World Traveller November 2019

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ISSUE 139 | NOVEMBER <strong>2019</strong> | COMPLIMENTARY COPY<br />


BRAZIL<br />



Produced in Dubai Production City<br />

The world´s best swims<br />

From sleek city rooftops to rugged lakes,<br />

we've got your next great swim sorted

Discover Milaidhoo<br />

Create your own story of a small island at the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve<br />

with a wonderfully vibrant coral reef.<br />

Discover re-invented luxury and spacious outdoor living<br />

in our contemporary, island-inspired villas, where you instantly feel you belong.<br />

Find your place to simply be, to have meaningful experiences<br />

and enjoy barefoot informality.<br />

Start your Milaidhoo Story at www.milaidhoo.com

Welcome note<br />

Holidays are a coveted chance to refresh body and mind, and<br />

there's no better way to feel a sense of relaxation wash over<br />

you than by diving into a sparkling swimming pool. Our cover<br />

story on the world's best swims (p24) will point you in th<br />

Managing Director<br />

Victoria Thatcher<br />

Chief Creative Officer<br />

John Thatcher<br />

General Manager<br />

David Wade<br />

Managing Editor<br />

Faye Bartle<br />

faye@hotmedia.me<br />

Content Writers<br />

Habiba Azab<br />

habiba@hotmedia.me<br />

Sophia Dyer<br />

Editorial Assistant<br />

Ronak Sagar<br />

Art Director<br />

Kerri Bennett<br />

right direction, with it's round-up of scenic<br />

places to take the plunge. From the salty allure of<br />

Jordan's Dead Sea to the rugged beauty of the<br />

Lake District and glamorous rooftop pools to dip a<br />

toe in... all you need is your best swimwear.<br />

Also in this issue, we take you glamping in<br />

Georgia (p36) and on a journey through vibrant<br />

Bahia in Brazil (p42). If Venice is on your bucketlist,<br />

why not resolve to squeeze in a long weekend<br />

there before the end of the year? Our guide to<br />

ticking off all those major sites, as well as seeking<br />

out some of the lesser-known gems (p48),<br />

provides all the know-how you need to make your<br />

trip a great one.<br />

Last but not least, this issue is jam-packed with<br />

staycation ideas (from p60), giving you plenty of<br />

reasons to make the most of the glorious weekend<br />

weather we're experiencing at the moment.<br />

Happy travels,<br />

Faye Bartle<br />

Win!<br />

A two-night stay<br />

for two at JA The<br />

Resort in sunny<br />

Dubai, p79<br />




1<br />

Snacking on a banana<br />

may help to ease jet lag,<br />

due to its high levels of<br />

potassium, p20<br />

2<br />

You can find the distinct<br />

coco de mer coconut<br />

at only two of the 115<br />

Seychellean islands:<br />

Praslin and Curieuse, p56<br />

3<br />

In the next few years,<br />

the Transcaucasian Trail,<br />

a long-distance hiking<br />

route being developed<br />

in the Caucasus, will<br />

link Svaneti to Ghebi,<br />

bringing more hikers to<br />

the stunning area, p36<br />

4<br />

The reef-fringed island of<br />

Boipeba in Bahia, Brazil,<br />

is a hidden gem that<br />

seemingly packs more<br />

free-roaming wild horses<br />

than humans, p42<br />

Senior Designer<br />

Hiral Kapadia<br />

Senior Advertising Manager<br />

Mia Cachero<br />

mia@hotmedia.me<br />

Production Manager<br />

Muthu Kumar<br />


Photography credits:<br />

Getty Images and Phocal Media<br />

Reproduction in whole or in part<br />

without written permission from<br />

HOT Media is strictly prohibited.<br />

HOT Media does not accept<br />

liability for omissions or errors in<br />

<strong>World</strong> <strong>Traveller</strong>.<br />

Tel: 00971 4 364 2876<br />

Fax: 00971 4 369 7494<br />


The Skypool at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London<br />

Find us at…<br />

ONLINE worldtravellermagazine.com<br />

FACEBOOK @<strong>World</strong><strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

INSTAGRAM @worldtravellerme<br />

TWITTER @W<strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

5<br />

A cultural showpiece,<br />

Venetian masks shine<br />

with their glitzy designs<br />

and, at Ca'Macana,<br />

you can craft your own<br />

bespoke piece, p48<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 5

The Garden Route, South Africa<br />

Contents<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong><br />

10<br />


regulars<br />

10 15 20 78 80<br />



This month's goto<br />

places include<br />

vibrant Kathmandu<br />

and Morocco's little<br />

Hollywood, Ouarzazate.<br />


Winter sun or snow...<br />

we've got your next<br />

holiday covered. Plus,<br />

the best Sri Lankan<br />

beach spots at which to<br />

catch the perfect wave.<br />


Sleep expert and<br />

psychologist Dr. David<br />

Lewis shares his top<br />

tips on how to get a<br />

good night's sleep<br />

while on holiday.<br />


Head online for<br />

exclusive content and,<br />

better still, the chance<br />

to win a two-night<br />

stay at JA The Resort in<br />

sunny Dubai.<br />


Soak up the scenic views<br />

of the snow-capped<br />

Swiss Alps from the<br />

comfort of the Corner<br />

Junior Suite at Carlton<br />

Hotel St. Moritz.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 7


features<br />

24 36<br />



Yvonne Gorden goes<br />

Stylish skypools, crystal beyond Tbilisi to uncover<br />

clear lagoons and whitesand<br />

coves, here's where homestays and upmarket<br />

a paradise of hiking,<br />

to plan your next dip. camping in Georgia.<br />

Constance Ephelia Mahé Seychelles<br />

42<br />



Alex Robinson explores<br />

a world of street parties,<br />

white sands and coralsnorkelling<br />

in Bahia.<br />

56<br />


Mysterious coconuts,<br />

voodoo dolls and<br />

otherworldly beaches,<br />

Sophia Dyer is spellbound<br />

by the Seychelles.<br />

56<br />


weekends<br />

48 60<br />



Feel in need of a break?<br />

With a classical beauty We have a few more<br />

and marvellous tales, reasons to book a<br />

the Floating City awaits. weekend escape.<br />

74<br />


It's time we sent you<br />

packing. Choose your<br />

next adventure from<br />

our exclusive offers.<br />

8 worldtravellermagazine.com

Wellness Haven at Saray Spa.<br />

Renew for the journey ahead.<br />

A relaxing realm of quiet luxury, Saray Spa at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is an authentic wellness Spa,<br />

where ancient healing techniques and locally sourced natural ingredients are combined to enhance the<br />

well-being of each guest. The Spa features 17 treatment rooms, inclusive of two private Hammam rooms,<br />

one Dead Sea treatment room boasting the UAE’s only Dead Sea Floatation Pool found within, and two<br />

Private Luxury Spa Suites. Experience the wonders of the Middle East through Arabian Body Rituals<br />

or Hammam Rituals, or benefit from the resultsoriented facials. An exclusive retail boutique offers luxurious<br />

gifts and spa products for every occasion.<br />

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai | Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE<br />

T +971 4 414 6754 | mhrs.dxbjw.spa@marriott.com | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com<br />

*Terms and conditions: Offer is subject to availability and advance reservations are required. This is a limited time offer.


Emily Williams, dnata Travel’s resident globetrotter,<br />

reveals the best places to hop on a plane to this month<br />

The Garden Route<br />

Spring is in full swing at this South African beauty spot, with its blooming wildflowers painting the landscape in<br />

vivid colours. Embark on a road trip to explore this scenic region and marvel at the incredible beaches, mountains,<br />

forests and lakes that line its winding roads. You won't have a minute to spare with all the wildlife thrills on offer,<br />

including whale watching at Plettenberg Bay, scuba diving, and caving adventures (the Cango Caves are a must-see).<br />

Highlights 1 Get a bird's eye view of the Kaaimans River winding its way through the countryside at the<br />

Map of Africa viewpoint at Wilderness Heights. 2 Grab your binoculars and head to Bontebok National Park,<br />

which is credited with bringing the native bontebok antelope back from the brink of extinction. 3 Take the canopy tour at Tsitsikamma, and<br />

zipline past the giant trees this nature spot protects.<br />

10 worldtravellermagazine.com


Ouarzazate<br />

Known as the 'Hollywood of Morocco', the city of Ouarzazate is home to Ait Ben Haddou fortified village, a UNESCO<br />

<strong>World</strong> Heritage Site, which has served as a filming location for hit movies and telelvision shows, including Gladiator<br />

and Game of Thrones. At the edge of the city, you'll find Taourirt Kasbah, a stunning 19 th century palace. Follow the<br />

maze of stairwells to the top and watch the sun set against the backdrop of Morocco’s desert landscape.<br />

Highlights 1 Meet berber people at Tassoumaat Old District Medina. The cosy neighbourhood promises an authentic local<br />

experience. 2 Watch skilled female artisans work on hanbel carpets and embroidered straw mats at Coopérative de Tissage.<br />

3 Movie buffs can continue the quest for behind the scenes insight by visiting Atlas Film Studios, which is home to lots of old movie<br />

sets and is where scenes for silver screen successes including Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy and The Living Daylights were shot.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 11

Ras Al Khaimah<br />

As the temperature drops across the UAE, this northernmost emirate calls intrepid travellers with its wide<br />

expanse of white-sand beaches, fascinating wildlife and majestic mountaintops. Make Jebel Jais, the country's<br />

highest peak, the jumping-off spot for your adventure. Whether it's shooting down the world's longest zip line,<br />

setting off on a challenging hike, or basking in the tranquil desert, it's a thrill-a-minute kind of place.<br />

Highlights 1 Amateur detectives will view the town of Al Jazirat Al Hamra as a mystery worth solving,<br />

with its abandoned buildings and ghostly tales. 2 Take a dip in the mineral-rich hot pools of Khatt springs and let<br />

the sulphurous waters envelop you. 3 Pay a visit to the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, which proudly<br />

exhibits a collection of historical, ethnographical and archaeological treasures.<br />

12 worldtravellermagazine.com


Kathmandu<br />

The gateway to Mount Everest, Nepal's capital is garnering worldwide attention for its vibrant culture, delicious<br />

food and warm hospitality. Explore the historic city and admire the Newari architecture before boarding a plane<br />

and setting off on a scenic flight across the mountains. It's a brilliant way to see the world's tallest peak in all its<br />

majesty, without having to attempt the difficult feat of climbing it.<br />

Highlights 1 Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind amid lush foliage at the neo classical<br />

Garden of Dreams. 2 Huff and puff your way up the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple (it's more than 365 steps),<br />

which is home to hundreds of monkeys considered holy to Tibetan Buddhists. 3 Trawl Thamel market for keepsakes, such as singing bowls<br />

and luxurious pashminas.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 13


Relax and unwind as you breathe in the mystical charm of the Rub’ Al Khali.<br />

Discover unparalleled desert luxury and cultural passion just 90 minutes<br />

from Abu Dhabi. Trek the footsteps of the Bedouin and create a thousand<br />

timeless moments in a luxury desert oasis.<br />

To book your stay, call +971 (0) 2 895 8700 or<br />

email crome@anantara.com<br />

LIFE IS A JOURNEY. Visit anantara.com<br />



Globetrotter<br />


Be informed, be inspired, be there<br />


Follow in the footsteps of Hollywood<br />

stars, including Greta Garbo, by<br />

descending on the glamorous Eden<br />

Rock – St. Barths, which is re-opening<br />

its doors this month (on 20 <strong>November</strong>)<br />

following a two-year renovation. The<br />

Caribbean bolthole, which was founded<br />

by adventurer Rémy de Haenen and<br />

has been welcoming guests since the<br />

1950s, has a fresh new look, with notable<br />

additions such as the stylish Rémy Bar.<br />

Live it up inside the Villa Rockstar, a<br />

sprawling beach house that wows with its<br />

ultra luxurious touches.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 15



Be at one with nature and get<br />

an up-close view of wildlife at<br />

these luxury resorts<br />


Hike your way through the<br />

misty bamboo forest of<br />

Volcanoes National Park and<br />

track endangered mountain<br />

gorillas while on the Virunga<br />

experience offered by the<br />

new One&Only Gorilla's Nest<br />

in Rwanda. Seeing these<br />

captivating animals in their<br />

natural habitat is one to tick<br />

off the bucket list.<br />


At Taronga Zoo's newlyopened<br />

Wildlife Retreat<br />

you can rise and shine to<br />

the sight of koalas dangling<br />

outside your window and red<br />

kangaroos hopping past. This<br />

eco-retreat, which overlooks<br />

Sydney Harbour, aims to<br />

educate while delivering a<br />

touch of luxury.<br />

One &Only Gorilla's Nest<br />


Embark on a wildlife drive at<br />

Desert Islands Resort & Spa<br />

by Anantara, off the coast<br />

of Abu Dhabi, and you'll be<br />

rewarded by the sight of freeroaming<br />

animals, including<br />

the protected Arabian oryx.<br />


Game of Thrones fans<br />

may recognise Malta's<br />

Fort Manoel as the starshaped<br />

mediaeval fort at<br />

which Ned Stark met his<br />

demise. Restored to its<br />

original glory, it is now<br />

open to the pubic. Go<br />

discover its deep-seated<br />

history and marvel at its<br />

stunning architecture.<br />

Team an exotic beach<br />

break with earning your<br />

eco stripes at Six Senses Zil<br />

Pasyon in the Seychelles.<br />

The luxury resort has<br />

a coral restoration<br />

programme, which offers<br />

a coveted chance to<br />

help repair the marine<br />

ecosystems of Félicité and<br />

learn more about the reef.<br />

If you admire the beauty<br />

of Holland's vibrant tulip<br />

fields, then why not help<br />

to plant them? The Tulip<br />

Planting package (until<br />

6 Dec) at Amsterdam's<br />

Conservatorium Hotel is a<br />

great way to swot up on the<br />

history of the region while<br />

helping farmers prepare for<br />

the upcoming season.<br />

Form meets function in<br />

new Hawke collection<br />

of bags for adventure<br />

seekers by Bally.<br />

Whether it's a backpack,<br />

messenger bag or<br />

crossbody pouch you're<br />

after, each piece is<br />

tailored to meet your<br />

travel needs. bally.com<br />

16 worldtravellermagazine.com




Pack your bags,<br />

and set off on an<br />

adventure<br />


FCC Angkor, Siem Reap<br />

With hints of Frenchtropical<br />

architecture, this<br />

nature-inspired resort is<br />

born from an extensive<br />

renovation of one of the<br />

area's most treasured<br />

colonial sites: the former<br />

mansion of the French<br />

colonial governor and the<br />

Foreign Correspondent’s<br />

Club. Home to 80 rooms<br />

and suites, the property is<br />

steps away from the Royal<br />

Independence Gardens<br />

and Royal Residence.<br />


Rocco Forte House, Piazza<br />

di Spagna, Rome<br />

Those seeking total privacy<br />

will find all the seclusion<br />

they need at this historic<br />

18 th century palazzo. Just<br />

five lavish suites await,<br />

with a dedicated house<br />

manager on hand to tend<br />

to your every whim. Head<br />

to the cosy rooftop terrace<br />

to admire the views of the<br />

famous Spanish Steps.<br />

FCC Angkor<br />


The Oberoi, Marrakech<br />

Natural beauty abounds<br />

at this picturesque resort<br />

(opening on 1 December),<br />

which is surrounded by<br />

28 acres of landscaped<br />

gardens complete with<br />

citrus orchards, olive groves<br />

and views of the snowcapped<br />

Atlas Mountains. It's<br />

just 25-minutes away from<br />

Djema el-Fna square and<br />

the ancient walled city.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 17


SUN VS. SNOW<br />

Whether you want to soak up the<br />

rays or ski down the slopes this<br />

winter, we've got you covered<br />

Silversands Grenada<br />



Island life beckons at this exclusive<br />

hideaway, which encourages you to<br />

make the most of the glorious winter<br />

weather with its thrilling line-up of<br />

adventurous pursuits, from hiking to<br />

watersports. Explore the lush jungle,<br />

white sand beaches and shimmering<br />

waters and bask in the inimitable<br />

Caribbean glow. You'll find us lazing<br />

around the infinity pool.<br />



The expanse of snow-dusted<br />

mountains that surround this chic<br />

lodge deliver the most exhilarating<br />

skiing and snowboarding adventures.<br />

But the fun doesn't end there, as<br />

sea kayaking and whale watching<br />

in the fjords are just some of the<br />

other activities on offer at this luxury<br />

abode located deep in the Icelandic<br />

wilderness. After a day of fast-paced<br />

action, unwind in the geothermally<br />

heated outdoor pool and wait for the<br />

elusive Northern Lights to dance their<br />

way across the sky.<br />

Deplar Farm<br />

Will travel for food. A delicious excuse for<br />

a break, Chef Mauro Colagreco (of three-<br />

Michelin-starred Mirazur fame) has teamed up<br />

with One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai to bring<br />

his culinary flair to two dining venues there.<br />

18 worldtravellermagazine.com


Mirissa Beach<br />

SURF'S UP<br />

It's surfing season in Sri Lanka. Here's where to catch a wave...<br />


Matara<br />

South of Weligama, this<br />

hidden gem is one of Sri<br />

Lanka's best kept secrets. Lush<br />

palm trees enhance the scenic<br />

landscape as you work your<br />

way to perfecting that reef<br />

break. If you're lucky, you may<br />

even spot a migrating blue<br />

whale or get to play with a pod<br />

of friendly dolphins.<br />


Galle<br />

Consistent waves makes<br />

this idyllic spot a must-do<br />

for surfers of all skill levels.<br />

Beginners will appreciate the<br />

way waves form and peel away<br />

smoothly towards the shore.<br />

Come prepared though, as the<br />

local Hikkaduwa surfers have<br />

a flair for competition – get set<br />

to see some moves.<br />


Galle<br />

Turn a day of surfing<br />

fun into a family affair at this<br />

kid-friendly beach. Ride the<br />

waves with your little ones<br />

in tow as they splash away<br />

in the water. Want to know<br />

where the good swells are?<br />

Simply ask the locals. They're<br />

always very happy to point<br />

out the perfect spots.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 19

KNOW-HOW<br />

The Knowledge<br />

HOW TO...<br />

Sleep well while you’re on holiday<br />

It may be the last thing on your mind while you're on an exciting holiday, but<br />

getting a good night’s slumber will help you enjoy your break to the max<br />

A whopping 80% of travellers struggle<br />

to sleep when staying away from<br />

home, says recent research*. Settling<br />

into a new environment and hearing<br />

unfamiliar noises are among the top<br />

sleep saboteurs that can leave you<br />

tossing and turning in the early hours,<br />

but feeling far from rested may mean<br />

your holiday experience falls flat. We<br />

picked the brains of Dr David Lewis, a<br />

sleep expert, chartered psychologist<br />

and CEO of Mindlab International, for<br />

his top tips on getting the shut eye you<br />

need to seize the day…<br />


“When travelling across time zones,<br />

especially with children, set your watch<br />

to the local time in the area you are<br />

visiting the moment your flight takes<br />

off,” says Dr Lewis. It’ll help you to<br />

adjust more easily on the other side.<br />

Plus, flying can take a toll on<br />

the mind but not the body, so be sure<br />

to get some light exercise – even a<br />

10-minute stroll in the fresh air once<br />

you touch down can work wonders.<br />


“If you have difficulty dropping off<br />

when you’re away from home, bring a<br />

couple of personal possessions with you<br />

on your travels, such as photos of your<br />

loved ones [if you’re travelling solo], a<br />

lucky charm or, for children, a favourite<br />

doll or teddy bear,” says Dr Lewis.<br />

“Placing them on the bedside table and<br />

looking at them before you turn off the<br />

light will help you settle into a more<br />

comfortable and familiar mindset.”<br />


“Make sure the bed is warm, but<br />

the room is cool and well aired,” he<br />

suggests. “Also keep the room as dark<br />

as possible, as even a small amount of<br />

light, such as the LED on a TV or radio,<br />

can make it harder to sleep.” As you<br />

may already do at home, avoid caffeine<br />

and screen time three hours prior to<br />

bedtime, and try to stick to your usual<br />

routine as much as possible in order to<br />

trigger the body and mind to prepare<br />

for sleep.<br />


“Dehydration is common among<br />

travellers, even on short haul trips, so<br />

make sure you stay well hydrated,” says<br />

Dr Lewis. “The ideal bedtime tipple is<br />

a warm milky drink. Milk contains the<br />

sleep-inducing substance tryptophan<br />

and warming it up releases milk sugars<br />

that feed the body during sleep.”<br />

If you need a snack, reach for a<br />

banana. “It also contains tryptophan<br />

and has a high potassium content that<br />

helps prevent nighttime cramps while<br />

also fighting jet-lag.”<br />


“If you have something on your mind,<br />

try writing it down,” he says. “This<br />

will help prevent distracting thoughts<br />

racing around your mind the moment<br />

your head touches the pillow. A warm,<br />

relaxing bath is a better way to end the<br />

day than a shower which tends to make<br />

you feel more wide-awake.” Reading<br />

a few pages of a good book has been<br />

proven to help unwind the mind.<br />



“The brain is extremely sensitive to<br />

unfamiliar smells and aromas, and while<br />

these may be hard to avoid, they can<br />

often be masked by bringing along<br />

your own favourite essential oil and<br />

sprinkling it on the pillow,” says Dr<br />

Lewis. “The six most effective oils for<br />

this purpose are: clary sage, lavender,<br />

roman chamomile, sweet marjoram<br />

and valerian**.”<br />

Dr. David Lewis has teamed up with<br />

Sheraton Grand London Park Lane and<br />

Hatchards, the oldest bookseller in<br />

London, to curate an exclusive library<br />

of books to read before bedtime to<br />

help guests get a good night’s sleep.<br />

*By InterContinental Hotel Group. **Consult your<br />

doctor before using aromatherapy oils.<br />

20 worldtravellermagazine.com



Arabian heritage meets bespoke luxury at Sharjah’s most coveted staycation spots<br />

Rich in art and cultural attractions,<br />

and with stunning natural<br />

landscapes to discover, Sharjah’s<br />

unique blend of modern marvels and<br />

old-world charm is a magnet for intrepid<br />

travellers. Today, the emirate is firmly on<br />

the radar as a leading destination for a<br />

staycation. Here are three of the best luxury<br />

hotels to escape to…<br />


Feel right at home and bask in true Arabian<br />

hospitality at Al Bait Sharjah. Located at<br />

the heart of Sharjah, the 53-room boutique<br />

resort is a unique collection of five preserved<br />

heritage houses that were once owned by<br />

esteemed Emirati families. It’s also home to<br />

impressive architectural sights, including the<br />

UAE’s only round wind tower, as well as an<br />

in-house museum that showcases the city’s<br />

rich history. Retreat to the spa for a soothing<br />

massage, cool off in the outdoor swimming<br />

pool, or sit down at the Arabic restaurant for a<br />

true taste of Arabia as trained chefs cook up a<br />

delicious spread of local delicacies.<br />


Looking at this stunning rustic retreat, you<br />

wouldn’t guess it was once (in the 1960s) a<br />

simple grocery store and café. Boasting a<br />

fresh new look, Al Faya Lodge & Spa now sits<br />

on the crimson sands of Mount Alvaah as<br />

the latest addition to the Sharjah Collection,<br />

a group of boutique hotels scattered across<br />

the emirate. Whether it's lounging by the<br />

open-air saltwater pool, indulging in an<br />

Arabian style spa retreat or marvelling at the<br />

thousands of stars from the rooftop terrace,<br />

the lodge is the perfect escape from the hustle<br />

and bustle of everyday life.<br />


Immerse yourself in the stunning<br />

natural wonders the emirate has to offer at<br />

Sharjah’s new five-star eco-tourism resort,<br />

Kalba Kingfisher Lodge. Offering comfort<br />

and privacy in spades, the boutique hotel<br />

is set against an unspoiled backdrop of<br />

the Indian Ocean and a forest of mangrove<br />

(Qurm) trees, which is home to a number<br />

of fascinatingly beautiful kingfishers and<br />

other rare bird species. Wake up to the<br />

sound of crashing waves from any of the 25<br />

luxuriously appointed tents, each with its<br />

own swimming pool, and lap up the views.<br />

Find out more at visitsharjah.com<br />

Photo: Kalba Kingfisher Lodge<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 21

Nature's bounty<br />

The island of Sir Bani Yas is brimming with history, nature and wildlife. Add<br />

a splash of luxury, and you’ve got the perfect Abu Dhabi island getaway<br />

22 worldtravellermagazine.com


Tucked away inside the nature reserve of Sir<br />

Bani Yas island, Desert Islands Resort &<br />

Spa by Anantara lures the most discerning<br />

travellers with its rugged beauty, thriving wildlife<br />

and Emirati-style splendour.<br />

Just a two-hour drive from Abu Dhabi, this<br />

family-oriented retreat is part of the three luxurious<br />

Anantara resorts that grace Sir Bani Yas island – the<br />

others being the tranquil beach getaway of Anantara<br />

Al Yamm Villa Resort, and the Arabian adventure<br />

inspired Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort.<br />

Sink into plush bedding that envelops you in soft<br />

Egyptian cotton, wake up to stunning sea views,<br />

and cool off under the stylish rain showers. Floorto-ceiling<br />

glass doors allow natural light to cast your<br />

room in a soft glow and open up to a private balcony,<br />

where you can spend the day lounging with a good<br />

book. The Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara<br />

recently introduced its all-inclusive discovery<br />

package, which invites guests to unwind in one of<br />

the opulent rooms, suites or villas. Meals and drinks<br />

are included, as well as your choice of one activity per<br />

night stayed.<br />

For a delectable meal, Amwaj restaurant draws<br />

upon the island’s sea riches to create scrumptious<br />

seafood dishes that will make your taste buds<br />

tingle. Here, you’ll enjoy the flavours of the ocean<br />

in more ways than one, with its fresh-out-of-theocean<br />

plates and stellar setting overlooking the sea.<br />

Meanwhile, Al Shams Restaurant & Bar serves up<br />

Arabic favourites straight to your poolside lounger.<br />

It’s so good you’ll want to take the flavours with you<br />

back home and with Spice Spoons, you can. The<br />

step-by-step class offers you a peek into authentic<br />

Arabian cooking techniques so you can whip up<br />

local delights in the comfort of your own home.<br />

When you tire of lazing under the sun, hop in<br />

one of the safari Jeeps and set off on an exciting<br />

adventure as you encounter rare, free-roaming and<br />

exotic wildlife in the island’s reserve, including the<br />

prized Arabian oryx.<br />

The Arabian Gulf’s sparkling waters will<br />

eventually beckon you to discover its stunning reef,<br />

while the magnetic charm of an Arabian stallion<br />

promises an unforgettable and liberating gallop<br />

through the desert’s sandy golden dunes. History<br />

buffs can also join an archaeological site tour to<br />

marvel at the uncovered remains of the UAE's only<br />

discovered Christian monastery.<br />

Revive yourself with the resort’s signature spa<br />

treatment; the Desert Islands Retreat. A gentle<br />

full-body exfoliation with desert sands followed by<br />

a 90-minute desert fusion massage is the perfect<br />

ending to this action-packed retreat.<br />

Stay amid natural beauty<br />

Dive in and discover<br />

a world of wonders<br />

Unwind and enjoy<br />

the gorgeous vistas<br />

The all-inclusive discovery package starts from<br />

Dhs1,999 per night. To find out more, call +971 2 895<br />

8700 or visit anantara.com<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 23

The world’s<br />

33<br />

best swims<br />

Whether you prefer muscle-pumping laps<br />

across a rugged lake, or stargazing lazily<br />

on a city rooftop, we’ve got your swim<br />

sorted – to infinity pool and beyond!<br />

Bronte Baths, Sydney<br />

24 worldtravellermagazine.com


Adaaran Select Meedhupparu<br />


Raa Atoll, the Maldives<br />

If you’re lucky, you’re the first person<br />

here. You pad a virgin trail of footprints<br />

from bungalow to sea, and stretch out<br />

on the cool sand. Picking up snorkel<br />

gear, you chat with the hut attendant<br />

about recent star sightings (‘There’s<br />

a lionfish about — you might have<br />

to dive down to see it’), before your<br />

flippers propel you past the shallows,<br />

to that crescent of pulsating coral<br />

you’ve become addicted to. Here,<br />

20 strokes from the beach and an<br />

arm’s length from your mask, sea that<br />

looked a blanket turquoise from your<br />

seaplane reveals swirls of Day-Glo<br />

parrotfish, sail-shaped Moorish idols<br />

and blue tangs. Then, there’s that surly<br />

lionfish. You watch its striped mohican<br />

slink down to where the reef drops off<br />

to an intimidating indigo. Head full of<br />

ocean colour scenes, you paddle back<br />

to laze by the pool for an hour at least.<br />

That reef’s not going anywhere.<br />


The Dead Sea, Jordan<br />

Cleopatra bathed here, King David hid<br />

here from Saul, Jesus was baptised<br />

upriver — even Herod slipped on his<br />

Speedos for a dip. You’re floating in a<br />

sea of history, and the amazing thing<br />

is, despite the corporate hotel chains<br />

thronging the shores, it still feels<br />

transcendent. That salt stings, though,<br />

which is why it’s best to access the<br />

water via a hotel’s (with its freshwater<br />

pools and showers for after). Try to keep<br />

the salt out of any cuts or grazes, and<br />

don’t shave any part of your body the<br />

day you plunge!<br />


Pigeon Island, St Lucia<br />

You didn’t come here to swim, but you’ll<br />

miss out if you don’t. Pigeon Island is<br />

a former British military fort, now a<br />

national park, at St Lucia’s northern tip.<br />

Stretch your legs on the spiralling hike<br />

to its hilltop, snapping the obligatory<br />

photo with the cannons there. You’ll be<br />

trekking back down just as the sticky<br />

heat of late morning sets in — so first<br />

slip down to the curves of sand on its<br />

south side for a secret swim. There’s<br />

a public loo to change in, and shade<br />

from the trees. Kick off your shoes and<br />

plunge into the Listerine-fresh ocean.<br />


Grand Hotel Tremezzo,<br />

Lake Como<br />

Outside, you have the glittering expanse<br />

of Lake Como and a ‘secret’ garden<br />

pool — all visible from your room. Inside,<br />

there’s a velvet-red staircase to sweep<br />

down as you head for dinner in your<br />

best holiday togs. But, floating in the<br />

lake, as smugly as George Clooney on<br />

his hols is this special swim spot. It’ll get<br />

in the way of your Como sightseeing —<br />

lizard-still on the hotel’s loungers, drink<br />

in hand and the gelato-cool pool right<br />

by you, you’ll watch the tourist ferry<br />

pass by with no urge to move.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 25



The Great Barrier Reef<br />

Zig-zag clouds of yellow snappers,<br />

tornadoes of electric-blue fusiliers<br />

and forests of rainbow staghorn coral:<br />

diving in the GBR is like swimming in<br />

a giant psychedelic cocktail. There are<br />

countless ways to explore this sprawling<br />

2,300km-long reef, but if you’re serious<br />

about your sea life, head north to,<br />

say, the Ribbon Reefs, for the richest<br />

variety of fish. Accessed by seaplane,<br />

then a live-aboard boat, it’s not the<br />

easiest or cheapest spot, but you get<br />

uncrowded waters and pristine coral for<br />

your trouble. Huge swathes of the reef<br />

were bleached by the El Niño weather<br />

phenomenon, so it’s vital to go with a<br />

responsible operator that knows where<br />

to find flourishing regrowth and how<br />

to prevent further damage. Conditions<br />

range from mirror-like (ideal for drifting<br />

alongside Labrador-sized potato cod) to<br />

choppy and wild, but even novices can<br />

dive here with a skilled team to guide<br />

them safely into the depths.<br />


Faraglione di Mezzo, Capri<br />

It was in front of this ancient<br />

oceanic arch that David Gandy<br />

smouldered for that Dolce &<br />

Gabbana advert — and Capri<br />

boat trips have never had a lull<br />

in business since. As life is not a<br />

fragrance ad, it’s choppier than<br />

you’d think, the deep water chilly<br />

’til mid summer. So get your<br />

photo, take a dunk into depths<br />

as ice-blue as Gandy’s eyes,<br />

then climb back on board for a<br />

Prosecco. This swim is all about<br />

the posing, anyway.<br />

3POP-<br />


POOLS<br />



The Raleigh,<br />

Miami Beach<br />

Hollywood’s<br />

‘million- dollar<br />

mermaid’ filmed<br />

many of her sleek<br />

synchronisedswimming<br />

routines<br />

in this Art Deco<br />

pool. Now you<br />

can stay in her<br />

namesake suite.<br />

THE CLUB<br />


ONE: Pikes<br />

Hotel, Ibiza<br />

A mega-bronzed<br />

George Michael<br />

and Andrew<br />

Ridgeley cavorted<br />

by this slim, tiled<br />

pool for their<br />

holiday anthem’s<br />

music video.<br />

Bring your own<br />

lilos/trumpets.<br />

THE FAYE<br />


Beverly Hills Hotel,<br />

Los Angeles<br />

Terry O’Neill’s<br />

‘morning<br />

after’ portrait<br />

of Dunaway<br />

reflecting on her<br />

1977 Oscar win<br />

made this pool<br />

synonymous<br />

with Hollywood<br />

glamour.<br />

26 worldtravellermagazine.com


Mexico’s cenotes<br />

Yucatán’s beaches can get a little<br />

TOWIE. For a more thrilling swim,<br />

drive 90 minutes inland to paddle<br />

under Gaudíesque rock formations<br />

and leap from vines into the<br />

fresh, teal water of the cenotes.<br />

The peninsula is punctured with<br />

thousands of these prehistoric<br />

limestone sinkholes, overgrown with<br />

tropical jungle and open year-round.<br />

Some, such as Dos Ojos, are cool,<br />

vaguely claustrophobic caverns;<br />

while others, like Escondido, are<br />

splashed with sunlight. It’s like<br />

swimming in a tropical luxury spa<br />

— clean, quiet, almost baptismal.<br />

Sunscreen is verboten, unless it’s<br />

biodegradable. With hardly another<br />

body bobbing around, you’d think<br />

tourists were, too.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 27


SWIMS<br />





MEXICO<br />

Invest in an<br />

underwater camera<br />

or case: seeing a<br />

pod of these wild<br />

bottlenose dolphins<br />

frolicking around<br />

your flippers is a<br />

memory you’ll want<br />

to replay.<br />





This full-day<br />

excursion, run<br />

by the five-star<br />

Huvafen Fushi<br />

resort, makes<br />

snorkelling with<br />

these giants feel<br />

like a one-on-one.<br />

Float calmly as they<br />

glide past.<br />



SIPADAN,<br />


Turtle-spotting<br />

off Sipadan Island<br />

doesn’t feel as<br />

intrusive with<br />

access limited<br />

to 120 people a<br />

day. Go April to<br />

September, when<br />

females nest on the<br />

beach.<br />


La Maddalena, Sardinia<br />

Are you floating? Or are you flying?<br />

The clarity of the water surrounding<br />

Sardinia’s virgin Maddalena archipelago<br />

can play tricks on you. As you lie<br />

suspended in the aquamarine liquid,<br />

ears submerged so that all sounds<br />

are dulled to a drowsy murmur, the<br />

sailboat that delivered you here looks<br />

as if it’s dangling in mid-air — it’s almost<br />

impossible to gauge where the sky ends<br />

and the sea begins. You knew Sardinia’s<br />

northeast coast would be a corker: its<br />

white-sand coves pick up best-beach<br />

awards as breezily as daisies. But the<br />

Maddalena islands’ shores are a notch<br />

up: so pristine and well-protected, the<br />

judges don’t yet know to add them to<br />

their shortlist. Of the 60-plus islands,<br />

you can only camp on a handful, so a<br />

boat trip is the best way to make this<br />

fantasy swim real. Dario, the skipper of<br />

’20s wooden sailboat Pulcinella, knows<br />

the Maddalenas like his own children,<br />

and always delivers his group (of 12<br />

max) there ahead of the pack. While he<br />

drops anchor, shimmy your way past<br />

others onto the first dinghy headed to<br />

shore — that way, yours will be the first<br />

body of the day to hit the crystal waters.<br />

Go in September: the shallow bays are<br />

tub-warm and you might even spot a<br />

dolphin or two.<br />

28 worldtravellermagazine.com



Bondi Icebergs<br />

Pool or sea? The dilemma has never<br />

been more delicious than at Sydney’s<br />

iconic Bondi Beach, where the sandy<br />

southern reaches meet an Olympicsized,<br />

man-made swimming pool<br />

(and a smaller kids’ one) known as<br />

‘the Icebergs’. The swimming club it’s<br />

named after was founded 90 years ago<br />

so that Bondi’s lifeguards could train<br />

year-round, and there’s nothing more<br />

exhilarating than being smacked in the<br />

face by salty surf while powering across<br />

its wind-rippled infinity pool. Don’t miss<br />

the sauna, included in your ticket price.<br />


The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye<br />

At the foot of Skye’s brooding Cuillin<br />

mountains, the river fizzes into a<br />

string of crystal-clear ponds. Clamber<br />

down from the trail onto broad, flat<br />

rocks so you can shed your gear and<br />

dive into the limpid water of the first<br />

pool. It’s freezing so bring a wetsuit<br />

outside of summer. Emboldened by<br />

that icy adrenaline? Dive down to swim<br />

under the submerged stone arch that<br />

connects two of the pools. They’re<br />

an easy half-hour hike along gently<br />

ascending hillside from the nearest car<br />

park (Glumagan Na Sithichean).<br />


Shangri-La Hotel at the<br />

Shard, London<br />

Swimming above London’s<br />

helicopters — in the Shard’s 52 nd -<br />

storey ‘Skypool’ — is a once-ina-lifetime<br />

encounter. It’s also a<br />

once-in-a-lifetime spend for a swim,<br />

as the pool is open only to hotel<br />

guests. Note to fitness swimmers:<br />

it’s diddy, at just 11m long. Note<br />

to parents: kids are only allowed<br />

between 9am and 11am and 3pm<br />

and 5pm. Note to daydreamers:<br />

there are sofas and free coffee, so<br />

make a morning of it.<br />


Four Seasons Serengeti<br />

A dust-dry plain sprouting baobab<br />

trees, clouds scudding across a<br />

burnt yellow sky, and<br />

herds of elephants, buffaloes and<br />

zebras at feeding time. A baby<br />

elephant clambers into the water to<br />

cool off just metres from the lip of<br />

the infinity pool where you’re doing<br />

the same. From sunrise to sunset,<br />

this glimmering water gives you a<br />

front-row seat for the Tanzanian<br />

watering hole’s daily dramas (keep<br />

your eyes peeled for trotting<br />

warthogs), as well as miles of empty<br />

savannah ahead. You’ll see the<br />

most diverse wildlife during the dry<br />

season (July-October).<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 29


©Marina Bay Sands, Singapore<br />


Marina Bay Sands, Singapore<br />

Singapore’s streets is the ultimate<br />

swimmer’s selfie. A 6am swim before<br />

the crowds arrive, with dawn breaking<br />

behind the sharp-shouldered towers of<br />

the financial district, is worth the price<br />

of the stay alone.<br />


Wadi Shab, Oman<br />

Look up: youngsters are diving off the<br />

cliffs, screeching into the soup-warm<br />

water. Their splashes are muffled by<br />

the slender Wadi Shab ravine, a deep<br />

valley of emerald-green pools edged<br />

by sandstone and palm trees. But<br />

you’ve already had your adrenaline fix<br />

scrambling over sandstone boulders<br />

for half an hour to get here (after<br />

a 2.5-hour drive from Muscat), so<br />

skip the jump and drift lazily into<br />

the pool. Swim through the shaded<br />

depths until you find the narrow<br />

arch at the end of the ravine. Here,<br />

the Wadi reveals its secret: a hidden<br />

cave pool, framed by a narrow<br />

waterfall, like a sultan’s secret<br />

bath house.<br />


Elbow Beach, Bermuda<br />

Swimming here is like gliding across a<br />

mag cover. Stroll east from the resortowned<br />

private stretch of Elbow beach<br />

to the public bit — a glorious swathe of<br />

sand known only by locals. Its pinktinged<br />

sand gives the sea an extraluminous<br />

aquamarine hue.<br />

3PERFECT<br />

POOLS IN<br />

THE UAE<br />




Here, it's as easy as<br />

opening the door<br />

of your over water<br />

villa and dipping<br />

straight into the<br />

tranquil swimming<br />

lagoons that weave<br />

their way through<br />

this Thai-inspired<br />

resort on Palm<br />

Jumeirah.<br />



Back with a fresh<br />

new look and feel,<br />

this luxury hotel's<br />

inifnity pool, at<br />

Nation Riviera<br />

Beach Club, draws<br />

design lovers<br />

with its elegant<br />

mix of colour and<br />

pattern. Chill while<br />

overlooking the<br />

private beach.<br />



Take the plunge<br />

and soak up the<br />

panoramic city<br />

views at the hotel's<br />

sparkling infinity<br />

pool. Perched high<br />

up on the Sky Deck,<br />

this elevated oasis<br />

in Downtown Dubai<br />

is best enjoyed with<br />

a drink in hand at<br />

the pool bar.<br />

Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort<br />

30 worldtravellermagazine.com



Grace Hotel, Santorini<br />

Santorini splash you’ve dreamt of<br />

— all smooth white edges meeting<br />

endless Mediterranean shimmer<br />

and honeymooners chain-ordering<br />

bubbly. Plan a walk for later (the<br />

bell-shaped Skaros Rock is in view,<br />

as is the coastal trail to that postcard<br />

town Oia), but for now, accept that<br />

the Grace’s pool scene is all about<br />

soaking up rays, grazing on sea<br />

bass carpaccio in the shaded nooks<br />

behind it, and people-watching from<br />

behind your shades. Rise early to<br />

nab the loungers to the far right of<br />

the pool as you face it: they’re the<br />

evening suntraps.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 31

3CITY<br />

SWIMS<br />


SPA, BATH<br />

You can’t swim in<br />

the ancient Roman<br />

baths here, but<br />

you can idle in<br />

the mineral-rich<br />

waters at this multilevel<br />

spa. Paddle<br />

through pools up to<br />

a heated open-air<br />

pool surrounded by<br />

spires and Regency<br />

rooftops.<br />


BERLIN<br />

Urban beaches<br />

pop up in summer<br />

from Paris to<br />

London, but<br />

Berlin’s is the<br />

coolest, a full-on<br />

neon-blue pool<br />

immersed in the<br />

Spree river. Go for<br />

mingling, beats<br />

and bars on its<br />

wooden deck.<br />


PARIS<br />

The grande-dame<br />

Art Deco pool is<br />

a photographer’s<br />

dream (and<br />

filmmaker’s: it had<br />

a cameo in the film<br />

Life of Pi) with its<br />

crisp balconies<br />

and doorways. To<br />

use it, you’ll need<br />

a key to the Hotel<br />

Molitor Paris.<br />

Thermae Bath Spa<br />


Angle Tarn,<br />

Lake District, England<br />

It’s nippy all right, but after a sweaty<br />

slog up from the valley below, nippy is<br />

precisely what you’ll be wanting. Dive<br />

in, surrendering to its icy embrace<br />

(a swimming cap will help), as your<br />

exhilarated whoops echo around<br />

the amphitheatre of lonely crags<br />

towering above. For swimmers, the<br />

Lake District is an all-you-can-eat<br />

buffet of lakes and meres, river pools<br />

and tarns, but if anywhere up here<br />

puts the ‘wild’ into ‘wild swimming’,<br />

it’s this mountain pool, marooned<br />

halfway up England’s highest summit,<br />

Scafell Pike. Distance swimmers need<br />

not apply—it’s only 200m from shore<br />

to shore. But lazybones should take<br />

their Speedos elsewhere: it’s dizzyingly<br />

remote, reached only after a two-hour<br />

ascent from Seathwaite, Wasdale Head<br />

or the Langdale Valley. Wild paddlers<br />

should budget for longer: all routes up<br />

(on excellent, waymarked paths) follow<br />

stunning mountain streams that twinkle<br />

and tease at every turn. Wild camping<br />

is the way to do it, if you can — a flat,<br />

grassy shelf on its northern shore is<br />

crying out for a tent and stove.<br />

32 worldtravellermagazine.com


© Palais Namaskar, Marrakech<br />


Palais Namaskar,<br />

Marrakech<br />

Atlas Mountains beyond, the pool<br />

is so serene it seems a shame<br />

to disturb it. Despite its vast<br />

proportions (long enough for<br />

lengths, but with shallow steps<br />

for kids, too), it is heated, so go in<br />

February/March when it’s 26°C by<br />

lunchtime, but the peaks are still<br />

snow-capped. Most guests use their<br />

private villa pools, leaving this one<br />

perpetually peaceful.<br />


Paxos, Greece<br />

Paxos has dreamy swims by the<br />

dozen, but the beach you want is<br />

Lakkos, a cliff-hugged splodge of<br />

white pebbles in the Ionian island’s<br />

northeast. Swim laps around the curl<br />

of the bay, or float over fish-silvered<br />

seaweed and spiny black urchins<br />

(mind your feet). Go in May, when the<br />

sea is warming up and you get the<br />

beach to yourself. Steps back up lead<br />

to a steep path best tackled barefoot<br />

— you’ll slide out of your flip-flops.<br />


The Blue Lagoon, Iceland<br />

Waste products from power stations<br />

don’t usually look this ethereally<br />

beautiful. But this is Iceland — so this<br />

man-made ‘lagoon’ is geothermal, the<br />

water luminously blue (it’s the silicates,<br />

since you asked), and sociable soaks in<br />

it are part of the culture. Travel snobs<br />

will tell you that real Icelanders are more<br />

likely to go to smaller, local pools (which<br />

is true), but none of those municipal<br />

baths offers the same dramatic black<br />

crags or haunting mistscape.<br />

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing<br />


Koh Hong, Thailand<br />

Everyone should take a boat trip in<br />

southern Thailand. Nowhere else in<br />

the world will you experience a more<br />

VIP-feeling voyage for so little cash<br />

(five hours’ gliding about costs from<br />

just $15). On your elegant longtail<br />

boat (speedboats are faster, but<br />

less romantic), strike a supermodel<br />

pose as you crane your neck to<br />

marvel at the mossy outcrops of<br />

the islands in the emerald waters<br />

off Krabi. Everyone does the Phi<br />

Phi islands, so head instead for the<br />

Hongs — Koh Hong National Park<br />

is the wild James Bond seduction<br />

fantasy you’ve always pictured.<br />

Book the right boat and its skipper<br />

will take you for a swim in the secret<br />

lagoon encircled by rock face at the<br />

island’s centre, before depositing<br />

you on fine, gold sand, under<br />

imposing, vine-tangled cliffs. The<br />

beach should be quiet, but up your<br />

chances by going in the shoulder<br />

season (late <strong>November</strong> or May).<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 33

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A daisy field in Svaneti, Georgia,<br />

with a view towards Ushba<br />

Postcards<br />

Stories from journeys<br />

far and wide<br />

GEORGIA p36<br />

BRAZIL p42<br />

VENICE p48<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 35


Soaking up<br />

the sun and scenery at<br />

Georgia Glamping<br />

36 worldtravellermagazine.com


Beyond Tbilisi lies a paradise of<br />

hiking,homestays and upmarket camping in<br />

Georgia. Yvonne Gorden goes exploring…<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 37


the clock on<br />

the wall reads<br />

5.30pm. Irina<br />

sits chatting at<br />

the large round table as her young<br />

grandchildren, Giorgi and Mariami,<br />

play beside her. Outside, chickens and<br />

pigs root around in the grass. Behind<br />

the house is forest and a dramatic<br />

mountain backdrop, the green fields<br />

and trees fading away to grey, rocky<br />

summits lined with snow and ice.<br />

It’s a peaceful scene in Gona, in<br />

the Racha region of western Georgia,<br />

5,500ft above sea level in the Caucasus<br />

Mountains. This was once a thriving<br />

village, but the remaining scattered<br />

houses are mostly deserted after<br />

the molybdenum mines closed<br />

in the 1950s; butterflies and wild<br />

flowers have claimed the gateways<br />

of abandoned properties. Irina<br />

and her family are the only fulltime<br />

residents, and even they only<br />

spend eight months of the year<br />

here, as the road is impassable<br />

from <strong>November</strong> to March due to<br />

snow. A few other families come<br />

for a week or two of holidays.<br />

We’re here, just a few miles from<br />

the Russian border, to experience<br />

Georgia’s less familiar areas, those<br />

untouched by tourism. We had to get<br />

permits to hike in the area and a local<br />

driver to bring us here in a 4x4, up<br />

a bumpy potholed road. The Racha<br />

highland region promises endless<br />

hiking trails, pristine mountains and<br />

glaciers, amazing food and a slowtravel<br />

experience away from betterknown<br />

areas such as Tbilisi and<br />

Svaneti. Even most of the Georgians<br />

I meet elsewhere haven’t been here.<br />

When we visit Irina and her family<br />

— her husband, Gia, their son David<br />

and his wife, Maka — they give us,<br />

a group of four slightly dishevelled<br />

hikers, a warm welcome. “They’re<br />

offering us cheese bread,” says<br />

Zviad, our guide, who is translating.<br />

Mariami’s crayons are cleared away<br />

and a plate of khachapuri appears<br />

on the table. Next, a tomato and<br />

cucumber salad. Then fruit.<br />

Soon the table fills with meat,<br />

cheese, wild onions and sour cream.<br />

Gia fills glasses and proposes the<br />

first of many toasts — to thank us<br />

for coming here. It’s typical Georgian<br />

hospitality, where guests are seen<br />

as a “gift from God”. The mines may<br />

be closed, but there are signs that<br />

the fledgling tourist industry will<br />

bring more people to the area. Irina<br />

proudly shows us a visitors’ book.<br />

Everyone is provided with just such<br />

a feast and not charged a penny.<br />

Earlier in the day, we’d hiked to<br />

the nearby Kirtisho glacier through<br />

woods of pine, chestnut, beech and<br />

rich green ferns, and along a forestry<br />

trail filled with wild roses, daisies<br />

and butterflies. The distant mountain<br />

peaks looked grey and moody, with<br />

pockets of snow and ice between rocky<br />

ridges. Meltwater rushed from a cave<br />

under the glacier to the river below.<br />

That evening, at Sergo’s Guest<br />

House, in the village of Ghebi, we<br />

gather at a communal dining table<br />

for a feast of chicken, potatoes and<br />

bread. Fellow guests from Belarus<br />

join our enthusiastic toasts, even<br />

though they don’t understand them.<br />

After dinner, we watch Sergo’s aunt<br />

making Racha cheese. There are four<br />

shared rooms — Sergo is adding more<br />

accommodation and a dining room to<br />

meet growing demand. After dinner,<br />

his builders, Giorgi and Zuriko, play<br />

dominoes under the stars as the haze<br />

of the Milky Way stretches over the<br />

silent mountains in the distance.<br />

In the next few years, the<br />

Transcaucasian Trail, a long-distance<br />

hiking route being developed in the<br />

Caucasus, will connect to the region,<br />

linking Svaneti to Ghebi and bringing<br />

more hikers to the area. Indeed, the<br />

walking is the highlight of our days.<br />

From the resort town of Shovi, a fourmile,<br />

3½-hour (each way) trek takes us<br />

up to the Buba glacier. The trail starts<br />

steep and muddy, through pine and<br />

beech forest. After a couple of hours, it<br />

opens up to subalpine meadows, with<br />

the long grass full of pink and white<br />

daisies, buttercups and butterflies.<br />

At the top of the meadow, at 8,000ft,<br />

we take in the scene — 360-degree<br />

views of jagged mountaintops.<br />

Credit: Yvonne Gorden / The Sunday Times / News Licensing<br />

38 worldtravellermagazine.com

Clockwise from top left:<br />

A deluxe tent at Georgia Glamping;<br />

wildflowers bloom in the mountains;<br />

hikers explore the Caucasus Mountains;<br />

cheese bread topped with egg; horses<br />

pause to drink from a mountain lake<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 39


Activities on the lake aside<br />

Georgia Glamping<br />

We fill our water bottles with<br />

cool water from a stream and<br />

watch as puffy clouds slowly push<br />

shadows over the green hills.<br />

At the country’s first glamping site,<br />

Glamping Georgia, in Ambrolauri, six<br />

space-age-looking round white tent<br />

pods are set on a hill, overlooking<br />

a valley and slopes of dense pine<br />

forest. Inside the air-conditioned<br />

tents, there’s a bathroom and a<br />

kitchenette; outside, a private deck<br />

with wicker rocking chairs. Linden,<br />

oak and apple trees surround the<br />

tents. The clean, fresh air is rich<br />

with birdsong and insects zip back<br />

and forth. The only other sound is<br />

the Krikhula River below. It’s the<br />

perfect place to disconnect. A canopy<br />

of stars opens up overhead and<br />

Giorgi, the owner, drops by to give<br />

us a bottle of his homemade grape.<br />

We spend the final days of our<br />

trip in central Georgia, at Borjomi,<br />

a summer retreat for the Romanovs,<br />

famous for its mineral waters and<br />

sulphur baths. Covering 210,000 acres,<br />

the Borjomi-Kharagauli National<br />

Park has one of the largest areas<br />

of pristine virgin forest in Europe,<br />

and many flora and fauna habitats.<br />

There are 12 marked trails for hiking,<br />

riding and snowshoeing, as well as<br />

tourist shelters and camping areas.<br />

We hike the Nikoloz Romanov Trail<br />

from Likani to Lomis mountain,<br />

where a river valley leads up through<br />

forest to alpine meadows of tall<br />

grasses and wild flowers. We pass<br />

only a handful of other hikers. I know<br />

that the reward at 7,200ft will be the<br />

views. What I don’t expect to find at<br />

the top is free-roaming horses with<br />

glossy brown coats, a tiny decorative<br />

church and carpets of wild blooms.<br />

This is what we came for — unspoilt<br />

nature and slow travel. It’s a few<br />

hours’ hike back down, but all I want<br />

to do is lie down amid the flowers,<br />

close my eyes and just breathe.<br />

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call<br />

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com<br />

‘<br />







’<br />

40 worldtravellermagazine.com

worldtravellermagazine.com 41


This image: A bowl of<br />

Moqueca, a traditional fish<br />

stew Opposite: A woman<br />

celebrates during carnival time<br />

This page: The pool<br />

at Amanpuri<br />

42 worldtravellermagazine.com

BRAZIL<br />

Street parties, sugar plantations, white sands and<br />

coral-snorkelling: if you want the Caribbean of old, you<br />

need Bahia, in Brazil, says Alex Robinson<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 43

entle bays<br />

where turtles<br />

swim in<br />

turquoise seas.<br />

Dancing feet<br />

on cobbled<br />

streets... The<br />

images filled my<br />

thoughts. Carnival drums and carved saints<br />

came to mind. Crimson sunsets and freshly<br />

cracked coconuts brimming over with juice.<br />

If I’d rung up a travel agent and uttered<br />

those words I know where they’d have<br />

recommended: the Caribbean for two weeks.<br />

But I knew precisely where my tropical<br />

daydreams could be brought to life — Brazil.<br />

For a while in the Noughties, I lived<br />

in Brazil’s biggest city, São Paulo. It was<br />

friends there — friends who I keep to this<br />

day — who’d opened my eyes to the allure<br />

of the northeastern state, Bahia. ‘You have<br />

to see it,’ I remember them swooning. ‘It’s<br />

just like Jamaica or Barbados, but better.’<br />

Of course I went — and not just the once.<br />

In Bahia, Africa was replanted in South<br />

America — under coconut palms and in<br />

sugarcane plantations cut from parrotfilled<br />

forests. Transported slaves were<br />

inevitably part of the story — and they held<br />

on fiercely to what traditions they could.<br />

The legacy for arrivals today? Spicy food,<br />

magical saints, street parties and irresistible<br />

music. I’ve holidayed in the Caribbean,<br />

and Bahia makes me think of what those<br />

islands might have been before the cruise<br />

ships and high-rise hotels arrived.<br />

Its state capital, Salvador — wow!<br />

Never mind Havana, this is the liveliest,<br />

most sultry colonial city in the Americas.<br />

The food’s unforgettable, the nightlife<br />

pulsating, and the white-sand beaches just<br />

a half-hour ferry-ride away on Itaparica<br />

island. It’s so good that, basically, I’ve<br />

never been able to tear myself away.<br />

So that’s where I’d be heading. But those<br />

friends again... Ringing me recently, they<br />

raved about Boipeba, a reef-fringed island<br />

south of Salvador, shrouded with forest,<br />

seemingly with more wild horses than<br />

people. ‘It puts Itaparica in the shade,’ they<br />

said. It stuck in my mind as I finalised<br />

my plans. Would Boipeba be the one to<br />

seduce me from Salvador’s embrace?<br />

Watching the sun sinking golden over<br />

Salvador from the balcony of my hotel room<br />

on my first breeze-cooled afternoon, I was<br />

already falling back under its spell. The<br />

houses of the Pelourinho, the old colonial<br />

centre, rolled down a hill below me in<br />

tumbledown terracotta and stippled steeples<br />

to a Tiffany-blue sea. Itaparica island floated<br />

on the horizon. A hummingbird flitted over<br />

a bougainvillea tree next to my window and<br />

music wafted up from the streets. As the day<br />

was ending in buttery yellow light, Salvador<br />

was waking up. It was Saturday night and<br />

soon it would be dark — time to let the<br />

sensuous, spontaneous city carry me away.<br />

Outside the hotel, Terreiro de Jesus Square<br />

was a swirl of movement. Afro-Brazilian<br />

women in huge bustle skirts and bright<br />

headscarves served steaming falafel-like<br />

acarajé snacks at lace-draped stalls. The<br />

air was sweet with the scent of chilli and<br />

shrimp, and danced with the melodious<br />

chatter of Brazilian Portuguese. I heard<br />

the rat-a-tat of a repinique samba drum<br />

echoing from one of the brightly painted<br />

houses set around the square, and in the<br />

distance, the Voodoo Chile wah-wah twang<br />

of a berimbau — the single-string guitar<br />

with a gourd for a sound board. I followed<br />

the notes along a narrow cobbled street into<br />

the thronging heart of the Pelourinho.<br />

Music was everywhere: a normal<br />

Salvador weekend entle bays where feels<br />

like Trinidad in carnival time. Brazilian<br />

reggae oozed from streetside bars, samba<br />

skipped across little praças. And somewhere<br />

I could hear that most Salvadorean of<br />

sounds — an afoxê orchestra warming<br />

up. Paul Simon called afoxê the ‘rhythm<br />

of the saints’ — a pounding, visceral<br />

beat that hits you below the waistline.<br />

It’s played by bands of drummers who<br />

parade through the streets with military<br />

precision and tribal swing. They energise<br />

the Pelourinho at weekends, calling the<br />

crowds with bass drums and clattering<br />

timbales, and pulling revellers behind<br />

them like Pied Pipers with percussion.<br />

First, a drink or two. At my favourite<br />

Salvador bar, Uauá, above a narrow street<br />

leading into the Pelourinho, I had a ringside<br />

seat. As my first Caipirinha arrived, an afoxê<br />

band came round the corner. By the second,<br />

I was jiggling in my seat, ready to dance. I<br />

could already hear the next wave coming.<br />

44 worldtravellermagazine.com

BRAZIL<br />

Clockwise from top left:<br />

Sunset falls on La Rivera beach;<br />

traditional drummers bring the<br />

beat to the street; a colourful hut<br />

between coconut palm trees on<br />

Boipeba Island; capoeira played<br />

on the beach<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 45

The Old Town in Salvador<br />

46 worldtravellermagazine.com

BRAZIL<br />

‘<br />





’<br />

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing<br />

Banda Didá, an all-female percussion band<br />

led by a woman with a huge pink Afro<br />

burst into the street below me, playing<br />

right below my table. A local couple at<br />

the next table looked across and smiled.<br />

‘Vamos, amigo!’ they said. I had no choice.<br />

Salvador had taken me. So I joined them<br />

on the streets, to parade and dance behind<br />

Banda Didá, drink more Caipirinhas and<br />

finish the night goodness knows when.<br />

Sunday morning woke me with<br />

church bells and more percussion.<br />

I’d only had a few hours’ sleep, but I<br />

couldn’t resist Salvador’s drums.<br />

Later, as I cooled in the hotel pool<br />

with an açai-berry smoothie, I could<br />

feel myself coming dangerously close to<br />

giving in to Salvador’s seductive pull —<br />

there were all those markets to revisit,<br />

piquant food to sample, more glittering<br />

churches, more drum parades...<br />

‘Stay,’ sang Salvador. Boipeba, I<br />

reminded myself. I needed to get there<br />

before Salvador sucked me in. So I<br />

skipped the overland route south via<br />

sugarcane fields and chocolate plantations<br />

and splashed out on an air taxi.<br />

The flight was spectacular — over<br />

the terracotta and high-rise sprawl of<br />

Salvador, the glittering Bay of All Saints,<br />

specked with white yachts and tiny beachfringed<br />

islands. Then rainforest: ribbons<br />

of brown river snaking through the green<br />

into swathes of spidery mangroves, white<br />

egrets floating above them like winddrifting<br />

petals. An eagle... The mangroves<br />

became beaches and beaches and beaches.<br />

Then we dropped over a river-mouth<br />

harbour with a few wooden fishing boats,<br />

a tiny hamlet of cottages, a cocoa tree<br />

plantation, a gash of grass cut from the<br />

coconut palms... This was Boipeba.<br />

I’d decided to stay in Boipeba village.<br />

There were options further south that<br />

looked wilder, but I wanted a bit of<br />

local life. The island, friends had told<br />

me, is cut with trails running through<br />

the rainforest, sweeping along the<br />

beaches. Don’t just flop on the beach,<br />

they said. Boipeba is a place to walk.<br />

My hotel, Pousada Santa Clara, was<br />

a delight, shaded by tall branches and<br />

set in its own butterfly-filled tropical<br />

garden near the village beach. I allowed<br />

myself one afternoon to laze in the<br />

hammock outside my room, thumbing<br />

a paperback and watching as marmoset<br />

monkeys played in the trees, and little<br />

agoutis — like guinea pigs on stilts —<br />

rummaged underneath. In the evening<br />

I wandered along the beach into the<br />

village, a strip of sand lined with a few<br />

thatched bars, and watched the sun<br />

sink watermelon-red behind the palms.<br />

The moqueca I ordered — a fish stew<br />

similar to Jamaican rundown, but with<br />

twice the flavour — came in a huge<br />

terracotta pot, simmering in coconut and<br />

dendê oil, garnished with coriander.<br />

But the locals at the adjacent table<br />

— three young men with dreadlocks<br />

and tiny Speedos and a woman in an<br />

equally tiny bikini — wouldn’t let me eat<br />

alone. ‘This is Bahia,’ they laughed. And<br />

I was pulled over to join them at their<br />

table. Glasses clinked in introduction<br />

— ‘Pedro, Chico, João e Andressa.’<br />

‘Meet us on the beach tomorrow,’ they<br />

said after dinner. ‘We’ll play capoeira,<br />

then show you the way to Moreré. It’s the<br />

most beautiful beach on the island.’ Like<br />

Salvador, Boipeba had taken hold of me.<br />

The next day I woke early, when the<br />

sun was still twinkling low over the sea,<br />

its first rays as gentle as the lapping<br />

water on Boipeba village’s white beach.<br />

Capoeira is tough — a whirligig martialart<br />

dance with intricate steps. I’d never<br />

even managed the most basic of them.<br />

But then my new friends appeared, all<br />

smiles and high-fives, and the capoeira<br />

began — João with the berimbau, me<br />

awkwardly bashing out rhythms on a<br />

hand drum. And Andressa and Chico<br />

began to dance — spinning and swirling<br />

at effortless speed. I was dragged in. And<br />

with all the rhythm and positive energy<br />

of the morning I somehow managed a<br />

capoeira ginga — the simplest three-way<br />

step that lies behind all capoeira moves.<br />

It was the first time I’d mastered it, and I<br />

sat down, sweaty, panting and grinning<br />

with boyish pleasure at my achievement.<br />

After a cool beach-bar passionfruit<br />

juice we set off to Moreré, my toes<br />

sinking into the sand as I walked, sending<br />

ghost crabs scurrying into their burrows.<br />

The path left the sand and cut up into<br />

rainforest. An iridescent blue morpho<br />

butterfly as big as a handkerchief floated<br />

along before us like a spirit guide. Birds<br />

chirruped welcomes overhead and a<br />

cicada soundwave washed through the<br />

trees, hissing like water on a shingly<br />

shore. We passed beach after beach,<br />

all gorgeous enough to fill a whole day.<br />

There was palm-shaded Tassimirim,<br />

empty but for a couple of feral horses.<br />

(‘You can hire a horse for a beach ride,’<br />

Andressa told me.) Then the long,<br />

broad crescent of white-pepper-fine<br />

sand at Cueira — which took half an<br />

hour to walk across. (‘This is where we<br />

come to body-surf,’ said João.) And<br />

then Moreré.<br />

Moreré is that beach everyone<br />

dreams of — squeaky white sand,<br />

turquoise sea, towering coconut palms<br />

and a single bamboo kiosk, painted<br />

in bright colours, with wooden tables<br />

in the sand under a thatch roof. The<br />

Caribbean had nothing on this.<br />

We ordered fresh fish straight from<br />

the reef and a chilled green coconut. The<br />

bartender — like a young Grace Jones<br />

— opened it with two swift hacks of a<br />

machete. Later we snorkelled over the<br />

turtle-filled reef and lazed in tidal pools<br />

as big as tennis courts. It was bliss.<br />

And I had a week ahead of me to<br />

snorkel, to body-surf, to horse-ride<br />

and to wander the forest trails.<br />

Salvador had seduced me. But on<br />

Boipeba I had fallen in love.<br />

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call<br />

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 47

long<br />

the<br />

weekend<br />

Venice<br />

A labyrinth of busy squares,<br />

colourful canals and marble<br />

palazzos, this floating city<br />

floods the imagination with<br />

its classical beauty<br />

This page: A gondola gliding its<br />

way through the city<br />

Opposite, from top: Sweeping<br />

views of the Dorsoduro district,<br />

Al Ponte Antico Hotel<br />

48 worldtravellermagazine.com


Venice welcomes you with an enchanting serenade, as<br />

gondoliers glide their way through the intricate web of<br />

the city's many waterways, carrying loved-up couples<br />

from all over the world. The beating heart of the city<br />

is the Grand Canal, a reflection of architectural glories<br />

with exquisite palazzos and gothic museums lining its<br />

banks. On land, narrow backstreets twist past and over<br />

bridges to unveil a treasure trove of art and culture.<br />

The city is divided into six districts (the sestieri), each<br />

with its own charm and character. One way or another,<br />

you're bound to wind up at San Marco. At the core<br />

of the city, it is where iconic sights, such as St. Mark’s<br />

Basilica and the Doge’s Palace can be found. Across the<br />

Rialto Bridge is San Polo with its lively bar scene, while<br />

the artisans' neighbourhood of Dorsoduro is brimming<br />

with prestigious art galleries. The largest of the sestieri,<br />

Castello is where you can watch elderly Venetian women<br />

gossip between windows and children playing ball in<br />

the piazzas. Lose yourself in the winding alleyways and<br />

discover why visitors flock to this fairytale-like city.<br />


Doze off to the lullabies<br />

of the city<br />

Literary<br />

dream<br />

These hidden gems will<br />

result in a serious case of<br />

bibliophilia<br />

The artsy one: Officially<br />

declared a National<br />

Monument on account of<br />

its beauty, Ca Sagredo<br />

Hotel is an art-lovers<br />

dream-stay. Make your<br />

way up the magnificent<br />

18th century Scalone dei<br />

Giganti staircase that’s<br />

entirely surrounded by<br />

frescoes, and wander<br />

through hallways adorned<br />

with original masterpieces<br />

by Venetian painters<br />

including Niccolò Bambini<br />

and Giambattista Tiepolo.<br />

The grand one: It's easy<br />

to understand why the<br />

Clooney’s chose to spend<br />

their wedding night at this<br />

sumptuous 16th century<br />

palazzo. Aman Venice<br />

welcomes you with its own<br />

brand of luxury – think<br />

trompe-l’oeil grandiose<br />

staircase, Murano glass<br />

chandeliers, Rubelli silk<br />

wall coverings and Rococo<br />

works of art, to name a few.<br />

The cosy one: Tucked away<br />

in the charming Dorsoduro<br />

district, Ca’ Maria Adele<br />

draws style-conscious<br />

travellers with its unique<br />

take on Venetian décor.<br />

The boutique hotel boasts<br />

five concept rooms, each<br />

with its own design and<br />

story. Book the Sala Noire<br />

and relish in its delicious<br />

decadence while the Sala<br />

del Doge will make you feel<br />

like a duke with its swathes<br />

of scarlet boldness.<br />

The bella vista one: For<br />

gorgeous city views, the<br />

terrace at Al Ponte Antico<br />

is a fantastic place to have<br />

a drink while gazing at the<br />

Grand Canal and the Rialto.<br />

Its central location also<br />

means that some of the<br />

best sights in Venice are<br />

within walking distance.<br />



ALTA Here, books fill<br />

old gondolas, canoes,<br />

bathtubs and barrels.<br />

Encyclopaedias line the<br />

walls to make an<br />

intriguing staircase and<br />

fluffy cats inhabit every<br />

corner as if they rule the<br />

place. This chaotic yet<br />

charming book shop is<br />

the city’s best-kept secret<br />

and a dream come true<br />

for bargain hunters due to<br />

its second-hand literary<br />

treasures.<br />



Considered one of the<br />

oldest and most stunning<br />

libraries in Italy, this<br />

architectural beauty<br />

is home to the largest<br />

classical texts collections<br />

in the world, including<br />

manuscripts, incunabula,<br />

and works printed between<br />

1500 and 1600.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 49


Get crafty<br />

Take a piece of the city<br />

back home<br />

From top to bottom:<br />

A bowl of squid ink pasta,<br />

decorative Venetian masks,<br />

St Mark's Campanile<br />

Venetian masks<br />

A tradition that dates back<br />

thousands of years, maskmaking<br />

is an integral part<br />

of the city’s culture. Avoid<br />

paying over the odds at<br />

touristy souvenir shops and<br />

opt for making one yourself<br />

at Ca’Macana – the family<br />

owned store is known for<br />

creating the masks that<br />

appeared in the film Eyes<br />

Wide Shut. camacana.com<br />

Murano glass<br />

Watching a Murano glass<br />

sculpture come to life<br />

is as fascinating as its<br />

translucent beauty, and the<br />

island of Murano is the only<br />

place on the planet that<br />

produces these coveted<br />

pieces of art. Get an insider<br />


Discover the lagoon city's hidden food haunts<br />

The Venetian version<br />

of tapas, Cicchetti is a<br />

must-try while in Venice.<br />

These traditional bites,<br />

served on small plates<br />

designed to share, will<br />

have your taste buds<br />

shouting “mamma<br />

mia!” Enjoy it the local<br />

way at Cantina Do<br />

Mori, but don’t expect<br />

to be seated; you’ll<br />

have to eat it like the<br />

locals do – standing<br />

up. For lunch, head to<br />

Ristorante Upupa and<br />

be sure to order their<br />

famous Spaghetti al<br />

Nero di Seppia. The<br />

distinctive pasta dish<br />

will win you over with<br />

its delicious flavour and<br />

charcoal black colour<br />

(courtesy of the squid<br />

ink). End the evening at<br />

one of the oldest cafés<br />

in Europe, Caffè Florian<br />

(caffeflorian.com). Having<br />

opened its doors in<br />

1720, it exudes old-world<br />

charm and boasts a<br />

stunning outdoor terrace<br />

on St Mark's Square.<br />

look at different glass<br />

techniques thanks to the<br />

dedicated tours on offer at<br />

Mazzega Glass Factory.<br />

Burano lace<br />

It’s said that King Louis XIV<br />

of France wore an original<br />

Burano lace collar on the<br />

day of his coronation.<br />

Suffice to say, it's an<br />

artwork in its own right. But<br />

you don’t need to go all<br />

the way to Burano Island to<br />

get these lovely crafts, as<br />

the famous Il Merletto shop<br />

in Venice displays a wide<br />

selection of original work.<br />


To get a thorough understanding of how beautiful<br />

this city is, you need to get on top of it. Not only<br />

does the St Mark's Campanile offer a breathtaking<br />

view of the Venetian Lagoon, it’s also home to one<br />

of the largest bells in the city, la Marangona. Just<br />

a short boat-ride away, San Giorgio Maggiore<br />

is a defining point on the Venice skyline, and its<br />

unrivalled panoramic views of the city makes it<br />

unlike any other. Hidden on a quiet street in the<br />

bustling tourist centre of St. Mark’s Square, Scala<br />

Contarini del Bovolo is instantly recognisable due<br />

to its snail's shell-like spiral staircase. Ascend the<br />

tower's twisting steps, pausing to look at the views<br />

revealed at every twist and turn. Once you reach the<br />

top, you’ll be awed by the picturesque view.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 51



Each with its own story, Venetian bridges<br />

unveil the city's deep-seated history<br />

From top: Bridge of<br />

Sighs; St. Mark's Square<br />

Legend has it that lovers who kiss on a gondola at<br />

sunset under the Ponte dei Sospiri will be granted<br />

eternal love and happiness. Designed by Italian<br />

architect Antonio Contino, the bridge connects the<br />

Doge's Palace to the city’s historic prisons. It’s said<br />

that prisoners, on their way to incarnation, got to<br />

take one last peek at the city through the bridge’s<br />

tiny gaps. Overcome with its beauty, it prompted<br />

them to sigh, hence its moniker: the Bridge of Sighs.<br />

One of the last remaining Venetian bridges<br />

without guardrails, Ponte Chiodo in the Cannaregio<br />

neighbourhood is the place to get your thrills of the<br />

day. If you’re feeling courageous, you can capture<br />

that coveted Instagram shot of your legs dangling<br />

over the edge.<br />

One of only four bridges to span the Grand Canal,<br />

Ponte dell'Accademia charms with its peaceful<br />

ambience and unique views of the city. Something<br />

of an undiscovered gem, the bridge packs less<br />

crowds than the city’s main attraction, the Rialto<br />

Bridge, making it your ideal sunset destination.<br />

ask a local<br />

BRICK IN<br />

THE WALL<br />

Carlo Bettuolo,<br />

destination wedding<br />

photographer,<br />

shares her his top<br />

tips for exploring<br />

the city<br />

Get lost in Castello, the oldest district<br />

in the city, and admire the architectural<br />

details of buildings steeped in more than<br />

eight centuries of history. For the perfect<br />

Instagram shot, head to San Moisè Bridge<br />

– its colourful background will ensure your<br />

feed pops. For anyone visiting for the first<br />

time, I always recommend the guided tour<br />

of Teatro la Fenice, which is one of the<br />

most beautiful opera houses in the world.<br />

The city is brimming over with first-class<br />

dining venues but my absolute favourite<br />

is Algiubagió. Be seated at a table on the<br />

wooden platform overlooking the lagoon<br />

and tuck into delicious Venetian staples<br />

and fresh seafood dishes. The restaurant's<br />

stunning views will stay with you long after<br />

you leave.<br />

From exquisite marble<br />

palaces to hidden<br />

gems on the Grand<br />

Canal, there are<br />

numerous architectural<br />

marvels to discover.<br />

St Mark's Basilica<br />

(basilicasanmarco.it)<br />

is hard to miss with its<br />

luminous gold mosaics<br />

and profusion of grand<br />

domes. Dating back<br />

to the 11th century, the<br />

Venetian cathedral is<br />

a leading example of<br />

Byzantine architecture.<br />

A short walk away<br />

is Doge's Palace<br />

(palazzoducale.<br />

visitmuve.it), a gothic<br />

masterpiece that is the<br />

formerly the seat of<br />

Venetian government.<br />

Its interior is equally<br />

stunning with highlights<br />

including the Sala del<br />

Maggior Consiglio (the<br />

grand council hall) and<br />

Sansovino’s golden<br />

stairway, Scala d’Oro.<br />

If you tire of<br />

pounding the<br />

pavements, why not<br />

give in to the classic<br />

tourist bucket-list<br />

experience of a<br />

gondola tour along<br />

the canals. Splash out<br />

on a private guide<br />

who can steer you<br />

past all the top sites<br />

and into the smaller,<br />

more tranquil canals<br />

that offer a glimpse of<br />

everyday city life.<br />

Words: Habiba Azab<br />

52 worldtravellermagazine.com

HAVE YOU<br />




DEALZ<br />


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The suite life<br />

Be immersed in the sights and sounds of the city by<br />

staying at these luxury hotels at the heart of the UAE capital<br />

1Emirates Palace<br />

From its gilded domes to its<br />

24-karat gold-flaked cappuccinos,<br />

it comes as no surprise that this<br />

exclusive hotel counts royalty among<br />

its regular guests. A grand example of<br />

Arabian hospitality, this iconic hotel is<br />

a landmark in its own right. It boasts<br />

over 200 spacious rooms decorated<br />

with regal furnishings, a private<br />

beach, an auditorium that regularly<br />

plays host to high-brow concerts and<br />

events, and an impressive line-up of<br />

restaurants, including Martabaan by<br />

Hemant Oberoi.<br />

2Fairmont Bab Al Bahr<br />

Offering a picture-perfect vista<br />

of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,<br />

this five-star beachfront hotel calls<br />

design buffs with its architecturally<br />

stunning glass exterior that's bathed<br />

in blue light at night. Elegantly<br />

decorated rooms and suites, soaking<br />

tubs with a view and an inviting lap<br />

pool characterise this enduringly<br />

popular property, situated at the<br />

mainland gateway. Gourmands should<br />

head to the newly-opened Marco's<br />

New York Italian by Marco Pierre<br />

White for a meal to remember.<br />

3<br />

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi<br />

Luxury permeates every aspect<br />

of this hospitality stalwart located<br />

on Abu Dhabi Corniche. Prepare to be<br />

swept away by the signature butler<br />

service, grand dual staircase (just like the<br />

ones you see in the movies) and plush<br />

suites. For the ultimate extravagance,<br />

book a stay at the world’s highest<br />

suspended presidential suite. Or for a<br />

simple taste of the elevated lifestyle, you<br />

can enjoy a thrilling dinner 255 metres<br />

high at the exclusive Helipad Sunset<br />

Suppers, which take place once a month.<br />

To find out more, visit visitabudhabi.ae<br />

Photo: Emirates Palace<br />

54 worldtravellermagazine.com

Island<br />

Lore<br />

Mysterious coconuts, voodoo<br />

dolls and otherworldly<br />

beaches, Sophia Dyer is<br />

spellbound by the Seychelles<br />

56 worldtravellermagazine.com


Legend has it that a traveller who<br />

eats from the breadfruit tree<br />

while in the Seychelles is fated to<br />

return to its sandy shores. A melting<br />

pot of people and cultures, it only<br />

seems right that the Creole islands<br />

are brimming with local legends,<br />

myths and folklore. A self-confessed<br />

purveyor of all things mystic, it was<br />

the islands ‘more than meets the<br />

eye’ appeal that lured me, far more<br />

than just its postcard scenes.<br />

First on my numinous pursuit was<br />

unearthing the mysterious coco de<br />

mer, a distinct palm endemic to just<br />

two of the 115 Seychellean islands.<br />

Like something from prehistoric<br />

fiction, the suggestively curvaceous<br />

coconuts looked as if they belonged<br />

in the imagination of a weary sailor<br />

who had been out at sea for a number<br />

of weeks before finally reaching dry<br />

land. Yet here they were growing on<br />

huge palms so tall they seemingly<br />

touched the grey clouds, which were<br />

drooping low, heavy with rain.<br />

“People used to think the coco<br />

de mer trees grew in a forest at the<br />

bottom of the ocean, before the<br />

coconuts fell upwards and washed<br />

up on the beaches around the<br />

Indian Ocean,” Leroy, my tour guide<br />

explained with a wry smile. In the<br />

1600s the huge shells that washed<br />

up on shores were traded around the<br />

Arabian Peninsula for vast sums of<br />

money. Those who found the beached<br />

husks in the Maldives however, were<br />

ordered to hand them over to the<br />

king or face the death penalty. It<br />

wasn’t until British General Charles<br />

Gordon, discovered the uninhabited<br />

Seychelles isles in 1881 that the fate<br />

of the plant was changed forever.<br />

Taking one look at the mysteriously<br />

shaped nut, Gordon declared that<br />

he had found the original forbidden<br />

fruit. Drawing the only plausible<br />

conclusion, of course – that he had<br />

stumbled upon the Garden of Eden.<br />

Gordon’s revelation pleased the<br />

local community and saw the coco<br />

de mer become a protected species,<br />

putting an end to the trading of the<br />

fruit and introducing strict laws. Fast<br />

forward to today and it’s the reason<br />

why I came to be stood in Vallée de<br />

Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin island.<br />

One of the smallest UNESCO sites<br />

in the world, it is fiercely guarded<br />

by beefy security guards who patrol<br />

the grounds to ensure there is no<br />

untoward nut-nabbing, and quite<br />

understandably too as they can<br />

fetch up to $500. (Even if you could<br />

sneak past the guards, I wouldn’t<br />

recommend bagging one, as you<br />

need an export license to get these<br />

hefty nuts out of the country. Not to<br />

mention, with the nuts weighing up<br />

to 30kg, you’ll almost certainly be<br />

over on your baggage allowance.)<br />

Hawk-eyed guards aside, walking<br />

among these ancient trees felt truly<br />

special. Perhaps it had more to do<br />

with my love of a good story than<br />

the enigmatic palms themselves,<br />

but I was almost certain I could feel<br />

a subtle magic in the air here. Was<br />

Gordon onto something after all?<br />

Breaking the spell, I landed back in<br />

the site's gift shop to pricey nuts<br />

and the obligatory tourist tat.<br />

Since Gordon’s discovery, the<br />

African archipelagos have been<br />

penned as ‘paradise on Earth’ and, like<br />

its Indian Ocean counterparts, over<br />

the years it has become synonymous<br />

with honeymooners. The Seychelles,<br />

fitting the seemingly mandatory white<br />

sand beach bill, was the postnuptial<br />

destination of choice of George and<br />

Amal Clooney and the UK’s Duke<br />

and Duchess of Cambridge. While I<br />

Opposite page: Constance<br />

Lemuria beach This page: An aerial<br />

view of Constance Lemuria, Praslin<br />

was on a solo pursuit, if the beaches<br />

were good enough for the A-list, they<br />

were surely good enough for me.<br />

Known for being one of the nicest<br />

stretches of sand in the Seychelles,<br />

Anse Georgette was gothically<br />

moody. The dark green foliage<br />

surrounding the cove swayed<br />

rhythmically in the breeze as the<br />

ocean crashed into the rocks with<br />

a passionate force. Adding a hint<br />

of mystery, an ethereal mist floated<br />

down from the hills, evaporating<br />

as soon as it touched the water.<br />

Somewhat naïve to the powers<br />

of the ocean, I ran straight in as<br />

the clouds broke above me, at last<br />

relenting their pent-up rain with great<br />

catharsis. After a few exhales, the<br />

powerful waves threw me back onto<br />

the shore, to which I abided willingly.<br />

Settling down onto the sand, the<br />

rain began to ease and eventually<br />

the sun peaked through the clouds<br />

in otherworldly defiance. But what<br />

was extra special about this beach<br />

was that, bar myself and a few other<br />

travellers huddled under the trees,<br />

it was completely empty. This was<br />

probably due to the fact that getting<br />

here can be an exercise (involving<br />

a boat and hike). That is unless, like<br />

me, you are staying at Constance<br />

Lemuria, which boasts the beach<br />

as part of its grounds. Having just<br />

105 rooms and employing 402 staff<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 57

Lemuria, earns the right to brand<br />

itself as an exclusive luxury resort.<br />

Not only providing unparalleled levels<br />

of service (thanks to the staff to<br />

guest ratio), the resort is also home<br />

to nesting hawksbill turtles and a<br />

host of five-star dining experiences.<br />

Pulling up to the hotel’s entrance,<br />

most of the passengers in my car<br />

were charmed by the pretty view of<br />

Lemuria’s 18-hole golf course – its<br />

fairways sparkling with dew. But<br />

to my golf-ignorant self, there was<br />

something far more interesting to<br />

the right. Just before the gates of<br />

the hotel, standing in solitude, was<br />

a solemn grey-hued bungalow.<br />

Its cracked walls and missing<br />

windows giving it an eerie feel, as<br />

if it was abandoned either halfway<br />

through a remodel or demolition.<br />

While pondering the reason it<br />

stood neglected, I met the eye of a<br />

disembodied dolls head pierced by<br />

a stick. One of its eyes was sharply<br />

open and seemingly glaring at mine,<br />

while the other seemed to droop<br />

shut in disdain. Before I could react,<br />

the voodoo-esque doll was out<br />

of sight, as we zoomed through<br />

the gates and were hurtled up the<br />

winding paths to reach the lobby.<br />

Large pillar candles lined the path<br />

to the grand, mahogany doors,<br />

which remained firmly shut until the<br />

staff shuffled into position. With<br />

the loud striking of a gong, the<br />

heavy doors were swung open as<br />

the smiley team chorused in unison,<br />

“welcome to paradise”. And as<br />

twee as it may sound, there was no<br />

denying that the vista ahead was<br />

nothing short of archetypal utopia.<br />

The indoor-outdoor lobby,<br />

surrounded by dense foliage,<br />

had kestrels flying overhead and<br />

peacocks roaming on nearby<br />

rocks. It overlooked the swimming<br />

pool, before the view seductively<br />

unfolded down to the white sand<br />

beach and ocean beyond.<br />

“According to folklore, the island of<br />

Lemuria was where people and nature<br />

lived in perfect harmony before it sank<br />

to the bottom of the Indian Ocean. In<br />

keeping with the legend, we create a<br />

balance between nature and humans<br />

at the resort,” the friendly host,<br />

‘<br />

THE DARK<br />



THE COVE<br />

SWAYED<br />



’<br />

Alyona, explained as she showed me<br />

to my room. Attesting this, Constance<br />

Lemuria was the first resort in the<br />

Seychelles to receive a Green Globe<br />

award and continues to be one of the<br />

leaders for environmental practice<br />

among the neighbouring resorts and<br />

the local community. A welcome<br />

sight for my ‘save the planet’ attuned<br />

eyes, the hotel's green initiatives<br />

meant reusable glass bottles of water<br />

replaced their plastic equivalents in my<br />

suite. Helping myself to a thoughtfully<br />

placed, handcrafted dark chocolate,<br />

my stomach began to rumble.<br />

Lemuria’s creole influenced<br />

restaurant, The Nest, produced<br />

creatively displayed yet hefty<br />

portioned and richly flavoursome<br />

dishes. The first course appeared to<br />

be an elegantly constructed melon<br />

salad. However, a few bites in and<br />

I was pleasantly surprised by the<br />

white fruit’s uncharacteristically<br />

moreish, carbohydrate-rich taste. It<br />

turned out that the incognito fruit<br />

was, in fact, breadfruit. Breadfruit<br />

trees (suitably named after the fruit’s<br />

starchy consistency) were brought<br />

to the Seychelles along with a host<br />

of goods and folklore from around<br />

the globe by the archipelago’s first<br />

settlers. And much like my appetite<br />

for the lore, I couldn't help but dig<br />

into a second serving of the fruit.<br />

Another fine moment for my taste<br />

buds came a couple of days later while<br />

sunning myself on a beach in Mahé.<br />

With an expert whack of a knife, the<br />

coconut stall man handed me a green<br />

nut from which the nectar was now<br />

mine to slurp. Sipping away merrily, I<br />

watched local children play football<br />

to a soundtrack of hip-hop classics<br />

being pumped out from a Bluetooth<br />

speaker. A stark contrast from the<br />

quiet beaches of Praslin, Mahé’s<br />

beaches were, much to my enjoyment,<br />

abuzz with life. Quite rightly so, all<br />

the beaches in the Seychelles are<br />

open to the public, so here on the<br />

main island it is commonplace to be<br />

milling among the locals even inside<br />

the confines of your five-star resort.<br />

This resort, named Ephelia, another<br />

of Constance’s hotels, spans over<br />

120-hectares of land and caters mainly<br />

to families (or couples who easily<br />

bore of one another) with a solid line<br />

up of activities. Opting for a spot of<br />

snorkelling one afternoon, I headed<br />

to the beach, passing the vibrant<br />

red hibiscus trees that lined the path<br />

in an orderly fashion. By this point,<br />

feeling suitably settled into the island<br />

spirit, I picked a fresh flower from the<br />

ground and placed it behind my ear.<br />

“Do you know what that means?”,<br />

the watersports shack assistant asked<br />

me, pointing to the flower in my hair.<br />

“Err…” I mustered while wracking<br />

my mind for hibiscus trivia.<br />

“No,” I concluded.<br />

“It means you’re open to meeting<br />

someone special,” he laughed. And<br />

while this was not on my atoll agenda,<br />

not one for abiding to convention, I<br />

decided to leave the flower in my hair<br />

as I waddled into the ocean, flippers<br />

on feet, snorkel in hand. As I swam<br />

beside the entire cast of Finding<br />

Nemo, apart from Nemo (aptly) the<br />

hibiscus flower floated into the ocean<br />

along with the last of the Seychelles<br />

folklore I had time to uncover.<br />

When my five nights on the Creole<br />

isles drew to a close, I had gotten<br />

more than I bargained for, with an<br />

awakened lust for island living that<br />

made returning to the city seem near<br />

impossible. The Seychelles is not only<br />

profoundly beautiful, but vivaciously<br />

full of life and grit. And if you’re<br />

mystically minded, the island’s deeprooted<br />

legends are the gifts that keep<br />

on giving. Days later as I sit dreaming<br />

up ways to return to the Seychelles, I<br />

wonder if perhaps there’s something<br />

in that breadfruit legend after all.<br />

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call<br />

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com<br />

58 worldtravellermagazine.com


Clockwise from left: A wild<br />

peacock; an aerial view of<br />

Constance Ephelia in Mahé, children<br />

play on a Seychelles beach; the<br />

coco de mer nuts in Praslin<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 59



Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai<br />

Situated along the Dubai Water Canal, this showstopper wows with its A-list style luxury<br />


From the floor-to-ceiling gold chains<br />

to the art installations lining the<br />

corridors, Art Deco vibes prevail here –<br />

a look that's reflected in all the hotel's<br />

rooms and suites. Relax in style in<br />

either the Vice Presidential Suite or<br />

the Presidential Suite, each offering<br />

their own set of luxuries including a<br />

complimentary breakfast in bed, butler<br />

service and club lounge access.<br />

THE FOOD<br />

Boasting not one, but two, in-house<br />

celebrity chef-led restaurants, this is a<br />

foodie's dream destination. Morimoto<br />

Dubai puts you right in the middle of the<br />

action with a live teppanyaki counter<br />

that displays the Iron Chefs' trademark<br />

culinary style. BASTA! by David Myers<br />

serves up a little piece of Italy with each<br />

dish, while Bhar will spice up your palate<br />

with its delectable Arabian fare.<br />


When the clock strikes five, Evenings at<br />

Renaissance kicks off, inviting guests to<br />

sip signature drinks over a programme of<br />

interesting events. If you're not in a social<br />

mood, indulge yourself to a relaxing<br />

massage while soaking up the panoramic<br />

views of the city at Six Senses Spa. With<br />

six different treatment suites, each<br />

dedicated to a different sense, you'll leave<br />

in a haze of peace and tranquillity.<br />

To find out more, call +971 4 512 5554 or renaissancedowntowndubai.com<br />

60 worldtravellermagazine.com


Rediscover luxury in one of our indigenously designed suites while<br />

overlooking Dubai’s unique views.<br />

For more information visit renaissancedowntowndubai.com<br />

or email rendxb.sales@renhotels.com<br />


Marasi Drive Business Bay Dubai PO Box 191984 United Arab Emirates. t: +971.4.512.5555



Address Sky View<br />

This sleek new property places you at the heart of bustling Downtown Dubai<br />


With an exclusive address on Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, this<br />

luxury hotel stands proud with its duo<br />

of glistening skyscrapers connected by<br />

a sky bridge. Floor-to-ceiling windows<br />

offer stunning views of the city skyline<br />

towards the Arabian Gulf. Book yourself<br />

into a Club Room Burj View for coveted<br />

Burj Khalifa vistas and a front row<br />

seat to The Dubai Fountain.<br />

THE FOOD<br />

Tuck into an array of delicious<br />

platters that put a refreshing twist on<br />

international cuisine at The Restaurant.<br />

Its cosy ambience, personalised service<br />

and warm décor will make you feel right<br />

at home. Meanwhile, the resort's pool<br />

lounge, Deck TOO, offers the perfect<br />

excuse to nibble at an expertly curated<br />

menu of antipasti and aperitivo while<br />

admiring the marvellous cityscape.<br />


The showstopper here is the picturesque<br />

rooftop infinity pool, which is sure to<br />

blow up your Instagram. Swim a lap, grab<br />

a refreshing drink from the pool bar and<br />

soak up the views. Better yet, stop by The<br />

Spa for a pampering session. Located<br />

on the 54 th floor, choose from a range<br />

of soothing treatments and feel your<br />

tension ease away as Dubai's glittering<br />

skyline lulls you to a serene bliss.<br />

To find out more, call +971 4 873 8888 or visit addresshotels.com<br />

62 worldtravellermagazine.com

YOUR stage among the stars,<br />

Address Sky View, a panoramic city viewpoint, presents<br />

spectacular vistas of Dubai’s finest sights. Every luxury hotel<br />

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event space lifts you to heights inspired by the Sky Deck<br />

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Discover a marvellous new viewpoint with #ADHskyview<br />

BOOK NOW<br />





The St. Regis Abu Dhabi<br />

Tailor-made luxury meets exquisite experiences at this palatial retreat<br />


Stay close to all the action as the Formula<br />

1 <strong>World</strong> Championship roars its way<br />

back to the city this month. After an<br />

exhilarating day of Grand Prix action,<br />

retire to the comfort of your Superior<br />

Room, or spacious suite, and enjoy the<br />

royal treatment with around-the-clock<br />

butler service. Guests also receive access<br />

to Nation Riviera Beach Club and a<br />

complimentary breakfast at The Terrace.<br />

THE FOOD<br />

Delve into a delicious spread of local<br />

delicacies while being suspended 255<br />

metres up in the air on the highest<br />

active helipad in the Middle East.<br />

Making a grand return this month (on 9<br />

and 16 Nov), the Helipad Sunset Supper<br />

invites 20 lucky guests to dine amongst<br />

the clouds, enjoy live performances and<br />

take in some of the most sensational<br />

views the city has to offer.<br />


Introducing a new look and feel, Nation<br />

Riviera Beach Club has refreshed<br />

its main pool with an exciting new<br />

design that highlights the hotel's<br />

scenic landscape. Perfect the art of<br />

relaxation and soak up the sun in your<br />

private cabana, do a few laps in the<br />

temperature-controlled swimming<br />

pool or enjoy a walk on the pristine<br />

private stretch of white sand.<br />

To find out more, call +971 2 694 4444 or stregisabudhabi.com<br />

64 worldtravellermagazine.com

Abu Dhabi’s Finest Urban Resort<br />

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi soars to new heights of splendor and service beyond<br />

expectation. Located at the vibrant heart of Abu Dhabi, you will be transferred<br />

through a luxurious underpass to a 200 metre stretch of pristine beach, overlooking<br />

the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf and the newly renovated Nation Riviera Pool.<br />

Enjoy the exquisite service of a truly unique experience at the Nation Riviera Beach<br />

Club and the finest address in the city.<br />

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi<br />

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates t. +971 2 694 4444 stregisabudhabi.com<br />

©<strong>2019</strong> Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All names, marks and logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.<br />

Stay exquisite at more than 40 St. Regis hotels and resorts worldwide.<br />




Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel<br />

English charm is the hallmark of this Palm Jumeirah hotel<br />


Here, every detail has been<br />

carefully thought out to perfect the<br />

quintessentially British style – from<br />

the checkerboard-tiled floors lining the<br />

lobby to the Floris amenities in all the<br />

guestrooms. If you're looking for a home<br />

away from home, consider a studio or<br />

an apartment where you'll drift off to<br />

the sound of the sea and wake up to the<br />

dreamy views of the Arabian Gulf.<br />

THE FOOD<br />

Order it shaken, not stirred at Dukes<br />

bar, where expert mixologists fix you<br />

signature drinks from a tableside trolley.<br />

Meanwhile, Great British Restaurant<br />

serves modern British fare that tastes<br />

as good as it looks. If you're in the mood<br />

for something spicy, Khyber's flavourpacked<br />

dishes stand out, with highlights<br />

including the tandoor-cooked baby lamb<br />

leg and green masala pomfret.<br />


Swim a lap or sit back and enjoy a<br />

refreshing drink by the infinity pool<br />

that blends seamlessly with the city's<br />

glittering skyline. The Dukesy Kids' club<br />

will keep your little ones occupied while<br />

you sweat out your daily cardio at the<br />

fitness studio. Later, glam up at the hair<br />

and beauty salon for an evening out.<br />

With many of the city's top attractions<br />

nearby, the City of Gold awaits discovery.<br />

To find out more, call +971 4 455 1111 or royalhideaway.com<br />

66 worldtravellermagazine.com


Say “I do”<br />

Capturing the romance and tranquillity of the desert, Bab Al Shams<br />

Desert Resort & Spa will ensure your special day is picture-perfect<br />

Tucked away in Dubai’s majestic<br />

rolling dunes, Bab Al Shams<br />

Desert Resort & Spa is an<br />

Arabian Nights fantasy plucked from<br />

your imagination and a coveted location<br />

for a destination wedding. Whether<br />

you're dreaming of an intimate<br />

ceremony or a lively celebration<br />

surrounded by family and friends,<br />

this palatial resort will turn your<br />

wedding dreams into reality. Here’s<br />

the pick of our favourite venues…<br />


Exchange vows amid the natural<br />

wonders of the desert at Sunset Point.<br />

The alfresco venue offers a simple<br />

setting that showcases the stunning<br />

surroundings and can hold up to<br />

240 of your nearest and dearest. You<br />

could also opt for the Masala Rooftop<br />

Lounge, which is ideal for star-lit<br />

ceremonies, with its panoramic view<br />

of the resort that's best enjoyed while<br />

sitting down to a sumptuous feast.<br />

Meanwhile, couples who want to go<br />

all out with the invitations should<br />

book the Arena. True to its name, the<br />

venue sprawls over 20,000 square<br />

metres and can fit up to 6,000 guests.<br />


Adorned with lush foliage, Al Shurouq<br />

and the Garden Café offers total privacy<br />

with its Arabesque furnishings, elegant<br />

floral centerpieces and personalised<br />

details. Alternatively, contemporary<br />

elegance meets old-world charm at Le<br />

Dune, while Falcon Courtyard beckons<br />

hopeless romantics with its oriental<br />

appeal and secluded setting that<br />

accommodates a modest 30 guests.<br />


Fascinate your guests by holding<br />

your ceremony at the unique setting<br />

of Al Hadheerah Restaurant. With<br />

a traditional tanoura and belly<br />

dancing performances, as well<br />

as a live Arabian band, you'll have<br />

everyone on their feet in minutes.<br />

If you’re seeking something more<br />

private, Al Hadheerah Rooftop can<br />

accommodate up to 70 guests and<br />

offers a serene ambiance with its<br />

sweeping views of the Arabian desert.<br />

From crafting colourful floral<br />

arrangements to creating a bespoke<br />

wedding cake and menu, the resort<br />

offers an array of services and packages<br />

to make your big day unforgettable.<br />

Find out more at babalshams.com<br />

Sunset Point<br />

68 worldtravellermagazine.com<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 68


Nestled among the rolling dunes of Dubai, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is a haven of rustic charm,<br />

luxurious Arabian hospitality, benchmark-setting facilities and a captivating desert environment.<br />

This oasis of pure indulgence offers guests an array of sumptuous dining experiences<br />

from Italy to India and the Middle East, desert activities including falconry,<br />

camel riding and archery, rejuvenating therapies at the award-winning Satori Spa<br />

as well as facilities designed to ensure that every moment is one to be cherished for years to come.<br />

babalshams.com<br />

/babalshamshotel /babalshamshotel /babalshamshotel<br />




Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort<br />

Family-friendly fun abounds at this action-packed reatreat<br />


Nestled between the Hajar Mountains<br />

and the glistening Indian Ocean, this<br />

coastal resort is all about family-fun with<br />

great deals on offer. Watch the sun set<br />

from your sea facing room with your little<br />

munchkins in tow (two children below 12<br />

years old can stay for free). After a good<br />

night's sleep, start your day fresh and tuck<br />

into a delectable breakfast of champions<br />

(rates are inclusive of breakfast).<br />

THE FOOD<br />

Embark on a culinary journey and relish<br />

the taste of different world cuisines at<br />

any of the hotel's eight restaurants and<br />

bars. East-meets-West signature recipes<br />

fill Views with aromas that are sure to<br />

make your mouth water. Alternatively, lap<br />

up the cool sea breeze as Gonu serves up<br />

seafood fresh from the ocean. Better yet,<br />

head southeast and delight in the Asian<br />

flavours of Thai Indian fare at Taste.<br />


Unleash your wild side and step up to<br />

the Al Aqah Challenge, the first ever<br />

obstacle rope course on the East Coast.<br />

Whether ziplining, climbing or abseiling,<br />

it's going be a tough one to crack so bring<br />

your A game. Meanwhile, beach lovers<br />

can simply lounge on the hotel's private<br />

stretch of sand or take a dive into the<br />

crystal waters of the Arabian Gulf to<br />

unveil a world of marine wonders.<br />

To find out more, call +971 9 244 9000 or visit marriott.com<br />

70 worldtravellermagazine.com



Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites<br />

For a longer stay, make yourself at home in a stylish suite overlooking Dubai Marina<br />


If you're planning on staying in Dubai<br />

for a while, or simply appreciate the<br />

convenience of having your own kitchen,<br />

the stylish suites at this four-star<br />

property in Dubai Marina are just the<br />

ticket. There are one-, two- and threebedroom<br />

suites available, each featuring<br />

a modern kitchen and a sleek marble<br />

bathroom with an oversized tub. Room<br />

service is available around the clock.<br />

THE FOOD<br />

Jump-start your day with a delectable<br />

menu of international dishes at Counter<br />

Culture Café, which also offers free Wi-Fi<br />

so you can stay well connected to the<br />

wider world. For hearty British fare with<br />

a twist, The Croft is the place to go. On<br />

the 52nd floor, Observatory Bar & Grill is<br />

where you should head for classic dishes<br />

and crafted drinks, with panoramic views<br />

of the waterfront.<br />


Your fitness regime needn't suffer, as all<br />

guests enjoy access to the fitness centre.<br />

When you want to unwind, head to Saray<br />

Spa, which offers a range of pampering<br />

treatments, such as the signature Saray<br />

Arabic Coffee Awakener, which includes<br />

a body scrub, mask and massage. Get out<br />

and explore Dubai, including Jumeirah<br />

Beach Residence and Dubai Media City,<br />

which are just a short stroll away.<br />

To find out more, call +971 4 319 4000 or visit marriottharbourdubaidining.com<br />

72 worldtravellermagazine.com

CREATE<br />



WITH US.<br />

Standing tall in the heart of<br />

Dubai Marina, featuring<br />

incomparable panoramic views<br />

of the city, combine the best<br />

of all worlds with luxurious<br />

accommodation, three<br />

contemporary dining<br />

destinations and a blissful<br />

caravanserai-inspired, Saray Spa.<br />





Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites<br />


1<br />


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worldtravellermagazine.com 75



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76 worldtravellermagazine.com


THE LENS<br />

Great Ocean Road,<br />

Australia<br />

I've always dreamt of visiting<br />

Australia with my family one<br />

day, to buy a Jeep, get out on the<br />

open road and discover what this<br />

beautiful country has to offer. So<br />

when my husband and I decided<br />

to travel full time, we knew it was<br />

the right moment to fulfil our<br />

fantasy. When we drove down<br />

this particular road, I just knew<br />

it would look stunning from<br />

above. We immediately pulled<br />

over, took out the drone and fired<br />

that baby up in the sky. I asked my<br />

husband to keep driving the Jeep<br />

up and down the road a few times<br />

while I tried to capture its true<br />

beauty. I love the effect of the four<br />

layers: crashing blue waves, rocky<br />

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Travel and photography fan<br />

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Follow her at @the_global_<br />

wizards, theglobalwizards.com<br />



in high-res jpeg format, along<br />

with the stories behind them to<br />

habiba@hotmedia.me and you<br />

may end up being featured<br />

on this page<br />

78 worldtravellermagazine.com

Now win!<br />




Stay up-to-date with all that’s<br />

happening on our social channels<br />

and join in the conversation by<br />

sharing your experiences. Here’s<br />

where you can find us…<br />

@worldtravellerme<br />

Double tap our dreamy<br />

destination shots and tag<br />

us in your images for a chance to<br />

feature on our wall.<br />

@<strong>World</strong><strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

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Make the most of your<br />

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by sharing your best travel<br />

moments with us.<br />

#<strong>World</strong><strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

A two-night stay for two at JA The<br />

Resort in Dubai<br />

This five-star beachfront hideaway (Dubai's largest resort) could be yours for<br />

two nights on a bed and breakfast basis. With an 800-metre stretch of golden<br />

sand, a world-class golf course, horseback riding and watersports aplenty on<br />

offer, plus lots more, it's a coveted holiday spot for families. It's home to three<br />

properties – JA Beach Hotel, JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lake View Hotel – with<br />

stand-out restaurants, including Kinara by Vikas Khanna. To find out more and<br />

to enter, visit worldtravellermagazine.com/win. (Terms & conditions apply).<br />


Let our travel news and round-ups, available to read on our website,<br />

inspire your next trip…<br />

1The Knowledge.<br />

Read our handy<br />

how-tos, from<br />

getting to grips with<br />

travel insurance to<br />

helping kids beat jet<br />

lag, and more.<br />

2Staycations.<br />

Take a peek<br />

inside these top<br />

hotels and resorts on<br />

your doorstep, and<br />

then book your next<br />

mini break.<br />

3Insider guides.<br />

Check out our<br />

in-the-know<br />

travel edits of some<br />

of the most popular<br />

holiday destinations<br />

on our radar.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 79

Suite dreams<br />

Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a suite<br />

that has a character and style all of its own<br />


Carlton Hotel St. Moritz, Switzerland<br />

Be in the pink inside this rose-tinted suite, which teams its distinctive décor with a panoramic<br />

view of Lake St. Moritz and the snow-capped Swiss Alps. Located on the fifth floor of this<br />

boutique hotel, the 75-square-metre suite features a corner sofa under the pitch of the roof,<br />

providing a cosy spot in which to unwind. Plus, with its luxurious dressing room and walk-in<br />

wardrobe, this elegant hideaway is ideal for fashion mavens in search of the perfect fit.<br />

80 worldtravellermagazine.com

Inspiration. Expertly crafted.<br />

Comprising two iconic towers, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is centrally located beside the<br />

Dubai Water Canal and offers a spectrum of facilities and services for a seamless experience.<br />

The hotel features: 1,608 Luxurious Guest Rooms and Suites, Over 15 Award-Winning Restaurants<br />

and Lounges, Saray Spa featuring Traditional Hammams, A Dead Sea Floatation Pool and<br />

17 Treatment Rooms, State-of-the-Art Health Club and Fitness facilities, 8,000 sqm of spectacular<br />

Meeting Spaces.<br />

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai<br />

jwmarriott.com/DXBJW<br />

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

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