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Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

Nestled among burnt orange sand dunes under a starlit sky, this low-rise resort is the perfect place for a truly unique desert stay

 DESERT DINING

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa-2

Home to the region’s first authentic open- air desert restaurant, Al Hadheerah is the perfect air-conditioned place in which to enjoy a traditional Arabian meal surrounded by a truly magical landscape. As you dine, enjoy a thrilling horse and camel show, entertainment from belly dancers, live music and all the excitement of a traditional Tanoura dancer.

 ARABIAN ABODES

Check into any of the 115 gorgeous rooms and suites and you’re sure to be impressed. Almost an antithesis to modern hotel suites thanks to the traditional-style interiors, all the mod cons are stylishly concealed with televisions tucked inside wooden chests and cleverly disguised wiring. The use of natural stone, dark wood and regional glasswork provide a real sense of an Arabian retreat.

JOURNEYS IN THE SAND

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa-1

With the hoof prints of one of the first camels to set foot on the resort preserved in the hotel for good luck, it’s no wonder that this place offers oodles of desert activities. Set off on a majestic camel journey through the dunes or pick up the pace with a Jeep desert drive. Try your hand at falconry, archery or riding horseback through the sand. The infinity pools are nestled among these desert sands while little ones can escape the heat at the indoor Kids Club.

AWARD-WINNING STAYS

When you stay at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa you can rest assured you’re guaranteed an exceptional staycation with the resort having scooped more than 30 local, regional and international awards. From ‘Best Staycation Experience’ and ‘Best Luxury Day Spa’ to featuring in the ‘Top 100 Hotels in the World,’ it’s a winning choice that’s well worth a visit.

PAMPERING DELIGHT

Expect to be pampered at the award-winning Satori Spa where skilled therapists will transport you deep into a world of relaxation. The signature skincare programmes and massages can be tailored to suit your needs. Whether you want to relax, revitalise or detoxify, the perfect pick-me-up awaits.

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Reach for the sky at this statuesque property, which elevates the holiday experience

 SUITE SUCCESS

the-entrance-of-st-regis-abu-dhabi

Entrance of St Regis Abu Dhabi

Each of the hotel’s 283 guestrooms and 55 suites boast great views of the Arabian Gulf. When only the best will do, book into the extravagant Abu Dhabi Suite – the world’s highest suspended hotel suite, which is loftily positioned 220m above ground between Nation Towers. Stretching i,i20sqm, the three-bedroom, two-storey suite has panoramic views, a spa, cinema, kitchen and gym. Simply take the private elevator and start exploring.

SOAK UP THE VIEW

Get ready for an afternoon to remember at Brunch in the Clouds, the highest Friday celebration in the country. Taking place in the Abu Dhabi Suite, it’s something extra special. Let the live band keep you entertained and order a la carte, or browse the seafood buffet, caviar ice-bar and

carvery station, saving space for dessert. Ladies can enjoy a manicure or pedicure and there are free taster massages for everyone in the in-room spa suite.

BE WAITED ON

First introduced at The St. Regis New York by John Jacob Astor IV himself, the signature St. Regis Butler Service will transform your stay into a VIP experience. Take a load off as your experienced butler will anticipate your every need, from unpacking your luggage to sending in a reviving cafetiere of hot coffee. The service is complimentary for hotel guests and is accessible at any hour via e-mail and text message.

A HIGHBROW SUPPER

Got a head for heights? Join the 20 guests who, on the second Friday of each month,  enjoy an Al fresco meal 255m in the air.

The Helipad Sunset Supper takes guests up to the rooftop helipad where a brigade of chefs, butlers, mixologists and waiters cater to your every whim. Feast on caviar, oysters and delicious canapes while taking in the breathtaking view.

PAMPERED TO PERFECTION

remede-spa-located-at-the-st-regis-abu-dhabi

Remede Spa Located At The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Treat yourself at the beautiful Remede Spa where you can indulge in four-and-a- half hours of tip-to-toe indulgence with the St. Regis Splendour spa package. From the complexion-brightening diamond microdermabrasion to the vitamin- packed oxygen mist, a massage and lots more besides, you’ll feel like a new person.

Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa

For Omani elegance and luxury redefined, it has got to be this clifftop retreat

 A PRIVATE HIDEAWAY

Shangri-La Al Husn-1

Infinity Pool

Take a staycation where a sense of exclusivity prevails. Perched on a rugged clifftop with expansive views over the Gulf of Oman, the scene is set for a serene staycation. With only in-house guests permitted access, this place oozes a glamorous resort vibe with discrete service and attentive staff. Enjoy access to the private beach and infinity pool at Oman’s only private beach resort. With all guests aged 16 and over, you can rest assured that a sense of calm will ensue.

PREMIUM PERKS

As a guest at Al Husn, you can enjoy exclusive benefits during your visit that are sure to elevate the staycation experience. From daily afternoon tea on the terrace overlooking the Gulf of Oman to complimentary mini-bar packages inclusive of hops, grape and soft drinks and a fantastic sunset cocktail hour from 6-7pm every evening – get set to indulge.

PERSONALISED SERVICE

From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a warm Omani welcome. This sense of belonging continues throughout your stay with bespoke experiences created by Shangri-La specialists. Embark on an elite excursion by land or sea, and expect personalised in-room amenities. Keeping cool is a breeze with cool boxes packed with cold towels, fresh water and Evian facial cooler sprays provided for all guests, whether relaxing on the private beach or lounging in a poolside cabana.

INNOVATIVE DINING

Specility Suite Dining Room

Specility Suite Dining Room

With a strong focus on eco-responsible sourcing and sustainable dining, feast on locally-sourced ingredients across Al Husn thanks to Shangri-La’s culinary GSR programme, Rooted in Nature. Make a reservation at Sultanah where the interior of this bright and airy dining room reveals a nautical design for a sophisticated dining experience while showcasing expansive views across the shoreline of adjacent sister property Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa.

Sultanah Interior

Sultanah Interior

SOCIAL ELITE

Shangri-La Al Husn is the place to see and be seen with its exclusive setting providing the perfect opportunity to mingle with the international jet set. Head to the courtyard for sunset cocktails in style – a great opportunity to socialise with like-minded holiday makers in this gorgeous Omani hideaway.

 The Refined Taste of Beirut

Chef Darren Andow

Chef Darren Andow

Food is a unifying factor in Beirut’s make-up and with dining options as diverse as its geography and history. British transplant Chef Darren Andow shares his love for the local culinary scene

 Introduce us to the food of Beirut

Lebanese cuisine is incredibly varied in terms of its origins, with a mixture of Arabic and international flavours. There is always an abundance of fresh ingredients on the table with olive oil, lemon and garlic a common thread throughout many dishes.

Is there a specific dish that’s served on special occasions?

Ouze dish

Ouze dish

If there’s one standout dish it would be ouze (slow-braised lamb on spiced rice), which is considered to be very prestigious. There’s also meghle, a sweet that is offered to well wishers at baby showers; and maamoul, a traditional date or nut-stuffed semolina dough sweet eaten at Eid and festive breaks.

What’s the most popular local dish?

classic-mezze

The Classic trio for Mezze

The classic mezze trio of tabboule, kebbe and hummus is always popular and Beirutis take immense pride in preparing their own versions. In fact, they are extremely competitive when it comes to debating whose is best. There are also different types of kebbe, including vegetarian, and recipes vary from village to village.

Are there any customs visitors should know about?

Eating is a serious social activity in Beirut and throughout Lebanon. People socialise around food, linger over meals and love to eat late.

Tell us a little about the general culture of eating in Beirut?

Meal times are all about sharing and whether it’s lunch or dinner there’s always a full spread. Seasonality is also very important, and you always find plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables at the table.

What’s a must-try local dish?

The shawarma sandwiches. A street food staple, it’s also a regular main course fixture in local restaurants, and is so popular in fact that we included it in our Gordon’s Cafe menu.

 DON’T MISS

  • Where should visitors go for a special meal?
em sherif

Em Sherif Restaurant in Beirut

Burgundy on bustling Gouraud Street is one of Beirut’s, if not Lebanon’s, best restaurants. The historic French influence is still strong when it comes to dining and Burgundy’s contemporary approach with an international twist also plays on seasonal ingredients. I also highly recommend Em Sherif in Ashrafieh, a traditional and homely restaurant that is authentic in every way.

  • Best place for a quick bite?

A quick bite in the city means street food so falafel sandwiches and lahm bi ajin, which is a Lebanese take on pizza, are very popular. Barbar in Sanayeh and Bedo in Bourj Hammoud are good spots. Head to Abou Joseph in Sin el Fil or Bouboufe in Achrafieh for some of the best shawarma sandwiches.

  • Best family-friendly eatery?

Almost all of Beirut’s restaurants are family friendly but for a combination of great food and fun, take a quick trip to the Tawlet Biomass farm outside the city, where you’ll find authentic food made from organic locally grown produce.

An Endless Weekend in Tbilisi

Located at the heart of the Caucasus mountains, Georgia’s colourful capital is brimming with culture

Marvel at the architectural mash-up of East meets West that defines Old Town

tbilisi

Tblisi old Town

European, Russian, Asian and Middle Eastern influences intertwine among narrow winding streets, crumbling arches and hidden courtyards. While Tbilisi’s Old Town evokes images of faded grandeur, this enchanting hillside community and UNESCO World Heritage site is a riot of colour from its blue painted wooden balconies to the terracotta rooftops.

Enjoy an elevated perspective of the city

narikala-fortress-georgia

Narikala Fortress

     

Narikala, the 4th-century ’Mother Fortress of Tbilisi’ has dominated and defended the city since it was founded. Overlooking the Mtkarvi River, take the 1,500-metre- long tourist trail that has stunning views at every turn. The vista is especially charming after dark due to the city lights twinkling far below. For the easy way out, take the aerial tramway back down.

Get closer to nature at the National Botanical Garden of Georgia

National Botanical Garden of Georgia

An aerial view of National Botanical Garden of Georgia

Nestled in the city foothills, the 300-year old gardens are a showcase for more than 4,500 species of flora from the Caucasus region and as far afield as Japan and Siberia. Take your time wandering through the fragrant gardens and forested slopes before taking a bracing dip in its picture- perfect waterfall.

No trip to Tbilisi is complete without a visit to the Dry Bridge Bazaar.

dry-bridge-bazaar-1

Dry Bridge Bazaar – Tbilisi

This vibrant local market is a great spot to spend an hour or so with a captivating collection of jewellery, antiques and bric-a-brac on display. Following independence from the USSR in 1991, this is where cash-strapped Tbilisi residents would come to sell their prized possessions. In a reversal of fortune, today it is the haunt of entrepreneurial local traders selling to tourists. Open daily, weather permitting, be prepared to haggle for a bargain.
Follow your nose to Tbilisi’s famed sulphur baths for a skin-softening soak.
Favoured by Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and French author Alexandre Dumas, the city’s legendary baths are a novel way to feel rejuvenated. Located in Abanotubani, on the edge of Old Town, and topped by distinctive dome-shaped roofs, the oldest bathhouse has been around for over 300 years. Follow your nose through the narrow alleyways to building number five, for a hammam-style session. More modest bathers can opt for a private room and menu of therapeutic treatments.

For a taste of authentic Georgian cuisine, head to Sakhli 11

Chakapuli dish

Chakapuli dish

In a city filled with endless dining opportunities, Sakhli N11, which is a short walk from Freedom Square, welcomes visitors as if they were family. The menu may be a bit more expensive then other Georgian restaurants, but is worth every lari. Try the Chakapuli – a heartwarming stew made with lamb and herbs, or go for fried local trout and traditional honey cake.

ASK A LOCAL:
“A trip on the restored funicular railway to the top of Mount Mtatsminda is a favourite summer activity for visitors, due to the amazing views from the Funicular Restaurant terrace. Get to know the locals and you may be invited to join a traditional Georgian feast (Supra) with singing and folk dancing.”
Otar Bakhtadze, concierge, Radisson Blu Iveria

Did you know?

If you feel like taking a sneak peek inside one of the city’s grandiose old apartment blocks, don’t forget to carry some small coins. Why? Step inside the elevator and you’ll spy a small box next to the button panel. Unless you slot some coins into the box, you’ll stay stuck on the ground floor. Trips cost around Dhs1.

WHERE TO STAY

RADISSON BLU IVERIA

radisson blu iveria hotel tbilisi
Located In the heart of Tbilisi, this luxury hotel has a glass facade offering amazing Mtvari River views. Suites feature traditional Georgian design touches and the intriguingly named Andropov’s Ears restaurant is a seafood hotspot.

Escape to the South Pacific

Polynesian luxury meets fast-paced family fun at the action-packed Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts

The perfect base from which to explore the rides and attractions at the adjacent theme parks, Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, offers signature Autograph Collection Hotels luxury with a relaxed Pacific Island ambience. A one-of- a-kind destination for family adventure!

lapita-hotel-lobby

Lapita Hotel lobby

Inspired by Polynesia’s tropical landscapes and its traditional wood artistry, guests enter an exotic world where wafting overhead fans, fragrant gardenia blossoms, lagoon-style pools and a vibrant palette of contemporary tiki design add life and character to every corner of the hotel.

Relax on the shaded balcony of one of the 504 guest rooms after a busy day of discovering the thrills and spills at Dubai Parks and Resorts – an awe-inspiring theme park destination comprising MOTIONGATE™ Dubai, LEGOLAND® Dubai, LEGOLAND® Water Park and Bollywood Parks™ Dubai – offering plenty of fun for visitors of all ages.

Comfort and flair are the hallmarks of the spacious Family Suites, which come with a separate dining area and living room, with captivating views of the resort, lagoon or river. Make sure to schedule in some downtime and float along the hotel’s lazy river or take five and retreat to a sun lounger at any one of two outdoor lagoon- style pools.

Younger guests are kept entertained at the Luna & Nova Kids and Teens Club, leaving parents free to indulge in a spot of pampering at Ola spa, where the menu of island-themed treatments is designed especially for footsore travellers and those looking to unwind.

A culinary showcase awaits diners with a taste for gourmet experiences, from contemporary Cantonese excellence at Llikina, to delicious international flavours at Kalea, poolside Mediterranean seafood at Ari and casual bites in the Palama lobby lounge.

Fast becoming a foodie destination in the city, the highlight of the hotel’s epicurean calendar is the Friday Hikina Brunch. Feel the weekend vibes come alive with an abundant Cantonese buffet including fresh, homemade dim sum, numerous live stations and Hikina’s refreshing ais kacang – the perfect summer treat composed of fruit compote and syrups served over crushed ice.

End your day at Lani rooftop lounge where innovative drinks and a Polynesian tapas menu come a close second to the spellbinding views of the theme parks and beyond.

A Story Told Along Thames River Will Always Be Wonderful

Brunel’s railway bridge, its brick arches reflected in the river, was doing its best to blend in with the water meadows just south of Goring-on-Thames. Coots were nesting on it as I passed under it one early- summer morning. Saplings sprouted from its piers. Bushes peeped over its parapet. But the camouflage couldn’t conceal the railway that Isambard Kingdom Brunel built it for, back in 1838.

Brunel’s railway bridge

Brunel’s railway bridge

I emerged into sunshine to see a train hurtle across the top, intruding on my parallel universe. As suited passengers prepared for meetings in the Big Smoke just 45 minutes away, here I was beginning another day in a drowsy backwater, immersed in fields of sage-scented purple knapweed. My approach to the capital was a grassy tow path, passing banks of blue forget-me- nots, and my meetings would be with moorhens. Trains on the Great Western Railway might run two or three times faster than when Brunel built his bridges, yet the Thames still flows below at the same pensive pace. I’d lived near its banks for years but never found time, among modern pressures and mundane drudgery, to see its forgotten corners. But, reading aloud a chapter of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows to a young relative one evening, I realised that much of the idyll in his 1908 publication lay virtually on my doorstep. If I took off, how easily might I find his timeless wilderness?

Walk the Thames Path from Oxford to London, and the frantic contemporary world recedes behind a leafy veil. Clocks and schedules fade to changing skies and the slow shift of seasons. Time flows backwards. The river, as it heads for the North Sea, is a water-world of nostalgia: wisteria-hung public houses, with tables among riverside apple trees; unhurried tow paths, where the only sounds are rasping mallards, rain on the reed-framed water, or cuckoos calling over sun-warmed fields. Poets, from Shelley to T S Eliot, were inspired by it; so were painters, among them the mystical Stanley Spencer, as well as novelists such as H G Wells and Jerome K Jerome, whose Three Men in a Boat is a comic masterpiece.

folly-bridge

Boating towards Folly Bridge

On a scudding-cloud morning in early June I set off from Oxford’s Folly Bridge to follow the meandering Thames by boat, on foot and aboard the odd steam train. From this bridge, on mid-Victorian afternoons, maths prof Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) would row Alice Liddell and her sisters, entertaining them with surreal adventure stories that began with a now-famous girl following a white rabbit down a hole. As I stood by a traffic-choked street, 151 years after Alice in Wonderland was published, it was easy to believe London was only an hour away by train. But boarding the Edwardian Lady Ethel, an open-topped, royal-blue craft, I was soon gliding into the past, spotting the long-horned cattle and lacy cow parsley of meadows, Oxford’s ochre spires sliding behind dappled oaks.

Salter’s Steamers was founded by two brothers back when Lewis Carroll was rowing Alice. The same family runs the riverboat company today. I was almost alone on the two-hour trip to the market town of Abingdon, with Tim doing the rope-work, Mark at the helm.

As we drifted by flowering chestnuts and carpets of buttercups, they talked about the boat-lovers who escape to the sanctuary of the water every weekend; about the ‘rich and shameless’ living in the riverside properties; and about the Thames itself, which lashes out now and again at those who try to build too near.

After 18 years working on this stretch of water, Mark, it seemed, had absorbed its calm. ‘When it comes to the Thames,’ he said, gnomically, as we parted by Abingdon Bridge, ‘you either get it, or you don’t’. I recalled his words some hours later, as I rested among blooming hawthorns and stately poplars, looking back down the river’s mazy curves from the grassy ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort. I ate my last pain au raisin (from Abingdon’s Patisserie Pascal), gazing across at Dorchester, a mossy-roofed village with a square-towered abbey church.

Abingdon Bridge

Abingdon Bridge

I’d seen almost nobody on the 14km walk, just weeping willows dipping their long, green tresses in the meditative Thames. Now fork-tailed red kites wheeled over the beech-crowned chalk, dragonflies darted among ox-eye daisies, and I felt myself relax. ‘Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it,’ says Grahame’s Water Rat in his hymn to ‘messing about on the river’.

I was, I felt, ’getting’ the Thames.

But I couldn’t linger, not if I wanted to get a bed before nightfall. The medieval arches and flagstone floors of 12th-century Fyfield Manor lay a good walk east, near Wallingford and the old-fashioned bathtub was just what my sore feet needed. Waking in a building fundamentally unchanged for hundreds of years, with a kingfisher-haunted brook burbling through the garden, I wouldn’t have blinked to see Jerome and friends strolling past in striped blazers, or hear Ratty on the riverbank, singing to the ducks.

boat-bridge

All calm on the river

There was welcome respite for my feet that morning: a nostalgic jaunt on the Cholsey and Wallingford steam railway. The 4km-long branch line didn’t make much downstream progress, but the noisy red and green steam engine was a delight, drawing waving spectators on its cross¬country puff to Cholsey, where Agatha Christie is buried in the churchyard.

Feet reinvigorated, I could feel the river’s reedy calm calling as I hurried along Cholsey’s sycamore-fringed Ferry Lane, back towards the Thames. The tow path soon led to the hamlet of Moulsford and a drink outside the Beetle & Wedge Boathouse, where I watched geese and swans glide on their rippling highway, enjoying the smell of the Beetle’s charcoal barbecue. The Beetle & Wedge is the ‘little riverside inn’ in Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat where George and J stop off on a walk and where the trout on the wall in the bar, which all the locals claim to have caught, turns out to be made of plaster. It’s also H G Wells’s Potwell Inn, where Mr Polly takes a job. Just as Wells described it, the rose-trellised garden runs down to a broad bend in the Thames; and, as the light faded, the river started to resemble Jerome’s imagined watery idyll near the start of the novel, full of sighing rushes and rustling trees.

Mysterious Landscapes, Quirky Traditions And Strange Delicious Food in Sardinia

Lunching at Agriturismo Sa Marighedda, a farm restaurant outside Castiadas, in southeast Sardinia, my husband Michael and I couldn’t have been further from the bling of the island’s celebrated, supermodel- draped Costa Smeralda. We’d jumped at the chance to spend a week here, in a house offered by a pair of Sardinian teachers, Giuliana and Mario, and right now we couldn’t have been happier.

The food was no hotel-bland international fare. On Sa Marighedda’s fixed-price menu we had already chewed our way through cured meats, tangy pecorino cheese, olives, grilled aubergines and ‘rustic’ focacce, all brimming with that sunny taste of the Med you can’t replicate back home. Two types of Sardinia’s distinctive pasta in a rich tomato sauce followed: culurgiones, fat oval pillows filled with pecorino, and ridged, trilobite-shaped malloreddus. To wash it down: the local Cannonau red, full of those lovely antioxidants that help the locals live to be 100.

Mirto: A digestive sardinian drink

Mirto: A digestive sardinian drink

Yes, this was Sardinia, the Sardinia we first visited 35 years ago while researching our first travel guides on the western Med: the fantastically old, mysterious island that existed long before Michelin-starred chefs descended and swanky resorts set about colonising the beaches. Somehow we also managed dessert: pardulas (tiny cheese tarts under flurries of powdered sugar) and seadas (warm, fried cheese ravioli oozing arbutus honey). But it was the scent of the mirto, Sardinia’s famous myrtle digestivo, which really evoked memories. ‘Do you remember when we had all this before?’  I asked Michael.

italian-flat-pizza

Tourist serving Traditional Italian flat pizza in a restaurant in Alghero

‘At the shepherds’ feast,’ he said right away, even though it had happened 35 years ago.

“The wild landscapes, vast skies ana simple, stucco ranch style architecture seemed ideal for spaghetti westerns”

The shepherds’ feast was the most magical day of our five-month-long journey. Back then, before Sardinia was a beacon on the package-holiday map, the authentic was all around – you didn’t have to go in search of it. That said, our VIP pass that long-ago day had something to do with the fact that we were travelling with the best accessory you can have in Italy: a cute baby. Doors fall open. Chocolates and bonbons fly out of handbags. People take you in a 4WD to a mountain meadow where you’re the only foreigners, where shepherds slow-roast meat in a pit, as they’ve done since antiquity.

sardinian-sheeps

Where a floppy-hatted male quartet cupped their ears in their hands and burst into uncanny, archaic, cantu a tenore polyphonic song, while our baby was passed around, smothered with kisses and stuffed with tidbits. It felt downright Homeric. Isolated for centuries from the mainland, everything about Sardinia – its cuisine, its language, its festivals and music – seemed older than the rest of Italy.

How much of the island would still be the real deal this time round? We couldn’t help wondering what disappointments might lie ahead, as we set off back to our temporary home in Oristano. Initial signs were promising: kilometres of rugged, primeval Mediterranean terrain, and rustic sheepfolds amid tumbles of granite boulders, parasol pines, olive and lemon groves and vineyards. Cork oaks blushed reddish orange where they’d been stripped of their bark. The wild landscapes, vast skies and simple, stucco ranch-style architecture seemed ideal for spaghetti westerns. I could imagine Clint Eastwood in his poncho and Stetson riding over the hill.

“I always wondered why Sergio Leone didn’t film here,” I said. ‘After all, Sardinia is just a ferry-hop from Rome’s Cinecitta studios.’

“I imagine Spain was cheaper and emptier,” Michael replied. “Besides, it would look odd if there was a shoot-out with a nuraghe in the background.”

We had already passed several of these characteristic single or multi-lobed towers: nothing shouts ‘ancient Sardinia’ like them. After the pyramids, nuraghes, built here and nowhere else from about 1500BC to 500BC, were the tallest megalithic constructions ever created, and a mind-boggling 7,000 of them still dot the landscape, often isolated in dramatic settings.

We were headed for a revisit to the daddy of them all: Su Nuraxi, just outside the village of Barumini. In the distance were the hills that gave the region its name, the Marmilla. In fact, before Su Nuraxi was excavated by the Sardinian archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu in 1949, everyone thought it was just another perky protuberance. Local adults warned it was home to an enormous child-eating fly.

Su Nuraxi

Su Nuraxi

The den of the fly turned out to be the interior of a nuraghe tower, a huge three-storey structure surrounded by a rampart and four other towers. In 3D reconstructions, it looks like a medieval castle surrounded by a dense Hobbit village of round houses.

While elsewhere, on the coast, the holiday crowds would be rolling up their beach towels and heading for happy hour and ambient sounds, we felt wonderfully alone in the island’s historic embrace: we were the only ones there for the 7pm tour, the last of the day, when the rich light played on Su Nuraxi’s colossal basalt boulders.    I had forgotten how complex it was, with narrow passages, stairs and massive corbelled vaults built within the thickness of the walls. As we emerged near the top it was like standing on the shoulders of giants.

9 Marvelous Museums Around The World

Think you’ve already viewed the best in class? Expand your must- visit list of world-class museums with this selection of spectacular institutions around the globe!

Singapore

ArtScience Museum

artscience museum singapore

ArtScience Museum, courtesy of Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Built as part of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Resort, the world’s first art and science museum features an unusual lotus-shaped structure. While it hosts several leading travelling exhibitions from around the world, its new permanent exhibition Future World showcases 16 incredible art installations and is said to be the country’s largest interactive digital playground, exploring themes including nature, town, park and space.

 Japan

Chichu Art Museum

Walter-de-Maria-Chicha-Art-Museum

Walter de Maria – Chicha Art Museum

Japan’s ‘art island’, tiny Naoshima boasts a disproportionate number of world-class installations, unexpected cultural distractions and world-class museums. In the latter category, Chichu Art Museum is built mostly underground – so as not to sully the island’s largely unblemished beauty – and features vast exhibition spaces largely built to complement the artworks by the likes of Monet and Walter De Maria, which they now house.

 Sweden

Bildmuseet

bildmuseet umeå

The contemporary art and design museum in the Swedish city of Umea, the former residence of Stieg Larsson (author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and others from the Millennium book/film trilogy) and European Capital of Culture for 2014, was named as one of the most beautiful university art galleries in the world following a redesign in 2012. The building itself is a thoughtful work of art, made with a facade of Siberian larch wood panelling, which will fade to a silver grey colour in a few years’ time, staggered with randomly-placed windows.

Its stark white interior is warmed by the natural light piercing through its windows, which offer scenic views from the museum’s riverside location.

 Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum

RIJKSMUSEUM

The Dutch national treasure-house of art has at last re-opened after a decade-long renovation. Golden Age masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and so many more are on show alongside centuries’ worth of fine furniture, Delftware, costume and jewellery. There’s a superb Asian collection, and new acquisitions that bring the display up to the present day.

 Croatia and Los Angeles

Museum of Broken Relationships

museum of broken relationships zagreb

Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb

Described as a “genuinely touching window on the human soul” by Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater, the brilliant attraction showcases a bizarre collection of objects connected to romances that are no more. Subtly illustrating the tragicomedy that is love, it is now one of Zagreb’s most visited museums.

The museum opened its second branch last year in the City of Broken Dreams – Hollywood. The new collection of items studying failed relationships and their ruins follows in the footsteps of the original one in Zagreb, promising to take visitors on an emotional journey through a showcase of 115 unwanted artefacts from relationships past, exploring the “love, pain, drama, irony, humour and reconciliation” of break ups.

Four Exciting Escapes on The Radar

MALDIVES 

FOUR SEASONS RESORT MALDIVES AT KUDA HURAA

FOUR SEASONS RESORT MALDIVES AT KUDA HURAA

3 nights starting from USD 1 ,475 per person

Includes: Stay in a Beach Pavillion with private pool, daily breakfast and return speedboat transfers.

Offer: 30% discount on room rate.

Validity: Until 30 September 2017. Escape to this private coral island with all the charm of a Maldivian village, where palm-thatched pavilions and bungalows adorn the white sand and crystal clear waters.

SRI LANKA

ANANTARA PEACE HAVEN TANGALLE RESORT

ANANTARA PEACE HAVEN TANGALLE RESORT-2

4 nights starting from USD 745 per person

Includes: Stay in a Premier Beach Access Room with daily breakfast and return airport transfers.

Offer: Stay 3 nights with one extra night free; upgrade to next available room type; a free dinner for two; and complimentary stay for two children under 12 years old.

Validity: Until 31 August 2017. Sri Lanka’s hottest new hideaway.

 USA

THE PIERRE NEW YORK, A TAJ HOTEL

The Pierre New York a Taj Hotel

4 nights starting from USD 850 per person

Includes: Stay in a Superior Room with return airport transfers.

Offer: Stay three nights and receive an additional night for free.

Validity: Until 31 August 2017. A Manhattan landmark located on the corner of Central Park and the Upper East Side where prime real estate and architectural heritage meets luxury living.

ITALY

GRAND HOTEL VIA VENETO

grand hotel via veneto rome

3 nights starting from USD 567 per person

Includes: Stay in a Superior Room with daily breakfast and return airport transfers.

Offer: 23% discount on room rate.

Validity: Until 31 August 2017. When in Rome, live la dolce vita in this haven of Art Deco inspired decadence where art, culture and refined elegance come together to create a timeless experience matched with superb service.