Author: C.C.

Koramangala Offers You The Opportunity To Try Spectacular Dishes

Coffee roasters and microbreweries, Asian canteens, and hidden-away regional restaurants—these are the coolest spots in Koramangala to take you from an early morning caffeine fix to a late-night tipple.

Flying Squirrel Coffee Roasters – From a lush coffee estate in Coorg, small batches of carefully harvested Arabica and Robusta beans make their way to a cheery little coffee roastery in Koramangala. Overlooking a fiery red gulmohar tree in bloom, a strong aroma of coffee lingers in the air, as fresh roasts are brewed in a variety of styles. With pour-overs, cold brews, and the current global trend in the coffee world, nitro coffee, on their menu, Flying Squirrel lets you choose your brew and your bean. Tubs of organic Sattva, chocolate-and-caramel toned Parama, a chicory blend, and fruity-sweet Aromatique beans are on display and available for sale. Co-founders Ashish D’Abreo and Tej Thammaiah—a third-generation coffee estate owner—are in the business of serious brewing, and the new cafe is a natural progression of the three-year-old online coffee brand.

Flying Squirrel Coffee Roasters

Flying Squirrel Coffee Roasters

Marla’s Goan Kitchen – A mix of homesick, experimental, and curious diners flock to Koramangala’s 7th Block to the cluster of tiny, regional Indian restaurants known for their otherwise hard-to-find cuisine. Tucked away among these, Maria Fernandes dishes out the wonderfully piquant flavours of Goa at Maria’s Goan Kitchen. What started out as a food delivery service for hot, home-style meals gradually evolved into a fuss-free, blink-and-miss establishment with a rather expansive menu. With favourites such as pork vindaloo, beef xacuti, pomfret in ambotik curry, Goan chorizo, and squid chilli fry, it’s hard to believe you aren’t seated at a beach shack with a view of the sea and beer in hand. The real winner here is the wholesome thali, perfect for those days when you want to order everything off the menu. Fluffy sannas, cutlets, tangy solkadi, rice, a choice of seafood, meat, or veg, and a slice of gooey bebinca.. Who says you can’t have susegad-in Bengaluru?

Marla’s-Goan-Kitchen

Marla’s Goan Kitchen

Nasi and Mee – Sitting behind a cheery glass frontage on the busy 80 Feet Road, dressed in warm tones of wood and yellow lights, the Asian canteen was born out of Singaporean local Ravindran Nahappan’s vision to bring the food that he grew up with to the city. A fourth-generation Indian, Ravindran says, “Nasi and Mee, which means ‘rice and noodles’ in Malay, is truly what we eat in the Straits Belt. Our cuisine originates from the movement of people— it’s a mix of Chinese, Malay, and Indian influences.” His sentiment translates into the menu, which features staples and specials from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand—the slow cooked, ceremonial Malaysian Rendang, the delicate Chinese Char Siew, Indonesian sambal prawns, and the elaborate spread of Nasi Lemak. The peanut laden, coconut milk doused flavours transport you straight to Singapore’s hawker centres or Bangkok’s street food stalls. Coupled with the summery, deceptively light kiwi and lychee-infused wine spritzers, it’s no surprise that Nasi and Mee is always abuzz.

Lake Geneva Can Be Dramatically Beautiful This Time Of The Year

Surrounded by vineyards, storybook castles and cathedrals, with magnificent views of the Swiss Alps, Lake Geneva is for the dreamy traveller in us. The lake is shared between Switzerland and France, and is dotted with picturesque towns of Lausanne, Montreux, Nyon, Evian, among several others.

EXPLORE

Watch out for the most stunning scenery as you cruise the lake on a luxury boat from the Eelle Epoque era. See the lake changing its colour, or be witness to the occasional ocean-like moments with surf and waves. The most beautiful stretch on the Lake Geneva cruise is between Lausanne and Montreux, where the Alps form a constant backdrop and the Lavaux vineyards are seen on the northern shores.

lake-geneva

CHOOSE YOUR CRUISE

Lake Geneva caters to all travellers. Go for a day-long trip on a luxury boat, or hop on a regular ferry and explore the nearest port city. Compagnie Generale de Navigation is the most popular company in the area, and offers rides on various routes. It is also the only company that is allowed to drop off passengers at ports other than original boarding port. You can rent a kayak, yacht, windsurfer, pedalo pedal boat or power boat from major cities and explore the waters of Lake Geneva at your own pace.

WAYS TO SAVE

Try and plan your trip during the day when most of the companies offer cheaper deals. If taking your family along, ask for the family day tickets at ticket windows or buy them online. They are not well advertised, but save a great amount of money. Also, a same-day return ticket saves you around is per cent over buying two single tickets.

Beluga Expeditions: The Ultimate Game Fishing, Diving & Yachting Experience

The gleaming white mother ship seems to hover over the translucent waters of the Great Barrier Reef, a beacon of refinement for the exhausted and happy anglers aboard the game boats. It’s been another extraordinary day of marlin fishing on two of Australia’s most technologically advanced game fishing vessels. Now it’s time to return to Beluga for G&Ts, a chef-prepared dinner and a good night’s rest in five spacious cabins.

The European style of service on the decks of the mother ship contrasts with the easy camaraderie among Zulu and Levante’s experienced fishing crew. Captain Bob and his crew are polished despite being barefoot, asking if we’d like drinks or a dip in the on-deck Jacuzzi. If ever there has been a way to go heavy-tackle fishing in style, Beluga Expeditions is it. The concept of mother shipping – using a superyacht as a base while exploring, diving or fishing by day from the game boats – has never been done at such a level in Australian waters. The three vessels complement one another, providing both action at sea and a sophisticated retreat.

Beluga-Expeditions

The fleet is based out of Reef Marina at Port Douglas, but it’s rare to see the fleet in one place for long. This world wonder gives guests access to some of the most exciting dive, snorkelling and fishing sites, and free reign to enjoy her many toys, including jet skis and a mini-submarine. The Kimberley, the islands of Indonesia, Lord Howe Island and New Zealand are all among her possible destinations. A private charter aboard Beluga is all about the experience; she represents access to some of the world’s finest on-sea adventures without compromising on privacy, service or refinement. And for those days when you’re not feeling too adventurous, there’s always the Jacuzzi.

Discover The Most Delectable Tastes Of The Greek Islands

With an appetising crunch, I push my fork into a kataifi, splitting it in two. The traditional filo pastry, with strands as thin as vermicelli, wind tightly around a soft eggplant filling. It releases a warm, fragrant aroma of rich Cretan herbs on splitting and, after dipping a forkful into the accompanying sweet tomato marmalade, I savour its piquancy and delicate texture.

I’m sitting at Avli in Rethymnon, Crete, one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the Greek islands. Known for honouring traditional flavours of the land and preparing them with inspired techniques, Avli seamlessly blends the best of both old and new. Like the people of every Greek island, Cretans are fiercely proud of their local dishes. There are subtle differences, but a mutual climate with sun-soaked Mediterranean earth, warm seas and cultural influences from ancient Greek, Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish ruling periods bring the scattering of islands together in their cuisine profiles, producing a unique culinary landscape.

Greece

Gastronomic origins – From those historic eras until now, Greek island dishes show off the local produce, with olives, citrus, fresh seafood and local vegetables playing starring roles. Though simple, main meat dishes are never plain. Fragrant, slow-cooked rabbit, goat or lamb stews highlight the bold and bright qualities of intensely flavoured fruits and vegetables, thanks to the islands’ blazing sun and meagre rainfall. The country’s best wine varieties hail from Santorini, where volcanic soil nurtures the main grape variety, Assyrtiko, a vine that thrives on a water source of sea mist and nocturnal dew.

Above all, seafood reigns supreme. Octopuses are pinned out to dry daily, and can be seen splayed above mounds of sea urchins, calamari and shellfish as they chill on ice trays. Handpainted fishing boats haul in their catches of the day, to be consumed mere hours later. Whether it’s sea bream or sea bass, simply grilling a catch with a classic, uncomplicated blend of olive oil and fragrant herbs such as oregano or thyme often completes a recipe. Once served, a satisfying squeeze from a fresh lemon instantly brightens the scorched fish, rendering it irresistible.

Old island towns – Greek island fine dining brings these ingredients and techniques to an entirely new level. Avli’s degustation menu celebrates local culinary treasures and is inspired by the past and present in both taste and presentation. Dining in the Greek islands is also about appreciating the incredible surrounds. In Rethyrnnon, marbled door frames, ochre-painted walls, and intricate wooden Byzantine balconies draped in bright pink bougainvillea greatly enhance the experience. The conversation of passing locals and wandering travellers are the only sign that time hasn’t stopped in the most romantic of eras. At a neighbouring table, a clink of small tumblers brimming with a locally made raki – an anise-flavoured spirit – is accompanied by the toast “san ygeia mas” (to our health), setting a meal in motion among friends.

Greece

From the seaside – That familiar toast is echoed in Mykonos, my next stop, with glasses of a pale, golden-hued local white wine. At the five-star Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, I’m settling into one the most prized dining verandahs in the country. This time, I’ve traded an old town island view for another quintessential island scene: the impossibly azure Aegean Sea stretching endlessly into the distance.

Adrift in the trance-like tranquillity, a white plate topped with a stunning crimson composition suddenly seizes my attention. Called Cherry Tomatoes vs. Strawberries, this dish turns out to be not a competition of flavours, but rather a harmonious balance of them. Local cherry tomatoes roasted in honey, caper cream, thyme, virgin olive oil and goat cheese complement the sweet tang of strawberries for an entirely pleasing dish. It’s the start of a degustation menu meant to be lingered over, which isn’t very hard considering the setting. By the time I’m enjoying the last delectable mouthful, the sun is slowly sinking in a fantastically coloured sky. Taking in the moment, I sit back and breathe in the quiet night air and feel the hint of a cool sea breeze. Dining in the Creek islands – a truly intriguing and breathtaking destination – is about appreciating everything that surrounds you.

Abeking & Rasmussen Yacht: A Dream Come True For An Extreme-Sports Fanatic

Cloudbreak’s name says it all. The 72.5-metre motor yacht was named after a renowned Fiji surf spot that has some of the most challenging waves in the world. The owner is a surfing and heli-skiing enthusiast with an adventurous spirit. His dream? To own a global cruising yacht that could access remote parts of the world inaccessible to others.abeking-and-rasmussen

Built in 2016 by Abeking & Rasmussen with interior design by Christian Liaigre and exterior styling by Espen Oeino, the ship reflects the owner’s desire for German quality French interiors and a masculine exterior design. Envisioned as a high-tech floating ‘chalet’ the yacht has five comfortable guest cabins, cabins for the heli-pilot deck master suite. The layout and fresh decor won a 2017 Show Boats Design Award for Best Interior & Design. It has a fireplace lounge for warming up after a ski or diving adventure and an expansive Winter Garden with lounge, bar and dining area that can be enclosed in glass, allowing guests to take in the often spectacular views no matter what the weather’s doing.

The challenge for the designers was to create a cosy interior without the use of too much dark timber. Instead, a soft colour palette and tinted brushed pine meets the youthful, sporty brief. A superyacht helideck for the owner’s Bell 429 Global Ranger enables easy access to the world’s best slopes and surf breaks, and a quick return at day’s end. The owner wanted to be able to land on the deck and head straight into a warm and comfortable lounge to watch the GoPro videos he and his guests had made during another action-packed day.

abeking-and-rasmussen

There’s a large collection of water toys, including rugged tenders that launch straight off the main deck for safety in rough waters. Extreme sports may be exciting, but the yacht also has plenty of capacity for fun on board. A sound system, complete with DJ station, and sophisticated laser lighting makes this yacht party ready. Keeping fit between adventures is important, of course, so there’s a high-tech gym, sauna and chilled plunge pool with easy access from guest cabins via the engine room.

Hoshino Resorts: An Oasis Of Culture In Bali

Ubud’s rice paddies and peaceful forests may have given way to a Kuta-like sprawl of shops and eateries on the main road, but the Ubud of my memories comes back into focus when we drive through the gates of HOSHINOYA Bali to find a serene sanctuary set in a lush green valley. An ancient water canal runs through the resort, surrounding you with the soothing sounds of flowing water as you dine or recline with the valley at your feet. Three stunning canal-like pools stretch from one end of the three-hectare resort to the other. Echoing the river valleys of the region, water gardens in and around the 70-metre pools create natural oases woven seamlessly in and around the 30 villas.

Hoshino-Resorts

Architect Rie Azuma and landscape designer Hiroki Hasegawa spent considerable time researching Balinese culture, and have managed to merge Balinese traditions and Japanese minimalism with finesse. Marble and teak come together in perfect harmony inside each refined villa. A backlit Balinese wood carving covers the entire wall behind the beds (two single mattresses on a timber platform – Japanese style). And while the bathroom is distinctly Japanese (the toilet is seriously high-tech), vast sliding doors open from the bedroom to reveal a private tropical garden courtyard with a daybed under its own thatched gazebo -all very Bali. Outdoor stairs lead from the courtyard down to a private poolside retreat complete with daybeds, towels, robes and a shower – and a phone to dial room service.

Sacred waters – The three-hour time difference means I sink into a blissful slumber minutes after returning from dinner (Indonesian chicken cooked in a banana leaf served tableside with an assortment of tasty condiments), but I’m awake and ready for the day to begin the next morning at 4am – and a pre-dawn dip is calling. The water is balmy, despite the cool of night, and as I drift up and down the peaceful canal gazing up at the starlit sky, I relish the unhurried solitude.

Temple In Ubud

Temple In Ubud

By 6am I’m relaxing on the villa’s outdoor daybed, the scent of incense-laden offerings already in the air and the haunting sound of prayers being chanted at nearby temples drifting my way. After a relaxing yoga session and divine Japanese breakfast I’m immersed in Ubud’s spiritual side on a day tour of World Heritage-listed temples and sights. A highlight is Tirta Empul, an ancient water temple built around a natural spring. Here, you can join locals as they bathe in the pristine holy waters. My guide encourages me to close my eyes and ask the gods for what I want more of in my life. A little more of this would be nice; it’s profoundly calming.

Back at the resort, I’m keen to try out one of the seven birdcage-like gazebos perched in the trees. I settle into a daybed, press a button and order Champagne, which arrives with a skewer of tropical fruits – just the thing to whet my appetite for a degustation dinner of incredible Indo-Japanese fare. There’s another treat in store the next day. Deep in the forested valley lies the resort spa. Each treatment suite has its own Jacuzzi, strewn with flowers and just the thing to ease the last of your worries away after a massage, scrub and mud-wrap straight from heaven.

Explore Norway On The New Viking Sky

It’s midnight on a midsummer night, also known in some parts of the world as the summer solstice. And I’m floating in the infinity pool on the top deck of the new Viking Sky. The midnight sun is high in the sky, and it’s not going anywhere tonight. That’s because I’m cruising through the Arctic Circle in Norway. It’s brisk outside, but not in this heated pool with its panoramic views of deep blue fjords and snow-capped peaks. I’m on board for the launch of this dazzling new 930-passenger cruise ship. At the christening ceremony in Tromso, Viking uses a bottle of aquavit instead of champagne to smash against the hull, and a singer performs a pull-at-the-heartstrings rendition of ‘Let it Go’ from the Disney movie Frozen, whose setting was inspired by Norway.

VIKING-SKY

Viking Sky fully embraces its Norwegian heritage, from the heart-shaped waffles at Mamsen’s – an onboard cafe named after Viking CEO and founder Torstein Hagen’s mother-to the garden under the grand staircase, which is filled with lichen and other plants from across the country. In true Nordic style, every creature comfort has been considered. All the staterooms have cashmere throws, mini-bars stocked with free champagne, and a pair of binoculars for watching the passing scenery. Even the starting-level cabins feel like suites: each one has a generously sized sitting area and a spacious verandah.

A culinary journey – For such a small ship, there are a surprising number of choices when it comes to food. At the Chef’s Table, the menu changes regularly, exploring different regions of the world, from Norway to China. My favourite is The Kitchen Table, an innovative concept where a small group of guests get to source the food with the chefs. In Bergen, we head to the fish market and find king crab from the Arctic and cured salmon. That night, we sample the bounty we sourced that morning. The only way it could be fresher? If we had caught the seafood ourselves.

Scandinavian discovery – In fact, Viking guests can catch their own king crab on a thrilling shore excursion in Honningsvag, one of Norway’s northernmost towns. Suited up in a weather-proof jumpsuit, I head out in a tender in search of these massive creatures that can weigh up to 10 kilograms. In the middle of the frigid Arctic, deep-sea fishermen pull up nets full of crabs, then cook them over an open fire. I eat king crab while sitting on a reindeer pelt in a Sami tent.

VIKING-SKY

This is just one of the many immersive experiences that Viking offers throughout Norway. In Molde, I explore the Atlantic Road, one of the world’s most exciting drives. In the Lofoten Islands, I visit a beach so white you’d think you were in the Caribbean. In Geiranger, a tiny town famous for its fjords and waterfalls, I ride an e-bike 450 metres up a mountain. The best reward at the end of any journey? Coming back onto Viking Sky and taking a dip in the infinity pool. It doesn’t get more relaxing than that.

Discover The Time Periods Of Ancient Egypt

Every day of my Nile cruise started the exact same way. I made sure they did. The rays of Egypt’s Saharan sun streamed in through my east-facing floor-to-ceiling windows, flooding my stateroom with light. Each morning I looked out at the river and the array of life that it spawns: shepherds herding sheep, cattle grazing on its shores and low-lying islands, papyrus reeds flourishing in shallow waters. It could have been a portal to a time long gone. Breakfast could wait. If you’re thinking of visiting Egypt and want to be outrageously pampered, but also want to get your hands dirty exploring its pharaonic heritage, take heed if you’ve booked passage on Sanctuary Retreat’s five-star Sun Boar IV. This gleaming vessel, with its Art Deco flourishes and cabana-laden sun deck, doesn’t want to stop you from putting on your pith helmet and wandering off into the desert a la Howard Carter. But be warned. It’s very comfy here.

egypt

Designed for Nile cruising, the 40-stateroom Sun Boat IV is sleek and streamlined, its hull looking more like a yacht than the bulky-looking, squared-off hulls of older boats permanently moored alongside ageing piers, the legacy of a tourism downturn that has persisted since the 2011 revolution. I was on a four-night cruise sailing upriver from Luxor to Aswan, although the same itinerary can be done in reverse in just three nights sailing downriver from Aswan to Luxor, helped by the river’s gentle current.

Expeditions into the past – What brings people to Egypt is its unparalleled archaeological heritage, and in true Sun Boat fashion, Sanctuary Retreats acquired the services of the man who must surely have been Upper Egypt’s most engaging Egyptologist to light the way. Mohamed Ezzat’s passion for history took him from secondary school in Qena in Upper Egypt all the way to Cairo’s Helwan University. Approachable and engaging, his enthusiasm, sense of humour and insights elevated each shore excursion – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – to the lofty status of ‘expedition’.

We saw the ‘best of the best’: the temples of Hathor, Luxor and Karnak, the valleys of the Kings and Queens and the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut.We visited Edfu, dedicated to the falcon god Horus, and Korn Ombo, both Greek temples built during the rule of the Ptolemies. Finishing in Aswan, we took a bus to its unfinished obelisk – at 1088 tonnes almost a third larger than any obelisk ever raised in ancient Egypt – and visited Philae Temple, cut into 40,000 pieces and moved to its new island location by UNESCO in the early 1960s after spending decades partially flooded because of the construction of the Old Aswan Dam in 1902.

A sunset cruise on our last night in a specially chartered felucca took us past the Old Cataract Hotel (now a Sofitel Legend property), the hotel where author Agatha Christie set part of her classic novel, Death on the Nile. I wondered if there’d ever been an era when Egypt didn’t fascinate. In 1838 the Scottish painter David Roberts came here and spent months drawing hundreds of sketches and watercolours, soon-to-be-famous windows into a once-great civilisation that would go on to wow Victorian England. His work included the barely visible Gateway to the Temple of Hathor and the columns of the Temple of Horus at Edfu, buried almost to their capitals. If archaeology doesn’t intervene, time, if there’s enough of it, can reclaim all things. Especially paintings.

cairo

Endless Treasures to uncover – A selfish pleasure gnawed away at me at the prospect of spending a few minutes alone in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Queues here once stretched over a hundred metres, but those pre-2011 days are now long gone. So, as the last few in our group shuffled away, down I went. But I wasn’t alone. Conservationists from the Getty Conservation Institute, a US-based private research institute, were hard at work conserving the tomb’s vivid array of wall paintings. Despite its overall excellent condition, localised lifting of paint remains a problem, and still there were those persistent, disfiguring brown spots, noted by Howard Carter himself after he famously discovered the tomb in 1922 – spots that almost a hundred years on have continued to defy explanation.

After disembarking in Aswan four days later I returned to Luxor at a reasonable pace courtesy of Egyptian National Railways and walked to the Winter Palace Hotel to see its Grand Staircase. It was here, in 1922, that Howard Carter announced he had found the tomb of King Tutankhamun, the otherwise inconsequential pharaoh made famous only because his tomb had somehow managed to avoid being robbed. Wherever you go in Egypt you’re never far from an ongoing excavation. The Department of Ancient History at Sydney’s own Macquarie University has been involved for years on the Theban Tombs Project at Dra’ Abu el-Naga’, a 4000-year-old necropolis near Luxor. Hardly a week goes by without something making news. As I was leaving to fly home, a 2.7-tonne torso of an Egyptian pharaoh was pulled from the mud in a nondescript Cairo suburb.

Egypt’s treasures are innumerable. Crates still sit unopened on the floor of the old Egyptian Museum in Cairo, waiting for the new Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza Plateau to open in 2018. An astonishing edifice, it covers 50 hectares and, when completed, will be far and away the world’s largest archaeological museum. But its staff will only be stewards. Egypt’s heritage has never been its own. Its treasures have always belonged to us all.

Discover Australia’s Most Luxurious Sky Lodge

If my fairy godmother could grant me just one wish with a wave of her wand, it would be to transform my skiing in a flash. In just 48 hours at the luxurious Astra Lodge, Falls Creek, my wish was granted. Named Australia’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel at the 2016 World Ski Awards in Kitzbuhel, the ski-in, ski-out lodge casts its own spell. In three years of staggered renovations, owners Seumas Dawes and Rosy Seaton have created a magical mountain retreat. It has a European alpine feel complete with roaring fire, leather, timber, stone and stylish soft furnishings. A discreet stag motif canters across cushions and hide rugs are scattered on the floor.

Poetry in motion – Installed next to the new state-of-the-art ski and boot room is the workshop of Adalbert Leibetseder, a legend in the industry. His Skimetric academy and bespoke equipment work miracles, and in Australia he works exclusively at Astra Lodge. His client list includes the world’s fastest ski racers (who between them have almost 60 world and Olympic medals), the theory being that, no matter how good a skier you are, if your equipment doesn’t work in harmony with your physiology then your skiing will suffer.

falls-creek-astra-lodge

Adalbert’s alchemy is created by a unique combination of circumstances: a father who was a shoemaker, a lifetime spent on skis, and experience developing high-end ski equipment. Add to this advice from a panel of medical experts and a perfectionist’s eye for detail and you have the formula that helps Adalbert turn leaden skiers into gold.

To transform my boots Bert takes measurements to build a 3D picture of my foot. The machines are so intricate and the series of tests and measurements so precise that I feel I’m about to be sent on a mission to Mars instead of down a blue run. Nobody has ever cared as much about my turned-in knee or the position of my big toe. As it happens, the end result is indeed out of this world. First I go out skiing with Bert so he can video my turns. It is early in the season and there is only one run open, but that’s all we need. As you’d expect from a former instructor and champion ski racer Adalbert is poetry in motion on skis. As for me? Well, suffice it to say I’m not.

Bert doesn’t judge; he merely records. He’s going to change it all anyway. After a few adjustments back at Astra Lodge I’m ready to try on my made-over boots. Already the results are astounding; my knock knees are gone, my legs perfectly aligned; even just standing in the workshop I look like more of a skier. Bert is such a perfectionist that he even designs the socks to go with the boots, lest a wrinkle in the wrong place or cold toes interfere with performance – and they are in fact the best socks I’ve ever worn.

falls-creek-astra-lodge

The best of everything – Relaxing in the hotel’s heated magnesium mineral pool later that evening I reflect on the fact that Bert and the hotel owners have a lot in common: they too have thought of everything. From the snowdrift-soft pillows on my bed to the organic bath amenities, everything is top quality. Financier Dawes is used to the best and clearly thinks his guests deserve it too. The Italian restaurant is the best in Falls Creek and the newly opened premium wine cellar is stocked with some of Dawes’ own favourite ‘ski wines’ from Italy and the subalpine Tyrol, not to mention a bottle or two of Grange Hermitage. There’s also a library where you can curl up with a good book and a mountain view, as well as a spa with massage rooms, wet and dry saunas, nail bar and hairdressing service.

Montreux Riviera: Fabulous Adventures For 5 Star Foodies & Nature Lovers

It’s the Belle Epoque beauty of Lake Geneva with the legendary luxury hotels to match. Montreux and its Riviera, stretching from Lutry in the southwest to Villeneuve in the northeast, have long been destinations favoured by discerning travellers, with active summer visitors increasingly choosing to explore beyond the city. Lovers of fine wine should make for the vineyard terraces of Lavaux, a 20-minute drive from the city’s grandest hotel, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. Lavaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering 830 hectares and four different Appellations d’Origine Controlees. Meander among some of the 250 winemakers (and their cellar doors) on the 10.4-kilometre-long self-guided walk or take a private tour, such as a five-hour discovery with Swiss Riviera Wine Tours. Whichever option you select, Lavaux is a region to be savoured, dotted with traditional winemaking hamlets and panoramas stretching to the lake below.

montreux-riviera

Wine on the water – Guests of the elegant Grand Hotel du Lac in nearby Vevey can even take the hotel’s electric Renault Twizy out for a day of exploration, accompanied by a gourmet picnic basket prepared by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Neeser. For a more glamorous (and high- powered) adventure, the hotel also offers the Riva Experience aboard a 1966 Super Florida out on the lake. Hotel des Trois Couronnes has been a favourite of sophisticated travellers to Vevey since the 19th century and is home of Michelin-starred chef Lionel Rodriguez.

Guests can take a more unusual gourmet expedition with the ‘Fish For Our Dinner’ experience. Hotel angler Patrice will show you his favourite fishing spots on Lake Geneva and share the best seafood found in its waters. The most famous attraction on the lake itself, however, is the 900-year-old Chateau de Chillon, with waters lapping at its stone foundations. It’s been a site of bloody politics, a 16th-century prison and inspiration for literary giants; Lord Byron and Henry James both immortalised the chateau in their works. Now, Switzerland’s most visited castle plays host to wine-lovers from around the world. Tasting the chateau’s own Grand Cru, stored in 40 oak barrels in its underground cellar, is the perfect way to finish a guided tour. The Verree Vaudoise, as it’s known, is held in the specially redesigned Castellan’s Hall, lending a particularly stately air to this sophisticated wine tasting adventure.

Cheese and chocolate – The Montreux Riviera is also the perfect place to experience Switzerland’s stunning scenery at the foot of the Alps. Hiking and mountain climbing are accessible from the lakeside towns via funiculars and trains, with Rochers-de-Naye one of the best destinations for nature-lovers. Climb to 1600 metres above sea level aboard the rack railway train and soak up the views stretching over the lake and to the Alps, where the cragged peak of the Dents du Midi (‘Teeth of Noon’) pierce the sky. You’ll find chocolate-box Switzerland in Gruyere, a region of rolling hills and wooden chalet villages about half-an-hour’s drive from the lake.

Montreux-Riviera

This region is renowned for cheese, particularly the namesake Gruyeres, which you can sample during a two-hour self-guided dairy hike between Pringy and Moleson-Village. It winds below the mountaintop hamlet, guarded by the 13th-century Chateau de Gruyeres, from dairy to dairy. Cheesemakers, such as the Murith family of La Ferme du Bourgoz B&B, share their craft with visitors in tranquil pastures where cows graze in the sun. The region’s most spectacular views are found at the summit of Teysachaux, the reward for a 9.5-kilometre hike between Le Moleson and Les Paccots. Follow the idyllic descent through woodlands and flourishing meadows, then treat yourself to a multi-course dinner at La Pinte des Mossettes, one of Switzerland’s newest Michelin-starred restaurants. French chef Romain Paillereau contrasts the rustic surrounds of his traditional chalet with refined dishes inspired by international flavours.

For more adventures around Montreux, take the Golden Pass train to air ballooning hot-spot Chateau D’CEx, or take the Chocolate Train to Broc via Gruyeres. Broc is where you’ll find Maison Cailler-Nestle, the home of Switzerland’s oldest chocolate brand. Take a tour of the elegant headquarters or settle in with a creative chocolate-making class in the Atelier du Chocolat. At every turn, the Montreux region and beyond balances modernity and five-star refinement with handcrafted tradition and rustic appeal. For all its grand hotels and exquisite cuisine, however, it is rediscovering nature that is the greatest luxury in Switzerland.