World Traveller July 2019










Canada explored

through a child's eyes

Produced in Dubai Production City

Bucket and spade at the ready

to dig into 40 brilliant beaches


The moment the soul of the

Maldives found you.

Generous villas with understated echoes of the many cultures of the Maldives. An

untouched diving destination, on the largest lagoon in the Maldives, shimmering with

cerulean light. Fairmont Maldives artfully connects nature to the soul and the result is



30 % OFF



* Terms and conditions: Book before 15 August 2019 and stay dates until 19 December 2019.

Subject to availability at the time of booking. Offer is non-refundable and non-cancellable.

Subject to prevailing taxes and service fee. This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other

promotion. Terms and conditions are subject to change without prior notice.

Welcome note

Whether your idea of beach bliss is an isolated Caribbean

paradise, a retro-riviera fishing village nook, or a dash of

remote windswept drama, we've found a slice of shore for

you. This month's cover story (p26) shines a light on no less

Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher

Editorial Director

John Thatcher

General Manager

David Wade

Managing Editor

Faye Bartle

Content Writers

Habiba Azab

Sophia Dyer

Art Director

Kerri Bennett

Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia

Senior Advertising Manager

Mia Cachero

Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

than 40 of the most brilliant beaches on the planet,

so you can kick off your summer travel fest with

some sparkling toes-in-the-sand fun.

Beyond the beaches, we've plenty more to

inspire your next trip. From venturing into the

edgier parts of Miami (p38) to eating your way

around Piedmont (p44) and going whale watching

in Canada (p50), join us as we venture off the

beaten track. Before you go, be sure to read our

round-up of best travel apps (p22) that'll help with

everything from getting around a new destination

to learning the lingo.

If you've only time to squeeze in a few short

trips, our insider guide to Istanbul (p60) shows

why a trip to this dynamic city is always a good

idea. Plus, take a closer look at Beirut's lively art

and creative scene for a mind-nourishing mini

break that's packed with culture (p58).

Happy travels,

Faye Bartle


A three-night stay

at Six Senses Zighy

Bay in Oman on p75





Karma Beach in Bali

can only be reached via

an open-air cable car

– talk about making a

007-style entrance, p26


Did you know that Turin

was the first capital of

unified Italy? And it has

all the grand squares,

portico-lined streets and

statues of men on horses

to prove it, p44


The picturesque fishing

village, Peggy's Cove

in Nova Scotia, has a

population of just 30,



When in Istanbul, be

sure to order to famous

hünkâr beğendi (slowcooked

lamb on a bed

of smoked eggplant) for

a true taste of the city,



Eibsee is one of the

most beautiful lakes in

Bavaria, with water so

clean you'll want to dive

right in, p74


Photography credits:

Getty Images and Phocal Media

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from HOT Media Publishing is

strictly prohibited. HOT Media

Publishing does not accept

liability for omissions or errors in

World Traveller.

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Credit: The Farmstead at Royal Malewane


July 2019




8 13 22 74 76



This month's go-to

places include the

heartland of Bali, and

Baku, where mediaeval

meets modernity.


Join the culture club as

Venice hosts the UAE

Pavillion at Biennale

Arte and New York

sets the stage for

Shakespeare alfresco.


From price-match

bookings to maps that

don't require mobile

data: the travel apps

you need to ensure a

hassle-free holiday.


Head online for

exclusive content and,

better still, the chance

to win a three-night

stay at Six Senses Zighy

Bay in Oman.


Join us in the Maldives

as we soak up the

soothing sight of

ocean lapping at

palm-fringed beach at

Vakkaru Maldives. 5



26 38




Nick Redman rolls up

From powder-soft sands his suit jacket sleeves

and ice blue waters as he seeks out Miami's

to wild wonders and nicest vices beyond the

waddling penguins. lure of South Beach.




Craving Italian food

with a side order of fun,

Liz Edwards heads to

pretty Piedmont.




With his daughter

along for the wild ride,

Stanley Stewart heads

home to Canada.

6 0



58 60


Beirut offers up a IN ISTANBUL

treasure trove of Laura Brunt heads East

cultural highlights to and West in Istanbul's

hit up on a short break. storied streets.



Feel in need of a break?

We have a few more

reasons to book a

weekend escape.



It's time we sent you

packing. Choose your

next adventure from

our exclusive offers.

Credit: Neolokal




© Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi / Photo by Hufton+Crow. Architect: Jean Nouvel.


Louvre Abu Dhabi brings different cultures together

to shine light on the shared stories of human creativity.

Admission: AED 63, children under 13 free





Emily Williams, dnata Travel’s resident globetrotter,

reveals the best places to hop on a plane to this month


It’s peak season in Bali and despite its ever-growing popularity, the green paradise of Ubud is still an

excellent place to escape to for a sense of calm. The Ubud District’s green rainforests and terraced rice

paddies are among Bali’s most famous and picturesque landscapes. A treasure trove of cultural

landmarks, you can discover art galleries and museums, as well as some of the finest dining in Bali.

Highlights 1 Visit Monkey Forest Ubud to see the temples, as well as the monkeys that live in the sanctuary, including the Balinese long-tailed

monkey (macaque). 2 Open daily, Ubud Art Market is the place to go for artisan keepsakes, from sarongs to intricately carved wooden picture

frames. 3 Grab your swimmies and head to Tegenungan Waterfall for a dip amid the lush jungle setting.




With its location on the Caspian Sea and its cooler temperatures, travellers are escaping to Baku for a city

break closer to home this summer – it’s just a three-hour flight from Dubai. Azerbaijan’s capital is known for

contemporary landmarks including the Zaha Hadid designed Heydar Aliyev Center and Flame Towers, an iconic

trio of skyscrapers. The modern skyline is juxtaposed with its mediaeval walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Highlights 1 Make the 25km journey to Yanardagh (Burning Mountain), which is eternally ablaze due to the natural subterranean gas that

seeps up to the surface. 2 Taste the traditional Plov – saffron-flavoured rice cooked with aromatic herbs, fried meat and vegetables.

3 Take a peek inside The Museum of Miniature Books in the old city, to see a novel collection amassed over 30 years. 9


The largest lake district in Europe, Finnish Lakeland (the land of a thousand lakes) is a beautiful summer holiday

spot. Some of the world’s cleanest lakes can be found here, surrounded by an incredible backdrop of deep green

forests and rolling hills. Stay in Hämeenlinna, just over an hours’ drive from Helsinki, which is surrounded by the

lakes and national parks. Plus, it's home to two impressive castles, a theme park, spas, eight golf courses and more.

Highlights 1 For a charming way to explore, take a steamship cruise of Lake Saimaa. 2 Traverse the lakes at your own pace in a kayak – the

water is at its warmest from June to August. 3 Test your skills at fishing, and you may even spot elks at the shore.




Known as the capital of southern Spain, Seville is famous for its flamenco dancing, local food markets, and gothic

architecture. Alcázar of Seville, one of the oldest palaces still in use in the world, has been in the spotlight recently,

having featured in Game of Thrones (the UNESCO World Heritage recognised palace complex is the setting for the

Winter Gardens of Dorne). It'll transport you into a fantasy world, complete with labyrinth to explore.

Highlights 1 Savour the intense flavours of traditional tapas dishes, from white anchovies to snails. Simply hop from bar to bar for a

delicious pit stop while sightseeing. 2 Admire the artisan ceramics that characterise the city, and spend your euros on some decorative

Sevillian pottery. 3 Awaken your duende by catching a flamenco performance at El Patio Sevillano. 11





Standing tall in the heart of

Dubai Marina, featuring

incomparable panoramic views

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





Be informed, be inspired, be there


Descend on Islas Secas, an archipelago

of stunning islands in the Gulf of Chiriquí

on the Pacific Coast of Panama, and

let the resident adventure concierge

whisk you off on a journey of discovery.

From heading under the surface to see

the vibrant marine life, to exploring

Coiba National Park (a UNESCO World

Heritage site), and observing migrating

Humpback whales, this eco-resort will

have you hooked. It's home to just four

Casitas nestled amid the lush tropical

forest, sleeping up to 18 guests at a time. 13


Arambrook Boutique

Hotel, South Africa


Fresh on the scene

From South Africa to The Sunshine State, check out these hotel hotspots

1 2 3

Arambrook Boutique Hotel,

Cape Town

With not so much as a blade of grass

out of place, this picture-perfect

boutique hotel welcomes guests to

try its unique brand of quaint luxury.

Ultra-exclusive, each of the eight rooms

have their own distinct interior design,

with a hushed, calm theme running

throughout. Situated in the esteemed

Bishopscourt suburb, you can expect

South African charm in abundance.

JW Marriott Marco Island Beach

Resort, Florida

Not strictly new, but after undergoing

a multi-million-dollar renovation, this

resort certainly has a fresh lease of life.

The interiors lend a Balinese feel, while

the Floridian sun and crystal-clear

waters of the Gulf of Mexico enhance

the island vibe. Want a kid-free break?

The 94-key adult-only Paradise by

Sirenee, is a hidden hideaway within

the resort that has your name on it.

The Farmstead at Royal Malewane,

Greater Kruger National Park

An extension of the renowned Royal

Malewane, The Farmstead is an

intimate safari hotel experience for

up to 14 guests. Three Luxury Farm

Suites and a three-bedroom villa come

complete with rustic style interiors.

After a day's safari, you can sit down

to a meal prepared by an executive

chef and spend the evening by the fire

reflecting on the day's adventures.




Head indoors and delve into Sharjah’s vibrant culture and arts scene this summer

Known as the Cultural Capital of

the Arab world, Sharjah is a dream

destination for art and culture fans.

Creative minds can embark on a journey

of discovery to the emirate's impressive

museums and art galleries this summer.

Housed inside a former souk, the Sharjah

Museum of Islamic Civilisation pays

homage to the Islamic world. The story of

its progression is told through thousands

of artefacts gathered from around the

globe. Start your tour in the Abu Bakr

Gallery of Islamic Faith and learn more

about the history of the Five Pillars of

Islam, which is illustrated alongside rare

historical Quran manuscripts. Next, stop

by the Ibn Al-Haytham Gallery of Science

and Technology, which showcases the

achievements that have led to landmark

advancements in Islamic society.

Art fans will want to catch the first solo

exhibition of the work of Andrew Stahl in

the Middle East, which is running until

10 September at Al Hamriyah Studios.

Presented by Sharjah Art Foundation, you

can view large-scale figurative paintings

dating back to the 1970s, as well as a

sculpture made in situ.

Afterwards, cool off in the Rain Room in

Al Majarrah. The London-born experiential

art installation is now a permanent

fixture that's exclusive to the Middle East.

Navigate through the dark room avoiding

the downpour, as motion sensors trigger

showers of recycled water.

Also running this summer, the seventh

addition of annual photography exhibition,

Vantage Point Sharjah, is back from 8 July.

This year, the foundation has expanded its

reach to include the works of photographers

around the globe, which are being exhibited

at Sharjah Art Foundation’s Galleries 1 and

2 in Al Mureijah Square.

If you want a more hands-on experience,

we say head to Al Hamriya Art Centre and

take a Naskh Calligraphy class where you’ll

learn the how Arabic letters ascend and

descend while creating a piece of cultural

art to take home.

Find out more at 15



Nujoom Alghanem, Passage, 2019.

Courtesy National Pavilion UAE

– La Biennale di Venezia. Photo

credit: Barbara Zanon



Stuff to stash in your suitcase

Get your summer scent

wardrobe fully stocked

and ready to roll thanks to

this chic travel pouch

by Henry Jacques

perfumes. Part

of the Voyage

collection, it's ideal

for transporting

those delicate crystal

flacons filled with all

your favourite scents.


Designed to keep you

looking good on the move,

Aesop’s Departure travel

kit contains seven travelsized

essentials from

the company’s skin,

body and personal

care ranges, all

of which comply

with international

restrictions for in-flight

carriage of liquids. An Arrival

kit is also available.

Belmond Hotel

Cipriani. Photo

© Tyson Sadlo


Join the culture seekers making their

way to La Biennale di Venezia's

58th International Art Exhibition.

Entitled May You Live In Interesting

Times, it's divided into two separate

presentations (in the Arsenale

and Giardini’s Central Pavilion

respectively), featuring the work of

79 artists from around the world,

with works addressing contemporary

matters of concern, from the

acceleration of climate change to the

growing disparity of wealth. Be sure

to stop by the National Pavilion UAE

exhibition, Passage, which presents a

new video installation by acclaimed

Art at Belmond

Hotel Cipriani

poet, filmmaker and artist Nujoom

Alghanem. The art exhibition is

running until 24 November 2019, so

you've plenty of time to check it out.

In terms of where to stay, look no

further than Belmond Hotel Cipriani,

which has transformed its historic

grounds and dining spaces into a

thrilling new art park and studio,

showcasing internationally-acclaimed

sculptors, artists and galleries. Enjoy

a painting lesson in the Casanova

Gardens, among other activities, or

ask the experts to curate you a tailormade

tour. Plus, all the masterpieces

on show are available to buy.

Worried about losing your

valuables while travelling?

Think of the Ekster

Trackable Wallet

3.0 as your hi-tech

security blanket. This

solar powered, voiceactivated,


leather smart

wallet, compatible with

Alexa and Google Home, can

ring and is traceable on a map.

A must-have accessory

for stylish travellers,

LOEWE’s latest bag,

the Postal, is prelaunching

in China

from 15 July and

will be available

worldwide from

8 August. We're

coveting the limited edition

series featuring illustrations

of major world cities.



Experience the alluring, golden desert landscape, the captivating silence of nature, the free-roaming

wildlife in the reserve, all enjoyed from your private suite and pool. Indulge in a luxurious desert adventure

with camel treks, horseback riding, falconry, archery, dune drives and more.






Stay beyond the Fourth of July

celebrations and discover the best of

the Big Apple this summer

Photo: The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York


Head to Central

Park to see

Shakespeare in

the Park at the

Delacorte – one

of the best free

things to do in

NYC. Coriolanus is

playing from 16 July

to 11 August.


Visit the newlyopened


Yards and take

a shot of The

Vessel – it's fast

becoming the most


locale in the city.


Also in the parks,

SummerStage 2019

brings an eclectic

range of music, from

classical and hip

hop, to rock out to.

You can catch free

performances until

24 September.


The Pierre, A Taj

Hotel, New York puts

you at the heart of all

the action, boasting

sweeping cornerside

views of

Central Park.





If you’ve visited the usual places and seek something special, consider the Indian Ocean. The Maldives offers tropical

atolls that seem to float between clear sea and endless sky. The family-friendly Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa,

on its own atoll, offers guests a luxury, All-Inclusive experience with fabulous dining options, open bar, daily champagne

breakfast, exciting excursions and more. Or choose Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa, an intimate escape

for couples and honeymooners at an adult-oriented resort.

Sri Lanka combines tropical beaches, mountains, temples, and history. The geography and culture are inspiring,

while native spices make the food a delicious discovery. Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa, nestled between

the Bentota River and ocean, mixes adventure with tranquillity.

Centara’s Asian roots and gentle, Thai-style service make it an ideal host. Let us help make your holiday extraordinary.


Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa Sri Lanka



CentaraThe1 members

receive 10% off any online rate,

plus many more privileges.




Dial down the pace at Soneva Fushi, and enjoy once-ina-lifetime

experiences at this desert island hideaway

Wave goodbye to your busy

schedule, embrace the 'no

news, no shoes mantra',

and stroll barefoot along the sand at this

luxurious private island resort in the

Maldives. Exclusive sanctuaries nestled on

the sunset and sunrise side of the island

await. If you need a little help deciding, we'd

advise keen snorkellers to opt for a sunset

side villa for easy access to three stunning

house reefs (snorkelling with manta rays

is a must-have experience here). If privacy

is key, base yourself on the sunrise side for

uninterrupted sea views. The latter is also

a sound choice for early risers who want to

take advantage of the sun's gentle rays.

An incredible dining destination in its

own right, Soneva Fushi is famous for its

creative approach. Due to its links with the

Michelin Guide, the island has played host

to some of the world's most celebrated and

decorated chefs. As such, mealtimes are far

from ordinary. From sampling the intimate,

eight-seat no menu concept at Once Upon

A Table to enjoying a nourishing dish from

the plant-based menu Shades of Green, this

is where fine dining meets fun. There's a

variety of culinary journeys to embark on,

such as the Astronomical Dinner Cruise,

which treats you to a four-course meal on a

private boat under the stars.

It’s not all high-end high jinks, however,

as the resort is also extremely family

friendly. On top of making the most of

nature's playground, kids can investigate the

sprawling children's club, the Den, where a

marine biologist can teach them more about

the marine world. Sail away in search of

dolphins, unwind with a Tibetan hot stone

massage at Six Senses Spa, indulge inside

the complimentary cheese, chocolate, and

ice cream rooms, or learn a new skill, such as

glassblowing. However you spend your days,

you're sure to leave with a fresh perspective.

Call +960 660 0304 or visit



The Knowledge


Have an appy holiday

Embrace the digital age with these clever travel apps

designed to help you get the most out of your trip


dnata Travel

You can plan and book your entire

holiday from your phone or tablet

thanks to this trusted app, which is

a window to 180,000 hotels in more

than 38,500 destinations and flights

from 300 airlines. Use the interactive

map to swot up on where hotels are

situated before booking, search for

nearby attractions and locate the

nearest airports. Plus, you can share

holiday ideas with friends and family

at the touch of a button. Simply sign

in to save your favourite hotels and

recent searches so it’s easy to keep

an eye on prices. Booking is fast and

secure, and the price match guarantee

has your back when it comes to

getting a great deal.



If the hustle and bustle of the airport

terminal fills you with dread, let this

savvy app come to the rescue by

pointing you towards the nearest

airport lounge. All you need to do

is plug in your travel details to see

which ones you have access to. If the

answer is zero, don’t fret, as you can

buy instant access to selected airport

lounges around the world in a matter

of seconds. It comes in especially

handy if you need somewhere to work

or freshen up while on the move.


You can switch off your mobile data

and still find your way around a new

city thanks to this popular navigation

app, which is loaded with free,

searchable offline maps, with GPS to

guide you turn by turn. The maps are

nicely detailed, giving directions to

everything from points of interest to

hotels, restaurants, hiking trails and

more. It’s all kept bang up to date

by daily contributions to the wiki

style world map OpenStreetMap,

giving rise to lots of off-the-beaten

track suggestions worth discovering.

What’s more, all the maps are

optimised so it won’t drain your

memory space.



If you can’t speak the lingo, this

handy app will have you saying merci

beaucoup in no time. Use it to learn new

vocabulary through fun, fast-paced

games with simple mnemonic images.

You can choose from 30 languages,

including French, Mandarin, and

Brazilian Portuguese. It’ll turn you into a

hyperpolyglot before you know it.


XE Currency Exchange

It’s an oldie but a goodie. This free

currency converter lets you calculate

live currency and foreign exchange

rates while on the move. Plus, if you

want to be a geek about it, you can

set up a rate alert that’ll prompt you

via email when your currency pairing

reaches your desired rate.


SkyView Lite

If, like us, you find yourself with just

enough time to stop and stare at the

starry night sky while on holiday,

then this dreamy app is for you. The

intuitive stargazing tech uses your

camera to spot and identify celestial

objects up above during the day

or night. Just point your camera

at the sky to see galaxies, stars,

constellations, planets, and satellites

(including the ISS and Hubble) passing

overhead. You don’t need Wi-Fi to use

it and you can share your favourite

snapshots on social media. It’s equally

good for teaching your kids about the

universe as it is for ramping up the

romance on a couples’ break.


Ayn Athum, one of

the most beautiful

waterfalls in Salalah.

Photo by Maju Jose

Ready to drop

Escape to Al Baleed Resort Salalah by

Anantara during Khareef and enjoy

a refreshing holiday come rain or shine

With the temperature hitting

a peak at home, Salalah’s

Khareef couldn’t arrive

at a more welcome time. The annual

monsoon season treats Oman’s

southern city (named the 2019 Capital

of Arab Summer resorts by The Arab

Tourism Organisation) to a lush

makeover, transforming the desert

landscape into a tropical green haven

and bringing cascading waterfalls to

life with splashes of rain and swirling

mist. It’s a brilliant short cut to cooler

climes – you can fly there direct from

Dubai in just two hours and 1hr 45

mins from Riyadh. Plus, you can now

hop on seasonal direct flights during

Khareef from Bahrain, Kuwait and Abu

Dhabi. And with the thermostat rarely

rising above 27 degrees Celsius, you’ll

not only feel a dramatic difference, but

can embark on a refreshingly different

style of holiday too.

Situated just 15km from the airport,

the resort is inspired by the region’s

coastal fortresses – think whitewashed

facades and shimmering Arabic

lanterns – with rooms and villas



overlooking the Arabian Sea, the

lagoon, or the tranquil gardens. For the

ultimate in privacy and luxury, check

into a one- or two-bedroom Pool Villa

for easy access to your own private

temperature-controlled swimming

pool. The three-bedroom Royal Beach

Pool Villa is the most exclusive of the

bunch, with commanding views of the

sandy bay and calming lagoon.

There are three dining venues to

discover, including all-day dining

concept Sakalan, South East Asian

restaurant Mekong and Mediterranean

beach bar and eatery Al Mina, which is

the perfect spot for drinks and shisha.

Continue the big cool down at

Anantara Spa and be pampered

with rejuvenating treatments that

draw upon indigenous ingredients,

such as pomegranate, coconut and

frankincense, or unwind in the region's

only luxury hammam. (There’s a

kids’ and teens’ club offering funfilled

activities if you need to keep the

youngsters occupied in the meantime).

Another way to make the most of

the temperate weather is by venturing

outdoors to explore the local area.

Ask the hotel’s very own Salalah

Guru to show you the ancient ruins

and heritage sites, such as Al Baleed

Archaeological Park, a 60-hectare

UNESCO World Heritage Site that

contains the remnants of centuries-old

mosques. Alternatively, ramp up the

pace by trekking through mountains,

rugged wadis and beaches, marvelling

at the spectacular landscape. The

resort will prepare a gourmet picnic

for you to take with you. Lastly, for a

fragrant reminder of your trip to the

perfume capital of Arabia, head to

the souk and local shops to haggle for

some aromatic frankincense direct

from Dhofar’s famous groves.

Al Baleed Resort Salalah by

Anantara’s Let It Rain Khareef package

invites you to experience a cool

summer break for less, with up to 25%

off villa accommodation, staying on a

half-board basis, and with 25% off spa

treatments. Valid for stays between 26

July and 7 September 2019.

Visit to

find out more

Unwind in a Two Bedroom

Garden View Pool Villa

A camel in Gogub.

Photo by Siby Joseph

The sharing

platter at


Blue views at the infinity pool 25

40 brilliant


Some will make you want to strip off, some will have

you dressing up, some will even have you wrapping up.

We’ve found the world’s top seaside stunners



This page: an ocean drive in

Grumari, Rio de Janeiro

Nisbet Beach, Nevis

Empty, easy and open to all

Best because: You glide down a

symmetrical green avenue, all lawn

and sweeping palms, and seemingly

hit the ends of the Earth, it’s so empty.

Nisbet is open to the public, but

you’ll likely be staying at the genteel,

ageing-gracefully Nisbet Plantation,

where — as elsewhere on the island

— you’ll feel as if you’ve found a big

Caribbean secret. Take a breezy walk

first thing, along virgin sands and

rugged, volcano-backed grassland,

followed by a dip in glacier-blue

shallows, or a flop into one of the

hammocks strung between the palms.

Grumari, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Where urban Rio gets wild

Best because: Ipanema and Copacabana

grab the headlines, but this bay of

talc-fine sand, washed by bottlegreen

waves and backed by rain

forested mountains, is where locals go

to sunbathe, surf and beach-shacksnack.

It’s in a nature reserve beyond

the urban sprawl, so take a taxi from

Jardim Oceânico Metro.

Low Newton-by-the-Sea,

Northumberland, UK

Remote windswept drama

Best because: You’ll only hear the wind

along this vast open stretch, owned by

the National Trust. With only one road

in and out, it’s all yours in low season

for rock-pooling, blustery walks and

home-brews at the Ship Inn, tucked

into a square of fishing cottages. After

dinner at the Inn (booking essential),

stay on for Gothic drama from the

moonlit ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle,

overlooking Embleton Bay.

Ras Mkumbuu, Pemba, Tanzania

Tropical idyll above and below water

Best because: You’ll find a crumbling

14th-century mosque hidden between

the palms as you stroll Ras Mkumbuu’s

white sands, and you can dive with

psychedelic shoals on the wrecks

and reefs submerged in its Indian

Ocean waters. Few foreign visitors

make it beyond neighbouring island

Zanzibar, so Pemba feels like a total

escape. Leave the beach to find vervet

monkeys and flying foxes in the Ngezi

jungles, and see turtles hatching in the

sand on the desert isle of Misali.

Voidokoilia, Peloponnese, Greece

Ancient port with natural perfection

Best because: It’s an uncannily perfect,

omega-shaped beach of white sand

and clear sapphire water. Once the

port of ancient Pylos, it’s no secret,

so arrive early in summer (there’s

nowhere to buy supplies so bring

them with you). Take walking shoes,

too, to hike up to the ruined castle for

extraordinary views of the beach and

adjacent bird-filled Gialova lagoon.

Cola Beach, Goa, India

Rootsy, remote tented tranquillity

Best because: It’s typical of the serene,

yellow-sand shoreline that attracted

hippies to Goa decades ago. The

beach is as soft underfoot as crumble

topping, rinsed with tranquil shallows

and scattered with basic loungers

shaded by low-slung palms. Don’t

expect more than drowsy silence

here, as couples unwind in studenty

simplicity, murmuring occasionally

over paperbacks, drinking in the

thatched-roof café and admiring ruby

sunsets over rice-and-veg dinners

picked from the Biro-scribbled menu.

Mimizan Plage, Cote d’Argent,


Sand dunes and surfer-friendly waves

Best because: South of the mighty

Dune du Pilat, Europe’s largest sand

dune, stretches a wild and unspoilt

coastline of golden sandy beaches

bordered by towering pine trees. Aim

for the beaches in and around Mimizan

Plage, where the huge Atlantic rollers

tumble in (hire surf kit locally) and you

can play castaway, with the beach to

yourself year-round.

Praia de Odeceixe,

Alentejo, Portugal

Family-friendly simplicity

Best because: It’s a soulful Alentejo

sizzler for simple family holidays.

You’ll come for the beach sheltered by

cliffs and watered by a shallow river

that’s irresistible to tots. But it’s the

blissed-out, bygone vibe that’ll make

you linger: fishermen’s cottages not

villa resorts; friendly local surfers (join 27


them); and instead of a posey beach

bar, nicely shabby Esplanada do Mar —

low prices, with million-euro views.

Boulders Beach, Cape Town,

South Africa

Paddling with penguins

Best because: You get to swim with

penguins. An hour from Cape Town,

you can stand within metres of

hundreds of knee-high birds braying

like donkeys (hence their ‘jackass’

nickname). Follow one boardwalk

above the year-round colony’s nests

in the dunes, or take the upper-level

boardwalk to find another concealed

beach where a dozen or so birds

sunbathe on boulders and paddle in

the shallows. Fancy a race? Prepare to

lose — they may waddle on land, but

they hit 24kph in water.

Ream Beach, Sihanoukville,


Hollywood looks; backpacker prices

Best because: With squeaky white sand,

gentle aquamarine seas, frangipaniscented

air and one tiny bamboo

and palm-thatched resort, this is one

of the few stretches in Southeast

Asia that still delivers on the budgettravel

dream. There’s little to do but

sunbathe and swim — most magically

at night, when the ocean glows with

phosphorescent plankton and the sky

fills with a million stars.

Cala Llombards, Mallorca, Spain

Clifftops and crystal waters

Best because: Mother Nature couldn’t

have made this a more ideal cliffjumping

spot. They carved the

rockface to perfect leaping height,

then dredged the sea to the purest

turquoise. (Mortals made it even easier

by notching steps to the clifftop from

the ashy beach.) Drive down to this

south-coast spot at 10am and you’ll

have space to spread out, or come at

5pm for the last rays.

Teignmouth Back Beach,

Devon, UK

Beach huts and boats

Best because: While Teignmouth’s main

beach draws the crowds, tiny Back

Beach is the locals’ favourite. Admire

the line of colourful beach huts, rows

of gig boats and views down the Teign

Estuary, eat superb seafood at the

Crab Shack, pause for a paddle, then

take the dinky, centuries-old ferry

across to the village of Shaldon.

Sunj, Lopud, Croatia

Dubrovnik’s secret sands

Best because: You get two for one in

the loveliest pine-scrubbed bay near

Dubrovnik. First there’s sand (the

exception in pebbly Croatia) that’s fine

enough for castles. Second, there’s

the dreamy day trip to Lopud: relaxed,

car- and crowd-free. The opposite

of summertime Dubrovnik, basically.

Access is via vintage ferry from

Dubrovnik’s Gruz port; golf-buggy

taxis whisk you from harbour to beach

for $3. Come for a long lazy day,

punctuated with lunch at the palmthatched


San Fruttuoso, Liguria, Italy

Retro-Riviera fishing-village nook

Best because: Its startlingly still, stony

shallows are as pure as a paperweight,

and warm enough from May onwards

for a rejuvenating plunge. An hourly

ferry from Portofino deposits you

in San Frutt’s cove of butterscotch

homes shadowed by an abbey, the

lot hemmed by steep flanks of pines.

Come as early as you can to bag a

sunlounger. While you could bring a

picnic, the point of the place is largely

lunch, preferably mussels at

La Cantina.



Isolated Caribbean paradise

Best because: The twin elements are startlingly, improbably

beautiful: fine sands have the pearly purity of a supermodel’s

smile, waters are layered in the horizontal blue shades of a

Rothko canvas. And there you have its appeal. Nothing else —

neither crowds nor high-rises — blemishes the flawless shoreline.

Just a bleached branch tossed photogenically, perhaps,

and sounds from Gwen’s Reggae Grill.

This is where you must eat and drink.

Opposite page, top to

bottom: Boulders Beach;

Cala Llombards 29

Beirigh, Isle of Lewis, UK

Wild white sands and seals

Best because: Cut adrift near the

western tip of the Outer Hebrides,

Traigh na Beirigh (Reef Beach) is

dizzyingly remote — you’re 65km from

Stornoway, so it’s probably just you,

the 2km-long, bone-white beach, and

the occasional curious seal bobbing

in the turquoise bay. Bring your

binoculars — you might see orcas,

dolphins and whales. The Callanish

Standing Stones are the fabulously

haunting Neolithic bonus, only an 11km

swim (OK, 30-minute drive) away.

Negril, Jamaica

World-beating sunset spot

Best because: The kilometres of squishily

soft, gently shelving sand aren’t even

Negril’s best bit. This beach is one of

the Caribbean’s finest sunset spots:

come 6pm, myriad colours fill the sky

and reggae soundtracks the dying

embers of the day. While the hippie

vibe isn’t what it used to be (the beach

is now lined with resorts), you can seek

out bohemian allure by heading further

south to Negril’s limestone outcrops,

where local kids like to cliff-jump into

the azure.

Morris Bay, Antigua

Low-key Caribbean cove

Best because: Powder sands, smooth

sea lapping gently shelving shallows,

and a fringe of coconut palms

providing shade for beach picnics —

it’s a stunner that’s often deserted,

but is easy to access on the southwest

coast. Bring your own mask and

snorkel, and stay until sunset to watch

for the green flash as the sun sinks into

the ocean.

Plage de Saint Guirec,

Ploumanac’h, Brittany, France

Beguiling pink granite fantasia

Best because: It’s the star of Brittany’s

Côte de Granit Rose. Fringed by pines

and a romantic little oratory that’s

isolated at high tide, Saint Guirec’s

pale sands are strewn with rose-tinted

boulders eroded into voluptuous

Henry Moore-ish shapes. Get up at

dawn to see the rocks blush hot pink,

then top it off with the easy, but

spectacular, walk along the surreal

coast to Ploumanac’h’s lighthouse.

Tejakula, Bali, Indonesia

Back-of-beyond beauty

Best because: The ribbons of sand that

wrap along this unexplored northern

coast are black — deep, jet black, not

dirty-washing-grey like Seminyak, or

pewter-ish as on the east coast.



Opposite page:

Sunset in Negril

This page, clockwise

from top left: Tejakula;

Mawgan Porth; Tulum

and its Mayan ruins;

windswept Beirigh

It’s a two-hour drive from Ubud

through the mist-licked Abasan

mountains to reach tranquil Tejakula

and you’ll want to pack beach shoes

for the pebbly beach. But you’ll be

doubly glad you bothered come

sunset, when the swimmable, dolphindotted

Bali Sea turns to molten gold.

Tai Long Wan, Hong Kong

Treks and the city

Best because: You get a triple-whammy

of peroxide-blonde sands splashed

by luminous blue seas. Yet only a

handful of Hongkongers ever make

it to Tai Long Wan. The reason? It

can only be reached by hiking 10km

along the magnificent Maclehose

Trail, swooshing through mountain

peaks, forested valleys, curvy coastline

and abandoned villages. Or take the

speedboat from the seaside town of

Sai Kung. We’d recommend doing

both: hike in the cooler morning (with

supplies), then cruiseback on the final

5pm boat for sunset.

Tulum, Mexico

Swim while you’re sightseeing

Best because: There can’t be many

gorgeous beaches that come with

their own slice of Mayan history.

Bring your costume to Tulum’s World

Heritage Site, so you can follow the

stairs down the cliff, wade out over

fine, pale sand to float on gentle

Listerine waves, and gaze back up at

the impressive 13th-century clifftop El

Castillo. Coach parties from Cancún

fill the site by mid-morning, but stay

down the road in modern Tulum and

you can be at the gates at 8am for

your own solitary dip.

Praia de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal

Natural beauty laid bare

Best because: It’s a natural winner on

the otherwise manicured Algarve.

Twice-hourly 20-minute ferries from

the ancient Moorish town of Tavira take

you to this, the first of three beaches

along the 11km Ilha de Tavira sandbar.

Alight through pines to sand studded

with sunloungers and small cafés. Miss

the 5pm ferry back, and you can grab a

water taxi.

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall

Surfy, sandy walking paradise

Best because: In summer months, this

big Cornish beach, framed by cliffs,

is a bucket-and-spade dream of soft

sand, rock pools, caves and surf-perfect

waves. It's also busy, which is why it's

often best during the quieter, cooler

months. That’s when its adjoining

walking paths, snaking up and down

the grassy coast, turn blustery and

atmospheric. Hike north up the cliff from

the sands, and you’ll be rewarded with

Cornwall’s finest, fluffiest homemade

scones in the cosy Carnewas Tea Room

at Bedruthan Steps hotel.

South Beach, Miami, USA

Glam urban resort

Best because: Pastel-hued Art Deco

hotels, palm trees and a boardwalk

line the 4km stretch of South Beach 31



Rugged, wild and wind-blown

Best because: Just 10 minutes’ drive

from Vík village on Iceland’s stormy

southern coast, this is a beach for

invigorating walks along seemingly

endless, empty black sands, past

pounding breakers, brooding black

crags and ocean-carved cliff-caves.

Year-round, come well wrapped

up in Icelandic woolly jumpers and

raincoats to withstand the icy spray.

From October to March, arrive late

afternoon and stay until night to

see the Northern Lights shimmer

majestically overhead.



sand on the city-island of Miami Beach.

Find space to sprawl amid families and

dog-walkers in the south, or work up

a sweat with the muscle set in the free

outdoor gyms and beach volleyball

courts of Lummus Park midway

up. But the big draw is in the sexy

northern area, where DJs spin tunes

steps from the waves, and bartenders

dole out drinks to beautiful people on

sunloungers, backed by swanky highrise


Playa Grande,

Dominican Republic

Under-the-radar Caribbean corker

Best because: No-one’s heard of it! Most

tourists are queuing at an all-inclusive

buffet miles away, so you’ll only meet

local families and guests of the two

discreet hotels that were lucky enough

obtain planning permission among

the palms. Also here are a handful

of colourful numbered fish kiosks

frying up the day’s catch for a few

dollars — go to shack No. 12 for the

most photogenic parrotfish and

friendliest waiters.

Ao Yai, Koh Phayam, Thailand

Surfing, sunsets and sweeping sands

Best because: It’s a refuge for The

Beach-style backpacking, made

accessible by cheap flights from

Bangkok. Framed by jungly headlands,

the powder playground of this

bolthole near Burma provides 5km

of hippie heaven. Learn to surf with

boards hired at Phayam Lodge, then

stay for sundowners as heavy bass

booms from driftwood-formed Rasta

Baby. (There are no ATMs on the

island — take cash.)

Milk Beach, Sydney, Australia

Sydney’s secret strip

Best because: Bondi is busy, busy,

busy. Instead, head to this secluded

harbour beach in the upmarket

Eastern Suburbs. One of Sydney’s

secret weapons, it offers dazzling

views of the iconic city skyline. The

soft, creamy sand here melts into

diamond-clear shallows that are ideal

for all-day frolicking. Bring along a

giant inflatable and snap a shot with

the Harbour Bridge photo-bombing in

the background. Follow the Hermitage

Foreshore Walk track for five minutes

from Nielsen Park to find it.

La Concha, San Sebastian, Spain

Scrumptious city-centre stunner

Best because: Nowhere else has such an

exuberant holiday spirit so close to the

city action (world-class eating, in San

Sebastián’s case). Yes, the sands get

crowded, but somehow everyone slots

in — partly because at low tide the

1.5km horseshoe sweep is vast, partly

because so many are playing frisbee,

strolling the shallows, paddleboarding

or swimming out to diving platforms.

Don’t fancy sunbathing? People-watch

and soak up headland-hugged views

from La Concha café, up on the prom.

Margate, Kent, UK

Old-fashioned, but cool seaside fun

Best because: The Old Town may have

been gentrified, but down on the

shore you can still build sandcastles,

eat fat, just-fried chips, play in the

amusement arcades, buy 99 Flakes

and paddle with your trousers rolled

up to your heart’s content. You’ll find

plenty to explore just steps from the

beach: the seafront Turner gallery has

regularly changing world-class art

exhibits; the Old Town and curving

harbour arm are well-endowed with

cafés and indie art shops; and the

retro-chic theme park Dreamland does

a great line in rollercoasters, rollerdiscos

and old-school circus acts.

This page, from top to

bottom: Harbour Bridge

views from Milk Beach;

Playa Grande 33


Baie des Anges, Nice, France

Unfussy urban strand

Best because: It’s so much less

pretentious than you thought

the French Riviera would be. The

promenade whirrs with cyclists;

beach bars serve jars of drinks to sip

as you gaze at the hazy blue horizon;

coiffed dames with parasols avoid

the rays, while clusters of nut-brown

teens make the most of them.

Ditch Plains Beach,

Montauk, USA

New York hipster hideaway

Best because: Old-money

Manhattanites have been weekending

for decades in the Hamptons, a clutch

of posh towns east of NYC on Long

Island. But they’ve always ignored

the island’s eastern tip, Montauk, so

young Brooklynites have recently coopted

it as their own. Join in: surf or

splash in the Atlantic rollers that crash

onto cliff-backed Ditch Plains Beach;

scoff fish tacos and artisan espressos

from the summer-only shacks along

the 1km swathe of latte-coloured

sand; or get takeaways from the

permanent outposts in the hippie-chic

town centre, two kilometres away.

Koh Poda, Krabi, Thailand

Late-afternoon limestone lovely

Best because: Rising out of the

Andaman Sea like a jagged tooth,

circled by heavenly white sands,

blue and yellow angelfish and red

brahim sea eagles, this junglecovered

limestone isle feels positively

prehistoric — at least until the tour

boats arrive. Although not as busy

as its more famous neighbours, Phi

Phi and James Bond Island, Poda still

has crowds in the hundreds between

10am and 2pm. Dodge the hordes

and arrive early or late on a private

longtail boat from Railay Beach.

Elafonisi, Crete, Greece

Faraway islet with rose-tinted sands

Best because: The radiant colours of

the pink-white sands and shallow

turquoise lagoon are irresistible.

Buses from Chania make for a twohour

journey, but you should stay

nearby for the sunsets, magical night

silence, and the unforgettable chance

to be first on the beach. Coachloads

do turn up mid-morning, so if it gets

too busy, walk to Elafonisi island and

its numerous coves — often possible

without getting your feet wet.

Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii

Cocktails and surfers

Best because: The upbeat mood is

infectious, as kids boogie-board,

music lilts from dozens of iconic bars,

and out on the horizon, the best of

the best skim eight-footers towards

the shore. Book a group surf lesson

to take the pressure off (the school

in front of the Hilton is good), then

reward yourself with a ice-cold drink

at Outrigger’s, its tables clustered

around a gnarled Banyan tree,

creating a wonderfully scenic spot.

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing


Opposite page, clockwise

from top left: Karma Beach;

Cathedral Cove; Waikiki;

Elafonisi Beach

This page: Venice Beach

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

Peninsula, New Zealand

Wave-carved caves and crystal waters

Best because: You get two beaches for

the price of one here. Separated by

a jut of cliff as smooth and white as a

slab of tofu, twin stretches of eggshell

sand slope into luminous blue water.

The star of the show, though, is the

cavernous, wave-carved tunnel that

links the two beaches at low tide. It’s

a gentle 45-minute hike here from

the seaside town of Hahei, but it’s far

more fun to skid ashore in a kayak.

Venice, California, USA

The movie icon

Best because: This is California on

steroids. Literally. Buzzy Venice is

where you’ll find the beefcakes of

Muscle Beach pumping iron for the

crowds, acrobatic teens doing tricks

at the beachfront skatepark, hippies

tight-roping between the palms, and

bikini-clad blondes rollerskating along

the promenade. Stop for Baywatchinspired

selfies by the lifeguard

stations, but to do Venice like a local

by taking a swing on the monkey rings

(no excuses — the boardwalk is lined

with outdoor gyms).

Cala Mitjana, Menorca, Spain

Secluded, idyllic wooded cove

Best because: Its beauty is all the more

pristine for the effort it takes to get

there — half an hour from Ciutadella

on the south coast, it’s accessible only

by boat or a 20-minute hike through

pine trees. The reward: white, sugarsoft

sand, transparent turquoise water

(bring your snorkel) and the chance to

dive off the low, white cliffs that hug

the cove. Bring all supplies, although

fruit-sellers are on hand in summer.

And if the beach gets too busy, swim

over to its little sister, Cala Mitjaneta.

Karma Beach, Bali, Indonesia

A beach to reach

Best because: At the bottom of a cliff

in Bali’s rugged Uluwatu district and

reached only via open-air cable car, this

exclusive private beach club offers a

007-worthy entrance. The beach is ideal

for paddleboarding and snorkelling, but

it’s all about that descent. 35

Piedmont, Italy



Stories from journeys

far and wide



CANADA p50 37



South Beach is prettily seductive – but

Miami's edgier parts now deliver its nicest

vices, says Nick Redman

38 39


n Miami, it's dogs that seem to

enjoy the vices these days.

After an afternoon exploring

Coconut Grove, I'm getting my head

around the local yappy hour: a canine

happy hour, when pets can upgrade

their chicken and rice bowls with a

Cuban cigar, or 'chew-gar', as the staff

at the Spillover call it. 'Almost all the

restaurants in the Grove have dog

menus,' says Nicole, a resident who's been

my guide. Her Jack Russell ('Jack') eyes

its prize as Nicole and I share virtuous

oven-cooked heirloom cauliflower.

All's serene on this balmy spring day

in the Grove, an enclave of jewellers

and yachts on the edge of Biscayne Bay.

We've seen Regatta Harbor, lined with

mangroves. We've wandered along

Grand Avenue and Main Highway,

where live oaks dapple the sidewalks

with shade. We've even tried (and failed)

to flag down a Freebee, the new golfcart-style

service introduced to whizz

locals around (Don Johnson's Miami

Vice Ferrari it isn't). Ironically, it was in

search of gritty city colour that I'd Uber'd

to Coconut Grove from the throngs and

thongs of South Beach. Somehow its

name held the promise of a TV drama:

skateboarders, streetwalkers, largerthan-life

types. And yet, the Grove, like

the beachfront, could easily be a big,

blissful, mainstream Caribbean resort.

For all the pushy backstory — the

crime, the busts, the killing of Gianni

Versace — my wanderings have so far

reinforced just how much Miami isn't

the scary TV-cop series place it was in

the '80s and '90s. I enjoyed a drink last

night 40 storeys above the glittery city

at Sugar, a kooky nook set in shrubbery

atop the hotel East, itself a fine glitzy

Asian-brand import. The moment

was rare, even if I could have been

anywhere, so highrise-international was

the outlook over the financial district,

Brickell, 'the Manhattan of the South'.

From this viewpoint it appeared like

an armada of cruise-ship monsters










upended: stunning yet sanitised,

the shiny new self-appointed capital

of North-meets-South America.

I didn't want to see Miami and get it in

the neck, exactly, but for me the whole

point of coming is for exposure to urban-

US excess: horn-beep and street hustle;

late-night loucheness and offbeat types.

In fashion shoots and movies, Florida's

capital of sun and sin invariably comes

off like some glam-fatale time warp,

where ceiling fans stir the potted palms

portentously while the bar band plays

shuffly salsa and guys in zoot suits peer

shiftily over drinks, waiting for 'The Man'.

I'm craving that filmic frisson and, while

seduced by beautiful, laid-back Coconut

Grove, I'm ready now for a part of Miami

with more welly than its electric buggies.

I got a first whiff of overpowering

pleasantness upon checking in at my

hotel, the Betsy, on Ocean Drive, in South

Beach. This is the famous shorefront

district of pastel Art Deco hotels and

bars that reinforced the city's as-seenon-MTV

bad-girl image — helped by the

likes of J Lo and Madonna. Taking my

first walk beside the sands, though, I

got more of a vanilla-Vegas vibe, mixing

among snowbirds in matching baseball

caps and parties of off-the-leash young

weekenders. All great fun, but bigcity

gritty? South Beach deserves due

homage all the same, and the Betsy was

the place to pay it, with its faux-colonial

lobby of foxtail palms, low sofas, a giant

mirror framed in zebra print and a

retrolicious cocktail bar: without doubt

the most elegant, grown-up hotel on

Ocean Drive. An ice-cream-cool slab

of streamlined interwar modernity,

it basked in understatement, with

big alfresco burgers on the veranda,

which invited you to idle for hours,

and low chairs serving as stalls for

the ballet that is beachy Miami.

A pink ice-cream truck glided

past, topped with a giant white cat.

A pneumatic pedestrian gyrated by,

then another, with a bum like blown

bubble gum. Who could fail to love

Ocean Drive? Even the blip-beat of

identikit R&B from cafes was agreeably

hypnotic. Boyfriends and girlfriends

snapped each other against spaceshipsized

vintage cars, candy-coloured

lifeguard stations and angular hotels.

Born in 1896, when the railroad

arrived, Miami grew into a naughty whirl

of a girl: a playground for escapees from

the cold formality of the north, purposebuilt

to be the Florida Mediterranean,

with 'dreams set in concrete, terracotta

and stucco' as one historian put it. During

Prohibition, from 1920 to 1933, South

Florida was one of the 'leakiest' spots in

the USA, as rum runners dropped the

Cuban crates discreetly — but directly

— onto the beach in places such as the

Surf Club. Today, that former den of

iniquity is a luxury Four Seasons hotel,

north of South Beach in idyllic Surfside,

peopled by clean-cut success stories,

relaxing in chinos and floaty dresses.

So I was pleased to find a generous

dash of decadence in Peacock Alley,

the Four Seasons' atmospheric vaulted

corridor that leads to the beach.

Elizabeth Taylor, Dean Martin, Liberace

— Monochrome photographs told the

tale of Miami's maverick mid-century

years. It felt only right to raise a glass

in the soigné new-classic restaurant Le

Sirenuse, to the strains of Frank and

Ella. And the vice went into overdrive

when a second helping of saucy rigatoni



Opening pages: Ocean Drive as dusk

falls This page, clockwise from top left:

Restaurant sign beckons diners along

Miami Beach; aerial view of Miami Beach;

Lummus Park; weekend brunch is

served; graffiti project in Wynwood 41


arrived, peddled by white-jacketed

Arturo, the persuasive head waiter.

Next day, I crossed the causeway from

Miami Beach, bound for Little Havana, to

find a city moving to an edgier rhythm.

My base here, Life House Little Havana,

was a new home-share-style place.

Its lobby, lined with books and chairs

around a communal table, made you

feel part of the furniture — and the fun.

In Latino shades of cigar, tobacco and

coffee-cream, bedrooms oozed Cuba:

a battered case as bedside table here,

a vintage Kodak camera there. When

dusk glowed orange, guests met in the

rattan-colonial backyard, lit by candles

in lanterns. Over salsa-tinkle from the

speakers, chat drifted like smoke.

Little Havana is well accustomed to

lunch trade — not least for the cheese,

ham, mustard and pickle 'midnight'

sandwich at Versailles Restaurant,

a famous local window onto Cuban

life, with regulars glued to the TV

for news of The Island. Personally, I

felt perfectly at home after dark. OK,

once I passed a cop car a block from

the hotel, and a handcuffed suspect

under scrutiny from officers. But I

couldn't have been better placed for

the nocturnal fizz of Calle Ocho, the

main vein, neon-bright with signs for

money-changing and hot chicken.

At Ball & Chain, a recent recreation of a

spot that ran from the '30s to the '50s on

the same site, I ordered a Cuban spring

roll beneath posters for Chet Baker,

Count Basie and others who'd been here

long before me. Around 9pm, the band

snapped into life in the corner, all fat

organ chords and savage drum snares.

I saw the sticks ticking away, white in

a spotlight, and ducked when the salsa

tutors started touting for partners.

Luckily Café La Trova, a smart new

kid on the block, left things to the pros.

As bejeaned friends in skyscraper

heels drank, the band played trova

— the old salsa of strolling players —

below laundry on a balconied stage.








Harmonies were angelic and spiritual,

borne on the swishing conga rhythm,

long into the heat-blurred night.

Waking to sun through slatty blinds,

I planned the day over breakfast

Colombian style at a Life House tip-off,

Sanpocho, built around a parking lot.

It was a big sprawl of a diner-store,

where the server spoke Spanish and

loved it when customers did, however

poorly — which was me, ordering refried

beans and rice. Here was one of those

perfect only-in-America moments:

ordinary yet edgy. Watching cars curl

in to park, I felt like an extra in Breaking

Bad, although the only threat to my

existence was the corncake offered

me, lethal with butter and salt.

I opted to go north for more illicit

pleasures — outré art and pricey retail.

Planes raced into the mid-am sky above

me on the Uber ride to the Design

District, and flinty glass high-rises

were pin-sharp to infinity against a

blue day. Sweeping around one curve of

freeway after another, revealing more

tough urbanity, I felt the beginning

of the endlessness of America, that

shiver of risky possibility, the urge to

hitch a ride with some passing longhaul

truck straight out of a movie, the

irresistible danger of a stranger.

The new Institute of Contemporary

Art was certainly sexier than its serious

name: a sensory realm of white rooms

to drift through, distracted by grainy,

arcane video screens and labially

informed ceramics. But the wider

Design District was merely cookiecutter

retail heaven for label addicts,

such as you find from LA to Shanghai.

Fortunately Wynwood, half an hour's

walk south, felt artfully rougher. Once

a wasteland, its old warehouses now

shouted with psychedelic graffiti

and its walls with funky murals.

It was all downhill, or Downtown, from

here. Walking on East Flagler Street the

next day — my last in Miami — I saw

an empty Art Deco pharmacy, formerly

a famous branch of Walgreens, bearing

a banner: 'Witness the new Downtown!'

I'd come to pay my respects to the

city's origins here in 1896 — the year

Henry Morrison Flagler, a founder of

Standard Oil, unveiled a key station

on the Florida East Coast Railway.

His plan: to create a new American

Riviera in a place immune to freezes.

Downtown had been depressed for

decades, explained my guide, Dr Paul

George. The area had, he said, been

a victim of 'white flight': the gradual

migration of the carowning middle

classes out to the suburbs, lured by big

malls and better living. Downtown's

fate spoke for itself, in boarded-up '30s

department stores and skyscraping

Neo-Classical relics, many empty

now. Barely a decade ago, it was

dangerous to come here after dark.

Now, in its midst, there were green

shoots: that defunct Walgreens

was set to open as a restaurant,

music hall and brewery, hence the

banner. At night, among the faded

Florentine-style civic buildings on

and off Flagler, I found an upbeat

scene going on, as drinkers flocked to

a select few new scuzzy-chic spots.

Way after midnight, I reached Jaguar

Sun, a terminally trendy little newcomer.

I grinned, gingerly, and the bartender

put me at ease. 'I like that smile,' he said,

catching my eye as I scanned the offering,

'and you look like you need a drink.'

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

+971 4 316 6666 or visit

Credit: News Licensing / The Sunday Times Travel Magazine



A colourful lifeguard

tower on South Beach 43

This page, clockwise from

left: Plate of vegetable

ravioli; hanging grapes

ready for harvesting



Let’s get ready to


Where to begin with an Italian foodie trip? Head north, says Liz

Edwards: in pretty Piedmont, it's all flavour and no pretensions 45

oodness, doesn't

Italy make your

tummy rumble?

Top to toe, it's

so ridiculously


that pretty much

every region,

every town, has

its speciality,

its own comehither,

nobody-does-it-better thing.

There's Parma with its ham and

cheese, Modena with its balsamic

vinegar, Naples for pizza, Genoa for

pesto. For a couple of Italy ingenues

like my husband and me, looking

to expand horizons and waistlines,

it could have just been a case of

sticking a pin in the map. But it's

easy to get a bit chin-strokey and

po-faced about all the good stuff —

we wanted to have fun with it, too.

And then (after a little Googling)

it came to me: some of the lowestcommon-denominator

names in

Italian food began in one region —

Piedmont, at the base of the Alps.

Sure, it was known for its truffles, its

Barolos and its anti-trash Slow Food

movement. But it's also the home of

Ferrero Rocher and Nutella. Crucially,

like Nigel Slater scoffing a Big Mac,

Piedmont seemed to embrace guilty

pleasures. Surely it couldn't take itself

that seriously? We could only hope.

Turin was our first stop — we'd

city-break for a couple of days before

looping southeast out into the Langhe

countryside for the rest of the week.

And it's quite a place. The city of the

shroud and of Fiat (never mind those

Italian Job Minis) was the first capital

of unified Italy and has all the grand

squares, portico-lined streets and

statues of men on horses to prove it.

You'd expect its citizens to be well fed

even if it weren't surrounded by foodproducing

mountains and farmland —

but it is, so the markets overflow with

bounty, the streets glint with Michelin

stars, and mom-and-pop delis sell

17 types of homemade grissini (they

were invented in a nearby palace).

Greedy tourists cannot live on

breadsticks alone, though, so we beelined

to 18th-century cafe Al Bicerin

for its eponymous elevenses drink: hot





chocolate, espresso and cream, as rich

a confection as the gilt-and-marble

interior of the church next door. Later

on, we went a bit more sophisticated,

watching people wander through

stately Piazza San Carlo over alfresco

drinks at city institution Caffè Torino.

The local find that really made me

smile, though, was the Pinguino, the

pre-Magnum choc-ice-on-a-stick

dreamt up by Turin gelateria Pepino

in 1939. I mean, yes, the ingredients

are quite posh — high-end chocolate,

creamy gelato — but eating a choc-ice

is essentially a nonserious experience.

We scoffed ours (Turin's hazelnut

chocolate gianduja flavour) in lovely

riverside Valentino Park, racing to

get more in our mouths than on our

clothes or the grass we sat on. Fears

of food snobbery were further allayed

back in town: I spotted a streetside

vending machine selling $5 reheated

lasagne. There's nothing like a bit

of trash to make the fine food seem

finer, and the locals more human.

We were going to like it here.

'Slow Food unites the pleasure of

food with responsibility, sustainability

and harmony with nature,' said Carlo

Petrin, founder of the organisation that

promotes local food and traditional

cooking. Admirable? Certainly. Laugh

a minute? Maybe not. Still, we couldn't

stay totally straight-faced about its

headquarters, where we were off to

next: a town called Bra. Obviously I

wanted to check that its cafes offered

a full range of cup sizes. What we

found, among the mountain-backed

terracotta roofs, Baroque belltowers

and old tannery chimneys, was a

place that looked sleepy, but had a

youthful energy. Slow Food might

have tapped into the town's existing

appreciation of food done well, but

the nearby University of Gastronomic

Sciences has added student-driven

oomph. There were cool delis, trendy

gelaterias and, come early evening,

a buzzy aperitivo scene — we idled

happily over artisan drinks and

generous nibbles among the youngsters

outside Art Deco Caffè Boglione.

It didn't mean the oldsters had been

kicked out, though. We were too early

for September's biennial international

cheese fair, but we could still taste our

way into a cheese stupor in Giolito,

the brick-ceilinged, local-formaggistuffed

shop that started 100 years ago

with grandma Giolito selling cheese at

markets. We bought soft little robiolas

to picnic on and a robust chestnut-leafwrapped

Occelli to take home. And our

hotel, Albergo Cantine Ascheri, was

family-run and went back 200 years,

but it wore a strikingly contemporary

face — lots of concrete, pale wood

and chrome, with reinforced glass

on sections of the reception floor. It

worked for me (as did the bucket of

Nutella on the breakfast buffet).

Bra was also a good base for

exploring the hilltop villages that make

Piedmont a less touristy, just-as-pretty

alternative to Tuscany. We wandered

the biscuity cobbles of Verduno to

find its belvedere — a grassy space

helpfully planted with limes and

chestnuts so we could admire the view

sunburn-free. Fifty shades of green

swelled across the slopes below us in

tidy patches of vines and hazelnuts

(that Nutella doesn't nuttify itself) —

nature at its well-groomed neatest.

An inscribed ledge identified other

hilltop villages — La Morra, Monforte,

Montelupo — for further pootling

round postcard-ready panoramas.

Lunch that day was in Cherasco,

a Baroque stage-set of a town and

scene of our Michelin-starred

blowout (we couldn't not have one).

Da Francesco, the restaurant in a

17th-century palazzo, couldn't have

looked more the part, its extravagantly

frescoed walls and ceilings suggesting

statuary, stucco, marble and gilt.

There wasn't an un-tromped oeil

Credit: Liz Edwards/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing



This page, clockwise from top left:

Beefsteak tomatoes at Piazza della

Repubblica market; a worker harvesting

grapes; alfresco dining at a café in San

Carlo Piazza; Piazza San Carlo

Opening pages: grilled

prawn salad; climbing a

tree against the backdrop

of a fiery sunset

This page: Petit Piton

above Margretoute Bay 47


in the house. The food wasn't bad,

either: delicate, modern riffs on local

ingredients, including the snails the

town's famous for. Snail risotto came

my way, and rather nice it was, too.

The very definition of slow food.

It was time to find Piedmont's

underground edible star, the truffle.

Natale and Giorgio Romagnolo were our

men, Lizzy and Brio their dogs. From

the brothers' scenic family farmhouse

between Alba and Asti, we set off into

the oak and poplar woods — fungus

intel coming thick and fast — in search

of black truffles. (White truffles,

more delicate, more aromatic, more

expensive, only appear from September

to January.) And we very rapidly found

one. Lizzy caught a scent, started

digging, Giorgio loosened the soil with

a little knife and there we were: a grey,

knobbly truffle the size of a golf ball

was ours. Well, theirs really, but back

at the farmhouse Natale did shave

some slices for us over hunks of local

cheese. As the deliciously deep, earthy

smell wafted our way, he told us how

the pheromones that help the dogs find

them also act as an aphrodisiac. 'They're

natural viagra,' he said. 'And they go

very well with Andrea Bocelli's music.'

With only a couple of days left, we'd

moved to stay near Neive, a gorgeous

village in Barbaresco country and

setting for our finest evening of the trip.

Sitting in a sunny corner of a garden

next to a former primary school, we ate

outstanding food — simple, prepared

with care and time, a paradigm. Our

drinks, made in on-site barrels, revealed

similar expertise. Our fellow diners

here at CitaBiunda were tattooed and

man-bunned, younger and hipper than

people we’d encountered elsewhere.

Yep, we'd come for hops and pizza.

OK, craft hops and 36-hour-proofed

pizza dough, so maybe these guys were

taking themselves a bit seriously, but

it had paid off — and we saw more

dogs stroked than chins. This corner

of Italy had given us fine fare and

it had given us fun and we couldn't

have been happier. Piedmont, with

this trip you were really spoiling us.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

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The scenic hills of Langhe 49


Driving through

the beautiful wilderness



His daughter's desire to go whale-watching takes Stanley Stewart

back to his own childhood in Canada: through Nova Scotia,

by campervan, on an odyssey of emotions



e could hear the

whales before we

saw them. That long

breathy exhalation of

a humpback blowing

as it breached.

Leaning over the side of the Zodiac,

Sophia peered across the water

into the thick curtains of fog.

'She is close,' she whispered.

It was her first whale. This is what she'd

come for: the whiff of adventure, whales

and bears, campfires and Indian trails. We

were on a road trip — a father daughter

thing — through Nova Scotia, and Sophia

woke every morning in the expectation

of another chapter out of White Fang.

I'd actually come for something quite

different. I'd come for the nostalgia of

small towns and familiar streets. I'd

come for those big red barns with silos,

and for pretty farmhouses surrounded

by apple orchards. I'd come for leafy

streets of Victorian houses, their front

porches bathed in the dusty light of

childhood memories. I was on a nostalgia

trip. Sophia, quite understandably,

thought this sounded dead boring.

Canada was big enough to cater to us

both. The country has always seemed

a touch schizophrenic, and it's not

just the French and English thing.

Canada veers between two contrasting

personalities - between cute towns and

vast wilderness, between Main Streets

and migration routes too complex to

fathom, between corner diners and

tracts of unknown forests. Take a look

at a map. Everyone lives along that

southern border in a neat network of

roads and towns. But above them is

empty space, a wilderness of woods, dark

unnamed lakes and distances inhabited

only by moose, caribou and wolves —

and grizzlies keen to dine on unwary

townsfolk who ventured onto their patch.

I grew up in Canada — in the cute towns

part not the hungry grizzlies bit — and

the holiday I remember most fondly was

caravanning in the Maritimes in the

eastern Atlantic provinces. I was eight and

life was good. My Dad and I pored over

maps and picked campsites, and every day

felt like an adventure. Now my daughter

was eight, I wanted to bring her home

and show her the Maritimes. Booking 51


a campervan, we took a flight to Nova

Scotia and we knew we were somewhere

different the moment we arrived. There

are rocking chairs in Halifax airport.

Among the homogenising tendencies of

North America, the Maritimes are a place

apart. There is an Anne of Green Gables

innocence about these small provinces,

which made it ideal territory for my

nostalgia trip: an old-fashioned place of

small towns and family farms, of fishing

boats and lighthouses, of rocky shores

and rocking chairs. Celtic roots run deep

here and at the ceilidhs, the traditional

songs, are about homesickness.

Homesickness was why I was here.

In Halifax, we collected our new home.

The RV was a big hit. 'It's a whole house,

Papa,' Sophia said excitedly, as she

inspected the double beds, the kitchen,

the on-board loo and shower, the storage

space that could have catered for an

Apollo mission. For the next week she

played house, fussing with the wardrobe

arrangements, sweeping the floor and

trying to keep her Papa in order.

We popped some Nova Scotia folk into

the CD, punched Lunenburg into the

sat nav and headed along Nova Scotia's

South Shore. The RV was a handful — an

eight metre, 6,800kg behemoth. Out

on Highway 3, I prayed I'd never have to

execute a three-point turn or parallel park.

With 8,000km of coastline, Nova

Scotia is a sea-faring province, at one

time it had the fourth-largest merchant

fleet in the world. The Mary Celeste

was built here and the dead from the

Titanic were buried here. Sailors and

fishermen are the local heroes, and

no-one spends more than a week here

without venturing out on the water.

We passed villages where century-old

houses framed harbours of trawlers

draped in nets. At Peggy's Cove

(population: 30), I sat on the weathered

deck of a fishing shack chatting to

a whiskery fellow about the lobster

catch, while Sophia danced like a sea

sprite across the granite outcrops

that frame St Margaret's Bay.

Further down the coast, the town

of Lunenburg is so pretty it's been

made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Colourful houses built in the 19thcentury

line its streets. Here was the

innocent small-town North America I

was seeking. Kids ride their bikes down

Main Street to soda fountains run by

a guy called Pop and people get all the

news they need in the Lunenburg Ledger.

Confronted with the landscape of my

childhood, I came over all emotional.

But that wasn't why Sophia

had come to Canada. She wanted

drama. She wanted wilderness.

In Canada, wilderness is always close.

Barely 150 years ago, virtually all of

Canada's 10 million square kilometres

was wilderness. They have cut down a

few trees since Queen Victoria's day, but

it hardly seems to have made a dent —

approximately half of Canada is covered

by forest. Even among the settled small

towns of Nova Scotia, there are vast

tracts of the country that no-one has got

round to using yet. Turn up a back road

or hike over the next hill here and you

find yourself in trackless forest where

there have been few human footprints

since the First Nations people ghosted

through these trees on moccasined soles.

From the coast we cut inland on a

two-lane highway. The landscape and the

road emptied, and the forests closed in.

After a couple of hours we came to the

entrance of Kejimkujik National Park,

a broad swathe of virgin forest where

the only permanent marks of man are

the petroglyphs of the Mi'kmaq people.

Eighty per cent of the park is accessible

only by foot or canoe. This was the

antithesis of pretty, settled Lunenburg.

Kejimkujik is not pretty. It is wild, pure

and ravishingly beautiful. To visitors like

us, Kejimkujik is an outdoor playground,

a place to commune with nature. To the

Mi'kmaq, it's home, a National Historic

Site more than a National Park. This

is what their Nova Scotia looked like

before we arrived with town-planning

and strange ideas about roads.

Sophia slipped so readily into the

Mi'kmaq vibe I began to wonder about

her mother's ancestry. We parked in our

designated campsite, lit a campfire and

cooked salmon on the coals. Later, we

skittered down a steep slope to swim in

Kejimkujik Lake, warm, still and cleaner

than any water I had ever seen. Then we

sat on a log on the shore watching sunset

colours spill across the surface of the

water. For the first time Sophia heard the

call of a loon — Canada's signature tune, a

plaintive, haunting sound drifting across

the darkening lake from the unseen bird.











Later, we followed paths through the

dark woods to the Sky Circle, a raised

deck of sloping benches designed for

stargazing. Without a trace of light

pollution, Kejimkujik offers skies that

are dense with constellations. Other

stargazers came and went on tiptoe,

as if worried about disturbing the

universe. Whispering in the dark, a park

warden guided us round the familiar

constellations: Cassiopeia, Andromeda,

Pleiades and Orion. Aligning his telescope,

he showed us a star cluster that was one of

our nearest neighbours. Sophia asked how

long it would take to reach it, as if we could

rent a spaceship as easily as we rented a

campervan. Not so long, the star warden

said. About 25,000 years. And suddenly

any feeling of familiarity vanished.

We were gazing at the unknowable.

In the following days in Kejimkujik, we

biked along forest trails, through glades of

hemlock and maples, through meadows

of wild ferns. We waded in rivers where

herons stalked the shores. We discovered

a beaver dam, an architectural shambles

of sticks and mud creating its own lake,

then hunkered down on the bank to watch

Papa Beaver fell a small tree with his teeth.

We canoed across lakes to empty islands

where we picnicked among windswept

pines. We sat inside an empty Mi'kmaq

tepee and wondered about the people

who had lived here without feeling the

need to asphalt the paths or construct

a town hall in the middle of a clearing.

We watched ospreys fish, carrying their

catch back to nests the size of small

bungalows. Coming as it did with a deer

sighting and the beaver tree-felling,

Sophia nominated the osprey day (she had

spotted the nest herself) as the best one

so far. At least until we got to the whales.

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing


This page, clockwise

from top left: Humpback

whale diving back into

the ocean; canoeing

on an ice blue lake; a

beaver rears its head; a

typical coloured house

in the UNESCO World

Heritage fishing village

of Lunenburg 53

A winter sunset over Peggys

Point Lighthouse in Peggys

Cove, Nova Scotia













A few days later, in Annapolis Royal,

beyond the park, we encountered the

early European settlers who had been

so keen on the town-hall idea. At Fort

Anne, it was time for a bit of history.

Scampering round the ramparts where

battles were fought, and peering into

dungeons where prisoners of war were

held, we found history was suddenly fun.

Through the 18th century, this valley had

been a battleground between the English

and the French for ascendancy in the

New World. While bewigged chaps in

chandeliered rooms in London and Paris

put their names to treaties, out here,

ships were sunk, lives were destroyed and

men perished. In its heyday, Fort Anne

changed hands seven times before the

Brits finally prevailed and the French

were obliged to hand over Canada in 1763.

At Port-Royal, they have recreated the

first settlement in Canada, a French

fort set round a courtyard. Sophia

tried her hand at the blacksmith shop,

while I stretched out in the workmen's

bunks. In the gate lodge, we got dressed

up in three-cornered hats and beaver

jackets for selfies. In a warm Canadian

summer the place seemed rather

idyllic. But it wasn't, at least for those

early settlers. In their first winter

here, half of the 79 Frenchmen died.

The next morning, we headed along

the shores of the Bay of Fundy, down

a long finger of land known as Digby

Neck. The morning was fogbound,

and the Neck, barely 5km wide, felt

insubstantial, hovering between land and

sea. At the end of the Neck, I managed

to manoeuvre our beast of a home onto

a small ferry for the crossing to Long

Island and our whale-watching outfit.

Kitting up in orange flotation suits,

we waddled down to the Zodiac that

would have us at eye level with the sea

monsters. The Bay of Fundy is one of

the best places in the world for whalewatching

and Captain Tom, a kind of

whale-whisperer, has managed to locate

whales on virtually every outing over the

course of 30 years. As he steered our boat

into the bay, he engaged us with tales

of humpbacks, minkes and finbacks,

of sightings of the endangered North

Atlantic right whale, of the outing when

a blue whale, the Earth's largest creature,

surfaced just metres from his boat.

After a time Tom cut the engines and

we drifted. The sea was cloaked with fog.

The shore, the bay, even the sky above us,

had disappeared behind grey veils. An

eerie silence had descended, punctuated

by the muffled sound of ships' horns

calling mournfully to one another.

Then through the fog came the

unmistakable sound of a whale blow.

Moments later the leviathan appeared,

barely 20 metres from the boat, a long

grey back breaching. It looked huge

— until its mother broke the surface.

Fifteen metres of barnacled, scarred

whaleback arching through the waves,

blowing a spout of water three metres

into the air, is something to raise the

hair on the back of anyone's neck. Their

size made them look as if they were

moving in slow motion. And then they

dived, raising their fluked tails as if

waving goodbye. Sophia was so excited,

I thought she had stopped breathing.

We spent the next hour following

them as again and again they breached,

throwing their great spouts into the

air, riding the waves before diving with

that dramatic flourish of their tails.

Sophia had found the drama she

craved. A month later, I heard her

telling her friends of the whales and

Captain Tom. Years ahead, she might

just recall the campervan, the road trip

and the adventures with Papa. As for

me, I'd found all the memories I needed.

Stepping out for dinner, strolling down

a street in Annapolis Royal, I stopped to

chat to a family on their porch and was

abruptly back there - in the small town

I grew up in; as if, dredging the past, I'd

caught it in a golden net of nostalgia.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

+971 4 316 6666 or visit 55

Your passport to the Middle East's first fully

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Extend your journey with World Traveller magazine

by heading online to read more inspirational and

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hotel and holiday features

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Staycations and short-haul escapes


Nestled within the lush tropical jungle,

the castaway-style Tented Jungle Villas

of Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi take

glamping to the next level. Surrounded

by foliage, privacy is assured as you

emerge from your California King-size

bed and wander out onto to your private

deck. This five-star resort, which is great

for families (there's a new wave of art

and adventure experiences to try), is a

55-minute seaplane ride from the airport. 57


Exploring Sidi Bou Said


Let us reacquaint you with this

culture spot that's ideally placed

for a mind-nourishing mini break



Beirut Art Fair

Buzzing with creative energy, Beirut has earned

its place on the culture map due to its lively art

scene and historic sites. At the heart of it all, the

soulful Mar Mikhaël neighbourhood is home to

urban street art (notably The Colourful Stairs

connecting to Jeitawi), independent galleries

and lots of nightlife. Head to contemporary art

hub Galerie Tanit Beyrouth, sister of the German

gallery by the same name, to see the The Towards

the Sublime exhibition running until 9 August. It's

a showcase of ethereal pieces from Syrian-born

artist Youssef Abdelke, among others. Also nearby,

the homegrown gallery space and bookshop Plan

Bey showcases a variety of prints and art books

created by Lebanese artists, some of which are

limited editions, which make great keepsakes.

Later in the year, the 10 th edition of the acclaimed

Beirut Art Fair hits the city from 18-22 September.

For a bohemian feel, head to the neighbourhood

of Gemmayzeh, known for its French colonial

buildings, winding alleys and slew of hip eateries.

You can taste traditional Lebanese flavours at local

favourite Bou Melhem – try the smoked hummus

and shrimp feta.

The Penthouse,

Phoenicia Beirut


Taking a bus tour to Byblos

to explore this ancient coastal

town’s ruins.

Roaming around the

American University of

Beirut campus, home to an

Archaeological Museum and

Downtown Beirut

Natural History Museum.

Bopping away to Lebanese

A city of religious diversity, the

artists such as Elissa and Ziad

Rahbani at the Beirut Holidays Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque is a must see,

music festival (11-26 July).

with its blue domes and ornate ceilings. Just

a six-minute stroll away is the equally magnificent

Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George, which

features restored detailed frescoes and a glass

floor where you can view ruins of the Byzantine

church. Ancient religious artefacts, such as a

Byzantine-era tomb with Christian adornments

from 440AD can be found on display at the

National Museum of Beirut.

Gain a deeper insight into the modern-day city

with a visit to Downtown Beirut, once coined ‘the

Paris of the Middle East’ and rebuilt in recent years,

there’s both history and glamour aplenty here. Be

sure to visit Martyrs’ Square, a landmark tribute to

the country’s past.

In terms of where to stay, the five-star Phoenicia

Beirut has a focus on art running throughout

with an on-site gallery to check out. At the heart

of Downtown, the sleek Le Gray offers stunning

rooftop views while Raouché Arjaan by Rotanna is

a sound choice for sea vistas.









East meets West in this dynamic

city brimming with history,

architecture and fabulous food

This page: The Blue Mosque

Opposite, from top: Sweeping views

of the city, with Galata Tower standing

tall; Çırağan Palace Kempinski



Thriving culture, magnificent architecture and a unique

location straddling Asia and Europe makes Istanbul as

tantalising as ever. The city has been the capital of three

empires – the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman – and,

while Ankara wears the crown today, Istanbul remains

the economic and cultural heart of modern Turkey.

Home to more than 15 million people, the city is

located on a peninsula surrounded by the Golden

Horn to the north, the Bosphorus – the scenic strait

that links Europe and Asia – to the east, and the Sea of

Marmara to the south. Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s oldest

neighbourhood, is home to iconic sights such as the

Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar. Across the Galata

Bridge, Beyoğlu is the centre of the city’s nightlife and

includes the waterfront Karaköy neighbourhood, dotted

with small galleries and cool shops. Leafy Nişantaşi,

meanwhile, is known for its luxury hotels and designer

boutiques; just down the hill is bustling Beşiktaş fronting

the Bosphorus. Here’s our curated guide to the best

Istanbul has to offer…

Enjoy the ultimate

Istanbul experience at

the Four Seasons Hotel

at the Bosphorus, a 19thcentury

Ottoman palace

in Beşiktaş. Elegant

rooms are flooded with

light, although you’ll

most likely be by the

waterfront pool or in the

lantern-lit hammam.

A couple of doors

down, the Çırağan Palace

Kempinski Istanbul

combines a former

sultan’s palace with a

modern annexe. Palmstudded

lawns and an


From palatial properties to hipster hotels,

here’s the pick of the places to sleep

infinity pool overlook the

Bosphorus, while all rooms

come with a butler and a

balcony with views of the

water or lush gardens.

In nearby Nişantaşı, The

St. Regis Istanbul features

Art Deco-influenced

interiors and sleek rooms,

including a unique suite

inspired by the Bentley

Continental. Don’t miss

dinner at rooftop Spago,

the only European outpost

of chef Wolfgang Puck’s

storied restaurant.

Creative souls should

check-in to Soho House

Istanbul in Beyoğlu. Social

spaces are in a 19th-century

mansion, where original

frescos sit alongside midcentury

furniture. The main

attraction, however, is the

buzzy rooftop pool.

In the same

neighbourhood, Witt

Istanbul Hotel is an 18-

room boutique bolthole

with bags of character.

Each apartment-style room

is outfitted with a marble

kitchenette and a Juliette

balcony or wrap-around

terrace offering sweeping

views of the Golden Horn.

how bazaar

With Ottoman-era

markets overflowing with

exotic goods, Istanbul is

a shopper's paradise. Set

aside a few hours – or days

– to explore the labyrinthine


houses some 4,500 shops.

You’ll find everything

from hand-knotted silk

carpets and antique

jewellery to fake designer

handbags in this Aladdin's

cave of treasures. Top

buys include handwoven

pestemals (bath wraps) at

Abdulla ( and

traditional glazed pottery

at Iznik Art (iznik-art.

com). A 10-minute stroll

away, the aromatic SPICE

BAZAAR has been the

go-to for herbs and spices,

dried fruits, nuts and

olives since 1664. Be sure

to grab a bag of freshlyground

Turkish coffee

from Kurukahveci Mehmet

Efendi (mehmetefendi.

com), one of Istanbul’s

oldest coffee shops, and

hunt out the city’s best

lokum (Turkish delight) at

nearby Ali Muhiddin Haci

Bekir ( 61

culture fix

Discover the thriving art

scene at these unique

spaces and museums

Istanbul Modern

Temporarily located in

Beyoğlu while its new

building on the shores of

the Bosphorus takes shape,

the city’s premier arts

venue showcases the best

of modern Turkish art. The

current exhibition explores

the relationship between

humans and cities, nature,

and each other, with works

by the likes of Sarkis, Tracey

Emin and Olafur Eliasson.

Salt Galata

Housed in a former 19thcentury

bank in Karaköy,

this cutting-edge institution

presents temporary art

exhibitions, lectures and

screenings, all of which are

free. Architecture fans will

appreciate the surprisingly

distinct styles – Neoclassical

and Oriental –

found on opposing façades.

Museum of Turkish &

Islamic Arts

In a 16th-century Ottoman

palace opposite the Blue

Mosque, this must-visit

museum is a treasure trove

of artefacts dating to the

8th century. Highlights

include the 800-year-old

carved wooden doors

from Damascus.


Where to get your fill of one of the world’s finest cuisines

Neolokal Book a table by

the window for dreamy

views across the water

at this stylish restaurant,

which masterfully mixes

traditionalism with

modern flair. Opt for the

multi-course sharing

menu to taste as many

of the modern Anatolian

dishes as possible, such as

shrimp su böreği – a twist

on traditional Turkish


Pandeli With beautiful

blue tiles adorning

its walls, this iconic

restaurant above the

entrance to the Spice

Bazaar has welcomed a

slew of famous diners,

including Robert De Niro.

Open for lunch only, be

sure to order the famous

hünkar beğendi – slowcooked

lamb served on a

bed of smoked eggplant.

Mikla Regularly named

one of the best restaurants

in Istanbul, this rooftop

spot atop the Marmara

Pera hotel offers inventive

local cuisine to match

the postcard-perfect

panorama. Multi-course

menus feature dishes such

as slow-cooked grouper

with pickled mandarin

and mantı dumplings with

smoked buffalo yoghurt.


Pack your walking shoes and devote a day to wandering around Sultanahmet. Start

at the ancient Hippodrome, where chariot races were held in Byzantine times. Next,

wander over to the Blue Mosque to admire the cascading domes and six slender

minarets, before heading inside to soak up its grand proportions and walls adorned

with blue İznik tiles. Stroll over to the neighbouring Hagia Sophia; built nearly 1,500

years ago for Byzantine emperor Justinian I, the architectural marvel is famous for its

shimmering gold mosaics, swirling Arabic calligraphy and huge dome. Next, descend

the 52 stone steps to the Basilica Cistern, a Byzantine-era aqueduct system with more

than 300 columns. Finish up at Topkapı Palace, the opulent residence of Ottoman

sultans until the mid-1800s. Don’t miss the Imperial Treasury, filled with a dazzling

collection of jewels, thrones and ceremonial swords.



Opposite page, from top:

A dish served at Neolokal;

Istanbul Modern

This page, from top: Bey

Karaköy; Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamam

Photo © Cengiz Karliova


Beyond the bazaars, check out these

stylish independent stores

Sanayi 313 This concept store in the Maslak

district mixes fashion, design and food. Shop

for co-founder Serena Uziyel’s super luxe

shoes, featuring bold decorative elements like

embroidery and sequins, and stay for lunch at the

contemporary Turkish restaurant.

Bey Karaköy Fashion-forward gents should head

to this multi-brand boutique in Karaköy, which

mixes cool-kid Scandinavian staples with pieces

from talented homegrown designers. Be sure to

check out Bey’s own brand of bestselling jeans


Souq Dukkan Founded by a former Turkish

Vogue features editor, this concept store in

Kanyon mall stocks a thoughtful edit of largely

local brands and designers, ranging from men’s

and women’s fashion to homewares, books and


Words: Lara Brunt

ask a local

Yaprak Aras,

co-founder of

Souq Dukkan


shares her top

tips for exploring

the city

The coolest neighbourhood in Istanbul

right now is Kadıköy-Moda on the Asian

side. There’s been an influx of young

and creative İstanbulites moving from

the European side in the last couple of

years, making it a vibrant place with lots

going on. My favourite café is Bi Nevi Deli

( in Beşiktaş; it’s the most

innovative plant-based kitchen in the city.

Don’t leave without thoroughly exploring

the Bosphorus. Skip the boat trips and take

the ferry from Eminönü pier instead. Stop

for brunch at Feriye Lokantası (

in Ortaköy, and enjoy the 40-minute stroll

along the waterfront promenade from

Arnavutköy, a pretty village with ornate

wooden mansions, to the 15th-century

fortress Rumeli Hisarı.



Indulge in a traditional

Turkish hammam in

one of these historic


Cağaloğlu Hamamı

This 300-year-old

hammam in Sultanahmet

boasts soaring marble

columns, domed ceilings

and Romanesque arches.

Plump for the Sultan

Mahmud package, which

includes a collagen

facemask and 45-minute

aromatherapy massage.

tr. Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamam

Across the water in

Beyoğlu, this 16th-century

gem features one of the

largest hammam domes

in Istanbul. Alongside the

traditional steam, scrub

and soak ritual, you can

add an aromatic oil or a

deep tissue massage.


com. Çukurcuma

Hamamı Also in

Beyoğlu, this 1830s

hammam opened last

year after a decadelong

renovation. With

grey marble bathing

areas and a sleek white

relaxation lounge,

it’s one of the most

luxurious hammams

in Istanbul, and

welcomes couples too. 63



Family fun

School’s out for summer, so treat the kids to some

unforgettable experiences in the UAE capital


Feel the G-force at

Ferrari World Abu

Dhabi. Catapult yourself

from zero to 240 km/h in

4.9 seconds on Formula

Rossa, the world’s fastest

rollercoaster, or go for a spin

inside an F1-inspired giant

tyre for a speed freak’s take

on the traditional teacup ride.

There’s a winning mix of rides

and attractions for visitors of

all ages at this thrilling theme

park on Yas Island, with added

entertainment in the form of

family-friendly shows.


Fuel their creative flair

at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Got a future Picasso on

your hands? The Art Explorers

Summer Camp at Louvre

Abu Dhabi encourages bright

young minds to explore the

museum’s extensive collection

and learn more about the

world’s cultures and history

by interacting with the art on

show. For ages six to 11 and 12

to 16 (on various dates in July).


Spot wildlife on Sir

Bani Yas Island. Rise

and shine for an early

morning drive through the

Arabian Wildlife Park on this

protected wildlife sanctuary

located just off the coast, and

marvel at the free-roaming

animals, including cheetahs,

giraffes and Arabian oryx. Bed

down at one of three rustic

yet luxurious Anantara resorts,

with dining options to suit

even the pickiest eaters.

Photo: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi








Book at

call 800 DNATA (36282) or

speak to us in-store

Download our app

| Follow us on



JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Take your staycation experience to the next level at the world’s tallest five-star hotel


Prepare for a restful night's sleep in

your plush abode, which towers above

the bustling downtown district. This

landmark hotel is the pinnacle of

luxury, with each of its rooms and suites

boasting marble bathrooms and deluxe

bedding. Over the summer, Marriott

Bonvoy members save 25% on the room

rate, with complimentary breakfast,

while non-members receive 15% off*.


Variety reigns supreme here, with 15

award-winning restaurants to choose

from. Make the most of the exclusive

dining offers by brunching at Positano

for Italian classics in a family-friendly

setting (Dhs180-365 depending on the

drinks package). For dinner with a touch

of luxury, head to Prime68 Steakhouse

for a 350gm steak sprinkled with 24-karat

edible gold flakes (Dhs330 per person).

To find out more, call +971 4 414 3000 or visit


Indulge in cutting edge beauty

treatments at Saray Spa – the new

facials draw upon Korean beauty

products that harness the complexionboosting

properties of diamonds. When

you're ready to face the world, the hotel’s

central location means top attractions,

such as The Dubai Mall, are close by,

so you can shop 'til you drop at Dubai

Summer Surprises (until 3 August).

*Summer promotion offer valid until 30 September, 2019.


Inspiration. Expertly crafted.

Comprising two iconic towers, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai 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, 8,000 sqm of spectacular

Meeting Spaces.

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai

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



InterContinental Muscat

Enjoy a slice of natural serenity in the heart of the city


A room with a view is the premise here,

with each of the recently-refurbished

guestrooms showcasing the stunning

natural landscape. Wake up to ocean,

garden or mountain views observed

through large windows, and enjoy

quiet moments on your private balcony.

Upgrade to an Executive Room and

enjoy a private check-in, complimentary

breakfast and pre-dinner drinks.


A foodie's delight, the hotel's delight

dining venues each bring a different

flavour to the table. Japanese restaurant

Takara offers a delicate selection of fresh

sushi and sashimi, with added drama

courtesy of the dedicated teppanyaki

area. For casual bites, Al Ghazal Pub’s

traditional British atmosphere is brought

to life by classic dishes such as fish and

chips and sticky toffee pudding.


Top attractions on the doorstep include

Royal Opera House Muscat, with its

impressive line-up of opera, ballet

and music performances, and Mutrah

Souq, where you can barter for artisan

keepsakes. The nearby Sultan Qaboos

Grand Mosque provides a fantastic

opportunity to deepen your knowledge of

the spirit of Islam. Back at the hotel, cool

off in the Olympic-sized pool.

To find out more, call +968 2468 0000 or visit




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Dublin, Ireland: Explore Trinity

College with a university insider,

before getting priority access to the

famous library and Book of Kells.

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Eibsee, Bavaria

"This photo was taken near lake

Eibsee, one of the most beautiful

and clean lakes in Bavaria,

Germany. Even though it was

a cold evening and not much

was visible due to the foggy

weather, I was inspired by the

natural colours and the smell

of autumn. I admire nature's

simplicity; it's fascinating what

nature is able to create on its

own. Humanity has changed

the world so much that, as a

photographer, it's hard to find

places that are still beautifully

untouched, like this hidden

gem. I aspire to show people the

beauty of our planet through my

lens as well as motivate them to

always show respect and care for

it the best that we can."

Travel photographer

Tomas Havel loves to travel

because: "I aspire to find

places where nature has

not been rearranged by the

hands of man." @tomashavel,



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A three-night, half-board stay at

Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman

Located on the northern Musandam Peninsula in Oman,

this luxury resort beckons with its indigenous village-style

accommodation and dramatic mountain views. Offering an

exciting line-up of experiences to delight the senses, you can dine

on the cliff edge, be pampered in the spa, or immerse yourself in

adventure in the deep blue sea. To find out more and to enter, visit (terms & conditions apply).


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

inspire your next trip…

1The Knowledge.

Read our handy

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Suite dreams

Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a

suite that has a character and style all of its own

Beach Pool Villa

Vakkaru Maldives

Soak up this classic Maldivian vista from the sanctuary of the tub that

has been strategically placed inside this villa's spa-like bathroom.

On top of having its own private plunge pool and direct beach access,

this rustic-styled abode, which sleeps two adults, features a separate

relaxation and reading area so you can make the most of your downtime.

One of the country's newest additions, Vakkaru Maldives is located

within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, a 30-minute

seaplane ride from Malé International Airport.





your laughter echoes across

this watery world of thunderous

thrills and daring drops. Slip and

slide down 45 heart-skipping rides

and muster the courage to race

inside serpents or enter the eye

of an exhilarating tornado.


Yas Waterworld


Indian cuisine

Now Open

From Mumbai to New Delhi, Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, a pioneering

contemporary Indian restaurant, has made its debut at the world’s tallest 5-star hotel.

Join us and experience a one-of-a-kind signature 12-course menu!

Open daily from 6pm until 11.30pm

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE

T +971.4.414.3000 | | masalalibrarydxb