Christmas time always makes me think of the sun-drenched beaches and my family and friends in St Lucia. A couple of years ago my sister Dawn and I visited Jade Mountain for a travel feature for the Christmas special of The Spectator. Soaring over the Caribbean Sea with breath-snatching views over the Pitons, the Sanctuaries at Jade Mountain are accessed via a sky bridge. Once inside you are completely wowed by the infinity-pools which are designed to make you feel like you are floating across the sky towards the mountains. With just three walls, you are exposed to the lightest Caribbean breeze.
Since I moved to Abu Dhabi this summer, my traditional commute involving a 30 minute brisk walk each way, has been replaced by time in the car, whilst weekend strolls on Wimbledon Common have become a distant memory. Therefore it became necessary to reacquaint myself with the gym. Personal Trainer John at neighbouring Monte Carlo Beach Club on Saadiyat Island eased me back in gently.
If you are visiting Singapore, I recommend a trip to the breathtakingly gorgeous Gardens by the Bay. Consisting of 101 hectares of cultivated greenery on reclaimed land in downtown Marina Bay, the project is a true ‘Garden in a City’ and provides a tranquil and sustainable refuge from the humidity of the city.
Travel trends and predictions for 2014
Read my contribution to TTG Luxury MENA Winter 2013 about the top trends in luxury travel for 2014. Below are my predictions in full for 2014. What an exciting year it is set to be!
1. Bespoke travel
Reports from our clients and from the market intelligence available suggest that luxury travel will continue to thrive and attract high-net-worth individuals in search of bespoke experiences. In 2014 expect to see an increase in hotel groups and tour operators catering to ultra-luxury travellers with personalised itineraries, private guides bespoke tours and concierge services.
Sign me up! My reaction to being asked by the lovely Amy Grier at Women’s Health Magazine to write a feature about gorgeous cocktails from some of the world’s best bartenders. My goal was to provide proof (literally!) that cocktails can be good for you. My journey to research the piece took me from London’s 69 Colebrooke Row to learn from award-winning mixologist Tony Conigliaro, to New York speakeasy Apotheke. In pursuit of the perfect medicinal mixologist, I detoured via Vertigo at Banyan Tree Bangkok, to One&Only Le Saint Geran in the Indian Ocean and back to London to the iconic American Bar at The Savoy. Read and enjoy. Bottoms up!
Billed as the ‘Happiest 5k on the Planet’, the inaugural Color Run UAE rolled into the Dubai Autodrome on 14 December 2013. I took part, along with 8,500 people in what might possibly the world’s happiest and most colourful 5km fun run. With no winners or official times, and a focus on wellness, individuality, and giving back to the community, the event has exploded in popularity since its launch in 2012, with more than one million entries registered for over 100 international Color Run events in 2013. I proudly donned my white Color Run t-shirt and tennis skirt and lined up with 8,500 other runners ready to hit the course. At each kilometre a different colour of powder was thrown in the air ensuring all the runners became constantly evolving artwork. The morning was topped off by the Finish Festival with coloured powder bursts and a DJ creating a party atmosphere. $1 from every registration was donated to local and international charities through Just Giving, the world’s largest fundraising platform. I am pleased to say that I ended the day feeling tired and happy? So was the inaugural race a success? Well, I can only say the organisers passed with flying colours.
There’s something quite lovely about going along to the launch of a new magazine. Coming from London, when news is often of magazine closures, I was dizzy with excitement to receive an invitation to not only the launch of a glossy title, but quite possibly my favourite magazine. Condé Nast Traveller has made its debut in the Middle East, 25 years after Condé Nast Traveler launched in the US, and 15 years after the UK edition. It felt rather like a home-coming for me as I began my career as an intern at Condé Nast Traveller a decade ago, when I worked on impossibly cool events such as the 2003 Hot List Party held at the Saatchi Gallery, researched ideas for Word of Mouth and generally hung around the lobby in Vogue House spotting models, icons and editors. A decade has passed and very little seems to have changed. We still have a hunger to escape to sunnier climes, to far-flung beaches and hidden coves. We seek out secluded spaces, snow-topped mountains and remote islands, or head to cosmopolitan cities and urban retreats for inspiration. Condé Nast Traveller Middle East launched in December 2013 at the Conrad Hotel, Dubai and aims to be the authority on travel in the region and beyond. I am looking forward to being inspired by the beautiful places the magazine will cover.