The Cultured Traveller - Seventh Anniversary Edition, September-November 2021 Issue 35 by The Cultured Traveller - Issuu

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A N N I V E R S A R Y

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Athens THE GLOBAL CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY

DAME ZANDRA RHODES PETRA

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H EL S I N KJ U IN E’ -SA U GF LOURISHING FOOD SCENE 1 ISSUE 34 UST 2021


Feast your eyes on unrivalled views of majestic sunsets over the Indian Ocean whilst enjoying a cuppa on the iconic Chequerboard “For a Spot of Ceylon Tea at the Source” - 1000 Places to See Before You Die

2, Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka T. (+94) 112 541 010 E. information@gallefacehotel.net www.gallefacehotel.com


SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION ISSUE 35 ➤ SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2021

highlights 46 THE GLOBAL CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY A vibrant and inviting city, where ancient archaeological sites sit comfortably next to cutting-edge architecture, ATHENS is one of Europe’s most charismatic and affordable capitals and a thriving hotbed of culture and creativity. Emily Millett and Nicholas Chrisostomou explore.

9 2 FA S H I O N ’ S O R I G I N A L P R I N C E S S O F P U N K As prolifically creative today as she was more than five decades ago at the start of her colourful career, Jackie Needleman chats with the inimitably flamboyant British fashion and fabric designer, DAME ZANDRA RHODES.

14 2 E U R O P E ’ S C O O L N E W F O O D I E H O T S P O T In recent years, uber-cool HELSINKI has seemingly emerged from nowhere to become one of Europe’s food hotspots, giving established Scandinavian culinary capitals a run for their money. Nicholas Chrisostomou samples the best fare the Finnish capital has to offer.

3 2 M E X I C O ’ S N E W B R U TA L I ST B A J A R E T R E AT Located within a farming community in an area so unique that UNESCO has designated it a Biosphere Reserve, The Cultured Traveller takes a first look at the stunning new Brutalist-inspired PARADERO TODOS SANTOS resort.

4 4 W I N F O U R N I G H T S I N FA B L E D F L O R E N C E A contemporary palace of slumber and entertainment, 25HOURS HOTEL PIAZZA SAN PAOLINO is a funky new hotel located in the heart of Tuscany’s most charming city. Win a four-night stay including cocktails, breakfasts and a dinner for two.

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The ceremonial changing of the guard, in front of the Greek Parliament building on Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece


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139 CONTENTS

8 CONTRIBUTORS 1 0 E D I T O R’ S L E T T E R 12 NEWSFLASH

Our fascinating planet conjuresup a cultural event, an interesting tradition or a happening festival every day, of every month, of every year. In NewsFlash, browse The Cultured Traveller’s round-up of global experiences occurring in the coming months, including the annual Saharan tribal gathering of CURE SALÉE in the tiny West African town of Ingall; Mongolia’s annual GOLDEN EAGLE FESTIVAL, which showcases Kazakhstani culture to the world; the spectacular ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA, which sees hundreds of balloons lift off into the sky together; the somewhat bizarre PHUKET VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL, which is not for the faint-hearted onlooker, and PIRATES WEEK in the Cayman Islands, which brings to life the famous Pirates of the Caribbean for youngsters and adults alike. 2 6 R E S T YO U R H E A D

In our Seventh Anniversary Edition, we check-into twelve new properties dotted

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around the globe, including KALESMA, nestled on a hillside in the southwest of Mykonos, which connects its guests with the island’s soulful, Cycladic culture; historic palazzo VILLA IGIEA in Palermo, which has been meticulously renovated and returned to its former splendour as a Belle Époque hospitality jewel of the Mediterranean; the all-new riverside FOUR SEASONS sanctuary in Bangkok, conceptualised by renowned Belgian hotel designer Jean-Michel Gathy; 1970s American lakeside culture-inspired HOTEL MAGDALENA in the Texan city of Austin, and exclusive-use ANGAMA SAFARI CAMP, located in a remote region of the southwestern Mara Triangle in Kenya. 80 FIVE MINUTES WITH

Born in Rhodesia and raised in Greece, the renowned Greek tenor and classical crossover artist, MARIO FRANGOULIS talks to The Cultured Traveller about thirty years in the music industry. 82 SUITE ENVY

Set within a hospitality palace fashioned by PHILIPPE STARCK, where art, culture and gastronomy collide in perfect harmony, Nicholas

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112 21 Chrisostomou checks into an extraordinary, apartment-like hotel suite at LE ROYAL MONCEAU RAFFLES PARIS, that embodies the finest elements of French art de vivre. 102 SPOTLIGHT

Thousands of years old, carved from living stone and an architectural marvel of enormous scale, Nicholas Chrisostomou revisits the spectacular, half-hidden Nabataean city of PETRA in Southwest Jordan. 1 1 2 T R AV E L L E R L O W D O W N

With the highest density of historic sights of any European country, Malta’s breathtaking baroque capital city of VALLETTA may be the continent’s smallest, but Alex Benasuli finds ample ancient and modern culture to fill his days and nights. 122 MUSIC & NIGHT LIFE

Catapulted to international fame thirty years ago by his innovative interpretation of Swan Lake, and the creative force behind a multitude of groundbreaking theatrical dance works ever since, the highly respected choreographer and artistic director of New Adventures, SIR ATTHEW BOURNE talks to The Cultured Traveller about his incredible career.

1 3 4 TA S T E & S I P: R E V I E W

Located in the heart of London’s trendy Notting Hill, Joe Mortimer discovers that vibrant new bar and restaurant LOS MOCHIS is a skillful Pan-Pacific culinary pairing, merging Mexican spirit with Japanese elegance and South American flavours with East Asian chic.

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1 3 9 TA S T E & S I P: E X P E R I E N C E

Every so often, a restaurant comes along that not only tickles your tastebuds but also enlivens your soul in a way that only genuine hospitality and Eastern Mediterranean-style food can achieve. Nicholas Chrisostomou is utterly enamored by BALAGAN in Paris. 153 LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Web addresses for everywhere featured in the Seventh Anniversary Edition of The Cultured Traveller magazine. 1 5 4 T R AV E L T I P S

Renowned for her unashamedly romantic and feminine creations and having dressed the Duchess of Cambridge, British fashion designer ALICE TEMPERLEY tells us how she stylishly yet practically travels the world.

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JOE MORTIMER ➤ TASTE & SIP REVIEW A UK-based travel writer and editor who specialises JOE O R Thospitality, I M E R and former in luxury travel andM high-end editor of Destinations of the FOOD World News in Dubai, Joe ➤ ISTANBUL’S SCENE has contributed to titles including National A UK-based travel writer and editorGeographic who Traveler, Robb Report and Jetsetter, as well as a specialises in luxury travel and high-end hospitality, collection of prestigious inflight and hotel magazines.

and former editor of Destinations of the World News in Dubai, Joe currently contributes to titles including National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report and TTG Luxury, as well as a collection of prestigious inflight and hotel magazines.

SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION EDITOR-IN-CHIEF E D I TO R - I N - C H I E F

C H R I S O STO M O U NNI ICCHHOOLL AA SS C H R I S O STO M O U P U B L I S H E R C O C O L AT T É P U B L I S H E R C O C O L AT T É DESIGN STUART MANNING DESIGN D E A N C H I L L M A I D EDITORIAL JEMIMA THOMPSON E D I TO R I A L J E M I M A T H O M P S O N PICTURES STELLA ALEVIZAKI P I CT U R E S S T E L L A A L E V I Z A K I THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS T H I S I S S U E ’ S C O N T R I B U TO R S

Alex Benasuli, Joe Mortimer, Dawn Gibson

Joe Mortimer, Emily Millett, Jackie Needleman, Alex Benasuli WITH THANKS TO

Sofia Wilkinson-Steel, Roman Migliorato Lee Sutton, Nikita Harrison

CONTRIBUTORS CONTRIBUTORS

The Cultured Traveller magazine is published by Coco Latté

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JACKIE NEEDLEMAN ➤ FASHION ICON INTERVIEW An established, London-based fashion consultant, DA GIBSO N street retail Jackie has been at W theN cutting-edge of high for years. Her ➤ career has taken her to RISHIKESH, INDIA almost every continent and countless countries, where she enjoys Passionate about travel, fashion, food, culture and shopping for designer brands and vintage pieces as much the arts, Dawnuncovering was raisedrare in Australia and is now as she relishes finds in flea markets.

UK-based. She has visited more than thirty countries and lived in three. A former magazine editor and senior newspaper journalist, Dawn currently contributes to several international publications.

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© 2020 All rights reserved is prohibited. NoCoco part ofLatté. this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Reproduction in part or in whole of any part of this magazine The views expressed in The Cultured Traveller are those of is prohibited. No part of this magazine may be reproduced its respective contributors and writers and are not necessarily without written permission from the publisher. shared by The Cultured Traveller Ltd. or its staff. The views expressed in The Cultured Traveller are those of The Cultured Traveller always welcomes new contributions, its respective contributors and writers and are not necessarily but assumes no responsibility for unsolicited emails, articles, shared by The Cultured Traveller Ltd. or its staff. photographs or other materials submitted. The Cultured Traveller always welcomes new contributions, but assumes no responsibility for unsolicited emails, articles, photographs or other materials submitted.

Read and download the digital version of the Seventh Anniversary Edition of The Cultured Traveller magazine online at

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E M I LY M I L L E TT ➤ CITY FOCUS ON ATHENS ALEX BENASU LI Born into a family of avid world travellers, Emily has GALfor OYA, SRI LANK had a nomadic➤spirit as long as sheAcan remember. Former editor of TTG Luxury and now a his travel London-based AlexMENA has been globetrotting writer, contributes to a Europe, number of in-flight whole Emily life. He has explored Asia and magazines and high-end publications from her bases in Africa, as well as North and South America London and Nicosia.

intimately. As passionate on a highbrow urban cultural break as he is on an off-the-beaten-track adventure, Alex uses travel to explore his love of history, design, nature and wellness.

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T HE CULT UR E D T R AVELLE R @theculturedtraveller COCO L AT@culturedtraveller TÉ 3- 6 K EN R ICK PL ACE T H E C LON U LT DUON RED T R6HD AV E L L E R W 1U 3 - 6 K E N RUK ICK PLACE, LO N D O N W 1 U 6 H D, U K


A HOTEL UNLIKE ANY OTHER Villa Copenhagen is a new social scene in Copenhagen, allowing the past, present and future to come together in an inspiring and playful ambience. By honouring the ethos of the old charming Europe expressed in our architectural hertage coupled with a contemporary and vibrant setting, we promise our visitors - locals as well as overseas - an exquiste experiences for all senses.

BOOKINGS AT VILLACOPENHAGEN.COM


TR O’ S R ’L SE T LT EE TRT E R EE DD I TI O

From left to right: Gloria Estefan; Zürich; Lake Como; Lošinj Island

WELL, IT IS FINALLY happening: a sizeable chunk of us have resumed travelling – in Europe at least – and what a joy it is to land in a destination once more. Granted, the actual business of flying, navigating airports andIS steering through SPRING A TIME OF therenewed minefield of coronavirus energy, fresh goals travel is booking a serious and,requirements most fun of all, faff. But when you remove your summer holidays. With the mask the comfort a hotel sillyin season all but of a distant room and a at vibrant city, anof memory, the first sign island hideaway or a luxe resort daffodils’ slim green blades is appearing just beyondinthe doorway, March, I’m all waiting be explored, all the about to planning my mid-year hassle worthwhile. tripsseems and looking ahead to One positivemonths. upshot of the the warmer Yet, pandemic must be how much we all something I’vesurely only learnt now travelling. Pre-Covid, few of us in value the past few years: one appreciated the ease with we could get doesn’t necessarily have which to ontravel a plane jetimmersed off somewhere farand to be in a at the drop of a hat. Today, I for one am much more thankful rather special experience. for the ability to venture away from set – Until visiting the Croatian islandhome, of Lošinj foot new, tasteAdriatic, different foods and inin thepastures central northern just a stone’s experience another I am choosing throw from Italy –culture. I didn’t But realise that such where I fly verynatural carefully, and it is essential near-pristine beauty could be enjoyed that we all doaour before within just fewhomework hours’ flight fromembarking London. onAnd a trip. until relatively recently, Zürich was commonly associated with business and semiINsecretive THIS SPECIAL ISSUEthan OF THE banking rather being an exciting Cultured Traveller , we rediscover of old, city break destination. Both arecities featured in this from oneas side of the European continent to the issue, Dawn Gibson discovers that around other, that have corner, stood the testisofmuch timeto and still every cobbled there intrigue welcome us centuries or ininsome cases millennia a seasoned globetrotter Switzerland’s largest after were first founded. theclear global citythey (p50), while I jump off a Led boatby into birthplace democracy – which the cover turquoiseofwaters off the coast ofisuninhabited story of this Seventh islands in the LošinjAnniversary archipelago Edition (p122). – you will As findhe’s insider guides to the speeding across thecharismatic waters of Greek capital Athens (page 46), the fabled, rose-hued Lake of Como, Alex Benasuli rediscovers that Nabatean capital ofglamour Petra (page 102), and old school Italian never goes outMalta’s of stunning capital of Starratt Valletta gets (pageher 112) fashion baroque (page130); Ashlee in fingers the following pages. on fresh Sri Lankan dirty feasting Joe Mortimer a happening new mud crab at onevisits of Asia’s 50 best restaurants (p142) and, from humble markets to the lofty

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London restaurant that skillfully fuses Japanese and Mexican cuisines to dazzling gastronomic effect (page 134), while I check into a sprawling hotel suite set within a historic, palatialstardom, property heights of Michelin the heart of beautiful Joein Mortimer discovers the Paris live likeenticing secrets ofand Barcelona’s for a weekend foodroyalty scene (p152). .  industry and A(page titan139) of the one of the greatest designers STILL of all time, AS we VISIONARY look back at the today as she was more career of Karl Lagerfeld – athan years ago when she took true50fashion legend (p171), andthe wefashion sit downworld with by thestorm, DameLatin Zandra original popRhodes icon, Gloria chats exclusively to The Cultured about Estefan, to chat Traveller about being her incredible career (page 92) . Meanwhile, a hotelier and her incredible another creative genius, Sir Matthew Bourne, career (p158). recounts the fascinating which led him to With path Switzerland, Spain, helm the finest dance-theatre the Maldives,company Panama,in the UK (page 122) . Africa, Sri Lanka and many Thailand, South more countries visited in this issue, The AS WE LEARN TOshowcases LIVE WITH VIRUS, Cultured Traveller the THE world’s let The hotspots Cultured so Traveller youmore make travel you canhelp spend time informed andexciting find the right destinations planning choices your next excursion. I hope and that suit you. Forinwhile theretoreally thathotels you find a destination this issue ispersuade nothing you quite right, to like booktravelling, your next getting trip andithave in this brave new world, is now more important something colourful in your 2020 diary to look than ever.to. forward

Nicholas Chrisostomou Editor-in-Chief

From left to right: Athens; Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake; Zandra Rhodes; Petra


news

G L O B A L F E S T I VA L S A N D C U LT U R A L EVENTS IN THE COMING MONTHS

VALTIFEST THE NETHERLANDS’ capital is known for its artistic heritage, colourful culture and outrageous parties, all of which are brought to life every September at Valtifest, where the music is as eclectic as the dress code. The veritable wild child of Europe’s summer festival programme, Valtifest is staged at Kaap Oost in Amsterdam Noord. Akin to a holiday destination within the Dutch capital, Kaap Oost is situated on the most easterly tip of Zeeburgereilend, just outside Amsterdam’s city centre near IJbrug. Surrounded by the waters of the Buiten-IJ and Markermeer, the beachy environment makes for an exceptional festival location and party goers to Valtifest really know how to let their hair down! Boasting a heavyweight line-up of DJs playing dance, electro and thumping house, as well as dubstep, hip-hop and punk, Valtifest caters to all tastes. Besides the main DJs, sideshows and performance artists encourage people to take time out from the dancing and enjoy the general bizarreness of it all. 4 September 2021

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www.altifest.nl

SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2021

CURE SALÉE TOWARDS THE END OF

importantly, a spectacular male beauty parade.

the rainy season in

Here, the roles are reversed, since it is the men

mid-late September,

who paint their faces, don ceremonial

Saharan clans gather at

costumes and sing and dance to impress

the salt flats and pools near the tiny West

the female judges, in an effort to be named the

African town of In-gall, in the Agadez region of

most attractive man of their clan. The talent

northeast Niger, to refresh their herds

portion of the show – known as Yaake – is akin

and prepare for the trip south so that they can

to line dancing, with men swaying shoulder-to-

survive the dry season. But before heading

shoulder, singing and chanting in a hypnotic

south, tens of thousands of nomads converge

fashion. A tea made of fermented bark,

on In-Gall to celebrate Cure Salée – an annual

rumoured to have a hallucinogenic effect, fuels

gathering that serves as a harvest festival,

the men to dance wildly, often non-stop, for

marketplace and tribal gathering and, most

hours on end. 19-21 September 2021


NEWSFLASH

MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL MONTREAL IS A CITY where a heady mix of innovation, musical appreciation, joie de vivre and public celebration are all important ingredients of the civic cocktail. It’s a city that loves the tradition and history that jazz represents, but also respects the flexibility and improvisation implicit within the genre. The city’s inaugural jazz event in 1980 was headlined by none other than the great Ray Charles, who helped invent soul and R&B music. Since then, aided by the resurgence of jazz in the 1980s, the Montreal International Jazz Festival has grown into one of the largest jazz festivals in the world. Headliners for the forty-first edition include Grammy Award-winning R&B and soul singersongwriter, musician and record producer, Macy Gray and British singer-songwriter Joss Stone (pictured). Only 16 years old when she hit the mainstream, Stone is renowned for her powerful voice and uniquely vintage, soul-infused sound. 15-19 September 2021 www.montrealjazzfest.com

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS MUSIC FESTIVAL A HOTBED FOR

2002, the festival spans two, consecutive

technology, start-ups

three-day weekends and boasts

and innovation, and one

multiple stages upon which musical groups

of the best cities in the

from a variety of genres perform to

States to start a new business, the Texan

around half a million fans. In addition to the

metropolis of Austin has repeatedly been

countless live rock, indie, country, folk,

voted the best place to live in America based

electronic and hip-hop performances,

on affordability, job prospects and quality of

the festival showcases local foods, art, crafts

life. Once a year, all of Austin’s many qualities

and the work of charitable organisations. This

come together at Zilker Metropolitan Park in

year’s line-up is headlined by Billie Eilish on the

the south of the city – a beautiful recreational

Saturday nights, Miley Cyrus on the Friday

area of more than 350 acres at the juncture of

nights and Fleetwood Mac icon Stevie Nicks

Barton Creek and the Colorado River – for the

on the Sunday nights. 1-3 + 8-10 October 2021

hugely popular ACL Music Festival. Founded in

www.aclfestival.com

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GOLDEN EAGLE FESTIVAL HIGHLY ADEPT AT FALCONRY, a Kazakh eagle hunter, living in the mountainous extreme west of Mongolia, shows off his Golden Eagle at this annual, two-day tournament-led event held in Bayan-Ulgii. 2-3 October 2021

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NEWSFLASH

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GOLDEN EAGLE FESTIVAL IN THE EXTREME WEST of Mongolia, Bayan-Ulgii is a far-off land of high mountains, torrents and glaciers, inhabited by Kazakh, which is a minority people of a different culture from the Mongols. Kazakhs herd yaks and goats and hunt with trained eagles. Celebrating its 22nd anniversary in 2021, Mongolia’s annual Golden Eagle Festival showcases Kazakhstani culture to the world and promotes Kazakh heritage to their next generations to come. Organised by the Mongolian Eagle Hunters’ Association, despite this festival being held in hard-to-reach Bayan-Ulgii, where the country borders Russia, China and Kazakhstan, it often attracts a large number of tourists and photographers. Up to eighty eagle hunters, adept at falconry, come together to participate in this two-day event, testing their skills by comparing their birds’ accuracy in a variety of different tournaments relating to Golden Eagles and their hunters, horses, camels and archery. 2-3 October 2021

www.viewmongolia.com

ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA “TIME FLIES” IS THE

mornings plus one day mid-week, but only after

theme for the 49th

a dawn patrol carefully examines the weather

Albuquerque International

conditions. When the green light is given,

Balloon Fiesta, which

balloons from all over the world rise together in

brings together pilots, crews and hot air and gas

a harmonious lift off as dawn breaks over the

ballooning enthusiasts from more than fifty

Sandia Mountains. The sight of so many

countries and draws a crowd of thousands. With

colourful balloons in the sky is as breathtaking

hundreds upon hundreds of brightly coloured

for first-time visitors as it continues to be for

balloons taking off, the fiesta is an impressive

veteran attendees. Over the weekends, laser

visual spectacle. Mass ascensions (when

lightshows and firework displays bring the

hundreds of balloons lift off together into the

nights to a spectacular close.

morning sky) are held on all four weekend

2-10 October 2021

www.balloonfiesta.com


NEWSFLASH

FRIEZE LONDON

PHUKET VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL

A MUCH-LAUDED annual art fair that takes over a large part of

WHILE THE ORIGINS of

London’s Regent’s Park,

this festival are a little

Frieze provides an exceptional cultural attraction

fuzzy, the most agreed

at the heart of the British capital and catalyses

upon version of historic

one of the most significant weeks in London’s

events is that a wandering Chinese opera

cultural calendar. Usually featuring over a

company fell ill en mass with Malaria while

hundred of the world’s leading galleries at Frieze

performing in Phuket, many decades ago. In an

London, plus dozens more at Frieze Masters,

attempt to beat the disease, the group adopted a

together these two fairs present the best of

strict vegetarian diet and prayed intensely to the

international contemporary art by emerging and

nine emperor gods for purification of their bodies

established artists, alongside a dynamic

and minds to be cured. Surprisingly, the group

programme of newly commissioned artworks,

made a miraculous and complete recovery and

short films and talks. Frieze also runs workshops,

celebrated by originating a festival to honour the

hosts seminars and shows performance-based

gods. Thus, Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival was

installation artworks. New for 2021, Frieze will

born. Now an annual happening not for the faint

open a new gallery space at 9 Cork Street in

hearted yet attended by thousands, the festival features a number of rituals, including participants performing ritualised mutilation upon themselves and one another, without anesthetic but while under a trance-like state, including piercing their mouths, cheeks, ears and

ALBA INTERNATIONAL WHITE TRUFFLE FAIR

arms with fishhooks, knives, razor blades and

townhouses that will accommodate visiting galleries throughout the year, this new fully equipped gallery space will build on Frieze’s commitment to the creative spirit of London, and provide a unique opportunity to present ambitious exhibition projects in the centre of the

bamboo poles in dramatic fashion. Offerings of

British capital’s gallery district.

food and drink are also made to the gods in

COINCIDING WITH THE

temples throughout the city.

late autumn harvest period

6-14 October 2021

of Tartufo bianco di Alba,

www.phuket.com

central London. Housed within two converted

13-17 October 2021

www.frieze.com

every year, the pretty town of Alba hosts its world famous international white truffle fair. Nestled in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, about an hour by car from Turin, Alba is known as the town of a hundred medieval towers and its old centre is beautifully preserved. Strolling its streets and piazzas, with a gelato in hand, is one of life’s great pleasures. As the truffle fair approaches, international chefs, gastronomy buffs, oenophiles and travelling foodies all descend upon Alba to sample the decadent, aromatic and wildly exclusive white prizes, which are characterised by their irregular shape, due to the unevenness of the soil in which they grow. During the fair, the little unattractive mushrooms – sniffed out by trained dogs and pigs – are cleaned, meticulously preserved and shaved sparingly over pasta, risotto, grilled vegetables and just about everything else. 9 October - 5 December 2021 www.fieradeltartufo.org

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ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA HUNDREDS OF HOT AIR balloons, from all over the world, rise together in a harmonious lift over the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico, in the southwestern United States. 2-10 October 2021

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NEWSFLASH

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BRISBANE GOOD FOOD & WINE SHOW THE CAPITAL OF Queensland is a large, modern metropolis brimming with entrepreneurial zeal, cosmopolitan young people, bohemian nightclubs and world-class restaurants, so it’s little surprise that Brisbane hosts one of the country’s top food and wine shows. Celebrating regionally sourced and locally-produced foods and vino, and showcasing artisan and home-grown produce from within the state and across Australia, Brisbane’s Good Food & Wine Show offers everything from master classes hosted by leading chefs to “The Smelly Cheese Project” presided over by a cheese expert taking visitors on a sensory cheese appreciation journey. Learn how to become a wine master at the Riedel Drinks Lab and watch the best interstate chefs cook up a storm at the live Princess Cruises Theatre. For a more exclusive experience, buy a ticket for the Margaret River Wine VIP Lounge to enjoy complimentary wines from the Margaret River region plus a delicious lunch. 22-24 October 2021 www.goodfoodshow.com.au/brisbane

WEXFORD FESTIVAL OPERA SINCE THE FIRST

Ireland’s first custom-built opera house. The

Festival of Music and the

gala concert on 24th October, featuring a

Arts took place in

collection of favourite party pieces performed

October 1951, Wexford

by members of the company, will undoubtedly

Festival Opera has grown into one of the

be a festival highlight. Meanwhile, the

world’s leading opera festivals. For seventy

festival’s program of informal lunchtime

years, the festival has breathed new life into

recitals, held at the O’Reilly Theatre, provide an

forgotten or neglected operatic masterpieces,

insight into the artistic personalities of some

establishing a reputation for high-quality

of Wexford’s principal solo singers, who

productions that bring thousands of opera

perform a wide variety of music from across

lovers flocking from all over the world to the

the repertoire, including operatic arias and

beautiful harbour town of Wexford, in the

popular songs.

southeastern corner of the island. All operas

19-31 October 2021

are performed at The National Opera House,

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www.wexfordopera.com

SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2021


NEWSFLASH

MASSKARA BACOLOD’S WORLDfamous MassKara festival is a popular celebration that traces its roots back to 1980, when it was introduced as a way to boost morale after poor sugarcane sales and a tragedy that took the lives of 700 people, many of whom were from Bacolod. Since then, this vibrant and highly coloured festival in the ‘City of Smiles’ has become a much revered annual happening. Named from a combination of the English word //mass// and the Spanish word // kara// meaning face, MassKara is recognised by the ornate, smiling masks worn by the thousands of revellers performing in the city’s streets. Spectators are also treated to food festivals, live music, street dance competitions and a parade of illuminated floats and giant puppets. Sports events, pageants and street parties also feature during the main few days of MassKara. But, what makes this festival particularly standout, is the genuine warmth and friendliness of the welcoming locals. 24 October 2021

lovepilipinas.com

SALON DU CHOCOLAT DUBBED THE WORLD’S

chefs and cocoa experts, visitors are afforded a

largest event dedicated to

unique opportunity to discover and taste chocolate

chocolate innovations and

products found nowhere else, The highlight of the

cocoa expressions, Salon Du

festival is undoubtedly The Chocolate Fashion

Chocolat is a unique happening revered by

Show, when a number of duos of chocolatiers

chocolate aficionados the world over. Held in the

and fashion designers showcase an incredible

heart of the French capital at the Porte de

collection of couture outfits made entirely out

Versailles Exhibition Center, this decadent annual

of chocolate. Live performances by talented young

chocfest hosts hundreds of international

chefs and renowned chocolate makers, recreating

chocolatiers. Courtesy of hundreds of chocolatiers

their finest chocolate creations, are also worth

and confectioners hailing from dozens of countries

checking-out. 28 October – 1 November 2021

, including some of the world’s greatest pastry

www.salonduchocolat.fr

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NEWSFLASH

DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS A MEXICAN COUPLE, DRESSED in elaborate costumes, honour the dead in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Oaxaca City, during this world-famous annual holiday which celebrates life and death. 1 November 2021

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DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS NESTLED IN A Y-shaped valley in the Sierra Madre mountain range, 280 miles south-east of the capital, Oaxaca City has a rich indigenous history and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. And, every November, Oaxaca City is probably the best place on the planet to experience 3-day 3,000-year-old //Día de los Muertos//, which dates back to pre-Colombian times. During these 72-hours, the dead are honoured and their souls welcomed home as a blessing, while images abound of animated calaveras skeletons which were invented by 19th century printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada and popularised by artist Diego Rivera. 30th October is a day of preparation, when the women clean the house and get food ready while the men build clay

VILLAGE HALLOWEEN PARADE

altars. //Día de los Angelitios// (Day of the Little Angels) on 31st October is dedicated to children. The main event on 1st November – //Día de los Muertos// – is a more adult affair with bigger and more elaborate costumes, more complex rituals, spicier foods and plenty of tequila. 1 November 2021

BURNING BARRELS AT OTTERY ST MARY

A COLOURFUL AND vibrant event which sees thousands of costumed

FOR REASONS LOST in

party-goers parade

antiquity, on 5th November

through the streets of New York, it would take

every year, residents of the

more than a virus pandemic to stop the city’s

Ottery St Mary, in England’s East Devon district,

founded in 1974 by master mask-maker and

grab large tar barrels and carry them on their

puppeteer, Ralph Lee. This year’s ghouls will be

backs and shoulders, fully aflame, through the

led by puppeteers Alex Kahn and Sophia

streets. Said to be a tradition dating back

Michahelles, together with hundreds of puppets,

hundreds of years, the exact origins are unknown,

dozens of bands of varying musical styles,

but probably started after the gunpowder plot of

dancers, circus performers and floats, all

1605. Each of Ottery’s central public houses

watched by a multitude of spectators. While the

sponsors a single barrel which, in the weeks prior

theme for 2021 is “Let’s Play”, any costume is

to the day of the event, is soaked with tar. In total,

welcome and being costumed is a must to

seventeen barrels are lit over the course of the

participate. Undoubtedly America’s most wildly

evening. In the afternoon and early evening, there

creative public participatory event held in

are women’s and boy’s barrels. But, as the

arguably one of the most vibrant and diverse

evening progresses, the barrels get larger. By

cities in the world, this year’s event is the 48th

midnight they weigh at least 30 kilos. Needless to

Halloween parade in NYC and is certain not to

say, the event draws quite a crowd of people, all

disappoint.

eager to feel the lick of the barrels’ flames.

31 October 2021

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small Devonshire village of

annual Village Halloween Parade which was

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www.halloween-nyc.com

SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2021

5 November 2021

www.tarbarrels.co.uk


NEWSFLASH

PIRATES WEEK WHILE THE CAYMANS are renowned for being one of the most notorious tax havens on earth, once a year, pirates take over its three stunning islands. So, if you enjoy the revelry of swashbuckling combined with a western Caribbean climate, Pirates Week is undoubtedly the best time for you to visit this beautiful part of the world. Every November, pirates run amok throughout the islands in this family-friendly festival of Cayman culture and pirate folklore that brings to life the famous // Pirates of the Caribbean// complete with simulated pirate invasions, firework displays, underwater treasure hunts, street dances, costume contests, parties and fancy dressed revellers at the end of every gangplank. While festivities take place on Cayman Brac (5-7 November) and Little Cayman (19-21 November), the main event happens on Grand Cayman (11-15 November) where four days of fun will mark Pirates Week’s forty-fourth year. Don’t miss the official Pirates Week kick-off party on 11th November with live music and DJs. 5-21 November 2021 www.piratesweekfestival.com

PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR IN THE AJMER

entered into beauty contests and raced.

region of the

Adorned with silver bells and bangles around

northeastern Indian

their hoofs and embellished with all manner

state of Rajasthan, the

of vibrant adornments, they are paraded

somewhat sleepy lakeside town of Pushkar,

past the golden sand dunes to an excited

which borders the Thar Desert, springs to life

crowd and intense scrutinisation and judging.

every year for a unique and incredibly

Aside from the thousands of camels also

colourful camel fair which coincides with the

traded during the course of the fair, other

religious festival of //Kartik Purnima//. While

livestock are haggled over, bought and sold,

the festival sees thousands of devotees

as well as local textiles, arts and crafts,

bathe in Pushkar Lake on the pageant’s last

saddles, jewellery and a variety of camel

day, close to 50,000 camels are trimmed,

finery and embellishments.

coiffured and decorated in order to be

11-19 November 2021

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MY KONOS G RE E C E

rest your

KALESMA NESTLED ON THE HILLSIDE OF ALEOMANDRA CAPE,

Serbian artist Aleksandar Vac adorn the largely neutral living spaces, and

in the southwest of the renowned Greek party island of

throughout Kalesma, whitewashed surfaces, bougainvillea-filled archways

Mykonos, Kalesma differs from its hospitality neighbours in that it

and the liberal use of wood, marble and other stones evoke traditional

consciously seeks to connect its guests with the island’s soulful, Cycladic

Cycladic minimalism. Guests enjoy serene surroundings, unparalleled sea

culture via warm and slick service, laid-back casual glamour and relaxed

views and all the amenities one would expect from a luxury resort.

rejuvenation. For whilst Mykonos’ busy beaches, lively restaurants and

Kalesma›s beach concierge can reserve sunbeds at a variety of

bustling bars may be just a few miles from Kalesma, this unique 5-acre

different clubs and recommend the best beaches based on the winds

property provides a sense of isolation, a calm place to retreat and

that day. A personal shopper is on hand to assist the fashion-conscious,

an authentic Mykonian experience.

an onsite baker prepares fresh Horiatiko psomi bread daily in the resort›s

   Comprising 25 luxury suites and two villas, each with its own

brick oven, and guests are positively encouraged to explore the island›s

private pool and sprawling terraces offering unobstructed views of

history, including its much photographed 16th century windmills that were

the Aegean, Kalesma was thoughtfully designed by Athens-based

once essential to Mykonos economy.

architects K-Studio and interior designer Vangelis Bonios to resemble an authentic Mykonian neighbourhood.  Local materials and artisans played an essential role in the creation of the resort. Furnishings were custom made by Greek craftsmen. Works by

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Skillfully balancing fun and privacy with first class service and insider knowledge, Kalesma has undoubtedly introduced a new and unique hospitality experience to Mykonos. www.kalesmamykonos.com


head

T H E C U LT U R E D T R AV E L L E R C H E C K S - I N T O T W E LV E S W I S H Y NEW HOTELS AND RES ORTS DOTTED AROUND THE GLOBE

➤ M Y K O N O S ➤ PA L E R M O ➤ A D E L A I D E ➤ H AVA N A ➤ T O D O S S A N T O S ➤ A U ST I N ➤ M A D R I D ➤ PA L M B E A C H ➤ E A ST M O L E S E Y ➤ B A N G K O K ➤ C ÁT B À I S L A N D ➤ M A A S A I M A R A

T H E C U LT U R E D T R A V E L L E R

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PALE RMO

VILLA IGIEA A CULTURAL MELTING POT SINCE antiquity having been the crossroads

S I C I LY

of numerous civilisations for millennia, the heady Sicilian capital of Palermo bears the scars and glorious relics of centuries of domination, making it the perfect destination for a spicy city break. Beautiful piazzas, vibrant souk-like markets, stunning 12th-century churches, gothic palaces, baroque cathedrals and architectural relics of the Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Phoenicians and Greeks combine to create a unique metropolis bursting with cultural wonders and fascinating history. Positioned on a promontory just north of the city›s port, in the shadow of Monte Pellegrino overlooking the Gulf of Palermo, the Art Nouveau palazzo which is now home to Villa Igiea was originally designed by the celebrated Palermitan architect Ernesto Basile, having been commissioned by the influential Florio family. Ignazio Florio Sr. christened it Villa Florio, thereby helping to solidify the family’s social standing. A few decades later, Florio›s son, Ignazio Jr., enlisted Basile to expand the villa into a full-service luxury hotel and the property became an epicentre of society in Europe, attracting an international who’s who of royalty, industry and celebrity.  But the hotel’s fortunes turned when it went out of the Florio family›s hands before the second world war, and by the last century, the property had been in gradual decline for many years. Courtesy of renowned hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, his sister and design director of the hotel group, Olga Polizzi, in collaboration with renowned architects Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen of Nicholas Haslam Studios, the historic palazzo has been meticulously renovated and returned to its former splendour as a Belle Époque hospitality jewel of the Mediterranean.      Splendidly nestled between land and sea, the grandeur of the setting and the majesty of Basile’s building have been painstakingly revitalised to create the perfect base from which to discover the cultural heritage of Palermo, skillfully combining the architectural grandeur of the past with 21st century contemporary comforts. And whilst none of the hotel’s inherent charms have been lost, the intricate restoration of this grand dame has created a truly remarkable hotel which enthralls with its magnificent charms at every turn. Be sure to see the spectacular mirrored ballroom and sip a cocktail in the frescoed, vaulted bar.

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www.roccofortehotels.com


E E

Detox D E T O X W I T H E U R O P E A N AY U R V E D A D E TDOTXHW HWEEURR O UU RN VE D IAN S AN E IPTO OPFETAHNE AY MO TA A N D T H E P O W E R O F T H E M O U N TA I N S Let go, cleanse, switch off your mind, enjoy and learn for your everyday life: European Ayurveda is not only anlearn eclectic mix Let go, cleanse, switch off your mind, enjoy and for your of the knowledge of Western medicine and thean ancient Indian everyday life: European Ayurveda is not only eclectic mix healing teachings, of but also a sustainable andthe healthy guide for of the knowledge Western medicine and ancient Indian your everyday life. Take a detox cure at theand European healing teachings, but also a sustainable healthy Ayurveda guide for Resort Sonnhof in Take the midst the at Tyrolean mountains, feel your everyday life. a detoxofcure the European Ayurveda this immense place of power takeTyrolean the valuable knowledge Resort Sonnhof in the midstand of the mountains, feel of European home and withtake you.the valuable knowledge this immenseAyurveda place of power of European Ayurveda home with you.

Because Because Because you Because you

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AY U R D E T O X – I N T E N S I V E P R O G R A M M E AY U R D E T O X – I N T E N S I V E P R O G R A M M E Gentle internal cleansing combines with full body oil, bag and energy massages to help release combines toxins. Additional areand tailored to Gentle internal cleansing with full treatments body oil, bag energy your individual needs and toxins. designed to boosttreatments your immune massages to help release Additional aresystem tailoredand to intestinal functions. your individual needs and designed to boost your immune system and 7 NIGHTS

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6 TREATMENT 7 NIGHTSDAYS 6 AYURVEDIC TREATMENT DIET DAYS AYURVEDIC DIET

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Virechana – day of purification > Therapeutic supervision

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Weeklyfor programme of of Yoga and meditation > Herbs the duration your stay Use of the Ayurvedaof Spa > Weekly programme Yoga and meditation > Use of the Ayurveda Spa

W W W. S O N N H O F - AY U R V E D A . AT W W W. S O N N H O F - AY U R V E D A . AT


ADE LAI DE AU S T RA LI A

OVAL HOTEL LOCATED IN THE PICTURESQUE PARKLANDS BETWEEN

Hotel is completely integrated into the footprint of the Adelaide Oval, its

the city centre and North Adelaide and wrapped around

materiality blending seamlessly into the existing building. The two wings of

the eastern façade of the iconic Adelaide Oval, Australia’s first stadium

the hotel have been integrated into the eastern pavilion of the Oval, while

hotel is destined to be a crowd-pleaser courtesy of its unrivalled intimacy

a long and gently-curving glass-fronted reception pod is located on level

with not one, but two patches of hallowed turf for AFL and cricket.

3, seemingly floating about one of the stadium’s main entrances, boasting

Since Australia’s historic inner-city parklands are completely off-limits to developers, hotel guests are afforded rare, panoramic vistas through

The interiors of Oval Hotel’s 138 guest rooms and suites are all about

leafy glades towards St. Peter›s Cathedral, the River Torrens and the

creating calming richness with moments of unexpected indulgence, and

skyline of the central business district. And despite the fact that there›s

are furnished in soft grey fabrics with deep, charcoal carpets and good

a 53,500-person stadium right next door, the effect is one of calm and

sound proofing. Intuitive technology allows for the customisation of room

solace.

temperature, curtains and lighting, while digital compendiums make

Conceptualised from the outset to be a quintessentially South Australian experience, local producers, artists and suppliers have been used as much as possible, to both establish Oval Hotel as a true gateway for the state of and offer a unique accommodation experience. Designed to help making the stadium an all-year-round venue, Oval

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spectacular views towards the city for guests checking-in.

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ordering in-room dining and other hotel services as simple as touching a screen. On game days, guests can purchase packages to enjoy the sporting proceedings while they stay, for a truly all-round and unique Oval experience.

www.ovalhotel.com.au


HAVANA

GRAN HOTEL BRISTOL HAVANA APPEARS TO BE IN THE MIDST OF A LUXURY

now occupied by Gran Hotel Bristol was formerly a symbol of bohemian

hotel renaissance. In recent years, a cluster of new high-end

days-gone-by in the Cuban capital. Today, it has been lovingly and carefully restored to its former glory and given a new lease of happening

Cuban capital’s Paseo del Prado promenade, leading from the seafront

hospitality life.

Malecon up to the large leafy square of Parque Central, close to the

Whilst the original facade of the building has been preserved, inside,

old city walls. While some buildings in the area are yet to be beautified,

the interior design concept reflects a contemporary take on its 1930s

its wide leafy walkways, established cedar trees and colourful ornate

Art Deco glory days, providing a luxury urban escape for today’s modern

landmarks make this part of Havana one of the most enchanting.

traveller, where a relaxed atmosphere and five-star service prevail.

Located mere steps away from the 1920s landmark gold-domed El

Upstairs, 162 supremely comfortable guest rooms and

Capitolio and within easy walking distance of Havana›s hotspots, Gran

suites are stylishly appointed with bright accents, clean lines,

Hotel Bristol is Kempinski’s second five-star property in the UNESCO

contemporary furnishings and luxe bathrooms. 

World Heritage Centre, following the success of the Grand Manzana just two blocks away. Once the centre of Havana’s social and artistic scenes in the days before the Cuban Revolution, the handsome Spanish colonial edifice

CUBA

hotels have swung open their glamorous doors in prime sites around the

But perhaps the hotel’s most attractive feature is the rooftop infinity pool, bar and terrace which crown the property, offering panoramic views across the city’s skyline www.kempinski.com/en

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TODOS SANTOS

PARADERO TODOS SANTOS LARGELY AN UNDERDEVELOPED SLICE OF PARADISE IN

the family-owned farms that surround it. Secondly, the property is a hotel

Mexico’s Baja California Sur, over the decades, a wild sense of

which focuses on sustainability, community development and conservation

adventure has drawn a small but steady stream of travellers to Todos Santos. Some fly-in specially to surf the mammoth cerulean breaks crashing on secluded beaches, which are widely regarded as some of the country’s best. Some revel in motoring along the region’s plethora of dusty dirt roads,

through architecture and outdoor experiences. Indeed, it is obvious as one approaches the hotel, that this is a place where the lines between indoor and outdoor living are beautifully blurred. Brutalist-inspired beige concrete structures, designed by architects Ruben Valdez and Yashar Yektajo, skillfully blend with the surrounding terrain, and

interesting at the end. Others simply enjoy wandering the picturesque town’s

airy interiors seamlessly expand into visually stunning outdoor seating areas.

cobblestone streets, which are lined with tiny artisan shops and lovingly refurbished haciendas. Located on the Pacific coast about 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas,

Designed in the shape of a trapezoid, the hotel incorporates numerous triangular patterns, the triangle being a sacred symbol of Mayan culture. Thanks to this unique design, each of Paradero’s 35 suites offers incredible

the climate around Todos Santos has allowed hundreds of species of

views of raw terrain and the resort’s botanical gardens, and multiple seating

flora and fauna to flourish in dozens of microclimates, together with palms

areas in which to get comfy and take it all in.

and fruit trees. The area is so unique that UNESCO has designated it a Biosphere Reserve.  Loosely translating to “stop on the road», about an hour›s drive north

ME X I C O

which carve their way through cacti-dotted fields, hoping to find something

Yet, while Paradero’s architecture and setting are reason enough to visit this incredible retreat, it is the host of outdoor experiences, inextricably linked to the area, which tempt guests to stay, including five distinct ecosystems to

from San Jose del Cabo along Highway 19, Paradero Todos Santos is set

explore, surrounding the resort. And the hotel’s open-fire kitchen, which focuses

on a previously unused 5.5-acre plot within a farming community. First

on classic seafood fare that showcases the freshest Pacific catches, is where

and foremost, the property is a celebration of its surroundings and a

every day ends as guests exchange stories of their adventurous days spent in

mission by its founders, Pablo Carmona and Joshua Kremer, to preserve

the shadow of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains.

www.paraderohotels.com

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AUST I N U N I T E D S TAT E S

HOTEL MAGDALENA THE SELF-PROCLAIMED “LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL OF THE

the hotel could easily be mistaken for apartments, since the quartet of

World”, the southern American city of Austin in Texas has

timber buildings skillfully reference the nearby natural swimming hole

repeatedly been voted the best place to live in the States and is positively

of Barton Springs, and encase a central courtyard lush with verdant

brimming with creativity. Laid-back, funky, seriously musical and awash with

landscaping, anchored by a gorgeous, long swimming pool.

hipsters, Austin is also a hotbed for technology, startups and innovation. Located south of Austin›s downtown and Lady Bird Lake, the vibrant and walkable South Congress neighbourhood (or “SoCo”, to those in the know)

moving from one space to another within the hotel usually involves being

is home to some of the city’s most happening hotels, shops, art galleries

outside.

and restaurants. Oozing homespun character and illustrating the story of

Inside, the hotel’s public areas are designed to emulate a Texas lake

Austin’s yesteryear in its boutiques and eateries, SoCo is a must-see for

house, filled with art and colourful textiles. Guests are welcomed at two

visitors and a popular hangout for locals.

eclectic lobbies, furnished with a mixture of design elements by renowned

Occupying the original site of the 1950s Terrace Motor Hotel and Willie Nelson’s 1970s music venue Austin Opry House just off South Congress,

brands and local makers. Influenced by designers such as Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto, bright

on quiet, winding Music Lane, unassuming Hotel Magdalena fills four

Spanish tiles, poured concrete and bespoke walnut furniture bedeck the 89

completely new buildings inspired by 1970s local lakeside culture.

rooms, with wooden ceilings maintaining the hotel›s lake house design and

A stone’s throw from one of Austin’s busiest pedestrian walkways,

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To create a treehouse-feel, the four buildings are connected by open-air walkways, outdoor paths and courtyards with porches. This means that

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many looking out onto the sparkling pool.

www.hotelmagdalena.com


MADRID

MANDARIN ORIENTAL RITZ, MADRID LOCATED IN THE HEART OF ONE ENERGETIC EUROPEAN

courtesy of Spanish architect, Rafael de La-Hoz who was instrumental

city which really knows how to live, Mandarin Oriental Ritz,

in the historical restoration. Meanwhile, French interior designers,

Madrid recently reopened its doors following the biggest renovation in the

Gilles & Boissier ensured that the chic new interiors appeal to local and

building’s 110-year history.

international guests alike.

Originally designed and built under the supervision of legendary

SPAIN

rooms and 53 suites now encapsulates a mix of classic and contemporary

and Spanish architect Luis de Landecho, the deluxe palace-like hotel first

styles, top technology and a slick, residential-like aesthetic. Modern-

opened its doors in 1910, located in Madrid›s Golden Triangle of Art. The

day touches throughout cater to today’s seasoned travellers. Artistic

hotel was financed in part by King Alfonso XIII who, having honeymooned

details abound, including bespoke Córdoban leather headboards topping

at The Ritz in both Paris and London, wanted to see a Ritz in his homeland.

oversized beds laid with exquisite linen.

The property’s prestigious location, in the epicentre of Madrid’s

Downstairs, five restaurants and bars were conceptualised by

commercial and cultural district and close to the city’s famed El Retiro

celebrated chef, Quique Dacosta who is one of the leaders of avant-garde

Park, ensured that The Ritz was always an integral part of Spanish high

cuisine in Spain, using only locally sourced ingredients.

society and hosted royalty, politicians, corporate leaders and celebrities for decades. Over the past three years, the grande dame of Spain’s hospitality

After more than 80 years, the hotel’s historic and leafy Palm Court, with its signature glass dome, has also been reinstated, and is now home to a collection of artworks inspired by the hotel’s strong connection with the

scene has been carefully restored from top-to-bottom, enhancing its

Spanish capital. Don’t miss the Palm Court’s traditional afternoon tea,

facilities and services while preserving the unique Belle Époque character

complete with scones and clotted cream!

of the original building. Today, the hotel sports a striking new look

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Each of the hotel’s 100 large, light and luxuriously appointed guest

hotelier César Ritz, together with French architect Charles Mewes

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www.mandarinoriental.com


LOCATED ALONG FLORIDA’S ATLANTIC OCEAN COAST,

full advantage of the South Florida sunshine, with a U-shaped outdoor

there are few places in the world quite as tantalising as Palm

courtyard acting as the hotel’s social heart and a place for guests to

Beach, with its whispered secrets, billionaires, heiresses, untouchable

socialise, relax and recharge. Inside, the lobby feels like an art collector’s

estates and presidential retreats. One of the most moneyed zip codes

cool and cozy living room, adorned with attention-grabbing works and

in the States and home to legendary resorts, exquisite mansions and

tasteful objets d’arts.

round excitement within easy reach of smooth, sandy beaches. Whilst the stateliness and occasional stuffiness is part of old-

Upstairs, the hotel’s accommodation offering comprises 13 rooms and 19 suites, all of which employ a neutral palette with bright accents and colourful patterns and feature custom-designed furniture. King-

school Palm Beach’s charm for many, the much-anticipated arrival of

sized beds are outfitted with Pratesi linens. Unique abstract art pieces

a new sibling to White Elephant Nantucket now offers a more modern,

set each room apart. Large marble-lined bathrooms boast double sinks

unpretentious and approachable hotel option on the largely highbrow

and glass-enclosed walk-in showers. Some rooms have balconies. The

resort island.

penthouse suites are simply stunning, furnished with plush grey and

Housed in the former Bradley Park Hotel, the 32-room Palm Beach outpost of the revered Nantucket boutique property, White Elephant, is

cream armchairs and couches. For casual luxury and excellent service in this most manicured of

located just off Royal Poinciana Way, one block from the Intracoastal

resorts, it’s hard to beat White Elephant’s approachable service culture

Waterway and less than two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean for idyllic

and relaxed yet attentive vibe.

ambles, morning yoga or sun-worshipping. The hotel›s Addison Mizner-style facade speaks to the 1920s SpanishMediterranean Revival roots of the landmark building which it occupies, complete with classic black-and-white striped awnings and terracotta roof tiles. Positioned adjacent to verdant Bradley Park - which serves as a grand lawn to White Elephant Palm Beach - the property›s layout takes

www.whiteelephantpalmbeach.com

U N I T E D S TAT E S

historic landmarks, this is Florida’s true gold coast, offering visitors year-

PALM B E AC H

WHITE ELEPHANT PALM BEACH


E AST MOLE SE Y

THE MITRE HOTEL EAST MOLESEY IS AN UPMARKET SUBURBAN DISTRICT

hotel boss, Hector Ross, no expense was spared in the renovation of the

situated on the south bank of the River Thames in the London

Mitre, which today feels much like a characterful boutique hotel in the

borough of Richmond. About 20 kilometres south west and upstream

country, filled with wonderful antiques, despite sitting inside London’s

of central London on the River Thames, the area offers the best of both

zone 6.

worlds for Londoners and visitors alike. Roughly 30 minutes from central

rooms and suites are all different yet punctuated by clashing prints and

of glorious Bushy Park on its doorstep, beautiful riverside walks and easy

patterned fabrics. All feature a satisfyingly comfortable blend of old and

access to all the sights and sounds of the capital make it an ideal base for

new furniture and antiques – some upcycled and some reworked – plus

a relaxed London break.

four-poster beds and roll-top baths. Some also boast river views or open

UNITED KINGDOM

On the banks of the River Thames opposite Hampton Court Palace, The Mitre Hotel has a rich history as a place to stay, dating as far back

onto a shared courtyard. Outside is where the Mitre really comes alive. The hotel’s terrace is

as King Charles II. A Grade-II listed building commissioned in 1665 as a

one of the best spots in town for soaking up the sun and enjoying an

‘hostel’ to house King Henry VII’s courtiers when there was no space at

aperitivo, or two. A boat shed is piled high with bottles of delicious rosé.

the Palace across the road, over the centuries, various appendages were

An outdoor fireplace roars in the winter. And the hotel’s own jetty provides

added hailing from different architectural eras, making the property both

easy access to the river, with vintage wooden boats on hand to carry

interesting on the eye and fascinating to explore.

guests along the water whilst enjoying a champagne picnic.

The first venture from the Signet Collection formed by ex-Beaverbrook

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Courtesy of interior designer Nicola Harding, the 36 stylishly designed

London by train and just nine miles from Heathrow Airport, with 1,100 acres

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www.mitrehamptoncourt.com


BANG KOK T HA I LA N D

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL BANGKOK AT CHAO PHRAYA RIVER CONCEPTUALISED BY RENOWNED BELGIAN HOTEL

of marble and Four Seasons’ trademark cloud-like beds. The rooms that

designer Jean-Michel Gathy, the all-new riverside Four

face the river come with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the mighty

Seasons sanctuary in Bangkok comprises an enclave of cascading

Chao Phraya picture postcard style. Terrace Suites offer the ultimate

buildings connected at ground level by a series of indoor and outdoor

in spacious luxury, with landscaped and furnished terraces large

spaces, breezy bamboo-fringed courtyards and upscale restaurants. 

enough to host a private dinner party. The hotel›s 450 square metre 10th

Rising above Bangkok›s majestic Chao Phraya River in the heart of the city’s creative district, slotted in between the waterway and the Thai capital’s oldest paved road, the hotel’s cavernous marble lobby,

floor Presidential Suite is almost certainly Bangkok’s finest hospitality address currently. A city resort with serious design credentials, Four Seasons Hotel

tasteful art-filled spaces and sophisticated lounges are surrounded by

Bangkok at Chao Phraya River deftly juxtaposes city slickness and resort

lush tropical greenery and inviting open-air terraces, to a backdrop of

facilities in one beautifully executed five-star hospitality package.

trickling water, making it feel more like a resort than a city hotel. Yet most of Bangkok’s main tourist attractions are a mere 15-minute long-tail boat trip away. A multi-tiered swimming pool, positioned along the river, enhances the hotel’s resort-like feel, as does a glamorous all-singing-all-dancing wellness centre offering a range of indulgent treatments and Asian massages. A variety of onsite food and beverage venues offer an array of cuisines sufficient to satiate even the most seasoned of gourmands, including a modern Italian restaurant, a tropical French brasserie, a highend Cantonese restaurant and a 1920s Buenos Aires-inspired cocktail bar. Compared to the maximalist, art-studded public spaces, the hotel’s 299 rooms and suites feel a little more restrained, swathed in creams and greys, with brushes of faux ostrich leather, metallic Thai silks, plenty

www.fourseasons.com/bangkok


CÁT BÀ I SLA ND VI E T N A M

HÔTEL PERLE D’ORIENT CAT BA - MGALLERY LYING TO THE SOUTH OF HALONG BAY, OFF THE

mountains, Hôtel Perle d›Orient Cat Ba - MGallery is the first luxury

north-eastern coast of Vietnam, the three hundred or so

property on the Island, and offers guests sublime views of Lan Ha Bay and

karst islands and limestone outcrops which make up Lan Ha are just as

the ecologically diverse Cát Bà National Park, surrounded by long, pristine

beautiful as those of its superstar neighbour but feel far more remote and

curves of white sand.

untouched. Hundreds of species of fish, mollusks and arthropods live in

the design of Hôtel Perle d’Orient harks back to the East-meets-

marine life includes seals and dolphins. And the area also boasts numerous

West chic of Vietnam’s Indochine era. 

beautiful white-sand beaches, jungles, grottos and hidden island coves. Set in the alluring Gulf of Tonkin, Cát Bà Island is the largest of the 367 islands that comprise the Cát Bà Archipelago which makes up the southeastern edge of Lan Ha Bay. A stunning destination that offers a rich treasure trove of tranquil, natural wonders, Cát Bà is easily accessible by car and ferry. Nestled between towering limestone karsts and verdant island

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Something of a sophisticated and glamorous island hideaway,

the crystal waters here, together with numerous hard and soft corals. The

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Setting the scene from the get-go, guests arrive into a theatrical doubleheight lobby, reminiscent of a grand French library. 121 guest rooms and suites all boast oversized windows and private balconies with uninterrupted ocean views. Crowning the hotel, a rooftop swimming pool and bar is the perfect place to watch tropical sunsets whilst enjoying a handcrafted cocktail. www.hotelperledorient.com


WESTMINSTER, LONDON’S MOST ICONIC ADDRESS

The most personal of hotels in the grandest of neighbourhoods A location that’s fit for kings and queens. Service that is tailored to you and yours. A team that is discrete and attentive. A commitment to know what makes your stay special, and a desire to make you feel completely pampered. Come and enjoy London’s most iconic neighbourhood from its most personal hotel, The Guardsman.

1 Vandon Street, London SW1H 0AH T: 0207 309 9200 I reservations@guardsmanhotel.com

guardsmanhotel.com


MAASAI MA RA

ANGAMA SAFARI CAMP NAMED IN HONOUR OF THE MAASAI PEOPLE WHO CALL THIS corner of Africa home, and situated in south-west Kenya covering an area of more than 1,500 square kilometres, the Maasai Mara is one of the

and adventure of the glorious golden age of safaris, with the thrill of having

world’s greatest wildlife reserves.

nothing but canvas between you, the Mara and the animals. Kenya’s king

A photographer›s and naturalist›s paradise with abundant elephant,

of canvas, Jan Allan, lovingly detailed every square inch of the tents which

K E N YA

buffalo, giraffe, lion and cheetah, alongside more than two million migratory

delight with unexpected details throughout, while Africa’s design diva,

wildebeest, zebras and antelopes, this national reserve is a land of

Annemarie Meintjes, ensured that every brass fixture was perfectly designed

breathtaking vistas, abundant wildlife and endless plains. Leopards are

to suit. Cape Town-based furniture designer and master weaver also

frequently encountered, endangered black rhino hide in the dense thickets

produced bespoke pieces for each tent.

and large rafts of hippo and enormous crocodiles are found in the Mara River. The reserve is also home to hundreds of bird species. An exclusive-use, light footprint tented camp, Angama Safari Camp is situated in a remote wilderness region of the southwestern Mara Triangle. Comprising just four tents sleeping up to eight guests in total, the camp offers absolute privacy in the midst of the migrating megaherds and abundant resident wildlife.

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Simply sophisticated, each uncluttered and playfully furnished ensuite tent features a bedroom, dressing room and bathroom, capturing the romance

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Days are spent exploring the landscape with a dedicated safari vehicle, guide and camp team, with each day’s programme being completely tailored to suit the guests. Nights are spent under the stars, with guests falling asleep to the nocturnal silence of the wilderness, punctuated by the sounds of lions and hyena calling. www.angama.com


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WIN a four-night stay in florence at 25hours hotel piazza san paolino W I N A F O U R - N I G H T S TAY I N A L A R G E R O O M AT 25HOURS HOTEL PIAZZA S A N PA O L I N O , I N C LU D I N G

W E L C O M E C O C K TA I L S , D A I LY B R E A K FA S T S A N D O N E D I N N E R F O R T W O, A N D S P E N D F O U R D AY S EXPLORING FLORENCE’S NUMEROUS CHARMS

SPANNING THREE HISTORIC

story of Dante Alighieri’s famed poem, The Divine

entertained when they are in need of respite from

buildings, the oldest of which dates back

Comedy, which has been reimagined by celebrated

Florence’s charismatic yet busy streets.

to the 18th century, the latest hospitality offering

Italian interior designer Paola Navone in the hotel’s

A contemporary Italian palace of slumber and

from uber-cool 25Hours Hotel Group is located in the

171 humorous rooms, each of which is themed as a

entertainment, spanning everything from heaven to

old town of fabled Florence, in close proximity to the

heavenly paradise or a scarlet hell.

hell and all that’s in between, 25hours Hotel Piazza

Ponte Vecchio, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the city’s main train station. 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino follows the

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Downstairs, San Paolino Italian restaurant, lively Alimentari café, intimate Dolceamaro bar and the hotel’s very own cinema keep guests satiated and

San Paolino is a funky new hospitality fixture in the heart of Tuscany’s most charming city. www.5hours-hotels.com/en


P R I Z E D R AW

TO EN T ER

Email your contact details to ➤ win@theculturedtraveller.com The draw will take place after 1 December 2021 and the winner will be notified via email. This prize can be used any time before 1 December 2022 subject to availability when booking. Blackout dates may apply. This prize is not transferable to another person. The Cultured Traveller will not share your details with third parties. Multiple entries will be disqualified and excluded from the draw. All entrants will be added to The Cultured Traveller’s mailing list.

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WHERE THE ANCIENT AND MODERN COEXIST IN M E T R O P O L I TA N H A R M O N Y

A T

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H


E

N

S

FROM THE ANCIENT ACROPOLIS TO

C O N T E M P O R A R Y S T R E E T A R T, N I C H O L A S C H R I S O ST O M O U E X P L O R E S T H E M A N Y FA C E T S

OF THE GLOBAL CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY

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Travel Premium

A SΙXT car is waiting at your destination Contact:

+30 211 95 50 000 sixt.gr


CITY FOCUS AT H E N S

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

T

HE GLOBAL PANDEMIC MAY have struck the planet like an out-of-control freight train, but as soon as Athens reopened for business in early summer, travellers descended upon the city like a vast, swarming colony of honey bees, filling the best hotel rooms, finest restaurants and most happening bars prettymuch to bursting point, reigniting the Greek capital’s tourism industry literally overnight. This is perhaps unsurprising, for while Greece may have suffered economically in years gone by, its vibrant capital has always been a magnet for globetrotters, gourmands and culture vultures hailing from all corners of the world, who universally revel in Athens’ inimitable history and the genuine hospitality of the Greek people. BEING THE BIRTHPLACE OF MODERN DEMOCRACY, Athens has always possessed a unique allure. Indeed, there’s something inescapably attractive about the place where the concept of a democratic society was first formed. It all began in the year 507 BC, when the ancient Athenian leader, Cleisthenes, introduced a system of political reforms that created a new kind of self-rule government. Effectively meaning “rule by the people”, the word democracy comes from two Greek words that mean “people”, demos and “rule”, kratos. In the centuries that followed, the systems and ideas employed by the ancient Greeks profoundly influenced how democracy developed globally, even having an impact on the formation of the first government of the United States. Thus, Athens was assured its eternal place in history and

has ever since been one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, presided over by the fabled Parthenon. DEDICATED TO THE GODDESS ATHENA, WHOM THE ancient Athenians considered to be their patroness, today the Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient western civilisation and is one of the greatest surviving cultural monuments on earth. No visit to Athens is complete without spending at least half a day visiting this veritable wonder, the best time to head up Acropolis Hill being early morning in the autumn months, when the temperature is lowish and there are less people. Undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous buildings, it’s not until you get up-close-and-personal to the enormous edifice that you begin to feel the Parthenon’s incredible importance and presence. Built in the 5th century BC, every column of the temple is akin to a tower. Take time to walk around it and absorb the setting. Atop Acropolis Hill, with the Greek capital sprawling below you, the sheer scale of the Parthenon and its position are truly jaw dropping. The fact that so much of the ancient citadel surrounding the Parthenon still survives today – despite being ravaged by countless sieges – is testament to the incredible workmanship lavished on the structure thousands of years ago, when Pericles, an Athenian statesman during the city’s golden age, developed the site in 447 BC. Not even a massive explosion in 1687 (when a Turkish powder store exploded within the temple) altered the Parthenon’s now iconic and globally recognised profile. ➤ www.odysseus.culture.gr

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CITY FOCUS AT H E N S

SIMPLY REFERRED TO AS THE “HERODEON” BY Athenians and located on the southern slopes of Acropolis Hill, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stunning Roman amphitheatre that sits in the shadow of the Parthenon. Built between 160–174 AD by a wealthy benefactor of Athens, Herodes Atticus as an ode to his late wife, Rigilla, the massive marble auditorium seats almost 5,000 people and is an incredible setting for a concert. Indeed, since its modernday re-opening some seventy years ago, countless worldfamous artists, from Frank Sinatra to Luciano Pavarotti, have performed in this spectacular and immensely historic veritable temple to the arts. Annually from May to October, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival is a cultural highlight of the Greek summer calendar and features dozens of performances in the Herodeon. Since seeing literally anything in this ancient theatre is incredibly memorable, do try to get tickets if you can. ➤ www.efestival.gr BUILT INTO THE HILLSIDE BELOW THE Parthenon, Plaka is Athens’ oldest quarter. Like a village within the city, parts of Plaka resemble the Greek islands, especially the somewhat secret, wholly residential microneighbourhood of Anafiotika, precariously perched on the rocky ridges of the northeastern side of Acropolis Hill. Anafiotika was constructed in the 1800s by craftsmen and skilled workers originating from the small Cycladic island of Anafi, who settled in newly independent Greece to work for King Otto, who was keen to mold Athens into a modern, metropolitan capital. Meaning “little Anafi”, Anafiotika today is an island-like oasis in the middle of Athens, which is worth seeking out to see the original houses that remain, together with tiny centuries-old churches separated by narrow passageways and small, fragrant gardens. Elsewhere in Plaka, many of the streets are closed to traffic, making it a wonderful place to wander aimlessly with no particular destination. Retaining an authentic, quaint, village-like atmosphere, despite the many tourists and locals frequenting its cobbled streets, Plaka is so full of character and charm that it’s easy to while away an entire afternoon taking in the pastel-coloured mansions, hidden hotels, cute shops and bustling little tavernas.  Anafiotika Café, at the top of the Mnisikleous steps in Plaka, is an ideal place to pit stop for a carafe of Moschofilero and spend an hour sipping wine and people watching. ➤ www.anafiotika.gr YOU CAN LITERALLY SEE THE WHOLE OF ATHENS from the top of Lycabettus Hill. At just over 270 metres, the city’s highest vantage point is capped by a nondescript restaurant/café and the small, crowd-pleasing, whitewashed 18th century chapel of St. George, whose large, Russian-made bell was a gift from Queen Amalia. Designed by Greek architect Takis Zenetos and slotted into the site of an old quarry on the hill’s north-facing slope, Lycabettus Theatre boasts panoramic views of Athens. It is

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Clockwise from above: Chapel of St. George; Anafiotika; Plaka; Lycabettus Hill


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EPIC GREECE

T: 10

+30 SOLONOS

210 S T R E E T,

36 10673

AT H E N S ,

41890 GREECE

in fo @ or ig in al s e n s e s .c om W W W. O R I G I N A L S E N S E S . C O M


CITY FOCUS AT H E N S

planned to re-open in 2022 to stage open-air concerts and theatrical performances. Running every day since 1965, take a three-minute ride on the Lycabettus Funicular up the hill and amble down at leisure. The funicular departs from Ploutarchou Street every half hour. The walk down, through a pocket-sized forest, will bring you into Aristippou Street in Kolonaki. ➤ www.lycabettushill.com/cable-car IN PRE-CRISIS DAYS, ATHENIANS ROUTINELY  power-shopped for Gucci and Fendi in the old-monied neighbourhood of Kolonaki. Today, this upscale district is much more modern and stylish, thanks to a recent revival in clothing and accessories designed by native Greeks.  Whilst Kolonaki’s streets are brimming with bars, restaurants, one-off boutiques and designer shops, especially around Kolonaki Square, as you wander around you will also chance upon across numerous galleries that punctuate the area. Not to be missed is the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture, housed within the Benakis family’s stunning neoclassical mansion, complete with a lovely café on the roof. Founded by Greek art collector Anthony Benakis and donated to the Greek state in 1931, this beautiful museum traces Greek art right up to the 20th century and is dedicated to the preservation of Hellenic culture. ➤ www.benaki.gr From top to bottom: National Gallery; Benaki Museum of Greek Culture; National Garden


Hellenic Parliament and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

AN EASY HALF-KILOMETRE WALK AWAY, crossing the city’s major thoroughfare of Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Greece’s National Gallery recently re-opened after a major ten-year renovation. Before you enter the museum, pause to look at the 70-ton statue of Dromeas, also known as “The Runner”, by Greek artist Costas Varotsos, who started working on the piece in 1988 and didn’t finish it until 1994. At more than 12 metres high and made of thousands of individual pieces of jagged glass, stacked atop each other to convey the blurred shape of a runner in motion, the gargantuan sculpture has become something of a city landmark. First established in 1900 and considered by many to be the most important art museum in Greece, had it not been for a EUR 13 million grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the National Gallery may never have re-opened. But now that it has, it is worthy of a quick visit, not least to observe the history of Greece as seen through the eyes of the nation’s artists, each conveying their personal vision of their homeland in a wide variety of different forms. ➤ www.nationalgallery.gr/en FROM THE NATIONAL GALLERY, HEAD DOWN  Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, towards the Greek Parliament building and detour into the city’s verdant National Garden, which occupies almost forty acres in the heart of the Greek capital.

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Formerly known as the Royal Gardens, as well as a vast collection of plants and trees from all over the world, not to mention numerous water features, this vast city park also encloses some ancient ruins, Corinthian columns, mosaics and other notable features. This is one of the distinctive things about Athens… as you wander through its bustling districts brimming with bars, shops and restaurants, don’t be surprised to stumble upon a fenced-off area protecting an ancient ruin, as if it’s completely normal. It is this juxtaposition of the modern and new sitting side-by-side with the ancient and priceless which makes Athens so unique. AT THE END OF VASILISSIS SOFIAS AVENUE IS Syntagma Square, bordered along one side by the charismatic Hellenic Parliament building, originally built in 1843 as the first royal palace of modern Greece. Whilst Syntagma is part of a long tradition of the right of Greeks to protest and act out their dramas on a perceived world stage, for the most part, Athens’ iconic central square is generally calm and little more than a busy transportation hub at the center of the city. Try to pass by the Hellenic Parliament building at 11am on a Sunday, for this is when the “grand change” of the Evzones guard takes place. Dressed in their symbolic, ornamental costumes, these prestigious members of the presidential guard ceremoniously march from


CITY FOCUS AT H E N S

Monastiraki

their barracks to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, complete with a marching band in full regalia. It’s quite a sight to behold. Since road closures are often necessary, approach on foot and arrive early for a ringside view. GREECE’S FINANCIAL WOES OF A DECADE AGO caused many to evolve and reinvent themselves – individuals and businesses alike. Years later, this has not only manifested itself in a variety of hip new bars, trendy boutique hotels, funky restaurants and cool galleries liberally scattered around the city – which cater to discerning visitors, local creative types and a flourishing alternative scene – but has also resulted in a city which is positively alive with creativity at every turn. Whilst one could say that the Greeks have always been an imaginative and resourceful people, perhaps today they are more innovative than ever before.

For now, post pandemic, Athens’ enormous ancient history and huge body of extraordinary relics is creatively offset by a wealth of young artistic energy, a booming culinary scene and a dynamic street art culture. International muralists and Greek artists have decorated countless buildings around the capital, and modern contemporary art is having a moment in a city which is best known as the epicentre of the ancient world. The cultural upshot is an energetic and pulsating city that quite literally offers something for everyone – locals,  tourists, young, old, students, art collectors and international jetsetters alike. This makes Athens as important today, to the modern travelling world, as it was when democracy was born within its ancient walls many millenia ago.

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U N M I S S A B L E C U LT U R A L S I G H T S I N -A N D -A R O U N D AT H E N S

SEE ACROPOLIS MUSEUM LOCATED IN THE HISTORIC neighbourhood of Makrygianni, inaugurated in June 2009 and designed by Swissborn architect Bernard Tschumi, Athens’ stunning Acropolis Museum stands 300 metres southeast of the Parthenon and houses more than 3,000 artefacts originating from the country’s most famous archeological site. Suspended on more than one hundred concrete pillars over a fascinating and accessible archeological excavation that dates back to the 4th century AD, the extensive use of glass ensures that the museum is flooded with

TEMPLE OF OLYMPIAN ZEUS

natural light and the building’s skillful design

LOCATED 500 METRES SOUTHEAST

gods, it stands in an enormous, open and

focuses visitors’ attention on the extraordinary

of Acropolis Hill and often overlooked

tranquil archaeological park bordered by trees

pieces on display.

in favour of the city’s most famous attraction,

and shrubs in the heart of the city. Surrounded

this colossal ruin in the very centre of the Greek

by traffic-filled streets, the juxtaposition of

the story of life on the Athenian Acropolis, from

capital, often referred to as the “Olympieion”,

nature, ancient ruins and a modern metropolis is

pre-historic times through to the late Roman

was built over six centuries and ultimately finished

magnificent. In its prime, the temple was 110 metres

period. It reaches a dramatic high point in the

by the Roman emperor Hadrian in 132 AD.  

long and had eight Corinthian columns across

The museum’s collection essentially tells

top-floor, glass-enclosed rectangular Parthenon Gallery, which is physically shifted from the rest of the building to orient it directly towards the Parthenon. Here, the Parthenon Frieze is displayed together with other priceless artefacts and visitors enjoy a panoramic 360-degree view of Acropolis Hill and modern Athens. A complete joy to walk around given its beautiful design and carefully considered layout, a visit to the Acropolis Museum is an absolute must when in Athens. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU www.theacropolismuseum.gr

Dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian

each of its narrow ends and twenty down its each


SEE Snowblind by iNO in Pireous Street

ATHENS’ STREET ART ATHENS IS IMMENSELY RICH IN street art and graffiti, which first emerged around 1998 but really took off and develope d its own distinctive style during the past decade, particularly as the Greek economic crisis unfolded. Today the city is a street artist’s paradise and as each neighbourhood of metropolitan Athens has its own distinctive style, so does the street art you will see there.  Gazi, home to a new industrial space and exhibition centre, boasts works with a more formal feel.  Once the industrial district of Athens and infamous for the wrong reasons, Metaxourgeio has begun reinventing itself as a center of creativity, complete with street art around every corner.   Psiri – the original home of street art in Athens – remains politically committed, many of its works have the full support of the community and have consequently survived for years.  With Nikos Tongas as your guide on a three-hour tour, you will see countless evocative murals by celebrated street artists including iNO, Borondo, Achilles, Paparazzi and WD and experience authentic, artistic Athens off the beaten track. Bookable via Original Senses NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU

www.riginalsenses.gr

of its long sides, each column measuring a whopping 17 metres tall and 2 metres in diameter. Everything was made of white Pentelic marble from Mount Pentelicus, about 16 kilometres northeast of Athens. Today, while only 15 columns remain standing and one intact column lies on the ground, what remains clearly demonstrates the vastness of the original temple and its importance in Ancient Greece. Close-by and also worth seeing is IMAGES: NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU

Hadrian›s Gate. A monumental marble arch built as the formal gateway to Athens, it stands 18 metres tall and is made of the same marble as the Parthenon and the Olympieion. A combined EUR 30 ticket can be used for five days and provides visitors with access to all of Athens’ major archeological sites, including the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library and the Olympieion. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU 

Praying Hands by Pavlos Tsakonas in Pireaios Street, Metaxourgeio

All Dogs Go To Heaven by Smart, N_grams and Alex Martinez in Psiri

www.tickets.tap.gr

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SEE THE GOULANDRIS OFFICIALLY A NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION CALLED the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation which was established in 1979, Athens’ new Goulandris museum opened in 2019 and was thirty years in the making. It displays the impressive works amassed by shipowner Basil Goulandris and his wife Elise Karadontis, who died in the mid-1990s leaving behind an incredible art collection worth USD 3 billion.  One of the most important private art collections to be assembled in the course of the second half of the 20th century, it is housed in a lovingly restored, listed neoclassical mansion, which adjoins a large contemporary yet wholly complementary extension. The complex is located on Eratosthenous Street, in a densely built-up district close to Athens’ historic center, facing St. Spyridon Church square which was remodelled by the B&E Goulandris Foundation as a donation to the municipality. One of the first works visitors see upon entering the building is a 1966 portrait of Elise Karadontis by Marc Chagall. Inside, laid out around an architecturally beautiful central staircase, the museum showcases, in supremely civilised surroundings, a spectacular array of pieces by titans of the art world, including El Greco, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Alberto Giacometti, Jackson Pollock and Van Gogh, to name but a few. There is also a well curated gift shop and a delightful café-restaurant, the latter being something of an urban oasis in the heart of the city. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU www.goulandris.gr/en

THE STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CULTURAL CENTER ONE OF THE LARGEST

old racetrack, the SNFCC not only restored the

developments that the Greek

site’s lost connections with the city and the sea,

the two main facilities. The opera wing comprises two auditoria: a

capital had seen since it hosted the Olympics,

but also created two of Greece’s most important

450-seater dedicated to operas and ballets,

located in Kallithea – 4 kilometres south

new public institutions: the Greek National Opera

and a 1,400-seat auditorium which hosts more

of central Athens, The Stavros Niarchos

and the National Library of Greece.

experimental performances.

Foundation Cultural Centre (“SNFCC”) is a

At one end of the site, an artificial hill

The stunning state-of-the-art library is open

remarkable, highly landscaped architectural

was built, creating a gently sloping park that

to the public with selected manuscripts from

complex designed by celebrated Italian

culminated in the cultural center building and

the 9th - 19th centuries displayed on rotation,

architect, Renzo Piano.

affords it spectacular views towards the sea.

giving visitors an opportunity to view some of

Both the opera and library are combined in

Greece’s hidden cultural heritage. NICHOLAS

one building, with a public “Agora” connecting

CHRISOSTOMOU

Reimagining a huge abandoned car park left by the 2004 Olympics together with an

www.snfcc.org/en


Aegina harbour

SPEND A DAY ON AEGINA FEW PEOPLE KNOW THAT THE BEAUTIFUL SARONIC island of Aegina is a mere 45-minute hydrofoil ride on a “Flying Dolphin” from Athens, and is thus easily doable in a day, for those visiting the Greek capital for more than a weekend. And despite the island’s popularity with Athenians who live on the mainland, Aegina largely remains un-touristy and Ouzeri o Skotadis

authentic. Briefly recognised as the capital of Greece between 1828 Temple of Apollo ruins

and 1829, the island has a long and fascinating history and is dotted with architectural sites, archaic tombs and a fine collection of monasteries and churches that reflect Aegina›s ancient heritage. Indeed, as you arrive into the port of the harbour town of Aegina, you will see the lone remaining column of the Temple of Apollo, which dates back to the 6th century BC. Dotted with cafés and eateries, Aegina town is small and unpretentious and makes for a calm Greek island experience. If you arrive in the early morning, you’ll see fishermen unpacking their catch while farmers sell their produce from the back of their colourful boats.  Established since 1945, undoubtedly the best place to lunch in Aegina town is family-owned Ouzeri o Skotadis fish restaurant, directly opposite the fishing boats in the middle of town. Serving the freshest catches of the day together with traditional Greek fare, a few hours can easily be spent here feasting on delicious seafood and sipping fine Greek wines (+30 22 9702 4014). The port is just 10-minutes’ walk from the restaurant, for the swift journey back to Athens. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU

www.aegina.com.gr

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ETERNAL ELEGANCE Visit the landmark Hotel Grande Bretagne and receive the unique chance of a lifetime experience through a collection of utmost accommodation services and indulging moments. The mythical views and the history of Europe’s oldest capital, Athens, promise to compose an unsurpassed cultural journey through its indigenous sights and unique flavors. EXPLORE THE DESTINATION AT GRANDEBRETAGNE.GR

MH.T.E.: 0206K015A0021500

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W H E R E A C U L T U R E D T R AV E L L E R S L U M B E R S I N T H E G R E E K C A P I T A L

C I T Y

F O C U S

S TAY

C O C O - M AT AT H E N S B C H O T E L G R A N D E B R E TA G N E PERISCOPE T H E M O D E R N I ST, AT H E N S Hotel Grande Bretagne’s lobby


COCOMAT ATHENS BC A RELATIVELY RECENT ADDITION TO Athens’ contemporary hotel scene, combining modern creature comforts with an enviable location mere steps away from the Acropolis Museum and Acropolis metro station in the heart of the city’s buzzy, upscale Makrygianni neighbourhood, Coco-Mat Athens BC rises somewhat controversially many storeys above its neighbours, offering guests staying in rooms on upper floors incredible views of the fabled Parthenon literally from their beds. Very much the young face of hip hospitality in the Greek capital and designed by Elastic Architects in a modernist style, the ‘BC’ in the hotel’s name references the ancient ruins of a Roman villa which were uncovered during the building’s construction. These can now be seen underneath a vast, reinforced glass floor just inside the hotel’s atrium-style entrance lobby,

days. Suites are essentially larger rooms with

and a Hammam. For the adventurous few who

alongside an art installation of porcelain turtles.

giant bathtubs in addition to walk-in showers and

fancy seeing Athens on two wheels, guests also

Above, a winding, multi-storey metal sculpture by

double sinks. Rooms to the front of the building,

enjoy free rental of the hotel’s 100% wooden

Marika Arapoglou, named //Let There Be Flight//,

on the top three floors, boast the best outlook and

bicycles.

fills the soaring space heading skywards. Inspired

many have spacious balconies offering space

by the movement and flow of air in flight and the

aplenty to sit outside and drink in the wonderful

hotel’s rooftop pool, bar and restaurant, the

unity in which birds move, Arapoglou’s large-scale

views. Every bedroom features a handmade

latter serving unpretentious cuisine with a

piece can be seen by literally every guest on every

Coco-Mat mattress, fashioned from natural fibres

contemporary twist and a decent selection of

floor of the hotel, unifying the building and its

and bedecked in gorgeous linens and the pillows

competitively priced wines. This makes having

inhabitants in modernity and art.

of your choice.

a full-on pool day – sipping chilled vino in the

100 guest rooms range in size from compact

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Every morning, a simple but hearty self-service

But the star of the show is undoubtedly the

Greek sunshine – an affordable and distinctively

City View rooms to larger Acropolis-view

buffet breakfast is served in the airy ground

attractive proposition at Coco-Mat Athens BC.

rooms, which are higher up the building and

floor restaurant. Guests have access to a basic

NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU

recommended for stays of longer than a few

eco-friendly gym, an indoor lap pool, a sauna

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SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2021

www.athensbc.com


S TAY

HOTEL GRANDE BRETAGNE FOR MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED

facilities sufficient to satiate even the most

& Bar offers panoramic, unobstructed views of

and fifty years, stately Hotel Grande

discerning travellers, including a variety of bars

the Parthenon and Acropolis Hill. Serving modern

Bretagne has stood proudly opposite the Hellenic

and restaurants, an expansive spa, a well-

Mediterranean cuisine, GB Roof Garden is both

Parliament building, presiding over Syntagma

equipped gym, a large outdoor pool and sprawling

one of the most spectacular places in Europe to

Square in the very centre of Athens, welcoming

sundecks.

start the day, with the most lavish breakfast in

heads of state, stars of stage and screen and

Multi-awarded French pastry chef,

Athens, and one of the most refined places to end

Hollywood sirens alike. The veritable grande dame

Arnaud Larher collaborates with Grande Bretagne

the day, feasting on a sumptuous dinner paired

of the Hellenic hospitality industry and one of

to create delectable desserts for every season.

with the finest wines Greece has to offer.

the world’s truly great hotels, to stay at Grande

Sip rare teas and nibble on scrumptious treats,

Bretagne is to be located in the very heart of

served on Versace crockery, in the hotel’s

can afford the best, Grande Bretagne is the living

happening Athens, within easy walking distance of

Winter Garden. Unwind with a rare single malt at

embodiment of an iconic hotel and staying within

literally everything you want to see.

Alexander’s Bar, beneath an 18th century tapestry

its hallowed portals is a splendid hospitality

of Alexander the Great. And the hotel’s crowning

experience. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU

Needless to say, given the hotel’s long history, the list of royalty, presidents, dignitaries and celebrities who have stayed at Grande Bretagne is endless; Maria Callas, Aristotle Onassis, Jayne Mansfield, Elizabeth Taylor, Rudolf Nureyev, Sophia Loren and Laurence Olivier, to name but a few. But, whilst every corner of this charismatic property quite literally oozes modern Greek history and Grand Bretagne continues to welcome guests new and old from every corner of the globe, there’s a palpable sense of modernity too, of moving with the times while respecting the past. From Grande Bretagne’s doormen, housekeepers and butlers to its mixologists, chefs and restaurant managers, every member of the hotel team is evidently invested in providing guests with superlative service. Staff remember guests’ preferences and small touches elevate stays beyond mere luxury, making resting one’s head at Grande Bretagne a quintessential Athens experience in itself, over and above every other Athenian five-star property. As well as 320 rooms (including dozens of regal suites), the hotel boasts a wealth of leisure

glory on the top floor, GB Roof Garden Restaurant

Majestic, luxurious and elegant, for those who

www.grandebretagne.gr


PERISCOPE RENOWNED AS ONE OF KOLONAKI’S

the entire rooftop and boasts its own garden and

best kept hotel secrets, Periscope is

hot tub complete with views of the Parthenon.

tucked away on Haritos Street towards the top of

with the hotel’s artistic attributes, with objets

Here, chic, high-end boutiques, fashionable bars

d’art, modern fixtures and contemporary art

and restaurants line the leafy pavements that

touches throughout, such as the atmospheric,

slope upwards towards Mount Lycabettus which

nocturnal photographic Lycabettus headboards

presides overlooks the district. A few minutes’

in some rooms, and the black and white aerial

walk from the nearest metro and no more than a

images of Athens, by Nikos Daniilidis, which adorn

kilometre from Syntagma Square, the property

the ceilings of other rooms.

is conveniently placed for exploring the Greek capital. Periscope is a member of the home-grown

fabulously chic lounge on the ground floor, where floor-to-ceiling French windows open out onto

the brand’s characteristic focus on bold design

the street, linking the hotel with local Athens life.

and contemporary art. Throughout the building,

Dreamt into being by interior designers DECA

specially commissioned works and interactive

architecture, the space juxtaposes luxurious

installations by local artists breathe life and

sophistication with an elegant, minimalistic

character into the semi-industrial concrete

aesthetic. Here, guests have breakfast and enjoy

structure. It’s easy to see why Design Hotels

complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the

added this intimate showcase of contemporary

day in plush surroundings.

With just 22 keys, Periscope is an upmarket,

And the cherry on the proverbial Periscope cake? Above-and-beyond mere hospitality, the

boutique-style offering. Refreshingly minimal

hotel’s small team of genuinely friendly and

guestrooms range in size across four categories

attentive staff is always on-hand offering a subtle

from cosy, standard rooms to more elegant and

yet personalised service, executed with genuine

expansive superior rooms and junior suites.

warmth and positivity. EMILY MILLETT

Crowning the hotel is a penthouse suite which fills

ISSUE 35

But nowhere is this urban hub’s design credentials more evident than the hotel’s

YES! hotels group and effortlessly embodies

art to its select portfolio.

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All rooms are thoughtfully designed in keeping

one of Athens’ most exclusive neighbourhoods.

SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2021

www.eshotels.gr/periscope


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THE MODERNIST, ATHENS SISTER HOTEL TO THE MODERNIST

can work out in the bijou, in-house gym, while those

in Thessaloniki which opened in 2017

travelling on business can make use of a well-

and has since garnered universally rave reviews, this stylish hospitality newbie is currently one of

equipped boardroom. Breakfast and morning coffee are served at The

Haris Panousopoulos of Open Studios. Combined, these connections with the local design-led community give The Modernist a unique and special feel, akin to a high-end five-star hotel,

the hottest places in Athens to rest one’s head. And

Modernist Café and guests can enjoy sundowners

which is cemented by a genuinely friendly team

the location couldn’t be better – surrounded by the

and light bites, complete with views of the

that is more than happy to share its insider tips and

chic art galleries, trendy bars and hip restaurants

Parthenon, on the hotel’s rooftop.

favourite, local haunts.

that Kolonaki is renowned for. Against all odds, The Modernist, Athens

At first glance, The Modernist is all about style and design. But look past the achingly cool lobby

opened its doors in late 2020, housed within the

and impeccably executed interiors and you’ll find

former Canadian Embassy. Almost all clues to the

the concept of this urban hideaway is much deeper.

building’s previous role have been replaced by

Here, the real focus is on providing guests with an

slick design and a warm sense of hospitality and

authentic experience of Athens, which is achieved

nowhere is this combination more evident than in

through meaningful connections and carefully

the hotel’s 38 guestrooms.

curated collaborations with local businesses that

More spacious than most Kolonaki hotels, guest rooms are light and airy thanks to high-ceilings and

are shaking things up in the city. For example, the high-end bathroom amenities

full height windows. Liberal, thoughtful touches

are specially provided by Physis Laboratory – a

lend a home-away-from-home feel while the well-

famous, third generation Greek pharmacy, well-

considered design of every room facet adds an air

known for creating bespoke scents. Elsewhere, the

of luxury and comfort.

hotel’s cocktail lists were created by Nikos Bakoulis,

Despite being a boutique property, The

co-owner of one of the best bars in the city, The

Modernist offers ample facilities to meet the needs

Clumsies. And the pottery, kitchenware and

of contemporary cultured travellers. Active guests

crockery were hand-crafted by Greek ceramicist

EMILY MILLETT www.hemodernisthotels.com


MATSUHISA ATHENS UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF ATHENS’ IF NOT GREECE’S FINEST restaurants – not only for its incredible seafront location but also the exceptional Japanese cuisine it serves – Matsuhisa Athens is well worth the 30-minute drive to Vougliameni. Often referred to as the Athenian Riviera, Vougliameni is a sun-kissed resort of effortless elegance and Greek sophistication, set on a long stretch of the ArgoSaronic coastline, 20 kilometres from the centre of the capital.  Nobu’s premium restaurant brand, Matsuhisa Athens is located within the Four Seasons Astir Palace complex and offers its guests a premium dining experience accompanied by glittering sea views and first-class service. The restaurant’s setting could honestly not be more spectacular. Quench your thirst by kicking off the evening’s proceedings with a signature hand-crafted cocktail, sipped at the restaurant’s Umi Bar, as the sun sets over the Saronic Gulf. Move to your table, push the boat out and order the “Special Omakase” tasting menu to enjoy the finest dishes of the night, selected and prepared by executive chef Tony Vratsanos and exquisitely presented as an array of delectable, individual courses, leisurely served one after the other. End the evening with a mastika on the rocks or a fine cognac and gaze towards the yachts twinkling on the Aegean.  Everything sipped and tasted at Matsuhisa Athens is universally delectable and collectively culminates in the most special of Athenian gastronomic nights to remember. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU

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www.atsuhisaathens.com


TA S T E

TA S T E T H E C U LT U R E D T R AV E L L E R ’ S FAVO U R I T E P L AC E S T O D I N E I N AT H E N S

PAPADAKIS HAILING FROM THE CYCLADIC ISLAND OF PAROS, CELEBRITY CHEF ARGIRO Barbarigou has fashioned a career, brand and life from the Greek kitchen. Opened in the mid-1990s, the first Papadakis restaurant on Paros lured yachts, locals and island hoppers in search of Barbarigou›s farm-to-fabulous and sea-to-sensational culinary creations, served at the water’s edge of Naoussa’s picturesque port. Fifteen years later in 2005, Papadakis opened in Athens, positioned on a corner in upscale Kolonaki, tucked into the foothills of Mount Lycabettus. Here, Barbarigou and her trusty team continue to serve her unique style of Aegean island cuisine with an emphasis on fish, seafood and local Greek produce. Indeed, the food served at Papadakis is some of the most accomplished, creative and tasty fare you will find in the Greek capital and has understandably garnered a loyal and longstanding following of celebrities, Athenians and tourists alike.  Not to be missed are the slow-cooked chickpea stew; the baked stuffed vine leaves; the sautéed prawns with chili and, The Cultured Traveller’s favourite dish, orzo with prawns in a light ouzo and tomato sauce. All are absolutely delicious! NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU

Argiro Barbarigou

www.papadakisrestaurant.com


CHERCHEZ LA FEMME LOW-KEY, CASUAL AND UNDERSTATED, located about one minute from Syntagma Square a couple of lanes behind Ermou in Mitropoleos Street, opposite Athens’ Metropolitan Cathedral, you would be forgiven for completely missing Cherchez La Femme were it not for people casually seated at café-style tables outside, nibbling on small plates and engaging in animated, carefree chit-chat. Akin to a retro-urban Greek bistro, popular with local Athenians and possibly one of the capital’s best kept culinary secrets, the contemporary, unpretentious Mediterranean-style food served at Cherchez La Femme is so much more than “modern mezze”. Creative, tasty and designed to share, order two of three dishes to start and, if you’re still feeling peckish, add more as you go along. But don’t miss the octopus! Whether you spend one hour or three at Cherchez La Femme, everything you eat will be delicious, the service will be friendly and attentive and you will leave gently merry with a full tummy, vowing to return. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU www.cherchezlafemme.gr


TA S T E GB ROOF GARDEN RESTAURANT CLASSY, SOPHISTICATED, CROWNING Greece’s most famous hotel and boasting incredible panoramas of Athens, GB Roof Garden Restaurant occupies one of the city’s most coveted locations and has, over the past 14 years, established itself as both a go-to destination for visitors and a local haunt for well-to-do Athenians. An extensive menu of modern Mediterranean cuisine makes the best possible use of fresh, premium local ingredients and chefs Nikos Mavrokostas and Asterios Koustoudis employ advanced cooking techniques to create exquisite dishes oozing clean, rich flavours. Coming a close second to the food, the restaurant’s incredible wine list is an oenophile’s dream, which sommelier Evangelos Psofidis helps diners to navigate and select the perfect bottles. Desserts at GB Roof Garden Restaurant are fashioned by renowned French pastry chef Arnaud Larher and hence are not-to-be-missed. You won’t taste a finer Paris-Brest – filled with a heavenly pistachio cream – outside of France. Nothing short of an Athenian gastronomic institution, dining at this landmark restaurant is akin to having the Greek capital at your feet, the nation’s vines in your glass and Greece on your plate, all at the same time. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU www.gbroofgarden.gr

DOPIOS A FRESH APPROACH TO TRADITIONAL Greek mezze food, set halfway down a leafy, atmospheric and pedestrianised side-street, five-minutes’ walk from Syntagma Square close to Athens’ main shopping area of Ermou, Dopios shares the same renowned chef as Balthazar, Peskias Christoforou. Owned by the same family for two generations, Christoforou recently joined the Dopios team to rework the restaurant’s traditional fare and update it with a modern twist, making the most of fresh local produce. Order the braised octopus served with a purée of Santorini fava beans; grilled Greek sardines wrapped in vine leaves with green horn peppers, and the moreish shrimp popcorn accompanied by a delicious black garlic and umeboshi aioli. Wines are less pricey than most restaurants, making ordering a bottle for lunch something of a no-brainer! Everything is served by friendly staff in a laid-back and unpretentious, almost café-like environment. And in the summer months, half of the restaurant spills onto the pavement, which makes for a very pleasant and leisurely alfresco dining experience, in between bouts of retail therap y. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU

www.dopiosrestaurant.gr

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TA S T E

HYTRA EVERYTHING SEEMS A LITTLE BIT SURREAL AT ONE Michelin-starred Hytra restaurant. First-off there’s the location, on the roof of the striking Onassis Cultural Centre on Syngrou Street, fifteen minutes’ drive from the city centre. Diners enter from the side of the building where a pokerfaced doorman sends guests to the top in an express elevator. But try not to be put off by the frosty reception on the ground floor, for when you step out onto the rooftop, the 360-degree vista across the entire city is wholly captivating. Sipping a Martini and watching the sun set over Acropolis Hill is reason enough to visit Hytra. Yet, while the views might be unmatched, the menu is equally surreal. Flavours of Greece are totally reimagined and given a thoroughly modern makeover by chef Tasos Mantis and his creative team, with ingredients sourced from local suppliers often rendered completely unrecognisable by technical preparations and innovative presentation. But this contemporary approach by no means takes away from the rich tastes. Think tender scallops with wild garlic and crayfish sauce, and amberjack served with oyster, loquat, chamomile and apricot umeboshi. Many of the dishes on the dégustation menus are a little on the small side, so order from the à la carte menu if you’re ravenous! EMILY MILLETT

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www.hytra.gr

SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2021


BALTHAZAR AS THE OLD ADAGE GOES, IT’S ALL ABOUT ‘location, location, location’ at Balthazar. Positioned on the edge of upmarket Kolonaki, in a beautifully restored neoclassical villa on Tsocha Street, this established favourite of the well-heeled crowd makes the most of its premium city centre spot. Once the home of famous Greek actress and sociality Cybele Andrianou, the late 19th century property boasts one of the last remaining inner-city gardens, which is now a particularly fabulous, sprawling al fresco dining area, complete with multiple bars and open kitchens, almost entirely covered by a canopy of trees dripping with twinkling lights, chandeliers and lanterns. On any given summer night, the heat of Athens seems less intense when seated in this lush, green oasis, which may well be why the party at Balthazar often continues until the early hours. And then there’s the huge menu, dreamt into being by Cypriot-born chef, Peskias Christoforou. Christoforou’s menu is a creative fusion of traditional tastes and modern techniques with a nod to both Greek and Asian cuisines. Try the watermelon salad with avocado, feta cheese, jalapeño, lime and coriander, followed by some sushi and perhaps the grilled amberjack, all washed down with a glass or two of crisp Malagousia. EMILY MILLETT

www.balthazar.gr

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SIP T H E B E S T P L AC E S F O R A C O C K TA I L , BA R B I T E O R N I G H T CA P I N AT H E N S

SIP

BAR 8 PERCHED AT THE HIGHEST POINT OF GREECE’S MOST FAMOUS HOTEL,

drink or a nightcap (or two), and stays open until the early hours to offer the

Grande Bretagne, towards the back of the property’s top floor, past GB Roof

post-dinner crowd a chic venue in which to end a night in style.

Garden Restaurant, entirely open-air and hence seasonal Bar 8 recently re-

If you’re feeling peckish, the bar bites here are simply exquisite. Lovingly

launched as a smart, stand-alone destination for hand-crafted cocktails and

prepared at a live food station in the bar, they make the best use of barbecued

super-premium bites.

premium wagyū, grilled giant oyster mushrooms and freshly shucked oysters

Overlooking Lycabettus Hill and the Hellenic Parliament building up Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Bar 8 is very much an upscale venue for a elegant early evening

grilled with gorgonzola and pancetta. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU www.hotelgrandebretagne.gr

THE CLUMSIES ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS BARS in Athens, THE CLUMSIES HAS managed to maintain its signature convivial and unpretentious air despite being name-checked as one of the world’s 50 best bars. Today, this popular Athenian watering hole is third on the prestigious list, and it’s easy to see why. The bar’s location, within a beautifully renovated, multi-storey early 1900s townhouse, lends itself perfectly to a warm welcome and authentic hospitality. A strong focus on distinctive flavours and superior quality is also palpable throughout, from both the huge range of classic and specialty cocktails served, to the effortlessly hip yet inviting interiors. For an intimate and personalised experience, book The Room upstairs, where a living room-style space hosts private parties of up to 10 guests. Designed to feel cosy yet exclusive, whilst The Room comes with squidgy armchairs, a fireplace, bookcases, vinyl record player and a pool table, the best part is the bespoke drinks menu, curated from a selection of premium and vintage spirits, available only to patrons of this reservation-only space. EMILY MILLETT www.theclumsies.gr

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GALAXY ON THE EDGE OF KOLONAKI ON Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, adjacent to Greece’s recently re-opened National Gallery, this well-established rooftop venue situated on the 12th floor of the city’s landmark Hilton Athens hotel, is all about the sweeping, panoramic views of Athens and Acropolis Hill that it offers.  A popular Athenian meeting place serving an array of classic and specialty cocktails, as well as a menu of mocktails and a range of finger food, Galaxy is the perfect pre-dinner venue on a weekend night, to kick off an evening in style as the sun is setting and the Greek capital is lighting up.  Post-dinner on the weekends, a DJ provides the funky sounds and takes the tempo up a touch to get guests’ toes tapping. Since Galaxy can get busy, particularly in the sum mer months, reservations are advised, especially if you want a front row seat for the views. NICHOLAS CHRISOSTOMOU www.hiltonathens.gr/galaxy

TO LOKALI SLAP BANG IN THE VERY heart of Athens’ old town, in hip Psiri neighbourhood, To Lokali is a cool, all-day venue with history. Once a legendary alternative outdoor cinema called Cine Psyrri, a cosy bar now presides in the lush outdoor space where indie films were once screened. Another bar area occupies a cavernous adjoining building, with old, exposed stone walls and quirky murals by renowned Greek cartoonist, The Rabbit Knows. To Lokali’s pièce de résistance is its secret rooftop terrace, which boasts wonderful views over the rooftops of the old town, all the way to Acropolis Hill. This is undoubtedly one of the best downtown locations to enjoy a sundowner or local craft beer. But what really makes this bar special – as its name might suggest – is its authentic, local feel. Hence, To Lokali is a favourite hangout of cool Athenians, as well as local off-duty waiters and bartenders. Get them chatting and you’ll glean some priceless local tips! EMILY MILLETT tolokali.gr

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SIP THE PLACE AS YOU EXPLORE TRENDY GAZI district, you may well stumble upon The Place. An offshoot of the Greek Coco-Mat brand, famed for its incredible beds and hotels, at first glance, the funky beach bar-like décor and tropical vibes will catch your eye. But The Place is really all about its gorgeous hidden garden, tucked away at the back, which was lovingly created while the rest of the world was locked-down during the pandemic. Here, sheltered by huge palm trees brought in and planted especially for the venue, a cool crowd of locals and travellers-in-the-know sip on signature cocktails and tasty vegetarian cuisine freshly made in-house. Popular for its long liquid brunches by day and live music events by night, affable manager, Dimitris Bamichas runs the venue like a well-oiled machine. As a result, the service is impeccable, the food is mouth-watering and the cocktails dangerously moreish. The Place also offers a variety of two-wheeled tours of Athens, on either an electrical or pedalpowered Coco-Mat wooden bicycle. EMILY MILLETT

www.theplace.gr

KERAMIKOS DISTRICT LOCATED AT THE INDUSTRIAL END OF THE ERMOU SHOPPING drag, just behind the ancient cemetery archaeology site, lies one of the city’s coolest, up-and-coming neighbourhoods. Named after the ceramics made by past inhabitants, Keramikos was once the old potters’ quarters and their traditional brick houses still line its narrow streets and alleys. Then Keramikos was associated with hookers and hustlers. In more recent times, well-known street artists, including iNO, Blaqk and SimpleG have used the streets of Keramikos as a canvas for their murals, which add yet more character to the area. Today, previously dilapidated streets and derelict buildings have been transformed into funky bars and hip dining venues by creative locals who now call the area home, and it is after dusk that this area really comes to life, as the fading sun blurs the grungy edge that lingers from the district’s red-light past. Enjoy a leisurely cocktail next to Avdi Square at trendy Blue Parrot café-bar (+30 21 1012 1099) before heading for a bite at Proveleggios – the area’s hottest new dining experience, currently making local foodie waves (nolanverse.com). The tentacles of gentrification have their sights set on Keramikos though, so try to visit while the area’s authenticity is still intact. EMILY MILLETT

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MARIO FRANGOULIS

BLUE SKIES AN AMERICAN SONGBOOK


SPEND

I N D U L G E I N S O M E AT H E N I A N R E TA I L T H E R A PY

SPE ND KYMA SANDALS WORKING WITH SHOES RUNS IN THE FAMILY for brothers and business partners, Alex and Deno Mantas. The founders of high-end Greek sandal label KYMA were raised helping around the multi-label footwear emporium owned by their father. Starting their own Greek sandal business in 2014, the brothers set out to showcase the unique beauty of the Greek islands via an entirely contemporary Greek product. Each design is named after one of Greece’s islands, so you can tread the pavements of Athens in a pair of Ikaria, Lesvos, Andros of Amorgos sandals. And while each style is as different as the islands themselves, all are unified by the brand’s signature blue sole, which is representative of the cobalt sea that surrounds their namesakes. Known for their high-quality craftsmanship, attention to detail and minimalist elegance, KYMA takes a less-is-more attitude to both the colour and design of its sandals. The result is a discreet yet undeniably classy shoe, which works just as well on a beach as it does on a night out. EMILY MILLETT

www.kymasandals.com

CHRISTINA MORALI GREECE HAS A LONG HISTORY OF pottery and ceramics. Yet, while

Inspired by themes from everyday life, Morali designs a wide range of work, from traditional

countless ancient examples line the hallowed halls

homewares and sculptural art to jewellery and

of Athens’ museums, a cluster of modern-day Greek

furniture, always with her same unique signature

artists are today making waves with their more

style and sense of humour.

contemporary approaches to this historic art form. With her modern designs, Christina Morali’s

Currently based in the Athenian suburb of Agios Stefanos, some 20 kilometres north of the Greek

unique take on ceramics represents the highest

capital, Morali’s pieces are available at a number of

standards of the current generation of Greek

stockists in the city centre, including the museum

ceramicists. Morali studied interior design in Athens

shop at B&E Goulandris Foundation in Pangrati and

before obtaining a master’s degree in ceramics in

True Story Athens boutique in Akropoli.

London.

EMILY MILLETT

www.christina-morali.gr

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THALASSA COLLECTION FOR THE FINEST SCARVES, shawls and ties in Athens, Thalassa Collection is the place to go. Founded and run by Marios Kritikos and Samer Sinno – who also happen to be the label’s designers – this chic, boutique brand has spent the past 25 years honing its well-deserved reputation as a purveyor of uniquely artistic pieces. Today, Thalassa Collection’s creations are instantly recognisable for their iconic signature prints in vibrant colours as well as their craftsmanship and luxurious fabrics. While Thalassa Collection’s prints are inspired by Greek and Mediterranean traditions and motifs, the highest quality silks, cashmeres, wools and cottons used in its pieces all hail from Italy. Recently launched, the brand’s vibrant swimwear collection, for him and her, is exclusively available at Thalassa Collection’s three shops in Athens. EMILY MILLETT www.thalassacollection.com

FORGET ME NOT AMONGST THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE

items by only the best local Greek artists and high-end

of the Plaka souvenir shop strip, the one

designers. Collections are carefully curated by owner

shop that really stands out from the otherwise cookie-

Philippos Khoury and include iconic and luxury Greek

cutter crowd is Forget Me Not. A hit since it opened in

brands that are pretty much always in vogue.

2014, the boutique recently took over a second shop

footwear by Ancient Greek Sandals; delightful

only made Forget Me Not even more worth visiting.

embroidered dresses by Devotion Twins; the latest

On the left, you’ll find fashion and home accessories,

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At Forget Me Not, you will find handcrafted

adjacent to its original location and the expansion has

contemporary menswear by Dante Men; stylish

while on the right it’s all about contemporary gifts, toys

eyewear by Urban Owl; vibrant, handmade bags by

and memorabilia. Unlike the tired tourist tat available

Artemide; gorgeous porcelain by Elena Votsi and

in most of the other shops on the same street, Forget

covetable jewellery by Mary Gaitani.

Me Not focuses on superior quality, stocking beautiful

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www.forgetmenotathens.gr


SPEND ZEUS+DIONE FOUNDED IN 2013, MAREVA Grabowski and Dimitra Kolotoura’s fashion label is a contemporary interpretation of the beauty and heritage of ancient Greece. Inspired by mythology and symbolism as well as folkloric tradition, the now internationally acclaimed fashion house is best known for its effortlessly chic luxury lifestyle and resort wear collections. Classic aesthetics are reinvented with pared-back minimal structures, clean lines and impeccable tailoring. But it’s not all simplicity. Intricate embellishments reflect Zeus+Dione’s focus on reviving and redefining the Greek, artisanal craftsmanship of bygone eras. The brand recently opened its first store on upmarket Voukourestiou Street, two minutes’ walk from Hotel Grande Bretagne, where it rubs shoulders with the likes of Cartier, Prada and Louis Vuitton. Designed by En Route Architects to feel like a modern ancient Greek temple, the space perfectly mirrors the Hellenic aesthetic of Zeus+Dione’s collections. EMILY MILLETT

www.zeusndione.com

LITO LITO KARAKOSTANOGLOU DIDN’T PLAN TO

inimitable. Think rings and necklaces embellished with

become a jewellery designer. In fact, she first

meticulously hand-painted enamel eyeballs, set in

started making pieces while studying in Boston for a post-

precious gold and encrusted with brilliant cut diamonds.

graduate degree in advertising. Self-taught, she then went

Or an intricate bracelet incorporating a vintage treasure

on to found her own jewellery business in Athens, just over

found on Karakostanoglou’s travels. It is this unique

two decades ago and has never looked back since.

aesthetic and precise attention to detail that sets Lito

What began as an open studio where Karakostanoglou would create one-off bespoke pieces for clients, has since

pieces apart. Located in upscale Kolonaki, Lito’s store on Irodotou

become a somewhat exclusive and highly reputable brand

Street – which Karakostanoglou has cutely named

favoured by many of Athens’ style elite.

“Cabinet of Curiosities” – is a delightful little world where

Identifiable by their iconic motifs, detailed craftsmanship and bold statements, Lito pieces are

fantasy and fine jewellery coexist in opulent, retail harmony. EMILY MILLETT

www.litofinejewelry.com

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THE RENOWNED GREEK TENOR AND CLASSICAL CROSSOVER ARTIST IS CELEBRATING THIRTY Y E A R S I N T H E M U S I C I N D U S T RY WITH A NEW SWING ALBUM

MINUTES WITH

mario frangoulis You were born in Rhodesia but grew up in Greece?

Yes, my Aunt Loula raised me and was a major influence on my life specifically with regards to my musical and theatrical education. She was very dedicated to the arts and cultivated my love of music from a very young age, by regularly taking me to the theatre and concerts. Where does classical music stand in Greek culture?

Greece has many great classical composers and Greek audiences love classical music because it is in our DNA. Many ancient Greek themes are at the nucleus of classical music. You sing in many different languages - in which can you best express yourself?

In addition to English, Greek, Italian, Spanish and French, which are the main languages in which I sing, I have sung in German, Portuguese, Chinese, Persian, Turkish and Russian. I have even sung the Welsh national anthem, in Welsh, at an Elton John concert! I don’t have a favourite language per se, but Greek is my first language, not only because it is so simple, elegant and expresses feelings with such accuracy, but also because it is a language full of pure vowels and singers love vowels.

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Which is your favourite musical genre to perform?

Opera is my big love and I listen to opera every day. But I prefer classical crossover when I sing, because it allows me to experiment with beautiful and interesting music, and collaborate with some of the most talented artists in the world, which, in turn, expands my heart and mind. Of all the venues you have performed in, do you have any favourites?

The ancient theatres of Epidaurus in Greece, and La Scala in Milan, where I played Tony in West Side Story. Your most memorable career highlights to date?

Stepping on stage at London’s Palace Theatre for the first time, as Marius in Les Misérables, and representing Greece, at a concert at the Acropolis, that welcomed the new millennium.

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I N T E RV I E W Were the lockdowns a productive time for you?

Like the rest of the world, I was very confused at the beginning and a little scared. Plus, I was locked down in New York. Yet, despite my flight tickets being cancelled eight times, I stayed positive and never stopped planning for the time when everything would be resolved. Where did you spend the bulk of your time?

Six months in New York followed by eight months in Athens. The periods of lockdown helped me reevaluate my friendships and my relationships with my family and friends. And how did you stay in touch with your fanbase?

I tried to stay engaged by doing interviews and TV shows to keep myself and my audiences occupied. I got involved with Dianne Warren’s fantastic Covid-19 relief anthem, I’m Standing With You, singing alongside Renee Fleming, Tina Arena and a host of other amazing artists. Together we raised more than USD 5 million for charity. And I collaborated with Italian pop star, Gigi D’Alessio on a wonderful duet named La Soluzione.

The Nana Princess Hawaii

is my twenty-first album and one I wanted to make since I was fifteen years old. I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Charlie Chaplin and Judy Garland and always wanted to sing their great songs. This album represents a realisation of my childhood dreams of success and fame; reminds me of the beautiful blue skies of Greece, and it is a musical attempt to bring together all of the cultures and countries where I have performed around the world during the past three decades. Have you always been a fan of swing?

Yes, since I was six years old and fell in love with the voices of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. I saw them sing together on a TV show and was mesmerised by the beauty of their sound.

Tell us about your new album, Blue Skies?

Blue Skies - An American Songbook

Which artist would you most like to perform with?

Since I first saw her in Funny Girl , it has been a lifelong dream of mine to perform with Barbra Streisand. I have an enormous respect for her talent, her mind, her spirit and her humanity. She always speaks her mind, and this inspires me greatly.

Your favourite hotel in the world to check into for a few days of R&R?

The Nana Princess just outside Hersonissos on the Greek island of Crete has the most incredible spa. I also love the Four Seasons Hotel on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, and the Peninsula Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. All three of these are top hotels. The first holiday destination you would love to travel to when the world opens up? 

I would fly to Maui in Hawaii and stay at the Hyatt Regency. The food, the beaches and the people are all amazing. What do you consider to be your greatest achievements to date?

My long-term friendships. The ongoing support of my fans. And the fact that I have spent thirty years doing a job I love and living a good life with no compromises. It is not easy to survive in this industry and I am blessed to be able to make my own choices and decisions. What are you working on at the moment?

Ancient theatres of Epidaurus

Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra

I am working to make happen a new album of duets that I will sing with a number of well-known Broadway stars. Everyone loves the idea and I am great friends with a few of them, so watch this space! ➤ www.mariofrangoulis.com

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palatial parisian hospitality à la starck


S E T W I T H I N A H O S P I TA L I T Y PA L A C E FA S H I O N E D B Y P H I L L I P E S T A R C K , W H E R E A R T, C U LT U R E AND GASTRONOMY COLLIDE IN P E R F E C T H A R M O N Y, N I C H O L A S C H R I S O ST O M O U C H E C K S I N T O A N

E X T R A O R D I N A R Y PA R I S I A N H O T E L SUITE THAT EMB ODIES THE FINEST ELEMENTS OF FRENCH ART DE VIVRE

suite envy K ATA R A P R E S I D E N T I A L S U I T E

L E

R O Y A L

M O N C E A U R A F F L E S

– PA R I S

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E COULD ALL DO WITH SOME post-pandemic luxury to smooth away the painful memories of the past year and a half, when we were relegated to our homes or only travelled fleetingly in between lockdowns. So, it makes perfect sense (to me, at least) that now we are globetrotting again, our stay experiences should be decadent, chic and utterly unforgettable. And hotel stays don’t come much more memorable than resting one’s head at Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris. A contemporary Parisian palace hotel, the property was wondrously reimagined a decade ago by the visionary, multifaceted master of French design, Philippe Starck.

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IMAGES: AVINCENT LEROUX

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ONLY IN FRANCE DOES THE GOVERNMENT LAVISH the distinction of being officially named a “palace” on hotels that go beyond being merely five-star rated. Despite the French capital being literally littered with supremely luxe lodgings, the number of hotels that hold this most coveted of hospitality labels is essentially just a handful. Palace hotels must be situated in an iconic location, have a compelling history, exhibit a unique aesthetic and offer

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exemplary services, and the property’s overall design and its contribution to the spread of the French art de vivre (art of living) must be unquestionable. The distinction is valid for a period of just five years but can be renewed by the Palace Commission at will, subject to re-evaluating the many criteria. Avant-garde, cheeky, sophisticated and suggestive of a five-star hotel on steroids, it is perhaps unsurprising that Le Royal Monceau has been officially classified as a palace since

Monsieur Starck finished waving his paranormal design wand over the entire building from top-to-toe. FOUNDED BY PIERRE BERMOND AND ANDRÉ JUNOT, when le Royal Monceau first opened its glamorous doors as a hotel on 1st August 1928, with the exception of the garden, there was no trace of the building’s former use as a retirement home for nuns. But it wasn’t long before Le Royal Monceau

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became the favoured haunt for Parisians and foreigners alike, because the hotel’s opening came at the exact time of the birth of a great enlightenment in the French capital. This signified the start of a longstanding artistic spirit in the city, as creatives descended on Paris from all corners of the world to conceive, share and relish in the city’s cultural awakening. IN THE PRE-WAR YEARS THAT FOLLOWED, THE hotel became a rendezvous for artists and intellectuals who appreciated the hotel’s bar, gaming rooms, restaurant, lavish guest rooms and suites. Politicians rewrote history in the hotel’s private salons while the likes of Josephine Baker and

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Maurice Chevalier held court in the bar. Le Royal Monceau’s architect, Louis Duhayon had thought of everything, and everyone frequented the hotel to revel in the decadence of it all. AFTER BEING REQUISITIONED DURING THE SECOND world war, the hotel re-opened for business in the mid-1940s and continued to host luminaries of the stage and screen, dignitaries and royalty. In 1946, Ho Chi Minh called Le Royal Monceau home for the best part of two months. At the hotel in 1947, David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir signed the landmark act creating the state of Israel. And during the following years, Coco Chanel, Walt Disney, Ray Charles, King Farouk of Egypt


SUITE ENVY

and the Aga Khan were just a few of the esteemed guests who slumbered at 37 Avenue Hoche. The hotel continued to thrive until the end of the last millennium, by which time it was no longer the most favoured in Paris and tiring somewhat. SOON AFTER BEING PURCHASED BY QATARI DIAR  Real Estate Company in 2007 for a quarter of a billion Euro, the new owners closed the hotel and gave Philippe Starck an unlimited budget and carte blanche to completely transform Le Royal Monceau. After two years, the property re-opened sporting Starck’s chic new look encompassing glamour, fun, charisma and top-notch facilities. Instantly, Le Royal Monceau was re-born as the first contemporary palace-grade hotel in the City of Lights and Paris’ go-to destination for visiting art aficionados and creative types. The grand re-opening heralded a new beginning for the ultra-luxe hotel. And while the majestic, Art Deco awning over its main entrance nods to the storied history of the property, everything inside is far from traditional. TODAY, EVEN THE SMALLEST OF THE HOTEL’S 85 bedrooms and 64 suites feature large, mirror-clad Starckdesigned bathrooms. Public spaces on the ground floor are open and unpretentious. Various restaurants cater to the tastes of even the most discerning gourmands, including a Paris outpost of Nobu’s premium Matsuhisa brand, which spills into the hotel’s smart inner courtyard during the summer months. A 99-seat private cinema, featuring generous leather armchairs, screens movies in supreme comfort. The hotel’s affable art concierge, Julie Eugène provides tours of the many works and installations which are liberally sprinkled around the property. And descending to the hotel’s heavenly Clarins spa is to spend time in a serene space where the buzz of the city is light years away. You will also find the city’s largest palace hotel swimming pool at Le Royal Monceau. But it is the property’s strong focus on art and culture which sets Le Royal Monceau apart from other luxury Parisian hotels and shapes the tone of my stay. ACCESSED VIA A DISCREET, PRIVATE ENTRANCE AT 41 Avenue Hoche, a little way up the road from the hotel’s main entrance, Le Royal Monceau’s deluxe yet understated “Privé” building marries original architectural features with contemporary design and incredible levels of comfort. Comprising five floors of spacious apartment-like suites, each embodying emblematic Parisian style and elegance, my exclusive home-away-from-home for a weekend is the threebedroomed 350 square metre Katara Presidential Suite, five storeys above Paris’ swanky 8th arrondissement. OCCUPYING AN ENTIRE FLOOR OF THE BUILDING and providing guests with the intimacy and comforts of an

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exclusive residence away from prying eyes, yet served by all the services of Le Royal Monceau and more, understated, dark wood double doors open into a moody, dimly-lit entrance lobby inviting guests to walk into the suite’s huge salon beyond.  THE PRINCELY ACCOMMODATION COMPRISES TWO sprawling master bedroom suites, each with their own lounges, dressing rooms and grand, disco-like bathrooms. Each is the

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size of a substantial London apartment. The slightly larger of the two boasts its own well-equipped private gym, including a Kinesis machine, treadmill, exercise bike and free weights. A third, much more modest bedroom is located towards the rear of the fifth floor. In the middle, a fully equipped kitchen, with all the bells and whistles, connects with a regally proportioned dining room which leads to the lavish main living space - the salon.


dine with us. stay with us

nobuhotelmiamibeach.com


SUITE ENVY CROWNED BY A BEAUTIFUL MURANO CHANDELIER and furnished with a selection of oversized hide couches – some deep-buttoned and some smooth – surrounding an enormous, low-level central coffee table, full-height windows at the far end of the salon open out above Avenue Hoche. Balconies provide the perfect setting to sip a cocktail while taking in the spectacular vistas up and down the beautiful tree lined boulevard towards the Arc De Triomphe. Meanwhile, the elevated, WhatsApp-connected Raffles butler service I experience during my stay stands out as being truly personal and 24/7. THROUGHOUT MY LUMINOUS ACCOMMODATION, Starck has skillfully united luxury with technology and French refinement in a fashionable setting, punctuated by his inimitable designer touches at every turn. A veritable study in mastered minimalism, executed in tones of beige, camel, mocha and white, mirrored walls abound and leather covers every seat in the immense space, which somehow feels homely despite its ample size. Any wall which is not mirrored is covered in light oak, which complements the modern furniture and provides a neutral base enabling the many artworks in the various rooms to shine. AMONGST THEM ARE LARGE-SCALE WORKS BY French artists Marie Maillard, Simon Chaput, Jean-François Rauzier and Cerise Doucède. A photographic piece in the dining

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room, by Norwegian conceptual artist Rune Guneriussen, stops me in my tracks. Guneriussen draws his inspiration from the landscape of his homeland and turns it into mesmerising, poetic work. A sculptural glass piece hanging in the salon also catches my eye, created by French painter and sculptor, Aristide Najean who learnt his craft from Murano’s master glassmakers. IN PARIS, THE ART DE VIVRE IS A COMBINATION OF several key elements that are deeply rooted in the history and


culture of France. The essence of the nation, signifying taste, aesthetics, a sense of detail and culture in its many forms, all are embodied with avant-garde skill in the Katara Presidential Suite at Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris, providing its lucky inhabitants with a complete flavour of all that is best in France in one, extraordinary hotel room. A night in the Katara Presidential Suite at Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris costs EUR 25,000 including breakfast for two and taxes. ➤ www.leroyalmonceau.com


l a n i g i r o s ’ n o i h s fa

N U P F O S S E C N I R P

AS PROLIFICALLY

C R E AT I V E T O DAY A S

S H E WA S M O R E T H A N FIVE DECADES AGO

AT T H E S TA RT O F H E R COLOURFUL CAREER, JACKIE NEEDLEMAN

CHATS WITH T H E I N I M I TA B LY F L A M B O YA N T B R I T I S H FA S H I O N A N D FA B R I C DESIGNER, DAME ZANDRA RHODES

Y

our first fashion-led memories? My mother had been a fitter at French couturier House of Worth in Paris, and she taught dressmaking at Medway College of Art in Kent, so we always had a wonderful selection of fashion magazines in our home, such as L’Officiel and Queen. My mother was always in tune with current fashion trends and would often turn up at school in exotic hats and suits. I found it embarrassing at the time, but now I look up to her as one of my fashion heroes. As you were growing-up, who or what were your biggest fashion influences? My first and most potent fashion influence was reading French L’Officiel magazine and seeing wonderful Balenciaga shovel hats. The college dress shows at Medway also gave me inspiration and developed my insights into the creative world. I also modelled in the shows until I was 13. In later life, my mother gradually became more and more of a fashion influence and I strongly believe that she shaped who I am and how I dress to this day. As a young designer, what part of the garment production process did you most enjoy? I studied printed textiles and began to find processes that worked for me and went hand-in-hand with my painted

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FA HN ION ICON FAS HS IO I CON

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MAIN AND TOP LEFT OPPOSITE IMAGES: BRUNO KARLSSON


FA S H I O N I C O N

designs. I fell in love with the age-old tradition of screenprinting, which consists of exposing original designs onto a silk screen, pinning material over a table and placing the screens over the material. I then drag coloured binder onto the material with a squeegee, through the screens. Because I design with the print in mind, I always focus on the print before the shape of the garment.

Clockwise from left to right: Zandra in the late 1960s; Zandra in her first studio, 1960s; Freddie Mercury wearing Zandra Rhodes, 1974; Conceptual Chic Collection, 1977

After more than half a century of designing, what do you most enjoy about it today? I still screen-print to this day and am lucky enough to have a 10-metre print table in my studio, which is one of just a handful left in London. When I founded the Fashion and Textile Museum and the Zandra Rhodes studio in the early 2000s (they are in the same building), I knew that the large ground floor room would be perfect for screen-printing. It’s one of the main reasons I purchased the building. Your debut collection featured in American Vogue and you were first lauded in the States – why do you think this was? I packed up my collection and physically took it to the then high priestess of Vogue, Diana Vreeland. Without social media and the internet, things were very different back then. Everything was more organic. I think my designs spoke to a certain period of time, off the back of the 60’s, including women’s liberation and the hippy movements. The USA

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MAIN AND TOP LEFT IMAGES ON OPPSOSITE PAGE: ROBYN BEECHE


Clockwise from left to right: Zandra in 1982; Diana, Princess of Wales wearing Zandra Rhodes, 1986; Diana, Princess of Wales and Zandra Rhodes, New York, 1997

I like to think that when someone puts on a Zandra Rhodes garment, they feel beautiful and are their best, confident self, with my printed patterns falling around their body wanted my bohemian and free, exotically printed and flowing kaftan designs before anyone else. How did it feel to be named Designer of The Year so early in your career? It was 1977, I was 37 and it was a great honour. However, I haven’t let any of my successes go to my head. I believe that if you begin to act like you have ‘made it’, it can all come crashing down. What singular moment set you on the extraordinary journey of fashion success that you are still on today? My meeting in New York with Diana Vreeland led to my first solo collection being worn by Natalie Wood and photographed on American Vogue. On the same trip to the USA, Henri Bendel (New York’s top store at the time) ordered my collection, and I was featured on the cover of fashion industry trade journal, Women’s Wear Daily. All of my stars began to align.

FA S H I O N I C O N

What type of woman do you prefer to design for and how should wearing one of your creations make her feel? I do not design for any particular person or gender and I like to think that my designs are inclusive. However, I like to think that when someone puts on a Zandra Rhodes garment, they feel beautiful and are their best, confident self, with my printed patterns falling around their body. How do you create and source fabrics and what are your favourite types to work with? I use luxurious, opulent fabrics such as silk chiffon and lamé. I work with the best materials that also are enjoyable to print on. Materials that highlight my prints in the best way possible are key to my designs. I love and never tire of how the fusion of print and material fall around the body. Visiting which countries provide you with the most creative stimulation and ideas? Creative stimulation comes from seeing friends and finding time to relax away from work, to allow ideas to filter in. I recall a special trip to Morocco in the 1980s, with my good friend Andrew Logan, where we camped in the desert, sketched sand dunes and ruins and were essentially completely disconnected from our usual everyday routines. India has been a particular influence on your work for forty years. Tell us about your first visit and how it affected you? My first visit to India was in 1981 as a guest of the Indian government. I was shown around by the fabulous Rajeev Sethi, who is now a good friend. It was my first time experiencing the nation’s culture, people, arts and crafts and I


FA S H I O N I C O N was positively enthralled by it all. When I returned to London, the trip stayed with me and embedded itself into my designs. How do you develop a new theme for a range, or come up with ideas for a collaboration? Please give us an insight into your creative process. When times and travel were less difficult, I would travel to get away from day-to-day routine and be more creative. Taking my Japanese rice paper sketchbooks and special felt tip pens, I would document my journeys in sketches, absorbing all different places as I went, including Morocco, India, the Atlas Mountains and the central desert region of Australia. I sketch in situ and then, back in my London studio, I reinterpret them into prints. Many of my prints are named after countries or cultural references, such as Ayres Rock (now rightfully Uluru), Spanish Flowerpot and Tutankhamun’s Leopard. Tell us about designing for Diana, Princess of Wales? Diana came to my store in Grafton Street, just off Bond Street, with her close friend Fergie and she bought her a dress. Later, she came into my store for herself and I worked with her. I then went to Kensington Palace to fit her, which was very special. She was very sweet, shy and conscious of the media.

IMAGE: JONATHAN PHANG

And creating costumes for Freddie Mercury? Freddie and Brian May came to my Bayswater studio one evening in 1974 after my employees had gone home, so it was just them and me. They were quite shy, so I told them to just pick items off the rails. Freddie spotted a cape shirt in heavy ivory silk, that had an embroidered bodice and giant pleated butterfly sleeves. It was the top of a wedding dress idea I had, which came with a matching skirt. I had designed both pieces during what I like to call my ‘Field of Lilies’ period. When Freddie tried it on, he moved around the room in it quite magically! We made a special version for him in a heavy cream satin with quilting at the chest, instead of the embroidery, which he wore on stage.

What prompted you to found London’s Fashion and Textile Museum in 2003? One day my friend Andrew called to let me know that a former cash-and-carry building in Bermondsey was for sale. He thought that it would be perfect for me to start my own museum. The seed was sewn and I decided to sell my home in Notting Hill Gate, the proceeds from which I used to purchase the building in Bermondsey. I lived in a building site for five years or so, but with the help of my wonderful partner, Salah Hassanein, the Fashion and Textile Museum was born. I founded the museum as a place to highlight the capabilities and legacies of British designers, since I felt that they weren’t celebrated the way they should be, especially textile designers. Most of your clothes make bold fashion statements that seem as relevant today as they were at the start of your career. How do you continue to achieve this so successfully in an industry which is largely dominated by cuttingedge trends? I stay true to myself and, as they say, what goes around when it comes to style really does come back around. My prints are timeless, and they are the main priority and focus of my designs. The shape of the garment, colourway and everything else come after the print. I don’t follow trends and look into myself and my sketchbooks for inspiration. You could say this somewhat anti-fashion approach ironically makes my designs ‘fashionable’! Your vintage creations are collected by countless designers of today and appear in museums around the world. How does this make you feel? I feel very privileged and honoured that this is happening. I also enjoy keeping up with vintage stores, such as Shrimpton Couture, which sell my vintage garments. Luckily, I have always saved pieces from all of my collections and today I enjoy contributing them to museums.

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Clockwise from left to right: The Jubilee Collection, 2019; Zandra in India, 2013; Zandra was made a Dame in 2014

Tell us about the Zandra Rhodes Charitable Foundation? It was founded in 2020, during lockdown, specifically to accurately record and digitise my body of work. I now have a small team which is working behind the scenes to archive my collection of more than 10,000 garments. A key part of this collection will be donated to the Fashion and Textile Museum, here in London. The rest will go to key museums around the world to be preserved and utilised as a learning and cultural resource for years to come. Do you have your eye on any talented, up-and-coming designers? For many years now, I have adored the distinctive shirts and tailoring of Syrian-born British fashion designer Nabil Nayal. What would you say has been your greatest career achievement to date? Flying the flag for British design by founding the Fashion and Textile Museum. ➤ www.ftmlondon.org How did it feel to be made a Dame in 2014? It was one of the biggest honours. I wore a fabulous egg hat designed by my good friend, milliner Piers Atkinson. My sister, Beverly sat in the audience, and the lady seated next to her asked if she would ever wear such an extreme accessory? Beverly turned to her and said that her sister –

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the avant-garde designer, Zandra Rhodes – would, and that’s her now being made a Dame! What do you most enjoy about living in London? Having access to all the wonderful museums and being able to visit them with friends. Lockdown has made all of us realise that it’s the little things that matter. I visit the Victoria & Albert Museum late night on a Friday with Andrew Logan and our friends, then we all go for supper after, somewhere low-key like fish! in Borough Market. How do you wind down after a day of creating? I love to walk around my terrace, on top of the Fashion and Textile Museum, and see all of the different plants developing and growing, especially during the summer months. I also love to cook, which you may know already if you saw me on Celebrity MasterChef a few years ago! Your love of travel is well known and a constant source of creative inspiration. How have you managed staying put during the recent lockdowns?! Luckily, I’ve had continuous work and today I am busier than ever. I have been designing for my collaborations with IKEA, Happy Socks, Savoir Beds, Free People and some others that are secret at the moment! On top of this, I have been archiving my main body of work which spans almost 53 years. I am lucky that my creativity is almost constantly stimulated!


IMAGE:CHRIS BISSEL

Were these creative times for you? The lockdowns were a time to keep working without any distractions and I found myself drawing a lot.

clouds and landscape), my Pentel coloured pens, sketchbook, a travel pillow and eye-mask to get some sleep.

One of your most memorable holidays to date and what made it special? A sketching trip to the Atlas Mountains with Andrew Logan. We collected geodes from young boys selling rocks and drew the desert landscapes. It was all very Lawrence of Arabia!

Your ideal night in? A low-key dinner with my closest friends seated around my inlaid marble table, dotted with tiny jars filled with small flowers picked from my terrace. I love great conversation and good food.

Your favourite hotel in the world? Villa d’Este on Lake Como has gorgeous gardens, with rows of Cypress trees that run down to the lake, on either side of a stream that flows from shell-encrusted arbors. I have spent many hours drawing there. I also love The Peninsula Beverly Hills and Bank Hotel in Stockholm. If you could only take six items onto a plane, what would they be? My physical diary, my cell phone (to photograph the

How would you like to be remembered? I would like to be remembered for my work. For creating dresses where the print created the shape, where the textile pattern and the garment shape were one, gorgeously clothing the body, accentuated with beads, feathers, coloured hair and exotic make-up. What’s next for Zandra Rhodes? My new collection in collaboration with IKEA, named KARISMATISK, launches in IKEA stores and globally online in September 2021. ➤ www.zandrarhodes.com

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PETRA JORDAN

the fabled, rose-coloured nabatean capital A N A R C H I T E C T U R A L M A RV E L O F E N O R M O U S S C A L E , C A RV E D F R O M L I V I N G S T O N E , N I C H O L A S C H R I S O ST O M O U R E V I S I T S   T H E

S P E C T A C U L A R , H A L F- H I D D E N C A P I T A L C I T Y O F T H E A N C I E N T N A B ATA E A N E M P I R E : P E T R A

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ORDAN HAS ONLY REALLY BEEN painted into the global atlas since 1921, when it emerged as the Emirate of Transjordan in the wake of the First World War, before achieving full independence from the British in 1946. That an entire nation essentially only came to the world’s attention a century ago, while many millennia of civilisation previously inhabited the same lands, is somewhat incredible. That an ancient city carved from living stone, lay half-hidden in the wind-blown desert landscape known only to the Bedouin, is even more astonishing. Yet, while Petra’s history is so improbable that it seems like fiction to many, the spectacular rose-coloured city located in Southwest Jordan is quite real and arguably the highlight of spending time in this fascinating part of the world. A GLANCE AT ANY MAP OF THE REGION SHOWS WHAT every Egyptian pharaoh and Roman emperor knew thousands of years ago: Jordan is essentially the crossroads of the Middle East. Today, the country’s centrality is visible in its list of neighbours, for it shares borders with Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Syria. EVERY EMPIRE THAT HAS RISEN IN THE MIDDLE East has, at some stage, coveted and conquered the lands east of the River Jordan and the Dead Sea, with Babylon, Persia, Rome, Ottoman Turkey, Egypt and Greece all leaving their indelible imprints on the modern Jordanian nation. The result is a country incredibly rich in heritage and positively


Al Siq

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brimming with historical sites, populated by some of the friendliest and most genuinely welcoming people in the region.

is so narrow in parts only two camels could pass at the same time.

NO ONE REALLY KNOWS PRECISELY WHEN PETRA was built. For sure, it is thousands of years old. What’s certain is that the city began to prosper as the capital of the Nabataean Empire from the 1st century BC, and Petra grew rich through the trading of frankincense, myrrh and spices with China, Egypt, Greece and India. Its elaborate architecture hand chiseled from the pink-hued cliffs of Wadi Mùsù valley, the Nabataeans were an industrious, nomadic people and Petra was the impressive capital of their prosperous, mercantile empire. High walls and surrounding mountains served as intimidating defences against raiders who were tempted to plunder the city›s immense wealth. And there’s a reason why the main entrance to Petra – Al Siq – is a twisting gorge that

EVEN WHEN IT WAS LATER ANNEXED TO THE ROMAN Empire, Petra continued to thrive until a huge earthquake in 363 AD destroyed much of the city. The devastating effects of this quake – coupled with a change in the most important trading routes criss-crossing the region – eventually led to the gradual commercial decline of the city and Petra was eventually abandoned. By the middle of the 7th century, the ancient city was deserted by pretty much everyone except the local Bedouin.

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WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE BEDOUIN WHO made it their home, Petra lay forgotten for centuries and completely unknown to the Western world, until a Swiss traveller, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt chanced upon the site


The Treasury

First glimpse of The Treasury

in 1812. Since then, a number of modern-day excavations, by archaeological institutions hailing from different parts of the world, have greatly added to what is known today about Petra. DESIGNATED A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN 1985, tourists began flocking to Petra in noticeably larger numbers after it was featured in the 1989 film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade . In 2014, a new, well-designed visitor centre was inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah, making entering the site an altogether more pleasurable and organised experience. SPENDING A FULL DAY IN PETRA CAN BE physically demanding, so it is best to stay overnight closeby, not least to get a supremely early start the next day. Combining Oriental flair and Middle Eastern décor with modern-day conveniences, and located directly opposite the main entrance to Petra, Mövenpick Resort Petra is the perfect base from which to explore both Petra and the protected desert wilderness of Wadi Rum about an hour and a half away. www.movenpick.com/petra WHEN VISITING PETRA, IT’S IMPORTANT TO properly prepare yourself for a day in the dust, traversing semi-rugged terrain and dirt tracks, often in direct sunlight, climbing hundreds of steps and rocks and walking many kilometres. Walking long distances is an inherent and unavoidable part of visiting Petra, so be sure to wear comfortable cross-trainers or durable shoes with strong, flexible

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outsoles. It is possible to cover some long stretches of the site on the back of a donkey or in a two-person carriage, but this isn’t cheap and the poor animals are not well looked-after. If you intend to attempt the climb to The Monastery at the far end of the site, you must wear footwear equipped for the purpose or you simply won’t make it. Take bottled water and something to cover your head and shoulders. Sunglasses are a must and carry some local currency in case of emergency but keep it hidden! THE VERY FIRST TIME I VISITED PETRA, I GOT UP at the crack of dawn and was one of literally a handful of visitors who entered the Siq at daybreak. The warm light of the sun rising, spectacularly lit the sandstone with shifting shades of rose, gold and ochre. I have never forgotten the sight. BEFORE REACHING THE CITY, THE DISTANCE OF about a mile going downhill is entirely walkable and arriving on foot is an evocative element of the Petra experience. As you walk between towering cliffs that reach heights of 200 metres, you will pass numerous Nabataean remnants that offer hints of the tribe’s long-gone culture, including the remains of ancient terracotta pipes that used to deliver water to the desert city.


S P OT L I G H T PETRA

Slowly ambling towards the city will also reward you with a sense of drama, as you catch your first sight of Petra. LIKE ME, IT’S DOUBTFUL WHETHER YOU WILL EVER forget your first sight of The Treasury (Al Khazna) as you emerge from the Siq. Despite the fact that the carved and colonnaded wonder has illuminated countless documentaries and films, its familiarity does not diminish its sheer majesty when you see it for yourself. Being confronted by its 40-metre-

high edifice of intricate Corinthian columns, friezes and figurines is a breathtaking spectacle. Don’t be afraid to sit in the café opposite, order tea and gaze upon The Treasury’s magnificent façade at leisure. It is one of the world’s most aweinspiring sights. SIMILARLY, CASTING YOUR EYES UPON THE Monastery (Ad Deir) for the very first time – having climbed halfway up a mountain at the far end of the site to get there

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The Theatre

– is equally jaw-dropping, and another experience to be savoured by resting your feet in the café opposite and taking time out to have a good look. The most taxing of Petra’s monuments to reach, The Monastery is also one of the city’s largest, its stunning 47-metre-tall rock-cut façade topped with an urn. And the views from the mountain-top, over the entire Petra basin, are stupendous. If you intend to ascend the 800 hundred or so raggedy steps on foot, allow yourself 50-60 minutes to reach the summit and a good half hour to carefully descend. A donkey-ride up and down the mountain is not for the faint hearted! IN BETWEEN THE TREASURY AND THE MONASTERY are countless other intensely historical sites worth seeing. You can spend anything from half a day to two full days exploring Petra’s numerous treasures, but be sure to see the

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The Palace Tomb


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colonnaded street, royal tombs, Bab Al Siq and the splendid theatre carved into the side of the mountain at the foot of the High Place of Sacrifice. IT’S HARD TO SAY WHETHER BEING SPOTLIGHTED in an American movie and being named a wonder of the world were curses or blessings for Petra. Whilst the international exposure obviously grew visitor numbers and income for Jordan, the increased tourist traffic has damaged the monuments and historians are concerned that Petra is becoming endangered, which will most likely prompt access restrictions in the future. One of the beauties of Petra is the freedom visitors are currently afforded to climb pretty much anywhere they wish. This may not be the case in years to come, and once the pandemic has subsided, visitor numbers will almost certainly return to normal. So now is undoubtedly a unique, once-in-alifetime opportunity to enjoy the Nabataeans’ finest architectural achievement without the usual crowds. www.visitpetra.jo

Steps to The Monastery

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The Monastery Ad Deir


malta’s breathtaking baroque capital VA L L E TTA M A LTA


DESTINATION T R AV E L L E R L OW D OW N

WITH THE HIGHEST DENSITY OF H I S T O R I C S I G H T S O F A N Y C O U N T R Y, M A LT A M AY B E S M A L L , A N D V A L L E T T A IS THE CONTINENT’S SMALLEST C A P I TA L , B U T A L E X B E N A S U L I F I N D S A M P L E A N C I E N T A N D M O D E R N C U LT U R E T O F I L L H I S D AY S A N D N I G H T S

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CAPTIVATING BLEND OF HISTORY, culture and Mediterranean life, despite its petite scale, Malta’s utterly charming capital city is more alluring today than ever before. Having completed its year as the UNESCO European Capital of Culture at the end of 2018, now that Europe is gently opening-up again to travel, Valletta is reaping the benefits of infrastructure investment, the renovation of its historical heritage and a wealth of new museums and improved cultural offerings. And a pre-pandemic influx of discerning visitors helped to both infuse the city with more contemporary influences and fuel the opening of some designled hotels and fashionable restaurants. Just before Covid-19 reared its ugly head, this positioned bijou Valletta alongside its more dynamic and much larger European peers as a viable and highly attractive city break destination, whilst its heart and soul remains personal, traditional and relaxed. VALLETTA IS HOME TO SOME OF THE BEST examples of European Baroque architecture. There are also a number of world-class paintings dispersed amongst the city’s

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various cultural landmarks. Together, this makes Valletta an all-round visual feast. Surrounded on three sides by water, buffeted by impressive ramparts, honey-coloured sandstone buildings and distinctive architecture adorned with balconies aplenty, Valletta’s lowrise cityscape pierced by church spires, roof terraces and one amazing harbour view after another is an altogether breathtaking spectacle. Yet despite the Maltese capital’s movie star good looks, the city is friendly, down-to-earth and affordable. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SPEND ANY TIME IN VALLETTA without understanding its history and origins, since visitors literally come face to face with ancient reminders at every turn. Malta lay at the crossroads of Europe for many centuries. Off the coast of Sicily, close to North Africa and almost exactly midway between the eastern and western halves of the Mediterranean, Malta acted as a vanguard against the westward expansion of the Ottoman Turks. Valletta was quite literally born out of Christian Europe defending itself from aggressive advances. On the tip of the peninsula that currently defines Valletta’s boundaries lies Fort Saint Elmo. In 1565 the Ottomans sought to control Malta as a pivotal part of their western expansion and gain control of the some of the world’s most lucrative shipping routes. Defence fell to the Knights Hospitaller, a medieval Catholic military order, drawn from the noblest European families, that was granted Malta as its dominion after being routed from the Holy Land during the aftermath of the crusades. In an epic episode of European medieval history, 2,000 knights and a militia of 3,000 Maltese men, women and children held off 40,000 Ottoman soldiers in a bloody and ruthless siege. For centuries this siege was regarded as the single most important event in European history.

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AFTER THE SIEGE, JEAN DE VALETTE – GRAND Master of the Knights and commander of the victorious forces – laid the first stone of what would come to be known as the fortified city of La Valletta. The city would come to serve as both a permanent bulwark against the Ottomans and a means for the Knights to solidify their hold over Malta. In expressions of gratitude and to consolidate its strategic importance, vast sums of money flowed into Malta from Spain, France, Italy and the Germanic states, thus enabling the construction of Valletta to be pretty much completed within five years. The money was well spent – most of Valletta still looks today as it did back then. The elaborate system of soaring fortifications and ramparts that surround the city are some of the best preserved in the world and were still considered an engineering marvel centuries later.

AT ROUGHLY ONE SQUARE MILE, VALLETTA CAN BE comfortably navigated on foot. The city was one of the first in Europe to be designed on a grid system, making it easy, as a visitor, to find your way around. The long avenues and side streets make for endless vistas towards the harbours and sea breezes tease their way through the lanes during the sultry summer months. One of the best spots to appreciate the scale and beauty of Valletta’s fortifications is Upper Barrakka Gardens, close to the city’s main entrance. This small but perfectly formed public garden occupies the highest spot of Valletta’s walls. Sandstone arches frame breath-taking vistas. Geometrically patterned landscaping evokes an exotic and decidedly Eastern air. The views are truly mesmerising. To one side, a sweeping panorama of Valletta’s Grand Harbour is unmissable. Together, the sandstone, the bright blue sea, the landscaping and the incredible skyline create an otherworldly experience

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which is emblematic of Valletta and this beautiful island nation. It’s little surprise that many of Valetta’s sites have been popular backdrops for celluloid productions ranging from Gladiator to Game of Thrones. REGARDED AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE IN Europe, the Grand Harbour, as seen from Upper Barrakka Gardens, is nothing short of marvellous. Across the shoreline, a trio of fortified, picturesque villages, located in the heart of Valletta’s historic centre, complete the perspective. Collectively known as the Three Cities of Malta, Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua are literally pieces of living history, complete with their own bustling waterfronts, centuries-old forts, churches and working shipyards. From the gardens, it’s a lift ride or a series of stairs down to the waterfront and a leisurely fifteen-minute harbour fronted walk through the equally beautiful Lower Barrakka Gardens to Fort Saint Elmo which makes up Valletta’s northern tip, strategically positioned between the entrance to the Great Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour.

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IT WAS AT STAR-SHAPED FORT SAINT ELMO that the Knights and their Maltese supporters held out against the Ottomans. Today, its bastions house the National War Museum, which is well worth a visit, not only to understand in more detail the Great Siege of Valletta, but to also gain some perspective of the rest of the nation’s history, and how important Valletta was over the centuries. Napoleon swept through the city in 1799. After his defeat, the British regarded Valetta as one of its key overseas possessions. During WWII, Valletta was constantly under threat. Yet, it was from Fort Saint Elmo, amongst others, that the British were able to keep the Germans and Italians from dominating the Mediterranean. Gazing upon the open seas without the protective gauntlet of either of the two harbours, one really appreciates Malta’s geographic isolation and how remarkable it is that Valletta was founded here and has positively thrived ever since.


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A WALK ALONG THE FORTIFICATIONS, ALONG Valletta’s north and western flanks, takes in Marsamxett Harbour and vistas across to Sliema, a town located on the northeast coast of Malta which can be accessed via a small passenger ferry. It is from Sliema’s waterfront that most harbour boat cruises depart. Ninety minutes on the water is an entertaining and relaxing way to add another dimension to your time spent in this intensely charismatic city, with the added bonus of receiving an audio history as you cruise around Valletta. VALLETTA IS SUCH A PLEASANT AND COMPACT city, with a uniquely laidback pace, that it’s a pleasure to just wander around and discover for it yourself, without the relentless pressure that often accompanies visits to larger capitals. Yet, whilst there is literally a baroque church, a state building or an aristocratic mansion around every corner, there are a few must-sees…

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Grand Master’s Palace

NEVER KNOWN FOR MINIMALIST STYLE, BAROQUE was encouraged by monarchies and the Catholic Church to celebrate exuberance, grandeur, drama and tension, all within a religious context. And on the exact spot where Jean de Valette laid his namesake’s first stone, is one of the best examples of Baroque interior design in the world. While St. John’s Co-Cathedral may look somewhat austere from the outside, the interior is a triumph of gold, carved stone, vaulted ceilings, marble and richly woven tapestries. The opulence of Valletta’s main place of worship is overwhelmingly beautiful and truly jaw dropping. St. John’s was built expressly for the Knights of St. John and has eight individually decorated chapels representing each of the kingdoms from where the knights hailed. The cathedral is also famous for housing Caravaggio’s The Beheading of St. John the Baptist. One of Caravaggio’s largest canvasses, it is widely regarded to be one of his greatest masterpieces and one of the most important works in the Western world www.stjohnscocathedral.com JUST A STONE’S THROW FROM THE CATHEDRAL IS the Grand Master’s Palace, originally the headquarters of the Knights of Malta and currently the office of the country’s President. In the Supreme Council Hall, the frescoes depicting the Great 1565 Siege of Valletta are not to be missed, neither are the extraordinary Gobelin tapestries in the Council Chamber. Together, they transport visitors to the pomp, circumstance and secrecy of the Knights. www.heritagemalta.org

St. John’s Co-Cathedral

VALLETTA IS ALSO FUN, WITH RELIABLY GOOD, year-round weather providing the backdrop to the city’s energetic outdoor scene. Numerous al fresco cafés, restaurants and a bohemian bar scene fill the streets with vitality and soul. The cuisine is excellent. Local wines are delectable. Service is efficient and affable. An Italian, dolce vita-like lifestyle permeates Valletta, minus the crowds or attitude that often plague more popular Mediterranean waterside cities. By day, lazy afternoons are de rigueur. After dark, the city comes to life and a funky music culture keeps things spirited. Whilst the overall mood is relaxed, smarter and more design-led eating and drinking venues have opened in the past few years and a burgeoning arts and creative scene is now firmly established. Yet, while Valletta is obviously growing up somewhat, the city is nurturing a stylish and youthful creative edge. SINCE THE MAIN ISLAND OF MALTA IS SO SMALL, extending to a mere 45 kilometres at its longest point and 13 at its widest, any visit to Valletta can easily be combined with a tour of some of the island’s unique treasures. One such historic treasure, on the outskirts of Valletta, is Malta’s Hypogeum. Older than Stonehenge, it is one of

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Europe’s best-preserved and most important prehistoric sites. An underground complex of excavated cave chambers – which includes a temple, cemetery and funeral hall – Malta’s Hypogeum is more than 6,000-years-old and eerily spectacular. Book your visit well in advance www.booking.heritagemalta.org LESS THAN HALF AN HOUR AWAY FROM VALLETTA is Mdina, Malta’s original capital. Whilst Valletta was born in the late 1500s, Mdina is much older, with some of its settlements dating back four thousand years, encompassing

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the Bronze Age, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, a period of Arab conquest and then the Knights. Also known as the ‘Silent City’ and important for its many historical buildings and fortifications, Mdina is the historical home of Malta’s most noble families and is an extraordinary example of an ancient walled city. Filled with palaces, churches and a warren of narrow, winding cobble-stoned streets, Mdina exudes an air of importance and mystery. The entire city is made out of honeycoloured stone. The views from its walls take in almost the entire island with Valletta visible in the far distance. Mdina is literally out of this world. It’s little surprise then that it too is often used as a movie location. Near the entrance to Mdina, Bacchus is housed in two double-vaulted chambers built by Grand Master Fra Martino De Red in the mid-17th century as gunpowder stores. Serving fine, Maltese-inspired French cuisine, Bacchus’s exquisite gardens offer a shady oasis in which to pit stop during a day trip to Mdina. www.bacchus.com.mt DESPITE BEING IN EUROPE, MALTA AND ITS stunningly beautiful Baroque capital genuinely feel a world away. Akin to an exotic adventure, with elements of the European Middle Ages, the glamorous 1940s and James Bond movies all thrown in for good measure, visiting Valletta now is perhaps the ideal antidote to those who are craving a sophisticated, cultural and compact city break.

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INSET IMAGE: HUGO GLENDINNING

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MUSIC & NIGHT LIFE

C A TA P U LT E D T O I N T E R N A T I O N A L FA M E T H I R T Y Y E A R S A G O B Y H I S I N N O VA T I V E I N T E R P R E T A T I O N O F S WA N L A K E , AND THE CREATIVE FORCE BEHIND A M U LT I T U D E O F GR O U N D B R E A K I N G THEATRICAL DANCE WORKS EVER SINCE, THE HIGHLY RESPECTED CHOREOGR APHER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF NEW ADVENTURES TA L K S E XC LUS I V E LY T O T H E C U LT U R E D T R AV E L L E R

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ell us about growing-up in Walthamstow? I’m very proud of my East End upbringing now, but at the time I relished getting on the number 38 bus into the West End, to explore, which I did regularly. My happiest childhood memories are of Saturday mornings at Walthamstow Market, greeting my favourite stallholder, Maud, who used to let me help price the produce on her fruit and veg stall. And meeting my Nan in Rossi’s Ice Cream Parlour to have a Lemon Ice. I wish I knew where to get one of those now! Was there a local theatre or cinema? In the late 1960s, I have many fond memories of regularly going to the magnificent Granada Theatre picture palace in Walthamstow. I would sit in the stalls, or the circle, marvel at the spectacular 1930s architecture and watch the latest musical releases starring my two heroines at the time, Julie Andrews and Barbra Streisand.

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IMAGES: SIMON ANNAND

What inspired young Matthew to develop a love for the arts? I come from a completely un-theatrical family, at least professionally anyway. I say this because I was essentially surrounded by music as a child, and regularly taken to the theatre and cinema by my wonderful parents who were great lovers of popular singers, musicals and movies. I wasn’t exposed to ballet, opera or classical music back then, but I so feel that much of my taste today was inspired by my parents at an early age. We watched a lot of MGM musicals together and they introduced me to Hitchcock’s movies which have been a lifelong obsession. My parents would build the movies up for me and make me excited to see them. I remember the first time I was allowed to watch The Birds and Psycho on TV and how thrilling they were. I believe that my parents were frustrated performers who never had the opportunity. Later on, they loved being a supportive part of my career and I was so happy to have been able to share that with them. Another significant memory was joining a local, evening art class, at the age of 15. My first model was none other than the Naked Civil Servant , the legendary Quentin Crisp.

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Both images: Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!

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As an artistic child, was school difficult for Matthew? My primary school was actually quite encouraging, and I was allowed to put on little shows based from memory on films I had seen, including Mary Poppins and Lady and The Tramp. I even did a version of Cinderella, starring my younger brother Dan in the title role, with all the boys playing girls and all the girls playing boys. How very prescient that was of things to come! And your teenage years? I attended an all-boys school where my artistic leanings were, for much of the time, not encouraged at all. Since the arts really were my only passion, I was generally pretty miserable at school, became rather negative and kind of gave up. Pretty much all of my interests were outside of school, and I formed various small-scale, amateur musical theatre companies. This is when I first started to choreograph and stage shows. Rather grandly, I named one company The Bournadium Theatre Group. Eventually, all of my energy and passion were directed towards my “show-biz” pastimes and ambitions, and the sooner I could get out of school the better.


I N T E RV I E W What’s ironic is that when I recently returned to my old school in Walthamstow – Sir George Monoux College – it had changed beyond all recognition. Today, dance, music, photography and theatre studies are on offer, all of which I would have loved to pursue in my youth. They have even named the college’s theatre after me! Your favourite show or musical as a youngster? There are two that were particularly significant and completely life changing for me. The first is Gypsy , which I was lucky enough to see in the West End starring Angela Lansbury, at the age of 13. I remember loving it so much, I didn’t just want to see it again straight away, I wanted to be in it! Ms. Lansbury’s performance was so powerful, so dramatic, frightening even, that I saw in that production, early-on, that musical theatre need not be a light-hearted romp but could be something dramatically stimulating and thought-provoking. For the first time, I also saw the power of a great actress in a brilliant role. There is a nice follow on to this story: some years ago, I was asked by a newspaper to talk about my most thrilling

theatrical experience and I recounted Ms. Lansbury in Gypsy , of course. Apparently, Ms. Lansbury loved the article and had it framed in her home. A few years later, when she made a surprise appearance at the Olivier Awards, I was told that the first thing she said, when getting off the plane, was “Will Matthew Bourne be there?” Needless to say, I got to meet my teenage idol, and she has since been a treasured, regular guest at my shows in Los Angeles. The other was seeing A Chorus Line eleven times at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane at 16-years-old in the mid 1970s. This coincided with a time in my life when I was working out who I was. The show was daring and revelatory in the way that the characters talked very honestly about their lives, hopes and dreams. Of course, I loved the dancing and the highly innovative staging, but it also helped me to come to terms with my sexuality and decide what I wanted to do with my life. You were an avid autograph collector in your teens. Which are your most treasured? There are literally hundreds and I could write a book about my years as an autograph hound! It was one of the things I did

I’ve learnt much from movies about visual storytelling and I owe a great debt to many filmmakers, including Chaplin, Hitchcock, Tati, Powell and Pressburger and Bob Fosse T H E C U LT U R E D T R A V E L L E R

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to counter the boredom of school life. My close friend Simon and I used to jump on a bus after school to attend every West End first night, movie premiere or award ceremony. Weekends were spent at stage doors and top London hotels. These were the days before barriers at premieres, so we could just walk up to the biggest stars in the world as they stepped out of their limos. I have many treasured letters and photos sent to me by great stars, including Joan Crawford, Mae West and James Cagney. But there is nothing like a face-to-face autograph and sharing a few words. Some of my favourites are Fred Astaire walking towards me in a cream mac in the rain; Charlie Chaplin, in a wheelchair, alone with me and his wife Oona at The Savoy; Bette Davis asking me how to spell my name; Josephine Baker at the stage door of the Palladium; Elizabeth Taylor happily chatting to Simon and I outside the Dorchester Hotel. And, perhaps most bizarrely, Andy Warhol during the interval of Sugar Babies in New York in 1979. How did your friends and family react when you began your dance training at the age of 22? I suppose it was a bit of a surprise at that age. I left school

MGM, which was a production unit of trusted cast and crew members built by Arthur Freed, that he used repeatedly to make his films, consistently getting better. I loved that dynamic, so it was natural for me to want to form a company as soon as I completed my dance training. My first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures, was essentially a group of college friends who enjoyed working together. To begin with, I was one of three directors and several choreographers. We made work and managed to make our mark quite early on, even if we didn’t earn a living from it! Tell us about the beginning of New Adventures? By 1990, most of AMP’s original personalities had gone in different directions, and so I was left with the decision to wind-up the company or have another go and find some new dancers. When I decided to call an open audition in early 1991, the late Scott Ambler walked through the door, along with Etta Murfitt who is still with me today. Scott, Etta and I found that we shared a love of storytelling, of entertaining audiences and, of great surprise to me, of making them laugh. Several other, quirky dancers soon joined us, who

I think because I came to dance so late, my interests in cinema and theatre were already very developed and influenced my dance storytelling in a unique way at the age of 18 to work at the BBC as a filing clerk. Then I worked for several years in arts-based jobs, selling theatre tickets for Keith Prowse, ushering, and selling books at the National Theatre, which I loved. At the same time, I continued with my amateur song and dance shows. But, most significantly, I discovered classical ballet and contemporary dance in my late teens and fell for them in a big way. By the time I was in my early twenties, I was basically a self-taught dancer and felt that a professional dance career had passed me by. However, encouraged by a fellow usher at the National Theatre, who was around my age and training as a dancer, I plucked up the courage to audition for The Laban Centre (now Trinity Laban), a contemporary dance college. Incredibly, I got in and began taking formal dance classes. What prompted you to found Adventures In Motion Pictures in 1987? The idea of having a company had always been important to me. As a child, I was always forming performance companies with various names. I believed that we got better at what we were doing by collaborating with the same people. I also liked the family feel. And I was very inspired by the Freed Unit at

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became the lynchpin and key developers of the style of the company known today as New Adventures. Your love of classic films is well known. Do particular movies inspire the re-telling of particular productions? I was a big movie fan long before I was a professional choreographer, and so I carry around in my head countless images from my favourite movies that every so often find their way into my dance works. Sometimes its deliberate, but more often than not. I’m not conscious of where the image came from. Obviously, I’ve learnt much from movies about visual storytelling and I owe a great debt to many filmmakers, including Chaplin, Hitchcock, Tati, Powell and Pressburger and Bob Fosse. Sometimes a moment from a film can inspire something related but completely different, such as the scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds , when the birds gather on the children’s climbing frame, outside the schoolhouse, to terrify Tippi Hedron. This was a direct influence on the swans swooping down onto the prince’s bed in act four of my Swan Lake , and it’s an image that everyone remembers.


I N T E RV I E W My 1997 Cinderella is inspired by Powell and Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death and its tale of a soldier, hovering between life and death, who is eventually saved by love. The Car Man (2000) owes much to the various film versions of The Postman Always Rings Twice and the cinema of Visconti. Finally, in its tale of the changing British class system of the 1960s, Play Without Words (2001) of course references a wealth of British new wave cinema, especially Joseph Losey’s The Servant.

IMAGE: JOHAN PERSSON

Your 1995 version of Swan Lake with male swans won countless awards and was the world’s longest-running ballet production. Were you prepared for the positive, widespread reaction? Well, it wasn’t completely positive to begin with and some prominent dance figures even refused to see it! There was a lot of fear of what a folly it might be. Some were worried that I wouldn’t take the piece seriously enough, while others were looking forward to a camp interpretation. I believe that it was the shock of something very unexpected which made it an instant hit. Nobody expected the swans to be the wild, feral, ritualistic creatures that we created. And it was the iconic image of the ballerina in a feathered head-dress, tutu and pointe shoes that was challenged and shattered forever in the minds of today’s dance audiences. Although it was controversial and had its critics, it was overwhelmingly successful and changed my life and many of those involved. We found ourselves in the West End, the toast of Los Angeles and eventually on Broadway. Yet, while it was a very memorable time, it was not always easy, since the pressures became greater and the dancers were not used to performing quite so many shows. But the audiences always lifted us up every night. 26 years later it remains the same, beloved audience pleaser and, dare I say it, a modern classic in its own right?!

they may not have related to a prince in white tights and ballet shoes. Its success and international fame were sealed when Stephen Daldry asked me if the grown-up Billy Elliot could join my Swan Lake at the end of the now legendary movie, played in the film by our original lead swan, Adam Cooper. Today I joke that Billy Elliot is the famous fictional member of New Adventures! Seriously though, it did create a whole new interest in young men who wanted to dance, which made sense to me. That inspiration is something that we continue to harness in our Cygnet School and Swan School, both of which aim to develop and prepare diverse young talent for a career in dance and hopefully, sometimes, with New Adventures. Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes

Did the scale of the impact Swan Lake had on young male dancers surprise you? It was an inspirational show, particularly for young men, who could relate to these swans in a way that

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Being a contemporary dance theatre company, you tell stories in a very different way. What influences and inspires you? I think because I came to dance so late, my interests in cinema and theatre were already very developed and influenced my dance storytelling in a unique way. I see myself as a non-verbal storyteller and my influences can come from many different sources: books, films, plays, music, famous ballets, travel and even living life in general. One’s work is naturally a reflection of oneself and I’m proud to be one of the very few choreographers who still tells stories that reflect my sexuality. Considering how very many choreographers are gay, it’s surprising to still be in a minority when it comes to reflecting this in my work. Of course, these are not the only stories I tell, and many of my pieces do lead on a variety of male/female relationships. But even then, a little gay sub-plot is probably in there somewhere! How do you think you have managed to create such a loyal and open-minded audience, spanning the UK? This is actually the thing I am most proud of. New Adventures tours to more large venues around the country than any other dance company, and it would not still be doing this were it not for the packed houses and the loyalty of the audience who have come to expect the unexpected. Indeed, they demand the unexpected! They love the different takes on familiar stories and would be very disappointed if we did not give them a few surprises along the way.

It has been very gratifying to see our shows Swan Lake and The Car Man (with its infamous male kiss) gaining acceptance, even love, over the years and becoming family favourites. From conception to the first performance, roughly how long does it take to create a new production? It’s a long process, from initially finding whatever the source material might be and seeing if it has “dance legs” – in other words, does the story provide enough reasons to dance. Once that has been found (and that can take months), I will start to write my own version of a scenario for the piece, to see if I can find a new way of telling what may be quite a familiar story. The first person I go to with a new idea is my design collaborator of 27 years, Lez Brotherson, to throw around the idea and develop it further. For example, the era we are we setting it in, or changing the sex of any of the characters. Once we have a clear story idea, we will run some workshops with a few dancers to try and create a movement language for the piece. This can be months, even years ahead of the actual rehearsal period. These days, the rehearsal period tends to be very short – only about 6 weeks for a new show. And by the time the first day of rehearsal arrives, we are already doing costume fittings and the set has been built, so we need to be very well organised whilst keeping our minds open to new ideas in the rehearsal room.

IMAGES: JOHAN PERSSON

From left to right: Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands; Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella

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I N T E RV I E W The whole process can therefore take anywhere from 18 months to 2 years, sometimes longer. Since I’m not a very prolific creator, I tend to make one new piece every 2 or 3 years. Tell us about your new production, The Midnight Bell. As we come out of this dark time, it has felt very exciting to create something brand new, inspired by the great, sometimes neglected novelist, Patrick Hamilton, who created some of the most perceptively authentic fiction of his era. Hamilton’s world is the antithesis of his close contemporary, Nöel Coward, whose witty and glamorous world of cocktails and high society made him so fashionable and successful. Hamilton, on the other hand, wrote about the working classes, borne out of years of observation and social interaction at his favourite location - the London pub. Indeed, his own personal setbacks and increasingly serious drinking problem became the source material for Hamilton’s finest and most individual work.  The Midnight Bell explores the under-belly of London life in the 1930s. It’s a world of streets full of cruelty and kindness, comedy and pathos, where ordinary people emerge from cheap Euston boarding houses or seedy lodgings in Pimlico, to gather nightly in the pubs and bars of Soho and Fitzrovia and pour out their passions, hopes and despair, and play out their lovelorn affairs of the heart and bitter comedies of longing, frustration, betrayal and redemption. When will The Midnight Bell premiere in London? Our run at Sadler’s Wells is in October and part of a 12date UK tour. We will visit many venues across the country, including some we have never performed at before. You have been lauded with countless awards and accolades during your professional career. Which mean the most to you? It would be ungrateful to say one meant more than another, and it’s not really why I got into this business, but I’m deeply grateful and proud of the recognition. Winning two Tony Awards for Swan Lake on the same evening, with my late parents in the audience, was as a night to remember. The Astaire Award for Dance on Broadway and the Gene Kelly Legacy Award both meant a lot as they bore the names of my idols. However, sometimes a different kind of accolade can mean so much. My first ever fan letter for Swan Lake arrived on the day after the premiere from none other than David Hockney. And the great Mikhail Baryshnikov confessed to me, “You’ve made me fall in love with Swan Lake all over again.” I treasure these just as much.

Being knighted in 2016 must have been the icing on the cake? I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get a great deal of pleasure out of this. It feels almost mythical to be a Knight and is not something I ever expected. It doesn’t come with any particular benefits, but it has given me more of a responsibility to use my voice to help support my profession, which I take very seriously. Probably the most successful dance company in the UK, you have been the artistic director of New Adventures for 30 years. How tough has it been to keep things together since the pandemic struck? Since we are largely made up of brilliantly talented and loyal freelancers, it has been simply heart-breaking to see so many of my colleagues struggling and suffering. New Adventures prides itself on its family atmosphere and this has been difficult to hang onto since Covid-19 struck. But we have done all we can, including online classes, online film projects and small bursaries to help our team to look into different areas of study that might support them in the future. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that many of my colleagues have been unemployed since March 2020, and some have had to take other jobs to get by.

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Thankfully, things are now slowly looking up, and later this year we are planning to be back on stage with two shows. I literally haven’t seen many of my dancers or crew for 15 months, so it will be an emotional reunion when we finally get back together in a studio. Were the lockdowns creative times for you? Not especially, but I did get lots of things done that I may never have normally had the time to do. For example, I finally had the time to catalogue my teenage autograph collection, which brought back a wealth of vivid memories. It sounds morbid, but I really enjoyed putting my will together and reflecting on the future of New Adventures and how it may one day have to continue without me. It felt very comforting to have time to properly think through all of these things. And it’s actually rather reassuring, as a director of a dance company, to know that my funeral playlist is taken care of and suitably moving!

MAIN IMAGE: JOHA N PERSSON. INSET IMAGE: HUGO GLENDINNING

You have reinvented Nutcracker! for a national tour and a Christmas run at Sadler’s Wells. What delicious new surprises should theatregoers expect? Well, it has not been seen for a decade and is the only version of Nutcracker! with its very own set of iconic characters. Since first making the piece 30 years ago, its original designer, the brilliant Anthony Ward, has had an opportunity to really take a close look at and reinvent his already gloriously inventive designs. Its riot of colour and

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theatrical magic is just the kind of show that is needed right now to lift us out of these grim times, so I’m really excited for people to see it and I feel sure that it will be a cathartic treat for everyone. What do you most enjoy about living in London? I’m one of the few people I know who is actually London-born, so it is my hometown. I’ve always been proud to live in what I still consider to be the greatest city in the world. It is also the theatre and dance capital of the world, which makes it the perfect place for me to live.

One’s work is naturally a reflection of oneself and I’m proud to be one of the very few choreographers who still tells stories that reflect my sexuality


I N T E RV I E W Your most memorable overseas holiday to date? I hesitate to say this, since I’d like to keep them a secret, but the Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast in southwest England, are glorious. My partner and I visited with our dog and had the surprise of our lives when we arrived. The archipelago is so beautiful and mostly untouched that it truly has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Your favourite hotel in the world? I spent two weeks over my 50th birthday at Nöel Coward’s estate in Jamaica, Blue Harbour . It was incredible to stay in the slightly run-down guest chalets where Dietrich, Hepburn and Beaton once stayed, all left exactly as they were when Nöel Coward himself lived there, including the same furniture, books, private beach and pool. It was like renting a piece of theatrical history. How do you relax after a full-on day in the theatre? Nothing very original I’m afraid! I binge-watch a quality TV drama and walk the dog. Sometimes, when I have enough time, I pop down to my place in Brighton and stare out to sea. Simple pleasures. ➤ www.new-adventures.net

Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man

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Recharge your soul. Quality restaurants. Authentic sauna experiences. Cutting-edge art and design destinations. Hundreds of islands to visit. Welcome to Helsinki – a truly unique combination of urban culture, nature, space and silence.

Your local guide to Helsinki. MyHelsinki.fi


IN THE SEVENTH A N N I V E R S A RY EDITION OF

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LOS MOCHIS ➤ LONDON, UK

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Butter poached king crab, fermented carrots, carrot emulsion Savoy, Helsinki

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R E VIEW J O E MO R T I M E R S A M P L E S T H E M A G I C AT A N E W C U L I N A RY KA L E I D O S C O P E

O F M E X I C A N - J A PA N E S E F U S I O N I N L O N D O N ’ S N O T T I N G H I L L , I N S P I R E D BY TWO OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST CUISINES


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FOOD FOOD ATMOSPHERE ATMOSPHERE

SINCE CHEF LUCA FANTIN SINCE CHEF LUCA FANTIN TUCKED AWAY ON THE CORNER collaborated a decade with timeless collaborated a decadestreet agoago with timeless of a quiet residential a few steps Italian luxury brand Bvlgari to open Italian luxuryHill brand Bvlgari to open from Notting Gate tube station, Los Il Ristorante – Luca Fantin in Tokyo, Il Ristorante – Luca Fantin in Tokyo, Mochis isn’t your typical neighbourhood Michelin-starred Italian the the chicchic Michelin-starred Italian restaurant. Behind the white townhouse eatery, occupying the top four floors of eatery,and occupying the top four floors façade its colourful murals, this of Bvlgari Ginza Tower, has won countless Bvlgari GinzatoTower, has won dining countless new addition West London’s accolades and been lauded as one accolades and been lauded as favourite one of of scene melds two of the world’s the finest dining experiences in the the finest dining experiences inblend the food cultures, bringing a heady of Japanese capital. At the restaurant’s Japaneseand capital. At the restaurant’s Mexican Japanese flavours to one heart is Fantin’s drive passion heart is Fantin’s drive andand passion forfor of the British capital’s most discerning producing refined Italian classics with producing refined Italian classics with a a areas. playful twist, married with the style playful twist,concept married with the style andand The latest from owner Markus classical elegance of Bvlgari. Thesleff who made his name with a classical–elegance of Bvlgari. Uniquely perched atop dramatic cliffs string of successful andcliffs Uniquely perchedrestaurants atop dramatic on Bukit Peninsula, at the island’s private members clubs London on Bukit Peninsula, at in theDubai, island’s southern-most tip, Bvlgari Resort Bali and beyond – Los has generated southern-most tip,Mochis Bvlgari Resort Bali boasts unrivalled vistas across the quite buzz since vistas it opened in June boastsa unrivalled across the 2021, Indian Ocean. Throughout the property, after more thanThroughout two years ofthe planning. Indian Ocean. property, sophisticated, contemporary design, sophisticated, contemporary design, blending traditional Balinese influences THE SERIAL RESTAURATEUR first blending traditional Balinese influences with bespoke Italian style, highlights appeared on my radarstyle, whenhighlights he opened with bespoke Italian the locale’s breathtaking natural beauty. Okku in Dubai in 2009. Anatural contemporary the locale’s breathtaking beauty. Naturally, this sophistication extends to Japanese that quickly became Naturally,restaurant this sophistication extends to the resort’s premiere restaurant. athe firm favourite thanks to its sleek design resort’s premiere restaurant. Following the immense success of his and neon-lit jellyfish tanks, my other half Following the immense of ago, his Tokyo Fantin flagship, success two years and I still fondly recall its modern menu Tokyo Fantin flagship, two years ago, the eponymous chef opened a second Il and classy cocktail list today.a second Il the Ristorante eponymous opened atchef Bvlgari’s deluxe Balinese Hence, it’s with no small amount of Ristorante at Bvlgari’s deluxe Balinese resort. The restaurant debuted in 2017 ➤ excitement that we arrive on a Friday resort. The restaurant debuted in 2017 ➤ night and take our seats in Los Mochis’ ground floor dining room, which is full and buzzing at 8.15pm. The space is T H E C U LT U R E D T R AV E L L E R 147 intimate, with T H E mostly C U L T Ucouples R E D T Rand A V EaL few LER 147 larger groups sat beneath a twinkling topsy-turvy garden, where low-light filament bulbs peek through the greenery and woven wicker lampshades cast textured light on exposed brick walls. A collection of artwork includes murals by Mexican artist Jorge Tellaeche, whose colourful creations depicting contemporary interpretations of pre-Colombian gods and indigenous Mexican symbols also adorn the outside

Spicy Hiramasa Maki

The restaurant is warm, intimate and atmospheric: a visual aperitif for what’s to come T H E C U LT U R E D T R A V E L L E R

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TA S T E & S I P REVIEW

Trailer Park Chicken Tacos

of the building. It’s warm, intimate and atmospheric: a visual aperitif for what’s to come. FOOD, LIKE CULTURE, HAS BEEN exported around the world since the earliest days of exploration; a process accelerated by the advent of trade and sped up exponentially when humans began to migrate across the oceans. After shutting itself off from foreign influence for several hundred years, Japan opened its doors at the end of the 19th century, sparking an exodus of families seeking their fortune in other parts of the world. Needless to say, Japanese food culture travelled with them. While the story of Peruvian Nikkei food – that delectable fusion of Peruvian and Japanese food that gave birth to a whole genre of modern Asian-American fusion – has been well documented, the lesserknown marriage of Japanese and Mexican flavours is equally noteworthy. ON FACE VALUE, JAPANESE AND Mexican cuisines are completely unique and fiercely independent, yet the similarities between the culinary cultures of these two nations are hidden in plain sight. Both use an abundance of produce that lends freshness and flavour to every dish, and both make use of that unique and mysterious combination of salt, fat, acid and heat, that James Beard Awardwinning author Samin Nosrat hails as the fundamental basis for all good food. I’m inclined to agree. In both countries, zingy citrus fruits like lime and yuzu bring sharp tang and acidity to light plates; salt, spice mixes and salty condiments like soy sauce and wasabi bring out the flavours of other ingredients; plump slivers of salmon, miso-glazed cod and oily guacamole bring fatty umami goodness; and the process of slow cooking or quick frying allows heat to work its magic and transform flavours, bringing depth and richness to dishes in both of these great culinary canons. WHILE THE FRESH PRODUCE AND zippy flavours of Mexican and Japanese cuisine offer a smorgasbord of inspiration for the kitchen team – helmed by chefs Leonard Tanyag and Muhammad Rashid,

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both alumni of Thesleff’s Dubai ventures – they also provide a veritable goodie bag for Los Mochis’s mixologists. The result is a creative cocktail list that pushes unusual flavour combinations to their glorious limits, all fuelled by the native spirits of either nation: punchy tequila and smoky mescal from Mexico, and the elegant, delicate aromas of sake from Japan. So, before diving too far down the rabbit hole that is the food menu, we order a bowl of Guacamole Superfood – loaded with pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and chia seeds and bright pink pomegranate pips, all scooped up with crunchy maize tortilla chips – and consider the cocktail list. TOMMY’S IS THE HOUSE signature: a classic margarita with agave nectar, lime juice and reposado tequila finished with a Japanese and Mexican spice rim, which immediately conjures memories of sitting on a rooftop in Oaxaca as a wedding procession paraded past. In contrast, Terra Incognita pays homage to Japanese ingredients, with lemongrass, sake, apple and chile blended with Tanqueray gin and citrus foam, inspiring a wistful sigh from the other side of the table and the suggestion that we visit Japan as soon as we can. Other cocktails borrow from the eclectic larders of both countries to create unique flavour combinations and creative garnishes – finely sliced slivers of chipotle, known in Mexico as

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Al Pastor Tacos

‘chili whiskers’, smoky Tajin spice mix and fragrant watermelon ice cubes, to name a few – and there’s an extensive list of sake, tequila and mescal, including several labels you won’t find anywhere else in London. LIKE ANY GOOD CELEBRATION OF Mexican or Japanese culture, it’s not long before the fireworks begin. Crispy California and Tuna Poke mini tacos in light sweet potato shells serve as playful amuse-bouche to get things underway: the former blending crab, avocado and spicy aioli with a salty crunch of roe on top; the latter delivering a hint of citrus freshness to the yellowfin tuna crudo, thanks to a delicious yuzu-shiso soy and sliced jalapeño topping. Parts of the menu borrow liberally from the better-known Peruvian Nikkei kitchen, with an irresistible selection of ceviche and tiraditos, but no one here’s complaining. The Seabass Ceviche is a triumph, with shiso-


Los Mochis has generated quite a buzz since it opened in June 2021, after more than two years of planning

truffle soy and yuzu tobiko playing the role of classic Peruvian ‘leche de tigre’ as the marinade. It’s bright and lively, but rich and complex with a hint of earthy truffle. At the end, restraint is required to avoid picking up the bowl and slurping down the leftover juice. AFFABLE HOST TEDDY, WHO bounces between tables looking after guests all evening, tells us that the next dish is a personal favourite of Markus Thesleff. Simply entitled Falafel, the humble sounding plate of crispy sesame and chickpea nuggets – an homage, perhaps, to Thesleff’s time in the Middle East – is one of the evening’s standout dishes. A crunchy, toasted sesame exterior gives way to a pillowy-soft centre, and the lively goma dressing is insanely moreish: an intoxicating combination of sesame, truffle and chili.

A BRACE OF MAKI ROLLS MARKS the next leg of our journey into the soul of Los Mochis: Cucumber Avocado and a bright, fragrant jalapeño salsa verde to refresh; followed by Spicy Hiramasa – yellowtail with spicy yuzu kosho and spring onion topped with a generous sliver of raw jalapeño – sat on a bed of

that wonderful goma dressing. It’s spicy, citrusy, salty and delicious, further elevated by a hint of ginger and wasabi on the side: the perfect marriage of Mexican and Japanese flavours. It would be wrong to call any of the dishes at this restaurant the main event, since there are surprises and standout

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LO S MO C H I S FOOD ATMOSPHERE CHEFS: Muhammad Rashid and Leonard Tanyag ADDRESS: 2-4 Farmer Street, London W8 7SN, United Kingdom TELEPHONE: +44 (0)20 7243 6436  EMAIL: reservations@losmochis.co.uk WEBSITE: www.losmochis.co.uk CUISINE: Mexican-Japanese OPENING HOURS: Tuesday-Friday 17:00-00:00; Saturday 12:00-00:00; Sunday 12:00-22.00 LUNCH PRICE: Guacamole Superfood GBP 9.50; Salmon Tiradito GBP 12.00; Miso Black Cod Taco GBP 18.00; Matcha Blondie GBP 9.50

Chocolate Fondant

dishes to be found in every section of the line-up. But the selection of tacos is the most voluminous and playful part of the menu. MISO BLACK COD IS, BY NOW, A staple on many a modern Asian menu, but wrapped in a lettuce leaf with crispy sweet potato and crunchy cabbage, it takes on a new character, with soft, creamy avocado complementing the rich umami saikyo miso. Trailer Park Chicken takes the humble fried chicken to new heights, with a sticky habanero gochujang glaze and jalapeno BBQ sauce wrapped in a soft maize flour taco as good as any I’ve tasted in Mexico City; and Bang Bank Kani sees meaty chunks of Alaskan king crab claw smothered in spicy mayo and topped with masago (roe), a decadent and indulgent end to a finger-licking flavour fiesta. SPELLBOUND AND SATIATED, WE contemplate the name, Los Mochis – while greedily sampling a Chocolate Fondant with dulce de leche, and a Matcha Blondie with white chocolate and coconut sorbet – and wonder if it is perhaps inspired by one of the pre-Colombian deities that look down from the walls of the restaurant, or a magical being from indigenous folklore. “The restaurant is named after my Yorkshire Terrier, Mochi,” Thesleff explains. “My wife nicknamed him Los

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Mochis and I always promised her that when I opened my next restaurant, it would be called Los Mochis. After doing some research I found there was a town in Mexico called Los Mochis which by coincidence is well known for its food. Our opening has gone viral over there. I’ve even been approached by the local radio station for an interview.” THE TRUTH, AS THEY SAY, IS often stranger than fiction. Still, there’s some sort of wizardry afoot in Los Mochis, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Tanyag and Rashid, who bring unique skillsets and experience to the restaurant. Having cut his teeth training with some of the best sushi chefs in Japan, Tanyag found himself heading up the kitchen brigade as head chef at OKKU in Dubai, while Rashid became a master of crustaceans as head chef at Claw (Thesleff’s barbeque crabshack and grill concept) and RIVA Beach Club. Inevitably, echoes of both OKKU and Claw are apparent at Los Mochis. But make no mistake, this new Notting Hill restaurant is one of a kind: a masterful marriage of two culinary cultures, oceans apart, yet bound by a respect for fresh, complex flavours; just what London needs at the dawn of this brave new world.

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DINNER PRICE: Guacamole SoCal Shrimp GBP 11.50; Crispy California Tostaditos GBP 8; Seabass Ceviche GBP 11; Spicy Hiramasa Maki Roll GBP 10; Trailer Park Chicken GBP 13; Pato Carnitas GBP 13; Chocolate Fondant GBP 8.50 IDEAL MEAL: Tuna Poke Tostadito GBP 8; Hiramasa Tiradito GBP 14; Falafelito GBP 6.50; Tuna Tartar GBP 15; Steak Al Carbone GBP 15; Bang Bang Kani GBP 22; Chocolate Fondant GBP 8.50 RESERVATIONS: Essential WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes CHILDREN: Highchairs available. Kids menu available CREDIT CARDS: All major. Cash not accepted PARKING: Local parking available TCT REVIEWER: Joe Mortimer for dinner Star ratings out of five reflect the reviewer’s feedback about the food and service and, separately, the atmosphere in the dining room


EXPERIENCE N I C H O L A S C H R I S O ST O M O U E X P E R I E N C E S T H E H E A R T, S O U L A N D

F L A V O U R S O F I S R A E L A T A C R E A T I V E , C U L I N A R Y C I R C U S I N PA R I S

B A G A L A N

➤ P A R I S , F R A N C E RARELY IS visiting a restaurant a completely encapsulating experience. The best we can usually expect is a warm welcome, excellent food, great drinks and firstclass service. But every so often, a restaurant comes along that not only tickles your tastebuds but also enlivens your soul in a way that only warm and

genuine hospitality can achieve. In Paris, that restaurant is Balagan, and making a beeline for this warm and humming hive of culinary playfulness is to experience a gastronomic encounter of an entirely different kind. A HAPPY HEBREW WORD meaning “hullabaloo”, Balagan is discreetly located on narrow and quiet Rue du Mont Thabor, on the ground floor of Renaissance Paris Vendôme Hôtel in the heart of Paris’ upmarket 1st arrondissement. Yet, once inside Balagan and warmly cosseted by its embracing decor and super-friendly

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TA S T E & S I P EXPERIENCE

team, one couldn’t be further away from Paris, and the experience starts almost immediately one passes through its understated doors. FAMED FOR HER DETAILED AND dramatic aesthetics, designer Dorothée Meilichzon plumped for a contemporary 1940s Mediterranean-accented theme for the bespoke interior of Balagan, in various shades of blue complete with clay floors and multi-coloured banquettes inspired by traditional Moroccan furniture. Raw timbers, copper, brass, stone and enameled ceramics abound. Retro sconces, diamondshaped wall tiles and gold mirrors finish the look and lend a multicultural, inviting feel to the entire space. GREETED BY A HIGHLY ANIMATED and slightly eccentric hostess (whose name is either Svetlana or Carole - I was never entirely sure), our first stop is the intimate, red and pink-hued boudoir-like bar, adjacent to yet distinctly separate from the restaurant. Here we take a pew in front of a pair of engaging bartenders who could give the best British comedy duo a run for its money. I have never believed in going straight to the table when having dinner at any restaurant, least of all in Paris, where there is usually much people watching fodder on which to feast my eyes before eating. Balagan is no exception. The city may be partially locked-down with an 11pm curfew in force, but the bijou bar is buzzing with soulful music and casual chit-chat.  BARTENDERS GENERALLY COME in a small number of set categories and can either make or break the start of an evening. Balagan’s charming and affable bartenders are pure entertainment from the get-go, mixing up a storm with their shakers and serving up such delectable drinks that it is impossible to stop at just one. After two bespoke cocktails, made off-the-cuff to suit my exacting taste, I am reluctant to leave the bar and could easily have spent the entire evening chatting with Martin Calba, who confesses that he didn’t have a clue how to make a cocktail just 18 months earlier, when he

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was working in a children’s holiday camp before turning his hand to bartending. Literally without any experience, Martin was embraced by the Balagan team and has since thrived and blossomed into an accomplished and talented mixologist. MARTIN’S STORY OF HOW HE came into bartending is the essence of Balagan and key to what makes it a standout restaurant. Under the watchful eye of mother hen-like general manager Tanya Spielman, Balagan is essentially a collection of characterful people who work together as a close-knit team to provide guests with exceptionally memorable foodie experiences. Something I had never seen work quite so well before, at any restaurant anywhere in the world, it is an

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Executive chef Elior Benarosh

it has been lovingly prepared and tastes sensational.

exceptional level of comradery between every Balagan team member which makes having a meal here such an inimitable affair. GENTLY MERRY, WE PARK ourselves on a couple of high stools at the chef’s table in the restaurant. A short bar literally on top of where Balagan’s chefs cook up a storm, I feel surges of intense heat when the oven door is opened just a few feet from my seat. In between me and an array of grills, ovens and cookers, a small band of chefs is busy fusing Israeli and Mediterranean flavours to stunning effect. Relatively small given the restaurant’s size, it is immediately evident that the kitchen is the entirely open, happening heart and creative soul of Balagan, and we soon discover that everything that comes out of

PREMIERED JUST OVER FOUR years ago by The Experimental Group in collaboration with two of Israel’s most famous chefs, Assaf Granit and Uri Navon, today, Balagan’s executive chef Elior Benaroch is ably assisted by Jérémy and Sawan, the latter being something of a fun-loving culinary clown. Their collective upbeat approach to Balagan’s food is pretty simple: preparing with precision, dishes that are tasty, energetic, colourful and inventive, which bring to life the cosmopolitan and joyful elements of Israel in every plate that leaves the kitchen. To say that Balagan’s chefs are shaking-up Paris’ notoriously stiff restaurant scene is something of an understatement. Indeed, you may never see such an animated bunch of cooks anywhere else, such is the amount of fun they obviously derive from cooking for and entertaining diners. WHILE THE MENU IS DIVIDED INTO starters, main courses and desserts, a meal at Balagan is best shared, since you will want to sample a bit of everything. Kicking-off with a couple of fatayer – perfectly crispy on the outside and meaty with a spicy kick inside – over the course of the next few hours, a variety of tasty morsels, playful dishes and complex

plates are seemingly assembled with ease in front of our eyes and placed on the countertop for us to dive into. A three-dish starter dégustation of Ka‘Abule (veal kubenia), Sashimi Mami (yellow tail) and fatoush salad is particularly moreish. A larger plate of sea bass with roasted figs and a goats’ cheese and eggplant yoghurt skillfully combines flavours of the sea with traditional Levantine textures. A show-stopping performance at the end of the meal, when all three chefs liberally drop a variety of irresistible dessert components onto a giant sheet of greaseproof paper, makes for a fun and dramatic finale. But we really don’t want the fun and gastronomic frolicking to end. A VISIT TO BALAGAN IS PURE entertainment for the ears, tastebuds and eyes, with every sense tantalised and spoilt in equal measure. Every dish bursts with a delightful culinary richness, deftly combining Middle Eastern spices with the hearty warmness of the Mediterranean. And every person who participates is an inherent part of the Balagan show, including those behind the scenes. An utterly joyful bazaar of aromas, tastes, textures, colours, sounds and – of the greatest impact – unique personalities, to dine at Balagan is to truly experience a meal like no other. ➤ www.alagan-paris.com/en

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HELSI FOOD

THE FOOD landscape is changing in the Nordics. Whilst the Scandinavian countries previously led in the region’s culinary stakes, in North Eastern Europe, Copenhagen now has competition in the shape of Helsinki, thanks in large part to the current generation of chef-patrons and food entrepreneurs who are making gastronomic waves in Finland. LIKE THE FUTURISTIC PORTALS of the new Amos Rex art museum that cast spheres of light onto its sprawling subterranean exhibition spaces below, Helsinki’s food scene is in the throes of a happening and innovative revolution, making now the perfect time to experience the vast range of gastronomic delights that this humble and understated yet bang-up-to-date European capital has to offer. WITH A SHORT BUT INTENSE light-filled summer season boosting the

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flavours of the country’s home-grown produce, ranging from herbs and berries to wild mushrooms and other vegetables, combined with Finland’s pure air, fresh water and pristine nature, Helsinki’s chefs and restaurateurs are spoilt by a wealth of wild plants and high-quality ingredients from which they can draw upon to devise unique dishes and create inventive menus. Hence, a number of Helsinki’s best restaurants are chefowned and operated and this trend is set to continue, with existing good restaurants seemingly attracting new good restaurants to open in the Finnish capital, despite a population of just 650,000. Indeed, per capita, this small capital packs a serious culinary punch by comparison to other European cities which, combined with a uniquely Finnish personal touch, makes eating-out in Helsinki a more connected experience. RAINBOW TROUT, PIKE-PERCH, Arctic char, grayling and salmon are just a few of some 100 fish species

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found in Finland’s rivers and standing waters, and since the country’s lakes and surrounding Baltic Sea are unpolluted, the quality of locally-caught fish is incredibly high. It’s perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that Finnish people hugely enjoy fishing and regularly consume fish and seafood. One of Finland’s most popular street foods is fried muikku, or vendace in English. A small, salmonrelated freshwater whitefish found throughout the lakes of northern Europe, in Finland, the muikku are gutted but not deboned, breaded and fried in butter. Often served in a bowl with potatoes, fried onions and a simple garlic sauce, you will almost always find fried muikku at a Helsinki street fair, especially during the summer months. Also very popular with Finns are smoked salmon, pickled herring and blinis topped with fish roe.


Löyly

NKI IN RECENT YEARS, THE UBER-COOL F I N N I S H C A P I T A L H A S S E E M I N G LY EMERGED FROM NOWHERE TO BECOME ONE OF EUROPE’S FOOD H O T S P O T S , G I V I N G E S TA B L I S H E D S C A N D I N AV I A N C U L I N A RY C A P I TA L S A R U N F O R T H E I R M O N E Y. N I C H O L A S C H R I S O ST O M O U S A M P L E S T H E B E S T

FA R E H E L S I N K I H A S T O O F F E R


TA S T E & S I P

FOOD SCENE

SAUNA IS A SUBSTANTIAL PART of Finnish culture and integral to life in Finland. So, in a city where there are more saunas than cars, it is perhaps appropriate to kick-off a food tour of Helsinki in the one place which skillfully combines Finland’s historic national pastime with eating and drinking: Löyly. Named after the steam which emanates after a ladleful of water hits the heated rocks in a sauna and co-founded by fly fisherman, avid environmentalist and Finnish actor, Jasper Pääkkönen, Löyly is an awardwinning, ecologically-built urban oasis. Perched on the edge of the Baltic Sea, it has won numerous accolades for its stunning design. Aside from three, separate saunas, all heated by wood, the beautifully striking complex is anchored by an inviting restaurant boasting panoramic water vistas and serving simple, well-executed and tasty Finnish classics which make the best use of responsibly caught fish, organic produce and domestic seasonal ingredients.

Jasper’s Salmon Soup

Löyly


Finnjävel

Tommi Tuominen

Amongst Löyly’s straightforward menu of hearty Finnish fare is Pääkkönen’s favourite ‘Jasper’s Salmon Soup’. Akin to a meal in a bowl, served traditionally with fresh crusty bread, the restaurant donates 50 cents from every bowl sold to the World Wildlife Fund’s Baltic Sea work. Since Löyly opened five years ago, more than 80,000 bowls of the creamy soup have been served. Start your visit to Helsinki with a sauna at Löyly, followed by a bowl of salmon soup, then soak in the stunning views of the Baltic. loylyhelsinki.fi/en ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CITY, Finnjävel is the brainchild of renowned

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Finnjävel

chefs Tommi Tuominen and Henri Alén. First born five years ago as a two-year pop-up, today the restaurant occupies a sprawling collection of adjoining spaces within a classic 1920s Nordic building dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art, located on the edge of Helsinki’s Design District. Throughout Finnjävel – in both its relaxed restaurant and its more formal fine dining room – it celebrates Finnish produce, food, design and craftmanship, from the knives to the plates and the delicious fare which is served upon

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them, which deftly recreates Finnish culinary classics for the 21st century, employing traditional Finnish food preparations and combining a multitude of eras and flavours. Some of the most accomplished plates we sampled in Helsinki, the food served at Finnjävel is carefully considered, lovingly assembled and offers an array of tastes and fascinating back stories, making any meal at Finnjävel something of an occasion. Lunch in Finnjävel’s casual restaurant is laid-back and affordable.


TA S T E & S I P

FOOD SCENE

Yes Yes Yes

Dinner in Finnjävel’s chic salon is a supremely refined and indulgent fine dining experience. Either way, be sure to eat at one or the other when in Helsinki. www.finnjavel.fi/en THE COMPLETE ANTITHESIS OF clean and minimal Finish aesthetics, Yes Yes Yes is bursting with flavour, energy, colour and fun from every pore of its corner premises at the start of

Yes Yes Yes

pedestrian street Iso Roobertinkatu, on the edge of Helsinki’s Design District. Decorated in a smorgasbord of vibrant colours and wild patterns, it is impossible not to smile as you enter the restaurant, which is dominated by a large, central, retro-styled bar bedecked in lilacs and pinks and surrounded by stools. A second, smaller bar fringes the open kitchen half-way in, offers a front row seat to see the chefs in action and

Hotel St. George

provides the perfect perch to dine alone if you’re a table of one. Serving a cheerful selection of appealing vegetarian fare, the food at Yes Yes Yes simply yet creatively fuses Mediterranean, Israeli and Levantine cooking preparations, spices and ingredients to great effect, in a variety of dishes ranging from dips, pies and classics like halloumi fries, to larger, more adventurous plates designed to share. Everything is served by a lively and friendly team, making a visit to Yes Yes Yes something of a social affair as well as a veggie feast. www.yesyesyes.fi

Kevin Manu


TA S T E & S I P

FOOD SCENE

Hans Välimäki

A FEW HUNDRED METRES FROM Yes Yes Yes, in the heart of the city’s design district and within walking distance of Helsinki’s museums and other cultural attractions, is almost certainly the best place to base oneself on a foodie vacation in the Finish capital: Hotel St. George. A modern five-star property set within a historic building dating back to the 1840s, located adjacent to beautiful Old Church Park, contemporary art and design are an inherent part of Hotel St. George and evident throughout the property courtesy of more than 400 works on display. Leisure facilities include a deluxe spa, indoor swimming pool, saunas and a well-equipped gym. Upstairs, seven storeys are filled with 148 contemporary rooms and 5 suites which offer travellers every convenience including slick bathrooms. www.stgeorgehelsinki.com Opening onto the pavement opposite the park, the hotel’s in-house bakery

Bardot

Bardot

produces a variety of fresh breads every day, while Boon Nam restaurant serves modern Thai cuisine with a contemporary twist. Helmed by young and talented head chef Kevin Manu – who hails from Ireland but has since cooked his way around the world – the restaurant’s dégustation menus provide diners with a taste of all of Boon Nam’s best-selling dishes. www.boonnam.fi FIVE MINUTES’ WALK FROM the hotel, Bardot is one of the most popular newer restaurants to have recently opened in Helsinki and is the latest venture from established Finnish chef, Hans Välimäki. A regular on Finns’ TV screens as the host of the Finnish version of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Kuppilat Kuntoon, Hans Välimäki!, Bardot is a relaxed and modern French bistro-brasserie which embraces traditional French cuisine and has already landed a loyal following. As popular for lunch and brunch


TA S T E & S I P FOOD SCENE

as it is for dinner, Bardot’s menu of beautifully executed French culinary classics, as well as the Art Nouveau building the restaurant occupies, inspired its moody interior of dark woods, rich fabrics and exposed brickwork, with some gorgeous vintage pieces filling the dining room. At the center of the restaurant, an iced display shows the freshest catches and crustaceans of the day. Out front, a long colonnaded dining area is the perfect place to lunch al fresco while people watching in one of Helsinki’s most upmarket neighbourhoods. Be sure to try the lavaret roe and sour cream. Don’t miss the lobster linguine. And leave room for dessert, for Bardot’s crème brûlée is perfection. www.bardot.fi PERHAPS 100 METRES FROM Bardot, Helsinki’s hottest restaurant right now, Savoy, occupies the top two floors of a historic 1930s building overlooking Esplanade Park in the heart of the city, having served discerning Finns for more than 80 years. Boasting original interiors and furniture designed by celebrated architects Aino and Alvar Aalto which are protected by Helsinki City Museum, Savoy is today helmed by chef patron Helena Puolakka. One of the country’s most recognised chefs, Puolakka returned to her homeland in 2019 specifically to take over Savoy, having worked abroad for more than two decades in the kitchens of Pierre Koffman and Pierre Gagnaire, amongst others.

Helena Puolakka

Savoy

Savoy


Holiday

Since occupying the driving seat at Savoy, Puolakka has elevated the restaurant to the very top of Helsinki’s dining scene courtesy of her inventive Finnish-French food, one of the country’s largest wine cellars and the restaurant’s lovingly-restored Aalto interiors. In her cooking, Puolakka achieves grace, precision and elegance in every plate, whilst expertly allowing the premium ingredients to shine and hence be fully appreciated. A veritable occasion whether dining at Savoy for lunch or dinner, enjoying a meal prepared by the hands of Puolakka whilst being embraced by the Aaltos’ historic interiors, is not to be missed by any serious gourmand. www.savoyhelsinki.fi END YOUR FOODIE EXPERIENCE of Helsinki in the one place that perhaps best celebrates Finnish eating and drinking and living in a city that has oft been name-checked as one of the best in the world in terms of quality of life: Holiday.

Part bar, part restaurant and part jukebox, Holiday is the go-to destination for Finns to let their hair down, eat, drink, catch-up with friends and generally enjoy all the finer things Helsinki has to offer. From the stable of Richard McCormick, who is the creative spirit behind a host of the capital’s most buzzy eateries, if you go to Holiday for a meal, don’t be surprised if you leave many, many hours later, such is the fun you are likely to have, particularly over a summer weekend, when a DJ plays addictive tunes and the cocktails flow non-stop. www.holiday-bar.fi

Holiday

EASY TO REACH FROM PRETTY much anywhere in Europe, courtesy of the current clutch of talented chefs ruling the roost in the kitchens of its restaurants, Helsinki in 2021 is a citywide culinary tour de force on the up-and-up, and both a delightful and compact metropolis to explore and pure delight for a travelling gourmand. Visit now before Helsinki’s restaurant prices increase to the levels of Copenhagen and Stockholm! www.myhelsinki.fi/en


INDEX

L I T T L E B L AC K B O O K WEB ADDRESSES FOR EVERY PLACE AND PERSONALITY F E A T U R E D I N T H I S I S S U E O F T H E C U LT U R E D T R AV E L L E R

1

25HOURS HOTEL PIAZZA SAN PAOLINO ➤ www.25hours-hotels.com/en

A

ACROPOLIS MUSEUM ➤ www.theacropolismuseum.gr ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS ➤ www.odysseus.culture.gr AEGINA (ISLAND) ➤ www.aegina.com.gr ALBA INTERNATIONAL WHITE TRUFFLE FAIR ➤ www.fieradeltartufo.org ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA ➤ www.balloonfiesta.com ALICE TEMPERLEY ➤ www.temperleylondon.com ANAFIOTIKA CAFÉ ➤ www.anafiotika.gr ANGAMA SAFARI CAMP ➤ www.angama.com ATHENS AND EPIDAURUS FESTIVAL ➤ www.aefestival.gr ATHENS STREET ART TOUR ➤ www.originalsenses.gr AUSTIN CITY LIMITS MUSIC FESTIVAL ➤ www.aclfestival.com

B

BALAGAN, PARIS ➤ www.balagan-paris.com/en B&E GOULANDRIS FOUNDATION ➤ www.goulandris.gr/en BALTHAZAR ➤ www.balthazar.gr BAR 8 ➤ www.hotelgrandebretagne.gr BARDOT ➤ www.bardot.fi BENAKI MUSEUM OF GREEK CULTURE ➤ www.benaki.gr BRISBANE GOOD FOOD & WINE SHOW ➤ www.goodfoodshow.com.au BURNING BARRELS AT OTTERY ST MARY ➤ www.tarbarrels.co.uk

C

FINNJÄVEL ➤ www.finnjavel.fi/en FORGET ME NOT ➤ www.forgetmenotathens.gr FOUR SEASONS HOTEL BANGKOK AT CHAO PHRAYA RIVER ➤ www.fourseasons.com FRIEZE LONDON ➤ www.frieze.com

OVAL HOTEL ➤ www.ovalhotel.com.au

P

GALAXY ➤ www.hiltonathens.gr GB ROOF GARDEN RESTAURANT ➤ www.gbroofgarden.gr GOLDEN EAGLE FESTIVAL ➤ www.viewmongolia.com GRAN HOTEL BRISTOL ➤ www.kempinski.com/en

PAPADAKIS ➤ www.papadakisrestaurant.com PARADERO TODOS SANTOS ➤ www.paraderohotels.com PERISCOPE ➤ www.yeshotels.gr PIRATES WEEK ➤ www.piratesweekfestival.com PROVELEGGIOS ➤ www.nolanverse.com

H

S

HOLIDAY BAR ➤ www.holiday-bar.fi HOTEL GRANDE BRETAGNE ➤ www.grandebretagne.gr HOTEL MAGDALENA ➤ www.hotelmagdalena.com HÔTEL PERLE D’ORIENT CAT BA - MGALLERY ➤ www.hotelperledorient.com HYTRA ➤ www.hytra.gr

K

KALESMA ➤ www.kalesmamykonos.com KYMA SANDALS ➤ www.kymasandals.com

L

LE ROYAL MONCEAU - RAFFLES PARIS ➤ www.raffles.com/paris LITO ➤ www.litofinejewelry.com LOS MOCHIS ➤ www.losmochis.co.uk LÖYLY ➤ www.loylyhelsinki.fi/en LYCABETTUS HILL ➤ www.lycabettushill.com

M

D

DOPIOS ➤ www.dopiosrestaurant.gr

F

N

FASHION & TEXTILE MUSEUM, LONDON ➤ www.ftmlondon.org

O

G

MANDARIN ORIENTAL RITZ, MADRID ➤ www.mandarinoriental.com MARIO FRANGOULIS ➤ www.mariofrangoulis.com MASSKARA ➤ www.lovepilipinas.com MATSUHISA ATHENS ➤ www.matsuhisaathens.com MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL ➤ www.montrealjazzfest.com MÖVENPICK RESORT PETRA ➤ www.movenpick.com/petra

CHERCHEZ LA FEMME ➤ www.cherchezlafemme.gr CHRISTINA MORALI ➤ www.christina-morali.gr COCO-MAT ATHENS BC ➤ www.athensbc.com

NEW ADVENTURES ➤ www.new-adventures.net

NATIONAL GALLERY OF GREECE ➤ www.nationalgallery.gr

SALON DU CHOCOLAT ➤ www.salonduchocolat.fr SAVOY, HELSINKI ➤ www.savoyhelsinki.fi STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CULTURAL CENTER ➤ www.snfcc.org/en

T

TEMPLE OF OLYMPIAN ZEUS ➤ www.etickets.tap.gr THALASSA COLLECTION ➤ www.thalassacollection.com TO LOKALI ➤ www.tolokali.gr THE CLUMSIES ➤ www.theclumsies.gr THE MITRE HOTEL ➤ www.mitrehamptoncourt.com THE MODERNIST, ATHENS ➤ www.themodernisthotels.com THE PLACE ➤ www.theplace.gr

V

VALTIFEST ➤ www.valtifest.nl VILLA IGIEA ➤ www.roccofortehotels.com VILLAGE HALLOWEEN PARADE ➤ www.halloween-nyc.com VISIT HELSINKI ➤ www.myhelsinki.fi/en VISIT PETRA ➤ www.visitpetra.jo

W

WEXFORD FESTIVAL OPERA ➤ www.wexfordopera.com WHITE ELEPHANT, PALM BEACH ➤ www.whiteelephantpalmbeach.com

Y

YES YES YES ➤ www.yesyesyes.fi

Z

ZANDRA RHODES ➤ www.zandrarhodes.com ZEUS+DIONE ➤ www.zeusndione.com

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T R AV E L T I P S F R O M T H E TO P

alice temperley R E N O W N E D F O R H E R U N A S H A M E D LY R O M A N T I C A N D F E M I N I N E C R E A T I O N S A N D H AV I N G D R E S S E D T H E D U C H E S S O F C A M B R I D G E , B R I T I S H FA S H I O N D E S I G N E R A L I C E T E M P E R L E Y M B E T E L L S U S H O W S H E S T Y L I S H LY Y E T P R A C T I C A L LY T R AV E L S T H E W O R L D LUGGAGE My baggage has been raided

in the past. So, I now travel with large, matching silver Rimowa cases, which are covered with loud stickers and fluorescent ribbon to try, in vain, not to lose track of them. I also travel with a change of clothes, knickers and a toothbrush in my hand luggage, so I’m prepared just in case I find myself without my cases. I always try to leave space in my checked-in bags, because I collect things when I travel, and it’s a right pain to buy more cases at the last minute. CARRY-ON  My carry-on bag is always

a large basket which I can laden with everything I need, including a notebook and pens, scent and holiday reading. On long haul flights I make sure I pack headphones and my music. I have playlists for all occasions and various podcasts saved to try to teach me things. I like to have comfy loungewear for a long flight. Often, I throw in a fresh change of clothes to arrive in. I am not really a typical hand-bag person and like my hands to be free for essentials, and so I regularly wear our Lola belt bag to hold my passport, boarding cards and cash. IN-FLIGHT  I always have a huge,

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embroidered Temperley blanket shawl over me, often all the way over my head, so I can listen to music in peace. Because I don’t get interrupted on long haul flights, I can be incredibly creative and like to use the time to draw and write notes. My sister makes amazing Somerset Apple Hand Sanitiser in my parents’ distillery, which is a must when traveling. It smells lovely and I now squirt it on everything. It’s really easy to eat rubbish on planes, so I pack some healthy snacks to save feeling awful on arrival.   SKINCARE  I use rose face oil by MAKE skincare from day to night. I am super low maintenance. Red lipstick, blusher and sometimes a hairbrush are really all I can be bothered with. All of my partners have preferred me bare faced. David Bailey once told me off for wearing black mascara!   STAYING HYDR ATED  I used to always drink red wine to knock me out on flights, until I realised how much worse flying made the effects. Now I travel with lots of water as well as red wine to make the time fly by! I have a leather, cross body bottle holder, so I have water with me at all times.

SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2021

SLEEPING I often pass out, with my

blanket over my head. If not, I love catching-up on the latest movies. SCENT  I wear my own natural mix and am developing it to share with you all. It will be ready soon!   READING MATTER  The Economist to make me feel slightly more up-to-date and all the newspapers to see what’s going on. To escape, I recently got a brilliant book called FOX by Dubravka Ugresic. I’m also reading The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. When I’m travelling is really the only time I get to read properly, and I love it. My airport treat is to buy a new book before I board a flight.   BEING PREPARED  I always pack my Leica Q camera, a notebook and drawing pens, battery packs, red lip stick, sunglasses and a good, black, three-quarter-length tailored coat that will take me anywhere. Oh, and a beret or a trilby hat.    LOOKING HEALTHY  I always have some pampering before travelling, so I feel healthier and more beach ready. I get my hair and nails done and get a fake tan, so I feel happier in my bikini. There’s nothing worse than being white on a beach!


ENJOY WINTER, HELSINKI STYLE.

Löyly, an architectural sauna and restaurant in the heart of Helsinki, was named one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places by Time Magazine. Follow us @loylyhelsinki

Profile for The Cultured Traveller

The Cultured Traveller - Seventh Anniversary Edition, September-November 2021 Issue 35  

Led by the global birthplace of democracy, you will find insider guides to the charismatic Greek capital of ATHENS, the fabled, rose-hued Na...

The Cultured Traveller - Seventh Anniversary Edition, September-November 2021 Issue 35  

Led by the global birthplace of democracy, you will find insider guides to the charismatic Greek capital of ATHENS, the fabled, rose-hued Na...

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