Sundowner: Spring/Summer 2020

AbercrombieKentUK

SPRING/SUMMER 2020

Look of love

FALLING FOR MONGOLIA’S WILDS

18 SUMMERS

A CHILDHOOD’S WORTH

OF FUN FAMILY HOLIDAYS

BELIEVE

THE STRIPE

TIGER SPOTTING

IN RANTHAMBORE


COLOURS THAT CALL

Take a break from the everyday and experience the effortless

revitalisation you’ll find only in Scottsdale. The remarkable clarity

of our desert light, the exotic cactus blossoms, and the warm

smiles of our people create a stirring beauty that leaves you

inspired. Come get away, and see what blooms in the desert

01242 547 717

abercrombiekent.co.uk/arizona

Image: Wildflowers and saguaro cacti along the Granite Mountain Loop Trail in Scottsdale’s

McDowell Sonoran Preserve (credit: Joel Hazelton for Experience Scottsdale)


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64

72

DEAR TRAVELLER,

Happy New Year! A long time before the term

was coined in the 1990s, I was a firm exponent

of ‘slow travel’. I first discovered its joys

and benefits in 1958, when I rode my

motorbike from Nairobi to Cape Town on

a 3,000-mile journey of self-discovery along

some of Africa’s most picturesque roads.

A leisurely method of travelling that’s about

the journey as much as the destination, slow

travel is described by the movement’s guru

Carl Honoré in his 2004 book, In Praise of Slow,

as being “about making real and meaningful

connections – with people, culture, work, food,

everything”. All things that A&K advocates.

Discover our suggestion for the ultimate

slow-travel adventure on page 68.

Elsewhere in this issue, Sarah Marshall

urges you to go back to Sri Lanka, Sue Bryant

is in Egypt, Jan Masters is having an adventure

in Mongolia, and Sundowner’s editor, Alicia

Deveney, recommends 18 holidays to enjoy

with your children.

I hope your 2020 is full of happy travels.

Founder & Co-Chairman, Abercrombie & Kent Group

Follow me on Instagram @geoffrey_kent

Front cover: A skilled Kazakh eagle

huntress in Mongolia. Credit: Jan Masters

Editor: Alicia Deveney

Design: Debbie Edkins & Louise Maggs

Contributors: Sue Bryant, Ianthe Butt,

Audrey Gillan, Faye Hoskins, Sarah

Marshall, Jan Masters, Joe Meredith,

Penelope Rance, Sara Sherwood,

Nikki Stefanoff, Xenia Taliotis,

Annabelle Thorpe, Nigel Tisdall,

James Treacy, Philippa Turner,

Angelina Villa-Clarke

Sundowner is Abercrombie & Kent’s

magazine, St George’s House,

Ambrose Street, Cheltenham, Glos

GL50 3LG. Advertising enquiries to:

gbradvertising@abercrombiekent.co.uk

20

CONTENTS SPRING/SUMMER 2020

4 BUSH TELEGRAPH

All the latest from A&K and the world of travel

6 IN THE KNOW

Hotel openings and exciting new routes

that are on our radar

8 WHERE TO GO IN 2020

Featuring the comeback kings, one-off events,

wild cards, and up-and-comers

10 CALIFORNIA PREENING

Innovative and inspiring trips for the body,

mind, and soul in the Golden State

14 ROCKING YOUR WORLD

Don’t cry for Sri Lanka; instead it’s time

to head back to the teardrop island

18 48 HOURS IN MELBOURNE

Spend two days among the coffee shops,

creative energy, and cool laneways

20 HOT WATER

For unchanging Lake Como, the opening

of a new Mandarin Oriental on the shore is

big news, says Annabelle Thorpe

24 A FINE BALANCE

In rural Rajasthan, Ianthe Butt finds

wilderness, wellness, and an adventure that

thrills and rebalances in equal measure

28 GREAT SCOTTSDALE

The Arizona town is filled with architectural

gems by the likes of Edward L. Varney, Paolo

Soleri, and the mighty Frank Lloyd Wright

32 A SINGULAR MAN

An interview with safari-guiding royalty

and owner of Jack’s Camp, Ralph Bousfield

36 OFF THE WALL

For Sara Sherwood and her son, China

was the obvious destination for their

family holiday outside Europe

40 MEET THE TEAM

A&K’s Gerald Hatherly: “one of the

greatest travel pros on Earth”

42

42 DEATH BECOMES HER

As the Christie classic returns to our screens,

Sue Bryant takes a life-affirming Nile Cruise

46 TURKISH DELIGHT

Two-thirds of visitors to the Hillside Beach

Club become repeat guests; a first-time visitor

highlights six reasons why

48 FLIGHTS OF FANCY

Jan Masters journeys to far-out Mongolia

on a Luxury Small Group Journey, visits the

Golden Eagle Festival and explores the wilds

52 ACCESS TO ART HOTELS

We curate this exhibition of our favourite

hotels for art lovers

54 18 SUMMERS

Our ultimate guide to a childhood of family

holidays that combine fun with education

60 OUR FAVOURITE VILLAS FOR 2020

40 sumptuous retreats and dream hideouts

64 FOODIE FORAYS: LUANG PRABANG

Audrey Gillan explores the unique food scene

in Laos’ chicest town

68 TAKING IT SLOW

Penelope Rance discovers the benefits when

she decelerates and lets the ocean set the pace

72 FIVE WAYS TO EXPERIENCE PERU

However you slice it, there’s a piece of this

South American country for all-comers

74 A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

Boarding the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

in the footsteps of a beloved family member

76 OUT OF THE BLUE

Saint Lucia, but not as you know it –

the island still surprises, says Nigel Tisdall

80 NEWS FROM ABERCROMBIE &

KENT PHILANTHROPY

From Africa to Australia, news from our

philanthropic projects around the globe

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 3


STARS IN

THE MAKING

In our perpetual quest

to improve our clients’

user experience, we’re

delighted to announce

our new collaboration

with Trustpilot, the world’s

most powerful review

platform. Visible on our

website’s home page,

our recent Trustpilot

reviews include quotes

such as “outstanding

service” and “thoroughly

recommended”.

“More than just a rating,

Trustpilot stars signify

that a company loves its

customers and shares our

mission to create everimproving

experiences

for everyone,” says Peter

Holten Mühlmann,

Founder and CEO of

the review platform.

Bush

TELEGRAPH

NEWS FROM A&K AND THE WIDE WORLD OF TRAVEL

DOUBLE

VISION

Two luxury-travel luminaries – A&K’s Founder

Geoffrey Kent and Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio,

Chairman of Heritage Group and Executive

Chairman of Silversea Cruises – have come

together to become Co-Chairmen of Abercrombie

& Kent. “We will be working together to translate

our shared vision for the future of luxury and

experiential travel,” explained Kent.

SETTING SAIL

A&K is pleased to offer Luxury Expedition

Cruises to the Arctic, Antarctica and culturally

rich non-polar destinations. New for 2021 are

cruises to the Northeast Passage, and the

Faroe Islands and Norwegian Fjords. Backed by

some 30 years of cruising experience, every

all-inclusive Luxury Expedition Cruise is set

aboard an exclusively chartered expedition

cruiser – including two new luxurious ships,

Le Champlain and Le Bellot – and accompanied by

an unparalleled on-board team and local guides.

4 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


FLYING HIGH

THE NEW FLIGHT ROUTES

& OTHER AIRLINE NEWS

THAT WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT

FLYING HIGH WORDS: JAMES TREACY

Plus, points

Passengers will benefit from the next phase of British Airways’

World Traveller Plus upgrade. Each guest will enjoy a new amenity

kit. Made from recycled plastic bottles, these kits contain an eye

mask, socks, a pen, toothbrush, toothpaste, and lip balm from

Scaramouche + Fandango.

Seats to Saint Lucia

Following on from Virgin Atlantic’s decision to cease flying to

Saint Lucia, British Airways has announced it will be offering

around 600 additional seats to the island per week in June,

July and August 2020.

Test run

Qantas recently tested three data-gathering, non-stop flights from

Sydney to London, as part of the Australian airline’s ultra-long-haul

‘Project Sunrise’. The goal: regular, non-stop flights from the east

coast of Australia to London and New York. “Flying non-stop from

Melbourne or Sydney to London and New York is truly the final

frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork

to get this right,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO.

All go for Gaborone

Qatar Airways has launched a new thrice-weekly service to

Gaborone, linking London to Botswana’s capital via the airline’s

hub in Doha.

ANA goes luxe

ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA) has rolled out new First Class and

Business Class cabins for its B777-300ER aircraft. Created by famed

architect Kengo Kuma and leading British designers Acumen, its First

Class is inspired by ‘luxury Japanese hotels’. Dubbed ‘THE Suite’ and

‘THE Room’, the new cabins feature custom-made lights by Panasonic,

inspired by natural sunrise to improve comfort, and the largest

entertainment screens in the skies.

Class act

Qatar Airways continues to roll-out its award-winning Qsuite offering.

From this winter, four flights per day from Heathrow will feature Qsuite, as

well as one per day from Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Delhi. In addition,

from March, the service will be offered twice daily from Manchester.

Recognised as “the world’s best Business Class” at the 2019 Skytrax World

Airline Awards and 2019 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards, Qsuite

was first launched in March 2017 on selected planes. The airline has since

been adding the offering to more planes and routes. Both aft- and forwardfacing,

Qsuite seats can be configured into a private but social quad –

useful for family meals, business meetings, and much more.

A&K PARTNERSHIP

TREND WATCH: THE RISE OF THE GOLDEN GAP YEAR

What springs to mind when you hear ‘gap year’? Like most, you

probably imagine fresh-faced school leavers backpacking around

far-flung corners of the world. Yet studies show an increasing

number of retirees are embarking on extended holidays –

escapes lasting anywhere from three to 12 months.

Inspired Villages, a company specialising in developing later living

communities, recently crunched the numbers of a national survey

by OnePoll, as well as data from the ONS. The figures reveal that

almost a quarter of UK retirees have either taken a gap year since

leaving work, or are interested in doing so; 23 per cent already

take five holidays or more per year.

For some potential globe-trotting trendsetters, it isn’t age holding

them back from their gap year dream. The data reveals that garden

and household maintenance is a major dissuader for 21 per cent

of those surveyed. Travel stress was also cited by 17 per cent as a

limiting factor. However, with more retirement villages providing

reassuring ‘lock up and leave’ services, and with luxury travel

companies such as A&K promising a stress-free travel experience,

those hurdles are looking a lot less daunting. Is this the dawning of

the age of the golden gap year?

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 5


IN THE KNOW

BE THE FIRST TO STAY IN ONE OF THESE EXCITING PLACES

ARCTIC BATH

Harads, Sweden

Opening: February 2020

When it comes to 2020’s travel trends, the buzzwords ‘immersive’, ‘Insta-holiday’, and ‘wellness’ continue to dominate

how consumers are thinking and talking about travel. Perfectly in-line to tap into all these trends, Arctic Bath hotel

floats on the Lule River and offers a unique Nordic wellness experience. At the core of this brand-new 12-cabin

‘floatel’ is a giant ‘coldbath’ that is open to the northern sky for aurora borealis-watching, heated to a bracing four

degrees, and ringed by treatment and relaxation rooms, and saunas. Just imagine the Insta-opportunities and the

images that will flood your feed.

6 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


AMAN NEW YORK

New York City, USA

Opening: 2020

‘Aman junkies’ rejoice: the super-luxury hotel brand

is opening an 83-room ‘urban sanctuary’ in New

York this year. The property – a combination of hotel

rooms and 20 private residences – will occupy the

upper floors of Fifth Avenue’s famed Crown Building.

This new opening will be Aman’s second city

destination (after Tokyo) as part of CEO Vladislav

Doronin’s plan to take Aman urban. He is quoted as

saying ‘when I bought Aman in 2014, the whole goal

was to turn Aman from horizontal to vertical.’

EXPLORA TRAVESÍA

ATACAMA-UYUNI

Chile & Bolivia, South America

From: May 2020

The exploras are a group of truly extraordinary hotels

in exceptional locations. But this group offers more

than hotels: its Travesías are nomadic journeys by

4x4 from one explora hotel to the next (glamping if

accommodation is unavailable). New for 2020, the

Atacama to Uyuni eight- or 10-night route runs from

the deep silence of the desert’s terracotta mountains

to the endless white of Bolivia’s salt flats. Suited to

wild-at-heart wanderers.

IKOS ANDALUSIA

Andalusia, Spain

Opening: May 2020

The Ikos brand looks set to bring a touch more luxury

to Spain’s shimmering southern shores. Close to the

cosmopolitan glamour of Marbella, the exclusive

Ikos Andalusia lies on the beachfront of Playa de

Guadalmansa in beautifully landscaped gardens and

is packed with leisure facilities and a spa. The ultimate

‘all inclusive’ offer of Infinite Lifestyle allows you to

savour such pleasures as Michelin-starred menus

and 24-hour room service during your stay.

CREDIT: ARCTIC BATH

ELEWANA LOISABA

LODO SPRINGS

Loisaba, Kenya

Opened: July 2019

Nestled in nearly 25,000 fence-free hectares and

located on the elephant corridor between the

immense plains of Loisaba and Laikipia Plateau,

this new five-star, eight-tent property offers an

ultra-private experience, as well as magical views

towards Mount Kenya. For the occupants of each

individually designed tent, there is a dedicated safari

vehicle, driver, and Elewana field guide.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 7


Where to go

in 2020

Our specialists keep their fingers firmly on the pulse

of luxury travel, so we know which of this year’s hottest

destinations will set your heart racing. Discover the

countries making a thrilling comeback; where to go

for a true one-off experience; and the up-and-comers

promising seasoned travellers something different

THE COMEBACK KINGS

EGYPT

Mesmeric relics, atmospheric souks, and natural wonders coalesce to give

Egypt an enduring romance. After the tumult of recent years, the Land

of the Pharaohs is making a deserved comeback; in 2018, more than 11

million tourists visited Egypt, and the World Tourism Organisation has

since named the country the world’s fastest-growing travel destination.

Why go in 2020? The Grand Egyptian Museum is set to open this

year. Encompassing 500,000 square metres, this vast exhibition space will

showcase an omnium-gatherum of Ancient Egyptian finds – 30,000 of

which have never been exhibited in public. For true insider access, A&K

can take you on a guided tour behind the scenes before the museum’s

grand opening.

Where to stay in 2020 The follow-up to Kenneth Branagh’s Murder

on the Orient Express has been slated for release this October. In Death

on the Nile, Poirot returns to investigate a murder aboard a River Nile

steamboat. You can follow in the fastidious detective’s footsteps by taking

your own luxury cruise – unlike his, however, we’ll ensure it unfolds

without a hitch. Enjoy a five-star journey aboard the Sanctuary Nile

Adventurer; after a dramatic refurbishment last autumn, this exquisite

vessel has returned to the water as the 21st century’s ‘Queen of the Nile’.

A&K’s eight-night Egypt: Cairo & Cruising the Nile escorted tour

starts at £3,995 per person. Early solo bookers can avoid

a single supplement.

SRI LANKA

The ‘teardrop off India’ brims with lush landscapes, ancient treasures, and

a rich cultural heritage – all ringed by the palm-fringed beaches of the

Indian Ocean. In the past decade, visitor numbers have boomed, and it’s

easy to see why; on a Sri Lanka holiday, a large dose of tropical warmth

awaits, in both the weather and the welcome.

Why go in 2020? Although the tragic events of Easter 2019 affected

tourism, the country’s multitude of charms are tempting travellers once

more. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has rescinded its advice

against visiting the island nation, and UK nationals can enter the country

on a visa-free, no-cost basis until the end of January. On top of that, the

government has announced plans to slash airline charges and increase

flight numbers, and A&K is freezing its holiday prices at 2019’s rates.

A&K’s 13-night Classic Sri Lanka suggested itinerary starts at

£3,905 per person (based on two sharing, includes flights, transfers,

accommodation, and selected excursions).

EGYPT

SRI LANKA

THE ONE-OFF EVENT

ARGENTINA

Beguiling landscapes, a vibrant capital, and famously hospitable

people are reasons enough to put Argentina on many a wish list this

year. Experience the gaucho way of life amid wild plains and epic

mountainscapes; try your hand (and feet) at tango under expert

tutelage; sample exquisite wine on a tour of the country’s acclaimed

vineyards – and so much more.

Why go in 2020? For the cherry on the cake – a total solar eclipse.

Set to take place on 14 December, this aligning of celestial bodies will be

visible from just a few South American countries. In Argentina, the event

will briefly plunge northern Patagonia into darkness in the middle of the

afternoon. Be among the few to witness this rare, magical moment in a

region already famed for its spectacular scenery.

Where to stay in 2020 Visit this year to also become one of the first

guests to stay at the explora Patagonia Argentina. The latest in the hotel

group’s roster of exemplary eco-lodges, this new property places you

within southern Patagonia’s Los Huemules reserve, close to El Chaltén.

You’ll enjoy access to a stunning wilderness, with views to the Electric

Valley and Marconi range – perfect for embracing your adventurous side.

A&K’s 12-night Patagonia Explored suggested itinerary starts at

£6,300 per person (based on two sharing, includes flights, transfers,

accommodation, and selected excursions).

8 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


ARGENTINA

ARCTIC

LAOS

THE WILD CARD

THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

Where else in the world can you view the polar bear in its natural habitat,

mingle with Innuit, spot narwhal, and admire the northern lights in all

their glory? The Arctic Circle offers a bounty of untamed beauty, and this

year is a fantastic time to witness it.

Why go in 2020? To experience a luxury cruise like no other. Our

48-day Grand Arctic Voyage lets you explore the remote archipelago

of Svalbard, trendy Iceland, rugged Greenland, the entire Canadian

Arctic, and the glittering landscapes that surround them.

Where to stay in 2020 Discover this icy wonderland from the comfort

of Le Boreal, a robust mega-yacht perfectly matched to this mega-voyage.

A&K’s 48-day Grand Arctic Voyage is £51,285 per person (based on

two sharing). Speak to a specialist to discover all that’s included on an

A&K Luxury Expedition Cruise.

ETHIOPIA

THE UP-AND-COMERS

LAOS

Until recently, Laos was in the shadow of its more famous Indochinese

neighbours. This country’s charm and authenticity are drawing a growing

number of visitors to its lesser-travelled trails, however, and we expect

the trend to continue in 2020. Discover this nation of jungles, temples,

hill-top villages, and ancient relics for yourself – there’s plenty to stir your

senses. We particularly recommend visiting as part of a luxury multicentre

escape across South-east Asia.

Why go in 2020? For new discoveries on the Plain of Jars. Stretching

across the Xiangkhoang Plateau, this vast archaeological site features

thousands of enormous stone vessels, scattered by a past civilisation

whose culture remains a mystery. While folklore suggests the jars

belonged to giants, further excavations in 2019 point instead towards

a more anthropological answer: that this was once a burial ground. We

can help you discover more about this hard to reach UNESCO World

Heritage Site by flying you in directly via helicopter, accompanied by an

expert guide.

Where to stay in 2020 Launched just under two years ago, Rosewood

Luang Prabang has firmly established itself among Laos’ luxury ecoretreats.

Stay in tented suites or jungle-nested villas within easy reach

of UNESCO-listed Luang Prabang’s attractions, including museums,

monasteries, and the MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary.

A&K’s 11-night Rhythms of South-east Asia escorted tour

starts at £3,795 per person. Early solo bookers can avoid

a single supplement.

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most enthralling – and often overlooked –

destinations. Situated in the Horn of Africa, it easily earns its spot in this

year’s limelight. The monasteries of Lake Tana and rock-hewn churches

of Lalibela offer historical intrigue, while the other-worldly Danakil

Depression and wildlife of the Simien and Bale Mountains are a major

draw for nature lovers. Whether in the bustling cities or remote plains,

you’ll find an abundance of history, tradition, and goodwill.

Why go in 2020? For the Irreecha thanksgiving festival of the Oromo,

the country’s largest ethnic group. See freshly cut grass and flowers being

placed in water – a traditional offering that thanks God for the end of

the rainy season and the start of spring. It’s a fantastic opportunity to

immerse yourself in this part of the country’s culture.

Where to stay in 2020 If you’re tempted by Ethiopia’s pristine

wilderness, Bale Mountain Lodge offers everything you could want.

Comprising just eleven rooms, this eco-friendly property is secreted

away in a national park, a haven for endemic and rare wildlife. Your

neighbours? Everything from the Ethiopian wolf to the Bale monkey.

A&K’s 10-night Ethiopian Wildlife suggested itinerary starts at

£6,495 per person (based on two sharing, includes flights, transfers,

accommodation, and selected excursions).

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 9


WELL

CONNECTED

Since the 1970s, the Golden State has been at the

forefront of the wellness industry. From yoga retreats

to juicing detoxes, the sun-drenched destination

practically invented the concept of the health holiday

as we know it. Angelina Villa-Clarke discovers

some of the most innovative and inspiring trips for

body, mind, and soul

10 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


CALIFORNIA

EMBRACE THE WILDERNESS

Stretching across thousands of kilometres, Yosemite National

Park, in central California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, is one

of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth – especially for hikers.

With its towering ancient sequoia trees, crashing waterfalls, and

deep valleys, this is the perfect place to recharge your soul and be

at one with nature. A must is to take in the imposing Half Dome

granite monolith. While adrenalin junkies can hike to the top

(it rises 2,694 metres above sea level and you’ll need a special

permit to do this), the more faint-hearted can trek instead in its

shadow, by meandering along the picturesque Merced River.

With more than 1,300 kilometres of trails to choose from,

Yosemite can be an overwhelming place – so it’s best to narrow

down your hike according to your interests. For those keen on

capturing the glorious landscape on camera, the Mirror Lake

Loop is a good start. The eight-kilometre round trip takes two

to three hours and will see you spoilt for choice when it comes

to scenic vistas – all beautifully reflected in still, glacial waters

left behind by the Ice Age. Those interested in knowing more

about the wildlife – from the condor that soar above to the

American black bear which call this place home – can also

arrange for a customised hike with an expert naturalist.

HAVE A COASTAL CLEAR-OUT

It doesn’t get much prettier than Carmel-by-the-Sea – a small

beach town in Monterey County. The charming spot has attracted

artists and writers since the 1920s, and is now home to more

than 100 art galleries. Its quaint cafés, fairy-tale cottages, and

untouched beaches still bring in a steady stream of hip visitors

attracted to its quirky, bohemian – and peaceful – way of life.

Those looking to clear their minds for a while should check

into the eclectic La Playa Carmel, a revamped historic hotel

oozing old world charm. With bedrooms overlooking the

dramatic Pacific coastline, secluded courtyards, and a signature

Champagne breakfast, it’s easy to switch off here. While you can

check in and chill out under your own steam, it’s also the perfect

bolthole to experience the town’s three-day Mindful-by-the-Sea

retreats, led by renowned psychologist and mindfulness expert

Rich Fernandez. With a focus on nature and capturing the essence

of the location, the retreats aim to equip you with tools to manage

stress and enhance well-being.

SALUTE THE SUN IN SANTA MONICA

Famous for its laid-back vibe, trendy dining spots and farmer’s

markets, the funky town of Santa Monica is one of southern

California’s highlights. With its mountain backdrop, the beachy

resort town is an alluring alternative to the brash ‘big-light’ appeal

of Los Angeles.

Within walking distance of the pedestrianised shopping district

and beach, the Viceroy Santa Monica reflects the town’s much

celebrated charisma. The glamorous Cast restaurant serves up

modern cuisine inspired by locally sourced produce, the lounge is

one of the town’s coolest hang-outs, and bedrooms have a funky

design married with a light and airy feel. With a focus on fitness,

the hotel has collaborated with Beach Yoga SoCal, so you can take

advantage of yoga classes on the beach. Breathe in the fresh air,

plant your toes in the sand, and return home feeling rejuvenated.

LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE AT LAKE TAHOE

The cobalt-blue waters of Lake Tahoe have long attracted

adventurers and fitness fanatics due to the year-round sports on

offer. Found in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it rests on the

California and Nevada border and is one of the USA’s most iconic

beauty spots.

Whether you want to ski or to hike, the Landing Tahoe Resort

& Spa, set on the shoreline of South Lake Tahoe, offers a long

line-up of activities. From adventure biking in the mountains

to wakeboarding, kayaking, and paddleboarding on the water,

fishing to golf, and snowmobiling to sledding – this is the place

to exercise your muscles while expanding your mind in the

jaw-dropping landscape. Hiking around the many trails means

that you will be able to embrace the natural splendour – from the

glacier-carved slopes to the snowmelt waterfalls, it’s the ultimate

welcome to the great outdoors.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 11


RESET YOUR MOJO IN SAN DIEGO

Whether you want to tackle sleep problems or reboot your

approach to nutrition, Rancho Valencia – a hacienda-style resort

near San Diego – will probably be able to help. Found in 18

hectares of lush gardens and olive groves, you bed down in your

own private luxury casita with views over the canyons of San

Diego. Lantern-lit evenings are best spent at one of the farm-totable

restaurants, and by day you’ll be rejuvenated in the spa.

Offering a dedicated programme called the Wellness Collective,

based on the cutting-edge science of epigenetics, the spa goes one

step beyond the usual massage and facial offerings. Based on the

knowledge that many genes change in response to how we care

for ourselves, scientists are increasingly convinced that the

majority of disease – potentially up to 95 per cent – is preventable

through making healthy choices. Intimate workshops, lectures,

and activities led by leading experts reveal the science and

combine to address various aspects of good health – such as

weight loss or positivity.

DIG DEEP IN THE DESERT

Sat beneath the Santa Rosa Mountains in southern California, the

Waldorf Astoria La Quinta is no stranger to welcoming the great

and the good. The legendary hotel has seen Frank Capra adapt the

script for It Happened One Night here, Ginger Rogers get married

in front of its waterfall, and President Dwight D Eisenhower

play a round of golf on one of the five standout courses. With 41

swimming pools, seven restaurants and an award-winning spa –

you’ll soon be embracing your own inner starlet.

With a focus on mindfulness and yoga, the desert retreat offers

a variety of holistic classes, such as full-moon, restorative, and

yin yoga. You can also hike in Joshua Tree Park, bathe in the

nearby hot mineral springs, and ride horses across the dunes in

the desert. Experts are on hand to lead you through meditation

practices aimed at taking you to a deep state of calm. It’s bliss.

previous page: Hiking in Yosemite National Park

this page, clockwise from top: Beach yoga; contemplation in Joshua Tree National Park; a sound-bathing session

12 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


CALIFORNIA

TAKE YOUR SEATS AT A CONCERT

FOR THE SOUL

Gaining momentum in wellness circles is the practice of soundbathing.

Predictably, California is at the forefront of the therapy.

Resulting in a deep state of relaxation, sound-bathing sees a

combination of gongs and singing bowls played in such a way as

to relax the body and calm the mind.

Specialising in intimate group sessions, the Soundbath Centre

in Los Angeles is the first and only centre in the city dedicated

to sound-bath events and training. Private sessions with crystal

singing bowls, gongs, and reiki are available, but the most popular

experiences are the uplifting small group events. You simply lie

back and relax, listening as the sounds guide you on a journey of

self-discovery and inner exploration. The result is a fine-tuned

mental clarity.

HUG A TREE IN NORTHERN

CALIFORNIA

Forest bathing – or tree hugging – may have had an image

makeover of late, but its roots (pun intended) reach back even

further than when the original Californian hippies made much of

embracing a tree trunk. The practice of soaking up a picture-book

forest environment dates back to a bygone time when people

naturally ventured into a verdant setting to clear the mind. These

days, there’s no better place than under the canopy of northern

California’s soaring giant redwoods to feel the serenity.

Humboldt County is home to the magical-sounding Avenue of

the Giants – found within a state park which covers some 21,448

hectares and where three-quarters of the world’s tallest trees can

be found. The remote, enchanting landscape is designed for deep

breaths and gentle walking. Ancient trees with gnarled trunks

big enough for a family to hold hands around are simply aweinspiring.

Fragrant air – scented with essential plant oils – restores

the senses, while the sheer tranquillity of walking among lofty

trees will bring a lucidity not often found in our fast-paced world.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information, or to book your next wellness holiday in California,

call our North America travel specialists on 01242 547 717.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 13


14 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


SRI LANKA

ROCKING

YOUR WORLD

NOW IS THE TIME TO GO BACK TO SRI LANKA.

ELUSIVE WILDLIFE, HISTORIC SITES, AND LUSH

TEA PLANTATIONS: THE ISLAND'S APPEAL IS

TRANSCENDENT. BUT GO SOON BEFORE EVERYONE

ELSE DOES, SAYS SARAH MARSHALL

Carved from a solitary plateau rising 200 metres from the

jungle floor, King Kasyapa I’s mesmerising fortress is

stately even by royal standards. An opulent complex of

sky-high bathing pools and majestic fountains fed by monsoon

rain, it’s a site better suited to a religious deity than a monarch.

Although ancient frescoes of bare-chested women presenting

platters of fruit and toying suggestively with lotus flowers suggest

hedonism was the ruling spirit worshipped here.

But the silhouettes that once rippled in water features have

been washed away by 1,500 years of history, leaving only the

reflections of a cloudless sky. Today, one of Sri Lanka’s most

popular tourist attractions is surprisingly empty, and when a

handful of tourists disappear into the belly of a stone lion that

lends this place its name, I have Sigiriya (or Lion) Rock and its

hypnotising views all to myself.

For the past few years, this Indian Ocean island had been

riding high on a wave of tourism. Enticed by palm-fringed

beaches, a fascinating culture, and exotic wildlife, visitor numbers

were booming. But on 21 April last year, everything ground to a

halt. Targeting hotels and churches, the Easter Sunday terrorist

attacks were devastating, creating shock waves which would

continue to do harm for months.

The British Foreign Office joined 26 countries in issuing a

travel ban, which was finally relaxed in June 2019. For hoteliers

and drivers employed in tourism, the news couldn’t have come

soon enough.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 15


“Fortunately, we managed to retain all our staff,” says Suraj

Perera, general manager of the Water Garden Sigiriya hotel, which

sits in a perfect eyeline of the Lion Rock. “But many places had to

let people go.”

Designed by Channa Daswatte, a protégé of the celebrated

architect Geoffrey Bawa, the property draws inspiration from

the famous UNESCO site – from water channels reflecting the

sunshine flashes of oriole birds, to walls made with mud bricks

mirroring those used for the citadel’s stupas.

It’s a place for peace and contemplation – made even more

tranquil by the fact I’m one of only five guests in a complex of

villas that could happily host more than 60.

But the numbers will return. In August 2019, the Sri Lankan

government waived visa fees for 48 countries including the UK

for six months in a bid to lure back tourists, and this helped

bookings rise.

And for those willing to travel sooner rather than later, there’s

still a chance to enjoy the island’s most popular sights (relatively)

crowd-free.

Reliably large gatherings are guaranteed in the nearby

Minneriya National Park, however, where a reservoir constructed

18 centuries ago is the largest known meeting point of Asian

elephants in the world. In the dry season, from May to September,

hundreds come here to drink.

During my afternoon drive, only a few vehicles trundle around

the vast body of water, where pelicans glide like a flotilla of sailing

boats. Two young bulls lock trunks in a squabble over feeding

grounds, while a calf chases snow-white egrets in a race she’s

destined to lose. The wildlife sightings are impressive, but even

more notable is the behaviour of the drivers: once criticised for

their poor knowledge and lack of animal awareness, they now

carefully follow a protocol.

The transformation is the result of training from the

Federation of Environmental Organisations, which has been

tasked by the government to improve the standard of drivers in

Sri Lanka’s national parks. It’s a fine example of how the quiet time

has been used constructively to support the country’s gradual

bounce back.

This ability to keep smiling is a large part of the island’s appeal.

From roadside stallholders cleaving open king coconuts to

Ayurvedic doctors cultivating aromatic spice gardens, everyone is

warm and welcoming, and life ebbs and flows at a leisurely pace.

And then there’s the colour: the white-sand beaches, jade-green

highlands, and curries in a sunset of blazing hues. Most dazzling

of all are the religious festivals, although every day is a cause for

ceremony and celebration in central city Kandy, the last kingdom

to fall to the British Empire in 1815.

Dressed in crimson sashes, drummers introduce an evening

pooja (prayer ritual) at the 16th-century Temple of the Tooth

Relic, where I join pilgrims queuing to offer lotus flowers and

lilies to the Buddha’s tooth. Considered too precious for public

display, the keratin jewel is hidden inside a gold casket, and

revealed for only five minutes each day. Equally deserving of

devotion is an octagonal sandalwood library housing books

bound with palm leaves, some almost 1,000 years old.

On the manicured lawns of the Kings Pavilion hotel, perched

16 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


SRI LANKA

on a hill above the city, I’m given a marvellous taste of the type

of spectacle Sri Lanka is famed for. Performers from the Sri

Anura dance school spin and somersault in a jangle of elaborate

costumes, although Master Ruwan steals the show by basting his

body and walking through flames. You can find them performing

every evening in Kandy’s Red Cross Theatre from 17.00.

Less frantic and fiery, my next stop is Haputale in the heart of

Sri Lanka’s tea country, passing the golf courses and mock-Tudor

houses of Norelia (also known as Little Britain) and into a region

of undulating hills in vibrant shades of green. Tamil women carry

wicker baskets stuffed with leaves and a bitter smell wafts through

the open windows of busy factories.

Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton would survey his verdant

empire from the viewpoint at Lipton’s Seat, but an even more

impressive panorama is reserved for guests staying at Thotalagala,

a former tea-planter’s bungalow transformed into a colonial-style

seven-room boutique hotel. Cabinets filled with trophies and

decanters reminisce about the bygone grandeur of Ceylon, but

it’s the sight outside – where an infinity pool spills into mistshrouded

valleys – which proves there’s nothing more beautiful

than the here and now.

There’s no doubt Sri Lanka’s tourist industry has suffered a

blow, but in some places a reduction in numbers has provided a

much-needed opportunity to take stock. Credited as having the

highest density of leopards in the world, Yala National Park is a

premier wildlife destination. Yet, a failure to cap the number of

daily visitors has caused outrage, with tales of up to 70 vehicles

jostling over a sighting in the popular Block 1.

Fully aware of these issues, safari camp Leopard Trails prefer

to find their own sightings rather than join a throng of jeeps

connected by the park’s increasingly clear mobile phone network.

Stumbling upon muscular male leopard Harak Hora (the buffalo

killer), we have a rare few minutes alone with the cat. It’s a

similar story with sloth bear Ballsy, who we watch searching for

sugar-rich berries at the base of an ironwood tree. These intimate,

sensitively controlled sightings demonstrate just how wonderful

this park can be if numbers are properly managed.

When Sri Lanka came under attack last Easter, we all cried for

the teardrop-shaped island. Having suffered a savage civil war and

catastrophic tsunami, another blow seemed cruelly unfair. But

now the doors are wide open for visitors, and smiles have replaced

the sadness. This colourful, charismatic, and endlessly charming

island is stronger than it’s ever been.

previous page: Sigiriya Rock at sunset

this page, clockwise from top left: The tea plantations of Haputale;

a leopard in Yala National Park; elephants in Minneriya National Park;

a view of Thotalagala; a stilt fisherman in Galle; the Water Garden Sigiriya

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information on tailor-made holidays to Sri Lanka,

or to book A&K's 13-night Classic Sri Lanka suggested itinerary,

call our Indian Subcontinent travel specialists on 01242 547 755.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 17


48 HOURS IN

MELBOURNE

DAY 1

09.00

It may seem contrary to arrive in Melbourne and then immediately leave

the city, but there’s just so much to see and do in the surrounding areas,

starting with a trip to the Yarra Valley. Whether you’re travelling with

children or sans enfants, time spent at Healesville Sanctuary is never

wasted. Home to every Australian native animal you can imagine, it’s the

place to go if you want see koalas and wombats and dingos, oh my!

A constant contender for the world’s most livable city,

Melbourne has it all. It’s known as the cultural hub of

Australia as well as the country’s sporting capital. Got 48

hours there as part of a tailor-made Australian holiday?

Let city resident Nikki Stefanoff show you around

12.00

Once you’ve finished with the animals, it’s time to start with the wines.

Wineries in the Yarra Valley are as plentiful as the grapes within them

so, as there isn’t enough time to visit all of them, you’ll need to hit the

highlights. For fans of sparkling tipples, head to Domaine Chandon.

Established by Moët & Chandon in 1986, this is a place where French

traditions still thrive, albeit with an Aussie twist. TarraWarra Estate is

next on the list. As famous for its contemporary art gallery as it is for the

wines, which are meticulously grown, handpicked, vinified, and aged

on the estate. On to Yering Station – a destination winery complete with

architect-designed restaurant and bar, historic cellar door, art space, local

produce store, and stunning grounds. Oh, and wine. Lots of wine.

16.00

On the way to Melbourne, the designated driver should set the sat nav for

the beachside suburb of St Kilda, a special part of Melbourne where the

old and new collide. Art deco architecture sits alongside contemporary

apartments as well as the Palais Theatre and Luna Park – city stalwarts,

which have pulled in the crowds for more than 100 years. St Kilda’s

always buzzing foreshore and ocean views make it unlike any other

Melbourne suburb, particularly in summer when locals and visitors alike

can sink a beer over a late lunch of fish and chips and watch the world

skate, scoot, ride, walk, or run by along the water’s edge.

18.00

It’s worth sticking around St Kilda at sunset to see the small, cute, furry

local penguin (eudyptula minor) make the nightly pilgrimage across the

beach back to their nests. Much like Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade (which

can be seen nightly and is two hours outside of Melbourne), these penguins

are present all year round and can be spotted waddling from the sea to their

St Kilda burrows once the sun goes down. Before calling it a night,

St Kilda’s Supernormal Canteen is the only place to head for dinner –

their lobster rolls are spoken about with hushed reverence.

18 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


DAY 2

07.00

Yes, it’s an early start but if you want to sample what The New York Times

called the world’s best croissant then you need to get ahead of the crowds.

Tucked away in a suburban Fitzroy side street is Lune Croissanterie,

home to these aforementioned award-winning delights. Located in

an ultra-modern warehouse conversion, at Lune you can watch the

croissants made, before you tuck into your flavour of choice with a flat

white. Weekend queues are inevitable, and it has been known to take an

hour to get through the door, which is why you may want to

set your alarm clock.

09.00

Now you’re full of buttery goodness, take a trip over to the suburb of

Carlton and more specifically to Lygon Street, Melbourne’s Little Italy.

The origins of Melbourne’s coffee culture lie on this strip, and the street

continues to be lined with alfresco dining options. Grab an espresso

from King and Godfree then take a short wander to Melbourne’s

best bookshop, Readings Carlton, before crossing over the road

and diving into Brunetti’s for ‘morning tea’. Brunetti’s is a local

institution, a Roman-style café/restaurant/bar/patisserie that

is always packed to the rafters and as Melbourne as it gets.

11.00

Jump on a tram and head into the CBD where you can pay your respects

to the altar of Australian sport – the MCG. The Melbourne Cricket

Ground – or just simply ‘the G’ to locals – is the place where sporting

magic happens. Head into the city and check out the city’s famous

laneways – both Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane are worth a look if you’re

a fan of street art. Finish your walk with another espresso in Degraves

Street, where alfresco Parisian charm meets Melbourne’s café culture,

before heading up to Emporium for the ultimate in shopping experiences.

13.00

Melbourne is famous for having four seasons in one day, which can

sometimes have an effect on your chosen excursion. So, here are two:

if the sun is shining, go punting in the gorgeous Botanical Gardens; and

if the weather isn’t playing ball, spend the afternoon wandering around

the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne’s art gallery.

18.00

opposite page, from top: Hardware Lane (credit: Ray Reyes, Visit Victoria);

beach tram to St Kilda; food at the Supernormal Canteen (credit: Nikki To)

this page, clockwise from top: Serving espresso at King and Godfree; croissants at

Lune Croissanterie*; Readings Carlton bookshop*; people relaxing at Royal Botanic

Gardens*; street art on AC/DC Lane (credit: Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria)

*(credit: Josie Withers, Visit Victoria)

It wouldn’t be a trip to Melbourne without a drink on a rooftop bar

and Peaches in the CBD is the newest kid on the block. A two-level

cocktail bar on Swanston Street, Peaches is a hybrid of 1980s pastel colours,

1960s modernist chic, and a drinks list designed to reflect its unique

ambience. Plus, if you get a bit peckish, the downstairs restaurant

Cheek is a firm city favourite.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information, or to book a tailor-made holiday to Australia

including Melbourne, call our travel specialists on 01242 547 826.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 19


HOT WATER

DESERVING OF ITS REPUTATION AS A PLAYGROUND FOR THE WELL-HEELED, LAKE COMO – WITH ITS NEW

MANDARIN ORIENTAL – REMAINS THE TRENDIEST OF ITALIAN DESTINATIONS, SAYS ANNABELLE THORPE

Cocktail hour at the newly opened Mandarin Oriental

– the first international hotel brand to set up shop

on Lake Como – and my sister, Caroline, and I are

discussing the possibility of George Clooney dropping by on a

gleaming motor launch. Anywhere else, this suggestion would

be firmly in the realms of fantasy, but here it seems entirely

possible – and not just because George owns a villa on the other

side of the lake, in Laglio. Lake Como is so breath-takingly

beautiful, so effortlessly glamorous, that it seems as if A-listers

popping up should just be part of the package.

The smallest of Italy’s three ‘Great Lakes’ (along with Garda

and Maggiore), Como has been luring the well to do since

Roman times, but it was during the Renaissance that many

of the elegant, pastel-hued villas were built along its shore.

Composers, artists, and writers flocked to the area, drawn by

its proximity to Milan and the spectacular scenery. Many of the

sprawling villas are now holiday rentals, or boutique hotels; the

new Mandarin Oriental was once known as Villa Roccabruna,

home of the famous opera singer, Giuditta Pasta.

The opening of the MO is big news for a destination where

little changes from one year to the next. Como is fashionably

unfashionable; perennially popular and yet somehow under the

radar. This is not a place where new hotels or restaurants are

constantly popping up – many have been operating on the lake

for decades, including our first stop, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

Our route to the hotel takes us from the town of Como along

the western shore, and as we follow the winding road along the

lake to the Tremezzo, it feels as if we have stepped back into

the 1950s. The road twists through picturesque villages with

trattorias spilling tables and chairs onto the pavements,

and faded alimentari signs swinging in the gentle breeze.

By the time we pull up at the hotel, I already feel as if I am

living in a Fellini movie. On one side of the road, the lake

glistens and shimmers, matched by the hotel’s floating pool

that rests above it. On the other, the Tremezzo rises up –

a vanilla-hued confection that looks straight out of Wes

Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Inside, the scarlet walled

lobby, filled with flowers and velvet sofas, feels wonderfully

luxurious, as does our stylish bedroom, with a view straight

out over the lake to the mountains beyond. Behind the main

building, the hotel’s grounds encompass a spectacular botanical

garden that steps up the hillside, criss-crossed with footpaths

and flower-filled viewpoints.

One of the joys of Como is that once you have arrived on the

20 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


ITALY

clockwise from top left: A view of Lake Como; a view of the outside the Mandarin

Oriental; the village of Bellagio; the beach at Grand Hotel Tremezzo; Vista Lago room

at the Mandarin Oriental

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 21


lake, there’s little need to get in a car to explore further. A huge

range of vessels ply the deep waters: slow boats, or battelli, that

offer plenty of time for photographs from the deck; hydrofoils,

that run from Como in the south to Varenna on the east coast,

and Colico at the northernmost end; and ferries that traverse

the middle of the lake. Many of the villas and gardens are

open to the public, and are accessible by battelli, so it’s easy

to combine visiting a mansion or two with lunch or a spot of

shopping in one of the small towns.

We decide to take the passenger ferry from the pier opposite

the hotel, and glide across the lake to Bellagio, a historic town

that sits on a promontory right in the middle of Como. It’s a

charming place, with cobbled streets that lead up the hill, dotted

with boutiques and gift shops, the air filled with the scent of

fresh coffee that emanates from the small cafés. We browse in

shops selling Murano glassware and beautiful leather handbags

in jewel-bright colours, and stroll up to Villa Serbelloni, where

the gorgeous 18th-century terraced garden is ablaze with scarlet

and purple azaleas and rhododendrons.

By the end of the day, I am completely bemused as to why

I have never visited Como before. We sit on the Tremezzo’s

elegant terrace, sipping crisp prosecco while the dusk creeps in

across the water and the hotel’s pianist provides a gentle jazz

soundtrack, and I feel almost giddy with the beauty and the

luxury, and the sense that this isn’t somewhere that has been

spoilt by overdevelopment, or greedy hoteliers, or an unthinking

rush to modernise. We eat dinner in the hotel’s Marchesi

restaurant – angel hair pasta and fish so fresh it’s almost fluffy

– where the charming, silver-haired sommelier takes us on a

whirlwind tour of Lombardy’s best wines.

Next morning, regretfully, we leave the Tremezzo and

head back to the town of Como, and over to the east side of

the lake, where the Mandarin Oriental has just opened its

doors. The hotel is a clever combination of the Mandarin’s

trademark pared-down, Asian feel, with more than a nod to the

flamboyance of those who once called the estate home. Belle

Époque wallpaper, gilt trimmed ceilings, and velvet sofas in

deep turquoise give the bar and Co.Mo restaurant a pleasingly

luxurious feel, while our spacious room comes with all the

trademark MO trimmings; soft robes, sumptuous beds, and our

own small library of books.

It would be easily possible to arrive at the Mandarin and not

leave for the whole duration of your stay; the coolly tranquil

spa beckons, as do the pool and deck that stretch out across

the water. But we’re keen to explore beyond the confines of the

hotel, and in the early evening we set out for the small village

of Torno, an easy 10-minute stroll. It’s a fantastic time to be out

walking; the Mandarin’s location on the eastern side of the lake

makes it the perfect place to watch the sun set, and as we walk

the sky fades from blue to lavender, to a warm rose-pink.

Torno turns out to be a small waterfront town, with a handful

of restaurants and cafés set around a quiet square. In spite of

22 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


MAJORCA ITALY

COMO IS FASHIONABLY

UNFASHIONABLE; PERENNIALLY

POPULAR AND YET SOMEHOW

UNDER THE RADAR

clockwise from top left: The

exterior of the Mandarin Oriental;

Lake Prestige room at the Grand

Tremezzo Hotel; dining in style;

a restaurant in Bellagio; Torno village

being right on the lake, it feels wonderfully untouristy, and

we pop our heads into the only bar to find that the back room

is a simple trattoria. The menu delivers classic Italian dishes

perfectly done; local salsiccia and cheeses, a lusciously light

carbonara, coffees, and a couple of beers apiece. The bill comes

to under 50 euros.

The beauty of Como, we agree, as we sit in the Mandarin’s

waterfront garden on our last morning, is that it combines a

real sense of old-school glamour with normal Italian life going

on in the towns and villages. There’s no mass tourism here,

no sprawling mega resorts, which means that while there are

plenty of upscale restaurants and boutiques for those who rent

the palatial villas as holiday homes, there are also plenty of

traditional trattorias, simple cafés, and bars where it’s possible

to glimpse everyday life. If only we’d managed to get a sight of

George too, our time on the lake would have been perfect.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information, or to book your next tailor-made holiday to

Lake Como, call our Europe travel specialists on 01242 547 703.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 23


24 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020

THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE WELLNESS EXPERIENCE, HOWEVER,

COMES AT DUSK, DURING A TRADITIONAL HAWAN OR FIRE MEDITATION


INDIA

A FINE BALANCE

MEANDERING THROUGH RURAL RAJASTHAN, IANTHE BUTT FINDS

NATURE-FILLED WILDERNESS, LUXE WELLNESS LODGINGS, AND AN

ADVENTURE THAT THRILLS AND REBALANCES IN EQUAL MEASURE

In today’s always-on, can’t-quite-keep-up world, navigating

the modern holiday is a conundrum. Our curious,

adventurous soul screams, ‘Go! See! Explore!’, while frazzled

brains and bodies desire nothing more deeply than to slow down

and recharge.

My own India travels thus far have centred around Delhi,

where long-lashed cows swagger along narrow streets, their

curved horns a hair’s breadth from alley walls and beeping

rickshaws. Elegant women squeeze past with a swish of salwar

kameezes, into impossibly small hole-in-the-wall backstreet

restaurants where some of the world’s most mouth-watering thali

are served. There’s so much to say, people chatter (and burst into

song) through cinema screenings of the latest Bollywood films.

It’s a frenetic and irrepressible jumble of a city – in my mind the

best kind – but it left me exhausted and yearning to experience

India’s calmer side when I returned.

And so I leave Delhi’s cacophony behind this time and head

for the western Aravalli hills. India’s oldest mountain range,

a nearly 700-kilometre-long, jolting cardiogram, runs from

Gujarat through to the capital’s outskirts, splitting Rajasthan

along the way. Given that the driving style in rickshaw-clogged

Delhi is comparable to that of a frenzied ant colony, I opt for a

stress-free chauffeured transfer for the five-hour journey.

At sunset I reach Ajabgarh, a village where cattle are herded

along dusty paths by farmers who walk barefoot, and water

buffalo chew the cud at a snail’s pace. While Rajasthan’s famed

for its colour-coordinated cities – terracotta Jaipur, golden

Jaisalmer, and blue-hued Jodhpur – Ajabgarh is a riot of allnatural

greens and browns; russet roads line grasshopper-green

fields and snake to umber forts on olive-hued hills.

Tucked behind an old stone wall is Amanbagh, an Ed

Tuttle-designed haven of a hotel. In the 19th century, the area

was used by Maharaja Jai Singh of Alwar as a base for lavish

hunting expeditions in the dense jungles of nearby Sariska (now

a national park and reserve), and in the first years of the 1600s

it was used as a resting point for the armies of Mughal ruler

Emperor Akbar the Great. Amanbagh’s buildings – which ring a

pool where twisted date palms sway – are inspired by Mughalera

glitz. Domed roofs, scallop-edged doors, and jali latticework

screens, all carved in rose-hued sandstone, give the impression

that the entire property has been captured mid-blush.

The sun rises in a slow, golden yawn, casting light across the

tips of Aravalli’s undulating hills. The glowing peaks are upended

as I stretch into downward dog at a yoga session among the

ruins of a 17th-century chaatri close to Amanbagh. The steps

which lead to the chaatri’s elevated platform are overgrown with

vines, above is a dome, decorated with faded paintings of green

parakeets daubed in days gone by. Finishing up in child’s pose,

a real-life flock flies past, so close I can feel their wings beat.

After an alfresco lunch of paneer-stuffed parathas and roasted

pumpkin and apple soup in Amanbagh’s grand courtyard, in the

marble-floored spa I have an unknotting Maharani massage.

The most transformative wellness experience, however, comes at

dusk, during a traditional hawan or fire meditation. Eyes closed,

sat in a circle around a central fire with other guests, all-inwhite

expert Lalit Bhushan leads us in positive mantra chants,

meditation and moments of fire-feeding. The flames rear up and

hiss like a spitting cobra as I drip globs of ghee into the fire.

It’s hypnotising. I feel more grounded than I have in months.

Next morning, cycling through Ajabgarh accompanied by

guide Sita Ram, a gaggle of local kids – all wide hazel eyes and

bubbling Hindi chatter – chase our bikes gleefully. Cups of

steaming, sweet chai are proffered in a local family’s garden;

the mother balances several hay bales Jenga-like atop her head,

while her teenage daughter shyly practises her English on us

between sips.

Later, we visit Bhangarh, a once-vibrant fortress town built

in the 1500s. Long-abandoned, in its heyday 10,000 people

lived here, and visited its vibrant bazaars and manicured

gardens. Now dilapidated piles of stone mark where homes and

dancers’ quarters once stood; monkeys run amok in crumbling

temples among well-preserved, looming carvings of Ganesh

and Hanuman; and the remains of an imposing palace stand

ramshackle atop a hill.

A climb up several steep stone staircases and a clamber across

broken pillars, through half-collapsed doors in the palace, takes

us to Bhangarh’s highest point. The sweeping view of the skeleton

town is splendid, yet sends shivers down the spine. “Bhangarh

is believed to be one of India’s most haunted places,” Sita Ram

tells me, solemn tone at odds with his marigold-coloured turban

and jaunty moustache. “Many believe that an evil magician, Selu

Sewra, cast a curse after he died while trying – unsuccessfully –

to seduce Bhangarh’s princess. So potent was the curse, the place

was deserted by the next day.”

The more pragmatic explanation is a famine, but superstition

holds strong; a sign written in Hindi script forbids anyone from

visiting after darkness, and Sita Ram shudders at the thought.

Journeying in the footsteps of the maharajas, I head south,

a four-hour drive taking me to Ranthambore National Park, a

sprawl of dry deciduous forest between the Aravalli and Vindhya

ranges, and former hunting ground turned tiger reserve. Given

that the latest estimates place the worldwide tiger population

at around 3,900, and that they’re solitary, notoriously elusive

creatures, coming face to face with them in the wild isn’t easy.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 25


THROUGH THE BINOCULARS, A GLINT OF AMBER EYES HIDDEN DEEP IN THE VETIVER

GRASS. LYING MOTIONLESS LIKE A SPHINX IS A YOUNG FEMALE BENGAL TIGER

previous page, from top: A female tiger in Ranthambore National Park; Aman-i-Khas outdoor fireplace at dusk

this page, clockwise from top left: Inside Bhangarh Fort; a Bengal tiger in its native habitat; Bhangarh’s fortifications;

a warm welcome at Amanbagh; alfresco dining on Amanbagh’s terrace; Aman-i-Khas lounge tent

opposite page: Amanbagh’s swimming pool

26 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


INDIA

However, Ranthambore’s relatively small land (392 square

kilometres) to tiger ratio (74 at last count, so my guide tells me)

raises the odds of catching a glimpse.

Just outside the national park is Aman-i-Khas, a next-level

camping experience and base to explore. Just 10 Jean-Michel

Gathy-designed tents are scattered through dense jungle where

coral and blue-coloured Indian roller birds swoop through the

air. Each tent is sheer explorer chic, kitted out with Indian teak

furniture, tasteful leather trunks, gauzy floor-to-ceiling bedroom

curtains, and a sunken bathtub.

That evening, not yet even inside the park, the big cat spotting

begins. At a viewpoint close by, the hotel’s eagle-eyed staff point

out the tangled silhouettes of a pair of leopards mating atop

a high peak as the sky turns to peach – a good omen for the

following day’s safari.

At first light, bumping through Ranthambore’s leafy forest

in a 4x4, khaki-clad guide Pankaj Gautam spies a crocodile

submerged in a pond. “They’ll go through 5,000 teeth in a

lifetime,” he reveals, as a rufous treepie, a bird with the look of a

jazzed-up orange magpie, and a slender tail feather resembling

a grey paintbrush dipped in ink, lands on our Jeep. Including

migratory arrivals, some 350 bird species can be spotted here –

from showy peacock which stalk the walls of Ranthambore Fort,

to the neon bee-eater flitting through the undergrowth.

A sudden snap causes us to stop and cut the car’s engine. In

the distance is a sambar deer, poised ballerina-like on its hind

legs, munching on low-level dhok-tree leaves. Pankaj, however, is

more interested in listening out for their distinctive, ear-splitting

bark. “Hearing it is good news, it’s an alarm call, meaning tigers

could be close by,” he grins.

Barks are plentiful in supply, and lead us every which way

across the park’s bumpy trails, except to a tiger. It’s not until we

pause by a watering hole and pull out a flask of masala chai that

Pankaj spots her. Through the binoculars, a glint of amber eyes,

one pair, hidden deep in the vetiver grass. Lying motionless like a

sphinx is a young female Bengal tiger.

Her burnished orange and black stripes – completely unique,

like a fingerprint – camouflage her almost perfectly in the

textured grass. Occasionally she throws her paws in the air, or

bats a piece of grass around. The motion looks harmless, kittenlike

and playful, but Pankaj tells me a single swipe has enough

force to break human bones. It’s a wild, surprising, and somehow

serene moment.

After sitting transfixed for some time, we roll back to our

camp, bird-watching as we go – woolly-necked stork strut at the

edge of shaded ponds, punk-like hoopoe with their impressive

feathered mohawks, and noisy rose-ringed parakeet. Back at

Aman-i-Khas (this time with a rosewater gin in hand) the safari

continues: lizard slink through the undergrowth and greater

racquet-tailed drongo whizz through the air. Following each

twitch, flutter, and buzz is hypnotising, and feels like some

kind of back-to-nature meditation. Every inch of the forest

thrums with energy, so much so my eyes can barely keep up.

Soul-stirring, yet peaceful, it feels like India at its finest.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

A&K offers seven nights at Amanbagh and Aman-i-Khas from

£4,450 per person (based on two sharing), including flights

with British Airways, private transfers, selected meals, and

excursions. For more information, call our India travel

specialists on 01242 547 755.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 27


28 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


ARIZONA

GREAT

SCOTTSDALE

JUST EAST OF PHOENIX, THE SUNNY CITY OF SCOTTSDALE IS FILLED WITH MID-CENTURY BUILDINGS –

ARCHITECTURAL GEMS BY THE LIKES OF EDWARD L. VARNEY, PAOLO SOLERI, AND THE MIGHTY FRANK

LLOYD WRIGHT. THESE DESERT DESIGNS BECKON TO ARCHI-TOURISTS, SAYS XENIA TALIOTIS

Credit: Jill Richards

I remember a time when mid-century

architecture was considered passé, and when

people wanted it demolished,” says Ace

Bailey, president and founder of Scottsdalebased

Ultimate Art & Cultural Tours, concierge at the

Hotel Valley Ho, and an expert on the style. “We lost some

gems, but I’m glad to say there is a new awareness and

appreciation of how ground-breaking Modernism was and,

actually, how timeless. It’s amazing how well it’s lived up

to its name – to my mind, it never dates. Decades after its

heyday, it still looks so contemporary.”

Mid-century Modernism, which followed in the graceful

footsteps of Bauhaus, evolved gradually throughout the

1930s and remained popular until the late 1960s. It is

defined by geometric and organic forms; by clean lines and

a futuristic aesthetic; by

structural innovation and

minimal ornamentation;

and by integrating

nature and using new

materials. The movement

was adopted by product

designers, furniture

makers, urban planners,

and, of course, architects.

Among its pioneers

in Europe were Walter

Gropius and Le Corbusier, but in the USA, it was Frank

Lloyd Wright and his apprentices who led the way. When

Wright built his home, Taliesin West (pictured, left), in

Scottsdale, Arizona, and based the headquarters of his

school of architecture there, he changed the architectural

landscape of the city forever, turning it into a key location

in America for mid-century development.

“Scottsdale has always been a draw for artists: people

fall under the Sonoran Desert’s spell, and Wright was no

exception,” says Bailey. “There’s a beautiful quote by him:

‘There could be nothing more inspiring to an architect on

this Earth than that spot of pure Arizona desert.’ He was

speaking about the setting of Taliesin West, but really, he

THERE COULD BE NOTHING

MORE INSPIRING TO AN

ARCHITECT ON THIS EARTH

THAN THAT SPOT OF PURE

ARIZONA DESERT

might have been talking about anywhere in the Sonoran.

It’s the colours and the mountains, the saguaro cacti and

the huge skies. They free and feed the imagination.”

Wright and his students gave Scottsdale and surroundings

some remarkable landmarks, including the 50-column,

circular Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium – the

crowning glory of Arizona State University; the fine First

Christian Church; the Arizona Biltmore Resort, designed

by Albert Chase McArthur; and Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri’s

visionary ‘urban laboratory,’ which was intended to

introduce an entirely new concept for cities.

But there is also much mid-century beauty to be found

away from these headline-grabbing, internationally

important buildings. A walk around Scottsdale rewards

visitors with glimpses of modernist housing developments.

Mountain View East,

in McCormick Ranch,

comprising 51 properties

designed by John Rattenbury

of the Frank Lloyd Wright

Foundation, which were built

between 1979 and 1983; and

Town & Country Scottsdale,

Ralph Haver’s charming

1950s development of 62

homes, all bear the hallmarks

of the movement, including

asymmetrical lines and clerestory (high) windows.

And at the Garden Apartments, in the shadow of Hotel

Valley Ho, the names of the blocks – Granada, Shalimar

Sands, Capri – evoke high days and holidays. This is where

Bailey has lived since 2013. “The Garden Apartments district

is a great example of mid-century Scottsdale. It’s retained

much of its originality, including steel staircases, tropical

landscaping, and central swimming pools. My apartment

had been greatly altered, but I could see its potential. It still

had some lovely mid-century features, such as concrete

floors, stainless-steel bathroom fans, and built-in cabinetry,

but had been ‘modernised’. Restoring its original modernity

has been a labour of love.”

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 29


SIX MID-CENTURY

MASTERPIECES

IN SCOTTSDALE & SURROUNDS

< The Hotel Valley Ho

Edward L. Varney’s Modernist marvel, a short walk

from downtown Scottsdale, was opened in 1956 and

proved an instant hit with Hollywood greats such

as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Humphrey

Bogart, who sought refuge from the bright lights of

Tinseltown within its gorgeous interiors.

Saved from demolition in the 1990s, it is

considered one of the best-preserved, mid-century

hotels in the US, thanks to a remarkable renovation that pays

homage to the original with beautifully recreated concrete motifs

and detailing, twinned with retro-chic styling.

Credit: Hotel Valley Ho

Taliesin West >

Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, centre for

his foundation, and the headquarters of his School of Architecture,

was justly made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2019.

Wright was considered by many to be America’s greatest 20thcentury

architect, and Taliesin West, in the foothills of Scottsdale’s

McDowell Mountains, and built over a period of 22 years (1937-

1959), exemplifies Wright’s philosophy that architecture and

environment should co-exist in perfect harmony.

The low-level property – a series of discreet spaces given to

living, working, or entertaining, connected by terraces, pools,

and gardens – uses the colours and materials of the Sonoran

Desert: large stones found on site during the construction form

walls, and painted-red timbers complement the hues of the

sunbaked landscape.

Credit: Andrew Pielage

Credit: RoadsideArchitecture.com

< The Glass and Garden Community Church

E. Logan Campbell’s flamboyant, joyful, drive-in church

in Scottsdale is a tour de force. Built in 1966, the circular,

1,400-seat building has retained many of its original

features, including its sculptural columns, cross and

ornate ironwork plinth, blue skylight, outdoor speakers,

and sculpted exterior frieze. Sadly the indoor garden and

running stream have long gone.

30 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


ARIZONA

Credit: Cosanti Foundation

Credit: Jens Kauder

< Cosanti

This architectural gem, designed by Wright acolyte

Paolo Soleri in 1956, was a home, a studio, and a school,

somewhere to live and work with students to bring into

being alternative and experimental concepts. Though the

name – a fusion of the Italian cosa, meaning property or

thing, with anti – hints at what to expect, nothing can

prepare the visitor for Cosanti’s earthcast domes and

vaults. They evoke other times and other planets, and

beautifully illustrate Soleri’s belief that urban planners

should abandon traditional methods of building cities

and turn instead to ‘arcology’ – his pioneering merger

of architecture and ecology.

‘Dendriform Column’ bank >

Frank Henry designed an absolute beauty for a Phoenix branch of

the Valley National Bank (now occupied by Chase Bank). Fluid,

organic, even playful, it remains ageless 52 years after it was built,

its harmonious blend of stone and concrete circles and part circles,

fountains, and sculptures enduringly beguiling. The building’s most

notable structures are the dozen or so dendriform (tree-like) columns

Henry planted both inside and out.

Credit: Austin Kaphammer

< The David and Gladys Wright House*

The house that Frank Lloyd Wright built for his son and

daughter-in-law in 1952 in Arcadia, Phoenix, in many

ways defined the style for the Guggenheim, which Wright

completed in 1959. Known locally as the spiralling house,

its circular shapes and cantilevered spiral walkway, which

wraps around the kitchen tower, trap air and cool the house.

*At the time of going to print, this iconic property is on the

market, and public tours are currently suspended.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information on Scottsdale, or to book your next holiday

in this architecture hot spot, call our North America travel

specialists on 01242 547 717.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 31


A SINGULAR MAN

Son of a crocodile hunter-turned animal conservationist, born in Tanzania,

and raised among the Zu’/hoasi bushpeople, Ralph Bousfield is a real-life

safari rock star and truly one of a kind, says Alicia Deveney

32 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


BOTSWANA

Ralph Bousfield impresses even in two dimensions.

A quick Google image search returns pictures of him

striding across the Kalahari, driving a quad bike on

the dunes, climbing into the pilot’s seat of fixed-wing aircraft,

and sitting like a statue while meerkats use him as a lookout

post. In some pictures, he sports flowing 1980s rock star-esque

locks, in some his hair is cropped short and business-like, but

in all of them, he’s the epitome of a safari superstar – all khaki

bush jackets, dark fedoras, lace-up brogues, and his signature

bracelets. One wrist is laden with them: cuffs of copper, twists

of leather, and circlets of beads.

It’s these images that I have in mind when I speak to Ralph

over the phone, from one of his offices in Cape Town, and the

effect is striking. The impression he gives is one of charisma,

intelligence, and vast reserves of knowledge. What it must be

like to have him as your guide in Africa, I can scarcely imagine,

but I know it’s an experience that is going straight to the top of

my bucket list.

Born in Tanzania and raised in the Kalahari by a bona fide

African legend – Jack Bousfield – Ralph is one of Africa’s most

renowned guides: the singular choice for those who want to

explore the intriguing deserts of Botswana and Namibia, and

to experience the assailed-by-modernity traditions of the

Zu’/hoasi (also referred to as San) bushpeople, among whom

Ralph was brought up by his crocodile hunter-turned animal

conservationist father.

His elite client list includes Oscar-winning actresses, filmmakers,

and former US presidents. He’s shepherded them

through Africa – from Angola to Zambia, and most places in

between – and he’s not the first in his family to have guided a

person of privilege. In fact, all recent generations have engaged

in some form of the occupation – family legend has it that in

the late 19th century after the Anglo-Zulu war, his maternal

great-grandfather, Major Richard Granville Nicholson, escorted

Princess Eugenie to the site where her only son had been killed.

But it was a more recent tragedy that radically affected the

now 57-year-old’s life. In January 1992, father and son’s small

fixed-wing aeroplane crashed in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

It was Jack’s seventh and final crash. As a memorial to his

beloved parent, Ralph established 10-bedroom Jack’s Camp

in the Kalahari, seven-bedroom San Camp on the edge of the

Nwetwe Pan, and Camp Kalahari (the “laidback little sister of

Jack’s and San Camp”).

By those who knew him, Jack’s spirit can be felt at these desert

camps. In the early 1960s, when Ralph was only weeks old,

Jack – perturbed by the socio-political changes occurring in

Africa – moved his family from Tanzania to a seemingly empty

space on Africa’s map. It’s often recounted that when Jack asked

what lay in the Makgadikgadi Pan, he was told “nothing – only

idiots go there”. “Fine,” he’s said to have replied, “that’s the place

for me.” It was the place for his whole family – and all five of his

children revelled in life among the pristine salt pan landscape

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 33


and community of San people. Jack’s Camp is located in the

exact spot that Jack first pitched up, in an area he described as

embodying the “savage beauty of a forgotten Africa”.

Jack’s Camp is known to all Africa aficionados for its

1940s-esque glamour and oasis-like comforts. This year, it will

reopen following a revitalisation. It will boast a refreshed look,

but its appeal won’t have changed – and nor will the camp’s

official museum accreditation. In the mess tent and library,

on display in cabinets, are enthralling artefacts, curios, and

tchotchke collected by the Bousfield family over the generations.

Ralph’s pioneering family first arrived on the continent in

the 1670s, a mere two decades after the first ‘European city’,

Cape Town, was founded by the Dutch East India Company.

Scion of this line of adventurers, explorers and, yes, hunters, his

father Jack is famous – or as viewed through a prism of more

modern sensibilities, notorious – for

a Guinness World Record for the

number of crocodiles shot. He supplied

famous European fashion houses with

the raw materials needed for crocodile

skin bags, belts, and shoes. Times

and tastes have changed, and Ralph is

proud that his father was one of the

first ‘great white hunters’ to see the

change coming and turn his back on

his profession.

Living a Boys’ Own adventure in

the desert at his “exceptional” father’s

side, capturing animals for zoos or to

restock areas in which those animals

had disappeared, Ralph experienced

the “full beam” of his father’s attention.

“Dad had a different attitude to education than Mum’s. He

believed I could learn more from him and from immersion in

the bushmen’s traditions.” Before going to boarding school at age

10 – and during every holiday thereafter – he learnt the types of

skills, such as tracking, that make other men envious (even the

little ones). Telling my six-year-old son about Ralph and his life,

his eyes grew round with amazement and he instantly wanted to

know if “his daddy taught him how to wrestle a crocodile”.

“He did,” Ralph chuckles when I relay the question.

He recounts the time he was asked to catch a crocodile

wreaking havoc near a village. “It turned out to be a LOT bigger

than I had been told – 12 feet long – but I had committed to

capturing it, so just had to jump on this leviathan’s back.” Levi,

as the crocodile was quickly nicknamed, was moved to the

wildlife orphanage that Bousfield helped to establish. “He’s still

there – 14 feet long, as broad as a bus, and quite the character.”

Though passionate about animals and a trained biologist,

Ralph is undoubtedly also a people person. He announced

to his siblings at age three that he would be taking over the

then-seasonal family business of showing tourists the wonders

of Botswana’s deserts. “I think it was a relief for them. There

have been times I’ve been overseas, but the Kalahari is my soul’s

spot,” Ralph says. One of those stints abroad was postgraduate

research in natural conservation at the International Crane

Foundation in Wisconsin, studying under conservation

legend George Archibald. “It’s very cold in Wisconsin,

especially when coming from a hot summer in the Kalahari –

but it was a fantastic experience.”

And then there is Ralph’s involvement in various

JACK’S CAMP IS LOCATED

IN THE EXACT SPOT THAT

JACK FIRST PITCHED UP.

AN AREA HE DESCRIBED

AS EMBODYING THE

‘SAVAGE BEAUTY OF A

FORGOTTEN AFRICA’

philanthropic projects. His three camps support the

Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative, which is

working to create the optimal conditions for Africa’s best-kept

secret: the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans zebra migration. Every

year, 25,000 zebra cross the Chobe River and move due south

to the Nxai Pan National Park before returning, less directly,

to their dry season habitat, but Ralph remembers hundreds

of thousands, millions of these animals on the move in the

1960s and 1970s. All great animal migrations are under threat

from anthropogenic pressures and land-use transformations,

and Ralph wants to see the numbers of zebra undertaking

this annual trek return to those he saw in his childhood. He

believes it can benefit more than just the animals. “It’s really

quite hard for Botswanans to find work,” he says, “and one often

needs an economic driver for animal conservation projects to

be successful. Imagine what it could do

for tourism in Botswana if the Kalahari’s

migration was equivalent to the Serengeti’s.”

For the Kalahari bushmen, tourism is a

much-needed source of income. Travellers

who venture to this remote corner of

Botswana value this endangered culture –

their language, ability to track, their songs,

dances, and trances. The San people have

lived in the Kalahari – Earth’s fifth largest

desert – for at least 35,000 years, maybe as

long as 75,000. It was from this area that

our human ancestors may have emerged.

Talk about travellers going back to their

roots. Ralph, who has known these people

for practically all of his life, is an advocate

and facilitator of these meetings. “There’s

huge potential for future generations,” he believes.

The next generation of the Bousfields is also growing up

among the Zu’/hoasi. Ralph and partner Caroline Hickman’s

seven-year-old son Jack has just begun to learn to track. “In

traditional culture the onus is on the individual to want to do

something. Stepping forward when you feel the calling. He came

forward recently and said, ‘I’m ready. I want to.’ So off he went in

his flip-flops and shorts with a legendary tracker called Cobra.

The extraordinary thing is that I was learning the same thing at

around the same age from the same man.”

Fitting in all the demands on his time – father, guide, hotelier,

businessman, biologist – must require a good deal of multitasking,

so how does he find the energy and passion to keep it

all going? “I want people to come to the Kalahari, meet the San

people and enter a new dimension with the knowledge that we

are more similar than different, that we are all wonderfully the

same. It’s extraordinary and so profound.”

previous page: Ralph in his element, crossing the desert on his quad bike

opposite page, clockwise from top: San bushmen; dining at Jack’s Camp;

Ralph hangs out with the locals

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

A&K offers three nights at Jack’s Camp starting at £5,895 per person

(based on two sharing), includes domestic flights, all meals & beverages,

laundry, expert guiding, park entry fees, and VAT. Excludes international

flights. All three-night stays at Jack’s Camp also include a 45-minute spa

treatment and two-hour horse-riding activity. For more information,

call our Africa travel specialists on 01242 547 702.

34 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


BOTSWANA

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 35


OFF THE

WALL

CHINA MAY NOT INSTANTLY

SPRING TO MIND WHEN YOU'RE

PLANNING A FIRST FAMILY TRIP

OUTSIDE EUROPE, BUT FOR

SARA SHERWOOD AND HER

KUNG FU PANDA-LOVING SON,

IT WAS THE OBVIOUS CHOICE


CHINA

Broccoli was not what I expected my six-year-old son to

fall in love with on our trip to China. Will had embarked

on our first family holiday outside of Europe armed

with a strong working knowledge of the script from Kung Fu

Panda, a deep love for dumplings, and a catalogue of facts about

the Great Wall. He was lured by impossibly romantic tales of

emperors and the rugged landscape he’d seen in photographs.

China, to this six-year-old, represented the ultimate adventure.

In Tiananmen Square, he marched after the changing guards.

He trailed our guide through the Forbidden City, fighting

through jet lag to count the number of claws on each dragon

we saw – five-clawed dragons being the exclusive preserve of

the emperor. Balancing our lectures, we parked ourselves in the

shadow of the nearby 800-year-old drum tower, and headed

down a labyrinth of crumbling alleyways, filled with painted

paper masks, copies of the sort used for centuries in theatrical

performances. These alleyways in the heart of Beijing were

filled, as Will put it, with “damage”; while we’d moved away

from the vast crowds of Tiananmen Square, a six-year-old from

Sussex couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the smells of public

loos or the intimate sights of domestic life, spilling out of the

few traditional one-storey courtyard houses remaining in the

Chinese capital.

These were interesting things, but what hooked him – what

pulled Will into the same love for China that I’ve had since

I first lived there 15 years ago, was broccoli. A friend had

recommended Li Qun roast duck restaurant down another

alleyway south-east of Tiananmen Square. Unlike the Cantonese

version, Beijing-style roast duck offers succulent meat and

the crispiest of skin, which melts in the mouth. It is served

with thin pancakes alongside matchsticks of cucumber and

spring onion, and is followed by fried salt and pepper duck

on the bone. Hugely popular, with long queues out front,

the restaurant is housed in a courtyard house and tables are

balanced precariously alongside the blazing open kitchen; in

early summer, it was hotter than Hades, bustling and chaotic as

Liverpool Street station at 6pm on a Wednesday. Will adored

it. And in this context, in a bid to be a good mother, I ordered

some broccoli on the side. One of Will’s least favourites at home,

in this context, and doused in soy sauce, garlic and ginger, he

proclaimed it the best vegetable in the world and ate the entire

family-sized platter, an enthusiasm he has continued to show

since we returned home.

This wasn’t my first trip with children in China: more than

a decade earlier, I led a few reunion tours of parents with their

adopted Chinese kids, now tweens, growing up in European

and North American families. The typical trajectory of a family

trip to China goes like this: first, horror at the foreignness – the

chaos, the smells, the different etiquette; followed, at different

times, by the discovery of one particular thing – kung fu for

one child, noodles for another, the scale and engineering of

the Great Wall for a third – that they can claim as their own

discovery, a point of pride, their touchstone in the vast, glorious

world spinning around them. In my experience, they often fall

in love before their parents do.

You never know what that thing will be: our guide kindly

booked us into a kung fu show in Beijing – a reasonable bet

for a child with a professed love for Kung Fu Panda. But at one

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 37


HE TRAILED OUR GUIDE

THROUGH THE FORBIDDEN CITY,

FIGHTING THROUGH JET LAG TO

COUNT THE NUMBER OF CLAWS

ON EACH DRAGON WE SAW

point in the show, nine young performers at the Red Theatre

broke lead bars over their heads. “Why did they do that?” my

son asked, alarmed. This spectacle was pointlessly violent to

Will, who was more shocked than thrilled. But what saved the

day was a £7 dumpling feast at Master Yi’s Dumpling House

in a shopping mall near our hotel, where the waitress not only

served us delicious food but also intervened politely when

we were growing increasingly frustrated by a newly bought

Transformers toy that would not transform. She deftly turned

it from robot to car in the space of seconds, explaining that her

young son had the same toy. China is a deeply friendly place.

It is also, to the amusement of my son, a place of great

reverence for elders. And for parents wishing to instil a bit of

respect in their children, this is the year to visit, to coincide with

the release of the new Mulan film in the spring.

Far more than a live-action remake of the 1998 Disney

animated movie, this war epic – the roots of which lie in a

6th-century ballad – sees the eldest daughter of an ailing warrior

disguise herself as a boy in order to answer the emperor’s call

that one man per family serve in the imperial army to defend

China from northern invaders. Spirited and determined –

besides being a fierce warrior – Hua Mulan embodies the grit

we are warned our children need to have these days.

Less a musical than a girl-power kung fu action film, this

is just the tale to lure young travellers. The fight scenes take a

sweep across the plains of northern China, and the northern

invaders encounter the Great Wall – as your young invaders

should, too.

The secret to planning a trip like this is pacing: for each visit

to a grand monument – the Wall, or the unmissable Terracotta

Warriors in Xian – you’ll need a more intimate experience to

balance the exposure for your child.

After taking in Emperor Qin’s clay army in the ancient capital

of Xian, and visiting that city’s beautiful Muslim quarter with

its fragrant breads and roasted lamb, we flew to the enormous

central Chinese city of Chongqing to embark on a cruise down

the Yangtze to see a bit of rural life. While the landscape is

monumental, the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, the river’s most

luxurious cruiser, is intimate and calm within, offering a

pleasant break from the bustle of big cities. On a ship like this,

you see the different stages of travel, and of life: a Texan couple

of mature years were there with their daughter and son-in-law.

A Boston couple, Chinese-American, with their adult kids,

just out of university. There were a few children, Chinese and

British, who, like Will, were at the start of their travels. Sideby-side,

we had calligraphy lessons, went on scavenger hunts,

and visited the small spa with a glorious view out of the stern

of the boat. These three nights onboard offered us a bit of rest

and stunning scenery before we headed back into the scrum in

Shanghai. At this point, 10 days into our trip, we were ready for

comfort and for some shopping. Like New York, Shanghai is a

relentless and fast-paced city. Shopping here involves silks and

paper kites at the covered markets, and skater gear at the deeply

trendy young designer shops that dot the centre.

There are few places I love in China more than Shanghai’s

Peace Hotel: it is unique in being housed in a building of

genuine historic importance – a grand 1920s tower right on

the Bund – but also being incredibly comfortable, as it’s now

owned by Fairmont. From this base we wandered the local

shopping streets, visited the excellent art museum, and had an

outing to Zhujiajiao, one of the small 19th-century river towns

on the outskirts of the sprawling city. With 19 bridges over the

canals, and a population of just 200,000, most of whom work

in tourism, punting along the waterways or selling various

small knick-knacks or clothing, Zhujiajiao has an intimate feel

from another era; artists come to stay in the guesthouses to

paint. Filled with canal-side tea houses and tasteful jewellery

and china shops, this is a pretty place to wander. Plus, as many

elderly people remain in their family homes here, there’s a large

38 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


CHINA

local population sitting outside, gossiping and watching the

world go by, lending a homely feeling.

Everywhere we went – in towns, on the river, even in China’s

biggest and most cosmopolitan cities – I kept having a John

F Kennedy moment: I was, indisputably, the woman who

accompanied Will to China. Small blond children are still a

bit of a novelty and locals are intrigued to have a photo taken

together. “To be fair, Mum,” Will reasoned with me at one point,

“around here, I do look pretty funny!” On the Great Wall, so

many Chinese tourists asked to take a photo with Will that his

six-year-old voice soon rose above the crowd. “You’ll have to

queue from here,” he said, pointing to a brick sticking out of the

wall. How British.

But with all of our cultural differences, what my family was

most happily reminded of in the People’s Republic was the

universal truths of life: exploring together as a family is the best

way to bond, because everyone is on an equal footing. Play is an

international language. Dumplings are, objectively, delicious.

As, apparently, is broccoli.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information, or to book your next family holiday to China,

call our Far East specialists on 01242 547 914.

previous page, clockwise from left: At the Great Wall; a view of

the Bund from the Peace Hotel; a young explorer enjoying China;

Xian’s famed Terracotta Warriors

this page, clockwise from left: One of the Forbidden City’s lion statues;

traditional dumplings; broccoli with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger;

view of the Yangtze from the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 39


MEET THE TEAM

GERALD HATHERLY

ONE OF CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER’S ‘GREATEST TRAVEL PROS ON EARTH’ AND 2018’S

‘TOP TRAVEL SPECIALISTS’, GERALD HATHERLY WITH HIS IMPECCABLE MANDARIN,

DECADES OF EXPERIENCE IN CHINA, AND IMPOSSIBLE-FOR-ANYONE-ELSE INSIDER

ACCESS, IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ABERCROMBIE & KENT HONG KONG

Since the age of nine, when he studied Marco Polo and the

Silk Road in school, Gerald Hatherly (pictured left) has

been in love with China. At university in the early 1980s,

the Canadian abandoned science for a course in Mandarin, then

Chinese history, putting him on his own road to adventure.

“One of my Chinese professors recommended I study in

Taiwan. I went in 1982 – and 37 years later, I’m still in Asia.” From

Taiwan, Gerald travelled to Mainland China, and knew he wanted

to explore the country further. Then he chanced upon the perfect

opportunity. “In 1986 I saw an advertisement in one of the Hong

Kong papers for a company I’d never heard of, called Abercrombie

& Kent, looking for people to take tour groups into China. I

thought it would be for a year, because I’d been accepted into a

Chinese degree programme at the University of Toronto.”

That year’s deferral became permanent when A&K offered him

a position in the Hong Kong office, helping develop the company’s

presence in China. “It’s been a wonderful experience, because

we started small and grew continually over the years. It was so

serendipitous, the right time for anyone working in China because

it was just beginning to open up. In 33 years, I haven’t had a dull

day on the job.”

So, what keeps him excited after three decades? “China is

such an incredibly diverse country both geographically and in

its people. I’m always discovering something new in terms of the

physical aspects of the country, and then it’s this incredible sea of

humanity, so many different ethnicities. China’s much more than

just Chinese. There are Mongols, Tibetans, Lisu, Pumi, Bulang,

Uighur… There are 56 different cultures.”

It’s the people, says Gerald, that make the place. “I’ve had so

WORDS: PENELOPE RANCE

40 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


many wonderful encounters and friendships at every level

of society.” Which is also what he loves about guiding guests

for A&K.

“I really enjoy bringing people together. I remember, I worked

with a family from London and we went out to the Great Wall at

Mutianyu, then they asked to visit a farming area. So, I took them

to a village in Huai Ruo County, where we encountered a woman

who invited us to her house. We had

this wonderful conversation, and

then she said, ‘I want to give this

family something to take back to

Britain,’ and produced a live chicken!

“She said, ‘I don’t know if the

British people have ever had chicken

before, but our chicken is delicious.

We don’t have many, but I thought

I could give them one to take back.’

All of us began to cry because she

was totally genuine. Those are the

wonderful moments that reinforce

not just my love of the country, but

my faith in humanity.”

These interactions benefit

everyone involved, he believes, and have a wider purpose too.

“Encounters between people of different cultural and racial

backgrounds help the understanding that we’re more similar than

different. As a travel company, one of the great services we can do

is to break down barriers and bring people together.”

Gerald also delights in bringing his guests face to face with the

GERALD ALSO DELIGHTS IN

BRINGING HIS GUESTS FACE

TO FACE WITH THE SWEEPING

GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY OF

CHINA, WHICH OFTEN FAR EXCEED

THEIR EXPECTATIONS

sweeping geography and history of China, which often far exceed

their expectations. “I love traveling in Xinjiang where

you have incredible mountain ranges and expansive deserts.

People have no idea of the grandeur of China’s topography.

“Then there’s the ancient history, the communication that

occurred between China and Central Asia, and all the way to

Europe almost 2,000 years ago. That always surprises them.”

And it’s not just on a grand scale

that Gerald’s insider knowledge

comes to the fore – there are intimate

moments too.

“A&K has special access to the

Tang Mural Restoration Workshop

in the Shaanxi Provincial Museum.

It’s a small room where wonderful

work is being done, restoring murals

removed from the tombs of the

imperial family of the Shang Dynasty,

and we get to share this little window

onto Chinese antiquity.”

Whenever he gets the chance,

Gerald delights in offering his guests

another snapshot into China’s past

in Yunnan Province. “There’s a village called Shigu on the way

to Tiger Leaping Gorge, where I’ve become friendly with the

village calligrapher, Mr Li. I always take people to his shop, and

he invites us to his home and his wife will cook a lunch. It’s

these spontaneous happenings, bringing people together, that

I find so enjoyable.”

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 41


THE NILE IS ESPECIALLY

PRETTY HERE, THREADED WITH

SMOOTH GRANITE ISLANDS AND

GRASSY SANDBANKS, FELUCCAS

ZIPPING BACK AND FORTH

42 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


EGYPT

Death

becomes her

This year, the scaffolding comes off the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum, the newly

refurbished Sanctuary Nile Adventurer sets sail, and the latest version of Agatha Christie’s

Death on the Nile comes to the silver screen. New cultural monuments and remembrances

of the past are beckoning in Egypt, says Sue Bryant

The Nile is infused with a soft, golden glow at sunset, the

sounds and smells of Egypt hanging in the air: wood smoke,

roosters crowing, donkeys braying, the call to prayer echoing

out from a minaret in a distant village. I’m on the deck of Sanctuary

Sun Boat IV, enjoying the warm breeze and the gentle clink of ice in

my gin and tonic.

I’m here to explore Upper Egypt for a few days and I’m curious

about what might await me. Ten years have passed since my

previous visit. Tourism was at its peak then, with more than 14

million visitors swarming over the ancient temples, and riverboats

steaming up and down the Nile. But that was before the Arab

Spring. By 2016, arrivals had dropped to just 5.4 million.

Now, there’s a new sense optimism in the air as visitors are

coming back. Hotels, riverboats, and temples are being spruced up

and, once again, the banks of the Nile at Luxor and Aswan are busy

with cruise vessels.

My journey starts in the south of the country, in Aswan. The Nile

is especially pretty here, threaded with smooth granite islands and

grassy sandbanks, feluccas zipping back and forth, river breezes

filling their sails. Ibis perch like statues on the rocks against a

backdrop of undulating, golden sand dunes.

The sun is intense, though, so I take refuge in the Sofitel Legend

Old Cataract Hotel. It was in this opulent, chandeliered palace,

all Moorish arches and gently whirring ceiling fans, that Agatha

Christie wrote Death on the Nile. The novelist travelled all over

the Middle East with her second husband, archaeologist Max

Mallowan, and Egypt was her romantic muse. I can just imagine

her, installed on one of the shaded terraces overlooking the Nile,

cooking up the twisting thriller of love, jealousy, and revenge. A

small shrine to Christie sits in the lobby, her chair, desk, and portrait

cordoned off by a red velvet rope. I sit on the terrace, gazing at the

river as the sun sets behind Elephantine Island, throwing tall date

palms into silhouette.

Back in 1977, this vista would have been much the same, but

tourism in Egypt was a different picture then; there were only two

river cruisers operating on the Nile, for a start. Abercrombie &

Kent’s founder, Geoffrey Kent, was in Egypt with a view to setting

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 43


previous page: The Mausoleum of the Aga Khan and Nile at Aswan from above; poster from the 1978 film version of Death on the Nile (credit: Studio Canal/Shutterstock)

clockwise from top left: Hieroglyphs at Medinat Habu, Luxor; sunset over the Nile; the first Sun Boat, inspired by 1978’s Death on the Nile;

statue of the god at the Temple of Horus at Edfu; dining at the Hotel Sofitel Legend Old Cataract; sunloungers on the deck of Sanctuary Sun Boat IV

44 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


EGYPT

MY OWN EGYPTIAN ODYSSEY IS THANKFULLY LESS DRAMATIC THAN THAT OF

THE HAPLESS LINNET. SANCTUARY SUN BOAT IV EXUDES TASTE AND STYLE

up his own river cruise operation. In Aswan, he encountered a film

crew, who were staying at the Old Cataract Hotel, as it was called

then. Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile was being shot with an

all-star cast: Peter Ustinov as Poirot, supported by Bette Davis,

Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury, and David Niven.

Geoffrey knew David Niven; the actor’s son had taken an early

A&K trip in east Africa and had introduced the two men. Over

dinner on one of the Nile cruisers, the actor pointed out an old

steamship, the SS Memnon, glowing in the sunset; it played a

starring role in the film, as the Karnak. The seed of a brilliant idea

was planted.

After a brief visit to the charming old paddle wheeler, an excited

Kent decided to lease the Memnon and offer cruises on her to

coincide with the opening of the film. The owner agreed and

A&K’s own Egyptian river cruise operation was born. A prominent

Egyptologist, Anthony Hutt, was hired to lead the first trip, for a

private charter by a wealthy American investment banker.

Disaster struck the minute Memnon’s engines were started; a

panicked call from Tony Hutt revealed that a hefty puff of black

smoke had shot out of the funnel, depositing oily soot on all the

passengers. Worse still, the plumbing didn’t work. Visiting the ship

had been one thing. Sailing on it was another entirely. The charter

had to be cancelled. Geoffrey Kent promised the Americans that

they would be the first on board once the company had built its own

ship – which he vowed to do. “We’d sold out the Memnon cruise

in one go,” he remembers. “I’d hit on an idea people wanted and I

had to improve on my original plan before our competitors did.”

The Sun Boat was to be the most luxurious vessel on the Nile, with

panoramic windows, lavish marble detailing, and a swimming pool.

Such was the demand for this level of luxury that Sun Boat II,

III and IV followed.

A new version of Death on the Nile is on the horizon, too, which

will no doubt boost interest in Egypt. Kenneth Branagh will direct,

in a follow up to his opulent 2017 production of Murder on the

Orient Express, reviving his own turn as Poirot. The film is due for

release in autumn 2020, with Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot as

Linnet Ridgeway Doyle, the murdered heiress, and Armie Hammer

as Simon Doyle.

My own Egyptian odyssey is thankfully less dramatic than that

of the hapless Linnet. Sanctuary Sun Boat IV exudes taste and style,

refitted last year in shades of cream, stone, and silvery grey, lifted by

splashes of rich blue and burnt orange, exquisite Egyptian lanterns

throwing soft shadows in geometric forms. Days on board follow

a blissful pattern: an early start, to visit ancient temples before

the heat intensifies. Delicious lunches: fresh salads scattered with

pomegranate seeds, dips of aubergine, lentils and chickpeas, warm

pita, and savoury pastries. Afternoons spent either sailing or visiting

more temples as the light softens. Magic hour and sundowners on

deck, followed by gourmet dinners.

We wake to fresh, cool air on our first morning in Aswan; perfect

for exploring Philae Temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis and

perched prettily on an island in the Nile. It’s here that the ancient

Egyptians are believed to have written their last hieroglyphs, in the

fourth century AD, and you can see early Coptic graffiti on the walls,

as well as the much later carvings of Victorian adventurers. There’s

nobody around, although a few tour groups drift in as we leave.

We sail for Edfu, a blissfully relaxing afternoon on deck, lazing

in the shade of oversized sun umbrellas and rattan cocoon chairs,

dipping occasionally into the shimmering blue pool. On the banks,

a constantly shifting scene unfurls as we head north: children

running along the beaches, waving; water buffalo standing like

statues in the shallows; and farmers toiling in emerald-green fields.

Shifting dunes encroach constantly on the fertile strip that lines the

Nile, changing colour as the sun crosses the sky.

At Edfu, we are driven in convoy through the bustling town to

the immense Temple of Horus, brooding in the darkness. But the

ancient façades and pillars come to life in the blackness as coloured

spotlights of a sound and light show pick out ancient columns,

images of the falcon-headed god projected onto the massive,

36-metre-tall façade. It’s eerily magical.

Aswan is really just a prelude to the astonishing treasures of

Luxor: ancient Thebes, necropolis of ancient Egypt’s greatest kings

and queens. I’ve always loved visiting the tombs concealed under

the barren rocks of the Valley of the Kings. Although their treasures

are long since plundered, the preservation of the colour and detail

on the walls is astonishing, both in its intricacy and its intensity.

And while the tourists are certainly back, there are no queues to get

in. I pay a token extra fee to visit the tomb of Tutankhamun. His

treasures, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922, are in the Egyptian

Museum in Cairo, but his tiny, shrivelled mummy is preserved in

tomb KV62, 3,342 years after his death.

Karnak’s temple complex is the grand finale to any Nile cruise,

more lavish in scale than any of the others, statues 18 metres

high gazing down on scurrying tourists, stars still shining bright

in ceilings painted 3,000 years ago to depict the night sky. Late

afternoon is most atmospheric, the light slanting through the forest

of vast, papyrus-shaped columns in the Temple of Amun-Ra, one of

the world’s largest religious monuments.

If pent-up demand for Egypt continues, though, you won’t always

have these treasures to yourself. Money is being poured into tourism

projects, in the private and public sectors. Sanctuary Sun Boat IV

isn’t the only vessel to receive a makeover; sail on the Sanctuary

Nile Adventurer and you’ll enjoy new, soothing interiors decked in

luxurious fabrics and textures, as well as a new spa and open-air gym.

Timescales are fuzzy for the larger scale projects – but time moves

slowly here. The billion-dollar Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza,

five times the size of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, is scheduled to

open in October 2020. Assuming this actually happens after years of

delay, Egypt and the Nile could be firmly in the spotlight next year,

so don’t leave it too long to visit. Now really is the perfect time to go,

to contemplate 7,000 years of history and the dazzling antiquities

along the Nile in relative peace and quiet.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

A&K offers six nights in Egypt from £2,300 per person (based

on two sharing), including one night in the Fairmont Nile City,

one night in the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel, four nights

aboard the Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, transfers, and international

and domestic flights. For more information, call our North Africa

travel specialists on 01242 547 703.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 45


Turkish delight

BY ALICIA DEVENEY

Hillside Beach Club on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast is the stuff of hospitality legend, a five-star resort whose guest repeat

and satisfaction rates (68 and 99 per cent respectively) have been studied at Harvard Business School. While it’s a

generally accepted truth that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, Hillside works hard to prove this old

adage false – satisfying the youngest to the oldest of the many multi-generational families who come to stay. Nestled in

Kalemya Cove, among the fragrant pine forests of Fethiye, this 330-room, three-restaurant, three-beach resort has so

much to offer its array of international guests – a charismatic clutch of discerning Turkish, British, Irish, Dutch, German,

and Canadian visitors. Read on to discover a few of a first-but-not-last-time visitor’s favourite things about the resort…

HILLSIDE BEACH CLUB HITS

LIMBER UP

For a blissful beginning to your day, join yogi Suzie on Silent Beach at

08.00. Unroll your mat, limber up, and zone out for 60 mindful minutes.

For those who like to seek their zen later in the day, at 17.00 she runs a

sunset class in the studio. Suzie impressively teaches numerous styles

including Iyengar, vinyasa, yin, and yang yoga, and offers down-to-earth

daily inspiration. The hotel’s biannual Feel Good Week offers mindfulness

plus more – astrology, meditation, and breath therapy.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

For film enthusiasts, the resort is continuing its partnership with the

British Film Institute (BFI) to bring cinema to the bay. During this

(and 2021’s) May half-term school holiday, BFI and Hillside will offer

specially curated screenings for guests of all ages, talks, and interactive

workshops – including filmmaking, screen writing, and prop and

costume making. Screenings take place throughout the resort and even

in the nearby abandoned town of Kayaköy. Kids will have the opportunity

to create a short comedy, which will be edited by the BFI’s experts, and

then shown at a celebratory screening.

LAP UP LUXURY

Although you can hardly describe Hillside’s luxurious Sanda Nature Spa

as ‘back to basics’, its beautiful setting among the verdant hills will leave

you feeling relaxed and at one with nature before your first treatment.

Nestled above Silent Beach, peace and tranquillity are guaranteed. Highly

experienced Balinese therapists offer a wide range of body and beauty

treatments to ensure you leave feeling revived and revitalised. Tucked

away behind the pool bar, the Sanda Day Spa offers refuge in the heart of

the usually activity-filled resort. Reinvigorating treatments are on offer,

plus a whirlpool, sauna, and traditional Turkish bath.

CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN

Hiking boots were a sartorial golden ticket in 2019 autumn/winter

collections – so we’re sure you have a pair from Jimmy Choo lined with

shearling, chunky ones from & Other Stories, or grungily on-trend Dr

Martens ready and waiting to stomp into Turkey’s countryside. Scale the

exceptionally pretty peaks surrounding the bay on routes provided by the

hotel’s excellent Outside team. From Soğuksu National Park to the famed

ghost town of Kayaköy and the Af Kule Monastery, you’ll be rewarded

with beautiful views on every hike.

AGE OF AQUARIUS

For water babies, an array of water sports and sailing activities give

you plenty to pick from to fill up your days. Professional and charming

staff and top-of-the-line equipment will help make whichever activity

you choose a breeze. Some of the options include water-skiing, knee

boarding, sky sailing, paddleboarding, sailing, and scuba diving. If you’d

like to push the boat out with a luxurious, less active experience, Hillside’s

boat trips are go-with-the-flow fabulous. Nautical jaunts include sunset

boat excursions, a cruise to Fethiye’s bazaar by traditional gulet, and

nearby bays and 12 islands tours.

LITTLE LEAGUE

Caring staff at the Baby Park, Anri and team at Kidside, and Sencan and

pals at the pre-teens and teen’s activity centre bat well above average

when it comes to ensuring that younger guests are well cared for and

entertained. From tennis lessons, water polo, and nightly football

matches, to tune-spinning DJ lessons, gladiator games, and treasure

hunts, kids will love their days at the resort. There are also arts and crafts

sessions at Artside, baby chefs in the restaurant, and fun evening shows

in the amphitheatre to entertain the whole crew.

46 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


clockwise from top left: Hillside Beach Club from above; a film screening

on the bay; guests walking to Kakaköy – one of the numerous activities

that are arranged daily; family fun in the resort; a terrace in one of the

luxury rooms

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

A&K offers seven nights at Hillside Beach Club on an all-inclusive

basis from £1,250 per person (based on two sharing), including

flights and transfers. For more information, call a Europe travel

specialist on 01242 547 703.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 47


48 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


MONGOLIA

Flights of fancy

WITH ENDLESS, PIERCINGLY BLUE SKIES CROSSED BY EAGLES SWOOPING TO HUNTERS’ FISTS,

MONGOLIA WILL MAKE YOUR HEART SOAR. INTREPID TRAVELLERS FIND INSPIRATION

IN A HARSH LAND, WHERE HOME COMFORTS ARE HARD WON

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAN MASTERS

Being woken in the middle of the night by a stranger.

Hmm. Never thought I would look so positively on

such a prospect. But here in my ger (Mongolian yurt)

in the brisk autumnal temperatures of the Altai Mountains, I

hear the ger manager arrive in the early hours. He’s lighting the

wood-burning stove with its tall chimney that is the structural,

practical, and emotional hub of my temporary home, so that

when I rise, I’m toasty rather than teeth-chatteringly freezing.

Let the fire-lighting commence.

And there is another fire that Mongolia ignites in the soul of

any visitor who’s open to big skies and even bigger adventures.

Landlocked, with Russia to the north and China to the south,

it’s a country of sweeping steppes and arid deserts. Of ragged

mountains slicing too-blue-to-be-true skies. Of gazillions

of sheep and goats grazing vast swathes of wind-whipped

pastures. And with a history

that still reverberates with tales

of Genghis Khan, who from the

early 13th century, established the

mighty Mongol empire.

So you get the picture. This is

no ordinary, run-of-the-villa type

holiday. There will be times, like

when you hear the thrum of a

generator thud out, that for once

in your pampered life, the phrase

‘out in the middle of nowhere’ has

real meaning. You’ll also meet

nomadic people whose way of life

is not so different from that of their great, great ancestors (give

or take the odd solar panel, mobile phone, and motorbike).

There will also be moments when you simply breathe in

the beauty of emptiness. Because while Mongolia is similar in

size to western and central Europe, it has a population of just

over three million – London alone has nearly nine. In short,

Mongolia gives you spatial perspective in spades.

More visitors are heading this way, a fair few because they’ve

seen the film The Eagle Huntress, about then 13-year-old

Aisholpan Nurgaiv, who hunts with eagles on horseback and

has won the annual Golden Eagle Festival in Olgii (she now

hopes to be a doctor). I haven’t seen it, but it has attracted

many, including the elderly woman from California who I meet

on the plane from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital

city. Travelling alone, she continually shuffles pages of her

itinerary, repeating the mantra that she just had to come.

THERE IS A FIRE THAT

MONGOLIA IGNITES IN

THE SOUL OF ANY VISITOR

WHO’S OPEN TO BIG SKIES

AND EVEN BIGGER

ADVENTURES

My own inspiration was a talk at the Royal Geographical

Society in London that put Mongolia on my must-see list.

So here I am. Bedding down in my ger near the Kazakhstan

border, having flown in from UB to Olgii with 17 fascinating

fellow travellers. I met them at the start of our holiday at the

Shangri-La, all guests on this limited-edition Luxury Small

Group Journey, of which the Golden Eagle Festival is one of

the many exciting prospects.

We are ably shepherded by our man on the ground,

Amarbuyan Yura (Amraa) and host Palani Mohan, an awardwinning

photographer and author of Hunting with Eagles: In

the Realm of the Mongolian Kazakhs. He is the perfect cultural

commentator, having researched and documented the proud

people who inhabit this unforgiving landscape, where winter

temperatures routinely drop to -40°C.

In toughening up for the trip,

I don’t make the best start. On

the runway in Olgii, I miss my

footing and crash-land on my

knees. We decide a bag of ice

might help the pain but is an

unlikely find. Frozen peas? Again,

pass. However, a shopkeeper sells

us their last two packets of frozen

prawn dumplings. Somewhat

unglamorously, prawns poised,

I am driven in convoy to camp.

The Lilliputian village of gers

soon puts a smile on my face. It’s

been erected just for us for three nights, near to a rushing silver

river edged with ribbons of golden trees. Each ger has a Hansel

and Gretel doorway and is decorated inside with embroidered

wall hangings. There’s a shared shower, for which you make an

advance appointment, and a kitchen that creates tempting food,

from full-on breakfasts to multi-course suppers with soups,

and meat and vegetable dishes. The wine flows.

As we wake to the sunniest of days, we head out to the

festival, which takes place on a stretch of, well, dust, in the

shadow of a huge, sheer escarpment. Launched in 1999 to

preserve cultural traditions, the Golden Eagle Festival has

evolved into a two-day event with over 100 horsemen and

women in their finery, attending with their eagles to compete in

various competitions to showcase their riding skills and close

bond with their birds – think a falconry display at a county

show but with a more rugged, Wild West vibe.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 49


50 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


MONGOLIA

The hunters (burkitshi) are ethnic Kazakhs and over the

centuries have survived some of the harshest conditions

Mother Earth can throw at them. It’s mostly older hunters who

remain: younger generations are tending to head to urban

areas. However, there is a still a passion for falconry and the

trained eagles (always females, as they are more powerful than

the males) live with their hunter for a number of years, before

they are released back into the wild. Some birds develop such

a bond, they fly ‘home’ and the release has to be repeated.

Over two days, we first see the hunters judged on sartorial

flair. Then, how quickly their eagle can land on their arm

when released from the mountainous peak – the rider waits

on the showground far below and the descent is timed, as in

sheepdog trials.

Some birds go like guided missiles. Boom. Land. Cue

explosive applause. Some, they take an easy-does-it detour

before deigning to descend. There are also equestrian displays

with riders picking up coins while their horses gallop full tilt,

a tug-of-war on horseback, another game where the woman

whips the man (I never figure out why, but a delighted pair win

first prize), plus camel races and archery.

After a final cosy dinner in our rustic camp, it’s back to UB

to prep for the next adventure – the Gobi Desert. UB itself

is worth exploring, from the fascinating Natural Museum

of Mongolia to the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, one of

Mongolia’s most revered. Plus there are cashmere shops galore

and the Shangri-La, a shrine to all those things we take for

granted – but shouldn’t – like hot water, heat, and light.

A short flight to Dalanzadgad drops us into the South Gobi.

Our base is at the Three Camel Lodge, a permanent ger camp

with en-suite facilities and a great bar. Meals are expertly

prepared, the wine and whisky list on a par with many capital

city hangouts, and the cabaret includes traditional music and

throat singing, which is hauntingly beautiful.

It’s from here we head out to ride Bactrian camels on the

sand dunes of Moltsog Els and meet nomadic camel breeders,

and take hikes in idyllic scenery, where horses drink from

streams in the foothills of monolithic mountains. On our final

evening, we walk the Flaming Cliffs, incandescent at sunset.

A significant palaeontological site, if you know what you’re

looking for you can still find tiny remnants of dinosaur eggs.

Three Camels has thought of everything and brought along

sundowners, chairs, and umbrellas. We toast a trip, wild in

concept, wonderful in its welcome.

previous page: A Kazakh horseman with his eagle

opposite page, clockwise from top left: A monk prepares for a ceremony

at Gandantegchinlen Monastery in Ulaanbaatar; eagle hunters arriving at

the festival; a ger in A&K’s private camp, erected especially for the festival;

a Mongolian woman in the late afternoon sun; a typical, highly decorated

Kazakh saddle; the Flaming Cliffs in the Gobi Desert

this page, clockwise from top left: Spread out for sale, traditional handembroidered

wall hangings used to decorate and insulate ger; the sweeping

landscape surrounding Olgii; camels in the Gobi

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

A&K’s 12-day Mongolia: Golden Eagle Festival with Palani Mohan

– a limited-edition Luxury Small Group Journey starts at £14,025

per person and next runs from 29 Sep to 10 Oct 2020. For more

information, call our escorted tours specialists on 01242 547 892.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 51


ACCESS

ART

In the eye-catching world of art hotels, many hoteliers use their properties as

galleries to showcase their private collections. Read on for our own curated

exhibition of hotels in which you can wake up next to a masterpiece

ELLERMAN HOUSE

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Art lovers will delight in staying at this landmark hotel on Cape Town’s

coast. Within the elegant Edwardian mansion of Ellerman House, close

to 1,000 works of art reflect the changes in South Africa’s social and

geographical landscape since the 1930s. Artists included in the collection

include John Meyer, Erik Laubscher, Jan Volschenk, Cathcart William

Methven, and Pieter Wenning to name but a few. Guests can take a

self-guided art tour, with an electronic tablet providing insight into each

piece. If you prefer the human touch to the touchscreen, the in-house

guide is on hand to take you around the extensive collection – or beyond;

guests can request guided excursions to the city’s local galleries, enjoying

behind-the-scenes access and unmatched insight.

THE SILO

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

A disused grain silo may seem an unlikely candidate for an art hotel,

yet this imposing building on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront has been

transformed in recent years, its image a Brutalist bastion for African

arts. The lower portion of the building is now the Zeitz Museum of

Contemporary Art Africa, while its literal crowning glory is The Silo

hotel – six storeys of luxury accommodation brimming with curated

artwork. The Silo’s owner, Liz Biden of The Royal Portfolio, has used

space across the 28 rooms to display her personal collection of African

pieces. There are works by upcoming artists as well as more established

names, such as Nandipha Mntambo, Cyrus Kabiru, and Mohau

Modisakeng. The hotel even features its own boutique gallery, The Vault.

WORDS: JOE MEREDITH

52 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


HOTEL ÉCLAT

BEIJING, CHINA

Beijing has plenty to offer beyond its top-billed tourist attractions,

including a vibrant contemporary art scene. The city’s creative streak is

reflected throughout Hotel Éclat, a favourite among our travel specialists,

housed within the landmark Parkview Green building. This boutique

hotel showcases a sizable portion of its late owner George Wong’s

extensive art collection. Across its five floors, admire more than 100

eclectic pieces, from dazzling sculptures to captivating paintings. As well

as works by notable contemporary artists, Éclat is home to Asia’s largest

collection of Warhol and Dalí works. This member of the Small Luxury

Hotels of the World puts you in the heart of Beijing’s downtown, and puts

art to the fore of its design.

HOTEL B

LIMA, PERU

For those of us who travel often, firsts are increasingly hard to come by;

yet Hotel B is that rarest of things. Lima’s first – and only – art hotel is

an A&K Favourite, aptly situated in the city’s most bohemian district

amid galleries and fashion boutiques. The building itself is brimming

with character, converted as it is from a 1920s colonial mansion. Stay in

this restored ‘grand dame’ to admire its private collection of more than

200 artworks, proudly displayed across the landings. Hotel B’s close

relationship with nearby Lucia de la Puente Gallery allows guests to easily

request private viewings; the gallery offers a fantastic insight into the

world of contemporary Peruvian art. Our clients can enjoy additional

perks during their stay, from room upgrades to wine on arrival.

VILLA LA COSTE

PROVENCE, FRANCE

The bucolic landscape of Provence is impossible to upstage, so the owners

of Villa La Coste have sought instead to adorn it with dazzling flourishes

of creativity. Throughout the biodynamic vineyard of Château La Coste

and art hotel, sculptures are tucked amid verdant woodland, hills, and

lawns – including works by acclaimed artists Ai Weiwei and Tracey

Emin. You can enjoy a two-hour private art and architecture walk with

the curator, learning all about the eclectic collection while taking in the

beautiful Provençal countryside. In addition, the hotel is home to its very

own arts centre and hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Stay here, and you’ll never be short of art to admire (nor home-grown

wine to sip as you do).

MONA

TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

Fancy bedding down in one of Hobart’s best art museums? Set on

the banks of the River Derwent, the Museum of Old and New Art

(MONA) is Australia’s largest privately owned gallery and museum. It

was masterminded by gambler and mathematician David Walsh, and

exhibits his diverse taste in exhibits – from Ancient Egyptian relics to

quirky dioramas. Visitors also have the opportunity to stay in one of

eight contemporary pavilions, each with its own character. As well as

access to an enclosed lap pool, sauna, and gym, you’ll have a museum

chock-full of eclectic and eccentric artwork right on your doorstep. Enjoy

untrammelled access to MONA’s permanent collection, and utilise its ‘O’

device during self-guided wanders to learn more about the art.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 53


18

SUM

MERS

THE DAYS MAY BE LONG, BUT THE YEARS ARE

SHORT. THE SCARY FACT IS THAT THERE ARE ONLY 18

SUMMERS IN YOUR MINI-ME’S CHILDHOOD AND YOU

SHOULDN’T SQUANDER A SINGLE ONE OF THEM

Uninterrupted family time – every parent wants it and

every child needs it. As Sally Peck, The Telegraph’s family

editor, recently told Sundowner: “With work, school,

and ever-present smartphones, we spend so little uninterrupted

time with our children: holidays are the one chance we have

to really engage and interact, in a relaxed setting, without the

intrusions of mundane life.”

Pre-school summer holidays – when there’s more flexibility

and you’re not a slave to your child’s education – pass by in a

happy haze of armbands and ice cream. All holidays offer the

opportunity for memory-making and family-fun time, but during

primary and secondary school summer breaks, can you also travel

smarter and fight holiday-time “learning loss”?

There are a multitude of reasons why travelling is a great form

of education; it’s a fun way to reinforce learning and keep young

minds sharp when school isn’t in session. Research indicates that

children who enjoy learning opportunities during the summer

retain more knowledge over the holidays than their peers who

do not. So read on for our ultimate guide to 18 summers that

combine family fun times and edu-travel.

WORDS: ALICIA DEVENEY

54 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


FAMILIES

AGE

0

SUMMER #1

CYPRUS

Anassa: a touchstone for new parents. Spoken

about in hushed, awed tones by mums and

dads who had previously resigned themselves to a few years of

staycations. Located in Cyprus, Anassa is a lap-of-luxury hotel

that offers an all-encompassing and sanity-saving Baby Go

Lightly service. Prior to arrival, parents can order items such as

car seats for airport transfers, potties, training seats, highchairs,

carriers, buggies, bottles and teats, sterilisers, bottle warmers,

baby gyms, baby walkers, baby bathtubs, dry/swimming

nappies, nappy bins, wipes, and much more besides. But that’s

not all: as well as the baby kit, there’s also a phenomenal crèche

and babysitting service. It’s a utopia for parents.

FAMILY QUARTERS: ANASSA, CYPRUS

AGE

1

SUMMER #2

FRANCE

At this age, no parent is willing to mess with

the mid-day nap. One hour, two hours,

sometimes three – these hours of early afternoon sleep are

vital at this age, so you need to factor this into any possible

holiday and be somewhere that you don’t mind being stuck

for half a day. Enter stage left: a luxurious villa in France.

It’s good for baby: child-friendly garden, safe pool area,

interconnecting rooms, cots, monitors, highchair, buggy…

tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. And it’s good for mum

and dad too: saltwater swimming pool, terrace for sunbathing,

shady nooks for book reading, dining spaces for alfresco eating

and barbecues. That’s nap time sorted then.

FAMILY QUARTERS: LE MAS D’ARTISTE, PROVENCE, FRANCE

AGE

2

SUMMER #3

SICILY

Celebrities flock here: Harry Styles, Bradley

Cooper, and Leonardo DiCaprio have all

stayed. Google’s legendary conference is also held here annually.

With its award-winning, 4,000-square-metre spa, championship

golf courses, and proximity to the Greek temples of Selinunte

and Agrigento, Sir Rocco Forte’s sprawling Verdura resort on

Sicily’s south coast is perfect for grown-ups. So what happens if

that grown-up happens to be the parent of a toddler? Tailored

to two-years-olds to a tee, the RBabies area of Verdùland has a

baby pool, outdoor space, sleep zone, and indoor play zone. It’s

an ideal place for a two-year-old to spend a few hours while you

have some much-needed, recharging ‘me time’.

FAMILY QUARTERS: VERDURA RESORT, SICILY

AGE

3

SUMMER #4

MAURITIUS

With a three-year-old in tow, you’re potentially

travelling a little lighter and life isn’t a complete

nightmare if naps are occasionally skipped – however you are

navigating the choppy waters of life with a ‘threenager’ who is

exploring his or her independence. It’s the perfect opportunity

for a holiday that includes time at a fantastically fun kids’ club.

This luxurious island escape is fabulous for all ages but ‘Play’

welcomes those aged three upwards. There’s a splash pool, an

outdoor culinary corner, an e-zone, a reading corner, and a

quiet zone. Fun-loving and full of energy, the resort’s qualified

childminders organise beach games and other outdoor pursuits

guaranteed to burn energy. No ’mares here – just a dream holiday.

FAMILY QUARTERS: LUX* BELLE MARE, MAURITIUS

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 55


AGE

4

SUMMER #5

SOUTH AFRICA

Sally Peck, The Telegraph’s family editor and a

travel expert, recently took her young daughter

on safari with A&K. “I wanted to take her on her first major

adventure,” she explains. To any family considering a safari, she

says: “I cannot think of a more perfect family trip: safaris combine

adventure, activity, and learning with relaxation and scenes of

unequalled beauty.” For a four-year-old, South Africa is a great

choice – there’s only a minor time difference and you can leave

the malaria pills at home. Much of South Africa is free from the

disease, including Kwandwe, a private Big Five game reserve not

far from the Garden Route. At Ecca Lodge, guests of all ages are

welcome, and a range of other family-friendly amenities include

family suites with the use of a private vehicle and dedicated range,

children’s menus, activities, and childminders.

FAMILY QUARTERS: KWANDWE ECCA LODGE

AGE

5

SUMMER #6

ARIZONA

What’s the formula for a truly perfect family

holiday? The answer is simple: time together

plus fun on tap. At the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, Arizona,

everyone gets to be a kid. The resort is an enormous playground.

Pack the water-resistant SPF50 – this resort has its own onehectare

water park with 10 pools, hot tubs, a ‘Greek-style’ water

temple, waterfalls, a sandy beach, and a three-storey waterslide.

When fingers have wrinkled sufficiently, the rock-climbing wall,

putting green, fun zone, and tennis courts are perfect for drying

out in the warm sun. At the kids’ club, there are Native American

crafts, cowboy storytellers, and campfire snacks. Could you ask for

anything s’more?

FAMILY QUARTERS: HYATT REGENCY SCOTTSDALE RESORT & SPA

AGE

6

SUMMER #7

TANZANIA

From the original animated version to the liveaction

remake, The Lion King has a special place

in our children’s collective conscious. Although the animators

famously travelled to Kenya’s Masai Mara for inspiration, it and

Tanzania’s Serengeti are a shared ecosystem. Vast rolling savannahs,

rocky outcrops, and acacia trees punctuating the horizon – it’s

something straight from the cinema screen. During the year, the

Great Migration – made up of more than 1.5 million wildebeest,

200,000 Burchell’s zebra, and a smattering of trailing Thomson’s

gazelle – circles through these ‘Pride Lands’. Snapping at their heels

and lying in wait are hungry predators like Simba, Shenzi, and

Scar. Far from being too brutal for children to witness, Sally Peck

is adamant that “our Victorian squeamishness about the realities

of life and death do us – and our children – damage”. Showing her

daughter the circle of life was one of the main reasons that Sally

wanted to take her on safari and they both “loved it”.

FAMILY QUARTERS: SINGITA SERENGETI HOUSE

56 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


AGE

7

SUMMER #8

ROME

During Key Stage 2 (KS2) history, most pupils

will learn about ancient Rome. Bring their

studies to life with a holiday in the Eternal City. At school, they’ll

be discovering what the Romans did for us. They’ll examine how

Rome began, who ruled, who the emperors were, what Romans

believed, and how they liked to spend their spare time. What

better way to learn about the beloved, bloody games than a visit to

the Colosseum and enrolling them into Gladiator School? During

the training class, children dress up in belted tunics and learn

basic swordsmanship, history, and battle strategy. Other sites to

enjoy (between fuelling stops at pizzerias and gelatarias) include

the Circus Maximus, the Pantheon, and of course, the Forum.

FAMILY QUARTERS: HOTEL DU RUSSIE

AGE

8

SUMMER #9

ATHENS

The ancient Greeks also feature on the National

Curriculum for history. While doing school

projects they’ll learn about who the ancient Greeks were, the

different city-states, the Olympic Games, family life, gods and

goddesses, war, culture, theatre, the invention of government,

and Alexander the Great – all important subjects for young minds

to explore. These age-old influencers affected our modern-day

arts, sports, medicine, law, language, and even the buildings we

live in. A trip to see the Elgin Marbles is good, but why not go

one step further? Athens is the obvious choice for an ancient

Greece-inspired long weekend or as part of a longer Greek

sojourn. The Acropolis is the city’s most famous and important

landmark. Visit with a local guide to explore the site and its

centrepiece, the Parthenon, which dates back to 438 BC.

FAMILY QUARTERS: HOTEL GRAND BRETAGNE

AGE

9

SUMMER #10

MEXICO

With so much Euro-centricism in the National

Curriculum, it’s vital that children learn about

non-Western cultures. One possible KS2 history topic covered

during Years 4 and 5 is the Maya. These Mesoamericans shared

complex beliefs and traditions, studied the stars and weather, and

built amazing cities including Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, and Tulum.

Studying the Maya links well with work on ancient Egypt –

think of all those stepped pyramids. A&K’s seven-night

Family Mexico suggested itinerary features an educational

scavenger hunt at Uxmal as well as exploration of UNESCO

World Heritage-listed Chichén Itzá.

HOW TO DO IT: A&K’S SUGGESTED FAMILY MEXICO ITINERARY

AGE

10

SUMMER #11

EGYPT

Staying with the theme of KS2 history, students

in Years 5 and 6 might travel back in time

thousands of years to the banks of the Nile to learn all about

ancient Egypt during this curriculum stage. So why not take

them to see the artefacts and monuments of this still-there-to-bediscovered

civilisation. Most schoolchildren study the ‘boy king’,

Tutankhamun, while learning about Egypt. A&K’s ‘Explore the

pyramids and museum’ experience is an A&K Egyptologist-led

tour of Cairo during which families explore the pyramids of Giza

and come face-to-face with King Tut’s golden death mask at the

Egyptian Museum of Antiquities.

FAMILY QUARTERS: FOUR SEASONS HOTEL CAIRO AT THE

FIRST RESIDENCE

FAMILIES

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 57


AGE

11

SUMMER #12

THE GALÁPAGOS

The study of Charles Darwin, the theory of

evolution, and the process of natural selection

at KS2 has cross-curricular links between science, history, and

literacy. Consolidate their knowledge by undertaking your own

expedition to the Galápagos Islands (a group of 19 islands and

more than 100 islets in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres off the

coast of Ecuador). The HMS Beagle may be unavailable but three

to seven nights aboard the family-friendly Galápagos Legend is

perfect for budding naturalists (and their parents) looking to meet

the incredible creatures that Darwin encountered.

FAMILY QUARTERS: GALÁPAGOS LEGEND

AGE

12

SUMMER #13

TUSCANY

Do your children know who the Teenage Mutant

Ninja Turtles were named after? Well, they should.

It’s time to return to Italy, just as the National Curriculum does

when it hits KS3. Zooming forward 900 years or so and hopping

from Rome to Florence, the Renaissance was a period that

followed on from the Dark Ages. During history lessons, children

might be looking at this time of rebirth, when people showed

renewed interest in ancient Greece and Rome. Leonardo da Vinci

may have already been encountered in KS2 science. He was a real

‘Renaissance man’ and Tuscany is the place to go to learn more

about this famous polymath. His birthplace was the Republic of

Florence and there’s a whole museum dedicated to him, plus much

more besides. Base your famiglia at a family-friendly A&K villa in

Tuscany for Da Vinci-themed daytrips.

FAMILY QUARTERS: OPTIONS INCLUDE: AL CASTELLO; VILLA SAN

CRISTOFORO; IL PALAGIO

AGE

13

SUMMER #14

CHINA

During history lessons in KS3, children will be

comparing spans of British history with Dynastic

periods of China’s past. They might be looking at the rise and fall

of the final Imperial Chinese dynasty, empire-changing events

such as the Qing from Manchuria replacing the Ming, the

breath-taking growth of Qing China (1644-1912), and the Opium

Wars (1839-1860). Scaffold their learning and – more importantly

– broaden their horizons with a holiday in China. One of the

best places to experience the Qing is in Beijing where 10

Qing emperors held court at the Imperial Palace. During

A&K’s Discover China holiday, you can even stay at Jing’s

Residence in Pingyao, which was built 260 years ago by a

wealthy Qing Dynasty silk merchant. It’s time to live like a

local – albeit one from over 200 years ago.

HOW TO DO IT: A&K’S SUGGESTED DISCOVER CHINA ITINERARY

58 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


FAMILIES

AGE

14

SUMMER #15

CALIFORNIA

After so much emphasis in the past, it’s

time to share a summer holiday that’s very

much about the present. As it gets more difficult to prise

away their smartphone, take them somewhere exciting and

iconic. Somewhere they won’t sneer at – where they can be

independent, be active, and have some fun with their parents.

Popular films and TV shows will have introduced them to

America’s west coast by now, so take them to Cali – and earn

some cred in their eyes while you’re at it. Together, you can

cycle, sail, surfboard, hike, paddleboard, kayak, snorkel, as well

as going behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and

enjoying a VIP experience at Universal Studios Hollywood.

HOW TO DO IT: A&K’S SUGGESTED FAMILY CALIFORNIA

ITINERARY

AGE

15

SUMMER #16

VIETNAM

For GCSE history and English, kids learn

the history of the conflict in Vietnam, the

Cold War and the wider context of world politics post-WWII.

They address the question of why America – with its population,

resources, and technology – couldn’t defeat the Vietcong and

their guerrilla tactics. Visit the beguiling country of Vietnam

to support your child’s subject work and general knowledge.

A&K’s full-day Hanoi tour includes visits to sites such as the

Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, the Military Operation Bunker,

D67 bunker, and Military Museum. There is even an

opportunity for retired-colonel Nguyen Van Tam to escort

you on this 20th-century tour. Other fascinating experiences

are on offer in Hue and Ho Chi Minh City.

HOW TO DO IT: A&K’S ‘MEET A VIETNAM WAR VETERAN’

EXPERIENCE

AGE

16

SUMMER #17

JAPAN

This summer is significant – most children finish

their GCSEs or other national qualifications in

June of this year – and a celebration is in order. They’ll probably also

be planning their first trip without mum and dad, so it’s certainly time

for one last long-haul adventure together before they embark on a

lifetime of independent holidays. Japan is the ultimate destination for

families. It’s a joyful playground of a place, offering an exhilarating

escape from the familiar. Teenagers will love A&K’s Edits and

Experiences in Japan which includes cycling the Shimanami

Kaido, one of the planet’s most gorgeous bike routes, a full-day

tour of Tokyo’s pop culture scene, and ninja training in Kyoto.

FAMILY QUARTERS: MANDARIN ORIENTAL TOKYO

& RITZ-CARLTON KYOTO

AGE

17

SUMMER #18

AUSTRALIA

It’s the final summer of their childhood, so show

your pride and honour their accomplishments (thus

far – just imagine what’s to come) with a celebratory blow-out holiday

Down Under. Travelling as mates as well as family, you can tick off all

the iconic Australian experiences: sail Sydney’s harbour; dine in the

desert under the stars at Uluru; snorkel and dive at the Great Barrier

Reef. Teenagers will also love Melbourne’s buzz of creativity: street art,

coffee houses, cool shops, and laneways.

HOW TO DO IT: A&K’S SUGGESTED CLASSIC AUSTRALIA

ITINERARY

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 59


HOME RUN

From castelli where you can live like Italian nobility to châteaux on the Riviera

promising a place in the sun, our leading villa experts have selected 40 of their

favourite properties to rent, and put the spotlight on five winning examples

Villa Neptune, Côte d’Azur

BEST FOR LOSING YOURSELF

It’s been just over a century since F Scott Fitzgerald, wife Zelda,

and daughter Scottie arrived in the French Riviera to live it up

on the Côte d’Azur with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo

Picasso, and Dorothy Parker. Fitzgerald and his gregarious gang

– the “lost generation” of Americans who were escaping the

post-war, Prohibition doldrums in the USA – may be long gone,

but the playground vibe they established on the Riviera lives on.

Over 100 years later, the villas are every bit as glamorous as the

A-listers and aristocrats who holiday here. Five-bedroom Villa

Neptune, located on the water’s edge of the Bay of Cannes, offers

magnificent Med views from pretty much every room. It’s an

escapist’s dream – there’s a Jacuzzi on the terrace, alfresco shaded

dining area, and private jetty.

Dalmatian Dream, Dalmatian Coast

BEST FOR HISTORY LOVERS

Dubrovnik’s Stari Grad (Old Town) with its Adriatic Sea backdrop, thick medieval

walls, Gothic good looks, and associations with gone-but-not-forgotten Game of

Thrones film sets is as gorgeous as it is historic. The allure of this storied Croatian

city on the southern Dalmatian Coast is as strong as ever. If you feel the city’s

medieval glories beckoning, then Dalmatian Dream is just 500 metres from the

Old Town. Built of creamy local stone with pretty terraces tumbling down the

hillside scattered with social areas and a pool, this 300-year-old villa has been

lovingly restored. The seven bedrooms and interior communal areas sport a

contemporary Nordic-inspired style – simple, modern lines and neutral colours.

There’s a Finnish sauna, and a self-contained apartment for granny or nanny.

WORDS: ALICIA DEVENEY

60 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


EUROPE

Villa Veo, Majorca

BEST FOR OUTDOOR LIVING

Described by Gertrude Stein as “paradise”, Majorca is

practically sunk under the weight of its Spanish charms. The

largest of the Balearic Islands is made for exploring – the pace

is sedate, the living is easy, and the coastline’s pretty coves

shout perfect Mediterranean island. Although once you see

Villa Veo, exploration might be the last thing on your mind.

Perched high on the hills on the outskirts of Port d’Andratx,

the six-bedroom house offers a home cinema, bar, and gym

inside. Outside, there are panoramic views of both Cala

Llamp Bay and the dramatic Tramuntana Mountains from the

wraparound terraces that feature a 15-metre infinity pool, day

beds, and dining and social areas.

Villa le Ninfe, Lake Como

BEST FOR DESIGN MAVENS

Play house at Villa le Ninfe, a seven-bedroom mini-mansion

made for sharing with your favourites. This modern villa was

reopened after a three-year renovation, and it’s an awesome

architectural vision of stone and glass. Looking inwards,

there’s a library, wine cellar, gym, spa with hammam, sauna

and massage room, and a home cinema. Outside, there's a

recessed firepit area, a heated lakeside lap-pool, and a rooftop

terrace. From the dock, launch the villa’s own five-and-a-halfmetre

boat to visit Bellagio, a picturesque and popular midlake

village located opposite Villa le Ninfe, to stroll through

the azalea and rhododendron-filled gardens of neoclassical

Villa Melzi.

Parco del Principe, Tuscany

BEST FOR A BIG CELEBRATION

Staying here is a glorious exercise in playing at being Italian

toffs in the Tuscan countryside. Wannabe principe and

principessa will love this luxurious neogothic estate, which

was originally built in the 1800s by an aristocratic Tuscan

family. This villa near Siena has recently undergone a 12-year

renovation by model-turned-designer and owner, Astrid

Schiller Wirth. With its mix of antiques and custom pieces,

the eight-bedroom, three-storey property is stately and has

style to spare. Despite its history, inside there’s no shortage of

modern amenities. Outside, there are alfresco dining areas

and a swimming pool, and the 25 hectares of surrounding

parkland – adorned with cedar, elm, cypress, lemon, and

pomegranate trees – are a dream setting for a party.

akvillas.com | 61


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62 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020

8


OUR

FAVOURITE

FAVOURITES

As with children, we know you shouldn’t play

favourites, but sometimes it just can’t be helped...

These villas are so perfectly placed and exquisitely

appointed that you’ll wish you could move in for

good – true homes away from home

EUROPE

3

6

CROATIA

Dalmatian Dream, Dalmatian

Coast

Villa Amaroo, Dalmatian

Coast (1)

FRANCE

Le Mas D'Osu, Corsica

Le Castellet, Côte d’Azur

Villa Joya, Côte d’Azur (2)

Villa Med, Côte d’Azur

Villa Neptune, Côte d’Azur

La Bastide du Bois, Provence

La Maison de Maussane,

Provence

Le Mas Charlotte, Provence

Le Mas des Chenes Verts,

Provence

Le Mas du Luberon, Provence

Le Mas Merindol, Provence

Le Mas Nicolas, Provence

Les Amandiers, Provence (3)

GREECE

Pearla Mabe, Corfu (4)

Almyra Residence, Crete

The Zarassi Estate, Mykonos

ITALY

Casa Porpora, Amalfi Coast

Villa le Ninfe, Lake Como

Dimora delle Balze, Sicily

Podere il Baglio, Sicily

Casa Matteucci, Tuscany

Il Convento di Siena, Tuscany

La Castellina, Tuscany (5)

Masseria Torre Leverano,

Tuscany

Parco del Principe, Tuscany

Villa la Ginestra, Tuscany

Villa la Veduta, Tuscany (6)

PORTUGAL

Quinta da Alegria, Algarve

Villa da Zita, Algarve (7)

Villa Destiny, Algarve

SPAIN

Casa Luminosa, Andalucia

La Caceria Lodge, Andalucia

Can Ivy, Majorca (8)

Can Noblessa, Majorca

Villa la Silda, Majorca (9)

Villa Rocoso, Majorca

Villa Sonrei, Majorca

Villa Veo, Majorca

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT VILLAS

For all villa holidays, we advise early booking. For more information,

or to discuss reserving a villa, call your specialists on 01242 547 705.

9

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64 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


LAOS

FOODIE FORAYS:

LUANG PRABANG

FROM FABULOUSLY FERMENTED FLAVOURS

COOKED BY MICHELIN-STARRED CHEFS TO

RIVERSIDE BUFFALO SAUSAGES AND BEERLAO,

THE CULINARY OFFERINGS IN INDOCHINA’S

CHICEST TOWN ARE A CELEBRATION OF ALL

THINGS LAO, SAYS AUDREY GILLAN

Lemongrass, garlic, and onion – this trilogy of ingredients is

the cornerstone of Lao cuisine. Fragrant and flavoursome,

they come together in dishes that often have their roots

in the country’s reliance on foraging foods from the jungle and

the rivers and their banks. Cloud ear fungus and yellow monkey

mushrooms; algae collected from the Mekong and pounded into

thin sheets, then sprinkled with sesame seeds, dried and served

with a chilli paste studded with buffalo skin – all elements of the

wild larder that sustains this landlocked country.

Almost all Laotian dishes are accompanied by sticky rice –

70 per cent of the terrain is mountainous and rice is the easiest

crop to cultivate in such an environment, with 500 different

varieties. Rise at dawn in the exquisite UNESCO Heritage

riverside city of Luang Prabang and you will be greeted by the

sonorous sound of sticky rice balls hitting large metal vessels

with a bong, as saffron-robed monks seek alms from locals and

visitors alike. Head to the market, best seen this early in the

morning, where old ladies hunker down beside empty rice sacks

which are sparsely laid with their goods – a handful of potatoes,

lemongrass, fresh herbs maybe, wild mushrooms, or beans.

You’ll also find river crabs, catfish, frogs, birds, and insects all

bound for the pot and table.

A French colonial town, the continental influence on Luang

Prabang is not just evident in the beautiful architecture of this

calm place that sits on a peninsula at the confluence of the Nam

Khan and Mekong River; it’s there in the coffee, the baguettes,

and a local appropriation of mayonnaise. The culinary culture

here takes elements from the French kitchen, and sometimes

mixes them with the four key tastes of Lao cooking: spicy, sour,

salty, and bitter. In spite of being a neighbour to Vietnam and

Thailand, Laos has a very different, unique cuisine, borrowing

few ideas from across its borders.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 65


THE CULINARY CULTURE HERE TAKES ELEMENTS FROM THE

FRENCH KITCHEN, AND SOMETIMES MIXES THEM WITH THE KEY

TASTES OF LAO COOKING: SPICY, SOUR, SALTY, AND BITTER

While Luang Prabang celebrates past traditions, the restaurant

scene is modern, bringing new twists to dishes from both

royal and peasant households. Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun is a

young chef with Laotian roots awarded a Michelin star at Paste

Bangkok. She is now also cooking at Paste Lao Food, where the

menu is very different. It takes inspiration from Phia Sing who

was chef at the Royal Court of Laos. Satongun says: “The soil and

terroir of Laos produces herbs of a different strength and we use

several different varieties of herbs compared with Paste Bangkok

in Thailand. The seasonings in addition are different as Lao food

uses very few sweeteners and souring agents.

“The natural scenery of Luang Prabang is magnificent and the

unique, original wild ingredients seduced us creatively to open

Paste Lao Food in November 2018,” she explains. “Lao food

is enticing for its marriage and balance of fermented flavours

that are integrated with a huge amount of fresh plant life –

overall it is more savoury than sweet, intensely perfumed with

mountain herbs, and unusual tastes such as sundried river algae.

Internationally, however, it simmers under the radar and we

would like to expose its treasures further over the coming years.”

Bee believes one of the most incredible Lao dishes is or bon

waan, which she describes as “sweet bon leaves, slide-off-thebone

beef rib, jelly mushrooms, sakhan vine, sour mak kwak,

and grilled lemongrass” and her other favourite is or lam gai faa

stew “slow-braised French pheasant, mouth-numbing sakhan

vine, splitgill mushroom, bitter rattan, and scarlet gourd”.

Another exciting addition to the city’s burgeoning food scene

is The Great House at the Rosewood Luang Prabang. Culinary

director Sebastien Rubis has studied the finest elements of

Laotian royal cuisine and brought it together with a farm-totable

ethos. “We are reintroducing forgotten recipes from royal

cuisine. This means we have to find some rare products that were

really only for the king and the court. One clear example is lon

som, a very rare pork curry made with wild zucchini, which we

found. The colour of this dish is pink, which is very unusual,” he

says. “Lao royal cuisine is not supposed to be spicy. One of the

main flavours is bitter. We don’t really know about bitter – we

know about sweet and sour flavours – and so we are allowing

people to become accustomed to this and opening them up to

tastes of the past.”

Rubis – who was awarded the prestigious title of ASIA

Geographical Indication Ambassador for Laos, a UN Food and

Agriculture Organization and French Development Agency

project with a focus on protecting food cultures in the region and

reviving ancestral and forgotten recipes – offers guests cooking

classes, which can also include foraging. “I take them to a small

market and I tailor-make recipes and courses to what guests can

find at home so that they might make things more easily. It is

custom-made for them,” he says.

“I love the freshness in Laos. Before the country opened in

1998, there was no factory food and so still most of what you

have is organic, because they don’t have access to chemicals.

Herbs are very fragrant and strong in terms of taste.”

A gastronomic sojourn in Luang Prabang shouldn’t just

focus on high-end restaurants. Meeting farmers such as Lautlee

is an important part of understanding Lao food and where it

comes from. Leading a ‘crop-to-bowl’ experience through his

verdant fields, Lautlee demonstrates how he harvests vegetables

and rice by hand or using simple bamboo tools. This is labour

intensive subsistence farming but many Lao will tell you they’re

content doing this work because it’s generally done by families

and communities together. At a little wooden farmhouse, the

matriarch of Lautlee’s family shows how the grains of rice just

harvested can be turned into kaopun, a delicate, soft, slightly

glutinous noodle which is then served with a hot broth and fresh

herbs from the garden.

The trip culminates in a visit to Kuang Si waterfall, a beautiful

three-tiered cascade known for its brilliant turquoise pools and

streams, 32 kilometres southwest of Luang Prabang, where a

swim is followed by a picnic lunch, surrounded by nature. On

the return to the city you can visit Laos Buffalo Dairy, a social

enterprise that works with local farmers to produce underutilised

buffalo milk. Founded by former high-flying corporate

officers-turned dairy farmers, here artisanal cheese, yoghurt,

and ice cream are produced, all made from buffalo milk sourced

from local villages. Watch friendly buffalo feed their calves, then

sit down in an open gazebo to enjoy a tasting platter filled with

various types of buffalo cheese as well as ice cream, all freshly

produced at the farm. (Buffalo meat features heavily in Luang

Prabang cooking, often candied, made into sausages, served in

stews, or used raw in laap.)

Down by the riverside at sunset is the perfect place to discover

why Lao people love their national beer, Beerlao, with the

accompaniment of khaipen (fried river weed) and jeow bong, a

chilli paste which is most often dotted with Lao sausages among

other ingredients. These things “simmer under the radar” as Bee

Satongun puts it. It’s time they were put on the culinary map.

previous page: A dish at Paste Lao Food

opposite page from left to right, first row: The Great House, Rosewood;

classic twin-layered coconut; almsgiving

second row: A farm-to-table dish at The Great House; arts and crafts in

Laos; sticky rice steaming

third row: Cooking up sticky rice; The Great House; crunchy rice balls

fourth row: Watermelon and ground serpenthead fish at Paste Lao Food;

Bee Satongun; Rosewood Luang Prabang's culinary director Sebastien Rubis

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information, or to arrange your next tailor-made

holiday to Luang Prabang to celebrate the town’s hot culinary

scene – including exclusive experiences with chef Bee Satongun –

call our Asia travel specialists on 01242 547 704.

66 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


LAOS

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68 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


LUXURY EXPEDITION CRUISING

Taking it slow

HOLIDAYS SHOULD BE ABOUT MORE THAN JUST TICKING OFF THE TOP 10

PLACES IN THE GUIDEBOOK AND MOVING ON. PENELOPE RANCE TAKES

TIME TO DISCOVER THE BENEFITS OF SLOW TRAVEL, FALLING IN WITH THE

RHYTHM OF WIND AND TIDE, AND LETTING THE OCEAN SET THE PACE

Holidays are supposed to be a chance to relax, de-stress,

and do the things we love – but how many of us

treat them as an opportunity to cram a year’s worth

of experiences into two weeks, jetting from destination to

destination, and creating crammed itineraries of guidebook

must-sees rather than meaningful moments? In reaction to this,

the slow travel movement has arisen: the antithesis of non-stop

tourism, it espouses a more considered, in-depth experience.

I have been guilty of leapfrog travel, hopping over continents

by plane to arrive in exotic destinations, where I try to see it all,

and stay constantly active – snowboarding, mountain climbing,

kung fu training on a remote Chinese mountain top – lest any of

my precious holiday be wasted.

But slow travel dictates a different pace, and an ambition to

dig below the skin of each place and culture visited. I found my

compromise when I decided to sail around the world aboard a

70-foot yacht: an active adventure that would also include long

periods of reflection; when the timetable was dictated by wind

and weather, not flight plans; and where I could remember what

it was like to just be me. Given that the entire trip took almost a

year, it was certainly a prolonged progress.

The trend for slow travel has been driven in part by

millennials looking for transformational experiences beyond

the norm, but is just as relevant for harassed executives in need

of an escape from the rat race. “Slow travel is a mindset, not a

process,” says Ross Pakes, director of product at A&K. “To enjoy

slow travel successfully you must invest in slowing down. This

may be hard in our time-poor modern world, but it is worth it.”

Eschewing aeroplanes is a founding principle of the slow

travel movement, making boats – particularly those under sail

– the perfect vehicles. Time and tide may wait for no man, but

equally, they won’t be rushed. Yachts have departure dates, but

arrival times are dependent on nature’s whim. On my journey,

crossing the Atlantic took four weeks from La Rochelle in

France to Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro – but just nine days from Cape

Breton Island, Nova Scotia, to Kinsale in Ireland.

The thrill of arriving at each new port, anticipation building

as dry land came gradually closer, was slow travel in its purest

form. I made landfall in more than 20 places during my voyage,

and in each one found a different culture, people delighted to

open their hearts and homes, and landscapes as breath-taking

as they were varied. After days and weeks at sea, each new place

seemed more vibrant, intoxicating and, frankly, pungent, than I

ever anticipated.

And that’s the beauty of slow travel – you get to see beneath

the surface of a place, and come to appreciate it in a way that is

impossible to achieve through non-stop tourism. “When you

take your time, you are able to make connections with people

and places, both with your own groups and with the people you

meet along the way,” believes Pakes. “You will experience a far

deeper understanding of a region or town if you spend time

getting to know it.”

If you’re seduced by the prospect of an ocean-going slow

travel experience, but don’t have the time or freedom to

circumnavigate the globe under sail, then the Grand Arctic

Voyage offers an unforgettable immersion into a unique

landscape – a bucket-list destination to top all others.

Combining three of A&K’s Luxury Expedition Cruises –

Arctic Cruise Adventure: In Search of the Polar Bear; Ultimate

Iceland & Greenland Cruise; and The Northwest Passage: From

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70 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


LUXURY EXPEDITION CRUISING

SLOW TRAVEL IS A MINDSET, NOT A PROCESS,” SAYS ROSS PAKES,

DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AT A&K. “TO ENJOY SLOW TRAVEL SUCCESSFULLY

YOU MUST INVEST IN SLOWING DOWN. THIS MAY BE HARD IN OUR

TIME-POOR MODERN WORLD, BUT IT IS WORTH IT

Greenland to the Bering Sea – it takes 48 days to sweep across

the top of the world and crosses five Arctic regions along the way.

This one-of-a-kind voyage gives you the opportunity to follow

in the wake of the Vikings as you journey to the wild Svalbard

archipelago and rarely visited coastlines of Greenland, stopping

off in Scoresby Sound. You will have the opportunity to see

polar bear in their native habitat, then journey on to Iceland,

where the snow gives way to fiery volcanoes, steaming geysers,

and hot springs. Landfalls at Húsavík, Grundarfjörður, and

Reykjavík allow you to see the different faces of the country,

from the northern wilderness to its unique capital.

On the second phase of this incredible Arctic-crossing, you

will have time to explore the Westman Islands and the western

fjords before leaving the Land of Ice and Fire to cross back to

Greenland. Here you can marvel at giant glaciers, meet the

people of its remote villages, and learn about its past at frozen

archaeological sites. The stunning southern coast is yours to

explore, with stop-offs in Qaqortoq, Narsaq, and Nuuk.

The last 20 days at sea are spent navigating the Northwest

Passage, that legendary route from east to west that frustrated so

many Arctic explorers until Roald Amundsen took three years

to pick his way through between 1903 and 1906. You don’t need

to travel quite that slowly as you traverse from the Uummannaq

Fjord to Ulukhaktok in Canada. Along the way, the Inuit people

of Nunavut welcome you, and share traditional customs and

crafts. Then you’ll explore the unique geology of the ‘Smoking

Hills’ in Franklin Bay before passing back into the Arctic Circle

on your way to Herschel Island, Point Barrow, and Nome.

The Grand Arctic Voyage combines the best of slow travel,

getting to the heart of the region while experiencing the finest in

luxury travel aboard exclusively chartered mega-yacht Le Boreal.

This extended cruise gives you an opportunity to rediscover

who you are, forge new friendships, and spend quality time with

those you love. “Slow travel allows you time to reconnect with

your family, partner, or children, away from the stresses of day

to day life,” Pakes points out. “It’s about making time to slow

down and consider self-improvement, beyond just seeing the

sights and moving on.”

Undeniably the way to view the far north in style, the 2020

Great Arctic Voyage could also be one of the last chances to see

these lands of ice and snow before they are irrevocably changed

by human influence. So slow down, tune in, and get immersed.

previous page, clockwise from top left: Ilulissat Icefjord off the

coast of Greenland; sea and sky in the Arctic Circle; Lindenow Fjord in

Greenland; polar bear on the ice opposite page, clockwise from top left:

Ulukhaktok culture; Arctic hiking; polar bear walking on sea ice; Le Boreal;

a Zodiac trip this page: Ittoqqortoormiit village in Greenland

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

A&K’s 48-day Grand Arctic Voyage is a combination of

three Arctic Voyages, which can also be booked individually.

It starts at £51,285 if booked early and sails from 31 July

to 16 September 2020. For more information, or to receive

a full list of everything that is included on a Luxury

Expedition Cruise, call our specialists on 01242 547 881.

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72 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


Peru

FIVE WAYS

Lima, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu are Peru at its most iconic. Their myriad attractions include

a vibrant culture, a heritage of Incan ruins, a rich ethnic diversity, world-renowned food scene, and

gorgeous guesthouses, along with exceptional artisan-made goods. But it’s the legacy of the country’s

complex history and its welcoming spirit that linger, discovers first-time visitor, A&K’s Faye Hoskins

1

FOR ESCAPISTS

Moray and Maras are often referred to as Peru’s hidden gems.

The beautiful circular Inca terraces of Moray are located 3,500

metres above sea level and off the tourist trail. Built from stone

and in immaculate condition, Moray was believed to have been an

experimentation space in which Incas could test various crops at

different levels (each layer has its own microclimate). Alternative

theories suggest it was the site of a water temple. Whatever

happened in this amphitheatre-like site, spend time walking

around the huge earthen bowl before moving onto Maras. On

a hillside, near the town of Maras, are thousands of pre-Incan

salt pools (pictured left, each now owned by local families),

from which Peru’s famous pink salt is harvested. This trek yields

spectacular rewards in terms of views, Instagram opportunities,

and encounters with locals – not to mention salty snacks.

2

A&K EXPERIENCE: Explore Chinchero, Maras and Moray

FOR FOODIES

Peru’s capital, Lima, is South America’s culinary capital. Lima’s

food scene is diverse – the result of Incan heritage, Spanish

influence, and Japanese immigration – but the cuisine produced

is always big on flavour and driven by sustainability. Three of the

city’s eateries – Central, Maido, and Astrid y Gaston – regularly

appear in the world’s best restaurant lists. Most foodies have a

love affair with Peru’s national dish, ceviche – raw fish marinated

in citrus and salt – and its typical accompaniment, pisco sour

cocktails (pisco with lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and

angostura bitters). While in Lima, travellers can learn how to

prepare ceviche and pisco sours with Peruvian chef Penélope

Alzamora – who has worked with Gastón Acurio of Astrid y

Gaston fame – in her elegant kitchen in Barranco.

3

A&K EXPERIENCE: Learn how to make ceviche

FOR PEACE SEEKERS

Rural, remote, and among ruined Inca terraces, explora Valle

Sagrado is set in Peru’s Sacred Valley, en route to Machu Picchu.

The sultry natural scent of wood seduces travellers upon entrance

to the Scandi-chic accommodation. It brings to mind the cosiest

of ski lodges with its roaring fires and butterfly chairs. The hotel’s

spa – now called the Pumacahua Bath House – was once a 17thcentury

manor house, owned by a local freedom-fighting hero,

and will have you unlacing your hiking boots for a while. But at

this explora, which is located at 2,900 metres above sea level, it’s all

about the views and surrounding valleys. On duty, there are more

than 20 guides who lead expeditions into the wilderness, guarantee

captivating treks into the landscape, and facilitate opportunities to

engage with local people and their customs.

4

FOR PEOPLE-WATCHERS

A peaceful place once the Machu Picchu-bound tourists on the Inca

Trail have passed through each morning, the town of Ollantaytambo

is full of vibrant textiles and friendly locals. It’s the best surviving

example of Inca city planning and has been inhabited since the 13th

century. The narrow cobblestone streets are framed by irrigation

channels, which carry water from mountaintop to town, and quaint

buildings. Locals welcome travellers into their homes, where women

weave naturally dyed colourful cloth made from llama and alpaca

wool. Although it’s mesmerising to watch the weavers at work, the

town’s ruins are also must-sees: there’s a large Inca fortress, a temple,

and a towering edifice known as the Wall of the Six Monoliths.

5

FOR MODERN-DAY HIRAM BINGHAMS

No trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to the UNESCO

World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. For a rolling journey that

nearly outshines arrival at the royal Incan retreat, travel in style

aboard the Belmond Hiram Bingham rail service. However, the

more adventurous can trek the Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu,

traversing the countryside, enjoying the wild Andean view, cut-stone

ruins, and herds of curious llama. Shrouded by mist, flanked by

foliage, and perched above the Urubamba River in a narrow saddle

between two peaks, Machu Picchu has been on most travellers’ wish

lists since the moment Yale-sponsored explorer Bingham stumbled

upon it in 1911. Visits are enlivened by knowledgeable guides, who’ll

take you off the very beaten track to discover the best photo-spots.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information on suggested itineraries, Travel Edits

or Experiences in Peru, or to book an Andean adventure,

contact our Latin American travel specialists on 01242 547 701.

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A JOURNEY

WITH A PAST

IN THE NAME OF THE (GRAND)FATHER: A&K PRODUCT MANAGER PHILIPPA TURNER AND

DAD FOLLOW A FAMILY TRADITION ABOARD ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST ICONIC TRAINS

I can’t believe it,” my father had repeated, filled with emotion.

I’d just told him to cancel any plans, as we were going on a

journey aboard Belmond’s luxurious Venice Simplon-Orient-

Express – a journey in honour of Grandad.

In the 1960s and 1970s, my grandfather would regularly cross the

Channel and ride the original Orient Express service from Calais

Maritime to Venice. A carpenter by trade, he was passionate about both

trains and Italy, and he’d regale my father with tales of his trips and the

colourful characters he’d encounter along the way, making him long to

follow in Grandad’s footsteps. So, what better present for my father’s 65th

birthday than two tickets to do just that?

While the route we were following was inspired by my grandfather’s,

the train service we were taking was slightly different. The direct

descendants of the original Orient Express service, established by

Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-

Lits, have all ceased to run. However,

the spirit of this pioneer of luxury trains

lives on in the Venice Simplon-Orient-

Express, and this was our chance to

mingle among its privileged passengers.

Our journey began in March, when my

father and I flew from Bristol Airport to

Venice, swapping cold drizzle for brilliant

sunshine. We had a day to enjoy the city

of canals ahead of catching the train, so

we sped off on a vaporetto (water bus)

to St Mark’s Square. The lagoon was

surprisingly busy for the time of year; the hustle and bustle of gondoliers

plying their trade and tourists admiring the views gave us an authentic

Venetian experience. We spent the rest of the afternoon meandering the

waterways, sipping on cioccolato calda (Italian-style hot chocolate), and

devouring gelato, excitedly anticipating what was to come.

The next morning, the doors to our beautiful hotel in central Venice

opened onto a small canal where our real journey began. Belmond had

arranged a classic water taxi to take us to Santa Lucia station in style.

We weaved from canal to canal, admiring the vivid colours of the houses

reflected in the water, before docking station-side and being relieved of

our luggage by staff. The resplendent Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

awaited, and my dad was giddy with excitement.

Dressed in our best and feeling like aristocracy, we were guided by

staff in equally elegant attire to our train carriage, number 3525 – one of

the iconic blue and gold Wagons-Lits kind. In 1977, founder of Belmond

James B Sherwood bought two of these vintage carriages at an auction

in Monte Carlo. They were the first of many, each sourced from a classic

train and carefully restored to their former glory to become part of the

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. By 1982, the service was ready to ferry

passengers across Europe in ultimate luxury.

Before settling in, my father and I were invited to see the new on-board

Grand Suites with double beds. These handsome, spacious en-suite cabins

DRESSED IN OUR BEST AND

FEELING LIKE ARISTOCRACY, WE

WERE GUIDED BY STAFF IN EQUALLY

ELEGANT ATTIRE TO OUR TRAIN

CARRIAGE – ONE OF THE ICONIC

BLUE AND GOLD WAGONS-LITS

match the original coaching stock and are simply stunning. Our own

cabin offered an equally royal welcome: a basin and mirror adorned

with luxurious amenities including gold leaf creams, and Venice

Simplon-Orient-Express branded slippers and robe. Nestled in the

corner was a bottle of Taittinger Champagne; dad’s favourite, and a

taste of things to come.

The train made a start, with two FS electric locomotives hauling 16

coaches of excited guests. Off through Italy we travelled, then through

Austria before heading overnight through Switzerland and into France.

Magnetically drawn to the view from our window, we admired all that

Europe has to offer from the comfort of our cabin. Valleys, peaks, lakes,

and pastures swept by as we twisted westward across the continent.

Meals were taken in three distinct dining carriages featuring individual

seating, vintage décor, and an intimate atmosphere. We quaffed more

Champagne and tucked into superb

lobster, duck, and more. The seasonal

menu was exceptional, as was the service;

the head chef even came by to check

everything was to our satisfaction (it

was). In addition to our divine meals

in the dining carriages, we were served

afternoon tea in the privacy of our own

carriage. Sipping tea and nibbling on

dainty, exquisite savoury treats while

the world rolled by before us: it was an

unmitigated delight.

That evening, done up in suit and

glittery frock, my father and I glided to the bar to enjoy the live piano

music and merriment of the other guests. The atmosphere was electric;

people were singing, laughing, and mingling in this attractive 1920s-style

carriage – all dressed to impress. It offered a delightful contrast to the

quiet and intimacy of the dining carriage, and there was an intoxicating

sense of communal revelry. We were sat opposite a charming couple and

enjoyed a magical evening exchanging stories of travels across the world.

When we returned to our cabin, it had been elegantly transformed into

a bedroom. In surprising comfort, and with the gentle movement of the

train rocking us to sleep, we drifted off.

Our wonderful journey was over all too soon. The following day,

we arrived at Calais Ville for our coach ride back across the Channel.

We spent the return trip gushing with praise about the Venice Simplon-

Orient-Express, feeling lucky we’d had the opportunity to recreate my

late grandfather’s cross-continent jaunts. Now it was our turn to regale

family and friends with tales of our travels.

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

A&K offers one night at Venice’s Hotel Palace Bonvecchiati and

two nights aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from £3,200

per person (based on two sharing), including flights. For more

information, call a Europe travel specialist on 01242 547 703.

74 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


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SAINT LUCIA

PRISTINE BEACHES AND EXHILARATING

VIEWS, SAINT LUCIA LIVES UP TO ALL

THE PARADISIACAL HYPE. IT OFFERS

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE, BUT

STILL SERVES UP SOME DELIGHTFUL

SURPRISES, SAYS NIGEL TISDALL

Out of the blue

Sporting a large black Stetson, and backed by his Family

Band, LM Stone is singing about the tribulations of being

“a rhinestone cowboy, riding out on a horse in a starspangled

rodeo”. It’s a fine and much-covered song made famous

by Glen Campbell, but why is it being received with relish amid

the volcanic peaks and rampant rainforest of Saint Lucia?

The surprising answer is that, in a region where reggae,

soca, and calypso rule, many Saint Lucians love country and

western music. This is a legacy from when the United States set

up military bases here in the 1940s, and LM Stone is one of the

island’s top local acts. He performs regularly with his sons and

daughter at the luxurious beachside Anse Chastanet Resort near

Soufrière. “Whenever we hold a staff party,” a manager tells me,

“we always have to have a country DJ.”

This charismatic Caribbean island may be renowned for its

fly-and-flop holidays delivering sun, sea, and scenery, but it’s

also a place rich with wonders, both man-made and natural.

Next door to Anse Chastanet rises Jade Mountain, a strikingly

designed adults-only resort that is a triumph of architectural

rule-breaking. The 49-room property has barely a right angle

in it, while each super-romantic ‘sanctuary’ is reached by a

private suspended walkway. Inside there is no fourth wall so

guests can drink in the views of ocean and mountain, and

instead of a television there’s a glorious infinity pool or double

whirlpool bath.

A few kilometres south of Soufrière you can visit the world’s

only ‘drive-in volcano’, a crater with steaming sulphur springs

and scorched rocks that looks like the set for some post-

Armageddon movie. By contrast, the green forested hills nearby

are alive with birds, flora, and tropical fruit. The well-known

brand Hotel Chocolat grows its organic cocoa beans here on

the Rabot Estate, which has a terrific restaurant called Boucan

that uses the product in innovative ways, such as a marinade for

scallops, and in a dark chocolate gravy for beef fillet. Meanwhile,

down on the coast marine reserves protect some of the finest

coral reefs in the Caribbean – book into Anse Chastanet in

August and divers and snorkellers can witness the mysterious

‘spawning’, when the sea here is turned yellow and pink by

millions of coral larvae.

Much of this fascinating area, which lies on the island’s west

coast and is just an hour’s drive from the airport, is conserved

in a World Heritage Site dominated by the Pitons, Saint Lucia’s

iconic twin volcanic peaks that rise up like a pair of shark’s fins.

As UNESCO puts it, somewhat prosaically, “the combination

of the Pitons against the backdrop of unspoilt lush and diverse

natural tropical vegetation and a varying topography in a

coastal setting gives the property its stunning natural beauty”.

In other words, this landscape is a world-class cracker that

can be appreciated from a cluster of top-class resorts – with the

views from the meticulously sited Jade Mountain arguably

the most breath-taking.

abercrombiekent.co.uk | 77


For a different, but equally memorable perspective on these

mighty pinnacles, you can climb to the 798-metre summit

of Gros Piton. This takes around four hours return and the

surprise here is not that it presents a serious challenge following

a steep and muddy trail, but what fun the uniformed rangers

who act as guides and ensurers of safety are. It is mandatory to

be accompanied by one, and many are spirited women from

the nearby village of Fond Gens Libre. When I make this ascent

with a bunch of friends, we’re assigned Kaurene, who looks like

she’s taking an afternoon stroll while we pant and sweat and

curse in the morning heat. “Around a fifth of climbers never

make it to the top,” she confides, but if the weather’s good, as it

is for us, the reward for your struggles is incredible views and a

fine sense of achievement.

After all that, I deserve a drink – a local Piton beer, obviously.

A fitting place to try this is Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort,

which enjoys a billion-dollar seafront location right between the

Pitons. Guests staying here can bob in the warm turquoise water

beside its neatly brushed white sands, casually looking up and

thinking, “Did I really climb that? Just how stupid am I?”

There’s nothing daft about staying here, though. At the

96-room Sugar Beach all the white wooden cottages come

with a four-poster bed, private plunge pool and butler service,

plus there’s a high-class restaurant and a rainforest spa where

treatments using local fruits and herbs are administered in

tranquil treehouse cabanas. It’s easy to see why this muchlauded

resort is a magnet for honeymooners, celebrities, and

travellers with something to celebrate. Yet even here you find the

unexpected – in this case a vibrant art collection that regularly

waylays me on the journey to breakfast in the Great House.

The idea of developing a beach escape in this magical place,

formerly a copra plantation, came from Colin Tennant, the

flamboyant Scottish aristocrat who created the posh playground

of Mustique then moved on to Saint Lucia in the 1980s. He

opened a restaurant here called Bang Between the Pitons

because that’s exactly where it sat, which is now the site of

some fabulous Sugar Beach residences with as many as four

bedrooms. The story of this showman’s time on both islands is

revealed in entertaining detail in Nicholas Courtney’s biography,

Lord of the Isle, which is perfect reading while you laze on a

convenient sunlounger.

Tennant built himself a fantasy Indian house in the shadow

of the Pitons, the ruins of which can still be seen, and livened

things up for the residents of Soufrière no end by importing a

seven-year-old female elephant called Bupa, acquired from a

Dublin zoo. She was given a pig for a companion and took pride

of place in the Saint Lucia carnival – the story goes that Tennant

was passing a BUPA hospital when he decided on the name.

After Bupa died there was talk of replacing her with a pair of

elephants, but this was quashed by the authorities who feared

they could breed and overrun the island. Had that happened,

Saint Lucia might now be a very different place – but on this

enchanting island of surprises, you just can’t rule anything out.

previous page: Marigot Bay

this page, clockwise from top: Views from Jade Mountain; the beach

restaurant at Anse Chastanet Resort; the Grand Luxury Villa at Sugar Beach;

cacao beans in the Caribbean destination for chocolate lovers

CONTACT ABERCROMBIE & KENT

For more information, or to book your next holiday to Saint Lucia,

call our Caribbean travel specialists on 01242 547 780.

78 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


ADVERTISEMENT

SAINT LUCIA

One destination, limitless inspiration

Saint Lucia offers so much – from

the dreamiest array of luxury

accommodation, to an abundance

of amazing experiences and adventures in

the great outdoors.

On this Caribbean island, your senses

will be filled with the sound of steel drums,

the sight of miles of perfect sandy beaches

and the taste of Creole cuisine – and all with

a backdrop of towering green mountains

covered in lush tropical forest.

Celebrate the Caribbean on an island

that joyfully blends its own culture with

both French and English heritage. You don't

have to wait until July’s annual carnival, as

every week there are events to awaken your

soul to the rhythms of Caribbean calypso.

The Friday Night Street Party at Gros

Islet has become a hotspot for Saint Lucia

holidaymakers and locals alike, while Anse

La Raye Seafood Fridays are the perfect

opportunity for tasting fresh, delicious local

fish dishes.

Saint Lucia boasts so much more than

just sun, sea, and sand. Fans of water sports

will love the wonderful diving, snorkelling,

deep-sea fishing, and sailing. Nature lovers

won’t want to miss a trip to the Caribbean’s

only ‘drive-in’ volcano, La Soufrière, or

the opportunity to take a mud bath in the

Sulphur Springs. The National Rainforest

Reserve, which has more than 7,500 hectares

of paradise, is ideal for birdwatchers, hikers,

and nature lovers to explore.

As well as enjoying activities such as

rainforest aerial tram rides, private sailing

lessons, and Creole cooking classes, be sure

to tick off the following experiences:

• Soaking up local atmosphere on a foodie

or historical walking tour of Castries.

• Swooping over the Piton Mountain

peaks on a helicopter tour, or painting

the peaks during a private lesson with

a local artist.

• Snapping the island’s verdant rainforests,

idyllic bays and palm-fringed beaches

during a private photography tour.

• Savouring a sweet Bean-to-Bar

experience at Hotel Chocolat.

Visit abercrombiekent.co.uk or call 01242 547 780


EMPOWERING

TRAVEL

For close to four decades, AKP has been passionately

supporting a wide range of philanthropic projects around

the world. It’s all part of our commitment to ensuring luxury

tourism gives something back to the destinations we love.

Here is a glimpse of what we’ve been up to recently

SISHEMO BEAD STUDIO, ZAMBIA

In July 2019, we opened the Sishemo Bead Studio – a project to economically

empower women in Nakatindi Village, Zambia. Eight local candidates were

chosen based on their potential and level of need. Each was then trained in

African beadmaking, learning how to use recycled glass bottles and a kiln to

produce beads in unique colours and shapes. Using these handmade beads,

they make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other hand-crafted products.

A&K clients have the chance to visit the studio, where these skilled artisans

can teach you how to make beads and bracelets yourself.

RAPTOR REFUGE, AUSTRALIA

There is more to Tasmania’s wildlife than the iconic devil. This rugged island

is also a breeding ground for myriad bird species, including raptors such

as the wedge-tailed eagle. Unfortunately, human encroachment on wildlife

habitats is posing a threat to these beautiful birds, so we’re working with

conservationist Craig Webb to reverse the trend. Webb helms the Raptor

Refuge in Hobart, the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. He

and his team offer vital protection and rehabilitation to Tasmanian raptors.

AKP has helped fund the construction of a new, larger aviary at the centre,

allowing more birds to be brought back from the brink.

WAITING MOTHERS’ HOSTEL, UGANDA

The high risk of health complications can often overshadow the

excitement of expectant mothers in developing countries. Many must

travel for hours or even days to reach the nearest properly equipped

medical facility. That’s why we established the Waiting Mothers’ Hostel

near the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Lying adjacent to a community

hospital, this facility allows pregnant women from across the region to

stay in a safe place until they give birth. Due to high demand, we are

now expanding the hostel to accommodate more expectant mothers and

midwives, while ensuring standards of comfort and care are maintained.

GJØA HAVEN ARTS WORKSHOP, CANADA

Musician Mike Stevens was so struck by the plight of Inuit children when

he visited the Arctic region of Canada in 2000, he helped establish the

charity ArtsCan. Through AKP-supported workshops, Stevens and his

team bring musical instruments and art supplies to these communities

and teach at-risk youth how to express themselves. Recently, ArtsCan

visited Gjøa Haven in Nunavut, working together with a local school to

deliver a series of creative workshops for Inuit pupils. At the end of the

programme, the participants came together to perform in front of their

fellow students. Our clients are welcome to join one of our sponsored

workshops during a visit to this remote region.

CONTACT AKP

To find out more about our far-reaching philanthropic projects,

visit akphilanthropy.org.

80 | SPRING/SUMMER 2020


MORE THAN

MACHU PICCHU

Going off-piste in Peru can be hugely rewarding.

While many flock to the legendary citadel and to hike the Inca

Trail, there are myriad alternatives that rival the country’s

most visited sites and well-trodden paths, including Arequipa,

the Colca Canyon, Huchuy Qosqo, Choquequirao, Lake

Titicaca, the Salkantay trek, and the Ancascocha route

01242 547 701

abercrombiekent.co.uk/peru


REACH PACIFIC HEIGHTS

Santa Monica is Los Angeles’ beach city, a charming seaside

town with all the cultural attractions and amenities of a

bustling metropolis. With A&K, you can enjoy its natural

beauty, award-winning dining, beachfront shopping, and

luxury hotels – all in ultimate style. Welcome to one of

California’s most iconic coastal destinations

01242 547 717

abercrombiekent.co.uk/santa-monica


abercrombiekent.co.uk/mexico

01242 547 701

In Los Cabos, a different side of Mexico welcomes you warmly,

and every experience is tailored to you.

WHERE THE DESERT MEETS THE SEA


SOUTH AFRICA:

A VOYAGE

OF DISCOVERY

Culture. Nature. Adventure.

You’ll find it all in South Africa. We can

take you direct to Cape Town, Durban

or Johannesburg from London Heathrow

Find out more at

abercrombiekent.co.uk/south-africa

or call us on 01242 547 760

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