Equity Magazine December 2017
























Extraordinary is in the detail.

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Be Extraordinary.





From the EDITOR

December. It’s the end of the year, the time

when families travel across the world and

celebrations begin. It all starts on UAE

National Day (December 2) where the

country will be marking its 46th anniversary, with

fireworks and parades. Around this time, the Christmas

tree goes up, carols start to play on the radio, and festive

markets are in full swing.

It’s also that time of year when stores are packed,

online shopping is the most convenient, and

e-commerce giants are elated with their steady ascent. Turn to page 16 to find

out how some of the region’s online retail stores are thriving. We’re sure most

of your time will be spent making gift-lists and hunting down the perfect items

and experiences for your loved ones. To make the process stress-free, we’ve

curated a selection of gifts and experiences for him and her (page 41).

The December issue highlights ambitious women on a mission, with success

stories from Sara Al Madani (page 18), Natasha Rudatsenko (page 32), and

Zoë Cousens. We also look at star-of-the-moment, Jessica Biel, and her

triumphant journey in Hollywood (page 26).

We love travel, here at EQUITY, and this month it was all about Thailand.

Deputy Editor Meryl D’souza got down on one knee and popped the question

while staying at two gorgeous Anantara properties – find out why he chose these

spots on page 60. My trip to Bangkok, on the other hand, was to learn about the

stunning Four Seasons Private Residences development. Turn to page 70 and

discover why Bangkok is luring expats with investment-worthy real estate.

As always, this issue is brimming with inspiration for your closet,

investment portfolio and experiences around the city. We hope the end of

this year marks a successful and gratifying one for each and every reader.

Happy Holidays


Nicola Monteath

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ahead of the last Star Wars movie

and count myself a fan ever

since. If there’s one décor piece I

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The hottest events happening

around the globe

18 14









How e-commerce is set to take

over the UAE



Sara Al Madani discusses further


Zoë Cousens dishes out on her

journey and latest venture, here

in the UAE


Darren Clarke on beating the

best and grooming future stars


Her latest projects and the

consequences of Harvey




Winter camps and more


A chat with the founder of

Muncherie Organic Food Co

36 body&




It’s time to go shopping




Personalise your pieces and add

these staples to your wardrobe


Your run-of-the-mill gifts

impresses no one. Here’s what

you should be gifting this season







Statement pieces to covet

and add to your wishlist



Travel inspiration for your next

big holiday




Take your pick from these

culinary experiences


Thailand is so much more

than the go-to destination for

bachelor party sleazefests





Explore Bab Al Qasr in Abu Dhabi


Waterfront living in Bangkok


A peek into his life


On the cover


Read her interview on page 26

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the publisher cannot be held

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advertising or graphics.






Discover the success stories

and journeys of four

women: Sara Al Madani,

Natasha Rudatsenko, Zoe

Cousens and Jessica Biel.

Avid online shoppers can

find out how the region’s

finest fare





Jetsetters, don’t forget to add these dates to your diary




WHERE? The Ritz-Carlton,

Dubai International Financial Centre

WHEN? Until January 22, 2018

The award-winning Paco Pérez has set up shop at Center Cut

Steak House until the end of January, to tantalize tastebuds

with Spanish cuisine. The Catalan chef’s tapas-style menu is

available for lunch and dinner, featuring a contemporary take

on traditional flavours. Must-try dishes include slow-cooked

goatling shoulder with beetroot and sour cream and Getaria

anchovies. Pérez has one restaurant in Berlin and two in

Spain, each boasting two Michelin stars.




WHERE? Thames Innovation Centre 2, London

WHEN? December 11

Righttrain in partnership with the

metropolitan police have all the answers to

your cybersecurity enquiries. If you don’t

already have a strategy in place to secure your

organisation, it’s time to get on track.

1WHERE? The St. Regis Dubai,

Al Habtoor City

WHEN? November 29 to December 26


The Winter Garden Market is back.

It’s that time of the year when little

ones can step into winter

wonderland, feast on gingerbread

and get into the festive spirit. Adults

can treat themselves to mulled wine,

and a range of festive nosh, before

crossing off items from their gift list

at the retail section. Sing along to

festive carols and gaze at the

Christmas tree this holiday season.



WHERE? Cora Harper Community

Center, Barstow, USA

WHEN? December 2-3

This two-day event brings

together the finest of mineral

jewellery, gemstones dealers,

fossils, rough and cut stones,

opals, beads and everything

within its realm. A paradise for

those looking to get into the

business and jewellery designers.







WHERE? London

WHEN? December 20-22

The latest scientific research outcomes are revealed at

this conference, touching upon topics of Big Data and

Internet of Things. It’s a great spot to exchange ideas,

create business links and build global relationshops.



WHERE? Deventer, The Netherlands

WHEN? December 16-17

The famed author’s work and 950 of his novels’

characters are brought to life at this weekend festival.

Expect to bump into Olive Teist, Scrooge and Mr.

Pickwick, as you experience winter in this 19th Century

wonderland. In 2015, this was nominated for Best Public

Event in the Netherlands, and lives up to its name,

combining literature with a festive market for all ages.



WHERE? Felix/Aldon Berlin, Germany

WHEN? Until December 30

More than 40 originals pieces of Banksy’s work are on

display from this mysterious artist. Spawned from a

movement that makes its own rules, this exhibit curated

by the artists’ former manager Steve Lazarides,

dominates the contemporary art world, and has

artworks worth over 20 million pounds. Look out for

the most talked about pieces, such as the iconic Girl with

Balloon, Kate Moss and Media.



WHERE? Courchevel

WHEN? December 19-20

There’s nothing like hitting the ski slopes during the

festive period, and especially when the winter sports are

on. This ski paradise will play host to the eighth Women’s

World Cup. Head there to watch the races, aerobatic

demonstration, and experience the vivacity of this event.

A DJ, live music and plenty of other activities will make

this winter sporting festival a fun one for children and

adults who love the sport.






How e-commerce – through Souq.com, Noon,

Namshi and others – is set to take over the UAE

By Meryl D’souza




You come across inspirational stories on the

internet almost every day. Very few go on to

become as big as the tale of Jeff Bezos. In July

this year, the Amazon.com founder usurped

Microsoft founder Bill Gates for the title of the richest man

in the world. At the time, his net worth was valued at $90.6

billion – $500 million, more than Bill Gate’s net worth.

However, that euphoria was short-lived. Hours after he took

pole position, Amazon’s stock price plummeted and Bill

Gates reclaimed his spot, thus maintaining the balance of the

universe. Well, the one per cent of the universe anyway.

Bezos’ ascent started in the early Nineties. The then

30-year-old noticed that a novel phenomenon, they were

calling the internet, was growing at an unprecedented rate

of 2,300 per cent per year. Not one to miss out on

opportunities, Bezos quickly made a list of 20 possible

products to sell online, and eventually settled on shipping

books because of their low cost and the universal demand.

Eventually, he expanded to music, movies, electronics and

toys before finally allowing the addition of third-party

vendors – who now account for 40 per cent of Amazon’s

$107 billion in sales. To call Amazon an e-commerce

website would be doing it a disservice, insulting it even. A

more apt term to describe Bezos’ behemoth would be to

refer to it as the world’s first e-conglomerate.

At this year’s Arab Luxury World conference in Dubai,

Researcher and consultant Nadine Touma Gammage

presented the results of a year-long Mall Mapping Study.

The study kept tabs on the habits of 4,800 people living in

the UAE, and found that more than half visit a mall at least

once a week. Not a single UAE resident would bat an eyelid

at that statistic. With 4.7 million square metres of shopping

centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi alone, the UAE boasts one

of the highest numbers of shops per capita in the world.

Despite the country’s obvious obsession with shopping and

its continued growth in internet usage and speed, it has been

dormant in terms of online shopping.




However, those habits are poised to change tremendously

in the near future. Back in 2015, internet sales in the UAE

accounted for 3.9 per cent of the total sales in that year. In

2017, online sales in the Middle East and North Africa

(MENA) region are set to top $2 billion, with the UAE

leading the e-commerce boom. Those aren’t just numbers

pulled out of a hat either. According to a 2016 Digital Middle

East report by McKinsey & Company, e-commerce

penetration in the Middle East is estimated at a mere two

per cent of retail sales. As if e-commerce’s growth in the

region needed more evidence, in July this year,

Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce giant acquired Dubaibased

retail and marketplace platform Souq.com

to the tune of $700 million. Shortly after that,

Souq – which was growing at such an unparalleled

rate that it was dubbed “the Amazon of the

Middle East” – went on to acquire Wing.ae, a

marketplace for merchants and couriers based in

the UAE. The acquisition is expected to boost

Souq.com’s last mile delivery.

While it is one of the most successful platforms,

Souq isn’t the only unicorn to come out of the

UAE. Noon, the $1 billion e-commerce platform

founded by Emaar Properties chairman

Mohamed Alabbar, started operations in the

UAE last month. In February last year, Dubaibased

Wadi.com raised $67 million in Series A

funding with Al Tayyar Travel Group as the lead

investor. Elsewhere, Net-a-Porter reported that

the average order value in the Middle East is 50

per cent higher than the rest of world. It’s little

wonder that in April last year, Alabbar’s

Symphony Investments announced a joint

venture with Yoox Net-A-Porter Group

(YNAP), which will see Alabbar focus his entire

online luxury retail activity in the GCC exclusively

through the joint-venture, of which Symphony

Investments owns 40 per cent. Off-price brands

Yoox and The Outnet are set to debut localised

sites in the region in 2018, while Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter

will launch in 2019. It doesn’t stop. Another big player in

the UAE’s e-commerce battlefield is Namshi. Part of the

Global Fashion E-commerce Group and created by Rocket

Internet, Namshi is a Dubai-based online fashion retailer

with over 40,000 exclusive in-house collections and brands

posted a $1.8 million profit last year. The timing could not

have been better. At a time when Rocket Internet’s seen the

collective value of its fashion startups shrink by $2.4 billion,

Namshi was its saving grace.

E-commerce is the next big step for burgeoning

businesses in the region with the market expected to be

valued at $10 billion by 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan

(market research firm). Those numbers are subject to the

growth of complementary industries such as smartphones.

Thankfully for anyone involved in e-commerce, the

country’s smartphone penetration is the highest in the

world at 73.8 per cent, with more than 90 per cent of the

population having access to the internet. With that headache

basically curing itself, the focus will shift on keeping the

target audience happy. The e-commerce industry hinges on

millennials to keep it going. According to awok.com,

shoppers aged 25-34 comprise 65 per cent of the online

shoppers. The longer e-commerce platforms can keep these

millennials online, the higher number of daily activities are

likely to be conducted. As such, retailers in the region and

globally will have to focus on being mobile friendly to offer

efficient, convenient and safe click-and-shop experiences

for customers.

There can only be winners within the industry. Sure,

Souq.com dominates its counterparts, and Noon will

disrupt that order to a degree, but the market remains largely

untapped with figures from AT Kearney showing that

e-commerce contributes precious little to the GCC’s

economy, accounting for just 0.4 per cent of GDP in 2015.

When you look at e-commerce’s 1.8 per cent contribution

in France and 2.2 per cent in Japan – countries with similar

GDP per capita figures to the GCC as a whole – it’s hard to

believe that even the minnows operating in the region

would struggle for a decent piece of the pie.



“Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and

Greedy When Others Are Fearful”

Warren Buffett

Financial Planning | Tax Planning | Wealth Management | Corporate Services

United Arab Emirates | United Kingdom | Australia | Bermuda


+971 4 556 5900 | info@credence-international.com













Serial entrepreneur Sara Al Madani discusses

startups, women in the workforce, and why

raising awareness on entrepreneurship at a

young age is imperative for a brighter future

By Nicola Monteath

Sara Al Madani is best defined as a bold, fearless risk-taker.

“My soul feeds on risk, it’s my bowl of cereal in the

morning,” she tells us. I met Sara at her newly opened café

Shabarbush in Mamzar, and was instantly struck by the

rebellious beauty with brains sat across the table. Sara isn’t

like most Emirati women we’ve come across. Yes, she has

the ambition, drive and elegance, but that element of

edginess is what sets her apart. That, and her piercings.

Sara is fierce, almost in the way Beyoncé Knowles is

to young women. Although, while they are both leaders

in a league of their own, their views on women empowerment are poles apart.

“The term ‘women empowerment’ makes us feel weak, as though we’re waiting

for someone to empower us. Women raise children, take care of the household,

they are good at managing finances and taking care of literally everything. We

do not need empowerment,” she says.

You may have heard of, or come across, Sara through her appearances at

conferences and events, where for the last seven years she has dedicated her

time, pro-bono, to educate younger women on several entrepreneurship topics.

She’s a serial entrepreneur and by title, is the founder of Shabarbush, Sara Al

Madani Fashion Designs, and Social Fish – a creative concepts company in LA.

It doesn’t stop there. She is the youngest Board Member at Sharjah Chamber

of Commerce and Industry, at UAE SME and enterprise council, and

ShjSEEN. And, a single mother of a two-year-old son.

How does she do it? “If you are an entrepreneur and have the will and

passion, you can do anything. Believe you can and you will. It’s as simple as

that. We tell ourselves I can’t do that and the minute you say that, your mind

refuses to take it. Plus, women can multitask, right?” she adds in. The road to

success hasn’t been an easy one for Sara, and despite what most may think, she

didn’t get to her position due to Emirati privilege. At nine, Sara chose to

massage family members for cash. At ten, she bought candy from far away

stores, slapped on an export candy mark on it, and sold it to her cousins for a

profit. At 15, Sara walked up to her father and told him she didn’t need financial

support. He laughed and told her mother she would come back. She prides

herself in telling me that she hasn’t gone back for financial aid ever since that

day. While her friends were hanging out at malls, Sara chose to work promotion

jobs selling juice – obviously not the norm for local girls. “It’s funny, I don’t




remember much

about these days,

but there are videos

and photos as

evidence. I guess I

always had that

ambitious side and


After eight months

of hard work, she

gathered Dhs25,000

and launched her

fashion brand,

known then as

Rouge Couture.

Sara says it was

affordable to be in

business back in the day. Her funds took her through three

years of operations. And while it took hard work to get

there, it didn’t deter her from proceeding with other

grueling ventures. “Hard work pays off. There’s always

someone, somewhere out there watching. That’s why you

should never stop,” she says.

This testimony stands true as she reveals the moment

she was chosen to be a board member. “I woke up one day

with everyone calling me, telling me to check H.H. Dr

Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi’s Instagram. A

list of names was published on a screenshot that said it was

the names of the Board Members chosen. I kept scrolling

and read my name and was like whoa!” says Sara. As board

member of the government, she has to make sure she isn’t




My soul feeds on

risk, it’s my bowl

of cereal in

the morning

biased towards herself, and has no conflict of

interest. “You should purely want the best for

the city, its commerce, growth and the economy.

You are basically taking financial and board

decisions to enable the city to grow. I had to

learn plenty, but the Chamber of Commerce

taught us a lot too. They trained us on everything

from how to talk, to networking and dining,”

she says. Sara is currently in her second cycle –

each cycle is three years.

We re-visit the topic of women in the

workforce and Sara’s notion on gender bias. “We

love to sugar-coat things and say ‘Yes, we’ve

made it’ but it’s a man’s world and we are

changing everything. It needs time,” she says.

That said, she believes that women are the reason

women aren’t succeeding. “Men are not the

problem. The thing is a woman at a senior seat in

the office worked hard to get there and now she’s

worried someone else will take it away. They tend

to block the chances for other women and don’t

hire them, and this is a huge problem. Men have

surrendered. When women understand that we

aren’t competing, we are completing, only then

there will be notable changes.”

Of late, the UAE is seeing women taking on

leadership-and senior management-roles, which

is a major inspiration for other women. “It’s all

about educating people and trying to change

their mindset. Imagine if our leaders push all the

women, but at home the family is against it,

there’s a conflict in the direction,” she tells us.

As a young board member, she understands the

need for awareness and educating children at a

younger age, for them to inspire, be inspired and

influence their families.

When it comes to future endeavors, Sara

surprises herself. She doesn’t know what it

entails but always goes the extra mile to find out

what hidden talents she has. Success is a twoway

stream for this ambitious woman, with her

definition of success being, “what have I done

for myself and to help others?” As for now, she

plays catch-up with friends at venues she holds

meetings at, and allows herself to make the most

of her free time by travelling. “When you

explore different cultures, meet people, and see

new things it just opens your mind,” she tells me

as we chat about growing up in the UAE.






By establishing a membersonly

investment club for

women in Dubai, Zoë

Cousens is now promoting

financial literacy on a scale

seldom seen before

By Varun Godinho

In the aftermath of World War

II, the Channel Islands were

wrecked. It had faced the brunt

of German occupation for

much of the war and most of its

businesses were squashed. The

inhabitants of one of the islands,

Guernsey, though can be singled out

as a particularly resilient lot.

In the Fifties and early Sixties, this

small island – no larger than 25 square

miles – located just off the coast of

Normandy, quickly developed two

major industries – tourism and

tomatoes. But by the early Seventies change was

afoot. “The tomato industry was overtaken by

the Canary Islands and the tourism industry was

overtaken by cheap holidays to Spain from the

UK. That was unfortunate for Guernsey but the

island has always been innovative in what it

does,” says Zoë Cousens who was born in

Guernsey in the Sixties and would be the

generation that would develop a multi-billiondollar

business which would replace tourism

and tomatoes – the financial services industry.

Cousens has spent over 30 years in the finance

industry, but it wasn’t her first choice. “My real

love is languages, so that’s what I studied when I

went to college. But in the Seventies, there

weren’t many opportunities to work with

languages. I was told that I would either be a

teacher or an interpreter in Brussels –

headquarters of the EU (which had just formed).

I didn’t want to be either and so I gave up that

idea and went to work in London. I was a young

girl on an adventure.”

In the early Eighties, Guernsey was beginning

to establish itself as a major offshore financial

centre. Cousens returned to the island and found

a job with a stockbroker, but was quickly deputed

to the London Stock Exchange. She started at the

very bottom of the rung, as what was known as a

Blue Button – a trainee dealer. Explaining how a

trade was done in her era, she says, “In those

days, we used to sit in rooms called boxes with

walls of telephones. The stockbroker sitting in

his office would speak to his client who may want

to buy a certain share and they would call that

through to the box. The person at that box – me,

the trainee dealer – would go up to the stock




exchange floor, and I would literally run around

the jobbers – the guys making the price. You

couldn’t say whether you were buying or selling

because you couldn’t give the game away. I would

go around the jobbers finding the best price.

Then I’d go back down to the box, ring the

broker, and he would then ring the client and

discuss with his client whether he wanted to buy

at the price I had got. They would then call me

back and I would go back up to the floor, to the

jobber who made the best price. Because I was a

junior I couldn’t strike the trade, so one of the

brokers would have to come with me to place the


She’s still held on to her Blue Button to this

day. Cousens has seen this process that would

typically last a few hours to strike a single deal

being reduced to a couple of nanoseconds

today. Her time at LSE was interesting because

it was also a time when she was one of the first

women on the City’s stock exchange.

She didn’t see herself

being part of a maledominated

institution as

something of a revolution,

but rather a job that required

her to work in an

environment predominantly

filled with men. “I don’t

really recall, in those days,

there being such an

awareness of the women’s

‘glass ceiling’. These kinds of

phrases hadn’t been

invented. I wasn’t ever aware

of it. It was very interesting

being one of the first women down there. I

thought that some of the older guys who were

there would be slightly resentful, but that wasn’t

the case at all. I think they were delighted to see

some women on the exchange floor.”

Cousens quickly worked her way up the ranks.

She spent the next decade at a London-based

investment house where she would run

portfolios for high-net-worth clients and served

as a fund analyst as well. Before she could strike

out on her own, Cousens took some time out to

study. “I took a year out to broaden my financial

knowledge on topics other than investments

like pensions, regulations, protection, and

insurance.” On completing her course, she set

up her consultancy in Guernsey. “I began to

provide investment oversight consultancy

service for clients who are typically trust

companies or families that have portfolios. I

oversee the investment managers – checking

that they are meeting the objectives, that the

charging structure is appropriate and that the

risk profile is relevant.”

I don’t really recall,

in those days, there

being such an

awareness of the

women’s ‘glass ceiling’.

These kinds of phrases

hadn’t been invented

While in Guernsey, she also set up a service

that provided financial planning for women. “A

lot of women were coming to me because

women like talking to women about financial

matters, if they can. So, it just made sense to

help women with financial planning.”

Guernsey has got bad press recently, with terms

like “offshore” becoming a word weaponized and

wielded to demonstrate wrongdoing, rather than a

smart business move which is completely legal.

“The sensationalist reporting appears deliberately

designed to undermine the legitimate business acts

of offshore centres, attempting to portray it as a

lack of transparency. But in most cases, such as

Guernsey, that is simply not true. Privacy and

valuing client confidentiality should not be

conflated with secrecy. Strong regulation ensures

higher service standards and protection for

consumers together with a mechanism to reinforce

anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing.

In fact, offshore centres such as Guernsey act as a

tax-neutral facilitator of

global investment into the

UK, Europe and global

economies,” says Cousens.

In 2015, on the brink of

entering her third decade in

the financial services sector,

she made a radical decision to

move and set up her business

– Castellet Consulting – in

Dubai. “Women in business

are extremely well supported

here in Dubai. It’s wonderful

to see, for example, Sheikh

Mohammed’s government

has got such a high number of women. I think

through his leadership that that feeds through to the

other industries here, particularly the finance

industry. There’s a very strong ease of doing

business in Dubai as well.”

More recently, Cousens has embarked on

another pet project that focusses on promoting

financial literacy among women. She’s established

the Women’s Investment Network (WIN) here

in Dubai. “WIN is a members-only club. Our aim

is to help and inspire women to become

financially knowledgeable and independent. By

sharing expert knowledge, we promote financial

literacy and money-management skills. We are

establishing a community of like-minded women

who wish to come together in an informal setting

to learn more about financial matters,” says

Cousens. The club will conduct presentations

and investment workshops geared towards

offering members an insight into the world of

personal wealth management.

For a woman who’s spent over three decades

perfecting what she’s teaching, we’re all ears.






Darren Clarke, aka DC 60, has

built a career beating the best

in the business and is now

grooming the next generation

of professional golfers

By Varun Godinho

Darren Christopher Clarke owes his life to a phone

call. Born in 1968, the year before The Troubles

began, the Ulsterman was briefly working at a bar

called The Inn in the Park in Dungannon before

he began playing golf professionally full-time. One night, he

was setting up when they received a call at 9.30pm warning

everyone to evacuate. By 10pm the bomb, which was hidden

only five feet away from him, went off.

While he owes his life to a stroke of luck, his professional

career has been a fruit of hard labour. He’s had a phenomenally

successful career on the course. The legacy of wining two World

Golf Championships and a major were nearly undone though by

his controversial captaincy of the Ryder Cup team last year. He

chose a couple of rookies to play for Team Europe who was up

against veterans from Team America at Hazeltine. Case in point:

When Phil Mickelson from Team America went pro in 1992,

Matt Fitzpatrick from Team Europe wasn’t even born.

Clarke and I met on the sidelines of the DP World Tour

Championship last month at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in

Dubai, where he put his surprise Ryder Cup selection into

perspective. “I believed in all the rookies over there. They’re

world-class players. Unfortunately, we were up against a

resurgent America. They played very well and probably better

than we did. We got beaten by slightly the better team that

week and sometimes that happens in sport.” After spending

over 37 years on the course, he’s clearly cultivated pragmatism

rather than unbridled emotion when dealing with the highs

and lows of a being a sportsman.




Was the feedback from critics sharper than was

warranted? “People are always going to have their

opinions. I said at the beginning of the week that if I

can look at myself in the mirror on the Monday

morning and say that I did the best that I possibly

could to help everybody win the Ryder Cup, then

the outcome wasn’t judged by anything else. I did

my best and the players did their best. On that

occasion, it wasn’t quite enough.”

Clarke, at his peak, was ranked among the top ten

for 43 weeks between 2000 and 2002. It was during

this time that he beat Tiger Woods to win his first

world championship at the 2000 Andersen

Consulting Match Play. “Tiger Woods and I were

very good friends – we still are. Tiger at that stage was

by far the best player in the world and I was fortunate

because he had a bad day and I had a good day. If you

put yourself up against the best in whatever business

and you can come out on top, it must feel good. He

would give you very few opportunities and when he

did, you had to take the chance and try to beat him.”

One of the biggest moments for any pro is winning

a major. Winning the Open in 2011 at the Royal St.

George’s Golf Club would be a career-defining

moment for many, but for Clarke, who had by that

time already spent nearly three decades playing golf, it

wasn’t necessarily the sweetest moment in his long

career. “It was a pretty good one. But I’ve had a few

other different highlights as well. But certainly,

winning the biggest and best tournament in our sport

is something that I dreamt of as a kid.”

He has been visiting Dubai since the early

Nineties and has seen the city expand rapidly since.

“When I first came here in 1991 to play the Dubai

Desert Classic, all of us stayed at the InterCon at

the airport and there was just one building – the

World Trade Centre – between there and the

Emirates golf course.”

Clarke now cites Dubai as a ripe golfing tourist

destination. “Golfing tourists

are usually very high netspend

tourists because they

come in and pay the green

fees. There are several golf

courses in Dubai and there

are one or two more new

ones going online as well. The

facilities for someone who

comes to play are second to

none in the world.”

He has had a few sponsors

backing him consistently

through his career. They might

not be as high-profile deals as

the $250 million one that Rory

McIlroy signed with Nike, but

they’re solid deals nonetheless.

Darren Clarke

and Tiger Woods

Clarke speaks about one of his

biggest backers, Swiss

watchmaker Audemars Piguet, who he has been an

ambassador for since 2001. “I first met its CEO

François-Henry [Bennahmias] on the range in 1999

through a mutual friend. I was a watch guy before I

met François – I already had two Audemars Piguets.

When you have someone that you’re already a fan of

then ask you to become their ambassador, that’s very

special. I’ve got the big Arnold’s All Stars, a gold one

and a tourbillon one as well.”

With Clarke pushing 50, he is beginning to

contemplate a life after golf. “I’ll probably fly fish a

little more than I do in different places around the

world,” he says with a chuckle. But quickly adds that

he will get more involved with his foundation which

has a two-fold mission – one is to develop junior golf

in Ireland and the other is breast cancer research and

awareness. While Clarke can be proud of his role in

promoting and developing junior golfers – McIlroy

was a progeny of the foundation – it’s the cancer

awareness part of it that hits closer to home. “My

wife died of breast cancer when she was 38. We’re

trying to do bits and pieces to help somebody not go

through the same thing we did. We’re involved with

Daffodils Centres where you can go in and ask the

questions to ease your mind because if you get

diagnosed with cancer, the doctors and nurses don’t

always have the time to answer all your questions.

We’re also involved in cancer research at the Queen’s

University in Belfast.”

Clarke has lived a life with no regrets. He’s owned

15 Ferraris, three Lamborghinis and a handful of

Jaguars, Bentleys and Porsches. Together with Lee

Westwood he even bought a $12 million private jet.

Playing at the level that Clarke has for so long means

that he could end up last and still walk away with a

$150,000 cheque at the end of it. Looking back now,

would he have done anything differently? “I’ve

tended to enjoy myself a little bit more than I should

have done, but then I wouldn’t have enjoyed the

journey so much. Would I change anything? No.”










Jessica Biel touches upon some consequences of

the Harvey Weinstein scandal, her latest projects

and how time waits for no one

The stunning American actress Jessica Biel,

has been in the spotlight ever since she made

her breakthrough with the family-drama series

7th Heaven. We’ve seen her grow in front of

our eyes, taking on roles in The Illusionist, The A

Team, Hitchcock and most recently on the

Netflix drama The Sinner. Here Samantha Reyes

talks about her latest show, the Weinstein

scandal and upcoming projects.

I have seen the first episode of The Sinner,

and it’s incredibly interesting and

intriguing and unfortunately, I haven’t had

a chance yet to see the other episodes but I

must say, it’s certainly sparked my curiosity

because you are thinking, where can this

story go, how can it develop and how can

this character develop and unfold? So, I

would like to start with that, with you…

Well I was interested in the unreliable narrator. And

that is who this person is. She cannot be trusted

sometimes, and can’t even trust her own memory.

What she thinks is true, turns out to not be true. And

doesn’t know what is real and what isn’t. So that is

what initially struck me as very intriguing and

compelling. We developed this character through the

traumas of her past and how she became who she is

today and why she doesn’t know some of these things

that happened to her, and even why she thinks

something is one way and comes to find that it’s a

different way in reality. So, we spent a long time trying

to create this person who you cannot trust, but who

you like and can relate to in some way and who is not

a monster, even though she commits a heinous

crime, and is maybe someone that you are rooting

for. I think that is a very challenging combination of

elements and seems like something I would be

interested in sinking my teeth in a little bit.





something that you don’t do in the first episode or two

yet, but for yourself as a woman, can you justify that?

I don’t think you can ever justify killing another human

being. I really believe that violence and vengeance is not

the answer, even if you are in the greatest pain of all and

you feel like that is the only thing that can cure it. In my

soul, as a human being, I know that that is not the answer.

And can I justify it for me? No, but when I think about

what the character went through and understand the

storyline and I think about the reality of that, I understand

why she did it and I think at the end of the story she also

understands why, but I don’t think even she justifies it. I

think she will be tortured her whole life because she says

very early on, I am not this person, I am not a killer and I

don’t know what this is within me. And I don’t think that

this is someone who goes on in their life and can feel good

about this ever.

So, we are talking about a series that might have another

season, or does it have a beginning or an end?

We initially really thought about it as a limited series even

though the way we leave it is slightly abrupt, we answer all

the questions and close out the case, my story at the end of

Season One. But with Bill Pullman’s character, we leave it a

little sort of ambiguous as to how does he move on and how

does he continue if we were going to continue this series?

And we have not gotten an official Season Two pickup yet,

but we have been talking a little bit about what that would

look like and still trying to put the pieces and what that is

and how, if at all, I am involved. Because if you do ever see

it, we conclude the story. So, we would have to work out the

details and figure out how my character returns.

I see you are a producer on several other films, from The

Book of Love to The Sure Game. How much do you like

to create and find your own projects? Is it hard in

Hollywood today for a woman or an actress to find

interesting roles?

It’s of the utmost importance to take control and take charge of

your career. We all need our managers and agents and I think

they are significant elements of someone’s career, but I have

How complicated was it to shoot, because we see you in

the beginning as sort of a mother and you are in jail and

you have a kind of a harsh character to play, isn’t it?

Yes, it was. It was emotionally the most exhausting, most

challenging thing I have ever done. It took its toll on me

every day, an isolating experience a bit, because like you

said, I spent a lot of time in this prison and in this set that

we created. And she is a very isolated person in general,

not a good communicator, doesn’t really know how to be

open around new people and barely knows how to be

around her own family. She is not the life of the party,

even though that was good for the character I am glad I

went through it. But, I was very happy to be finished with

it as it took a lot of my attention from my family and

personal life. What she experienced and went through was

a stressful experience for me, to be able to sort of really

tap in and understand what it would be like if I was going

through this, and it took me through the ringer a lot. A

wonderful experience and I am glad I did it, but I am very

glad to be done. (Laughs)

Did you find yourself being able to justify - and I am

sure we will understand by the end of this series -

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake at the 89th Annual

Academy Awards held at the Hollywood and Highland

Center in Hollywood, USA on February 26, 2017.







The female community of women

right now feel very connected

all over the world.

found a lot of success and empowerment from

myself to take a greater responsibility in my own

career and not just sit and wait for someone to

bring something to me, but to get out there and

look for something that is interesting. To find

articles, dig through old books, talk to people and

learn about the world and human beings. I am

investigating for myself what is interesting and

what could be something special. And I think

whenever I produce something or get behind

something, I get to be part of the development of

it from the very beginning. It is just such a more

collaborative experience and I have so much more

invested and work a million times harder as I want

to succeed so badly, not just for myself, but for

everybody who have given their blood, sweat and

tears to make it come to fruition. And I just want

to be part of the team in that way. I think

sometimes as an actor, it’s also kind of a detaching

thing and you don’t really get told what is going on

or get asked your opinion. I have a lot to give and

say and I have a lot of opinions. I want to be part

of a team in that way, as opposed to just someone

in front of the camera. It’s a much more fulfilling

experience for me.

Jessica Biel at talk show appearance

for The Late Show

with David Letterman, Ed

Sullivan Theater, New York

June 7, 2010

We are all very taken with what has been going on as it unfolds,

even today, with Weinstein. Do you think this will lead to

change for women and men and are you optimistic that

this could bring something good?

Actress JESSICA BIEL, star of

"7th Heaven", at world premiere

of "Playing by Heart"

which stars Sean Connery &

Gillian Anderson.

I am optimistic, because if it doesn’t, then shame on all of us.

The seismic change must occur. There’s not a possibility in my

mind that it goes back to the way it does or that something big

doesn’t happen from this. Because I think the female

community of women right now feel very connected all over

the world, because we have all had experience like this, whether

it’s something small or something big and in some way. I think

there’s a real feeling of unity now and that it’s more detrimental

to keep your mouth shut than it is to speak up. So, I have so

much hope and optimism that this is going to be a seismic

earthquake that has hit this industry and hopefully every other

one, cause this is everywhere as we all know.




Walking in a Winter


In the words of Jon Snow – or any other person of

relevance in Game Of Thrones – winter is here.

Unlike theirs though, ours is a lot less grim. Here are

some of the best activities for your child this winter


When: December 17 - 28

(excluding December 22 and 23)

What’s included: The fun-packed

camp – for children aged between

four and 14 – includes water

sports, beach games, arts and

crafts, and fitness classes; all held

in the hotel’s plush palm tree resort

and health club.

Timing: 9am until 2pm

Price: Daily rate is Dhs200; five

days cost is Dhs850, while the full

ten-day rate is Dhs1,550 per child

What else you should know:

Parents are given free pool and beach

passes while the kids are at camp

To register, call +9712 6970 272 or

email sheraton.resort@sheraton.com to

reserve a spot



When: December 17 - January 4

What’s included: Whether it’s in the

driver’s seat or the saddle, you can be

rest assured that with the sports

resort’s professional eyes on them,

your kids are destined for glory.

Timing: 9am until 3pm

Price: Early Bird (7:30 to 9am) will

cost an additional Dhs20 while Late

Stay (3pm to 5:30pm) will cost an

additional Dhs30

What else you should know: The

resort has opened four new tennis

courts that will have your kids

serving aces in no time.

To register, call 800 AL FORSAN

(800-25367726) or email sales@



When: December 17 - 21

What’s included: One of the best

British nurseries in Dubai,

Children’s Oasis Nursery will have

kids between the ages of 2 to 4+

years take part in a range of

activities including festive

decoration, and card making;

music and movement classes;

baking classes focused on festive

treats; and a festive party.

Timing: 8am until 5pm daily with

an option of a half-day session

from 8am until 2pm

Price: Starts at Dhs630 per child for

two half-days and Dhs730 per child

for two full-days, and runs to

Dhs1120 per child for five half-days

and Dhs1340 per child for five fullday


What else you should know:

Mirroring the Nursery’s yearround

curriculum, the camp will

follow elements of the British

Early Years’ Foundation Stage

framework which focuses on a

play-based learning approach.

Visit childrensoasisnursery.com


When: December 21 and 22

What’s included: Everything

from face painting, arts & crafts,

cookie decorating, wall climbing to

video games and Santa Clause;

Fairmont The Palm will have it all.

Timing: 5pm onwards

Price: Dhs120 per child

What else you should know:

There’s a 10 per cent sibling discount

available too

To register, call +9714 457 3331/email


to reserve




sugar-free retail products that we supply to major

supermarkets in the UAE. This has given me a

deeper insight into the food industry, its dynamics,

and demands. I’m also launching DRYP, a new

sweat hub opening this month, that will offer hot

yoga, hot finesses classes along with detox

programs, and nutritious vegan food. I first tried

hot yoga when I moved to Dubai and it was love

from the first sweat – it changed my life completely

for the better. This practice that healed me on so

many levels to the point that I felt I needed to

share it with more and more people.

How did you see a niche in the market?

I am sort of an intuitive entrepreneur and I start

things up out of my own emotional or physical need.

These startups are close to my heart as I first consider

myself a customer before acting as a business mind.

When I first founded RAWR YOGA back in 2012, I

could see the potential demand for it as I myself was

so extremely impressed with this class and therefore

wanted to share it with others. This is how it had

always been with me and my startups, there is nothing

more to it – just pure passion.

What have been your major challenges till date?

Oh, I had quite a few all the way. I’ve had many

rejections, delays, and struggled with my own

personal money a lot as many entrepreneurs do

when they follow their dreams. Nothing ever goes

to plan, so sometimes it’s better not to have a plan

and rather learn to adapt as you go. At least this

was for me. You learn to grow a thick skin and

bounce back up faster.


Meet Natasha Rudatsenko, professional

health nag and founder of Muncherie

Organic Food Co

Tell us about yourself?

I was born in Estonia, lived and studied in London and then

moved to Dubai about seven years ago. This is where my

health journey officially began, in this beloved city. I started to

be really health-conscious after my 25th birthday (I don’t

exactly recall why) and food became an important part of my

wellbeing philosophy. I am a health-obsessed entrepreneur and

being a professional health nag gives me great fulfillment.

You are the brains behind quite a few ventures - take us

through your journey.

I co-founded RAWR YOGA Studio in Dubai five years ago,

which I then sold to focus on my new endeavor Muncherie

Organic Food, the first all natural food producer in GCC.

The focus was on wholesome, preservative, gluten- dairy and

Have you secured funding or gearing up for

a round?

We did for DRYP, but not for Muncherie. I started

on my own with no partners and was developing it

for a year with just one other person in my team. In fact, one of

the investors pulled back two weeks before launching at

Waitrose and Spinneys, but miraculously (still I have no idea

how!) I was able to launch it on my own and operate for over

six months before I had a partner joining me. I have learnt a lot

about investments and fund raising over these few years – it’s a

valuable experience and will help me in the future for sure.

Any interesting launches rolling out this year?

Of course. It wouldn’t be my venture otherwise. I am currently

working on one of the breakthrough detox supplements. It is

going to be a phenomenal product; me, my friends and family

have tried and approved unanimously. It will be launched in

January 2018. This will help people with all kind of health

issues, weight loss and natural healing processes.

Where do you see the brand in the next five years?

I see DRYP being the number one chain for hot yoga classes

in the UAE, continuously encouraging people to obtain a

healthier lifestyle through fitness, nutritious, yet delicious

food, and regular smart and convenient detox programs.






The latest in fashion, beauty,

trends and decor. Need

inspiration for festive gifts?

Look no further than our

luxury gift guide that offers

something for him and her.

For holiday or investment

stimuli, explore Thailand







If you already wear an “evil eye” charm, chances are, you will

love the latest collaboration between Gigi Hadid and Stuart

Weitzman. The model was inspired by her personal

connection with the symbol and love for slides, combining

them to form the EYELOVE, a deep indigo-coloured ballet

style boasting one eye on the right foot of each silhouette,

and EYELOVEMORE with playful elements like the

multi-eye patterns on both shoes.

$498 (Dhs1,830) for the EYELOVE and $598 (Dhs2,195)

for the EYELOVEMORE. Visit stuartweitzman.com



The stores to visit for

your next shopping haul


Versace knows how to put a smile on

our faces during the holiday season. Their

signature print and iconic lettering

complements tropical and baroque

prints, making them apt as gifts or when

you’re hunting for something meaningful,

last minute. Take your pick from matching

fine silk bathrobes for yourself and the

girls, men’s leather accessories (bi-fold

wallets, card cases and belts), velvet slipons

for your other half, DV One

handbag for her, and a velvet backpack

with embellished crowns for teenage

girls, amongst many other options.

Going over to a festive party? Take along

a warm, musky-fragrance candle, or

porcelain from the I Baroque collection.

There’s something for everyone.

Available at Versace stores across the UAE


Ever try to cram things into your

suitcase, and wonder why the actual

bag probably weighs around five kgs?

Tumi’s Fall 2017 collection

celebrates the metropolis that is, New

York, with the launch of the 19

Degree collection of aluminum and

polycarbonate (PC) – it’s light as ever,

sturdy and sophisticated. International

Carry-On (36860), Short Trip Packing

Case (36864) and Extended Trip

Packing Case (36869) are the three

on offer, with aluminum assortment

featuring a reinforced framcase design.

Our favourite, and new to the

collection, is available in a teal-like blue

– making it easy to spot amongst the

sea of black baggage. Available at all

Tumi outlets
















+41 21 642 32 66 | AUDEMARSPIGUET.COM












Chic picks to keep you vogueish this summer


The holidays are looming and Moda Operandi has

turned into gifting paradise for online shoppers. The

experts have curated a selection of gifts, with everything

from 24K gold envelope clutches for women, to cavalier

alligator duffle bags for men, and cashmere soft toys for

little ones. Let the clicking begin. Modaoperandi.com





Mira Hayek’s collections never fail

to amaze. The FW 17/18 collection

(12:01) pays tribute to French street

artist, Koralie, and comprises 22 looks

enthused by her signature personality

– the flamboyant geisha and

architectural landscapes. Koralie

stems inspiration from elements of

various cultures, such as braids from

Africa, curls from the English, Russian

dolls and Indian folklore, in her street

art. These take form in the collection’s

structured, aesthetically defining

pieces, with a palette featuring dusty

pink, pine green, plum, red and offwhite,

carefully chosen to embody

the grace of geishas. Delicate crepe,

laser- and hand-cut winter jersey, and

shimmer textured fabrics meet fine

stitching details on dresses,

outerwear and reversible pieces.

Visit mirahayek.com


Our gift guide (p41)

offers plenty of stimuli,

but if you still can’t make

up your mind for your

man, this Suzanne Kalan

18K yellow gold and

diamond money clip

makes the perfect gift.

Besides, the best things

come in small packages.

Dhs25,7111 ($7,000).



Bloomingdales, Harvey

Nichols and Sauce

Rocks in the UAE.


Eccentric embellishments, a hint of sparkle, distinctive

shapes and exaggerated volumes take the light in Gucci’s

FW Women’s eyewear collection. For men, the retroinspired

classic is brought back to life with iconic metal

rivets and a bridge enriched with metal décor. Keep it

elegant and casual this season. Available across all Gucci

stores and points of sale in the Middle East.



Official Representative for

Bahrain - Kuwait - Oman - Qatar

Saudi Arabia - United Arab Emirates

Mangusta has been the undisputed leader in yachting fun for the past 30 years:

with its strength of character, timeless personal style

and experience in building dreams.

Today, Mangusta is a reference icon, a milestone in yachting fun since 1985,

and now availalbe throughout the GCC, distributed by DG Marine.



Motor City, Control Tower, 13th Floor, Studio 1302, Dubai - UAE

Mobile: +971 50 20 666 11 - Tel: +971 4 450 36 39

Email: greg@mangusta.ae - Website: www.mangusta.ae - Instagram: mangustayachts_me


The $1.4 billion mega project that has transformed

Abu Dhabi into an international cultural hub



The Terzo Millennio is designed in collaboration

with MIT



The Aston Martin Residences will be ready by 2021


The first adult-only cruises will commence from

Miami in 2020



The Global 7000 is being dubbed as “The Architect”

Follow us on social media




festive gift


Ulysse Nardin, from the movement of the sea to the perpetual

innovation of Haute Horlogerie. For over 170 years, the

powerful movement of the ocean has inspired Ulysse Nardin

in its singular quest: to push back the limits of mechanical

watchmaking, time and time again.

Marine Regatta


Countdown timer

Silicium technology




ULYSSE NARDIN BOUTIQUES: The Dubai Mall +971 44341421, Mall of the Emirates +971 43950577, Beirut Souks +961 1992092

Abu Dhabi: Al Manara International Jewellery Amman: Time Center Bahrain: Asia Jewellers Cairo: BTC Exclusive Doha: Ali Bin Ali

Jeddah: First Jewelry Kuwait: Morad Yousuf Behbehani Muscat: Le Carat Riyadh: First Jewelry

festive gift

mark cross

gold natural small

grace python box bag

It’s the bag of the season. Ticking all boxes for

its adorable size, texture, level of shimmer, and

overall chicness. Mark Cross is an American

luxury leather goods establishment, having

been founded in 1845, and later relaunched

in 2010. It’s no surprise the vintage-inspired

handbags – that look like an heirloom-piece

our grandmother would leave us – is arm

candy for celebrities including the likes of Kate

Bosworth, Taylor Swift, and cover star Jessica

Biel, to drop a few names. Only the finest of

materials are used to create each piece that’s

meticulously crafted in Italy.

This elegant python box bag boasts the brand’s

signature red-leather interiors with a zipped

compartment for cards and essentials. A girl can

never have enough bags, and we guarantee you

can take this piece from day, with a pair of skinny

jeans, to evening soirée in a silk dress.

Dhs17,000 at Harvey Nichols - Dubai



festive gift

christian louboutin

lady peep strass

150 pump

This is the priciest pair on the Level Shoes

website, and for good reason. Christian Louboutin’s

red soles have a way of luring women

in, creating a seductive silhouette suitable for

just about any outfit. The elegant peep-toe is

adorned with shimmering silver crystals, and

boasts a heel that measure at 15cm (six inches)

and a platform of approximately three cm (one

inch). These stilettos sparkle from every angle,

a statement piece that’s sure to be a conversation

starter. One to wear this New Year’s Eve.

Dhs13,890 at levelshoes.com



festive gift

o concept store


stormtrooper helmet

George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise is set to

expand further come December 14 with the

addition of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Here’s

something you probably didn’t know about

the franchise: its fans love supporting the

good guys, but prefer collecting the dark side

memorabilia because, let’s face it, the dark

side is cooler. At the top of most Star Wars

fans’ lists is Darth Vader’s lightsabre followed

by a Stormtrooper costume. Maybe it is

unhealthy for an adult to covet toys so much

but if you know any that do, this Stormtrooper

helmet – created by Dutch artist Goofy

G – studded with nearly 54,000 Swarovski

crystals is the way to go.

$45,000 (Dhs165,000) at oconceptstore.ae



festive gift

tiffany co

key pendants

There isn’t a woman whose face won’t lighten

up at the sight of the iconic blue box. There’s

something magical about the brand, its heritage

and statement jewellery. Tiffany & Co are known

for certain signature pieces that have stood the

test of time – their solitaire engagement rings,

locks, charm bracelets and keys, a lady could go

on. Want to give her the key to your heart? Do

it with the stunning petals key pendant in 18k

yellow gold or Victoria key pendant in 18k rose

gold with diamonds. Diamonds and Tiffany’s – a

match made in heaven.

Tiffany Keys petals key pendant in 18k yellow

gold is Dhs35,100 and Tiffany Victoria® key

pendant in 18k rose gold is Dhs26,200.

Visit Tiffany.com



festive gift


high ar tistry homage

to hannibal barca

limited edition 1

Montblanc likes to honour figures of stature

when producing limited-edition pens, which is

why its eye-watering €1.5 million writing piece

named High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca

Limited Edition 1 shouldn’t raise many eyebrows.

The instrument’s grandeur, however, is

sure to pique everyone’s interest. Limited to

just one piece worldwide, it features a dazzling

combination of white-gold and diamonds with

a full pave of blue sapphire and embellished

with individual rows of carée cut individual

diamonds. The pen sports an elephant trunk

clip whose head is crowned with a magnificent

6.03-carat brilliant cut DFL diamond and also

boasts an AU750 solid gold nib with designs

that pay homage to the Carthaginian deity

Baal’Hammon. Will it be yours?

$1,800,000 (Dhs6,611,400) at montblanc.com



festive gift

richard mille


yas marina circuit

Avant-garde watchmaker Richard Mille has a

deeply ingrained relationship with sports. Its

roll-call of ambassadors include strictly top-tier

professionals from Rafael Nadal and Alain Prost

to Yohan Blake and Bubba Watson. RM has also

partnered with the iconic Yas Marina Circuit in

Abu Dhabi ever since it hosted its inaugural race

in 2009. This year, the watchmaker unveiled

a special-edition timepiece, the RM055 Yas

Marina Circuit, which is limited to just 50 pieces.

It’s dressed in the colours of the track and the

circuit’s logo is placed on the sapphire caseback.

The skeletonized mechanical movement is

made of titanium and the case from carbon

fibre – it’s tougher than you ever will be.

Price on request. Available at richardmille.com



festive gift

aston mar tin

storck fascenario.3

aston mar tin edition

We’d imagine that if James Bond ever wanted

to swap his favourite set of four wheels for

two, this is what he’d settle on. Incredibly,

the nanocarbon frame weighs just 770grams.

With bleeding-edge engineering know-how

being put into play in the construction of this

bicycle, the weight of every other component

on it including the Pirelli P-Zero tyres has been

kept to a bare minimum, resulting in an overall

weight of 5.9kgs. The wireless gear shifts

are operated using “paddles” built along the

brakes on the handlebar. Limited to just 107

pieces, we’d wager that if you aren’t already

on the list for one by the time you’ve read this,

you’re already too late.

$21,000 (Dhs77,000) at astonmartin.com



festive gift


phantom viii

The first Phantom debuted back in 1925. Now in its

ninth decade, it is the world’s longest continuously inproduction

car. Favoured by royalty, actors and rock

stars, it’s been a mainstay on the red carpet for much

of its existence. Rolls-Royce developed and installed an

all-new aluminium space frame for the eight generation

of the Phantom which will now be used in every car the

company makes from here on. It claims that this is also

the world’s most silent car with sound-deadening material

worked into the tyres and into the body. The cavernous

cabin is nothing short of a penthouse on wheels

with only the softest leather, fluffiest carpet and finest

wood found all over. A special glass dashboard allows

for customized artwork too. The dealmaker: A 6.8-litre

V12 capable of commanding 563 thoroughbreds and a

0-100kph time of just over five seconds.

From $530,000 (Dhs1.95 million) at rolls-roycemotorcars.com



festive gift

ermenegildo zegna

bespoke atelier,


Made-to-measure is a great alternative to the ill-fitting offthe-rack

suits meant only for fratboys. But if you want to step

up your suit game a notch higher and channel Don Draper, it

has to bespoke. Enter Ermenegildo Zegna who started their

first-ever bespoke service earlier this year. Operating out of

a brand-new atelier in Milan, a master tailor creates bespoke

suits, shirts, knitwear, shoes and sportswear too. It takes about

75 hours to craft a bespoke suit and at least four meetings with

your tailor. If you can’t make it, and have a sizeable budget,

Zegna will even fly down its tailor to your doorstep to meet

you anywhere in the world.

A bespoke suit starts from $5,000 (Dhs18,300) at zegna.com



festive gift

Taking time out for yourself, to heal your body, rejuvenate

skin, mind and senses, is essential. In fact, your

health is the most integral part of life. Without that you

can’t achieve the things you hope to – especially if your

months are chock-a-block with events, meetings and jetting

across the globe to meet with business associates.

Those who are 30 and over can make their next trip

to Monte-Carlo a wellness-packed holiday by opting for

the Quality Ageing package, to help maintain a youthful

glow and bring your body back to a healthier state.

The package comprises a four-night stay at the double

room, inclusive of breakfast, four lunches at the

Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo restaurant, L’Hirondelle,

over two-and-a-half-hours of manual and technologiquality

ageing package

hôtel de

paris monte-carlo

cal treatments per day, medical and bio-impedance

analysis to measure body composition – fat, muscle

mass, water content, etc., and an aesthetic- and micro

nutritional-analysis. In addition, guests can attend

fitness classes, indulge in a Turkish bath and stick to

their cardio-routine and the Technogym bodybuilding

area, which boasts views of the sea. Each guest is also

given the Cercle Monte-Carlo card to access the Casino

de Monte-Carlo, gain discounts at the golf and country

club, and unlimited access to the Beach Club. You can’t

visit Monte-Carlo and not pack in a bit adventure, sport

and shopping while away.

From Dhs11,470 for a double room, and Dhs14,500 for

a single room. Visit hoteldeparismontecarlo.com



festive gift



frond d villa

palm jumeirah


Why bother with partying in Ibiza when you’re in

Dubai? This luxury villa on Palm Jumeirah Dubai is

quite possibly the city’s ultimate party pad. The 46,000

square foot pad is serious #housegoals with 11 bedrooms,

16 bathrooms and a stretch of the Palm’s private

beach. Sounds like just any other lavish home

so far, right? Well, the abode boasts a 16-seat cinema

and a nightclub that can accommodate 200 people.

Your house parties will never be the same.

$54.5 million (Dhs200 million) at gulfsothebysrealty.com



festive gift

virgin galactic


A holiday in Europe is great, but if you really want to have an out of this

world experience, why not literally go out of this world? That seems to be

the idea behind the Richard Branson-owned Virgin Galactic that has developed

suborbital vehicle known as the SpaceShipTwo. The SpaceShipTwo is

a winged spacecraft and with the exception of the rocket motor’s fuel and

oxidiser – which must be replenished after each flight – is fully-reusable.

Long story short, the flight takes you 109 kilometres above Earth. Not to tell

you how to spring the surprise but imagine passing these on as a gift with

Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” playing in the background. You have

officially won Christmas.

$250,000 (Dhs918,250) at virgingalactic.com



festive gift















Tried-and-tested experiences of the month




The service: Deep cleansing facial

The verdict: Hollywood celebrities count the

Beverly Hills, California outpost, as one of their go-to

spots for a date with French hairstylist José Eber.

Visiting his salon, tucked away at The Address

Montgomerie, was one to check off the list. However,

instead of a glamorous blow-dry and hair treatment, I

opted for a deep cleansing facial, to combat any probable

changes to skin due to weather conditions.

I was taken to the facial room, where I slipped into a

comfortable silk robe and jumped into bed to get my skin

analysed. After washing the face multiple times to rid every

trace of makeup, a bright light shone on my face, with my

skin being tugged and pulled to get a closer look at pores

and requirements. I was told the Laloge Beauty facial would

be ideal, to renew and deeply hydrate the skin. To begin,

the therapist applied a fruit-aroma enzyme peel that

tightened after a few seconds, and was later scrubbed off

with a warm water towel. This was followed by a bacterialcleansing

solution to prep the skin for the crystal-powder

vacuum. I was keen to open my eyes and see the magic

taking place. However, since I couldn’t, I relied on my senses

to feel and imagine. Here’s what happened - crystal powder

comes through the vacuum, and a slight burning sensation is

felt on the area being vacuumed. Dry skin cells are extracted

and mixed with the crystal powders, of which a slight dry/

gritty residue remains on the skin. The small vacuum goes

from your forehead, all the way down to the neck to get rid

of dead skin cells, while allowing skin to be renewed. Skin

renewal is a must – as mentioned by the therapist – as

Need to know:

The Laloge

Beauty Facial is

Dhs750, contact

+971 4 452 9328

without it, my skin refuses to soak up daily moisturizer and

serums to let it penetrate through the layers. My face was

cleansed once again with warm water, followed by

blackhead extraction, and a bacterial-preventing ointment.

Serum was then massaged into the skin, followed with an

ice-cooling algae, oat and apple-extract mask that hardened

and peeled off like an Instagram-worthy rubber mask. This

was placed on to soothe, firm, deeply moisturise and

hydrate the skin, and did the job promptly. The treatment

ended with an application of moisturizer, after which my

skin felt absolutely fresh and cleansed.


Need to know:

The venue: SUGAR BEAUTY LOUNGE, The Deep Body Buff


is Dhs270, visit

The service: Body scrub


The verdict: There is nothing more relaxing

and refreshing than a body scrub after a long

day at the office. I made my way to Sugar Beauty Lounge

in Dubai Sports City to experience just that. After a

refreshing welcome drink, the staff were happy to

show me around the different sections of the spa.

These include a massage and body scrub room, waxing

section and dedicated spaces for a nail spa as well as a

hair-styling space.

Relaxation is encouraged, and I inhaled the ocean mist

aromas that wafts through the air inside the salon. My

therapist begins the Deep Body Buff treatment. An

exfoliating mineral body scrub mixed with blueberry and

vanilla is applied from my neck to toes to slough off dead

skin cells. I shower immediately after, and although my

skin feels much softer and lighter already, it’s not yet the

end of my treatment. I lie down again and she applies a

dead sea mineral mask all over my body and wraps me in

a towel. After ten minutes, I’m off for a shower once again

to wash away the mask.

To conclude, she gives me a full body massage which

ensures that muscles feel as relaxed as my skin does. With

a copious amount of body butter moisturizer rubbed into

my skin, I felt physically prepped to tackle another hectic

week at work.





An experience, brunches and a nocturnal hotspot you can’t miss this month

An experience




The concept of Kaiseiki (a traditional multi-course dinner

served in easy-to-eat portions) is new to the region. However,

it originated in Buddhist monasteries when meals were served

at the tea ceremony. It later evolved to an elaborate dining

style popular amongst aristocratic circles.

This hidden gem tucked away in a complex building right in

front of the Dubai Opera offers an authentic Japanese experience

that transports you to centuries ago, in a Kill Bill setting, as

described by my dining partner. Shoes need to be left at the

door, and you can walk around the restaurant barefoot, to head

to your table – low-tables and seating or a sunken-table with

cushions as seating. If you do want to step outside or into the

high-tech washroom, you can slip on wooden slippers.

We decided to try two different menus and share dishes to

get a taste of the menu. A la carte options aren’t available here,

as the produce dictates the offerings for the day/week ahead.

Seasonal Japanese seafood, premium meats, fruit and

vegetables are flown in every Wednesday, offering only the

highest possible quality ingredients. All dishes are presented

beautifully with crisp seafood topped with caramelized onions,

warm spinach topped with bonito flakes in a shimeji mushroom

soup and egg tofu being the first dish. My dining partner’s grilled

tuna was perfect, with the same spinach soup, and edamame

tofu that was solid yet gooey in texture, quite sublime. Up next

was a bowl of mushroom soup with tender wagyu beef and

lotus root, a robust mixture that’s comforting and the perfect

home-style remedy for those trying to beat flu season. A plate

of sashimi was then placed before both of us. Mine comprised

two pieces of tuna, cuttlefish – slightly chewy, almost like squid

– and yellowtail. I couldn’t help myself from stealing a piece of

smooth-on-the-palate flounder, and toro – fatty sashimi that

melts on your tongue instantly – from my partner. A marble

slate of raw meat, bright with plenty of marbling, was presented

to us to let us know we’d be having a succulent Sentai (Japanese

food grade A5), Miyagi A3 – just as much marbling as the A5 –

and teriyaki beef that complements the salt and wasabi mix

perfectly. Potato and zucchini slices are served alongside for a

bit of vegetables. Bejamin Ng, the founder of the restaurant

stopped by during this course, revealing his passion for the

venture, stories on relationships with each and every produce

supplier, and mysterious accounts of how the premium meat

served to us was a tale right from, you guessed it, Kill Bill – he

had to get the permission and approval from certain

organisations, to be able to import and serve the meat. As we

chatted, we realized our meat didn’t harden the slightest bit,

and Ben tells us his entrance at the moment was purely

intentional. His exit, not so much – the staff nudged him a bit

to let us carry on with the meal. A cold dish of meat doused in

miso sauce with cabbage rolls and tomato jelly was presented

– flavorsome and fresh. I was ready for the rice bowl by this

point and mine had juicy chunks of mixed wagyu that were soft

and fleshy. My dining partner was treated to a plate of nigiri.

After a multi-course meal, something sweet with a punch of

flavour is necessary. My partner chomped on fresh persimmon,

while I relished stretchy, gooey black sesame ice cream. Can’t

leave without a cup of green tea.

Need to know: The multi-course menus range from

Dhs350 (for six courses) to Dhs1,100 per person

(for eight courses). Call +9714 243 4951









Intimate brunch

Family friendly

You may want to sneak in a morning workout at the gym

before heading to the Yum Cha brunch. The menu is

elaborate, cocktails refreshing and eclectic, and offerings,

sumptuous. A menu (more like a mini booklet) is

presented for you to pick the dishes you want to try from

each category, it begins with the dim sum trolley featuring

three steamed dishes – try the barbecued chicken bun

that’s slightly sweet with a warm chicken mixture inside

and salad. Up next, we opted for steamed shrimp dumpling

with shrimp and tobiko for a little crunch, and steamed

scallops that beautifully melted with each bite. You can’t

go wrong with roast duck rolls at an Asian restaurant. This

highly recommended protein was sublime – crisp duck

with a hint of sweetness from the fruit and nutty texture

from slivers of almonds. The list is extensive, with over

eight to 12 options for each category. And, you can find

everything from vegetarian options to seafood. We turned

the page over, and to our surprise landed on the main

course dishes (silly us for thinking all these were mains!).

Since we gorged on tons of gluten and carb-heavy

dumplings, we opted for sweet and sour fish fillet –

beautifully done, meaty and tender – with a side of ‘You

Mai Cai’ Chinese lettuce, that hails from a province in

China and adds in a healthy touch when doused in a simple

garlic sauce. A side of fried rice with ginger and chunky

pieces of crab meat are a must as a side, to soak up all the

sauces from the fish. There are over nine noodle and rice

dishes to choose from, alongside mains showcasing

everything from chicken in a clay pot to bean curd and

vegetarian options. Since we were bursting at the seams,

we opted for mango sago with pomelo for a fresh, sweet

end to brunch.

The Friday brunch with views of the racecourse is back in full

swing. While there are many brunches that cater to little

ones, very few stand out, not only for the offerings but

activities too. The Meydan Friday Family Brunch is definitely

one of the best picks from the bunch, with plenty on offer for

children, to the point where you can drop them off at noon,

check up on them ever so often – they’ll be taken care off by

experts – and enjoy brunch with the grown-ups. And you

don’t have to worry about them eating. Sliders, popcorn,

candy floss, are just some of the items they can help

themselves to at the kids’ corner, while they get wowed by

the magic show and play with sand art.

Adults can commence brunch at the creative cocktail or

healthy juice stations, before embarking on a culinary journey,

trying everything from Asian to Middle Eastern and European

delicacies. We started with fresh salads and a helping of crisp

fish and chips, before treating ourselves to a plate of crab and

spicy tuna maki rolls. The peking duck station caught our eyes

and we helped ourselves to sublime crisp roast duck with

plum and peanut sauce, all rolled up in a pancake. Aromas

from the Chinese live wok station beckoned, with orange

chicken, noodles and fried rice being served. There’s plenty to

try at the 14 live-cooking stations including a saj and shawarma

station, tandoor, protein (prawns, chicken, meat) cooked to

your liking, Arabic mezze, a butchers’ block carvery, and

freshly prepared pasta. Whatever you do, leave space for the

divine warm and comforting rhubarb crumble, the perfect

balance of tangy and sweet, and sticky date pudding – we

went in for seconds! You can choose to sit indoors and sing

along to Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and hits from the threepiece

band, or outdoors on the terrace with a plate of cheese

to end the afternoon.

Need to know: Every Friday. Dhs188 for the soft drink

package, Dhs388 with alcohol and Dhs94 for children

between four-11 year’s old. Call +9714 426 2626

Need to know: Every Friday. From Dhs290-590

per person, Dhs155 for children between five-12 and

free for children below four. Call +9714 381 3111





Nocturnal hotspot




When news of the Michelin-starred Galvin Brothers setting up shop

in Dubai first broke about, we were thrilled. It began with their

Parisian-style café Demoiselle by Galvin, within the vicinity, followed

by this fine dining eatery at The Square. And they’ve opened just in

time for alfresco season. Boasting seating both indoors and outdoors,

the restaurant terrace mimics a European-style vibe, while indoors,

décor exudes a sophisticated British charm. Emerald-tone couches,

velvet textures and a touch of gold are noticeable, with simple dark

brown wooden tables that complement the grandeur. The menu

showcases the best of British fare with a Mediterranean touch.

Our chosen appetiser was a plate of meaty escargot with a crunch

topping and the Galvin Brother’s signature dish that has stood the

test of time, Lasagne of Devon crab. Morsels of chunky crab meat

were encased between layers of lasagna, all drenched in a moreish

creamy foam-like bisque. Since my dining partner and I are

meat-lovers, we opted for the Côte de boeuf for two to share,

which arrived with a side of delicious carb-loaded truffle macaroni

and cheese. The thick bone-in rib steak was sliced tableside and

had just the right amount of fat to balance the meat. On our plates, it

sliced beautifully and was even more relishable with Hermitage

jus drizzled all over – we love a well-made jus. For dessert, we

couldn’t resist a cult favourite, chocolate fondant, with warm

chocolate sauce oozing out.

Need to know: The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.

Call +9714 590 5444



Music-lovers will enjoy this bar-meets-club

theatre setting, with all eyes on the stage.

For a fun night out with friends, live music

and a theme that’s worth dressing up for,

look no further. The menu features a

selection of starters featuring foie gras

terrine with fig chutney and gingerbread

(how festive!) as well as Oysters fines de

Claire. For mains, lamb chops, salmon with

lemon butter sauce or shrimp Provençale

may take your fancy. End the evening with a

dessert – raspberry millefeuille, apple tart

and a chocolate brownie are some to

choose from. Call +97156 222 9914



Picking a Christmas menu and the perfect

location to enjoy a great meal on the day can

be a tricky task, especially for those who

have family visiting. Ruth’s Chris Steak House

has the menu to suit vegetarians, pescetarians

and meat-lovers. Begin the meal with a

welcome drink, followed by an aromatic

Northwest snow crab bisque with flavours

that linger on your palate, or a fresh smoked

duck breast salad. Flavoursome slow-cooked

meat is showcased in osso buco ravioli with

tender cremini mushrooms in a creamy

ragout. For entrées, take your pick from a

petite filet with foie gras and black winter

truffle, barbecue spiced salmon with roasted

fennel, stuffed chicken with dried fruit, and

the highlight of most dinner tables – turkey

with all the trimmings (fire roasted corn with

a moreish garlic butter, roasted Brussel

sprouts tossed in honey butter, and

rosemary baby roasted potatoes) with

cranberry jelly. Forget about calorie-counting

and dig into a decadent white chocolate

bread pudding with custard to feast. Dhs450

per person, call +9714 454 9538



Dubai’s only high-end real estate and interior design company,

setting extraordinary records in the marketing, designing and

selling of the most important residential properties.

Office 804-806, Arenco Tower, Dubai Media City | 04 432 79 72 | www.luxhabitat.ae






You hear about Thailand being the go-to destination for bachelor parties,

but here’s why you probably should look at the tropical nation’s

smaller islands for a getaway

By Meryl D’souza

Proposals are hard. For

the longest time, I

never even thought

much of the tradition.

Always figured it was a tacky

little charade choreographed by

attention-hungry couples. You

know the type, they’re flooding

your Instagram feed right now.

Besides, my girlfriend and I knew

we were going to get married at

some point. We discussed the

event of our marriage at great

length. A grand romantic gesture

just felt unnecessary. All that

changed after a double date with

a happily married friend.




The couple in question were set up by

their respective parents. They still had a

final say on whether or not they wanted

to go through with the ritual, but for all

intents and purposes, the marriage was

arranged. You wouldn’t be able to tell

they were put through the rigours of an

arranged marriage if you met them.

Despite being a couple very much in

love, the one complaint the wife had

was that her husband never actually

proposed to her. He denied her of that

“great proposal story every woman

wants to have”. Even in this century

where we’re all about empowerment,

equal rights and not treating our

women like trophies, you ask? Yes. My

girlfriend agreed as well.

Not wanting to be the antagonist in

stories like that, I set about plotting a

grand romantic gesture, one that I’m

quite proud of. The idea, once formed,

didn’t take much to execute. I stalked

her boss, got her boss to approve a

couple of days off work, booked

tickets, took an extra day off myself so

that I could pack her bags, picked her

up straight from work and whisked her

off to Thailand. Like I said, proposals

are hard, but the expectation and

pressure to stand out from the rest

and do something different, is harder.

First stop:



Go here if: You’re a trendy urban

dweller looking to get the best of

both worlds.

While the girlfriend didn’t know where

we were headed when we landed at

Koh Samui, both of us didn’t know

what to expect when we reached the

hotel. That’s perhaps a good thing. A

mere ten-minute drive from Samui’s

international airport, the resort is

essentially a lush tropical garden set

around a pond filled with lotus leaves.

A charming wood-panelled bridge

connects the main road to the hotel

reception. During my short stay there, I

often thought of that portion of the

hotel as the portal that transports you

from the mini-city’s raging traffic to the

hotel’s calm-inducing paradise. The

sight is especially breath-taking when

you consider the fact that the hotel is

located about a two-minute walk from

Fisherman’s Village – the most

commercialised space on the Island.

A welcome drink and cold towel

later, we were ushered towards our

Sea View Room. Designed in classic

Thai-style, the room featured dark

wood furnishings, ceiling fans and a

large, spotless and elegant bathroom.

The hotel went the extra mile with a

personalised welcome message on the

bathroom mirror. Hospitality is not

work for these guys, it comes naturally.

The resort features 106 rooms, an

impressive spa that could easily have

been the inspiration for that Temple

Run mobile game, a gym, a steam

room, a tennis court and – the

highlight of the hotel – a freeform

infinity pool flanked by sun loungers,

monkey fountains, and a pool bar.

The pool almost trespasses onto

the beach where paddle boards,

kayaks and windsurfing boards are

available free of charge. It’s the kind

of setting adventure junkies-cum-

Instagram celebrities dream of.

The hotel also boasts three exquisite

eateries. The al fresco High Tide serves

breakfast and dinner with a menu that

offers both international and Thai

selections. The Eclipse Bar serves lunch

and dinner, with a similar menu.

Anantara Bophut’s flagship restaurant,

Full Moon Samui, is perched on stilts

above the pool bar and specialises in

chargrilled items during lunch and

dinner sittings. I opted for the Australian

Black Angus Tenderloin at lunch. It’s a

delicious sedative and fell perfectly in

line with my siesta plans. #NoRegrets


The hidden gem among the

restaurants, however, is Dining by

Design – a private restaurant for two,

perfect for anyone wishing to bend the

knee and pop the question. The




Need to know:

From $300 per night

at the Sea View Suite

at Anantara Bophut

Koh Samui. For more

information visit


exclusive, purposely built “Salas” came

with a private waitress and chef. It’s a

dinner date straight out of a movie

complete with flower petals and candles

in the sand. Imagine that with a sunset

backdrop. Few proposals can match that

level of romantic. The food, as you’d

expect, is consistently excellent from

presentation to taste. The undisputed

winner, however, was the dessert. It

wasn’t given a name, but it was basically a

Baked Alaska on a bed of Samui’s finest

tropical fruits. No other dessert comes

remotely close. Our waitress, Bell, was

engaging and helpful. In truth, she was

more excited than the two of us.

Especially when it came to taking pictures.

Plus, she helped me with brownie points

by telling my now fiancée how luck she is

to have someone go through all this

trouble for her.



The Buddhist temple known as Big

Buddha Temple is home to a 39-foot

tall gold-painted Buddha statue.


Another Buddhist temple that is home

to the shrine of "the Mummy Monk",

Luang Pho Daeng, died in 1973 and

directed that his body be put on display

as a reminder of the transience of

human existence.


Anantara Bophut has the best

restaurants in town, but should you feel

the urge to try something outside the

confines of the hotel, hit Krua Bophut in

Fisherman’s village. Thank me later.


Leonardo Gelateria Italiana is dubbed

the best gelato in Koh Samui. I tried the

chilli-flavoured ice cream that burns the

throat similar to taking a shot of tequila.



Any other day of the week, this place is a

graveyard. Come Friday, it’s the place to

be. The stalls offer just about anything

you could think of. Just make sure you’re

no novice in the dark arts of haggling.




Second stop:



Go here if: You’re looking to relax

and cut off from the rest of the world.

A 35-minute speedboat drive from

Koh Samui lies the island of Koh

Phagan, famed for its monthly Full

Moon Party. The Anantara Rasananda

Koh Phangan Villas is a further,

zigzagging 30-minute drive from the

island’s pier. Anantara’s Rasananda

property lies smack in the middle of

the Thong Nai Pan Noi beach. The

island is in stark contrast to Samui

and is largely undeveloped. This gives

Anantara Rasananda a sense of

exclusivity. You’re best served to put

your watch away as soon as you set

foot on the island. It’s laid back and

there’s no place for haste.

The hotel staff were notified of our

engagement and even had a couple

of surprises for us on our arrival. That

exclusive aura continued within the

hotel too. The villas featured bamboo

fences and carved gates. Each villa is

separated by tropical vegetation with

narrow wooden bridges connecting

the property. Our Pool suite, which

featured a high ceiling, wooden




Need to know:

From $300 per night at

the Sea View Suite at

Anantara Rasananda

Koh Phangan Villas.

For more

information visit



furniture and polished wood floors

while the bed was covered in

congratulatory messages.

All 64 rooms and suites at Anantara

Rasananda come with private plunge

pools. Like Anantara Bophut, there is a

beachfront infinity swimming pool

with its own pool bar. The highlight at

Rasananda, however, is the Signature

Spa that’s constructed on rocks

rising from the forest floor, resembling

little treehouses.

Rasananda boasts two restaurants:

Bistro at the Beach offers all-day dining

while Yukinoya, a Teppanyaki-style

Japanese restaurant that also serves

sushi – a rare treat on Koh Phangan.

While Rasananda, like Bophut, also

features the incredible Dining by

Design alternative, we decided to give

Anantara’s cooking school Spice

Spoons a go. Not culinarily inclined,

we took close to four hours to serve

ourselves lunch, but our teacher was

patient enough to go through it with a

bright smile plastered on his face even

when I undercooked my chicken on

the first go. Thankfully, not all chefs

are as irate as Gordon Ramsay.

The proposal getaway had all the

ingredients in place to either be

memorable or simply blow up in my

face. The biggest challenge was my

fiancé finding out what I had in store

for the Dining by Design dinner.

Another challenge I had was the

weather. You see, October is the

beginning of monsoon season. The





Spend your entire day kayaking and

snorkelling in turquoise waters,

on nature trails, rock climbing and

cave hunting.


Getting there is a bit of a hike: a hundred

or so steps up the side of a mountain. It’s

worth the climb though.

big romantic gesture wouldn’t be as

grand if I did it in just another

restaurant. Ultimately, the rain Gods

showed mercy but even if they didn’t

play along, the efficient staff at

Anantara already had a backup in

store. Nevertheless, I did give my

fiancée the “great proposal story

every woman wants to have”. And

even if no one else will, I’ll keep telling

myself it was a job well done.





Passion for excellence is our trademark. In everything we do, our goal

is to meet and surpass your expectations. Our highly trained staff are

always on hand to ensure your complete satisfaction, both on the ground

and in the air. Our unrivalled facilities located at Dubai World Central

guarantee your utmost discretion, comfort and convenience

every time you fly.

T: +971 (0)4 870 1800 | www.dc-aviation.ae | An Al-Futtaim Joint Venture

Al Maktoum International Airport | DWC | Aviation District | Dubai, UAE





The latest in experiences, tours and wellbeing breaks


Calling all fashion-lovers! Yves Saint Laurent’s

work is now on display at his namesake museum

in Marrakech, showcasing a significant selection

from the foundation Pierre Bergé. The

remarkable collection comprises 5,000 items of

clothing, 15,000 haute couture accessories as

well as sketches and assorted articles. In light of

the museum inauguration, Royal Mansour have

launched a YSL Museum package inclusive of a

two-night stay in a Superior Riad, a fine-dining

experience at La Grande Table Marocaine and

complimentary access to the YSL museum,

Berber museum and the renowned Jardin

Majorelle. Need an extension on your museum

experience? Enjoy a private guided visit of the

Villa Oasis, and Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre

Bergé’s private’s house by donating Dhs9,363.

Royal Mansour’s YSL package starts from

Dhs10,142 per stay, for two people. Visit



Spending the festive holidays in New York? Check into

the newly launched Presidential Suite by Roche Bobois at

The Langham on Fifth Avenue. The two-bedroom suite

on the 27th floor features the ultimate in luxury and

culinary exclusivity – where else can you enjoy a Michelinstarred

restaurant’s fare in your guest room? Some of the

other highlights include a pantry and mini bar curated by

the renowned chef Michael White, a comprehensive

menu from Ai Fiori at your service, and a private chef

experience. Visit langhamhotels.com/newyork


ʻTis the season to be jolly, and what better way to do so

than in the Swiss Alps’, with crisp air that touches the

skin and fun on the slopes. Giardino Mountain. St. Moritz

are re-opening their doors this season (from December

14). Pack your bags and head to the quaint village of

Champfèr for winter festivities, copious amounts of hot

chocolate and mulled grape, snow sports, hiking,

rejuvenating Ayurveda treatments to recoup and

Alpine-style living. Visit www.giardino-mountain.ch


Renowned interior designer Kelly Hoppen MBE and

Mauritian architect Jean-Francois Adam are the

masterminds behind LUX* Grand Gaube’s fresh look.

The revamped hotel in Mauritius flanks two beaches,

and boasts tropical gardens, offerings for avid gourmands

– think, Creole cured fish, Peruvian ceviche and

authentic Turkish kebabs and mezze – and an indoor

cinema for movie screenings. Those worried about

falling off the fitness bandwagon can visit the tennis

academy, practice yoga and sweat it out at the open-air

Callisthenic workout programmes. The resort also

features a spa and sea-facing driving range, and has

partnered with the Mont Choisy 18-hole golf course –

just 15 minutes away. Will you be celebrating New

Year’s Eve by the sun and sea? Visit luxresorts.com







Bab Al Qasr brings a full-fledged

Morrocan experience to the

capital’s hospitality industry

Bab Al Qasr, the newest

five-star property to open

its doors in the capital, is

one of the most Arabesque

hotels in the UAE. Located next door

to Jumeirah Etihad Towers, directly

opposite Emirates Palace, and within

close proximity to one of the city’s

best private beaches, the welcome is

attentive, check-in swift, and staff

incredibly helpful.

The awe-inspiring lobby with vaulted

ceilings has full-sized palm trees set into

the marble floors alongside a water

body – akin to an oasis in the desert. As

for the rooms itself, I checked into the

Junior Suite King room that’s set in

contemporary Arabian style with a hint

of Moroccan spirit. The room has an

open-plan living area, spacious

bathroom and an unbeatable view of

Emirates Palace. All the hotel rooms,

677 of them, boast views of either the

palace or the sea – it’s a win-win

situation for every guest who won’t be

complaining of the view from their

floor-to-ceiling windows.

The spacious rooms feature

necessary mod-cons including a

coffee machine and a touchscreen

control panel. The windows can be

opened to feel the sea breeze – a

welcome addition to those who

check-in during winter. A handwritten

welcome note, apart from




the TV screen already displaying my full

name by the time I reached my room,

satisfyingly personalizes the entire

experience of checking into the hotel.

There’s a year-round outdoor pool

and sun terrace. If the mood strikes,

there’s the private beach too that’s ideal

for a quick dip or lazy day spent perfecting

your tan by the ocean. The beach, as is the

pool, is fully serviced – the staff are always on the

ready with fresh towels or a mocktail. If you must feel the

need to connect to the internet, if only to post a

humblebrag about your stay in the five-star property on

social media, it’s good to know that there’s free WiFi

throughout the property.


When it’s time to eat, there are plenty of restaurants.

Fine-dining options include a Peruvian and Latin American

experience at Limo, which is unique as it has no menu.

Diners choose from cold starters, hot mains and sweet

desserts served on a trolley. Our waiter impressed us

with his knowledge on each dish (and their lengthy

names). The head chef makes it a point to meet all the

guests in his restaurant.

That is where the muddle and confusion ends. The chef

is from Peru, with an Asian background and heritage. We

start our meal with seafood ceviche – beautifully

presented octopus and prawns worked well with some

cancha (toasted corn) that lent a satisfying crunch to the

dish. The second starter, a mixture of pan seared scallop

and apple, was presented within the shell of an oyster and

served on top of a collection of sands and rocks as if it

had just washed up on a beach.

The main hot plates include Jalea de Marisco, lightly

battered seafood full of flavour. For carnivores, there’s

the Beef Anticucho, beautifully tender skewers of meaty

pieces of heart with rustic mashed potatoes, smoked

anticuchera sauce and quail egg. To finish, there was a

choice of Cacao mousse and Peruvian bavarois – a cream

based dessert and rice pudding with lychee and chica

morada in oyster shells.

Apart from Limo, there’s also the Moroccan-themed

Artisan Kitchen if you’re searching for an experience

that’s characteristic of the region. You’ll find freshly-baked

croissants and a wide selection of juices for breakfast,

Need to know:

Room rates from

Dhs675 per night.

The hotel also offers a

Presidential Suite. Visit


oven-cooked Italian pizzas for lunch or

grilled-fish for dinner, among other

standouts, throughout the day.

Breakfast is presented with a diverse

selection that includes the usual eggs

cooked to your specifications, pastry

stations, saj, Asian noodles, sausage,

salads, cheeses, fresh waffles, pancakes

and fruit. Lunch is served buffet style in the

Artisan kitchen, with an abundance of desserts,

salads and vegetables that complement the main protein

dishes of braised beef, baked fish, curries, Moroccan

tagine chicken, apart from grilled chicken and pasta dishes

made to order.


There are several spaces for events geared towards

business or leisure. There are a number of large event

rooms for conferences, while the Executive Lounge is a

more informal, yet sophisticated, space for smaller

gatherings. The events team can also create a customised

dream wedding experience held in the spacious Al Dana

ballroom with mesmerizing sea views and stunning décor.


There’s a state-of-the-art gym with all the latest Technogym

equipment from free weights to strength machines which

will bring out the Hercules in you. After the workout, hit

Ayana Spa. The Moroccan-inspired spa located on the

fourth- and fifth-floor comprises of separate male and

female sections. The spa includes six treatment rooms, a

sauna, steam bath, Jacuzzi, ice bucket and a relaxation area

for ultimate comfort and rejuvenation prior to or after the

treatment. Guests are spoilt for choice with an extensive

menu including treatment massages – Thai, Hot Stone, and

Moroccan among others, as well as an assortment of body

scrubs and facials.

I indulged in a 60-minute medium (that felt like

maximum) pressure hot stone full-body massage. From

the scented oils to the machine-like hand deep tissue

massage, all my stress, aches, pains were forced out of me

whilst detoxifying, invigorating and rendering me a

restored, rested and rejuvenated person. The therapist

was professional, knowledgeable and pleasant. The touch

of hot stones paled in comparison to the deep tissue

massage on my back and legs.



T he e s s e n c e o f A r a b i a

Bab Al Qasr Hotel






Waterfront living in the heart of Bangkok

By Nicola Monteath

Bangkok has long been a hub for

travellers, especially from the Middle

East. It’s just under seven hours away

from Dubai, and quite the metropolis,

with sights along the road that make

you want to take a second glance,

aromas of lemongrass, exotic fruit and

freshly prepared food, plenty of

shopping strips, traditional architecture,

and historical landmarks worth a visit.

Of late, Bangkok has been seeing an

influx of international brands making

their entrance into the city, to create

lavish private residences for their evergrowing

expat population.

Four Seasons Private Residences

Bangkok is a highly-anticipated project

from Thailand-based international real

estate developer Country Group

Development PCL. Nestled on the city’s

first paved street, Charoen Krung Road,




and set along the Chao Phraya River,

this 32 billion Baht ($1 billion)

development will span over 350 metres

of waterfront across 14.2 acres, making

it one of the largest waterfront plots of

land in Bangkok’s CBD area. The estate

will include the residences, Four Seasons

Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River –

built to resemble a lavish urban resort –

and Capella Hotel Bangkok. Currently,

Sky Lounge FS Club

the area is of historical significance, with

the river boasting five-star hotels,

boutique markets, verdant parks, and

internationals schools with fees along

the lines of Dubai’s finest.

Almost 70 per cent of the Private

Residences have already been sold, with

20 per cent available before completion.

Those looking to secure one, can opt for

studios from 115 square metres, all the

way up to five bedrooms and 1,045

square metre penthouses. The highlights

of the 73-storey tower are its state-ofthe-art

amenities featuring a River

Lounge where you can kickback after a

long day at the Gallery, Garden terrace

or living room; and the Amenities Deck

showcasing a river facing infinity pool,

dedicated children’s pool, outdoor

Jacuzzis, a playroom for little ones,

massage suites, indoor heated tubs,

private cabanas, yoga and Pilates studios,

multipurpose function rooms with a

kitchen/BBQ area and entertaining

spaces for when friends and family visit.

The rooftop Four Seasons Club triplex

is a stunner, offering hotel-style facilities

for residents. Expect stunning views of

the river from floor 64-66, combined

with the finest of luxuries – glass-walled

wine room to store vintage labels and

hold tasting sessions, golf stimulator,

resident’s bar, private screening room,

music studio, teen dens, the city’s tallest

residential infinity pool, and a private

room for cigar aficionados. Residents can

also utilize the hotel amenities, but with

almost everything available within the

residence tower, we feel like stepping out

will most likely only be for school-or

grocery-runs. In fact, even that won’t be

necessary, as à la carte services provided

by Four Seasons include dry cleaning and

laundry, catering, grocery stocking,

housekeeping and limousine service.

Buying real estate in Bangkok is said

to be a straight-forward and stress-free

process. According to Ben Taechaubol,

Director and CEO of Country Group

Development PCL, an approximate

rent for a two-bedroom apartment at

this property will range from Dhs12,000

per month, if landlords do wish to lease

their space. Buyers can own this

property for up to 75 years, comprising

of an initial term of 25 years, with two

renewal options.

Visit chaophrayaestate.com

for further information






Newton Ferrers and Noss

Mayo, where you’ll find

picture-perfect seaside pubs

that serve good, no-frills food

with local hops and a charming

atmosphere. A little further

along the coast you’ll come to

the unspoilt beaches at

Salcombe, part of the South

Devon Area of Outstanding

Natural Beauty, where I have

childhood memories of

shrimp fishing on family

holidays. Norfolk – where I

am from – is also a great spot

for Blakeney Brancaster.



Jasmine tea, vanilla pods, olive oil,

maldon salt and dried yeast.



Joel Robuchon’s vanilla ice cream.


New shoes from Tod’s



I’m a bit too patient.


I’d head to California to dine at

The French Laundry by Thomas

Keller - his tasting menu is

amazing. I’d follow that with a

trip to Chad Robertson’s

Tartine for sourdough bread.




the youngest British chef

to be awarded two

Michelin stars is also the

founder of Pots, Pans and

Boards at Beach Mall, JBR


I’m usually woken up by my children and do

a 30-minute stretch exercise routine soon

after. The day begins with a fresh fruit and

vegetable cold-pressed juice – which my

children call a “yucky juice” – followed by

breakfast at times. I have either a bowl of

cereal with extra bits on like flax seeds,

hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds with a nut

milk and some fruit.


Most likely into sport. I love keeping fit and

have run a few marathons and ultra

marathons, as well as the Marathon Des

Sables in the Sahara.


Alain Ducasse, as he is the perfect gentleman

and an amazing chef that has become a

global icon and inspiration to many.


The Monk that Sold his Ferrari. It’s

about a man who had to alter

his outlook to life and day-today

existence, or else he would

die. So he jacked it all in, sold his

business and became a monk in

a monastery to empower

himself from being an

overweight business executive

to a healthy human being.

Be passionate, caring,

hardworking, dedicated

and most importantly

look, watch, listen

carefully and follow

orders. Work hard, have

self-belief, be patient and

persevere - sometimes

working as a chef involves

taking steps backwards

and forwards to get to

where you want to be


Spending time with my kids,

having a little lie in on a Saturday

morning, and then pancakes for

breakfast. We then go to the

country side, walk the dogs when

there, pick up an ice cream or

two and head home for a

beautiful roast chicken lunch. I like

to brine it for 12 hours, air dry at

room temperature for another

12 hours and then slow cook at

120C for 60 minutes, followed

by an hour’s rest. I then blast is at

210C for eight to ten minutes,

rest again and carve it. This meal

is shared between friends and

family. Sometimes we go to zoo,

feed the monkeys, head home

and bake a cake.





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