World Traveller November 2019

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INSPIRED BY

ISSUE 139 | NOVEMBER 2019 | COMPLIMENTARY COPY

GEORGIA

BRAZIL

STAYCATIONS

TRAVEL OFFERS

Produced in Dubai Production City

The world´s best swims

From sleek city rooftops to rugged lakes,

we've got your next great swim sorted


Discover Milaidhoo

Create your own story of a small island at the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

with a wonderfully vibrant coral reef.

Discover re-invented luxury and spacious outdoor living

in our contemporary, island-inspired villas, where you instantly feel you belong.

Find your place to simply be, to have meaningful experiences

and enjoy barefoot informality.

Start your Milaidhoo Story at www.milaidhoo.com


Welcome note

Holidays are a coveted chance to refresh body and mind, and

there's no better way to feel a sense of relaxation wash over

you than by diving into a sparkling swimming pool. Our cover

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

Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher

Chief Creative Officer

John Thatcher

General Manager

David Wade

Managing Editor

Faye Bartle

faye@hotmedia.me

Content Writers

Habiba Azab

habiba@hotmedia.me

Sophia Dyer

Editorial Assistant

Ronak Sagar

Art Director

Kerri Bennett

right direction, with it's round-up of scenic

places to take the plunge. From the salty allure of

Jordan's Dead Sea to the rugged beauty of the

Lake District and glamorous rooftop pools to dip a

toe in... all you need is your best swimwear.

Also in this issue, we take you glamping in

Georgia (p36) and on a journey through vibrant

Bahia in Brazil (p42). If Venice is on your bucketlist,

why not resolve to squeeze in a long weekend

there before the end of the year? Our guide to

ticking off all those major sites, as well as seeking

out some of the lesser-known gems (p48),

provides all the know-how you need to make your

trip a great one.

Last but not least, this issue is jam-packed with

staycation ideas (from p60), giving you plenty of

reasons to make the most of the glorious weekend

weather we're experiencing at the moment.

Happy travels,

Faye Bartle

Win!

A two-night stay

for two at JA The

Resort in sunny

Dubai, p79

FIVE THINGS

WE LEARNED

THIS ISSUE:

1

Snacking on a banana

may help to ease jet lag,

due to its high levels of

potassium, p20

2

You can find the distinct

coco de mer coconut

at only two of the 115

Seychellean islands:

Praslin and Curieuse, p56

3

In the next few years,

the Transcaucasian Trail,

a long-distance hiking

route being developed

in the Caucasus, will

link Svaneti to Ghebi,

bringing more hikers to

the stunning area, p36

4

The reef-fringed island of

Boipeba in Bahia, Brazil,

is a hidden gem that

seemingly packs more

free-roaming wild horses

than humans, p42

Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia

Senior Advertising Manager

Mia Cachero

mia@hotmedia.me

Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

INSPIRED BY

Photography credits:

Getty Images and Phocal Media

Reproduction in whole or in part

without written permission from

HOT Media is strictly prohibited.

HOT Media does not accept

liability for omissions or errors in

World Traveller.

Tel: 00971 4 364 2876

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COVER IMAGE

The Skypool at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

Find us at…

ONLINE worldtravellermagazine.com

FACEBOOK @WorldTravellerME

INSTAGRAM @worldtravellerme

TWITTER @WTravellerME

5

A cultural showpiece,

Venetian masks shine

with their glitzy designs

and, at Ca'Macana,

you can craft your own

bespoke piece, p48

worldtravellermagazine.com 5


The Garden Route, South Africa

Contents

November 2019

10

TRENDING DESTINATIONS

regulars

10 15 20 78 80

TRENDING

DESTINATIONS

This month's goto

places include

vibrant Kathmandu

and Morocco's little

Hollywood, Ouarzazate.

GLOBETROTTER

Winter sun or snow...

we've got your next

holiday covered. Plus,

the best Sri Lankan

beach spots at which to

catch the perfect wave.

THE KNOWLEDGE

Sleep expert and

psychologist Dr. David

Lewis shares his top

tips on how to get a

good night's sleep

while on holiday.

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

Head online for

exclusive content and,

better still, the chance

to win a two-night

stay at JA The Resort in

sunny Dubai.

SUITE DREAMS

Soak up the scenic views

of the snow-capped

Swiss Alps from the

comfort of the Corner

Junior Suite at Carlton

Hotel St. Moritz.

worldtravellermagazine.com 7


CONTENTS

features

24 36

THE WORLD'S 33 GLAMPING IT UP

BEST SWIMS

Yvonne Gorden goes

Stylish skypools, crystal beyond Tbilisi to uncover

clear lagoons and whitesand

coves, here's where homestays and upmarket

a paradise of hiking,

to plan your next dip. camping in Georgia.

Constance Ephelia Mahé Seychelles

42

BRAZILIAN

BLOWOUT

Alex Robinson explores

a world of street parties,

white sands and coralsnorkelling

in Bahia.

56

ISLAND LORE

Mysterious coconuts,

voodoo dolls and

otherworldly beaches,

Sophia Dyer is spellbound

by the Seychelles.

56

SEYCHELLES

weekends

48 60

A LONG WEEKEND STAYCATIONS

IN VENICE

Feel in need of a break?

With a classical beauty We have a few more

and marvellous tales, reasons to book a

the Floating City awaits. weekend escape.

74

TRAVEL OFFERS

It's time we sent you

packing. Choose your

next adventure from

our exclusive offers.

8 worldtravellermagazine.com


Wellness Haven at Saray Spa.

Renew for the journey ahead.

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

where ancient healing techniques and locally sourced natural ingredients are combined to enhance the

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

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

Private Luxury Spa Suites. Experience the wonders of the Middle East through Arabian Body Rituals

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

gifts and spa products for every occasion.

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai | Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE

T +971 4 414 6754 | mhrs.dxbjw.spa@marriott.com | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

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


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Emily Williams, dnata Travel’s resident globetrotter,

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

The Garden Route

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

zipline past the giant trees this nature spot protects.

10 worldtravellermagazine.com


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Ouarzazate

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

World Heritage Site, which has served as a filming location for hit movies and telelvision shows, including Gladiator

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

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

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

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

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

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

worldtravellermagazine.com 11


Ras Al Khaimah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

exhibits a collection of historical, ethnographical and archaeological treasures.

12 worldtravellermagazine.com


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Kathmandu

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

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

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

majesty, without having to attempt the difficult feat of climbing it.

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

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

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

and luxurious pashminas.

worldtravellermagazine.com 13


JOURNEY INTO THE SPIRIT OF ARABIA.

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

Discover unparalleled desert luxury and cultural passion just 90 minutes

from Abu Dhabi. Trek the footsteps of the Bedouin and create a thousand

timeless moments in a luxury desert oasis.

To book your stay, call +971 (0) 2 895 8700 or

email crome@anantara.com

LIFE IS A JOURNEY. Visit anantara.com

CAMBODIA • CHINA • INDONESIA • MALDIVES • MOZAMBIQUE • OMAN • PORTUGAL • QATAR • SRI LANKA • THAILAND • UNITED ARAB EMIRATES • VIETNAM • ZAMBIA


NOVEMBER

Globetrotter

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Be informed, be inspired, be there

A NEW CHAPTER BEGINS

Follow in the footsteps of Hollywood

stars, including Greta Garbo, by

descending on the glamorous Eden

Rock – St. Barths, which is re-opening

its doors this month (on 20 November)

following a two-year renovation. The

Caribbean bolthole, which was founded

by adventurer Rémy de Haenen and

has been welcoming guests since the

1950s, has a fresh new look, with notable

additions such as the stylish Rémy Bar.

Live it up inside the Villa Rockstar, a

sprawling beach house that wows with its

ultra luxurious touches.

worldtravellermagazine.com 15


GLOBETROTTER

WILD TIMES

Be at one with nature and get

an up-close view of wildlife at

these luxury resorts

WALK WITH GORILLAS

Hike your way through the

misty bamboo forest of

Volcanoes National Park and

track endangered mountain

gorillas while on the Virunga

experience offered by the

new One&Only Gorilla's Nest

in Rwanda. Seeing these

captivating animals in their

natural habitat is one to tick

off the bucket list.

WAKE UP IN A ZOO

At Taronga Zoo's newlyopened

Wildlife Retreat

you can rise and shine to

the sight of koalas dangling

outside your window and red

kangaroos hopping past. This

eco-retreat, which overlooks

Sydney Harbour, aims to

educate while delivering a

touch of luxury.

One &Only Gorilla's Nest

TAKE A WILD DRIVE

Embark on a wildlife drive at

Desert Islands Resort & Spa

by Anantara, off the coast

of Abu Dhabi, and you'll be

rewarded by the sight of freeroaming

animals, including

the protected Arabian oryx.

ON OUR RADAR

Game of Thrones fans

may recognise Malta's

Fort Manoel as the starshaped

mediaeval fort at

which Ned Stark met his

demise. Restored to its

original glory, it is now

open to the pubic. Go

discover its deep-seated

history and marvel at its

stunning architecture.

Team an exotic beach

break with earning your

eco stripes at Six Senses Zil

Pasyon in the Seychelles.

The luxury resort has

a coral restoration

programme, which offers

a coveted chance to

help repair the marine

ecosystems of Félicité and

learn more about the reef.

If you admire the beauty

of Holland's vibrant tulip

fields, then why not help

to plant them? The Tulip

Planting package (until

6 Dec) at Amsterdam's

Conservatorium Hotel is a

great way to swot up on the

history of the region while

helping farmers prepare for

the upcoming season.

Form meets function in

new Hawke collection

of bags for adventure

seekers by Bally.

Whether it's a backpack,

messenger bag or

crossbody pouch you're

after, each piece is

tailored to meet your

travel needs. bally.com

16 worldtravellermagazine.com


GLOBETROTTER

THIS MONTH'S

NEW HOTELS

Pack your bags,

and set off on an

adventure

A TROPICAL ESCAPE

FCC Angkor, Siem Reap

With hints of Frenchtropical

architecture, this

nature-inspired resort is

born from an extensive

renovation of one of the

area's most treasured

colonial sites: the former

mansion of the French

colonial governor and the

Foreign Correspondent’s

Club. Home to 80 rooms

and suites, the property is

steps away from the Royal

Independence Gardens

and Royal Residence.

FEELS LIKE HOME

Rocco Forte House, Piazza

di Spagna, Rome

Those seeking total privacy

will find all the seclusion

they need at this historic

18 th century palazzo. Just

five lavish suites await,

with a dedicated house

manager on hand to tend

to your every whim. Head

to the cosy rooftop terrace

to admire the views of the

famous Spanish Steps.

FCC Angkor

NATURAL WONDERLAND

The Oberoi, Marrakech

Natural beauty abounds

at this picturesque resort

(opening on 1 December),

which is surrounded by

28 acres of landscaped

gardens complete with

citrus orchards, olive groves

and views of the snowcapped

Atlas Mountains. It's

just 25-minutes away from

Djema el-Fna square and

the ancient walled city.

worldtravellermagazine.com 17


GLOBETROTTER

SUN VS. SNOW

Whether you want to soak up the

rays or ski down the slopes this

winter, we've got you covered

Silversands Grenada

THE CARIBBEAN

SILVERSANDS GRENADA

Island life beckons at this exclusive

hideaway, which encourages you to

make the most of the glorious winter

weather with its thrilling line-up of

adventurous pursuits, from hiking to

watersports. Explore the lush jungle,

white sand beaches and shimmering

waters and bask in the inimitable

Caribbean glow. You'll find us lazing

around the infinity pool.

ICELAND

DEPLAR FARM

The expanse of snow-dusted

mountains that surround this chic

lodge deliver the most exhilarating

skiing and snowboarding adventures.

But the fun doesn't end there, as

sea kayaking and whale watching

in the fjords are just some of the

other activities on offer at this luxury

abode located deep in the Icelandic

wilderness. After a day of fast-paced

action, unwind in the geothermally

heated outdoor pool and wait for the

elusive Northern Lights to dance their

way across the sky.

Deplar Farm

Will travel for food. A delicious excuse for

a break, Chef Mauro Colagreco (of three-

Michelin-starred Mirazur fame) has teamed up

with One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai to bring

his culinary flair to two dining venues there.

18 worldtravellermagazine.com


GLOBETROTTER

Mirissa Beach

SURF'S UP

It's surfing season in Sri Lanka. Here's where to catch a wave...

1MIRISSA BEACH

Matara

South of Weligama, this

hidden gem is one of Sri

Lanka's best kept secrets. Lush

palm trees enhance the scenic

landscape as you work your

way to perfecting that reef

break. If you're lucky, you may

even spot a migrating blue

whale or get to play with a pod

of friendly dolphins.

2HIKKADUWA BEACH

Galle

Consistent waves makes

this idyllic spot a must-do

for surfers of all skill levels.

Beginners will appreciate the

way waves form and peel away

smoothly towards the shore.

Come prepared though, as the

local Hikkaduwa surfers have

a flair for competition – get set

to see some moves.

3UNAWATUNA BEACH

Galle

Turn a day of surfing

fun into a family affair at this

kid-friendly beach. Ride the

waves with your little ones

in tow as they splash away

in the water. Want to know

where the good swells are?

Simply ask the locals. They're

always very happy to point

out the perfect spots.

worldtravellermagazine.com 19


KNOW-HOW

The Knowledge

HOW TO...

Sleep well while you’re on holiday

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

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

A whopping 80% of travellers struggle

to sleep when staying away from

home, says recent research*. Settling

into a new environment and hearing

unfamiliar noises are among the top

sleep saboteurs that can leave you

tossing and turning in the early hours,

but feeling far from rested may mean

your holiday experience falls flat. We

picked the brains of Dr David Lewis, a

sleep expert, chartered psychologist

and CEO of Mindlab International, for

his top tips on getting the shut eye you

need to seize the day…

GET IN THE TIMEZONE

“When travelling across time zones,

especially with children, set your watch

to the local time in the area you are

visiting the moment your flight takes

off,” says Dr Lewis. It’ll help you to

adjust more easily on the other side.

Plus, flying can take a toll on

the mind but not the body, so be sure

to get some light exercise – even a

10-minute stroll in the fresh air once

you touch down can work wonders.

PERSONALISE YOUR ROOM

“If you have difficulty dropping off

when you’re away from home, bring a

couple of personal possessions with you

on your travels, such as photos of your

loved ones [if you’re travelling solo], a

lucky charm or, for children, a favourite

doll or teddy bear,” says Dr Lewis.

“Placing them on the bedside table and

looking at them before you turn off the

light will help you settle into a more

comfortable and familiar mindset.”

KEEP UP YOUR GOOD HABITS

“Make sure the bed is warm, but

the room is cool and well aired,” he

suggests. “Also keep the room as dark

as possible, as even a small amount of

light, such as the LED on a TV or radio,

can make it harder to sleep.” As you

may already do at home, avoid caffeine

and screen time three hours prior to

bedtime, and try to stick to your usual

routine as much as possible in order to

trigger the body and mind to prepare

for sleep.

EAT SLUMBER-INDUCING FOODS

“Dehydration is common among

travellers, even on short haul trips, so

make sure you stay well hydrated,” says

Dr Lewis. “The ideal bedtime tipple is

a warm milky drink. Milk contains the

sleep-inducing substance tryptophan

and warming it up releases milk sugars

that feed the body during sleep.”

If you need a snack, reach for a

banana. “It also contains tryptophan

and has a high potassium content that

helps prevent nighttime cramps while

also fighting jet-lag.”

STILL THE MIND

“If you have something on your mind,

try writing it down,” he says. “This

will help prevent distracting thoughts

racing around your mind the moment

your head touches the pillow. A warm,

relaxing bath is a better way to end the

day than a shower which tends to make

you feel more wide-awake.” Reading

a few pages of a good book has been

proven to help unwind the mind.

DRIFT OFF TO

YOUR FAVOURITE SCENT

“The brain is extremely sensitive to

unfamiliar smells and aromas, and while

these may be hard to avoid, they can

often be masked by bringing along

your own favourite essential oil and

sprinkling it on the pillow,” says Dr

Lewis. “The six most effective oils for

this purpose are: clary sage, lavender,

roman chamomile, sweet marjoram

and valerian**.”

Dr. David Lewis has teamed up with

Sheraton Grand London Park Lane and

Hatchards, the oldest bookseller in

London, to curate an exclusive library

of books to read before bedtime to

help guests get a good night’s sleep.

*By InterContinental Hotel Group. **Consult your

doctor before using aromatherapy oils.

20 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER XXXXXXXXXXXXXX SCTDA

WHERE LUXURY RULES

Arabian heritage meets bespoke luxury at Sharjah’s most coveted staycation spots

Rich in art and cultural attractions,

and with stunning natural

landscapes to discover, Sharjah’s

unique blend of modern marvels and

old-world charm is a magnet for intrepid

travellers. Today, the emirate is firmly on

the radar as a leading destination for a

staycation. Here are three of the best luxury

hotels to escape to…

THE STYLISH ABODE

Feel right at home and bask in true Arabian

hospitality at Al Bait Sharjah. Located at

the heart of Sharjah, the 53-room boutique

resort is a unique collection of five preserved

heritage houses that were once owned by

esteemed Emirati families. It’s also home to

impressive architectural sights, including the

UAE’s only round wind tower, as well as an

in-house museum that showcases the city’s

rich history. Retreat to the spa for a soothing

massage, cool off in the outdoor swimming

pool, or sit down at the Arabic restaurant for a

true taste of Arabia as trained chefs cook up a

delicious spread of local delicacies.

THE BOUTIQUE BOLTHOLE

Looking at this stunning rustic retreat, you

wouldn’t guess it was once (in the 1960s) a

simple grocery store and café. Boasting a

fresh new look, Al Faya Lodge & Spa now sits

on the crimson sands of Mount Alvaah as

the latest addition to the Sharjah Collection,

a group of boutique hotels scattered across

the emirate. Whether it's lounging by the

open-air saltwater pool, indulging in an

Arabian style spa retreat or marvelling at the

thousands of stars from the rooftop terrace,

the lodge is the perfect escape from the hustle

and bustle of everyday life.

THE EXCLUSIVE ECO RETREAT

Immerse yourself in the stunning

natural wonders the emirate has to offer at

Sharjah’s new five-star eco-tourism resort,

Kalba Kingfisher Lodge. Offering comfort

and privacy in spades, the boutique hotel

is set against an unspoiled backdrop of

the Indian Ocean and a forest of mangrove

(Qurm) trees, which is home to a number

of fascinatingly beautiful kingfishers and

other rare bird species. Wake up to the

sound of crashing waves from any of the 25

luxuriously appointed tents, each with its

own swimming pool, and lap up the views.

Find out more at visitsharjah.com

Photo: Kalba Kingfisher Lodge

worldtravellermagazine.com 21


Nature's bounty

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

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

22 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X DESERT ISLANDS RESORT & SPA BY ANANTARA

Tucked away inside the nature reserve of Sir

Bani Yas island, Desert Islands Resort &

Spa by Anantara lures the most discerning

travellers with its rugged beauty, thriving wildlife

and Emirati-style splendour.

Just a two-hour drive from Abu Dhabi, this

family-oriented retreat is part of the three luxurious

Anantara resorts that grace Sir Bani Yas island – the

others being the tranquil beach getaway of Anantara

Al Yamm Villa Resort, and the Arabian adventure

inspired Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort.

Sink into plush bedding that envelops you in soft

Egyptian cotton, wake up to stunning sea views,

and cool off under the stylish rain showers. Floorto-ceiling

glass doors allow natural light to cast your

room in a soft glow and open up to a private balcony,

where you can spend the day lounging with a good

book. The Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara

recently introduced its all-inclusive discovery

package, which invites guests to unwind in one of

the opulent rooms, suites or villas. Meals and drinks

are included, as well as your choice of one activity per

night stayed.

For a delectable meal, Amwaj restaurant draws

upon the island’s sea riches to create scrumptious

seafood dishes that will make your taste buds

tingle. Here, you’ll enjoy the flavours of the ocean

in more ways than one, with its fresh-out-of-theocean

plates and stellar setting overlooking the sea.

Meanwhile, Al Shams Restaurant & Bar serves up

Arabic favourites straight to your poolside lounger.

It’s so good you’ll want to take the flavours with you

back home and with Spice Spoons, you can. The

step-by-step class offers you a peek into authentic

Arabian cooking techniques so you can whip up

local delights in the comfort of your own home.

When you tire of lazing under the sun, hop in

one of the safari Jeeps and set off on an exciting

adventure as you encounter rare, free-roaming and

exotic wildlife in the island’s reserve, including the

prized Arabian oryx.

The Arabian Gulf’s sparkling waters will

eventually beckon you to discover its stunning reef,

while the magnetic charm of an Arabian stallion

promises an unforgettable and liberating gallop

through the desert’s sandy golden dunes. History

buffs can also join an archaeological site tour to

marvel at the uncovered remains of the UAE's only

discovered Christian monastery.

Revive yourself with the resort’s signature spa

treatment; the Desert Islands Retreat. A gentle

full-body exfoliation with desert sands followed by

a 90-minute desert fusion massage is the perfect

ending to this action-packed retreat.

Stay amid natural beauty

Dive in and discover

a world of wonders

Unwind and enjoy

the gorgeous vistas

The all-inclusive discovery package starts from

Dhs1,999 per night. To find out more, call +971 2 895

8700 or visit anantara.com

worldtravellermagazine.com 23


The world’s

33

best swims

Whether you prefer muscle-pumping laps

across a rugged lake, or stargazing lazily

on a city rooftop, we’ve got your swim

sorted – to infinity pool and beyond!

Bronte Baths, Sydney

24 worldtravellermagazine.com


BEST SWIMS

Adaaran Select Meedhupparu

POSTER-PERFECT PLUNGE

Raa Atoll, the Maldives

If you’re lucky, you’re the first person

here. You pad a virgin trail of footprints

from bungalow to sea, and stretch out

on the cool sand. Picking up snorkel

gear, you chat with the hut attendant

about recent star sightings (‘There’s

a lionfish about — you might have

to dive down to see it’), before your

flippers propel you past the shallows,

to that crescent of pulsating coral

you’ve become addicted to. Here,

20 strokes from the beach and an

arm’s length from your mask, sea that

looked a blanket turquoise from your

seaplane reveals swirls of Day-Glo

parrotfish, sail-shaped Moorish idols

and blue tangs. Then, there’s that surly

lionfish. You watch its striped mohican

slink down to where the reef drops off

to an intimidating indigo. Head full of

ocean colour scenes, you paddle back

to laze by the pool for an hour at least.

That reef’s not going anywhere.

BUCKET-LIST DIP

The Dead Sea, Jordan

Cleopatra bathed here, King David hid

here from Saul, Jesus was baptised

upriver — even Herod slipped on his

Speedos for a dip. You’re floating in a

sea of history, and the amazing thing

is, despite the corporate hotel chains

thronging the shores, it still feels

transcendent. That salt stings, though,

which is why it’s best to access the

water via a hotel’s (with its freshwater

pools and showers for after). Try to keep

the salt out of any cuts or grazes, and

don’t shave any part of your body the

day you plunge!

SECRET SPLASH

Pigeon Island, St Lucia

You didn’t come here to swim, but you’ll

miss out if you don’t. Pigeon Island is

a former British military fort, now a

national park, at St Lucia’s northern tip.

Stretch your legs on the spiralling hike

to its hilltop, snapping the obligatory

photo with the cannons there. You’ll be

trekking back down just as the sticky

heat of late morning sets in — so first

slip down to the curves of sand on its

south side for a secret swim. There’s

a public loo to change in, and shade

from the trees. Kick off your shoes and

plunge into the Listerine-fresh ocean.

HOTEL POOL HEAVEN

Grand Hotel Tremezzo,

Lake Como

Outside, you have the glittering expanse

of Lake Como and a ‘secret’ garden

pool — all visible from your room. Inside,

there’s a velvet-red staircase to sweep

down as you head for dinner in your

best holiday togs. But, floating in the

lake, as smugly as George Clooney on

his hols is this special swim spot. It’ll get

in the way of your Como sightseeing —

lizard-still on the hotel’s loungers, drink

in hand and the gelato-cool pool right

by you, you’ll watch the tourist ferry

pass by with no urge to move.

worldtravellermagazine.com 25


BEST SWIMS

POSTER-PERFECT PLUNGE

The Great Barrier Reef

Zig-zag clouds of yellow snappers,

tornadoes of electric-blue fusiliers

and forests of rainbow staghorn coral:

diving in the GBR is like swimming in

a giant psychedelic cocktail. There are

countless ways to explore this sprawling

2,300km-long reef, but if you’re serious

about your sea life, head north to,

say, the Ribbon Reefs, for the richest

variety of fish. Accessed by seaplane,

then a live-aboard boat, it’s not the

easiest or cheapest spot, but you get

uncrowded waters and pristine coral for

your trouble. Huge swathes of the reef

were bleached by the El Niño weather

phenomenon, so it’s vital to go with a

responsible operator that knows where

to find flourishing regrowth and how

to prevent further damage. Conditions

range from mirror-like (ideal for drifting

alongside Labrador-sized potato cod) to

choppy and wild, but even novices can

dive here with a skilled team to guide

them safely into the depths.

BUCKET LIST

Faraglione di Mezzo, Capri

It was in front of this ancient

oceanic arch that David Gandy

smouldered for that Dolce &

Gabbana advert — and Capri

boat trips have never had a lull

in business since. As life is not a

fragrance ad, it’s choppier than

you’d think, the deep water chilly

’til mid summer. So get your

photo, take a dunk into depths

as ice-blue as Gandy’s eyes,

then climb back on board for a

Prosecco. This swim is all about

the posing, anyway.

3POP-

CULTURE

POOLS

THE ESTHER

WILLIAMS ONE:

The Raleigh,

Miami Beach

Hollywood’s

‘million- dollar

mermaid’ filmed

many of her sleek

synchronisedswimming

routines

in this Art Deco

pool. Now you

can stay in her

namesake suite.

THE CLUB

TROPICANA

ONE: Pikes

Hotel, Ibiza

A mega-bronzed

George Michael

and Andrew

Ridgeley cavorted

by this slim, tiled

pool for their

holiday anthem’s

music video.

Bring your own

lilos/trumpets.

THE FAYE

DUNAWAY ONE:

Beverly Hills Hotel,

Los Angeles

Terry O’Neill’s

‘morning

after’ portrait

of Dunaway

reflecting on her

1977 Oscar win

made this pool

synonymous

with Hollywood

glamour.

26 worldtravellermagazine.com


SECRET SPLASH

Mexico’s cenotes

Yucatán’s beaches can get a little

TOWIE. For a more thrilling swim,

drive 90 minutes inland to paddle

under Gaudíesque rock formations

and leap from vines into the

fresh, teal water of the cenotes.

The peninsula is punctured with

thousands of these prehistoric

limestone sinkholes, overgrown with

tropical jungle and open year-round.

Some, such as Dos Ojos, are cool,

vaguely claustrophobic caverns;

while others, like Escondido, are

splashed with sunlight. It’s like

swimming in a tropical luxury spa

— clean, quiet, almost baptismal.

Sunscreen is verboten, unless it’s

biodegradable. With hardly another

body bobbing around, you’d think

tourists were, too.

worldtravellermagazine.com 27


3WILDLIFE

SWIMS

SWIM WITH

DOLPHINS

IN PUERTO

VALLARTA,

MEXICO

Invest in an

underwater camera

or case: seeing a

pod of these wild

bottlenose dolphins

frolicking around

your flippers is a

memory you’ll want

to replay.

SNORKEL WITH

WHALE SHARKS

IN ARI ATOLL,

MALDIVES

This full-day

excursion, run

by the five-star

Huvafen Fushi

resort, makes

snorkelling with

these giants feel

like a one-on-one.

Float calmly as they

glide past.

DIVE WITH

TURTLES IN

SIPADAN,

MALAYSIA

Turtle-spotting

off Sipadan Island

doesn’t feel as

intrusive with

access limited

to 120 people a

day. Go April to

September, when

females nest on the

beach.

POSTER-PERFECT PLUNGE

La Maddalena, Sardinia

Are you floating? Or are you flying?

The clarity of the water surrounding

Sardinia’s virgin Maddalena archipelago

can play tricks on you. As you lie

suspended in the aquamarine liquid,

ears submerged so that all sounds

are dulled to a drowsy murmur, the

sailboat that delivered you here looks

as if it’s dangling in mid-air — it’s almost

impossible to gauge where the sky ends

and the sea begins. You knew Sardinia’s

northeast coast would be a corker: its

white-sand coves pick up best-beach

awards as breezily as daisies. But the

Maddalena islands’ shores are a notch

up: so pristine and well-protected, the

judges don’t yet know to add them to

their shortlist. Of the 60-plus islands,

you can only camp on a handful, so a

boat trip is the best way to make this

fantasy swim real. Dario, the skipper of

’20s wooden sailboat Pulcinella, knows

the Maddalenas like his own children,

and always delivers his group (of 12

max) there ahead of the pack. While he

drops anchor, shimmy your way past

others onto the first dinghy headed to

shore — that way, yours will be the first

body of the day to hit the crystal waters.

Go in September: the shallow bays are

tub-warm and you might even spot a

dolphin or two.

28 worldtravellermagazine.com


BEST SWIMS

BUCKET-LIST DIP

Bondi Icebergs

Pool or sea? The dilemma has never

been more delicious than at Sydney’s

iconic Bondi Beach, where the sandy

southern reaches meet an Olympicsized,

man-made swimming pool

(and a smaller kids’ one) known as

‘the Icebergs’. The swimming club it’s

named after was founded 90 years ago

so that Bondi’s lifeguards could train

year-round, and there’s nothing more

exhilarating than being smacked in the

face by salty surf while powering across

its wind-rippled infinity pool. Don’t miss

the sauna, included in your ticket price.

SECRET SPLASH

The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

At the foot of Skye’s brooding Cuillin

mountains, the river fizzes into a

string of crystal-clear ponds. Clamber

down from the trail onto broad, flat

rocks so you can shed your gear and

dive into the limpid water of the first

pool. It’s freezing so bring a wetsuit

outside of summer. Emboldened by

that icy adrenaline? Dive down to swim

under the submerged stone arch that

connects two of the pools. They’re

an easy half-hour hike along gently

ascending hillside from the nearest car

park (Glumagan Na Sithichean).

SKY-HIGH SWIM

Shangri-La Hotel at the

Shard, London

Swimming above London’s

helicopters — in the Shard’s 52 nd -

storey ‘Skypool’ — is a once-ina-lifetime

encounter. It’s also a

once-in-a-lifetime spend for a swim,

as the pool is open only to hotel

guests. Note to fitness swimmers:

it’s diddy, at just 11m long. Note

to parents: kids are only allowed

between 9am and 11am and 3pm

and 5pm. Note to daydreamers:

there are sofas and free coffee, so

make a morning of it.

HOTEL-POOL SWIM

Four Seasons Serengeti

A dust-dry plain sprouting baobab

trees, clouds scudding across a

burnt yellow sky, and

herds of elephants, buffaloes and

zebras at feeding time. A baby

elephant clambers into the water to

cool off just metres from the lip of

the infinity pool where you’re doing

the same. From sunrise to sunset,

this glimmering water gives you a

front-row seat for the Tanzanian

watering hole’s daily dramas (keep

your eyes peeled for trotting

warthogs), as well as miles of empty

savannah ahead. You’ll see the

most diverse wildlife during the dry

season (July-October).

worldtravellermagazine.com 29


BEST SWIMS

©Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

SKY-HIGH SWIM

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Singapore’s streets is the ultimate

swimmer’s selfie. A 6am swim before

the crowds arrive, with dawn breaking

behind the sharp-shouldered towers of

the financial district, is worth the price

of the stay alone.

SECRET SPLASH

Wadi Shab, Oman

Look up: youngsters are diving off the

cliffs, screeching into the soup-warm

water. Their splashes are muffled by

the slender Wadi Shab ravine, a deep

valley of emerald-green pools edged

by sandstone and palm trees. But

you’ve already had your adrenaline fix

scrambling over sandstone boulders

for half an hour to get here (after

a 2.5-hour drive from Muscat), so

skip the jump and drift lazily into

the pool. Swim through the shaded

depths until you find the narrow

arch at the end of the ravine. Here,

the Wadi reveals its secret: a hidden

cave pool, framed by a narrow

waterfall, like a sultan’s secret

bath house.

SECRET SPLASH

Elbow Beach, Bermuda

Swimming here is like gliding across a

mag cover. Stroll east from the resortowned

private stretch of Elbow beach

to the public bit — a glorious swathe of

sand known only by locals. Its pinktinged

sand gives the sea an extraluminous

aquamarine hue.

3PERFECT

POOLS IN

THE UAE

ANANTARA THE

PALM DUBAI

RESORT, DUBAI

Here, it's as easy as

opening the door

of your over water

villa and dipping

straight into the

tranquil swimming

lagoons that weave

their way through

this Thai-inspired

resort on Palm

Jumeirah.

THE ST. REGIS

ABU DHABI

Back with a fresh

new look and feel,

this luxury hotel's

inifnity pool, at

Nation Riviera

Beach Club, draws

design lovers

with its elegant

mix of colour and

pattern. Chill while

overlooking the

private beach.

ADDRESS SKY

VIEW, DUBAI

Take the plunge

and soak up the

panoramic city

views at the hotel's

sparkling infinity

pool. Perched high

up on the Sky Deck,

this elevated oasis

in Downtown Dubai

is best enjoyed with

a drink in hand at

the pool bar.

Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

30 worldtravellermagazine.com


BEST SWIMS

POSTER-PERFECT PLUNGE

Grace Hotel, Santorini

Santorini splash you’ve dreamt of

— all smooth white edges meeting

endless Mediterranean shimmer

and honeymooners chain-ordering

bubbly. Plan a walk for later (the

bell-shaped Skaros Rock is in view,

as is the coastal trail to that postcard

town Oia), but for now, accept that

the Grace’s pool scene is all about

soaking up rays, grazing on sea

bass carpaccio in the shaded nooks

behind it, and people-watching from

behind your shades. Rise early to

nab the loungers to the far right of

the pool as you face it: they’re the

evening suntraps.

worldtravellermagazine.com 31


3CITY

SWIMS

THERMAE BATH

SPA, BATH

You can’t swim in

the ancient Roman

baths here, but

you can idle in

the mineral-rich

waters at this multilevel

spa. Paddle

through pools up to

a heated open-air

pool surrounded by

spires and Regency

rooftops.

BADESCHIFF,

BERLIN

Urban beaches

pop up in summer

from Paris to

London, but

Berlin’s is the

coolest, a full-on

neon-blue pool

immersed in the

Spree river. Go for

mingling, beats

and bars on its

wooden deck.

PISCINE MOLITOR,

PARIS

The grande-dame

Art Deco pool is

a photographer’s

dream (and

filmmaker’s: it had

a cameo in the film

Life of Pi) with its

crisp balconies

and doorways. To

use it, you’ll need

a key to the Hotel

Molitor Paris.

Thermae Bath Spa

SECRET SPLASH

Angle Tarn,

Lake District, England

It’s nippy all right, but after a sweaty

slog up from the valley below, nippy is

precisely what you’ll be wanting. Dive

in, surrendering to its icy embrace

(a swimming cap will help), as your

exhilarated whoops echo around

the amphitheatre of lonely crags

towering above. For swimmers, the

Lake District is an all-you-can-eat

buffet of lakes and meres, river pools

and tarns, but if anywhere up here

puts the ‘wild’ into ‘wild swimming’,

it’s this mountain pool, marooned

halfway up England’s highest summit,

Scafell Pike. Distance swimmers need

not apply—it’s only 200m from shore

to shore. But lazybones should take

their Speedos elsewhere: it’s dizzyingly

remote, reached only after a two-hour

ascent from Seathwaite, Wasdale Head

or the Langdale Valley. Wild paddlers

should budget for longer: all routes up

(on excellent, waymarked paths) follow

stunning mountain streams that twinkle

and tease at every turn. Wild camping

is the way to do it, if you can — a flat,

grassy shelf on its northern shore is

crying out for a tent and stove.

32 worldtravellermagazine.com


BEST SWIMS

© Palais Namaskar, Marrakech

HOTEL-POOL HEAVEN

Palais Namaskar,

Marrakech

Atlas Mountains beyond, the pool

is so serene it seems a shame

to disturb it. Despite its vast

proportions (long enough for

lengths, but with shallow steps

for kids, too), it is heated, so go in

February/March when it’s 26°C by

lunchtime, but the peaks are still

snow-capped. Most guests use their

private villa pools, leaving this one

perpetually peaceful.

SECRET SPLASH

Paxos, Greece

Paxos has dreamy swims by the

dozen, but the beach you want is

Lakkos, a cliff-hugged splodge of

white pebbles in the Ionian island’s

northeast. Swim laps around the curl

of the bay, or float over fish-silvered

seaweed and spiny black urchins

(mind your feet). Go in May, when the

sea is warming up and you get the

beach to yourself. Steps back up lead

to a steep path best tackled barefoot

— you’ll slide out of your flip-flops.

BUCKET LIST

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Waste products from power stations

don’t usually look this ethereally

beautiful. But this is Iceland — so this

man-made ‘lagoon’ is geothermal, the

water luminously blue (it’s the silicates,

since you asked), and sociable soaks in

it are part of the culture. Travel snobs

will tell you that real Icelanders are more

likely to go to smaller, local pools (which

is true), but none of those municipal

baths offers the same dramatic black

crags or haunting mistscape.

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing

POSTER-PERFECT PLUNGE

Koh Hong, Thailand

Everyone should take a boat trip in

southern Thailand. Nowhere else in

the world will you experience a more

VIP-feeling voyage for so little cash

(five hours’ gliding about costs from

just $15). On your elegant longtail

boat (speedboats are faster, but

less romantic), strike a supermodel

pose as you crane your neck to

marvel at the mossy outcrops of

the islands in the emerald waters

off Krabi. Everyone does the Phi

Phi islands, so head instead for the

Hongs — Koh Hong National Park

is the wild James Bond seduction

fantasy you’ve always pictured.

Book the right boat and its skipper

will take you for a swim in the secret

lagoon encircled by rock face at the

island’s centre, before depositing

you on fine, gold sand, under

imposing, vine-tangled cliffs. The

beach should be quiet, but up your

chances by going in the shoulder

season (late November or May).

worldtravellermagazine.com 33


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XXXXXXXXXXXXX

A daisy field in Svaneti, Georgia,

with a view towards Ushba

Postcards

Stories from journeys

far and wide

GEORGIA p36

BRAZIL p42

VENICE p48

worldtravellermagazine.com 35


CALIFORNIA

Soaking up

the sun and scenery at

Georgia Glamping

36 worldtravellermagazine.com


GEORGIA

Beyond Tbilisi lies a paradise of

hiking,homestays and upmarket camping in

Georgia. Yvonne Gorden goes exploring…

worldtravellermagazine.com 37


GEORGIA

the clock on

the wall reads

5.30pm. Irina

sits chatting at

the large round table as her young

grandchildren, Giorgi and Mariami,

play beside her. Outside, chickens and

pigs root around in the grass. Behind

the house is forest and a dramatic

mountain backdrop, the green fields

and trees fading away to grey, rocky

summits lined with snow and ice.

It’s a peaceful scene in Gona, in

the Racha region of western Georgia,

5,500ft above sea level in the Caucasus

Mountains. This was once a thriving

village, but the remaining scattered

houses are mostly deserted after

the molybdenum mines closed

in the 1950s; butterflies and wild

flowers have claimed the gateways

of abandoned properties. Irina

and her family are the only fulltime

residents, and even they only

spend eight months of the year

here, as the road is impassable

from November to March due to

snow. A few other families come

for a week or two of holidays.

We’re here, just a few miles from

the Russian border, to experience

Georgia’s less familiar areas, those

untouched by tourism. We had to get

permits to hike in the area and a local

driver to bring us here in a 4x4, up

a bumpy potholed road. The Racha

highland region promises endless

hiking trails, pristine mountains and

glaciers, amazing food and a slowtravel

experience away from betterknown

areas such as Tbilisi and

Svaneti. Even most of the Georgians

I meet elsewhere haven’t been here.

When we visit Irina and her family

— her husband, Gia, their son David

and his wife, Maka — they give us,

a group of four slightly dishevelled

hikers, a warm welcome. “They’re

offering us cheese bread,” says

Zviad, our guide, who is translating.

Mariami’s crayons are cleared away

and a plate of khachapuri appears

on the table. Next, a tomato and

cucumber salad. Then fruit.

Soon the table fills with meat,

cheese, wild onions and sour cream.

Gia fills glasses and proposes the

first of many toasts — to thank us

for coming here. It’s typical Georgian

hospitality, where guests are seen

as a “gift from God”. The mines may

be closed, but there are signs that

the fledgling tourist industry will

bring more people to the area. Irina

proudly shows us a visitors’ book.

Everyone is provided with just such

a feast and not charged a penny.

Earlier in the day, we’d hiked to

the nearby Kirtisho glacier through

woods of pine, chestnut, beech and

rich green ferns, and along a forestry

trail filled with wild roses, daisies

and butterflies. The distant mountain

peaks looked grey and moody, with

pockets of snow and ice between rocky

ridges. Meltwater rushed from a cave

under the glacier to the river below.

That evening, at Sergo’s Guest

House, in the village of Ghebi, we

gather at a communal dining table

for a feast of chicken, potatoes and

bread. Fellow guests from Belarus

join our enthusiastic toasts, even

though they don’t understand them.

After dinner, we watch Sergo’s aunt

making Racha cheese. There are four

shared rooms — Sergo is adding more

accommodation and a dining room to

meet growing demand. After dinner,

his builders, Giorgi and Zuriko, play

dominoes under the stars as the haze

of the Milky Way stretches over the

silent mountains in the distance.

In the next few years, the

Transcaucasian Trail, a long-distance

hiking route being developed in the

Caucasus, will connect to the region,

linking Svaneti to Ghebi and bringing

more hikers to the area. Indeed, the

walking is the highlight of our days.

From the resort town of Shovi, a fourmile,

3½-hour (each way) trek takes us

up to the Buba glacier. The trail starts

steep and muddy, through pine and

beech forest. After a couple of hours, it

opens up to subalpine meadows, with

the long grass full of pink and white

daisies, buttercups and butterflies.

At the top of the meadow, at 8,000ft,

we take in the scene — 360-degree

views of jagged mountaintops.

Credit: Yvonne Gorden / The Sunday Times / News Licensing

38 worldtravellermagazine.com


Clockwise from top left:

A deluxe tent at Georgia Glamping;

wildflowers bloom in the mountains;

hikers explore the Caucasus Mountains;

cheese bread topped with egg; horses

pause to drink from a mountain lake

worldtravellermagazine.com 39


GEORGIA

Activities on the lake aside

Georgia Glamping

We fill our water bottles with

cool water from a stream and

watch as puffy clouds slowly push

shadows over the green hills.

At the country’s first glamping site,

Glamping Georgia, in Ambrolauri, six

space-age-looking round white tent

pods are set on a hill, overlooking

a valley and slopes of dense pine

forest. Inside the air-conditioned

tents, there’s a bathroom and a

kitchenette; outside, a private deck

with wicker rocking chairs. Linden,

oak and apple trees surround the

tents. The clean, fresh air is rich

with birdsong and insects zip back

and forth. The only other sound is

the Krikhula River below. It’s the

perfect place to disconnect. A canopy

of stars opens up overhead and

Giorgi, the owner, drops by to give

us a bottle of his homemade grape.

We spend the final days of our

trip in central Georgia, at Borjomi,

a summer retreat for the Romanovs,

famous for its mineral waters and

sulphur baths. Covering 210,000 acres,

the Borjomi-Kharagauli National

Park has one of the largest areas

of pristine virgin forest in Europe,

and many flora and fauna habitats.

There are 12 marked trails for hiking,

riding and snowshoeing, as well as

tourist shelters and camping areas.

We hike the Nikoloz Romanov Trail

from Likani to Lomis mountain,

where a river valley leads up through

forest to alpine meadows of tall

grasses and wild flowers. We pass

only a handful of other hikers. I know

that the reward at 7,200ft will be the

views. What I don’t expect to find at

the top is free-roaming horses with

glossy brown coats, a tiny decorative

church and carpets of wild blooms.

This is what we came for — unspoilt

nature and slow travel. It’s a few

hours’ hike back down, but all I want

to do is lie down amid the flowers,

close my eyes and just breathe.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com


THE CLEAN, FRESH AIR

IS RICH WITH BIRDSONG

AND INSECTS ZIP BACK

AND FORTH. THE ONLY

OTHER SOUND IS THE

KRIKHULA RIVER BELOW


40 worldtravellermagazine.com


worldtravellermagazine.com 41


INDONESIA

This image: A bowl of

Moqueca, a traditional fish

stew Opposite: A woman

celebrates during carnival time

This page: The pool

at Amanpuri

42 worldtravellermagazine.com


BRAZIL

Street parties, sugar plantations, white sands and

coral-snorkelling: if you want the Caribbean of old, you

need Bahia, in Brazil, says Alex Robinson

worldtravellermagazine.com 43


entle bays

where turtles

swim in

turquoise seas.

Dancing feet

on cobbled

streets... The

images filled my

thoughts. Carnival drums and carved saints

came to mind. Crimson sunsets and freshly

cracked coconuts brimming over with juice.

If I’d rung up a travel agent and uttered

those words I know where they’d have

recommended: the Caribbean for two weeks.

But I knew precisely where my tropical

daydreams could be brought to life — Brazil.

For a while in the Noughties, I lived

in Brazil’s biggest city, São Paulo. It was

friends there — friends who I keep to this

day — who’d opened my eyes to the allure

of the northeastern state, Bahia. ‘You have

to see it,’ I remember them swooning. ‘It’s

just like Jamaica or Barbados, but better.’

Of course I went — and not just the once.

In Bahia, Africa was replanted in South

America — under coconut palms and in

sugarcane plantations cut from parrotfilled

forests. Transported slaves were

inevitably part of the story — and they held

on fiercely to what traditions they could.

The legacy for arrivals today? Spicy food,

magical saints, street parties and irresistible

music. I’ve holidayed in the Caribbean,

and Bahia makes me think of what those

islands might have been before the cruise

ships and high-rise hotels arrived.

Its state capital, Salvador — wow!

Never mind Havana, this is the liveliest,

most sultry colonial city in the Americas.

The food’s unforgettable, the nightlife

pulsating, and the white-sand beaches just

a half-hour ferry-ride away on Itaparica

island. It’s so good that, basically, I’ve

never been able to tear myself away.

So that’s where I’d be heading. But those

friends again... Ringing me recently, they

raved about Boipeba, a reef-fringed island

south of Salvador, shrouded with forest,

seemingly with more wild horses than

people. ‘It puts Itaparica in the shade,’ they

said. It stuck in my mind as I finalised

my plans. Would Boipeba be the one to

seduce me from Salvador’s embrace?

Watching the sun sinking golden over

Salvador from the balcony of my hotel room

on my first breeze-cooled afternoon, I was

already falling back under its spell. The

houses of the Pelourinho, the old colonial

centre, rolled down a hill below me in

tumbledown terracotta and stippled steeples

to a Tiffany-blue sea. Itaparica island floated

on the horizon. A hummingbird flitted over

a bougainvillea tree next to my window and

music wafted up from the streets. As the day

was ending in buttery yellow light, Salvador

was waking up. It was Saturday night and

soon it would be dark — time to let the

sensuous, spontaneous city carry me away.

Outside the hotel, Terreiro de Jesus Square

was a swirl of movement. Afro-Brazilian

women in huge bustle skirts and bright

headscarves served steaming falafel-like

acarajé snacks at lace-draped stalls. The

air was sweet with the scent of chilli and

shrimp, and danced with the melodious

chatter of Brazilian Portuguese. I heard

the rat-a-tat of a repinique samba drum

echoing from one of the brightly painted

houses set around the square, and in the

distance, the Voodoo Chile wah-wah twang

of a berimbau — the single-string guitar

with a gourd for a sound board. I followed

the notes along a narrow cobbled street into

the thronging heart of the Pelourinho.

Music was everywhere: a normal

Salvador weekend entle bays where feels

like Trinidad in carnival time. Brazilian

reggae oozed from streetside bars, samba

skipped across little praças. And somewhere

I could hear that most Salvadorean of

sounds — an afoxê orchestra warming

up. Paul Simon called afoxê the ‘rhythm

of the saints’ — a pounding, visceral

beat that hits you below the waistline.

It’s played by bands of drummers who

parade through the streets with military

precision and tribal swing. They energise

the Pelourinho at weekends, calling the

crowds with bass drums and clattering

timbales, and pulling revellers behind

them like Pied Pipers with percussion.

First, a drink or two. At my favourite

Salvador bar, Uauá, above a narrow street

leading into the Pelourinho, I had a ringside

seat. As my first Caipirinha arrived, an afoxê

band came round the corner. By the second,

I was jiggling in my seat, ready to dance. I

could already hear the next wave coming.

44 worldtravellermagazine.com


BRAZIL

Clockwise from top left:

Sunset falls on La Rivera beach;

traditional drummers bring the

beat to the street; a colourful hut

between coconut palm trees on

Boipeba Island; capoeira played

on the beach

worldtravellermagazine.com 45


The Old Town in Salvador

46 worldtravellermagazine.com


BRAZIL


SALVADOR — WOW! NEVER

MIND HAVANA, THIS IS THE

LIVELIEST, MOST SULTRY

COLONIAL CITY IN THE AMERICAS


Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing

Banda Didá, an all-female percussion band

led by a woman with a huge pink Afro

burst into the street below me, playing

right below my table. A local couple at

the next table looked across and smiled.

‘Vamos, amigo!’ they said. I had no choice.

Salvador had taken me. So I joined them

on the streets, to parade and dance behind

Banda Didá, drink more Caipirinhas and

finish the night goodness knows when.

Sunday morning woke me with

church bells and more percussion.

I’d only had a few hours’ sleep, but I

couldn’t resist Salvador’s drums.

Later, as I cooled in the hotel pool

with an açai-berry smoothie, I could

feel myself coming dangerously close to

giving in to Salvador’s seductive pull —

there were all those markets to revisit,

piquant food to sample, more glittering

churches, more drum parades...

‘Stay,’ sang Salvador. Boipeba, I

reminded myself. I needed to get there

before Salvador sucked me in. So I

skipped the overland route south via

sugarcane fields and chocolate plantations

and splashed out on an air taxi.

The flight was spectacular — over

the terracotta and high-rise sprawl of

Salvador, the glittering Bay of All Saints,

specked with white yachts and tiny beachfringed

islands. Then rainforest: ribbons

of brown river snaking through the green

into swathes of spidery mangroves, white

egrets floating above them like winddrifting

petals. An eagle... The mangroves

became beaches and beaches and beaches.

Then we dropped over a river-mouth

harbour with a few wooden fishing boats,

a tiny hamlet of cottages, a cocoa tree

plantation, a gash of grass cut from the

coconut palms... This was Boipeba.

I’d decided to stay in Boipeba village.

There were options further south that

looked wilder, but I wanted a bit of

local life. The island, friends had told

me, is cut with trails running through

the rainforest, sweeping along the

beaches. Don’t just flop on the beach,

they said. Boipeba is a place to walk.

My hotel, Pousada Santa Clara, was

a delight, shaded by tall branches and

set in its own butterfly-filled tropical

garden near the village beach. I allowed

myself one afternoon to laze in the

hammock outside my room, thumbing

a paperback and watching as marmoset

monkeys played in the trees, and little

agoutis — like guinea pigs on stilts —

rummaged underneath. In the evening

I wandered along the beach into the

village, a strip of sand lined with a few

thatched bars, and watched the sun

sink watermelon-red behind the palms.

The moqueca I ordered — a fish stew

similar to Jamaican rundown, but with

twice the flavour — came in a huge

terracotta pot, simmering in coconut and

dendê oil, garnished with coriander.

But the locals at the adjacent table

— three young men with dreadlocks

and tiny Speedos and a woman in an

equally tiny bikini — wouldn’t let me eat

alone. ‘This is Bahia,’ they laughed. And

I was pulled over to join them at their

table. Glasses clinked in introduction

— ‘Pedro, Chico, João e Andressa.’

‘Meet us on the beach tomorrow,’ they

said after dinner. ‘We’ll play capoeira,

then show you the way to Moreré. It’s the

most beautiful beach on the island.’ Like

Salvador, Boipeba had taken hold of me.

The next day I woke early, when the

sun was still twinkling low over the sea,

its first rays as gentle as the lapping

water on Boipeba village’s white beach.

Capoeira is tough — a whirligig martialart

dance with intricate steps. I’d never

even managed the most basic of them.

But then my new friends appeared, all

smiles and high-fives, and the capoeira

began — João with the berimbau, me

awkwardly bashing out rhythms on a

hand drum. And Andressa and Chico

began to dance — spinning and swirling

at effortless speed. I was dragged in. And

with all the rhythm and positive energy

of the morning I somehow managed a

capoeira ginga — the simplest three-way

step that lies behind all capoeira moves.

It was the first time I’d mastered it, and I

sat down, sweaty, panting and grinning

with boyish pleasure at my achievement.

After a cool beach-bar passionfruit

juice we set off to Moreré, my toes

sinking into the sand as I walked, sending

ghost crabs scurrying into their burrows.

The path left the sand and cut up into

rainforest. An iridescent blue morpho

butterfly as big as a handkerchief floated

along before us like a spirit guide. Birds

chirruped welcomes overhead and a

cicada soundwave washed through the

trees, hissing like water on a shingly

shore. We passed beach after beach,

all gorgeous enough to fill a whole day.

There was palm-shaded Tassimirim,

empty but for a couple of feral horses.

(‘You can hire a horse for a beach ride,’

Andressa told me.) Then the long,

broad crescent of white-pepper-fine

sand at Cueira — which took half an

hour to walk across. (‘This is where we

come to body-surf,’ said João.) And

then Moreré.

Moreré is that beach everyone

dreams of — squeaky white sand,

turquoise sea, towering coconut palms

and a single bamboo kiosk, painted

in bright colours, with wooden tables

in the sand under a thatch roof. The

Caribbean had nothing on this.

We ordered fresh fish straight from

the reef and a chilled green coconut. The

bartender — like a young Grace Jones

— opened it with two swift hacks of a

machete. Later we snorkelled over the

turtle-filled reef and lazed in tidal pools

as big as tennis courts. It was bliss.

And I had a week ahead of me to

snorkel, to body-surf, to horse-ride

and to wander the forest trails.

Salvador had seduced me. But on

Boipeba I had fallen in love.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com

worldtravellermagazine.com 47


long

the

weekend

Venice

A labyrinth of busy squares,

colourful canals and marble

palazzos, this floating city

floods the imagination with

its classical beauty

This page: A gondola gliding its

way through the city

Opposite, from top: Sweeping

views of the Dorsoduro district,

Al Ponte Antico Hotel

48 worldtravellermagazine.com


THE LONG WEEKEND

Venice welcomes you with an enchanting serenade, as

gondoliers glide their way through the intricate web of

the city's many waterways, carrying loved-up couples

from all over the world. The beating heart of the city

is the Grand Canal, a reflection of architectural glories

with exquisite palazzos and gothic museums lining its

banks. On land, narrow backstreets twist past and over

bridges to unveil a treasure trove of art and culture.

The city is divided into six districts (the sestieri), each

with its own charm and character. One way or another,

you're bound to wind up at San Marco. At the core

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

Basilica and the Doge’s Palace can be found. Across the

Rialto Bridge is San Polo with its lively bar scene, while

the artisans' neighbourhood of Dorsoduro is brimming

with prestigious art galleries. The largest of the sestieri,

Castello is where you can watch elderly Venetian women

gossip between windows and children playing ball in

the piazzas. Lose yourself in the winding alleyways and

discover why visitors flock to this fairytale-like city.

BLISSFUL SLUMBER

Doze off to the lullabies

of the city

Literary

dream

These hidden gems will

result in a serious case of

bibliophilia

The artsy one: Officially

declared a National

Monument on account of

its beauty, Ca Sagredo

Hotel is an art-lovers

dream-stay. Make your

way up the magnificent

18th century Scalone dei

Giganti staircase that’s

entirely surrounded by

frescoes, and wander

through hallways adorned

with original masterpieces

by Venetian painters

including Niccolò Bambini

and Giambattista Tiepolo.

The grand one: It's easy

to understand why the

Clooney’s chose to spend

their wedding night at this

sumptuous 16th century

palazzo. Aman Venice

welcomes you with its own

brand of luxury – think

trompe-l’oeil grandiose

staircase, Murano glass

chandeliers, Rubelli silk

wall coverings and Rococo

works of art, to name a few.

The cosy one: Tucked away

in the charming Dorsoduro

district, Ca’ Maria Adele

draws style-conscious

travellers with its unique

take on Venetian décor.

The boutique hotel boasts

five concept rooms, each

with its own design and

story. Book the Sala Noire

and relish in its delicious

decadence while the Sala

del Doge will make you feel

like a duke with its swathes

of scarlet boldness.

The bella vista one: For

gorgeous city views, the

terrace at Al Ponte Antico

is a fantastic place to have

a drink while gazing at the

Grand Canal and the Rialto.

Its central location also

means that some of the

best sights in Venice are

within walking distance.

THE BOOKSTORE:

LIBRERIA ACQUA

ALTA Here, books fill

old gondolas, canoes,

bathtubs and barrels.

Encyclopaedias line the

walls to make an

intriguing staircase and

fluffy cats inhabit every

corner as if they rule the

place. This chaotic yet

charming book shop is

the city’s best-kept secret

and a dream come true

for bargain hunters due to

its second-hand literary

treasures.

THE LIBRARY: BIBLIOTECA

NAZIONALE MARCIANA

Considered one of the

oldest and most stunning

libraries in Italy, this

architectural beauty

is home to the largest

classical texts collections

in the world, including

manuscripts, incunabula,

and works printed between

1500 and 1600.

worldtravellermagazine.com 49


THE LONG WEEKEND

Get crafty

Take a piece of the city

back home

From top to bottom:

A bowl of squid ink pasta,

decorative Venetian masks,

St Mark's Campanile

Venetian masks

A tradition that dates back

thousands of years, maskmaking

is an integral part

of the city’s culture. Avoid

paying over the odds at

touristy souvenir shops and

opt for making one yourself

at Ca’Macana – the family

owned store is known for

creating the masks that

appeared in the film Eyes

Wide Shut. camacana.com

Murano glass

Watching a Murano glass

sculpture come to life

is as fascinating as its

translucent beauty, and the

island of Murano is the only

place on the planet that

produces these coveted

pieces of art. Get an insider

ALL IN GOOD TASTE

Discover the lagoon city's hidden food haunts

The Venetian version

of tapas, Cicchetti is a

must-try while in Venice.

These traditional bites,

served on small plates

designed to share, will

have your taste buds

shouting “mamma

mia!” Enjoy it the local

way at Cantina Do

Mori, but don’t expect

to be seated; you’ll

have to eat it like the

locals do – standing

up. For lunch, head to

Ristorante Upupa and

be sure to order their

famous Spaghetti al

Nero di Seppia. The

distinctive pasta dish

will win you over with

its delicious flavour and

charcoal black colour

(courtesy of the squid

ink). End the evening at

one of the oldest cafés

in Europe, Caffè Florian

(caffeflorian.com). Having

opened its doors in

1720, it exudes old-world

charm and boasts a

stunning outdoor terrace

on St Mark's Square.

look at different glass

techniques thanks to the

dedicated tours on offer at

Mazzega Glass Factory.

Burano lace

It’s said that King Louis XIV

of France wore an original

Burano lace collar on the

day of his coronation.

Suffice to say, it's an

artwork in its own right. But

you don’t need to go all

the way to Burano Island to

get these lovely crafts, as

the famous Il Merletto shop

in Venice displays a wide

selection of original work.

UP AND AWAY

To get a thorough understanding of how beautiful

this city is, you need to get on top of it. Not only

does the St Mark's Campanile offer a breathtaking

view of the Venetian Lagoon, it’s also home to one

of the largest bells in the city, la Marangona. Just

a short boat-ride away, San Giorgio Maggiore

is a defining point on the Venice skyline, and its

unrivalled panoramic views of the city makes it

unlike any other. Hidden on a quiet street in the

bustling tourist centre of St. Mark’s Square, Scala

Contarini del Bovolo is instantly recognisable due

to its snail's shell-like spiral staircase. Ascend the

tower's twisting steps, pausing to look at the views

revealed at every twist and turn. Once you reach the

top, you’ll be awed by the picturesque view.

worldtravellermagazine.com 51


THE LONG WEEKEND

UNDER A BRIDGE

Each with its own story, Venetian bridges

unveil the city's deep-seated history

From top: Bridge of

Sighs; St. Mark's Square

Legend has it that lovers who kiss on a gondola at

sunset under the Ponte dei Sospiri will be granted

eternal love and happiness. Designed by Italian

architect Antonio Contino, the bridge connects the

Doge's Palace to the city’s historic prisons. It’s said

that prisoners, on their way to incarnation, got to

take one last peek at the city through the bridge’s

tiny gaps. Overcome with its beauty, it prompted

them to sigh, hence its moniker: the Bridge of Sighs.

One of the last remaining Venetian bridges

without guardrails, Ponte Chiodo in the Cannaregio

neighbourhood is the place to get your thrills of the

day. If you’re feeling courageous, you can capture

that coveted Instagram shot of your legs dangling

over the edge.

One of only four bridges to span the Grand Canal,

Ponte dell'Accademia charms with its peaceful

ambience and unique views of the city. Something

of an undiscovered gem, the bridge packs less

crowds than the city’s main attraction, the Rialto

Bridge, making it your ideal sunset destination.

ask a local

BRICK IN

THE WALL

Carlo Bettuolo,

destination wedding

photographer,

shares her his top

tips for exploring

the city

Get lost in Castello, the oldest district

in the city, and admire the architectural

details of buildings steeped in more than

eight centuries of history. For the perfect

Instagram shot, head to San Moisè Bridge

– its colourful background will ensure your

feed pops. For anyone visiting for the first

time, I always recommend the guided tour

of Teatro la Fenice, which is one of the

most beautiful opera houses in the world.

The city is brimming over with first-class

dining venues but my absolute favourite

is Algiubagió. Be seated at a table on the

wooden platform overlooking the lagoon

and tuck into delicious Venetian staples

and fresh seafood dishes. The restaurant's

stunning views will stay with you long after

you leave.

From exquisite marble

palaces to hidden

gems on the Grand

Canal, there are

numerous architectural

marvels to discover.

St Mark's Basilica

(basilicasanmarco.it)

is hard to miss with its

luminous gold mosaics

and profusion of grand

domes. Dating back

to the 11th century, the

Venetian cathedral is

a leading example of

Byzantine architecture.

A short walk away

is Doge's Palace

(palazzoducale.

visitmuve.it), a gothic

masterpiece that is the

formerly the seat of

Venetian government.

Its interior is equally

stunning with highlights

including the Sala del

Maggior Consiglio (the

grand council hall) and

Sansovino’s golden

stairway, Scala d’Oro.

If you tire of

pounding the

pavements, why not

give in to the classic

tourist bucket-list

experience of a

gondola tour along

the canals. Splash out

on a private guide

who can steer you

past all the top sites

and into the smaller,

more tranquil canals

that offer a glimpse of

everyday city life.

Words: Habiba Azab

52 worldtravellermagazine.com


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WORLD TRAVELLER X DCT ABU DHABI

THREE WAYS TO EXPERIENCE ABU DHABI...

The suite life

Be immersed in the sights and sounds of the city by

staying at these luxury hotels at the heart of the UAE capital

1Emirates Palace

From its gilded domes to its

24-karat gold-flaked cappuccinos,

it comes as no surprise that this

exclusive hotel counts royalty among

its regular guests. A grand example of

Arabian hospitality, this iconic hotel is

a landmark in its own right. It boasts

over 200 spacious rooms decorated

with regal furnishings, a private

beach, an auditorium that regularly

plays host to high-brow concerts and

events, and an impressive line-up of

restaurants, including Martabaan by

Hemant Oberoi.

2Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Offering a picture-perfect vista

of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,

this five-star beachfront hotel calls

design buffs with its architecturally

stunning glass exterior that's bathed

in blue light at night. Elegantly

decorated rooms and suites, soaking

tubs with a view and an inviting lap

pool characterise this enduringly

popular property, situated at the

mainland gateway. Gourmands should

head to the newly-opened Marco's

New York Italian by Marco Pierre

White for a meal to remember.

3

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Luxury permeates every aspect

of this hospitality stalwart located

on Abu Dhabi Corniche. Prepare to be

swept away by the signature butler

service, grand dual staircase (just like the

ones you see in the movies) and plush

suites. For the ultimate extravagance,

book a stay at the world’s highest

suspended presidential suite. Or for a

simple taste of the elevated lifestyle, you

can enjoy a thrilling dinner 255 metres

high at the exclusive Helipad Sunset

Suppers, which take place once a month.

To find out more, visit visitabudhabi.ae

Photo: Emirates Palace

54 worldtravellermagazine.com


Island

Lore

Mysterious coconuts, voodoo

dolls and otherworldly

beaches, Sophia Dyer is

spellbound by the Seychelles

56 worldtravellermagazine.com


WEEKENDS

Legend has it that a traveller who

eats from the breadfruit tree

while in the Seychelles is fated to

return to its sandy shores. A melting

pot of people and cultures, it only

seems right that the Creole islands

are brimming with local legends,

myths and folklore. A self-confessed

purveyor of all things mystic, it was

the islands ‘more than meets the

eye’ appeal that lured me, far more

than just its postcard scenes.

First on my numinous pursuit was

unearthing the mysterious coco de

mer, a distinct palm endemic to just

two of the 115 Seychellean islands.

Like something from prehistoric

fiction, the suggestively curvaceous

coconuts looked as if they belonged

in the imagination of a weary sailor

who had been out at sea for a number

of weeks before finally reaching dry

land. Yet here they were growing on

huge palms so tall they seemingly

touched the grey clouds, which were

drooping low, heavy with rain.

“People used to think the coco

de mer trees grew in a forest at the

bottom of the ocean, before the

coconuts fell upwards and washed

up on the beaches around the

Indian Ocean,” Leroy, my tour guide

explained with a wry smile. In the

1600s the huge shells that washed

up on shores were traded around the

Arabian Peninsula for vast sums of

money. Those who found the beached

husks in the Maldives however, were

ordered to hand them over to the

king or face the death penalty. It

wasn’t until British General Charles

Gordon, discovered the uninhabited

Seychelles isles in 1881 that the fate

of the plant was changed forever.

Taking one look at the mysteriously

shaped nut, Gordon declared that

he had found the original forbidden

fruit. Drawing the only plausible

conclusion, of course – that he had

stumbled upon the Garden of Eden.

Gordon’s revelation pleased the

local community and saw the coco

de mer become a protected species,

putting an end to the trading of the

fruit and introducing strict laws. Fast

forward to today and it’s the reason

why I came to be stood in Vallée de

Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin island.

One of the smallest UNESCO sites

in the world, it is fiercely guarded

by beefy security guards who patrol

the grounds to ensure there is no

untoward nut-nabbing, and quite

understandably too as they can

fetch up to $500. (Even if you could

sneak past the guards, I wouldn’t

recommend bagging one, as you

need an export license to get these

hefty nuts out of the country. Not to

mention, with the nuts weighing up

to 30kg, you’ll almost certainly be

over on your baggage allowance.)

Hawk-eyed guards aside, walking

among these ancient trees felt truly

special. Perhaps it had more to do

with my love of a good story than

the enigmatic palms themselves,

but I was almost certain I could feel

a subtle magic in the air here. Was

Gordon onto something after all?

Breaking the spell, I landed back in

the site's gift shop to pricey nuts

and the obligatory tourist tat.

Since Gordon’s discovery, the

African archipelagos have been

penned as ‘paradise on Earth’ and, like

its Indian Ocean counterparts, over

the years it has become synonymous

with honeymooners. The Seychelles,

fitting the seemingly mandatory white

sand beach bill, was the postnuptial

destination of choice of George and

Amal Clooney and the UK’s Duke

and Duchess of Cambridge. While I

Opposite page: Constance

Lemuria beach This page: An aerial

view of Constance Lemuria, Praslin

was on a solo pursuit, if the beaches

were good enough for the A-list, they

were surely good enough for me.

Known for being one of the nicest

stretches of sand in the Seychelles,

Anse Georgette was gothically

moody. The dark green foliage

surrounding the cove swayed

rhythmically in the breeze as the

ocean crashed into the rocks with

a passionate force. Adding a hint

of mystery, an ethereal mist floated

down from the hills, evaporating

as soon as it touched the water.

Somewhat naïve to the powers

of the ocean, I ran straight in as

the clouds broke above me, at last

relenting their pent-up rain with great

catharsis. After a few exhales, the

powerful waves threw me back onto

the shore, to which I abided willingly.

Settling down onto the sand, the

rain began to ease and eventually

the sun peaked through the clouds

in otherworldly defiance. But what

was extra special about this beach

was that, bar myself and a few other

travellers huddled under the trees,

it was completely empty. This was

probably due to the fact that getting

here can be an exercise (involving

a boat and hike). That is unless, like

me, you are staying at Constance

Lemuria, which boasts the beach

as part of its grounds. Having just

105 rooms and employing 402 staff

worldtravellermagazine.com 57


Lemuria, earns the right to brand

itself as an exclusive luxury resort.

Not only providing unparalleled levels

of service (thanks to the staff to

guest ratio), the resort is also home

to nesting hawksbill turtles and a

host of five-star dining experiences.

Pulling up to the hotel’s entrance,

most of the passengers in my car

were charmed by the pretty view of

Lemuria’s 18-hole golf course – its

fairways sparkling with dew. But

to my golf-ignorant self, there was

something far more interesting to

the right. Just before the gates of

the hotel, standing in solitude, was

a solemn grey-hued bungalow.

Its cracked walls and missing

windows giving it an eerie feel, as

if it was abandoned either halfway

through a remodel or demolition.

While pondering the reason it

stood neglected, I met the eye of a

disembodied dolls head pierced by

a stick. One of its eyes was sharply

open and seemingly glaring at mine,

while the other seemed to droop

shut in disdain. Before I could react,

the voodoo-esque doll was out

of sight, as we zoomed through

the gates and were hurtled up the

winding paths to reach the lobby.

Large pillar candles lined the path

to the grand, mahogany doors,

which remained firmly shut until the

staff shuffled into position. With

the loud striking of a gong, the

heavy doors were swung open as

the smiley team chorused in unison,

“welcome to paradise”. And as

twee as it may sound, there was no

denying that the vista ahead was

nothing short of archetypal utopia.

The indoor-outdoor lobby,

surrounded by dense foliage,

had kestrels flying overhead and

peacocks roaming on nearby

rocks. It overlooked the swimming

pool, before the view seductively

unfolded down to the white sand

beach and ocean beyond.

“According to folklore, the island of

Lemuria was where people and nature

lived in perfect harmony before it sank

to the bottom of the Indian Ocean. In

keeping with the legend, we create a

balance between nature and humans

at the resort,” the friendly host,


THE DARK

GREEN FOLIAGE

SURROUNDING

THE COVE

SWAYED

RHYMICALLY IN

THE BREEZE


Alyona, explained as she showed me

to my room. Attesting this, Constance

Lemuria was the first resort in the

Seychelles to receive a Green Globe

award and continues to be one of the

leaders for environmental practice

among the neighbouring resorts and

the local community. A welcome

sight for my ‘save the planet’ attuned

eyes, the hotel's green initiatives

meant reusable glass bottles of water

replaced their plastic equivalents in my

suite. Helping myself to a thoughtfully

placed, handcrafted dark chocolate,

my stomach began to rumble.

Lemuria’s creole influenced

restaurant, The Nest, produced

creatively displayed yet hefty

portioned and richly flavoursome

dishes. The first course appeared to

be an elegantly constructed melon

salad. However, a few bites in and

I was pleasantly surprised by the

white fruit’s uncharacteristically

moreish, carbohydrate-rich taste. It

turned out that the incognito fruit

was, in fact, breadfruit. Breadfruit

trees (suitably named after the fruit’s

starchy consistency) were brought

to the Seychelles along with a host

of goods and folklore from around

the globe by the archipelago’s first

settlers. And much like my appetite

for the lore, I couldn't help but dig

into a second serving of the fruit.

Another fine moment for my taste

buds came a couple of days later while

sunning myself on a beach in Mahé.

With an expert whack of a knife, the

coconut stall man handed me a green

nut from which the nectar was now

mine to slurp. Sipping away merrily, I

watched local children play football

to a soundtrack of hip-hop classics

being pumped out from a Bluetooth

speaker. A stark contrast from the

quiet beaches of Praslin, Mahé’s

beaches were, much to my enjoyment,

abuzz with life. Quite rightly so, all

the beaches in the Seychelles are

open to the public, so here on the

main island it is commonplace to be

milling among the locals even inside

the confines of your five-star resort.

This resort, named Ephelia, another

of Constance’s hotels, spans over

120-hectares of land and caters mainly

to families (or couples who easily

bore of one another) with a solid line

up of activities. Opting for a spot of

snorkelling one afternoon, I headed

to the beach, passing the vibrant

red hibiscus trees that lined the path

in an orderly fashion. By this point,

feeling suitably settled into the island

spirit, I picked a fresh flower from the

ground and placed it behind my ear.

“Do you know what that means?”,

the watersports shack assistant asked

me, pointing to the flower in my hair.

“Err…” I mustered while wracking

my mind for hibiscus trivia.

“No,” I concluded.

“It means you’re open to meeting

someone special,” he laughed. And

while this was not on my atoll agenda,

not one for abiding to convention, I

decided to leave the flower in my hair

as I waddled into the ocean, flippers

on feet, snorkel in hand. As I swam

beside the entire cast of Finding

Nemo, apart from Nemo (aptly) the

hibiscus flower floated into the ocean

along with the last of the Seychelles

folklore I had time to uncover.

When my five nights on the Creole

isles drew to a close, I had gotten

more than I bargained for, with an

awakened lust for island living that

made returning to the city seem near

impossible. The Seychelles is not only

profoundly beautiful, but vivaciously

full of life and grit. And if you’re

mystically minded, the island’s deeprooted

legends are the gifts that keep

on giving. Days later as I sit dreaming

up ways to return to the Seychelles, I

wonder if perhaps there’s something

in that breadfruit legend after all.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com

58 worldtravellermagazine.com


WEEKENDS

Clockwise from left: A wild

peacock; an aerial view of

Constance Ephelia in Mahé, children

play on a Seychelles beach; the

coco de mer nuts in Praslin

worldtravellermagazine.com 59


WORLD TRAVELLER X RENAISSANCE DOWNTOWN HOTEL DUBAI

STAYCATION

Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai

Situated along the Dubai Water Canal, this showstopper wows with its A-list style luxury

THE ROOMS & SUITES

From the floor-to-ceiling gold chains

to the art installations lining the

corridors, Art Deco vibes prevail here –

a look that's reflected in all the hotel's

rooms and suites. Relax in style in

either the Vice Presidential Suite or

the Presidential Suite, each offering

their own set of luxuries including a

complimentary breakfast in bed, butler

service and club lounge access.

THE FOOD

Boasting not one, but two, in-house

celebrity chef-led restaurants, this is a

foodie's dream destination. Morimoto

Dubai puts you right in the middle of the

action with a live teppanyaki counter

that displays the Iron Chefs' trademark

culinary style. BASTA! by David Myers

serves up a little piece of Italy with each

dish, while Bhar will spice up your palate

with its delectable Arabian fare.

THE ACTIVITIES

When the clock strikes five, Evenings at

Renaissance kicks off, inviting guests to

sip signature drinks over a programme of

interesting events. If you're not in a social

mood, indulge yourself to a relaxing

massage while soaking up the panoramic

views of the city at Six Senses Spa. With

six different treatment suites, each

dedicated to a different sense, you'll leave

in a haze of peace and tranquillity.

To find out more, call +971 4 512 5554 or renaissancedowntowndubai.com

60 worldtravellermagazine.com


ISN’T IT JUST SUITE TO BE HERE AT RENDXB?

Rediscover luxury in one of our indigenously designed suites while

overlooking Dubai’s unique views.

For more information visit renaissancedowntowndubai.com

or email rendxb.sales@renhotels.com

RENAISSANCE DOWNTOWN HOTEL, DUBAI

Marasi Drive Business Bay Dubai PO Box 191984 United Arab Emirates. t: +971.4.512.5555


WORLD TRAVELLER X ADDRESS SKY VIEW

STAYCATION

Address Sky View

This sleek new property places you at the heart of bustling Downtown Dubai

THE ROOMS & SUITES

With an exclusive address on Sheikh

Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, this

luxury hotel stands proud with its duo

of glistening skyscrapers connected by

a sky bridge. Floor-to-ceiling windows

offer stunning views of the city skyline

towards the Arabian Gulf. Book yourself

into a Club Room Burj View for coveted

Burj Khalifa vistas and a front row

seat to The Dubai Fountain.

THE FOOD

Tuck into an array of delicious

platters that put a refreshing twist on

international cuisine at The Restaurant.

Its cosy ambience, personalised service

and warm décor will make you feel right

at home. Meanwhile, the resort's pool

lounge, Deck TOO, offers the perfect

excuse to nibble at an expertly curated

menu of antipasti and aperitivo while

admiring the marvellous cityscape.

THE ACTIVITIES

The showstopper here is the picturesque

rooftop infinity pool, which is sure to

blow up your Instagram. Swim a lap, grab

a refreshing drink from the pool bar and

soak up the views. Better yet, stop by The

Spa for a pampering session. Located

on the 54 th floor, choose from a range

of soothing treatments and feel your

tension ease away as Dubai's glittering

skyline lulls you to a serene bliss.

To find out more, call +971 4 873 8888 or visit addresshotels.com

62 worldtravellermagazine.com


YOUR stage among the stars,

Address Sky View, a panoramic city viewpoint, presents

spectacular vistas of Dubai’s finest sights. Every luxury hotel

room and suite, every enthralling dining experience, and every

event space lifts you to heights inspired by the Sky Deck

shimmering under the stars. Welcome to your stage in the sky.

Discover a marvellous new viewpoint with #ADHskyview

BOOK NOW

TOLL FREE (UAE) 800 ADDRESS

ADDRESSHOTELS.COM


WORLD TRAVELLER X THE ST. REGIS ABU DHABI

STAYCATION

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Tailor-made luxury meets exquisite experiences at this palatial retreat

THE ROOMS & SUITES

Stay close to all the action as the Formula

1 World Championship roars its way

back to the city this month. After an

exhilarating day of Grand Prix action,

retire to the comfort of your Superior

Room, or spacious suite, and enjoy the

royal treatment with around-the-clock

butler service. Guests also receive access

to Nation Riviera Beach Club and a

complimentary breakfast at The Terrace.

THE FOOD

Delve into a delicious spread of local

delicacies while being suspended 255

metres up in the air on the highest

active helipad in the Middle East.

Making a grand return this month (on 9

and 16 Nov), the Helipad Sunset Supper

invites 20 lucky guests to dine amongst

the clouds, enjoy live performances and

take in some of the most sensational

views the city has to offer.

THE ACTIVITIES

Introducing a new look and feel, Nation

Riviera Beach Club has refreshed

its main pool with an exciting new

design that highlights the hotel's

scenic landscape. Perfect the art of

relaxation and soak up the sun in your

private cabana, do a few laps in the

temperature-controlled swimming

pool or enjoy a walk on the pristine

private stretch of white sand.

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

64 worldtravellermagazine.com


Abu Dhabi’s Finest Urban Resort

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

expectation. Located at the vibrant heart of Abu Dhabi, you will be transferred

through a luxurious underpass to a 200 metre stretch of pristine beach, overlooking

the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf and the newly renovated Nation Riviera Pool.

Enjoy the exquisite service of a truly unique experience at the Nation Riviera Beach

Club and the finest address in the city.

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

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

©2019 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All names, marks and logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.

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

@stregishotels


WORLD TRAVELLER X DUKES THE PALM, A ROYAL HIDEAWAY HOTEL

STAYCATION

Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel

English charm is the hallmark of this Palm Jumeirah hotel

THE ROOMS & SUITES

Here, every detail has been

carefully thought out to perfect the

quintessentially British style – from

the checkerboard-tiled floors lining the

lobby to the Floris amenities in all the

guestrooms. If you're looking for a home

away from home, consider a studio or

an apartment where you'll drift off to

the sound of the sea and wake up to the

dreamy views of the Arabian Gulf.

THE FOOD

Order it shaken, not stirred at Dukes

bar, where expert mixologists fix you

signature drinks from a tableside trolley.

Meanwhile, Great British Restaurant

serves modern British fare that tastes

as good as it looks. If you're in the mood

for something spicy, Khyber's flavourpacked

dishes stand out, with highlights

including the tandoor-cooked baby lamb

leg and green masala pomfret.

THE ACTIVITIES

Swim a lap or sit back and enjoy a

refreshing drink by the infinity pool

that blends seamlessly with the city's

glittering skyline. The Dukesy Kids' club

will keep your little ones occupied while

you sweat out your daily cardio at the

fitness studio. Later, glam up at the hair

and beauty salon for an evening out.

With many of the city's top attractions

nearby, the City of Gold awaits discovery.

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

66 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X BAB AL SHAMS DESERT RESORT & SPA

Say “I do”

Capturing the romance and tranquillity of the desert, Bab Al Shams

Desert Resort & Spa will ensure your special day is picture-perfect

Tucked away in Dubai’s majestic

rolling dunes, Bab Al Shams

Desert Resort & Spa is an

Arabian Nights fantasy plucked from

your imagination and a coveted location

for a destination wedding. Whether

you're dreaming of an intimate

ceremony or a lively celebration

surrounded by family and friends,

this palatial resort will turn your

wedding dreams into reality. Here’s

the pick of our favourite venues…

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Exchange vows amid the natural

wonders of the desert at Sunset Point.

The alfresco venue offers a simple

setting that showcases the stunning

surroundings and can hold up to

240 of your nearest and dearest. You

could also opt for the Masala Rooftop

Lounge, which is ideal for star-lit

ceremonies, with its panoramic view

of the resort that's best enjoyed while

sitting down to a sumptuous feast.

Meanwhile, couples who want to go

all out with the invitations should

book the Arena. True to its name, the

venue sprawls over 20,000 square

metres and can fit up to 6,000 guests.

AN INTIMATE AFFAIR

Adorned with lush foliage, Al Shurouq

and the Garden Café offers total privacy

with its Arabesque furnishings, elegant

floral centerpieces and personalised

details. Alternatively, contemporary

elegance meets old-world charm at Le

Dune, while Falcon Courtyard beckons

hopeless romantics with its oriental

appeal and secluded setting that

accommodates a modest 30 guests.

A CULTURAL TWIST

Fascinate your guests by holding

your ceremony at the unique setting

of Al Hadheerah Restaurant. With

a traditional tanoura and belly

dancing performances, as well

as a live Arabian band, you'll have

everyone on their feet in minutes.

If you’re seeking something more

private, Al Hadheerah Rooftop can

accommodate up to 70 guests and

offers a serene ambiance with its

sweeping views of the Arabian desert.

From crafting colourful floral

arrangements to creating a bespoke

wedding cake and menu, the resort

offers an array of services and packages

to make your big day unforgettable.

Find out more at babalshams.com

Sunset Point

68 worldtravellermagazine.com

worldtravellermagazine.com 68


RARE IS REAL

Nestled among the rolling dunes of Dubai, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is a haven of rustic charm,

luxurious Arabian hospitality, benchmark-setting facilities and a captivating desert environment.

This oasis of pure indulgence offers guests an array of sumptuous dining experiences

from Italy to India and the Middle East, desert activities including falconry,

camel riding and archery, rejuvenating therapies at the award-winning Satori Spa

as well as facilities designed to ensure that every moment is one to be cherished for years to come.

babalshams.com

/babalshamshotel /babalshamshotel /babalshamshotel

DESERT RESORT & SPA - DUBAI


WORLD TRAVELLER X LE MERIDIEN AL AQAH BEACH RESORT

STAYCATION

Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort

Family-friendly fun abounds at this action-packed reatreat

THE ROOMS & SUITES

Nestled between the Hajar Mountains

and the glistening Indian Ocean, this

coastal resort is all about family-fun with

great deals on offer. Watch the sun set

from your sea facing room with your little

munchkins in tow (two children below 12

years old can stay for free). After a good

night's sleep, start your day fresh and tuck

into a delectable breakfast of champions

(rates are inclusive of breakfast).

THE FOOD

Embark on a culinary journey and relish

the taste of different world cuisines at

any of the hotel's eight restaurants and

bars. East-meets-West signature recipes

fill Views with aromas that are sure to

make your mouth water. Alternatively, lap

up the cool sea breeze as Gonu serves up

seafood fresh from the ocean. Better yet,

head southeast and delight in the Asian

flavours of Thai Indian fare at Taste.

THE ACTIVITIES

Unleash your wild side and step up to

the Al Aqah Challenge, the first ever

obstacle rope course on the East Coast.

Whether ziplining, climbing or abseiling,

it's going be a tough one to crack so bring

your A game. Meanwhile, beach lovers

can simply lounge on the hotel's private

stretch of sand or take a dive into the

crystal waters of the Arabian Gulf to

unveil a world of marine wonders.

To find out more, call +971 9 244 9000 or visit marriott.com

70 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X DUBAI MARRIOTT HARBOUR HOTEL & SUITES

STAYCATION

Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites

For a longer stay, make yourself at home in a stylish suite overlooking Dubai Marina

THE ROOMS & SUITES

If you're planning on staying in Dubai

for a while, or simply appreciate the

convenience of having your own kitchen,

the stylish suites at this four-star

property in Dubai Marina are just the

ticket. There are one-, two- and threebedroom

suites available, each featuring

a modern kitchen and a sleek marble

bathroom with an oversized tub. Room

service is available around the clock.

THE FOOD

Jump-start your day with a delectable

menu of international dishes at Counter

Culture Café, which also offers free Wi-Fi

so you can stay well connected to the

wider world. For hearty British fare with

a twist, The Croft is the place to go. On

the 52nd floor, Observatory Bar & Grill is

where you should head for classic dishes

and crafted drinks, with panoramic views

of the waterfront.

THE ACTIVITIES

Your fitness regime needn't suffer, as all

guests enjoy access to the fitness centre.

When you want to unwind, head to Saray

Spa, which offers a range of pampering

treatments, such as the signature Saray

Arabic Coffee Awakener, which includes

a body scrub, mask and massage. Get out

and explore Dubai, including Jumeirah

Beach Residence and Dubai Media City,

which are just a short stroll away.

To find out more, call +971 4 319 4000 or visit marriottharbourdubaidining.com

72 worldtravellermagazine.com


CREATE

SPECIAL

MOMENTS

WITH US.

Standing tall in the heart of

Dubai Marina, featuring

incomparable panoramic views

of the city, combine the best

of all worlds with luxurious

accommodation, three

contemporary dining

destinations and a blissful

caravanserai-inspired, Saray Spa.

DUBAI MARRIOTT HARBOUR HOTEL & SUITES

KING SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ AL SAUD STREET

DUBAI MARINA, PO BOX 66662, DUBAI, UAE

T. 971.4.319.4000 | DUBAIMARRIOTTHARBOURHOTEL.COM

Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites

@marriottharbour


1

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76 worldtravellermagazine.com


THROUGH

THE LENS

Great Ocean Road,

Australia

I've always dreamt of visiting

Australia with my family one

day, to buy a Jeep, get out on the

open road and discover what this

beautiful country has to offer. So

when my husband and I decided

to travel full time, we knew it was

the right moment to fulfil our

fantasy. When we drove down

this particular road, I just knew

it would look stunning from

above. We immediately pulled

over, took out the drone and fired

that baby up in the sky. I asked my

husband to keep driving the Jeep

up and down the road a few times

while I tried to capture its true

beauty. I love the effect of the four

layers: crashing blue waves, rocky

coastline, green mountains and

the winding road.

Travel and photography fan

Heleen Van Assche loves to

travel because: "It makes us

richer in every possible way."

Follow her at @the_global_

wizards, theglobalwizards.com

EMAIL US YOUR BEST

TRAVEL PHOTOS

in high-res jpeg format, along

with the stories behind them to

habiba@hotmedia.me and you

may end up being featured

on this page

78 worldtravellermagazine.com


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sharing your experiences. Here’s

where you can find us…

@worldtravellerme

Double tap our dreamy

destination shots and tag

us in your images for a chance to

feature on our wall.

@WorldTravellerME

Stay up to date with travel

stories as we post them.

@WTravellerME

Make the most of your

280-character allowance

by sharing your best travel

moments with us.

#WorldTravellerME

A two-night stay for two at JA The

Resort in Dubai

This five-star beachfront hideaway (Dubai's largest resort) could be yours for

two nights on a bed and breakfast basis. With an 800-metre stretch of golden

sand, a world-class golf course, horseback riding and watersports aplenty on

offer, plus lots more, it's a coveted holiday spot for families. It's home to three

properties – JA Beach Hotel, JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lake View Hotel – with

stand-out restaurants, including Kinara by Vikas Khanna. To find out more and

to enter, visit worldtravellermagazine.com/win. (Terms & conditions apply).

TRAVEL INSPO AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

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

inspire your next trip…

1The Knowledge.

Read our handy

how-tos, from

getting to grips with

travel insurance to

helping kids beat jet

lag, and more.

2Staycations.

Take a peek

inside these top

hotels and resorts on

your doorstep, and

then book your next

mini break.

3Insider guides.

Check out our

in-the-know

travel edits of some

of the most popular

holiday destinations

on our radar.

worldtravellermagazine.com 79


Suite dreams

Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a suite

that has a character and style all of its own

CORNER JUNIOR SUITE

Carlton Hotel St. Moritz, Switzerland

Be in the pink inside this rose-tinted suite, which teams its distinctive décor with a panoramic

view of Lake St. Moritz and the snow-capped Swiss Alps. Located on the fifth floor of this

boutique hotel, the 75-square-metre suite features a corner sofa under the pitch of the roof,

providing a cosy spot in which to unwind. Plus, with its luxurious dressing room and walk-in

wardrobe, this elegant hideaway is ideal for fashion mavens in search of the perfect fit.

80 worldtravellermagazine.com


Inspiration. Expertly crafted.

Comprising two iconic towers, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is centrally located beside the

Dubai Water Canal and offers a spectrum of facilities and services for a seamless experience.

The hotel features: 1,608 Luxurious Guest Rooms and Suites, Over 15 Award-Winning Restaurants

and Lounges, Saray Spa featuring Traditional Hammams, A Dead Sea Floatation Pool and

17 Treatment Rooms, State-of-the-Art Health Club and Fitness facilities, 8,000 sqm of spectacular

Meeting Spaces.

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai

jwmarriott.com/DXBJW

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

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