World Traveller February 2020










Holiday like the A-list

in Baja California




From action-packed Tokyo to the cultural

gems of Cairo, our in-the-know locals shine a

light on eight urban beauties you must visit

The drive

of your life

Chasing thrills on

Oman’s remote

Route 66

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 | |

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

Welcome note

Hearing other people's travel stories – whether it's clued-up

locals sharing the hidden gems of their homeland, a travel

writer's poetic tale of discovery in exotic climes, or words of

wisdom from eminent explorers, such as Sir Ranulph Fiennes –

Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher

Chief Creative Officer

John Thatcher

General Manager

David Wade

Group Content Director

Faye Bartle

Content & Social Editor

Hayley Kadrou

Content Writer

Habiba Azab

Editorial Assistant

Ronak Sagar

Art Director

Kerri Bennett

Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia

Senior Advertising Manager

Mia Cachero

is a sure-fire way to ignite wanderlust. This issue

is packed with first-person travel stories that will

have you reaching for your passport. For our cover

story, we called upon the expert insight of eight

savvy locals to tell us how to explore their home

city from a fresh perspective (p26).

Also, inside this issue, let our featured travel

writers open your eyes to a different side of Spain,

by trundling through Asturias on an old narrowgauge

railway (p38), the starry allure and wild

beauty of the vast Mexican peninsula of Baja

California (p44), and the rugged appeal of driving

along Oman’s remote Route 66 (p50).

Speaking of which, there's plenty of adventure to

be had on the doorstep. We shine a light on some

of the top hotels and resorts in the region that are

ideal for teaming activities under the winter sun

with a touch of luxury.

Happy travels,

Faye Bartle





When the colourful train

crosses the mystical

Nine Arch Bridge, you

know you're in Ella, p8


You should always notify

your bank before you

travel, so your holiday

spends don't get flagged

as suspicious, p22


When in Mauritius, be

sure to taste dholl puri –

the traditional flatbread

filled with spicy ground

split peas is a must-try,



You can't wander along

the beaches of Ras Al

Jinz after dark, due

to efforts to protect

endangered green

turtles, p50


The Grand Egyptian

Museum, set to

open this year,

will be the largest

museum in the world

dedicated to a single

civilisation, p26

Production Manager

Muthu Kumar


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


iStock by Getty Images

Find us at…


FACEBOOK @WorldTravellerME

INSTAGRAM @worldtravellerme

TWITTER @WTravellerME 3




February 2020




Private Island


08 13 22 70 72



This month's go-to

places include the

charming Ella in Sri

Lanka and the UK's

scenic Lake District.


Lush private islands;

romantic retreats and

fabulous new hotels on

the radar. Plus, Ranulph

Fiennes shares his

thirst for adventure.


Get savvy about the

various ways in which

to organise your money

while travelling,

including common

pitfalls to avoid.


Head online for

exclusive travel content

and, better yet, the

chance to win a stay

at Anantara The Palm

Dubai Resort.


Revel in the tropical

sophistication and

laid-back luxury of

the Junior Suite at

California's Parker

Palm Springs. 5



26 38


Our locals on the Andrew Eames discovers

ground help us get another side of Spain,

under the skin of these trundling through

eight urban hotspots Asturias on an old

that beg discovery. narrow-gauge railway.



The vast Mexican

peninsula of Baja

California has starry

associations and stylish

new digs.



Mike MacEacheran

takes his mum on a

memory-making road

trip along Oman’s

remote Route 66.

Cactus in Cataviña




56 62



Feel in need of a break?

Let this idyllic island We have a couple more

cast a spell with its reasons to book

wondrous treasures. a weekend escape.



It's time we sent you

packing. Choose your

next adventure from

our exclusive offers.


Connoisseur of Rare and Boutique Experiences

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi merges the authentic Arabian hospitality with more than a

hundred years of bespoke St. Regis tradition and is ideally located at the lavish coastline

of West Corniche. Situated between the 33rd and 49th floors, each of the hotel’s 228

guestrooms and 55 suites enchant with the finest materials and magnificent views of the

Arabian Gulf and the UAE capital, while it offers the signature St. Regis Butler service to all

guests. The hotel is home to the world’s highest suspended suite located 220 metres above

sea level, a beach club of 200 metre private sandy beach and a spacious swimming pool,

a children’s club, one of the UAE’s largest spas, as well as six distinctive restaurants and

lounges catering to all tastes.

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

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

©2020 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All names, marks and logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.

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



Emily Williams, dnata Travel’s resident globetrotter,

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


When the colourful Sri Lankan train winds its way across the Nine Arch Bridge, you know you’re in Ella. Tucked between

misty rainforests and lush tea plantations, this quaint village charms nature lovers and adventure seekers alike with its

idyllic green hills and epic waterfalls. Take a hike on Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock for incredible views, or set off in

search of waterfalls – don't miss the roaring Diyaluma Falls, the second tallest in the country.

Highlights 1 Sip a refreshing cup of tea at Uva Halpewatte Tea Factory, where you can meander through lush, green tea

gardens and savour your own distinct brew. 2 Steeped in local folklore, Ravana's Cave (which can be found by Ravana Falls)

is a tough climb, but once inside you can marvel at its architectural brilliance. 3 Master the art of preparing a delightful

Sri Lankan meal at Ella Spice Garden, where you can select your ingredients fresh from the ground.




Known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ for its year-round temperate weather, Medellin is fast becoming a tourist

favourite. No matter where you go, you’re surrounded by stunning natural landscapes courtesy of the striking Andes

Mountains. Colourful buildings dot the hillsides of Comuna 13, famous for its vibrant murals and food markets,

whereas the affluent El Poblado neighbourhood is home to chic cafés, high-end restaurants and exciting nightlife.

Highlights 1 Admire the creative artwork of Colombia’s best-loved sculptor, Fernando Botero, at Antioquia Museum.

2 Take your little ones on a scientific adventure at Explora Park, an interactive science museum that's home to

South America’s largest freshwater aquarium. 3. Football fan or not, join the rambunctious fans at a fútbol match at

Atanasio Girardot Stadium and get into the spirit of the cultural obsession with this competitive game. 9

The Lake District

Tourists flock from all over the world to visit the Lake District National Park – the largest national park in the UK and

a UNESCO World Heritage Site – for its spectacular scenery, wildlife and historic links to wordsmiths. Time your

visit from January to March and admire the beautiful lakes and fells while discovering pretty villages dotted with

local shops and rustic restaurants, with live music and delicious food made from fresh local produce.

Highlights 1 Say "hello" to Peter Rabbit in Mr McGregor's garden, find your way to Jemima Puddle-Duck and call on Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle in her

kitchen at The World of Beatrix Potter. 2 Follow your nose to the delicious aromas wafting from the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop and splash

your cash on a variety of drool-worthy ginger-themed nibbles. 3 Take a road trip back in time by checking out Lakeland Motor Museum,

which is home to 30,000 exhibits that trace the development of road transport throughout the 20th century.




This year is tipped as the best time to visit Cairo, with The Grand Egyptian Museum – the largest museum in the world

dedicated to a single civilisation – set to open in 2020. The wealth of historic ruins and monuments are guaranteed to

take you back to ancient times, while the city centre bustles with that energetic, modern big city vibe. Treasure-filled

souks, grand hotels, picturesque cruises along the Nile and streets brimming with restaurants await discovery.

Highlights 1 Bask in the city's rich history and wind your way through historical Islamic buildings while haggling for

antiques, artisan accessories, ornate perfumes and traditional clothing at Khan el-Khalili. 2 Sway to the beat of traditional music

at El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music. 3 See everyday city life through the eyes of those who experienced the 20th century

Egyptian Art Movement at Al Masar Gallery, located on the first floor of Baehler's Mansion. 11





Standing tall in the heart of

Dubai Marina, featuring

incomparable panoramic views

of the city, combine the best

of all worlds with luxurious

accommodation, three

contemporary dining

destinations and a blissful

caravanserai-inspired, Saray Spa.





Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites





Be informed, be inspired, be there


Here, you can experience sustainable

living at its best. Built almost entirely

from natural materials – note the clever

use of recycled teak, local rock and

bamboo – Cempedak Private Island in

Bintan seamlessly blends into the island's

rich flora and fauna with its eco-friendly

fabulousness, without sacrificing an

ounce of style. Add a magical array of

wildlife, including adorable sea otters,

oriental pied hornbills and pangolin (a

highly-endangered species) and you've

got yourself the perfect exotic escape. 13


Born to explore

Celebrated explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes tells us

what it takes to set off in search of adventure

British explorer Ranulph

Fiennes has led upwards of 30

expeditions, raising over £18.9

million for charity. Despite almost

dying countless times and losing

nearly half his fingers to frostbite,

the world’s greatest living explorer

(according to the Guinness Book of

Records) is unstoppable.

“My team and I have often found

ourselves in trouble on expeditions,

despite always planning for the worst

case scenario,” reveals Fiennes, who

was the first person to reach both

the North Pole and the South Pole

overland and to cross the Antarctic

Continent unsupported with Mike

Stroud. “The best advice I've been

given is to be prepared by travelling

with the right kit. In a hot desert

climate, this can be as simple as

having an anti-itch cream to hand in

case you get stung by a hornet."

For the man who has undertaken

fascinating journeys in Arabia,

including discovering the Lost City

of Ubar, staying calm is all in the

training. “Some people are inclined

to not flap – they're born that way,"

he says. "These are the people

we would choose to join us on

expeditions. We look at character

and motivation first and foremost, as

the specialist skills can be taught.”

“As I get older, my ability to climb

to new altitudes wanes, but I have

a fair few ambitions remaining,” he

continues. “My expedition group

doesn’t like announcing anything

in case we get pipped to the post,

but I can reveal that our attention

is turning north rather than south.

Records will continue to be broken

and there will always be someone

else hot on my heels but I have no

problem with that.”

Ranulph Fiennes is taking part in

the Emirates Airline Festival of

Literature (4-9 February) in Dubai,


If glamping under Thailand's starlit

skies while watching majestic

elephants stroll by is your idea

of holiday goals, then the Jungle

Bubble at Anantara Golden Triangle

Elephant Camp & Resort in Thailand

will make it a reality. The luxury

resort is offering a coveted chance

to observe the mesmerising gentle

giants in their natural habitat while

staying in one of its transparent

Jungle Bubbles. Perched on a hill

overlooking the Mekong and Ruak

rivers, the secluded spot also offers

stunning views over the confluence

of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. It's

certainly one for the bucket list.


Take a visual tour of Vienna's dazzling history

courtesy of Taschen's Portrait of

a City – a compelling collection

of photographs from the last

75 years.



Embark on a journey to an exceptional experience at InterContinental Genève.

Satisfy your taste for luxury in one of our Suites.

Live the InterContinental life.



Love is in the air, so make memories at these dreamy hideaways



Turn your castaway

fantasy into reality at this

idyllic resort. Kick-start

your weekend with a sunset

dolphin cruise aboard a luxury

yacht and sail to a secluded

sandbank, where a romantic

four-course feast awaits.

Later, enjoy drinks by the fire

before drifting off to sleep on

a canopy bed under the stars.


Jaipur, India

Sweep your other half

off their feet at India's Pink

City where a real-life royal

kingdom, Rambagh Palace,

awaits. Stay in the decadent

Suryavanshi Suite overlooking

the manicured gardens, take

a horse-drawn carriage to

a candlelit dinner set-up

and indulge in a couples’

treatment at Jiva spa.


Laikipia, Kenya

Fall asleep while gazing

at the twinkling night sky at

the Nay Palad Bird Nest, which

offers a 360-degree view of

the stunning wilderness. Set

above a vast wildlife sanctuary

home to elephants, giraffes

and more, the open-air nest will

wow you with culinary delights,

luxurious linens and hot water

bottles for a magical stay.

Photo: Milaidhoo Island Maldives



Anantara Desaru Coast

Resort & Villas



ME Dubai

Radisson Blu Hotel,

Casablanca City Center

Take the chance to unplug

and reconnect with your

loved ones thanks to

Mandarin Oriental, Miami's

Power Off in Paradise

package, which

encourages you

to put down your

devices and enjoy

activities designed to

foster less screen time.

Live La Dolce Vita and take a

spin through Rome's winding

streets in a vintage Italian

classic (think Fiat 500

or Alfa Spider) – just

one of the luxurious

experiences on

offer at Rome

Cavalieri, A Waldorf

Astoria Hotel. You'll

be joined by a professional

photographer, so you can

take your memories home.


The new Radisson Blu Hotel,

Casablanca City Center goes to show

how this ocean-fronted hub is moving

towards a cooler, more contemporary

vibe. The savvy resort was conceived

by Chilean architect Jaime Beriestain,

mixing a laid-back, mid-century modern

style with subtle Moroccan influences.

Right outside, the bustling Boulevard

Mohammed V awaits, offering a glimpse

into the country's traditional treasures.


Haloed by golden sands and the

gentle lapping of the South China Sea,

Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

offers a luxurious escape in a serene

setting. Influenced by the island’s rich

heritage, the stylish rooms and suites

boast Malaysian designs incorporating

silhouettes of traditional Malay crafts,



with wave-and-ripple patterns that

blur the line between indoors and out.

Foodies will appreciate the resort's nod

to fresh coastal dining, with an array

of options ranging from freshly caught

seafood to flavours from across Asia, as

well as gourmet international fare.


Already making waves as an

architectural marvel, designed by

the late, great Zaha Hadid, ME Dubai

is launching soon inside the Opus

building. As you've come to expect

from the ME by Meliá brand, it's set to

be a cultural hub, bringing together

music, art, design, fashion and

gastronomy, all wrapped up in a super

trendy package. And with its premier

location in the heart of the city, nearby

Burj Khalifa, you'll be within easy reach

of the city's record breaking attractions.

Star Wars fanatics can now

discover a galaxy far away

at Four Seasons Resort

Orlando, which is

celebrating the

launch of Disney’s

Star Wars: Galaxy's

Edge with an array

of special experiences

including pampering spa

treatments, galactic-inspired

kids’ activities and extra

'Magic Hours' at the parks.

Who said butler

service is just

for adults? At

London Marriott

Hotel Park Lane,

little guests can

call upon the

Hamleys bear

butler and pick a

fluffy companion

from the Teddy

Bear menu.


Your passport to the Middle East's first fully

bookable travel inspiration website

Extend your journey with World Traveller magazine

by heading online to read more inspirational and

exclusive travel content and take advantage of upto-the-minute

hotel and holiday features

Dream Read Click Book

Best of both worlds

Bagging an exclusive spot on Bluewaters, Caesars bestows

Dubai with all the pomp and pizzazz you’d expect

Striking views of Ain Dubai

Enjoy some splash-tastic

fun on the beach

It's luxury from the get-go at Caesars

Bluewaters Dubai. Bringing a touch of

Las Vegas flair to Dubai, the non-gaming

resort exudes contemporary style, from

its sleek exterior to the Romanesque and

aesthetically stylish interiors. Whether you’re

looking for an action-packed break with your

family or a romantic escapade with your

loved one, Caesars Bluewaters Dubai is the

ultimate getaway.




Many couples come here to indulge in the

emirate’s excesses. Whether it's waking up in

a lavish suite overlooking the sea, loosening

up the muscles with Qua Spa's luxurious

treatments that combine Japanese technology

to achieve your perfect Qi (energy), or simply

lounging around at Cove Beach where lively

beats and glittering views of the Arabian Gulf

are on offer. Celebrity chefs also top the bill

with Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen taking

centre stage. Watch the famous Red and Blue

teams whip up signature favourites including

beef wellington, 'eggs in purgatory' and the

heavenly sticky toffee pudding for an intimate

dinner bursting with flavour. Better yet, end

the night on a Latin note and sway your hips

to swanky Cuban beats while you sip crafted

drinks at Havana Social Club.




Boasting its own pristine private beach,

the luxury resort offers a full roster of

water activities for splash-tastic fun. Sun

worshippers can soak up the rays in a cabana

while adrenaline junkies can hop on a jet ski

for an adventure across the azure waters.



Meanwhile, little Caesars can make some

new friends at the Empire Club – think

dance parties, aqua adventures, Roman

games and movies under the stars. Teens,

however, should make a beeline for ROAM

where they can show off their skills at

various game zones and virtual reality

experiences, or get outdoors and enjoy the

many activities on offer.

After a day of thrills and spills, Cleo’s

Table pleases the most discerning of palates

with its unique fusion of Mediterranean

classics that adds a pinch of Arabic flavour

in a stylish alfresco setting. Alternatively,

Paru teams spectacular sunset views of

the glistening JBR skyline with a feast of

modern Japanese fare crafted by Michelinstar

chef Akira Back. Be sure to keep an eye

out for the shows on offer at The Rotunda,

a 500-seat domed theatre that welcomes an

electric roster of live acts and immersive

shows to enjoy.

Savour world-class

cooking at Gordon

Ramsay Hell's Kitchen


Book before 30 April 2020 and enjoy an

exclusive 20% discount on room rates and

complimentary breakfast for two with the

Stay #LikeACaesar promotion. Plus, you’ll

receive complimentary access to Laguna

Waterpark, Mattel Play! Town and The

Green Planet for two guests per room. To

find out more, call +971 (0) 4 556 6666 or

Unwind by the pool

Wake up to the sound of

waves crashing 21


The Knowledge


Manage your travel money

Credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards and everything in between

– here's everything you need to know to better manage your travel money


In many countries, cash is still king,

especially for small transactions, which

is why it’s always best to take some

small bills in the local currency to use for

basic essentials, such as tips and taxis.

It’s not advisable to carry large amounts

of cash on you, however. The amount

you can take in and out of a country

varies, so check before you travel, as

you may need to declare it at customs.

Always opt to exchange cash at a local

bank or trusted currency exchange as

you'll likely get better rates than you

would at the airport or hotels.

Good for: The first day of your trip, and

when travelling to remote areas.

Pros: Flexibility and convenience.

Cons: If you lose your wallet, it can be

hard to make a claim for cash on your

travel insurance, unless you have proof

of how much money you had on you.

We recommend: Currency app XE to

keep track of currency exchange rates -

and whether you're getting a good deal.


This handy piece of plastic affords

you easy access to cash from ATMs,

alongside the option for making

electronic payments. When using an

ATM abroad, however, expect to be

charged – usually a flat fee of US$1-5, as

well as a percentage of the amount you

withdraw. Look for an ATM associated

with your bank for the best deal.

Good for: Those who prefer to stick to a

clear budget.

Pros: Widely accepted and convenient

for getting cash in hand from the ATM.

Cons: Hefty ATM and exchange fees

could apply. Plus, if the card is hacked or

stolen, your available funds are at risk.

We recommend: Make sure your card

is from one of the major providers,

such as Visa and Mastercard, which

are widely accepted around the world.

If you're planning to rely on it, ensure

it's accepted in the destination you're

travelling to.


Unlike cash and debit cards, credit

cards provide the ultimate protection

against fraud. Another perk is that

you're usually granted access to great

rewards. With an Emirates NBD dnata

World credit card, for example, you can

earn 15% reward points back on every

purchase with dnata Travel. Plus, you

get extra benefits when you sign up,

including AED2,500 worth of travel

vouchers, complimentary access to VIP

airport lounges and more.

Good for: Frequent travellers.

Pros: An extra layer of security, and

travel benefits.

Cons: Credit cards can have fees

attached, such as international finance

charges, that range anywhere from two

to five percent, so always check the

small print before you travel.

We recommend: If you travel a lot, look

for a credit card that's aimed specifically

at globetrotters and reap the extra

benefits. Word to the wise: always

notify your bank of your travel plans so

they don’t put a pause on your card for

suspicious or fraudulent activity.


These handy cards can hold a number

of different currencies at once, making

them useful for trips with multiple

stops. This ultimately allows you to

spend overseas without paying a

currency conversion fee (provided the

currency held on the card matches

the local currency) and to lock-in the

exchange rates before you travel.

Plus, the card isn’t linked to your bank

account which means ultimate security

and comes with a back-up in case the

first card is lost or stolen.

Good for: Multi-trip holidays.

Pros: If your card is stolen, your loss is

limited to the amount on the card.

Cons: The fees can rack up - some

issuers charge an activation fee and will

bill you for every use of the card, so be

sure to check the terms and conditions.

We recommend: Reading the small

print before you sign up.



Bliss out

Add a dash of Asian flair to your Arabian

escape at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

apping of the sea


There’s an air of Siam-style

sophistication here. The resort's

red-roofed, whitewashed villas bring

an elegant Asian style to the UAE, with their

subtle decadence and stylish details. Add

uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf and

the glistening Dubai skyline, and you've got

yourself the perfect retreat.

Fusing age-old philosophies with the

Middle East’s rich cultural traditions,

Anantara offers Asian-inspired sanctuaries

that seem a world away from the hustle and

bustle of everyday life, and Anantara The

Palm Dubai Resort is no different. From

Turkish hammam rituals to revitalising

scrubs, soothing wraps, illuminating facials

and Ayurvedic treatments, the spa extends

a warm invitation to all those who wish to

experience the beauty of ancient therapeutic

treatments from Asia and beyond, with its

extensive menu of contemporary treatments

that promise to soothe and pamper. Try a

60-minute full body massage for two (be

it Swedish Massage, Arabian Massage,

traditional Thai Massage or the Anantara

Signature Massage), and prepare to feel

completely refreshed.

After a moment of tranquil bliss, make

your way back to your private over-water villa

(they're the first of their kind in the UAE)

and enjoy a sneak peek into the wonders of

the ocean through its glass viewing panels.

Alternatively, you could opt for a Beach

Pool Villa; not only are they sumptuously

furnished, but the gentle lapping of the sea

around you is a sound you’ll love waking up

to. Meanwhile, the Lagoon Access Room is

perfect for keen swimmers with steps leading

straight into the tranquil lagoons that weave

their way through the resort. You'll see small

Thai boats crisscrossing the lagoon pools,

from which staff hand out cold towels, fruit

and water for a blissful treat in the Dubai sun.

With its pagoda-roofed swim-up bar and

a crescent of sea-facing sun loungers, the

main infinity pool takes centre stage with

its lively ambience. While your kids splash

away in their swimmies, laze by one of the

swimming pools and bask in Dubai’s winter

glow. Come sundown, brave foodies won’t

be disappointed with Aussie steakhouse

Bushman’s creative dishes. Alternatively, go

back to basics and tuck into timeless Asian

flavours amid a contemporary eclectic décor

at Mekong.

If you feel like surprising your partner with

some romance by the shore (it is the month

of love, after all), Dining by Design offers a

coveted chance to savour a bespoke dinner

under the twinkling stars, while a private

butler meets your every romantic desire.

The Spa Indulgence package costs

Dhs1,250 with breakfast included. All

bookings made at will be

rewarded with a resort credit of Dhs150 per

stay for rooms or apartments and Dhs250

per stay for villas. The credit can be

redeemed at any of the resort’s restaurants

and bars, Anantara Spa, or for a longtail

boat ride. Call +971 4 567 8999 or visit to find out more.

Unwind at the spa

Enjoy a romantic dinner with

a gorgeous backdrop

Wake up to the gentle sound of

the waves lapping the shore 25


Get under

the skin of

these modern

metropolises and

discover them

from a fresh

perspective with

the help of our

clued-up insiders


TOKYO for getting

out there and active

Rina Yamamoto


jets around

the world as

cabin crew

for Emirates. She tells us

how to make the most of

Tokyo's fast paced fun

Tokyo is a modern city,

but its people are trying

to protect its traditions as

it grows. We all are very

excited to host the 2020

Summer Olympics [24 July

to 9 August] and Paralympic

Games [24 August to 6

September]. The Olympics

will feature 33 different

sports, with additional events

from baseball/softball,

karate, skateboarding, sport

climbing and surfing to see.

As you may expect,

everything is very well

organised. I would

recommend you explore

via the subway. It can seem

complicated the first time you

use it, but if you persevere

then it'll change your life

when it comes to navigating

the city easily and cheaply.

A metro card costs around

US$4 (500 yen) and you

can personalise it with your

name, which makes a nice

memento to take back home.

If you're staying in the

city centre then you can

also get around on a bicycle.

From the end of March, the

spring weather will entice you

outdoors. Or, take tour of the

city in a custom-built gocart

while dressed as your

favourite Super Hero, thanks

to Street Kart [] – just

remember to bring your

international driver's permit.

Our traditional sport is

Sumo wrestling, and a great

way to experience it is to

visit Ryogoku Kokugikan

[1 Chome-3-28 Yokoami],

a very old sumo hall that

captures the spirit of the

sport. It's not cheap to

get in, but it has a very

traditional ambience, with

some of the Japanese locals

wearing their kimonos

to watch the matches.

For art, one of my

favourites is the Mori

Building Digital Art Museum:

teamLab Borderless

[Odaiba Palette Town

2F], with its mesmerising

artworks that move, evolve,

and influence each other.

You'll need to reserve a

ticket before going as it's

usually sold out on the day.

In the evenings, get out

and discover the lively

nightlife. Friday night is

usually the busiest, when

everyone is in a good mood

because it's the weekend.

Shibuya is one of the most

popular destinations – make

sure you venture along

the little streets that feed

off this main hub to find

some lesser known gems.

Tokyo Disneyland is

also worth a visit for its

thrilling attractions, and

excellent hospitality. 27

TBILISI for the weekend

Tour guide

Mariam Nozadze

tells us how

to make the

most of a

mini break in Georgia's

vibrant capital city

There is so much to see in

Tbilisi so if your time here is

short and sweet, I’d suggest

you start by exploring

the Old Town. You can

walk there from Shavteli

Street, which begins at the

Berikaoba statue – there

are signs on the ground

that will point you in the

right direction. There’s a

lot to discover along the

way, including free mature

puppet performances

which take place at Rezo

Gabriadze Theatre daily

at noon and 7pm.

Another good stroll to

take is along Rustaveli

Avenue, which starts at

Freedom Square and

offers around 1.5km of

shops and restaurants to

pause at along the way.

Those with a head

for heights can ride the

Funicular railway up

Mount Mtatsminda for a

spectacular bird’s eye view

of the city. Go during the

early evening and settle

into one of the restaurants

or cafés at the top for

sunset views as you dine.

When it comes to food,

khinkali (Georgian

dumplings) and khachapuri

(cheese-filled bread) are

popular local dishes, but

I also urge you to taste

shkmeruli (chicken cooked

in milk and garlic sauce)

and chakapuli (a Georgian

stew made with lamb

or beef with sour green

plums) for something

a little bit different.

On your second day,

head to my favourite

lesser-known part of the

city, the Sololaki district,

which is a showcase of

traditional architecture.

It’s home to a number of

hidden gems, including

Writers' House Residency

on Machabeli St, which

has a beautiful Moorish

style hall and a dining area

with lovely views of the

garden. In addition, David

Agmashenebeli Avenue is a

great place to view 19thcentury

classical architecture

– you’ll find the nicest halls

on streets 36 and 93.

The best way to meet the

locals is to engage in supra

– the tradition of feasting.

Many local families throw

open their doors to visitors,

inviting you to join them for

a traditional meal complete

with lots of singing. It’s a

great way to get a sense

of the Georgian soul.

Before you jet off, head

to the ancient district of

Abanotubani to unwind in

the healing sulphur baths.

My favourite is the colourful

Chreli Abano Sulfur Bath

& Spa on the eastern bank

of the Mtkvari River.

This page clockwise from inset: An

aerial view of Tbilisi city centre; the

deliciously traditional khachapuri;

riding the Mtatsminda funicular


JEDDAH for art

Maya El Khalil, curator of

21,39 Jeddah Arts, tells us

how to get plugged into the

emerging arts scene in the city

An artwork by Ayman Zedani

The interest in Saudi art and artists is growing

and those of us involved in the arts scene in

the Kingdom are committed to developing

young artists and art audiences within the

city. Over the last decade, there have been

many milestones; one of them being the

foundation of the Saudi Art Council, chaired

by HRH Princess Jawaher bint Majed, who has

been supporting artists since 1999 through

the Al Mansouria Foundation. Today, there is

a broader support and acceptance of creative

and cultural activities, both socially and

financially. As such, there’s a huge amount of

activity both in Jeddah and the wider country.

As the gateway to Mecca, Jeddah has

welcomed pilgrims from all over the world

for centuries, so has always been a place

of cultural exchange. However, like the

rest of Saudi Arabia, it had very limited

arts infrastructure until very recently.

It's a great time to visit, as the seventh

edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts is taking place

from 28 January to 18 April, presenting a

fantastic opportunity to meet new artists

and engage with all those who make the

city’s creative community what it is today.

As well as the main programme – I Love You,

Urgently, which takes a look at the global

climate crisis through a series of individual

artistic explorations – you can visit various

artists’ studios as well as leading galleries.

Athr is my favourite (although I am biased

as I was the director there until 2016) while

Hafez Gallery, Hayy (opening soon) and

The Old Jeddah should all be on your wish

list. You will often find artists hanging out,

as well as friendly curators who would be

happy to give exhibition tours and make

introductions. Among the Jeddah-based

artists you should check out are: Zahrah

AlGhamdi, Nasser AlSalem, Filwa Nazer,

Dana Awartani, Basmah Felemban, and Ahad

Alamoudi. Lastly, the Jeddah Sculpture

Museum on the Corniche is sure to impress. 29

Mosque of Ibn Tulun

CAIRO for culture

Travel writer

Habiba Azab,

sings the praises

of Cairo's

cultural gems

It’s easy to fall in love with

a city when its history is

as captivating as Cairo’s.

Home to one of the oldest

civilisations in the world, the

sprawling capital blends the

best of old-world and newworld

Egypt, and the Grand

Egyptian Museum, set to

open this year, will put it all

on display. Located just 2km

from the Great Pyramids,

the cultural hub will be

the largest museum in the

world dedicated to a single

civilisation, with highlights

including the biggest

collection of Tutankhamun

relics ever displayed – talk

about a showstopper.

Until then, the Egyptian

Museum will keep you busy

with more than 12,000

ancient antiques and

artefacts depicting ancient

Egypt's glorious reign.

Expect royal mummies

and Tutankhamun’s

famous gold mask.

The booming rumble of

the muezzins' call to prayer

will eventually echo out from

soaring minarets beckoning

discovery. The fact that

Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As

was the first mosque ever

built in Africa makes it worth

a visit. Another must-see

is Mosque of Ibn Tulun,

which lies in the heart of the

old Islamic Cairo, still in its

original mud brick form.

Venture further along

to Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah

Al-Fatimi Street, for a

visual canvas of historic

Islamic architecture and

end your journey at The

City of the Dead, an Islamic

cemetery with the tombs of

some of the world’s most

legendary figures – it’s

hauntingly mesmerising.

No trip to Cairo is complete

without seeing the famous

Sufi dancers. The swirling

of colour is fascinating and

better yet, free. Just head

to the Al-Ghuri Mosque

for a dazzling show.

A snapshot of

the throne of


Twirling Sufi




VALENCIA for café culture

Louise Cronin,

coffee roaster

and owner of

Yugen coffee

roasters (@


lives in El Carmen

If you’ve visited Spain

before, you will know that

café culture is a huge feature

of Spanish life, and its third

largest city, Valencia, does

not disappoint. You can

barely walk 50 yards without

stumbling upon a bustling

terraza or a quaint café

replete with Spanish charm.

The traditional cafeterias,

steadily serving their café

solos or café con leches

to a largely local clientele,

are your typical Spanish

hangouts. People go for

a breakfast of coffee and

tostada (usually served

with tomato or olive oil and

salt) and then a couple of

hours later for the second

meal of the day, almuerzo.

Essentially brunch, this

normally comprises of

yet another coffee and

a bocadillo topped with

a huge slab of Spanish

tortilla. Cheap and cheerful,

traditional Spanish cafeterias

are popular with locals

and tourists alike who take

great delight in surveying

the former thinking

nothing of cracking open

a bottle of red to enjoy

alongside their morning

coffee and catch-up.

There’s a newly emerging

speciality coffee scene to

discover, too, with shops

and roasters popping up

across the city to offer

contrast to the traditional

dark roasted coffee that the

Spanish know and love. One

of my favourite stop-offs is

Blackbird in the Barrio of

Russafa [Carrer de la Reina

Na Maria], which is a Wi-Fifree

zone, as well as Tallat

Specialty Coffee [Carrer

de la Barraca], which is an

expert at matching flavour

notes to pastries. Dulce de

Leche Boutique's amazing

cake displays will leave you

drooling – the best, in my

opinion, is tucked away in

the new beachside hotspot

Mercabanyal, a container

unit-style hangout with local

food trucks and bars. Flying

Bean Coffee [Carrer del Dr.

Vila Barberà] is a little off

the beaten track but worth

the wander. The beans

are constantly changing,

and there is a small but

perfectly formed menu for

brunch, with wonderfully

passionate staff who’ll tell

you as much or as little as

you like about the beans.

In terms of what to order,

try the sweet milky drink,

horchata. It’s made from

tigernut milk and the locals

go crazy for it – especially

when it comes alongside a

portion of fartons (finger

shaped light pastries) top

dip into the horchata. If you

need an energy burst, opt

for a café solo or doble (for

hardened caffeine drinkers).

Due to its near-perfect

weather, Valencia is an

all-year-round city with its

terrazas open through the

seasons. The locals know

best so if you see a bustling

terrace stop and give it a try.

Sweet treats at Blackbird,

photo by Maximiliano Braun

View of the Puente del Mar bridge

Tallat Specialty Coffee 31

Bridgette Morphew and

Jason Lyon of Morphew

NEW YORK for vintage shopping

Bridgette Morphew,

founder and creative

director of vintage

emporium Morphew

(, tells

us how to shop the Big

Apple for sought after

fashion and accessories

through the decades

There’s a huge appetite for

rare and one-off pieces in

New York and as the number

of vintage stores and thrift

shops in the city has grown,

the quality of what you can

find has risen alongside. New

Yorkers generally gravitate

towards a more paired

down and simplistic style. In

turn, this makes the vintage

shopping scene unlike

anywhere else on the planet.

There is a certain classic

style of clothing and

accessories you can find

here, with pieces from the

60s to the 90s offering a

look that’s a cross between

Jackie Onassis and Lauren

Bacall. There were lots of

small and unknown designers

who made very high-quality

clothing for these women,

and those pieces can only be

found locally.

Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo,

photo by Scott Lynch



Grand Bazaar NYC

Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo,

photo by Scott Lynch

Each neighbourhood has its

subtly distinctive vibe and

you’ll find that the vintage

shops cater to the particular

aesthetic of the area they

are located in. Much of the

best vintage can be found

in Manhattan, but that’s no

reason to skip Brooklyn.

Some of the most popular

boutiques include New

York Vintage Inc [117 W

25th St] for rare items and

Procell [5 Delancey St]

for vintage t-shirts. At our

showroom in the Garment

District [260 West 36th

St], you’ll find antique and

vintage clothing with an

eye towards contemporary

wear. Across the water, 10

ft Single by Stella Dallas in

Williamsburg [285 N 6th St]

draws a dedicated following

– head to the back room for

the most desirable wares.

Once in a while the dealers

at the flea markets will have

a gem. Some of the best

to check out are the Grand

Bazaar NYC on the Upper

West Side where you can

browse more than 100 stalls.

Over at Brooklyn Flea (the

outdoor market returns for

the summer in April 2020)

you can seek out treasures

at its Pearl Plaza in

Dumbo site against a

dramatic backdrop of the

Manhattan Bridge.

Ultimately, when shopping

for vintage, look for pieces

that showcase the designer’s

touch, not just the label

slapped inside. While you

may have a budget in mind,

let your emotions guide you.

With exceptional vintage,

your chances of finding it

again are very slim so if you

love it, buy it. The very best

vintage pieces get snapped

up in a New York minute. 33

GOTHENBURG for getting

back to nature

Liz Zamorski, a

lawyer, lives in

Styrsö, Sweden

with her

husband and

daughter and is an expert

in the various ways to

enjoy the great outdoors

Gothenburg is the most

sustainable city in the

world, and also one of the

happiest. Nestled on the

west coast of Sweden,

both the sea and forest

are on the doorstep, and

eco travellers can visit

with a clear conscience

knowing that most of

the city’s offerings are

designed to reduce

their carbon footprint.

The best time to visit

is from June to August,

when you can enjoy about

17 hours of daylight and

beautifully crisp weather

that’s just perfect for

exploring the natural

surroundings. It’s also

the time of year when

wild strawberries and

blueberries reach their full

ripeness. There are lots

of guides on where to go

picking, or you can simply

take a walk in the forest and

go foraging for yourself.

The picturesque

Gothenburg Botanical

Garden, right in the heart

of the city, is the perfect

place for a picnic or a game

of frisbee on the rolling

lawns. Just across the

road is the central park of

Gothenburg, Slottsskogen

(literally meaning "the

castle forest"). Its winding

paths will take you on a

tour of Sweden's most

treasured flora. There’s

also a zoo, petting zoo,

and pony rides for around

US$2 (20 kronor) on offer

during the summer months.

Be sure to bring your

hiking boots to explore on

foot. I love hiking on the

islands, which are a part

of the Gothenburg metro

area. You can easily spend

a full day there enjoying

the natural environment

with a packed picnic.

Cycling is another popular

way to explore the city. You

can rent bikes all around

town thanks to the Styr &

Ställ programme. The first

30 minutes is free, and it's

reasonably priced thereafter.

If you’re feeling brave, take

a dip in the sea. It’s chilly

even during the summer, but

it gets the circulation going

and the water is so crisp

and clean. If you have time,

head to Hisingen island

on Göta Älv (in the heart

of downtown Gothenburg)

for a dip in the sustainable

swimming pool at Frihamnen

and the sauna created by

German architect collective

Raumblabor Berlin, which

is constructed largely

from recycled material.


Botanical Garden


AUCKLAND for families


Entrepreneur, mum to

twins and blogger Anna Reeve,


tells us why the city is a draw

card for families

Lion Rock

A spider monkey at

Auckland Zoo

Auckland is a great destination for a family

holiday. It has a bit of everything, from amazing

food and shopping to being able to soak up

the cosmopolitan atmosphere at Viaduct Basin,

getting out on the water, and taking a drive out

to see the beautifully wild West Coast beaches.

There's something for all ages.

For great views, journey to the top of the

Sky Tower. My kids love riding in the fast

elevators and walking along the glass floors.

Brave souls can skydive off the tower, or take

a walk along the 1.2 metre wide platform.

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton's, the only place

in New Zealand that rehabilitates rescued

turtles, is both educational and fun for little

ones. Similarly, Auckland Zoo is home to the

largest diversity of wildlife in Aotearoa. During

the school holidays, kids can even become

Junior Keepers for a day, to learn about the

daily duties of a zookeeper.

Right next to the zoological park is the

Museum of Transport and Technology

(MOTAT), which will fascinate you with its

showcase of achievements that have helped

shape New Zealand, from the 1800s to today.

A day out at the black sand beaches of the

West Coast is always great fun, with lot of

dunes to climb – you can even scale Lion Rock

if you're game.

Whoa! Studios amusement park in West

Auckland is a cool day out – it has a fabulous

restaurant for parents with an epic playground

out front.

If you want to venture off the beaten track,

hiking out in West Auckland is an adventure

my family always loves, as there are lots of

waterfalls to be found. Snorkelling at Goat

Island makes an amazing day trip too, as does

catching the ferry to Rangitoto Island, where

you can climb the dormant volcano to

the summit.

When it comes to getting around, the Link

bus service is really handy – you can’t get

lost as the route takes you on a big circle

around the inner Central Business District.

You can hire a car for any adventures further

afield. Just bear in mind that Auckland can

see all types of weather in one day, so always

be sure to pack accordingly. 35


A snapshot

of Oman's

rugged landscape


Stories from journeys

far and wide



OMAN p50 37

These pages:

Elephants at sunset in

Etosha National Park

This page: Traditional

houses in the small

mountain village of Bulnes

Opposite: The port town

of Llanes is famous for its

rugged coastline



Trundling through Asturias on an old narrow-gauge

railway, Andrew Eames discovers another Spain:

undefeated, unconquered and proud of its indie spirit 39

igh on a headland I

sit eating my picnic,

watched by hungryeyed,


gulls. To my right, a

solitary lighthouse

stands out against the sky. To my left

is a village of ochre roofs, stacked

in a natural amphitheatre. From

the seafood restaurants clustered

around its tiny main square, faint

sounds of conviviality percolate

upwards via staircases and alleys,

like the happy buzz of an expectant

audience before a concert. To reach

my solitary viewpoint I, too, had had

to drift through the village’s Escherlike

maze of streets, to the fading

echoes of plinking glassware. Now

I’m watching the slow flow of fishing

boats into the small port, as they seek

sanctuary from the heaving sea. Were

it not for the ochre of the roofs I could

be in Cornwall, I think, gazing on the

village, wedged into its coastal cleft.

Were it not for the fields of wheat

and eucalyptus inland, I could be in

Switzerland: against the distant haze

is a crest of forest and an impression

of mountains. And the cheese I’m

eating? I could swear it was Stilton.

It’s a confusion of identities, but it’s

making me fall in love with Spain

all over again. The cheese I’m eating

is Cabrales, the lovely village is

Cudillero, and my magical viewpoint

is the Mirador de la Estrecha.

This is Spain. Not the vision I’ve got

to know and love as a result of previous

trips – not the Spain of flamenco, tapas

and bullfighting; of paella, Rioja and

the rest. This is something different.

Sure, we’ve all visited enough times to

know it’s a country of diverse personas

– there’s an España for everyone,

whether you want Picassos or a perfect

tan – but still Asturias, the corner I

now find myself in, is a spectacular

surprise. This is a Spain that marches

to an altogether unfamiliar tune.

It was a cinch to reach my lunch

spot, starting from Asturias airport,

just a 15-minute skip along the coast.

My hotel was another surprise. The

Casona de la Paca is not the high-rise

resort typical of a Spanish costa, but

one of Asturias’s distinctive minichateaus

or Casas de Indianos. They’re







named after their wealthy creators,

who left Asturias for the New World

as paupers in the late 19th century,

made their fortune and returned

home to show off their success.

Their mansions are florid

showpieces, extravagantly tiled and

topped with fluted turrets, domes

and spires. Reworked as hotels, they

make compellingly individual places

to stay. The creator of Casona de la

Paca made his fortune in Cuba and

built his balconied mansion high

above the village, among the appleblossom

trees. In the light-filled

drawing room, I mingled politely with

guests over an early evening aperitif.

After the refined refuge of the

hotel, Cudillero couldn’t have made a

stronger contrast when I ambled down

on my first morning. Narrow lanes of

simple houses, many tumbledown,

displayed the hardships of making a

living in a ruggedly beautiful world:

the vicissitudes of fishing and farming

sent many people away. But as my

days unravelled, Cudillero, and what

lay around, seduced me. I hiked to

headlands and remote, immaculate

beaches, returning to the slow rhythms

of the port, where gravel-voiced exskippers

took little dogs ambling along

the quay, sharing their hard-earned

experiences with anyone who’d listen.



These pages,

clockwise from left:

The picturesque fishing

village of Cudillero;

the deliciously simple

scallops with lemon;

gaitas (bagpipes) are

a popular traditional

Asturian instrument;

Oviedo Cathedral has a

Gothic charm 41

I moved on aboard a narrow-gauge

railway, the Feve, built as a lifeline for

the villages it connects as it progresses

along the coast. Lurching into Cudillero’s

station, scattering cats off the platform,

it was a singular creation: I thought

it was an urban tram that had taken a

wrong turn. Cove-cradled beaches out

of one window, forests and meadows

through the other… It doodled from one

lonely station to another, past scents

of meadows, sounds of cowbells and

households with hórreos – grain stores

on four legs, to keep rats at bay, their

old beams grimacing with age. We

seemed to be following an unofficial

equator that divided the world of the

pescadores (fishermen) from that of

the vaqueiros, the cattle herders and

their celebrated cheesemaking.

Here was a journey slow enough to

encourage gossip, in my case with an

83-year-old retired merchant seaman

called Guillermo, with whom I had a

part-mime conversation that ranged

in subject matter from Oliver Twist to

the white cliffs of Dover, with a lot of

laughter along the way. It came to a sad

end when a crowd of teenagers filled the

train as it approached Oviedo, the capital

of Asturias. A boy sat between us, some

girls opposite, and when my new friend

made a couple of (I’m sure witty) remarks

to them about the ripped knees on their

jeans, they completely, deliberately,

cold-shouldered him. He bade me

farewell and moved off down the train.

This, combined with the subterranean

gloom of the main station, gave me a

bad feeling about Oviedo. And yet, an

hour later, I was in a cobbled square in

the heart of the city, leaning against

a statue of a woman and her donkey

selling milk, bagpipe music wafting over

the walls. The capital’s pedestrianised,

mostly 16th- and 17th century city centre

is unexpectedly handsome, and it makes

more than a hat-tip to the strong rural

traditions of its hinterland. It wasn’t just

the statue of the woman and her donkey.

Wandering, I’d already encountered

bronzes of nursing mothers, milkmaids,

fish-sellers and women making stew.

The familiar pompous street furniture of

Spain – equestrian aristocrats, enthroned

bishops – didn’t get a look-in here.

Sure, there was formality in the shape

of bishops’ palaces and churches in

peach-coloured stone, but there was

nothing museum-like about the historic

heart. I tracked down those bagpipes

to a couple of silk-gowned wedding

processions in the square before the

Gothic Catedral de San Salvador. By

late afternoon, the wedding scenes

had given way to a classic-car rally,

succeeded by another bagpiper band

later in the evening and the finish

of a 10k race the following morning.

It was like the city’s living room.

Oviedo, I discovered, lets its hair down

in Calle Gascona. Known as ‘El Bulevar

These pages,

clockwise from below:

Animals reflect in

the sunset in Etosha

National Park; an offroad

vehicle with roof

tent parked beneath a

starry sky

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



Opposite: Waves crash

into the rocks at

Cudillero Lighthouse

This page: The La Regenta

sculpture by Mauro Alvarez

is revered for its incredible

attention to detail





de la Cidra’, it’s lined with taverns serving

Asturian bean stews and ciders. If you

didn’t know what to expect, you might

think on first glance that the individuals

standing oddly motionless by the walls,

yellowish liquid splashing at their feet,

were doing something deeply anti-social.

But these are the cider waiters, who take

pride in pouring the first servings of the

bottle from a great height to properly

aerate it. Some of it inevitably misses.

I was back on the Feve again next day,

this time heading northeast back towards

the coast. The long skinny railway lines

ran alongside stream-watered meadows

and disused watermills, where the train

was whipped occasionally by trailing

brambles for daring to trespass on

their peaceful world. My destination

was a proper seaside resort and one

that proved to be uniquely Asturian,

bearing little resemblance to its cousins

on Spain’s more touristed costas.

Ribadesella spreads either side of

the River Sella, which rises in the Picos

de Europa. These mountains fill the

southern horizon, providing a barrier

between the coast and the rest of Spain,

and filling the Sella with water, so while

the rivers of many costas run dry, this one

teems with salmon. That mountainous

barrier had another effect: in the 8th

century, when Spain was overrun by

Moors from North Africa, it kept the

invaders at bay, something locals point

to when they claim that Asturi is the

‘real Spain’: the unconquered Spain,

Spain at its most independent-minded.

Certainly Ribadesella had a flavour all

of its own. The right bank is the original

town, with fishing boats, restaurants and

pilgrims passing through on the Camino

de Santiago. Across the bridge I found the

resort, on a sandy spit, purpose-built in

the early 20th century by migrants with

a penchant for turrets and castellations.

Extravagant villas line the promenade,

some private, some now hotels.

The resort was meant to be for the

unhealthy and the wealthy – King Alfonso

XIII used to stay. Now I found it an enclave

of vintage chic. Without the wriggle

room to grow, or the scorchio weather to

attract big numbers, it is the kind of place

where children might still wear sailor

suits, dressed by their nannies. From my

seaview balcony in the tiled and turreted

Villa Rosario, the most flamboyant of its

Casas de Indianos, I could look down on

the sweeping promenade that backs the

Playa de Santa Marina, and out to where

a single sail dawdled its way across the

bay. I felt I should be writing poetry before

a late-evening sashay along the prom.

If I were to complete my Asturian

journey I needed to make one last stop,

by bus – up the Sella River, about 25km

inland to Cangas de Onís. Billed as

the gateway to the Picos de Europa, it

couldn’t have been more different from

the coast. The delicate rib of its Roman

bridge, arching across the tumbling

Sella, framed a fresco of snow-topped

mountains. Wood smoke, rather than sea

salt, fragranced the air; rafting, quadbiking,

canoeing and canyoning were

touted on every street corner; vaqueiros

in mud-spattered cars lurched along the

main street and a much younger breed

of tourist was tucking into bean stew

and 24-hour breakfasts in the cafés.

This is most decidedly hill country,

but visitors are here for more than

adrenaline sports. It is a place of

pilgrimage. Just up the road, in 722AD,

the Moors were finally defeated at the

Battle of Covadonga and the Reconquista

began. It is the source of Asturias’s

claim to be the country’s undefeated

soul. I breathed in the air and realised,

whatever the niceties of that claim, in

this region I’d found a place with an

irresistible individualistic streak. Another

country. Another Spain. What’s more,

here I’d reached the very wellspring.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit 43



These pages: Marea

By Day restaurant at

Montage Los Cabos





The vast Mexican peninsula

of Baja California has starry

associations and stylish new digs,

as Andrew Eames discovers 45


aja California, one of the

longest peninsulas in the

world, hangs like a relaxed

arm by the torso of Mexico.

It's where the ultra-wealthy

come to be pampered.

And they do that well here. I had my first

four-handed massage, a 120-minute,

perfectly choreographed ballet of knuckles

and Popeye forearms that, I was told,

would make me feel like a new person.

I did, albeit a slightly flatter one, like

a ball of partially rolled-out pastry.

Los Cabos, the catch-all for the twin

towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del

Cabo, at the tip of the peninsula, became

a hideaway for the rich and famous in

the 1950s, when John Wayne would fly

down from Hollywood in a propeller

plane to weekend at the elegant hacienda

that is now the One&Only Palmilla.

This area, where the Sea of Cortez and

the Pacific Ocean meet, was a wild

desert of elephant cacti, vast beaches

and rusty-fissured canyons. It hasn't

changed much, apart from the influx of

luxury hotels, which began to open in

the 1990s and have boomed in the past

five years; recent newcomers include the

Four Seasons and the Waldorf Astoria.

And, as these grand palaces have risen

from the desert, so have the prices.

I was staying at the Montage Los Cabos

where rooms with huge terraces, giant

beds and colour palettes of pale stone

and blues sit above meticulously mown

lawns and infinity pools that look out over

the opalescent water of Santa Maria Bay.

Sandwiched between butterscotch cliffs

that glow at sunrise, this is one of the

area's few swimming beaches – most of

the Pacific ones are blighted by powerful

rip currents. Besides the massage and

lounging in the spa, I kayaked at dawn,

watched the release of 250 baby turtles on

the beach and ate fine-dining versions of

shrimp tacos al pastor, all while rubbing

shoulders with actresses, former US

senators and Hollywood producers.

I could have stayed cocooned in

the resort, but when Adele, Bono and

Leonardo DiCaprio weekend in Los

Cabos, they eat at Flora Farms, an allorganic

restaurant, farm and spa spread

across mango groves in the foothills

of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains.

Its 25 acres bubble with Americans

holding a wineglass in one hand and a

bottle in the other as they trail between

posh boutiques and cookery classes.

I settled for a lunch of sea bass with

farro, grape tomatoes and caramelised

garlic beneath the red corrugated-iron

barn roof, festooned with fairy lights

and strings of miniature sombreros.

Next door, hidden in the jungle, Acre is

another high-profile hotspot: a hip bar and

restaurant in moulded concrete, sprinkled

with blue-patterned handmade tiles. Chef

Alexander Branch has worked with the

Mexican celebrity chef Enrique Olvera, and

the roast lamb rack zinged with pumpkinseed

and mint romesco. If I had booked

one of the treehouse suites, I'd have had

more chance of spotting high-profile

guests such as Tim Allen, Sophie Turner

and Adam Levine. But being a mere mortal

surrounded by the glitterati is tough, so

I retreated to the new Nobu Hotel Los

Cabos, west of Cabo San Lucas. This lowkey-luxe

spot from the eponymous chef

has the clean lines and bold angles of a

modern-art museum. The minimalist

rooms, though, feel more Japanese than

Mexican, with honey-coloured wooden

screens, cream-stone sculptures, black

accents and deep Japanese bathtubs set

by a feature wall encrusted with pebbles.

I lounged in the maze of dark blue

pools, the crash of Pacific rollers in my

ears, slathered myself in freshly cut

aloe vera and sat sweating in the steam

room. Then I ate tuna tartare with

caviar at the signature restaurant as

dragonflies darted around my ankles.

The only thing not relaxing about

luxury hotels is the bill when you check

out, but there's another side to Baja that

won't bust the budget. An hour's drive

north, up the west coast of the peninsula,

is another duo of towns, El Pescadero and

Todos Santos, which make up a boho-surf

enclave and come at a far lower price.

They share 300 days of annual sunshine

and the same stretches of sand: Playa

Los Cerritos and Playa San Pedrito, both

a short drive away, are two of the best.

It takes barely five minutes on the





This page, clockwise

from above: An aerial

view of Cabo San

Lucas; surfboards

outside a rental shop

on Cerritos Beach;

sea bass fillet on a bed

of vegetables 47


desert highway for the buildings of Los

Cabos to peel away and the car windows

to fill with hulking green hills, the

sparkling Pacific peeking through gaps.

Shrubland is punctuated with ridged

cacti holding arms to the heavens, and

makeshift roadside taco shacks appear

in bursts of bright fuchsia and yellow.

I was heading to Playa Los Cerritos,

a beach village at the end of a rutted

dirt road just south of El Pescadero. It's

scattered around a big boomerang of

white sand, with a sheer cliff topped

by an old-fashioned hacienda in yellow

and vermilion. This is now a boutique

hotel with a public whale-watching

bar where, from March to November,

you can see grey, humpback and sperm

whales breaching in the ocean below.

I booked a two-bedroom casita

at Cerritos Villas, a complex with a

hot tub, a pool and a pizza bar, five

minutes from the sand. Cerritos

is the only beach for miles where

it's safe to swim, and surfers come

from all over to ride waves here

and at San Pedrito, up the coast.

I lazed on the sand as dudes with

deep tans touted surf lessons from

beneath flimsy gazebos stacked with

surfboards. I jumped waves and watched

a vaquero ride a one-eyed, flaxenhaired

horse through the shallows. I

ate deep-fried fish tacos with avocado

salsa and swigged icy drinks from the

Barracuda Cantina, behind the beach.

There's a buzz about this area

that's partly down to the opening of

the 32-room Hotel San Cristobal –

brainchild of the trendy Bunkhouse

Group – about 10 minutes up the

highway towards Todos Santos.

It was there I sat and blissfully

ate breakfast by whitewashed cubes

surrounding a pool lined with bottlegreen

tiles, and watched fishermen

walk from their blue-striped boats

up Punta Lobos beach, trailing their

catch and rods in clear plastic bags.

Then I hit the road to Todos Santos.

This dusty grid of streets, crisscrossed

overhead with fluttering coloured papel

picado bunting, is one of the country's

pueblos magicos (magical towns),

chosen for their cultural richness – and

magical it is. It has a Wild West feel,

with sun-baked pavements outside onestorey

buildings in rainbow colours,

and surf shops and art galleries.

I slurped a strawberry paleta – a

traditional ice lolly made with

crushed fresh fruit – from La Paloma

while wandering around the shops. I

bought a kaleidoscopic pelican print

from a Mexico City artist in the La

Sonrisa de la Muerte gallery and

flamboyantly decorated pottery skulls

lusted over by anyone who has been

to Mexico, or seen Disney's Coco.

Back at Playa Los Cerritos, I decided

it was time for another massage.

Matilda set up her table on the sand

and I got an energetic rub-down –

the sea air whipping around me as

the sun slipped beneath the surf. It

took half the hands of my first Baja

spa session, but it was also 6% of the

cost. I think we can call it even.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit

These pages, from left

to right: A humpback

whale takes a giant leap;

the upper pool firepit at

Montage Los Cabos

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






His childhood imagination fired by his mum’s tales of Arabia, Mike

MacEacheran finally gets to repay the debt — with a road trip for

both of them, along Oman’s remote Route 66



ophins appeared suddenly

on the starboard

bow, followed by a toddler-like

shriek. Then

a porpoise propelled

itself into the air, spinning

above the pewter sea, checked by a

parental, reassuring ooh. When it bellyslammed

back down, it was followed by

a familiar, gurgly aah. Yet it wasn’t my

little one doing the goo-goo gaga-ing –

it was my 73-year-old mum. Agog and

aflutter, she let out another squeak and

dangled a hand over the side as Captain

Jasim killed the engine and we drifted.

‘Look, look!’ she yelled. ‘My God! A

whale!’ Infused with the magic light of

dawn, the arrival of a humpback felt

like a moment arranged just for her.

We were off the coast of Muscat,

floating on a glassy sea – mother

and son together – and I could sense

something awakening inside her. For

years mum had dreamed of visiting

‘real Arabia’. The idea had been hers

since reading One Thousand and One

Nights as a girl: the Scheherazade tales

and sand dunes, the forts, wadis and

wild, unpredictable adventures. She

wanted ‘the full Arabian’. Everything,

in fact, bar the glitz that the Gulf

has now become renowned for.

Now a granny, she deserved a treat,

a holiday. She had been introducing

my two-year-old son to the enchanted

deserts of Arabia in the same way she’d

schooled me in the magical realms of

Ali Baba and Aladdin. By taking her

on an expedition to Oman I would

help inspire her imagination – she

would feel the sand under her feet

and the desert wind in her hair.

Oman is a throwback to a different

age. It feels richer than elsewhere

in Arabia. The rest have gussied

themselves up with utopian towers,

star-spangled museums, sci-fi

stadiums and hyper-designed hotels.

The Omanis and Bedouin tribes,

custodians of the Empty Quarter desert

(or Rub’ al Khali), do not slot into

that narrative. Even Muscat, Oman’s

time-stopped capital, with its palaces,

frankincense-selling souk and spindly

minarets, is nothing like other Arabian

megapolises. Oman’s amazing wildlife

makes it a world apart, too, with

camels, leopards, oryx, green turtles,

dolphins and, yes, even the odd whale.

We both craved an unforgettable road

trip along Arabia’s Route 66, down

the Indian Ocean coast. We’d stay in

tented camps on the edge of the Rub’ al

Khali, before looping inland to return

north. Taking a look at Google Maps, we

saw an improbable union of sand, sea

and asphalt. Highway 17 from Muscat

morphs into a rough coastal road that

unfurls south at Al Khaluf, the end of

Arabia. A foolhardy journey, my dad










These pages, from inset: Wadi

Bani Khalid; a fisherman heads

out to work the waters close

to Muscat; spinner dolphins off

the coast



had tut-tutted when I was planning

the trip; and yet, indisputably, the

perfect thread linking the storied

landscapes I’d grown up with. These

places had meaning for mum and me.

We picked up the Land Cruiser in

Muscat. As we left the airport behind,

we saw the quick transition from

city limits to open road and yawning

desert. It made mum a little panicky.

‘You’re sure we have all we need?’ she

asked, anxiously. Yes, we had all we

needed. That’s how easy it is to strike

out on your own adventure in Oman:

the roads aren’t intimidating, and the

distances on the map are manageable.

Best of all, the sights will leave you

awestruck: toothpaste-blue sea through

one window, golden desert through

the other, and a landscape speckled

with watchtowers and dhow yards.

We struck south, crossing the Al

Hajar Mountains that separate the

high desert plateau from the scorching

coast, reaching Quriyat, the first in a

string of cute fishing villages along

the seashore. The sky was bright

and clear and pale golden streaks

flooded through the windscreen.

The rippling mountains to the west

sparkled like diamonds, hiding Wadi

Dayqah Dam deep within their folds.

Its soaring reservoir, a timely lesson

in desert survival, was the first of

many detours – as we quickly learned,

there is as much to see in Oman’s

interior as there is on the coast.

That afternoon, we wound up at the

irresistible natural swimming pools of

Wadi Tiwi, a gorge-cut oasis accessed

through wild date palms and bushy

plantations, our 4WD splashing down

a swollen riverbed gravel road. Heavy

rains had arrived the week before and

the ensuing rush down from mountains

surprised us: an off-road Top Gear

moment. The light glistened on the

river and after a boulder-hopping walk,

a natural lido appeared. For a moment

we found ourselves completely lost

in a mother-son water fight. Already,

mum was finding her Oman mojo.

That first night we spent further

along the coast under canvas at Ras

Al Jinz, easternmost Arabia: the last

point before the road meets the sea.

Our home was an eco-tent unlike any

I’d stayed in before, let alone mum. 53

More Aladdin’s Cave than Glastonbury

pitch, it concealed comforts we never

expected in the middle of nowhere: a

rocket-sized air-con unit, a plasma TV

and, amid the embroidered cushions

where we could play at being Bedouin

royalty, an armoire and treasure

chest. Best of all, to complete the

Dubai-in-the-desert luxe, there was

a pummelling en-suite shower. This

eyrie of ours stood on the edge of a

craggy peninsula, a zip-open door

revealing the headland ablaze at sunset.

We were here to see a nesting site for

endangered green turtles – a bold project

in Omani tourism set up to educate

local fishermen and protect the annual

arrival of 30,000 of the sea creatures

upon the surrounding beaches. The

reptiles are a constant worry for the

people of Ras Al Jinz; so much so, that

no wandering on the beach is permitted

any more after dark. As a result, the

armoured, elegant females can pull

themselves up the shore in peace to

lay and cover their eggs with flipper

shovels of sand. To that end, zealously

controlled escorted torch-lit tours keep

human interference to a minimum.

Under the light of a crescent moon,

Ras Al Jinz Beach turned the colour of

silver. Stars splashed across the sky and

my mum guided my eyes to a twinkling

‘W’ in the sky: Cassiopei. We followed

the torchlight down to the beach. The

sparse vegetation and dunes thinned out

until all that was before us was a black

shadow of sand and the thundering

swells of the sea, somewhere in the dark.

The wind blew. Soon, a monstrous 135kg

turtle appeared, only her glimmering

shell visible in the halo of light as she

waddled up the beach to begin her ritual.

In what seemed a heartbeat, half a dozen

other turtles arrived, patrolling the surf

as if on the lookout for trespassers, all

to bury the next generation under the

sand, away from the burning days. If

it hadn’t been so dark, I know I’d have

seen mum wide-eyed with wonder.

Gradually, our odyssey unravelled

along the coastline, the two of us

transfixed by the hot flush of colours

and shades. At Al Ashkharah, we swam

off an extraordinary beach, reeling

under the visual assault of blue on gold,

then watched cowl-wrapped fishwives

mending nets on the shoreline where

Bronze Age tools and cairn burial sites

from early Islamic settlements have

been found. We laughed over an ice

factory in the middle of the desert (for

packing fish? Icing drinks? Cooling

down camels? We couldn’t guess). We

sipped syrupy cardamom coffee from

roadside vendors. We lost count of

how many hip-waggling camels we

saw before entering the desert proper.

The further we explored, the further

we felt we were travelling back in time,

back to when we were both younger. In

these hours, we passed only a handful

of other vehicles. In quieter moments,

I could see my mum processing the

desert world she had never seen before.

The visions of Ibn Battuta, Wilfred

Thesiger and Lawrence of Arabia.

One afternoon, abruptly, the coastal

road veered inland from the white

sugar dunes of Al Khaluf, our farthest

stop south, and we struck north on

Route 32 into a landscape embedded

with multi-layered dunes and barebranched

acacia trees. Mum’s dream

was to become reality. By midafternoon,

our road was scrambling up

and over itself into the great nowhere

of the Wahiba Sands, in search of a

desert camp at the end of an off-road

track. We corkscrewed over a ridge into

a landscape that became starker and

more savage: barren, desert country,

coloured-in with golden warmth and

yellow fuzziness. Confronted with

its epic scale, mum visibly glowed.

Out of this nothingness came the Sama

Al Wasil Desert Camp, looking like

something a child would draw: peaked

sandbanks, skirted by a clutter of pretty

Bedouin tents and huts around a large

courtyard. The promise of tussocky

dunes to climb, fire-pit lamb barbecues

to savour, zero light pollution for

perfect stargazing and only two camels

(Sohan and Shahin) to share it with was

both evocative and acutely Arabian.

Sunrise, on our final morning, found

us on camels traversing a sweeping

dune heading deeper into the Rub’ al

Khali. We had risen in the dark to avoid

the heat of the day and followed our

white-robed Bedouin guide, Amur, for a

couple of hours. The higher we climbed,

the more I could sense my mum’s

blissful contentment. Sand whipped

our legs and stubborn waves of grain

crowded us from all sides. Sunlight

struck our faces with such force

that my mum’s billowy keffiyeh

momentarily recast her as a desert

explorer, a vision enhanced by the

sweat and sand in my eyes. This was

it, her One Thousand and One Nights

moment – astride a camel, hair

mussed-up, conquering magical,

storybook dunes. It was wonderful,

windswept desert perfection. And

a tribute, even if I say so myself,

to my being a pretty good son.

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call

800 DNATA or visit

Credit: Stephen Doig / The Telegraph / The Interview People



These pages, left to right:

Camels drinking in Wadi

Darbat river; a green turtle

crawling back to the sea

after having laid eggs on

the Ras Al-Jinz beach









It may be a mere speck in the Indian Ocean,

but this idyllic island will surely cast a spell

on you with its wondrous treasures

This page: A world of underwater

wonders await discovery

Opposite: Panoramic view of the

island; Constance Prince Maurice,

Mauritius; The Wellness Festival

Mauritius at Heritage Resorts



Tucked away on the edge of

a sheltered leafy peninsula

on Mauritius’ east coast,

Constance Prince Maurice,

Mauritius will charm you

with its beauty and calming

ambience. Home to luxurious

palm-shaped suites, a

sprawling pool, lavish spa

and spectacular floating

restaurant offering the rich,

warm flavours and spices

of the region on a plate, it’s

no wonder this romantic

retreat is named after Prince

Maurice Van Nassau, who

pioneered the spice trade in

the Indian Ocean.

Alternatively, you can

enjoy a good night’s sleep

cocooned amid the oldest

and largest tea plantation

on the island at the cosy

Bubble Lodge. The resort's

semi-transparent eco-domes

give you an unfettered view

of the wandering clouds and

twinkling stars above. And

with the dawn chorus as

your only companion, you

can stretch out and sink into

the easy rhythm of Mauritian

life. Add a gourmet

restaurant and oodles of

activities to try, and you've

got the perfect escape.

Lapped by the ocean,

with the jagged La Morne

Mountain in full view, The


Unplug and enjoy a stress-free holiday

at these stand-out abodes

St. Regis Mauritius Resort

is set on one of the island's

most stunning and sheltered

stretches of blond sand.

Soaring ceilings, four-poster

beds and vast terraces add

a touch of classic glamour,

whereas Iridium Spa is daringly

contemporary. Be sure to

explore the world-famous One

Eye surfing spot – it's ideal for

kite surfing adventures.

Refurbished by British

designer Kelly Hoppen, the

edgy LUX* Belle Mare Resort

Mark Twain said it best: “Mauritius was made first, and then

heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius”. This

island nation of whispering sugar-cane fields, chirping birds

that soar above lush forests, and days spent lazing in the

shade of coconut trees was once a haunt for pirates. Today,

it's a tropical paradise with powdery white-sand beaches

lapped by turquoise waters, and an impressive collection

of five-star resorts. The gamut of watersports, luxury spas,

top-flight golf courses and gourmet dining spots make

it hard to leave your hotel but there’s so much more to

discover beyond, and you’ll be rewarded with even the tiniest

attempts at exploration. Whether it's hiking through the

island’s mountainous terrain, exploring the French colonial

architecture, admiring the botanical gardens, horse riding

through the surf, or taking part in nature walks, adventure is

never far away.

& Villas promises an

element of sweet surprise

at every corner – think

chocolate workshops

hosted by pastry chef

extraordinaire Pascal

Galette. From the

thatched roofed villas

dressed in soothing

whites, to the sweetscented

spa treatments,

spectacular roster of

restaurants, and attentive

service, the resort is sure

to win you over.






is returning

to the

country this year (22-

24 May), with C Beach

Club of Heritage

Resorts hosting a roster

of experiences and

workshops that offer

the perfect excuse

for a rejuvenating

break. Set amid serene

surroundings between

the reef and a nature

reserve, the festival

will offer six wellness

experiences with

over 60 workshops

combining mind-body

practices, ways to

connect with nature,

holistic health and

personal development.

Whether its forest

bathing, meditation,

personal development

workshops, art

exhibitions, or breathing

exercises – all led by

experts in their field –

you can work your way

towards improving your

wellness, and boosting

your mood at the same

time. By the end of your

holiday, you'll feel like a

whole new person. 57



Get up off your sunlounger

and discover more

Beyond the pristine

beaches and turquoise

seas, Mauritius is a melting

pot of different cultures

well worth investigating.

Make the Natural History

Museum the first stop


Trying the tasty street food, such as dholl puri, is a must. Mauritians go starry-eyed at

talk of this delicious treat made of traditional flatbread and filled with spicy ground split

peas, and Dewa & Sons makes the best on the island. For lunch, look no further than bol

renversé, Mauritius’ magic bowl. As the name suggests, the tasty dish is an upside-down

mix of chicken, stirred vegetables and rice packed into a bowl to form a dome topped

with a perfectly oozing fried egg. And if you’re looking for the ultimate way to quench

to your thirst on a hot summer's day, alouda (made with milk, basil seeds and agar-agar

jelly) is a lifesaver. Port Louis Central Market serves it by the bucketful.

This page from top: Dive into

the deep blues of Mauritius;

L'Aventure Du Sucre

Opposite from top: Laze

by the beach; the stunning

red fody

on your list. Not only is

it the oldest museum in

the country, but also the

oldest in Southern Africa,

preserving the richest

zoological collection

of the Indian Ocean as

well as various artefacts

that reflect the island's

history and art. Venture

further down memory

lane to the heart of the

island’s colonial past at the

Mauritius Photography

Museum. Hidden behind

the cobbled pathways

of Port Louis, the 18th

century building is home

to thousands of historical

pictures taken during the

18th and 19th centuries.

Make sure to end your

trip on a sweet note and

learn more about the

deeply intertwined history

of sugar and Mauritius

at L'Aventure du Sucre.

Housed in a former sugar

factory, it tells the story

of the sugar industry in

Mauritius, with lots of

different varieties to taste.



Whatever your skill level, there's a dive for you


Blue Bay Marine Park

With a clear visibility (up

to 50 metres), this park

feels like a bottomless

pool of marine treasures.

With stunning corals and

colourful fishes gliding

through the shallow waters,

it's the perfect spot for

beginners and those

looking for a gentle dive

experience. Prepare to

enter a Finding Nemo style

wonderland, with clown

fish, reef sharks, moray eels,

and batfish swimming right

beside you.


The Cathedral at


Located off Flic-en-Flac

on the western coast, this

site features a stunning

28-metre arch and a

vertical chimney that

allows you to approach the

most dazzling species of

marine life. As you descend

deeper into the underwater

cave, you'll see a stream

of light seep through the

arch illuminating the entire

aquatic landscape. In the

crevasses, scorpion fish

and schools of jacks hide.


Whale Rock at

Grand Baie

The varying depths of the

site make this dive a bit

tricky, but the exceptional

diversity of reef life on

display makes it worth the

effort. From angelfish and

triggerfish to small moray

eels, parrotfish and labre

fish, colours swirl around

you. Occasionally in the

summer, it's possible to

see some of the larger

species of fish that linger

here, such as swordfish and

hammerhead sharks.



Soak up the rays on the sand



This little piece of turquoise paradise boasts over

4km of sandy bliss. Sun worshippers can sunbathe

under the glowing sun while keen golfers can

perfect their swing at the Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club

while lapping up the views.


Enjoy an exotic beach break while ticking off a

cultural must-see at this stunning hotspot. Here,

you’ll find miles of white sand and crystal clear

waters set against the backdrop of a UNESCO

World Heritage Site, Le Morne Brabant mountain.

THE SECRET SPOT: Riambel Beach

This hidden gem rises out the sapphire ocean to

welcome you to an untouched haven. The unspoilt

beach could be your best bet if you want a more

secluded affair.

Words: Habiba Azab

Ask a local

Experience the

Mauritian way of life

through the eyes

of Anantara Iko

Mauritius Resort &

Villas' streetwise

guru Lionel Athion

“For a true taste of Mauritian life, set

off on a journey to discover the island's

original capital, Mahebourg. The small

town is relentlessly charming and is all

about the simple pleasures in life. Take

a stroll along the streets and admire

the historic wooden creole houses,

scenic waterfront promenades and

buzzing markets, all while soaking up

the spectacular views of the looming

Lion Mountain. The town's multicultural

population is evident in its many

churches, mosques and colourful Hindu

temples. Be sure to check the Monday

market off your must-see list. Brimming

with exotic spices, souvenirs, pooja

offerings, woven baskets and silks, it's

a feast for all the senses. You can also

discover remnants of the 1774 shipwreck

at the National History Museum, which is

located in Chateau Gheude, an old French

colonial country house built in 1772.”



Walk with lions at…

Casela Nature Parks.

Take a walk on the wild

side (quite literally)

and get to experience

first-hand what it’s like

to be part of the pride.

Under the supervision

of expert rangers, you’ll

get to enjoy a stroll

alongside the Kings of

the Jungle, touch them

and learn all about their

natural habitat.

Admire endangered

bird species at… Black

River Gorges National

Park. Whether it’s the

Mauritian flying fox or

the vibrant red fody,

echo parakeet, pink

pigeon, or olive whiteeye,

there’s a lot for

twitchers to keep an eye

out for here. Considered

the largest protected

forest of Mauritius, the

national park is home

to over 300 species of

flowering plants, nine

species of birds that are

unique to Mauritius,

as well as spellbinding

waterfalls (the lush

Alexandra Falls is

particularly striking).

Feed giant tortoises

at… La Vanille

Nature Park.

Embrace the rare

chance to feed, pet

and play with these

marvellous creatures

while watching

Nile crocodiles go

about their day. The

park also houses a

rare collection of

butterflies and other

brightly coloured

insects (about 23,000

species in total),

making it one of the

most fascinating in

the world. 59



Call of the wild

Journey into the desert dunes for a close-up look

at the wildlife thanks to these luxury resorts


Watch falcons take to

the sky and show off

their hunting prowess

at Qasr Al Sarab Desert

Resort by Anantara. This

Instagrammable resort

invites you to admire the

majesty of the birds as

they soar overhead in a

thrilling faux hunt alongside

speedy saluki dogs. After an

exhilarating show, you can

set off across the shifting

sands in a four-wheel drive to

a Bedouin-style camp where

you can feast on traditional

fare while admiring the

breathtaking landscape.


Saddle up and gallop

across the rolling sand

dunes on an Arabian

stallion at Jumeirah Al

Wathba Desert Resort &

Spa. Watch the sun set as

the desert breeze washes

over you, with nothing but

the sound of the soft tread of

hooves breaking the silence.

Plus, as night falls, you can

embark on a nocturnal

animal hike under the

stars to see creatures that

only come out after dark,

including desert scorpions

that glow in the light of your

infrared torch.


For a safari-like

experience, head to

Sir Bani Yas Island to

admire the free-roaming

wildlife that thrives in the

protected Arabian Wildlife

Park. The dreamy Desert

Islands Resort & Spa by

Anantara gives you a front

row seat to all the animal

action. Set off on a Nature

and Wildlife Drive in one of

the few vehicles allowed on

the island to marvel at the

prized Arabian oryx and crane

your neck as the giraffes

wander by. To find out more,


Photo: Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa



2020 WITH




Book at

call 800 DNATA (36282) or

speak to us in-store

Download our app

| Follow us on



Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel

British charm blends seamlessly with Dubai's signature glamour at this luxury resort


Teaming classic British hospitality

with a dash of contemporary bling, this

beachfront resort awes with its Arabian

Sea vistas that make for a relaxing stay.

Each room has been elegantly styled

with subtle, earthy tones and antique

furniture. What's more, the service

is royally impeccable, with optional

butler service. Luxurious Floris

amenities add a welcoming touch.


In a city awash with A-list Indian cuisine,

Khyber certainly holds its own. Straight

from the heart of Mumbai, the restaurant

will spice up your evening with its wide

array of authentic North Indian flavours.

Alternatively, you can ramp up the

glamour by tucking into a hearty steak

at West 14th Steakhouse, followed by

a nightcap at Dukes bar, which can be

shaken or stirred to your liking.


Bask in the gentle winter sunshine on the

private beach or chill in the infinity pool

while lapping up the gorgeous city views.

Serious swimmers can head to the hotel's

indoor pool to rack up some lengths. Plus,

if you're a parent in need of some quiet

time, you can call upon Dukesy Kids' Club

to entertain the little ones while you take

the chance to explore, or simply catch up

on those zzz's on a sunlounger.

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




JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

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


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 Executive Lounge.


Foodies are spoilt for choice with more

than 14 dining venues on offer. Splurge

on a unique sky-high dinner at Prime68

steakhouse before heading for a glitzy

nightcap at Vault. To spice it up, Masala

Library by Jiggs Kalra serves traditional

Indian recipes with a contemporary twist.

Meanwhile, the recently opened Garden

invites you to a fiesta of culinary delights

with its zesty Latin American flavours.


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. Signature hammam treatments,

bespoke facials and holistic rituals draw

upon the spa's Arabian heritage for a topto-toe

rejuvenating experience.

To find out more, call +971 4 414 0000 or visit


Taco Society

Become part of this uber trendy society as you

taste your way through 7 different kinds of tacos

and get rewarded for coming back for more!

Every Tuesday from 5.30pm until midnight.

AED 15 per taco.

Hola chicas!

Enjoy unlimited selected drinks and 40% off on food

Every Wednesday, from 7pm until 10pm.

Latino Gusto

Experience a proper backyard fiesta with tacos,

churrasco on the table and live guacamole making.

This fun evening will be full of Latino vibes, great

music and of course - delicious beverages!

AED 195 per person for food only.

AED 295 for a special Latin American beverage package

Every Thursday from 7pm until 11.30pm

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, Dubai, UAE | T +971.4.414.3000 | gardendxb



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On the website you can also sign up to the dnata

newsletter and receive more offers direct to your

inbox. T&Cs apply.




Taj Mahal, India

"I took this photograph two years

ago. It was my first time visiting

the Taj Mahal, and I had no idea

that tripods were not allowed in.

So when I reached the entrance at

sunrise, I was denied entry. At that

point I decided to walk around

and explore, which is when I saw

a local man offering short boat

rides. There was a couple standing

in line and I asked if I could join

them. What makes me love this

photo is that it's a reminder that

everything happens for a reason.

If I had never been denied entry, I

would have never been able to take

this photograph, nor would I have

become friends with the couple,

whom I'm still in touch with to

this day."

Travel and photography fan

Elliott Chau loves to travel

because: "It allows you to

discover more about yourself

and the world around you."

Follow him at @LifewithElliott,



in high-res jpeg format, along

with the stories behind them to and you

may end up being featured

on this page


Now win!




Stay up-to-date with all that’s

happening on our social channels

and join in the conversation by

sharing your experiences. Here’s

where you can find us…


Double tap our dreamy

destination shots and tag

us in your images for a chance to

feature on our wall.


Stay up to date with travel

stories as we post them.


Make the most of your

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by sharing your best travel

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A two-night stay at Anantara

The Palm Dubai Resort

Occupying a premium spot on the East Crescent of Palm

Jumeriah, this Thai-style resort is famous for its luxurious overwater

villas. Guests can enjoy dining at Pan Asian restaurant

Mekong, or rejuvenate with a traditional hammam treatment at

the spa. We've teamed up to offer one lucky reader a two-night stay

complete with a spa treatment. To find out more and to enter, visit (terms & conditions apply).


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.


Take a peek

inside these top

hotels and resorts on

your doorstep, and

then book your next

mini break.

3Insider guides.

Check out our


travel edits of some

of the most popular

holiday destinations

on our radar. 71

Suite dreams

Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a suite

that has a character and style all of its own


Parker Palm Springs, California

A decadent retreat in a tropical Palm Springs setting, the beautifully deigned Junior Suite at this

lush resort has everything you need for a blissful stay. Throw open the terrace doors and let the

balmy breeze wash over you as you laze on the four-poster bed, or unwind in one of the vibrant

red easy chairs with your feet propped up on a gold lamé poof. A cheerful added extra, the supersized

'party shower' gives you plenty of space to splash around in.





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.


Zaya Nurai Island Resort


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, 17 Treatment Rooms, State-of-the-Art

Health Club and Fitness facilities, 8,000 sqm of spectacular Meeting Spaces.

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai

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

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