From the EDITOR

Planning for Q4 requires immense

brainstorming, clarity, and plenty of

inspiration. When I first heard of Raha

Moharak a few years, following her

climb to Mt. Everest, I was impressed at the Saudiborn

climber’s determination and passion. Here

she speaks about women empowerment,

conquering dreams, and why there’s no harm in

trying and failing. An interview with Mr. Abdullah

Al Serkal gives us an insight into an entrepreneur’s vision, as he

discusses educating young Emiratis and travellers on UAE’s culture

(page 12). On the topic of ambition and careers, our cover star Antonio

Banderas speaks to Fabian Waintal of his most recent role, and why he

never wanted to play Picasso.

Discussing the world of finance, and whether your next investment

should be in stock or property, is Sam Instone, Director of AES

International (page 20). Since your schedule is about to get busier, we

have rounded up the leading global concierge services worth taking a

look at. Sign up to one to get your hands on last-minute concert tickets,

restaurant reservations, one-of-a-kind gifts for your clients, or literally

anything else you may require (page 24).

For a getaway, just under two hours away from Dubai – by flight – visit

Salah, the subtropical region in Oman (page 55). When in the UAE, check

into a wellness retreat (page 65), play a round of golf in Abu Dhabi (61)

and explore culinary hotspots around town.


The latest addition from Bell &

Ross BR-X1 Tourbillo R.S. 18 is

as masculine as a man’s watch

can get. Apt for a day on the track

Happy reading


Nicola Monteath

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Add these dates to your diary








Abdullah Al Serkal, Founder of

SMCCU is on a mission to raise

awareness on local culture


Raha Moharrak talks women

empowerment and how it's best

to try until you succeed.


Discover why you should invest

in stock instead of property


Top concierge services across

the globe


The dashing Antonio Banderas

speaks of his past and present

role as Picasso

20 24






Investment pieces






Update your accessories


Your fitness queries

answered, and a studio

to try this month


Treatments to try









A wellness retreat on

The Palm Jumeirah


A look at The Pavilions Phuket


Sharon Jutla, Founder of Sharon

Jutla Interiors






A round-up of hotspots in the city


This exotic destination makes for

the perfect GCC escape


Inspiration for your next holiday

and wellbeing breaks


Head to this golf course



On the cover


Read his interview on page 29

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system, or transmitted in any

form or by any means electronic,

photocopying, recording or

otherwise, without the permission

of Equity Media. Where opinion

is expressed it is that of the

author and does not necessarily

reflect the editorial views of

the publishers of

EQUITY-Always invest in yourself.

All information in

EQUITY-Always invest in yourself

is checked and verified to the best

of the publisher’s ability, however

the publisher cannot be held

responsible for any mistakes or

omissions enclosed in

the publication in content,

advertising or graphics.




We take a closer look at the returns

on stock and property, and concierge

services to keep on speed dial. Read

on for inspirational entrepreneurial

journeys, from Saudi-born Raha

Moharak to the founder of SMCCU

Abdulah Al Serkal





Add these dates to your diary




WHERE? Milan, Italy

WHEN? June 30 to July 2

Held once in three years, the primary aim of

this conference is to promote active and

high-quality research in global business,

economics, finance and marketing in social

sciences. It aims to provide a platform for

students, researchers, statisticians, and

economists to identify topics of common

interest and disseminate their knowledge at

this international landscape.




WHERE? Aqueen Paya Lebar Hotel, Singapore

WHEN? July 2-3

A great opportunity for not only businessmen,

but also students and researchers to come

together. The conference aims to provide a

platform for academicians, researchers, and

executives interested in the better and practical

understanding of entrepreneurial business and

economy phenomena.





WHEN? July 1-2

Organised by EuroMaTech, this workshop is a

great chance for finance executives and

accountants to increase their knowledge on

working capital management skills. Attendees

can learn numerous methods to effectively

manage cash, with an emphasis on the

importance of the accounts payable function.


WHERE? Tokyo, Japan

WHEN? July 11-13

Need accounting advice or advancement in

terms of trends? The organisers of

Administration and Human Resources World

launched The Accounting and Finance Expo

in 2016 where the industry’s leaders gather to

offer solutions to professionals within the

accounting sector. This year’s edition is

expected to be bigger and better than ever.







WHERE? Hilton Singapore

WHEN? July 31 to August 2

In a fast-changing customer

landscape, it is essential for insurers

to adapt to change and invest in

people, processes, and technologies.

This summit will explore the

various steps towards speeding up

digital maturity through a series of

impactful discussions.



WHERE? Auckland, New Zealand

WHEN? August 2

In it’s 11 th year, this annual event

will bring together more than 400

senior executives from New

Zealand’s leading financial

institutions. Topics that will be

discussed range from disruptive

technology to digital innovation

and financial services.



WHERE? JW Marriott

Marquis Hotel, Dubai

WHEN? August 23

Held by one of the Middle East’s top

coaching firms, ActionCoach, this

interactive workshop is primarily for

directors, entrepreneurs, and CEOs

looking to take their company to the

next level. The event will provide six

imperative steps to attaining a

profitable and sustainable enterprise.


WHERE? Edinburgh, Scotland

WHEN? August 3-27

The world’s largest arts festival,

referred to as The Fringe, is an open

access performing arts festival

showcasing categories such as

theatre, comedy, dance, physical

theatre, circus, cabaret, opera,

music, exhibitions and plenty more.

It’s a great time to be in the city.







A lesson on



Abdullah Al Serkal, Founder of SMCCU (Sheikh Mohammed Centre for

Cultural Understanding) discusses the significance of educating residents

and tourists on UAE’s culture and history

By Nicola Monteath




The Bastakia Quarter architecture

in Bur Dubai. The construction of

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

“Where are you from?” Mr. Abdullah Al Serkal, Founder of

SMCCU (Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural

Understanding) asked me when I arrived at his office

nestled at the heart of Dubai’s cultural district and the oldest

standing residential neighbourhood, Bastakiya. “Where do

you tell people you’re from when you travel? Dubai, right?

Because it is your home, you have lived here your whole life.

You are from Dubai,” he went on to say. I was elated to

hear these words of acceptance from an Emirati. The UAE

truthfully is home. I’m a third-culture kid who grew up here,

know the national anthem (mind you, I don’t know my

home country’s anthem), and grew up studying the UAE’s

history, food and culture. Mr. Al Serkal is well aware of this,

of expat life in the country, and of tourists who visit with

unanswered questions on their mind.

“Our group of companies are most famously known for

my brother’s venture Al Serkal avenue in Al Quoz, amongst

others including the construction and real estate

businesses,” says Mr. Al Serkal. “On my part, I wanted to

give back to my country. Dubai is not only about buildings,

the infrastructure, the tallest towers and beautiful resorts, it

is also about us, Emiratis,” he says. With this in mind, Mr.

Al Serkal created an inviting programme called “Open

Doors, Open Minds” which has been operational since the

conception of SMCCU in 1995. “This place has been the

hub for cultural understanding. It is not a hotel room venue

or a convention, it is not a place where you should be afraid

to ask something. This is a very relaxed programme

introducing our culture, meals, national clothing, religion

and who we are,” he says.

The idea for a centre for cultural understanding came

about when Mr. Al Serkal returned from Los Angeles, after

graduating in Business Administration and Marketing.

“Being born and raised in a business-minded family means

you have to give as much time as possible as a teenager, a

student in high school, and even in university, to your family

businesses. I’ve been working in various departments since

1978,” he says. His travels, while studying, led him to

realising that most countries have an information desk

where you can find literally anything you want, from the

landmarks to visit to the next train route. “Countries have

that kind of desire to make it easy for a tourist, or even for

the younger generation of the same community or country

to introduce their culture to others,” he goes on to say.

Since the UAE has always been a melting pot of nationalities,

it only made sense to adapt the method and offer a

programme where people are free to speak their minds.

“No question is offensive or taboo here, and every question

has an answer. By doing this, we are not only catering to the

expatriates and travelers, but also educating the younger

Emirati generation,” says Mr. Al Serkal.

His choice of venue is perhaps the crowning glory. Upon

entering the premises in Al Fahidi, I noticed a group session

taking place where questions of religion, marriage and

culture were being answered. To make the experience all the

more authentic, a spread of Emirati dishes were laid out in

front of the guests as they sat at the courtyard majlis and

relished a new cuisine. This is the oldest part of Dubai. An

area rooted in history “Every window, door and alley reveal

a story, as this area is over 300 years old. It is historic and

untouched,” he says. It’s true. I noticed this as I walked up

the age-old staircase to the roof of SMCCU, to find Mr. Al

Serkal’s office that boasts views of old Dubai. “This place is

groovy, it has depth, history and I love it,” he says.




UAE attracts the world. When people visit the country,

they are here to soak in the culture, and they need answers.

“For the past two years, over 130 Emirati students have

been trained on cultural intelligence. Some of them have

come on-board to become presenters at SMCCU. “I trained

Emiratis back in 2002 who went onto becoming CEOs of

their companies. They pass on their culture and

understanding to their staff and in turn, spread the value of

our Emirati heritage.

Since Emiratis make up just 11.8 per cent of the UAE’s

population (9.54 million), it is important for them to

understand the value of their heritage. “The late Sheikh

Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s portrayal of this country to

the world is a great message. He said that our oil is God’s

oil, the wealth is God’s wealth, and the opportunity, the

ability to earn money, is a blessing from God. We will never

close the door to anyone who wants to come, share and

build a life for themselves, and this country with us,” says

Mr. Al Serkal with pride. By now he makes it clear that the

newer generation need to understand this message and may

have forgotten that the country was built on hardships,

perseverance and failures through which success has risen.

“Dubai speaks for the Middle-East, for Arabs, peace, and

open-mindedness. Dubai speaks the language of tolerance.

What we do is a message to the world that peace, tolerance

and accepting others can happen if we try to do it, and this is

an integral part of SMCCU,” he says. To further educate

Emiratis and other nationalities, they work with government

bodies, Culture Authority, Tourism Police, and Ministry of

Education. Certain universities also have a mandatory

internship at SMCCU as part of their graduation programme.

“They have to intern at the centre for two months, and we

welcome all nationalities, not only Emiratis.”

In addition to the programme, the SMCCU also offer

educational cultural tours. “Mosque visits are very important

for a lot of people. Muslims and non-muslims from different

cultures like to see the architecture here, have queries about

the praying positions and want to learn about everything

that happens at a mosque,” he says. These visits are held at

Jumeirah mosque, Diwan mosque and the Rashidiya

mosque next to the Dubai Airport.

Mr. Abdullah Al Serkal,

Founder of SMCCU

Going forward, Mr. Al Serkal tells me he’d love to expand

to the other emirates, open cultural villages and enhance the

older parts of each city. Currently, they are preparing to

train Emiratis working closely with Expo 2020. In the

meantime, those who haven’t had a chance to mingle with

Emiratis and have their questions unanswered, even after

spending years in the country, can attend programmes at

SMCCU from 8am to 9pm daily, or book a private session

that can be held at the company’s premises.

Visit cultures.ae for more information







Saudi-born Raha Moharrak encourages

women to conquer their fears and

pursue dreams, in an interview

with Shaziya Laving




Failing is a sign of resilience, it’s

a sign of evolution, a sign of

purpose,” says Raha Moharrak,

the Saudi Arabian national who

single-handedly shattered stereotypes to pursue

her dreams. Raha is one of the most admired

icons of the Arab world, being one of the

youngest and the first Saudi woman to conquer

Mount Everest. Born in Jeddah, Raha moved to

Dubai to gain a bachelor’s degree in visual

communication from the American University

of Sharjah. After interning at Leo Burnett, she

became an art director, and was soon expected

– by family and friends – to settle down and get

married at the age of 25. Raha had another plan

in mind, much to everyone’s surprise. A chat

with a friend transpired into inspiration, for her

first climb, leading to an accomplishment in

Raha’s case. “My friend announced she would

be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and I was

immediately intrigued by the idea,” she says.

Her excitement was proportionaly matchd by

her father's chagrin, as he was against the idea.

“It enraged me that the colour of my passport

dictated my capabilities and that I couldn’t do it

just because I was born a Saudi.”

Mountain climbing was Raha’s form of

escape, her safe haven and a challenge to herself.

She pursued it for herself, but holds the opinion

that her experience can inspire many girls,

especially in Saudi Arabia, to have the courage

to follow their dreams, do what they believe in

and break the social norms that women are

often bound to. “As women, we are constantly

told not to do certain things because it’s too

masculine. Men face the stereotype of being

feminine as well. But, there are a lot more

situations where women are judged for their

lack of femininity than a man’s lack of

masculinity in our society,” says Raha.

After finally getting her father's approval, she

set off on her first climb, Mount Kilimanjaro.

After conquering the tallest mountain in Africa,

Raha realised there was much more to life. She

craved the adrenaline and exhilaration of

climbing. “I didn’t think I’d fall in love with

mountain climbing as much as I did, but I

initially started with mountain climbing because

I liked the fact that the sport came with travel

and adventure as a package deal,” she says.

When asked to describe her first climb, Raha

says, “I had no idea what climbing was, so it was

a very different and odd experience as it was

completely outside my comfort zone.”

Uncertainty and risk-taking is a significant factor

that makes most women wary of pursuing their

goals. Raha has been known to face fear with every

step of her journey. “Most people are afraid of

animals because they don’t know how animals

react. Most people are afraid of the dark because

they can’t see. So, I think the human mind does

not like uncertainty. We’re used to not doing




Never be afraid of failing.

There’s no shame in it.

The only shame is in not

trying something different

and giving up

things without knowing what to do,” says Raha. “It’s the

same reason we look at our feet when we are climbing

something. That’s just human nature - to not trust easily.”

Putting her fear and goals to the test, on May 18 2013, Raha’s

fate was sealed. She became the first Saudi woman to

scaleMount Everest. A turning point in her life. She came into

the limelight as an inspiration to young girls with dreams and

became the epitome of courage. The thought that ran through

her mind when she was at the peak of Mount Everest portrays

that she was in disbelief of her achievement. “I couldn’t believe

it was true. It just blew me away, the fact that I was on top of

the highest mountain in the world. It was an incredible

experience,” she tells me. After climbing 12 mountains across

the seven continents, Raha has become a role model for many.

Climbing Mount Everest immediately exposed her to the

press and brought with it opportunities she had never imagined.

Raha became the spokeswoman and first Arab ambassador for

Tag Heuer, and was named Woman of the Year in 2017, by a

local publication. She attributes a lot of this to where she comes

from. “Saudi Arabia means home, pride, legacy and heritage. I

would have been a different person had I been born somewhere

else,” she says. As an icon, Raha identifies herself as a woman

who loves both fashion and sports. “I think I’m genuinely who

I am. I don’t dress for people, I dress for who I am. I’m not

afraid or shy to wear a big beautiful dress one day and training

shoes and hiking pants the next. I’m not afraid to be diverse,”

she says. Her fashion statement, she describes, portrays

femininity and strength.

Raha Moharrak is a woman of many traits - courage and

fearlessness being the ones she is best known for. Not

knowing what the future holds, she advises others not to

be afraid of failure even though they are petrified of

uncertainty. “Never be afraid of failing. There’s no shame

in it. The only shame is in not trying something different

and giving up. Failing is a sign of resilience, evolution and

purpose. It means you’re trying and that’s what matters,”

she powerfully proclaims.



“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






Sam Instone Director of AES International weighs

in on the never-ending investment battle




The researchers found that over the past 117 years:

• Housing actually lost investors 2 per cent a year on

average, after accounting for inflation and the cost of

quality upgrades.

• Stocks, by contrast, were hands-down the winners.

They beat cash by an average of 4.3 per cent a year

and bonds by 3.2 per cent a year.

Words by Sam Instone:

CEO at AES International

Would you rather

have a large

portfolio of


diversified stocks

or a large house

in your chosen


Nearly everybody

chooses the

bricks and mortar option. They figure putting money into

property is, quite literally, as “safe as houses,” and over the

past couple of decades, they’ve often been right.

In cities such as London, New York, San Francisco,

Sydney or Toronto, home prices have soared. Many

families have been delighted to discover that the residence

they bought for shelter is now worth several times what

they paid for it. Add in the psychological benefits of

owning your own residence, and property seems like an

unbeatable investment to many people.

But is it really? Very few current homeowners bother to

consider how the money they’ve made from real estate

compares to what they might have made in the stock

market. Even fewer people pause to consider any evidence

outside of the past couple of decades, or outside of the

market they know best.

If you’re trying to decide where to put your money, you

may want to take a wider view. The long-run evidence

suggests that stocks, not property, will be the better way to

grow your money over the years to come. That’s not to say

a house can’t be a good investment. But history shows that

stocks have usually performed much better than houses.


The most sweeping and authoritative analysis of how

various assets have done over the years comes from the

Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook,

compiled by the noted research team of Elroy Dimson, Paul

Marsh and Mike Staunton of London Business School. This

year’s edition of the yearbook looked at the returns from

housing and other investments in 23 countries since 1900

and came to some surprising conclusions.

One reason the findings differ so much from

conventional wisdom is that the Credit Suisse team didn’t

just look at how much home prices had changed over the

years. Instead, they adjusted the prices to reflect the cost

of keeping the quality of older homes up to date with

newer models. This is a key, but often overlooked, point.

The total cost of a house includes the numerous

expenditures required to keep the place up to snuff –

everything from small ongoing expenses such as painting

and gardening to occasional big renovations such as new

roofs and updated wiring. Add in all those expenditures,

the Credit Suisse team found, and housing as an investment

looks far less lucrative than you may think.

No matter what the historical evidence says, the past

couple of decades have been an extraordinarily profitable

time for many homeowners. Few people, though, realise

just how unusual this recent patch has been. Consider this

story, which has unfolded in the U.K. Stock investors who

diligently reinvested their dividends would have done nearly

twice as well as property investors between 1985 and 2014,

according to financial services group True Potential. But the

situation flips if you look only at the years between 2000 and

2014. During that period, homeowners in the U.K. achieved

an average annual return of 5.8 per cent, edging past the

total return of 4.1 per cent per year enjoyed by stock market

investors. The recent outperformance by property owners

is a reversal of the historical pattern. Can home prices

maintain their upward momentum? It’s doubtful.

The International Monetary Fund’s Global Real House

Price Index shows that, since 2000, house prices across the

developed world have shot up by about 60 per cent after

inflation. Homes are no longer cheap by any standard,

which means that any further gains will have to be based

on expensive assets experiencing a rapid hike. To be sure,

further gains are not out of the realm of possibility.

However, home prices don’t rise indefinitely. Recent

history shows they’re just as vulnerable to downturns as

stocks. Property prices in Spain and Ireland for example,

have suffered catastrophic falls in recent years.

Right now, there are reasons to be cautious in many

markets. House prices have been rising faster than incomes in

the majority of developed countries, according to the IMF.

House prices have also been increasing faster than rent,

forming a disturbing pattern. These prices are ultimately

underpinned by the ability of people to pay for them. If house

prices are rising faster than incomes and rents, it suggests that

people must be taking on increased levels of debt to buy

property - that’s an inherently unstable situation.





Property’s recent golden period corresponds to a stretch

in which borrowing costs fell across the developed world.

Since the financial crisis, rates have been extraordinarily

low – the lowest in 5,000 years, according to Andy

Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England.

The ultra-low rates were no accident. Following the

financial crisis, central banks chopped borrowing costs to

revive battered economies. But now that the global

economy appears to have finally regained its spark, rates

are beginning to edge up. As a

result, a key support for house

prices is being taken away. Just

as falling rates provided a

tailwind for housing gains,

rising rates are likely to act as a

headwind against future

increases. This doesn’t mean a

housing crash is imminent, but

it does suggest that property

investors should temper their

hopes for further gains.

Rising interest rates will be a

headwind for stocks as well.

But stocks offer a key

advantage over housing:

they’re investments in business enterprises that can grow

their sales, production and profits over time. Houses, in

contrast, are physical assets that don’t expand their

productive capacity – well, not unless you pour even more

money into adding additional amenities. Of course, growth

isn’t everything. Homebuyers are fond of pointing out that

you can’t live in a portfolio. This is absolutely true. But

also true is the observation that your living room doesn’t

send you a dividend cheque every few months.

Stocks offer a key

advantage over housing:

they’re investments in

business enterprises that can

grow their sales, production

and profits over time

Many stocks produce dividend yields worth between 2-4

per cent of the stock price every year. Houses offer pretty

much the exact opposite deal. They demand a constant

infusion of new cash. Most experts say you should count

on paying 2 per cent to 4 per cent of a house’s value every

year in routine maintenance and improvements.

Stocks’ ability to produce growing streams of cash has

typically given them an advantage as investments over

money-sucking housing, especially if you reinvest your

dividends. Robert Shiller, the Nobel prizewinning

economist at Yale University,

has studied both stocks and

housing for years. He is in no

doubt: people who want to

accumulate wealth are better

off putting their money into

stocks rather than property, he

says, because stocks have

typically produced stronger

returns over time.

The verdict? There is

nothing wrong with buying a

house. We all need a place to

live and if you can buy

property at a reasonable cost,

that’s great. The problem

arises if you use the past few years as a guide and assume

you should be wholly invested in housing, or convince

yourself that you should buy a bigger house than you can

really afford, on the assumption that housing will always

go up. A better strategy is to diversify. By all means, buy a

house if it’s within your budget. But don’t ignore the

need to invest in other assets as well. If history is any

guide, stocks will make you richer than property in the

long run.




Join the


How do UHNWIs secure last-minute tickets

to sold-out concerts, passes to the Oscars after

party, museum tours before the doors open?

A tailored luxury concierge service is the answer




Scoring all-access passes to esteemed

events, getting your hands on a certain art

piece, and managing and maintaining that

celebrity-esque lifestyle can all be

attributed to great connections, or “wasta,” as we

like to call it here in the UAE. If you would rather

not reach out to personal contacts for each and

every request, sign up to a luxury concierge service

and reap the benefits. Most of these companies

offer a designated contact that act as your personal

assistant, via an app, WhatsApp, or a phone call.

We narrowed down some of the world’s most

renowned services to save you the time and hassle.


Founded by Theo Osborne, this luxury concierge

service is best known for its travel-related options.

For a membership fee of just Euro 50,000, Theo’s

team promise to deliver literally any request under

the sun. Need a last-minute private jet? Done.

Meet-and-greet passes at the Oscars? Check. As

long as it’s not a political request, the team are

ready to go the extra mile.



Zurich-based Galvano Concierge is an

international lifestyle company that specialises in

high-end concierge services. Some of the

impressive services on offer are last-minute

reservations to Michelin-star restaurants, fully

booked clubs in St Tropez, private jet and

chartered yacht bookings. The exclusive membersonly

lifestyle service offers various tiers of the

membership, however, the one you want is the

Galvano Privilege Membership that gives you

access to the global circle and elite roster of




This global concierge service has played host to

Fortune 500 CEO’s, celebrities, UHNWI families,

and corporate companies. Members are given

24/7 customer care service and have interpreters

for those who speak Russian, French and English.

AssistAnt covers everything from airport VIP

transfers, to sending clients the perfect gift,

arranging laundry service, office cleaning, and

party and event planning, to name a few services.

You can even book your holiday from start to

finish with private tours, first-class tickets, and

unique experiences.



Spearheaded by Stephanie Hall, this concierge

service is more of her personal little black book –

which you can gain access to as well. The three

dedicated divisions cater to corporates, luxe

services and children. What sets NOW Concierge

apart from others is that it’s a pay-per-request

lifestyle service, where you can get everything from

a bespoke itinerary for a client’s trip to Dubai, to

relocation services. Hailed by GQ magazine as one

of the ‘top super fixers globally,’ Stephanie can

literally cater to every request. Some of her biggest

achievements have been organising tickets to

attend football world cups, tracking down rare

beluga sturgeon caviar from the Caspian Sea for

clients in Abu Dhabi, and sourcing camel

caretakers for the royal family. Take your pick

from the four: Now Luxe (for sold-out tickets,

hotspot reservations, hidden gems); Now Kids

(for children’s birthday parties, super tutors,

nannies and wellbeing treatments); Now Little

Black Book (to access secret art galleries, locate the

best event venue and find the most authentic curry

in town); and Now Corporate in partnership with

Nth Degree for events and client relations.

Contact +9714 344 3952







Mr. Jabban. T, Managing Director

at Alexandre J, takes us through

the creative process behind each

magnificent collection

Scents evoke memories. It can

make you feel nostalgic, give

you a boost of self-confidence,

and instantly refreshes, as

you head out the door. According to

Mr. Jabban T, Managing Director

of Alexandre J, each piece is

artistically connected when it comes

to a perfume bottle. It isn’t about the

“juice” – in other words, the

perfume. “The brand focuses on the

artistic side. We always go from the

subject to the object and create the

artwork in painting and sculpture,

before translating this into a

beautiful perfume bottle,” he says.

Mr. Jabban spent most of his

professional career in France, and

visits Dubai frequently, as he set up

shop here over six years ago. Upon

completion of his PhD in Engineering,

he worked as an engineer for a few

years, before realising his true passion

was in creating art. Alexandre J.

was the fruit of his labour, created in

Paris in 2010.

While the brand produces various

fragrances to suit every personality

and nose, their USP lays in the

creation of each collection. The

perfume is sold in over 55 countries

and ignites a curiosity behind the

depiction of distinct themes that are

carefully etched on the bottle. “So,

we first think about the subject and

what we want to discuss about. For

example, China and what is China?

Various themes inspire him and one

in specific was for Naia. “The idea for

this perfume bottle started with the

legendary story of mermaids,” he

says. The perfume, influenced by the

mythical character, creates a sense of

life and arouses a feeling of vitality.

Mr. Jabban emphasises on the fact

that Alexandre J. creations are

meant to be cherished. They are

valuable possessions that can be

showcased as a statement piece on a

vanity, or a showpiece on a coffee

table. It’s not a bottle to be lugged

around in your handbag. “Each











Mr. Jabban T, Managing Director of Alexandre J

piece requires hard work, effort,

time and passion to complete a

product. The company creates over

a thousand pieces of the product that

are released every six months. This

is the least amount of time to develop

a product, with the most being two

to three years.”

Inspiration stems from everywhere,

everything Mr. Jabban comes across

on his travels and everyday life.

Certain collections are inspired by

Chinese pottery, African masks and

gemstones. “We have many perfumes

adorned with the Mother of pearl,

like Damah, and our Chinese pottery

collection has received rave reviews

too. Every single element on the

bottle represents Chinese pottery,”

he says. As for the fragrance? “That is

subjective, it is something additional.

We work first on the packaging,

which is the most important aspect.”

The Coeur Rouge Rubis is testament

to this. This exclusive perfume,

which translates to red heart in

French, is a heart-shaped bottle

guarded by a snake; a play on the

strength of love like a declaration.

Only one exists, at the price tag of

Dhs211,959,” says Mr. Jabban. The

“juice” is created by a team of

experts who fly down from Paris to

evaluate your personality and

preferences, creating the perfect

concoction to fill your bottle.

Over the years, Mr. Jabban states

the brand has managed to create a

strong identity within its clientele.

Naturally, UAE nationals are one of

their biggest audiences. “The local

people inspire others because they

use a great amount of perfume and if

you see a local passing by, you can

smell the scent coming from them.

It inspires others to buy perfume.

They are one of our biggest

consumers,” he says. And when they

do visit the boutiques, they are in for

a treat, as Alexandre J. offers much

more than perfume. The brand

produces several products including

perfumes, watches, sunglasses, and

silk scarves, all inspired by art.

As for the future of Alexandre J.,

Mr. Jabban has ambitious plans in

collaboration with renowned artists.

The final product and names, however,

he prefers to keep as a mystery for now.








Antonio Banderas’ performance of artist Pablo Picasso has

stunned viewers worldwide. Fabián W. Waintal interviews the

Spanish-born actor as he takes on the role of the eccentric

genius who lived a few blocks down the road




Playing Picasso on a TV series for National

Geographic - knowing that he was born in

Malaga, Spain - is a big deal, isn’t it?

I was born in a country under a dictatorship.

General Franco was in power and Picasso died by

the time I was 15 years old. We didn’t have many

international heroes at the time, not in Spain and

definitely not in Malaga. Too many of the

intellectuals and painters, poets, and writers that

were living outside of Spain in exile disappeared,

but he couldn’t do that with Picasso. He was just

too big of a persona to thwart out. He probably

covered the fact that he, at the time, was part of a

communist party. But we knew that there was a

painter out there who was born in Malaga and in

my particular case, lived two blocks from where I

was born. That made a big splash in the world,

especially my generation. He became our idol. We

thought of Picasso like the person you want to

become. He escaped the aura of the dictatorship,

this estate of anaesthesia in which we were living

in, with these paintings in the ‘60s and the ‘70s.

Do you think that Picasso lived to enjoy

people’s appreciation for his art?

Unfortunately, Picasso died in Mougins on April 8,

1973 and Franco died November 20, 1975. So we

didn’t have the opportunity of giving Picasso the

applause that the Spanish people wanted to give

him. The people from our hometown, we wanted

just to receive him and say, “we love you, man.”

That didn’t happen. So that was pretty much the

context. That was the relationship that I had with

this man. He was kind of the hero that escaped

everything that Franco was trying to keep enclosed.

Is it true that you had the opportunity to play

him before, but you never felt like it was the

right time?

Yes. I was really afraid of playing Picasso. I didn’t

feel prepared. He was such a big figure for me, so

complex. And at the same time, because he was

from my hometown, I felt an added sense of

responsibility towards authenticity. What if I

don’t portray him right? What if I don’t get a grip

on the character that he is, because Picasso was a

very mysterious man. Even after playing him

every day for five months, reading every possible

book written on him, watching footage of his life

and talking to his family and friends, the mystery

lingers. I think that was his nature to the people

that surrounded him, that were with him. I think

he was an enigma even to his own self. This is

why I was hesitant to play him.




Why did you agree this time?

I am close to being 60 and have plenty more

acting experience now. Naturally, some of my

fears have disappeared. I had a heart attack a

year and a half ago. I saw the face of death. And

then people like Ron Howard and Ken Biller

came to me, knocking at the door with Picasso

in their hands along with National Geographic,

which offers a lot of credibility and prestige. I

said, “If I don’t do it now, I better close the

door to Picasso and be happy with enjoying his

work just at museums. So I decided to take the

leap of faith.

Did you compare notes with the other actor,

Alex Rich, who played the younger version

of Picasso?

It is ironic but we used to scrutinise each other

in an almost unhealthy manner, becoming

critical of one another. We then began

mimicking the other's ways and examining what

we did. One day I started listening to him and he

sounded like me in an uncanny way. I said, “oh,

I was really afraid of playing Picasso. I didn’t feel prepared.

He was such a big figure for me, so complex. And at the same

time, because he was from my hometown, I felt an added

sense of responsibility towards authenticity

my God, he’s starting to sound like Puss in the

Boots.” Little by little he started just adopting all

of these things.

Did you take any part in the casting process to

find someone who would look like you, like

Alex Rich?

No, but they showed me the auditions of several

actors who were supposed to play young Picasso

and Alex was there. It was clear from the

beginning and I just knew this is the guy.

It’s beautiful because I see myself in him in

many aspects.

And the same way people remember you as

Zorro or the Mariachi, do you remember the

actors by their roles?

I see a lot of faces and souls and I see my fellow

actors, mainly all the women that we fought all the

time, and we love each other and we were just in




bombed by the Condor Legion - a squad of planes

from Germany that were rehearsing in Spain

where they practiced later on in the second world

war. They killed an incredible amount of people in

the village of Guernica and more in Spain. Picasso

saw that and it’s true that actually Dora Maar

(French photographer, painter, poet and his lover

and muse) pushed him to react because Picasso

was kind of passive at that point. There was even a

letter from The New York Times complaining about

the passivity of Pablo Picasso. “What are you

doing?” they said. So he wrote something and said,

“Okay, I’m going to paint this. I’m going to need a

big canvas. I’m going to do this painting.”

I am close to being 60 and have

plenty more acting experience now.

Naturally, some of my fears

have disappeared

many different situations. I see them, the actors,

but I see the characters that they represent, and I

see people.

Now that you finish the TV series, at the end

of the day is the acting job any different than

a movie?

In a movie, it’s different. You don’t have the time

that we have, but these five weeks, these ten

episodes, the level of world that we have achieved,

waking up at 2am in the morning to start the day,

sitting for five hours in a chair with the same

person and then working for 10 hours

consecutively was very hard.

How was it for you to relive that era of

Franco, with the bombing of his own people

on the first episode, when Picasso painted

The Guernica?

It’s quite emotional. The Guernica is a symbol, an

icon for many people all around the world. At the

beginning, the government of Spain was not in

Madrid. It was in Valencia because Spain was in

the middle of the civil war. So a guy by the name of

Josep Maria Sert traveled to ask Picasso to paint a

mural for the universal exposition of Paris in 1937.

In the middle of this kind of tribulation between

the Spaniard Republic and Picasso, Guernica was

Does the series reveal Picasso’s political

ideas too?

He didn’t feel like doing a propaganda. Picasso was

a very particular man. He offered some sketches

that he had against violence, against military, things

like that. They didn’t accept that. Dora Maar took

seven pictures of it. They were very famous because

you could see the process of the Guernica. In one of

those pictures, I think number three or four, he

took a position politically. He took a position in

terms of ideology and put a fist in the middle of the

painting. At some point, he realised that that was

going to take that painting in one direction and so

he erased it and changed it for a lantern. It is held by

one of the characters in the painting in the middle,

and is quite prominent. The painting got

international exposure and is quite relevant even

today. If you see on television or the war of Syria,

for example, the bombings that are happening, the

Guernica still has something to say about that. It’s a

painting that transcends time, and ideologies.

How did you imagine yourself as Picasso?

We worked on that for five months, trying to

imagine him and portray him with respect. Not

with respect for the character itself, but for the

truth, to be fair to him. That was, for me, the

most important element of the show. Don’t fail

the character, don’t fail its time, don’t fail the

people that surrounded him. It was almost like an

obsession during the entire time.

Do you share his political ideas too?

I tried to leave aside all the morality issues and

judgment of the character. That would be against

acting and performing it.

What does Pablo Picasso mean for the Antonio

Banderas of today?

We’re a bunch of people just putting things in a pot,

and to my fellow actors, just trying to understand.




A tiled wall in Gernika reminds of the

bombing during the Spanish Civil War.

We know – I said this many times but it’s true – we

know what Picasso did and we know what Picasso

said. What we don’t know completely is why?

To get into character, did you study

other artists?

I had the opportunity to play Salvador Dali. I got

offered the role like 12 years ago. In the end I didn't

end up taking it. At that time, I studied Dali very

much and started painting and approaching the

character. But it’s completely different because

Picasso was in a different universe. Dali created a

character to express himself. It was a completely

different approach. So no, I didn’t approach a

specific artist in order to play Picasso.

Do you know what the relationship

was like between Picasso and the

other artists he met?

I was conscious of the artists that

surrounded Picasso at that time.

Their relationships were

complicated and slightly torturous

because he fought with all of them

including his dear friend Matisse.

There was only one painter that he

was afraid of. He was the only one

that actually could shadow him a

little bit. So, he criticised whatever

he did. Many painters of Picasso’s

time, just to understand how

powerful the guy was, hid the latest

paintings that they were creating

whenever he visited their studios.

They feared that if Picasso took a

look at them, he could reproduce a

better version of the same. So they

hid everything under their beds because Picasso

was coming. He was a sponge.

If you had to pick one thing or a circumstance,

what is it about Picasso that inspired you?

It is very difficult to pick just one out of the many,

but it’s probably the moment that is invisible to

many people, when he decided to take a leap in the

future and paint Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. That was

the beginning of how the history of modern art

began to transform. He hid it for 10 years. He only

showed it to very dear friends of his. So it was that

moment, the one he actually hid from everybody,

that kind of inspiration of saying, “I’m going to do

something that nobody did before.”




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




Looking for a statement

piece, investment or an

extravagant gift? Read on to

find the latest in stores,

along with hotspots to visit

in the country and beyond




Striking statement pieces


Babel by Etro Home

Foldable Travel Chair with Suitcase

Inspired by travels across India and Western Asia, the Babel foldable travel chair with suitcase is a statement piece that’s about to be

a conversation-starter at every party you host. Part of the “Nomadic Story” from Etro’s Home Interiors collection in collaboration

with Jumbo Group – which debuted at Salone del Mobile 2018 – is this chair that tells a tale of countries where colour, texture, and

pattern speak volumes. The brand’s quintessential pattern, paisley, makes up much of the fabric, with a throne-like form that instills

persona to a home. The tale of the traveller is further accentuated through the wooden-structured suitcase, upholstered in Bukhara

jacquard fabric; with brass tips in glossy gold finishing - giving the piece a vintage vibe. Lug it along on your next big adventure.






The Langham, Sydney

Pure Decadence package

Ever wondered what it would feel like to own a hotel, or buyout the premises for a night? You can at The Langham, Sydney, with

this million-dollar Pure Decadence package. Imagine, dedicated concierge services, spa therapists and food-and beverage-attendants

at your beck and call; two-nights’ accommodation on literally whichever floor and/or suite you prefer – choose from 98 rooms and

13 suites – welcome gifts; fully-stocked bar with free-flowing French bubbles; daily entertainment by a jazz trio; complimentary mini

bar and five luxury town cars at your disposal. You will probably want to stay indoors for the most part, but do step outside to take

in the views of the habour and the city’s stunning skyline. This is hands-down the most extravagant hotel-stay package out there.

AU$ 1,000,000 (DHS2,804,268).






Bell & Ross

BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.18


Bell & Ross have reinforced their partnership with Renault Sport Formula One TM with the launch of three R.S. 18 chronographs

inspired by the all-new Renault single-seat racecar. The collaboration highlights the brand’s quest for excellence, speed and

mechanical precision, portraying the chassis characteristics in three models: BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph R.S.18; BR-X1

Chronograph R.S.18 and BR03-94 R.S.18. Equity’s favourite is the BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph R.S.18, a limited-edition

masterpiece – only 20 were created – that fuses the watchmaking pedigree of the ying tourbillon with an athletic refinement of

a single-pusher chronograph. A tourbillon guarantees a high level of rate precision and this particular model features the “ying”

which means its cage is secured to an axis, giving the impression that it is floating in space. At 45mm in diameter, the case

showcases micro blasted titanium with rubber inserts, rocker mono-pusher and a sapphire case-back with anti-reflective coating.

The Superluminoca on the hands and index allow it to be read at night, while the skeletonised dial showcases a futuristic vibe. To

ensure optimum ergonomics, a yellow rubber thumb grip has been integrated into the case at 9 o’clock.









Swiss watchmaker Omega first introduced the Trésor in 1949, at the time, highlighting the 30mm calibre treasure

in the watch. Ever since, Omega’s classic design and movement – that has become synonymous with precision – and

thin golden case have garnered loyalty from watch-aficionados. In 2014, the De Ville Trésor made a return with

the Co-axial movement, and four years down the line, it’s back again. This time around, the all-new Trésor

Collection comprises nine models, each distinguished by its thin case, available in 36 or 39mm. Diamond

paving curves add a touch of modernism, with a single diamond set within the elegant crown that’s now adorned

with a flower created by combining five OMEGA logos. Embossed Roman numerals circle the dial, and behind

each special mirrored caseback lays the OMEGA calibre 4061 with a “Her Time” design. Pick your case in stainless

steel or 18K Sedna gold, straps in fabric or leather, and dial colours ranging from black, to taupe-brown, white, blue,

opaline silver, and mother-of-pearl.








Projectors have evolved tremendously over the years, now offering state-ofthe-art

technology and features for a gratifying home cinema-watching

experience. Sony’s latest release, the 4K Ultra Short Throw HDR Home

Theatre Projector injects a dash of realistic cinematic experience to your

room. 2,500 lumens brighten up the room, projecting a 4K image that stretches

up to 120 inches. You don’t even have to place the projector miles away

anymore, just 10 inches distance does the job. Worried about the space it

may take up? The HDR is engineered to fit a room of any size as it is compact,

flexible and easily maintainable. The projector generates a full HD clarity

portraying vivid and life-like images at 8.8 million pixels. Time to get the

popcorn ready.

$24,999.99 (DHS91,825) AT SONY RETAIL OUTLETS




Astell & Kern


MP3 players will always have a spot in our hearts,

merely for the sentimentality. This charmingly

crooked, antiquated model from Astell&Kern has

been designed with a titled screen and a preciseangle,

to protect it from unwanted clicks. The

SR15, Astell&Kern’s debut in the standard line,

comprises two audio DAC chips used for a Dual-

DAC setup, along with a USB connection portal

that enables an input and output for digital music.

The A&Norma, made with an aluminium alloy

outer body, contains a quad-core processor, a

Dual DAC Cirrus Logic, playback of 24-bit

192KHz, wireless Bluetooth 4.1 audio, and a 3.3-

inch Wide VGA of 800 x 480. The knurled

volume knob has been placed on the side, making

it easy to maneuver. Get your playlist ready.

PRICE: $699 (AED2,567.60)

B&O Play


The modified version of the Beoplay H9 has been unveiled. Created with

features that embody detail, precision and power, these snazzy headphones

are wireless and made with lightweight aluminium. The H9i comprises a

slimmer ear cushion made with soft lambskin and memory form beneath it,

to adapt to the curve of your ear. The bioplay H9i has raised its standards

through the hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC) that now performs

between 300-800 hz. The ANC is enhanced to cancel the frequency of

human voices, and sound and ANC can be turned off through a simple

gesture to listen to your surroundings. Sound goes on pause automatically,

once the headphones are removed from your ears, and resumes where

previously paused. The headphones can also be paired to two devices

simultaneously in order to avoid the complication of disconnection. Other

features include the presence of a bass port that produces a powerful bass

increasing the quality of the sound, a USB-C charging port, an additional mic

to enhance the quality of voice-call and a playtime of 18 hours.


C Seed


The C Seed Supermarine foldable yacht TV is perhaps the only gadget you need onboard. The massive 201 and 144

inches TV, also known as the superyacht, folds out of a built-in compartment on the deck. The world’s largest outdoor

TV was manufactured in collaboration between C Seed and Porsche Design Studio, and boasts a luminosity of 4,500

nits – brighter than most HDR TVs – and a color depth of 48-bit. There’s more to this magnificent invention. It can

rotate to 180 degrees using a remote control and takes only 15 seconds to reveal itself from the compartment; rising

to a height of 9.8 ft. The C Seed Supermarine has been constructed with two in-built broadband speakers and a

subwoofer, and is apt for those who despise the look of a television set in their main entertaining area.







Rolls Royce Cullinan finally enters the SUV market. Is it truly a diamond amongst stones?

When Bentley raised eyebrows at the Frankfurt Auto

Show in 2015 by announcing the launch of their SUV,

motor purists were mortified that a luxury car maker of

distinction had succumbed to the SUV market. Today the

Bentayga is proving to be the best-selling vehicle amongst

Bentley’s arsenal, in the US & China markets. After a

three-year wait, leading competitor Rolls Royce has finally

revealed its own SUV to compete in the same ring, and it

has garnered quite the reaction.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is Rolls-Royce as it has never

been seen before. When Sir Henry Royce said, “Strive

for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that

exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design

it”, he could have had Cullinan in mind. Named after the

largest rough diamond ever discovered, the vehicle is

the brand’s first-ever off-road contribution. At 5,341

mm long, 2,165 mm wide and 1,835 mm tall, with a

3,295 mm-long wheelbase, the Cullinan stands taller

than most of its counterparts. The high-bodied, threebox

design has plenty of taut vertical and horizontal

lines, making for a striking presence. Hand-polished

stainless-steel front grille, coach format doors and

22-inch wheels are just some of the refined elements

noticeable. Additionally, it’s powered by a 6.75 litre

twin-turbo V12 petrol engine, similar to the Phantom,

and delivers 563bhp/420kW and 850Nm/627lb ft of

torque to the steer system.

The driving experience begins upon entering the SUV,

which lowers itself by 40mm for access. Details include a

smaller, thicker steering wheel, heated and ventilated

seats, user-friendly instructions presented via a digital

console, a central touchscreen which offers function




selection, map-view and vehicle set-up. The trim features

the usual wood grain and a new, durable and waterresistant

boarded ‘box grain’ black leather for the upper

fascia. As standard, the boot area offers 560 litres of cargo

space, growing to 600 litres with the parcel shelf removed.

Access to this is via an opening tailgate called ‘The Clasp’.

Paying homage to the old-days of mounting luggage on

the exterior, is the all-new two-part ‘D-Back’ format. An

inner ecosystem is created for passengers with the

addition of the glass partition to isolate the passenger

cabin from the luggage compartment.

To take in a starry-night and get a glimpse of a beautiful

sunset, the viewing suite on the rear deck comes into play.

The two rear-facing leather chairs and accompanying

table in the SUV’s rear compartment make it apt for a

quick snack by the roadside.

The best in tech accompanies this luxury vehicle, with the

driver assist kit offering everything a driver needs, from active

cruise control to collision warning, cross-traffic alert, departure

and lane change warning, night vision and vision assist, which

includes daytime and night-time wildlife and pedestrian warning.

A four-camera system with panoramic, all-round visibility and

helicopter views also built in. The equipment list also includes a

high-resolution head-up display, navigation and entertainment

systems, a WiFi hotspot and five USB ports around the cabin.

If you want the Rolls Royce of SUV’s, look no further. A

vehicle of this caliber is exactly what the Middle East

requires, especially in countries such as the UAE, KSA,

Kuwait and surrounding GCC countries where the

demand for SUV’s is among the highest in the world.






Calling all movie-buffs. Crypto, a Hollywood movie,

is being filmed in New York city with a star-studded

cast featuring Liam Hemsworth and Alexis Bledel


The UAE’s luxury market will reach a whopping

€276 to 281 billion by end of 2018



Is it the end of the road for human workers?




The EV is finally going into production



Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and several other personalised

state-backed coins are being introduced in countries across the world

Follow us on social media







Chic picks for your wardrobe and home


We’re tossing our old kitchen appliances for Dolce & Gabbana’s latest

collaboration with SMEG. Focusing on the duo’s hometown in Southern Italy,

the theme explores fresh Sicilian produce, showcased in prints featuring gold

lemons, citrus fruits, prickly pears and red cherries. The fruits are framed in

triangular motifs called crocchi, complementing delicate floral motifs

reminiscent of the landscape and coasts of the region and Mt. Etna. Take your

pick from the collection which includes a toaster, citrus juicer, coffee machine,

kettle, blender, stand mixer and slow juicer. The items are available from

Dhs2,350 at Better Life boutiques





Put your stamp on clothing and accessories for a wardrobe brimming with curated

preferences. Besides, how else do you personalize an item and make it unique?


Tailoring a shirt to your body measurements, picking a collar,

cut, cuff and more, makes shopping and creating a fitted piece

an enjoyable experience. We walked into Bombay Shirt

Company at Central Park Towers, DIFC, excited about

customising our first shirt ever. A classic crisp white was naturally the way to

go. The process began with our choice of colour, followed by the fabric – we

chose the Monti satin. Soon we were shown a selection of shirts to pick the

collar, cuff, monogram, placket, button type and thread colour, as well as the

pocket style and back (darts, side, box or none). We opted out of the elbow

patch and made the bottom a straight cut, to tuck into trousers and jeans. The

expert marks your final choice on a sheet of paper before your measurements

are taken. The process can take anywhere between a few minutes to an hour,

and the staff are happy to accommodate every request. An email is sent to

you immediately, notifying you of your order and delivery status. We were

called a week later for the first fitting and luckily, no modifications were

required. The end result was a fitted white crisp shirt with an Ozwald Boateng

collar, pink insert with light blue piping; full sleeve with a single French cuff,

initials on the left sleeve and a white button with blue thread for the entire

shirt. We opted for a French front placket with buttons added on the inside

– great for women with a large bust. The fit, colour, seam, everything was

perfect and the best part was our measurements were recorded on the

online portal for ease of shopping in the future. Now, all we have to do is head

online and customise the shirt accordingly. We’re leaning towards an

oversized linen shirt or exclusive Egyptian cotton linen from renowned brands

such as Thomas Mason and Alibini. bombayshirts.com




To celebrate their iconic motto “When

Your Own Initials Are Enough,” coined in

the Seventies, Bottega Veneta are

launching a personalisation programme

where initials take the centre stage. Men

can personalise canvas totes and duffels,

while women can add their initials to the

all-new Intrecciatio Palio tote or BV73

tote and bag. Choose your bag to have it

embossed and stamped (complimentary

service) in an array of graphic shadow

letters available in three sizes and six

colours. You can even have it stitched.

However, the turnaround period for this

is slightly longer, as only Bottega Veneta’s

artisans are skilled enough to create this.

The personalisation program is available

across all UAE boutiques


Backpacks are trending and have become the

go-to travel companion for those who lug

around everything from gold collagen eye masks

to airplane essentials. Bulgari’s Serpenti

Forever backpack will even make your teenage

daughter swap her school bag for this

sophisticated accessory. Vibrant colours, a bold

shape and jewel-like details complement the soft

quilted matelassé calf leather. The brand’s iconic

light gold chain is interspersed with the leather

shoulder straps, and studded with mini

snakeheads for a hint of edge.

Dhs9,700 across Bulgari boutiques







Keep fit with the latest in wellbeing

trends in the city

Meet Amir Siddiqui, founder of

Symmetry Gym, one of Dubai’s

most exclusive facilities for

personal training. Here, the fitness

expert answers a topical question

to suit our busy lifestyle



I'm not a morning person. If I put off exercising

until later in the evening does it affect my afterburn

and are the overall results any different?

No, not to any appreciable degree at least. The

most important variable is not the timing of the

workout, but your consistency of timing; never

missing a session is overwhelmingly more significant.

Ideally, you want to create a regular schedule that

follows a routine as predictably as possible. The less

variation, the better. This is more likely to guarantee a

higher output workout, with better energy and

mental clarity. You aren't going to have a headturning

body, if you can't manage your own schedule.



Florida’s renowned fitness program has finally landed in

the UAE, just in time to still achieve that summer body.

Their claim to fame? Work out for one-hour, burn an

average of 500 to 1,000 calories for up to 36 hours postworkout.

It’s all about the after-burn, with a workout that

incorporates endurance, strength and power from

treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension and free

weights. We went in for a 60-minute scientificallydesigned

workout and strapped on the monitor to

observe our hear rate. The workout began with a warmup

on the rowing machines, followed by squats, push-ups

and dumbbell presses in the TRX zone. We then moved

over to the treadmills for a few minutes of interval

training, and back to the TRX area for our floor workout,

ending with the treadmill workout again and a deep

stretch. Throughout the workout you are encouraged to

reach, and stay in, the orange zone (on the screen) to

achieve EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen

consumption) for increased calorie burn.

Contact +9714 324 4424.





Tried-and-tested experiences of the month


The service: Oxygenating Facial (60 minutes)

The verdict: An escape to this sanctuary on Sheikh Zayed

Road transports you to a land far away from the

monotonous routine we get pulled into every now and

then. If travel and climatic conditions are gradually beginning

to reveal itself on your face, it’s time to revive your skin

with the oxygenating facial. Created to purify, brighten and

balance skin, this treatment is more of a vigorous massage

that increases blood and oxygen flow to reenergise cellular

function. The Balinese therapist cleanses the skin with a

Natura Bissé all-in-one cleanser to remove unwanted

traces of makeup and dirt. This is followed by a toner to

balance your skin's pH level. Throughout the facial your

skin is not only cleansed, but also massaged with various

hand techniques to lift and give it an instantaneous glow.

The anti-ageing glycoline peel is soon applied to assist in

uplifting skin, while reducing pigmentation. The moisturising

oxygen cream is then massaged onto the skin. Topping it

off is the Diamond life infusion eye treatment with retinol,

effects of which are noticeable minuites after. The serum

sinks into fine lines to plump it up, smoothening the eye

area. The facial decongests the skin with pure oxygen and

dynamic movements to brighten up your complexion -

great for smokers, those exposed to varied weather

conditions and anyone who has just stepped off a plane.

Need to know: Dhs755 for the one-hour facial.

Contact +9714 501 8270 to book your treatment or

visit mandaraspa.com





The service: Two of You (120 minutes)

The verdict: Tucked away at the tranquil Desert Palm resort,

approximately 25 minutes from DIFC, is Samana Spa. We

rarely visit that side of town and heading past Dragon Mart on

a bright sunny day, felt like we were escaping the humdrum of

city life for a relaxed getaway. After slipping into our robes in

the couple’s suite, the experience began with a 30-minute

soothing aromatherapy bath to calm the mind, ignite our

senses with a blend of aromas, and soften the skin for the

treatment ahead. Once done, we soaked our feet in warm

water while refreshing ourselves with a cool lime sorbet. A

quick scrub and off to the beds we went for a 30-minute body

scrub. Guests can choose between a salt scrub or hydrating

express facial – we chose the former to slough off dead skin

cells. Besides, it’s a great intro session to men who skip the

exfoliation process at home. The oil and salt fusion is scrubbed

onto skin in circular motions, exfoliating it to reveal soft and

silky skin post shower. The entire package is customisable, and

you can opt to skip the bath, choose a 30-minute scrub and a

90-minute massage, if you please.

The customised massage commences from your legs and

feet, where the therapist spends around 20 minutes,

tackling every stressed muscle with her elbows and long

arm-strokes. Once your legs feel light and ache-free, she

moves over to the back, neck and shoulders; the region in

need of extra attention. The therapist went along either

sides of the spine, with her elbow pushed deep to move

away any tension from the mid-and lower-back. This

movement took place several times before the shoulder

and upper back were rubbed with swift movements to

quickly dissipate knots. The massage carries on to the

arms and finally the most incredible scalp and facial

massage to relax tight muscles in the temples, boost

circulation all over the face, and allow oil to be better

absorbed by our pores and hair follicles.

Need to know: The Two of You package is available

for Dhs1,400 per couple. Contact +9714 323 8888 or

visit desertpalm.ae







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

French sophistication




Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire is back with a new

outpost in Festival City, a glamorous bistro that overlooks

Dubai Creek and the Festival City fountains. The venue is split

into a contemporary bar packed with rainforest vibes, a

spacious dining room that acts as a stunning backdrop for

Instagram, and a chic outdoor lounge terrace – where we sat

– to people-watch in true French dining style.

The menu showcases French classics with a creative twist,

seen in the form of frog’s legs with parsley and garlic, which

tastes similar to chicken, and rosemary and parmesan-flavoured

madeleines. A highlight from the appetiser menu, that takes

you on a sensory journey, is the Madagascar prawns with

spinach. Feast your eyes on the glass dome filled with smoke

and tantalise tastebuds with textures of black bread and notes

of preserved lemon – tangy, robust and fresh. Everything from

pasta to seafood and steak makes up the menu. My dining

partner chose the succulent grilled Wagyu beef ribeye (grade

5) served with a chimichurri-style topping and béarnaise sauce

– definitely one of the top three steaks in Dubai – while I tried

lacquered belly with thin slices of raw duck foie gras, a side of

cranberry sorbet, beetroot jelly, and potato puree with parsley;

all of which had to be eaten in one morsel, providing a medley

of juicy textured flavours. The dessert order, Apple tart Reflets,

was placed before the meal even began – they need 30-40

minutes cooking time as it’s made-to-order. And, it didn’t

disappoint. End your meal with the most divine homemade

apple pie complemented by vanilla ice cream, fluffy whipped

cream and apple cider sauce. It’s guaranteed to give you a

nostalgic feeling.

Need to know: Contact +9714 701 1127




Nocturnal hotspot




If you haven’t been down to the quaint, vibrant Caribbean

hotspot yet, you’re missing out on a fun night and some

seriously impressive nosh. To get a taste of their culinary

offerings and sample some of their signature dishes, we

visited on a Tuesday for the Rundown menu. The beach

shack décor, island vibes, reggae tunes and dim lighting set

the tone for the evening. We sank our teeth into hot plantain

munchkins (fried sweet plantain with jerk crumbs); a crisp

baby gem lettuce and tomato salad with feta cheese,

cucumber, and pumpkin seeds; and a mouthwatering jerk

corn with mayo and toasted coconut – the flavours linger for

a while – to commence the meal. Our palates were cleansed

with seasonal fruits blended with coconut ice cream, and

passion fruit sorbet for tanginess. As we sipped a few fruity

concoctions, we tucked into tender-to-the-bone jerk lamb

chops with Jamaican steamed cabbage, jerk rubbed rib eye

with charred cabbage slaw and Scotch bonnet mustard – this

and hot condiments on the table are worth a try if you can

stand the heat – and noodles in a creamy moreish coconut

sauce with prawns. We couldn’t determine which dish we

loved the most, as each one was finger-licking good, packed

with textures, full-bodied flavours and a mix of sweet, salty,

spicy, and sour notes. Soon after, the savoury notes come to

a close when the piña colada cake arrives on the table with

pineapple cream cheese, piña colada sauce, toasted coconut

flakes and a cherry on the top. While it may appear heavy, it’s

actually quite light, fluffy and delightful. The tunes get louder,

the crowds get happier, and the venue busier - stay back for

the party.

Need to know: The Rundown Menus is available

every Tuesday. Contact +9714 356 2900







Thursdays and Saturdays are a great time to catch up with

friends and colleagues over a leisurely lunch. This local

hotspot boasts views of the Dubai Eye, Bluewaters Island and

shimmering waters, from the terrace, with sleek wooden

interiors, kitchen display on one end, and an intimate bar on

the other. The meal begins with warm miso soup and crispy

fried pepper squid, followed by your choice of prawn, salmon

or shiitake nigiri, and spicy tuna, cucumber or classic maki

rolls. We chose the spicy tuna and classic maki, of which we

received two each, along with prawn and salmon nigiri -

nothing beats a fresh slice of fish and crustacean. For a

substantial warm course, we chose the chicken and ginger

gyoza, and prawn and shiitake, which arrived in various

cooking styles. One was pan-fried and packed with a mouthwatering

and aromatic filling, while the other was served with

broth and herbs. We got to choose a main course each from

the Robata selection. Astonished at the portion sizes – each

one was good enough for two or three to share – we quickly

dug into an extremely tender beef-rib grilled to perfection,

accompanied with mashed potato boasting a hint of citrus

from the yuzu. Teriyaki glazed salmon was the other main

course, a nutritious entrée presented beautifully over a large

serving of rice, with pickled daikon. Light and fluffy donuts

filled with berry jam provide a sweet end.

Business lunch

Need to know: The Teisoku lunch is available on

Thursday and Saturdays. Contact +971 4 559 5300



There are days when we all feel like doing something low-key,

and almost always, it involves a movie at the cinema. The next

time you work up an appetite and decide to grab a bite at the

mall before catching a movie, hotfoot to Reel Cinemas within

the Jebel Ali Village community instead. The casual-dining

cinema experience features good ol’ American classics that can

be washed down with a refreshing beverage. Remember Guy

Fieri, host of the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? The

American celebrity chef is at the helm of this licensed venue.

The experience begins at the counter, where you pick your

appetiser and entrée, while collecting your tickets. My dining

partner and I opted for trash-can nachos and chicken tenders.

Drinks arrived the minute we plonked ourselves on the red

leather chairs, and once our thirst was quenched and the

movie began – about 10 minutes in – the starters were

served. Both are placed discreetly at the table in front, and

you can slide your chair forward to whet your appetite with

innovative cinema snacks. The nachos were revealed

immediately from the can, loaded with cheese, jalapenos and

salsa, along with five pieces of crunchy chicken tenders and

dipping sauces including buttermilk ranch, peri peri, and

brown sugar BBQ. While you may be tempted to munch on

everything in sight, we suggest saving space for mains. My

partner and I ordered the Bacon mac ‘n’ cheese burgers that

were about the size of a small watermelon, for comparison.

This signature dish was voted Best Burger in Las Vegas, and

comprises crispy beef bacon, a six-cheese loaded mac ‘n’

An experience

cheese, veggies (lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle), crusty

onion straws with sauce, and some more melted cheese; all

stacked on a garlic-buttered brioche bun and served with

fries. See what we mean? Indulging in massive portions put us

in a food coma as we watched the movie. We were also

served an optional extra, the New York marbled cheesecake

topped with pretzels, salted potato chips and warm fudge

sauce. While it was absolutely divine, combining salty and

sweet flavours, we only managed to put a slight dent in it.

Need to know: Contact +971 4 448 8493



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




Sat sleepily along an impossibly peaceful, palm-fringed beach

in Salalah, Oman, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara has

proven itself to be an idyllic Middle Eastern hideaway




Anantara has long been

famous for achieving the

utmost in opulence, and

its influence has spread

across lush islands, desert sands and

uncharted beaches. And as Salalah’s

first and only luxury pool villa

property, Al Baleed Resort is

unsurprisingly in demand; offering a

bespoke, one-of-kind holiday

experience that many could only

aspire to.

The residence’s majestic design is

immediately impressive upon arrival.

Inspired by antiquated Omani

fortresses that once dominated the

region’s landscape, a whitewashed

interior is both contemporary and

characterful. Kissed by moonlight, a

grand wide-set arch invites visitors

inside, away from the warm night air

and into a light and airy, homely

reception that’s defined by high

ceilings, marble floors and dark

wooden beams. After checking in,

flickering lanterns line lush tropical

gardens and water walkways which

quietly guide us to our breath-taking

pool villa.

Heavy wooden gates protect each

private residence, each of which are

surrounded by imposing brick walls

for maximum privacy and seclusion.




Once inside, a private temperaturecontrolled

swimming pool and living

quarters await, decked in rich

traditional fabrics of ruby-red, ivory

and charcoal. Old-fashioned shutters

adorn floor-to-ceiling windows that

overlook the sapphire-blue pool,

while an egg-shaped bath and

spacious shower decorate the fullytiled

high-end bathroom.

Nestled between a private beach

and freshwater lagoon, the resort’s

identity is focused around water, as

well as Oman’s cultural heritage.

Located in the southern province of

Dhofar, renowned for its summer

monsoon that brings much-welcomed

rain spells to an otherwise sweltering

desert, much of the region’s character

has been influenced by Oman’s

former territories in East Africa.

Tropical fruit plantations and an

ancient frankincense trade make up

much of Salalah’s storied life tapestry,

while beautiful beaches make for day

excursions. Mughsail, in particular, is

worth a visit. Precariously perched on

a dramatic cliff’s edge, it is an area

famed for its violent blowholes in the

undercliff, which force powerful spirts

of seawater up through crevices in

the rock.

Al Baleed Resort Salalah by

Anantara is also a mere stone’s throw

away from Al Baleed Archaeological

Park, a UNESCO World Heritage

Listed Site, as well as the Botanical

Gardens and Museum of

Frankincense. Despite these

attractions, it is tempting, however,

to remain at the luxury villa resort

and its untouched stretch of coastline

smothered in sugar-dusted white

sand. Low-rise villas and the hotel’s

main building overlook a pictureperfect

infinity pool, which to our

delight is surprisingly calm and largely

unoccupied, with the exception of a

few couples frolicking and the odd

guest lounging on an understated

inflatable. Away from the pool, beach

volleyball, tennis, sunset yoga and

camel rides are on offer, as well as

scuba diving and dolphin watching,

schools of which visit the shores in

large numbers, particularly between

October and March.

With 136 rooms, villas and pool

villas to choose from, as well as

numerous facilities including a fullyequipped

gym, kids club, library and

gaming room, it’s little wonder as to

why this beachside property is

proving so popular among locals and

tourists alike. Service is relaxed and

well-meaning, with each staff member

eager to cater to your every whim. A

hidden gem in a historically-rich

region, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by

Anantara surely won’t disappoint.

Al Baleed Resort Salalah

by Anantara is also

a mere stone’s throw

away from Al Baleed

Archaeological Park, a

UNESCO World Heritage

Listed Site





The resort boasts three restaurants, all

of which make use of indigenous

ingredients found in tropical plantations

and the Arabian Gulf. Sakalan is ideal

for all-day dining, thanks to its breathtaking

terrace that offers unrivalled

views of the ocean. The breakfast

buffet boasts a selection of cereals and

pastries, as well as an impressive à la

carte menu. Al Mina, meanwhile,

captures the vibrant Mediterranean -

ideal for beach or poolside loungers, as

well as those looking for a spontaneous

bite to eat after a full day of sightseeing.

Equity’s favourite, however, would

have to be Mekong. Exceptional Thai,

Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine is

served in an elegant dining room, or al

fresco, drenched in candlelight.

Supremely romantic, this restaurant

ticks all the right boxes.

Local guides employed by the resort

– self-styled ‘gurus’ – are the perfect

way to explore Salalah. Learn about the

city’s history and heritage by those who

have experienced it first-hand, and gain

intimate insights about the region’s

most popular sites, from the old Haffah

souk in Salalah Old Town, which is

famous for selling quaint Dhofari

souvenirs, to the coastline’s most

colourful fishing villages that throb with

the sounds of business and local trade.

The spa is designed to reflect local culture

and craftsmanship. Sensual journeys draw

on the exotic and long-standing traditions

of Arabia and the architecture of the spa

itself is built to feel like an intimate ‘door’s

always open’ villa. Salalah’s natural

wellness secrets are explored and

perfected through numerous ingredients

and treatments such as coconut shell

brushing, pomegranate anti-ageing, and

nourishing coconut butter. Holistic

Thai, Ayurvedic and Arabian therapies

are on offer, thus combing the best of

the East and the West, which is

demonstrated with the spa’s signature

massage, which uses frankincense to

revitalise and replenish.


The Deluxe Garden View Room for

two adults and one child is available

from Dhs1,160 per night. Travelling

with a group of friends or extended

family? Book the Three Bedroom

Royal Beach Villa for Dhs12,699. Visit








The latest in experiences, packages and wellbeing breaks


Thailand is brimming with incredibly

stunning resorts and endless options

on each island. But when you’re in

Koh Samui, look no further than

Samujana. 24 incredibly stunning

villas – perched on a hill, from the

top to the bottom – are available to

choose from, with one to eight

bedroom options for couples,

families and large groups. The

service here is nothing short of

exemplary, with each villa offering a

private villa manager, villa staff,

leisure facilities including a private

pool and the latest in audio and

media facilities. The larger villas offer

everything from a terrace to host a

BBQ party, to pool tables, tennis

tables, cinema, and plenty more –

you will never get bored here. If you

do fancy getting out of the resort,

head out on a boating excursion,

tour the island, or go underwater

diving in Koh Tao. samujana.com


Maldives is the perfect go-to destination

for those who want to re-coup over a

quick break. Plan for the year ahead with

a trip to Sun Aqua Iru Veli, an exclusive

resort on the island of Aluvifushi which

comprises 125 villas and suites – all

inclusive of a fresh water private pool –

and a laid-back vibe with five-star service

to suit. Take a break from your day at the

overwater wellness spa and feast on

authentic Maldivian cuisine. Keep your

eyes peeled for more. iru-veli.com


LUX* Bodrum has re-opened its doors this summer. Located on a private peninsula

of the Turkish Riviera, this resort comprises 91 guest rooms and 19 private

residences, all of which boast breathtaking views of the private cove beach and bay.

Spend your time relaxing by the infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean, while

feasting on wholesome culinary offerings at Beach Rouge. At night, the venue turns

into Bodrum’s prime hotspot with DJs, mixologists and Turkey’s rmoonlit sky

adding to the ambience. Travelling with friends and family? Try other activities

including seafood dining at the Fish Market overlooking the Aegean Sea, a spa

retreat, or a yacht cruise. Guests are even provided a house boat service to

cross over and stroll around the marina. luxresorts.com





Play a round along the coastline at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club

At the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club course, every

one of your clubs will be utilised throughout the

round, as the mix of holes demand well-placed

tee shots, accurate irons and pin-point wedges

to score well. The Black Knight (Gary Player)

has made good use of the course’s location,

coastline, wildlife and links, to give golfers at any

level a memorable experience. The course,

which opened in 2010, was billed the Persian

Gulf’s first ocean course and weaves in and out

of the most stunning five-star resorts on the

Saadiyat beachfront. It is by no means a short

course. In fact, it measures over 7,800 yards

from the tips, but offers several choices of tee

positions per hole according to your level

and confidence.




Gary Player was in bunker-heaven when he set out to

design this remarkable course with 67 bunkers and to be

even more cheeky, he has had one bunker run the entire

length of the fairway at 350 yards on the short par 4; 10th

hole. The Black Knight soon lets you realise who designed

the course, as you see his hand print and signature at hole

11 pathway. Each hole is picturesque, but the ones that

stood out in

particular were the

long par 3 and the

sixth hole that has

you drive your cart

along the beach

whilst taking in the

spectacular views of

the Arabian Gulf

with its crystal-clear

waters and powdery

white sand beaches.

The combination

of 16 and 17 are a true test to golfers. The 16th is at just under

500 yards where on most courses would be a par 5, is a

difficult par 4. The elevated position of the 16th tee lays out

the demands ahead where only a well struck tee shot and

accurate second will be worthy of a par. The 17th is the

shortest par 3 on the course and at less than 150 yards. Be

careful, there is nothing straight forward here. The green is a

postage stamp, with tee boxes situated almost to confuse you.

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is a pleasure to play

with natural terrain and roaming wildlife such as gazelles.

It has been designed with sensitivity to the surrounding

natural environment and in compliance with strict

environmental guidelines.

This course has a great touch where golfers are offered

a ‘member for a day’ experience with the optimum

level of genuine customer service, from personalised

lockers to bag tags.

Once you have completed your round, head over to the

Hawksbill Restaurant for refreshments and a

meal. This eatery is an extension of the traditional golfers’

style, with classic argyle print, dark wooden panels and

leather arm chairs all completing the scene. Once you are

seated, tuck into a full English breakfast with poached eggs,

bacon, freshly brewed coffee and squeezed juices. An a la

carte menu is also available for lunch and dinner. You can

also head down just for the Sundowner brunch from

Thursday to Saturday, priced at just Dhs120 per person.


Visit sbgolfclub.ae or contact +9712 557 8000



Bombardier, Global 6000 and Exceptional by Design are trademarks of

Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries. © 2017 Bombardier Inc. All rights reserved.

We didn’t get here by sheer luck. This was deliberate.

An act of craftsmanship and engineering prowess. Decades in the making.

Meeting at the intersection of art and technology. Defying conventions.

Redefining luxury. So when all is said and done,

we’ll know that we achieved something truly extraordinary.




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

Bab Al Qasr Hotel






Check yourself into The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery By Sofitel

for a wellness getaway on Palm Jumeirah




sense of calm. That zen feeling yogis

speak of. That’s what you

experience the minute you enter

this hotel that places wellbeing at

the forefront. Shades of the ocean and green

landscape make up the interiors, with rounded

corners as per Feng Shui, and aromas of

essential oils wafting through the air. The

journey begins with a refreshing welcome drink

at the check-in desk, and a colour therapy

session soon after. We met with our lifestyle

coach Dr. Grace Ravindran and were presented

a deck from which we picked a coloured card

each. I chose turquoise and was told I needed

to open my heart chakra, and that I had

interrupted sleep - the latter was true. My

partner picked dark purple, which suggested he

needed to work on particular weaknesses, and

we both needed to add shades of blue and red

at home to reach our state of zen.


Our green, blue and neutral-hue one-bedroom

offered views of the neighbourhood and ocean,

with a living room to lounge at and read. Relax




Need to know:

The 24-hour retreat is

available from Dhs999 per

person. The five-day

retreat is available

for Dhs7,000. Visit


that put us in a state of lull, calmed our minds,

and made my partner fall into a deep sleep. The

session ended with laughing yoga to open our

heart chakras. Early morning yoga was on the

schedule the next day, truly stretching our

bodies before breakfast. If you do find a bit of

time on your hands and spot the quirky-looking

oxygen bars all over, give it a go. The 15-minute

treatment allows you to breathe in pure oxygen

to boost metabolism and energy levels. To

unwind hours after the session, we stopped by

the Salt of the Earth cart to create an epsom

salt infusion. We chose neroli and soaked in a

hot tub with the salts, to release tension and

toxins built-up in our bodies. The resort’s pool

with direct access to the beach means you can

choose a sun lounger or cooled cabana to soak

up the sun rays. You can also play eco-golf,

where the shore is your driving range and the

course is the sea. Don't worry about harming

the environment, the balls turn into food for

sea creatures.

on your balcony with espresso or herbal tea, to

keep you fueled between meditation sessions

and spa treatments, or unwind with a hot soak

in the tub. The hotel isn’t licensed, since it is a

wellness resort, and the mini bar is stocked with

water, juice and a selection of items (sunscreen,

an underwater camera, and shades).


An itinerary of classes ranging from aqua

aerobics to laughing yoga is available at the

concierge desk. A schedule was created for our

24-hour stay and we were asked to follow the

program all the way through. We consulted

with Dr. Grace, to give her an idea of our

lifestyle, habits and diet, before attending a

meditation class at the Rayya Wellness centre,


Both restaurants complement the resort’s

wellness philosophy, offering menus that

showcase local, organic and sustainable produce.

The all-day dining restaurant, Vibe, is a great

option for breakfast and lunch, where you indulge

in an array of salads, fresh juice and dishes from

various cuisines. Fill your plates with chicken

mandi for lunch, followed by Vietnamese spring

rolls, Thai green curry, roast meat, butter chicken

and pizza, ending with nutritious, guilt-free

desserts. The Social Kitchen offers a set, and a la

carte, menu featuring dishes inspired by the

Levant. For appetisers, try the arayes (meat-filled

flatbread) and falafels, followed by Arabic mixed

grills and Moroccan tagine with couscous. The

resort also offers a nutritious cocktail every

hour to “detox” or “energise.”



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




Gordon Oldham’s journey from lawyer to hotelier has him

jet setting across the globe, from Thailand to Nepal, Bali,

and Europe. Discover his journey and a prime investment

for Middle Eastern travellers in Phuket

Touchdown at Phuket’s

international airport and

you will notice travellers

from all across the globe.

Chinese, Koreans, British, Indians and

Russians being the majority amongst

the rest. Phuket’s visa-on-arrival rule

for over 55 countries and accessible

location – just six hours away from

Dubai – makes it an exotic destination

for those looking to escape.

When we arrived at The Pavilions

Phuket, we walked into a lavish five-star

resort with lush vegetation, views of

the city and the ocean in the distance.

Perched atop one of the island’s highest

points, The Pavilions focus on core

themes featuring: art, culture, romance

and adventure. The only difference

here is that this isn’t just a resort, you

can own a piece of property within this

gated community.

This has always been Gordon

Oldham’s plan. “The Pavilions started

by accident. There was no great

business plan. It started when

somebody asked me to look at a

piece of land in Bali back in 1992.




I wasn’t a big fan of Bali at that time, but I went.

Now, of course, I adore it,” says Oldham, CEO

of The Pavilons Phuket. As history reveals,

Oldham purchased one half of the property

and that’s where the hotelier’s journey

commenced. Coincidentally, he was acting as a

young lawyer for Adrian Zecha who was just

starting out the Aman resorts at the time. By

trade, Oldham is a lawyer based out of Hong

Kong - his business card still says so too.

“Initially, the idea was to build houses to sell

off. We went ahead with the project, and that

really got me going.” After a visit to Phuket in

2003, Oldham invested in an area on the top of

the hill and opened 21 units in 2006, naming it

The Pavilions Phuket. The villas sold like hot

cakes to friends and family. A few years later, in

2012, phase two began. This comprises stunning

spa and pool villas. In 2017, phase three

launched with suites and penthouses. The

Pavilions have expanded worldwide ever since,

with investments in Europe (Amsterdam,

Madrid, Rome and Lisbon), Asia (Niskeo) and

the sustainable resort in the Himalayas


At The Pavilions Phuket, current buyers

are usually Italian and Chinese. In terms of

holidays, repeat customers are again from Italy,

China, and Korea – who usually book top tier

options such as the Ocean View suite, which

isn’t for sale.

The Pavilions Residences Phuket showcase

three-and four-bedroom villas, two-bedroom

penthouses, and suites, with prices starting at

US$1,645 per square metre. With panoramic

views of the island’s west coast scenery, and at

just three minutes’ drive from the golden sands




of Layan Beach, these are just some of the few

reasons to invest in The Pavilions Phuket.

Enter the Spa and Pool Villa and you are

immediately greeted by stunning views, a

private pool, and sun loungers to the right. The

villa opens into a spacious living room with a

plush day-bed/couch, tea, coffee and snack

facilities, and a door that leads out to the Spa

room complete with massage beds. The

bedroom can be closed off with separation

shutters and features a comfortable king-sized

bed, closet space, work-desk and a bathroom

right behind it boasting a tub in which you can

soak in every night with the accompanying salts.

The two penthouses, 355 sq m. and 435 sq. m,

are open-plan spaces that comprise a living

room, dining area and expansive outdoor

terraces with private infinity-edged pools. The

lavish space boasts a fresh, contemporary vibe

with grey, blue and neutral hues, compared to

the traditional-styled villas that showcase darker

tones. Those looking for an expansive space can

opt for the larger villas (Mimosa, Rose and

Lantana) boasting four to four and a half

bedrooms, an entertainment room – ideal as a

home cinema – on the upper floor, and an openplan

living room and kitchen downstairs which

look out to the infinity pool and garden terrace -

where you can arrange a barbecue evening,

private dinner, or a yoga session.

All accomodation options can be placed into

the rental pool, and maintained by the hotel, for

an additional cost. Perhaps the few elements that

appeal to most buyers are the five-star services

within a secure gated compound, and the

tranquil Pavilions Spa where you can indulge in

the most amazing Thai massage, swim laps at the

adults-only pool, and participate in a selection of

activities and lessons on the terrace.

You don’t even have to leave the hotel

premises to dine. For tapas, cocktails and the

best views in Phuket, visit 360 Bar & Grill. A

relaxed authentic Thai meal or one that

embraces international flavours, is best at the

Plantation Club. If you’re craving steak or woodfired

grill specialties, served poolside, Firefly is

not to be missed.

Need to know: The top-tier villas

(Frangipani, Mimosa, Rose and Lantana)

are priced at $1,200,000 to 1,4000,000

(Dhs4,407,000 to 5,142,480). Book a stay

at the Four Bedroom villa for $823 or the

Ocean View villa at $325 per night. Visit





My investment in myself

was starting my own company. I love the

creativity and freedom that you get from

running your own business. The freedom

to express yourself and have control of

your future. Any idea can be put in

notion, it's yours for the keeping

and no one else can take it from you


West Elm in Dubai Mall,

Andrew Martin in DIFC, and

Nook Concept in Jumeirah.


Rose gold earrings from Maya

Magal, London.


Tuscany for gnocchi or pizza,

surrounded by the presence

of the visionaries of invention,

literature and art.



I travel somewhere far at least

once a month. This year,

I have visited 12 countries and

42 places.


Interior designer



Founder of

Sharon Jutla Interiors


I take my morning coffee and head to my

favorite place; my balcony to take in the

beautiful sea view. I love watching the

sunrise and the reflections back into the

sea. It is a truly calming space.


Clients love my ‘concept and story’ model

because it enables them to have a genuine

emotional connection with what we’re doing.

They call me the story teller. My job is to help

clients materialise their story - not mine.


El Sur at The Westin Dubai, Okku at The H

Dubai, Hakkasan at Emirates Towers, Coya

at the Four Seasons Resort and Nobu at

Atlantis, The Palm. These are some of my

favourites for their service and food.


The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

This book changed my way of

life, renewed me and taught

me how to live a peaceful and

content life, while being an

architect of my happiness and

success. The essence of the

book is the power of our

minds that can create waves

of positive changes in our life.


Catching up on blogging,

swimming, going for a run, or a

visit to the spa.


Dream big and don’t be

discouraged by anyone or

anything. Never give up because

you can do and be anything you

set your mind to.





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



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