THE MIDDLE EAST’S BIGGEST TRAVEL MAGAZINE

JANUARY 2012

A RO TW YA O L R -NI AD GH ISS T S ON TAY , D AT UB AI

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Produced in International Media Production Zone

Simon Calder cycles his way round Holland

ON YOUR BIKE
Inside the finest rooms in the Indian Ocean

CARNIVAL QUEEN
Under the wraps of Rio de Janeiro’s fantastic facelift

Why Spain’s ‘third city’ could be its finest

Valencia

KENYA

On the trail of spectacular wildlife and luxe lodgings

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14 Picture this Take a look at this month’s trio of eyeopening natural wonders. 38 rio de janeiro The Brazilian capital is about to recieve a facelift – and become as beautiful as its people.contents TRAveL BITeS 05 check in We round up the latest travel news to put you in-the-know for 2012. Photolibrary Managing Director: Victoria Hazell-Thatcher Publishing Director: John Thatcher Advertisement Director: Chris Capstick chris@hotmediapublishing. 71 comPetition Win a welcome break at the new Royal Radisson Hotel. predicts Adrian Mourby. 68 Visit: st Petersburgh Wrap up warm and make for this historic (and beautiful) Russian city.953 BPA Consumer Audit Produced by: HOT Media Publishing FZ LLC January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 3 . Adam Sneade Production Manager: Haneef Abdul Group Advertisement Manager: Cat Steele cat@hotmediapublishing. Kanoo World Traveller JAnuARy 2012 13 Where to stay We head for La-La Land for hotel stays of celebrity proportions. 44 48 On the cover: Masai warrior at sunset. 66 Visit: tokyo Jade Bremner explores the weird and wonderful sights of Japan’s capital. 48 kenya Laura Binder goes wide-eyed at the natural wonders (and sublime lodgings) of Africa.com Designers: Sarah Boland. Masai Mara. 44 canary islands Star-gazing. 72 suite dreams Fancy spending the night in a Missonidesigned suite – aboard a super-yacht? 38 33 FeATuReS 33 holland Simon Calder takes a (tiring) bicycle tour via Amsterdam. 56 Valencia Why the Spanish city is stepping out of Barcelona and Madrid’s shadows.com +971 4 446 1558 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. Jan-Jun 2011 22. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in Kanoo World Traveller. trekking and building (black) sandcastles in La Palma. Dubai. All prices mentioned are correct at time of press but may change. kids and all. Kenya. 56 21 essential selection Rob Orchard delves in to the best rooms the Indian Ocean has to offer.com +971 4 369 0917 Group editor: Laura Binder laura@hotmediapublishing.

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CheCk In | news BE INformEd. unpacking and packing services and garment pressing. incidentally.” What more could you need? starwoodhotels.” says Derbas. “offering complimentary beverages. A location. it’s home to many local restaurants. the hotel’s 160-metre stretch of beach (it’s dotted with private cabanas) will certainly do the job. BE THErE CHECK IN Qatar the St. Steeped in Middle Eastern grandeur. visit Souq Waqif. the hotel’s 336 rooms and sizeable spa make for a formidable venue overlooking the Arabian Gulf.com January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 5 . Regis Doha. But what of the hotel’s interiors? “Inside it’s steeped in Middle Eastern mystique. “For an authentic Arabian market experience. that lends itself perfectly to exploring the city’s culturerich sights: “Arts and culture connoisseurs will enjoy easy access to the Katara Cultural Village and the nearby Museum of Islamic Arts. For the best views in the house. located along the Corniche. though.” If you prefer some time in the sun. presenting seductive interiors inspired by the towering sand dunes and ancient architecture that surround the two towers of the hotel. Regis brand’s famous butler service: “All our guests are provided with their own butler.” says Derbas. we favour its second-floor rooms – each of which come with an open terrace.” tells general manager Tareq Derbas. art galleries and stores that sell handcrafted items. RegiS Doha This month we’re waxing lyrical about an all-new (and very beautiful) hotel in Qatar: The much-anticipated St. souvenirs and garments. BE INspIrEd. Plaudits also go to the St.

stone showers and huge tubs). I also love making for the maldives – I love the simplicity of the food and the tranquillity..” navigates Mackay. from architecture (note City Hall) to beachlife (Sentosa Island) and wildlife (Singapore Zoo). neverwanttoleave. Argolis and three Greek islands.co. The island is 24/7 fun – there are 60 clubs and restaurants located in a small area. “We wanted to create something completely bespoke. panama hat and sunglasses. Everytime I’ve been it’s been really great meeting new people – and the food is great. custom-made beds. and a place I can’t resist returning to – you can go nuts there.. the birth of two new eco-cottages known as Croft 103 will be bliss personified. depending on your mood! my funniest travel memory is from a trip to st. wind turbinegenerated electricity and sheep’s wool insulation makes each abode as guilt-free as it is luxe (full glass frontages. Barths is Gouverneurs Beach. owner Marc Merran shares his favoured place to get away from it all.. “There is nothing to beat sitting in a piping hot solar bath under the stars watching the northern lights. glass and local wood. which we milled ourselves. “Both buildings are a blend of stone. individual.. on the shore of Loch Eribol (Britain’s deepest sea loch) in front of the majestic Ben Hope. A project brought to life by husband and wife team Fiona and Robbie MacKay.. BarthS My PeRfect tRiP… St. and this tour takes you on sightseeing trips of Athens.” raves Mackay. architecturally beautiful and that would blend into the fantastic wild landscape.uk hot offerS City sliCkers This month Kanoo Travel and American Express Vacations bring a trio of 5 day/4 night offers. too.. my three must-have items when travelling have to be my iPad.” says Fiona Mackay. This is natural sunbathing – there aren’t even any toilets there! It’s home to breathtaking views and simply stunning blue waters – it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. It’s an Italian restaurant that’s just full of A-list stars and some of my great friends. both by foot and by boat.St. so there’s always somewhere to go – it’s a real party island! my best-kept secret from st.” When it comes to the location. located by a loch. Your wee world changes and you never want to leave!” Carbon negative. When I want to relax. Barths is the ultimate party island. you’ll need more than a good map to find it: “It’s remote. Barth’s is Isola. There I enjoy the sun by day and chill and relax in the evenings. Barths Hot off the opening of the Dubai outpost of celeb-favoured nightspot Mo*Vida. and promises luxury and privacy with an eco-friendly approach. It was New Year’s Eve and I had a headache so my wife gave me a sleeping tablet and I was fast asleep by five minutes past midnight! The spot I would most recommend others to eat in when in st. “It’s truly untouched and idyllic with unspoilt panoramic views and nature in abundance – something happens when you get there. kuala lumpur – $345 Arrive at the capital of Malaysia. And when it comes to the best travelling companions. athens & beyond – $640 This ancient city is chock full of sights. singapore – $530 From the land to the ocean. Barths last year. experience a familyfriendly day at Genting Outdoor Theme Park then drinkin a panoramic tour from Southeast Asia’s tallest tower. it has to be good friends – anywhere would be boring without them! On the road to nowhere If the offer of getting away from it all – and we mean really getting away from it all – appeals. 6 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller . st. it’s purely for couples. this Asian adventure shows you all sides of the city.

com) is now open. the 108-cottage resort has had a facelift from Paris architect and famed interior designer Ed Tuttle. Meanwhile. Set on one of the most popular Thai islands.CHECK IN | NEWS GLOBAL NEW HOTELS FOR 2012 The end of 2011 saw the once Chedi Phuket reopen as The Surin Phuket (thesurinphuket. they’re nonetheless sure to attract more than your average backpacker. Make a beeline for Florida and you can meander to the famous South Beach (a great spot for peoplewatching) and peruse the revered Bal Harbour Shops – when you’re not making the most of its slick interiors and headturning. Papaya Playa Project (papayaplayaproject. it’s bliss personified: 2. two floors. mosquito nets draped over beds and ocean-facing hammocks. 14 treatment rooms and a menu that utilises natural sea products and myriad other features to boot. of course. and the results are superb. the St Regis Bal Harbour Resort (stregisbalharbour. For spa-lovers. but Mexico’s pop-up hotel is well worth an. Most of note are its more spacious. the spa at Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa (sofitel. In Bahrain. com) opens January 19 on Miami Beach. Essentially temporary beach huts. making it the first to offer thalassotherapy in the GCC. thanks to their fluffy towels. nine-acre oceanfront gardens. 2012.com) sees 99 ‘eco-cabanas’ (pictured) dot a stretch of Tulum beach until May. It may be temporary. albeit fleeting. visit.com). January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 7 . more colourful rooms and all-new beach bar and chillout lounge.000square metres.

Expect singing. colourful make-up (‘thanaka’). 1. dancing and drumming on the streets. It begins and ends with a street parade – so try and arrange your trip to coincide with its beginning or tail end. when a mist breaks over thousands of pagodas (tiered towers). in fact. Falkland pebbles and even semi-precious stones can be found on its northern beaches. nestled in the north. 3. then. and a multitude of operators make trips through its streets an easy one. it’s Cambodia. uRuguay Of all of South America.) 4. while wild flora and fauna are set against mountainous backdrops and coastal stretches – a rambler’s haven. add it to your wish list. BuRMa Setting foot in to Burma (above) is like stepping back in time and reemerging in ancient Asia: men wear skirt-like ‘longyi’. Gentoo and Magellanic among them – or hop aboard a boat tour to spy whales and dolphins. and women’s faces are masked by traditional. NoRtheRN PoRtugal While you may have already visited Portugal for its lust-worthy Med cuisine (not to mention fine grape). Culture vultures in particular will love its history-rich land – so rich. Though some would argue it was a step behind Vietnam. Wildlife enthusiasts should make for its immaculate shores to spot myriad breeds of penguin – Kings. Aung San Suu Kyi (the country’s pro-democracy leader) called for tourism to return. but it’s slowly capturing travellers’ attention – and rightly so. caMBoDia If there’s one place to have surged up the new destinations chart in 2011. Whether you’re inclined to opt for a guided tour or not. a vibrant affair that goes strong for 40 days. Of its top sights. Indeed. the imminent 30th anniversary of the Falklands War makes it a poignant time to peruse the numerous museums and sites dedicated to the 1982 conflict. the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art is a must (its modernist design of sharp. meanwhile. a small custard tart. the falklaNDS The Falklands archipelago is formed by some 740 islands – and if you’re yet to visit one. What’s more. Here. it is the country’s first official capital. that’s capturing globetrotters’ attention: Guimarães (pictured opposite). (The Falklands Islands Museum tops the tourist trail. Yangon is also worth a trip for Shwedagon Paya alone. that mild Med climate makes sightseeing a joy – break for a classic ‘pastel de nata’. If the prospect of winter sun isn’t enough to draw you here. 99 metres tall and decked in bright. 2. no less. Thankfully. What’s more.gloBal New destinations for the New Year Looking for a new holiday spot for 2012? KWT brings you 10 of the world’s top emerging destinations we bet you’re yet to tick off your travel list. the ‘Kingdom of Cambodia’ has responded to its surge 8 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller .. its party atmosphere certainly will: its capital. 5. hosts the world’s longest carnival. A day-today exploration will reveal medieval streets and monuments that harbour tales of the past. Rockhopppers (pictured right). yellow gold. For history-enthusiasts. Uruguay is unlikely to be your first port of call. it seems that Montevideo has anticipated an influx of jet-setters with not one but two new five-star hotels: the Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco and Spa and Pestana Montevideo Hotel. that it scooped the title of the new European Capital of Culture. brought to life with headturning outfits of glitter and feathers hugging impossibly gorgeous locals.. you’ll find yourself close to Porto – Portugal’s second largest city and under UNESCO World Heritage protection. grand British mansions parade from a colonial era. the most luxurious of the cruises – the Road to Mandalay river cruise by Orient-Express – is well worth forking out for: you’ll be whisked by boat from Bagan – an ancient capital which appears at its best by dawn. white lines is well worth a snapshot). Montevideo.

so you can gaze at the stars from a relaxing. 8. that lends Nellim sublime visibility for light-hunters. Elsewhere. taSMaNia Wildlife. our favoured pick of which is chasing the lights by dog sled. in season.) Set on the icy shore of Lake Inari. luxurious cutting-edge resorts. 10. its heritage rail. Tanzania is a destination for adventurers too – its rust/green terrain is the motherland of Mt Kilimanjaro. in March 2012. a glacial lake in a piercing blue hue) and you’ll be on a journey of spirals. Nellim. making it ideal for those after a cultural experience of a calmer ilk. while wild fishing and dolphin watching place you in catch-your-breath range to the island’s wildlife. this part of the world is a hotbed of ice-themed activities. beach-inspired aesthetics. has been tipped as the best spot from which to spy this year’s aurora borealis. Whoever you travel with. try not to fall prey to the temptation of staying put (Song Saa’s private butler service makes it all too easy to lounge around). and all of which are decked out in stylish. The name of the game here is. Serengeti (one of the world’s major wildlife reserves) and Ngorongoro (the world’s largest volcanic crater and home to the highest density of big game in Africa) are two esteemed safari spots where you can spy wild animals roaming the East African plains: the Big Five are all but a guarantee. then. The stunning landscape can be drunk-in from luxury haunts like Saffire and the Southern Ocean Lodge – but. It’s this sheer lack of pollution. Kashmir is also calmer than in years gone by and well worth a visit. you can see whales and dolphins glide by your ocean-facing room. (Nasa predicts it will be the best display in half a century. for those after a more low-key pursuit. The snow bunnies among you will have plenty of opportunities to bounce around too. while. and make time for its original draw – the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat.CheCk In | news in popularity with a cluster of high-end resorts: November saw Phnom Penh come to fruit in the form of Colonial-style buildings bunched together amid tropical terrain. 6. With such lavish new haunts. bubbling spot. meanwhile. which perch over either beach. though: Igloo Village Kakslauttanen boasts thermo-glass igloos. an exploration that marries wildlife-spotting with landscape to make your jaw drop. an intimate resort for a maximum of 10 guests and where. want an entirely new hotspot. making travel in the country that bit easier. There are more deluxe spots to stay close by. culture in abundance and pristine beaches are what’s placed Tasmania firmly on our radar this year. Of the new elements to draw first-time visitors is its Duronto Express train. offering challenging treks. if you 7. the BalkaNS Slovenia. we reported the emergence of Song Saa – Cambodia’s very first private-island resort. which bridges the gap between Amritsar and Chandigahr and will take you between the two in a non-stop flurry of green and yellow (its carriages are famously bright). to say that Nellim is remote is an understatement (its village is home to one store. while the Ruka Village Hotel has hot tubs outside. Montenegro and Croatia’s Dalmation Coast all top the highlights of this sight-rich destination. is a staple of the region. Just last month. Step aboard for a closer glimpse of the top sights. the most notable example of which is Sargan Eight at Mokra Gora. where two sister islands on the previously untouched Koh Rong archipelago are now dotted with 27 villas. sea or fauna. of course. taNzaNia Just last month. Lake Bled. it’s also an experience best savoured from a train cabin – after all. fiNlaND Seeing the Northern Lights is an once-in-alifetime pursuit and one of Finland’s remotest snow-covered regions. Tanzania rejoiced in a special anniversary – 50 years of independence – and it’s a date that goes hand in hand with significant upgrades. Bush-walking is as authentic an Ozzie experience as it gets. there’ll be plenty to keep you occupied in this wild state of Australia. Serbia: regarded as one of Europe’s finest examples of railway engineering. one coffee shop and a marina). For those after an altogether different sightseeing trip. which preserves railways of the past. check in to The Ocean Retreat on the east coast. 9. not least for its many fine vistas. the beaches of Zanzibar are something else. (we favour January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 9 . NoRth-WeSt iNDia A sense of peace and calm seems to radiate over this region of India. hair pin bends and even a figure-of-eight-loop.

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30. 11 KUKERI FESTIVAL Sees men draped in full sheepskins. when it invites hundreds of artists to showcase their photos and paintings in shops and piazzas. best of all. no-holds-barred dancing and. where well-heeled spectators (furs and all) gather to watch six international teams compete. 6 ART IN THE WINDOWS takes hold of virtually every empty window in Naples’ Borgo Sant Eligio. Four days. the crowning of the carnival king and queen. those on a budget can join a 10... January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 11 . weird and wonderful masks and jingling copper belts – the norm at this time of year in Bulgaria. 24-29 ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP sees the true pros tee off on what is one of the biggest games on the PGA European Tour calendar. while VIP tables are available (at a hefty price). 20 SEMPER OPERA BALL is the highlight of every Dresden-based socialite. making a truly headturning stroll. 12-15 SNOW ARENA POLO WORLD CUP in Austria brings the ‘sport of kings’ (and an injection of glamour) on to Kitzbühel ski resort’s blankets of snow. This colourful event brings lashings of party spirit in the form of infectiously fun parades.CHECK IN | NEWS THE NEW YEAR BRINGS A WHOLE OF HOST OF EVENTS IN WHICH TO PARTAKE – OR SIMPLY SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE SHOW. where it seems the festive season just isn’t long enough. when the rural villages perform an ancient ceremony (dances and songs galore) to ward off evil. Elegant ladies in floor-length gowns parade on the arms of tuxedo-clad men and.000 viewers and off-course entertainment make it a must-see event for golfing fans worldwide. WHAT IN THE WORLD? 12-15 6 3 20 11 24-29 3 ST KITTS CARNIVAL is a great excuse for a party in the capital of Basseterre.000 strong throng who dance in the huge square outside.

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com Tucked away in a quiet spot of West Hollywood.com This place is so cool.com Twenty-eight rooms. Downtown OR Hollywood LA-style OR Themed High-end OR Boutique Figueroa Hotel figueroahotel. from its colour pal to its lighting. Inside meanwhile. one thing’s for certain. ct... it’s a seriously cool spot for a USA break. ndrian Los Angeles mondrianhotel. slightly ‘out there’ design features and a rooftop lounge GQ described as ‘the best in the world’.CHECK IN | WHERE TO STAY LOS ANGELES START WHERE TO STAY. a gr spot to sup icy beverages Laid back and very cool. from its interiors (plush cs and bespoke furntiture) s hangouts (the open-air ace at Skybar is a revered t) it’s got to be one of the est spots this side of town. LA Sky Boutique Hotel skyhotella. a Moroccan them pervades. promising guests an old school ambience..A.A. the ‘City of Angels’. January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 13 . a sea of sky blue hues (hence the name) and al fresco detailing throughout its lobby. make this an eye-catching stopover. Hilton Checkers Los Angeles hiltoncheckers.com Its neon red sign in Hollywoo style lettering makes this 19 hotel everything you’d hop for from classic L.com This downtown haunt dates back to the 1920s. it almost hurts: Slick.com g foot through this hotel’s e mahogany doors makes eel like an instant celebrity. Le Parc leparcsuites. whatever you call L. with modern touches (note its rooftop pool). this intimate hotel is about to emerge from a $5million makeover. Hip OR Classic Offbeat OR Chic The Standard Downtown LA standardhotels. injecting yet more style into the area. well-worn sto and fauna-flanked pool.. ‘La-La Land’.

Unsurprisingly then. The largest of its kind in Sarek National Park. its pristine waters snake between the famed mountain ranges and cut a contrast to its rainforestlike vegetation. Image: Corbis / Arabian Eye . Sweden What you see before you is part of Europe’s largest stretch of wilderness: the 35km long Rapa Valley.Picture this raPa Valley Sarek National Park. Rapa Valley (or ‘Rapadalen’ in Swedish) makes for a lump-in-the-throat sight in the flesh. and one that’s beheld time and again by avid trekkers (it’s considered the most beautiful river delta in Sweden) who traverse the unmarked paths around it in a bid to drink-in the sight of what’s become known as ‘Europe’s Last Wilderness’. with a 700ft near-vertical drop from edge to valley floor (gulp).

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algae. Kenya Rarely do you see all-natural hues as vivid as fuchsia but. where their favoured delicacy is rife.Picture this lesser Flamingoes Lake Nakuru National Park. in Kenya. Image: Corbis / Arabian Eye . with its brilliant red bill and pink plumage. But. Lake Nakuru transforms into a sea of prawn cocktail-pink as thousands – sometimes millions – of long-legged flamingos flock to its warm shores. the Greater Flamingo with its black-tipped bill and. the best viewpoint can be gained at the park’s Baboon Cliff.. don’t assume the mighty birds are all the same – two species parade here.. the Lesser Flamingo. A stellar photo opportunity if ever there was one. While the lake’s surface is often hard to decipher amid the shifting pink mass. pictured here.

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While it may not seem the most attractive prospect.. New Zealand If you head not to the town of Rotorua in New Zealand. That scent. of course.. mud pots which bubble away like a witch’s cauldron. is a product of the geothermal activity that releases sulphur into the atmosphere (we suggest taking a nose peg). it’s not all bad. rotten eggs. incidentally. the landscape (at the heart of the North Island) is well worth a look. you’re nostrils will be met with the scent of. steaming vents and. But. volcanoes. Image: Getty / Gallo Images . but to the lake of the same name on the country’s southern shores.Picture this boiling mud Pots Rotorua. try a mud or steaming sulphur bath. a hotbed for geothermal activity in the form of erupting geysers. the bizarre landscape lends itself to some truly au natural cleansing treatments.

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it’s hard to pinpoint its finest feature. all of which is immaculately furnished and. tajhotels. Oh.. and there’s plenty more to rave about: namely. We told you it was hard to choose… and while you’re here. Plaudits go to the sheer magnitude of space – 500 square metres. Don’t miss a sunset cruise on the resort’s speedboat – very James Bond. January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 21 . perhaps best of all. includes a glass-walled bathroom. and for good measure. meanwhile. there’s a private butler permanently on call. Step outside. no less. its stunning private pool with spacious sundeck – make a beeline for its hammock and take a siesta as it sways gently over the lagoon. providing a worldclass view over the ocean as you soak in the tub.EssEntial sElEction | thE BEst Rooms in thE indian ocEan essential selection The Best Rooms in the Indian Ocean Taj Exotica Maldives the Rehendi Presidential suite When it comes to the Taj Exotica Maldives’ presidential suite....com Looking for the finest accommodation in the most captivating region in the world? Rob Orchard says look no further.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Water villa There are few feelings in this life more exquisite than stepping on to the private sundeck of your Water Villa at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island (below and right): in front of you there’s nothing but the turquoise waters of the island’s glorious reef – take a few steps down and you’re in the water. conradhotels1.. If you’re looking for a soothing.hilton. Make sure to book in for a relaxation session at the imaginative ‘Ice cream spa’ – as delicious as it sounds.. from Bvlgari toiletries to a sleek Nespresso Machine. this is your place. the water villa itself is filled with all the luxurious trimmings you could imagine.com 22 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller . idly flipping your way over the coral and teeming sea life – while behind is the resort’s superb stretch of golden beach. Meanwhile. And while you’re here. inspiring getaway.

. the bathrooms (trimmed with black stone) and children’s room to create a warm. Mauritius Villa Beautiful decoration is of prime importance in the Villas at the Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort (pictured left).mu January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 23 . a pleasing blend of African and tropical themes pervade throughout the pair of large bedrooms. And while you’re here. Hit the Heritage Golf Club for 18 holes on the Peter Matkovitch-designed course. open space that makes you instantly feel at home. Heritageawali. Behind the villa you’ll find a delightful gazebo and a private pool – a prime spot to put your feet up and allow the 24-hour butler attend to your every whim.EssEntial sElEction | thE BEst Rooms in thE indian ocEan Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort. nestled between the ocean and the mountains it’s a truly stunning site on which to perfect your swing..

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an iPod dock and free wifi – and it’s brilliant for families. Be sure to reserve an evening for a long.. Sitting out here under the thatched roof of your veranda. you’ll start plotting ways to stay forever – and that’s before you’ve witnessed the sunsets. And while you’re here.. a restaurant by the hotel’s main infinity pool.. sofitel. with two big bedrooms and tons of space.com. an extraordinary riot of colour that really shouldn’t be missed during your visit. Your view at Maia is of a heart-breakingly beautiful vista that drops sharply away from the edge of your designer infinity pool and reaches out towards the infinite horizon.EssEntial sElEction | thE BEst Rooms in thE indian ocEan Hotel Sofitel SO Mauritius Bel Ombre Villa Beaulieu Whether you’re wandering through the fragrant haven of your private garden.com Maia Luxury Resort & Spa. maia. where nothing but the sweep of a beach-lined bay breaks the sea. they’re not kidding.sc January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 25 . taking some pre-dinner exercise in your 27 square-metre pool or chilling out in a sink-straight-in sun lounger while gazing out to sea. It’s filled with smart extras too – including Kenzo-designed amenities. where you’ll find a thrilling mix of French and Mauritian dishes. Take a personal Hatha Yoga class in your villa. you’ll adore the Villa Beaulieu. a truly invigorating experience when paired with the spotless views all around you. And while you’re here. laidback dinner at Le Flamboyant. Seychelles Ocean Panoramic Villa When they say ‘panoramic’..

making family celebrations simple. Each of the villas are built on stilts.. If you’re visiting with a group... the Tree Top Villas at the Shangri-La Maldives (pictured) are truly secluded. Take a few steps away from its lavish interiors. naturally – the Maharajah Suite is a sight for sore eyes.com . and you’ll set foot on the beach’s cotton-soft sands. meanwhile. Life does not get much better than this.com 26 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller Lux* Belle-Mare. Here. shangri-la. surrounded by rich green vegetation. the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean – we defy your mouth not to water. 2. luxislandresorts. Enjoy a first class dinner at Dr. which focuses on fine food from the Gulf. And while you’re here. meaning you’re literally up among the treetops – which also means doubly stunning vistas of the water..Shangri-La Maldives Tree Top Villa Bringing an imaginative. Work your way through the resort’s seven eateries – we love the super-fresh seafood at Langoustier. the sound of tropical birdsong fills the air as you take a leisurely dip in your private infinity pool. the lush grass of the gardens or dip toes in to a vast. you can get a Junior Suite directly connected to it. And while you’re here. Ali’s restaurant.000 square-metre pool. verdant twist to the classic Maldives experience. Mauritius Maharajah Suite With its gorgeous Indian-themed decor and its world-beating private rooftop terrace – equipped with whirlpool and solarium.

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a restaurant set in a plantation house five minutes from the resort – one of the loveliest dining spots in the archipelago.hilton. Oh.Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa King Presidential Villa Set on beautiful Silhouette Island. the Hilton’s Seychelles offering has a lot going for it. Here you’ll find two gigantic bedrooms. outdoor dining area (perfect for entertaining). And while you’re here. and a handsome private terrace. 1.com 28 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller . Private beach access and butler service complete the dream-like package. But perhaps nothing is quite as exceptional as its 1.090 square-metre King Presidential Villa. a hillside haven with unobstructed ocean views.. and then there’s the small matter of the Seychelles’ largest private swimming pool. Dedicate an evening to Grann Kaz..

com .VisitGoldCoast.www.

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banyantree. views and lush tropical greenery..EssEntial sElEction | thE BEst Rooms in thE indian ocEan Banyan Tree Seychelles Intendance Pool Villa Built into the granite side of a hill overlooking the gorgeous Intendance Bay. You’ll spend your visit idly floating between them. Maldives InOcean Villa Angsana pitches their 11 InOcean villas as offering the opportunity to ‘Relive a picture postcard fantasy’. They’re not wrong. horizon-view veranda and villa – all designed with a colonial-style aesthetic. to the outsized open-air hammocks (big enough for the whole family to laze on) and the sleek modern decor of the living room..com Angsana Velavaru. living pavilion. Everywhere you look is perfection – from the huge. And while you’re here. the Intendance Pool Villas (pictured) consist of a series of ‘luxury areas’ connected by stairs and walkways which bring together your sundeck. soaking-up the fresh air. Combine that with the overwhelming natural beauty of Velavaru itself and you’ve got a true slice of perfection. angsana. where you can listen to the waves as your troubles are kneaded away. And while you’re here. Spend a morning soaking up the atmosphere in the sweet-smelling botanical and spice garden. Book in for a heavenly two-hour bamboo massage on one of the 12 rooftop spa pavilions.. deep blue infinity pools which juts out into the ocean. For extra indulgence.. sunshine. request the mountaintop Intendance Pool Villa which comes with its very own massage pavilion.com January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 31 . private jet pool.

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a wobbly parade of youngsters. the former is a former cargo barge. ranging from seven to 13. a floating Chinese restaurant and the copper-burnished hulk of the New Metropolis.water way to holiday | holland Water way to holiday The Zuider Zee may have lost its salt. Not only did all three dozen of us make it. She spends the winter helping to soak up the surplus demand for accommodation in the city. The journey ended. moored handily between an old East Indiaman. built in 1924 and converted 70 years later into a hotel ship. But between March and October she meanders around the January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 33 . were instructed – along with their parents – to cycle 15 miles into the centre of a leading European capital at the height of the rush hour. as it began. could it rate alongside leaving the children in charge of the ingredients of a thermonuclear device or at the controls of a 747? Eight days ago. but it provides the perfect platform for an active family holiday around the historic heart of the Netherlands. says Simon Calder O n the scale of parental recklessness. The latter is Europe’s most engaging capital. but the journey into Amsterdam proved the crowning achievement of a barge-and-bike holiday that unlocked the sub-sea-level secrets of Holland. aboard the Amsterdam in the middle of Amsterdam.

known mostly as the IJsselmeer. the world’s first multinational. the holiday I bought. The first port of call. Your ears tune in to a soundtrack where birdsong 34 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller is usually more prevalent than motor transport. Like most of the ports visited. The first day set the scene for the rest of the week: sailing. patiently. Holland. Holland has an even lower road fatality rate than the gratifyingly safe UK. But usually it’s the car drivers who must wait. evidently designed to allow the two guides (Gwen. in the far south-east of the country. and the knowledge that some of the reclaimed shoreline had not existed for as long as I have. Since the completion of the Afsluitdijk in 1932 to heal the broken shoulder of the Netherlands and seal off the North Sea. Happily for young or untoned limbs. clockwise from top left: Windmill and flower field. so brows are never furrowed at the prospect of gradients. is a procession around the periphery of the body of water that you and I probably know as the Zuider Zee – the ‘South Sea’. And they do. Amsterdam’s historic houses. cycling. except on a few rare occasions when the procession strays near a rowdy highway – such as the Houtribdijk.maritime highways of the Low Countries. On a warm summer’s evening the citizens spill out onto the streets: either to loll on deck-chairs and gossip outside their houses (front gardens are a rarity in Dutch towns) or to converge on the cafes on the main square.000ft that is shared with Germany and Belgium. (Its highest point. The clouds jostling in the west rippled Impressionistically on the water surface of the Markermeer (the hydrology is complex hereabouts). The Amsterdam quickly shrugged off the suburbs. This page. it is a gallery. A steady 10mph on the flat leaves you free to feel the breeze brushing your cheeks. We were quickly whisked away by boat into a tourist attraction that celebrates Dutch pragmatism: when they didn’t like the lie of the land. A single timber building on the edge of the complex reveals much. and Louisa. Everything you need to know about Holland is contained in the Zuiderzee Museum: activities from sailmaking to worshipping are celebrated in buildings rescued from the region and reconstructed as a village devoted to livelihoods – and lives – lost in the remarkable history of the Netherlands. conveying three dozen people – and their bicycles – around the wild heart of the Netherlands. Nor are parental nerves strained at the prospect of collisions on the relatively rare occasions where gentle. full of dazzling light. they redrew the map. exploring. a teacher. their offspring are more interested in the austere classroom. the freshly smoked herrings and the Opening page: Classic houses along a canal. Not the fearsome fish. Hoorn comes with an impressive pedigree. It shares that honour with Iceland and Malta. which was used variously as medicine. stuffing for mattresses – and building dykes. but the triangular white markings that signify who has to give way: see “vvv” and it’s you. The narrow band of land visible on either side is enlivened by the odd church spire.) The IJsselmeer itinerary circles the soggy pancake at the nation’s centre. well-surfaced bike paths intersect with busy roads. but unlike those islands it has a huge population of cyclists. the Netherlands does not require mountain bikes. a 20-milelong dyke that begins at the port of Enkhuisen. You let your eyes rest on the scenery: avenues of beech or oak carving through meadows populated by contented cattle or posturing herons. Hoorn. and emerged into a world dominated by a huge sky. While adults ponder the strange way in which tragedy fuels creativity. The IJsselmeer Family Cruise. You soon learn to look out for shark’s teeth. The favoured mode of transport – a bicycle. It was once a port for the Dutch East India Company. Even though it does not even make the official guide. has evidently existed even longer than me: a 16th-century tower with defensive pretensions stands between the harbour and the town. is a peak of barely 1. . a couple at one of Amsterdam’s canalside cafes. It was a hut for drying seaweed. it has effectively been an artificial lake. it is a repository of innovation. And the building material? Every timber was salvaged from wrecked ships. punctured by slender masts reaching for the heavens. a student) to assess levels of skill and stamina. The first group cycle ride was a mere 10-mile circuit. Now.

water way to holiday | holland

‘a couple of miles from the centre of a European capital, you can drift through dreamy farmland and pretty cottages...’

January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 35

36 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

water way to holiday | holland

sweet shop, dispensing liquorice as salty as the Zuider Zee used to be. Later, we sailed across the Zee to Urk – a port that, on a Sunday evening, is about as far as you can get from the fleshpots and “coffee shops” of Amsterdam, even though the Dutch capital is less than 40 miles away. Until the tide went out, permanently, in 1932, it was an island – and a deeply religious one at that, rather like the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The ultimate lock-in was inevitably going to irk Urk’s inhabitants, particularly when the North-East Polder was created beyond the crumpled skirts of the town. Today, a line of 21st-century windmills flutters northwards, beneath the monument of a mother mourning a lost sailor. “Daddy, don’t kill the duck.” Fortunately for the mallard in question, he had plenty of time to waft out of range of my flailing paddles, and seven-year-old Poppy found other navigational issues on which to heckle me. Water was a prominent feature throughout the trip: the Amsterdam glided through much of it, and provided a springboard for an impromptu mass leap into the lake with the exhilaration of summer as the barge was moored at the town of Zwartsluis (no, I hadn’t heard of it, either). Bikes also enable you to get much closer to the water than the motorist can manage, deep into the heart of the Weerribben National Park. And when the path finally trails off, you swap wheels for paddles for an hour or two in a kayak, to explore the mysteries of the largest freshwater wetland in north-west Europe. We paddled amid (and often into) the reeds and lilies; smelled the sweet, earthy aroma of the swamp; and (as my losing battle with the fundamentals of hydrodynamics continued), failed to identify most of the flowers and butterflies and birds that clog this corner of Europe’s most crowded major nation. The Netherlands is a complex, compact mix of nature and artifice. The trip gives you plenty of time to discover towns that are notable by their absence from the indexes of guidebooks. As we cycled to the barge at the end of the duck-stalking day, Daisy, aged nine, wearily asked: “Is this the same town as last night?” It wasn’t, but I understood her uncertainty at seeing yet another pretty assemblage of cottages ranged around a petite port, with the church tower risingV Vabove. There were some great urban treats, though: in Elburg, the entire population was on the streets; not demonstrating, but buying and selling in the annual municipal flea market. The list of Dutch towns I had hitherto overlooked continued to the last day. Naarden, off my map until eight days ago, is a bastion town as entrancing as any in Aquitaine, with a Grote Kerk that is indeed a great church in at least two respects: the amazing Biblical scenes on the vaulting, and the clean, free loos. Muiden – a 20-minute train ride from Amsterdam – turns out to be the home of Holland’s most-visited castle.

Opposite page: Harbour and sailboats at Hoorn.

By this stage the guides’ energy was fading: “There’s the toilets,” (points right). “There’s the town,” (points straight ahead). “There’s the castle,” (points left). On the basis that I had 28 minutes and counting to inspect the fortifications, I negotiated a deal with the helpful lady for cut-price admission to this handsome fortress, where the Dutch interpretation of heritage is to provide video games where the aim is to drop rocks on invaders. As a stream of Airbuses and Boeings invaded the airspace above the castle on their final approach to Schiphol airport, the final approach to Amsterdam began: across the middle of a golf course here, threading through perfumed pine woods there. The narrower your field of vision, the more joy you find in the detail – though the 21st century is never far away. Beneath a motorway, across the main Amsterdam-to-Hamburg railway line, and, ooh look, a beach. Splash. We lined up beside a canal. Gwen stood on a concrete platform and lectured us on how to survive the final assault on Amsterdam. “Keep right. These drivers have had a hard day and don’t like a bunch of tourists getting in their way.” The last ride was a study in man-made miracles: the mighty earthworks that the Dutch use to overcome the design flaw of living below sea level, the giant canals that carve up the country, and the spectacular bridges that leap across them. The straggle of cyclists caught up with itself in a car park alongside the derelict Café West-Indeë. The graffiti on the wall read “Not a dime in my pocket, but a dream in my head.” With all the children counted back in, we weaved for the last few hundred yards along quaysides and across bridges, and trickled to a halt beside the Amsterdam, in Amsterdam. I ended the trip amazed how, a couple of miles from the centre of a European capital, you can drift through dreamy farmland and pretty cottages; how, in just a week, people from disparate lives and nations become so firmly bonded; and how, in the course of 5,000 cyclist-miles, no-one had got a puncture.
January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 37

Images: Corbis / Arabian Eye / Shutterstock / Netherland’s Board of Tourism Text: Simon Calder / The Independent / The Interview People

Her Name is rio Brazil’s hottest city is getting a facelift. Now we’ll really be able to admire its beauty. says Adrian Mourby 38 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller .

Rio | BRazil January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 39 .

clockwise from top: Modern Art musuem. The city of Rio spreads itself around a number of these old volcanic plugs. which we know better today as the Sugar Loaf. Performer at the Summer Carnival. who smiles at those who wrote him off and who are themselves forgotten now. The only problem with Rio is what happens to you between flying in past the Sugar Loaf and reaching the increasingly well-restored city centre below. Today. like moss infilling a rockery. but that’s what many claimed. Professor Ramos’s achievement is celebrated by a statue of him on the summit of Morro da Urca – a small. What a place to fly in to.Opening page: Rio de Janeiro at sunset. There is a road from Galeao International Airport that spoils it all. The views were stupendous and the local postcard industry went into overdrive. Sweet little canary-yellow cars were swaying their way up to the summit and he’d already started the second phase. the Sugar Loaf is 396m high. It cuts like a two-tiered Berlin Wall through the city’s historic district. Yet. benign man in bow-tie and trilby. to connect across the great chasm to the Sugar Loaf. Everything else we think of today as Rio de Janeiro came afterwards – the statue of Christ the Redeemer. a madman began his grand design to put Rio de Janeiro on the map. Drum troupe performing in a Samba parade. I take a photo of the statue and then pause in the heat to admire the view as jets bank in front of Morro da Urca and the Sugar Loaf. From there. the Copacabana Palace. Carnival as we know it. he was convinced it was possible to build a cable-car route from the suburbs of Brazil’s capital up to the top of the huge granite rock known as Morro da Urca. colonial Rio bisected by an ageing 1960s monstrosity. Oscar Niemeyer and all those girls from Ipanema. This page. The Elevado da Perimetral is old. Urca is one of two volcanic pegs that guard the entrance to the great bay on which Rio de Janeiro stands. O ne hundred years ago. Cafe at the Lapa Aquaduct. No one prevented Professor Ramos but no one thought he’d manage it either. Tram Carioca viaduct. rusty and cantilevered. Morro da Urca is 215 metres above the city. I came in this way and was amazed at what I saw below. Augusto Ferreira Ramos wasn’t genuinely insane. 40 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller . As a professor of engineering. a second cablecar could link to the Morro do Pao de Acucar. within a year Ramos had done it.

restaurant and bookshop. executed and ritually dismembered. curiously. Maria a Luoco (Mad Maria). I stood below the avenue and wondered at what the city planners had been thinking. Sadly. yet back in the time of Napoleon. Even today. pan-tiled and balconied. all the lettering was smashed off in the days before inner-city Rio cleaned up its act. In 1792 he was betrayed. along with his mother. many Brazilians speak proudly of the fact that their newly independent country was a liberal monarchy long before it was a republic.Rio | BRazil ‘When I visited. now half a kilometre from the sea and kept away from it by the noisy Perimetral. hero of Brazil’s war against Paraguay (1864-70). In the confused mix of postNapoleonic politics after the dust had settled in Europe. This was the Paço Imperiale. It’s named after a bearded Brazilian revolutionary whose aim was full independence from the Portuguese. He is also. and it was from here that the fledgling country was run. so I had to take the words of a dapper old man who looked rather like Professor Ramos that this was. Today. It was the British Navy that brought him over. this was the harbour-front palace from which the Portuguese Empire was ruled (at least in theory). the city of his birth. a popular gathering point during Rio Carnival. King John’s son. Opposite me stood a whitewashed building similar to some of the old palaces I’d seen in Tenerife – low. the band was pumping out samba… It was everything I had imagined when I first picked up my ticket for Rio’ Later. facing the sea. Osorio. was in this palace in 1822 when he proclaimed Brazil’s independence. Prince Pedro. King John VI of Portugal lived here from 1808 after fleeing Lisbon following Napoleon’s invasion. The old harbour has long since been filled in to create a square. indeed. but since the 19th century Tiradentes has been a national hero. I had my back to Placa Tiradentes. patron of the military police in Minas Gerais. In the middle of the square. in a Carmelite convent that still stands today. colonial. January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 41 . Looming over it are two towering Baroque churches that are rather squashed together: the Cathedral of Our Lady of Carmo and the Church Ordem Terceira. stands a mounted statue of General Manuel Luis Osorio. She was installed at a safe distance across the street. it’s an art gallery. the dance floor was busy.

who had been renting the property as a warehouse for film props. If Professor Ramos had seen that. Calatrava has declared that his building will not dominate the landscape as his work has in Tenerife.Opposite page: A cable car to Sugar Loaf Mountain. one of two in Rio dedicated to the 17th-century cult that came over from Portugal.” he says. its walls decorated with photo-montages of Brazilian movie stars. I looked for the house (No 13) where Carmen Miranda was brought up. bicycles. turned it into a bar-cum-restaurant. Worse. Travessa Do Comercio. It will always have its eyesores. put up a plaque at Travessa Do Comercio. you name it. after she arrived from Portugal in 1910. thus opening up the historic centre of Brazil’s great trading port to the bay. Museu do Amanha (Museum of the Future). with its eye on the 2014 World Cup. the band was pumping out samba and people were hanging over the internal balconies laughing and drinking. Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvellous City). To my surprise there was no plaque to the lady with the tutti-frutti hat. I negotiated my way under the Perimetral to find a number of impressive warehouses that used to serve the White Star Line on the other side. It produces no water now. a simple passageway under a house owned by the Telles family. . like moss infilling a rockery’ The general and his horse stand facing a Baroque fountain by Master Valentin where people used to do their washing. is doing something about this insensitive piece of urban planning. fridge doors. Rio is now heading in the right direction. clearly. reclaiming this part of Lapa for fun. visitors and locals will be able to walk from the narrow Cultural Corridor to this $2. When all this is finished: when they’ve renamed the General. that was once a byword for drugs. I passed by the fountain and the nameless general and ducked under the Arco do Telles. to be completed next year. Rio is truly going to be Cidade Maravilhosa. got rid of that awful elevated highway. which was the reason these buildings were called into being in the first place. By 2014. the dance floor was busy. is the fact that statue. opened more places like Rio Scenarium. clocks. and. the city. Standing 75m high. Fortunately. Every visitor should go to the Rio Scenarium – three huge dark solid Gothic-style houses put together in a street. at the western edge of the Lapa district. The streets kept twisting at right angles and eventually I came out at the church Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Lapa dos Mercadores. it looks like a giant furnace out of Blade Runner and can be picked out. a whole dockland redevelopment is planned – on rather European lines – to reclaim the old port and make it worth visiting. I know it’s a useful road because my taxi used it to bring me into town. In front of it. an ugly old concrete jetty extends far into the bay. Nearby. and uncharacteristic modesty. Security was tight – it still is – but the experiment worked. It’s recently reopened and is wonderfully gilded inside. The infamous Cathedral Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro (built 1964-79) has been voted one of the ugliest buildings in South America. the owner. When I visited. I can’t wait to see it once it’s finished. The current structure dates from 1870 but was closed for many years during the bad times. a reference to Rio’s long-term nickname. Rua do Lavradio. A few years ago. 42 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller Travessa Do Comercio used not to be at all safe and in its shadows and blind alleys you can see why. It led to a narrow cobbled street. ‘The city of Rio spreads itself around a number of [these] old volcanic plugs. Retracing my steps. It was everything I had imagined when I first picked up my ticket for Rio.8bn (£1. “I do not want to compete with all that Rio already has. The project has been dubbed “The Marvelous Port”. But nowadays this is prime touristtrap territory and tables were already being set up for lunch.75bn) waterfront redevelopment and the historic centre will be reborn. They remain undemolished and there is an absolute jewel of an Art Deco harbour building. There used to be many winding streets like this before the city had its Baron Haussmann moment in the 19th century and labyrinthine Rio was replaced by an attempted grid. His characteristic white-ribbed structure will be the port’s signature building. however. stands my already-all-time-favourite restaurant in Rio. but really. fountain and palace – not to mention St James’s Fort nearby – no longer face the sea at all but the Elevado da Perimetral. from the summit of Morro da Urca. Chinese lanterns. he may not have bothered to complete his bold cable-car initiative. but it is being transformed by the great and highly idiosyncratic Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. robbery and murder. With a characteristic touch of the dramatic. it looks horrible and it cuts off what locals call the Cultural Corridor from the sea. most importantly. But such mistakes are in the past. Liege and his home city of Valencia. The road is going underground. Better still.

Images: Corbis / Arabian Eye Text: Adrian Mourby / The Independent / The Interview People Rio | BRazil January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 43 .

there’s plenty to lure adventurous families to the steep little island of La Palma “It is difficult to predict. The edict even extends to the north coast of neighbouring Tenerife. Neither fate nor fact was enough to deter us. One of the challenges La Palma faces as a tourist destination is that very little. Nevertheless. this is the place where.” said Carmelo. is laid out for you on a plate. as my six-year-old son pointed out. Upon arrival – and having disturbed an amorous couple who drove their steamed-up Renault away in rather a hurry – we discovered a sign pointing to Polaris (431 light years away) and a curious wooden wheel which could be rotated to confirm the names of the constellations. and heavy clouds in the Canaries may well be beyond its remit. the huge crater that dominates the island. If he’d been an astrologer rather than an astronomer. had they been visible.” Our road-trip to admire the constellations above La Palma should have been an enlightening one.“ From volcanoes and ancient forests to the stars in the night sky. the Spanish government enacted legislation to protect the night skies. street lights glow orange rather than white at night. I drove my family westwards from the seaside resort of Los Cancajos to the isolated Llano del Jablo viewpoint. the largest island in the archipelago. Lots of dark. That night.876 UK visitors. including the skies above. But dark wasn’t our problem. White cloud obscured the Milky Way.44 million British holidaymakers to Tenerife. Star Struck The moon’s all splodgy. a mere 14. La Palma. They’re trying to discover the secrets of the universe. And for that they need dark. particularly at this time of year. Sadly Carmelo’s advice proved accurate. you see. a third of Tenerife’s size. January 44 January 20122012 Kanoo Kanoo World World Traveller Traveller 44 .500m is allowed on the steep sides of this tiny Canary Island. Two evenings of phone conversations with a very patient Carmelo González Rodríguez from local company Astrotour had elicited the same response: there was no point venturing out with a telescope. he’d probably have suggested that our stars weren’t quite in alignment. The reason for this? A huddle of star-gazing scientists who lurk with their telescopes near the rim of the Caldera de Taburiente. in the hope that meteorological conditions would improve. which is visible from the eastern shores of La Palma and a potential nuisance when it comes to light emissions. Even the moon was. pulled in just 1 per cent of that total. high above the small town of El Paso. electro-magnetic interference is strictly controlled. and last year the prospect of year-round sunshine drew 1. Benign weather is the reason many families visit the Canary Islands. way back in 1988. splodgy. inclement weather can be a blight for amateur astronomers. No industry above 1. The Spanish government has other things to worry about these days. After all.

is tucked away down on the south-west shore). copious buffet dinners are offered in the long dining room. It’s one of the steepest in the world. The majority of the coastal real estate is given over to banana plantations rather than hotels. As does the island’s imposing topography. a chance to be one in a hundred. possessed the pre-eminent position in Los Cancajos. Los Cancajos is a tidy if unremarkable throng of apartments and aparthotels that lies just south of Santa Cruz. Inside. The pink and yellow buildings are pleasantly low-rise and low-key. Instead. the staff hugely friendly and obliging – and the clientèle is made up almost exclusively of German hikers. The Princess. including a couple of examples of the Canary Islands’ iconic Dragon Trees which looked disarmingly like huge loo-brushes. But. A visit here is. is dramatic. the epic Roque de los Muchachos (2. The resort contains a few restaurants and shops and a fine stretch of beach.Star Struck | canary ISlandS Opening page: GTC Telescope. The route from the capital. Santa Cruz. An afternoon spent building black sandcastles was followed by a snorkelling session in an Atlantic Ocean that was still relatively warm even at the beginning of November. or under the shade of a huge rubber tree (ficus elastica according to one of the handy botanical plaques). Here cube-like blocks of black concrete have been placed alongside the lava as shelter from Atlantic swells – as if the organic shapes of the coast have given way to a parallel. literally. But it’s also tortuous: a tightly knotted ribbon of hairpin bends and switchbacks. its back door leading straight to the beach. dressed in imported white sand. the plants themselves corralled behind walls and within polythene tents like hungry Triffids. pixelated version. Alternatively. with views of the salt-water swimming pool. rather than one of the multitude. Four-fifths of La Palma’s income comes from the crop.000km of marked trails run through these wildly varying landscapes. It passes through pine forest and lava fields on its journey above the clouds. Our hotel. no soothingly chic spa complexes. but it no doubt plays a part in the island’s isolation from mass-market tourism. of course.423m). Las Palmas. It’s the only substantial tourist town on the east coast (La Palma’s sole all-inclusive complex. ‘More than 1. the sand here is volcanic and black – which can provide an alarming contrast if you’ve neglected your tan. In La Palma you won’t find the tourist-friendly beaches of Tenerife’s Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos. from top: Timanfaya National Park. This page. the northern half jutting fiercely from the Atlantic. the majority comprising challenging treks’ January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 45 . these are all reasons to visit La Palma. the Hacienda San Jorge. rather than stay away. There’s no equivalent of thrill-a-minute water parks. It was immediately clear that a lack of water parks would be no deterrent to the children’s enjoyment of La Palma. La Palma’s relatively high rainfall delivers an alluringly verdant landscape. it was arranged around four sides of a tropical garden that contained exotic flora. along the LP-4 road to the Institute of Astrophysics observatory and beyond to the island’s highest point. The rooms here – comfortable rather than stylish – each come with a balcony and have tiny kitchens for those intent on self-catering.

‘the sand here is volcanic and black – which can provide an alarming contrast if you’ve neglected your tan’ 46 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller .

Santa Cruz is a modest sort of place. a plunging scoop so vast that it traps its own clouds. from where we would potter back down through the rainforest. January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 47 Images: Corbis / Arabian Eye. so that the four of us could cram into the back of his ancient 4x4 minivan alongside a Spanish and German couple. that we’d be in for a brief trip up a hill. Erupting Geyser at Timanfaya National Park. are arguably even more picturesque. But something drew us back to La Palma’s heart. buying €1. clockwise from top: Pic del Teide volcano. Then it takes in a series of 12 head-height. Despite being the capital city.000km of marked trails run through these wildly varying landscapes. Close by. the views of the Caldera spread out below us. most pot-holed track I have ever endured. the Ruta de los Volcánes (Volcano Route). tucked among pine trees. As for our attempt to see the rest of the universe. Finally. Near El Pilar. meanwhile. offering protection to areas including pine forest. who conveyed us all to a viewpoint overlooking the impressive Volcá Teneguía. myrtle heath. A Canary Island beach. an hour-long walk to the viewpoints of Los Roques and Lomo de las Chozas reveals a lost world shielded by rock walls and vivid with the bright green of Canarian pines. wet and hungry – but it’s certainly exciting. dark undergrowth and set round a series of deep ravines. Our stars had finally aligned. once at the beginning of our stay and once at the end. lulled by all the furious juddering. having jostled our way over the steepest. two local camels. you trek down the side of a ravine. where low-lying lava has been tastefully enhanced with concrete to construct sheltered pools fed by the Atlantic Ocean. Of course. a saddle of land overlooking the 8km-wide indentation of the Caldera de Taburiente. for reasons that later became clear. so the boys were allowed to scamper around it twice. The best-known trek here is the walk to the Marcos and Cordero springs which. as the volcano sent streams of lava down towards the coast. had fallen asleep on the back seat. and slender alleyways reveal glimpses of the ocean. The skies finally cleared at around midnight – and from the balcony of the Hacienda San Jorge. The journey through Los Tiles is exhilarating and exhausting in almost equal measure. Many require either the services of a guide or a taxi to get you back to your starting point (various “taxi stops” are marked throughout the island. Or at least it’s a big secret from everyone except the Germans. in the end there was no need for that night-time drive across La Palma. pitch-black. We visited twice. I thought. immediately becoming experts at using the life-preserving carabiner. Hiking is La Palma’s big secret. From the national park visitor centre. Sixty euros well spent. snorting and violent expectoration. Instead we attempted our own mini-version. adding a few extra acres of banana-friendly terrain to the island’s outline in the process. naively. The entire island was declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 2002. The perfect place for a brisk walk. it’s the sort of place where dinosaurs probably still roam. More than 1. Perhaps the most striking terrain of all is the Bosque de Los Tiles in the north-east. Here a pedestrianised. its pleasant colonial core defended from urban sprawl by the volcanic crater that rises behind the steeply-raked streets. Fifty minutes later. a visitor centre marks the beginning of one of the greatest hikes on the island. damp tunnels (bring a torch) before hikers are required to clamber and crouch their way through a final water-filled conduit at the base of a cascade. The last viewpoint at Topo de las Barandas is like a still from Jurassic Park: a basin of limitless green. a march across a crater-strewn landscape that was far beyond our capabilities. Teneguía was the scene of La Palma’s last eruption. It’s all quite an adventurous undertaking when you’re travelling with a six-year-old and his nine-year-old brother. From here. so that you can arrange a ride home). lava fields and the striking rock formations of the Caldera de Taburiente itself. a high-ropes course which had opened just a week earlier.Star Struck | canary ISlandS Opposite page. We even managed a dose of civilisation. There were no other guests when we visited. the interior of which was prickled with young pines. while his vehicle had fared little better. Our children. along an empty river bed filled with boulders and back through a narrow valley of vast ferns and slender laurel branches. We drove south to Fuencaliente and took a walk along the rim of the Volcá San Antonio. no one wants to be intrepid every day. as waves crash over the low barriers. cobbled main street runs past smart shops. It starts right among the clouds. the road winds upwards to the Mirador de la Cumbrecita. just to the south. which lies just to the south. Official Tourist Office of the Canaries Text: The Independent . We spent happy hours at La Fajana Piscinas in the north of the island. ploughing through the greenery and quietly digesting tourists. we then mounted Marina and Celia. At high tide it’s an unnerving place to swim. I looked up to see a cloudless sky glittering with light. The pools at Charco Azul. we reached the starting point for our walk. the majority comprising challenging treks through the mountainous interior. Heavy with damp. This runs down the island’s centre to the southern tip. hemmed by phalanxes of banana plants. In the process our driver had virtually expired in fit of hawking. striding along forest paths coated in pine needles. a primeval strip of ancient laurel forest positioned at just the point where the trade winds dump their moisture on the island. Urged on by our children. we came across Acropark. I assumed. Slightly resentfully. passing beside the tiny channel of water that runs from the mountain springs. It’s not family friendly – the hike took us five hours and we arrived back hot.30 bus tickets for the 15-minute journey from Los Canjacos to Santa Cruz. I handed over €60 to a cigar-chomping driver at the visitor centre. begins with a taxi ride. In 1971.

How man’s hunt of the Big Five led to diminishing species. spawned specialist sanctuaries and ...happily for us . Laura Binder follows the tail of a safari evolution.luxury lodges for the modern jet set. 48 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller Where the Wild things are .

it’s easy to forget) every inch of the giant’s patchwork-skin is wild animal – as I’m reminded on a tour of the ivy-clad bolthole. Said tongue belonged to a Rothschild giraffe. a colonial manor house in Nairobi’s suburb of Langata. “If a giraffe comes up to the house. to a breakfast of coffee. as always. wrapping its way around the contents of my hand. thickly-lashed. (with names like Daisy. Except. if you get stuck. Betty and Laura. It’s an experience not to be sniffed at – and it sure does wake you up in the morning. and this marked the beginning of my first stop in East Africa. it became apparent that we had a dining companion: what started as a large. that was as normal as this particular morning got. make sure you have a piece of garden furniture between you both – giraffes can run 30mph and kill a lion with one kick. For as we sat enjoying our food. though. my travel companion and I sat down.” Right. unblinking eye in my peripheral. before a grey tongue emerged. Far from domesticated pets. elegant neck prying through a tall window next to me. Giraffe Manor. muesli and eggs. became a long. January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 49 .Where the Wild things are | Kenya A s morning reared its head. walk slowly inside or. then.

So novel is the experience that you may be tempted. held my breath. with a 25% survival rate of calves. African elephants on Samburu ground. not to leave its walls. Grey Crowned Crane. (And. mammoth bed. then. Perfecting the art of ‘just being’ couldn’t be easier. When the next morning rolled in I went to the window. Dik-dik.It was this beautiful animal’s dwindling status on the endangered species list that prompted Giraffe Manor’s owners – Betty and Jock Leslie-Melville – to use it as a breeding ground on which to rear and reintroduce the Rothschild to the wild – an effort that began in the 1970s and continues today using funds from this private hometurned boutique hotel. rather. that you can while away the day at this grand 1930s property knowing you’re contributing to the greater (giraffe) good. Rhino and her calf. This page. 50 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller . Opposite page. antique furniture) in the hope of meeting Opening page: Zebra and Waterbuck graze. and drew back the curtains of my Scottish hunting lodge-style suite (green/red fabrics. it’s a harder process than you might think. drink in hand and giraffes roaming before you (though don’t expect to get any actual reading done). as I was.) It’s with some guilt-free comfort. sit on the grass deck with a tome from the manor’s library. clockwise from top. Samburu people.

” he told me.Where the Wild things are | Kenya those heavy-lashed eyes again – I did. When I woke up from a snooze. “They were left undisturbed and bred incredibly January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 51 . to a smiling staff and a simple. modern cottage (one of just six that dot a slice of the Solio Game Reserve) and. After being granted permission to look after game. my new abode was a luxurious. Parfet caught rhino. every now and then. Kenyan-born Michael. where dainty zebra and antelope played.500 acres of it) was sold in 1965 to a Texan. in fact. nights are pleasantly chilly). huge open shower (surely enough room to bathe a small herd?) and gloriously-deep tub. a game guide and fourth-generation Kenyan. We delved in to endless greenery to find a table – manned by waiters – awaiting our arrival. “it was just for her and her friends only. a seemingly quintessential Englishman who is. tin shops affectionately named in candy coloured paints.” recounted Mark. candle-lit meals of truly delicious. It never tires. It’s here that I met Mark. Courtland Parfet. But. however. no less) 80 white rhino from South Africa and brought them to Solio. Here. we were on off-road territory. heart-warming greeting: ‘welcome home’. It’s a design that’s mimicked on a larger scale back at Solio’s beautifully cosy main lodge (the setting of daily. I was dwarfed by soaring thatched roofs. inside. With a log fire in the bedroom (at an elevation of over 6. had a passion for conservation and persuaded him to put all of the swamp areas aside as a sanctuary. who made his fortune from chewing gum and had a penchant for hunting – shooting everything on the land. who captured (by lasso. home-cooked fare) where a couple of other guests invited me to make my first steps in to the wild for a bush brunch. Laikipia. to a safari lodge with its own conservational tale. meats and Kenyan cheese. sprawling coffee farms and. it became the first private sanctuary in the country. somewhere between Mount Kenya and the rolling peaks of the Aberdares. the Carr-Hartleys. as did another prominent hunting family. My driver. including its last rhino. after asking whether we were lost (and wondering whether that was a lion rustling in the tall grasses) we emerged at Solio Lodge. His French wife. and silenced by the view from its floor-to-ceiling glass windows. pesto pasta. “From there. set up with a feastworthy spread of fruity salads. local people tending to their modest shack-like homes. the best point from which to spy the wildlife takes some thought. a flash of brilliant purple and coral blossoms parading through a mass of green trees.” The land (all 17. narrated the simple scenes we passed. all next to wraparound windows. The only thing that could drag me away was the lure of the next dot on my map. most likely in the world.000 feet. To reach it. “Of course there was a time the original owner’s wife wouldn’t let a soul on the land. I forwent a more amicable 30-minute charter flight for a five-hour drive and glimpse of the ‘real Kenya’.

a product that can reach one-and-a-half times the amount of gold. Giraffe. trumped all my expectations. a man who’s managed to unwittingly walk in to the path of a lioness and her cubs (the soul provocation for attacks on humans. waved and smiled at every passing. she’s a real powerhouse. Such drives were laced with Andrew’s tales. shrouded tip-to-toe in traditional tribal dress. before we touched down to hot. a former teacher and Masai Mara guide (think of Morgan Freeman’s calming aura and dulcet tones and you’re on the right track) and our young spotter ‘Blackie’. It was like being dropped in to a real-life Disney film. children play barefoot and young boys are tasked with herding the family’s livelihood. he was a man of experience and. hailing from one of the country’s 42 tribes and able to spot a monkey at a thousand paces (how. bulbous. was a headturning trip: crossing the Equator. but raw. orange.”) Whether such close encounters are a quality you want in a guide. bleating goats. it was both amazing and a force to be reckoned with. Each drive revealed a new surprise: sleeping lionesses and her cubs. The 30-minute flight from Solio’s private airstrip (an irresistible prospect second time around). water buffalo. seem apt). Of course. gave a glimpse of another world: no barriers. like my other lunch companion. I couldn’t decide. Solio Lodge is officially the best place in the continent to spot both black and white rhino in their natural habitat – a source of excitement for my partner. Nonetheless. sleek cheetahs that stalked the grounds by nightfall. two mighty rhino sparring in a valiant effort to protect their brood. others were fond followers of the hairy hogs.‘Today. Unfortunately. they are a delicacy. Three days on.000 per kilo. With the Parfet and Carr-Hartley legacies now in the hands of sons Ed Parfet and Mikey Carr-Hartley. “We have been chased for miles by one before. dry climes and a vast sand-covered wilderness: a genuinely soul-stirring sight. my partner and I left what had become a home-from-home. . was the man at the wheel here. leopard. My Samburu guide. a second-time safari-goer who was yet to spot the muscular mammal. a pintsized eighty-something whose frame cheats the reality.” Fred told me. This is a woman who. within half-an-hour we were surrounded: rhino. Surmising that I couldn’t tell the difference between a black and white rhino. “They do this by nature. dinosaur-like. “that’s an easy way to tell the difference!” Sturdy. the lush green plains of Solio morphed in to a tapestry of coral.” said a solemn Mark. rhino). “If it continues. In the meantime. before the 1977 hunting ban. so that the babies may spot their mothers in the long grass. it’s feasible they could be wiped out in months. I thought ‘that’s it. too: “To the lions. because of this particular lodge. I was primed for a long day. and lines of comical warthog zipping along the ground. around $60.” Today. I believe. they. but. admittedly. elephant. after 52 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller all) an uncontained giggle from Blackie indicated we were in the company of the more aggressive black rhino. Ed consented to Mikey’s grand designs for Solio Lodge little more than one year ago. “The future now is a bleak one – the Chinese have moved in in a big way.” Mark recalled. Waterbuck. he wouldn’t part with them). tracked and shot every one of the Big Five (lion.” smiled Fred. natural land interrupted only by wandering locals and villages where modest huts form circles.” affirmed Mark. Zebra. Solio Lodge is officially the best place in the continent to spot both black and white rhino in their natural habitat’ well.” he chuckled. the rhino remains under threat from poachers who trade its valuable horn on the black market. “they went on to restock many of the reserves across Africa. I learned). Binoculars at the ready and camel-hued outfits donned. put rangers in place and not only secure the future of the rhino. I’m still baffled). Cue Fred at the wheel of our stellar 4x4. in response to my longing to see an elephant. and the ivory trade is up 20%. while the roaming mammals are now safe from professional trophy hunters. tails erect like antennae. Touring rocky roads in an open-sided 4x4 toward Mount Kenya’s jagged peak and over the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River. And it’s a venue that’s proved good enough to draw even the most seasoned safarigoers. “Kenya has rhino today.” It was time for me to see the real thing: and there were two men who were going to help me do it. for the north Kenyan pastures of Samburu. I’m gone’. which runs through the region like a pulse. giraffe ambling amid rhino like a scene from Jurassic Park (my travelling companion’s incessant humming of the theme tune did. but wildlife in the main. bright blue and red cloths and a multitude of beads and jewellery to make a girl jealous (try as I might. all-but-concealed in the sand-hued grass. (they’re the same colour. ‘Midgie’. gold and rust hues. Andrew. it’s little places like this that can draw money in. we headed in to the Solio Game Reserve. be chased by a water buffalo (“it threw our friend up in to a tree”) and come face-to-face with a leopard protecting its young (“I have never seen such fury. Warthogs. It’s with mutual curiosity that I.

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. and a four-poster bed shrouded by nets. feather-duster like tufts and ducks with red-striped faces – that make safaris here so unique. as well as the region’s indigenous people through community projects funded by guests. My ‘room’. It moved. curiously to the side of the car. Right. Within minutes. “Samburu land has its own special Big Five.” Andrew told me. others with yellow. he would have just flipped the car. Andrew breathed a heavy sigh of relief – always a good sign. Schools benefit from stays with new desks. flat feet through thickets of leaves. a broken heart.’ The first came in Dumbo-like form of a young pup. the herd’s protector. we agreed. sizing up our vehicle. we fell utterly quiet. before we were driving as part of the herd. and a contrast that continued in the region’s wildlife. that enticed people to take home trophies of its astounding life. elegant neck prying through a tall window next to me. Gerenuk and Somali ostrich. brought a new meaning to ‘posh camping’: immersed in the rugged landscape. “They pair for life. and what makes these evolving lodges an once-in-a-lifetime experience. After a few minutes (I held my breath for each). gets under your skin. huge black eyes and the twitching nose of an anteater. I climbed up a rocky pathway to set foot on its white stone floor. that prompts generations to fight for its species. open walls all around. “but when one dies. unblinking eye in my peripheral. at exact eye-level with its deeply-lined. ‘what started as a large. you can visit a local school – as I did. Still. with a toddler-like sway. top to bottom: Solio Lodge. I marvelled at the almost mythical-looking Dik-diks – tiny deer-like creatures. “Beisa oryx. and witness elephants crossing the river while you’re at it. Like those lodges that had gone before it. where I felt far from a real. 10. Reticulated giraffe. with stubs for horns. slowly. pausing to scratch an itch – which entailed straddling an entire tree and almost flooring it in the process.” Fresh finds that injected new anticipation in to our next game drives where. he moved on. Sasaab marries its refined luxury with a more responsible agenda: aiding the conservation of the Grevy zebra (an animal that’s forgone the most drastic drop of any African mammal) and vulnerable lions. women are given a livelihood making bracelets and beaded bottle covers for the gift shop. It’s a contrast to my former stays in Nairobi and Laikipia. across the water. scampering along in tribe-like style – proved yet another lump-in-the-throat moment. in addition. 20 or more of every size emerged on the tail of the next. In fact. Grevy’s zebra. and work with Westgate Community Conservancy health care projects brings vital preventative programmes to fruitition. When the car engine stopped.” he said. meanwhile. with a breakfast fit for a king and. Mikey Carr-Hartley. It was an experience fuelled by equal measures of jaw-dropping wonder and adrenalin. natural landscape that no doubt first drew the British to colonise Kenya. A tented suite and plunge pool at Sasaab. It’s this raw. I turned to see why: a bull. sat perched on a bench at the back of a maths class. but five. not one. which look plucked from fairytales and birds – some in electric blue hues. heart-beating hard. ambling on big. so you will always see them in twos. Its main. another lodge touched by the talents of its owner. Parking up in yet another spectacular setting – by the river’s edge. then. grey face. wide-eyed children. and learning materials. sat there in the bush. muscular trunk through the car’s open side. Kenya.Where the Wild things are | Kenya Previous page. “If he had taken exception to us. But it was the private plunge pool that provoked a delighted gasp – the perfect place to seek relief from the sun. became a long. babies and all. I realised just a few steps forward would bring his huge.. the sight of dozens of monkeys. Such exhilaration was challenged only by our arrival to the stunning Sasaab. Instinctively. This place has real wow factor. etched with mother-of-pearl. Opposite page: A Rothschild giraffe at Giraffe Manor.” It’s such creatures. the other will pass from stress. where I was sat. local way of life. amid beautiful. Moroccan-style lodge unravels beneath pillars. it was another memorable way to start a day. Images: Robin Moore/The Safari Collection Opening image only: Corbis/Arabian Eye January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 55 . art supplies. Hands-over-mouth. thickly-lashed.” Andrew told me. ivory tusks or prying. and its elevation affords priceless vistas of the Samburu plains and famous river (a sight I later drank-in from the lodge’s turquoise infinity pool).

The ForgoTTeN CiTy Valencia has sat in the shadow of Barcelona and Madrid for far too long. That’s why it has got such an authentic atmosphere 56 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller .

certainly. but I learn soon enough it can also be bull-headed.” he says. Though both events have contributed to raising profile and capacity. W hy is it that Valencia never enters our thoughts when we think of Spain? Barcelona. locals and foreign expats alike is that Valencia remains essentially Spanish.” Stephen and his partner. My friend Stephen has been living here for nearly three years and he is equally puzzled. However. The broad golden swathes of Las Arenas and La Malvarossa stretch for 3km up from the port. Claire. Having the beach. The city hosted the America’s Cup in 2007 and has been home to Formula One’s European Grand Prix since 2008. the past four years have also coincided with a general downturn in tourism to Spain. “It’s been all about the buzz of Barcelona. all that simply means one of the great cities of Europe is still in astonishingly pristine condition. less developed and seem a more organic part of the city.The ForgoTTen ciTy | Valencia Opening page: City Hall Square.” The beaches are a revelation. “Valencia has a very low profile and I don’t understand why. The string of cafes and paella restaurants that fringe the beach are busy with families. is a stunning example of late Gothic exuberance – the Sala de January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 57 . up the coast. but Valencia? In more than two decades of racing around the major cities of Europe Spain’s third city has barely registered on my radar. I can’t think of a city beach in Europe that compares. but it was another 15 years before Valencia came looking for the sporting limelight. 300 days of sun – you can’t help but go around with a smile on your face. getting their fingers stained with saffron as they pick though mariscos and chicken bones. Amid fits of giggles. of course. An accordionist wanders by. scattering little melodies. Barcelona’s much celebrated Port Olimpic seafront is certainly popular but is largely artificial. a group of comfortably upholstered women egg each other on to dance in formation on the paved promenade. be beguiling. They have the sweep and generosity of Miami Beach. The 1992 Barcelona Olympics showed the way. Valencia has been slow to grasp the transformative effect that international sporting events can have. “Obviously. Madrid and other cities. The most common riff I pick up from visitors. chose to move to the city on the basis of quality of life for their young family. La Lonja de la Seda (the Silk Exchange). number one is the micro-climate. yes. Valencia’s beaches are less showy. a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is hard to imagine them becoming over-crowded. This page: Plaza de la Virgen. The Spanish way can. the sea. Valencia still awaits the gold rush. Madrid. seemingly to the horizon.

The broad golden swathes of Las Arenas and La Malvarossa stretch seemingly to the horizon’ 58 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller .‘The beaches are a revelation.

The ForgoTTen ciTy | Valencia January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 59 .

Not just African animals but entire ecosystems. Lunch is al fresco at Ocho y Medio in Plaza Lope de Vega – it specialises in superior paellas and surreal menus. marabous. There is so much to love in these Valencian improvisations and raw edges that I have forgotten my frustration. Following page: Palau de las Arts Reina Sofia in the City of Arts and Sciences. At the other end of the Turia is the Bioparc. blesbok. while another offers devotional plaster cherubs and. a grove of palms and a harp. Some vistas are engineered to make it appear as though predators are sharing the same spaces as their prey. Cheerful irreverence is also on display in the Calle del Trench nearby. but that’s like saying an F1 Grand Prix is just a car race. it’s typically Spanish. Species are grouped together as you might find them on the great plains – zebras. the group seems like a premonition. crowned cranes and giraffes all roam the one hectare savannah enclosure together. when the River Turia caused havoc in the city. Valencia suffered a great flood in 1957. is as imposing as the interior of any medieval cathedral. At the eastern end is the City of Arts and Sciences. La Lonja is on every visitor’s mustdo list. Across the road a shop front is occupied by multiple stockinged mannequin legs. it’s arrogance. impalas. The medieval stone masons were determined to prick the grandiosity of the architecture with a scatological sense of humour. I try to make my way to the rest of the building. Team Headquarters at Port America’s Cup. a stegosaur.” says Stephen with feeling. an armadillo. To avoid tears before .000sq m and brings Africa to the heart of the urban sprawl. Lions prowl within yards of impalas with no discernible fences or bars. The dead river bed was finally reinvented in 1980 as a green ribbon running for 9km through the city. I can’t come back at five and have to be content with admiring the exterior – which has its consolations. “There’s still the ‘I can’t do this – it’s siesta time. after a few minutes in the grand Sala. Munching on baby pigeon (which tastes surprisingly livery) my reveries are interrupted by a large tour group from a cruise liner. a giant eye. It is a flamboyant theme park of civic space containing an opera house. Come back at five’. children’s adventure playgrounds and picnic venues as it progresses through the city. a planetarium and Europe’s largest aquarium. with its soaring candy-twist pillars. ‘The string of cafes and paella restaurants that fringe the beach are busy with families. Plaza de Toros. The guide barks a commentary at them through a loud hailer completely 60 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller leaching the little plaza of its sleepy charm. water filters – it is retail anarchy.45pm and. I play safe and opt for ‘Smooth Rice with Chick and Black Truffle’. playing fields. A shop called The Dog’s Cojones is vending T-shirts two doors from a general store called Lovely Family. It is a great adventure in itself and requires another weekend to see it properly. Valencian prawns. The authorities responded by re-routing the water course out of town. She will not be moved. er. It occupies 100. a science museum. No pasaran. it is nominally a zoo. One of the dishes is rendered in English as ‘Paella with Stroke’. the architect Santiago Calatrava.Opposite page. The buildings demand visual metaphors – a swan. the sprawling cultural complex designed by the city’s most famous son. a whale ribcage. which turns up as a risotto with baby pigeon. with formal gardens morphing into forested glades. clockwise from top left: Plaza del Ayuntamiento. A hatchet-faced official blocks my access. “It’s bureaucracy. getting their fingers stained with saffron as they pick though mariscos’ Contratacion. I enter at 1.” As it happens. Locals still refer to it as the ‘River’ – and in a sense it still flows. As they are marshalled out of the square. It’s the witching hour – 2pm – siesta. channeled through the playful gargoyles. The Turia Gardens are bookended by two of Valencia’s most striking attractions.

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German incomer Bernd Knoller opened his first restaurant in the city nearly two decades ago. ringtailed lemurs are fascinated by the visitors wandering through their Madagascar – so much so it’s hard to distinguish who is watching whom. chilled oyster served with a warm oyster mayonnaise topped with a granita of seaweed. The fishy ingredients taste as if they were swimming around just hours ago. an armadillo. It is difficult to eat badly and only a brave foreign chef would consider setting up shop here. The last is a delicate risotto flavoured with fish stock and locally sourced olive oil (“to sweeten it”) and dusted with desiccated squid ink. Photolibrary. a grove of palms and a harp’ bedtime animals are kept in their enclosures through cleverly concealed ditches and ‘natural’ barriers such as rock walls and water obstacles. January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 63 Images: Corbis /Arabian Eye. A baby warthog leaps and jinks with joy before digging holes under a boulder. “I buy at the fish auction down in the port. Shutterstock Text: Sankha Guha / The Independent / The Interview People . aïoli. chimps are totally engrossed in grooming each other. a stegosaur. I suspect it’s designed to silence sceptics in one mouthful.” he insists. his Riff Restaurant received the recognition of a Michelin star. And amid the clatter of lives being lived well – and the sunshine. squid and siestas – there will be an incipient smile on most faces. I like it very much. “but I cook my Valencian food. elephants roll magisterially across a colossal enclosure featuring en-suite waterfall and a ‘forest’ of concrete baobab trees. Other dishes that lean on Valencian traditions include a salad of chipirones (small squid).The ForgoTTen ciTy | Valencia ‘The buildings demand visual metaphors – a swan. morel mushrooms and watercress and a course that is billed only as ‘Dirty Rice’. It’s very mad – like a school class with very upset kids.” says Bernd with infectious enthusiasm. “I cook Valencian food. Three years ago. a giant eye. It may be the Bioparc’s cleverest illusion that the animals seem extraordinarily content. “It’s late in the afternoon every day.” I like it too. Feeding time is one of the undoubted highlights of life in the city.” The first course at dinner sets the bar high. a whale ribcage. And indeed they were.

sharing a twin room and in US Dollars. Price includes accommodation for specified nights with meals and return airport transfers (where mentioned). Surcharge may apply for any arrival/departure airport transfers between 2000-0600hrs. All prices are subject to change at any time without prior notice. Prices are subject to availability and based on a minimum number of nights stay as specified above. Kanoo Holidays terms and conditions apply to all bookings.Explore the bright lights and sights of one of these thriving metropolis’ DESTINATIONS BAHrAin (3 nigHTS & 4 DAyS) DUBAi (3 nigHTS & 4 DAyS) MAlDiveS (4 nigHTS & 5 DAyS) SingAPore (4 nigHTS & 5 DAyS) MAlAySiA – KUAlA lUMPUr (4 nigHTS & 5 DAyS) inDiA – golDern TriAngle (6 nigHTS & 7 DAyS) Sri lAnKA (4 nigHTS & 5 DAyS) greece – ATHenS (4 nigHTS & 5 DAyS) TUrKey – iSTAnBUl (4 nigHTS & 5 DAyS) THAilAnD – BAngKoK (4 nigHTS & 5 DAyS) USD 390 260 900 530 345 600 480 640 400 425 REMARKS BreAKfAST BreAKfAST & TrAnSferS PAcKAge PAcKAge PAcKAge PAcKAge PAcKAge PAcKAge PAcKAge PAcKAge city slickers Prices are per person (starting from). Package offers include a detailed itinerary with sightseeing tours. 64 Kanoo World Traveller May 2011 . 2012. More details and other information are available upon request. These rates are applicable during January 01 till March 31.

turtles and flying fish. Is there anything I can do away from the island? Overnight trips to Ibo Island are possible (though guests rarely want to leave here). flying low over the archipelago where you’ll see pods of dolphins. picnics or in-villa dining. before going to Mocimboa de Praia to clear customs and then taking a stunning 10 minute flight towards Vamizi. vamizi. like our Swahili-style daybeds and sun loungers. from world-class diving and fishing to snorkelling. You can even get involved in conservation programmes. over the Rofuma River on the Tanzania/ Mozambique borders. vamizi island. relax on a sunbed with a good book and listen to the chatter of Samango monkeys.com January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 65 . strung along one of the world’s finest beaches. private sea-facing villas. with classics like barbecued Mozambican prawns and yellow fin tuna sashimi. in the form of locally-sourced textiles and fabrics and bespoke furniture made on the island. Their interiors are influenced by local culture and design. But. be it whale watching or releasing turtles into the wild. Where are the best spots to savour the fruits of the region? Our main restaurant serves surf-fresh seafood daily. if all that sounds too strenuous. sailing and kayaking or dhow sailing and beach walks. there’s truly something for everyone. What will I find when I touch down? Fourteen individual. How would you suggest I spend my days here? Vamizi is not just a beach.mozambique | ToKyo | sT peTeRsbuRG | maldives ConCieRGe the 30 second concierge mel sTaley. mozambique How do I reach the island? By private charter from Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania or Pemba in Mozambique: you’ll cruise overland. You can choose from a range of activities. a historic place that’s home to pristine beaches and where you can take a cultural tour of the isle. Dining can be a candlelit dinner on the beach.

. slot-machine junkies wasting days on end in Pachinko parlours (aka arcades). 66 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller . to eating a viper. you’re likely to witness businessmen gobbling sushi for breakfast. raw food and curious culture… A mid an ultra-modern skyline.. Take a trip to this endlessly fascinating city and see for yourself how deep the rabbit hole goes. and those who dare can try anything from a night spent in a capsule hotel.visit ToKyo Delve into Japan’s capital. and wannabe starlets quite literally singing their hearts out in an ‘empty orchestra’ (karaoke booths – there’s stacks of them). says Jade Bremner. centuries of history and over 30 million Japanese natives. and experience a landscape of neon lights. In Tokyo the adventure never ends. ‘Cosplayers’ reenacting battles in the city’s parks.

Tokyo Tower (3) (tokyotower.. Meiji Jingu is where people go to appreciate nature. After you’ve witnessed the commotion. Anime and Manga products. Tokyo’s most fashionable shopping street. good bet for those on holiday. for a sensory overload of glistening skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. after being destroyed during WWII. WHERE To STAy Grand Hyatt Tokyo (7) (tokyo. it’s a shrine to cult memorabilia and makes a great place to pick up unique. dip them in a variety of accompaniments (such as soy. chubby athletes grappling for victory. best savoured at the crack of dawn. Daiwa Sushi (10) (+81 335 47 6807) is a tiny room where you can eat like a local: squash in like sardines at its sushi bar and chow down on fresh pieces of tender sashimi. Shutterstock. Here you’ll sleep in one of a dozen capsules. Signature sushi.Tokyo | Japan MUST-DOS Cos-Cha: Back to School (1) (cos-cha. anyway) for $42.hyatt. Chuo-dori.or. a haven for sing-along joints. there are now over 210 to choose from. be warned.com) sets up home in what is a prime spot for discovering the entire city – though its plush rooms may make you want to stay put a while longer. Fiesta International Karaoke (6) (fiesta-roppongi. retro video games.jp/) offers a distinctly fishy experience. abalone.jp/kokugikan) is Sumida’s chief sumo-wrestling stadium. Order them with all the trimmings in a bento box (including tempura and miso soup). as it offers a choice of over 10. But. Sumo-wrestlers. or the Special Observatory (250 metres high). Visit its on-site museum to learn about one of Japan’s oldest sports and view photographs of champion. or. In fact. Japan Tourism TOKYO’S. In this area you’ll find stacks of computer games.com) is in the Roppongi district.000-capacity stadium. chopped in front of you and delicately passed over via the chef’s chopsticks. ginger and chilli). Inside the small tube of a room there’s space for your own TV. TOp SIGHTS Imperial Palace in Chiyoda which. Here local traders get stuck into a noisy auction and lob around baskets of eels. accompanied by five-star service. maid’s cafes have become something of an institution in the city. Ginza offers endless high-end shopping opportunities for those after a luxury fix. Akihabara (5) is known for being the ‘nerd headquarters’ of Tokyo. tilapia. Fiesta International is a particularly BUNKYO TAITO TOKYO 9 8 CHIYODA 1 5 4 WHERE To EAT yoshimura Soba (9) (+81 422 SHIBUYA CHUO 6 7 3 2 10 Images: Corbis / Arabian Eye. Ryōgoku Kokugikan (4) (sumo. Capsule Hotel (8) (capsuleinn. tobiko and other freshlycaught delicacies. which are stacked on top of one another in a wall. figurines and dozens of collectibles.. radio and light controllers.000 international musical numbers and all-night drinks (til closing time. make like a local and indulge in some just-cut sushi for breakfast. In fact. Choose between the Main Observatory (150 metres high). clockwise from top: Waitresses from the city’s popular maid cafes. Japanese-inspired gifts. Book tickets for a live fight before your trip so you can soak up an electric atmosphere at the 13. has been rebuilt and still used as an imperial residence today. and has to be tried at least once while you’re in Japan. co. Streets here are spotless and teaming with trendy shoppers who you can gawk at for style inspiration. international restaurants and views across the sparkling skyline. harmony and Japanese virtues: locals believe it contains the souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoke. wasabi. then wash them down with one of a superb selection of ricebased drinks. Chinzanso Garden is the place to trade the bustling city for a garden filled with camellia flowers and traditional cherry blossom trees: go from February to March to see them in full bloom. Pokémon cards. and queues for a table can last up to two hours. reservations are not possible here and queues can have you waiting an hour – a testament to the food on offer. grand. 43 1717) is a country-style noodle shop in Kichijoji that makes saliva-inducing buckwheat noodles you’ll not forget. Expect modern decor throughout.com) is a maid’s cafe – a bizarre trend that sees women dressed in black and white pinafores serving lunch. January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 67 . Tokyo skyscrapers. Tsukiji Fish Market (2) (tsukiji-market. Opposite page. com) offers an alternative sleeping arrangement.jp) is the place to behold the sights and sounds of this mesmerising city. jellyfish.

(Russians are big on the esteemed fish eggs). Art lovers and historians will also revel in the knowledge that this was the very place where Tchaikovsky.ru) is a long. it’s filled with paintings. giltmoulded decorations and white stone sculptures. ru/en) is the place to see live classical music. 68 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller I MUST-DOS The State Hermitage Museum/ Winter Palace (1) (hermitagemuseum.org) is a great place to begin your cultural voyage. graphic works. Visit the chilly Russian city today and marry the above with trips to chic cafes. you’ll spy gorgeous. Yusupov Palace (2) (yusupov-palace. a group of the city’s noble elite conspired to kill Grigori Rasputin. oh-so-grand yellow building that runs along the side of the Moika River. Alexander Garden (5) is in the very centre of St Petersburg and dates back . Post-revolution.visit ST PETERSBURG Head to Russia’s capital of culture for an alluring mix of baroque and neoclassical-style architecture. sculptures and works of applied art. with locals having swapped soviet cabbage soup for rich stroganoff and lavish Europeaninspired fare. archaeological finds and numismatic material.. decadent palaces and world-class galleries. Hire a walkman and listen to a tour tape on how. Elsewhere. miles of canals and over 200 museums… t’s hard to believe St Petersburg was originally a swamp owned by the Swedish: seized by the Russian leader ‘Peter the Great’ in 1703. Stravinsky and Shostakovich composed their masterpieces. Nevsky Prospekt (3) is the street where well-heeled locals shop for designer clothes – grab a bite in one of its many food emporiums and waste literally hours in its department stores. operas and Russia’s signature ballet. blue velvet chairs and enjoy a show amid crystal. too. gold trimmings. and catch sight of historic architecture for picture opportunities aplenty. he turned it into what locals now call ‘the window to the western world’ – which would explain the monuments worshiping him across town. Seek out the black market caviar-sellers here. antique furniture.. classical-style rooms chock full of rich. leading to the fall of the Romanov dynasty. and where Russian revolutionists Lenin and Trotsky wrote history. in 1916. The Mariinsky (4) (mariinsky. Sit back on one of its fancy. the city has returned to its former state of grandeur.

com) is the place to splash out: its todie-for Presidential Suite spans 120 square metres. to 1872. The Moscow Triumphal Arch forms a grand structure and a gateway into the Imperial capital.ru/en) is where you can book a canal boat tour round the city. The Bronze Horseman on Senatskaia Ploschad square resembles a Roman hero on horseback and was built on order of Catherine the Great as a tribute to her predecessor. a skill he learnt in Holland to later teach the Russian navy. The Aurora ship is now a museum. MONUMENTS The Alexander Column can be found in Palace Square.5 metres tall and made of one solid slab of red granite. and it marks the Russian victory in the RussoTurkish war of 1828. too). Games and a shelf full of English books can be found inside. Hotel Astoria 2 7 9 SAINT PETERSBURG 8 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 69 . Davranov (6) (davranovtravel.. so passengers can view the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Cruiser Aurora. so you can step aboard the vessel that once battled in the RussoJapanese War. he builds a ship with an axe. Here you can fill up on a traditional war-time diet of brioche-style rolls and red pickled cabbage – though it sounds unexciting. complete with classical trimmings and huge marble bathrooms. WHERE TO STAY Hotel Astoria (9) (thehotelastoria. Peter the Great.com) is as plush as it gets in St Petersburg. Gold-plated turret of the Big Palace. an impressive 47. At night. Impressive stuff. ST PETERSBURG’S. Wander inside and you’ll find some impressive statues of Russian cultural figures – look out for that of former Russian General Nikolai Przhevalsky. 6 1 SUMMER GARDEN The Tsar Carpenter is a detailed green monument. plus four rooms adorned with antiques and trinkets where you can tuck into Russian vegetarian fare. The Idiot Cafe (8) (Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki 82) is a cult favourite among artsy types and expats. it was built to honour Russia’s victory against France. which people say bears a striking resemblance to Stalin and where devoted communists still place flowers at its base.Opposite page: The Winter Palace. from left to right: Shopper on Nevsky Prospekt Street. built to tell the story of the young Peter the Great as a boy. Lounge in Hotel Astoria. WHERE TO EAT Pyecanya cafe (7) (Naberezhnaya Kanala Griboedova) is an atmospheric joint with a view of the canal from the Russian Museum. 5 4 GULF OF FINLAND 3 10 Images: Shutterstock. This page. Peter the Great Monument. dine on traditional haute cuisine at the hotel’s Davidoff Restaurant. Do as the Russian billionaires do and rest up in one of its tasteful suites.. Here. it’s seriously tasty (and cheap. Corinthia Hotel Saint Petersburg (10) (corinthia. Most pass the Moika River and go on to Neva River. is adorned in royal red and cream hues and includes two bedrooms and a balcony that opens out on to Nevsky Prospect.

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no less. private sun terrace and a six-person Jacuzzi. to be precise. we’ve placed dibs on this immaculate beauty. Of course. The Owner’s Suite of a 145-foot mega yacht. his and her’s bathrooms. but for its 270-degree sea views. plump with Missoni cushions.SuiTe dreamS Told u So. which docks in the crystal clear waters of the Maldives from this month to April. molori.com 72 January 2012 Kanoo World Traveller . But this isn’t the only place to snooze. en-suite screening room. not just for its Missoni-striped furnishings. where you can live the high life supping icy beverages and taking a cat nap beneath the sun or stars. Stomp up the cash and you’ll set sail on the designer super-boat. maldiveS Is there a more high-end suite to curl up in than this.000 per week. before setting sail again and resting in east Mediterranean shores for the summer. its deck is something else – a sprawling space of lilac-hued daybeds. Told u So? One of five suites on board. spending the night here comes at a price – $400. Priceless.

and the delicate touch of Transvital wellness.0436.CRISTALLO HOTEL SPA & GOLF THERE IS NO HIGHER PLACE. This is what a Cristallo Hotel holiday is about. Always in surroundings of unrivalled natural beauty.0436. Via Rinaldo Menardi 42 .870110 . you can relax and let yourself be pampered by the impeccable Cristallo service offered in the various hotel restaurants and in the prestigious Club House of the Cortina Golf Club. +39. This is the Cristallo Hotel Spa & Golf. it is in Cortina. Here you will discover suites of unforgettable charm.Fax +39.info@cristallo.881111 .32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo (BL) Tel.it . where one can experience the best of every season. There is nothing better. There is a magical place below one of the most majestic peaks of the Dolomites mountains. the most exclusive and luxurious comfort. the only 5 star luxury hotel in the Dolomites. Naturally. And after an intense day of skiing or a gratifying day of shopping.

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