JAN 9 – 15 • ISSUE 252 • WEEKLY
The Butler Did It LEARNING THE ART OF PERSONAL SERVICE SUCCESSFUL SOCCER STARS / MONACO MAGIC / CULINARY CAVE / WEALTH, HEALTH & HAPPINESS / FIRST CLASS BEAUTY
06 Interview: MEET THE MONEY MAN
EVERY THURSDAY NOW AVAILABLE IN BARKA ALL THE WAY TO SOHAR
WORLD CUP: On The Road To Rio VALUABLE VEHICLES: Super Cars
Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week
JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323 • WEEKLY
Money ON THE
Luxe Living For Less
NOVEMBER 24 / ISSUE 258
RED CARPET GLAMOUR
PADDLE BOARDING Forget about whizzing about on speed boats. This Muscat based water sport is healthy, hip and offers a natural high. Don’t forget to plait your hair and make like Pocahontas.
MICROADVENTURES The roads may be hot enough to fry eggs here in the Sultanate but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate during the summer months. Make a pilgrimage to the mountains, go wild swimming or take a moonlit walk on the beach.
LOOKING LIKE A MOOMIN Being caught on camera looking pale and squidgy by Al-Ain’s Bat Tombs near Ibri is not a good look, complains the ultra white Penny Fray. POOR SERVICE Dear shop assistant - step away from your phone, smile and ring those items through the till with a little more efficiency because we’re bored of bad service here in Muscat. You know who you are.
Welcome to Y Magazine – your indispensable guide to everything modern Oman has to offer.
Fast forward E
veryone’s got an opinion on whether money can make you happy. But whatever your take on the classic dilemma, there’s no doubt that a healthy bank balance allows people to indulge in a luxury lifestyle. And it seems that extravagance knows no bounds. Plates of food that cost more than a family holiday and art work that’s sold to private collectors for the GDP of a small country all show that the sky’s the limit in a world where modesty has no place. This week, we bring you a taster of this amazing existence that, for better or worse, remains elusive for a great number of us. We explore every aspect of the jet set, from the world’s most expensive cars to haute couture fashion that’s better kept in a bank vault than a wardrobe. And to tie in with the approaching World Cup, you can also find out more about the stratospheric salaries pocketed by the world’s top footballers. Look out also for our “Deluxe Dozen” in which we show that you don’t have to spend millions to live like royalty. So turn the glossy pages of this week’s Y Magazine and enter the world of luxe living. TEAM Y
THIS WEEK… Team Y has been suffering from sun stroke, scrambling up World Heritage Sites, blinded by popping flashbulbs at a film premiere, cat sitting and scoffing bright pink candyfloss. Delicious.
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EDITOR IN CHIEF Sayyida Iman bint Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Eihab Abutaha MANAGING EDITOR Penny Fray SECTIONS EDITOR Kate Ginn
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JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323
contents JUNE 05 2014
Features 20 High Class Living The Deluxe Dozen 24 The Personal Touch A Butler’s Life
This week 16 Movie Listings
Edge of Tomorrow
18 This Week
06 The Big Interview
26 Y’s World Cup Countdown On The Road To Rio
Old School Tunes
08 Voice Of Oman
Al Sayyida Mayya Al Said
Cars and Adventures
Food and Drink
30 Food Review
42 Postcard From
Health & Beauty
46 Car of the Week 32 Fashion Super Cars Let There Be Luxe 34 Health The Jet Set 35 Style Counsel Barbra Young
NEXT WEEK’S ISSUE
WORLD CUP SPECIAL – THE BIG KICK-OFF / SAMBA CUISINE / FOOTBALL FASHION / BEAUTIFUL BRAZIL / ARMCHAIR FANS / BEST VENUES
Professional Neil G rant, executive director of P rosperity Offshore I nvestment C onsultants, D ubai Tell us about your career so far. I joined the financial services sector in 1983 with Pearl Assurance in the U.K. and won various promotions to sales manager, district manager and branch manager, before leaving in 2001 to come to Dubai. I joined PIC (Professional Investment Consultants) and left them as branch manager in Dubai in June 2003, when deVere bought their licence. I formed Prosperity in June 2004 and we are celebrating a decade in business on July 17 this year. Why did you want to work in financial consulting? I was working in the forestry sector for the Duke of Atholl in Scotland when I saw an advert for a position and decided that tree felling was a distant second to an opportunity as a district agent with Pearl Assurance in my hometown area of Aberfeldy. If someone were to receive a large financial windfall and had little experience, what first steps should they take to manage their money? Take a deep breath and pause for thought – as everyone (skilled or not) will have opinions of what you should do with the money, probably including giving them some of it. Next, speak to a recommended and accredited financial adviser to offer advice and provide you with some recommendations. Do not feel obliged at this stage to place monies anywhere until you are comfortable, as some of this should be locked into funds that offer a return over the longer term. I have always described investment 06
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as a very simple thing made complicated by others. Baking a cake requires all the What do you enjoy most correct ingredients and financial about your job? advice does so too; some ready Every day – and I mean every day cash (current account), an offshore – is different from the last as you account offering added protection, meet new people from all over the short-term equity savings, longerworld. I am fortunate enough to be term equities or bonds depending looking after the finances of people on your attitude to risk, property who became clients of mine when and, finally, some luxuries. located in the Middle East and are Do you find the demands of now back in their country of origin, individuals change according or another part of the globe. to their net worth? Did you find that people No. I have always believed that became more risk averse your smallest client may become following the financial crisis your largest if you look after them and, if so, is that changing over a decade or more. The client now? may have high net Obviously, the fear worth, but often it’s element from the Describe all cash or property, financial crisis kicked as they don’t in and rightly so, as yourself in know anything three words: we experienced some else, so they are of the worst market Gregarious, open to your conditions since the meticulous and recommendations. 1940s and clients still ambitious. The one common scattered looking denominator that for cover from the I have seen for fallout of a global over 30 years is that there are only collapse. This will happen again two human emotions involved in as humans are involved, and all investment no matter what your that has gone before us will be worth – fear and greed – and we forgotten, but probably not in my are all the same. lifetime thankfully. At last people Is it possible to create a are beginning to believe again typical profile for a more and some have already leapt onto risky investor? the rollercoaster ride of high risk, I would say there is no typical searching out that adrenaline rush profile. We only have to look back of the greed factor. to 2008 when “everything” in the What are the challenges of world collapsed. Everyone that providing financial advice in thought their money was 100 per the Gulf region? cent safe in the bank, or property, The main challenge would be were as spooked as the high-equity that this industry has a terrible investors or speculative single profile in the region, thanks to the company shares. “cold-calling” brigade that acquire
phone lists and pester people into submission. What are the best things about working in this industry? The diversity, the opportunity to make someone’s future more financially secure and the trust that people place in you. What changes do you see in the financial consulting sector? There are big changes afoot in the Gulf region with the implementation of new Insurance Authority licensing requirements, not to mention the hugely increased capital placements that must be made. The first will close many of the smaller brokers who simply cannot afford to make the financial commitments and commit to additions of new management layers to their companies. The reduced customer choice with limited brokerages will only be countered if the authorities make sure that financial advisers offer advice and services that will not necessarily provide financial gain for them, but protect the clients’ life savings. Can you give three very short financial tips? Always have capital that is available (cash-based deposits). Always commit to save as much as you possibly can because if the amount isn’t noticeable (saving needs to hurt a little) then you are kidding yourself. Always protect your family’s most valuable asset – you. Critical illness and life cover are a must.
The Voice of Oman Al Sayyida Mayya Al Said on why it’s time to change our behaviour on the roads
correspondence Debate of the Week We asked:
very day I, like thousands of others, make my way to work by car. I brace myself for the traffic that awaits me. Being stuck in gridlock isn’t what bothers me, however. What does get to me are selfish, reckless drivers who seem to think that they are more “important” than others. You know the ones I mean – those who are always in a rush, drive very closely behind you, flash their lights, overtake from the right and drive as if they are in a car race. The thing is, after all that, you end up behind them at the traffic lights. Clearly they don’t realise the risk at which they are putting themselves and others. Haven’t we had enough of car accidents that end in fatality? Omanis are known for being kind, however I do hope that one day we will be praised for having the safest roads too. The Royal Oman Police is doing a lot, such as being stationed in certain areas to monitor those who violate the rules, and spreading awareness about the risks of speeding or using mobile phones while driving. But they can only do so much. My fear is that if we, as people, do not change our bad driving habits, then nothing will change and our roads will continue to be unsafe for years to come. Think about it for a moment: every time we get into the car we not only put ourselves at risk but our families and everyone around too. Isn’t it time we did something about it?
Next week: Ali al Balushi
JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323
‘The first phase of Muscat’s new airport is due to be completed later this year – but what would you like to see included in the new airport?’
and beliefs could spend a few quiet moments in contemplation of the inner and outer journey ahead.
The new airport should have friendly staff to help people who don’t know where to go. Food is another very important factor so it would be good to see a fairly priced, high-quality selection. There should also be a big duty free section for last-minute shopping with good offers.
Hafez Drače Bechnak
Vhie Angeles Tagum
I’d like to see high ceilings – I’m claustrophobic!
There should be a mini clinic for urgent medical needs, a children’s corner equipped with play areas, a relaxation centre with shower and leisure facilities for travellers in transit and convenient vending machines for juices and coffee.
The airport is the first thing a person sees as soon as he or she lands. It should display the rich culture, heritage and history of Oman in terms of large murals, models and wall-to-wall paintings. It would make the first-time visitor more excited – and the residents proud – when people get to see what a beautiful country like Oman has to offer.
An efficient ground staff with a pleasant disposition, sleeping lounges for transit passengers, a spa, kids area and e-gates for quick transit.
Many passengers face difficulties travelling to and from the airport due to parking problems and high taxi fares. More options for passenger convenience could include a metro stop, bus services to central places and train services to places like Sohar and Sur.
The airport should be a permanent and unforgettable experience and the best way to do that would be to reflect the strengths of Oman in the design – both externally and internally – and to focus on the history and culture. That should be brought out in the services provided by the airport and its management.
Jinan al Busaidi
The airport needs something to show off the culture of Oman, like a little museum for passing travellers.
A meditation room in the departure lounge with Arabian lamps, candles and photos of tranquil scenery in Oman. It could be a place where people from all backgrounds
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MAY 08 - 14 / ISSUE 319
METERs IN TAXIS – AT LAST
aggling for the right price in a taxi is finally coming to an end with the announcement that meters are to be installed in the
vehicles. Airport taxis will be the first to have the meters put in all cars. These are already being fitted, according to a member of the Municipal Council of Muscat. This will be expanded to include hotel and resort taxis, and eventually all public taxis. Tariffs have yet to be set. At the moment, fares for airport taxis are charged according to pre-set fees. Minimum fares are RO6 and one way to Ghubra is RO8. A single journey to Ruwi from the terminal costs RO10. An independent international company will be in charge of supplying, installing, testing and commissioning a taxi management system and taxi meters, said a source from the municipal council. Despite opposition from some taxi drivers, the council unanimously took the decision to introduce metered taxis at the airport in 2012, a decision that was later approved by the Muscat Municipality. Two years later, it is about to become a reality. “Consumers normally haggle with taxi drivers over the fare,” said Salim al Ghammari, a municipal council member. “However, meter-equipped taxis will make the entire experience more organised and better scheduled.” It will also help regulate the behaviour of the taxi drivers and ensure uniformity in pricing. Some customers have complained about excessive
and fluctuating prices. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is conducting a study to find the right approach to introducing meters into public taxis. “I hope the Ministry comes out with a new law to organise the taxi systems and impose penalties upon violators,” added al Ghammari. Over the coming months, Muscat Municipality will be launching metered taxis. If it proves a success, it will be rolled out to other governorates.
Tighter restrictions for expatriates trying to obtain a driver’s license in the Sultanate are being considered. The move is an attempt to ensure that expats don’t use personally registered allpurpose vehicles (APV) for commercial purposes, a violation of regulations. The Majlis A’ Shura has suggested a new special article that could be included in an amendment of the traffic law. In the past, the Royal Oman Police has issued fines against violators, especially expats, but there has been no clear rule on how to deal with those who flout the law.
SCHOOL CLOSURES T he Ministry of Education has shut down six private schools in the Sultanate for failing to meet standards, it was revealed. None of the schools have been officially named. Five are from Muscat Governorate and one is in the Sharqiyah region. Five were served a notice about failing standards two years ago after a random check by government inspectors found several areas of concern, including poor hygiene and a lack of proper facilities. Teachers were also said to be under qualified for their positions. A sixth school was given a notice last September. According to a source, lack of transparency and favouritism in the recruitment of the teachers were also contributing factors.
MOH No. 68/2014
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OMAN Bite Sized Our weekly slot takes a lighthearted look at a news issue of the week.
What are they? Everything from illegally pillaging ancient tombs (tut, tut) to searching for valuable old artifacts on the seabed, it’s the act of looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow. I wouldn’t know where to start: It can take years of research and dedication to find what you’re looking for. Howard Carter was excavating Egyptian sites for over 20 years before discovering the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. Rewards were big though – his tomb even included a golden sarcophagus. Sounds a bit Indiana Jones. Aren’t there easier, modern-day versions? Actually, funny you should say that. The social media marvel of Twitter may be blamed in some parts of the world for spreading unrest, but it’s also accredited with a new breed of treasure hunt. Tell me more – I’m up for a new gold rush! Not quite a gold rush but a cash rush. And now they’re cropping up all over the place. A few days ago, San Francisco residents were out hunting for envelopes stuffed with cash as they followed clues posted on a Twitter account, HiddenCash. Cut to the chase – how much cash? Well, the equivalent of RO40, which won’t go a long way towards a Cartier watch but it has put a smile on people’s faces. Winners have brought pizza for their colleagues, split it with homeless people and donated winnings to animal rescue centres. What does the organiser get? Well, the mysterious property developer who’s hiding the envelopes now has 190,000 Twitter followers. Money can’t buy you happiness, they say, but it can buy an army of Twitter fans. Where else? Cash hunts are springing up across the states from Dallas to Chicago and they’ve also made it to the UK where a mysterious businessman has hidden as much as RO140 at a time in cities across the country. This sounds great! Is there one here in Oman? Not that we know of. Could I do one? Please do! Maybe it would coax us outdoors in the summer months. Do say: Now that’s what I call socialist media. Don’t say: I wouldn’t get out of bed for that much.
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FREEZING FITNESS Words: Shishira Sreenivas
t first, it doesn’t sound like too much of an arduous chore for those who like to keep fit and are up for a challenge. The task is simple: to complete as many burpees (also known as squat thrusts) in a minute in a world record attempt. There’s just one catch. It’s going to take place inside a freezer where temperatures will hover around -10°C. Oh, and the freezer will be parked at Azaiba Beach. Dozens of hardy souls have applied to be part of the 10-man elite team hoping to put Oman on a very cool athletic map. As spectators are sweating outside in the summer heat on Saturday (7), the frozen “burpers” will be shivering inside the mobile freezer unit and, hopefully, squatting and jumping their way into the record books. Fuelled by Weetabix and trained by RevGX Fitness, the brave challengers will be in good hands. Bader al Lawati, one of the original Freezing Omanis who went to Antarctica, and his employer Enhance are leading the attempt. The world record for burpees in one minute is 40 but no one has been brave enough to try the feat in a freezer. Until now, that is. While there have been many burpee world records in the past, the organisers say this particular challenge is the first of its kind. “We are setting a new category in the world record book and we invite the world to break it,” said RevGX’s managing director, Rashid al Barwani. “We wanted to organise an event to spread
A WEEK IN PICTURES
environmental awareness and also raise awareness in our communities for the need to be active.” After a series of qualifiers in which competitors had to complete as many burpees as possible in seven minutes, the top 10 people have been selected for the new record. “The challenge will require a lot of energy so I’ve been maintaining a high-fibre diet,” said al Lawati, who should be used to the cold after his adventures in the sub-freezing Antarctic. He added: “Also, I’m trying to eat foods low on the glycemic index. Besides the diet, I’ve been training with CrossFit Wadi to be in the best shape.” At the challenge, the participants will enter the freezer boxes individually to perform the burpees and will be assessed by an independent third party to ensure correct moves are used. There will also be an ambulance on site in case of any problems. “Being in the freezer will make it hard to breathe and lower my energy levels. I’m hoping to do over 20 burpees to set a competitive world record,” added al Lawati. The winner will get to walk away with a cash prize and a one-year membership at RevGX Fitness, along with a certificate as a world record holder. Cheer on the competitors and be part of the fun at Azaiba Beach Park from 6.30pm on Saturday.
HEADLINING STORIES FROM OMAN AND BEYOND
Protests erupt in India after the brutal gang rape and murder of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree in a remote village in Uttar Pradesh
Former head of Egypt’s armed forces, Abdul Fattah al Sisi, sweeps to victory in the country’s presidential elections
Spain’s King Juan Carlos, 76, abdicates in favour of his son, Prince Felipe, in a surprise announcement after almost 40 years on the throne
A 13-year-old schoolgirl is thought to be the youngest female to have climbed Mount Everest. Malavath Poorna reached the 8,848-metre peak on May 25
Drink What You Can’t Eat.
QATAR WORLD CUP TALKS IN OMAN I
nvestigators looking into the World Cup 2022 bid are reported to have met Qatari officials in the Sultanate this week. Oman is said to have acted as neutral ground for the meeting on Monday between Michael Garcia, a top U.S. lawyer heading a FIFA investigation into the voting process, and members of the Qatar 2022 organising committee. There has been nothing official confirming that the meeting took place. Pressure is mounting after allegations by a British newspaper that bribes were paid to secure Qatar the World Cup. The Sunday Times alleged that Mohamed bin Hammam, a former FIFA vice president from Qatar, paid more than $5 million (RO1.9 million) to football officials before the 2010 vote that controversially awarded the 2022 tournament to the tiny Gulf state. Qatar has strongly denied the allegations and has vowed to “defend the integrity” of its win. Australia, one of the defeated host candidates, has said it may resubmit its bid amid calls for a new vote.
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Available in all leading Pharmacies in the Sultanate of Oman Distributor: Ibn Sina Pharmacy LLC
JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323
appy birthday to our fabulous sister radio station, Merge 104.8, which turns three on June 7. The team will be celebrating their anniversary in style with lots of cake, fun and free money. To mark the occasion, Merge is giving away RO100 cash to listeners three times a day for a week starting from Sunday (8). ‘Cash Calls’ will be aired with Chris Fisher in the morning, afternoons with Rumaitha al Busaidi and Neal Bowden on the drive home. To be in with a chance to win, simply go to facebook.com/ radiomerge, click on the tab and register for Cash Calls. A winner will be picked at random on each show. “It’s been an exciting three years and we can’t believe how quickly the time has gone,” said Chris Fisher, Merge 104.8’s programme director. “Cash Calls is all about rewarding our listeners who have been loyal to us and followed us on social media.”
Open for Business
Falcon Tourism Investments announces the inauguration of The cave, aN eight-restaurant complex for up to 1,600 guests built into THE DARSAIT HILLS
HE Salim al Siyabi
The Glamour of Italian Fashion Now Open
Italian High Fashion Now Has An Address in Oman Reflection | Italian fashion & style | Al Maha Petrol Station , Al Mawaleh South | 5 minutes away from The Wave | Tel: +968 24184604 | GSM: +968 96342525 | E-mail: email@example.com | /Melis Reflection | @Reflection | melisbyreflection
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MOVIES MOVIES For more information and times, go to: City Cinema: citycinemaoman.net Al Bahja Cinema: albahjacinema.net Star Cinema: Tel +968 24791641
Edge of Tomorrow
Y - s C ho i ce
Having successfully dealt with most other types of action movies with his usual aplomb, it seems Tom Cruise is now turning his thespian hands to the sci-fi genre. After the middling Oblivion, Cruise is back as Lieutenant Colonel William Cage, a demoted soldier battling an alien invasion that’s consumed half of Russia and Europe. Having never seen action in his entire military career, it comes as somewhat of a shock when Cage finds himself dropped in the middle of a near-unwinnable and chaotic battle. The film, however, is more than a Starship Troopers affair, in which new recruits simply blast at wild, extraterrestrial arachnids. Instead, director Doug Liman and his cohort of screenwriters have produced a film that’s more akin to
Groundhog Day. A clever parody on videogame culture – in which players die in a game and simply respawn – Edge of Tomorrow follows Cruise as he tries to make his way through a harrowing beach assault. Try as he might, he invariably replays the same battle and ends up failing, only to be given the opportunity to try again in the same battle. But don’t let the repeating scenes put you off. It’s a rich script that Cruise pulls out all the stops to sell – and does so convincingly. For any fans of action sci-fi, this may not have the tension of Alien or the complex story of The Matrix, but it is a surprisingly entertaining flick that delivers spectacular action and stellar performances. Review by Tom Robertson
Blended Adam Sandler is back in another rom-com opposite old acting partner Drew Barrymore in their third movie outing together. The movie’s title hints at the romantic chaos that ensues when Sandler and his family go on safari, only to be stuck with Barrymore and her family in the same African resort. Despite a previous disastrous date together, Sandler and Barrymore crash through the rest of the holiday, in which they become increasingly close. Lighthearted holiday japes and a tried-and-tested pairing make this a good choice for some comedic entertainment.
IN W O T E C N A CH GRAB YOUR MA TICKETS INE C Y T I C O W T
Lords of London When Londoner Tony Lord (Glen Murphy) wakes up in a small town in Italy covered in someone else’s
The Money Movie Wall Street
If there is one film synonymous with the pursuit of wealth and luxury living, then surely it’s this 1987 Oliver Stone classic. Michael Douglas is scheming stockbroker, Gordon Gecko who lives by the rule “greed is good”. He takes on a young apprentice, played by a fresh-faced Charlie Sheen, who becomes embedded in Gecko’s inner circle. But Sheen soon realises
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Contact: Movie enquiries 24607360
JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323
The Signal Two university computer students are lured across the U.S. on a road trip as they follow a series of clues to a mysterious rival hacker. Deep in the desert, the two youngsters finally track down their quarry, but encounter more than they bargained for – a harrowing encounter with the mysterious Laurence Fishburne and confinement in a facility where they’re left to figure out just what is going on. A bit of a mind-bender.
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blood, he struggles to remember what’s happened or the events that led him there. The film leads us through the proverbial gangster scenes as he tries to piece the clues together. With a subplot that recounts historic events from Lord’s youth and that of his father’s past, it’s an overly complex affair with few to no redeeming features.
the error of their moneygrabbing ways and sets out to bring Gecko down. A quintessential tale of stockbrokers and wealth depicted by arguably Douglas’s and Sheen’s finest screen moments.
Brought to you by
THIS WEEKS QUESTION Who directs the movie Edge of Tomorrow? LAST WEEKS WINNER Hazeem Hamza
OMAN IN 43 OBJECTS
he hijab, which literally means “screen” or “curtain”, has a long history in the Middle East. However, it is believed to have originated as early as 2500BC in Persia and the Byzantine empire. Worn with an abaya by females from puberty, it is a headscarf that covers the hair, ears and neck. While most assume that the hijab is solely for women, it has a broader meaning that relates to the principle of modesty. This applies to both males and females regarding not only their dress, but also their behaviour.
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THE WHAT’S ON GUIDE
05 Old School is Cool
Party in Wonderland If you’re looking to enjoy some good house music, head to the Wonderland electric music event at the Copacabana at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel as prestigious U.K. music labels Hed Kandi and Ministry of Sound turn up the volume. Tickets are priced at RO15 and can be purchased in the Grand Hyatt lobby between 11am-8pm. For VIP room bookings, call 92369801. For more information, visit www.experiment-events.com
Having a rugby Ball As the rugby season comes to an end, it’s time for the traditional rugby MRFC Oval Ball in the ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel. A drinks reception starts at 7.30pm followed by dinner and live music by The B Sharps. Tickets to the event cost RO40 for members and RO45 for non-members. The dress code is black tie or national dress. For tickets and information, contact Ross at email@example.com or Vikki at Muscatrugbyclub2013@gmail.com
Enjoy some old school 80s, 90s and 00s pop and hip-hop music as MC Mo returns to O’Malley’s at The Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat, every Thursday from 8pm-2.30am. Doors open 6pm. For information and reservations, call +968 97117577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
June 29 - July 24
What to do.
What to see. What to hear.
us s are almost upon ay lid ho er m e tl m lit Su gins to keep the and the quest beng the long break. ones happy duriamp 2014 could be the TLC Summer C from June 29 to July answer. Running ildren aged 18 months 24, it’s open to ch ers ever ything from to 11 years and off d gymnastics to ple music, dancing an rabic, stories, sim conversational A hematical games and IT skills and mat r month, RO60 a (for puzzles. RO200 pe y. Held in Azaibaom). da a 12 O R or k .c wee to www.tlcoman location map, go ation, contact +968 For more email@example.com 99381458 or info
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Join The Guide Oman for a Bani Jabir mountain crossing over the weekend as they visit ancient tombs and enjoy breathtaking views. For more information, call +968 98038820/92285813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to impress someone with your cooking skills? Al-Manar Vocational Institute will be hosting Cooking Masters, a cooking class with Italian chef Mario Storti in Tomato restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel Muscat. Morning sessions 9am-11am and evening 5pm-7pm. Classes will focus on pastry, gluten-free dishes, pasta, soups and starters over four days. Few places left. For more information, visit www.almanartraining.com
Mini Monets MuscArt will be hosting an arts and crafts workshop for children. Taught by Zaynab Omar, budding young artists will have the opportunity to learn 3D modelling with clay and salt dough, and painting on various fabrics and mosaics. The workshop will be held every Sunday, Thursday and Tuesday from 10am-12pm. Open to ages six to 10, cost RO85. For more information, visit www.muscart.net
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Living the high life comes at a price – a very expensive one. Penny Fray, Tom Robertson and Kate Ginn show you how to enjoy a taste of the rich league for less
JUN 05 – 11 / ISSUE 323
ho hasn’t envied the lifestyle of the super wealthy at some point? Theirs seems to be a rarefied existence of fine dining, designer clothes, decadent days and five-star holidays around the globe. While Oman isn’t quite as extravagant as some near neighbours, we still have our fair share of the monied elite with expensive tastes and a bank balance to fund it. Money, like it or not, affects how we live, love, think and die. More than one per cent of the world’s households are now dollar millionaires. Quite a few of them can be found here in Oman. The Sultanate is the 58th best place for doing business and an Oman resident recently featured in the prestigious Forbes Top Indian leaders in the Arab World 2014 (PNC Menon, founder and chairman of the Sobha Group with interests in property and construction). Leading us to the question – what’s it really like to be loaded? Is being surrounded by objects of unimagined luxury like diamond-studded clothes, gold taps and private jets really worth the energy or envy? We give you a taste of fast living with our tips and tricks to attaining a lobster lifestyle on mackerel money.
World Travel People who have too much time and money on their hands tend to be permanently on holiday. If they don’t have a private jet and a personal island, then they’ll fly first class to the world’s most exclusive resorts. Vacation playgrounds for the rich and famous include Barbados, Ibiza, Aspen and Dubai. Luxe It For Less: Living large abroad on a small budget takes lateral thinking. Try a Greek island instead of a costly Caribbean one or Prague rather than Paris. Otherwise, why not visit Borders at MGM and buy some travel books? Imagination is often better than the real deal. Have you heard of Airbnb? Rent out a glamorous apartment or villa for a fraction of the price. Do: Research discount websites like Travel Zoo and Expedia for last-minute bargains. Don’t: Overstay your welcome if someone invites you to stay.
Personal Staff From maids, nannies and personal assistants to private doctors, tutors and trainers, it will take an army of specialists and servants at around RO100,000 a year to keep the average alpha family on the go. Luxe It For Less: In one word – interns. Students need experience and you need free staff. Simple. Do: Treat people as you would be treated – with respect. Don’t: Click your fingers.
Collecting Rare Art There is no limit to what big spenders can splash on art. It is rumoured that a member of the Qatari royal family bought Paul Cézanne’s Card Players for RO96 million, while an anonymous billionaire snapped up one of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings for a cool RO57 million. These kind of pieces cost squillions because they’re scarce. But the truth is that almost anyone can afford decent art. Luxe It For Less: Watch out for end-of-term exhibitions and charity auctions. The Oman Cancer Association does an event every year in which 100 paintings are sold for RO100 each (Art 100x100). You can also purchase prints or lithographs from established artists for a few hundred rials while works from emerging talent can be even cheaper if you scour Oman’s art colleges or classes. Do: Go online. Several websites, including artistsspace.org, sell works from up-and-coming artists. Don’t: Pass off your toddler’s scribbles as a rare piece of Pollock.
Elegant Entertainment The properly well heeled don’t settle for a night in front of the TV with a bag of crisps and a bottle of fizzy pop. They ride Arabian pure breeds, mingle with millionaires at exclusive clubs and hire box seats at the Royal Opera House Muscat. Luxe It For Less: Book a show early enough online and you can get a seat at the opera house for as little as RO5. Okay, so you may be sitting near the gods but the view there is pretty decent and you can always hob nob with Muscat’s movers and shakers during the interval in the atrium. Alternatively, lounge at a five-star pool for around RO10. Most of the city’s top hotels, including the Grand Hyatt and InterContinental, have day rates so you don’t have to be a resident to try their fabulous facilities. Do: Dress well and look completely at ease in your surroundings. Don’t: Screech “do you know who I am?” when barred from ropedoff areas.
Designer Shopping What do the wives of oil barons, oligarchs and footballers have in common? A wardrobe full of luxury brands like Chanel, Dior and Missoni. Designer shopping for these glamazons is the equivalent of cardio with platinum credit cards. Luxe It For Less: If you like your money right where you can see it – your closet – it’s time we introduce you to the secret of outlet shopping and designer brands at up to 80 per cent discounts. In Muscat, our favourite is Brands For Less, a store where you can find everything from Michael Kors to Marc Jacobs from RO10. They’re the real deal, but maybe a couple of seasons old. Otherwise, there’s always the trusty outnet.com Do: Throw a swishing party where you can swap clothes and accessories with friends. For the best booty, invite wealthy friends who are happy to swap their Hermès for your H&M. Don’t: Say you’d rather buy Dior than dinner. Then again, you do need to be pretty skinny to squeeze into couture.
Be Philanthropic Not all big earners hoard their wealth. The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, and his wife Melinda, set up a charitable foundation that seeks to reduce global poverty and improve healthcare across the world. Luxe It For Less: You don’t need the RO14.63 billion that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has available to be charitable. Just 400 baiza can provide anti-malarial drugs to save a life. Do: Research how much of your donation will go towards the actual cause, rather than being frittered away on the costly administration of some NGOs. Don’t: Put it off. JUN 05 – 11 / ISSUE 323
People who look a million rials have to spend almost that amount to achieve it. Because that’s how much it can cost to hire an army of gurus to create and maintain perfection. There are personal shoppers, stylists, tailors and specialist dry cleaners dealing with clothes. The body is kept beautiful with home gyms, personal trainers, nutritionists and spray tanners, while make-up artists, stylists, dermatologists, dentists and cosmetic surgeons turn back time. Luxe It For Less: Be strategic and invest money where it matters most. Less is always more when it comes to good grooming habits. Get a decent haircut once every six weeks, keep your nails tidy, moisturise religiously and don’t overdo the make up – too much can cheapen a look. Invest in shape wear or fitted underpinnings to make even the cheapest of mall purchases look more expensive. For a touch of luxe, try gold facials. Do: Live a healthy lifestyle. Get eight hours sleep a night, drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen to help keep the wrinkles at bay. Don’t: Be blinded by the science of brands. You can get cheaper versions of most cult products.
Most millionaires won’t get behind the wheel of anything less than a RO300,000 Ferrari or Lamborghini. It’s all about having a status symbol in the garage and high visibility on the street. And the richer you are, the more cars you buy, apparently. Business magnate Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, the richest man in India and the 22nd richest in the world, has a collection of around 168 vehicles, including a Bentley and a Bugatti, as well as a few Porsches. Still, you can only drive one at a time. Luxe It For Less: Can’t afford the real deal? You might be able to drive the dream by hiring a luxury car for the day – we found an Audi A6 for RO80 for 24 hours’ rental. Alternatively, nip across to Dubai to the city’s Autodrome where you can roar round the track in an Audi R8 sports car at a cost of RO285 for half a day’s experience. Or arrive in style in a chauffeur-driven limousine from Elegant Rent a Car in Muscat. Do: Drive the best you can. Don’t: Attempt a DIY rebuild to turn your old sedan into a stretch limo.
Live in a Luxe House A luxurious pad isn’t just a place to eat, sleep and relax; it’s the epicentre of an extravagant empire. A home office for running international corporations, a library for rare books and walkin wardrobes for your sartorial collection all play their part in a luxury lifestyle. Luxe It For Less: Consider moving to newer areas in less soughtafter locations where prices are lower, such as Al Ansab. Do: Take your time and shop around. There’s no need to rely on just one agent or to move quickly. Luxe or not, a house is a home after all and you’ll want to get it right. Don’t: Leave rooms empty. If you want to live in an elegant home, you’re also committing to extensive high-end furnishings and furbishing.
Five-Star Dining The more money you have, the more Michelin stars the establishments you dine at will have. For a cool RO117,381, you can visit every one of the 107 three-star Michelin restaurants around the world in a six-month gourmand journey. Haven’t got the time? Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant has just been named the best in the world. Luxe It For Less: Learn to cook culinary greats yourself or pack up a picnic with your favourite foods and one luxury item for a special meal at the park or on the beach. Do: Cultivate a good palate. Don’t: Try to pass a cheese and pickle homemade sandwich off as Michelin fare.
Yacht Hopping With huge running costs, super yachts – and even more modest boats – are the preserve of the rich and famous. But find your way onto the jet set’s marina moorings and you’re as good as on the Monaco party scene. Expect transatlantic crossings, post Grand Prix parties and French film festivals. Luxe It For Less: Start off by getting yourself familiar with boats by taking a short sailing course at Marina Bandar al Rowdha or The Wave, Muscat. Alternatively, throw yourself in at the deep end by booking a tall ship training course. Do: Learn the ropes (literally) and keep the cabins free of your clutter – no matter how big the boat, space is at a premium. Don’t: Wear shoes that will scratch the deck. The captain will never forgive you.
Attend a Premiere The red carpet, flashing camera lights, celebrities and cheers from the crowd all make up the magic of a premiere – whether it’s a new film, show, gallery or restaurant opening, there’s nothing quite like being part of it. Money talks and can buy you an invitation to mingle with the stars and access all areas. But sometimes all it takes is knowing the right person to offer you that all-important invitation. After all, the coolest people are not necessarily the richest and getting invited to the hippest opening is not about the size of your wallet, but knowing where it's at. Luxe It For Less: Get dressed up to the nines and treat yourself to a Gold Class ticket at City Cinema (RO10) or VIP seating at the new VOX Max super screen cinema at City Centre Muscat for RO6.5. Do: Dress to impress. Don’t: Try to gatecrash VIP areas. Being escorted out by security is not cool. Y goes to a premiere. See page 40. 022
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Can money buy happiness?
oney can be a funny thing. It brings wealth and power to some, a comfortable life to others and misery to many more, regardless of how rich or poor they might be. Just ask one of the U.K.’s most recent multimillion-pound lottery winners, who last week announced they were getting divorced. Of course, this begs the age-old question: Does money buy happiness? Many would argue yes, but I suspect that the majority in this camp are the ones who don’t have it – and probably never will. Money (and possibly sense), that is. There have been countless studies published over the years that tackle this very question. Since the global financial crisis (GFC) kicked off in 2008, and is still clawing its way around Europe and other parts of the world, the psychology of spending (and its effect) has become the topic de jour. Since the world’s economy went bust, there’s been an emphasis on the so-called “life experience” versus money and happiness debate. The cynic in me would have to say that since the GFC – which revealed an astounding reliance on credit by the Mr and Mrs Averages of this world, not to mention many governments – not many people
Felicity Glover tries to find an answer to this age-old question, but finds it’s not as clear-cut as it seems
had much choice but to take a freebie life experience over money and, for instance, splurge on a spot of retail therapy to top up their happiness quota. But is that what having money is all about – buying expensive gadgets, luxe brands, flash cars, first-class holidays and quitting your job because you can afford not to work? Apparently not, at least according to a study published in March this year by www.CreditDonkey.com. When asked if money could buy happiness, only 21 per cent of respondents believed it could. This compares with 15 per cent who said it couldn’t. But interestingly, 64 per cent also agreed that money couldn’t buy happiness – but being poor made you miserable. So if it’s not money that creates happiness, then what does? “Someone to come home to at night,” CreditDonkey said, adding that seven out of 10 respondents said a good marriage and family life lead to the most happiness over a lifetime. “Thirty-eight per cent said prioritising family and personal time over higher earnings leads to the most happiness in the long run.” But at the end of the day, it simply depends on who you are and what your priorities are in life. Oh, and the size of your bank account.
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Tom Robertson discovers that being a butler requires a never-ending quest for perfection that many would find difficult to attain
ithin five minutes of meeting Freddie Hines, I immediately understand the quintessential characteristics of a butler. Immaculately presented, Hines speaks in a tone that is friendly, almost gentle, and immediately sets me at ease. He’s also exceedingly eloquent. But far from talking with a snobbish accent, he speaks with a precision that belies the very ethos of his trade. “Butlering,” Hines explains, “is about providing the epitome of great service. It’s about the little touches.” A former butler at the luxury five-star The Oberoi, New Delhi hotel, Hines has served everyone from movie stars such as Harrison Ford and Richard Gere to former UN secretary-generals Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Although the role and responsibilities of a butler can vary considerably depending on the size and type of the place they’re working in, Hines says that a butler is the last stop in ensuring that everything’s perfect; from the way a dining table is laid through to the details of their guest’s or employer’s travel plans aboard their private jet. “A good butler would even know the weather forecast once the individual reaches their destination,” says Hines. Walking over to a neatly laid table at the National Hospitality Institute (NHI), where he’s now team leader of food and beverages and responsible for butler training, Hines turns to me and says: “And now it’s your turn to try getting the details right. “Look at this table. Remember the way it’s laid and then we’ll come back to it. Everything will be gone and you’ll have to lay it as you see it now.” “How hard can it be?” I chortle to myself, in what would turn out to an overly optimistic attitude. Right now, though, we head into the kitchen, where I go back to basics to learn – of all things – how to make toast. “Toast! I’m being taught how to make toast?” I seethe inwardly. I don’t know whether to cry in indignation and let 024
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Hines know that I banged out my first batch of profiteroles when I was nine years old. But alas, the master is right. The colour of my Melba toast is slightly wrong, doesn’t have tidy edges and has unacceptable variations of thickness. To present it in the right way, fold after fold of a napkin is made until I’ve made a protective basket in which to place the toast. “How’s that?” I ask, somewhat pleased with myself. “Good” says Hines. “But you’ve got a crumb on the napkin there.” And it is then that I realise what being a butler is all about. It’s not just about striving for perfection – it’s about attaining it. Hines can obviously see the realisation written on my face. “Good isn’t good enough,” he nods in agreement. And I see it in Hines himself as I head back to lay the table. Everything he does is done with accuracy and efficiency. Even his appearance is immaculate. It’s no wonder that I was ushered to a bathroom beforehand so I could change and shave and try to rescue my dishevelled journo appearance from the dustbin of aesthetics. Back at the table, I think I’ve done a fairly good job of recreating a high tea, but once again I fall short of the mark; the teaspoon on the saucer is not perpendicular to the handle and the spout of the teapot is facing 45 degrees in the wrong direction. By the time it comes to actually serving the tea, I’m shaking like a nervous wreck, risking Hines with first-degree burns. At the end of the afternoon, I’ve merely scratched the tip of the iceberg in providing good service – and got most of it wrong. And there’s a lot to provide, from knowing which beverage accompanies which food through to the economics of a household and the correct way to address dignitaries. Make no mistake about it, to be a butler is not to be subservient. It is to be the most erudite in the room when it comes to etiquette and all manner of other social graces.
Get trained The NHI offers a butler service course 40 hours (over either two weeks or four weeks) RO160 Tel: 24816313 Email: email@example.com
Of A BUTLER
Srivatsa Allampalli, a former butler in Dubai and current assistant front office manager at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel
was a butler in a five-star hotel. It was a steady rise to the position, having worked in housekeeping. I then worked as a part-time butler in the same hotel before taking up a full-time post after a six-month internal training programme. I was one of a team of 80 butlers serving 100 rooms, which offered the service. I was just 23 when I started. All the guests who I was serving, from the celebrities to members of royal families were incredibly respectful towards the butlers. I found that you could really make a connection with the guest because, as a butler, you’re allowed into their rooms, but virtually nobody else is. They were always polite and friendly. It was actually the staff of the high-profile guests who were most difficult to please. They were very demanding, but once I showed that everything was under control, they started to trust me and let me get on with my job. The hours were exceptionally long. Sometimes I would work for up to 23 hours at any one time. Luckily, the major hotels recognise this, so you would get that time back. Having a personal life is exceptionally hard, though. You work when the guest is up and needs things and get to rest when they’re asleep. It’s impossible to plan your time off. I found that serving members of royal families was the most unpredictable and challenging – but also the most fun. Once a royal guest told me at midnight that they wanted to go dolphin watching the next morning at 6am. You can imagine how difficult that was to organise at that late hour, but we got it sorted. You can’t say no! I found that the high-profile politicians were the easiest to work for because they were on a tight schedule. Their whole visit was strictly scheduled, so there was rarely a need to organise anything else for them. But whoever the guest was, I always had to plan ahead. I had to research the guest, sometimes by contacting sister hotels, to see what their requirements were in advance. Then it became a team effort, liaising with all the different departments of the hotel to make sure everything was just right, the kitchens, reception, housekeeping, etc. I enjoyed being a butler immensely, so it never really felt like hard work, even though it was a very demanding job.
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COUNTDOWN TO R I O
Y’S WORLD CUP SPECIAL
There’s just one week to go before football’s biggest spectacle begins and Y will be with you for all the games, goals and gossip. This week, in keeping with our issue theme of Super Luxe, we profile the four highest paid footballers in the world.
No.1 Top of the earnings tree is the mini maestro from Argentina, Lionel Messi. He may be short in stature – a diminutive 5ft 7” in his football socks – but the forward commands huge fees for his services, having just signed a new annual contract for 20 million euros (RO10.5 million) with FC Barcelona. Messi, 26, who had humble beginnings with a factory steel worker father and cleaner mother, picks up another RO5 million in endorsements. Despite his wealth, the Argentinian captain has a relatively modest lifestyle, at least by modern football standards. He lives in a rich suburb of Barcelona with his partner, Antonella, and their two-year-old son. In 2007, he set up the Lionel Messi Foundation supporting vulnerable children.
No.2 He looks like a male model, dates a supermodel and plays like a dream. It has to be the inimitable Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal captain earns a cool RO9.4 million a year, although some reports have estimated that his earnings will hit RO11 million next season with a pay rise. He won this year’s Ballon d’Or and has just clinched the top prize of European club football, the Champions League, with Real Madrid. At 29, the 6ft 1” forward, is in his playing and earning prime, with sponsors queuing round the block. Ronaldo, who has a young son and is currently romancing Russian model Irina Shayk, grew up in Madeira poor – he claims not to have had toys – but now admits he’s so rich, that he loses track of how much money is in his bank account (for the record, it’s a net worth of about RO61 million).
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No.3 Taking home RO7.7 million for kicking a ball around a park is not a bad year’s work. Certainly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t complaining about this kind of pay packet from club Paris St-Germain (PSG). Clearly, the super Swede is worth every rial. At 6ft 5”, he is known for scoring incredible goals and a cockiness on the pitch. He also has the honour of being the most expensive footballer in history, having cost his various clubs a total of RO96 million in transfer fees. Sadly, he won’t be appearing at the World Cup as Sweden failed to qualify for the finals, so the big striker will have the summer off to spend his money. And boy does he like to spend. He drives Ferraris and has an extensive property portfolio, which includes houses in Paris, New York, Milan and a multimillion-rial mansion in Malmo. He’s also recently bought an island west of Stockholm.
No.4 Brazilian sensation Neymar pockets RO4.6 million with club Barcelona, enough to put him in the premier league of money makers in football. The winger – full name, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior – is paid more for his endorsements, collecting RO6.1 million a year. It’s way beyond what most 22 year olds could ever dream off. Neymar is hoping to help guide Brazil, the hosts, to a sixth World Cup title. Should it happen, his earning power would be boosted into the stratosphere. It won’t be long before the young pup is snapping at the heels of that other megamoney earner, Ronaldo.
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On the road to rio
We’re now on the home straight to Rio. Whatever the pomp and circumstance surrounding the new stadiums and the glitz and glamour off the pitch, the only thing that really matters is the men on the hallowed turf.
This week, we profile the last two teams ranked in the top 10, gregarious Greece and, of course, the hosts, brazen Brazil.
FIFA RANKING: 4 HISTORY: If there is one team that is synonymous with the term “World Cup glory”, then surely it’s the South American boys in green and yellow. The most successful team in World Cup history, Brazil have lifted the trophy five times, from 1958 to 2002, and have also twice finished runners-up. The current squad will attempt to shoulder the weight of that illustrious record. PREVIOUS FORM: As the host nation, Brazil didn’t need to go through the rigours of qualifying for the tournament. A relatively young and exciting team has finally gelled under the guidance of old footballing hand and World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. So much so, that he guided the precocious youngsters to first place in the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, where they batted away Spain with a 3-0 win. STAR PLAYER: Neymar (da Silva Santos Júnior) has carved out a reputation as a world-class striker, smashing home goals for club side FC Barcelona. He’s backed up by Robinho, AC Milan’s superstar forward. CAPTAIN: Thiago Silva COACH: Luiz Felipe Scolari CHANCES? Both the crowds and the pundits agree that Brazil’s chances of lifting a record sixth FIFA World Cup are very good. Group rivals Mexico, however, could prove a thorn in their side as they’ve done so many times before. Group A with Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon Opening Game: June 12 v Croatia
FIFA RANKING: 10 HISTORY: Greece has never managed to get itself into the zone when it comes to the FIFA World Cup. Lacklustre performances in the 1994 World Cup tournament in the U.S. and South Africa in 2010 confirmed that the side has never managed to emulate their European tournament successes on the global stage (Greece won UEFA’s 2004 European Championship). PREVIOUS FORM: Greece have consistently featured high in FIFA’s rankings since 2004, but they’re still seen as underperforming in all of the major tournaments. Their route into qualifying was a truly mixed bag, having secured a very respectable 25 points, but they still had to endure the play-offs. The Greek team is well known for an extremely solid defence, but some believe the side is now aging and stagnating. STAR PLAYER: Striker Konstantinos Mitroglou, from U.K. club Fulham, steered Greece through qualifying and will be expected to knock in some goals to keep the team in the hunt this summer. Midfielder Giorgos Karagounis has the creative experience, but may not have the energy at 37. CAPTAIN: Giorgos Karagounis COACH: Fernando Santos CHANCES? Their FIFA ranking of 10 gives a false impression of their chances. An ageing team that fails to perform well in major tournaments and had to go through play-offs doesn’t bode well for World Cup success. The modest aim is just to bag a few goals, and maybe the odd victory, in the group stages. Group C with Côte d’Ivoire, Colombia and Japan Opening Game: June 14 v Colombia
WHO COULD SPRING A SURPRISE?
Y takes a look this week at two surprise teams that could make it all the way and claim a shock coup England – The great thing about backing England is that no one expects them to do well this year, despite being ranked 11. And that includes the government, whose leaked report predicted a poor showing this tournament. That said, a lot of the players have cut their footballing teeth in one of the most competitive domestic leagues in the world, the English Premier League, and the team finished top of their qualifying group. There’s also a wealth of experience from midfielders Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, while Manchester United star Wayne Rooney continues to be the main attacking force. This could be the year in which England adds another World Cup trophy to their 1966 victory. Iran – Ranked 37, Iran really is one of the outsiders in this tournament. They’ve never made it past the group stages in their three previous World Cup appearances. Their coach, however, may have the potency the Iranians need to power them through to the next stage. Carlos Queiroz has led three different countries to the finals of the World Cup and is a former manager of Real Madrid and assistant manager of Manchester United. Meanwhile, Captain Javad Nekounam may be able to provide the leadership on the pitch with a wealth of experience born out of 140 caps. JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323
food and drink
Almas, the worldâ€™s most expensive food, is a caviar from the Iranian Beluga fish, which sells for RO12,800 a kilo.
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TREND New Restaurant
Money can buy you the best of everything, including food. Shishira Sreenivas looks at some of the world’s rarest delicacies
pulence and luxury doesn’t end with a Givenchy dress, must-have Birkin bag or a pair of Manolo Blahniks. It extends to what you put in your mouth as well. But be prepared to pay for the extravagence, says Sébastien Cassagnol, the executive chef at The Chedi Muscat hotel. “These products have a high price tag due to the fact that they are quite rare and have a limited production,” he says. “For example, Perigord truffles, which I love to use, are extremely rare and highly dependent on the season and weather. Sometimes, we do get unlucky and they are not available some seasons.” According to Cassagnol, there is strong demand for luxury foods in the Sultanate from residents and visiting tourists. Here is a list of the five super-luxe foods that can give your wallet a rigorous workout. While the options for fine dining may be limited in Oman, the first four on the list are definitely accessible for local residents to try. White Alba truffles: Found only in very specific regions in Italy, these hard-to-come-by fungi are commonly called “white gold” and cost a fortune. A kilo can retail for about RO2,000 or more. The fungi has a strong, earthy smell and grows up to a metre underground around the roots of oaks, lime and hazel trees. Unearthing them requires the help of truffle hunters, such as dogs and their owners. These elusive nuggets of white gold are found only in winter. Truffle is incorporated into many gourmet dishes in the form of oil or shavings. Caviar: One of the most coveted and expensive foods in the gastronomy world, and long known as the essential delicacy of the rich, caviar is the roe (eggs) from female sturgeon, a fish mostly found in the Caspian Sea. The most famous types are Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga. Depending on the type, a kilo of caviar can cost up to RO12,800. Saffron: The most expensive spice in the world, it derives from the stigma of the saffron crocus flower and can be harvested only by hand. Found in certain parts of Europe and South Asia, it costs about RO700 a kilo. It takes about 70,000 flowers to make two kilos, which makes them as rare as gold. Saffron is known for the yellow colour it imparts to dishes and a bittersweet taste. It’s used heavily in Indian cooking. Kobe beef: Considered the most high-end beef in the world. it comes from the Tajima-gyu breed of cattle found in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture, the capital of which is Kobe. The cows live in luxury as they are massaged and well fed every day. The result is a well-marbled, tender and luxurious meat that melts in the mouth. Quality costs, of course, and this dish comes at a hefty price of about RO60 per kilo. The Chedi Muscat hotel serves something similar to the Kobe beef - Wagyu beef. Its Wagyu Marble 9 tenderloin is the most expensive dish on the menu. The meat is served with mashed truffle potatoes, confit tomato and shallot tatin and is priced at RO38. Densuke black watermelon: The fifth delicacy on our list is grown only on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan. These melons are crisp, sweet and extremely rare as a harvest will yield only about 30 or so of them. In 2008, a 30kg-plus black watermelon was auctioned for more than RO2,000. While the foods described here might not appear to warrant their exorbitant price tags, their allure and high-class reputation have had the wealthy salivating to get their hands on the rare culinary gems.
Recipe Chef Sébastien Cassagnol’s Saffron Seafood Risotto Serves 4 Ingredients: l 400g Arborio rice l 1g saffron l 50ml virgin olive oil l 100g onions l 50g garlic l 5g thyme l 100g butter l 100g bream l 200g Parmesan cheese l 800g prawns l 200g scallops l 200g lobster l 100g sea urchin l 200g razor clams l 200g vongola Method: l In a saucepan, sweat olive oil, garlic, onion and thyme without browning the mixture, then add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes. Add saffron* and the fish stock a little at a time for the rice to absorb the liquid. Finish the rice with butter, cream and Parmesan shavings. l Mix the vongola with garlic, onion and cover until the shells fully open. Remove the shell and keep the juice. l Grill the prawns and scallops at the very end, when ready to serve. l Clean the razor clams, blanch in boiling water for a few seconds and refresh in ice water. When ready to serve, warm them in the vongola stock. Slice the cooked lobster tail and warm. * The saffron can also be served as a garnish on the side
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food and drink
New Restaurant Info Box
Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Muscat Tel: 24 799666 Timings: Daily 7pm-11pm Three course meal for two people, including beverages: RO96 Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
Penny Fray loses herself in Chinese luxury and luscious bites at Al Bustan Palace
omeone once said that the rich don’t eat like the rest of us. And according to those fusty old history books, one of the grandest meals ever documented was the Manchu Han Imperial Feast. Organised to impress Chinese people with the largesse of his new Qing dynasty, the Kangxi emperor served a staggering 320 decadent dishes over three days. The hedonistic banquets showcased platters of bear claw, camel hump, ape lips and other delicious sounding delicacies. So naturally, when asked to review somewhere suitably lavish, I opted for China Mood at Al Bustan Palace. But, thankfully, there were no bits of monkey brain on offer. If you’re not in the know, let me tell you this five-star hotel is seriously luxe and its signature restaurant rightfully claims its position as one of the region’s top Asian eateries. Indeed, it’s the next best thing to chowing down in China itself. But compared with the marbled magnificence of the 38-metre-high domed atrium lobby, China Mood’s décor is a little subdued. For some inexplicable reason, I was expecting a riot of sumptuous silks and pretty porcelain platters, but was a little disappointed to be faced with the oriental minimalism of black-lacquered furniture, flashes of red lanterns and a rather plain Buddha head by the door. It all
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seemed a little tired, but the service on toast. The classic appetiser came was superb. In fact, the moment we as elegant sesame fingers rather crossed the restaurant’s threshold, than the usual clunky triangles of we were greeted with smiles that bread. They tasted as good as they made us feel everything was going to looked and were quickly demolished be excellent. And sure enough, once by battling chopsticks. Talking of seated, our every whim was catered which, if you’re a bit of a novice at for with seamless efficiency. using the tweezer-like utensils, the Subsequent diners were privy to staff are more than happy to bring the same treatment. Even when the you some regular cutlery. tables quickly filled with a mixture For mains, the honey-glazed cod of regulars, businessmen and hotel dish that I desired wasn’t available. guests, our water was topped up – Thankfully, the waiter knew the an act often neglected when a waiter menu well enough to be able is juggling several tables at once. to confidently recommend an The carefully curated menu alternative of sole. featured a few of my My dining companion fancied VERDICT: takeaway favourites, but something a bit meatier there was plenty of posh and, after consulting our 10 nosh on offer, including all-knowing server, settled Elegant oriental Szechwan stir-fried for sizzling beef. Both of dining elevated with in-house lobster and Hunan us ordered a bowl of egg entertainment chicken. fried rice to accompany Suffering from a post-flight our courses, but were gently cold, I decided to indulge in persuaded to share two different a comforting bowl of chicken and types of rice instead – a good call sweetcorn soup to start, while my considering we ended up dining companion volunteered to try the communally. house speciality of dim sum – the Kate’s scorching meat came out Cantonese equivalent of tapas. first. Still waiting for my fish dish Although I’ve never really liked to arrive, I hungrily tucked into her the slimy-looking shell of Chinese platter. It was great-quality beef and dumplings, Kate thought the little the flavours were authentic enough. vegetable parcels were perfect. My Still, the star dish of the evening broth was hot, flavoursome and full was the fish served two ways, sweetof floating shards of chicken meat. and-sour and soy. But my heart Delicious. The portion wasn’t big, nearly stopped when the sole came though, and I was glad that we had out artfully encased in its skeleton. also decided to order some prawns It looked incredibly dramatic, but
as regular readers know, I have a phobia about fish heads. As such, the waiter was forced to whip away the offending carcass before my squealing went up another notch. The remaining chunks of fish were beautifully cooked and the contrasting sauces were more delicate than expected. Yes, the food was lovely and the service close to exceptional, but the evening’s pièce de résistance had to be the tea ceremony. We had already experienced a teaser of the tea sommelier’s showboating earlier in the evening, but were entranced by the entertainment that followed. Like a lithe cat, the server bent and twisted while pouring tea from a dramatic-looking pot into neighbouring cups. It was like a fiveminute Cirque du Soleil act. Okay, I exaggerate but it was good – so good that I was willing to leave my trio of puddings for it. Despite the fact that the dessert looked deliciously decadent, the only sample of sweets I really enjoyed was the homemade ice cream. It was packed with the flavour of fresh strawberries and nicely offset the tartness of the mango. The accompanying greentea cheesecake and chocolate cake were a bit bland, though, and needed a serious injection of sugar. All in all, it was a feast fit for a 21stcentury foodie – delicious, but not quite as decadent as the Manchu Han Imperial dinners of old.
PATRON SAINT OF FASHION
Haute couture, like art, is meant to draw breath – especially when it comes from style icon Daphne Guinness’s closet. With her platinum-streaked chignon, outre costumes and gravity-defying footwear, the unflinching socialite shows her passion for fashion by supporting high-end designs. 032
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The coolest daytime accessory? An envelope clutch and Givenchy’s Antigona style is a classic. From the flawless black hue to the subtle silver designer logo, what’s not to love about this textured-leather piece? RO308 from mytheresa.com
As glamorous as couture creations can be, only a privileged few can afford them. Penny Fray discovers how to do haute for less this season
Elie Saab’s georgette camisole taps into summer’s romantic mood. The soft lace cups are sheer – we suggest wearing strapless underpinnings for extra coverage. Going out? Layer it with a crisp blazer and sleek skirt. RO250
hey can be impractical, costly and often unwearable if you’re relatively sane and several sizes bigger than a zero. So why exactly are we so fascinated by haute couture? Translated as high dressmaking, it’s all about fantasy fashion – or, as my grandmother pithily describes it, “paying silly money to look like an alien.” Of course, the creations are special. A protected name that can be used only by firms meeting certain welldefined criteria set by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris, haute couture offers a certain prestige. It’s like investing in wearable art. That’s why displaying such expensive opus shows both your fashion and financial clout. Socialite Daphne Guinness collects it and so do many of the wives of Gulf billionaires. The rest, namely models and A-list celebrities, merely borrow it for public appearances. The latest catwalk creations include butterfly inspired dresses by Jean Paul Gaultier and a snake coiling its way around a puff of chiffon at Valentino. They’re beautiful, but not exactly practical. But that’s the point. Haute couture is created to generate attention for design houses like Chanel, Christian Dior, Elie Saab and Valentino, leading to increased sales in ready-to-wear collections and massmarket products like cosmetics or perfume. Here, we pick pieces from the more affordable end of the couture fashion houses.
A pair of black acetate sunglasses from Christian Dior makes a woman look expensive. From RO158
Valentino touches on the tribal trend with this pleated dress. Classic black anchors the piece, while a handful of bead embellishments and multi-coloured embroidery add texture and dimension. Work the fluid silk composition with a pair of flat sandals and bronzed legs for the catwalk look. From RO2,500
As one of the world’s best-known designer labels, Chanel has upheld its reputation for devastatingly elegant and feminine fashion for over a century. If you can’t afford anything from its couture collection, get a slice of the action with its classic fragrance Chanel N°5. From RO46
You don’t need to sell all your worldly possessions to buy something from Boucheron. Still, if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford this ring.
Penny’s tips on how to look expensive for less:
1. Buy the best you can afford in a classic cut and colour. 2. If you’re buying off the peg, it pays to get a piece tailored by one of Muscat’s many street tailors. Your clothes should always fit well and look immaculately pressed. 3. Can’t afford designer items? Wait for the sale or buy second-hand items from upmarket garage sales or online auctions.
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The Flight Pack From facials to feet fixers and hair heroes, Penny Fray selects her travel survival kit
ynthetic eye masks, cheap wet wipes and tiny tubes of toothpaste – the airline amenity bag is hardly a luxury start to any holiday. But this, as we all know, is an economy-class problem. Pass through the hallowed curtains of first class and an expensively scented world of Bulgari perfume, La Prairie skincare and silk pillows await you. And that’s why the privileged few are possibly the only ones who emerge from a long-haul flight with sparkling eyes, glossy locks and the glowing skin that oligarch wives can muster. How I hate these perfect creatures with their Louis Vuitton carryalls as I sniff wearily towards passport control with hounddog eyes, flaky skin and “witchy” hair. It’s time for action and according to my gorgeously groomed friend, Alex, the secret to looking like a business-class passenger without spending thousands of rials on the extra leg room is quite simple: preparation, preparation, preparation. First up – feet. Swollen, ugly hooves in sandals need to be avoided if you’re going somewhere glamorous, so make sure you book a pedicure in advance. If feet maintenance totally grosses you out and you’re too embarrassed to reveal the horrors of calloused soles, let me introduce you to the miracles of the exfoliating sock. You wear them for a week before travelling; skin starts to peel and like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, fabulous feet can finally be flaunted. Meanwhile, the wealthy face has a natural dewy glow that derives from lots of sleep, water, organic food and a stress-free lifestyle. Of course, the average jetsetter also has a dermatologist and cosmetic doctor on speed dial. If you can’t afford the latter, start perfecting your skincare regime and exercise daily. “By moving your body, your blood flows better; it’s a powerful and wonderful way to eliminate toxins,” says James Duigan, founder of Bodyism and guru to the wealthy. “Breathing properly, deep into your belly, is crucial to maximise the beauty effect of exercise as the oxygen cleanses and energises you on a cellular level.” When flying, make sure you keep your skin hydrated with facial oil and mist. After all, humidity can drop to as low as 20 per cent on a plane, causing it to tighten and dry out. Likewise, keep lips moisturised with balm. Heat is also really bad for your hair, causing it to frazzle and break. Use the flight en route to your sun-soaked destination to slap on some seriously moisturising hair treatments. I recommend using Moroccan oil sparingly and then tying your hair in a topknot. Alternatively, Kérastase’s elixir is also good. Finally, if you have ghost-like skin like me, don’t forget the fake tan. Not only does it help you to glow, but it also gives the impression of year-round vacations. A cult favourite is St Tropez because it’s super light, easy to apply and gives an even, all-over tan. Add mascara, a bit of lip stain, a bright pashmina and voilà, you’re ready to look, act and feel like an islandhopping hipster.
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JET-SETTING ESSENTIALS CRÈME DE LA MER MIST from RO32
at Harvey Nichols and selected department stores. The highly charged waters in this refreshing mist from Crème de la Mer heals, hydrates and rebalances even the driest of complexions. It’s indispensable after the dry conditions of a long flight. You can even use it on holiday to rescue sun-scorched skin.
TANGLE TEEZER from RO6.5 at tangleteezer.com
This cult brush effortlessly detangles hair, delivering a smooth and shiny finish in an instant. I couldn’t survive without mine. It’s seriously good when humidity strikes and you need to de-frizz fast.
HOLISTIC SILK SLIPPERS, from RO50 online.
Using only the finest silk, these super lightweight slippers have magnetic massaging insoles that can aid leg and body circulation while massaging your feet. Perfect for inflight relaxation or after a long day of sightseeing.
THIS WORKS IN TRANSIT FIRST AID from RO10 at thisworks.com. Containing antiseptic and rosewood to calm cuts, blemishes and almost every other skin problem, this is the ultimate in beauty SOS.
STYLE COUNSEL Q. BARBRA YOUNG ANSWERS YOUR FASHION QUESTIONS
If you have any fashion questions for Barbra, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet #style @ytabloid
Barbra Young, a former designer and retailer
INlow WSee be
I have recently arrived to live in Muscat with my husband from New York and hope you can offer me some advice on where I can buy luxury goods in Oman.TR, Qurum.
There are a number of great stores in Muscat that will give you a happy shopping experience. Salam Studio & Stores stocks designer brands in handbags, shoes, cosmetics and clothing, as well as a fabulous range of bedding. Here, you’ll find labels such as Moschino, Givenchy and Valentino. Meanwhile, Eye Candy, at Opera Galleria, has a tightly edited selection of luxury goods for women as well as quirky accessories. Luxe names on sale include Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo and Victoria Beckham. If vintage is Fendi Bag your thing, try Wardrobe in Al Asfoor Plaza. Its selection of Chanel costume jewellery is outstanding. But they also stock Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Valentino - and the authenticity is guaranteed. I think it’s a real Aladdin’s cave in Muscat. Last, but not least, Khimji’s Watches carries fantastic wrist candy as well as seriously upmarket goods from Cartier, Mikimoto and Rolex. If you’re still struggling, go online or hop on a plane to Dubai.
This bloom shaped bag, from the Italian boutique Reflection, will add a playful touch to day or evening looks. The leather design is lined and has just enough room for the essentials – keys, cards and a lipstick. Carry it by the matching shoulder strap against this season’s hottest jumpsuit to capture the current 80s trend. In the second week of our month-long giveaway, one reader could win this red number by answering the following question: Which of the following is the capital of Italy: a. Florence b. Rome c. Venice Email your answer and contact details to email@example.com by June 10. Last week’s winner is: Michelle Christabel with the correct answer of Missoni.
Amara Dermatology Clinic Aspirational Aesthetics Services Offered :– | Laser Hair Reduction | Mesotherapy | Botox | Fillers | Anti - Acne Services | Anti - Ageing Services | Pigment Reduction Services | Laser Beard Shaping
For Appointments : 24496003,24496319 Location : Villa 973-A, Opposite Chedi Hotel, Next to Camel Racing Federation, 18th Nov.Street,Ghobra , Muscat JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323
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Y- F i
CARS AND ADVENTURES
Test of time
Steps reportedly built by the Persian army invite hikers into the mountains surrounding Izki.
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CARS AND OUTDOORS ADVENTURES
D estination P o s t c a r d s f r o m
Y- F i
Persian Steps Jerzy Wierzbicki follows in the path of Persian soldiers on an ancient trail that snakes through a wild and rugged landscape 038
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now, especially because clouds had gathered and started to obscure the sun’s punishing rays. Anybody will know from my adventures in Y Magazine that I’m far more at home in a 4x4 vehicle than on my own two legs. If I venture into the hills, I prefer to use a motor, not lungs, to power my way up the tracks. I’m also a lot more comfortable in the wide-open spaces of sandy deserts. So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I set out on foot into the mountains. The environment, formed by high peaks and rocky ridges, whether in Oman or in my native Europe, can leave me feeling slightly overwhelmed. Even Al Huqf, one of the most inhospitable regions in Oman, seems to be a better fit for me than the rocky hill paths of Jebel Akhdar. Nevertheless, equipped with our photographic equipment and plenty of water to fend off dehydration, we started to make our way slowly up the path. After just a few hundred metres, we came across the unmistakable sight of a step. With relatively clean lines and an easily distinguishable shape, the rocky form indicated that we were definitely on the right track. More ancient steps soon followed. However, with the rising elevation and gradually increasing steepness of the path, our progress inevitably slowed. And my friend wasted no time in pointing out my sorry condition for taking on this relatively tough challenge. Quite simply, I wasn’t physically prepared for long hikes at high elevation. But no matter how short I was of breath, when we took a breather and stopped for a moment, the views were fantastic.
The raw form of the rugged landscape was perfectly exposed and my friend, a geologist, dazzled me with geological stories of how the landscape was formed millions of years ago. It would become a pattern of the day, with myself stopping every now and then, and my knowledgeable companion taking the opportunity to talk about the rocks and formations around us. After another hour, we reached a fork where two deep wadis divided the mountains before us. The dividing feature was a huge outcrop that seemed more bare than the rest of the landscape, which was dark brown and covered by just a few sparse shrubs. Thankfully, the temperature began to dip a little and there was a slightly cooler breeze upon our reddened faces. Soon after, the clouds became darker, more threatening and we felt a few light splatters of rain on our heads. It was a good time to take stock of the situation and check our GPS coordinates. With heavy clouds looming menacingly overhead and our cars parked in the wadi, this was no time to be complacent, so we decided to turn back. It was the sensible decision, but frustrating all the same. We had to pull up short, just a few hundred metres below a giant plateau where you can find a ruined mosque. It would also have afforded us great views over the surrounding landscape. I took several photographs to ensure that we at least returned to Muscat with the Persian steps documented in photos and then started the journey back. It had been a fascinating insight into a historic trail.
HOW TO GET THERE
few months ago, a friend of mine told me about a very special location that was historically important and that had significant archaeological value. But the real beauty of this destination is that it still forms an integral part of the landscape. Located near Izki, just 100km to the south of Muscat, is the small village of Qaroot Al Janubiyah. And it’s just out the back of this seemingly unremarkable little settlement that visitors can find a prominent clue to the past – a pathway of steps allegedly constructed by the Persian army. Last Thursday, I decided to battle the 45°C temperatures and take a look at this fascinating glimpse of the Sultanate’s history with my friend. We set off from Muscat and after nearly an hour driving south on the highway, turned off the main road just north of Izki and headed into the surrounding hills in a north-west direction. Probing our way into the wadi, we passed a small dam. It was a sure sign, along with the nearby date plantations, that this was an area that received significant rain, or at least run-off from the surrounding hills. Not long after the dam, we parked the car and set out on foot. Following the wadi north as it narrowed rapidly, we were just 500 metres from the car when we saw a white arrow pointing to the path. The heat was severe as we gazed up at a path that wound along the hillside above us. But we had made it here, so there was no point in turning around
Head south out of Muscat on route 15 towards Nizwa. Just before you reach Nizwa, turn off the highway towards Birkat Al Mawz. You will immediately come to a small roundabout. Turn right and drive through the small village of Qaroot Al Janubiyah
into the wadi. Follow the track and pass a small dam under construction. After a few hundred metres, park your car and start to walk along the narrow wadi, which will take you to the foot of the steps, marked by a splash of white paint. It is possible to reach this point
without a 4x4. Do not forget to take adequate supplies of water.
GPS location of the start of the Persian steps: 23° 1’0.64”N 57°45’12.83”E
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CARS AND OUTDOORS ADVENTURES
D e s t i n at i o n
Y- F i
C a r s INDOORS
Our Y man on the ground, Raid Bushara, tries out the VOX MAX for size
t was the hottest ticket in town. Anyone and everyone wanted to have a seat at the premiere party for the glitzy launch of VOX Cinemas in City Centre Muscat on Tuesday night. Bagging a place wasn’t easy but naturally Y managed it. Okay, so Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence and a host of other Hollywood heavyweights didn’t turn up to the screening of How To Train Your Dragon 2 3D but our very own Felicity Glover and her daughter, Cia, did. Dressed up in their finest, Felicity and her little dragon, 11, walked the red carpet with camera flashes popping around them. Security stopped those without the precious invite getting into the roped off VIP area and at the free nibbles. Of course, it was a glamorous affair. But it is a truth universally acknowledged that a posh premier is more about the frocks than the film. The guests were dressed to kill in a swirl of silk, satin and exquisite abayas with added bling. “It was all very exciting and on a small scale gave you an insight into what a premiere might be like,” said Felicity. “Cia was thrilled to have had her first walk on the red carpet. It’s going to enhance her taste for first class.”
BE PART OF THE VOX EXPERIENCE
N I W
Everyone wants to get in on the action at VOX Cinemas as it opens its first complex in Oman. Y is giving you the chance to feel really special with a premiere viewing of a new Hollywood film release. We’ve teamed up with VOX and have three lots of four tickets to see The Fault In Our Stars to give away. Based on a New York Times #1 Best Seller book, the film tells the story of two young people finding love against the odds and time.The premiere is on Tuesday, June 10 at 7.30pm at VOX Cinemas City Centre Muscat. For a chance to win, simply answer the following question: How many screens does VOX Cinemas have in City Centre Muscat?
Email your answer and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 8. Winners must collect tickets from our office in Seeb. Terms and conditions apply. See website for details.
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ith an experience unlike any other in Muscat, VOX cinema has truly rewritten the rulebook when it comes to a trip to the movies. From its impressive 10 screens, to the atmosphere it generates, customers can walk into VOX knowing that they are in for a cinematic experience unlike any other in the Sultanate. VOX provides an authentic theatre atmosphere that could only previously be sampled, for example, in Dubai. From the moment you walk in, you almost forget that you were ever in City Centre Muscat. With a beautiful layout that not only attracts attention but is also contemporary and intimate, you find yourself totally consumed. VOX Cinema is just as interesting to walk around and look at, than it is to watch a movie in. I felt like a boy in a sweet shop. After all, cinemagoers in Muscat have got used to a choice of only three screens. Perhaps we did not need more, given the demand in such a small city? But any doubts about whether the 10 screens will be in demand are silenced as soon as you enter the theatre. VOX’s showpiece is its MAX screen. At 16.6 metres in width, it’s an absolute monster of a cinema screen and makes every seat feel right in the centre of the action. Coupled with Dolby’s ATMOS surround sound technology – which literally blows your ears away - in a theatre similar to a university lecture hall, it really is an unforgettable experience, one where you really feel as you if you are living the movie. Whether you choose to sit in regular or VIP seats (wider, leather and more legroom) comfort is a constant. Even the regular seats in VOX MAX have acres of space to stretch out and while you do miss out on the leather and the feeling of exclusivity, the cushioned fabric seats provide ample satisfaction. In conclusion, VOX cinema offers an overall experience that tops any other currently offered in Muscat. From the moment you walk in to the moment you leave, it is an absolute privilege and is definitely something that many, many people will be eager to sample.
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OUTDOORS PRECIOUS PRINCIPALITY
Monaco may be small in size but it’s big in bling. Dripping in wealth, it is heaving with fabulous homes, fast cars, yachts and designer stores.
Top 5 Places To Visit: 1. The Marina 2. Musée Océanographique de Monaco 3. Palais Princier de Monaco 4. Jardin Exotique 5. Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
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O u t d o o r s postcards from
Barbra Young recommends
onaco might be one of the world’s tiniest countries, but what it lacks in s i z e i t m a k e s u p fo r i n g l a m o u r . I t h a r b o u r s s o m e o f t h e g l o b e ’ s r i c h e s t people and, as such, screams excess with luxury yachts, flash cars, a casino and designer stores. The 200-hectare principality is back in the spotlight thanks to a new biopic of Grace Kelly, which stars Nicole Kidman. It’s also the place that Louis V u i tt o n f i tt i n g l y c h o s e t o s h o w c a s e i t s l a t e s t C r u i s e c o l l e c t i o n . Y u p , t h i s p l a c e s p a r k l e s . O f c o u r s e , i t b e g a n i n a l e s s i l l u s t r i o u s m a n n e r . M o n a c o fo r t w a s o r i g i n a l l y s e i z e d b y t h e G r i m a l d i fa m i l y i n 1 2 9 7 f r o m a r i v a l I t a l i a n fa c t i o n . T h e y ’ v e s i n c e h u n g o n t o t h e i r t i n y p i e c e o f l a n d i n t h e M e d i t e r r a n e a n fo r 700 years. I n 1 8 6 1 , M o n a c o r e l i n q u i s h e d h a l f o f i t s t e r r i t o r y t o Fr a n c e i n e x c h a n g e fo r c a s h a n d i n d e p e n d e n c e . W i t h a l l o f i t s n a t u r a l r e s o u r c e s g o n e , a t a x - f r e e s h e l t e r w a s c r e a t e d , a H o l l y w o o d s t a r l a t e r b e c a m e a p r i n c e s s a n d t h e fa i r y tale was born. So what’s there to see? Well, there’s the Palais Princier de Monaco, a c o m p a c t y e t l a v i s h r o y a l p a d f i l l e d w i t h fa b u l o u s fu r n i t u r e a n d 1 9 t h - c e n t u r y art. If Grace Kelly’s your main curiosity, then stroll down to the Cathédrale d e M o n a c o . T h e r e , y o u ’ l l f i n d s t a r - s t r u c k c r o w d s s h u ff l i n g p a s t t h e p r i n c e s s ’ s grave in silence. If natural life is more your thing, then the stunning and worldrenowned Musée Océanographique de Monaco features a six-metre-deep lagoon a s w e l l a s c e t a c e a n s k e l e t o n s , fo s s i l s a n d o t h e r p i c k l e d s p e c i m e n s . A l l t h i s m a y b e fa s c i n a t i n g , b u t t h e r o o f t o p t e r r a c e o ff e r s s o m e t h i n g j u s t a s s p e c i a l sweeping views of the principality and the Med. Talking of which, a helicopter ride is a great way to see the natural beauty of the area. The Jardin Exotique de Monaco is also worth a visit. These extraordinary g a r d e n s t u m b l e d o w n t h e s l o p e s o f t h e M o n e g h e tt i d i s t r i c t t h r o u g h a m a z e o f paths, stairs and bridges. Views of the principality here are spectacular and t h e a r o m a s a r e e q u a l l y d e l i g h t fu l . Fo r s h e e r a r c h i t e c t u r a l s p l e n d o u r , y o u c a n m a r v e l o u t s i d e t h e m a r b l e d C a s i n o de Monte Carlo. Designed by Charles Garnier in a classic “Belle Epoque” style, i t w a s c o m p l e t e d i n 1 8 6 3 a n d h a s b e e n t h e b a c k d r o p fo r m a n y a m o v i e , i n c l u d i n g the 2004 film Ocean’s Twelve, starring George Clooney.
J A R D IN
E X O T IQ
ll e Port Font viei
My favourite place
Where else but the marina? The yachts, the people, the cars and even the air smells of money. I once saw a super boat with its own helicopter pad. The whole scene is totally over the top, but incredibly amusing.
Highlights The Palais Princier, Fort Antoine, Musée Océanographique de Monaco, the Casino de Monte Carlo and the Grand Prix. You can see the synergy, no? Lowlights
The vulgarity of wealth, the rudeness and the expense of pretty much everything. As that magnificent wit and writer W Somerset Maugham once said: “Monaco’s a sunny place for shady people.”
A rich old husband.
Where to stay Hotel de Paris, naturally. Hotel Hermitage and Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort are also open for the season. Of course, accommodation in Monaco is expensive to say the least, reaching prohibitive levels during the Formula One Grand Prix. I like my luxe, but there are cheaper options available, including the Novotel.
Oceano graph ic Museum of Mona co
JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323
-FI THE TECH IN YOU
Tech may be increasingly affordable, but if you want to be partying with the elite, economical earphones and modest monitors just won’t cut it, says Tom Roberton
Project your wealth
The former Nokia-owned English company Vertu has produced a star of a phone, the Constellation. Swathed in luxurious calf leather (choice of five colours) and titanium, its handcrafted outer belies its hightech specs. Touting an Android Jelly Bean operating system, 13MP camera and 32GB of memory, it’s bang up to date with modern phone specs. Claiming a respectable standby time of 405 hours, it’ll also see you right through a week of busy socialising in Monaco. Buying a Constellation will also see you invited to various exclusive events and private member clubs. Book an appointment to buy one for RO2,195 at vertu.com
It’s long been the dream of many an affluent film fan to have huge, cinema-quality pictures without the clutter. Cumbersome wiring solutions and clunky projectors, no matter how well designed, can risk ruining the bijoux appeal of your city piedà-terre. Sony is one of the first to offer a beautiful audio-visual solution to that very problem. Its 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector is housed in a stylish cabinet that throws a whopping ultra-high quality image (4096x2160 pixels) onto the very wall that it’s placed next to. Capable of producing cinema-quality images ranging from 66” to 147”, it’s a sign of good things to come. Pricing makes the projector fairly exclusive at the moment: Expected to be released later this year for RO11,500 to RO15,400. See sony.com for more information.
Rich sound If people in cities the world over are being mugged for their Beats headphones, I’d hate to see what would happen when someone sports these exclusive cans. The Happy Plugs Earbud 18 carat Gold are handmade by a goldsmith in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan (Old Town). The hefty solid gold plugs also feature an inline remote and microphone to keep you connected to your smartphone. They also come with a one-year warranty – muggings not included, presumably. RO5,583 from happyplugs.com
Sounds Expensive Honoured at the CES electronics show this year was a set of speakers for people with both money and sense. Produced by legendary speaker producer Kharma, the dB11-S speakers are top of its Elegance line and are made from the company’s own Kharma Bullet Proof Laminate. Carbonfibre audio drivers and beryllium components ensure a powerhouse of a speaker that produces a full range of rich tones. A range of customised paint options is available. Ear-splitting sound, eye-watering price; RO20,783 a pair. See kharma.com
FEB 27 JUN 05 –- JUN MAR 1105/ ISSUE / ISSUE323309
FIND OUT WHAT’S HIP & HAPPENING IN GADGETS
App of the week
Lens me some money Good consumer cameras can be picked up for RO50, so it’s with a somewhat self-assured attitude that Sweden’s Hasselblad has released a camera costing 20 times that amount, the Stellar Special Edition. The luxury compact camera actually features the inners of a Sony X100 camera with a 20MP sensor and 28-100mm Carl Zeiss lens. But there’s no denying those luxe aesthetics. An aluminium body crafted from one solid block fields a carbon fibre or wooden grip for the ultimate in high-end photography. RO1,222 from hasselblad-stellar.com
NEW! Flight of fancy If Lambos and Ducatis are 10 a rial at your superstar hang out, it’s going to be difficult to produce something truly impressive. Unless, of course, you turn up with something that has never been seen before. Step forward or, should I say, fly forward, the Aero-X, a personal flying machine capable of travelling at 60kmh and four metres off the ground. Who needs roads? Expected release is 2017, with a price tag of about RO32,700. Register your interest at www.aerofex.com Responds to your movements, just like a motorcycle does. Manufacturers claim that it’s possible to learn to fly the futuristic machine in just two days of training.
Link your accounts to Manilla, a clever mobile app, and get your finances organised. This little programme will give you a quick and simple overview of all your financial accounts and loyalty programmes, as well as track expenditure. It’ll also remind you of bills that need paying, like the invoice for having the hull of your superyacht cleaned. Free on iOS and Android.
Capable of holding up to two people and flying non-stop for up to 1.25 hours, running on standard car petrol. Made from tough and light carbon-fibre composite, with roll bags for safety.
Make sure that your tablet gets in on the luxe lifestyle with this YSL Classic Marquage iPad Case in black leather with signature Saint Laurent Clous. Of course, you’ve got to wonder why you’d spend more money on the protective case than the iPad itself, but I guess that’s not the point. RO558 from ysl.com FEBJUN2705– MAR - JUN0511 / ISSUE 309 323
CARS AND ADVENTURES
D e s t i n at i o n
Y- F i
carS of the week For the super rich, a car is an extension of their wealth. Here, we reveal four of the most expensive cars that money can buy. Get ready to feel envy, says Kate Ginn 1. Lamborghini Veneno
esigned for Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary, the Veneno is simply jawdropping. The price provokes a similar reaction. Suffice to say, you need to be seriously rich to afford this supercar. Some say it’s not the most beautiful car, but it’s certainly the coolest – the name means “poison” in Spanish. Under the bonnet is a V12 engine hammering out 750 horsepower. In other words, it goes like lightning, streaking to 100kmh in just 2.8 seconds. There’s a convertible version, too, capable of hitting 322kmh, but that will set you back another RO192,500. Good luck with getting a bank loan. 046
JUN 05 - 11 / ISSUE 323
2. W Motors Lykan Hypersport
o, we didn’t know that Lebanon had a car industry either until it unveiled this prototype model at the International Qatar Motor Show last January. Established in Beirut in 2012, W Motors is said to be the first Arabian manufacturer of sports cars. Officially limited to just seven units, it could be one of the most expensive and exclusive luxury cars ever built. The Lykan was also showcased in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Powered by a six-cylinder, 3.7-litre twin-turbo engine, it has a top speed of 395kmh. Luxury touches include LED lights that are encrusted with diamonds and sapphires.
3. Ferrari LaFerrari
he Ferrari the Ferrari. Perhaps the name is not so spectacular, but everything else is. The Italian Stallion roars with a throbbing V12 engine under the bonnet, belting out 789 horsepower. It’s so light that it will screech to almost 200kmh in less than seven seconds. Most cars can’t reach 100kmh in that time. There are only 499 LaFerraris available, so if you haven’t received a personal call from Ferrari to buy one, it’s the second-hand market for you, where you could also opt for collector’s favourite, the 6.0 litre Enzo (RO1.1 million).
4. McLaren F1
Up to RO3.8 million
ith only 106 ever built, this supercar remains one of the most sought-after vehicles among the world’s sporting billionaires. In January 2013, a British car dealer sold his rare F1 for RO1.3 million, setting a world record for the most modern supercar ever sold. However, a Japanese collector is said to have an F1 with zero miles on the clock, which could fetch up to RO3.8 million when sold. It’s a beast of a car that can reach an unbelievable 391kmph with the rev limiter removed. Celebrity owners – with very deep pockets – include the Sultan of Brunei (who reportedly owns eight), David Beckham and Ralph Lauren. Can’t afford the price tag? Try the new McLaren P1, a less crazy baby version of the F1 with a 3.8-litre engine to whip you to 349kmh and a snip at RO423,500.