Out of Africa
WHERE TO TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
FRESH SPINS ON
Discover Singapore, the ‘Gateway to Asia’, as it marks its bicentennial year.
This city state is the perfect addition to a multi-centre holiday thanks to
award-winning Singapore Airlines’ extensive network across Asia and
Australasia. Let A&K show you the stunning architecture, futuristic gardens,
and culinary highlights that make this South-East Asian destination a must-visit
01242 547 895
ORIGINAL, LIMITED-EDITION ART DECO POSTERS
Limited to editions of 280, our newly-commissioned
Art Deco posters feature glamorous holiday
destinations around the world, ski resorts in the
Austrian, French and Swiss Alps, and the world’s
greatest historic automobiles. Over 100 designs to
choose from, all printed on 100% cotton fine art
paper, measuring 97x65cm.
Priced at £395 each.
Private commissions are also welcome.
Pullman Editions Ltd
94 Pimlico Road
London SW1W 8PL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7730 0547
Our central London gallery
All images and text copyright © Pullman Editions Ltd. 2019
View and buy online at pullmaneditions.com
Welcome to our autumn/winter 2019 edition
of Sundowner. As someone with an insatiable
wanderlust, I never need an excuse to board a
plane, but should you ever require a reason, I
firmly believe that travel broadens the mind.
As philosopher and theologian Saint
Augustine said: “The world is a book and those
who do not travel read only one page.” In this
issue we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the
founding of the Bauhaus, while Spain’s cultural
jewel, the Prado Museum, turns 200 – both
excellent reasons to embark on a cultural
odyssey this year.
Elsewhere, I recall my Inspiring Expedition
to the South Pole; writer and author Sara
Wheeler takes an epic road trip in Chile; and
this publication’s editor, Alicia Deveney,
spotlights the Maldives’ coolest spas.
Whether you opt for a tour of Spain’s great
art institutions, or want to enjoy the expedition
of a lifetime and reach the South Pole, A&K can
help you turn your next page.
Founder, Chairman and CEO,
Abercrombie & Kent Group
Follow me on Instagram @geoffrey_kent
Front cover: A desert-adapted
elephant in Namibia. Image courtesy of
Wilderness Safaris/Teagan Cunniffe
Editor: Alicia Deveney
Design: Debbie Edkins & Louise Maggs
Contributors: Janet Brice, Ianthe Butt,
Guy Grant, Geoffrey Kent, Bethan
Leyland, Joe Meredith, Jennifer Morris,
Mia Aimaro Ogden, Natalie Paris,
Penelope Rance, Louise Roddon,
Victoria Smith, Nikki Stefanoff,
Angelina Villa-Clarke, Sara Wheeler
Sundowner is Abercrombie & Kent’s
magazine, St George’s House,
Ambrose Street, Cheltenham, Glos
GL50 3LG. Advertising enquiries to:
CONTENTS AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
6 BUSH TELEGRAPH
All the latest from A&K and the wide
world of travel
8 INTRODUCING A NEW WAY TO
TAILOR-MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY
Say hello to customisable wish lists
and bite-sized itineraries, helping you
to create your perfect journey
10 IN THE KNOW
The most exciting hotel openings
12 DUE SOUTH
Author Sara Wheeler drives the Carretera
Austral in Chilean Patagonia
16 OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Exploring America’s lesser-known
neighbourhoods, we meet a few
20 HIT REFRESH
Reboot your inner calm in Puglia,
advises Mia Aimaro Ogden
24 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BAUHAUS
Celebrating the architectural school’s
centenary in Tel Aviv
28 48 HOURS IN SINGAPORE
Spend two days in the Lion City to absorb
two centuries of culture
30 CANGGU ATTITUDE
Discover why this up and coming resort
in Bali is the place you need to be
34 MEET THE GUIDE
A&K Egyptologist Ahmed Abul Ella Ali
on his love for his country and its secrets
36 BALEARIC HIGH
Natalie Paris is ecstatic about the delights
of ultra-chic Villa Sonrei, from its hilltop
location on Majorca’s north coast
40 OLYMPIC GAINS
As it prepares to host two of the world’s
biggest sporting events, Japan is pulling out
all the stops to impress
44 A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
See Spain through new eyes when you tour
its finest art galleries, says Penelope Rance
48 GREAT, WHITE, STARK
A&K Founder Geoffrey Kent tackles
Antarctica’s barren wilderness on one of
his Inspiring Expeditions
53 WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
Join us on safari as we show you where
to spot Africa’s most exciting, intriguing,
and elusive wildlife
58 FEED THE SOUL
Tasmania has reinvented itself as a foodie
epicentre. Come and sample all that it
has to offer
62 SPAS OF THE SEA
We line up the Maldives’ best spa retreats
and review their star treatments
66 JORDAN’S ROCK STAR
Feel at one with history – and just a bit
like Indiana Jones – when you visit the
rose-red city of Petra
68 AMAZON ADVENTURE
Louise Roddon heads to Peru to experience
the wonders of the mighty waterway aboard
luxurious riverboat Aria
72 NOT QUITE GOING IT ALONE
Independent traveller Bethan Leyland takes
an escorted tour of India and discovers
the best of both worlds
76 BEHIND THE SCENES
A&K can transport you to the world’s most
exclusive cinematic locations. And, action!
78 FIVE VILLAS TO BOOK NOW FOR
Sumptuous retreats and dream hideouts
you’ll want to reserve right away
80 FINDING THE C.U.R.E.
With your help, A&K Philanthropy
is stocking maternity clinics in the
world’s poorest communities
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 5
A&K VILLAS ADDS
Set in the cerulean blue of the Ionian sea,
Corfu, the second largest of the Ionian
islands, is one of the greenest. Kerkyra,
as it was known in antiquity, has been
soothing and revitalising weary travellers
since Odysseus washed ashore here.
The northeast coast is a glamorous curl
of white-pebble coves, glimmering bays,
and arresting views over the channel
towards Albania, and it is here that
A&K Villas’ specialists have sourced 10
exquisite new villa properties to add to
the European portfolio. Available to book
now: see akvillas.com/corfu for more
NEWS FROM A&K AND THE WIDE WORLD OF TRAVEL
A&K’S NEW BROCHURES OUT NOW
However you wish to explore the world, be it on an escorted tour,
a tailor-made holiday, or a luxury expedition cruise, you’ll be sure to find
the perfect holiday in the pages of A&K’s three new brochures, which are
out now. These coffee table-worthy tomes are packed full of safaris on our
home turf of east Africa, cruises to the most extreme reaches of the planet
aboard the most luxurious ships at sea, and small-group escorted tours with
departures to five continents: all delivering our hallmark blend of excitement,
authenticity, and luxury. To order a brochure by post, or download one, visit
A&K was hailed as ‘Africa’s Leading Luxury Tour
Operator 2019’ for the 10th year in a row at the
World Travel Awards earlier this year – dubbed
‘the Oscars of the travel industry’ by The Wall
Street Journal. Some factors that played a part
in our dominance at the awards: A&K has more
than 55 years of experience on the ground in
Africa; our peerless local presence – we have
12 offices in sub-Saharan Africa; simply the best
safari guides; custom safari vehicles that we
design, build, and own; and close connections to
the finest camps and lodges.
6 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
THE NEW FLIGHT ROUTES & OTHER AIRLINE
NEWS THAT WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT
Rocking up to Uluru
qantas has launched direct flights to Uluru from Darwin and
Adelaide. The twice-weekly services will save rock-bound tourists
hours in travel time. Qantas Domestic chief executive Andrew
David said: “We’re seeing more demand for travel to Uluru
from international and interstate tourists than we have seen in a
long time. The direct flights offer a new, convenient option from
Adelaide and Darwin, saving travellers up to five hours’ time
instead of travelling on flights via other cities.” All the more time to
enjoy Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Top of the class
british airways has announced a five-year, £6.5 billion
investment that includes a series of refinements to its First Class
service. The new look and feel includes upgraded bedding,
added amenities, and à la carte menus that focus on seasonal,
British ingredients. “In this, our centenary year, we’ve sought
out some of the best British designers and manufacturers to
work with to ensure travelling in First with British Airways is
an unforgettable experience,” said Carolina Martinoli, British
Airways director of brand and customer experience. Passengers
will now be treated to pyjama sets by Temperley London, as well
as a Temperley amenity bag filled with Elemis products.
Doing the double
On 1 July, emirates launched a second daily flight from Dubai
International to London Stansted. The additional flight means that
Emirates customers now have 11 daily flight options from three
London airports to the UAE’s capital.
More is more
qatar airways has boosted its South Africa services. Weekly
flights to Johannesburg have increased to 19, with an additional
two being added this autumn. Travellers wanting to fly to Cape
Town will have an extra three per week to choose from by 27
October. Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker,
said: “The latest additional services to both Johannesburg and
Cape Town reflect the growing demand for travel to and from
these popular South African destinations.”
Pushing the boat out
With the whole of Egypt enjoying a surge of interest right now,
A&K’s sister brand, Sanctuary Retreats, has timed the relaunch
of the Sanctuary Nile Adventurer to a tee. Setting sail on its first
Nile voyages in September 2019, the made-over ship’s 32 cabins
have all been reimagined in calm colours – azure, sandstone,
and burnished gold and bronze. The lounge, bar, restaurant,
and library are also being refreshed. New onboard is an openair
gym, and a spa space that features a floating four-poster
treatment bed. A ship fit for a pharaoh.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 7
We’re always looking to make your journey from deliberation to destination that little bit smoother.
That’s why we’re introducing two tempting features for tailor-making your holiday: customisable
wish lists and bite-sized itineraries. Now you’re more in control than ever
Travelling gives us that child-like sense of discovery, but the
planning part can often feel onerous. Imagine if designing your
luxury holiday was more like selecting from a pick ’n’ mix, and less
like leafing through a catalogue. Your eyes slide from one enticing
option to another as you scoop all your favourites into one candystriped
bag. There are none of the Black Jacks or white mice you’ve
never cared for – just the cola bottles and flying saucers you love. In
other words, you end up with something perfectly tailored to your
tastes. That’s what we’ve done with My A&K, the new section of our
website that empowers you to create an itinerary of your own. You
no longer have to bookmark pages, scribble lists on Post-it Notes or
rattle your brain remembering the name of that resort you spotted
on the web a few months ago. Simply browse our site, save what you
like, and start building wish lists.
You could build your wish list around
Travel Edits, our new range of mini
itineraries. These short escapes
are great on their own, paired with
each other, or attached to a longer
itinerary. We’ve themed them to make
it easier to find what you fancy: wildlife;
philanthropy; food and drink; active and
wellness; arts and culture.
Places to stay
Whether it’s an ecolodge in the heart of
the jungle, or a sleek boutique hotel in
the centre of the city, what constitutes
the perfect accommodation is an
individual thing. That’s why our website
features every colour and flavour of
luxury property. When a hotel catches
your eye, just click the heart to add it to
your wish list.
Things to do
It’s so much easier to settle on a
holiday destination when you have an
idea of what activities are available.
On our destination pages, we’ve
included a range of the experiences
we offer, from out-of-hours tours to
hands-on workshops – all of which
can be added to your wish list.
Sharing your wish list
Once you’ve gathered the ingredients of your dream holiday
together, you can share your list with family and friends, or submit
it directly to our travel specialists who will make your personalised
creation a wonderful reality.
8 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
My A&K, your choice
Pick and mix your favourites, then share your wish list with us
Share your holiday ideas
with friends and family for
Share with our travel
specialists who can turn
your selection into a holiday
To experience My A&K for yourself, head to our website:
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 9
IN THE KNOW
BE THE FIRST TO STAY IN ONE OF THESE EXCITING NEW HOTELS
Paying homage to the traditional ryokan with its latticed pavilions and light-filled rooms is Aman Kyoto. Nestled in
the verdant foothills of the symbolic mountain of Hidari Daimonji, this exciting new resort is within easy reach of the
city’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Fresh spring water flows near the resort, which is central to the philosophy of
the Aman Spa group, and within the hotel you can indulge in traditional onsen bathing along with a range of Japaneseinspired
treatments. It’s hard to believe this spectacular natural setting is only a one-hour drive from Osaka airport.
On arrival you can enjoy local produce served in the Living Pavilion. With its fireplace and glass doors opening on to
an ornate garden terrace, it serves up home-cooked Kyoto obanzai-style cuisine throughout the day. Picnics, which
come in chic bamboo hampers, can be eaten alfresco in the garden or forest glades.
10 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
Sabi Sands, Kruger, South Africa
Experience private, sustainable safaris when you
check into Cheetah Plains. A fleet of electric gamedrive
vehicles and personal trackers mean animal
enthusiasts can quietly approach the Big Five which
live in Sabi Sands. Return to your stylish, exclusiveuse
bushveld house, which comes complete with
lap pool, sun deck, and fine wine gallery, and can
accommodate up to eight. Families can also book two
private suites which interlink – perfect for broods
wanting to live ‘off the grid’, in style.
SANTA MONICA PROPER
Santa Monica, USA
Celebrate the arrival of the first luxury lifestyle hotel
in Santa Monica for a decade with a sundowner on
the only rooftop bar on the Westside. With panoramic
views over the Pacific, this hotel effortlessly blends
modern chic with this landmark building dating
back to 1928. Signature restaurant Onda marks a
collaboration between chefs Jessica Koslow and
Gabriela Cámara. Ideally located between upmarket
boutiques and a surfers’ beach.
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Designed to see, but not be seen, is one of the
ultimate safari lodges in the heart of the Ngorongoro
Crater. This family camp consists of four rooms, all
with crater views, including two family suites, making
this an exciting opportunity for all ages to get up close
to the wildlife of Tanzania. The timber, glass, and
stretched-canvas rooms stand on raised platforms
and feature en-suite bathrooms. Sound ideal for
your exclusive-use? It has all the makings of a lodge
of one’s own.
RITZ-CARLTON THE TOWERS
AT ELIZABETH QUAYS
Ritz-Carlton brings a touch of luxury living to Perth
with the opening of The Towers at Elizabeth Quay.
This global brand will be the centrepiece of Western
Australia’s new destination experience located on the
banks of Swan River. You can choose from 204 suites
and enjoy all the facilities from a spa to fitness centre
and a choice of two ballrooms, along with the rooftop
bar offering views over the quayside.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 11
12 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
AMID PEACE, PUMAS, AND (GLIMPSES OF) THE
PACIFIC, WRITER SARA WHEELER JOURNEYS
ALONG THE FABLED CARRETERA AUSTRAL IN
CHILEAN PATAGONIA ON THE ULTIMATE LAND
AND SEA ADVENTURE
Chilean Patagonia is an isolated region of saffron steppes
and violet mists where trails of pintails break the surface
of dark, deep lakes, and the Andes ripple on the eastern
horizon, condors nesting on lower peaks.
Sandwiched between the Pacific and the Andes, smaller and
less well-known than its Argentinian counterpart, Chilean
Patagonia starts about two-thirds of the way down the world’s
thinnest country. The land splinters at times, obliging ferries to
take over from the road. And it’s empty: the ratio of people to
square kilometre is 1:1. In the UK, it’s 273; in the US, 36.
I travelled on the fabled Carretera Austral (Southern Highway,
though the word ‘highway’ is misleading, as the Carretera is a
dirt track in places). It is the only road, unravelling for 1,200
kilometres from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins. This route is
one of the greatest road trips in the world. I was astonished, over
the course of my 10-day drive – I journeyed south to north – by
the variety of the landscape, from ferny rainforest to snowy onelane
passes to temperate grasslands. Around Puyuhuapi, Chilean
dolphins were fluking in the fjords. Mostly you can’t see the ocean
as the Carretera lies inland, often on a slender precipice above
luminous lakes, but around Chaitén, the Pacific appears – just
when one had almost forgotten it was there. And all of this amid
the uplifting solitude of the open road.
Parque Pumalín, pronounced Pumaleen, consists of almost half
a million hectares of temperate evergreen rainforest studded with
mountains and glaciers. The dark-barked alerce is the Pumalín
star, a rain-absorbing hardwood that is in fact soft, everlasting,
and resistant to fungi. Close to Fandango Bridge (Chileans love
their funky placenames), I inspected a 3,500-year-old specimen.
It was tall, its long, shallow roots spreading out laterally around
it. Alerce only grow in southern Argentina and Chile, and the
species is protected. All around me copihue, Chilean bellflowers,
dangled at knee height like drops of blood.
South of Pumalín, Parque Patagonia begins at the confluence
of the Chacabuco and Baker rivers, extending east to Paso
Roballes and the Argentine border, some of it above the treeline.
A comprehensive and deeply impressive rewilding programme
has already gone a long way to restoring the ecology previously
protected – for centuries – by long-gone tribal peoples such as
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 13
the Tehuelche, chronicled by Darwin, who hunted the uplands.
The fashionable concept of rewilding, coined in the 1990s to
describe large-scale wilderness recovery, is fairly new to South
America, and southern Chile is a pioneer in the field. In Parque
Patagonia, for example, conservationists have removed hundreds
of kilometres of fencing and barbed wire and reintroduced
threatened and previously locally extinct species.
As for the wildlife, look out for the Patagonia ‘Big Five’ (I saw
four of them). Shaggy huemul, the endangered South Andean
deer, graze in a pass south of Balmaceda. The puma, the biggest
mammal in Pumalín, is a rarely sighted cat the size of a big
dog with a long tail (known outside Chile as mountain lion or
cougar). Third is the Andean condor, and fourth Darwin’s rhea,
an ostrich-like flightless bird. Fifth comes the guanaco. I saw
hundreds of these llama-like camelids. With the mating season
approaching, the males were chasing one another, careering over
the grasslands to nip at their rivals – or worse (they are known to
bite off testicles).
For such a sparsely populated region, with few tourists out of
peak season, there is a surprising range of comfortable, even semiluxurious
accommodation in the southern Chilean wilderness.
The four cabins at Mallin Colorado Ecolodge perch above
Lago General Carrera, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a
panorama of mountains, glaciers, and impossibly blue water.
previous page: The landscape of Parque Pumalín
this page from top: Parque Pumalín’s valleys;
a puma; the view from Puyuhuapi Lodge
opposite page from top: A route map; mountain and steppe (credit:
Sara Wheeler); Parque Patagonia (credit: Tompkins Conservation)
14 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
After a five-hour drive north to the gaucho town of Coyhaique,
I stayed in an enormous room in Patagonia House, a ranch on
McKay Hill. I was the only guest. More than 230 kilometres north
again, Puyuhuapi Lodge is by far the most luxurious hotel in
the region, situated on its own island (the establishment runs a
private ferry), with both outdoor and indoor spas.
On the way up, by the way, and preferably in Chaitén, one must
eat curanto, a dish traditionally baked in the ground, prepared
with meat, potatoes, shellfish, milcao (a grated potato patty), and
vegetables. Not for the faint-hearted, but very hearty. Just outside
town, the devastation caused by an eruption of Chaitén Volcano
in 2008 remains visible in the swathes of calcified slope spiked
with bare trees. The Carretera Austral was closed for two years,
cutting off a third of the country.
At Caleta Gonzalo, the highway collapses and the visitor is
obliged to take two, or sometimes three, ferries north. From a
wharf overlooking Reñihué fjord, a ferry conveyed me and my car
through a labyrinth of channels up to Hornopirén, a four-anda-half-hour
journey. Before boarding, I enjoyed the hospitality
of Soledad Sanchez at Cabanas Caleta Gonzalo, one of the few
places in Chilean Patagonia open year-round. Outside my cabin
window huet-huet birds whooped among a flock of persimmonbreasted
chucao. The jolly Soledad, who manages the cabins and
their adjacent café, told me: “There are two seasons here, winter
and summer. Summer lasts three weeks. Coming from the desert
north, I absolutely love it.” Lauding the slow pace of local life, she
added: “If you hurry in Patagonia, you are wasting your time.”
I ended my road and water adventure at Puerto Varas, less
than an hour’s drive from the domestic airport at Puerto Montt.
Overlooking Lake Llanquihue and the smoking Osorno Volcano,
the swanky Cumbres Puerto Varas is a gateway hotel to the Lake
District of northern Patagonia. As for Puerto Montt, it has more
than doubled in size since my first trip to Chile 30 years ago,
largely thanks to the salmon industry. The fish do well in the cold
Patagonian waters and Chile has grown to become the world’s
second largest producer of farmed salmon, after Norway.
Doug Tompkins, the late American entrepreneur and founder
of the North Face outdoor clothing range (and much else), was
a major player in the rewilding of Chilean Patagonia, and his
Californian widow Kris continues the work. A keen outdoorsman,
Doug fell for Patagonia, and bought land here – lots of land.
In 2004 the Chacabuco valley, in the transition between
southern beech forest and Patagonian steppe, was at the centre
of one of the greatest land buys in history. The Tompkinses
founded an organisation, with land trusts under its umbrella
and 120 staff in Chile (more are based in Argentina), in order to
donate just over 400,000 hectares of protected land to the Chilean
government, leveraging conservation value by establishing a
private-public partnership. I don’t think the two Americans
ever thought of themselves as owners: they took on the role of
custodians. Their aim was to create national parklands, restore
biodiversity, and promote ecological agriculture, chiefly in the
parks that are now Patagonia and Pumalín. As a consequence,
Chile has become a ‘conservation destination’.
Kris buried Doug, who perished in a kayaking accident, in the
baronial stone headquarters of Patagonia Park. His is a peaceful
grave, overlooking the landscape he loved.
The Chilean government wildlife service, CONAF, is in the
process of taking over the administration of Patagonia and
Pumalín. The latest Tompkins project, launched last year, is Ruta
de los Parques, a road linking 17 national parks from Puerto
Montt to Cape Horn. My next trip!
LAGO GENERAL CARRERA
Sara Wheeler’s latest book, Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin and
Other Geniuses of the Golden Age, came out in July. Her previous books
included the bestselling Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile.
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information on road trip holidays in Chilean
Patagonia, or to book your next tailor-made South American
adventure, call our travel specialists on 01242 547 701.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 15
THESE VIBRANT CITIES ARE WORTH RETURNING TO TIME
AND AGAIN, BUT INSTEAD OF VISITING THE SAME SPOTS,
MAKE FOR ONE OF THESE ON-THE-UP AREAS FOR A
FRESH STATESIDE EXPERIENCE, SAYS IANTHE BUTT
16 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
THE BUZZ: Two decades ago the Pearl District was home
to run-down rail yards and abandoned warehouses. Now
it’s nearly unrecognisable, and one of Portland’s trendiest
neighbourhoods, with gallery-lined cobbled streets, including
contemporary art hub Elizabeth Leach, scores of dining spots,
and picturesque green spaces.
THE CROWD: Locals walking cute labradors in Fields
Park, chit-chatting with neighbours they meet along the way
(it’s an everyone-knows-everyone kind of place).
DON’T MISS: The Pearl District is big on art (it got its
name in the mid-1980s when a gallery owner told a travel
writer that the area’s artists, working in crusty old buildings,
were like pearls inside oysters), and while any time’s good to
gallery hop, the best time is the first Thursday of each month.
Galleries stay open late, hold artist Q&As, and a general streetparty
vibe abounds. Another must-do is Powell’s City of Books,
which has nine colour-coded rooms and over 3,500 different
sections to browse.
BED DOWN: The Nines, a 331-room hotel in Downtown
Portland, is just a five-minute drive from the Pearl District.
Displayed in communal areas are over 400 artworks by local
talent, curated by Paige Powell, a confidante of Andy Warhol.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 17
THE BUZZ: While Nashville might be known as Music City,
across the Cumberland River, low-key residential area and once
rather rough-around-the-edges East Nashville has established
itself as a happening culinary hot spot. The boulevards here pay
homage to all-things artisan, lined with small-batch coffee shops,
cocktail joints, and neighbourhood restaurants.
THE CROWD: Artsy bean aficionados in plaid shirts sipping
locally roasted Drew’s Brews coffee at Ugly Mugs, and off-duty
tour managers on craft brewery pilgrimages, taste-testing Yazoo
Brewery’s latest tipples.
DON’T MISS: All the eating and drinking. Tucking in to
Nashville’s famous hot chicken is practically a rite of passage.
It can be sampled year-round (EN’s oldest dive bar Dino’s is a
good place to start), but visit in July and there’s an entire festival
dedicated to the stuff in East Park. Join the queue for 100-layer
doughnuts at cult family-run bakery Five Daughters; adventurous
eaters should try the King Kong (maple and bacon), and purists
the vanilla cream. At newly opened Folk, try chef Philip Krajeck’s
clam-chilli pizza and wildflower-strewn salads. Pick up vintage
cowboy boots and unique prints by local artists at eight-shop
wonder the Idea Hatchery.
BED DOWN: Thompson Nashville in the Gulch has
mid-century modern-look rooms with wonderful views
of downtown, and it’s a 10-minute drive to get out east.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
THE BUZZ: The Golden Gate City’s oldest neighbourhood,
founded in 1776 by Spanish missionaries, fondly known as the
Mission, sees Latino culture rub up against some of the city’s
oldest architecture, colour-popping street art, a toe-tapping live
music scene, and a host of gastropubs and dinky ice-cream joints.
THE CROWD: Bibliophiles thumbing through sci-fi novels
at Borderlands Books, tech-executives who shuttlebus in to
Silicon Valley, and hippie festival-lovers.
DON’T MISS: Picnicking in palm tree-lined Dolores Park
where locals play ultimate frisbee, and weighing in on a hotly
debated topic: where serves the best burrito in town? Papalote
Mexican Grill is famed for its tangy tomato salsa, while superchef
David Chang favours those at El Castillito. Round things off with
live bluegrass at The Chapel, which was once a mortuary. The
annual Day of the Dead celebrations in Garfield Park, which draw
a 15,000-strong crowd (many in skull facepaint) is an unmissable
BED DOWN: About 20 minutes from the centre of the
Mission is cool cat Hotel Zetta, which has urban loft-feel rooms;
some, curated by the folks at healthy travel guidebook Well +
Away, feature Peloton bikes and Muse meditation headbands.
18 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
THE BUZZ: This previously gritty borough started on its
trajectory towards hip in the early 1990s when creative types
escaping rising Manhattan rents hopped over the Williamsburg
Bridge to set up home. Less rough-around-the-edges than
it once was, it has seen rocketing rental prices, yet it retains
an appealing creative spirit. It’s home to a thriving art scene,
some of the Big Apple’s best restaurants, and scores of quirky
boutiques on Bedford Avenue, including Brooklyn’s oldest
record shop, Earwax Records.
THE CROWD: Grown-up creatives-done-good wearing
colourful 1980s garb from Awoke Vintage, kids in tow, shopping
at farmers’ markets; plus party animals clinking craft brews at
rooftop bars on balmy nights.
DON’T MISS: Feasting on Polish pierogies, piping-hot
pizza slices from the renowned Best Pizza, and cereal milk ice
cream at Momofuku Milk Bar on an A&K-arranged foodie
tour. Head to newly opened, turret-shaped The Water Tower for
cocktails topped off with truffles, and Manhattan skyline views.
BED DOWN: Home to one of NYC’s biggest saltwater
swimming pools, McCarren Hotel & Pool emanates serious
tropical vibes, has calming rooms with Frette linens – and an
on-trend vegan restaurant on its rooftop, naturally.
THE BUZZ: Over the last 15 years, former warehouse
district Wynwood has morphed into South Florida’s hottest
arts hub. A haven for street art lovers, the whole area is an open
air gallery of sorts, the streets a constantly evolving canvas for
bold designs and graffiti. Plus, there are some 70 galleries and
museums to explore.
THE CROWD: Spray-paint whizzes, cans in tow, beach
junkies taking a sunshine break, and – come December –
seriously well-heeled collectors descending in flocks for
DON’T MISS: Wynwood Walls and the nearby Wynwood
Doors, where astonishing murals – everything from neon
portraits of Poseidon to dogs assembled from metal shards –
transform walls and doors into world-class artworks. If you
want to get hands-on, A&K can organise sessions with local
artists during which you can create your own masterpiece.
Head to the Bakehouse Art Complex to peek at woodworking
and printmaking studios and Wyn 317 for a Pop Art fix. At Kyu
restaurant, dine on burrata with yuzu marmalade and Florida
BED DOWN: COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach is about
a 20-minute drive away. Chic interiors are by Paola Navone, and
the COMO Shambhala spa is the place to get pummelled into
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 19
WITH ITS LIMEWASHED VILLAGES, PEACEFUL COUNTRYSIDE, AND LUXURIOUS, SERENE
ACCOMMODATION, PUGLIA IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO REBOOT, SAYS MIA AIMARO OGDEN
There must be something wrong with this satnav.
We’re bumping, at nightfall, down a single-track road
bounded by dry-stone walls, olive trees looming
suddenly out of the mist in front us. Every few metres, a new
pothole threatens to swallow us whole. This just can’t be the way
to one of Puglia’s dreamiest, creamiest resorts.
Up ahead, an elderly Fiat veers into the ditch to let us pass. I
wind down the window. “Borgo Egnazia?” I ask. The driver nods
his head to the left. “Eccolo.” There it is. He taps his nose and
grins. “We like to keep it quiet.”
On arrival, the grand, vaulted entrance is ablaze with
hundreds of candles. Staff come hurrying out to soothe our
nerves and usher us inside. So far, so impressive. We’re in one
of the pin-drop-quiet bedrooms in La Corte, a pale fortress of
local stone and plush finishes: the linens, pillows, furnishings,
and artwork are all of the highest quality. After the harsh
realities of the road, there’s something of the dream to all
of this – and that’s the thing: Borgo Egnazia was built from
scratch by Aldo Melpignano over six long years, in the style
of a traditional Pugliese village, a borgo. It’s a facsimile,
albeit a deeply luxurious one, that allows frayed visitors to chill
by one of the landscaped pools, dine in one of the five ‘village’
restaurants, book a treatment at the Vair Spa, or whoop it up
at a festa in the square.
It all feels a very long way from that rutted route – but we’re
back on it next morning on the way to Matera: not strictly in
Puglia (it’s just over the border in Basilicata), but with its deeply
evocative history, as well as its role as a European Capital of
Culture with a packed diary of art, music, theatre, and food
happenings, it merits a detour.
In the 1990s, UNESCO declared the Sassi area of the city a
World Heritage Site – the same Sassi, or caves, that, in 1950,
then prime minister Alcide De Gasperi described as the
“shame of Italy”. Fifteen thousand residents were living in rock
homes, many dating back to the Neolithic period, with no
light, ventilation, running water, or electricity. The community
was rehoused on the plateau above, and the caves boarded
up – until, in the 1990s, a new wave of inhabitants moved in,
20 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
clockwise from left: The historic town
of Matera; Ostuni's white walls; sunset in
Matera; Borgo Egnazia; poolside
at Borgo Egnazia
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 21
unlocking the artistic and commercial potential of the grottoes
and churches, and bringing a sense of troglodyte pride back to
the twin Sassi of Caveoso and Barisano.
The chiese rupestri, or rock churches, are hauntingly beautiful:
in San Pietro Barisano, we see the sculptor Louise Manzon’s
sublime female forms set against the ancient frescoes in a
powerful show. And climbing to the top of the Sassi’s limestone
mound, we are rewarded by the twin chapels of Santa Maria de
Idris and San Giovanni in Monterrone: their pockmarked façade
conceals a handful of glorious wall paintings, from a serene
Byzantine Virgin to a powerful Christ Pantocrator.
On the Civita hill opposite, Milanese entrepreneur Daniele
Kihlgren has transformed the old grottoes into an 18-room
luxury albergo diffuso, or scattered hotel. Each bedroom at
Sextantio occupies its own rough-hewn cave: lit by candles,
they’re furnished simply, in wood; linens are hand-woven,
and bathrooms are of the highest spec. After an aperitivo in
the courtyard at sundown, we head to dinner at Regia Corte,
Sant’Angelo’s stylish terrace restaurant, where we watch the
shadows lengthen in the Murgia National Park across the gorge.
Back over the border in Puglia, the rough, serpentine road to
Alberobello sets every spring in the car twanging. Gradually, the
quiet of the olive groves gives way to buses squeezing
past, bringing visitors to smile wryly at the town’s uniquely
enigmatic trulli: little houses like limestone mushrooms with
cone-shaped shingle roofs that rise up the hill on neat terraces.
A late afternoon here is best, when the pretty touristic centre
is emptying, and the districts of Monti and Aia Piccola are
busy with artisan lacemakers and embroiderers showing
off their skills.
In the cool of her shady trullo halfway up the slope, La
Signora Celestina is packing up for the day. What’s the story
of her home town? “Ah, that, nobody really knows,” she laughs.
“If you ask me, it was about money. In the 1500s, landowners
ordered the poor farmers to build houses in a way that meant
they could be knocked down quickly if they came to seize our
taxes – no house, no tax bill!”
Nine kilometres to the southeast, but a whole world away
from the hubbub of Alberobello, is Locorotondo, with the
prettiest centro storico in the Valle d’Itria, and out of season, not
a visitor in sight. The clue here is in the name – Locorotondo
means “round place”, and this whitewashed hill town has a
circular street plan that forms a maze of little lanes lined with
ancient buildings, some faded and crumbling, others with grand
22 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
baroque archways and aloof architectural twiddles. We wander
all morning, then have lunch at the Trattoria Centro Storico,
recommended by a Pugliese friend. We try the u tridde, a freshly
made pasta with pecorino cheese and chopped parsley, cooked
in turkey broth, and I recall a line I often hear: that visitors to
Puglia cry three times – when they arrive, when they leave, and
when they get on the scales.
Lecce might be the final destination on this rustico road trip,
but there’s still time to stop off at Ostuni, la Città Bianca, the
most fabulous “white town” in the whole of Italy, with steep
medieval alleyways winding their way up to the dramatic
15th-century cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Here the
limewash served a dual purpose: not only to lighten the
labyrinth of streets but, in the 17th century, to fight the progress
of the Great Plague – or at least that’s what the maître d’ tells
us as we pause for an Aperol spritz on the rather chic terrace of
La Sommità, then scale the heights for a blistering view across
olive groves all the way to the sea.
An hour’s drive south on the smoothest of roads, luscious
Lecce is a parade of creamy limestone palaces, wildly ornate
churches, and elegant squares, all preserved in a 17th-century
bubble of architectural perfection. It even has a classification
of its own: barocco leccese, the baroquest of curly baroque,
the highpoint of which is Giuseppe Zimbalo’s insane basilica
of Santa Croce – described by one prominent 18th-century
cultural commentator as “the nightmare of a madman” –
with allegorical monsters swarming across the façade.
At La Fiermontina, a 16-room resort from French-Moroccan
brother and sister team Giacomo and Antonia Filali set into
the walls of the old city, an astonishing art collection – Léger,
Le Corbusier, Perriand, Zwobada – is dotted around a crisp
17th-century masseria, updated by architect Antonio
Annicchiarico. There’s even a neat little swimming pool
out back – unheard of in the centro storico.
After an aperitivo here, in the garden, we wiggle through
to the Risorgimento Resort for a rooftop dinner at Le Quattro
Spezierie, where chef Alessandro Cisternino’s menu is big on
fish from both the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The night ends at
Alvino, one of the city’s oldest cafés, where the fairy lights from
the terrace illuminate the Roman amphitheatre, half buried
beneath the stones of Piazza Sant’Oronzo. A final caffè speciale
– a local treat of espresso over ice with almond milk – and we’re
back on the road to Brindisi and the airport. Bumps along the
way? Who cares?
clockwise from top left: Guest room in La Fiermontina; typical trulli
houses built with dry stone walls and conical roofs, Alberobello;
the baroque palaces of Lecce; trulli houses in Alberobello
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
A&K’s seven-night Discover Puglia suggested itinerary starts at
£1,200 per person (based on two sharing, includes flights, private
transfers, accommodation, and selected excursions). For more
information, call our Europe travel specialists on 01242 547 703.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 23
BEYOND BERLIN, LOOK TO THE MIDDLE
EAST TO CELEBRATE A CENTENARY OF THE
BAUHAUS: 2019 IS THE PERFECT YEAR TO VISIT
TEL AVIV AND MARVEL AT ITS MODERNIST
MASTERPIECES, SAYS ALICIA DEVENEY
24 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
In 2019, Bauhaus is celebrating its centenary. It’s been 100 years
since architect Walter Gropius founded the famed German school
of design. Characterised by its form-follows-function and less-ismore
principles, the Bauhaus taught both arts and crafts (or fine
and applied arts) in an effort to bridge the gap between the two.
Deemed un-German and cited for its “cultural bolshevism” by
the Nazis, the school – which had been based at Weimar until
1925, Dessau through 1932, and Berlin for its final months – was
closed for good in 1933. While architecture wasn’t on the agenda
until 1925, when Gropius began to instruct pupils in the subject,
thanks to the school’s association with some of the age’s finest
architects – Mies van der Rohe was the director of the institute by
its end – one of its greatest legacies can today be seen in the built
environment of Germany and beyond.
After its closure, the emigré pupils and staff – the Bauhausler
– hastened the spread of Bauhaus’s principles to some far-flung
cities in unexpected places. While some went west – László
Moholy-Hagy and van der Rohe to Chicago and Gropius to
Massachusetts – the best Bauhaus city is in the Middle East.
BRIGHT LINES, WHITE CITY
Seaside, cosmopolitan Tel Aviv may only be 110 years old, but
in terms of architectural significance, it’s incomparable in the
region – this is where the Bauhaus movement made its most
lasting impression. At the heart of Tel Aviv lies the White City, a
collection of some 4,000 buildings built by the Bauhaus diaspora.
These included German-Jewish architects Arieh Sharon, Munio
Giati Weinraub, Shmeul Mestechkin, and Shlomo Bernstein, who
had studied at Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin, and who brought this
new International Style with them when they emigrated to what
was then the British Mandate of Palestine.
SPACE TO BUILD, A NEW BUILT SPACE
A new city is a veritable playground for architects, planners, and
builders, presenting a blank canvas on which to work. In 1906,
60 Jewish families met in Jaffa – one of the oldest ports in the
world – with plans to establish a city nearby. Tel Aviv’s founders
purchased 12.8 hectares of sand dunes, and by 1909 had divvied
it up and allocated plots by lottery, using the model of the English
garden city. By 1925, the population of Tel Aviv (Hill of Spring)
had grown to around 34,000, due in part to riots in Jaffa that
The population boom resulted in an ever-increasing need
for housing and civic buildings. Scottish urban planner Patrick
Geddes, who had worked on the design for New Delhi, was
commissioned by Tel Aviv’s founding father and first mayor,
Meir Dizengoff, to come up with a structure for this new garden
city. Geddes started working on his plan in 1925 and the 62-page
document was accepted in 1929. It included two major roads
running parallel to the shore, plus three lesser north-south
thoroughfares to channel traffic. These were complemented by
an east-west secondary road to ventilate the city and carry the
cooling breeze from the sea to residents. Around this footprint,
buildings in the International Style began to rise. Marked by
ribbon-like windows, geometric balconies, and crafted in white,
crisp (and cheap) concrete, the White City’s buildings were
constructed according to the clean lines, modernist aesthetic,
and socialist ideals of the Bauhaus.
Fast forward to 2003: UNESCO granted Tel Aviv’s White City
World Cultural Heritage status. According to the organisation, it’s
an “outstanding example of new town planning and architecture
in the early 20th century” and it also cites the “significance of the
various trends of the Modern Movement adapted for cultural and
Because, of course, what was functional in the subzero
temperatures of Weimar in winter didn’t work in the
Mediterranean sunlit city. Smaller windows, sun breaks, buildings
raised on pilotis (stilt-type columns), and lush
roof gardens became distinctly Tel Avivian adaptations.
And while prior to its UNESCO accreditation the White City
had been looking less than pristine – abandoned, graffitied, and
downtrodden thanks to suburbanisation and the disintegration
of cheap building materials – in the last 15 years, Tel Aviv has
been undergoing a make-over, with extensive renovations and
restorations getting it ready to impress discerning travellers with
an eye for historic architecture.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 25
With anniversary events happening until the end of the year, celebrate
the centenary with a weekend break and view the best of the Bauhaus style.
Dr Micha Gross from Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus Centre picks five must-see spots:
The world’s most famous Bauhaus piazza, Dizengoff Square is
regarded as the centre of the White City and was an integral part
of Geddes’ plan. Designed by Genia Averbuch and inaugurated in
1938, the simplistic design features a round space surrounded by
near-identical buildings notable for their “curvilinear horizontal
slit balconies”. Having undergone many architectural changes,
including a disastrous redesign in the 1970s, three years ago
the city decided to renovate the square and restore it to its
original layout. The work was completed this year in time for
the centenary celebrations.
LEON RECANATI HOUSE
Designed by Swiss emigré Shlomo Liaskovski in collaboration
with Jacob Orenstein, this three-storey block of flats was
commissioned in 1934 to include residential accommodation
and shops on the ground floor. Its design has Modernist qualities,
such as asymmetry and repetitive curving balconies.
While strolling around Dizengoff Square, look out for
the Esther Cinema, now a boutique hotel, which was designed
by architect Yehuda Magidowitz in 1938/39. It was one of
Tel Aviv’s first cinemas and purportedly opened with a
showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It’s known for
its distinctive façade, with protruding balconies, long windows,
and ground-floor pilotis.
26 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
Occupying a central corner in the White City, the Polishuk or
Poli House – named for Yehuda Polishuk, the Ukrainian owner
who commissioned the commercial building from Shlomo
Liaskovski – was designed in 1933. Having fallen into disrepair
in the 1980s, in recent years this streamlined sweep of stucco has
been refurbished by Israeli architect Nitza Szmuk and American
designer Karim Rashid into a boutique hotel.
SHIMON LEVI HOUSE
A nautical take on the International Style, this residential
building was designed in 1935 by architect Arieh Cohen.
Designed in defiance of the city’s three-storey height limit,
this six-storey building with its rounded corners and strong
horizontal lines has always reminded locals of an ocean
liner and is known locally as the Ship House. Symbols of
internationality, equilibrium, and connectivity, ocean liners were
icons of the modern age and often referenced in architecture.
previous page: The Esther Cinema. This Bauhaus-style picture house was
renovated and reopened as a hotel in the early noughties.
this page: Leon Recanati House (credit: Shachar Muzicant / RIBA Collections)
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information on city breaks in Tel Aviv, or to book
your next tailor-made holiday to Israel, call our North Africa
& Middle East travel specialists on 01242 547 703.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 27
48 HOURS IN
SINGAPORE IS BOTH A GATEWAY TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA
AND A WORTHY DESTINATION IN ITS OWN RIGHT. IN 2019,
THE INNOVATIVE ISLAND NATION IS MARKING 200 YEARS
SINCE IT WAS OFFICIALLY FOUNDED: SO WHAT BETTER TIME
TO SPEND TWO DAYS IN ITS COMPANY? VICTORIA SMITH,
A&K'S ASIA PRODUCT MANAGER, SHOWS YOU AROUND
Arrive at Changi Airport for an exceptional first impression of
Singapore; in 2019, a gleaming, one-billion-pound retail complex
called Jewel was unveiled here. Located at the crossroads between
three airport terminals, Jewel’s crowning glory is the Rain Vortex
– the world’s largest indoor waterfall, surrounded by a multistorey,
man-made rainforest. Admire the spectacle, then transfer to your
hotel for your prearranged early check in.
After freshening up, begin a multisensory journey around
Singapore’s cultural enclaves, beginning first in Chinatown. This
historical neighbourhood retains its distinctive character, with
hawker centres full of Chinese produce; pagoda-topped Taoist
temples; and colourful shuttered-window shophouses. Stop by
the Chinese Heritage Centre to discover the stories of the first
settlers, and climb the four-storey Buddha Tooth Relic Temple to
see elaborate decorations and gold-encrusted icons. Then enjoy a
light bite to eat. At Yum Cha Chinatown, you can sample dim sum
served from traditional carts, while The Affogato Lounge offers a
range of desserts to sate your sweet tooth.
Swap Chinatown for Little India, where you’ll be struck by the
heady aroma of spices and jasmine upon arrival. Once the site of
a racecourse, this neighbourhood is now buzzing with fragrant
flower stalls and artisans selling silver, brassware, rattan, wood
carvings, and silk saris. Tuck into more local fare here, where
traditional street-food stalls sit beside charming restaurants.
Sample Indian favourites from roti prata (round pancakes) to a
hot cup of teh tarik (pulled tea).
Round off your neighbourhood tour in Arab Street, where you can
flit between shops selling semi-precious stones, peacock feathers,
gold thread, and bales of silk and organza. This is also home to the
glistening Sultan Mosque, with its distinctive gold onion domes
and grand prayer hall.
Spend the evening sampling the delights of Singapore’s best
nocturnal spots. At Cé La Vi’s Sky Bar, you can chink glasses as
you gaze out over the sparkling city. Or dance the night away at
renowned club Zouk, where impressive light displays dazzle ravers.
For a meal to remember, try Odette within the National Gallery
Singapore; this restaurant’s delightfully presented French cuisine
has earnt it two Michelin stars, as well as the 18th spot in William
Reed’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list.
28 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, it’s time to see the icons
of this island nation, beginning with the Botanic Gardens. The
orchid is Singapore’s national flower, and three hectares of this
UNESCO World Heritage Site are allocated to the National
Orchid Garden, where 600 species and hybrids are proudly on
display. Meander around the four season-themed zones, each
housing orchids of particular colours and tones.
Next, travel downtown to board the landmark Singapore
Flyer. The world’s second highest Ferris wheel takes you 165
metres up in the air for a panoramic view. Enjoy a drink at the
top as you look out over Marina Bay and the sea beyond, with
the coast of Malaysia and Indonesia on the horizon. Once
back on ground level, have a bite to eat at the Marina Centre,
where you can enjoy Singapore’s melting pot of cuisines at a
lively buffet experience.
This afternoon, head to the Gardens by the Bay. Since this
54-hectare nature park was established in 2012, it’s become
one of the country’s most popular attractions. Wander
through the Flower Dome conservatory, passing displays
of gorgeous, multifarious flora. Then step into the Cloud
Forest, which houses a photogenic indoor waterfall (the
world’s second tallest – after Changi Airport’s). Here, mists
quench tropical plant life and orchids add dashes of colour
to the greenery. Finally, admire the star of the show, the
Supertree Grove. As dusk falls, these futuristic foliagewrapped
towers are at their most magical, illuminated
by thousands of solar-powered lights. Weave between
the man-made canopy via the 22-metre-high skyway,
and enjoy one of the best views in the city.
Toast the past two days with a Singapore Sling at the worldfamous
Raffles Hotel, where Happy Hour is an institution.
Newly refurbished, this colonial-style property is a grand
place to take tea, imbibe a tipple or two, and bed down –
A&K can book you a suite. This evening, head out to enjoy
more of the nightlife, or simply stay in and make the most of
Raffles’ five-star service. Although your two days are almost
up, tomorrow needn’t mean home time. Singapore is the
perfect stop-over choice on a multi-centre itinerary.
Next, you could delve deeper into South-East Asia with a
trip to Cambodia, Thailand, or Vietnam. Or, for remote
beachfront bliss, Indonesia’s Bawah Reserve lies to the east;
six islands typified by soft sand, turquoise sea, and teeming
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information, or to book a tailor-made holiday to
Singapore and South-East Asia, call our travel specialists
on 01242 547 704.
left to right: The world-famous Raffles Hotel; the city by night; some of
Singapore's exciting street food
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 29
BALI, THANKS TO ITS BALMY TEMPERATURES AND RIP-ROARING SURF
BREAKS, HAS ALWAYS BEEN A BOHEMIAN ENCLAVE. WITH THE ARRIVAL
OF SMART NEW HOTELS AND AN ENTICING FOOD SCENE, CANGGU
HAS BECOME THE ISLAND’S CHIC DESTINATION, SAYS IANTHE BUTT
30 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
Indonesia’s star isle, all barefoot bliss and frangipani-fringed
beaches, is one of the world’s original hippie havens, a
mecca for sun-kissed surfers and maverick travellers since
the 1970s. Back then, the original epicentre of cool was Kuta
Beach – a spot now crammed with backpacker hostels and
gap-year teens. Over the years, Seminyak – a little further
north – cemented itself as a vibrant hot spot, with Ku De Ta
paving the way for a huge beach bar scene, including the famous
amphitheatre-style, Andra Matin-designed Potato Head Beach
Club. Here bright young things listen to international DJs spin
tunes as the sun slips into the Indian Ocean.
Cachet, however, brings crowds, and now travellers looking
for liveliness without back-to-back bustle are turning their
attention further north along the shoreline to Canggu. Fifteen
years ago, when I first visited Bali, Canggu was slow-paced and
rural, curls of sandalwood incense drifting through quiet paddy
fields and low-key beach shacks, but of late it’s developed at
a rate of knots with luxe hoteliers COMO (who normally opt
for ultra-zen surroundings) throwing open the doors of a new
beachside property here last year; vine-filled co-working spaces
such as Dojo attracting digital nomads who tap on laptops in
the afternoon after mornings spent chasing waves at nearby
Echo Beach; and places to eat popping up faster than you can
taste test them all.
Chic dining spots such as The Slow, where chef Robbin
Holmgren serves up plates of burnt leeks with whipped feta
and poke bowls, rub up against traditional warungs, which dole
out tasty tempeh and nasi goreng. Cafés dedicated to avocado
on toast and rainbow-hued candy floss serve the Insta-mad
crowd who head to the ’Gu, as it’s fondly nicknamed. Whether
beach bar-hopping, watching as the waves lick the shore at
Echo Beach, or heading out by scooter to Canggu’s fringes,
where you’ll still find old-school charm and ragged scarecrows
that watch over chartreuse rice fields, it’ll suit those looking
for a new Bali buzz – with a touch of east London sass, and an
easygoing atmosphere akin to Tulum.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 31
AN INSIDER’S GUIDE
First up the all-important question – where to stay? COMO
Uma Canggu is without a doubt the most talked-about hotel
opening of late, and with good reason. Although there are
119 residences and rooms, set a little back from the shoreline
at Echo Beach, a clever layout centred around a vast lagoonstyle
pool gives it the feel of somewhere much more intimate.
Bedroom decor is minimal and peaceful, mostly all-white with
teak furnishings, rattan touches, and beds dressed with crisp
Italian linen. Seven treatment rooms offering Asia-inspired spa
experiences add the wellness hit COMO’s famed for, while live
acoustic guitar sessions at the Beach Club are best watched from
a swinging daybed, coconut mojito in hand.
For something more traditional, about a 15-minute drive
from Echo Beach is Plataran Canggu. It’s Indonesian throughand-through,
its reception a painstakingly restored 250-year-old
jati wood Javanese joglo (house), with a clutch of alang alangthatched
villas sitting riverside, surrounded by gardens that
thrum with birdsong. Some have private pools and deep stone
bathtubs too. At Teras Canggu restaurant there’s fresh-fromthe-ocean
lobster bakso and the Padma spa for Balinese herbal
compress massages, followed by lemongrass milk baths.
OUT AND ABOUT
Edged by black volcanic-sand beaches and fairly consistent
waves, Canggu’s a great place for first-timer surfers to have a
go. For guaranteed top-notch tuition, book in with surf guru
Chucho at Tropicsurf ’s beach shack school at COMO Uma
Canggu; he’ll teach you the ropes in the property’s pool before
you hit the water.
It’s said that Bali has more temples than homes, and a
20-minute drive away from the heart of Canggu is its most
famous – striking offshore Hindu site Tanah Lot. While many
head there to see it silhouetted against the setting sun, traffic
at this time can be hellish, so opt for a morning or afternoon
gander instead. Motorbike enthusiasts should hit biker
paradise Deus Ex Machina; if you’re not a petrolhead, a small
contemporary art gallery and café will keep you entertained. For
souvenirs to ramp up the boho aesthetic back at home, pick up
furniture crafted from Indonesian materials at Interior Tonic
in Umulas, artisan throws and ceramics at concept store-meets
café Quince, and all-natural plant-dyed clothing at Yoli + Otis.
Culinary enthusiasts are completely spoilt for choice here: so
diverse is the restaurant scene that you can indulge a hankering
for cuisine from almost anywhere in the world. Ulekan Bali does
Indonesian-style fine dining well; mix and match small plates
such as classic gado gado salad with charcoal-grilled prawn and
chicken satay sticks, or opt for the likes of slipper lobster in
black pepper sauce or banana leaf-wrapped barramundi from
the mains list. Three nights per week, traditional Balinese dance
performances take place.
For something more low-key, don’t miss dining as the locals
do at a warung or streetside stall. Warung Varana’s nasi campur
and spicy sambal are a surefire hit. At quirky Ji Terrace by the
Sea, alfresco dining takes place on a seaside rooftop, decked out
with statues of goddesses, centuries-old urns, Tibetan Masks,
and Indian lanterns. Not only do you get killer ocean views, but
the Japanese fusion menu will delight sushi lovers.
One of Canggu’s oldest and best-loved restaurants is roadside
shack Betelnut, known for its shabby-chic vibe, fresh bright
roasted pumpkin and spinach salads, beetroot burgers, and
homemade desserts which range from dragon fruit mousse to
BEST BEACH BARS
To visit Bali and not check out at least a couple of beach clubs
is unthinkable, and Canggu has plenty of lovely spots. Just next
door to COMO Uma Canggu is the rather magical La Brisa, a
ramshackle-chic beachside bar crafted from wood reclaimed
from over 500 disused fishermen’s boats. Walkways flanked
by crumbling canoes draped in fairy lights lead to a pool with
swishy turquoise daybeds to lounge on and several thatched tree
houses decorated with antique buoys, fishing nets, and straw
baskets. On the menu are locally caught seafood dishes (think
fried squid with papaya Asian slaw), herb-infused cocktails, and
passion fruit sangria.
For more of a party vibe, there’s popular Finns Beach Club,
but instead of joining the masses, opt for a spot next door at
the club’s recently opened sister venue, the exclusive VIP Beach
Club Bali, where daybeds sit under palm trees on a manicured
lawn, and there’s a spa and Champagne Bar. For excellent sour
apple martinis and groovy tunes, grab a shaded spot under
one of the white-fringed parasols at The Lawn on Batu Bolong
beach, and get lost just watching the waves roll in.
previous page: Hindu temple Tanah Lot at sunset
opposite page, left to right from top: The view from COMO Uma Canggu;
fresh cuisine at Plataran Canggu; Aurora Open Deck at Plataran Canggu;
fine dining at Teras Canggu; surfing in Bali
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information, or to book your next tailor-made holiday
to Canggu, call our South-East Asia travel specialists on 01242
32 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 33
MEET THE GUIDE
AHMED ABUL ELLA ALI
GROWING UP ON THE BANKS OF THE NILE, AHMED ABUL ELLA ALI
DEVELOPED A DEEP LOVE OF ANCIENT EGYPT. HE TELLS PENELOPE RANCE
HOW HE’S BEEN SHARING THAT LOVE WITH A&K’S GUESTS FOR 25 YEARS
For Egyptologist and A&K expert guide Ahmed Abul Ella
Ali, the history of his home country has been a source
of wonder since childhood. Growing up in Giza, in the
shadow of Egypt’s towering monuments, he was inspired to
pursue degrees in first ancient history and then Egyptology –
sparking a love affair with the ancient world that has endured for
“Living as a child, with the Nile on one side and the pyramids
on the other, it opened my eyes to the fact that right there in the
backyard of the city where I live, we have the greatest monuments
built in the history of mankind,” says Abul Ella. “That left an
impression on me! From the start, it intrigued my imagination.
I was fascinated by the monuments, and with the beliefs behind
And now, at 51, he takes great pleasure in sharing his
enthusiasm while leading A&K tours. “One of the greatest gifts
guiding in Egypt provides is taking people on an incredible
journey through time and through place. I take our guests to
temples, tombs, and ancient Egyptian monuments, Greco-Roman
sites, the churches of early Christianity, through to the early
periods of Islamic history.”
And he never tires of the opportunity to unveil his own
research into the unique cultural make-up of the area. “These
trips provide a wonderful opportunity to share my ideas with
my guests and talk about the connection between cultures,
religions, beliefs, art. How early ideas travel throughout the
centuries, taking new meaning, and how modern Egyptian
society rests on layers of history.”
Abul Ella doesn’t just guide people around the treasures
of Egypt: he is also a renowned author of the period, writing
both academic tomes and starter guides for visitors to the
country’s most popular sites. “I’m trying to simplify the big stuff
into smaller, attractive books,” he says, as part of a mission to
introduce new visitors to the joys of Egyptology.
His weightier work covers the link between Egypt’s past and
the stories of the Bible. “My love for ancient history, and for the
interconnection between different cultures and religions, led me
to the relationship between ancient Egypt and Old Testament
history.” His explorations are published in the book Prophets and
Pharaohs: Egypt and the Old Testament.
Another book, By Way of Accident: The True Stories Behind
the Discovery of Egypt’s Greatest Monuments, focuses on the
major archaeological discoveries in the country in the 19th
century, many of which occurred by chance. “It’s about how those
accidental discoveries shaped the birth of Egyptology and the
development of Egyptian society at the time.”
But for Abul Ella, it is the future of his field that is truly
exciting, and he loves to reveal the latest developments to A&K
34 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
I LIKE TO DELVE INTO
DEEPER ANCIENT EGYPT.
I TAKE PEOPLE TO THE LOST
CITY OF CLEOPATRA, WHERE
MANY OF THE SITES ARE
guests. “There are new discoveries and research every year
that allow me to add more elements to the tours. It’s an
And although he delights in taking guests around Egypt’s
most famous attractions – the ‘Big Five’ of the Pyramids and
the Sphinx; the Egyptian Museum containing the treasures of
Tutankhamen; Karnak Temple Complex; the Valley of the Kings;
and the great temples of Abu Simbel – Abul Ella points out that
there are 50 other sites that he can introduce guests to, his own
personal hidden treasures among them.
“I like to delve into deeper ancient Egypt. I enjoy taking people
to Alexandria to talk about the lost city of Cleopatra. It was once
the greatest city in the world, even bigger than Rome, but many of
its sites are rarely visited, such as the catacombs and royal tombs.
“I take people to the tombs of Saqqara; to Abydos, the most
beautiful temple on the Nile with its exquisite reliefs and colourful
frescoes; to tombs in Luxor rarely visited by tourist crowds. We go
to the workers’ village, the tomb of the artisans, and talk about the
other side of Egypt’s history, the people who built the tombs and
the artists that decorated them, shedding light on life in ancient
Egypt from a different perspective.”
Among his recent guests have been Kerry Golds, A&K’s own
managing director, and her family who, he says, were blown away
by the size and power of Karnak.
“We walked down to the temple and turned to see the gigantic
statues of Ramses II, deeply carved into the rock. Kerry was
completely taken by surprise: pointing to the breath-taking view,
she said, ‘This is way better than the pictures!’”
With his wealth of experience, in-depth knowledge, and
abiding love for his subject, Abul Ella is highly valued by A&K;
and the feeling is mutual. “I have a very special relationship
with A&K. I joined the company in 1995. I was fairly young for
the role, because they hire the best in the market, with years of
experience. I grew up inside the company – it’s been almost 25
years now, and I enjoy every tour I take.
“What makes A&K so special is the sense of commitment.
I’m committed to our guests, to providing quality tours. The
company is committed to offering that service, and the guests are
committed to enjoying their trip! It’s a circle of professionalism
and happiness. That’s what makes me stay.”
opposite page: Ahmed Abul Ella Ali sharing his wonder at the Pyramids
this page from top: The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut; Abul Ella;
one of Egypt’s ‘Big Five’, the Pyramids and the Sphinx
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information on luxury tailor-made holidays to Egypt
or to reserve a place on a Nile cruise, call to speak to our North
Africa & Middle East travel specialists on 01242 547 703.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 35
36 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
A HILLTOP LOCATION, PANORAMIC VIEWS AND ULTRA-CHIC
DÉCOR: VILLA SONREI, ON MAJORCA’S
NORTH COAST, TICKS ALL THE BOXES,
SAYS NATALIE PARIS
Sun-washed and cosmopolitan, with a green and
muscular interior, characterful towns, and some of the
Mediterranean’s finest beaches, Majorca is a firm favourite
among British travellers. For many, this gem of the Balearics
offers the ideal combination of lush countryside, golden sand,
great restaurants, and upmarket beach clubs.
While there are numerous postcard-pretty coves along
the coastline to soak up the influx of visitors between spring
and late summer, it is the north of the island that attracts those
in the know. It is here that you can find an exclusive getaway
close to some of the wildest scenery and most peaceful bays on
Port de Pollença, with its genteel atmosphere and quiet
prettiness, is one of the current in-vogue spots on Majorca’s
northerly peninsula, which ends in the ruggedly beautiful
Cap de Formentor.
Anyone who found themselves hooked to BBC One’s gripping
drama The Night Manager a few years back will have seen Pine
Walk, the romantic promenade along the coast here which
featured in an episode. Curving along the top of the bay, the
walkway is lapped by a sparkling, shallow sea, and shaded by
deliciously scented pine branches.
At the furthest end is a rocky headland crowned by an old
fort, La Fortaleza, now part of a luxury estate that provided the
setting for the lavish home of Hugh Laurie’s dastardly character.
Across the Bay of Pollença, topping a hill opposite, is the equally
beautiful Villa Sonrei, where I decided to take my family for an
indulgent escape far from the crowds of Majorca’s south.
Climbing up the winding driveway, past a tennis court and
vines of bougainvillea, you will certainly feel that you have
arrived. You might, however, regret not having done so in
grander style, once you spot the private helipad, sat just opposite
the soaring stone columns that mark the villa’s front door.
From the pictures I had pored over beforehand, I had been
most excited to see the villa’s views and its two pools, but even
the entrance hall drew a low “wow” from our party. It is a whitewalled,
double-storey wonder – like stepping into an art gallery
– flooded with light and enlivened with blazing red Ron Arad
chairs and stark white Cappellini lamps.
akvillas.com | 37
A SOAK IN THE SUNKEN BATH CAME WITH
VIEWS OF YACHTS TRACKING ACROSS THE BAY,
AND THE DISTANT MOUNTAINS
The enviable setting and private spa are just a small part
of what makes Villa Sonrei one of Majorca’s most exclusive
properties. This large and airy, contemporary villa is decorated
with exquisite modern art and, with nine huge and wellequipped
bedrooms, it provides everything discerning guests
Sat on manicured lawns in a commanding position, the
villa benefits from sweeping views that encompass the sea on
two sides, the blue smudge of the Tramuntana mountains, and
the goat-dotted hill it perches on. It is located just outside the
family-friendly resort of Alcúdia, which has atmospheric old
town walls, a choice of beaches, and the six-kilometre-long
swathe of dazzling blonde sand at Playa de Muro nearby. Just
below the villa is the affluent enclave of Mal Pas-Bonaire, which
has two small sandy coves that are known only to locals and well
worth a couple of hours of your time.
It was hard to choose a favourite bedroom, but we plumped
in the end for room two, a master suite with a jaw-dropping
bathroom. This light-filled space oozed pampering, with its
marble fittings, wooden floors, large walk-in shower, and
wonderfully classic, arched windows on either side. Best of
all, a large picture window at the far end was majestically
positioned above a sunken bath. A soak therefore came
complete with views of yachts tracking across the bay, and
the distant mountains.
The other master suite is situated on the lower ground
floor and has a larger sleeping space with a fun, informal feel
to it. With room to dance around the bed, a corner plot, and
the possibility of hiring the villa out for a small wedding
or family party, it is somewhere to retreat to for a nightcap,
perhaps, after other guests have gone to bed, or, during the day,
for easy access to the outdoor pool, with glass doors that open
up onto the lawn.
Stretching out in a long blue streak from the rear of the
house towards the sea, the outdoor saltwater pool is great
for swimming lengths in, as well as for general posing.
There are a couple of daybeds to one side and some convenient
sunloungers just beyond the end of the pool, looking over
the edge of the grounds.
Weather in spring too chilly for a dip? Never fear; Villa
Sonrei has its own spa floor and a large indoor pool heated to
29 degrees. Positioned in a chamber of stone pillars, the indoor
pool lines up with its outdoor equivalent in pleasing symmetry.
There is also an indoor hot tub, plus a small sauna and steam
room that can be heated on request.
The kitchen is a slick, stainless steel affair, focused on efficient
food preparation, while the villa itself centres around, and draws
light from, a small courtyard containing a fish-filled pond. The
staff are lovely and, during my stay, consisted of a caretaker and
cook, while the hosts, who speak perfect English, are also only a
phone call or message away.
Once we had orientated ourselves, a string of blissfully
peaceful days unfolded in a gentle routine. Our cook would lay
out a fortifying spread for breakfast each morning on the indoor
dining table, consisting of tea, coffee, croissants, chocolate
spread, bread, jam, butter, ham, and orange juice.
We would then take the car out to either Alcúdia, Pollença,
or to the local coves for a paddle, and return to make our own
leisurely lunch from tomatoes, avocado, local cheese, ham,
bread, and fruit, eaten at one of three dining tables on the vast
terraces that wrap around each floor of the house.
The quiet afternoons were for swimming and reading
before connecting up to the villa’s top-notch sound system for
a sunset soundtrack as the sea, mountains, and entire horizon
blushed a deep pink. Many a bottle of Majorcan bubbles fizzed
down as we enjoyed feeling as if we were on top of the world
– well, at the top tip of Majorca at least. The villa’s terraces are
easily some of the best places on the island to witness these
Once night had fallen, the two spacious and luxuriously
appointed lounges called. The main lounge is a sociable space
and a calming mix of pale colours and natural textures, with
bleached-grain side tables, a modern fireplace, a large sofa
seating around 10, and some well-curated, intriguing pieces of
contemporary art. The second lounge is a cinema room, with
a giant television linked up to Apple TV and Netflix (the latter
being available in the bedrooms also).
The nine bedrooms are mostly split between the first and
lower ground floors and there is a lift in between. If travelling
in a large group (the villa sleeps 18), there are unlikely to be
arguments about who has which room, as they are all incredibly
spacious, with sea views in all but two, and seating areas either
in the rooms or just outside. The rooms on the lower ground
floor all have sliding doors out onto the garden. Just one room
is smaller and equipped with only twin beds, situated on the
Following our time there, it will be hard, if I’m honest,
to return to Majorca and not long for Villa Sonrei. It really
seems to offer the best of everything: access to the north’s
most coveted spots, but also peace and privacy from a hilltop
location that grants a beautiful and unique panorama of this
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT VILLAS
For all villas holidays – especially to an A&K Villas' Favourite
such as Villa Sonrei – we advise early booking. For more
information or to discuss a reservation, call our villas
specialists on 01242 547 705.
38 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
THIS LIGHT-FILLED SPACE OOZED PAMPERING, WITH ITS
MARBLE FITTINGS, WOODEN FLOORS, LARGE WALK-IN SHOWER, AND
WONDERFULLY CLASSIC, ARCHED WINDOWS ON EITHER SIDE
akvillas.com | 39
WHEN IT COMES TO TRENDING TRAVEL
DESTINATIONS, JAPAN IS THE NAME ON
EVERYONE’S LIPS. TWO OF THE WORLD’S MOST
EXCITING SPORTING EVENTS, INVESTMENT IN
TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE, AND A HEAVYWEIGHT
ARTS AND CULTURE SCENE ALL MEAN THERE’S
NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO VISIT THE LAND
OF THE RISING SUN, SAYS IANTHE BUTT
40 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
Cities that never sleep, all jagged skyscrapers set against
paths of vermillion torii gates leading to beautiful
Shinto shrines; ancient forests where centuries-old
Buddhist temples sit hidden away on deserted mountaintops;
and a pale-pink explosion of cherry blossom in springtime
which trumps all others. It’s no wonder Japan tops many
people’s travel wish lists.
Right now the country’s having an unprecedented visitor
moment; last year the Japan National Tourist Organisation
(JNTO) reported a record number of overseas visitors – some
31.2 million visited in 2018, a whopping 8.7 per cent increase
over the previous record-breaking numbers seen in 2017. And
things show no signs of slowing – kicking off the excitement,
Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup (20 September to 2
November). It’s a big deal, as it’s the first time the tournament
has been held in Asia, and as well as cheering on their own
teams, overseas fans will be interested to see how hosts Japan
fare after their surprise triumph over South Africa in 2015.
It’s expected that over 400,000 overseas supporters will arrive
during the six-week period, with the glitzy opening ceremony
getting things going at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium, and the final
clash taking place a bullet train ride away at the International
Stadium Yokohama in Kanagawa.
The country’s also ramping up to host the Olympic and
Paralympic Games next summer, which will see the planet’s
fittest sportspeople compete for medals across disciplines
including five newly added to the Olympic roster – baseball,
karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. The Tokyo
Games will likely further boost foreign tourist arrivals with
international visitor figures for 2020 predicted to inch close to
the 40 million mark.
To handle the ongoing influx, significant investments in
infrastructure are being made. In January, an International
Tourist Tax of 1000 yen (around £7.40) was built into airfares
and cruise tickets. This small levy, nicknamed the ‘sayonara
tax’, will be spent on a raft of improvements including more
contactless payment points, multi-language information
and audio-guide tours at key tourist sites, and national park
maintenance. Free public wifi spots are also being upped and
upgraded, with wifi now available at all bullet train stations.
By the time the Games roll around, eight out of the nine bullet
lines – the trains famed for their kingfisher-bill inspired noses
and up to 320kmph speeds – will have on-train wifi networks.
If you’ve not managed to secure seats at either of the mega
sporting events, however, there are plenty of other hot tickets
and new attractions to explore. In Tokyo, last year the
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless
opened, the world’s first all-digital art museum. It’s a mindbending
experience; flowers which bloom on floors, petals that
appear to fall apart as you walk over them, cascading hyperreal
waterfalls, and rooms where you can draw a sea creature with
wax crayons, then seconds later have it scanned and see it come
to life, bobbing across the walls.
The Museum of Contemporary Art has also just reopened,
revamped after a three-year closure, and the Tokyo DesignArt
Festival (18-27 October), now in its third year, is going from
strength to strength.
Outside the capital the Setouchi Art Triennale, a nine-month
extravaganza which takes place every three years across 12
islands on the Seto Inland Sea, will be in full swing around the
same time as the Rugby World Cup. Alongside the year-round
draws of the impressive natural scenery, Tadao Ando-designed
buildings, and Yayoi Kusama’s surreal oversized pumpkins, are
stacks of cool exhibitions and impressive site installation pieces.
So whether it’s watching world-class sports, or taking a deepdive
into arts and culture, Japan has it covered.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 41
FEELING INSPIRED BY THE GAMES?
READ ON TO DISCOVER WHERE
VISITORS CAN TRY OUT SIX
OLYMPIC SPORTS WHILE IN JAPAN
Where to try it: Making its Olympic debut in 2020, there’s
nowhere better to try this traditional martial art than in its
birthplace Naha, in sub-tropical island chain Okinawa. Here
karate isn’t just a martial art, it’s a way of life. There are around
400 dojos (training grounds) and some of them – whether
you’re a beginner or budding black belt – hold classes. There’s
also the Karate Kaikan, a complex where spectators can watch
Best for a sporty slumber: With cotton wool-soft sands and
palm trees, The Busena Beach Resort feels more like Hawaii
than Japan. There’s excellent snorkelling and scuba diving on
offer, and a glorious 760-metre private beach.
Where to try it: Olympic cycling might be all about road races,
time trials, and velodromes; but the medal for Japan’s most
exciting bike ride goes to the Shimanami Kaido, a 60 kilometrelong
network of cycle paths and thrilling over-water bridges
which link the islands of the Seto Inland Sea. It’s a great way to
experience rural Japan and its varied landscape, which ranges
from quaint seaside towns and citrus groves to industrial yards
Best for a sporty slumber: Begin a two-wheeled Shimanami
Kaido adventure at Onomichi’s Hotel Cycle, a 28-room boutique
crashpad inside hip warehouse-turned-concept-store hub
Onomichi U2. There’s an on-site Giant bike store, copies of
Rouleur to browse, and hooks on bedroom walls to hang bikes.
Where to try it: In 1920, surf pioneer Duke Kahanamoku asked
the IOC to consider including the sport in the Games. Fast
forward 100 years and in 2020 wave riding wannabe Olympians
will compete for the first time at Chiba’s Tsurigasaki Surfing
Beach. The best spot for visitors however, is Kamakura in
Kanagawa, a Tokyoite favourite just a half-day trip from the city.
Expect kooky surf shops, a huge variety of breaks, and a mellow
Best for a sporty slumber: As you can easily head to Kanagawa
on a day trip, bed down at Tokyo’s elegant Palace Hotel. There
aren’t any waves, but many of the bedrooms have balconies with
views of the Imperial Palace’s moats and pretty gardens.
OPEN WATER SWIMMING
Where to try it: Only an hour from frenetic Tokyo, yet light
years away in atmosphere, the Izu Peninsula is a popular
seaside escape for busy city residents. All jungly interior,
rushing waterfalls, and coastline fringed by white-sand beaches,
there are plenty of places to take a dip. Highlights include the
800m-long Shirahama, and snorkellers’ favourite Hirizo.
Best for a sporty slumber: Seiryuso, a ryokan on the banks of
the Inosawa River in Shizuoka. There’s a 25-metre heated pool
to help up the length count, hot springs, manicured gardens to
explore, and traditional rooms kitted out with tatami flooring.
CANOEING & KAYAKING
Where to try it: Taking to the water is a unique way to explore
the countryside, and gliding along the glittering ripples of the
Kumano-gawa, a river in Wakayama which snakes below cedartopped
mountains, is astonishing. The river is part of a series of
ancient pilgrimage routes, the Kumano Kodo, and is the world’s
only UNESCO World Heritage-listed waterway.
Best for a sporty slumber: Kawayu Onsen Fujiya has killer
views of the Oto River, a branch of the Kumano-gawa. Here
you can dig-your-own onsen – scooping into the river’s gravel
bed to allow hot spring water to bubble up. There are also
pre-dug basins, shrines nearby, and multi-course Japanese
feasts for supper.
Where to try it: While defending champion Justin Rose will
tee off at Saitama’s Kasumigaseki Country Club in 2020,
the best place for swing practice with mountain views is golf
mecca Karuizawa. Just an hour by bullet train from Tokyo,
the picturesque highlands are home to numerous courses,
some which sit in the shadow of Mount Asama.
Best for a sporty slumber: Luxe and leafy Hoshinoya
Karuizawa is close to the courses and packs quite the impressive
drive of its own – predominantly powered by hydroelectricity
and geothermal energy from nearby rivers and hot springs.
Plus there’s a steamy onsen, just the thing for post-round
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information, or to book your next tailor-made
luxury holiday to Japan, call our Far East travel specialists on
01242 547 704.
42 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
previous page: Himeji castle, cherry blossom, and Mt Fuji;
Universe of Water Particles on a Rock Where People Gather,
MORI Art Museum: teamLab Borderless
clockwise from left: Kayaking on the Tama River, Tokyo;
a golf course in Japan; surfing; cycling in Tokyo
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 43
44 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
As Spain’s Museo Nacional del Prado celebrates
its 200th anniversary, A&K invites its guests
to experience an exclusive take on this cultural
hothouse, as viewed through its famous art
institutions. By touring the country’s galleries
and museums, a more intimate, personal view
of Spain’s people and its past is revealed.
With A&K, you are assured private, insider
access to Spain’s great art houses: among them
the Prado, Museu Picasso, and Guggenheim
MUSEO NACIONAL DEL
The Prado is undeniably one of the most important art museums in
the world – and one of the planet’s most visited tourist attractions
– housing an outstanding display of works by Spain’s three greatest
painters, Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco; together with famous
pieces by Flemish, Italian, and other European masters. Together, its
collection is considered among the finest ever assembled, spanning
the 12th to early 20th centuries, numbering in the thousands,
and containing not just paintings and sculpture, but also historic
documents, prints, and drawings. Founded in 1819, this year it
celebrates its second centenary as Spain’s premier gallery.
A&K INSIDER ACCESS: A&K guests have the privilege of
enjoying the Prado’s collection and temporary exhibitions privately
after hours, guided by specialist art historians, with a tailor-made
itinerary, and dinner if desired.
WORDS: PENELOPE RANCE
CASA VICENS, BARCELONA
One of the world’s first Art Nouveau buildings, this house designed
by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) for Manuel Vicens i Montaner is
rightly considered a masterpiece, and is a UNESCO World Heritage
Site. In its walls can be found the seeds of his later architectural
works. Standing in the tranquil neighbourhood of Gràcia, it is an
oasis of calm covered in striking green and white tiles. Inside
you can learn about Gaudí and his significance within the
A&K INSIDER ACCESS: A tour with A&K allows you to beat
the morning crowds with an exclusive, private before-hours visit to
Casa Vicens. If you’re more of a night owl than an early bird, you
can take the tour at sunset – with cocktails available on request.
opposite page from top: Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid; Casa Vicens (credit:
Pol Viladoms) this page from top: The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest
(c. 1580), El Greco; an entrance to Casa Vicens (credit: Pol Viladoms)
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 45
GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM BILBAO
With its sweeping curves of glittering metal and glass, the
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao building itself needs no introduction
– the scale and futuristic beauty of Frank Gehry’s 1990s titanium
structure leaves a lasting impression. No less so the modern and
contemporary artworks it was built to showcase: outside, Jeff
Koons’ sculpture Puppy wears a coat of flowers; inside, the vast hall
containing Richard Serra’s unique sculptures never fails to impress.
Next to the museum’s permanent collection, the regular rotation
of temporary exhibitions across different periods – not always
Modern – draws art enthusiasts back time and again.
A&K INSIDER ACCESS: To make the most of Bilbao’s
art scene, book a private tour of the Guggenheim with an A&K
expert guide, then visit the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao,
which houses paintings from the 12th century to the present day,
and is considered one of the finest art museums outside Madrid.
Afterwards, head to a local gallery, a well-kept secret where the
owner will give you a firsthand insight into the pieces featured
in her gallery.
MUSEU PICASSO, BARCELONA
Set on Montcada Street in La Ribera neighbourhood, once home
to Barcelona’s great and good, Museu Picasso lies in the heart of
the city’s cultural, commercial, and tourist district, surrounded
by centuries of history and art. The museum itself is housed in
five medieval palaces, architecturally as impressive as the artistic
treasures within. Containing 4,251 works by one of Spain’s – and
history’s – most influential artists, it is the largest gallery dedicated
to Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), and the only one established during
his lifetime. It is the ideal place to study the artist’s formative
years, containing many early works, and illustrating his enduring
relationship with Barcelona.
A&K INSIDER ACCESS: Dine in the style of the nobility and
wealthy merchants who once made La Ribera their home, with
a private dinner in the museum and personal guided visits to its
permanent collection. A&K’s close relationship with the museum
allows our guests to access a flexible range of private dining and
46 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
ESPACIO CULTURAL ZULOAGA,
ZUMAIA, NEAR SAN SEBASTIAN
A few miles along the coast from San Sebastian lies the village of
Zumaia – home of the great 20th-century Basque painter Ignacio
Zuloaga (1870-1945). In this lonely, peaceful place, he established
his family home and a cultural centre, designed to promote his
native art and culture. Today, the centre aims to teach younger
generations about the importance of Zuloaga’s work in the context
of his contemporaries and those who came after him. The area
might also be familiar to fans of television series Game of Thrones,
who can walk in the footsteps of Daenerys Targaryen on the shores
A&K INSIDER ACCESS: A&K can offer guests the
opportunity to take a private tour of the museum. During your visit
to Zuloaga’s home, you can absorb the display of his own paintings,
which sit alongside his personal collection, including minor works
by El Greco and Goya. Then continue your day sightseeing in the
other charming villages surrounding San Sebastian.
MUSEO NACIONAL THYSSEN-
The magnificent Thyssen-Bornemisza, boasting almost 1,000
paintings and regarded as one of the most important privately
assembled art collections in the world, offers art lovers an
experience that is nothing short of extraordinary. The museum’s
permanent collection provides an overview of art from the 13th
to late 20th centuries in a series of snapshots touching on the
work of Hopper, Caravaggio, Sargent, Gauguin, Mondrian,
van Eyck, and scores of others. Among its masterpieces are
Hans Holbein the Younger’s iconic Portrait of Henry VIII and
Rubens’ Venus and Cupid.
A&K INSIDER ACCESS: Introduce your entire family
to the glories of painting when you embark on a treasure hunt
organised by a specialist A&K guide. Explore the secrets of some
of the museum’s most famous works, following clues which lead
you through the evolution of painting over seven centuries.
Engaging and stimulating, it’s an activity ideal for young,
MUSEO SOROLLA, MADRID
Originally the house and studio of Spain’s greatest late 19th- and
early 20th-century painter, this museum is dedicated to the life
and work of Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923). It houses an eclectic
collection, including paintings by family members, his daughter
Elena among them. Although his work is sometimes compared to
that of Sargent, Sorolla does not belong to any specific school; and
the house also contains pieces by the old masters who inspired him.
The galleries also host special exhibitions by current artists. As a
result, Museo Sorolla presents a fascinating journey through Spain’s
history of art.
A&K INSIDER ACCESS: Off the beaten track for most
visitors to Madrid, you won’t be overrun by tourists as you wander
the Sorolla’s light-filled spaces. Continue with your A&K guide
to the Museo del Romanticismo, a unique time capsule of art,
furniture, and style from across the 19th century, and one
of Madrid’s true hidden treasures.
opposite page from top: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao at dusk, Getty;
Woman with Yellow Hair by Pablo Picasso; Museu Picasso, Barcelona
this page from top: Woman in Bath, Roy Lichtenstein, at the
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, ©The Estate of Roy Lichtenstein;
Sala II at the Museo Sorolla
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information, or to book your next cultural
odyssey to visit Spain’s great musuems and galleries,
contact our Europe travel specialists on 01242 547 703.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 47
48 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
A&K’S FOUNDER GEOFFREY KENT FULFILS A
LIFELONG DREAM AND TRAVELS TO THE SOUTH POLE
ON ONE OF HIS INSPIRING EXPEDITIONS
When I was young in the post-war decades in Kenya,
I ran wild on our family farm, Kiamweri. Located
in a place called South Kinangop, in the foothills
of the Aberdare mountains, my family’s land was as green as an
emerald, dappled in golden sunlight, and often carpeted with
wild blue salvia (similar to bluebells) and fiery pink drum lilies
that bloomed as big as a man’s face.
In this dream-like landscape of colour, I ironically was
obsessed with whiteness. My father – an Army officer and
always the action man – gave me a copy of Alfred Lansing’s
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage when it was published
in 1959. This epic book inspired in me the greatest admiration
for Sir Ernest Shackleton, my hero of heroes; as well as what
would become a long-standing desire to enjoy my own
incredible voyage and to visit the white desert of Antarctica.
I achieved my dream recently, a mere 60 years later, when
along with seven intrepid guests (now friends), we visited
Antarctica and reached the South Pole on one of my ‘Inspiring
Expeditions by Geoffrey Kent’.
When most people speak of having been to Antarctica, they
have travelled by cruise ship from Ushuaia to the Antarctic
Peninsula, a 1,300-kilometre chain of mountains and volcanoes
that juts north towards South America. My expedition was
to a dramatically different destination. The Antarctica that
I’m talking about can’t be accessed by cruise ship. To get to
the South Pole, you need a plane and skis or snowmobiles.
Antarctica is vast – mind-bogglingly big. To put it in
perspective, from our base inside the Antarctic Circle, to get to
the South Pole required an eight-hour flight, a refuelling stop
and the crossing of a time-zone.
This expedition was three years in the making. This may seem
like a long time to plan, but there was a good reason for the
long preamble: while I dreamed of getting to the South Pole like
Shackleton, unlike Shackleton, I wanted to do it in comfort and
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 49
WHILE I DREAMED OF GETTING TO THE
SOUTH POLE LIKE SHACKLETON, UNLIKE
SHACKLETON, I WANTED TO DO IT IN
COMFORT AND FIVE-STAR STYLE
Our group – consisting of three men in their late teens/early
20s, two couples in their 60s, and me – set off from sunny Cape
Town in mid-December 2018. Our cold-weather kit packed
into the Gulfstream’s baggage compartment, we settle into our
seats in short-sleeved tops. We cross the Antarctic Circle and
enter a world of continuous sunshine. We land on the first
of three ice runways (or more accurately, iceways) that A&K
constructed in Antarctica specifically for this journey and get
our first glimpse of the land of snow and ice at a place named
Wolf ’s Fang.
There are no wolves for thousands of kilometres – only the
occasional snow petrel flies overhead. Here Antarctica is a high,
desolate white desert where temperatures in summer rarely
get above minus 20 degrees Celsius and the winter average is
minus 60. It never rains here and the snow that falls is sparse.
With less than 20 centimetres of snowfall per year, Antarctica is
technically a desert. It is so dry that with the correct kit on, you
will feel colder on London’s streets on a particularly grim day.
It’s the last true wilderness on our planet. The last frontier
– the final place on Earth where a traveller can feel genuinely
remote and know that their footprints may be the first, that no
other human may have walked here before. And if they have…
what a coterie to be part of.
From our basecamp in an oasis – a series of rocky outcrops
among the ice – over the course of eight days, our group flies
to Atka Bay to view the large colony of emperor penguin there;
learns winter skills; explores ice caves; visits both Russian and
American research stations; summits (and earns the right to
name) a peak in the Drygalski mountain range; and ventures to
the Geographic South Pole.
From the top of the newly christened Mount Inspiring – the
virgin mountain which our group summited for the first time
in the company of Marko Prezelj, four-time Piolet d’Or winner
– staring over this vast expanse of white in awe of nature at its
most elemental, it’s hard to imagine the flux that this continent
is undergoing. Very sadly, Antarctica has experienced an air
temperature increase of three degrees Celsius – a huge rise,
five times the average rate of global warming as reported by the
United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC). This heating up is causing change – perennial snow
and ice cover are melting, glaciers are retreating, and some ice
shelves have collapsed completely. In the last 60 years, there has
been a loss of 25,000 square kilometers of ice shelf.
The flora and fauna are being impacted too. In fact, they
50 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
are facing an existential threat. Emperor penguin numbers
have declined by up to half in some places and the number
of breeding pairs may fall by 80 per cent by 2100. One of the
greatest, yet least seen, wildlife spectacles on the planet, the
colony of 6,000 breeding pairs at Atka Bay is extraordinary. Two
and a half hours by aeroplane away from basecamp, thousands
of adolescents are finding their feet and snow bathing to cool off
in strong sun, while their parents fish. Though unused to seeing
humans up-close, these animals are under threat from human
action from thousands of kilometres away.
We reach the Pole two days and 107 years after Roald
Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who won the race to the
South Pole, just ahead of Scott. Amundsen had gained renown
five years previously for being the first to sail the Arctic’s fabled
Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Standing at
the designated marker at the most southerly point on Earth, you
are able to walk around the world in a few steps. Surrounding
the marker are flags from the 12 signatories of the Antarctic
Treaty that sets aside the continent as a scientific preserve. It’s
a good place to wonder about what’s going to become of this
white desert, to reflect on the adventure of a lifetime getting
here, and to remember the vivid colours of Kiamweri.
clockwise from top left: Exploring an ice cave; emperor penguin nursery;
fine dining amid the ice and snow; a delicious meal; Geoffrey Kent at the
geographical South Pole; the white desert
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
To join our next expedition to the South Pole, which will
take place in December 2020, call 01242 546 699 to discuss.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in visiting Antarctica (or the
Arctic) on a Luxury Expedition Cruise, order our new brochure
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 51
KENYA – A&K’S BIRTHPLACE & THE
HOME OF REFINED ADVENTURES
2 0 1 8
Luxury Tour Operator
“I still feel my heart go tender at the sight
of Kenya. Africa never fails” Geoffrey Kent
One glance and you’ll feel it too
01242 547 702
WHERE THE WILD
UNPARALLELED CAMPS SET IN PRISTINE DESTINATIONS THAT ARE TEEMING WITH
WILDLIFE: THESE WILDERNESSES ARE RIPE FOR YOU TO DISCOVER IN STYLE. AS CHOSEN
BY JENNIFER MORRIS, A&K AFRICA PRODUCT EXECUTIVE
WORDS: ALICIA DEVENEY
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 53
CREDIT: WILDERNESS SAFARIS/TEAGAN CUNNIFFE
WHERE GIANTS ROAM:
HOANIB SKELETON COAST, NAMIBIA
THE WILD THINGS:
Hoanib’s elephant population has adapted to life in the arid desert instead
of the savannah. They have specific, learned qualities which enable their
survival in this harsh wilderness. As seen in the documentary Vanishing
Kings – Lions of the Namib, an extended lion pride lives in the northern
Namib Desert too, including an old lioness, her two daughters, and their
five adolescent sons, known to researchers as the ‘Five Musketeers’. As
well as desert-adapted elephant and lion, you might see gemsbok, giraffe,
springbok, and the occasional rhino. The avifauna is also impressive.
Here in the skies, raptors soar.
THE CAMP, IN A NUTSHELL:
This otherworldly camp is located in the remote Palmwag concession,
which straddles Palmwag and the Skeleton Coast National Park. An
award-winning mash-up of luxurious comfort and low-impact, sensitiveto-the-environment
design, the camp features eight stylish tents.
SUITED TO: Adventurers looking for a truly off-the-beaten-path,
WHILE YOU’RE THERE:
Morning and afternoon game drives are a must, as is exploring the
dunes; take a trip to an oasis; enjoy a scenic flight (included if staying
three nights or more); visit a real-life shipwreck and the Skeleton Coast’s
Cape fur seal colonies.
54 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
WHERE PAINTED DOGS ARE
AHEAD OF THE PACK:
ROHO YA SELOUS, SELOUS, SOUTHERN TANZANIA
THE WILD THINGS: Stars of David Attenborough’s Dynasties
programme, wild dogs may be super-efficient killing machines, but these
endangered predators inspire great affection among ‘painted wolf ’ fans.
They do everything in a pack – their social and familial bonds making
them great fun to watch. Sprawling over more than 50,000 square kilometres,
Selous is something of a stronghold for these fascinating, family-focused beasts
with their saucer-shaped ears. Up to 800 yap, bark, play, and hunt here
– that’s nearly 20 per cent of all remaining wild dogs in a reserve that’s
bigger than Switzerland.
THE CAMP, IN A NUTSHELL:
Roho means ‘heat’ in Swahili and there’s plenty to warm the heart about this
luxury bijou tented camp, located on a promontory of Lake Nzerakera, in
Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the less-explored
south of Tanzania. The eight tents are understatedly
stylish and allow for views of the lake and surroundings.
SUITED TO: Wild-at-heart wanderers who want to
look beyond the Big Five.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT ON A GAME DRIVE:
Take a boat out on the lake – passing pods of hippo in the
shallows en route to a good fishing spot; stroll through
the bush on a walking safari to track wildlife on foot.
WHERE MEERKATS MAKE MISCHIEF:
TSWALU, KALAHARI, SOUTH AFRICA
THE WILD THINGS:
Is there a more endearing creature than the meerkat, those mini members
of the mongoose family? The commissioners of television natural-history
programmes don’t seem to think so. There’s no better place to see them
than Tswalu, where there are two colonies. These agile hunters are diurnal
and allow close observation so you can really feel part of the gang (or
mob – both terms are used). Beside the reserve’s famous meerkats, there
are Kalahari lions, two species of giraffe, eland, kudu, gemsbok, aardvark,
pangolin, and more than 340 bird species.
TSWALU, IN A NUTSHELL:
Feel the freedom in a wilderness twice the size of Norfolk. South Africa’s
largest private game reserve, it covers more than 114,000 hectares of
grasslands and mountains, and is owned by Nicky Oppenheimer, a lifelong
conservationist who is undertaking the task of rewilding the Kalahari in
this area. No more than 30 guests can stay in this reserve at one time, at two
lodges: the Motse, which can accommodate 20 guests, and smaller exlusiveuse
Tarkuni. Both are five-star and lushly opulent – but the true luxury here
is exploring South Africa’s last really wild space in peace.
SUITED TO: Re-wildlings and their cubs.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE:
Enjoy a game drive in one of only 10 Land Rovers allowed at one time in
the entire reserve. In this malaria-free environment, junior rangers can do
archery, go trekking, help out on a research project, or have a bush picnic.
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WHERE APES ARE LORDS
OF THE MANOR:
GREYSTOKE MAHALE, TANZANIA
THE WILD THINGS:
The lodge’s main attraction is the chance to experience one of the largest
populations of wild chimpanzees left on Earth. About 1,000 chimpanzee
live in some 1,600 square kilometres. Greystoke is in the territory of
Mimikere, or ‘M’, group, a community of more than 60 semi-habituated
chimps. They are the focus of the chimp treks that depart from the lodge.
Though the chimps are the lords of the manor here, under the forest’s
canopy live eight other species of primate including red-tail monkey.
THE LODGE, IN A NUTSHELL:
Located in the forest of Mahale, on the white-sand
beaches of Lake Tanganyika, this is one of Africa’s most
remote safari lodges, with accommodation for just 12
guests in six beautifully designed, thatched bandas, with
a main area built in the architectural style of the local
SUITED TO: Viscounts Greystoke and Jane Porters.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT ON A GAME DRIVE:
Kayak towards the Congo at dawn; dive off a dhow; or go
hippo-watching on Lake Tanganyika.
WHERE LIONS ARE BORN FREE:
ELSA’S KOPJE, MERU, KENYA
THE WILD THINGS:
It’s all about the lion here. Underrated national park Meru was the site
of George Adamson’s conservation efforts and perhaps fell off the tourist
radar because of his tragic murder in 1989. Adamson, of Born Free fame,
was known as Baba ya Simba or ‘Father of Lions’ in Swahili. First a
book (penned by Adamson’s wife, Joy) and then a film starring Virginia
McKenna and Bill Travers, Born Free told the story of orphaned lioness
Elsa, who the Adamsons raised and then rehabilitated into the wilderness
in Meru. It’s a wonderfully wild backdrop in which to view lion, large herds
of elephant, hippo, Grevy’s and common zebra, reticulated giraffe, and
many more species besides.
THE LODGE, IN A NUTSHELL:
A roaringly fabulous lodge – Elsa’s Kopje rescued
Meru from oblivion when it opened 20 years ago.
It celebrated its anniversary this July with a fitting
visit from Virginia McKenna – the actress-turnedwildlife-conservationist
was the guest of honour at
the lodge’s opening in 1999. Designed by Stefano
Cheli, the luxurious, open-fronted cottages nestle into
Mughwango Hill (above Adamson’s original camp).
SUITED TO: Those who like to feel free, free to
follow their hearts.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT ON A GAME DRIVE:
Enjoy a picnic lunch on the sandy banks of the Tana river; take your
rod and go fishing on one of Meru’s many rivers; visit the national parks’
56 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
WHERE WILDEBEEST WANDER:
KING LEWANIKA, LIUWA PLAIN, ZAMBIA
THE WILD THINGS:
From October to November, the open vistas of the pancake-flat Liuwa Plain
are stippled with colour as the wildflowers bloom, then turn silver with the
backs of 45,000 wildebeest, as the region is consumed by Africa’s second
largest wildebeest migration (only the Masai Mara-Serengeti movement is
bigger). The hoof-thundering wildebeest arrive from the north (to where
they migrated in June-July) to calve and in a few short weeks, herd numbers
swell with new life. As well as wildebeest, cheetah, hyena, lion, tsessebe, and
300 bird varieties make their home in the Liuwa Plain area.
THE LODGE, IN A NUTSHELL:
Located in the Liuwa Plain, traditionally the official hunting grounds of the
king of the Lozi people, King Lewanika Lodge – named for the Lozi king
who agreed to make his lands a British protectorate in 1890 – is the first
and only luxury place to stay in this national park. The height of exclusivity,
there are only five twin villas and one family villa here.
SUITED TO: Luxury-loving Africaphiles.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT ON A GAME DRIVE:
Walk, canoe, or swoop over on a helicopter trip. Sleep out under the stars
and listen to the stories of Mambeti, daughter of King Lewanika’s steward,
who was said to frequent a particular grove; and Lady Liuwa, a lovedby-the-locals,
legendary lioness, who for many years was the area’s last
surviving big cat and a frequent visitor to the same spot.
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FEED THE Soul
WITH EVERYTHING AUSTRALIA HAS ON OFFER, IT’S EASY TO FORGET ABOUT TASMANIA’S ISOLATED
AND RUGGED CHARM. YET OUT IN THE BASS STRAIT SITS AN AUSSIE STATE WITH A FOOD AND
DRINK SCENE TO RIVAL THE MAINLAND, WILDLY BEAUTIFUL FORESTS, LAKES, AND RIVERS,
PLUS ENOUGH CULTURAL EXPERIENCES TO SHADE EVEN THE MOST METROPOLITAN OF CITIES
Tasmania, or Tassie to the locals, is having a moment.
Over the last few years this former Antipodean outlier
has become a must-visit cultural hot spot and epicurean
destination all rolled into one. It’s taken a while, but finally the
student has become the master.
For many years it seemed as if Tasmania would always be the
butt of the joke. Part of Australia yet not physically attached to
the Lucky Country, Tassie brought with it a bruised history of
Aboriginal hardship, the country’s worst mass shooting, and an
economy that could never quite catch up with the prosperity of
its mainland cousin. Then something happened.
Ask a local and they will tell you that that something was
Hobart’s 2011 opening of the Museum of Old and New Art
(MONA). The launch of MONA brought with it an influx of
visitors, morphing the state into a destination rather than simply
an afterthought. The reverberations of MONA continue to be
felt not just in the capital city Hobart, but in regional Tassie, too.
It’s now a place where you can feed all aspects of the soul. Here’s
just a taster.
MUSEUM OF OLD AND NEW ART (MONA)
Built by David Walsh with the proceeds of his much-discussed
life as a wildly successful gambler, the Museum of Old and
New Art (MONA) is an architectural masterpiece situated
in the suburb of Berriedale and accessible by land or, more
impressively, by water. Home to Australia’s largest privately
owned gallery, Walsh’s “subversive Disneyland” houses an art
collection ranging from ancient Egyptian funerary objects and
modernist masterpieces, to a word waterfall and a machine that
mimics the human digestive system. Complete with poo.
Perched on the banks of the River Derwent, MONA is also
home to the Moorilla winery and vineyard, as well as luxury
accommodation, bars, and restaurants, and, it also plays host
and curator to the cultural winter festival – Dark Mofo.
You can choose to spend the whole day there, taking
Moorilla’s tour of MONA, which, along with a trip around the
gallery, includes lunch in The Source restaurant and is followed
by a Moorilla winery tour and tasting. Choose to finish with
a cocktail in Faro, MONA’s newest bar and restaurant, and then
head back to Hobart.
HISTORIC PORT ARTHUR
Port Arthur’s evolution from convict settlement to World
Heritage recognition and tourist destination can be experienced
with a trip to the Port Arthur Historic Site. Spend time
wandering the grounds, explore the still intact buildings, and,
if you’re feeling brave, stick around for the after-dark ghost tour.
TASMANIAN MUSEUM & ART GALLERY (TMAG)
MONA’S not the only arty player in town – there’s also
the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery. A combination of
art gallery, museum, and herbarium, TMAG is Australia’s
second-oldest museum and cares for almost 800,000 objects
ranging from fossils to fine art. The herbarium accepts small
groups of visitors, by appointment only, but is well worth a
visit. It’s responsible for the development, maintenance, and
management of Tassie’s botanical collections. If you’ve got
green fingers, take them here.
FEED THE SOUL. AND THE BELLY
THE AGRARIAN KITCHEN
Much like the rest of Australia, Tasmania isn’t short of a great
dining experience or three. Or four. Case in point being The
Agrarian Kitchen. Based in Lachlan, roughly 45 minutes from
Hobart, this is a spot known for offering so much more than
good grub. It’s an epicurean experience. Set on a two-hectare
plot, The Agrarian Kitchen is a working farm complete with its
own vegetable garden, orchard, berry patch, and herb garden
– all organic. In its kitchen, Rodney Dunn, ex-food editor of
Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine, together with his wife
Séverine Demanet, offers paddock-to-plate cooking experiences.
And if that wasn’t enough, they also opened The Eatery, which is
about seven minutes down the road and has been awarded two
hats in the Good Food Guide.
FAT PIG FARM
Need a bigger farm? Well, just south of Hobart is Fat Pig Farm,
where travellers are invited to spend a leisurely afternoon on
a 28-hectare property in the gorgeous Huon Valley. Here the
cookery school is a hands-on affair, taking place over one or two
days. You’ll get to visit the pigs, chooks, beef herd, and market
garden before bringing your bounty back to the kitchen to
cook up a storm. The farm is famous for its Friday Feasts, when
they take the farm’s produce and turn it into a long, lazy meal
shared around an extended farmhouse table. Owner Matthew
Evans is a chef by trade and also the host of Gourmet Farmer on
Australian TV channel SBS.
If you prefer someone else to do the cooking for you and fancy
a Tassie experience to boot, then a visit to Templo is a must.
Tucked away in the backstreets of Hobart, this small 20-seater
restaurant is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. However,
if you want somewhere with a bit more space, try The Glass
House – a literal house of glass suspended over Hobart’s
WORDS: NIKKI STEFANOFF
58 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
clockwise from top left: Faro bar and restaurant, MONA (credit: MONA/Jesse Hunniford, image courtesy MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia); Port Arthur; Agrarian Kitchen
Eatery (credit: Adam Gibson); Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery (credit: Shutterstock); Agrarian Kitchen Eatery (credit: Adam Gibson); MR-II ferry docking at MONA
(credit: MONA/Stu Gibson, image courtesy of MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia)
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 59
60 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
WINES AND SPIRITS
AND WHISKIES, OH MY!
Whatever your tipple of choice, from fine wines to delectable
spirits, Tasmania has you covered.
A full-day whisky tour comes as part of your A&K Tasmania
experience and begins from Brooke Street Pier, Franklin Wharf
in Hobart. As soon as you’ve met up with your representative
you’ll be whisked (or should that be whisky’d?) off to the first of
three distilleries. Throughout the day you’ll try up to a dozen
single malt whiskies, meet the makers, and go behind the scenes
of the distillation process. It’s a good job someone else is driving
you, and through the spectacular Tasmanian landscapes, no less.
GIN: SHENE ESTATE & DISTILLERY
If gin’s more your thing, then pay a visit to the Shene Estate
& Distillery as their award-winning Poltergeist Gin is a true
Tasmanian spirit. Located in the midst of the historic Shene
Estate, the distillery uses copper pot stills and centuries-old
techniques as well as botanicals only found in Tassie.
WINE: GASWORKS CELLAR DOOR
Fancy trying the best of Tasmania’s wine but don’t have time
to travel the state? No worries, Gasworks Cellar Door has
you covered. Situated in Hobart, this is a one-stop-shop for
Tasmanian wine. And you’re free to try it all.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
From the white sand of the east coast to the ancient rainforests
and alpine heaths of Lake St Clair and Cradle Mountain
National Park, Tasmania really turns it on when it comes to
To make sure you experience Launceston in full, an A&K
Tasmania experience includes a private Quoll Patrol here. This is
an afternoon/evening tour where you’ll discover the wilderness,
wildlife, and tastes of Tassie, starting with a visit to Ben
Lomond, a spectacular mountain of dolerite columns and scree
slopes, and home to eight of the 20 highest peaks in Tasmania.
Gorgeous views and a magnificent array of alpine vegetation are
to be enjoyed. Breathe it all in before you make your way to the
Roses Tier forests in the Tyne Valley for a gourmet four-course
campfire dinner and after-dark tour of the local wildlife. Settle
in with a Tassie beer or wine, and witness Forester kangaroo,
eastern quoll, Tasmanian pademelon, and brush-tail possum
feed near the campfire. If you’re lucky, you may also spot a
platypus, tawny frogmouth, bandicoot, or owl. And if you’re
really lucky, perhaps a Tasmanian devil or two.
If you were going to be pedantic, you might point out that
Bruny Island is actually two islands, joined together by a fivekilometre-long
sandy isthmus called The Neck, which is home
to colonies of little (or fairy) penguins. We’re not pedants, so
instead we’ll tell you that Bruny Island, just off the coast of
southeast Tassie, is a place well worth the car ferry ride from
Kettering. With the rural majesty of the North Island and the
rugged charm of the South Island, there’s plenty to do. Spend
your days hiking the high cliffs, strolling the white-sand beaches
or walking around the national park and then quietly bask in
the knowledge that Bruny is not only renowned for its wildlife
(including the rare albino wallaby), it’s also famous for its berries,
cheese, oysters, wines, whiskies, and more. You’re welcome.
WHERE TO REST YOUR HEAD
Tasmania’s influx of visitors has brought with it a number
of luxury accommodations, the most talked-about being
Freycinet Lodge. Overlooking the sparkling waters
of Great Oyster Bay and surrounded by the beauty of
Freycinet National Park, this award-winning lodge’s
individual cabins are a blend of refined simplicity and
luxurious comfort. You’ll find plenty to admire about its
neighbour, too. Situated six kilometres away, Saffire is a
boutique coastal retreat that celebrates its surrounds. The
20 private suites provide tranquil, contemporary living
spaces and gorgeous views across the landscape. There’s
more to do than admiring the view, however; Saffire offers
guided visits to a Tasmanian devil enclosure; beekeeping
experiences; kayaking and birdwatching excursions; and
more besides. You’re also within easy reach of Wineglass
Bay and its world-class beach. Countryside and bushland
not your thing? Never fear, Hobart’s Macq01 sits in
the heart of the capital city’s waterfront and is both
quirky and luxurious to boot. Over the last couple of
years, Macq01 has become renowned for its Old Wharf
Restaurant. A menu of locally sourced ingredients and
fresh Tasmanian seafood awaits; the only decision left to
make is whether to enjoy drinks and a bite to eat in the
stylish bar overlooking the harbour, or by the crackling
open fireplace in the lounge.
opposite page, clockwise from top left: Freycinet Lodge Premier Spa
Cabin Balcony; Freycinet Lodge Hazards Bar; Bruny Island Neck view;
whisky tasting experience; Agrarian Kitchen Eatery (credit: Adam Gibson);
Agrarian Kitchen Eatery (credit: Adam Gibson)
this page: Freycinet Lodge
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information, or to book your next luxury trip to
Tasmania, call our Australia travel specialists on 01242 547 826.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 61
ESCAPE THE HEAT AT THESE
IN NEED OF SOME ME-TIME? BE SURE TO BEAT A RETREAT
TO THESE FIVE HOLISTIC HAVENS IN THE MALDIVES
WORDS: ALICIA DEVENEY / ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH COPY: ANGELINA VILLA-CLARKE
62 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
MILAIDHOO, BAA ATOLL
Surely one of the most Maldivian of all the properties dotted throughout
the Indian Ocean archipelago, luxurious, laid-back Milaidhoo is all
about a deep-rooted sense of place. This tiny 300-metre by 180-metre
island, located in the heart of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is
owned, operated, and staffed (mostly) by Maldivians. Here the signature
restaurant, Ba’Theli, serves up local fare in a fine-dining style aboard
three dhonis, and every one of the 30 over-water villas and 20 beach villas
comes with an undhoali (hanging swing) for languid lounging.
Where mellow guests meet tranquil moods. Beyond an infinitely
Instagrammable teal door, you’ll find the spa and its four over-water
treatment suites, where you’ll be reticent to lie face-down when
confronted with the atoll views... for about a nanosecond. An open-air
pavilion offers early-morning yoga or late-afternoon meditation and
breathing classes, guaranteed to soothe body, mind and soul. Choose
from natural, organic, results-driven brands such as Elemis, TheraNaka,
AMILLA FUSHI, BAA ATOLL
The treatment menu runs from traditional Thai, Balinese, or Swedish
massages to precision-peel face treatments. The TheraNaka Milaidhoo
tri-scented lime-infused luxury massage is a standout. Relaxation is
aided by small blocks of citrus-infused shea butter, which both uplift the
senses and aid circulation.
Forget the palm-thatched trope, Amilla Fushi is all about bare-foot glam;
white, clean-lined minimalism; and DJs spinning tunes at the One Oak
Lounge. This resort ticks all the boxes: the diving is as sensational as
you’d expect from a property in the Baa Atoll, and it’s a five-minute boat
trip from the Blue Hole; the Sultan’s Village Kids’ Club is fab fun for
little guests; the food is exceptional and varied (don’t miss Keeling Koi
Japanese restaurant); and the sands are white and silky.
A short stroll or cycle along sand-lined lanes in the island’s jungle-clad
interior brings you to Javvu Spa, which won at the World Luxury Spa
Awards in 2018. Mere minutes from… well, everywhere on the island
really, this wellness sanctuary feels deliciously, intoxicatingly remote and
could seduce even the most overwrought traveller. A holistic haven, there
are treatment pods; social zones (or in plain speak: a sauna, steam room,
and plunge pool area, in which hours could easily be lost); a brandnew
wellness café serving up nourishing treats; a nail salon; gym; and
hairdressers and barbers to boot, above the doors of which big-hitting
specialists including Margaret Dabbs, Louise Galvin, Gentlemen’s Tonic,
and the Bodyism’s James Duigan hang their names.
Top marks go to the spa’s recently appointed manager, Laura Pagano,
whose modern, savvy, and out-of-the-box thinking has catapulted its
ethos into a whole other stratosphere in terms of Maldivian spa offerings.
The restorative and rebalancing massages (designed in conjunction with
Beata Aleksandrowicz, creator of the Pure Massage technique) really
showcase the power of touch and are tailored to each individual in a
way that will truly make you remember what your long-forgotten best
self feels like.
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BAROS, BAA ATOLL
It’s neither the newest nor the most opulent resort in the Maldives, but
78-room Baros was one of the first and it’s one of the most accomplished
if repeat-visitor numbers are any indication (one German couple have
made 50 return visits in the past 20 years). Tourism started in the
Maldives in the early 1970s and Baros was the third island to open itself
to international visitors. And while the resort’s age doesn’t show, its
experience does and the service here is excellent. An oldie but a goodie.
The spa has recently undergone a nip and tuck during which time it was
rebranded as Serenity Spa. And you’ll be sure to feel at peace as soon as
you cross the threshold; the lush greenery, ponds with stepping stones,
and cool ginger tea have all been curated to elicit calm.
With a treatment menu of more than 30 therapies, you may be tempted
to opt for something exotic, but don’t overlook the obvious as you’d be
missing out on one of the best massages I’ve ever had: the Baros Signature
body treatment was an experience with real transformative results. Mine
was administered by Lily, whose skill was immediately evident. She
combined Swedish, Balinese, and Thai techniques, and what felt like a bit
of magic. No wonder Baros keeps people coming back year after year.
BRIGHT YOUNG THING
THE NAUTILUS, BAA ATOLL
What you want, whenever you want it, is this exclusive bolthole’s
overriding ethos. Champagne cocktails and Wagyu steak for breakfast on
an isolated sandbank? The housemasters (butlers) here are so dedicated
to unscripted living that no request is untimely, too hedonistic, too out
there: at Nautilus, the world (or at least this tiny speck of island in the Baa
Atoll) is entirely your oyster.
It hasn’t been open that long, but it’s already a favourite with spa
aficionados thanks to the sheer quality of what’s on offer. An impossibly
idyllic outpost, Solasta Spa features three glass-bottomed, over-water
treatment pavilions; organic products by Maison Caulières and
Omorovicza (it’s their only outlet in the Maldives); and a yoga pavilion
in which to sway upside down during an aerial session.
The personalised Maison Caulières signature massage left every limb
feeling lighter, brighter, and younger thanks to therapist Novi’s sure,
firm touch. And thanks to the glass beneath the treatment bed, each
time Novi discovered a knotted mass of muscle and my gaze focused,
a shoal of playful parrot fish would obligingly swim beneath, providing
the perfect Maldivian distraction.
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ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH, NORTH MALÉ ATOLL
It’s considered one of the grande-dame resorts of the Maldives and,
stretching across a six-kilometre, octopus-shaped island, One&Only
Reethi Rah is also one of the largest. With its slick design by Jean-Michel
Gathy, sublime dining experiences, and starry guestlist, it has set the
benchmark for luxury in the Indian Ocean. Choose between apartmentstyle
villas or chic over-water villas. Evenings are glamorous affairs:
you can dine under the stars at Fanditha, which has a boho Middle
Eastern vibe (on the northernmost point of the island, it’s the best spot
to watch the sunset). Meanwhile, there’s sushi and Japanese tapas at
Tapasake, or go to Botanica for its wonderfully atmospheric take on
At the heart of Reethi Rah is the destination spa by ESPA. Balinese in
style, treatments take place in private, thatched-roof villas, found dotted
across the manicured gardens, and hidden in their own slice of jungle
– the ocean twinkling in front of each. The spa is regarded as one of
the best in the atoll, and it’s down, no doubt, to the personalised retreat
programmes which bring in a wide range of wellness experts. Yoga guru
Dr Gopal Govindasamy and Dr Buathon Thiernarrom, who specialises in
traditional Chinese medicine, are past visitors, while Parisian foot expert
Bastien Gonzalez also has an outpost here.
The Sleep Journey targets stressed and burnt-out individuals who
are unable to relax at the end of the day. Starting with a Sleep Ritual
assessment, your ‘sleep trainer’ will look closely at your sleeping patterns
and will develop a tailored treatment plan to address your needs. The
first step is a meditation session. This is followed by the Bastien Gonzalez
Re-Foundation foot treatment, which rejuvenates limbs with a blackdiamond
scrub, followed by an intense foot and leg massage to relieve
muscle tension and ‘heavy legs’. A full-body massage will tip you into a
blissful state, while the nurturing scalp massage helps to clear the mind
and aid long-term relaxation. And breathe…
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information, or to book your next laid-back break
in the Maldives, call our beach specialists on 01242 547 708.
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JORDAN’S ROCK STAR
A&K’S GUY GRANT HIGHLIGHTS WHY AND HOW TO SPEND YOUR TIME IN THE ANCIENT CITY DURING YOUR HOLIDAY IN JORDAN
A BRIEF HISTORY
Located in rugged rift valleys in what is now the southwestern
corner of Jordan, the sandstone cliff-carved city of Petra was
once a thriving trade town and the Nabataean capital from 312
BC to 106 AD. The Nabataean kingdom, before it was absorbed
into the Roman Empire during the reign of Trajan, controlled a
huge swathe of what is now the Middle East. The kingdom was
renamed Arabia Petraea – from the Latin word for rock – and
Petra’s name was changed from Raqmu; but the spice trade-rich
city continued to thrive under Roman rule. It was only when
spice routes changed that Petra began to decline. A devastating
earthquake in 551 AD and a massive flood were the rock-hewn
city’s death knells. Abandoned by city dwellers, Petra lay in ruins
and largely forgotten by the wider world for centuries until the
city’s rediscovery by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt
in 1812. In 1985, Petra’s 60 square kilometres were declared a
UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2007, Petra was named
one of the ‘new’ seven wonders of the world.
CAUGHT ON FILM
Petra featured memorably as ‘the Canyon of the Crescent Moon’
in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It brought
the destination to the forefront of travellers’ minds and visitor
numbers jumped significantly. A regular filming location, it has
also acted as a backdrop in films such as The Mummy Returns
and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
One of the most wondrous things about Petra is how the
Nabataeans kept their arid desert city, which housed 30,000 at
one time, watered all year around. Their storage and irrigation
system was an engineering marvel and the reason inhabitants
were able to survive – and thrive – at Petra. Evidence of this
ingenious water system is everywhere: a complex network of
cisterns, terracotta-pipe-lined channels, dams, and reservoirs.
So successful was this water delivery that there was even a
43-metre public swimming pool in the Royal Gardens.
NIGHT & DAY
Whether you begin your time in Petra in the early morning
or mid-afternoon – if you’ve opted for our suggested Jordan
in Style itinerary and spent your day on the King’s Highway
stopping at Mount Nebo, Madaba, and the Crusader castle at
Kerak before arriving at Petra – we recommend you choose
to visit on a Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday. On these days,
when the sun goes down, Petra is illuminated by thousands of
candles – a magical (and much-Insta-storied) experience.
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THERE ARE MYRIAD WAYS TO SPEND YOUR TIME AT
PETRA, BUT THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT TO BE MISSED
As Indiana Jones did on the big screen, most enter Petra through
the Siq. This is a 1.2-kilometre meandering canyon that winds
its way towards the Treasury. The route, with its vertiginous
walls, starts at a bridge by a modern dam (built in 1963, atop a
Nabataean dam dating to 50 AD).
THE TREASURY (AL-KHAZNEH)
The Siq leads directly to the Treasury (or to give it its celluloid
name, the ‘Grail Temple’). The Treasury is comprised of an
elaborate façade and a relatively small chamber beyond (and
three antechambers), which was thought to have been a royal
tomb or shrine. Hellenistic in style, the first-century BC Treasury
rises 40 metres and features Classical elements such as pediments
(one is interrupted), columns, entablature, and tholos (rotunda),
all carved into the cliff wall. Look up the solid-rock giant urn,
which bears the scars of gunshots. Thinking it contained loot,
locals are said it have shot at it with rifles.
THE HIGH PLACE OF SACRIFICE (AL-MADBAH)
An awesome viewpoint and easiest to get to of all Petra’s ‘High
Places’, you can reach this ritual site via a flight of steps which is
signposted just before the theatre. The six-metre-high obelisks
are dedicated to Nabataean gods; there is an altar area which
includes a triclinium, and a motab or repository.
opposite: A view
through the Siq
this page from
through the Siq;
a view from the
High Place of
(AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE FROM THE SIQ TO THE ROYAL TOMBS)
To the right of the Siq’s start, the Wadi Muthlim trail begins. This
90-minute hike runs first through an ancient 88-metre Nabatean
tunnel (which was built to divert water from the Siq), then
along the wadi to the impressive Royal Tombs. Before entering
the tunnel with your guide, take a short detour to the Eagle
Monument (which was likely a shrine). During your hike, you’ll
pass a series a lesser-visited tombs such as Dorotheos’ House
and the Sextius Florentinus Tomb. The Royal Tombs themselves,
with names such as the Urn Tomb, Silk Tomb, Corinthian
Tomb, and Palace Tomb, are an impressive sight, lined up on a
THE MONASTERY (AL-DEIR)
If you arrive at Petra in the early morning, you’ll have time
to visit the Monastery after a refuelling lunch at the Basin
restaurant. If not, on your second day, take the Wadi Muthlim
route to the Royal Tomb, then venture down ‘Colonnade Street’
(a paved street, colonnaded in part) to the Monastery. Located
an hour’s hike up rock-cut steps from the Qasr al-Bint (a firstcentury
BC temple), the Monastery is a monumentally large
building, which was almost certainly a royal tomb. The views
alone are worth the climb.
You might choose to start your second day at Siq Al Barid
(or Little Petra), some five kilometres north of the Siq/Treasury
area. It is thought to have been one of the city’s suburbs and is
entered through a narrow channel, similar to the Siq but on a
much smaller scale. Little Petra includes tombs, temples, and
water channels. If you’re feeling energetic and have the time,
it’s possible to hike from Little Petra to the Monastery. This will
take you and your guide three and a half hours approximately,
and you’ll pass a Neolithic village dating to 7,000 BC en route.
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
A&K’s six-night Classic Jordan & seven-night Jordan in Style
suggested itineraries both feature time in Petra. They start at
£1,845 and £2,450 per person respectively (based on two sharing).
For more information, call our travel specialists on 01242 547 703.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 67
68 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
LOUISE RODDON BOARDS THE ARIA AMAZON TO
TAKE A STYLISH CRUISE THAT GOES ON A DEEP
DIVE INTO THE PERUVIAN JUNGLE
“You need to watch where you tread,” warns our guide Julio
as we begin our trek through Peru’s Amazon rainforest. The
rains have momentarily ceased and as I push past tangled
branches and peer through the gauze of my mosquito hat, all I can see on
the path below are dozens of harmless-looking ants.
“See that?” he asks, pointing to a lone insect as big as my thumbnail.
“That’s a bullet ant. If it bites, you’ll feel like you’ve been shot by a pistol.
It’ll make you pretty ill.”
Our first experience of hitting land after days of cruising around on
Aqua Expeditions’ sleek Aria Amazon is turning into a mild horror movie.
I’d been keen to explore the interior, but stepping away from the ant and
moving my gaze upwards, there’s something even more challenging to
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70 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
behold; a huge, almost comically hairy tarantula poised on a leaf
– and I swear it is eyeballing me with evil intent.
Yet this creepy-crawly moment is as bad as it gets on our
walk – and it’s not really bad at all – for Julio, one of Aria’s four
excellent Amazonian guides, is super-vigilant. Occasionally
there’s the slash of vegetation falling away as he hacks a
makeshift path with his machete. Yet mostly Julio is constantly
checking we are following him.
Snippets of local knowledge culled from a childhood spent
in this steamy jungle-bound world pepper his stories. And for
our group of just seven guests these prove fascinating; for here
is cat’s claw that will lower blood pressure and help a sickly
stomach; then a type of euphorbia that can be effective for
hepatitis; and even a plant whose sticky leaves drip a liquid that
can aid conjunctivitis.
Most fascinating however, is the Punishment Tree.
Innocuous-looking to the outsider, this, Julio tells us, is where
villagers tie their drunken neighbours, leaving them to the
mercy of vicious fire ants. “It soon cures them,” he chuckles.
This trek happens halfway through our four-night cruise,
and, goodness, it’s proving a wonderful voyage. Departing from
Iquitos – the largest city in the world that can only be reached
by air or riverboat – we have left packed day-tripper boats
and larger cruisers far behind, heading instead for some of the
remotest parts of the Amazon’s upper tributaries: places where
we find ourselves entirely alone apart from birds and monkeys,
insects and caiman.
And Aria is certainly a lovely vessel; the perfect luxury addon
if you’ve already hiked Machu Picchu or are planning a few
days post-voyage in Peru’s fascinating capital, Lima. Dark wood
panelling hallmarks the Chinese junk-style exterior, but once
inside, space is key – especially in the 16 exquisite suites created
by the renowned Peruvian designer, Jordi Puig.
Think floor-to-ceiling picture windows that allow a private
screening of the moving river from your bed. Add on polished
wood flooring and a muted colour scheme and you’ve a suite
that wouldn’t look out of place in a five-star hotel.
That same sense of spaciousness applies to all three decks. On
the top deck is a lovely outdoor area with recliners and Jacuzzi
set under a calico awning, while inside, the lounge bar features
elegant sofas and a good selection of maps, books, and games.
Yet it is the food in the second-deck dining room that really
wows. This is a voyage not just for expedition lovers, but foodies
too – for the menu has been devised by superstar ‘Jungle Chef ’,
Pedro Miguel Schiaffino.
A few years back, I ate in one of his two renowned Lima
restaurants – the Amaz – feasting on dishes fashioned from
Amazonian produce; river snails and huge spicy scallops
proving the most memorable – and there’s a similar taste
vibe here on the Aria. Buffet lunches might feature unusual
salads, perhaps alligator nuggets served with fried yuccas or
leaf-wrapped tamales; formal dinners see treats like smoked
armoured catfish broth preceding the meaty local paiche fish
cooked in bijao leaves.
There are just 23 of us onboard, and with expeditions divided
into groups no larger than six or seven, guided outings feel
highly personal. Dawns see us boarding motorised skiffs that
whizz off to islets stuffed with dazzling birds: blue and yellow
macaw screeching through the knotted greenery; the flash of
red-capped cardinal, and the uncanny-sounding call of a
horned screamer – a cry so similar to a donkey, you’d barely
know the difference.
Then on morning expeditions, we enter a steamy riverine
environment of obscure tributaries and creeks that few visitors
get to see – a neck-craning world of thick breathing vegetation
where sloth hang from branches and tiny tamarind chatter
overhead – and when the motor is switched off, the silence gives
way to the throttled bark of howler monkey.
Our goal, however, is the Pacaya-Samiria Nature Reserve
– one of the best protected parts of the Peruvian Amazon;
a reserve so huge, it matches Belgium in size. Here, we are
rewarded by the sight of small pink river dolphin, leaping in
unison like so many synchronised swimmers around the prow
of our skiff.
There are other treats too in this vast reserve: a night safari
where, armed with small fishing rods, we catch and release
fearsome-looking piranha, and when the engine is cut, we sit
quietly, listening to the unseen life of the jungle: insects sawing,
the whoops of primates, while overhead, the sky splits with
Later, our guide Alex flashes his torch into the velvety
darkness and focuses on the glower of tiny red eyes. He bends
down and plucks a baby caiman from the water, holding it
carefully around the jaw. “This one is three months old, I
reckon,” he tells us. “Eventually it will grow to about four
It is a beautiful creature, cool to the touch, small fangs
overlapping its jagged lip line and with a tail that swishes in
protest as Alex passes it among the guests, warning us to mind
And we have a final treat to round off our voyage – a visit
to Esperanza, an Amazonian riverside village of neat tin and
thatch-roofed houses that have been pieced together by the
residents over generations.
The children rush to greet us, leading us to the school room
where we are invited to join in the school song. Cue peals of
laughter at our funny accents, and smiles too when we offer up
the gifts that our expedition crew had suggested, pre-travelling,
we bring: useful stuff like bandages, clothes, pencils, and paper.
No child leaves empty-handed. And outside, older brothers
shriek with laughter over a game of football with Aria’s guests,
watched all the while by women lounging in hammocks on
their porches. And while exploring the village, one guest is
pulled into a local shop and treated to a tribal make up session
by giggling girls. Valiantly, she offers her heavily daubed face up
to our cameras.
The enduring memory for me, however, is of a little boy and
girl trotting away from the schoolroom – the girl with two of my
crayons stuck in her hair; her brother almost tripping over his
feet, so busily is he admiring the new, somewhat overlarge flipflops
that I had brought along.
previous page: Aria Amazon cruising down the Amazon
clockwise from top left: Macaw; the balcony of Aria Amazon;
a sloth hangs out; one of the suites aboard Aria Amazon
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
For more information, or to arrange your Amazon adventure,
call our Latin America travel specialists on 01242 547 701.
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INDEPENDENT TRAVELLER AND A&K TRAVEL SPECIALIST BETHAN LEYLAND JOINS
17 STRANGERS TO TRAVEL THROUGH THE INTOXICATING LANDSCAPE OF INDIA ON
AN ESCORTED TOUR. JOURNEYING SOLO IN A GROUP, SHE DISCOVERS THE JOYS
OF SHARED MEMORIES, CAMARADERIE, AND FORGING LIFELONG FRIENDSHIPS
72 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
THERE WAS PLENTY OF TIME TO RELAX
ALONE AND ENJOY EACH OTHER’S COMPANY
DURING TOURS, TRANSFERS, AND MEALS.
THE EASE OF BEING TAKEN FROM A TO B,
ENJOYING PRIORITY ENTRY, AND BEING
GUIDED BY EXPERTS MEANT THE ESCORTED
TOUR WAS STRESS FREE. IT WAS A BRILLIANT
WAY TO EXPERIENCE INDIA IN ALL ITS
COLOURFUL, CHAOTIC GLORY
I’ve always arranged my holidays independently, so I’m
painfully aware of how much time it can take. Knowing I’d be
leaving everything to the experts at A&K during my escorted
tour of India was a weight off my mind. However, this was my first
time travelling solo on a group tour, and I was a little nervous.
So many questions: would I get along with my fellow travellers;
would I have time to myself; and would I be able to indulge in the
activities I enjoy? Only time would tell.
On arrival in bustling Mumbai, A&K drivers are waiting to
whisk each of us away to the grand Taj Mahal Palace, our opulent
home for the night. For more than a century, this gracious hotel
has hosted maharajahs and dignitaries from around the world.
With its fusion of old-world elegance and modern luxuries, a fivestar
standard is immediately set for our journey through India.
Feeling intoxicated by the atmosphere of this vibrant capital,
I join my fellow travellers for a welcome dinner. I find a small
group of 17 like-minded people all keen to explore and experience
the wonders India has to offer. We soon discover what lies ahead
during a chat with our English-speaking resident tour director.
Our first day starts with a whistle-stop tour of Mumbai, and
it’s no cliché to call it a city that never sleeps. Home of Bollywood
and commerce, this is India’s most populous city, so it’s good to
share the first disorienting moment as I step onto the street with a
new friend or two. We tick off the classic sights together, from the
iconic Gateway of India to the buzzing markets selling everything
from saffron to saris.
Then we journey on to uncover a country of contrasts as our
small party leaves behind the hustle and bustle of maritime
Mumbai and steps off the plane in tranquil Udaipur, regarded
as India’s most romantic city. An oasis of calm is created by the
city’s large, twinkling lakes, which lie in striking contrast to
the arid surrounds of Rajasthan. The pleasure of sharing a scenic
sundowner during a boat ride on the placid, shimmering waters
of Lake Pichola will live in the memory forever.
Our magical accommodation for the next two nights is the Taj
Lake Palace. One of the world’s most seductive destination hotels,
it floats like a beautiful white ship on the waters of the lake with
360-degree views of surrounding Udaipur. The service is flawless,
cuisine standards high, and overall experience unforgettable.
Completed in 1746, the property is a familiar sight to most of us
thanks to its starring role in the Bond movie Octopussy.
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What better way to start your day than with a spot of yoga
watching the sun rise over this enchanted palace? Over the next
48 hours our group explores the city’s historic sights, beginning
with the famous City Palace, renowned for the breath-taking
architecture of its façade. I found its scale incredible, hundreds of
rooms, each intricately designed, and each with a story to tell. It
was then time to view the city from the lake with a magical cruise
taking us past the marble palace of Jag Mandir, whose jetty is
guarded by charming stone elephants.
I am delighted to find how flexible an escorted tour is for the
individual traveller. Today, I can choose one of the unique Design
your Day® options, which include a scenic cycle ride or a cooking
class to learn more about the local Rajasthani cuisine. I opt for
the active excursion and find myself pedalling up the Aravalli
mountains, passing by the Monsoon Palace and Badi Lake. On my
return I sample some of the dishes created by my fellow travellers
as we compare notes about our bespoke day.
Feeling energised, the next stop on our tour is Jaipur, ‘The Pink
City’ – so called because of its distinctive rose-hued palaces and
temples. We are lucky enough to visit during Diwali, when the
whole of India is illuminated as Hindus unite in celebration of this
holy time. Seemingly every street in Jaipur is adorned with pretty
lights and decorations. Stalls brim with fresh flowers, festive
cakes, and diyas (oil lamps) – an immersive experience for all of
us. We are intrigued by this bustling city of rickshaws and camels
which bear you to a treasure-trove of wonders, including the City
Palace and Amber Fort.
A four-poster bed awaits in Rambagh Palace, a former royal
hunting lodge built for the Maharajah of Jaipur, and now one
of the most luxurious hotels in India, with striking views of the
Aravalli mountains. A royal welcome like no other awaits as we
arrive. As we enter through the gates, the trumpeting of elephants
marks the beginning of our stay. It’s a special moment that
becomes a talking point over dinner that night. Rail enthusiasts
will love eating at restaurant Steam, which is a restored heritage
train carriage. Some of us choose to relax with a swim before
enjoying a treatment at the Jiva Spa. There’s also a yoga pavilion
and the perfect place for a sundowner – the Polo Bar.
The next day, it’s time to choose my preferred activity again.
While others in my group opt for a water walk at Nahargarh and
hike in the foothills of the Amer, I can’t resist the sound of a
safari in Jhalana Reserve, home to the elusive leopard. Later we
share our stories and photographs over dinner, and prepare for
tomorrow’s move north.
Who hasn’t seen the Taj Mahal countless times in pictures?
But it’s true what they say – there’s nothing quite like viewing this
iconic monument to love up close. We spend two days in Agra,
visiting at sunset and sunrise. Watching the sky’s pink and orange
hues reflect off the white marble of this majestic mausoleum is
astonishing. Being in a group of travellers each just as awe-struck
as me makes it that much more inspiring.
We have enough time for a guided tour of another impressive
building from the Mughal era – the Agra Fort – before it’s back
to our accommodation for the night. The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra
was built to evoke the grandeur of the city’s Mughal and Moorish
buildings and gives us one last opportunity to admire the Taj
Mahal from afar.
Next up it’s historic Varanasi, which isn’t just my favourite
place on the tour – it’s one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever
visited. Built on the banks of the Ganges, this city has a lot of
spiritual significance to the Hindus of India. It feels so raw and
chaotic, with the contrasts of life and death unhidden, and it’s easy
to get swept up in the atmosphere.
Each evening, passionate locals and pilgrims perform the ritual
of aarti down on Varanasi’s famous ghats (stepped embankments).
But it’s the simplicity of the morning rituals that really strikes
me. We get up at sunrise for a cruise along the river, and the walk
down the ghats is the perfect people-watching opportunity. The
steps are lined with those carrying out their personal religious
observances. I notice one woman, in her own world and totally
at peace, spiritually cleansing herself with the holy water of the
Ganges. It’s a place to lose yourself in.
Our escorted tour ends how it began, in the hustle and bustle of
one of India’s largest cities. This time it is Delhi, a mass of stimuli,
with weaving rickshaws, dangling power cables, and narrow
streets filled with noise and people. We spend our last day visiting
the best of Old and New Delhi, from the vast mosque of Jama
Masjid to the sensory overload of Chandi Chowk bazaar.
Then it’s time to say goodbye. During our farewell dinner,
photographs and anecdotes are shared among a group of friends
who were strangers only 10 days ago. This independent traveller
has found the best of both worlds – travelling solo, together.
previous page: View across Lake Pichola
opposite page, clockwise from top left: An Indian mystic; a typical Indian
street scene; the Taj Mahal, monument to love; the Varanasi ghats on the
banks of the Ganges
this page: Bethan enjoying her tour
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT
A&K’s Splendours of the Golden Triangle escorted tour starts
at £2,495 per person (excludes flights). The first four solo places
booked won’t pay a single supplement. For more information,
call our escorted tours specialists on 01242 547 892.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 75
WORDS: JOE MEREDITH
76 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
film posters: Casino Royale (credit: Snap Stills/Shutterstock); Chennai Express (credit:
Red Chillies/Utv Motion/Kobal/Shutterstock); Game of Thrones (credit: HBO/BSkyB/
Kobal/Shutterstock); The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (credit: New
Line/Saul Zaentz/Wing Nut/Kobal/Shutterstock); Octopussy (credit: Danjaq/Eon/Ua/
Kobal/Shutterstock); Lost in Translation (credit: Focus/Kobal/Shutterstock); Pirates of the
Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest (credit: Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock)
EXPLORE THE ICONIC LOCALES AND WORKING STUDIOS OF
THE WORLD’S FILM AND TV INDUSTRIES, IN TRUE A&K STYLE
Whether you’re a fan of the big screen, or the small one, we can
whisk you off to where the cinematic magic happens. Infiltrate
a Bond villain’s mountaintop lair, wander King’s Landing like a
Westeros native, swagger in Jack Sparrow’s bootsteps, or shimmy like a star
in Bollywood’s mecca. Let A&K take you to the movies…
Jamaica: for Bond’s
The next James Bond film is returning to where it all
began: Jamaica. Author Ian Fleming first introduced
the world to his suave spy when he penned Casino
Royale here at his Goldeneye estate. Fleming’s chic
retreat is also where Bono wrote the theme song to
GoldenEye, where Sting wrote Every Breath You Take,
and where countless more creatives have come for a little inspiration in
paradise. With A&K, you can add your name to Goldeneye’s glamour-filled
guestbook, perhaps write your own masterpiece, and take part in the longstanding
tradition of visitors planting trees.
Mumbai: for Bollywood’s
Producing more than 1,000 features per year, India’s
all-singing, all-dancing film industry is worldfamous.
Mumbai is its epicentre, where Hindi hits
such as Chennai Express are produced, and where we
can take you on a shimmy behind the scenes. Learn
some of the essential dance moves from an expert;
visit a film or television set to watch a shoot in action; then ham it up
recording some lines of dialogue in a studio. Your tour will conclude with a
Bollywood film screening at a theatre in the heart of the city, letting you see
the professionals doing what they do best.
for Game of Thrones
For eight years, Game of Thrones transfixed legions
of fans with its twisting tales of warring kingdoms.
Although based on a world dreamt up by George R
R Martin, the show’s location scouts used many real
cities and sites in Europe, from Northern Ireland to
Iceland. Perhaps most famous is Dubrovnik, which
played the part of King’s Landing. We can arrange a tour around this
picturesque Croatian city, during which you’ll see where iconic scenes were
filmed and gain insight into the shooting process from your local guide, an
actress who starred as an extra in the programme.
Warner Bros., USA
for Hollywood highlights
Situated in the studio zone of Los Angeles, Warner
Bros. has been creating magical moments in cinema
and television since the turn of the 20th century. It’s
most famous for blockbuster franchises including
Harry Potter, Batman, and The Lord of the Rings;
successful sitcoms such as Friends and The Big Bang
Theory; and classic cartoons starring the cast of Looney Tunes. We can
book you onto a Warner Bros. studio tour, where the doors to the sets and
soundstages are opened to you. Sip a coffee in Central Perk, see real props
and costumes, and perhaps try your hand at wizarding (thanks to a little
Udaipur, India: for
Octopussy was the first film in the Bond franchise
to visit India, with many of the scenes filmed in
Udaipur – the ‘Venice of the East’. Here, centuriesold
white-stone palaces shimmer in the reflections
of vast lakes, framed by the sun-scorched hills of
Rajasthan. We can help you retrace Roger Moore’s
footsteps and Martini-sips by booking you into the Taj Lake Palace, which
played the part of Octopussy’s hideaway. This opulent hotel appears to
float on Lake Pichola, and is only accessible by boat. We can also take
you to Kamal Khan’s lair – in reality the Monsoon Palace – high up on a
mountaintop overlooking the city.
Tokyo, Japan: for Lost in
Alongside New York, Japan’s capital Tokyo is the
other ‘city that never sleeps’; after sunset, the
karaoke clubs, tachinomi (stand-up bars) and
izakaya (relaxed pubs) clink and jangle to life.
The nocturnal world of Japan’s capital is captured
beautifully in Lost in Translation, with Bill Murray
and Scarlett Johansson playing two ships passing
in the Tokyo night. We can find you a room at
the Park Hyatt Hotel, where much of the film was shot. From this five-star
base, head out to explore the hot spots visited in the film. Have a drink
at The New York Bar, where Charlotte and Bob first meet; sample shabu
shabu (sliced beef) in Shabuzen; and sing along to More Than This in
Shibuya’s Karaoke Kan.
St Vincent and the
Grenadines: for Pirates of
When the Pirates of The Caribbean films were
shot, Johnny Depp and company had the
enviable job of spending weeks in the idyllic
archipelago of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
From the charming anchorage of Wallilabou Bay,
where we’re first introduced to Jack Sparrow, to
Black Point, where the Kraken was beached, this picturesque island nation
played a starring role in the franchise. Take a tour of the most famous
locations, meet locals who worked on the films, and admire the gorgeous
scenery – sans marauding pirates.
abercrombiekent.co.uk | 77
FIVE VILLAS YOU’LL WANT TO BOOK NOW
FOR SUMMER 2020
AS RECOMMENDED BY THE A&K VILLAS TEAM
Al Cielo Stellato, Gaiole, Italy
SLEEPS 10 | RECOMMENDED BY WALTER CONTU
Make the most of this quintessential Tuscan retreat in the rolling
Italian hills. Romantically named after the starry sky under
which it lies, Al Cielo Stellato also has a five-star welcome and
amenities. In typical Tuscan style, the villa is made for dining
alfresco, with three terraces to choose from, as well as a central
courtyard, pizza oven, and barbecue area. You’ll find everyone in
the family can be entertained with a private infinity pool, table
tennis and billiards, foosball, and a swing in the garden, as well as
board games, a small gym, and satellite TV inside.
If Al Cielo Stellato is booked, try Villa San Leolino instead:
a building designed for relaxing and embracing Italian living
Villa Mia, Sainte-Maxime, France
SLEEPS 10+1 | RECOMMENDED BY JULIE TOURNIAIRE
The chic setting of the Côte d’Azur is ideal for luxury property Villa Mia. Blending
modernity with character, its chic interiors combine with arched windows and beamed
ceilings, and will quickly feel like home. Ideal for a family break to the south of France, and
a chance for the kids to put those French lessons into practice, there’s a tennis court and a
beach, both less than 10 minutes away. The nearby town of Sainte-Maxime is also close by
for some café culture. With extensive landscaped gardens, a heated pool, and an outdoor
kitchen, you can live the Mediterranean life in complete style.
If Villa Mia is booked, try Villa Jasmine instead: impeccably presented and stylish,
this is a Côte d’Azur villa full of French sophistication
78 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
Pearla Mabe, Kassiopi, Corfu
SLEEPS 14 | RECOMMENDED BY
One of Condé Nast Traveller’s 25 best villas in Europe,
Pearla Mabe in beautiful northeast Corfu is an amazing
property for a family celebration or party of friends. Able
to sleep up to 14 people, it is both spacious and splendid.
Located on a two-hectare private estate along with sister
property Pearla Akoya, this seven-bedroom house was
designed and built by a Norman Foster-trained architect.
Inside, Venetian influences complement traditional Corfiot
features. Outside, the wrap-around terrace and infinity pool
beckon, while the private jetty offers sought-after sea access.
If Pearla Mabe is booked, try Pearla Akoya instead:
with views of the sea, sky, Kaparelli Island, and distant
mountains, you might never want to leave
Mas Mateu, Girona, Spain
SLEEPS 18+17 | RECOMMENDED BY
Experience the very best service when you stay at
Catalonia’s Mas Mateu. The on-site team provides
everything you need, and more. Perfect for food lovers,
enjoy local wine, cheese, and ham tastings from the comfort
of your holiday home. And it is truly comfortable; the
building’s 18th-century history combines perfectly with
contemporary style and cosiness – so much so that this
property was once voted the Best Residence in Europe
at the International Property Awards. With views to the
Pyrenees, but right by the coast, this is a villa that will
delight the most discerning of guests.
If Mas Mateu is booked, try Zarassi Estate instead:
this Mykonos palace could well be mistaken for a movie
set. It’s ideal for large gatherings in the most idyllic location
Villa Destiny, Carvoeiro, Portugal
SLEEPS 12 | RECOMMENDED BY KARA EWERS
Perched on the cliff edge over Algarvian seaside town
Carvoeiro, Villa Destiny offers privacy and breath-taking
ocean panoramas. It would be easy to think this property
is remote and removed from the local bars and restaurants,
because its four-hectare grounds create such tranquil
surrounds. The bustle of Carvoeiro is only a short walk
away, however – assuming that you can bear to leave this
stylish property. Breakfast and dinner are provided by a
live-in housekeeping couple, so there is no need to lift
a finger. Instead, enjoy a swim in the private, heated pool,
or a match on the villa’s tennis court.
If Villa Destiny is booked, try Quinta da Alegria instead:
set in avocado and citrus groves, yet only a short drive to
an excellent golf course
CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT VILLAS
To reserve your perfect European villa for 2020, call our villas
specialists on 01242 547 705.
akvillas.com | 79
Delivering the C.U.R.E.
for healthcare inequity
Learn how Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP) and
Project C.U.R.E. are seeking to solve a perennial problem
in the developing world
Having easy access to healthcare is
essential for a community to thrive.
It’s something many of us in wealthy
nations take for granted – that if we are unwell,
we will be cared for; that the care we receive
will be from qualified professionals; that those
professionals will be equipped with effective
tools to do their job.
Yet, according to the World Health
Organisation (WHO), at least 400 million
people worldwide do not have access to
essential health services. Meanwhile, 70 per
cent of medical equipment in developing
countries isn’t fit for use. People in affected
communities are lucky if they can reach a
clinic, and if they do, there’s every chance the
facilities won’t be adequate to treat what ails
them. For too many, it’s a futile pilgrimage,
with a tragic end.
AKP has joined forces with Project C.U.R.E.
(Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment)
to tackle exactly this problem. Our first step
is to identify the communities most in need
across the globe; and the second: to deliver
essential resources directly to them. We’re
pleased to report that our joint endeavour is
already paying off.
Our maiden project together took us to
Zambia, a country renowned for its natural
beauty and abundant wildlife. Sadly, it’s also a
country where many rural communities aren’t
reaping the rewards of the tourist industry on
their doorstep. Nakatindi, a village situated on
the border of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park,
was especially in need of maternity facilities,
a common story across the developing world;
99 per cent of maternal deaths occur in lowincome
countries, where almost half of births
aren’t attended by a healthcare professional.
In 2018, AKP built a medical clinic and
maternity ward in Nakatindi, run by qualified
staff and stocked with around £180,000-worth
of medical equipment – courtesy of Project
C.U.R.E. The clinic is now overseen by Zambia’s
Ministry of Health, ensuring local mothers and
their babies are accommodated and supported
for years to come.
Buoyed by this success, we continued our
efforts this year, beginning in Cambodia. The
WHO reported that mothers and newborns are
especially vulnerable in this South-East Asian
nation, with an unacceptably high mortality
rate due to largely preventable causes. In
April 2019, Project C.U.R.E. loaded close to
£320,000-worth of medical equipment – from
foetal monitors and thermometers to birthing
beds and bassinets – into a container bound
for Siem Reap. Once it arrived, we were on
hand to distribute the vital equipment to
five rural clinics – serving a total of 50,000
Cambodians in the region.
AKP is proud to help these clinics
successfully care for their communities, and
passionate about investing profits from the
travel industry into the destinations so close to
the hearts of both our clients and our staff.
Of course, our task is far from over. That’s
why we plan to expand this project into four
more countries: Uganda, Tanzania, Bhutan, and
Peru. While there’s still much for us to do, the
vital statistics of some of the world’s poorest
people are on the up.
| ABERCROMBIE & KENT PHILANTHROPY |
If you would like to know more about Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy, please call us on 01242 547 760,
or visit akphilanthropy.org to find out about other projects we are involved in.
80 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
For þe iner þings n ife
From palm-fringed powder white
shores, to dramatic coves
and Atlantic surf, every corner of
Barbados offers a different aspect
of island luxury. Barbados does
every facet of good living; from
the charm of sunset cocktails
upon the deck of a yacht, to
barefoot and bikini-clad in a
popular beach bar.
Barbados is a place where refined
luxury and exceptional culinary
delights dance and mingle among
rich greenery, blue waters and
golden sunlight. Fresh seafood
and local produce are cooked
with a passion that creates
a truly unique gastronomic
experience. Whether you opt
for chic west coast dining on a
cliff by torch-light, sampling the
culinary goodies on offer at the
renowned Oistins fish fry, or the
‘cutters’ served up in local rum
shops, Barbados’ rich melting-pot
of flavours promises to delight
every gourmet traveller. As the
birthplace of rum, no visit to
Barbados is complete without
sampling Barbados’ very own
With something to suit every pace,
you can experience the majesty
of thundering hooves along
lush pitches during Polo season,
partake in exceptional rounds of
golf, or opt for a leisurely cruise
on a lavish catamaran along the
platinum coast, Barbados is the
answer to all the finer things in life.
Barbados Food & Rum Festival
24 th –27 th October 2019
Book your luxury holiday now
Call 01242 547 780
Visit Barbados @Barbados @visitbarbados
We may be celebrating our 100th year, but we’re
not resting on our laurels. With more space, larger
flat bed, and your own private door, Club Suite is
an even more luxurious way to fly Business Class.*
Discover more at abercrombiekent.co.uk
or call us on 01242 547 760.
*Club Suite is available on selected flights from October 2019.