresort. com. $$

Beverly wilshire, a Four Seasons hotel 92.00 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; 1-310/275-5200; $$$$

l’auberge de Sedona 90.95 1-928/282-1661; $$ tucson Ritz-Carlton,

Hall of Fame Indicates 10 consecutive years in the T+L 500 Debut Indicates a new hotel on the list Great Value Rate of $250 or less

o P P o S I t E : A L E X FA R N U M

Dove Mountain 92.38 15000 N. Secret Springs Dr.; 1-520/572-3000; $$

Lessthan than $200 $$Less US$200 $200 toto$350 $$$ $ US$200 US$350 $350 toto$500 $$$$ $ $ US$350 US$500 $500 to toUS$1000 $1,000 $$$$$ $ $ US$350 $$$$$$ $ $ $ More than More than US $1,000 $1,000

Four Seasons hotel los angeles at Beverly hills 91.14 300 S. Doheny Dr., Los Angeles; 1-310/ 273-2222; fourseasons. com. $$$ hotel Bel-air, Dorchester Collection 90.71 701 Stone Canyon Rd., Los Angeles; 1-310/ 472-1211; $$$$ l’ermitage Beverly hills 88.69 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills; 1-310/278-3344; $$$ Montage Beverly hills 90.24 225 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills; 1-310/8607800; montagebeverly $$$$ Peninsula Beverly hills 92.23 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 1-310/

551-2888; $$$$ Shutters on the Beach 88.64 1 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; 1-310/458-0030; $$$$ terranea 89.02 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes; 1-310/2652800; $$$ Napa/Sonoma auberge du Soleil 90.58 Rutherford; 1-707/ 963-1211; aubergedusoleil. com. $$$$ Bardessono hotel, Restaurant & Spa 89.94 Yountville; 1-707/204-6000; $$$$ Calistoga Ranch, an auberge Resort 90.33 Calistoga; 1-707/254-2800; $$$$ Carneros Inn 88.20 Napa; 1-707/299-4900; $$$$ Meadowood napa Valley 88.62 St. Helena; 1-707/299-963-3646; $$$$ Solage Calistoga 90.08 Calistoga; 1-707/226-0800; $$$$ Villagio Inn & Spa 89.03 Yountville; 1-707/944-8877; villagio. com. $$$ orange County Montage laguna Beach 90.74 1-949/7156000; montage $$$$ Resort at Pelican hill 89.74 Newport Beach; 1-949/467-6800; $$$ Ritz-Carlton, laguna niguel 90.64 Dana Point; 1-949/2402000; $$$

St. Regis Monarch Beach 88.88 Dana Point; 1-949/234-3200; stregis. com. $$$ Pebble beach Inn at Spanish Bay 89.88 1-831/647-7500; $$$$ lodge at Pebble Beach 90.91 1-831/6258598; $$$$ San Francisco Area Cavallo Point— the lodge at the Golden Gate 89.39 Sausalito; 1-415/339-4700; $$ Ritz-Carlton 88.52 600 Stockton St.; 1-415/ 296-7465; $$$ St. Regis 89.15 125 3rd St.; 1-415/284-4000; $$$ taj Campton Place 88.27 340 Stockton St.; 1-415/781-5555; tajhotels. com. $$$$ Santa barbara Area Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore 88.57 Montecito; 1-805/969-2261; $$$$ San Ysidro Ranch 90.97 Montecito; 1-805/565-1700; $$$$


Aspen little nell 90.17 1-970/920-4600; $$$$ beaver Creek

no. 1 Mountain Hotel in the U.S.

Osprey at Beaver Creek, a RockResort 94.75 1-970/754-7400; $$$$ Park hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa 90.58 1-970/949-1234; $$$$ Pines lodge, a RockResort 93.48

1-970/845-7900; $$$$ Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch 92.58 1-970/7486200; $$$$ Colorado Springs the Broadmoor 90.83 1-719/577-5775; $$$ denver Four Seasons hotel 89.74 1111 14th St.; 1-303/389-3000; $$ telluride hotel Madeline (formerly Capella) 88.44 1-970/3369-0880; hotel madelinetelluride. com. $$ Vail arrabelle at Vail Square, a RockResort 88.94 1-970/754-3600; $$$$ Four Seasons Resort 90.43 1-970/4778600; $$$$ lodge at Vail, a RockResort 88.44 1-970/476-5011; $$$$ the Sebastian 94.37 1-970/477-8000; thesebastian $$$$ the Sonnenalp 89.19 1-970/476-5656 $$$$


Greenwich Delamar Greenwich harbor 88.47 1-203/6619800; delamargreenwich. com. $$ washington Mayflower Inn & Spa 90.44 mayflowerinn. com. $$$$


washington, d.C. Four Seasons hotel 87.56 1-202/342-0444; $$$

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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1-202/638-6600; $$$ Ritz-Carlton Georgetown 87.91 3100 South St. NW; 1-202/9124100; $$$$ Sofitel washington D.C. lafayette Square 87.91 806 15th St. NW; 1-202/730-8800; sofitel. com. $$ St. Regis 88.36 923 16th St. NW; 1-202/638-2626; stregis. com. $$$$$ willard InterContinental 87.62 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 1-202/638-9100; $$


Amelia Island elizabeth Pointe lodge 89.68 1-904/2774851; elizabethpointe $$ Ritz-Carlton 89.15 1-904/277-1100; $$ Clearwater beach Sandpearl Resort 88.29 1-727/441-2425; $$$ Florida Keys little Palm Island Resort & Spa 89.38 Little Torch Key; 1-305/ 515-4004; littlepalm island. com. $$$$$ Marquesa hotel 91.60 Key West; 1-305/292-1919; $$ Fort Lauderdale Ritz-Carlton 87.84 1-954-465-2300; $$$$ jacksonville Area Casa Monica hotel 88.36 St. Augustine; 1-904/827-1888; $$ lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach 89.85 Ponte Vedra Beach;


1-904/395-5998; $$ Ponte Vedra Inn & Club 87.54 1-904/3955998; $$ Miami Area Jw Marriott Marquis 87.70 255 Biscayne Blvd. Way; 1-305/421-8600; marriott. com. $$$ Mandarin Oriental 89.04 500 Brickell Key Dr.; 1-305/913-8288; $$$$


Atlanta Four Seasons hotel 89.76 75 14th St.; 1-404/881-9898; $$$ InterContinental Buckhead 88.63 3315 Peachtree Rd. N.E.; 1-404/946-9000; $$ Mandarin Oriental 90.35 3376 Peachtree Rd. N.E.; 1-404/995-7500; $$$

the Setai 90.96 1-305/520-6000; setai. com. $$$$

Ritz-Carlton 88.75 181 Peachtree St.; 1-404/659-0400; $$

Naples naples Bay Resort & Spa 87.58 1-239/5301199; naplesbayresort. com. $$

Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead 88.89 3434 Peachtree Rd. N.E.; 1-404/237-2700; $$$

Ritz-Carlton 90.68 1-293/598-3300; $$$$

St. Regis 92.26 88 W. Paces Ferry Rd.; 1-404/563-7900; stregis. com. $$

waldorf astoria 87.88 1-239/597-3232; $$ orlando Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 88.88 1-407/9396244; disneyworld.disney. $$$ Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande lakes 89.19 1-407/206-2400; $$$ Palm beach Brazilian Court hotel & Beach Club 88.41 1-407/206-2400; $$$ the Breakers 89.28 1-561/659-8403; $$$$ Ritz-Carlton 89.46 1-561/533-6000; $$$$ Vero beach Costa d’este Beach Resort 88.63 1-772/562-9919; $$

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Greensboro Ritz-Carlton lodge, Reynolds Plantation 87.59 1-706/467-0600; $$ Savannah andaz (formerly the avia) 90.67 14 Barnard St.; 1-912/2332116; $ Bohemian hotel Savannah Riverfront 87.62 102 W. Bay St.; 1-912/721-3800; bohemian hotel $ Mansion on Forsyth Park 88.67 700 Drayton St.; 1-912/238-5158; mansionon forsythpark. com. $$ Sea Island Cloister at Sea Island 89.33 1-855/7149201; $$$

HAWAII big Island

no. 1 in Hawaii

Four Seasons Resort hualalai 93.75

1-808/325-8200; $$$$


hapuna Beach Prince hotel 88.13 1-808/8801111; princeresortshawaii. com. $$$

Chicago Four Seasons hotel 90.33 120 E. Delaware Place; 1-312/280-8800; $$$

Mauna Kea Beach hotel 87.58 1-808/8827222; maunakeabeach $$$$

Park hyatt 90.04 800 N. Michigan Ave.; 1-312/335-1234; $$

Mauna lani Bay hotel & Bungalows 89.05 1-808/885-6622; $$$ Kauai Grand hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa 89.88 1-808/742-1234; $$$$ Koa Kea hotel & Resort 92.44 1-808/8288888; $$$ St. Regis Princeville Resort 89.43 1-808/8269644; $$$$ Lanai Four Seasons Resort lanai, the lodge at Koele 92.32 1-808/562-2000; $$$ Maui Fairmont Kea lani 88.88 1-808/875-4100; $$$ Four Seasons Resort Maui at wailea 92.19 1-808/874-8000; $$$$ Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua 88.49 1-808/669-6200; $$$$ oahu

no. 1 for Location in Hawaii

halekulani 91.05 1-808/923-2311; $$$ Kahala hotel & Resort 90.74 1-808/739-8780; $$$ Royal hawaiian, a luxury Collection Resort 89.42 1-808/923-7311; $$$$

Peninsula Chicago 93.66 108 E. Superior St.;

1-312/337-2888; $$$ Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, a Four Seasons hotel 89.42 160 E. Pearson St.; 1-312/266-1000; $$ Sofitel Chicago water tower 88.10 20 E. Chestnut St.; 1-312/324-4000; sofitel. com. $ trump International hotel & tower 90.00 401 N. Wabash Ave.; 1-312/588-8000; trumpchicago $$$ waldorf astoria 94.67 1-312/646-1300; $$$


Louisville 21c Museum hotel 89.39 700 W. Main St.; 1-502/217-6300; 21c museum $$


New orleans Ritz-Carlton 89.57 921 Canal St.; 1-504/5241331; $$$ Roosevelt hotel 90.04 123 Baronne St.; 1-504/6481200; theroosevelt $$$ windsor Court hotel 89.03 300 Gravier St.; 1-504/523-6000; windsor court $$


Cape Elizabeth Inn by the Sea 89.74


the hay-adams 88.92 800 16th St. NW;

T+L 500


1-207/799-3134; $$ Rockport Samoset Resort 88.09 1-207/594-2511; $$


boston Boston harbor hotel at Rowes wharf 90.30 70 Rowes Wharf; 1-617/439-7000; $$$$

eliot hotel 87.84 370 Commonwealth Ave.; 1-617/276-1607; $$ Four Seasons hotel 90.45 200 Boylston St.;

1-617/338-4400; $$$ hotel Commonwealth 89.09 500 Commonwealth Ave.; 1-617/933-5000; hotel $$ Mandarin Oriental 91.17 1-617/535-8888; mandarin $$$ Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common 89.55 1-617/ 574-7100; $$ XV Beacon 92.35 15 Beacon St.; 1-617/6701500; $$ Cape Cod Chatham Bars Inn Resort & Spa 88.66 Chatham; 1-508/945-0096; $$ wequassett Resort & Golf Club 92.57 Chatham; 1-508/432-5400; $$$$ Martha’s Vineyard harbor View hotel 89.91 1-508/627-7000; $ Nantucket the wauwinet 88.00 1-508/228-0145; $$ white elephant 90.44 1-508/228-2500;

86 $$


St. Paul Saint Paul hotel 87.87 350 Market St; 1-651/292-9292; $


Kansas City Raphael hotel 87.82 1-816/756-3800; raphaelkc. com. $ Ridgedale Big Cedar lodge 88.00 1-417/335-2777; $ St. Louis Four Seasons hotel 88.00 999 N. 2nd St.; 1-314/881-5800; $$


no. 1 in the U.S. triple Creek Ranch 98.22

1-406/821-4600; $$$$

NEvADA Las Vegas

Bellagio Resort & Casino 87.75 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/6937120; $ Cosmopolitan of las Vegas 89.38 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/698-7000; cosmopolitanlasvegas. com. $ encore 88.38 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/7707000; $ Four Seasons hotel 90.17 3960 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/6325000; $ Mandarin Oriental 91.86 1-702/590-8888; mandarin $$ the Palazzo 88.41 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-702/607-7777; palazzo $

j A N U A R y 2 01 3 T R Av E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M

the Venetian 87.68 3355 Las Vegas Blvd.

S.; 1-702/414-1000; $ wynn las Vegas 88.37 1-702/770-7000; $


New Castle wentworth by the Sea, a Marriott hotel & Spa 90.93 1-603/4227322; $$


Santa Fe Area hyatt Regency tamaya Resort & Spa 88.82 1-505/867-1234; $$ Rosewood Inn of the anasazi 90.22 Santa Fe; 1-505/988-3030; innofthe $$


Adirondacks Friends lake Inn 88.50 Chestertown; 1-518/494-4751; $$ lake Placid lodge 88.39 Lake Placid; 1-518/523-2700; lakeplacid $$$$ whiteface lodge 88.36 1-518/523-0500; thewhite $$$ New york City andaz 5th avenue 88.61 485 5th Ave.; 1-212/ 601-1234; $$$

Ritz-Carlton new York Central Park 91.14 50 Central Park S.; 1-212/ 753-753-4500; ritzcarlton. com. $$$$ Setai Fifth avenue 88.84 400 5th Ave.;

1-212/695-4005; setaififth $$$$ St. Regis 87.93 2 E. 55th St.; 1-212/7534500; $$$$$ the Surrey 88.46 20 E. 76th St.; 1-212/2883700; $$$ trump International hotel & tower 92.40 1-212/299-1000; trumpintl. com. $$$$


Asheville Grand Bohemian hotel 89.57 1-828/5052949; bohemian $ Inn on Biltmore estate 89.10 1-828/225-1600; $$ Cary Umstead hotel & Spa 91.36 1-919/447-4000; $$$ Charlotte Ritz-Carlton 88.97 201 E. Trade St.; 1-704/5472244; $$ Greensboro Proximity hotel 89.25 1-336/379-8200; $$

Four Seasons hotel 92.28 57 E. 57th St.; 1-212/ 758-5700; fourseasons. com. $$$$

Highlands Old edwards Inn & Spa 90.67 1-828/5268008; oldedwardsinn. com. $$

Mandarin Oriental 89.27 80 Columbus Circle; 1-212/805-8800; mandarin $$$$

Pinehurst Pinehurst Resort 90.16 1-910/235-8507; $$

Peninsula new York 90.47 700 5th Ave.; 1-212/ 956-2888; $$$$ the Pierre, a taj hotel 89.09 2 E. 61st St.; 1-212/ 838-8000; $$$$

Pittsboro Fearrington house Inn 89.14 1-919/542-2121; $$


Cannon beach Stephanie Inn hotel 89.33 1-503/436-2221; $$$

Gold beach

no. 1 Lakefront Hotel in the U.S.

tu tu’ tun lodge 95.00 1-541/247-6664; $$

Newberg allison Inn & Spa 92.03 1-503/554-2525; $$ Portland heathman hotel 89.04 1001 S.W. Broadway; 1-503/241-4100; $$ the nines, a luxury Collection hotel 88.87 525 S.W. Morrison St.; 1-503/222-9996; $$

pENNSYLvANIA Philadelphia Four Seasons hotel 88.96 1 Logan Sq.; 1-215/963-9506; $$ hotel Palomar 89.00 117 S. 17th St.;

1-215/563-5006; $ Rittenhouse hotel 90.07 210 W. Rittenhouse Square; 1-215/546-9000; $$ Ritz-Carlton 89.38 10 Ave. of the Arts; 1-215/523-8000; $$$


Newport Castle hill 87.79 1-401/849-3800; $$$$ Chanler at Cliff walk 89.14 1-401/847-1300; $$$$ watch Hill Ocean house 93.14 1-401/315-0579; $$$$


the willcox 94.25 1-803/648-1898; $

T+L 500

bluffton Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an auberge Resort 92.65 1-843/706-6500; $$$ Charleston Charleston Place 89.59 205 Meeting St.; 1-843/722-4900; $$ Market Pavilion hotel 91.79 225 E. Bay St.; 1-843/723-0500; $$ Planters Inn 88.84 112 N. Market St.; 1-843/ 722-2345; plantersinn. com. $$ wentworth Mansion 95.47 149 Wentworth St.; 1-843/853-1886; wentworth $$ Kiawah Island Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort 92.10 1-843/768-6000; $$$


Nashville hermitage hotel 92.72 231 6th Ave. N.; 1-615/2443121; thehermitagehotel. com. $$ hutton hotel 87.56 1808 West End Ave.;

1-615/340-9333; hutton $$ walland Blackberry Farm 92.72 1-865/985-8166; blackberry $$$$


dallas Area Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at las Colinas 90.74 4150 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving; 1-972/717-0700; $$ the Joule, a luxury Collection hotel 87.83 1530 Main St., Dallas; 1-214/748-1300; $$$ Ritz-Carlton 88.08 2121 McKinney Ave.,

Dallas; 1-214/992-0200; $$$ Rosewood Crescent hotel 87.91 400 Crescent Court; 1-214/871-3200; $$ Rosewood Mansion on turtle Creek 94.18 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., Dallas; 1-214/559-2100; mansionon turtlecreek. com. $$$ San Antonio hotel Valencia Riverwalk 88.52 150 E. Houston St.; 1-210/2279700; $$


Canyon Point amangiri 93.33 1-435/675-3999; amangiri. com. $$$$ Park City Montage Deer Valley 89.68 1-435/605-1300; $$$$ Stein eriksen lodge 91.60 1-435/649-3700; $$$$ St. Regis, Deer Valley 91.20 1-435/940-5700; $$$ waldorf astoria

91.43 1-435/647-5500; $$$$

Hot Springs homestead Resort & Spa 88.00 1-540/8391766; $$


McLean Ritz-Carlton, tysons Corner 87.87 1-703/5064300; $$$

Four Seasons Resort 90.36 1-307/732-5000; $$$

Richmond Jefferson hotel 88.35 1-804/649-4750; jefferson $$ washington Inn at little washington 90.94 1-504/675-3800; theinnat $$$ williamsburg williamsburg Inn 90.44 1-757/229-1000; colonial $$


Seattle Four Seasons hotel 88.19 99 Union St.; 1-206/749-7000; $$$ hotel 1000 89.60 1000 1st Ave.; 1-206/9571000; hotel1000seattle. com. $$ Inn at the Market 88.76 86 Pine St.; 1-206/ 443-3600; innatthe $$

jackson Hole amangani 92.62 1-307/ 734-7333; $$$$


banff Rimrock Resort hotel 88.15 1-403/762-3356; $$$ Lake Louise Fairmont Chateau lake louise 88.63 1-403/522-3511; fairmont. com. $$ Post hotel & Spa 89.93 1-403/522-3989; $$


Sooke Sooke harbour house 90.80 1-250/6423421; sookeharbourhouse. com. $ tofino wickaninnish Inn 91.33 1-250/725-3100; $$$ Vancouver Shangri-la hotel 88.67 1128 W. Georgia St.; 1-604/689-1120; $$

1-418/665-3703; fairmont. com. $$ Quebec City

no. 1 in Canada

auberge Saintantoine 93.12 8 Rue St.-Antoine; 1-418/692-2211; $$


Salzburg hotel Goldener hirsch, a luxury Collection hotel 89.71 37 Getreidegasse; 43-662/80840; $$ Vienna hotel Bristol, a luxury Collection hotel 92.46 1 Kärntner Ring; 43-1/515-160; $$ hotel Imperial, a luxury Collection hotel 90.00 16 Kärntner Ring; 43-1/501-100; hotelimperial $$$ hotel Sacher wien 89.54 4 Philhar monikerstrasse; 43-1/ 514-560; $$$$


brussels hotel amigo 89.44 1-3 Rue de l’Amigo; 32-2/5474747; $$

Salt Lake City Grand america hotel 88.35 555 S. Main St.; 1-801/258-6000; $$

Snoqualmie Salish lodge & Spa 87.69 1-425/888-2556; $$


white Sulphur Springs the Greenbrier 89.65 1-304/536-1110; $$

Four Seasons Resort 90.24 1-604/689-9333; $$

Prague Four Seasons hotel 89.37 2A/1098 Veleslavínova; 420/221427-000; fourseasons. com. $$$




Alexandria Morrison house 93.50 1-703/838-8000; $$ Arlington Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City 89.17 1-703/415-5000; $$$ Charlottesville Keswick hall 90.00 1-434/979-3440; keswick. com. $$$


Kohler american Club Resort 88.23 1-920/457-8000; american $$

whistler Fairmont Chateau whistler 88.73 1-604/938-8000; fairmont. com. $$

toronto Ritz-Carlton 89.58 181 Wellington St. W.; 1-416/585-2500; $$$


La Malbaie Fairmont le Manoir Richelieu 88.00


bath Royal Crescent hotel 87.78 44-12/3582-3333; $$$ berkshire Cliveden house 89.33 Taplow; 44-16/2866-8561; $$$

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

j A N U A R y 2 01 3


London the Berkeley 90.14 Wilton Place; 44-20/72356000; $$$$ Chesterfield Mayfair 89.00 44-20/7491-2622; chesterfield $$ Claridge’s 88.00 49 Brook St.; 44-20/76298860; $$$$$ the Dorchester, Dorchester Collection 88.70 Park Lane; 44-20/7629-8888; $$$$ 41 88.14 41 Buckingham Palace Rd.; 44-20/73000041; $$$ Four Seasons hotel london at Park lane 91.68 Hamilton Place, Park Lane; 44-20/74990888; $$$$$ the Goring 87.53 Beeston Place; 4420/7396-9000; thegoring. com. $$$$ the lanesborough 90.82 Hyde Park Corner; 44-20/7259-5599; $$$$ Mandarin Oriental hyde Park 89.33 66 Knightsbridge; 44-20/7235-2000; mandarin $$$$ Milestone hotel 92.83 1 Kensington Court; 44-20/7917-1000; milestone $$$ the Savoy 89.36 Strand; 44-20/7836-4343; $$$$ Soho hotel 90.59 4 Richmond Mews; 44-20/ 7559-3000; $$$ Stafford london by Kempinski 91.47 St. James’s Place; 44-20/7493-0111; $$$



Côte d’Azur hôtel Château eza 89.33 Èze Village; 33-4/ 93-41-12-24; chateaueza. com. $$$ hôtel du Cap-edenRoc 89.20 Antibes; 33-4/93-61-39-01; hotel-du-cap-eden-roc. com. $$$$$ le Palais de la Méditerranée 89.50 13 Promenade des Anglais, Nice; 33-4/92147700; $$$ onzain Domaine des hauts de loire 93.00 33-2/5420-7257; domaine $$ Paris Four Seasons hotel George V 91.58 31 Ave. George V; 33-1/4952-7000; $$$$$ hôtel de Crillon 90.67 10 Place de la

Concorde; 33-1/4952-7000; $$$$$ hôtel Plaza athénée, Dorchester Collection 92.86 25 Ave. Montaigne; 33-1/53676665; $$$$$ le Bristol 91.33 112 Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré; 33-1/5343-4300; $$$$$ le Meurice, Dorchester Collection 90.83 228 Rue de Rivoli; 33-1/4458-1010; lemeurice. com. $$$$ Park hyatt ParisVendôme 88.16 5 Rue de la Paix; 33-1/5871-1234; $$$$$ the Ritz (closed for renovations until summer 2014) 89.21 15 Place Vendôme; 33-1/ 4316-3030;

j A N U A R y 2 01 3 T R Av E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M

Provence hôtel Crillon le Brave 93.05 Crillon-le-Brave; 44-4/9065-6161; crillon $$$ la Mirande 88.21 Avignon; 44-4/90-14-2020; $$$$ no. 1 for Food in Europe

l’Oustau de Baumanière & Spa 91.78 Les Baux- de- Provence; 44-4/9054-3307; oustaudebaumaniere. com. $$ Villa Gallici 88.32 Aix-en- Provence; 33-4/4223-2923; $$$$ Reims le Château les Crayères 92.38 64 Blvd. Henry Vasnier; 33-3/2682-8080; $$$$


baden-baden Brenners Park-hotel & Spa 89.47 49-7221/9000; $$$ berlin hotel adlon Kempinski 90.50 49-30/22610 $$$ Ritz-Carlton 90.11 49-3033/7777; $$ Munich Mandarin Oriental 90.00 1 Neuturmstrasse; 49-8929/0980; mandarin $$$$


Athens hotel Grande Bretagne, a luxury Collection hotel 88.62 30-210/333-0000; $$$ King George Palace 89.09 30-210/322-2210; $$ Santorini

no. 1 Island Hotel in Europe

Katikies hotel 93.07

Oia; 30-22/8607-1401; katikieshotelsantorini. com. $$$$ Vedema, a luxury Collection Resort 88.73 Megalohori; 30-22/8606-1786 vedema. gr. $$$$


budapest Four Seasons hotel Gresham Palace 93.50 5-6 Roosevelt Tér; 36-1/268-6000; $$ InterContinental 89.26 12-14 Apáczai Csere János Ut.; 36-1/327-6333; $


County Clare Dromoland Castle 91.48 Newmarket on Fergus; 353-61/368-144; $$$$ lodge at Doonbeg 93.56 353-65/905-5600; $$$ County Kerry Sheen Falls lodge 93.40 Kenmare; 353-64/664-1600; $$$$ County Kildare Kildare hotel, Spa & Country Club 90.40 Straffan; 353-1/601-7200; $$$ County Limerick adare Manor hotel & Golf Resort 89.78 Adare; 353-61/605200; $$ County Mayo ashford Castle 90.29 Cong; 353-94/954-6003; $$$$ County wicklow Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt 90.54 353-1/273-8888; $$$ dublin Four Seasons hotel 89.33 Simmonscourt Rd.; 353-1/665-4000; $$

Merrion hotel 91.50 Upper Merrion St.; 353-1/603-0600; merrion $$$$ the Shelbourne 90.20 353-1/663-4500; $$


Amalfi Coast hotel Caruso 93.25 Ravello; 39-089/858-801; $$$$ hotel Santa Caterina 94.48 Amalfi; 39-089/871-

012; $$$$ Il San Pietro di Positano 91.47 39-089/875-455; $$$$ le Sirenuse 93.33 Positano; 39-089/875-066; $$$$ Palazzo avino (formerly Palazzo Sasso) 93.64 Ravello; 39-089/818-181; $$$ Capri Grand hotel Quisisana 88.71 39-081/837-0788; $$$ hotel Caesar augustus 90.50 39-081/ 837-3395; caesar-augustus. com. $$$$ Florence Four Seasons hotel Firenze 91.75 39-055/ 277-171; $$$ hotel lungarno 88.00 39-055/2726-4000; lungar $$ St. Regis 89.60 39-055/ 27171; $$$ Lake Como Grand hotel Villa Serbelloni 89.58 Bellagio; 39-031/950-216; $$$$ no. 1 for Location in Europe Villa d’este 91.61

Cernobbio; 39-055/62611; $$$$

T+L 500

Milan Four Seasons hotel Milano 92.00 6/8 Via Gesù; 39-02/77088; $$$$$

hôtel hermitage 91.75 377/9806-4000; hotel hermitage montecarlo. com. $$$

hotel Principe di Savoia, Dorchester Collection 87.48 17 Piazza della Repubblica; 39-02/62301; hotelprincipe $$$

warsaw le Méridien Bristol 91.53 42-44 Krakowskie Przedmiescie; 48-2/5511000; $

Park hyatt 89.57 1 Via Tommaso Grossi; 39-02/8821-1234; park. $$$$

Lisbon Four Seasons hotel Ritz 92.12 88 Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca; 351-21/381-1400; $$$$

Portofino hotel Splendido 91.37 39-06/328-881; hotel $$$$$ Rome hotel hassler Roma 89.33 6 Piazza Trinità dei Monti; 39-06/699-340; hotel $$$ Sorrento Grand hotel excelsior Vittoria 88.94 39081/877-7111; $$$$ taormina Grand hotel timeo by Orient-express 88.70 39-094/2627-0200; $$$$ Venice Bauers II Palazzo 89.13 1459 San Marco; 39-041/ 520-7022; ilpalazzo $$$$ Ca’ Sagredo hotel 90.60 39-041/241-3111; $$ hotel Cipriani 87.55 10 Giudecca; 39-041/5207744; $$$$$



Monte Carlo Fairmont 87.74 12 Ave. des Spélugues; 377/93506500; $$$ hôtel de Paris 91.36 Place du Casino; 377/98063000; hoteldeparis $$$$



Olissippo lapa Palace 90.95 4 Rua do Pau de

Bandeira; 351-291/724-325; $$$


Moscow Ritz-Carlton 91.56 7-495/225-8888; $$$ St. Petersburg Grand hotel europe 89.04 7-812/329-6000; grand hotel $$$$


St. Andrews Old Course hotel, Golf Resort & Spa 87.52 44-133/447-4371; oldcoursehotel. $$


barcelona hotel arts 90.67 19-21 Carrer de la Marina; 34-93/221-1000; $$$ Madrid hotel Ritz 90.12 5 Plaza de la Lealtad; 34-91/7016767; $$$ InterContinental 90.22 49 Paseo de la Castellana; 34-91/7007300; intercontinental. com. $$ Seville hotel alfonso XIII, a luxury Collection Resort 88.48 2 Calle San Fernando;

Vedema resort in Santorini, Greece.

34-95/491-7000; hotel-alfonsoxiii-seville. com. $$


Stockholm Grand hôtel 88.12 8 Södra Blasieholmshamnen; 46-8/679-3500; $$$


Interlaken Victoria-Jungfrau Grand hotel & Spa 88.00 41-33/828-2828; $$ zurich Baur au lac 90.95 1 Talstrasse; 41-44/2205020; $$$$


Istanbul Çirağan Palace Kempinski 90.53 32 Çirağan Cad.; 90-212/326-4646; $$$

Four Seasons hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet 93.36 1 Tevkifhane Sk.; 90-212/402-3000; $$$ no. 1 in Europe

Four Seasons hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus 94.54 28 Çirağan Cad.; 90-212/402-3000; $$$ Grand hyatt Istanbul 91.11 90-212/368-1234; $$


Moremi Game Reserve Mombo Camp and little Mombo Camp

95.17 27-11/ 807-1800;; all-inclusive. $$$$$ EGYpT Cairo Four Seasons hotel Cairo at nile Plaza 90.49 202/2791-7000; $$ Four Seasons hotel Cairo at the First Residence 91.64 35 El Giza St.; 202/3567-1600; $$ Mena house Oberoi 91.27 Pyramids Rd.;

202/3377-3222; $$$


jerusalem King David hotel 88.00 23 King David St.; 972-3/520-2552; danhotels. com. $$$$

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Amboseli National Park amboseli Serena Safari lodge 88.83 254-20/284-2333;; meals included. $$$ tortilis Camp 92.40 254-20/600-3090; tortilis. com; all-inclusive. $$$$ Masai Mara National Reserve andBeyond Kichwa tembo 94.48 27-11/8094441;; all-inclusive. $$$$ Fairmont Mara Safari Club 94.84 254-717/969610;; meals included. $$$$ Mara Serena Safari lodge 88.00 254-20/2842333;; meals included. $$$$ Nairobi Area Fairmont the norfolk 89.06 Harry Thuku Rd.; 254-20/226-5000; $$ Giraffe Manor 91.53 Koitobos Rd.; 254-20/5020888;; meals included. $$$$ Nanyuki Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club 93.60 254-20/226-5000;; meals included. $$$$


Marrakesh la Mamounia 90.52 Ave. Bab Jdid; 212524/388-600; mamounia. com. $$$$


Cape town Cape Grace 93.65 W. Quay Rd.; 27-21/4107100; $$$$


One&Only 95.33 Dock Rd.; 27-21/431-58881; oneandonly $$$$ twelve apostles hotel & Spa 93.71 Victoria Rd.; 27-21/4379000; 12apostles hotel. com. $$$$ Victoria & alfred hotel 88.16 Dock Rd.; 27-21/ 419-6677; vahotel. $$$ Franschhoek le Quartier Français 89.42 27-11/876-2151; $$$ johannesburg Saxon Boutique hotel, Villas & Spa 94.22 36 Saxon Rd.; 27-11/2926000; $$$$ the westcliff 89.55 67 Jan Smuts Ave.; 27-11/481-6000; westcliff. $$ Kruger National Park Area MalaMala Game Reserve 89.27 27-13/7359200; malamala. com; meals included. $$$$$ Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve lodges 95.40 Sabi Sand Reserve; 27-11/447-7172; sabisabi. com; all-inclusive. $$$$$ Singita Kruger national Park 96.33 27-21/683-3424; singita. com; all-inclusive. $$$$$ Singita Sabi Sand 95.74 Sabi Sand Reserve;

27-21/683-3424; singita. com; all-inclusive. $$$$$


Ngorongoro Crater andBeyond ngorongoro Crater lodge 92.88 27-11/8094441;; all-inclusive. $$$$$ ngorongoro Sopa lodge 95.85 255-27/250-

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TOP HOTELS fOR LOcATION Match each property—all achieved perfect scores for location—with its view. hotel Salto Chico/explora Patagonia, torres del Paine national Park, Chile

In this southern corner of Chilean Patagonia, green hills surround Lake Pehoé, and the snow-dusted spires of Torres del Paine National Park pierce the sky.

lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, australia

Just outside the hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows, green tree frogs scuttle through melaleuca forest. Farther beyond: kilometers of sugar-white beach.

Singita Grumeti, Serengeti national Park, tanzania


Southern Ocean lodge, Kangaroo Island, australia


At all three lodges, one view is inescapable: the acacia-dotted plain, which teems with zebras, ostriches, wildebeests and lions.

Green-and-purple brush is the only thing between you and the Pacific at this cliffside property 258 kilometers south of Adelaide. Walk to the beach to spot colonies of seals or drive 10 kilometers to Grassdale for kangaroos.


Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India

A freshwater lake fringes the 12 manicured hectares that make up this retreat, where suites overlook Mewari gardens and several reflecting pools.

0630;; meals included. $$$



Serengeti National Park Kirawira luxury tented Camp 95.27 255-28/2621518; $$$$$

dubai Burj al arab 89.82 Jumeirah; 971-4/301-7777; $$$$$

Serengeti Sopa lodge

Livingstone Royal livingstone 89.90 260-21/ 332-1122;

92.89 255-27/250-0630;; meals included. $$$ no. 1 overall no. 1 in Africa and the Middle East

Singita Grumeti 98.25 27-21/683-3424; singita. com; all-inclusive. $$$$$





Acapulco Fairmont acapulco Princess 89.76 Playa


Revolcadero; 52-774/4691000; $$ Cancún

no. 1 in Mexico

live aqua 94.22 Km 12.5, Blvd. Kukulkán; 52-998/881-7600; $$$$ Ritz-Carlton 89.18 36 Retorno del Rey; 52-998/881-0808; $$$ Los Cabos Capella Pedregal 93.29 San José del Cabo; 52-624/163-4300; $$$$

F R o M t o P : M A R K w I L L I A M S /C o U R t E S y o F S I N G I tA G R U M E t I ; d U S t I N A K S L A N d ; C o U R t E S y o F L I z A R d I S L A N d ; C o U R t E S y o F S o U t H E R N o C E A N L o d G E ; C o U R t E S y o F E X P L o R A C H I L E S . A .

dead Sea Kempinski hotel Ishtar 87.60 Swaimeh; 962-5/356-8888; $$$

Mount nelson hotel 90.20 76 Orange St.; 27-21/483-1000; $$

1. Singita Grumeti 2. oberoi Udaivilas 3. Lizard Island 4. Southern ocean Lodge 5. Hotel Salto Chico


esperanza, an auberge Resort 88.90 Punta Ballena; 52-866/311-2226; esperanza $$$$ las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort 91.09 San José del Cabo; 52-624/144-2800; $$$$ One&Only Palmilla 91.14 San José del Cabo; 52-624/146-7000; $$$$ Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa 87.61 Cabo San Lucas; 52-624/142-9696; pueblobonitopacifica. com. $$$ Secrets Marquis 87.78 San José del Cabo; 52-624/144-2000; $$$$$ Mexico City Four Seasons hotel Mexico, D.F. 90.40 500 Paseo de la Reforma; 52-555/230-1818; $$$ Punta Mita Four Seasons Resort 90.52 52-329/291-6000; $$$ St. Regis Punta Mita Resort 91.72 52-329/291-5800; stregis. com. $$$$$ Riviera Maya Banyan tree Mayakoba Resort & Spa 89.43 Solidaridad; 52-984/877-3688; $$$$

2800;; all-inclusive. $$$$ Royal hideaway Playacar 88.71 Solidaridad; 52-984/8734500; $$$ Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancún 90.47 Punta Maroma; 52-984/877-3600; secrets $$$$$ Puerto Vallarta Area Grand Velas Riviera nayarit 88.96 Nuevo Vallarta; 52-322/226-8000; $$$$ zihuatanejo

no. 1 for Food in Mexico

la Casa Que Canta 93.20 52-755/555-7000; $$$


bariloche llao llao hotel & Resort, Golf-Spa 92.31 54-2944/448-530; $$$ buenos Aires alvear Palace hotel 90.05 1891 Avda. Alvear; 54-11/4808-2100; $$$$ Four Seasons hotel 89.29 1086/88 Calle Posadas; 54-11/4321-1200; $$$$

Fairmont Mayakoba 88.00 Solidaridad; 52-984/206-3000; $$$

54-11/4340-7100; $

Grand Velas 93.80 Solidaridad; 52-984/8774400; $$$$

Palacio Duhau - Park hyatt 96.13 1661 Avda. Alvear; 54-11/5171-1234; $$$$

Iberostar Paraíso Maya hotel 88.50 Solidaridad; 52-984/877-

Mendoza Park hyatt 89.19 54-26/1441-1234; com. $$


90.11 809 Moreno St.;


San Ignacio lodge at Chaa Creek 88.24 011-501/824-2037; $$


Santiago Grand hyatt 92.62 4601 Avda. Kennedy; 56-2/950-1234; com. $$ Ritz-Carlton 89.04 15 Calle El Alcalde; 56-2/470-8500; ritzcarlton. com. $$$ torres del Paine National Park

de la Reserva; 51-1/2177000; $$$ Machu Picchu Pueblo Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel 91.63 51-1/610-0400; $$$


no. 1 Adventure Lodge in Central and South America


hotel Salto Chico/ explora Patagonia 94.40 56-2/206-6060;; allinclusive; 4-night minimum. $$$$$

the Reefs 92.71 Southampton; 441/238-0222; thereefs. com. $$$$


Arenal Volcano National Park nayara hotel, Spa & Gardens 96.36 La Fortuna; 506/24791600; $$ Guanacaste Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo 91.83 506/2696-0000; $$$$ Playa Herradura los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort 88.67 506/2630-9000; $$$


Antigua hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo 92.67 502/7820-1222; casasanto $$


Cuzco hotel Monasterio 90.15 136 Calle Palacio; 51-84/604-000; monasterio $$$$ Lima Jw Marriott lima hotel 90.07 615 Malecón

no. 1 in the Caribbean, bermuda, and the bahamas

Rosewood tucker’s Point 88.42 Hamilton Parish; 441/298-4000; $$$$

BRITISH vIRGIN ISLANDS Virgin Gorda Biras Creek Resort 90.44 284/494-3555; $$$


Grand Cayman Ritz-Carlton 89.18 345/943-9000; $$$$


Couples negril 90.36 Hanove4; 876/957-5960; allinclusive; 3-night minimum. $$$$ Couples Sans Souci 90.84 St. Mary; 878/994-1206; couples. com; all-inclusive; 3-night minimum. $$$$ Couples Swept away 90.29 Westmoreland; 800/268-7537; couples. com; all-inclusive; 3-night minimum. $$$$

Couples tower Isle 90.71 St. Mary; 876/9754271;; all-inclusive; 3-night minimum. $$$$


Vieques w Retreat & Spa 87.85 787/741-4100 $$$


Four Seasons Resort 88.14 Charlestown; 869/469-1112; fourseasons. com. $$$$ nisbet Plantation Beach Club 92.00 St. James Parish; 869/4699325; nisbetplantation. com. $$$$


eden Rock 91.86 Baie de St.-Jean; 590-590/297-999; $$$$ hotel Saint Barth Isle de France 90.22 Baie des Flamands; 590590/276-181; $$$$


Jade Mountain 91.52 Soufrière;781/459-4000; $$$$$


no. 1 for Location in the Caribbean

Ocean Club Resorts 88.27 Providenciales;

302/369-1420; oceanclub; 4-night minimum. $$ Regent Palms 88.95 Providenciales; 866/8777256; $$$$


St. thomas Ritz-Carlton 87.71 340/775-3333; ritzcarlton. com. $$$$$

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Patachitra (palmleaf) paintings at the Utkalika State emporium, in Bhubaneswar. Opposite: the Sun temple of Konark.

To IndIa, WITh Love Exploring the elaborate temples of Odisha, G U Y T R E B A Y finds that next great place to call his own. phOTOGR A phEd BY jA k E sTA nGE l & GE OR dI E wO Od

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Clockwise from above: Mukteswar temple, in Bhubaneswar; Chandrabhaga Beach, in Konark; on the grounds at Konark’s Sun temple; a nattily attired Bhubaneswar traffic policeman.


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he roadside billboard passes in a blur as we motor along Marine Drive, four friends and a driver in a rented SUV: don’t mix drinks and drive. “Did I read that right?” I ask. A small voice pipes up from the backseat. “I suppose they think you’re better off mixing the drinks first,” Alagu deadpans, “and then driving.” Ba-dump-bump. It is cock’s-crow early. To outrun the battering sun of an Indian spring, our little traveling party of friends—Terence; Alagu; her mother, Meenakshi; and myself—set out just after dawn from our goofy hotel in Puri, the one with plastic flowers spilling from dolphin-shaped planters and staff dressed in Hawaiian shirts. The grumbling that greeted my recommendation of an early departure has subsided into grudging acceptance. It is not yet 8 a.m. and already heat can be seen shimmering up from the asphalt in menacing waves. We are in the eastern Indian state of Odisha—formerly known as Orissa—headed from Puri to Konark. A coastal resort popular with weekenders from Kolkata, Puri has the funky, rundown aura of a blue-collar beach town, or would, were it not a major Hindu pilgrimage place. Imagine a very basic beach getaway with the basilica of Lourdes in the middle of Main Street and you’ll get the idea. In Puri hulks the beehive-shaped Sri Jagannath Temple, one of the four most sacred Hindu pilgrim centers and home to Lord Jagannath, a deity whose image could have come from the pen of a child. Impossible to avoid in Odisha, Lord Jagannath is an eccentric god who, though technically an avatar of Vishnu, is a one-off among the 330 million celestial beings in the Hindu

pantheon. He has his own cult, his own consorts (his brother and sister, Subhadra and Balabhadra) and, essentially, his own state. Outside of Odisha, you seldom encounter images of the black-skinned, saucer-eyed animist idol with stumps for hands. Here he glares at you from every rickshaw dashboard, stall front, lobby counter, restaurant menu and mudflap: Boo! I say Jagannath is hard to avoid though, in fact, the actual idol, housed on the grounds of the 800-year-old temple, is strictly off-limits to non-Hindus, as is the compound itself. Thus the Hindus in our little party are indulging the Christians with a secular day trip to the great Sun Temple at Konark, a unesco World Heritage site. As always and at any hour in India the roads and roadsides are hectic with human doings. Bicycles pedaled by itinerant salesmen wobble past, their entire inventories—cook pots, plastic baskets, tea kettles, coconut graters and coir mats rolled into thick tubes—cantilevered from the frames. By the verge, barbers in stilt-shacks crouch with twig besoms to sweep the dust—the movement of dust from one place to another being a quintessential Indian activity. Oxcarts buried under mountains of hay creep along, also, joining a procession of pushcarts, rickshaws, taxis, hand-cranked rolling chairs and our blessedly air-conditioned Toyota Innova. India may be at the center of a 5,000-year-old civilization that produced four of the world’s major religions and also the Bollywood goddess Aishwarya Rai, and yet equally it is a place that can leave a traveler as slack-jawed in disbelief as in justified awe. Nevertheless I love it deeply and probably for these selfsame reasons. Over two decades I’ve traveled

throughout the subcontinent, mountains to beaches, slums to India’s versions of Beverly Hills. And during that time what I’ve come to find irresistible about this vast nation of more than 1 billion is how casually it upends any effort I might make at sustaining preconceptions, how it challenges lazy or for that matter strenuous thinking, how handily it defies all rational process and generally keeps a visitor on his or her toes. There is nothing new in this. India has always boggled the minds of outsiders. Take, for instance, this morning’s destination, an immense worship place erected by largely mysterious means in the 13th century, deserted by the 17th and by the mid 1800’s almost wholly cloaked in obscurity and sand. Now rescued, restored and extensively tidied up, the huge edifice looms imposingly in the middle of a treeless clearing not far from Chandrabhaga Beach. Massive, commanding and structurally improbable, the temple is built to resemble a celestial chariot, mounted on 24 immense carved wheels that symbolize the seasons and months but with its parking brake permanently set. Scholars invariably note Konark’s symbolic representation of human existence and then pile on the cosmological meanings. Why bother? The obvious message—that a single human life is barely a turn of the cosmic wheel—is only part of the reason pilgrims have been lured to this out-of-the-way bit of seacoast for the better part of an eon. There is another. Last and most ambitious of the temples of the classic Odishan tradition, the Sun Temple is so exuberantly ornamented with carvings that one noted Indian historian claimed it would be hard to find anywhere in the world “a more

Clockwise from top: a façade of Konark’s Sun Temple, a unesco World Heritage site; saris at Mehers, an emporium in Bhubaneswar; local temple offerings.


perfect example” of sculpture wedded to architecture. Why indulge in modesty, though, when talking about a structure covered with sculptural decorations so X-rated they’d make a hot tub orgy at the Playboy Mansion look like a Methodist Sunday social? “Lively amorous couples,” is how the guidebooks invariably describe the buxom nymphets, leering satyrs and nagas—or half-human, half-snake-beings—that proliferate on the temple walls. Amorous is one way of putting it. Little in the realm of erotic fulfillment was left unexplored by Konark’s creators, who carved in impressive relief all over the walls and struts and wheels and platforms of the giant chariot not merely a journalistic depiction of 13th-century life—1,400 elephants deployed in the temple’s construction; foreign delegates presenting tribute, including a gift-wrapped giraffe, to the temple’s builder, King Narasimha I—but also row upon row of amorous types vigorously engaged in every imaginable variety of sexual congress. By the time we arrive around 9 a.m., the monument grounds are already hot as a griddle. Dropped in a parking lot away from the monument proper, we dive in to negotiations with a gaggle of trishaw drivers for a trip to the entry gate. Why this added step is necessary is not altogether clear (something to do with pollution) but the trip is brief and costs somewhat less than a dollar and adds a theatrical dimension to arrival. Deposited at the gate, we are beset by official guides, from whom for no good reason we choose a bleary sort in his fifties, a man with betel-stained teeth and yellowing eyes. Despite his unwholesome appearance, this “official” (though the laminated license hanging from his neck has aged and cracked in the sun to a state of near opacity) cicerone has charm. And this, perhaps, is the place for a public service announcement: when in India, one should of course avoid unsafe drinking water, street food and rides on motorcycles (even a Humvee would be less than reassuring on Indian highways). Having taken these necessary precautions, it is perfectly safe to indulge in local guides. Like dust, like mosquitoes, like Hindi headache music, guides are an inevitable part of Incredible India, forever sliding out from behind an ancient column with an offer you can’t resist. In the manner of late-night-TV shills, they often build disclaimers into their come-ons: Instant Refunds, Satisfaction Guaranteed. Despite the bogus factoids they dispense with liberal brio, these guides often turn out to be ambulating troves of history and lore. What is more, they inspire a certain admiration of the entrepreneurial spirit required to reduce the complexities of Indian history to traveler-friendly tidbits in one of the Three Main Tourist Tongues. (In India these are French, Italian and German; I used to try getting around the guides by claiming to be from Denmark—who speaks Danish?—until a multilingual 10-year-old at a monument commemorating the massacre at the Black Hole of Calcutta called my bluff.)

Clearly a herding dog in a previous incarnation, Mr. Sharma, our guide, nips at our heels, rounding us up and moving us around like ovine extras from Babe. Huge as it is, the Sun Temple can be satisfactorily appreciated in roughly 90 minutes: the Wikipedia version. To see it fully would require five lifetimes, at least, and understanding this truth Sharma sets a brisk pace, keeping things snappy. He shows us the elephant friezes, the sentinel lions, the hole in the sky where the temple tower stood until a 19th-century collapse. He gently warns us to exercise caution on the parapets as we gawp at the sculptures. Then, suddenly and with great urgency, he says, “Stop!” We are standing abreast of a bas-relief depicting a gentleman whose erect penis is of such impressive dimensions a sling is required to support it. “Please to remember these points,” Sharma says, voice rising and falling rhythmically. “On the great Sun Temple at Konark, there are to be found 16 different types of the kissing!” he says. “There are 32 types of the enjoyment!” he adds. “There are 64 types of the love all around.” This, we assure him, we will be pleased to remember. And then we palm Mr. Sharma 500 rupees and he immediately melts into the crowds. From Konark we drive on to Bhubaneswar—quiet, eccentric and leafy, it may be the place in India I have been seeking for years. That it took me so long to get around to visiting this most manageable of cities—an overgrown village passing itself off as a capital—likely owes to India’s embarrassment of riches. There are so many forts and palaces and ruined 13th-century capitals and forbidden lakes and Himalayan redoubts and colonial hill stations and drowsy backwaters to see first that Odisha never seems to make anyone’s Top 10 list. Yet back in New York I’d been urged to visit by the novelist Gita Mehta, the daughter of Biju Patnaik, a nationalist hero and chief minister of the state, and sister of Naveen Patnaik, who now holds that same job. Once a gadabout on the international society scene, Naveen returned to India in 1997 and took up the family business. It is hard to say whether the improvements we note in the city are to his credit, but certainly they bear the aesthetic stamp of someone with a jet-set résumé. Bhubaneswar is no Disney India, yet neither is it the usual calamitous or polluted or falling-to-pieces mess. (Think Agra.) The early temples and monuments are fenced and well-tended and surrounded by clipped lawns inset with cannas and marigolds laid out in Victorian carpet-bedding schemes. The once-crumbling, tiered embankments of Bindusagar Tank—said to contain water from each of India’s sacred rivers—have been fortified and planted with herbal and medicinal gardens where the plants are labeled as though this were Colonial Williamsburg. The highways are paved and that in itself is a delightful anomaly in India, where I once saw with my 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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own eyes a single pothole swallow a car whole. Traffic police in Bhubaneswar stand in elevated kiosks clad in uniforms with epaulets and lavender gloves. As they windmill their limbs to keep traffic flowing you can’t help thinking you have wandered into a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta starring the 1980’s band Devo. It should be stated quickly that there is precious little to do in Bhubaneswar—it has nothing resembling the swank dining spots in Delhi, no relentlessly hip boutiques like La Scarpa or Le Mill, in Mumbai, not even a whiskey bar. A sense of the available options is suggested by the recommendation I received from Mehta that I might try visiting the zoo. (And it’s a cool zoo, with a drive-through safari park whose resident white tigers flop around with fat tongues lolling, though hardly cause for flying halfway around the world.) If, however, like me, you happen to think the greatest pleasures are often to be found in the least trammeled places; the most fascinating sights, those you could never in a million years have conjured in imagination; the most compelling design innovations, things devised 10 centuries ago, then Odisha is unquestionably the place. In addition, it’s in Bhubaneswar that we find ourselves happily pulling up to the Trident Bhubaneswar, a business hotel that is surely one of the better-kept secrets in India. A whitewalled minimalist gem, the Trident was built in the 1970’s and could be a posh ashram, a costly rehab center or a planetarium complex on the campus of some fine California state university. Constructed around an interior courtyard and pool, the Trident is set amid 14 walled acres of manicured gardens replete with a mango orchard, a gravel jogging path, a lathhouse, a potager and tennis courts. The walls and the lobby of a place that unaccountably serves a population of businesspeople who seldom stay more than a night are decorated with finely carved copies of the ancient sculptures you see in the temples. Lissome apsaras play flutes in a smart, wood-paneled lobby bar that, caiprioska in hand— following a dusty day of scrambling around ninth-century stupas—I judge to be my new favorite watering hole on earth. Our mornings in Bhubaneswar are spent mooching around the local sights, peering into the Lingaraj Temple from a viewing platform, lingering in the welcome cool of a large tree at the Rajarani Temple, where a team of cleaners hanging from scaffolds is scouring the façade. Afternoons, we escape the worst of the heat by the pool and then set out late for the shopping district to hunt down examples of the local weaving. It was 20 years ago that I was first alerted to the elegance and subtlety of Odishan weaving by Martand Singh, then the guiding force of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (intach), and a man of tastes so refined as to make the rest of us seem like bumpkins and clods. At a sale of saris Singh, universally known as Mapu, collected from throughout India and installed in a New Delhi gallery, I


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was encouraged to choose from among the lengths of lustrous stuff what looked like the plainest of all the saris. It was dun-colored tussah silk, woven in the ancient resist-dye pattern called ikat, its border decorated in a kumbha, or temple pattern. The sari’s severe geometry was softened somewhat by the feathering of the weft threads; if it didn’t look exactly like an Agnes Martin painting, it surely called one to mind. That particular sari, Mapu said, had taken its weaver roughly a month to create. It cost me, as I recall, about a hundred bucks. It says something about the current precariousness of ancient crafts in a country whose constitution enshrines the work of handloom weavers that the price would be little more today. Certainly I experience no sticker shock when a salesman at Mehers’—a multistory Bhubaneswar emporium run by the merchant weaver (and designated national treasure) Chaturbhuj Meher—thumps on a table for my perusal a heap of astonishing woven goods. My tastes have evolved since that original purchase and while my eye still finds pleasure in the severity of that single ikat, I delight equally in the lushness of weaves from Bomkai, Nuapatna, Sambalpur and Sonepur. If discovered at some gallery of contemporary design such as the Frozen Fountain, in Amsterdam or New York’s Future Perfect, the things I see here would surely set the blogosphere buzzing. Which genius from Eindhoven, which RISD wunderkind came up with designs of so much restraint and elegance, such obviously computer-generated intricacy? The answer, in this case, would be an illiterate weaver working a pedal loom in the back of beyond. “Tribals in the forest area find this in the rocks,” S. K. Patra, assistant director of the Weavers’ Service Center, says flatly when I visit him one morning, referring to dyes local tribal people grind from rock to achieve a Martian shade of saturated red. It’s sad but probable that the mineral wealth the government counts on to ensure Odisha’s economic future will spell doom for traditional crafts. The story is the usual one. As the mining sector booms, conglomerates gobble up forests and hilltops, and bulldoze riverbank villages in a state that was a sleepy backwater not at all that long ago. To judge by changes wrought in other cities over the decades since India liberalized its economy the pleasantly dozy aspect of Bhubaneswar is not destined to last. Yet for the moment the balance holds and there are few glass mini-malls to spoil the urban scene, no oppressive Orange County–style concrete cloverleafs and little enough development that the night skies are not so dimmed by pollution, as in some Indian cities, that the moon resembles a 40-watt bulb. Dining one evening by the pool at the Trident, we are well into dessert (mango mousse, thank you for asking) before someone notes that our waiter has forgotten to light the candles. It has hardly mattered, the starlit sky is that clear and bright.




Lingaraj TempLe

sun TempLe pURI


sri jagannaTh TempLe




Getting there From outside of India, you most likely will have to fly first into Mumbai, dehli, Kolkata, bangalore or Hyderabad and catch a connecting flight on to odisha.

At various times both the Ford Foundation and intach made efforts to get the area of Bhubaneswar’s old city, centered on the massive Lingaraj temple, declared a heritage zone, a Plan B that never worked out. Despite the apparent lack of official protection, the Lingaraj (off-limits to non-Hindus, though there’s a viewing platform adjacent to the temple), the gorgeous Rajarani, the spooky Mukteswar and the ninth-century Rameshwar Deula, known as the Mausi Maa temple, among many others, remain undisturbed and serene, caught in a state of preservation that may be deliberate or may not. Visiting the pond, or tank, at Mausi Maa one morning on a solitary outing, I stop beside a gnarled ancient shade tree turned into a shrine. A blackened statue of the sacred bullock Nandi faces the tree. Three artfully arranged lotus blossoms with their petals bent down form a saddle cloth for Lord Shiva’s mount. The scene is so anachronistic it feels as if I’ve drifted into a Satyajit Ray movie, color draining out of the frame, time slowing to a gentle halt. A young girl with a long braid wanders up to the tree, steeples her palms and lays a marigold garland across the back of the seated bull. As always when intruding on someone else’s private devotion I feel a rush of shame and hasten away, passing on the way back to the hotel a pavement astrologer setting up shop by the road. Dressed in saffron pajamas, he is scurrying to string a tarp signboard between two trees.


32 KM

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the lobby at the trident Bhubaneswar.


when to Go temperatures are mild from November to March. Avoid monsoon season, which is july to october. STAY trident Bhubaneswar CB-1 Nayapalli; 91-674/230-1010;; doubles from Rs11,000 per night. DO BhUBaneSwaR of the more than 500 temples within the city limits, the most important—lingaraj, Mausi Maa, Mukteswar and Rajarani, as well as the Bindusagar tank—can be visited in one day. Located in the hills just west of the city, Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves, built in the first century b.C., are famous for wall inscriptions made by jain monks who came to meditate in

chambers cut from the rock. nandankanan Zoological Park Housing textiles, ancient seals, coins and masterpieces from the odishan golden age, the quiet Odisha State Museum provides a respite from midday heat. Lewis Rd.; orissamuseum. KOnaRK Sun temple list/246. PURI Sri Jagannath temple SHOp Mehers’ Shriya Square, Bhubaneswar; Utkalika Odisha State emporium An arts and handicrafts treasure trove. Market Bldg., Bhubaneswar; 91-674/253-0187. T+L TIp Local guides and transportation can be arranged through your hotel. For more advice on odisha, or India generally, contact t+L A-List agent Pallavi Shah at

In its slackened state it is hard to make out the words. Luckily we are stuck at a red light and by the time it changes and the driver eases off the brake I can make out the astrologer’s message. present, past, future already fixed, the sign reads, and, while I know what he means, I prefer to put my spin on that particular message. If past, present, and future are already fixed, then why worry? Why squander a moment of our brief time here on troubles and care when there are 32 types of the enjoyment and 64 types of the love all around? ✚

Beyond the turquoise clichĂŠs and New Age philosophizing, beyond the thriving art galleries and endless taco joints and huge Southwestern skies, Gary Sh teyngart finds the key to Santa Fe in the characters he meets along the way.


Photographed by Alex Farnum


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trav elandleisureasia . com

Tacos at Tia’s Cocina. Opposite: Traditional adobe architecture at Santa Fe’s Inn at Loretto.

I RAISE ThE STRAWbERRy bECAUSE IT WEARS ITS hEART oN ITS SlEEVE. Its seeds are on the outside! The strawberry has nothing to hide! It is the perfect size. It is not too big; neither is it too small. Nature has created it so that it would fit perfectly in the mouth.” If you’re wondering where this juicy conversation is happening, let me assure you there is only one possible place in the universe: Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m at a party in one of the nicer adobe homes I’ve seen so far (thar be mountain views), talking to the rugged and delightfully Swiss-German–accented Sondra Goodwin, photographer and cultivator of fruits and vegetables, nude wrestler extraordinaire and maker of Denim Duffs, an accessory that mimics the cuffs of denim jeans but is worn as a kind of 1980’s wristband. On Sondra’s own wrist there is a tattoo of a blazing, glorious strawberry approximating the Sacred Heart of Jesus (“I don’t believe in the Christ, but I love the strawberry”) surrounded by six stars. Why six stars? “You know how there are five-star hotels?” Yes. “This is one more.” Let me say it from the get-go: I love Sondra Goodwin. And I love Santa Fe. Much like Sondra’s strawberry, this small, mountain-hugged burg in northern New Mexico has nothing to hide, its post-hippie population reveling openly and gaily in its sunny provincial decadence. The scenery, the food, the art will always play second fiddle to this delightful collection of people, most of whom are just too weird to let loose on New York or Los Angeles, where a great deal of them seem to hail from. When I myself sported a Honduran poncho with a free hemp now pin as a senior at Oberlin College, northern New Mexico is where I dreamed I would go after graduation with my equally patchouli-scented girlfriend. Alas, it did not work out. But 16 years later, here I am, the spotless clouds embracing me, the cold desert air tingling my nose with the pine-burning scent of 10,000 expensive kiva fireplaces. Home at last.

From top: nouf al-Qasimi, the author’s friend and guide, at home in Santa Fe; the historic San Miguel Chapel, in downtown Santa Fe. Opposite: Gleaner, by Jeremy thomas, at Charlotte Jackson Fine art. 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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First, the cast of characters. I’m dining at the famed Café Pasqual’s, one block south of Santa Fe’s epicentral plaza, with Porochista Khakpour, the excellent Iranian-born novelist; Swedish-born philosopher Jason Leddington; and a woman this whole town seems to know and adore, Nouf Al-Qasimi. Porochista calls Nouf (rhymes with “loaf”) the Holly Golightly of Santa Fe. Her family is from the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. Nouf is an accomplished angler—she first came to this part of the world for the fishing—as well as an ex–food critic, a former elk-meat cook at a prestigious local restaurant, a Yale graduate, a Chinese-medicine practitioner and a conflictfree-diamond trader. “Of all the places where I could afford to buy a home, I thought of Santa Fe,” says Nouf, who is about to turn 32. “I’ve been here most of my adult life.” We are sitting beneath a festive papier-mâché sandhill crane with a pair of binoculars hanging from its neck. The waiter brings around a kind of amuse-bouche, Pasqual’s-style. It’s called “pig on a date”—a skewer of bacon, caramelized onions, Asian pear, Idiazabal cheese and dates. It occurs to me that of the beautiful people around me, all are newcomers to the United States in one way or another. Whatever one feels about dating a pig, it is hard not to feel at home here. “The official state question of New Mexico,” the waiter tells me, “is ‘Red, green or Christmas?’ ” Meaning should one’s dish be garnished with red or green chilies, or a combination of the two? We are served chiles en nogada, which celebrates the colors of the Mexican flag amid a riot of earthy shiitake, portobello and field mushrooms. When tackling Pasqual’s breakfast chorizo burrito or nearly anything else on the menu, it is helpful to ask for the restaurant’s red chilies—sweet, smoky and as complex as the last Don DeLillo novel. Nouf also steers me to the lunchtime BLT and green-chili sandwich, with its chilirubbed brown-sugar bacon on toasted chili corn bread alongside a refreshing kale salad. “I am organic!” a woman was recently overheard screaming at Santa Fe’s Whole Foods. It’s not a sentiment one can easily argue with around here. The search for the earthy, the authentic, the original runs strongly through the town’s citizens. At first, I am confused by the overall adobe-or-death aesthetic of the place, even as my lungs are depleted by the lack of oxygen 2,100 meters above sea level. On my first snowy night, with the mud-brown architecture all around me and the big sky lounging impassively above, I am shocked to run into a United States mailbox. (Am I really still in the States?) Within five days I become an earnest appraiser of farolitos and vigas (small paper lanterns containing a candle and wooden beams typical in adobe construction, respectively). I begin to rate churches. San Miguel Chapel, possibly the oldest church in the United States, with its coziness, simplicity and warmth, has beautiful

From top: a chicken taco at el Parasol; the holy Spirit espresso coffee shop. Opposite: a local rancher and his entourage on Palace avenue.


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TEN ThoUSANd WAVES IS PRETTy mUCh ThE ANSWER To All oF lIFE’S PRoblEmS, ANd hAlF ThE ToWN SEEmS To bE hERE. ThE CommUNAl bATh hAS bEEN kNoWN To gET RANdy vigas. In late November, the weather is cold, the tourists are sparse, and the town is nearly empty. I traipse back and forth between the chapel and New Mexico’s adorably easy-to-walkinto capitol building. The pink adobe glow of De Vargas Street, which lies at the foot of the chapel, may well make it the most calming thoroughfare in the nation. After 10 days nothing surprises me. There’s a sensibleseeming middle-aged woman walking down the street with a parrot she has dressed up in a Santa Claus outfit. There’s a guy who reputedly fixes only Mercedes-Benzes and Wurlitzers. There’s a biodiesel taxi. There are battle-weary detachments of women from Dallas and Houston running up and down Canyon Road’s art district, out to purchase the US$70,000 life-size statues of heroic American moose that are sculpted expressly for them. Porochista and Nouf take me to the gorgeous 1930’s Moorishstyle Lensic Performing Arts Center to see the Circus Luminous, a local circus show that doubles as a kind of morality play for children. The acrobatics are spectacular, but the narrative is hard to follow—a perfect village is taken over by generals who have small bodies but rule with giant telescopes. It must be a subtle critique of Santa Fe or Burma, or both. Nouf points out one of the more capable acrobats, a burlesquedancing champion who used to be part of an outfit called the Gender Offenders. The audience loves every minute of it, but as the show progresses we all begin to suffer from clown fatigue and decide to leave. Some of us go off to Ten Thousand Waves, a spa complex styled like a traditional Japanese onsen, about 20 minutes northeast of downtown Santa Fe. We immediately discover that Ten Thousand Waves is pretty much the answer to all of life’s problems, and when we show up, a full half of the town seems to be in attendance. This being Santa Fe, the communal bathing area has been known to get randy. A sign now asks for swimsuits to be worn after 8:15 p.m. We book the Waterfall, which has a large bath, an intense wet/dry sauna, not to mention a waterfall sputtering into the cold plunge. Jason, the Swede, reminisces about his distant, nordic homeland and saunas past; our feelings oscillate somewhere between Stockholm and Kyoto. The crisp mountain air, if not the stars


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above, settles onto our steam-warmed shoulders, and all of us are very happy. Walking through Santa Fe’s central plaza the next morning, where a drum-cello-accordion-dog quartet has been keeping the beat to “Hava Nagila” throughout my stay, I feel the familiar languid pleasure of strolling though a sunny Italian hill town. After a shot of caffeine at Holy Spirit Espresso, on San Francisco Street, I let go of my East Coastness and check in to the rich adobe nuthouse that is Santa Fe. It will be hard to leave. I walk down to Canyon Road to meet some friends at the Teahouse, a good place for matcha green tea with ginger on the rim and a tremendous bowl of oatmeal swimming in cream with strawberries, banana, maple syrup and black sticky rice. All around us is 12-step-speak infused with Hopi wisdom and generalized arts-and-crafts blather. “I have a new anger in me today.” “I would crochet hats and sell them at art sales.” “The strawberry,” I want to declare to all present, as I pick a specimen out of my oatmeal, “is the best fruit. It wears its heart on its sleeve. It has nothing to hide!” Instead I decide to check out the art. Since its opening in 1995, Site Santa Fe has been gradually shifting the center of gravity of the contemporary art scene from Canyon Road to the revamped Railyard district, thanks to its superb biennial exhibitions. The space is easily the best reuse of a Coors beer warehouse ever, and has featured important artists of the day from Marina Abramović to Takashi Murakami. The Eighth International Biennial, titled “The Dissolve,” blows me away with its take on moving-image art. Thomas Demand’s 35-mm wonder Rain re-creates the effect of raindrops falling on a hard surface; spending 20 minutes in front of this piece is no less than an act of meditation. The Austrian Maria Lassnig’s semiautobiographical blend of live action, animation and found photography restored my faith in that Alpine nation’s sense of humor. Mary Reid Kelley’s You Make Me Iliad, a mixture of live-action performance and stop-motion animation set in a German-occupied brothel at the end of World War I, defies any description other than epic. What’s truly great about Site Santa Fe is its willingness to reconfigure itself year after year. For the Eighth Biennial, British architect David Adjaye divided the space with scrim curtains of various colors—the works seem to talk with one another. Next to Site Santa Fe I find a cluster of the town’s trailblazing galleries, including a new space for the formerly downtown fixture Charlotte Jackson Fine Art. Jackson features a delicious installation of Charles Arnoldi’s Tasty Spuds sculptures of the beloved starch, a series of stacked tubers made of black bronze that leaves me both hungry and more appreciative of large carbohydrates. At the suggestion of Janet Dees, one of Site Santa Fe’s brilliant curators, I pay a visit to Eight Modern, a happy place off Canyon Road where I encounter 27-year-old Santa Fe artist Katherine Lee’s series of drawings, Animal Violence & Topless Women Eating Jam. True to this title, the jam-eating women are topless and the animal-on-animal violence is vivid. Opened five years ago, Eight Modern is unpretentious and fun, a modest but inspired gallery amid a sea of whirligigs on Delgado Street. Even the old-school galleries on Canyon Road can sometimes

surprise. Stopping by the Matthews Gallery, I stumble upon Gino Severini’s study for his famous Pierrot the Musician, and I also find Käthe Kollwitz’s Beggar Woman and Child, a masterly work from the anti-Nazi artist. But what I really want for Christmas is that US$70,000 moose. Then I want me some food. The Santa Fe dining scene is hopping. There’s a lot of fallback on black truffles, prized bacons and the inspirational power of homemade chorizo, but some innovative thinking, too. There’s nothing wrong with Restaurant Martín, where Iron Chef loser Martin Rios (“He’s still angry about that,” a waiter tells me, adding, “We don’t talk about it”) makes good use of local ingredients, the kind of colorful plates—the organic golden-beet carpaccio couldn’t be fresher—that my doctor has always supported. Restaurant Martín is swell and up-to-themoment, but at this point what I really want to do is go on a taco crawl with Nouf. We leave behind the manicured center of town and head down Cerrillos Road. Sunbaked, wide-open Cerrillos brings to mind the great suburban strip-mall sprawl of the American West, like something out of the hit Albuquerque-based television show Breaking Bad. Suddenly style has been replaced with flavor; nothing seems organic, but everything is real. Nouf has prepared a list of 18 notable Mexican places, but sanity dictates we limit ourselves to nine of them. El Parasol is a counter-only joint with no tables and no nothing, but the soft shredded-chicken taco is excellent and the crisp, intense chicharrón in the burrito—well, let me just say

that if you have one pork-rind-and-bean burrito in your lifetime, let this be the one. At Adelitas, the lengua taco is the best in town, house-made tortillas brimming with luscious chunks of tongue and there’s a mole poblano as rich as Croesus. We dig Adelita’s outrageously festive Toucan Sam décor and note the absence of Santa Fe’s ubiquitous turquoise jewelry, the mostly Mexican crowd joined by a pair of U.S. soldiers of both genders chowing down without a word. At Alicia’s Tortillería, women in drawstring pajamas queue in front of posters advertising lots of opportunities to envio their dinero back to Mexico. What they’re after are the piping-hot tortillas sporting what Nouf refers to as “a magical elasticity.” The chili burritos are also a standout. La Cocina de Doña Clara is a no-frills place with a dedicated clientele deep into their food, only occasionally sneaking peeks of Shakira busting her moves on the lone TV. Doña Clara produces an outstanding gordita de rajas con queso, a little spicy pocket of warmth filled with chilies and cheese, and a terrific desebrada shredded-beef taco. The green chilies are freshly cooked every morning, and the difference shows.

the Jemez Mountains, near the Four Seasons Resort Rancho encantado, outside Santa Fe. 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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Which is how I’m feeling by the end of this trip. Santa Fe is a small town, but between the bitters, the tacos and chilies, the art scene, and the fairly regular parties, it can be intense. It is time to head to Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in the village of Tesuque, a bedroom community of Santa Fe that is home to the renowned Santa Fe Opera. The hotel opened in 2008 and features one of the warmest and most attentive staffs I’ve ever encountered. Their pleasantness is almost enough to make up for the fact that many of the rooms look out onto the parking lot and the resort’s gleaming Mercedes coupes, which, on the plus side, you can borrow (first come, first served) and speed off with into the hills. If you close your eyes and learn to ignore the parking lot, you will notice yourself lost amid lavender and the starry New Mexico sky. The resort’s restaurant, Terra, serves up a lean antelope steak with a heavy bouquet and a strong finish, and a flaky, moist trout tamale. The chef is a proponent of the “modern rustic” style, which is well matched by the cheerfully highceilinged dining room and its striking views of the mountain and brush surroundings. On my final day at the resort, a craniosacral massage at the spa gets my cerebrospinal fluid pumping. My masseuse, the appropriately (for New Mexico) named Anna Aura, finally gets rid of my two years’ worth of sinus troubles. The massage oil, she tells me in that sweet but strong hippie-scientist voice I hear all over Santa Fe, contains spruce, lavender, and grapefruit oil—I wish to thank the gods for each and every one of them. Outside Encantado’s bar, I stare at the mountainous Los Alamos lights irradiating the distance just as the sunset explodes into a spectacular Southwestern fireball, my chakras aligned, my spirit free. ✚


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Having consumed a total of 12 dishes during the taco crawl, I feel it is time for a drink. I’ve been staying at the Hotel St. Francis, downtown Santa Fe’s oldest, its previously European interiors recently remodeled into a clean and simple hautemonk aesthetic. The “color palate” of the guest rooms, a hotel note tells me, “represents the natural shades of the churro sheep brought to New Mexico by early Spanish settlers.” I’ll just leave it at that. The best thing about the St. Francis is its bar, the Secreto Lounge. Here I meet a friend of Nouf’s, Bill York, owner of small-batch bitters company Bitter End, who works with computers all day for the New Mexico state government and then comes home to make his amazing essences (he has a master’s degree in biology, which seems to help). He brings his bitters to the Secreto to be mixed by Santa Fe’s premier mixologist, Chris Milligan. “We evangelize for each other,” Bill tells me, which is something people in this town seem to gladly do. The result of their work together is something special. A classic Manhattan with Memphisbarbecue bitters, anyone? It’s a complete rethink of that tired old drink. Or how about Kaffir-lime-infused vodka, green tea, fresh mint and Moroccan (hints of cardamom and cayenne) bitters? I believe it’s called the Clipper Sipper. In any case, it starts off sweet, and then it burns nicely.










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T L Guide STAY Four Seasons Resort Rancho encantado 198 State Rd., Tesuque;; doubles from US$300. hotel St. Francis 210 Don Gaspar Ave.;; doubles from US$101. Inn & Spa at loretto Luxury boutique hotel a block from Santa Fe Plaza. 211 Old Santa Fe Trail;; doubles from US$189. la Fonda on the Plaza the rooftop bar of this landmark Santa Fe hotel is the perfect place for cocktails. 100 E. San Francisco St.;; doubles from US$89. Rosewood Inn of the anasazi this 58-room Rosewood Hotel is designed in classic Southwestern style. 113 Washington Ave.;; doubles from US$218. EAT AND DRINK adelitas 3136 Cerrillos Rd.; 1-505/474-4897; tacos for two from US$9. alicia’s tortilleria 1314 Rufina Circle; 1-505/438-9545; dinner for two from US$10. Café Pasqual’s 121 Don Gaspar Ave.;; dinner for two from US$60. el Parasol 1833 Cerrillos Rd.; dinner for two from US$10. holy Spirit espresso 225 W. San Francisco St.; holyspirit

la Cocina de Doña Clara 4350 Airport Rd.; lacocinadedonaclara. com; dinner for two from US$20. Restaurant Martín 526 Galisteo St.;; dinner for two from US$90. Secreto lounge Hotel St. Francis, 210 Don Gaspar Ave.;; cocktails for two from US$20. the teahouse 821 Canyon Rd.;; breakfast for two from US$15. terra Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, 198 State Rd., Tesuque;; dinner for two from US$120. tia’s Cocina traditional family recipes. Hotel Chimayo, 125 Washington Ave.; hotelchimayo. com; dinner for two from US$70. DO Charlotte Jackson Fine art 554 S. Guadalupe St.; charlotte eight Modern 231 Delgado St.; Georgia O’Keeffe Museum 217 Johnson St.; 1-505/946-1000; lensic Performing arts Center 211 W. San Francisco St.; 1-505/ 988-7050; Matthews Gallery 669 Canyon Rd.; San Miguel Chapel 401 Old Santa Fe Trail; 1-505/983-3974. Site Santa Fe 1606 Paseo de Peralta; ten thousand waves 3451 Hyde Park;

across the euro-strapped Continent, centuries-old treasures are falling apart—and there’s no easy way to repair the damage. what will it take to preserve these cultural landmarks? Michael Z. wise reports.

Saving Europe’s Icons

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the trevi Fountain, in Rome, just before a few stone reliefs fell off.


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Spain, which also have the lion’s share of the Continent’s landmarked cultural attractions, with more than 100 unesco World Heritage sites combined. Galleries at museums are closing, thefts of precious artworks are increasing and centuries-old buildings are crumbling. “Such an immense heritage requires money and maintenance,” Salvatore Settis, former head of Italy’s National Heritage Council and director of the Getty Research Institute, in Los Angeles, told me on a recent trip to Rome. “Both have been neglected, so national landmarks are going to continue to fall down.” In Italy, government spending on the arts has been slashed drastically since 2010. At the ancient ruins of Pompeii, a portion of the wall surrounding the city fell down last year because of water damage and still hasn’t been restored. In Venice, empty coffers have hampered efforts to preserve the cityscape in the face of seawater, pollution and hordes of tourists. The columns lining Piazza del Plebiscito, in Naples, are covered in graffiti. In

Rome’s Colosseum from Palatine hill. Opposite: a view of the alhambra in Granada, Spain.



he crowds surrounding the Trevi Fountain in Rome behaved as if nothing were amiss. They snapped photos and ate gelato in its shadow, even though a third of the backdrop to the fabled landmark was sheathed in plastic and scaffolding after chunks of sculpted stone suddenly fell off last June. Just behind the fountain depicting Neptune on a winged chariot stands an 18th-century palazzo housing the National Institute of Graphic Arts, which holds works by such masters as Giambattista Piranesi, Antonio Canova and Giorgio Morandi. It contains one of Europe’s leading collections of art, but the priceless works are rarely exhibited due to lack of funding. Culture is under assault across Europe, and nowhere is this more acute than in the struggling economies of Italy, Greece and

Spain, parts of Granada’s majestic Alhambra and the Medina al-Zahra, in Córdoba, are in a state of ruin. Greece’s rich archaeological legacy is perhaps even more at risk. Dozens of top archaeologists have recently been pushed into retirement, and with far fewer custodians of history, future real estate development may end up damaging artifacts on historic sites: take the southern region of Messenia, where excavation work on a sixth-century-B.C. temple was halted in 2012. Earlier this year, the Museum of Olympia was stormed by a gunman who escaped with more than 70 works of art because of a lack of security; cuts were also blamed for recent thefts of Picasso and Mondrian paintings from the National Gallery, in Athens. “It’s distressing,” says Bonnie Burnham, president of the World Monuments Fund. “European countries aren’t set up to pursue alternative strategies when they don’t have budgets.” What’s more, she points out, there are no tax incentives to encourage private philanthropy. Enter corporate sponsors. Rather than following traditional models of donating behind the scenes through cultural organizations, they are spearheading restoration efforts themselves in exchange for opportunities to advertise. Wander through Venice and you may see huge Coca-Cola banners hanging near Piazza San Marco; for months, the white limestone façade of the

Bridge of Sighs was covered in a tarp touting the women’s clothing line Sisley. Later this year, a reported US$33 million renewal project sponsored by shoemaker Tod’s is set to begin on Rome’s Colosseum: under the contract, the company will have the right to use the Colosseum’s logo for 15 years and travelers can expect to see the Tod’s brand on the ticket they buy to visit the historic site. Many locals believe it’s a small price to pay to ensure that Europe’s most beautiful treasures remain open to the public, but others feel the negotiation turns culture into merchandise. “The scope of Michelangelo and Caravaggio is not to create money for business, but civilization for all the nation,” Italian historian and art critic Tomaso Montanari says. The good news? While many European governments pull back, most privately funded cultural preservation groups have managed to survive and are cautiously optimistic about the future of these sites. Save Venice, for example, is moving forward with more than 30 restoration projects this year, says Melissa Conn, director of the Venice office. At the Gallerie dell’Accademia, the organization has pioneered the restoration of the Sala dell’Albergo, which includes Titian’s Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and paintings by his contemporaries that had been kept in storage for more than a century. According to Conn, “Europeans will never abandon their cultural heritage.” ✚

Restoring europe these not-forprofits are helping with restoration projects across the continent. WORLD MONUMENTS FUND Heavyweight advocate for the preservation of endangered historical sites worldwide and community rebuilding. SAvE vENICE one of the world’s largest organizations solely dedicated to restoring Venice’s art and architecture. ITALIA NOSTRA Campaigns to protect and promote Italy’s historical, environmental and cultural institutions.


ENGLISH HERITAGE Manages the conservation of more than 400 castles, abbeys and other monuments in England. LA SOCIéTé DES AMIS DE vERSAILLES Raises funds to refurbish and maintain France’s Palace of Versailles. 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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Our Definitive Guide to

with Obama back in the white house, the american capital is in full swing. the cutting-edge has replaced the sleepy and staid, from galleries and boutiques to restaurants, hotels and more. Mr. Smith, it’s time to go back to washington. By andrew Sessa. Photographed by Jason Varney

Vinyl-covered floors and walls at Belief + Doubt, an installation by Barbara Kruger at the hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, on washington, D.C.’s national Mall. 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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From left: the Book Room at the Jefferson hotel, in Dupont Circle; the view of the washington Monument from the w hotel’s P.O.V. Roof terrace.









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lay of the land adams Morgan with a college-town feel, Adams Morgan is filled with independent bookstores, ethnic restaurants and low-key lounges. Dupont Circle d.C.’s cultural heart is made up of small art galleries, shops and coffeehouses—and it has great people-watching. 14th Street the gentrifying stretch of 14th Street from thomas Circle to U Street has become an incubator for the best of d.C.’s vibrant foodie and mixology scene. Georgetown this preppy-chic neighborhood is the city’s most picturesque, with colorful row houses, fashion boutiques and tony cafés. Penn Quarter d.C.’s best example of urban renewal has innovative restaurants, top museums and the soon-to-open City Center shopping complex. U Street wander down this onceblighted strip and you’ll find music venues and bars vying for the attention of late-night crowds.


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Stay D.C.’s hotel scene is booming. here, 11 properties that top our list. new & noteworthy CApELLA GEORGETOWN At this stylish newcomer, a rooftop infinity pool (a rarity for d.C.) raises the hotel luxury bar. Need a last-minute restaurant reservation? Ask your personal concierge.; opens February 2013.

THE MADISON Known as “washington’s correct address,” the 356-room Federaliststyle downtown hotel just received a redo. madisonhoteldc. com; $310.

DONOvAN HOUSE there’s a neo-Jetsons look to the whimsical donovan House, in up-and-coming thomas Circle. donovan; $280.

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THE JEFFERSON the renovated hotel pays luxurious homage to the president with Monticello-inspired design (parquet floors; toile de jouy drapery).; $399.

W with a sceney rooftop lounge overlooking the white House, the w brand managed to inject nightclub-meetswonderland flair into what had previously been a rather lackluster hotel. wwashingtondc. com; $369.

the Classics FOUR SEASONS A top-to-bottom makeover has brightened up all 222 rooms, as well as the power-breakfast hot spot Seasons.; $715.

RITZ-CARLTON, GEORGETOWN the sophisticated taupe-and-mahogany rooms come with views of the Potomac River.; $399.

pARK HYATT the lobby of this tony Chi–designed retreat near Embassy Row features photographs of cherry trees printed onto 3-meter-tall glass panels. Upstairs, rooms are decorated with American folk art. park.; $415.

ST. REGIS Generations of presidents (Coolidge, truman, Reagan) and stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth taylor have checked in to the 86-year-old gray

stone mansion, formerly the Carlton Hotel.; $240.

MANDARIN ORIENTAL It’s got a prime location near the Mall; one of the district’s top restaurants, City zen; and a Presidential Suite in eye-popping black-and-gold chinoiserie. mandarin; $535.

THE HAY-ADAMS this beaux-Arts icon holds pride of place at the white House’s front door (and around the corner from that other d.C. institution, old Ebbitt Grill). the hotel’s off the Record bar is the after-work hangout for politicos of all stripes.; $475.

Hotel prices are in US dollars for double occupancy.

Shop For the best boutiques, head to Georgetown. everard’s Clothing A classic men’s haberdashery if ever there was one, this place specializes in the sort of conservatively stylish suits, shirts, ties and shoes that are the telltale marks of D.C. movers and shakers. hu’s wear The racks in Marlene Hu Aldaba’s two-story clothing shop are stuffed with of-the-moment brands including Yigal Azrouël and the Row (the Olsen twins’ award-winning line). Just across the street is Aldaba’s footwear emporium, Hu’s Shoes. a Mano The hostess-gift go-to for any wellheeled Georgetown guest: expect European artisanal accoutrements, tabletop items and handmade objets d’art selected by owner Adam Mahr. Relish This boutique in Cady’s Alley—D.C.’s design strip—is run by fashion insider Nancy Pearlstein, who chooses from a short list of notables: Dries Van Noten, Marni, Jil Sander and Balenciaga, to name a few. lost Boys Stylist and Virginia native Kelly Muccio carries key brands—Rogan, John Varvatos and Band of Outsiders among them—at her men’s store, a converted town house complete with a bourbon bar and a showroom for personal-shopping clients.

Clockwise from left: Shirts and accessories at men’s wear shop lost Boys; suede heels by angela Scott from Relish; browsing Relish’s women’s line; silver and gold jewelry at Relish.


See Do Sure, the white house and hirshhorn are on your list, but leave time for these under-the-radar gems. pRESIDENT LINCOLN’S COTTAGE the hilltop mansion where Honest Abe drafted the Emancipation Proclamation and coordinated much of the North’s military deployment during the Civil war, Lincoln’s summer white House opened to the public as a museum after a $15 million restoration. Garden Snare, a sculpture made of steel and shade cloth by Kendall Buster at the Kreeger Museum.

KREEGER MUSEUM At this petite gallery northwest of Georgetown,

the art-loving and politically minded Kreeger family’s former home—designed by Philip johnson in 1963—is as captivating as the Impressionist and Modernist works it contains (paintings by Picasso, Monet, Cézanne and braque, plus sculptures by Calder and brancusi).

HILLWOOD ESTATE, MUSEUM & GARDENS “where fabulous lives” is Hillwood’s motto, and this museum and garden more

than fulfills that promise. Inside are 18th-century Russian and French art and antiques collected by owner Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the General Foods fortune.

HOWARD THEATRE d.C.’s historic music hall on black broadway just reopened as a super-club, booking major R&b, jazz and pop acts. bonus: chef Marcus Samuelsson oversees the restaurant. thehoward

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Clockwise from left: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, in logan Circle; ground duck over noodles at little Serow; outside Ben’s Chili Bowl, in downtown D.C.

a 14th Street Culinary Crawl these days, the best place to eat (and drink) is logan Circle’s 14th Street corridor. THE pLACE Ben’s Chili Bowl, a 60-plus-year-old institution known for its no-frills grub. THE ORDER the Chili half Smoke, a half-pork-and-halfbeef smoked sausage on a steamed bun with mustard, onions and ben’s signature chili sauce.

Eat D.C.’s culinary cred is rising: seven places to go right now (book early). KOMI AND LITTLE SEROW young chef johnny Monis and his wife, Anne Marler, run Komi, a haute dupont Circle spot that takes Greece as a starting point (slow-roasted baby goat with pita and tzatziki). Also of note: the duo’s new and nearby thai spot, Little Serow.; set menu for two $270.; dinner for two $90.

THE SOURCE wolfgang Puck’s sleek and spacious glass-andsteel dining room in the Newseum plays with pan-Asian flavors,


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skipping from China (lacquered duckling with lo mein) to japan (stir-fried yaki-udon), Korea (barbecued-steak salad) to India (tandoori arctic char with raita).; set lunch for two $90.

RASIKA d.C.’s elite, from CNN’s wolf blitzer to Virginia Senator Mark warner, flock to this classic Indian restaurant and its flashily mod new sibling Rasika west End for authentic northern Indian cuisine. Ask the server for guidance, and share everything.; dinner for two $100.

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SUppER CLUB AT SEASONAL pANTRY the city is slowly embracing the pop-up restaurant, with the wednesday-throughSaturday 12-seat dinners at this specialty market in the Shaw neighborhood. Chef daniel o’brien—a contestant on the current season of Top Chef—turns out an ever-changing multicourse menu with seasonal delights such as wild mushrooms accompanied by chicken, pumpkin and pickles. seasonalpantry. com; prices determined by set menu of the week.

JALEO AND MINIBAR Spanish-born star chef josé Andrés jumpstarted his career in his new home city with jaleo, a tapas spot that recently got a playful makeover. Sample from the new menu—a paella or a tortilla with sobrasada, onions, and Mahón cheese. the more daring might try Andrés’s reopened Minibar, nearby, with one-bite molecular concoctions.; dinner for two $50. minibarbyjoseandres. com; tasting menu for two $450. Prices are in US dollars.

THE pLACE Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, a low-key bar and restaurant with a retronautical feel. THE ORDER Oysters, oysters, and oysters, accompanied by a local microbrew, or the Pimm’sbased Pearl Cup.; oysters for two $18. THE pLACE estadio, an ode to tapas in a chic, loftlike space. THE ORDER the roasted shishito peppers and the montadito (a Spanish sandwich) of duck and foie gras. estadio-dc. com; tapas for two $130. THE pLACE Birch & Barley and Church Key, an upstairs/ downstairs, beer-focused restaurant and gastropub. THE ORDER At birch & barley, cavatelli and flounder tartare; at Church Key, tater tots and charcuterie.; $110.; $130.

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THE pLACE the Gibson, a clubby speakeasy serving classic cocktails. THE ORDER one (or two or three) of the old-fashioned fizzes or sours; plus olives or another light bite from the snack menu.

From left: the lobby at the Kennedy Center; a beet salad at Georgia Brown’s; Cowgirl Creamery, in the Penn Quarter.

Local Take three washington insiders open their little black books. ANN STOCK

U.S. assistant Secretary of State for educational and Cultural affairs

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My go-to lunch spot where I work in Foggy Bottom is District Commons (; lunch for two $50), and nothing beats the Red hook lobster Pound (redhook; shrimp rolls for two $16) food truck; try the shrimp roll. For dessert, the cupcakes at Baked & wired (bakedandwired. com; cupcakes for two $7) are an absolute must. If I manage to leave my office early, I head to the Kennedy Center (kennedy-center. org), where there’s a free performance every night at 6 p.m.

where the elite Meet Deals are hammered out and sources sweet-talked at these high-powered haunts.


James Beard award–winning chef


event planner and designer

The area around the Golden Triangle, just off K Street and 16th Street, has great restaurants. At the end of a long day, I like to fill up on Southern comfort food and yummy cocktails at neighborhood favorite Georgia Brown’s (; dinner for two $100). For an upscale dinner, chef Todd Gray’s seasonal menu at equinox (equinoxrestaurant. com; set menu for two $70) is perfect. And Plume (, the bar at the Jefferson hotel, serves excellent wines—some of them dating all the way back to the 1800’s.

Breakfast Blue Duck tavern Feast on short-rib hash and pecan sticky buns. blueducktavern. com.

lunch the Monocle Members of Congress love this classic steak house.

nightcap Columbia Room d.C. night owls pack the reservationsonly lounge. passengerdc. com/columbia.

The Penn Quarter has become one of the most exciting parts of the city. I love Cowgirl Creamery ( for amazing cheeses and wines, and on Thursday afternoons, you can find me at Fresh Farm Market (freshfarm, which carries the best local products. I often duck into the national Portrait Gallery ( edu) and the Smithsonian american art Museum ( for a little escape; walking through those vast halls always inspires me.

hairstylist Diego D’ambrosio Nancy Pelosi is a fan, along with soigné military officials. 1501 Q St. NW.

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Last Look

Photographed by Massimo Casal

Bohol, Philippines

the littlest primate the 10- to 13-cm tarsier comes out at night, and only lives on a few Southeast Asian islands. to spot one of these wee carnivores catching crickets, head to their sanctuary in Corella. Meeting life head-on bounded as they are by natural beauty—the Mindanao Sea, white beaches, overhanging coral-stone cliffs and mangrove forests— it’s easy to see why boholanos are known for their sense of freedom and adventure.

angling for mischief

Rolling landscape Legend has it that the famed Chocolate Hills of bohol were formed not by cocoa, but by a giant, weeping over the death of his love. (the conical karsts near Carmen are, in fact, grass-covered limestone deposits.)


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In much of the island, laid-back life centers around fishing—from the big-game charters offering the chance to catch marlin and tuna, to the common sight of kids frolicking on the docks, like this happy trio in Loon.


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January 2013  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia January 2013