World Traveller March 2019

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INSPIRED BY

ISSUE 131 | MARCH 2019 | COMPLIMENTARY COPY

BEAR

ESSENTIALS

WALKING WITH

POLAR BEARS

IN SUBARCTIC

CANADA

SEYCHELLES

BANGKOK

TOKYO

STAYCATIONS

Produced in Dubai Production City

Spring Awakening

The season sorted: be it beach, city or countryside,

we know just the place to send you


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Enjoy an ideal staycation for the entire family and enjoy a world of luxury and

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conveniently located only 15 minutes away from Dubai. Relax by one of the 4 pools

and on the 800m private beach or experience the thrill of over 30 exciting activities

such as horse riding, golf, water sports and many more.

For bookings or more information, please call +971 4 814 5800

or email reservations.ptc@jaresorts.com


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Welcome note

Spring has arrived and if you need a little nudge in the right

direction, our comprehensive guide to where to travel this

season (p26) provides all the inspiration you need to book

your next adventure.

Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher

Editorial Director

John Thatcher

General Manager

David Wade

Managing Editor

Faye Bartle

faye@hotmediapublishing.com

Content Writer

Habiba Azab

Editorial Assistant

Julianne Tolentino

Art Director

Kerri Bennett

Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia

Senior Advertising Manager

Mia Cachero

mia@hotmediapublishing.com

Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

INSPIRED BY

From the most coveted springtime experiences

on the planet (such as catching the cherry

blossoms in Kyoto, whale feeding in Alaska and

seeing Damask roses in bloom at Al Jabal Al

Akhdar), to going off-grid or heading deep into the

countryside, our top picks are sure to recharge you

before the long hot summer strikes.

Also in this issue, we invite you to take a closer

look at Bangkok through the eyes of our welltrodden

travel writer Lara Brunt (p64). In her

four-page feature, she shines a light on why this

dynamic city is the most popular place in the world

– gilded palaces, rooftop terraces and intoxicating

markets included.

If you've an eye out for a deal, have a flick

through our exclusive reader offers (p78), which

rounds up a selection of great value weekend

escapes, and will tempt you with fantastic holidays

as far-flung as Japan and Ireland.

Happy travels,

Faye Bartle

Win!

Find out how you

can win a stay

at Renaissance

Downtown Hotel,

Dubai on p83

FIVE THINGS

WE LEARNED

THIS ISSUE:

1

At Hatta Wadi hub,

you can try your hand

at lots of adventurous

activities, including axe

throwing, p14

2

Travelling solo, dressing

the part and checking

in later are among the

factors that could boost

your chances of a free

flight upgrade, p22

3

The Republic of

Seychelles comprises

115 islands, p48

4

Bangkok has been

crowned the most

popular place on the

planet for the last three

years, attracting more

than 20 million annual

visitors, p64

5

The cherry blossoms

in Kyoto are so

fleeting that the Japan

Meteorological Agency

issues an annual

forecast to predict the

dates the buds will

bloom, p29

Photography credits:

Getty Images and Phocal Media

Reproduction in whole or in

part without written permission

from HOT Media Publishing is

strictly prohibited. HOT Media

Publishing does not accept

liability for omissions or errors in

World Traveller.

Tel: 00971 4 364 2876

Fax: 00971 4 369 7494

COVER IMAGE

Santani Wellness Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka

Find us at…

ONLINE worldtravellermagazine.com

FACEBOOK @worldtravellermagazine

INSTAGRAM @dnataworldtraveller

TWITTER @WT_Magazine

worldtravellermagazine.com 3


Contents

March 2019

Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara

26

WHERE TO GO: SPRING

regulars

8 13 22 26 84

TRENDING

DESTINATIONS

This month's go-to

places include the

stunning island of

Sicily and 'cowboy

country', Houston

GLOBETROTTER

The region is having

an art attack – what

to see at Louvre Abu

Dhabi; Art Dubai, and

Bahrain's ArtBAB. Plus,

starry glamping spots

THE KNOWLEDGE

dnata Travel's product

manager Julia Broome

shares her insider

secrets, including what

you can do to boost your

upgrade chances

COVER FEATURE

Spring is in the air and

our total guide to where

to travel this season

takes in everywhere

from vibrant cities to

remote escapes

SUITE DREAMS

You won't have to

venture far to find a

room with a twist this

month - head down to

Deira for a Bollywoodthemed

boudoir

worldtravellermagazine.com 5


CONTENTS

features

42 48

HUSH HOUR

LIVING COLOUR

Tokyo is an assault on Each Indian Ocean

the senses, but beneath island has its charm,

the madness lies

but none is quite as

serenity - if you know charming as Seychelles,

where to find it... argues Ed Grenby

54

BEAR NECESSITIES

Polar-bear spotting in

Canada tends to require

the safety of a hulking

4WD, so what happens

when you're on foot?

42

TOKYO

weekends

62 64

REASONS TO VISIT A LONG WEEKEND

THE POINTE

IN BANGKOK

Dubai's latest go-to Lara Brunt heads to

hotpsot is a gourmand's Thailand's buzzing,

dream destination colourful capital

70

STAYCATIONS

Feel in need of a break?

We have four more

good reasons to book a

weekend escape

78

TRAVEL OFFERS

It's time we sent you

packing. Choose your

next adventure from

our exclusive offers

6 worldtravellermagazine.com


Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes. 1634. Oil on panel, New York, The Leiden Collection. Image courtesy of The Leiden Collection, New York

Exhibition

14 Feb - 18 May 2019

REMBRANDT, VERMEER

& THE DUTCH GOLDEN AGE

Enjoy a day at Louvre Abu Dhabi and see this unmissable exhibition of Dutch masterpieces.

Exhibition entry included in your museum admission ticket. AED 63, children under 13 free.

Only 60 minutes from Dubai and 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi Airport.

BOOK NOW

louvreabudhabi.ae


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Emily Williams, dnata Travel’s resident globetrotter,

reveals the places that are trending this month

Marrakech

Known for its lively markets, namely Jemaa el-Fna (the central souk), Marrakech is a delightful place to visit

for some retail therapy. Gaining popularity are Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, which frame Marrakech and offer

spectacular hiking opportunities to some of the most remote villages in North Africa. Embark on one of the

popular trails in the springtime, while the weather is mild.

Highlights 1 Admire Koutoubia Mosque and its famous minaret, which has become a symbol of Marrakech.

2 Visit the Yves Saint Laurent Museum for a deeper insight into the work of the legendary fashion designer.

3 Be pampered at a hammam, with a traditional black soap scrub.

8 worldtravellermagazine.com


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Taipei

Known as the heart of Asia, Taiwan is becoming increasingly popular as a travel destination due to its epic landscapes

(think beautiful mountains and natural springs), dynamic cities, delicious street food, and year-round calendar

of festivals. Its capital, Taipei, is an excellent base from which to explore. This exciting city is famous for its night

markets, and is home to one of the tallest buildings in the world, Taipei 101.

HIGHLIGHTS 1 Head to Yangmingshan National Park, home to the famous hot springs. 2 Catch an art house movie at

SPOT-Taipei Film House. 3 Head to Hello Kitty Kitchen And Dining on Jinshan North Road for the cutest snacks.

worldtravellermagazine.com 9


Houston

It’s rodeo time in Houston – what better time to visit the most populous city in southern USA? Until mid-March,

twenty championship rodeo competitions will take place at the city’s NRG Park, concluded with entertainment

from music superstars. Also, don’t miss Space Center Houston for a close-up look at NASA and the US Space

Programme. It takes 16hr 35mins to get there direct on Emirates, but it's worth it.

HIGHLIGHTS 1 Head to the city’s largest waterpark, SplashTown, for 40-acres of wet and wild fun. 2 Soak up the carnival-like atmosphere at

Kemah Boardwalk, which is a hive of restaurants, shops, and entertainment. 3 Sit down to a breakfast of Southern style wings and waffles –

The Breakfast Klub in Midtown has a dedicated following.

10 worldtravellermagazine.com


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Sicily

In spring, the weather is perfect here, with almond trees blossoming on the island. Witness the natural wonder of

Mount Etna while travelling along the stunning Italian coast to one of its most picturesque hilltop towns, Taormina.

Stay and experience classic Sicilian glamour at the Belmond Grand Timeo Hotel, which is close to the beach with

views of Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greek theatre. Flydubai goes non-stop from Dubai to Catania.

HIGHLIGHTS 1 Sicily is rich in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Syracuse, which is brimming with archaeological wonders.

2 Visit the Santa Venera al Pozzo thermal baths, where waters arrive from Etna’s sulphureous base. 3 Indulge in traditional pastries

prepared with ricotta cheese and almond paste.

worldtravellermagazine.com 11


MARCH

Globetrotter

Be informed, be inspired, be there

DON’T BURST

THE BUBBLE

You can go glamping in the

Maldives thanks to the luxury

Beach Bubble tent at Finolhu.

Situated on a secluded stretch

of sandbank, the inflatable tent

is available exclusively for a one

night only experience under

the stars. At sunset, take the

short stroll to the bubble where

a beach barbecue awaits. After

dinner, tuck up and catch some

zzz’s so you can be up in time

to see the sunrise and have

breakfast by the water’s edge.

worldtravellermagazine.com 13


GLOBETROTTER

SLEEPING UNDER THE STARS

Get back to nature at these other great glamping set-ups around the world…

HATTA

Trailer treasure

This outdoorsy Dubai enclave

has had a trendy makeover

by Meraas to lure adventure

seekers, complete with cosy

lodges and vintage trailers to

bed down in along the bank

of Hatta Dam. After a restful

night’s sleep, get active by

setting off on a mountain

bike, going zorbing, ziplining,

or whizzing down the shoots

at the water jump park – you

can even test your skills at

axe throwing. It’s all part

of the Hatta Wadi Hub

experience (visithatta.com).

MALDIVES

Welcome to the jungle

Do the Maldives, safari-style,

by staying in the Jungle

Tented Villas at Fairmont

Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi.

In this secluded spot, you can

brave the wilderness from

your rustic abode, albeit with

a few little luxuries on hand,

including an outdoor rain

shower and roll-top tub.

The atoll is a 50-minute

seaplane ride from Malé

International Airport.

PORTUGAL

Carmo’s Boutique Hotel

Discover the traditions,

cultural heritage, and distinct

architecture of the beautiful

Minho region of Portugal

at this boutique hideaway,

which is nestled in the hills

of Ponte de Lima, the oldest

town in the country. Ditch

the more traditional rooms

in favour of the Portuguese

Colonial style luxury tent

experiences and you're

sure to feel at one with the

beautiful countryside. The

property is just 40 minutes

from Porto.

14 worldtravellermagazine.com


Whatever your vision of the perfect vacation – be it a fun family beach

holiday, honeymoon romance or just relaxing in beachfront exclusivity

– Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort offers a uniquely luxurious escape,

inspired by Thai exoticism and the heartbeat of Dubai.

Unwind in an enchanting Beach Pool Villa, with your very own private

infinity pool. Soak up tranquil Arabian Gulf views from your Over Water

Villa. Step straight from your room into the crystal clear waters of our

10,000 square metre lagoon pools. Culinary journeys excite with a

melange of mouthwatering flavours. The prestigious sanctuary of

Anantara Spa rejuvenates and renews, from a range of inspirational

treatments, to indulgent rituals in the Turkish Hammam.

LIFE IS A JOURNEY. Visit anantara.com

ANANTARA THE PALM DUBAI RESORT

P.O. BOX 71607, EAST CRESCENT, PALM JUMEIRAH, DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

T +971 4 567 8888 E resdubaipalm@anantara.com


GLOBETROTTER

Louvre InterContinental Abu Dhabi Shanghai Wonderland

ON OUR

RADAR

Holiday like Rami Malek, who

rates Mandarin Oriental,

Bodrum due to its

“tranquility and

peace”. The actor

is the newest

ambassador

for Mandarin

Oriental’s global

ad campaign “He’s

a Fan/She’s a Fan”.

NEW HOTELS

ADD TO ITINERARY

STAY... SHANGHAI

Nicknamed ‘the earthscraper’, the

subterranean InterContinental

Shanghai Wonderland in Sheshan has

been built directly into the side wall

of a quarry that was decommissioned

for over a decade. Just two floors are

above ground while 16 stretch below the

surface, with the lowest two submerged

inside an hypnotic aquarium.

RESERVE... BANGKOK

Set on the riverbank of the Chao

Phray, the ultra-luxurious, all-suite

Capella Bangkok, opening in Q2, is

courting tastemakers with its signature

restaurant by Michelin-starred chef

Mauro Colagreco and Asian spa

therapies. Chill at The Capella Living

Room, which brings the neighbourhood

vibe to life with its hip line-up of local

artisans, music and culinary events.

WAIT FOR IT... DUBAI

You’ll have to hold tight until

September, but when JA Lake View

Hotel opens, it’ll make JA The Resort

in Jebel Ali Dubai’s largest experience

resort. Adding a further 348 rooms and

suites to the 128-acre holiday haven, it

promises restaurant concepts driven

by Michelin-star chefs, three outdoor

swimming pools and a rooftop bar with

views of the golf course and the sea.

Be inspired by

The Emirates

Airline Festival

of Literature

in Dubai (1-9

March), which

has an engaging

line-up of sessions,

including the Happy

Ever After talk devoted to

crafting fairy-tale endings.

Monte-Carlo Société

des Bains de Mer in

Monaco boasts

the highest

number of

Michelin stars

of any resort in

Europe. The title

was clinched thanks to

a star recently awarded to Le

Grill (headed by Chef Franck

Cerutti), bringing the resort’s

total number to seven.

Travelling can take a toll on

your complexion,

but you can guard

against changes in climate,

pollutants, and other skin

stressors with the Aesop Dubai

kit, Dhs275, created especially

for city hoppers.

We’re loving the collab

between TUMI and fatherdaughter

duo Lenny and Zoë

Kravitz, which was shot in the

Bahamas. “It was amazing to

travel to the other

side of the island

for my first time

to see where my

family originated

from and to pay

respect to our

elders and those

who came before

us,” says Zoë.

worldtravellermagazine.com 17


GLOBETROTTER

The Coco Chanel Suite, Ritz Paris

Stylish stays

Passionate about luxury labels? We

shine a light on some of the most

fashionable hotels around…

FLORENCE

Rocco Forte, Hotel Savoy

x Emilio Pucci

Strut across the historic Piazza della

Repubblica and into the world of

Florentine fashion house Emilio Pucci at

Rocco Forte, Hotel Savoy, which features

choice touches throughout the lobby and

restaurant area, including statement black

and fuchsia cushions, velvet flower print

armchairs and a hand tufted rug featuring

the iconic Lamborghini print from the

Emilio Pucci Archives. The Maison has

also produced an exclusive scarf for

the property, which is encased in glass

table tops in the terrace restaurant, and

available to buy at the shop.

DUBAI

Palazzo Versace Dubai x

Donatella Versace

With its interiors showcasing the

Versace lifestyle, Palazzo Versace Dubai

epitomises grandeur and luxury in every

inch of its spacious rooms and suites. The

artistic direction of Donatella Versace

is evident throughout, with the Medusa

head, the Greek key and the house’s

legendary prints prominent – something

that’s captured especially well in the twobedroom

duplex Imperial Suites.

PARIS

Ritz Paris x Coco Chanel

“A girl should be two things: classy and

fabulous,” according to Coco Chanel,

who lived at Ritz Paris for more than 30

years and decorated her very own suite.

Today, you can revel in the grace and

refinement championed by the French

fashion designer by staying at The Coco

Chanel Suite, which reflects her love for

Asian lacquer, gilded mirrors and pairing

black with white.

Rocco Forte, Hotel Savoy

18 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD

MUST-SHOP

Shopping in Singapore isn’t confined to

Orchard Road and Marina Bay. You'll find

shopping malls and markets all around,

offering a mixture of international

and local brands, as well as must-have

keepsakes. Vivo City at Harbourfront and

Bugis Junction are also popular shopping

spots, and that's not forgetting the hip

Haji Lane. With an efficient and reliable

public transport system of buses, trains

and taxis, you can easily hop from one

shopping location to another in minutes.

PASSION PASSPORT

Discover the fabric of Singapore with these fresh

experiences curated for a memorable holiday

Famous for its striking attractions,

mouth-watering culinary scene, stellar

shopping and immersive tours and

experiences, dynamic Singapore has

something for everyone.

MUST-SEE

From the iconic Marina Bay Sands with its

dreamy infinity pool overlooking the city

skyline, to the award-winning Gardens

by the Bay, and the myriad attractions on

Sentosa (including Southeast Asia’s first

and only Universal Studios), you'll never

be bored here. More top attractions to

visit include the S.E.A. Aquarium, home

to more than 100,000 marine animals,

Madame Tussauds for its life-like

waxworks, and the suspended bridge over

the trees at the Tree Top Walk.

MUST-DO

What better way to enjoy a destination

than to experience it how the locals do?

Join one of the Passion Tours, which

have been especially curated to offer

a memorable, cultural experience.

From exploring vibrant Chinatown,

to eating your way around Little India,

discovering the ethnic Kampong

Glam neighbourhood, and much-loved

heritage area Katong, you can immerse

yourself in the colourful, aromatic DNA

of these precincts. Don’t miss the food

tours, which'll help you understand why

Singapore is known as foodie's paradise

and there are lots of museums and art

galleries to check out too.

MUST-EAT

Eating is a passion among Singaporeans

and you won't go hungry, with delicious

bites available in every corner of the

island state, come day or night.

Indeed, Singapore is a melting pot of

many cultures, resulting in a cuisine

that melds flavours, textures, aromas

and spices from Asia and beyond. Halal

and vegetarian food is easy to find. Flit

between affordable hawker centre food

stalls to fine dining restaurants – you'll

find Michelin-star food at both.

Find out more at visitsingapore.com

worldtravellermagazine.com 19


CREATE

SPECIAL

MOMENTS

WITH US.

Standing tall in the heart of

Dubai Marina, featuring

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of the city, combine the best

of all worlds with luxurious

accommodation, three

contemporary dining

destinations and a blissful

caravanserai-inspired, Saray Spa.

DUBAI MARRIOTT HARBOUR HOTEL & SUITES

KING SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ AL SAUD STREET

DUBAI MARINA, PO BOX 66662, DUBAI, UAE

T. 971.4.319.4000 | DUBAIMARRIOTTHARBOURHOTEL.COM

Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites

@marriottharbour


GLOBETROTTER

PRIVATE VIEWING

Art aficionados have another reason to travel this month, as the region

lifts the lid on a number of exciting events and acquisitions

Rembrandt van Rijn.

Head of a young

man, with clasped

hands: Study of the

Figure of Christ, ca.

1648-56. Oil and oak

panel. 25.5 x 20.1 cm.

© Louvre Abu Dhabi

/ Photo by Seeing

Things – Ismail Noor

Psst! Over in

Bahrain, ArtBAB

2019 (Art Bahrain

Across Borders)

is taking place

from 6-10 March

at Bahrain

Exhibitions &

Convention Centre,

shining a light on

the kingdom’s

contemporary

art scene.

Gilded masterpiece

If you’re a fan of the artistic movement of the Dutch Golden Age, you’ll be eager

to see the new Rembrandt acquisition at Louvre Abu Dhabi. The rare masterpiece,

Head of a Young Man, is one of the finest examples of Rembrandt’s seven surviving

oil sketches from the Face of Jesus group, and marks the first work by the Dutch

Master known to have been acquired for a public collection in the Gulf region. It’ll

be displayed permanently at the museum following its inclusion in the exhibition

Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden

Collection and the Musée du Louvre, which is taking place until 18 May.

Base – by Valentin Korzhov

HOLD YOUR GAZE

Featuring more than 90 galleries from 41 countries, Art Dubai is back (20-23 March) with a brand-new

structure, giving you greater access to artists and galleries from non-Western geographies

SEE. There are four main sections:

Contemporary, Modern, Residents,

and the new gallery Bawwaba. The

latter features 10 solo presentations

addressing themes of global migration,

socioeconomic structures and identity.

SHARE. Get involved in the programme

of talks – a highlight is the Modern

Symposium’s 60-minute masterclasses

mapping out the cultural shifts and

trends instigated by Baghdad, Beirut,

Dakar and Lahore in the 20th century.

STAY. Join the creative set staying at the

four hotels on-site at Madinat Jumeirah.

From the family-friendly Jumeirah Mina

A’Salam to the Arabian styled Jumeirah

Dar Al Masyaf summerhouses, you won’t

have to suffer for your art.

Chourouk Hriech, Exhibition view "De quoi ce monde

est-il le miroir?", 2017. Courtesy: ©Nicolas Giraud-Cacc,

courtesy of the artist Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou

Art Dubai Modern Symposium 2018,

courtesy of Photo Solutions

Gulf Arabian Suite, Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf

worldtravellermagazine.com 21


KNOW-HOW

The Knowledge

HOW TO...

Upgrade your travel experience

Julia Broome, product manager at dnata Travel, gives us the inside track

on some of the most frequently asked questions about travel

If I book trip at the last minute,

am I likely to get a better deal?

It depends on how flexible you’re

willing to be. Availability will always

naturally be pressed closer to the time

of travel and popular resorts, flights

and tours, for instance, more likely to

be occupied. Overall, it’s typically more

cost effective to book in advance. If

you are flexible, you may be able to

secure a last-minute deal to more of

an off-the-beaten-track destination.

Instead of travelling to France, for

example, try an up-and-coming

destination in Eastern Europe. Or you

could travel at an off-peak time.

Is there anything I can do to boost

my chance of a flight upgrade

without having to pay for it?

Joining frequent flyer programmes

is the best way. Each airline has a

different upgrade process, however,

for the majority, passengers that

reach the highest tier of the loyalty

programme are more likely to be

upgraded if the flight is overbooked.

Seasoned travellers and members

of such programmes will know that

dressing appropriately, and checking

in later, can sometimes provide a

better opportunity for an upgrade,

depending on availability. Travelling

solo and without excessive luggage

can also work in your favour, but

nothing is ever guaranteed.

If I want a room upgrade, is it best

to negotiate before I arrive or once

I’m there?

Join hotel brand loyalty programmes

to experience additional benefits

during your stay including potential

room upgrades. If you have a particular

room or suite in mind, it’s always best

to book in advance. You are less likely

to be upgraded if you have booked

Emirates airline Zero-gravity position in the Boeing 77 First Class Suites

the lowest tier of room, or if you are

looking to stay for a significant period

of time.

What are the key times of year

to keep an eye open for the best

holiday deals?

Hotels and airlines can have sales at

any time of year. In the lead up to

public holidays, long weekends and

school breaks, we will start to promote

our best deals in advance so always

look out for this. If you’re able to be

flexible, we’d recommend booking

your holiday at off-peak times or the

days directly before or after these

holidays commence.

When I’m booking through a

travel agent, are the prices I see

negotiable?

You have to be able to be flexible.

Cheaper sale airfares are restricted to

certain dates, for example. One of the

best reasons to book via a travel agent

is that they can help you to customise

your trip to achieve the best price

possible. If you are open to taking a

travel agent’s advice, they have the

knowledge and skills to find you the

best prices depending on variables

such as times, locations, flight duration,

group versus smaller tours and the like,

so can find the best solution for you.

Can I get a better price for paying

in full at time of booking?

Some hotels and resorts offer the

ability to pay a deposit and then the full

amount at the time of departure. When

accommodation or airlines have special

rates on, you typically have to pay in

full at the time of booking, but you

can benefit from cheaper rates. Hotels

can offer cheaper prices on a nonrefundable

basis so again it all depends

on how set you are on your chosen

holiday or how flexible you want to be.

22 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X LE MÉRIDIEN AL AQAH BEACH RESORT

Bundle of fun

Luring thrill seekers and beach bunnies alike,

discover this thrill-a-minute coastal retreat in Fujairah

Nestled between the Hajar Mountains and the

glistening Indian Ocean, the family-friendly

Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah

provides a scenic setting for a fun-filled weekend

away. Currently, there are some great deals to be had

on family staycations, with children under 12 staying

for free in their parent's room, and rates inclusive of

breakfast. Choose a sea-facing room for serene views.

You can dine around at the resort's nine

restaurants, each of which will take you on a culinary

journey to a different part of the world. Highlights

include the recently rejuvenated seafood restaurant

Gonu, located on the beachfront, where you can taste

the fresh catch of the day while lapping up the barefoot

vibe. Alternatively, Views Restaurant lays out a suitsall

themed buffet every evening.

Thrill seekers will be pleased to know that this is the

perfect place to unleash your adventurous side. Step

up to the Al Aqah Challenge, the first ever obstacle

rope course on the East Coast, where you can test

your skills at ziplining, climbing and abseiling. Little

ones can hit up the Le Méridien Family Club, where

they can take part in fun activities under the watchful

eye of childcare professionals. And when it's time to

relax, you can drift into a deep and peaceful state of

meditative bliss in Spa Al Aqah’s oasis of calm.

To find out more, call +971 9 244 9000

or visit marriott.com

worldtravellermagazine.com 23


24 worldtravellermagazine.com

STAY DIFFERENT WITH JUMEIRAH

THE FAIRER ESCAPE

Reconnect with the leading ladies in your life on

a pampering spa break, or at a girls' brunch, at

selected Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts in Dubai


WORLD TRAVELLER X JUMEIRAH

Strong, wise and ever-deserving of a

pampering break away, women are in the

spotlight this month with International

Women’s Day falling on 8 March. To mark

the occasion, Jumeirah has dreamt up a divine

Women’s Escape package, which invites you

on a revitalising stay and spa escape, with

lots of added extras for females in the party.

Whether you want to spend some quality

time with your best friend, or embark on a

multi-generational break away with your

nearest and dearest, this relaxing holiday

package is sure to bring you closer together.

There are five hotels participating: Jumeirah

Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Jumeirah

Al Qasr, Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf and Jumeirah

Mina A’Salam. Whichever property you choose

to stay at, you’ll be treated to the same great

benefits, including a welcome glass of bubbly

with chocolate and strawberries for every

female guest. With daily breakfast included,

you'll be all set to take advantage of unlimited

access to the two-kilometre-long private

beach, Wild Wadi Waterpark, and state-of-

Rise and shine to

views of Burj Al Arab

the-art facilities at Talise Fitness. Plus, female

guests can wave goodbye to tension thanks to

the 60-minute Swedish massage at the awardwinning

Talise Spa*. And with late check-out

until 2pm, you won’t be in a rush to leave.

The offer is valid until 19 December 2019,

simply use the code JWOMEN upon booking.

To find out more, visit

jumeirah.com/womensescape

Ladies Who

Brunch

Grab your girlfriends

and head to the recently

renovated Jumeirah Beach

Hotel, where there's a

brand-new bubbly brunch

especially for women. Tuck

into the buffet brimming with

seafood, oysters, sushi and

sashimi, before heading to

the full roast lunch station

for a traditional dinner with

all the trimmings, or feasting

on homemade dim sum,

pizza and pasta. There’s also

a gluten-free section and

dedicated vegan kitchen

serving dishes cooked to

order, as well as healthy

superfood juices.

If you want to bring the

kids along, they’ll have

plenty to entertain them at

the supervised children’s

area. Even better, you can

drop your other half at the

Husband Creche in Kitchen

Connection where they’ll be

occupied with drinks on tap,

delicious bites, a library of

newspapers and magazines,

and table football.

Glitter make-up artists

bring a festival vibe and

there's a photobooth for

snapping some take-home

memories. Carry on the party

by using your voucher for an

additional drink or glass of

fizz at Uptown Bar or Beach

Lounge, enjoyed to sunset

views of Burj Al Arab.

Ladies Who Brunch takes

place at Kitchen Connection,

Jumeirah Beach Hotel, every

Friday from 1-4pm. Dhs415 for

the soft drink package, with a

free upgrade to the bubbles

package for ladies.

* For up to two ladies per group, once per stay

Wave goodbye to

tension at Talise Spa

worldtravellermagazine.com 25


These pages:

Dancers at the

Rio Carnival

26 worldtravellermagazine.com


SPRING BREAK

Where to do

SPRING

Spring is in the air, the

season of renewal, the

perfect time to get

away and recharge

before the long hot

summer strikes. We’ve

got the lowdown on

how to do it, any way

you like it…

worldtravellermagazine.com 27


in the city

New York

The Big Apple’s weather

can be extreme, with

bone-chilling winters and

scorching-hot summers,

which means spring is

the sweet spot. Catch

the acclaimed Warhol

retrospective at the Whitney

Museum of American Art

(until March 31), and explore

the brand-new Hudson

Yards neighbourhood,

which this month opens

its first shops, restaurants

and cultural attractions

on Manhattan’s west side.

In May, the new Statue of

Liberty Museum opens

on Liberty Island, with

multimedia displays and

iconic artefacts including

Lady Liberty’s original torch.

WHERE TO STAY: The Edition

has 273 sophisticated rooms

– the best overlook the

Empire State Building – and

a Michelin-starred restaurant

by Jason Atherton.

Paris

Paris is always a good idea,

especially in springtime.

As cherry blossoms and

chestnuts start to bloom,

make the most of the city’s

glorious gardens and then

park yourself at a pavement

café to sip café crème

and people-watch. After

you’ve done the big-name

sights, explore lesser-known

locales such as the 11th

arrondissement. Check out

L’Atelier des Lumières – the

city’s first digital museum of

fine art – and refuel at the

Michelin-starred Septime

(reservations essential)

or the seafood-focused

Clamato next door.

WHERE TO STAY: Near

the Champs-Élysées, the

40-room La Réserve is a

fashion editor favourite

with a luxurious spa

and two-Michelin-star

restaurant, Le Gabriel.

Copenhagen

As Copenhagen wakes

from its winter hibernation,

you’ll discover a city that’s

equal parts Scandi cool and

storybook charm. To get a

feel for Denmark’s capital,

take a canal boat tour past

must-see sights including

the Amalienborg Palace

and Little Mermaid statue.

But to experience the city

like the locals do, hire a

bike and whizz around on

two wheels. Design fans

should make a beeline

for the Denmark Design

Museum, while foodies

can savour the seasonal

seafood menu at Noma.

WHERE TO STAY: Near the

royal palace, Hotel Skt.

Annae has 145 rooms in

neutral tones, as well as a

buzzy Italian restaurant.

28 worldtravellermagazine.com


SPRING BREAK

Amsterdam

Home to gable-lined canals

and treasure-packed

museums, the Dutch

capital is a popular city

break destination yearround.

Come springtime,

Amsterdam bursts into

bloom during tulip season,

which can last until early

May, while the annual King’s

Day celebrations take place

on April 27. Pack some

orange threads and join the

crowds for one of Europe’s

biggest street parties, with

live music and markets. Art

lovers, meanwhile, should

pre-book tickets online

for fast-track entry to the

world-famous Rijksmuseum

and Van Gogh Museum.

WHERE TO STAY: In the hip

Noord neighbourhood, Sir

Adam Hotel has 108 rooms,

a gourmet burger joint and

a fun rock n' roll vibe.

Ljubljana

It may be small in size, but

Slovenia's charming capital

makes a big impression.

At this time of year, café

tables start to spill onto

the car-free streets of the

Old Town, while locals stroll

along the leafy banks of

the Ljubljanica River which

flows through the city. Take

the funicular to the 16thcentury

castle that hovers

above the city, resplendent

with Baroque architecture,

then head to the Museum

Quarter to browse the

exhibitions at the Museum

of Contemporary Art.

WHERE TO STAY: In the

Old Town, Vander has 20

cool and contemporary

rooms, along with a

rooftop pool and trendy

Slovenian restaurant.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio’s rainforest-meets-beach

scenery and samba-fuelled

spirit make it a bucket-list

destination. If you don’t

mind the crowds, visit the

Marvellous City in March for

Carnival, the biggest weeklong

party in the world.

Samba dancers parade

in exotic costumes, while

drum beats ring out from

every corner of the city and

revellers boogie at exuberant

blocos (street parties). The

post-party weather remains

warm, so you can spend your

days lazing on Copacabana

beach, hiking up Sugarloaf

Mountain, and exploring the

city’s world-class museums,

including the Oscar

Niemeyer-designed Museum

of Contemporary Art.

WHERE TO STAY: In

upmarket Ipanema, the

91-room Hotel Fasano

features a mid-century

aesthetic, rooftop infinity

pool and contemporary

seafood restaurant.

Cherry blossoms

in Kyoto, Japan

Opposite: View from

Central Park, New York

This page, from top to

bottom:Paris, Amsterdam

NATURAL

SPRING #1

During this time of the

year, blush-hued posies

plunge from the trees to

make pools of pink on the

normally spotless roads

of Kyoto. Springtime in

this city (once the capital

of Japan) is synonymous

with Hanami (flower

viewing), the centuriesold

tradition of enjoying

the blooming cherry

trees, resplendent in pink.

Though Kyoto is the

country's most popular

destination for flowerwatchers,

cherry trees

blossom across Japan,

starting in the south

and moving northward.

Yet the bloom is shortlived,

typically lasting a

just a couple of weeks.

As such, the Japan

Meteorological Agency

issues an annual forecast

to predict the dates that

the buds will bloom. JT

worldtravellermagazine.com 29


SPRING BREAK

of f-grid

WHERE TO

POWER DOWN

IN STYLE

1On one remarkable

island, where flocks

of flamingos wade in

a mangrove lagoon and

a coalition of cheetahs

roam the land, are three

equally remarkable resorts

comprising Anantara Sir Bani

Yas Island. Each sets a slow

pace you'll succumb to in an

instant.

2One of the most unique

(and remote) resorts in

the world, the multiaward-winning

Amangiri

neighbours the largest Native

American reservation in the

US, from where it blends

into some 600 acres of

raw beauty in Utah's 'red

rock' landscape of canyons,

mountains, rapids and desert.

3

A legendary resort

hidden within the

sweeping sand dunes

of a wildlife rich conservation

reserve, at Al Maha Desert

Resort & Spa you can switch

off beneath a nightly show

of stars after a day spent

watching the graceful Arabia

oryx saunter passed your

infinity pool. An easy escape

from the bustling big city

that never fails to enchant.

4Backdropped by

the World Heritagelisted

Greater Blue

Mountains, Emirates

One&Only Wolgan Valley

invites guests to explore their

spectacular surrounds (on

bike or horseback) which

are alive with native animals,

before seeing sunset from

their soaking tub.

Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai

Amangiri

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

30 worldtravellermagazine.com


A TOUCH OF ARABIA

Explore Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, a Marriott luxury lifestyle hotel

located right in the heart of the world-famous Jumeirah Beach. An “exactly like nothing else” experience

offers the best of both worlds for business and leisure travelers. The resort features 14 themed restaurants

and bars, meeting venues and extensive recreation facilities with an immaculate private beach and spa.

Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection

Al Falea Street, Jumeirah Beach | Dubai, UAE | T. +971 4 399 5000 | F. +971 4 399 4547

www.marriott.com/dxbhg


SPRING BREAK

by the water

The Maldives

With white-sand beaches

and balmy temperatures

averaging 28.5°C yearround,

the scattered isles

of the Maldives make an

idyllic getaway at any time

of year. But the spring

shoulder season brings

fewer crowds (bar the

Easter break, of course)

so you’ll have no trouble

finding a secluded patch of

sand to work on your tan.

Conditions are also perfect

for snorkelling and diving

among coral reefs, while

whale shark sightings are

all but guaranteed in

the South Ari Atoll.

WHERE TO STAY: On a

powdery, postage-stamp

sized island, JA Manafaru

packs in idyllic experiences

and fine dining to boot.

Bali

As the rainy season comes

to an end and the mercury

stays high, spring is a great

time to visit Bali. Head to

the south coast for palmfringed

beaches, pumping

surf breaks and hip beach

clubs, then find your zen in

the lush highlands of Ubud,

home to wellness retreats,

terraced rice fields and Tomb

Raider-style temples. This

month, join thousands of

yogis from across the globe

for workshops and world

music at Ubud’s annual Bali

Spirit Festival (March 24-31).

WHERE TO STAY: Overlooking

Echo Beach in the island's

south, the Como Uma

Canggu resort boasts a

swanky spa, buzzing beach

club and huge lagoon pool.

Udaipur

On the shores of Lake

Pichola, Rajasthan’s most

romantic city seduces

travellers with its magnificent

palaces, whitewashed havelis

and maze of tightly winding

streets. Summer is scorching,

but low season brings hot

32 worldtravellermagazine.com


Opposite: JA Manafaru

This page, from top to

bottom: COMO Uma Canggu;

Taj Lake Palace

weather and fewer crowds,

so you can explore the sights

at your own pace. Cruise the

shimmering lake, admire the

peacock mosaics at the City

Palace, and catch a nightly

screening at a rooftop café

of James Bond’s Octopussy,

filmed here in the eighties.

WHERE TO STAY: With 83

opulent rooms and roundthe-clock

butlers, Taj Lake

Palace is an all-white marble

dream that seemingly

floats on the lake.

Ibiza

Before the midsummer

madness ensues, the White

Island feels like a tranquil

slice of paradise. With clear

skies and temperatures

nudging 20°C in April and

May, Ibiza’s pine-clad hills

are perfect for hiking and

mountain biking – although

it's tempting to spend your

days lazing on crowd-free

beaches and swimming in

remote rocky coves. Dine

among locals in quaint

villages such as Santa

Gertrudis and Es Cubells, and

shop for unique handicrafts

in arty Sant Carles de Peralta

and Sant Rafel de sa Creu.

WHERE TO STAY: In a

19th-century farmhouse

near Santa Gertrudis, the

boutique Cas Gasi has just

12 rooms, plus a spa, yoga

deck and outdoor pool.

Ohrid

In the newly named Republic

of North Macedonia, this

picturesque town on the

edge of Lake Ohrid is the

country’s most popular

tourist destination.

Outside of July and August,

Ohrid is still, somehow,

an undiscovered idyll

of cobblestone streets,

medieaval buildings and

lakeside cafés. Wander

around the Old Town,

sunbathe at rocky beaches

and visit the Fortress of

Tsar Samoil for the best

lake views. Just out of town,

Galicica National Park,

situated on Mount Galicica,

is a biodiversity hotspot

dotted with hiking trails.

WHERE TO STAY: With

gorgeous lake views, the

four-star Park Lakeside

Hotel has an outdoor

pool and 49 modern

rooms and apartments.

Sydney

March may signal the start

of spring in the northern

hemisphere, but it’s autumn

Down Under. Daytime

temperatures hover in the

low 20s and the harbour

city’s relaxed outdoors

lifestyle is still in full swing.

Stroll along the spectacular

clifftop coastal trail from

Bondi to Bronte – keep your

eyes peeled for migrating

humpbacks in May – and

pack your glad rags for the

Sydney Autumn Racing

Carnival, the city’s biggest

horse-racing festival held

over six weeks in March

and April.

WHERE TO STAY: The

200-room QT Sydney has

highly Instagrammable

interiors and a so-called

Director of Chaos to help

craft unique experiences.

NATURAL

SPRING #2

Whale feeding at

Glacier Bay, Alaska

During the spring,

humpback whales travel

to the 5,000-squarekilometre

Glacier Bay

National Park, on the

southern tip of Alaska.

And they do so for one

reason; food. Back from

their fast from winter

season, these colossal

mammals will feed here

for the entire summer to

fill their empty stomachs.

Serving as a humpback

whale sanctuary, the

mammals benefit from

Glacier Bay's strict

protection, which has

resulted in a steady rise

in the number of whales

spotted every year. Along

with the chance to see

these serene mammals

up close, springtime at

Glacier Bay bestows

spectacular scenery

(most of the snow has

melted, allowing the

green of the mountains

to peek through) and

a chance to see the

aurora borealis. JT

worldtravellermagazine.com 33


SPRING BREAK

on the move

FOR THOSE

IN NEED OF

ADVENTURE

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

1The alien-like landscape

of Turkey's Cappadocia

region is among the

world's most dramatic - all

distinctive cone-shaped

rock formations lovingly

christened 'fairy chimneys'

and Bronze-age homes

carved into cave walls. For

a view of it that is equally

wondrous, book a balloon

ride, best taken as the sun

rises to illuminate all below.

2

Nothing

represents the

style and glamour of

a bygone era of travel

quite like a train. And no train

does it quite like the Venice

Simplon-Orient-Express,

which made its first journey

from Paris to Venice back

in 1883. You can take the

same trip in April, departing

springtime Paris and arriving

next day in the City of Water.

3

Take

the strain out

of travel this season

by cruising your way

across the Mediterranean

aboard the flagship Costa

Diadema. You'll fly in for a

night in Barcelona (spend

it dining at the restaurant

Disfrutar) before seven nights

at sea and stop-offs in the

likes of Civitavecchia, your

gateway to Rome and its

myriad ancient wonders.

4

Swathes

of bright and

blooming wildflowers

(and a merciful lack of

fellow visitors) make driving

the Amalfi Coast an absolute

joy in spring, winding around

cliff-hugging roads that

bestow astonishing views.

Gaudi's Casa Batlló in Barcelona

Balloons over Cappadocia

Amalfi Coast

34 worldtravellermagazine.com


in the country

Gidleigh Park, England

Hidden in a peaceful valley

on the edge of Dartmoor

National Park in Devon, this

postcard-perfect country

house hotel features Tudorstyle

architecture and classic

English interiors (antique

furniture, wood panelling,

stone fireplaces). The 24

individually-decorated

rooms come with giant

marshmallow beds and

roll-top baths, while a

two-bedroom thatchedroof

cottage overlooks

the croquet lawn. There’s

a tennis court, bowling

green and 18-hole putting

course, but most guests

come here for the Michelinstarred

restaurant. The menu

features traditional, pareddown

British dishes, such

as salt-aged beef with

potato terrine and

cauliflower purée, with

seasonal ingredients often

sourced from the hotel’s

own vegetable garden.

Montali Country

House, Italy

High on a hilltop in

Umbria with views of

Lake Trasimeno, Montali

is a rustic country house

hotel with a difference:

Brazilian-born chef Malu

Musacchio serves purely

vegetarian cuisine. Sublime

dishes such as ravioli with

truffle and saffron risotto

will convert even the most

devout meat-eater, while soft

balls of mozzarella drizzled

with olive oil equals Italian

simplicity at its best. Nestled

among an olive grove, the

converted farmhouse has

nine comfortable rooms

with traditional stone walls

and tiled floors. Days are

best spent lazing by the

sun-dappled pool, with

occasional sorties to nearby

Perugia, Assisi and Siena.

Villa La Coste, France

Surrounded by 600 acres

of rolling vineyards, pine

forests and lavender fields in

Provence, this contemporary

hotel features artworks by

the likes of Damien Hirst

and Ai Weiwei. There are

28 villa-style suites with

all-white interiors, cleanlined

furniture and marble

bathrooms; 10 come with

private pools, while all have

muslin-draped four-poster

beds and private terraces

offering bucolic valley views.

Once you’ve settled in, head

to the sleek spa for salt scrub

exfoliations, mud massages

and frankincense facials.

All three restaurants serve

organic produce from the

36 worldtravellermagazine.com


SPRING BREAK

Opposite: Gidleigh Park

This page, from top to

bottom: Four Seasons Resort

Chiang Mai; Santani Wellness

Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka

garden, but the highlight is

the Argentinian restaurant by

star chef Francis Mallman.

Four Seasons Resort

Chiang Mai, Thailand

For those who prefer lush

countryside and elephant

sanctuaries to swaying palm

trees and coral reefs, this

tranquil resort in northern

Thailand ticks all the boxes.

Dotted among the rice fields

are 64 pitched-roof pavilions

and 12 pool villas, along with

all the five-star facilities

you’d expect, including a

nirvana-inducing spa and

resident yogi. The signature

restaurant serves lesserknown

local dishes such as

crispy catfish with tangerine,

while the acclaimed

cooking school is a must

for gourmands. But what

really sets this resort apart

are the individually-tailored

experiences, from planting

rice with local farmers to art

classes with a watercolourist.

Santani Wellness Resort

& Spa, Sri Lanka

On a former tea plantation

near Kandy, Santani is Sri

Lanka’s first dedicated

wellness resort. The 20

hillside villas are deliberately

minimalist – think polished

concrete floors, floor-toceiling

windows and teak

beds draped in mosquito

netting – to promote rest

and relaxation. There’s a

similarly stripped-back

aesthetic in the spa, with

a thermal salt pool, cedarwood

sauna and open-air

treatment rooms. There’s

an Ayurvedic doctor on

hand to diagnose your

dosha, daily yoga, and

meditation classes, plus

hiking trails through lush rice

fields. The dress code for

dinner is ‘barefoot’ and the

customised cuisine – ranging

from cleansing to ketogenic

– is healthy and delicious.

Castell Son

Claret, Spain

Set on a rambling private

estate in the foothills of the

Tramuntana Mountains,

Castell Son Claret is

Mallorca’s most exceptional

hideaway. There are just

38 neutral-hued rooms

spread throughout the

18th-century manor house

and former stables; some

boast private pools and

all have sun-trap terraces.

Active travellers can fill

their days with tennis and

hiking, while sybarites will

love the blue-tiled pool

and subterranean spa.

Meanwhile, Zaranda is the

only the two-star Michelin

restaurant in the Balearics.

NATURAL

SPRING #3

Damask roses on

Al Jabal Al Akhdar

Peaking at 2,500 metres

above sea level, Oman's

Al Jabal Al Akhdar

(commonly known as

Green Mountain) is where

one of the world’s oldest

roses adds colour to

rugged mountain terrain.

Indeed, from the end

of March through April,

scores of the dusty pink

damask roses mask

the mountain range,

infusing the air with

their fragrance. Stay

at Anantara Al Jabal

Akhdar Resort at this

time of year and you can

fully immerse yourself in

this seasonal highlight

by meeting the local

families who continue the

centuries-old tradition of

making rose water from

the damask bounty. JT

worldtravellermagazine.com 37


WORLD TRAVELLER X QASR AL SARAB DESERT RESORT BY ANANTARA

Full of promise

For a quintessential Arabian desert adventure, look no further than this luxurious

resort nestled deep within Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter

Grains of golden sand dance across

the dunes, arabesque music fills

the air and the flickering flames

of the campfire lend a magical glow to the

Bedouin style dinner setting. What may

sound like an Arabian dream is delivered on

a golden platter to travellers who journey to

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara,

a resort that’s sure to earn a place on your

wish list due to its unique blend of Arabian

heritage, culture and luxury.

Located in the majestic Empty Quarter

(the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the

world), it feels a million miles away from

the capital, yet is just a two-hour drive from

Abu Dhabi’s Western region (Al Gharbia).

If you’re feeling flash, however, you can zip

there via helicopter in 50 minutes flat.

Emerging like a mirage amid the dunes,

this fortress-like resort offers relaxation and

adventure in equal measure. Rooms feature

hand-crafted furnishings made by local

artisans that evoke the spirit of Bedouin

culture. Stunning desert views come as

standard, so you feel fully immersed in your

surroundings at all times.

There’s so much more to do than gaze

at the shifting sands, however, thanks to

the extensive line-up of experiences that

make the most of the landscape’s rugged

beauty. From traversing the dunes atop

a camel to zooming over the sand in a

four-wheel drive and learning more about

the region’s fascinating heritage during

the falcon and saluki show, your passion

for adventure will be fired up here. There’s

ample opportunity to try something new,

from off-roading at your own pace on a fat

bike to renting a sandboard (it's Arabia’s

answer to snowboarding), and taking the

kids on an educational walk to learn more

about local fauna.

After a day of activity, Anantara Spa calls

you to unwind with a soothing treatment.

A highlight is the Moroccan hammam,

although the desert fusion massage

combining hot stone and Liwa sand massage

techniques is something out of the ordinary.

Dining against a desert backdrop never

gets old. For the most Instagrammable

views, head to The Sunset Lounge for

drinks. Next, make your way to Al Falaj

for a traditional dining experience. Get

comfortable on the floor cushions and let

the hypnotic sound of the qanun unwind

the mind as you tuck into delicious Middle

Eastern grills under a blanket of stars.

To find out more, call +971 2 886 2088

or visit anantara.com

38 worldtravellermagazine.com


Deluxe Twin Room with balcony

Al Falaj restaurant

Villa with private pool

Moroccan hammam

worldtravellermagazine.com 39


ESCAPE TO EUROPE

THIS SPRING

Make the most of the season with a holiday

package to Europe. With our city break

offers, experience the delights of

Madrid, Milan, Geneva, Vienna, Paris

or London. Take in the culture,

shop for the latest fashion or

indulge in some of the

world’s best cuisine.

Book at dnatatravel.com

call 800 DNATA (36282) or

speak to us in-store

Download our app

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Postcards

Stories from journeys

far and wide

TOKYO p42

SEYCHELLES p48

Constance Ephelia, Mahé, Seychelles

CANADA p54

worldtravellermagazine.com 41


TOKYO

The rush of Tokyo is bewitching, but often

bewildering. When you hit overload, retreat to

its quiet corners, says former resident Alicia

Miller. Then you’ll see the city like a local:

electric and serene, in equal measure

42 worldtravellermagazine.com


LAOS

These pages, from left:

All quiet as a lone

taxi crosses the Ginza

intersection: the sky-high

spa at Aman Tokyo

worldtravellermagazine.com 43


n the shadows the whitecloaked

master works

slowly, rhythmically –

painstakingly executing

his ritual with reverence.

His tools are basic, but no

matter. He has done it all

before, a thousand times

over, cloistered in this tiny,

dimly lit room — creamwalled,

fringed in polished wood, bare,

but not unfriendly. Seated in a semicircle

around his workspace is a hushed

audience of eight — myself included.

Entranced, we feel like intruders on

his sacred task. No-one dares disturb

Gen Yamamoto as he toils. After 10

minutes of tap-tap-tapping and swishswish-swishing

in the darkness, he’s

ready. He reaches across the gleaming

wooden bar and presents me with the

precious fruit of his labour: a juicy pear

cocktail. It’s a taste of nature’s simplicity

in this manic, modern megacity.

In Tokyo, many things are not what

they seem. Contradictions are rife: the

sky-scraping, technicolour tangle of the

transport-hub Shinjuku is futuristic —

with robot-themed eateries and lavish

department stores — yet locals prefer

to flock to old-school, cash-only ramen

joints in ramshackle alleyways. Service

in shops is endlessly polite, yet there’s

nothing courteous about the metro:

no sharp elbow on the planet is more

eviscerating than the one served up on

the Yamanote Line come rush hour.

Most contradictory of all is that,

for all the city’s chaotic, unrelenting

backdrop of swallow-you-whole neon

glitz, thronging masses and brash

consumerism, you can find serenity. And

in the most unexpected of places. It is the

clash of rampant and placid that makes

Tokyo, well, Tokyo. Home to more than

13 million people, to the uninitiated the

city is an uncharted ocean, a mercurial

monolith. But dig deeper, and you’ll

find an ancient, sedate side waiting to

be discovered. Escaping the crowds is

easy, if you know where to look — and

necessary, I realised on this return

visit, in order to preserve your sanity.

I lived in Tokyo during my party-loving

early 20s and I couldn’t get enough of its

flashy scene. Returning 10 years later,

it’s a different story: I found myself

overwhelmed by its brash vastness.

These pages, clockwise

from above: Women wearing

kimonos walk through lit paper

lanterns at Yasukuni Shrine;

Mount Fuji backdrops the

Tokyo skyline; a traditional

tiny restaurant in 'memory

lane'; street art in electronics

shopping district Akihabara

44 worldtravellermagazine.com


TOKYO


LOCALS PREFER

TO FLOCK TO

OLD-SCHOOL,

CASH-ONLY

RAMEN JOINTS

IN RAMSHACKLE

ALLEYWAYS


On my first morning, the crush of

Shibuya, the trendy shopping district,

left me breathless. At the famed Shibuya

crossing, the illuminated, advert-flooded

intersection — Piccadilly Circus on

steroids — crowds scurried like ants

across zebra crossings. Every direction

provided a fresh assault: hole-in-thewall

katsu curry bars, their plastic food

displays pulling weary-eyed tourists

into dingy basements; CD emporiums

pumping out syrupy J-pop tunes; queues

snaking from $2 sushi joints; purplehaired

girls chattering outside malls.

Of course, in Tokyo, the gaudy chaos

is a ‘sight’ in itself — so, despite the

hectic scene, I progressed. Rubbing the

jet lag from my eyes, I wove through the

thicket, heading north past lanes lined

with shoe shops and towering homeware

stores. I passed through the vintage

boutiques of rammed, pedestrianised

Cat Street; I perused the bizarre anime

merchandise at bewildering megashop

Kiddy Land. Before long I was

in Harajuku, Tokyo’s teen-fashion

epicentre, and bravely turned left onto

Takeshita Street. Whatever madness

had come before, it had nothing on this:

hundreds, no thousands, of kids, a tidal

wave rushing into discount sunglasses

shops and out of cat cafés. Music was

blaring from every direction; cloudlike

puffs of rainbow cotton candy and

bags of chocolate-smothered crisps

were passed around by the dozen.

And then, as if it wasn’t squeezy

enough, along came a matsuri – a

traditional Japanese festival procession.

Where men and women in traditional

happi coats bounced a golden shrine

through the crowd, chanting excitedly.

Once I reached the end of the street —

it was just 400m, but it took more than

an hour — I siphoned myself off from

the human tide. I could have carried

on with the flow, bound for the famed

Meiji shrine, a grand series of wooden

buildings in a sprawling nearby park.

But experience told me that today — a

Saturday — any sliver of tranquillity

would be shattered by camera-clicking

hordes and ooh-aahing tourists. I wasn’t

22 anymore, and rather than more

insanity, what I needed was a break.

I fixed a quick plan: after a 20-minute

zip on the metro, I stepped out from

Gokokuji station, in central Tokyo’s

worldtravellermagazine.com 45


TOKYO

northwest. I strode towards the 17thcentury

Gokoku-ji building, directly

ahead, passed under its grand red gate

and was plunged into another world.

Apart from a handful of grey-haired

local ladies shuffling up the stone steps,

there was no-one around. I had visited

this place a decade before, at the time

thinking the low-key vibe was rather

dull. But now, I seized the silence,

wandering past statues and vast wooden

structures that had survived WWII

bombings, padding through a room

festooned in ornate gold decorations, and

switching off to the rustle of a gnarled

pine tree. Scores of cats prowled eerily

around gravestones, my only company

until a monk momentarily darted

by, his robes flicking behind him.

The whole serene scene was a different

Tokyo, one I could now fully appreciate

— and, impatient as I was to soak it up,

it was a full, contemplative hour before,

placidly, I stumbled out. I was a relative

skip from crazy Shibuya — but there

were no skyscrapers, few shops and

hardly any people. Instead, wandering

south towards the undulating Kanda

River, I saw little houses framed with

flower pots, and tiny noodle bars with

makeshift signs. Had it not been for the

luminous vending machines glimmering

at every corner, I would have thought

I’d gone back in time. Eventually, a

thin alley led me past a clutch of art

museums, before spitting me out on the

leafy riverfront walkway. And there, cut

from a creamy wall, was a tile-roofed

entranceway to Chinzanso Garden.

I’d forgotten how verdant Tokyo

can be. From Imperial Palace parks

to regal Hamarikyu gardens, little

landscaped patchworks of green provide

figurativeand literal breaths of fresh

air among the cityscape’s suffocating

intensity. Inside Chinzanso, among

twisted trees and winding paths, I

discovered craggy stone carvings, a

pond fed by tinkling waterfalls, red

tori shrine gates with a string of

prayer notes fluttering in the breeze.

Glamorous Japanese newlyweds,

taking a pause from their wedding

festivities in the nearby hotel, posed for

pictures in front of blooms. I climbed


LITTLE

LANDSCAPED

PATCHWORKS OF

GREEN PROVIDE

FIGURATIVE

AND LITERAL

BREATHS OF

FRESH AIR


uphill to a three-storey wooden pagoda,

a creaky, half-century-old witness to the

city’s transformation. In the distance

rose a contrasting clutch of new buildings

— the frenetic concrete city pushing

against this lush green pocket. For now,

at least, it couldn’t quite reach us.

As evening descends in Tokyo, you feel

the city revving up — doubling its electric

energy to fever pitch. Below the rainbow

signs blinking in the darkness, waves of

identikit office workers rush from office

to bar in a messy jumble; at 6pm, the

city collectively loosens its tie in smoky

yakitori grill bars. But up in my hotel, the

Aman Tokyo, I felt none of it. It was my

second day, and I had spent it huddled

under an umbrella, exploring clogged

Ginza — the ritzy designer-shopping

area by Tokyo station. It was exhaustingly

busy, especially in the rain; but a short

walk and a zippy, 34-floor elevator ride

had catapulted me far above the insanity.

Tokyo is famous for its soaring

buildings, but they do more than provide

much-needed extra living space —

they’re veritable floating oases above

the city’s earthly rush. Up here, seen

from the hotel spa, the buzzing traffic

looked like toy models, the tower-block

lights like flickering stars. In Aman’s

dark-slate infinity pool in the sky,

lined with floor-to-ceiling windows, I

could paddle in peace, recouping my

energy. I could laze on fluffy loungers

and sip nutty, roasted hojicha tea,

watching the mesmerising show unfold

below. It was so very peaceful... Dare

I say, after a while, a tad too peaceful.

Because, however much Ginza’s earlier

crowds had tired me out, I didn’t feel

quite ready to hole up for the night.

46 worldtravellermagazine.com


TOKYO

Credit: Alicia Miller/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

Maybe it was just fond old memories

beckoning me to play. In any case, the

pull of the Tokyo night felt too strong.

I soon found myself emerging from

Akihabara station, in the city’s weird,

wonderful electronics district. Lights

throbbed; adverts for gaming arcades

covered every facade. Electronics megashops

such as Bic Camera — selling

everything from cult action figures to

rice cookers — encircled the station;

‘maid’ cafés jostled with warren-like DVD

shops. I stepped into quirky, only-in-

Japan superstore Don Quijote in search

of souvenirs. It was packed. I persevered

through endless floors briming with fake

horse heads and peculiar beauty

products, emerging with a cutprice

haul of my favourite Japanese

sweets and facial sheet masks

infused with green tea.

The clock hands were inching towards

11pm — these days my usual bedtime

— but the frenzied mob spurred me

onwards. Tokyo’s not ready to call it a

night, so why should I? I elbowed my

way through the crowds to a karaoke

bar, where I met an old Japanese friend

for a nostalgic singalong. As we were

guided to our private room, the din from

outside became increasingly muffled.

Curling up in our cosy, cushy space —

that Tokyo chaotic-calm contradiction

again — we ordered pizzas. Sheltered

from the mayhem outside, microphones

in hand, song catalogues in our laps,

we drank and sang dramatic, cheesy

power ballads — Bonnie Tyler, Bryan

Adams, you name it — until we were

hoarse, and very late became very early.

Over the next two days, further

glimmers of my twentysomething self

were teased out by Tokyo’s frenetic

energy — I was falling back in love.

But whenever my stamina wavered, a

moment of peace was always waiting.

Behind crowd-crammed Senso-ji

temple, a stop on every tourist’s hit list, I

discovered sleepy shopping arcades with

kitchenware shops and old-school hotpot

eateries. After braving frantic Odaiba,

a Disneyesque mallscape with a replica

of the Statue of Liberty, I caught my

breath on a relaxed riverboat ride. On my

final night, I booked myself into a swish

restaurant, Sushi Kokoro. After a busy

day museum-hopping, tranquillity here

was practically guaranteed: intimate

This page: Garden Lounge

at Aman Tokyo

omakase (chef’s choice) sushi spots such

as this are famous for being respectfully

hushed, as diners watch chefs prepare

artful courses in awed silence.

At 7pm, I pushed open the door and

my chef-host, Oba-san, welcomed me

with a polite smile. I joined seven other

guests — together we filled the counter

restaurant — and began the noiseless

gourmet parade. We greeted a goblet

of silky salmon roe with silent nods

of approval. A blushing pink prawn

was met with a shy ‘arigato’ (thank

you). But the drinks were flowing, and

somewhere between the gleaming

silver mackerel and the creamy sea

urchin, a Japanese salaryman next

to me turned, practising his English

with a simple ‘Where are you from?’

A switch had been flipped, and the

raucous descent began. Soon, all nine

of us — Oba-san included — were

doubled-up with giggles, wolfing down

nigiri with cries of delight. Group

photos were snapped, email addresses

were swapped, and as we finished

our meal with a simple flourish —

a handful of sweet grapes — we

decided to carry down the road. As we

tottered out of the restaurant, Tokyo

was, for once, cloaked in midnight

silence. But only for a moment.

Because that rare, sleepy stillness

was suddenly shattered — by the

sound of my own crackling laughter.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

+971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com

worldtravellermagazine.com 47


XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Paradise doesn’t have to be deathly dull.

Alongside the Seychelles’ perfect beaches,

Ed Grenby finds giant tortoises, edible bats

and a local party scene

48 worldtravellermagazine.com


These pages: Four Seasons

Resort Seychelles at

Desroches Island

SEYCHELLES

I’m pretty sure George & Amal

— headed to the same tiny

Seychellois island as me —

didn’t do it this way, aboard

a ferry where holidaymakers

and commuters and cargo

share deckspace (as well as

sick bags). But more fool the

Clooneys and their helicopters,

because this was exactly why

I’d come to the Seychelles.

True, I could live without the

nauseous shipmates, but hanging out

with islanders? Gawping gobsmacked

at vast green mountains? Ambushing

my tastebuds with crazy Creole cuisine?

These — not to mention the humming

towns and fascinatingly weird plant

and animal life — were the reasons

I’d given Mauritius and the Maldives a

miss this year and dropped in on their

Indian Ocean neighbours instead.

See, the Seychelles has all the

screensaver good looks and endlessly

exquisite sandy shores of its brochure

rivals, but with more. While the Maldives

has nothing but pancake-flat microislets

staffed by international automata,

with little to do but stare at the sea or

argue with your loved one, the Seychelles

archipelago is a beach paradise with

an actual country attached. (The main

landmass is Mahé, and there’s 114 more

once you’re done with that one.)

Previously, the price you paid for all

that was universally indifferent, shoulder

shrugging service. But a bunch of new

hotel openings has taken the pain

out of paradise. And, for the moment

at least, it’s still thrillingly exotic.

Take my first stop, the Four Seasons

resort on Desroches Island, a half-hour’s

flight from Mahé. Here, instead of some

desultory strip of sand and an ersatz

‘village’ on stilts, you get a proper island:

14km of fringing beach wound like

wrapping paper around chunks of virgin

forest, a village of traditional Tobleroneshaped

Creole houses, a settler cemetery,

a serious conservation centre — and,

of course, a nice high-end hotel. Here,

between massages performed with a

giant ostrich egg (now that could have

gone wrong in less expert hands) and

worldtravellermagazine.com 49


SEYCHELLES

sipping drinks perched halfway up a

lighthouse, I loaded up the basket of

my villa’s bicycle with a picnic of limezest-dusted

smoked salmon bagels

from the deli and set off to explore.

With secluded bays and vibrant

snorkel spots mapped out all round

the island, it wasn’t hard to find my

own perfect stretch of driftwoodstrewn

sand. And unlike those slightly

self-conscious, private sandbank

experiences in the Maldives, this

was real privacy: no conveyor belt of

couples queueing up for my spot, no

surreptitious staff hovering behind me.

Even better, the Seychelles does

shade: instead of a spindly palm or two,

gorgeous thick jade-green jungle has

your back here. Fragrant lantern trees,

flowering dogwoods, native mulberry,

velvetseed.... Then there are the beasts

(Sundberg’s day gecko, amberwing

emperor dragonfly, marbled mantis) and

the birds (wading whimbrel, tropical

shearwater, firetruck-red fody), not to

mention the prehistoric monsters.

Roaming free-range across

Desroches’s interior are 160-odd

giant tortoises: cute as cubs, but

disconcertingly, agelessly primordial,

too, as if Jim Henson got the Jurassic

Park gig. I’m introduced to George, 120

years old and the size of a go-kart, but

with the khaki colouring and armourplating

and (once he sees food) slow,

crushing, single-minded unstoppability

of a tank. He was wrinkly and twinkly

and genial-looking, but there was

something in the coolly reptilian eyes of

his companion, Naughty Lulu, that made

me want to get out of her way before I

found out how she came by the name.

The island’s size comes in handy come

nightfall, as well. Try escaping from

the lights of your resort in the Maldives

and you end up neck-deep in the ocean.

But here, you can slip away unnoticed

under some of the world’s darkest —

and so most star-spattered — skies.

I wandered up to the island’s airstrip,

with its 360-degree horizons and 4,000

hectares of inky black above, and saw a

true, uncountable infinity of heavenly

bodies. Mars glared an angry hot red

on one side of the firmament, Venus

sheened a cool clear liquid-mercury


THE

SEYCHELLES

HAS ALL THE

SCREENSAVER

GOOD LOOKS

AND ENDLESSLY

EXQUISITE

SANDY

SHORES OF ITS

BROCHURE

RIVALS, BUT

WITH MORE


on the other; and between them, a

creamy, full-fat Milky Way was smeared

across the sky as thick as the good stuff

at the neck of a bottle of gold-top.

The darkness has drama in the

Seychelles. Bats wheel overhead, waves

crash noisily on those millenniasmoothed

granite boulders that bookend

the beaches, and (unlike Mauritius

or the Maldives) people go out.

I crashed a couple of the impromptu

parties that pop up around the bigger

islands’ beaches and parking lots:

barbecue smells effervesced into the

warm night air along with the seggae, a

blend of trad sega and modern reggae,

and just the most tropical-sounding

music you’ll ever hear. Even the resort

islands have a bit of life to them. On

my next one, Six Senses Zil Pasyon,

guests cheerily pilfer the local rum from

mini casks in the (dis)honesty bar.

Zil Pasyon has adventures on tap, too.

One morning I canoe to the next islet

along. Another, I hike a path, ducking

beneath umbrella-sized spider webs (I

felt very Indiana Jones, but the critters

are harmless) to a secret beach, big

enough for just two. And on a third, I

snorkelled early, right off the beach, and

saw an eagle ray soaring through the

water, serene as a seraph, then a turtle,

just as benignly beatific, fading in and

out of sight like a dream. Unsure what

ancient wisdom the visitation was trying

to impart, I interpreted it as ‘Have the

scrambled-eggs-with- crab for breakfast’.

Most guests get between the

Seychelles’ outer-island resorts

by helicopter, and that’s certainly

the quickest and most glamorous

way to do it (though you may not

feel quite so Clooney when they

weigh you before take-off).

I loved the views from up there — the

water’s neon blues glow even brighter

from above — but I loved chuffing

about by boat and bus, too, for a taste of

island life you wouldn’t get in a month

of Maldives. I saw impish schoolkids

gambolling through their break-time

games on the beaches beside their

classrooms (who needs playgrounds?),

picnicking families pulling cars over

en route to siphon crystal water from

roadside natural springs (who needs

Evian?), and bantering fishmongers

selling the morning’s catch off upended

crates at street corners, the fish so fresh

and many-coloured you’d think they

were for the aquarium, not the plate.

At Port Glaud, I got a bit damp myself.

Here, just metres from a luxury resort

in Mahé’s northwest corner, is a 1km

path that winds through a hamlet (and

shortcuts through someone’s back

garden, for which privilege he’ll charge

you $2 odd) to the Sauzier Waterfall. It’s

pretty rather than dramatic, but at its

base is a deep, cool, green natural pool,

utterly irresistible, where I whooped

and wallowed alongside a bunch of local

lads until my fingertips wrinkled.

That resort, Constance Ephelia,

sprawls across two delectable bays, a

handful of thickly forested hills and

a mangrove swamp, so to tick off a

few more items in my ‘I-Don’t-Spy’

book of things you wouldn’t expect

on an Indian Ocean holiday I zipline

through those forests and kayak

through those mangroves, scrumping

milky-sweet cocoplums as I go.

I also spent a day in the capital (which

is more than I’ve managed in eight

trips to Mauritius and the Maldives).

Victoria has a real working fruit and fish

market (you can tell it’s not for tourists

because it’s early and it smells), named

after one Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke

(who seems, idiosyncratically, to have

been named after himself). There’s

the Botanical Gardens, too, where

50 worldtravellermagazine.com


XXXXXXXXXXXXX

This page, clockwise from top left:

The Lighthouse Lounge; a staff member

at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at

Desroches Island; Constance Ephelia from

above; a fruit seller at Victoria Market; and

a spa therapist at Constance Ephelia

worldtravellermagazine.com 51


NORWAY

you can feed giant tortoises; and the

Natural History Museum, where a dusty

roomful of pickled mini sharks stare

forlornly from their formaldehyde.

It’s not just museums that are cheap

in the Seychelles, either. You can get a

decent beachside hotel for $150 a night,

and a lovely one for $200 (my favourite

is Mahé’s Anse Soleil Beachcomber).

And — take that, Maldives! — there

are plenty of self-catering options.

(You won’t be spoilt for choice in the

supermarkets if you go that route,

mind, but there are good Creole

restaurants all over. Do order: octopus

curry, a fizz bomb of spicy-juicy fusion

flavours. Don’t order: fruitbat — a

gamey-but-boney, grit-your-teeth-soyou-can-say-you’ve-done-it

affair.)

In fact, with every beach a beauty

round these parts, the main difference

between the Seychelles’ megabuck

resorts and its mom-&-pop guest houses

is privacy. The resort that hosted George

& Amal’s honeymoon — and Kate &

Wills’s — is North Island, and they came

because every one of the 11 villas sits

in its own hectare or two of gardens,

secreted among an island-wide jungle.

(The discretion extends to the staff.

Whenever I try to draw anyone into

sharing even the tiniest detail about

those other guests, I’m told firmly ‘I

won’t tell you about their stay, and I

won’t tell anyone about yours either’.)

North Island is the most

understatedly indulgent place I’ve

ever stayed — it wears its luxury as

lightly as a linen shirt — but it’s not

the five showers in each villa, or the

supernaturally good service, or the

personally tailored menus and drinks

list drawn up for each guest, that get

me. It’s that I essentially have all this


NORTH ISLAND

IS THE MOST

UNDERSTATEDLY

INDULGENT

PLACE I’VE

EVER STAYED


to myself: 200 hectares divided by a

maximum of around 22 guests equals

never having to share your sunset.

So, every evening I barefoot a few

paces across the sherbet-soft sand

for the (full multi-sensory) show.

Waves shush, their dayglo ultramarine

mellowing to mere aquamarine; the

early-evening breeze on my forearms

tempers the late-afternoon warmth

52 worldtravellermagazine.com


SEYCHELLES

These pages, clockwise from left: Chef

offers up a plate of sushi; North Island; invilla

BBQ set up at North Island

Credit: Ed Grenby/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

on my face; the scent of woodsmoke

and herbs and chargrilled langoustines

drifts down from the barbecue; the

citric zing of grapefruit washes over my

tongue; and I watch the sun, blazing

defiant, incandescent orange as it

slowly drowns on the watery horizon,

bleeding pink into the sky behind it.

But, turning back inland towards

the mountains and the bats and the

people and the food and the waterfalls

and the tortoises, I’m aware that, in the

Seychelles, the life-changingly beautiful

beaches and #inspirationalquote

sunsets aren’t even half the story.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

+971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com

worldtravellermagazine.com 53


54 worldtravellermagazine.com

Come summer, Canada’s polar bears get playful. Skip the

bus tour, sign up to walk with the white giants, and you’ll

get close enough to gatecrash, says James Draven


CANADA

splutters the feeble report from guide

Andy MacPherson’s pistol. I was hoping

for something a little more dramatic:

‘Pop,’

we’re standing not 20m from a 250kg

polar bear (yes, 250kg). Her head down, eyes fixed

on mine, she’s in a predatory trance as she lifts

her muzzle and sniffs the air for my scent. Such a

scene may be what my mother feared, when I told

her I was going to subarctic Canada to walk with

polar bears. Family and friends kept repeating

the word ‘walk’ back at me with incredulity.

Andy pulls the trigger twice more with similarly

pitiful results: ‘Pop-pop.’ The minor commotion

is not enough to deter a curious bear, but at least

it’s drawn focus away from me: Andy has valiantly

put himself on the menu. It’s only now though,

as he regards his gun with a disdainful glower,

that I realise there’s something wrong with his

ammunition: he’s fired three duds in a row.

Terrible timing for a weapon to malfunction.

With remarkable sang-froid, he smoothly reloads

his gun from a fresh box of rounds, while our

taciturn, indigenous Cree guide, Albert ‘Butch’

Saunders, silently surveys the scene, the very

definition of composure. I calm myself with the

thought that Churchill Wild, my tour operator, has

been organising polar-bear walking safaris for 22

years without incident. This is the first time in more

than five years that Andy, veteran guide, has even

needed to fire a banger deterrent from his starter

pistol. Perhaps his ammo, having sat idle for so

long in his pocket, has passed its sell-by date…

It’s been a long journey to reach the shores of Lake

Hudson. Nanuk Lodge, our cosy wilderness retreat in

northern Manitoba, is remote. I’ve taken four flights,

going via Toronto and Winnipeg, stopping over at the

end of the third leg for a night in Churchill, Canada’s

famous polar-bear town, where the crack of special

shotgun shells, designed to scare off inquisitive

bears, can be heard in the streets at night. They’re

such frequent visitors to town that Churchill even

has a team of ‘bear cops’, the conservation officers

of the Polar Bear Alert Program, and the world’s

only polar-bear holding facility — locals call it ‘bear

jail’. For most tourists this is the end of the line, and

many flock here for vehicle-based polar bear tours

each winter. But my journey doesn’t end here. I’ve

gone one step further to meet these iconic animals

on their own turf: in the height of summer, the

green shores of Hudson Bay are so busy with the

giants, it’s known as ‘the polar-bear waiting room’.

So, on the fourth and final stage of my journey, I

fly out of Churchill and over Wapusk National Park

down to Nanuk Lodge, in one of the tiny tin-can

propeller planes that ply this route. The vast expanse

of grassland green and samphire reds below contrasts

with the blues and turquoise of Hudson Bay. Beluga

whales splash in the water, while caribous and wolves

worldtravellermagazine.com 55


CANADA

roam the plains. This sunny, frost-free

scene is not the kind of place you expect

to see polar bears, but see them you

do: bright-white against the verdant

spread of nature, hundreds can be

spotted dozing. You can’t miss them.

It’s not the only reason to be here

in August. Sure, come winter, this

polychromatic panorama transforms

into snow-bleached tundra, and

the azure bay freezes over.

It’s then that — after a long summer

stranded on land — thousands of

hungry polar bears finally step out onto

the ice shelf over the water to hunt

seals, and gorge themselves on blubber.

This is when most tourists arrive in

their droves. But what visitors don’t

appreciate is that bears are at their

most aggressive and elusive at this

time of year; witnesses are seeing only

one side to the polar bear. And during

winter, visitors only get to see polar

bears from articulated tundra buggies

— gargantuan, enclosed tour vehicles

that roll out of Churchill, while people

try to snap photos through windows

over their neighbour’s shoulder.

Against the lush backdrop of Hudson

Bay’s subarctic summer I get an

altogether more intimate insight into

the lives of these fluffy white bears.

There’s a reason they call this ‘their

waiting room’: with full tummies from a

winter season of hunting, this is where

they loll and laze in the undergrowth,

occasionally poking a nose above the

wild flowers, whiling away long days in

slumber until the bay freezes again.

This is why, during my stay at Nanuk,

we can approach bears on foot — even

enormous males with the power to

pulverise us. Perhaps more thrilling

still, we sneak up on mothers cuddling

their cubs. In each case, when they see

us creeping up on them, they either

take a few hesitant steps towards us

— to investigate the strange creatures

with telescopic noses that click and

whirr and whisper — before fleeing

the scene; or they roll over and nurse

their cubs, stretching out among tall

grasses and pawing the air. Sometimes

they simply go back to sleep. The

summer is a wonderful time to see these

creatures up close, when they’re in a

seasonal slump — like grandad after

lunch. It’s a rare privilege to be able to

stand on the same ground with them.

If you want to picture how this

once-in-a-lifetime experience actually

unfolds, imagine a safari, just a few

notches lower on the thermometer.

Everything about the experience — from

the short-hop flights in light aircraft, to

the 4WDs used to traverse sparse plains,

dense underbrush, river crossings and

swamplands — is redolent of a Kenyan

lion-hunt. And because it’s summer,

our vehicles are completely open to

the elements. Even the weather has its

own chilly charm. A dawn safari reveals

dew-bejewelled spiders’ webs and steam

rising from lakes with ethereal beauty;

at night, the diaphanous drapes of the

Aurora Borealis ripple through the sky.

The season offers up encounters

you could only dream of at other times

of year. Polar bears, I soon realise,

are easily startled and, back at my

accommodation, I even scare one off

myself. Big Momma, a well-fed female

bear, has been hanging around Nanuk

Lodge all summer. She can easily

be seen approaching through the

panoramic lounge windows, and guests

all bring their cameras to the table,

poised to dash to the terrace to take

pictures. One such lunchtime, on her

daily lolloping constitutional around

the perimeter, Big Momma emerges

from behind an outbuilding to find me

waiting with my camera on the other

side of the fence, just a metre or so

away. The majestic matriarch dwarfs

me, but the shock of seeing a human

sparks a comedic double-take, and

I’m bemused to watch her run away.

The bear that prompts Andy to get

his gun, however, isn’t budging, and

remains undeterred. I remember the

advice Rose, a tour rep who lives in

Churchill, gave me a few nights before.

If confronted with a bear, a) make

yourself look big, b) don’t turn your

back on it, and c) move away slowly.

‘Try to get into any building or car,’

Rose told me. Nobody locks anything

in Churchill, because they wouldn’t

want to deprive anyone of an escape

route. ‘I couldn’t even tell you where

the keys to my house are. I’ll go on

a two-week vacation and leave my

front door unlocked,’ she swears.

56 worldtravellermagazine.com


Opening pages: A polar bear

swimming in Hudson Bay

This page: Melting ice blocks

line the rocky pathway

worldtravellermagazine.com 57


CANADA

This page: A tundra buggy

ferries passengers looking

for polar bears at sunset in

Cape Churchill

Opposite: A polar bear

rests up

We’re pretty far from Churchill now

though, so — puffing up my chest and

looking as big as I can — I glance over

my shoulder at our purpose-built polar

exploration vehicle: a hulking 4WD

powerhouse, with huge wheels and

seats bolted to it. Staff have dubbed it

‘the rhino’. Unfortunately, it has neither

doors nor roof, so won’t provide much

protection from a 2.5m (8ft!) bear.

Andy usually discourages them from

approaching us simply by talking, or

clicking a couple of rocks together —

methods that I’ve already seen him

use — but his chatter goes unheeded

this time. Butch remains mute. His

grandfather once advised him, ‘Don’t

tell the white man all our secrets at

once,’ and the tight-lipped guide has

apparently taken this lesson to heart.

In fact, I’m also relishing the

opportunity to study this polar bear up

close. Her unique physiology — slightly

webbed toes and musculature across

her chest designed for swimming —

defines her species as the world’s only

marine bear. Even as she stalks us


THEY’RE SUCH

FREQUENT

VISITORS TO

TOWN THAT

CHURCHILL EVEN

HAS A TEAM OF

‘BEAR COPS’

AND A POLAR-

BEAR HOLDING

FACILITY


she still looks utterly adorable, but I

realise the situation has escalated when

Butch, whose hawk-eyed tracking has

hitherto been silent, bursts into life

and launches a few stones towards the

bear. They explode like waterbombs

in the puddles around her and she

retreats, momentarily startled, before

fear turns to annoyance and she’s back.

Butch jumps into the rhino and

aggressively revs the engine, making the

vehicle lurch forward. After his ballistic

assault on the polar bear, though,

she barely breaks stride at the racket,

and as soon as he kills the motor her

attention is again fixed solely on us.

Bang! At last, a projectile rockets

from the barrel of Andy’s pistol. The

low-powered round arcs through

the air and bursts just by our polar

bear’s brow. It even makes my ears

ring where I’m standing, so our poor

bear must be deafened and, with a

thunderclap that enshrouds her head

in a cloud of smoke, she finally flees.

As Andy bins his spent cartridges

and pours us coffee from a flask,

I spy Butch’s redundant shotgun

sat idle in the rhino, and note the

absence of a pistol on his hip.

‘Sure, I have one,’ he smiles

over the brim of his mug, and

produces a gun from a leatherette

case. ‘The company gave it to me

years ago when I first joined.’

‘When did you last have

to use it?’ I ask him.

He smirks in a way that silently

betrays millennia of untold landlore

(maybe he just thinks I’m

an idiot) and replies: ‘Never.’

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

+971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com

Credit: James Draven/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

58 worldtravellermagazine.com


This page: Soft,

colourful corals around

Lizard Island

Credit: Andrew Eames/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing

worldtravellermagazine.com 59


worldtravellermagazine.com

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Weekends

Staycations and short-haul escapes

MALDIVES MEETS DA DONG

What’s a stay at a private island resort without a meal

prepared by a Michelin-starred chef? Indian Ocean favourite,

JA Manafaru, has teamed up with chef Dong Zhenxiang (aka

Da Dong), to offer an exclusive pop-up dining experience

at White Orchid. The culinary maestro, who founded the

Michelin-starred Da Dong Roast Duck restaurant concept in

Beijing, combines his signature dishes with Maldivian flavours

for a stand-out dining experience, served throughout the year.

worldtravellermagazine.com 61


WEEKENDS

Reasons to go back to…

THE POINTE

Dubai’s latest foodie destination on Palm Jumeirah is upping the ante

with a new wave of hot happenings that are sure to whet the appetite

Hawker hotspot

Immerse yourself in the

sights, tastes and aromas

of Asia’s late-night

markets at the newlyopened

Asian District.

Dubai’s largest Asian food

market, the split-level

hub has eight restaurants,

each with a distinct theme.

Take your pick from the

live cooking stations

offering freshly-made

sushi, noodles, ramen,

teppanyaki, dim sum,

dumplings and more. You'll

chow down to a backing

track of livestock sounds,

motorbikes, car horns

and bicycle bells, with

quirky performers, such as

sumo wrestlers and actors

playing mahjong, bringing

the concept to life.

Asian District

Star power

Rue Royale is causing a stir

on Dubai’s dining scene,

luring gourmands to taste

fine French cuisine in an

unlicensed setting. It’s the

brainchild of two-Michelinstar

chef Mathieu Viannay,

the culinary mastermind

behind the century-old La

Mère Brazier in Lyon, which

has welcomed numerous

high-profile guests through

its doors. Rue Royale takes

inspiration from its French

sibling, serving a selection

of La Mère Brazier signature

dishes, alongside new

creations that nod to the

culinary heritage of the

Middle East. The best way

to experience it is at the

chef’s table.

Sun King mocktail, Rue Royale

Brunch with a view

Seafood fans can soak up the sea air while

chilling to a Balearic Islands soundtrack at the

all-new The View brunch at Seafood Kitchen.

Taking place every Friday from noon to 4pm,

you can taste a delicious array of seafood

specialities while sipping on free-flowing drinks.

Menu highlights include red snapper ceviche,

Spanish seafood paella and a piled-high platter

of clams, mussels, soft-shell crab, prawns and

char-grilled, locally-sourced fish. Yum.

62 worldtravellermagazine.com


long

the

weekend

Bangkok

Get set to explore

one of Asia’s most

dynamic cities,

where you'll discover

gilded palaces,

rooftop terraces and

intoxicating markets

64 worldtravellermagazine.com


THE LONG WEEKEND

For the past three years, Bangkok has been

crowned the most popular place on the planet,

attracting more than 20 million visitors. Sprawling,

steamy and often smoggy, the Thai capital radiates

an infectious energy.

The city was founded in 1782 on the Chao Phraya

River by the Chakri royal dynasty, which is still

in place today. On the eastern riverbank, the Old

City is home to must-see sights such as the Grand

Palace, while nearby Chinatown is a colourful and

chaotic maze. Along the river, Bangrak is the centre

of the ever-evolving Creative District, with hip

restaurants and grand riverside hotels. Elsewhere,

Silom serves as the financial district by day and

buzzing nightlife destination by night; Siam is

the main shopping district; while the sois from

Sukhumvit Road offer bountiful shops and eateries.

Read on for our curated list of the best luxury

hotels, talked-about restaurants and only-in-

Bangkok experiences…

HEAVENLY HOTELS

From family-friendly resorts to boutique

boltholes, here are the best places to stay

Opened last year in the

Siam shopping district,

the Waldorf Astoria

Bangkok has 171 rooms

ranging from spacious

to sprawling. There are

five restaurants and

lounges, while the 16thfloor

infinity pool boasts

Instagram-ready views

over the city.

In the same

neighbourhood,

the resort-like Siam

Kempinski Hotel

Bangkok has 401 rooms

and four saltwater pools

set amid landscaped

gardens. Foodies will love

the Michelin-starred Thai

restaurant, while families

will appreciate the

complimentary kids’ club.

Tucked away in acres of

gardens and lotus ponds

near Silom’s Lumpini Park,

The Sukhothai Bangkok

has 210 rooms outfitted

with silks, teakwood and

muted earthy colours. Chill

out by the rooftop infinity

pool or in the spa, and

don’t miss the fabulous

Sunday brunch.

In tranquil grounds by

the river, The Siam is an Art

Deco-inspired gem with 29

antique-filled suites and 10

private pool villas. Lounge

by the infinity pool or fill

your days with cooking

classes, spa treatments,

Muay Thai boxing sessions

or sunset cruises aboard an

historic rice barge.

In the heart of

Chinatown, Baan 2459

(baan2459.com) is a

romantic heritage hotel

which offers just four

rooms. Each one is unique;

plump for Room Two with

its own private entrance,

four-poster bed and

clawfoot bath.

Then there's the storied,

riverside Mandarin Oriental

Bangkok, forever ranked

among the world's best.

Opposite page: Lady selling fruit

from her boat at Floating Market

This page, from top: Chao Phraya

river flows through the city; The

Sukhothai, Bangkok

sizzling

street food

Hit the streets to find

some of the city’s most

mouth-watering Thai food

Despite recent attempts

by city authorities to rid

the pavements of food

carts and stalls, Bangkok’s

street food scene remains

thrillingly vibrant.

Septuagenarian chef,

JAY FAI, is the undisputed

queen; her eponymous

shophouse in Rattanakosin

became the first and only

Thai street-food spot to

receive a star in Bangkok’s

inaugural Michelin guide in

2018. Patient foodies won’t

mind the long wait for her

famous crab omelettes

and crab curries. Close

by, THIP SAMAI is widely

considered to serve the

city’s best pad thai.

In Chinatown; Yaowarat

Road and the surrounding

sois are street-food central,

with plastic tables set up

from around 5pm 'til late.

Keep your eyes peeled

for GUAY JUB OUAN

POCHANA, T&K SEAFOOD

and LIM LAO NGOW.

worldtravellermagazine.com 65


top of the

shops

Tailor on Ten

For made-to-measure and

bespoke gents tailoring,

head to this little slice of

Savile Row in Sukhumvit.

The in-house tailors can

create shirts and suits

using high-quality Asian

and European fabrics,

plus the prices are fixed

so no haggling is needed.

tailoronten.com

Warehouse 30

This former WWII

artillery warehouse in

the Bangrak district has

been transformed into the

city’s coolest mixed-use

space. Browse the stores

selling locally designed

fashion, homewares

and accessories, and

refuel at the excellent

café. facebook.com/

TheWarehouse30

Lhong 1919

On the opposite side of

the river, this cluster of

restored 19th-century

warehouses features

beautifully-preserved

Chinese murals and a

dozen boutiques selling

homewares, clothing and

leather goods. Stay for

lunch or dinner at the

hip Nai Harng restaurant.

lhong1919.com

ALL-STAR

DINING

Bangkok has long

been street-food

nirvana, but you’ll

also find plenty of

Michelin-starred

establishments

shaking things up

Gaa

Opposite Gaggan

– regularly named

Asia’s best restaurant

– you’ll find the lesshyped

but equally

impressive Gaa. Chef

Garima Arora, a former

Noma and Gaggan

alumnus, serves a 10-

or 14-course tasting

menu inspired by her

Indian background,

Thai ingredients and

Nordic philosophies,

with dishes like duck

doughnut and liquid

banana bread.

gaabkk.com

Paste

Located in the upmarket

Gaysorn Village mall,

husband-and-wife team

Bee Satongun and Jason

Bailey draw inspiration

from centuries-old

royal Thai cuisine to

create bold, colourful

dishes made for sharing.

Highlights include

slow-roasted goat curry

and pickled chive root

salad with lobster and

morel mushrooms.

pastebangkok.com

Saawaan

Housed in a converted

shophouse with moody

dark walls and floor-toceiling

windows, chef

Aom Pongmorn serves

a seasonal 10-course

tasting menu with tea

or grape pairings. From

the first amuse bouche

– kai luk koey (poached

egg in tamarind sauce)

– to the final pumpkin

pudding, the dishes will

surprise and delight.

saawaan.com

BUZZY MARKETS

If you’re in town on the weekend, take a 25-minute cab ride from downtown to Taling

Chan floating market. Stroll along the floating dock as vendors serve up freshly

cooked specialities such as hoy tort (fried oyster omelette) from moored boats.

Then climb aboard a longtail boat and cruise the nearby canals. Make Chatuchak

weekend market your next stop. The teeming market is divided into 27 sections and

has more than 10,000 stalls, so download Nancy Chandler’s comprehensive map

(nancychandler.net) to pinpoint the areas you’re interested in. Best buys include

traditional textiles and handmade leather goods. After dark, head to hipster-rich Rot

Fai night market in Ratchada (there’s also a larger sister market on the eastern edges

of the city). Shop for vintage fashion and kitschy curios and tuck into street food from

converted VW vans strung with fairy lights.

66 worldtravellermagazine.com


THE LONG WEEKEND

Opposite page, from top:

Saawaan; Warehouse 30

This page, from top: Oriental

Spa; Mahanakhon SkyWalk

SENSATIONAL SPAS

If a spa day is top of your wishlist, here are

three of the best places to get pampered

ORIENTAL SPA Housed in a century-old teak

house, the Mandarin Oriental’s spa is reached by

boat across the river from the main hotel. There

are 15 treatment rooms, including a handful with

hot tubs, and menu of traditional Thai and modern

Western treatments. mandarinoriental.com

PANPURI ORGANIC SPAThis all-white spa at the

Park Hyatt specialises in anti-ageing facials and

hot oil massages from Thailand's leading organic

skincare brand. There’s a second spa with five

Japanese-style thermal pools at Gaysorn Village

mall. panpuriorganicspa.com

THE PENINSULA SPA In a colonial-style building

overlooking the Chao Phraya, this three-storey spa

offers a full range of treatments, from a two-hour

Thai massage to a hi-tech Second Skin facial using

3D-printed hyaluronic strips. peninsula.com

Words: Lara Brunt

ask a local

Somrak Sila,

co-founder of WTF

Café & Gallery

(wtfbangkok.com),

shares her insider

tips for Bangkok

“Soul Food

Mahanakorn (soulfoodmahanakorn.com)

is my favourite restaurant. It serves

consistently great Thai food in a simple

dining space – the pomelo salad with

chilli jam and popcorn tiger prawns

is a must-try. Overlooking the Chao

Phraya River, Loy La Long Hotel

(loylalong.com) is a tiny hidden

gem in the grounds of a temple

and a top spot for a quiet sunset

drink. A few doors down from my

own café and gallery, Studio Lam

(facebook.com/studiolambangkok)

is perfect for those who love an

intimate club with incredibly diverse

music. And don’t leave Bangkok

without buying some Tiger Balm

– it’ll fix all of your problems!”

HEADY HEIGHTS

Enjoy sensational sunsets

and sky-high views

atop some of the city’s

tallest towers. When the

golden hour approaches,

those in the know head

skyward to one of the

city’s many rooftop

terraces. Join them

at the newly opened

Mahanakhon SkyWalk

(kingpowermahanakhon.

co.th), a two-tiered

observation deck

314 metres above

the busy streets of

Silom, complete with

a glass floor section

and Bangkok’s highest

rooftop bar.

Meanwhile, the

aptly-named Vertigo

(banyantree.com) pairs

upscale al fresco dining

– think smoked Wagyu

carpaccio topped with

crayfish and caviar – with

spectacular views from

61 floors above the city.

Before you sit down

for dinner, drop by

Moon Bar next door for

sundowners.

Across the river,

ThreeSixty (www3.

hilton.com) sits atop

the Millennium Hilton

Bangkok. Listen to

live jazz while taking

in the unfettered

panorama of the city

skyline and filling up

your Instagram feed.

worldtravellermagazine.com 67


WORLD TRAVELLER X DCT ABU DHABI

THREE WAYS TO EXPERIENCE ABU DHABI...

Immersed

in nature

Swap the concrete jungle for the great outdoors

by exploring these stunning natural attractions

Photo: Abu Dhabi Mangroves

1

The mangroves. A mega

eco asset, the capital’s

Mangrove National Park

is a biodiversity hotspot,

with lush mangrove forests,

salt marshes, mudflats

and algal communities

to discover. In addition

to its tropical vibe, the

mangroves act as a natural

windbreak, and guard

against tidal surges, while

the body of water helps

remove carbon dioxide from

the atmosphere. Eastern

Mangroves Hotel & Spa

by Anantara offers guided

kayaking tours for guests.

You’ll likely spot herons,

foxes and turtles as you

paddle and, if you’re really

lucky, you may even catch a

glimpse of dolphins.

2Al Wathba Wetland

Reserve. It may be

famous for its pink

flamingos, but there’s much

more to these wetlands than

pretty pink birds. More than

250 avian species, 37 plant

species and a variety of

dragonflies and damselflies

call the five-squarekilometre

landscape home.

Break out the binoculars

and explore on foot, or join

one of the tours hosted

by local nature fan and

photographer Sultan Karrani

(see visitabudhabi.ae).

3Al Ain Oasis. Rewind

some 4,000 years to

when the people who

lived here started taming the

desert and you’ll get an idea

of the historic significance

of this sprawling oasis. A

UNESCO World Heritage

Site since 2011, it is shaped

by a complex shared water

supply based on wells and

falaj (the UAE’s traditional

irrigation system), and

you can wander through it

under the shade of myriad

date palms. Make it an

educational experience by

learning more about efforts

to preserve the delicate

ecosystem, and showcase

traditional farming methods,

at the Eco-Centre.

68 worldtravellermagazine.com


A world of

ideas to be

discovered

Register now at

arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com

Follow us

#IdeasArriveHere


WORLD TRAVELLER X DUKES DUBAI

STAYCATION

Dukes Dubai

With its Palm Jumeirah address and distinct British character, Dukes Dubai reigns supreme

THE ROOMS & SUITES

Offering the best of British hospitality

in the UAE, Dukes Dubai has all the

ingredients for a fun-filled holiday.

Choose a Junior Suite and you’ll get access

to the Executive Lounge, which comes

with a host of benefits, including early

check-in (and late check-out, so you can

stretch your stay to the max). If you want

to stay for longer, the tastefully furnished

hotel apartments are just the ticket.

THE FOOD

Tuck into hearty classics with a twist

at Great British Restaurant (GBR) or

taste a North Indian palette of flavours

at Khyber. Just be sure to keep Friday

afternoons free for the DUKESY Family

Brunch, which takes place at West 14th

Steakhouse from 1pm-4pm. Grab a seat al

fresco and tuck into tasty food from the

live cooking stations while the children

get stuck into the self-serve buffet.

To find out more, call +971 4 455 1111 or visit dukesdubai.com

THE ACTIVITIES

Make the most of the private beach

access, take a refreshing dip in the

infinity pool and navigate the lazy river

on a pool float. Next, have a personal

training session at the gym, unwind with

a yoga class by the indoor pool, and book

the kids in for a swimming lesson*. Little

ones can run off steam at DUKESY Kids

Club (for ages 5 to 12), where they can get

creative with arts and crafts and more.

* Bookings for activities are subject to availability

70 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X BAB AL SHAMS DESERT RESORT & SPA

STAYCATION

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

Take time out at this luxurious desert resort that'll whisk you away on an Arabian adventure

ROOMS & SUITES

A 45-minute drive from central Dubai,

Bab Al Shams has been designed in

harmony with the surroundings, and

its 115 rooms and suites make the most

of the Arabian styled setting. Book a

Terrace Room for views of the golden

dunes or the lush Palm Grove. Ideal for

families, the Deluxe Suite is the largest

room, with ample space for two adults

and two children.

THE FOOD

The focus this month is firmly on

brunch. The picnic style 360 Nature

Brunch, on Saturdays, invites you to

settle on blanket on the grass and tuck

into a hamper of delicious treats. The

Garden Brunch, every Friday, indulges

foodies with an extensive buffet and livecooking

stations offering global cuisine.

Kids' entertainment and supervised play

areas make these brunches fun for all.

THE ACTIVITIES

Mums can take advantage of the special

Mother's Day spa packages available this

month (on weekdays only), which are

designed to offer respite and adventure

in equal measure. The 'relaxed' package

includes a Balinese massage while the

'active' package offers you a choice of

archery, fat biking or cycling. Plus,

each includes a leisurely lunch and

access to the swimming pool.

To find out more, call +971 4 809 6100 or visit babalshams.com

72 worldtravellermagazine.com


YOUR ULTIMATE DESERT ESCAPE..

Nestled among the dunes, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is the world’s favourite

choice for dream desert getaways.

This oasis of tranquility combines rustic charm with top-tier hospitality and luxury

to bring to life an authentic desert experience.

BOOK DIRECT & SAVE

BAB AL SHAMS DESERT RESORT & SPA

Dubai,United Arab Emirates

+971 4 809 6100

BAS.info@meydanhotels.com

babalshams.com

/babalshamshotel /babalshamshotel /babalshamshotel


WORLD TRAVELLER X THE ST. REGIS ABU DHABI

STAYCATION

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Located at the vibrant heart of the city, opulence abounds at this five-star royal retreat

ROOMS & SUITES

Soar up high in the clouds at the

world’s highest suspended Abu

Dhabi Suite, with two-floors of jawdropping

grandeur – a cinema, spa

and private elevator are just some of

the highlights. If the budget doesn't

quite stretch to this, enjoy the 36 Hour

Escape staycation offering a Superior

King Sea View Room with breakfast for

two at The Terrace on the Corniche.

THE FOOD

Not for the faint of heart, those with

a head for heights can experience a

Helipad Sunset Supper, 255 metres

in the air, with a spread of exquisite

dining delights to spice up the evening.

Alternatively, keep it simple at Villa

Toscana, where the interiors are

reminiscent of Italian summer vibes,

and the food speaks a tale of ancient

culinary traditions.

THE ACTIVITIES

For weary travellers, Remède Spa's

75-min Jet-Lag Recovery treatment

is the perfect fix for travel fatigue.

Bask in the comfort of stimulating

back and foot massages, accompanied

by a hydrating, bespoke facial as

your body’s internal clock adjusts.

Afterwards, you can chill at Nation

Riviera Beach Club, which boasts its

own private stretch of sand.

To find out more, call +971 2 694 4444 or visit stregisabudhabi.com

74 worldtravellermagazine.com


Abu Dhabi’s Finest Urban Resort

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi soars to new heights of splendour and service beyond

expectation. Located at the vibrant heart of Abu Dhabi with a 200 metre stretch of

pristine beach, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf which is home

to the Nation Riviera Beach Club at the finest address in the city.

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates t. +971 2 694 4444 stregisabudhabi.com

©2019 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, St. Regis and their logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.

Stay exquisite at more than 40 St. Regis hotels and resorts worldwide.

@stregishotels


WORLD TRAVELLER X JUMEIRAH

Jumeirah Emirates Towers

ONE CITY, TWO SIDES

Jumeirah Creekside Hotel

Bisected by the Dubai Creek and offering a duo of unique experiences, make your next

city break a Jumeirah Creekside Hotel or Jumeirah Emirates Towers occasion

Contemporary art-styled luxury minutes from the city’s

heritage heartland, or a lifestyle destination with

architectural prominence on the doorstep of Dubai’s

retail and entertainment scene, this duo of five-star Jumeirah

hotels are tailor made city break destinations.

Five minutes’ drive from Dubai International Airport places

you in the soaring sunlit atrium of Jumeirah Creekside Hotel,

with its commanding views of Dubai Creek. Recognised

as much for its living art gallery spaces as for its historic

waterway vistas, and views of the golf club, it’s the perfect city

base for those looking to get a feel for Dubai’s rich past.

Get a sense of the city from the comfort of a spacious Club

Room, your haven of calm after a day spent wandering the

lanes of the nearby Gold Souk and Spice Souk, or after a sunset

stroll along the banks of Dubai Creek.

The view from Jumeirah

Creekside Hotel

Premium Deluxe Bedroom,

Jumeirah Emirates Towers

Post-exploration downtime also comes in the form of an

eclectic collection of restaurants and lounges, including the

gorgeous rooftop setting of Cu-Ba, whose cantilevered pool

with its sleek glass floor dramatically extends out over the

building façade.

A prominent design presence at the head of Sheikh Zayed

Road, Jumeirah Emirates Towers’ reputation for sky-high

hospitality is grounded across 56 floors of leisure, dining

and relaxation focused space that includes award-winning

grill restaurant The Rib Room and blissful Talise Spa with its

flotation pool and oxygen bar.

The stylish accommodation includes the Chopard Ladiesonly

floor complete with all-female staff, bespoke amenities

and walk-in shower with separate marble tub.

Linger at your leisure, but with a clutch of galleries and

wealth of on-trend eateries housed within the DIFC district,

located adjacent to the hotel, and the record-breaking

attractions of Downtown Dubai a few minutes drive away,

there’s added incentive to explore the area.

To find out more, visit jumeirah.com/citybreaks

76 worldtravellermagazine.com


HAPPINESS

KNOWING THIS WILL LAST FOREVER

Save up to 25% when you book your next

holiday at Jumeirah Emirates Towers or

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complimentary breakfast, spa and dining

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Unwind and enjoy exclusive privileges

including complimentary WiFi unlimited

entry to Wild Wadi Waterpark, Talise Fitness

and Jumeirah’s pristine private beach.

jumeirah.com/citybreaks

*Terms and conditions apply


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worldtravellermagazine.com 79


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80 worldtravellermagazine.com


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THROUGH

THE LENS

Orrido di Ponte Alto,

Trento, Italy

"I wasn't familiar with the

Trentino region in Northern

Italy before visiting, but

within minutes of arriving

its hidden mix of dramatic

mountains, mirror-like lakes

and charming scenery had me

hooked. Sandwiched between

idyllic small towns, it doesn't

boast the huge crowds like

Venice or Florence can muster –

something that came in handy

as our guide ushered our small

group into this dramatic gorge.

Standing behind the sheer

power of the cascading waterfall

is something I'll never forget. As

the crashing flow deafened me,

I was left completely in awe of

nature's beauty."

Photographer, Daniel James

Clarke, loves to travel because

"it's the best classroom we

can enter, it’s full of voices and

diversity you’ll never find in

any school." @danflyingsolo;

danflyingsolo.com

EMAIL US YOUR BEST

TRAVEL PHOTOS

in high-res jpeg format, along

with the stories behind them to

habiba@hotmediapublishing.

com and you may end up

being featured

on this page

82 worldtravellermagazine.com


DIGITAL

Now win!

BE OUR TRAVEL

COMPANION

Stay up-to-date with all that’s

happening on our social channels

and join in the conversation by

sharing your experiences. Here’s

where you can find us…

@dnataworldtraveller

Double tap our dreamy

destination shots and tag

us in your images for a chance to

feature on our wall.

@worldtravellermagazine

Stay up to date with travel

stories as we post them.

@WT_Magazine

Make the most of your

280-character allowance

by sharing your best travel

moments with us.

#dnataworldtraveller

A luxurious stay at Renaissance

Downtown Hotel, Dubai

Situated a stone's throw from Burj Khalifa, this hip and

happening property offers a sense of place with its expansive

guestrooms featuring indigenous accents. You could be in

with the chance of winning a one night stay in a Deluxe Room

for two guests (inclusive of breakfast and Wi-Fi), with dinner

for two in Bleu Blanc, where you'll be treated to a three-course

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worldtravellermagazine.com/win (terms & conditions apply).

TRAVEL INSPO AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

Let our travel news and round-ups, available to read on our website,

inspire your next trip…

1The Knowledge.

Read our handy

how-tos, from

getting to grips with

travel insurance to

helping kids beat jet

lag, and more.

2Staycations.

Take a peek

inside these top

hotels and resorts on

your doorstep and

then book your next

mini break!

3Insider Guides.

Check out our

in-the-know

travel edits of some

of the most popular

holiday destinations

on our radar.

worldtravellermagazine.com 83


XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Suite dreams

Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a

suite that has a character and style all of its own

The Bollywood Suite

Aloft City Centre Deira

Get your Shah Rukh Khan on inside this

vibrant suite, which will immerse you in

the Hindi film scene with its collection of

movie memorabilia, in-room cinema screen

streaming Bollywood blockbusters and

built-in vending machine dispensing snacks.

Teamed with a stellar view of the Dubai

skyline, it's sure to give you a taste of the

A-list lifestyle. The Bollywood Suite is one of

four cinema themed suites at the property.

84 worldtravellermagazine.com


Ronald Codrai © Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

رونالد كودراي © دائرة الثقافة والسياحة - أبوظبي

DISCOVER

THE STORIES

OF OUR NATION’S

PROUD PAST.

ABU DHABI’S

LEGACY AND HISTORY.

Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant building

in Abu Dhabi. It includes the city’s first permanent

structure, a coral and sea stone watch tower built to

protect the settlement of Abu Dhabi established on the

island in the 1760s. Qasr Al Hosn became home to the

ruling family, a seat of government, and it now stands as

our nation’s living monument, telling the story of

Abu Dhabi and its people.

Book your experience at qasralhosn.ae


Inspiration. Expertly crafted.

Comprising two iconic towers, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, the world’s tallest 5-star hotel,

is centrally located beside the Dubai Water Canal and offers a spectrum of facilities and services for

a seamless experience. The hotel features: 1,608 luxurious guest rooms and suites,

over 15 award-winning restaurants and lounges, Saray Spa featuring traditional hammams,

a Dead Sea Floatation Pool and 17 treatment rooms, state-of-the-art health club and fitness facilities,

as well as 8,000 sqm of spectacular meeting spaces.

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai

jwmarriott.com/DXBJW

Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971.4.414.0000 | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

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