World Traveller January 2020

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INSPIRED BY

ISSUE 105 | JANUARY 2020 | COMPLIMENTARY COPY

JAPAN

MARRAKECH

STAYCATIONS

TRAVEL OFFERS

SPARRING

PARTNERS

Recharge at these

dreamy Indian

Ocean spas

The new

New York

How to put a fresh

spin on a golden oldie

Produced in Dubai Production City

Soft-sand beaches, zingy African flavours, and devoid of tourists

– introducing the delicious little islands of São Tomé and Príncipe


JAresorts.com /Manafaru @JAManafaru_Maldives


JA Manafaru, JA an award-winning

an RESORT RESORT IN THE IN THE MALDIVES

Found in Found the most in the northerly most northerly tip of ‘Haa tip Alif of ‘Haa Atoll’ Alif our Atoll’ chic our tropical chic tropical hideaway hideaway features features 84

84

beautifully beautifully appointed appointed beachfront beachfront and over-water and over-water villas, including villas, including three Residences three Residences each

each

with their with own their private own plunge private pool, plunge spacious pool, spacious indoor and indoor outdoor and outdoor living areas.

living areas.

Discover Discover the layers the of layers island of life island with life its unique with its experiences, unique experiences, soar above soar the above scenery the scenery by

by

seaplane, seaplane, dive under dive water under to water meet to colourful meet colourful sea life, swim, sea life, spa, swim, play spa, and play indulge and as indulge you

as you

muse over muse the over magic the of magic JA Manafaru.

of JA Manafaru.

For bookings For bookings or more information, more information, visit JAresorts.com

visit JAresorts.com

or email or reservations.manafaru@jaresorts.com

email


Welcome note

If, like us, staring at the blank pages of a brand new travel

journal fills you with wanderlust, and you're armed with a

refreshed batch of annual leave, it's high time to start booking

those trips you promised you'd take in 2020.

Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher

Chief Creative Officer

John Thatcher

General Manager

David Wade

Managing Editor

Faye Bartle

faye@hotmedia.me

Content Writer

Habiba Azab

habiba@hotmedia.me

Editorial Assistant

Ronak Sagar

Art Director

Kerri Bennett

Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia

If you're still feeling the effects of the silly

season, a wellbeing boosting break could be

just what the doctor ordered. This month,

we've rounded up the 20 best pampering spa

experiences to indulge in across the Indian Ocean

(page 26). From doing your daily sun salutations

on a white-sand beach in the Seychelles to getting

a vitamin infusion in the Maldives or having a

hydrating honey wrap in Mauritius, these luxury

spas will help you emerge a smoother, shinier,

happier version of your former self.

Also inside this issue, we take you to the streets

of New York, where there's always something

new to discover (page 38); shine a light on the

wonderfully off-radar little islands of São Tomé

and Príncipe (page 44); and show you why

swapping cherry blossom for snow-capped

mountains in Japan may be the best decision you

make this year (page 50).

Happy travels,

Faye Bartle

Win!

A two-night stay

at Jumeirah Dar Al

Masyaf in Dubai,

p71

FIVE THINGS

WE LEARNED

THIS ISSUE:

1

Snuggling under a

weighted blanket could

help ease your nerves

when flying, p22

2

The new Statue of

Liberty Museum is the

most significant addition

to Liberty Island since

the statue was launched

in 1886, p38

3

In São Tomé, they like

to 'Léve-léve' ('take it

easy'), p44

4

You can support

disadvantaged women

by sampling their everchanging

menu of local

dishes at Amal Women's

Moroccan restaurant in

Marrakech, p56

5

December through

March is the quietest

and cheapest time to

visit Japan, p50

Senior Advertising Manager

Mia Cachero

mia@hotmedia.me

Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

INSPIRED BY

Photography credits:

Getty Images and Phocal Media

Reproduction in whole or in part

without written permission from

HOT Media is strictly prohibited.

HOT Media does not accept

liability for omissions or errors in

World Traveller.

Tel: 00971 4 364 2876

Fax: 00971 4 369 7494

COVER IMAGE

Getty Images

Find us at…

ONLINE worldtravellermagazine.com

FACEBOOK @WorldTravellerME

INSTAGRAM @worldtravellerme

TWITTER @WTravellerME

worldtravellermagazine.com 5


Yoga on a sandbank at Soneva Jani. Photo by Stevie Mann

Contents

January 2020

15

GLOBETROTTER

regulars

10 15 22 70 72

TRENDING

DESTINATIONS

This month's go-to

places include sunny

Perth, adventurous Koh

Samui and the winter

wonderland of Yerevan.

GLOBETROTTER

Why ultra all-inclusive

is the way to go in 2020,

wellbeing boosting

breaks to help you start

the year right, and fab

new hotels on our radar.

THE KNOWLEDGE

Does the thought of

flying give you sweaty

palms? We share some

tried and tested tips

for getting you on that

aeroplane.

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

Head online for

exclusive travel content

and, better yet, the

chance to win a luxury

stay at Jumeirah Dar Al

Masyaf in Dubai.

SUITE DREAMS

Soak up the views of

Gaudi's Sagrada Familia

from the free-standing

bathtub in this grand

Terrace Suite at The

One Barcelona.

worldtravellermagazine.com 7


CONTENTS

features

26 38

THE BEST INDIAN GLAMOUR & GRIT

OCEAN SPAS

Faye Bartle discovers

We've rounded up 20 how to put a fresh spin

fabulous places to be on a timeless classic by

pampered in Seychelles, mixing the old with the

Maldives and Mauritius. new in New York.

44

INTO THE UNKNOWN

Soft-sand beaches and

zingy African flavours;

Stanley Stewart

introduces the islands of

São Tomé and Príncipe.

50

CHILL OUT

Onsen baths, piping hot

noodle bowls, and ways

to get cosy, Alicia Miller

explores the snowy

spectacle of Japan.

La Mamounia, Marrakech

56

LONG WEEKEND

weekends

56 60

A LONG WEEKEND STAYCATIONS

IN MARRAKECH Feel in need of a break?

Let the city's heady We have a few more

blend of culture and reasons to book a

beauty lure you in. weekend escape.

66

TRAVEL OFFERS

It's time we sent you

packing. Choose your

next adventure from

our exclusive offers.

8 worldtravellermagazine.com


Wellness Haven at Saray Spa.

Renew for the journey ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

gifts and spa products for every occasion.

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

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

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


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Emily Williams, dnata Travel’s resident globetrotter,

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

Koh Samui

It’s dry season in Thailand – an excellent time to explore its beautiful islands. An adventure seeker's paradise, Koh

Samui is home to the Ang Thong Marine Park – an archipelago of more than 40 islands where you can swim, snorkel,

hike and kayak to your heart's content. Explore the colourful neighbourhoods, such as Chaweng for its buzzing main

street, beach dining and nightlife, as well as the rustic Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village and its popular night market.

Highlights 1 Hire a motorbike and set off on a thrill-a-minute tour – you can circumnavigate the island in just a couple of hours.

2 Stroll through the Secret Buddha Garden private sculpture park atop Pom Mountain and discover its unique collection

of hand-carved statues nestled in the lush jungle. 3 Get fit quick by booking yourself in for some private Muay Thai training

sessions – Punch It Gym takes beginners through to seasoned fighters under its wing.

10 worldtravellermagazine.com


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Perth

The sunniest (and perhaps the coolest) city in Australia, Perth calls with its glittering downtown skyline, vibrant

Elizabeth Quay, and contemporary Australian dining at the multilevel Print Hall. Enjoy endless sunshine on its

pristine beaches lapped by the Indian Ocean, from the renowned Cottesloe Beach to the 63 white-sand coves on

Rottnest Island, a nature reserve home to the cute and friendly quokka, and which will soon boast a new marina.

Highlights 1 For thrills and spills, head to Perth's Outback Splash, which has unveiled a new six-storey slide tower featuring Western

Australia's fastest-ever body slide, among other attractions. 2 Animal lovers can head to Yanchep National Park to stroll along the

koala boardwalk for a peek at these cuddly creatures in their natural environment. 3 Embark on a tour of Perth's hip urban art,

including the stunning new mega-mural on Hay Street by Melbournian street artist Matt Adnate.

worldtravellermagazine.com 11


Cape Canaveral

The hub of the US space programme, Cape Canaveral calls would-be astronauts to the Kennedy Space Center

Visitor Complex, where you can learn about space travel, train like an astronaut, or strap yourself in for lift-off in

its shuttle launch experience. It makes a great day trip from Orlando (the theme park capital of the world) as part of

an adventurous itinerary. Or, you can stay at the Cape and enjoy its hotels, restaurants and quiet beaches.

Highlights 1 Visit Canaveral National Seashore, part of America’s national park system, which boasts a vast stretch of beautifully

wild white-sand beach, home to various plant and bird species. 2 Stare into a beautiful sunset at Center Street Park and, with any luck,

you'll enjoy a rare glimpse of manatees in the river. 3 Learn about the city’s past, its present and the origins of its celebrated port at

Exploration Tower, a seven-storey building of interactive exhibits with wonderful views of Port Canaveral.

12 worldtravellermagazine.com


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Compiled by: Soumaya El Filali

Yerevan

A winter wonderland that's close to home, Yerevan is usually covered in fluffy white snow at this time of year,

and the waters of Lake Sevan freeze over. The city streets light up for the festive period and local businesses

are keen to welcome visitors in from the cold to enjoy delicious local Armenian cuisine, including lots of lavash

bread. Take a day trip to the surrounding mountains for some of the most affordable skiing on the planet.

Highlights 1 Spend some time in the rosy-hued Republic Square, made partly from Armenia’s famous pink tufa stone. Its central building

houses the History Museum of Armenia, as well as the National Art Gallery of Armenia. 2 Climb the 572 steps of the Cascade stairway for

stunning views of the city. While you're there, check out contemporary art giant, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts. 3 Stock up on keepsakes

at Vernissage open-air flea market, where artisan finds include beautiful ceramics, dazzling jewellery and traditional ornaments.

worldtravellermagazine.com 13


JANUARY

Globetrotter

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Be informed, be inspired, be there

ROCK ON

With its jaw-droppingly beautiful rugged landscape,

star quality and designer shopping, the glamour and

glitz of Capri is a siren call. Join the shiny happy people

heading to this idyllic Italian island hotspot in the spring

when Jumeirah is orchestrating a grand re-opening of

the legendary Capri Palace for a brand new season of la

dolce vita. Born in the 1960s, it is designed in the style of

an 18th century Neapolitan palazzo, with a two-Michelinstar

L’Olivo restaurant, beach club and cutting edge

medical spa enticing you to holiday like the A-list.

worldtravellermagazine.com 15


GLOBETROTTER

JA The Resort, Dubai

Taylor River Lodge , Colorado

GO ALL IN

Why go all-inclusive when you can go

ultra-all inclusive? We find out what

the fuss is all about...

Kinara by Vikas Khanna

at JA The Resort, Dubai

One &Only Gorilla's Nest

Rio Palena Lodge, Chile

Taking the 'everything's included' concept to the

next level, offering a host of supersized added

extras, ultra-inclusive holidays are the ultimate

indulgence. Here's a few of our favourites: Taylor

River Lodge, Colorado will put you up in a rustic

cabin with an expert guide on hand to help

you make the most of your trip by taking part

in awesome outdoor activities, from fly fishing

in the trout pond to white-water rafting; the

remote Rio Palena Lodge, Chile, situated next

to its namesake river, invites adventure seekers

to discover the best of Patagonia with thrilling

pursuits on tap, such as hiking on a dormant

volcano and a day's heli-fishing; on our doorstep,

JA The Resort in Dubai is luring dedicated

foodies for a mouthwatering staycation with a

free rein at a whopping 25 dining spots there.

ON OUR RADAR

The first aquarium dining

experience in Bali, Koral

Restaurant, has opened

at The Apurva Kempinski

Bali, serving up a taste of

the Indonesian coast.

Polo fans can head to Saudi

Arabia, which is hosting its

first ever polo tournament

from 16-18 January at AlUla

heritage site as part of the

Winter at Tantora festival.

Visiting St. Petersburg

just got a little easier for

nationals of 53 foreign

states, including those

from Saudi Arabia, thanks

to the new eVisa service.

The perfect spot for a

girls-only holiday, the new

Sofie’s floor at Sofitel

Dubai Downtown Hotel is

dedicated exclusively to

female guests.

16 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X DCT ABU DHABI

THREE WAYS TO EXPERIENCE ABU DHABI...

Stay a step ahead

Make an energetic start to the new year by checking out these active

attractions that'll help you discover the capital from a fresh perspective

1Great for all the family, the newly

opened CLYMB Abu Dhabi on

Yas Island calls all those with

a head for heights. It's home to the

world's largest indoor skydiving flight

chamber and tallest indoor climbing

wall, The Summyt, which reaches 43

metres in height. Test your skills with

the help of the expert instructors who

are on hand to ensure everyone from

first-time flyers (aged three and up)

to seasoned climbers have a thrilling

time. The aesthetically stunning

geometrically designed building is an

attraction in itself.

2

Enjoy one of the UAE’s most

beautiful architectural spectacles

from the still waters of the

Arabian Gulf by taking part in a

kayaking tour of Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Guides will take you on a serene

journey around the landmark as

they share the story of the French

museum’s launch in the UAE. Tours

last one hour and are available for

people of all skill levels. For an even

more magical experience, book in for

one of the full moon tours. Children

age six to 12 must be accompanied by

a parent or guardian.

3

Nature lovers can take a hike

along the new Mangrove

Boardwalk opening this month.

Built on Jubail Island, and stretching

between Yas and Saadiyat islands, it

offers a coveted chance to get a feel

for 'the lungs of the city', providing a

glimpse of the area's rich biodiversity,

including its flora and fauna and

exotic bird life (think pink flamingoes

and herons). You can also set off in a

kayak, take the kids to the play area,

or simply soak up the scenery from

the viewing terraces.

Find out more at visitabudhabi.ae

Photo: CLYMB Abu Dhabi

worldtravellermagazine.com 17


GLOBETROTTER

NEW

FOR YOU

Fresh places to stay

MALDIVES

EMERALD MALDIVES RESORT & SPA

With its coveted wraparound reef

placing you mere footsteps away from

exotic fish, turtles and manta rays, this

deluxe all-inclusive resort (40-minutes

by seaplane from Malé) will blow the

winter cobwebs away with its mix of

sun, sea, sand and delicious food.

TUNISIA

ANANTARA TOZEUR RESORT

Surrounded by the majestic desert,

with views of the Chott El Djerid salt

flats, this luxury resort on the edge of

Tozeur beckons. We rate the Arabian

Cultural Village, with its souk and

restaurant serving delicacies such as

camel steaks cooked on an open fire.

Photography: Katie Wilson

DUBAI

ANDAZ DUBAI THE PALM

Promising you'll arrive a visitor and

depart a local, this Palm Jumeirah

hotel (which opened on 15 December)

has gone all out to weave local culture

into its DNA. Lap up its adults-only

Cabana pool area, boutique spa, yoga

terrace and five delicious dining spots.

18 worldtravellermagazine.com


GLOBETROTTER

ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort and Spa

SELF-CARE HOTSPOTS

WELLBEING BOOSTING BREAKS

JET OFF ON A HEALTH TRIP

TAKE A THERAPEUTIC DUNK...

IN THE HOT SPRINGS OF JAPAN

Famous for its hot springs, Oita

Prefecture in Japan is the place

to go for a beautifying dunk. ANA

InterContinental Beppu Resort and

Spa is designed to coax guests into a

state of calm, with its own stylish onsen

inviting you to soak in the soothing

myoban waters while overlooking

Beppu Bay. Turn to page 50 to read our

feature on winter in Japan.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS... ON A

WELLNESS CRUISE IN VIETNAM

Heritage Line has launched a threeday

wellness and mindfulness focused

voyage on Lan Ha Bay in Vietnam.

Board the 10-suite vessel, Ylang, and

be pampered in the floating spa inbetween

meditation sessions, early

morning tai chi sessions on the deck

and savouring light Vietnamese dishes.

HAVE A HOLISTIC DETOX...

IN KOH SAMUI

Need a clean sweep? Ease yourself

into it on the 12-Day Holistic Detox

Package at Absolute Sanctuary,

Koh Samui, which incorporates spa

treatments and alternative therapies,

such as magnesium foot baths and

Thai stretch massages, alongside two

healthy meals a day.

It seems you can put a price on good

health. International wellness tourists

spend around US$1,528* per trip

Feeling under pressure? The 7-day

Stress Management Programme

at Spain's SHA Wellness Clinic will

restore vitality, health and balance.

Need to break out of a rut? Holistic

healer Leela Isani, will take you on a

journey of self-healing at Atmantan

Wellness Resort in India this month.

Soneva Jani in Maldives currently

has a fab line-up of visiting wellness

practitioners specialising in

ayurveda to help you feel your best.

*Source: The The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) Global Wellness Economy Monitor

20 worldtravellermagazine.com


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KNOW-HOW

The Knowledge

HOW TO...

Conquer your fear of flying

From the art of deep breathing to snuggling under a weighted blanket

– we share some practical and easy tips for getting you on that aeroplane

Clammy palms, palpitations, butterflies

in the tummy… if the very thought of

flying breaks you out in a cold sweat,

you’re not alone. One in four UAE

residents have a fear of flying, according

to a study by British Airways, with

concerns around safety and being

afraid of the unknown the biggest

triggers. While severe aviophobia

can be a challenge to overcome, if

you have a moderate case of the

jitters there are lots of useful tips

and tricks to try so you don’t have to

miss out on those exotic holidays.

TALK TO AN EXPERT

A good first step is to reach out to a

professional who can draw upon some

tried and tested therapies to help get

you airborne. “For a fear of flying,

we work on visualisation, reducing

anxiety, systematic desensitisation, and

exposure therapy,” says Dr Thoraiya

Kanafani of the Human Relations

Institute and Clinics in Dubai. “The

gist of the treatments are based on

the cognitive behavioural therapy

approach, which posits that by

changing the way that we think, we can

ultimately change the way we behave.

Eventually, the anxiety subsides to

a level where it is no longer causing

any dysfunction in the person's life

or at times, even acknowledged.”

USE FACTS OVER FEAR

Many fears can stem from ‘what if?’,

so if you are armed with facts and

knowledge, these unknowns become

greatly diminished. Did you know, for

instance, that turbulence is a natural

occurrence when flying and, although

it can feel scary at times, it's totally

normal? British Airways has a one-day

course coming up in Dubai on April 17,

2020 led by experienced presenters

and BA pilots that explains the

technical side of aviation, including all

the unusual noises and sensations you

experience in an aircraft. Plus, they'll

share some relaxation techniques that'll

help you take control of your anxiety.

(See flyingwithconfidence.com).

GRAB A WEIGHTED BLANKET

Studies have shown that a weighted

blanket can have a relaxing effect on

the body. Hence, getting your hands on

a travel-friendly version can help you

feel more at ease mid-flight. Popular

brands include SensaCalm and ZonLi

– you can find them easily online.

BREATHE SLOWLY

AND STEADILY

Simple breathing exercises can send a

signal to the parasympathetic nervous

system to calm the body down.

Breathing expert Max Strom (maxstrom.

com) has some easy videos and courses

to try – simply download his Strategic

Breathing app. One such suggestion is

the 4-7-8 breath technique: empty the

lungs of air, breathe in quietly through

the nose for four seconds, hold the

breath for a count of seven seconds

and then exhale to a count of eight.

GET PLUGGED IN

While you’re packing, en-route to the

airport, in the sky; tune into the power

of music to keep you calm. Researchers

at Stanford University say that music is

“one of the most widely available and

cost effective therapeutic modalities

that ever existed” and suggest that

"listening to music seems to be able

to change brain functioning to the

same extent as medication”. Apps like

Calm and Spotify have some perfectly

curated playlists to help soothe you.

VISUALISE

Exercises in visualisation and

mindfulness can be a powerful

distraction from a state of fear. Try

visualising yourself stepping off the

aircraft into the arms of loved ones,

or into a lovely warm climate. There

are many apps available to support

you with guided exercises, including

Headspace, Catch It, Beat Panic, Thrive

and the online course, Be Mindful.

22 worldtravellermagazine.com


HAVE YOU

PICKED UP YOUR

EDITION OF

DNATA TRAVEL

DEALZ

THIS MONTH?

Don’t miss dnata Travel’s top monthly offers

TRENDING

DESTINATIONS

STAYCATIONS

AND GETAWAYS

CLOSER TO HOME

INTERNATIONAL

HOLIDAY

PACKAGES

With our 60 years of experience and global partnerships, you’ll be surprised at how far we can take you, for less. Go on an

unmissable UAE staycation to a brand new property or a great located resort with plenty of added extras. Experience your

dream international holiday, to an exciting, trending destination or on a package designed for all the family — with

extras including discounts off of your stay, room upgrades and free kids stays. Whatever your travel style, you’ll find

something incredible for you at an amazing price, right here in dnata Travel dealz.

For more information

visit dnatatravel.com, call 800 dnata (36282) or

visit your nearest dnata Travel outlet

Download our app

| Follow us on


A diamond in the rough

Escape to Anantara’s resort in Salalah and unlock an intriguing mixture

of culture and heritage, with a generous helping of outdoor adventure

Luxe mobile camping

24 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X AL BALEED RESORT SALALAH BY ANANTARA

One Bedroom Beach View Pool Villa

One Bedroom Garden

View Pool Villa

The luxurious

hammam

Set on a wild, palm-fringed beach,

Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara

is an idyllic hideaway that's fast

becoming a favourite among intrepid

travellers. For a moment, you may even be

fooled into thinking you’re lazing on the

tropical beaches of southern India as you

unwind on the pristine stretch of shoreline.

The reality is even better, however, as

the verdant southern province of Dhofar

is famous for its lush natural attractions,

including its fruit plantations, waterfalls

and green rolling hills that burst into life

during the summer monsoon season. Home

to fascinating sites including Al Balid City,

which dates to 2000 BCE, and the Museum

of the Land of Frankincense, it's also the

perfect spot in which to soak up the rich

Omani heritage. Indeed, the destination

calls adventure-seekers in droves with its

awesome landscape that blends the majestic

mountains, great expanses of desert and the

sparkling blue sea.

Guests at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by

Anantara can enjoy a bespoke itinerary,

which weaves in all those must-have

experiences, from camel trekking with

members of the local Mahrah tribe along

the ancient frankincense routes, to special

interest trips focusing on marine life,

astrology, archaeology and more. Hiking

in the mountains, which are dotted with

cultural and historic sites and brimming

with flora and fauna, is unmissable – make

your way up for views that will take your

breath away. Those who like to be on the

water can take part in dolphin and seaturtle

watching, enjoy a day’s fishing, or

discover the underwater delights with some

snorkelling or diving in the area, which is

teeming with sea life.

Back at the resort, you can stay in hot

pursuit of adventure while on a glamorous

camping experience. Operated by Oman

Expeditions, you can sleep under the stars

(albeit with all your creature comforts) in

a luxury tent complete with comfortable

mattress, cotton sheets, private bathroom,

and open-air shower, with finishing touches

including Arabesque rugs, candles and oil

lamps creating a magical ambience. Your

personal chefs will prepare an array of Middle

Eastern, North African and Mediterranean

dishes using local ingredients for a delectable

dinner under the stars served by the camp

fire. During your adventure, you’ll cross paths

with local tribesmen and get an up close look

at the rich wildlife the country has to offer,

as you experience the way of the bedouin.

Simply tailor the experience to suit you.

If all that adventure has burned through

your energy reserves, take some time to

rejuvenate at the main resort. Offering

elegant rooms and villas (the largest of

which sleeps up to six adults and three

children), a pampering spa that draws

upon age-old Ayurveda techniques and

fine dining on tap, you'll receive nothing

short of the royal treatment. Feed your

appreciation for the place by siting down

to a five-star meal at Mekong, which brings

together some of the best of Thai, Chinese

and Vietnamese cuisine. Another favourite

is beach bar and lounge Al Mina, offering

dishes inspired by Middle Eastern,

Spanish, Greek and Italian cuisine, as well

as a sizzling beach barbecue that's best

enjoyed alfresco.

To find out more, visit www.anantara.

com/en/al-baleed-salalah

worldtravellermagazine.com 25


The Indian Ocean’s

most incredible spas

Feeling jaded after the festive season? Head to one of these dreamy spas

in the Maldives, Seychelles or Mauritius to thoroughly recharge

Seychelles

Le Syel Spa, Four Seasons

Resort Seychelles

High on a hilltop overlooking Petite Anse

Bay on Mahé’s southwestern coast, this

nurturing spa is reason enough to check-in

for at least a week. There are five open-air

treatment rooms, all facing the ocean and

with an outdoor bathtub for soaking up

the best views and breezes. Treatments

such as facials, body scrubs and massages

are locally-inspired and performed by

expert hands, while the resident yogis and

visiting practitioners, from reiki healers to

sophrologists, provide top-to-toe rebalancing.

Top treatment: Performed by two therapists

working in unison, the Four-Handed Elevation

is two hours of pure, sleep-inducing bliss.

Raffles Spa, Raffles Seychelles

On the north-eastern tip of Praslin, the

second-largest island in the Seychelles, this

slick spa mixes Biologique Recherche facials

with Asian massage and yoga. There are a

dozen open-air treatment pavilions where you

can admire the views of the sapphire-blue

ocean (if you can keep your eyes open long

enough, that is). Recline by the outdoor pool

in between treatments, and relax in the sauna,

steam room and Jacuzzi.

Top treatment: For the most buttery-soft

skin imaginable, try the Traditional Chocolate

Scrub – a sweet-smelling concoction of cacao

powder, raw sugar and coconut oil.

26 worldtravellermagazine.com


SUITE INCREDIBLE SPOTS SPAS 2019

Le Syel Spa, Four

Seasons Resort

Seychelles Photo:

Ken Seet

worldtravellermagazine.com 27


INCREDIBLE SPAS

Kempinski The Spa, Kempinski

Seychelles Resort Baie Lazare

Set on a stunning stretch of coastline in southwest

Mahé, the Kempinski’s spa menu is inspired by the

four seasons. Nestled among swaying palm trees

with the air infused by frangipanis, there are six

thatch-roof bungalows and a menu of treatments

designed to leave you feeling revitalised, relaxed,

balanced or energised. Rejuvenate both body and

mind with morning yoga on a hilltop overlooking

the sea, and afternoon pétanque on the beach.

Top treatment: Experience three coconut-infused

treatments – an exfoliating body scrub, hair

treatment and massage – during the two-hour

Island Coco Trio ritual.

U Spa by Constance,

Constance Ephelia

Where better to unwind than a

barefoot-luxe resort on Mahé’s

northwestern coast, bookended by

beaches with a mangrove forest in

the middle? Tucked among tropical

gardens, U Spa by Constance is like

a mini-village: a dozen traditionalstyle

bungalows dotted around

a pool, with sauna, steam room,

Jacuzzi, yoga pavilion and beauty

bar. Take your pick of treatments

and couples’ rituals that use natural

products inspired by local plants,

while the soothing soundtrack of

birdsong floats in.

Top treatment: The no-oil Thai

shiatsu massage combines deep

kneading and stretching to help

ease tense muscles and balance

your mind.

AvaniSpa, Avani Barbarons Resort

& Spa

Ease into the rhythm of island life at this tranquil

spa on Mahé’s west coast. Choose from ‘me-time’

treatments or ‘we-time’ couples’ rituals performed

by skilled therapists using natural products,

including nourishing body treatments, heavenly

massages and Ayurvedic therapies. In-between

treatments, work on your tan by the plunge pool,

or head down to the beach where the resident

yoga instructor leads daily sun salutations and

guided meditations.

Top treatment: Want smooth, plumped-up skin?

The Glorious Skin facial reduces fine lines and

rehydrates sun-damaged skin.

28 worldtravellermagazine.com


Banyan Tree Spa,

Banyan Tree

Seychelles

Banyan Tree spas are all

about traditional techniques

(Thai, Balinese, Ayurvedic)

and natural ingredients

(coconut, honey, cucumber),

and this gorgeous hideaway

on Mahé’s south-western

coast is no exception.

Nimble-fingered therapists

will unknot tense muscles

so you float out feeling

incredibly calm, while yoga

and meditation sessions take

place in the tropical gardens

overlooking the crescentshaped

beach, or on the

powdery soft sand.

Top treatment: The 2.5-hour

Royal Banyan ritual begins

with a herbal soak, followed

by acupressure, herbal

compresses and a soothing

face massage.

worldtravellermagazine.com 29


INCREDIBLE SPAS

Maldives

The Over-Water Spa, Conrad Maldives

Rangali Island

With three glass-floored treatment rooms set on stilts over

the sea, this spectacular spa in the South Ari Atoll offers

both ancient therapies and modern treatments. There’s

a comprehensive massage menu, including hot stone,

four-hand, shiatsu and Thai, as well as a dozen different

facials with products from Elemis and cult Swiss brand

Valmont. Two-hour colour rituals, meanwhile, are designed

to balance your chakras (stressed-out types should opt for

energising orange).

Top treatment: Enjoy side-by-side pampering during the

Maldivian Indigenous couples’ treatment that includes a

full-body massage using heated coconut sticks.

Six Senses Spa,

Six Senses Laamu

Overlooking a talcum-white beach in

the remote southern Laamu Atoll, the

Six Senses Spa has a zen-inducing vibe.

The focus is on natural and holistic

treatments, including facials, wraps

and gentle full-body pummelling, along

with Ayurveda therapies based on your

dosha (body type) and soul-nurturing

meditation and yoga in the rooftop

studio. For targeted transformation,

opt for a bespoke wellness programme

focusing on sleep, fitness or detoxing.

Top treatment: Banish fine lines with the

24k Gold Age-Defying Facial, which uses

jasmine and gold leaf to boost collagen

production and stimulate cell renewal.

Six Senses Laamu

Iaso Medi Spa, Heritance

Aarah

Named after the Greek goddess of

recuperation, this overwater spa in

the Raa Atoll offers much more than

massage. Alongside facials, body scrubs

and pedicures, there’s a menu of highly

specialised treatments to target pesky

problems such as sunspots, sagging

necks and frown lines. Need a total

reboot? Tailored programmes combine

things like vitamin infusions, face peels

and PT sessions to help you roll back

the years or shift those extra pounds.

Top treatment: Tighten and brighten

dull and droopy skin with a Non-Surgical

Facelift, which uses microcurrents to

boost collagen.

Heavenly Spa, The Westin Maldives

Miriandhoo Resort

Set on a jetty jutting into the turquoise waters

of the Baa Atoll, this aptly-named spa has

glass-walled treatment rooms with windows in

the floor so you can keep an eye on the marine

life below. Choose from anti-ageing facials and

muscle-melting massages to paraffin hand

treatments and pedicures. After you’ve been

thoroughly pampered, head to the light-filled

lounge for a cup of herbal tea and yet more

blissful views.

Top treatment: The 90-minute Maldivian

Bliss face and body treatment includes a

magnesium-rich bath and dynamic massage

for instant results.

30 worldtravellermagazine.com


SUITE SPOTS 2019

Calm Spa & Salon,

JA Manafaru Maldives

In the northernmost Haa Alif

Atoll, JA Manafaru’s fabulous

retreat was named Best Luxury

Destination Spa at this year’s

World Luxury Spa Awards.

Pad through lush tropical

gardens to the thatched-roof

spa surrounded by a lily pond,

where all 10 treatment rooms

come with private garden and

outdoor bathtub. One room

is kitted out for Ayurvedic oil

treatments and another for

Thai massage, while treatments

includes facials, massages,

scrubs and wraps.

Top treatment: The ultraindulgent

Seven Day Manafaru

Journey includes coconut-oil

massages, Elemis facials, aftersun

treatments and more.

worldtravellermagazine.com 31


Sun Spa by Esthederm,

Movenpick Resort

Kuredhivaru Maldives

Nestled in the Noonu Atoll, this

sublime spa specialises in pre- and

post-sun rituals by French skincare

brand Esthederm to enhance your

golden glow. Treatments take

place in jungle suites or overwater

pavilions, with skilled therapists to

ease away shoulder knots and plump

tired skin. Special treatments are

available for little ones, while yogis

will love the overwater shala where

you can practise your poses during

sunrise or sunset classes.

Top treatment: Let your cares

float away during a Sea of Serenity

massage, which uses firm, rhythmic

strokes inspired by waves.

32 worldtravellermagazine.com


INCREDIBLE SPAS

Spa by JW, JW Marriott

Maldives Resort

As relaxed as you may be lounging by

the pool at this brand new resort in the

northern Shaviyani Atoll, you’ll definitely

want to check out the brilliant Spa by

JW. Against a backdrop of shimmering

aquamarine water, treatments range

from pampering to deeply restorative

– think hydrating facials, warm-oil

massages and perfect mani-pedis. Be

sure to squeeze in a workout at the

overwater gym, or stretch out in the

open-air yoga pavilion.

Top treatment: Couples can choose

between four different treatments

during the two-hour Island Touch ritual,

including reflexology, body scrub and

hot stone massage.

AVI Spa, InterContinental

Maldives Maamunagau

Resort

Meaning ‘sunshine’ in the local language,

AVI Spa’s thatched-roof overwater

villas offer picture-perfect views of

the Raa Atoll’s largest lagoon. When

you’re not spotting manta rays, indulge

in sweet-smelling organic treatments

and mani-pedis by Margaret Dabbs, or

try acupuncture and aerial yoga. There

are outdoor pools with hydro-massage

jets, as well as thermal suites with steam

rooms and ice fountains.

Top treatment: Bliss out with a soothing

aloe vera and lavender body wrap,

followed by a scalp massage, during the

60-minute Sun-kissed Skin Cooler.

Away Spa, W Maldives

This private island resort in the North

Ari Atoll serves up a full menu of

massages, facials and more immersive

experiences – think chakra balancing

and sound bathing – in four luxurious

treatment villas on the water. Each one

has a spectacular sundeck with soaring

white sails, outdoor tub and daybed so

you can chill out before and after your

treatments. In the main pavilion, you can

practise your asanas during group or

private yoga classes.

Top treatment: The hour-long Crystal

Healing Facial includes a jade-stone

mask, use of cool rose-quartz crystals

and warm herbal poultices to purify

the skin.

worldtravellermagazine.com 33


Mauritius

Chi Spa, Shangri-La’s Le

Touessrok Resort & Spa

Alongside nine treatment rooms in earthy

tones, you can elect to have your treatment

by the ocean at Shangri-La’s sleek resort on

the east coast. The menu is filled with Asian

therapies (Chinese reflexology, Filipino hilot

massage, Indian shirodhara) and face and

body treatments using luxurious Carita and

Decléor products. But as you’re in Mauritius,

try a locally-inspired massage performed to

the meditative rhythms of traditional sega

tipik music.

Top treatment: Ayurveda devotees should

indulge in an Abhyanga detoxifying

massage with long, symmetrical strokes to

promote sleep.

34 worldtravellermagazine.com


INCREDIBLE SPAS

Shanti Spa, Shanti

Maurice Resort

With more than 25 treatment rooms,

this south coast idyll is one of the largest

spas in Mauritius. Set around a serene

lagoon dotted with water lilies and two

tea pavilions, the complex contains

pavilions for aerial yoga, a Pilates studio,

meditation rooms, hammams and two

pools. Along with conventional face

and body treatments, the spa takes

an holistic, mind-body-soul approach

to wellness, with a resident Ayurveda

doctor on hand to devise customised

programmes for each and every guest.

Top treatment: Try Watsu, a form of

shiatsu massage and movement therapy

that takes place in a warm pool.

Lux Me Spa, LUX* Grand Gaube

Resort & Villas

This impressive spa on the island’s north

coast has 10 treatment rooms, sauna and

steam rooms, Kérastase hair salon and Essie

nail station, plus three pools with varying

water temperatures. Tailor-made treatments

include anti-ageing facials by Carita, and

massage with exclusive oils created by

renowned aromatherapist Shirley Page. For

targeted results, chat to Burwing, the resident

wellness concierge, who provides bespoke

programmes and nutritional advice.

Top treatment: The fashionably hirsute should

go for the signature Wet Shave at Murdock, an

outpost of the hip London barbershop.

Iridium Spa, The St. Regis

Mauritius Resort

Staying at this colonial-style resort on

the gorgeous Le Morne Peninsula on the

island’s southwest tip is a tonic in itself.

The sprawling spa, meanwhile, boasts 12

treatment rooms, sauna and steam rooms,

hair and nail salons and a barbershop.

Treatments are decadent but results-driven

– facial therapies by Swiss brand Valmont,

cellulite-busting lymphatic massage

and hydrating honey wraps – while daily

mindfulness, tai chi and yoga classes add

to the relaxed vibe.

Top treatment: Start your day right with

the Morning Bliss in Paradise, a ylang ylang

massage for two in a cabana on the beach,

followed by a healthy breakfast.

Words by: Lara Brunt

U Spa by Constance,

Constance Prince Maurice

This serene spa on the northeast coast

features seven treatment rooms centred

around a palm-shaded courtyard with a

thermal pool, along with a sauna, steam

room and plunge pool. Gentle therapists

deliver hydrating facials and toning

body treatments by French spa brand

Sisley, while honeymooning couples

enjoy Balinese massages in the openair

pavilion by the beach. Kids aren’t

forgotten either, with junior treatments

and animal yoga classes.

Top treatment: Treat your feet to a

medical-grade pedicure designed by

celebrity podiatrist Brice Nicham, whose

A-list fans include Nicole Kidman and

Eva Longoria.

worldtravellermagazine.com 35


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Postcards

Stories from journeys

far and wide

NEW YORK p38

SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE p44

JAPAN p50

worldtravellermagazine.com 37


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38 worldtravellermagazine.com


NEW YORK

From soaring landmarks to awe-inspiring art,

luxury shopping and dishes with star quality

– Faye Bartle discovers how to put a fresh spin on

a timeless classic by mixing the old with the new in

the city that never sleeps

Opposite: Interior view of The

Vessel, courtesy Of Tim Schenck

This page: Nordstrom NYC.

Photo: Connie Zhou

worldtravellermagazine.com 39


With its bold blue swirls

blending the hills into

the sky and dashes of

brilliant yellow and

white punctuating the darkness, Van

Gogh’s Starry Night has a hypnotising

quality. Firmly under its spell, some

polite jostling allowed me to make my

way to the front of the hushed crowd

that had gathered to behold its haunting

beauty until I was planted firmly on the

viewing line. Smaller than I imagined

it would be, but mighty nonetheless,

I dared to lean a little further towards

it, earning an impressive dose of

side-eye from the security guard.

Painted in 1889 during the artist’s

stay at the asylum of Saint-Paulde-Mausole

near Saint-Rémy-de-

Provence, the movement in the

masterpiece is infectious. Stifling

my urge to reach out and touch it, I

took one last mental snapshot for the

memory bank before giving way to

the next patient row of onlookers.

There was plenty more to see

inside New York’s Museum of Modern

Art. Having recently re-opened

after a massive renovation, which

has brought expanded galleries

and brand new spaces dedicated to

live performances, art creation and

sparking conversation, this muchloved

institution is buzzing with people

seeking a fresh perspective on the Big

Apple’s quintessential art experience.


YOU CAN SEE

ROTHKO’S BEST

TEARJERKERS,

DALÍ’S MELTING

CLOCKS AND

EVEN MONET’S

MURAL-SIZED

WATER LILIES

TRIPTYCH


Yes, you can see Rothko’s best

tearjerkers, Dalí’s melting clocks and

even Monet’s dreamy mural-sized Water

Lilies triptych. But you can also now

view emerging works in the Marie-Josée

and Henry Kravis Studio (the new space

for live and experimental programming)

which, when I visited, was home to

a curious immersive installation by

electronic music maestro David Tudor.

As I strolled around the room, turning

my ears towards the sounds resonating

from the everyday objects suspended in

the air (the vintage computer hard disc

was my favourite instrument) I found

myself craving an altogether different

soundtrack – that of New York itself.

The whoosh of a subway train

speeding past, the incessant honking

of taxi horns, a flurry of shoes clickclacking

along the sidewalks, sirens

40 worldtravellermagazine.com


NEW YORK

These pages, clockwise from

this image: Statue of Liberty

Museum Engagement Gallery,

courtesy of National Park

Service; Presidential Suite by

Roche Bobois at The Langham,

New York, Fifth Avenue;

installation view of Claude

Monet’s Water Lilies (Gallery

515) The Museum of Modern

Art, New York. © 2019 The

Museum of Modern Art.

Photo: Kurt Heumiller

wailing and street vendors enticing you

to buy their pretzels and hot dogs in

their thick New York drawl… the city’s

energetic score may seem mundane to

some but, to me, is absolutely thrilling.

Formerly a dedicated London rat, a

decade in Dubai had me missing the

sounds of the streets. And although

the winter weather was decidedly

fresh – I’d forgotten what it felt like

to be slapped in the face by a sub-zero

gale – I was determined to spend the

majority of my time exploring on foot.

Gloves and woolly hat on, a walk

in Central Park was non-negotiable.

The last time I had visited, in 2004,

there was snow on the ground.

On this brisk November morning,

however, as skaters glided across

the ice rink, the leaves falling from

the trees were still heart-warming

shades of brown, red and orange.

“Hey, where you from?”

shouted a stranger wrapped

up like the Michelin Man.

“Dubai,” I offered back.

“I’ve heard it’s a very nice country,”

he retorted. I could have explained, but

instead I simply smiled and continued

on my city hike. Anyway, I had a lunch

date at Marea, the famous Italian on

the edge of the park, where you can

often spot off-duty A-listers (Sarah

Jessica Parker – her shoe boutique is

just a hop and a skip away – Jay-Z and

Beyoncé and even Barack and Michelle

Obama have reportedly eaten there). It’s

certainly the place to see and be seen.

We craned our necks while sipping our

bubbly but alas, the restaurant’s two

Michelin stars would have to be enough

to dazzle us today – and that they did.

My oysters were plump and delicious,

and the striped bass with clams was

rich in flavour yet light enough for

a middle of the day indulgence.

Experiencing New York’s vibrant dining

scene while actively trying to avoid falling

into a food coma was proving quite the

challenge, however. I savoured a divinely

rich homemade short rib and boschetto

cheese ravioli at yet another Italian great,

Ai Fiori [The Langham, New York, Fifth

Avenue], tasted zingy gazpacho before

splitting a humongous lip-smacking

black Angus steak at Leña in Mercado

Little Spain [10 Hudson Yards], and

enjoyed a taste of home at Ilili restaurant

worldtravellermagazine.com 41


NEW YORK

[236 5 th Avenue], which serves Lebanese

Mediterranean food with a twist, such

as lamb chops seared with zaatar salsa

verde and homemade semolina gnocchi,

as well as all your mezze favourites.

Everything I tasted was beyond delicious.

Even the steaming cup of hot chocolate I

sipped to warm my bones on the ferry to

Liberty Island was extraordinarily good.

I was heading there for a slice of

American history courtesy of the

new Statue of Liberty Museum,

which opened in May last year – the

most significant addition since the

monument herself was launched in

1886. Home to three immersive and

engaging gallery spaces, it tells the

story of Lady Liberty, where she came

from, how she was built and what she

stands for culminating in an up-close

view of the original torch, which was

held high for nearly 100 years until it

was replaced in 1986. You can practically

feel the power surging though it. And

while you can’t visit the monument's

real torch today (it has been closed since

the Black Tom explosion in 1916), you

can climb all the way up to the crown.

I was saving my legs for scaling

the Empire State Building, however,

which was just around the block from

my hotel; The Langham, New York,

Fifth Avenue. I joined the sunset

rush, zooming up in the lift and then

climbing the last few flights to the

open-air 86 th Floor Observation Deck

in order to get there before the sun

dipped below the horizon. The view

was just as magical as I had hoped for,

with everything from Times Square to

the Brooklyn Bridge, to feast my eyes

on, it’s still one of the most romantic

ways to get an overview of the city.

Another elevated experience that

won a place in my heart was walking

The High Line. This public park built

on a historic freight rail line above

the streets on Manhattan’s West Side

is dotted with public art, beautiful

gardens and more, delivering surprises

at every twist and turn. Peering out

from underneath my umbrella, I spotted

Robert Indiana's Love sculptures,

canoodling couples and bold political

statements as window dressings in

the apartments that line the track.

I came back down to ground level at

Hudson Yards, yet only with a view to

scaling yet another new attraction: The

Vessel, which opened in March 2019.

The honeycomb-like structure, designed

by Thomas Heatherwick, is comprised

of 154 intricately interconnecting

flights of stairs, challenging you with

almost 2,500 steps to take to reach

the top. Gritty views of the city, the

river and beyond are your reward.

With my trip drawing to a close, I

was keen to see what New York had to

offer on the shopping front that was

different to what I could find back

at home. It’s unusual for anything

massive to open in Manhattan, which

is what makes the flagship Nordstrom,

which opened in October 2019 at 57 th &

Broadway, particularly noteworthy. A

behemoth spread over seven floors, it’s

one of the first new stores of its size to

open on the island since the 1920s. It’s

home to a number of exclusives worth

splashing your dollars on, including the

Nordstrom x Nike trainer boutique (it's

where I found the Air Force 1 Metallic

Sneakers of my dreams). You can put

your own stamp on anything you buy,

with tailoring or monogramming,

thanks to the in-store Personalization

Studio. The beauty floor is dangerously

good, with clever solutions for busy

New Yorkers, including the FaceGym

where you can give your face a workout

with moves designed to lift, sculpt tone

and tighten, and the Drybar that turns

a messy mane into a head of glorious

locks without a drop of water in sight.

This page: The Statue

of Liberty stands proud

Opposite: A snapshot of

The High Line


PEERING

OUT FROM

UNDERNEATH

MY UMBRELLA,

I SPOTTED

ROBERT

INDIANA'S LOVE

SCULPTURES ON

THE HIGH LINE


Perhaps it was because my room at

The Langham was like a little apartment

(indeed, a large apartment by New

York standards), my unfettered view

of the Chrysler Building from my

supersized tub, and being swept away

in a whirlwind of room service and

butter-soft bedding. Or perhaps it was

the fact that I didn't suffer an ounce

of jet lag thanks to being horizontal

for practically the entire flight thanks

to Saudia’s Business Class beds, but

I'd taken to New York like a mandarin

duck to Central Park pond. And while

I’d packed a lot into my five-day stay, I

learned that even if you're a seasoned

visitor, there are always new ways to

discover the city that never sleeps.

We flew with Saudia and stayed at The

Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com

42 worldtravellermagazine.com


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worldtravellermagazine.com 43


Coconut palms sway along

the shore in Porto Alegre

Into the

Unknown

Soft-sand beaches, zingy African flavours – and yet the

delicious little islands of São Tomé and Príncipe are still

almost empty. Fill your boots, says Stanley Stewart

44 worldtravellermagazine.com


SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

ometime past midnight,

with little but starlight to

guide us, we crept along

the sands of Praia Grande

in search of a miracle.

‘We have several every

night,’ our guide was

saying. ‘Many have

come thousands of

kilometres to get to this

beach, some from the

other side of the Atlantic.’

Somewhere behind the

line of waves we found a green

turtle. She had created a nest by digging

a hollow in the sand and laid a cache of

eggs like a collection of white marbles.

Now she was trying to hide them, her

back flippers slowly flicking sand. She

seemed exhausted, and must have felt

clumsy and heavy on this beach. She

worked in fits and starts, pausing after

each exertion to catch her breath, until

the eggs began to disappear. The guide

located a tracking tag and checked the

details. She was over 100 years old,

born when men were still dying in the

trenches of the First World War.

The long peregrinations, the return

to their place of birth, the danger, the

courage… The whole sea-turtle story

was what had brought me here. It

appealed to my romantic instincts. For

millions of years, they were the chief

visitors to São Tomé and Príncipe,

two small islands roughly 150km

apart, lying in the Gulf of Guinea,

320km off the coast of West Africa.

The lush, verdant islands were a

terrestrial paradise – an Eden without

Adam and Eve to mess things up. No

one lived here until colonialisation

began in 1470, when the islands

became an outpost of that creakiest

of enterprises, the Portuguese empire

– powered by the sweat of slaves

imported from the African mainland.

They may be two small outcrops in the

mid-Atlantic that few people have heard

of – yet, sure enough, with their gorgeous

natural assets, São Tomé and Príncipe

have begun attracting barefoot-in-thesand

paradise-seekers in recent times,

the kind of escapees who’ve fallen for

Thailand and Goa in the past, but now

fancy a couple of weeks of tropical R&R

untainted by burger bars, nightclubs and

suave-mixologist-dominated hangouts.

And all without stinting on stylish, comfy,

world-class places to rest their heads.

São Tomé and Príncipe have beaches

that would impress a Brazilian; dance

steps (the kizomba, the tarrachinha) that

would make a Cuban blush; vegetation

more riotous than the Amazon’s; the

world’s best chocolate; and a fascinating

bird – sadly only seen by a handful of

people and known by locals as a goo-goo,

which apparently eats eggs and poos gold.

Oh, and did I mention the sprinkling

of elegant boutique-y hideaways?

In São Tomé they say ‘Léve-léve’ –

literally ‘Softly-softly’, in the sense of ‘Take

it easy’. It makes sense. Disembarking

in São Tomé, I was soon immersed in a

leisurely swirl of life: mothers carried

50kg of bananas on their heads and babies

on their backs, ‘commuters’ pushed

bicycles uphill with fish hanging from

the crossbar. Dogs slept in the middle

of the road. Goats jaywalked. But this

stopover was merely a taster – it was

Príncipe that delivered me to heaven.

All it took was a half-hour onward

worldtravellermagazine.com 45


SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

flight by propeller plane. In Príncipe

they say ‘Móli-móli’ – advice for people

who find ‘Léve-léve’ just that little bit

too rushed. Unsurprisingly, I was soon

drowsing in a haven of hammocks and

tropical plants, empty beaches and

islanders living in rural tranquillity.

I checked in at Roça Sundy, an old

plantation house reworked as a boutique

hotel of high-ceilinged rooms, fourposter

beds and polished floorboards,

where I slipped effortlessly into a less

brutal version of the colonial lifestyle.

By the first evening I had established

something of a routine: sipping

rum Daiquiris on the terrace and

dining alone in candlelit splendour,

as if I were a hill-station planter.

Roças, as these plantation houses are

known, fell into disrepair after 1975, when

the Portuguese realised their empire was

well past its sell-by date, and packed up

and left, taking everything moveable,

including all the country’s currency.

Today, across the northern half of the

island, the properties stand largely as

overgrown monuments, riddled with dry

rot and ghosts. But there are impressive

restorations, such as Roça Sundy, a ruin

saved and made beautiful by a wealthy

South African, Mark Shuttleworth, who

spent a week aboard the International

Space Station in 2002. On Príncipe

they call him the Man on the Moon.

For me, Sundy’s seductions went

far beyond the Daiquiris. Parts of the

roça are still inhabited by Príncipean

families, and the terreiro – the long

central grassy courtyard around which

the old plantation buildings were set –

was as lively as an Italian piazza in the

hour of the passeggiata. For a couple of

days I was content to do nothing more

than watch children chase footballs,

twirl skipping ropes and scatter

chickens. Toddlers clambered over a

defunct steam engine. While men idled

on benches, women bathed children,

carried firewood, fetched water, cooked

lunch, weeded gardens, planted corn

and generally kept the world turning.

Before long I fell in with Manu, a warm

and energetic sexagenarian, who farmed

pineapples on the slopes beneath his

house. His wife brought us coffee and a

plate of finger bananas. He grew expansive

about the old days under the Portuguese,

veering between praise for the economic


I PICNICKED ON EMPTY BEACHES.

I TOOK MINI VOYAGES TO REMOTE

PENINSULAS JUST TO LAZE AND

LISTEN TO BIRDSONG


activity, the enterprise of the roças as well

as the oppression of the colonial system.

He was soon on his feet, telling stories full

of theatrical flourish. He was entertaining,

certainly, but the tales he told contained

genuine trauma. He was exorcising

ghosts. Reducing the stories to anecdotes

was his way of coping with a painful past.

His wife returned with a plate of

pineapple slices. ‘We must live for today,’

he exclaimed, throwing his hands up.

‘We have the sun, the sea, this beautiful

island.’ He leant forward conspiratorially:

‘And I have the best pineapples on

Príncipe.’ He was right, although I suspect

his wife was responsible for them.

As móli-móli as I could, on Sunday

morning I set off to explore, following

red-earth roads through exuberant

jungle. I went to church in the toy-town

capital, Santo António, and found myself

in a swaying chorus line of heavenly

backing singers as dogs wandered in to

have a snooze beneath the high altar.

At Praia Abade it was the villagers who

were snoozing in hammocks, while the

children, glossy as seals, somersaulted

into the waves. One man woke to say

hello. Luis was an émigré from São Tomé.

He stretched his arms to encompass

the long beach with the fishing boats

drawn up, the leaning palm trees and the

wide, blue bay. ‘You know why I stay?’ he

asked. ‘Because time stands still here.’

To say tourism is in its infancy is an

understatement. In a week I saw only

20 other visitors. I picnicked on empty

beaches. I took mini voyages to remote

peninsulas just to laze and listen to

birdsong. I was usually delivered to shore

by Luis, who turned out to be just one of

a bunch of beautiful characters happy to

be earning a living helping visitors. There

was João the driver, Miguel, the maitre

d’, Alexander, the ubiquitous barman.

And then there was lovely Leandro…

I found Leandro one afternoon

having ventured out to Roça Paciência,

a plantation abandoned decades ago.

In one of its empty storerooms he was

weaving basket lampshades for the

resorts, his bony hands looping the reed

in and out of the struts. From time to

time, he took a break to smoke his way

through the dictionary. ‘Do you know

we are at the centre of the world?’ he

asked, tearing another page from his

old book to roll a cigarette. Through the

doorway I could see glamorous birds

with long, silky tails swooping across

46 worldtravellermagazine.com


Opposite: Red sky at night at Porto

Alegre This page, clockwise from

top: A vibrant parrotfish pauses by

the coral reef; a fishing canoe rests

at Lagoa Azul; juicy pineapples

grow on the island

worldtravellermagazine.com 47


the old plantation lawns. The sound of

the Atlantic pounding on the pristine

beach drifted our way through the trees.

‘People say we are far away, that this

is a remote place,’ he told me as we

talked. ‘But this island is the closest

land to where the equator meets zero

degrees longitude. This is the centre.

It is everyone else who is far away.’

The old plantations occupy the

northern half of Príncipe. The southern

half (the whole island is barely 30km long)

is virgin forest. To islanders it is as remote

as Outer Mongolia. To me, it felt like a lost

world halfway between Tolkien’s Middle

Earth and Gauguin’s South Sea paradise.

Volcanic towers – spectacular basalt

phonolites – thrust their way through the

jungle canopy, rising hundreds of metres

above the treetops. Flat-topped mesas

and mountains dominate the skyline.

I took a boat to this outback, flying

fish darting beneath the bows, and went

ashore to trek along jungle trails, keeping

an eye out for the elusive goo-goo. The

astonishing birdlife (there are 28 species

on Príncipe) was as tame as in the

Galápagos, lending a strange, dreamlike

quality. A kingfisher perched a mere

metre away, cocking its head to get a good

look at me. Finches gathered about me,

settling on nearby branches. A golden

weaver alighted near my elbow, a piece of

grass in its beak, ready to slot into its nest.

I donned a mask and snorkel and the

dream continued. With warm currents

and excellent visibility, Príncipe’s seas

are as pristine and as little explored as

the land. An expedition here in 2006

discovered 60 new fish, including 10

from completely unknown species. I

gazed down at nurse sharks 2.5 metres

long, hovering over beds of sea grass

in aqueous light. I watched silvery

barracuda, stationary with the merest

flick of their tails. Beyond a reef of pale

rock, I spotted a spectacular Atlantic

sailfish, its huge dorsal fin hoisted to

the currents. With a turn of my head,

I saw colourful parrotfish grazing on

algae, bloated pufferfish comically

struggling to keep themselves upright in

the wash above the reefs, and shoals of

yellowtail sardinella, wheeling this way

and that like well-drilled regiments.

And finally, in Mosteiros Bay, I found


TO SAY TOURISM IS IN ITS INFANCY

IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. IN A WEEK

I SAW ONLY 20 OTHER VISITORS


the sea turtles, swimming earnestly

towards their birthplaces, their little

startled faces gazing up at me through

shafts of refracted light. On these

islands, turtles are creatures of legend

and myth. They are seen as heroic,

symbols of loyalty and determination. On

Príncipe people speak of someone with

courage as having the heart of a turtle.

On that beach at Praia Grande, just

after midnight, the heroism was evident.

Having covered her eggs, my green turtle

began the trek back to the ocean. It wasn’t

that far unless you were an exhausted

110kg turtle trying to walk on flippers after

a 1,500km swim having just produced 100

eggs. It took her half an hour, levering

herself forward a pace at a time, pausing

to recoup her strength. I spent a couple

of hours at Praia Grande with a guide

from Marapa, a marine-conservation

charity protecting the nesting sites. Half

a dozen turtles were laying their eggs

that night, after making the epic trip up

the beach. The largest was a leatherback

probably two metres across. Its offspring,

hatching weeks later, would need that

turtle heart. Not many would even make

it to the ocean; fewer than 1% would live

to maturity. But those that did would

eventually return to this same beach

on São Tomé and Príncipe: paradise

found – for all discerning travellers.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

48 worldtravellermagazine.com


SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

This page: Soft,

colourful corals around

Lizard Island

Credit: Andrew Eames/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing

Opposite: A harvest

of cocoa pods

This page: An aerial view of

a paradisiacal beach cove

worldtravellermagazine.com 49


Snow falls on the gassho-zukuri

farmhouses in the historic village of

Ogimachi in Shirakawa-gō

50 worldtravellermagazine.com


JAPAN

Winter in Japan can be harsh, but, thanks to the country’s heated

onsen baths, piping hot noodle bowls and intimate restaurants, the

freeze also offers the ultimate chance to get cosy. Alicia Miller wraps

up and explores the snowy spectacle

can no longer feel my

toes. That’s all I can think,

crunching down the narrow,

icy path, past tall pine trees,

needles laden with snow,

along perilous, frigid cliffs. Suddenly

– finally – I reach my destination:

Jigokudani, or Hell’s Valley. The name

suits. Amid the dunes of fresh white that

carpet this frozen forest, hot streams

ripple, glassy pools shift and scorching

waters lap smooth boulders clean. I’ve

reached an onsen, a Japanese hot spring.

It’s miles from anywhere – and yet far

from secret. Before me, bodies teem. They

slip in and out of the waters, stroking

and fluffing hair, rubbing pink faces.

The light is fading, I’m numb from head

to toe and nothing would be nicer than

joining them in the steaming pools.

But it wouldn’t be right, bathing in this

onsen. Because I’m not a snow monkey.

Snow monkeys are an only-in-Japan

sight. Or, more specifically, an only-in-

Japan winter sight. Officially known as

Japanese macaques, they’re so-nicknamed

because when powder blankets the

ground, they descend in droves from

their remote mountain habitats for

thawing dips in hot springs, famously at

Jigokudani, a dedicated conservation park

outside Nagano. If you’re lucky, you might

spot a handful in spring or autumn, but

they really come into their own when the

weather turns frosty. As do belly-warming

bowls of ramen noodle soup, pretty Alpine

towns and, of course, onsen itself. Most

travellers flock to Japan for spring cherry

blossom, or in sultry summer, or to see

autumn leaves turn – but they don’t know

what they’re missing. December to March

is the quietest and cheapest time to visit,

but winter here has so much more to offer

besides. This is when the thick clouds

that cloak Mount Fuji finally melt away,

revealing its cinematic snowcap against a

crisp blue sky. It’s when Tokyoites huddle

in squeezy, smoky bars, stamping their

feet and slurping rich oden fish stews to

shake off damp evenings. And it’s when,

high in the craggy peaks of the Japanese

Alps, a few hours northwest from the

capital, and also in Hokkaido, Japan’s

northern most island, blankets of thick,

powdery snow bring everything to silence

and stillness. Under the veil of white,

landscapes achieve postcard-perfection –

like real-life Hokusai prints – and it’s as if

nothing has changed here for centuries.

In the most picturesque, snowy parts

it’s icy – minus points on the mercury,

maybe in double digits – but no matter:

the Japanese know how to handle a

freeze. More than that: in the most frigid

of its regions, they actually appreciate

the chill – knowing that without

cold, there’s no such thing as cosy.

The air was crisp when I touched down

in the Japanese capital two days before

meeting those monkeys. I was a Tokyo

veteran and fell into its frenetic, neon

embrace as one falls into the arms of

an old friend. It was rainy and 48 hours

was just enough to get my fix, visiting

the parts I’d loved as a resident: the

worldtravellermagazine.com 51


JAPAN

crushing intersection at Shibuya and

the soaring Tokyo Skytree tower. It was

just as well, as that time was all I had

– after all, I wasn’t here for drizzle, but

for a taste of the real Japanese winter.

My journey northwest traversed a

dramatic shift in climate. The bullet

train rolled out of Tokyo Station 7.52am

precisely, under a grey haze, and sped

through boxy suburbs that melted into

open, flurry-brushed fields. Tokyo had

been heavy-sweater weather; when I

stepped out to change to a bus at Nagano

an hour and a half later, snowflakes

were dancing in the air. By the time I

hit Jigokudani in early afternoon, I had

ascended more than 800 metres and

the ground was covered in white drifts.

Comic-book icicles clung to stout old

homes by the park-entrance gate. It was

a half-hour trudge along that slippery,

alabaster path to the monkeys. It was

cold, but I felt a warm glow the moment

I saw those adorable, fluffy critters

dart excitedly into their onsen baths.

Onsen, if you didn’t know, is actually a

Japanese ritual for humans. Foreigners

can get nervous about the complex


ON MY LAST

DAY, I SPENT THE

AFTERNOON IN

THE PARK. NOT

WANDERING, BUT

CROSS-COUNTRY

SKIING


etiquette – and the awkward nudity (hot

springs are entered strictly in the buff,

men and women segregated). But try an

alfresco dip in winter and you’ll be forever

converted: frosty air cooling your neck,

coddling, mineral-rich water soothing

your limbs – the chance to savour nature’s

stimulating contrasts at their best.

Stepping into the warm outdoor hot

spring at Hotakaso Sangetsu ryokan was

like getting a big hug. A bus had whisked

me here along icing-sugar roads from

Nagano to remote Hirayu Onsen town,

from which a silent taxi driver ferried me

up into the hills. Once in the still, steamcloaked

waters, with no other company

but a couple of whispering, wrinkly

old ladies, I knew the journey had been

worth it. Beyond my rock-studded pool

was a panorama of trees and a crinkle

of whitecapped mountain ranges: the

Japanese Alps. These folds of icy rock, a

seam 200km long and higher than 3,000

metres in places, hold many treasures.

When I finally emerged from the onsen,

pink as a peach, I pulled on my yukata

robe and slippers and made for my

tatami-mat-lined bedroom. Before long,

a knock at my door revealed a smiling

woman with a heaving tray. I ushered

her in, where she laid an elaborate

private banquet on a low table: sashimi

platters; pickles; marbled red beef for

a DIY hotpot; a flame-licked vessel of

slow-cooking mushroom rice. Settling

onto a cushion on the tatami mat floor,

I surveyed the feast before me, letting

her carefully explain each dish (in mime

– her English wasn’t great, my Japanese

worse). Then she bowed and shuffled

out the door, leaving me to devour my

gourmet meal in serenity (and, even

better, still in the comfort of my robe).

52 worldtravellermagazine.com


Opposite: Large

snowflakes fall in

busy Shibuya

This page: A mother

snow monkey

cuddles her baby

worldtravellermagazine.com 53


JAPAN


MOST TRAVELLERS FLOCK TO JAPAN

FOR SPRING CHERRY BLOSSOM, OR TO

SEE AUTUMN LEAVES TURN – BUT THEY

DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE MISSING


While Japan nails the whole cosy-winterhibernation

thing, I didn’t want to

spend my entire trip holed up. I filled

the following days exploring the Alps:

Takayama, one of country’s prettiest

towns, its creaky wooden buildings

housing atmospheric teahouses and

fragrant saké breweries; Ogimachi,

peppered with ancient gassho-zukuri

farmhouses – pointy, snow-strong

structures that look transplanted from

Switzerland. Then Matsumoto, with

its grand old castle and artisan soba

noodle shops. The time flew by in a

flurry of snowflakes and soon it was

time to make for Hokkaido, Japan’s

northerly isle, a 90-minute flight away.

I hoped it would be the perfect wintry

(snowcapped) peak to my trip.

If I thought it was cold in Jigokudani,

I hadn’t felt anything yet. Stepping

out into the city centre in Sapporo,

Hokkaido’s capital, I faced a new level

of freeze – piercing, breath-snatching.

Under a startling blue sky, long, straight

boulevards radiated out from the

central station, empty. Below ground,

however, was a hive of activity: a web of

interconnecting sub-surface walkways

ferried scarf-wrapped workers and

hooded shoppers across the city centre.

They’d pop up from this underground

city when they reached their desired

stop, like dolphins breaching for air, and

dart across windswept intersections

into towering silver office blocks.

Hardened to the chill, these locals may

grit their teeth on the most blistering

of days, but they rarely complain. If

Tokyoites are like Londoners, whingeing

over a light chill and shaking umbrellas

through winter, Sapporo’s residents

are stoic Scandinavians – brave in

the face of this vast, great iciness.

That evening, I wandered south from

my hotel along the gritted streets to

Suskino, Sapporo’s nightlife district.

Tummy rumbling, I shivered past

warren-like izakaya pubs and a lanternlit

alleyway lined with tiny ramen

shops, filled with laughing students

lapping up miso-rich bowlfuls. I longed

to enter a shop’s warming embrace,

but held firm: on a tip from a Japanese

friend, I was out for jingisukan – a DIY

Mongolian BBQ, the city’s speciality.

I found the restaurant – and the queue.

It was below freezing outside and yet a

row of brave faithfuls stood undeterred

snaking down an icicle-lined alleyway

outside cult-favourite Daruma. I joined

them and minutes ticked by; gradually,

I lost feeling in my limbs, from the

ground up. But when the door finally

opened on my turn, an hour later, I was

rewarded for my persistence. Perched

on stools around an oval wooden

counter, chattering couples sipped

drinks, while grilling marbled lamb

on domed hotplates, fired by glowing

charcoal. I squeezed in and ordered a

cockle-warming feast, with a flourish of

fluffy rice, kimchi and a sesame-garlic

dipping sauce. As I griddled my hunks

of lamb, fat dripped gorgeously down

the grill to soften golden onions. By now,

I’d forgotten all about the cold outside.

Sapporo and its charms unveil

themselves slowly, like a gradual

spring thaw. You can spend a day out

at frozen lake Shikotsu, enjoying its

illuminated winter display; another

soaking at a geyser-studded onsen in

Noboribetsu town, a train ride away;

yet another watching rare red-crowned

cranes dance across fields of ice. Or

simply keep to the city centre, walking

through the fish market, stocked

with lithe, prickly crabs; it’s a treat to

dine on the sweet, perfectly in-season

meat in any no-frills restaurant.

Japanese tourists flock to the city in early

February. Some ogle the towering ski

jump, a remnant of the 1972 Olympics;

most sip frothy brews at the rambling

Sapporo brewery. But all are here to

watch artists from around the world

chisel vast ice sculptures, competing

for glory in the annual, city-wide Snow

Festival, the biggest and busiest event of

the year. On my trip, it hadn’t officially

started yet, but even the largest of

scaffolds couldn’t hide the elaborate

masterpieces taking shape in Sapporo’s

central Odori strip. Elaborate lifesized

temples, enormous carvings of

horse-racers and panoramas of J-pop

stars all rose proud in the icy mix.

On my last day, I spent the afternoon

in the park. Not wandering, as I might

in spring or autumn – but cross-country

skiing, past silvery larch trees, over

gentle, hilly drifts. This being snow

country, one can hire skis, sleds or even

show-shoes at Moerenuma Park for

three hours. I didn’t last quite that long:

two hours in, my face was whipped by

wind and my toes were unresponsive

in my boots. After a couple of slippery

falls, I felt the chilliest I’d been yet

and needed to get out of the frosty

air, fast. So, as dusk washed over the

city, I hopped in a cab back to vibrant,

raucous Suskino and took the lift up to

the second-floor Nikka Bar, overlooking

a humming traffic intersection.

Cloaked in dark polished woods

and rich leathers, the bar’s walls

were lined with glimmering bottles.

Socialising salarymen were cloistered

in corners. I thumbed through the

menu, before a suited barman poured

my drink of choice as if it was liquid

gold. Out the window, in the streets

below, bundled-up commuters darted

between tumbling snowflakes. Settling

into my squishy chair, I felt my cheeks

warming and my limbs thawing. Then,

my drink appeared before me and I

raised the glass to my lips, taking a

long, slow sip. Rolling it across my

tongue, I savoured its sharp heat – and

the frosty hit of ice. Shiveringly good:

the very essence of winter Japan.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com

Credit: Alicia Miller/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

54 worldtravellermagazine.com


This page: Soft,

colourful corals around

Lizard Island

Clockwise from above

left: The icy path to

hot spring haven Hell's

Valley; a swan spreads

its wings in front of

Mount Fuji; Kyoto's

historic Higashiyama

district gets a dusting; a

steaming bowl of ramen

worldtravellermagazine.com 55


long

the

weekend

56 worldtravellermagazine.com

Marrakech

Offering a heady blend of

culture and beauty, Marrakech

is luring the in-crowd to its

charming riads, bustling bazaars

and must-see art attractions

This page: Sunlight

penetrates a labyrinthine

souk in Marrakech

Opposite: Aromatic spices

for sale; Royal Mansour

Marrakech


THE LONG WEEKEND

Founded almost 1,000 years ago, Marrakech is one of the

great cities of the Maghreb. Known as the Red City thanks to

its red clay buildings that swarm the medina, it is easily one of

the most beautiful and fascinating spots in Morocco. A place

where Europe, Africa and the Middle East mingle and merge,

this popular trading hub marries the past and present with an

energy that can sometimes feel intimidating, but plan it right

and you’re sure to have the trip of a lifetime.

Home to atmospheric souks and some of the most

impressive architecture (both old and new) that you’ll find

anywhere in the world, nowadays this intoxicating city is

prized as much for its trendy art galleries, hip hotels and

fine-dining restaurants as it is for its bazaars and hidden

palaces. It’s to the famous medina that most visitors gravitate,

where your senses will be overwhelmed with music, the call

to prayer and elaborate feasts. Dark alleyways are brimming

with artisan workshops and sprawling markets in which you

can wander for hours. Offering a tantalising taste of Africa

within easy reach, get set to fall in love with Marrakech…

Revel in a touch of glamour at these stand-out abodes

If you’re seeking opulence,

you've come to the right

place. Home to 53 luxury

riads, spread across a

medina filled with alleyways

and secret doors, Royal

Mansour Marrakech

provides a rich introduction

to Moroccan culture. Be

sure to dine at the new

Sesamo Italian restaurant

by the three-Michelin-Star

chef Massimiliano Alajmo.

One of the most

spectacular residences

in the city, the Mandarin

Oriental, Marrakech is

situated just 20 minutes

from the city’s main square

of Jemaa el-Fnaa, and

with its stunning terracotta

buildings nestled among

palm, orange and olive

trees, it’s the perfect mix of

splendour and tradition.

Once home to royalty,

La Mamounia has been a

preferred choice among

A-listers through the

decades and has hosted

a glittering array of VIPs

in its 210 rooms. Set in

lavish gardens and styled

with handcrafted Moorish

opulence, this is the place

to see and be seen.

Those craving a cooler,

more contemporary vibe

should check out Radisson

Blu Hotel, Marrakech Carré

Eden, which called upon a

chic and savvy Casablanca

design studio to craft its

laid-back, mid-century style.

With a coveted address in

Guéliz, the city’s hippest

bars and restaurants are

just a stone’s throw away.

... and

restful

riads

Charming, calming and

every interior designer’s

dream, Marrakech’s many

riads offer welcome

respite from the hustle

and bustle of the city. A

quiet oasis situated in

the heart of the medina,

LE RIAD YASMINE has

an idyllic pool, which

gets a lot of attention,

but sipping a traditional

Moroccan mint tea in the

lounge is equally dreamy.

One of Marrakech’s

first boutique riads, EL

FENN, which is owned by

Vanessa Branson (sister

to Richard), is a maze of

interconnected riads that

take up an acre of the

medina. First launched

to showcase Vanessa’s

impressive art collection,

the display is constantly

re-curated so no two

visits are ever the same.

Over 200 years old,

RIAD TCHAIKANA offers

stunning views of the

Atlas Mountains. With

just five bedrooms, it gets

booked up fast, so make

sure you plan in advance.

worldtravellermagazine.com 57


Wander

the souks

With their bustling

atmosphere and thrilling

bargains proving an

assault on the senses, the

souks of Marrakech are a

highlight for any visitor.

There’s always someone

ready to greet you at

these open-air venues,

where artisans have been

toiling over their creations

for centuries.

Traditional woven

carpets, aromatic spices,

colourful lanterns and

pottery stalls can be

found in abundance –

tagine pots, serving plates

and soup bowls come in

all sizes, while jewelled

glassware and ornate

tea pots make a pretty

addition to any dining

room back home.

Originally dedicated

to leatherwork, Souq

Semmarine and Souq

el-Kebir are the most

popular street markets

in the city, and today sell

practically anything you

can think of. Prices here

may be higher than in

other bazaars, however,

so if you're willing to travel

a little bit further north

to where the specialist

quissariat (covered

markets) are located, you

may be able to find similar

products for less.

HAUTE CUISINE

On top of its famous street food scene, the city

has made some serious strides into fine dining

Le Petit Cornichon

Owned by Erwann Lance,

who has several Michelinstarred

restaurants in

Paris and New York,

Le Petit Cornichon is

stylish, contemporary

and colourful, so it’s no

surprise that the style set

gather here. Tuck into

dishes such as sea bass

ceviche with grapefruit

and pink peppercorns

of tarragon chicken.

lepetitcornichon.ma

+61

Bringing a taste of

Australia to Morocco,

chef Andrew Cibej aims

to capture the laid-back

culture of the country

with a modern twist,

by way of delicious

dishes designed to

share. Favourites include

homemade ricotta with

roasted red peppers,

balsamic-glazed lamb

ribs and chargrilled sirloin

sandwiches. plus61.com

LOCAL DELICACIES

Le Crystal

Located in the Pacha

complex, which is also

home to the famous Ibiza

nightclub of the same

name, those seeking a

touch of glamour should

definitely pay Le Crystal

a visit. A Moroccan Italian

menu comprises the likes

of shrimp risotto, garlic

parmesan gnocci and

foie gras ravioli that are

definitely worth the price

tag. pachamarrakech.com

Craving a taste of authentic Moroccan cuisine? Marrakech is sure to awaken the senses

through traditional flavours influenced by Spain, Arabia and France, and the streets are

teeming with these wallet-friendly eateries. Dedicated to empowering disadvantaged

women through culinary skills, guests can enjoy an ever-changing menu of local dishes

at Amal Women’s Moroccan Restaurant. For stunning views to accompany your meal,

Al Baraka, in the heart of the legendary Jemaa el-Fnaa, does some of the best couscous

in the city. Taste light and simple Moroccan fare at the magical Dar Marjana while the

belly dancers sway – if you’re feeling adventurous, try the pigeon pie.

58 worldtravellermagazine.com


THE LONG WEEKEND

Opposite from top:

Le Petit Cornichon; vibrant claypots in

the bazaar

This page from top: V.Barkowski

(Photo: Cecile Zehnacker); inside the

beautiful Bahia Palace

Boutique finds

If it’s one-of-a-kind pieces you’re after, Marrakech

isn’t short on stylish boutiques that are as unique

in interior design as they are in merchandise.

Globetrotting Belgian designer Valerie

Barkowski’s concept store V. Barkowski is

reminiscent of a high-end New York loft that

showcases her fine white bed linens and fluffy

towels that come delicately trimmed with her

signature mini pompoms, while Norya Ayron sells

an array of fashion-forward silk and cotton kaftans

and abayas loved by the likes of Sharon Stone,

Monica Belluci and Kate Moss. For medina-style

streetwear, head to Max & Jan for a selection of

soft drape dresses, slouchy pants and billowing

dresses perfect for a summer beach holiday,

while at Laly, browse the rails for bold capes,

camo babouche slippers and pochette purses by

designer Badra Benjelloun.

Words: Naomi Chadderton

Ask a local

Amanda Ponzio-

Mouttaki, blogger

at Maroc Mama

(marocmama.

com), shares her

insider tips on how

to get the most

out of your trip

“The best advice I can share

about visiting Marrakech is to

have a sense of humour and accept that

you will get lost in the medina.

I've found when you can be lighthearted

and laugh with people it really breaks

the ice and you’ll end up having a much

more pleasant experience. One of my

favourite neighbourhoods is the kasbah,

because it still has the older charm of

traditional Marrakech without some

of the extreme busyness you might

experience in other areas. Be sure to try

tangia (not to be confused with tagine)

when you’re here; it’s the speciality

dish of Marrakech made with very slow

roasted lamb, garlic and preserved

lemons in a clay pot. If you want a

keepsake to take back home, spices or

Moroccan tea glasses are easy to pack

and are sure to be used long after

you return.”

CULTURE CRAM

Delve deeper into the

city's beating heart

Marrakech has a

fascinating and

complex history, with

an impressive array of

museums and sites to

prove it. Take a walk

around the Saadian

Tombs – Saadian

Sultan Ahmed Al

Mansour Ed Dahbi

spared no expense

in crafting his burial

site, importing Italian

Carrara marble for his

own mausoleum. A

fascinating piece of

Marrakech’s historical

jigsaw, El Badi Palace

is another great

attraction and even

though it largely

stands in ruins today,

you won’t have any

trouble taking a

journey back in time

and imagining the

splendour of the

palace’s heyday. In

complete contrast is

the well-preserved

Bahia Palace, which

once housed the

Resident General

during the French

Protectorate.

If you’re a fashion

lover, make time

to visit the Musée

Yves Saint Laurent

Marrakech.

Dedicated to the late

designer’s work, it

showcases a rotating

curation of 5,000

items of clothing,

15,000 accessories

and thousands

of sketches and

documents stored

for four decades.

worldtravellermagazine.com 59


WORLD TRAVELLER X DUKES THE PALM, A ROYAL HIDEAWAY HOTEL

STAYCATION

Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel

Holiday like royalty at this quintessentially British beachfront hotel on Palm Jumeirah

THE ROOMS & SUITES

Tucked away in the modern heart of

the city, yet shielded from the hustle

and bustle, the hotel's modern take on

a traditional British residence is sure

to win you over. Every room has been

elegantly styled to marry centuries

of age-old charm with contemporary

glamour. Request a room with glittering

Arabian Sea views and relax to the sound

of the waves lapping the shore.

THE FOOD

What better way to show someone you

care than with a romantic candlelit

dinner on the beach? Savour a threecourse

meal and a bottle of red or white

under the twinkling stars as the balmy

evening breeze washes over you (Dhs1,000

per couple). Elsewhere at the property,

Great British Restarant, West 14 th

Steakhouse, Khyber and the sophisticated

Duke's Bar compete for your attention.

THE ACTIVITIES

Start the new year as you mean to go on

with an energy-boosting workout at the

hotel's state-of-the-art gym. Next, get

some vitamin D by soaking up the gentle

winter rays as you lounge around the

infinity pool with a good book in hand.

Once you're suitably sunbathed, stretch

your legs by taking a stroll along the

private beach and end your day on a fun

note by floating along the lazy river.

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

60 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X SOFITEL DUBAI THE PALM

STAYCATION

Sofitel Dubai The Palm

Perfect the art de vivre at this French-inspired luxury resort on Palm Jumeirah

THE ROOMS & SUITES

Bringing elegant French style to the

Middle East, this Polynesian-style

resort is the antidote to the city’s

ubiquitous skyscraper hotels with its

tropical understated glamour. Being

a pebble’s skim from the sea means

you get to sleep and wake up to the

gentle swoosh of the waves crashing

on the shore from any of the stylishly

appointed rooms and suites.

THE FOOD

Meaning "Welcome" in Polynesian,

Manava serves up world-class dishes in

a setting straight out of Paul Gaugin's

Tahitian paintings. But if you're up for

something with more zest and spice,

Hong Loong blends timeless Chinese

recipes to create explosive flavours

perfectly paired with tea. End your

evening soaking up the sea view with a

chilled drink at Laguna Lounge.

THE ACTIVITIES

Water babies are in for a treat with a great

variety of activities on offer. Whether it's

jetting off on a boat excursion, spending

a day admiring the cityscape on a pedal

boat or just lounging on the wide stretch

of private sandy beach, there's something

for every taste. A day in the sun might

wear you down, but a quick trip to the spa

offers soothing treatments and massages

that'll leave you in a tranquil bliss.

To find out more, call +971 4 455 6677 or visit all.accor.com

62 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS DUBAI

STAYCATION

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Reach for the sky at the world’s tallest five-star hotel

THE ROOMS & SUITES

Wake up in the clouds and revel in

stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the

city's futuristic skyline or the turquoise

waters of the Arabian Gulf. Sleek suites

boast marshmallow soft beddings

and soundproof windows for a serene

slumber, while Executive Rooms come

with perks including complimentary

drinks, a continental breakfast and

afternoon tea in the lounge.

THE FOOD

Foodies are spoilt for choice with

more than 14 dining venues offering a

selection of delicacies from around the

world. Splurge on a unique sky-high

dinner at Prime68 steakhouse before

heading for a glitzy nightcap at Vault.

To spice it up, the recently opened

Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra serves

traditional recipes from ancient India

with a contemporary twist.

THE ACTIVITIES

Discover the shiniest gems the city has

to offer with top attractions including

The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and Dubai

Opera right around the corner. After a

day out and about, pamper yourself back

at the hotel with a mini refresh at Saray

Spa. Soothing body massages, bespoke

facials and holistic rituals draw upon

the spa's Arabian heritage for a top-totoe

rejuvenating experience.

To find out more, call +971 4 414 3000 or visit jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

64 worldtravellermagazine.com


Inspiration. Expertly crafted.

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting Spaces.

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai

jwmarriott.com/DXBJW

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


1

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68 worldtravellermagazine.com


THROUGH

THE LENS

Lago di Braies,

Italy

"Visiting this majestic lake had

been on my bucket list for years

since I first stumbled upon a photo

story in a magazine proclaiming

it one of Italy's most beautiful

lakes. Two flights and a threehour

drive later, I finally arrived

at the Dolomites, a UNESCO

World Heritage Site. As soon as I

caught sight of the bright emerald

green waters, I was in awe of their

breathtaking beauty. In the early

light, the sight of the reflection of

the mountains on the lake and the

charming wooden rowing boats

was like a fairy tale."

Travel and photography

fan Melissa Ngo loves to

travel because: "it grounds

me and keeps me humble."

Follow her at @helloomelissa,

withlovemelissa.blog

EMAIL US YOUR BEST

TRAVEL PHOTOS

in high-res jpeg format, along

with the stories behind them to

habiba@hotmedia.me and you

may end up being featured

on this page

70 worldtravellermagazine.com


Now win!

DIGITAL

BE OUR TRAVEL

COMPANION

Stay up-to-date with all that’s

happening on our social channels

and join in the conversation by

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where you can find us…

@worldtravellerme

Double tap our dreamy

destination shots and tag

us in your images for a chance to

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@WorldTravellerME

Stay up to date with travel

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@WTravellerME

Make the most of your

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moments with us.

#WorldTravellerME

Win a two-night stay at

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Enjoy the very best of Madinat Jumeirah while staying in the Arabian-inspired

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from the beach. Enjoy evening drinks with friends old and new before setting off

on an abra along the waterways to discover the dining delights of this enduringly

popular Dubai resort, which is home to more than 50 restaurants. To find out

more and to enter, visit worldtravellermagazine.com/win. (T&Cs apply).

TRAVEL INSPO AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

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

inspire your next trip…

1The Knowledge.

Read our handy

how-tos, from

getting to grips with

travel insurance to

helping kids beat jet

lag, and more.

2Staycations.

Take a peek

inside these top

hotels and resorts on

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then book your next

mini break.

3Insider guides.

Check out our

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worldtravellermagazine.com 71


Suite dreams

Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a suite

that has a character and style all of its own

TERRACE SUITE SAGRADA FAMILIA

The One Barcelona, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Rooms with a view don't come any grander than this; the room in question being a huge,

daylight-flooded suite bedecked with abundant luxuries, and the view a sweeping one of low-rise

Barcelona, with Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece Sagrada Familia as its towering focal point. It's

a sight you can soak in (literally) from the free-standing bathtub in the marble-lined bathroom,

or, better still, from the alfresco Jacuzzi, on a stunning terrace you can access from every room.

72 worldtravellermagazine.com


AT THE EDGE OF THE

WORLD, WHERE THE SKY

SWIMS IN SEA BLUE

this island sanctuary

welcomes you with breeze

and birdsong, candlelit dinners

and infinite views.

Just daydreams away

from the buzz of the capital,

you can lose yourself

in the peaceful luxury

of your own perfect universe.

YOUR EXTRAORDINARY STORY

Zaya Nurai Island Resort

#InAbuDhabi

visitabudhabi.ae


Flavors of Latin America

Latin American is the name of the game at Garden, where vibrant

street food from Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil and Argentina are

taking Dubai by storm. Get Latino fever with your favorite modern

riffs from tacos to arepas. We hear there’s even a Taco Society.

Just

Opened

Complemented by fun and exciting beverages,

Garden’s dreamy outdoor setting on the bustling

terrace will keep you coming back for more!

Open Sunday - Thursday | 5:30pm - midnight

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

T +971.4.414.3000 | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

gardendxb

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