Sundowner: Autumn/Winter 2019

AbercrombieKentUK

Published twice a year and complimentary to A&K’s past and future guests, Sundowner is packed with the hottest destinations and insights on what’s trendy in travel. Featuring articles by some of the industry’s most renowned travel writers and our expert staff, it’s guaranteed to give you wanderlust… Sign up to receive your copy here: https://www.abercrombiekent.co.uk/new-newsletter-signup

AUTUMN/WINTER 2019

Out of Africa

WHERE TO TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

OLYMPIC

GAINS

JAPAN’S WINNING

FORMULA

HIP

’HOODS

FRESH SPINS ON

STATESIDE CITIES


SINGAPORE

& BEYOND

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

abercrombiekent.co.uk


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.

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94 Pimlico Road

Chelsea

London SW1W 8PL

www.pullmaneditions.com

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Email: georgina@pullmaneditions.com

Our central London gallery

All images and text copyright © Pullman Editions Ltd. 2019

View and buy online at pullmaneditions.com


68

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DEAR TRAVELLER

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:

gbradvertising@abercrombiekent.co.uk

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

new sweethearts

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

72

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

24

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

SUMMER 2020

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

CORFU

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

details.

Bush

TELEGRAPH

NEWS FROM A&K AND THE WIDE WORLD OF TRAVEL

HOT OFF

THE PRESS:

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

abercrombiekent.co.uk/brochure

PERFECT 10

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


FLYING HIGH

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


Sweetening

the deal

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.

Travel Edits

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

TRAVEL

EDITS

PLACES

TO STAY

THINGS

TO DO

YOUR

WISH

LISTS

Share your holiday ideas

with friends and family for

their input

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

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 9


IN THE KNOW

BE THE FIRST TO STAY IN ONE OF THESE EXCITING NEW HOTELS

AMAN KYOTO

Kyoto, Japan

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


CHEETAH PLAINS

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.

ENTAMANU PRIVATE

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

Perth, Australia

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


DUE

SOUTH

12 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


PATAGONIA

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


PATAGONIA

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!

PUERTO MONTT

CHAITÉN

PARQUE PUMALÍN

COYHAIQUE

LAGO GENERAL CARRERA

VILLA O’HIGGINS

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

CHILE

ARGENTINA

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


America’s

(lesser-known)

sweethearts

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


USA

Pearl District

PORTLAND, OREGON

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


East Nashville

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

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.

Mission District

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

spectacle, too.

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


Williamsburg

BROOKLYN, NYC

USA

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.

Wynwood

MIAMI, FLORIDA

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

Art Basel.

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

snapper ceviche.

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

relaxation mode.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 19


HIT

REFRESH

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


PUGLIA

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


PUGLIA

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


auhaus

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

at

100

24 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


TEL AVIV

HAUS PROUD

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

encouraged resettlement.

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.

OUTSTANDING SIGNIFICANCE

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

climate conditions”.

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


1

2

five

bauhaus

beauties

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:

4

1

DIZENGOFF SQUARE

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.

2

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.

3

HOTEL CINEMA

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


TEL AVIV

3

5

4

POLI HOUSE

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.

5

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

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

DAY 1

09.00

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.

12.30

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.

14.00

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).

15.00

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.

18.00

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


DAY 2

11.00

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.

13.00

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.

15.00

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.

18.00

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

reefs await.

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


tropical

heat

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


BALI

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


CANGGU

AN INSIDER’S GUIDE

FORTY WINKS

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.

FINE FARE

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

Snickers cheesecake.

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

547 704.

32 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


BALI

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

three decades.

“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

the monuments.”

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

RARELY VISITED

guests. “There are new discoveries and research every year

that allow me to add more elements to the tours. It’s an

ongoing passion.”

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


MAJORCA

BALEARIC HIGH

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

the island.

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

might need.

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

spectacular sunsets.

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

ground floor.

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

ever-popular island.

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


MAJORCA

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


OLYMPIC

GAINS

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


JAPAN

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

KARATE

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

competition courts.

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.

CYCLING

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

and temples.

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.

SURFING

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

atmosphere.

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.

GOLF

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

muscle soaks.

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


JAPAN

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


SPAIN

A

DIFFERENT

PERSPECTIVE

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

Museum Bilbao

MUSEO NACIONAL DEL

PRADO, MADRID

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

Modernism movement.

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

tour options.

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

of ‘Westeros’.

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.

SPAIN

MUSEO NACIONAL THYSSEN-

BORNEMISZA, MADRID

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,

inquisitive minds.

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


GREAT,

WHITE,

STARK

48 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


SOUTH POLE

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

five-star style.

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


SOUTH POLE

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

at abercrombiekent.co.uk/brochure

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 51


KENYA – A&K’S BIRTHPLACE & THE

HOME OF REFINED ADVENTURES

2 0 1 8

Africa's Leading

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

abercrombiekent.co.uk/kenya


AFRICA

WHERE THE WILD

THINGS ARE

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,

unique destination.

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

AFRICA

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.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 55


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

Kitongwe people.

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’

rhino sanctuary.

56 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


WHERE WILDEBEEST WANDER:

KING LEWANIKA, LIUWA PLAIN, ZAMBIA

AFRICA

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.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 57


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.

CULTURAL MUST-SEES

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.

TEMPLO

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

Sullivan’s Cove.

WORDS: NIKKI STEFANOFF

58 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


TASMANIA

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)

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60 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


TASMANIA

WINES AND SPIRITS

AND WHISKIES, OH MY!

Whatever your tipple of choice, from fine wines to delectable

spirits, Tasmania has you covered.

WHISKY TOUR

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

natural beauty.

LAUNCESTON

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.

BRUNY ISLAND

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

COOL SPAS

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


MALDIVES

FEEL-GOOD FACTOR

MILAIDHOO, BAA ATOLL

WHY HERE

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.

SPA VIBE

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,

and Coola.

ISLAND INNOVATOR

AMILLA FUSHI, BAA ATOLL

STAR TREATMENT

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.

WHY HERE

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.

SPA VIBE

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.

STAR TREATMENT

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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RESTORATIVE RETREAT

BAROS, BAA ATOLL

WHY HERE

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.

SPA VIBE

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.

STAR TREATMENT

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

ISLAND VIBE

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.

SPA MOOD

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.

STAR TREATMENT

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.

64 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


MALDIVES

WELLBEING WONDER

ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH, NORTH MALÉ ATOLL

WHY HERE

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

field-to-fork cuisine.

SPA VIBE

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.

STAR TREATMENT

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.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 65


PETRA

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.

WATER WORLD

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.

66 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


ROCK HITS

THERE ARE MYRIAD WAYS TO SPEND YOUR TIME AT

PETRA, BUT THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT TO BE MISSED

THE SIQ

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

top: Walking

through the Siq;

a view from the

High Place of

Sacrifice; the

Monastery;

Little Petra

WADI MUTHLIM

(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

prominent cliffside.

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.

LITTLE PETRA

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


PERUVIAN AMAZON

RIVER RUN

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


PERUVIAN AMAZON

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

bright stars.

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

metres long.”

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

our fingers.

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.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 71


THE BEST

OF BOTH

WORLDS

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


INDIA

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.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 73


74 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2019


INDIA

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


ACCESS

THE WORLD

OF CINEMA

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

birthplace

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

epicentre

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.

Dubrovnik, Croatia:

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

green-screen magic).

Udaipur, India: for

Octopussy

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

Translation

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

the Caribbean

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

JANINA PERES

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

LIZ HOBLEY

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


A&K PHILANTHROPY

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


BARBADOS

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

amber nectar.

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

Visit abercrombiekent.co.uk/barbados

Call 01242 547 780

Visit Barbados @Barbados @visitbarbados


REST.

ASSURED.

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.

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