Asia

Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in Asia.

fairmont-ajman

Fairmont Ajman

For a short break on your doorstep that’s as cultural as it is relaxing, this delightful property is sure to impress

SEAFARING HERITAGE

fairmont-ajman-1

In a gorgeous reflection of the fishing heritage of Ajman, this hotel boasts stunning marine-inspired interiors – the pinnacle of which can be seen in a feature sculpture situated in Azrak. Commanding centre stage in the hotel’s lobby lounge cafe, this beautiful glass art sculpture created by Lasvit is dramatically suspended from the ceiling. Measuring 16m in diameter, it portrays a spiralling shoal of fish about to be captured in basket-like nets and represents a gratitude for the sea -something that remains at the heart of Ajman culture.

 BESPOKE SHISHA

Elevate your shisha experience at Badr Lounge. Sit back and enjoy stunning panoramic sea views as you take your pick from 16 distinctive blends. Inspired by the Arabic word for moon, Badr Lounge offers a relaxed garden-style setting and is home to a talented shisha mixologist who’s only too happy to create personalised flavours from his cart stocked with countless jars of different blends.

He’ll give you an introduction to shisha blending, detailing the subtleties of the preparation process and giving tips on what mixes work best.

 ROOM WITH A VIEW

Offering unrivalled and panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf flanked by an emerging city skyline, the two exclusive Penthouse suites are the cream of the Fairmont crop. Expect 5oosqm of beautifully designed double-storey space with floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the spectacular views. Perfect for the whole family, you’ll have three bedrooms as standard with the option to connect to a fourth if required. With a separate living area, dining room, kitchen, bar and entertainment space, you’ll also love the spacious spa-inspired marble bathroom with its dual rain shower experience, oversized soaking tub and bath amenities from Le Labo.

TROPICAL VIBE

fairmont-ajman-2

Inspired and built from recyclable materials salvaged from the sea, Driftwood is a uniquely rustic beach bar nestled on the edge of the beautiful shoreline. It’s become one of Ajman’s most popular hangouts, and it’s easy to see why. Offering an authentic Caribbean experience, relax barefoot with your toes in the sand, sipping on a cold beverage and listening to reggae music as you drink in spectacular sunsets. For seafood lovers, this place is a culinary delight thanks to its locally-sourced seafood, which is grilled to perfection on the BBQ by the talented in-house chefs.

FOR AN ART LOVER

Get ready to indulge your cultural side thanks to the inspiring line-up of exhibitions taking place throughout the year. Having already showcased Dream by Ukrainian artist Yelyzaveta Starostina and a Ramadan exhibit by Emirati artist Budour Al Ali, there are exciting plans for further showcases in the works – perfect for combining a love for travel and art.

The Meydan Hotel

The Meydan Hotel

Sweeping and iconic, this stunning property makes for a staycation with a difference

 CREAM OF THE CROP

presidential-suite

Indulge in the very best by booking a stay in the Presidential Suite. Arranged over two levels and offering beautifully designed space, there’s room for the whole family in this two-bedroom suite, from which you can enjoy outstanding views of the majestic Meydan Racecourse. If you’re looking for a suite with Dubai skyline and Burj Khalifa views to enjoy with your family, the Presidential Meydan Suite is the ideal choice.

A SENSE OF CALM

Relax and unwind with a visit to the infinity pool on the 11th floor which boasts outstanding Meydan Racecourse vistas. Kids can enjoy their very own pool and dedicated play area while fitness fans can head to the state-of- the-art gym. Enter a state of Zen in The Meydan Massage rooms – try The Meydan Signature massage, which uses both deep tissue and hot stone massage and combines oils, pressure point stimulation and hot stones to soothe away tension.

DINE IN STYLE

meydan-hotel-dining-room

With seven outlets, you can rest assured you’ll dine in style at The Meydan Hotel. Head to fine-dining steakhouse Prime, where only the best cuts of premium beef are served, and try the speciality flambe. Shiba restaurant offers authentic Asian delights prepared by talented Japanese and Chinese chefs. Or, take the family to Farriers restaurant for international culinary creations. For delicious beverages, there are many spots to choose from. Qube Sports Bar has 21 big screens so you can watch your favourite game while enjoying a snack. Or, head to Shiba Bar for its chic ambiance and extravagant Asian-inspired mixed drinks.

 HORSING AROUND

For equestrian fans, this hotel is hard to beat. Not only do rooms offer racetrack views but, from September you can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stables, grandstand and the racecourse. The racing season starts in November with Dubai World Cup set for 31 March.

TEE OFF

There’s no need to worry about membership fees at golf course The Track, as you can simply pay as you play. With a 400-yard floodlit driving range, short game practice area and putting green, it’s perfect for those looking to hone their skills. Seasoned golfers will enjoy 7,412 yards of Black championship tees.

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

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.

st-regis-abu-dhabi-1

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

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.

lebanese-cuisine

 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.

Ratnagiri: An Indian Hidden Paradise

Located 335 kilometres from Mumbai, Ratnagiri has hills on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. Close to town, there are undisturbed and underrated beaches such as Velas, Diveagar, and Guhagar that offer an insight into the Konkan lifestyle.

DO

► Home to the famous Alphonso mango, Ratnagiri is the perfect spot if you want to indulge in mango picking, and of course, eat them fresh from the tree.

► Try Konkan-style fish curry and balance its spicy flavours with sol kadi, a pink-coloured drink. Local snacks such as ambapoli and phanaspoli are must-try.

Ratnagiri

STAY

► Blue Ocean Resort & Spa offers a classic beach resort experience with comfortable rooms.

► Set amidst coconut and mango plantations, Atithi Parinay Homestay is an example of Indian hospitality. Stay here for its traditional food and outstanding location.

Diu Has Wonderfully Uncrowded Beaches & Delicious Food

An erstwhile Portuguese territory, Diu is connected by a lattice of bridges and ferries to Gujarat on the mainland. It has a distinct Mediterranean-meets-Kutch look where houses are painted sunshine yellow, creamy white and powder blue under a scorching sun and clear sky. With a Union Territory status, it is a refuge for travellers to get a real drink as its neighbour is a dry state. Some call it Little Goa, and some call it Gujarat’s Ibiza. But it’s actually a charming and quiet island with clean beaches and delicious food. Wander at the old Portuguese churches and dine on fabulous seafood including rockfish, calamari and prawns.

 Azzaro Resort and Spa

Azzaro Resort and Spa

DO

► Rent a bike and drive to the quiet beaches of Goghla or Ngao and explore the Naida Caves.

► Plan a day trip to the Gir National Park to spot the endangered Asiatic lion from an open-roof jeep.

STAY

► Azzaro Resort and Spa offers 40 rooms and suites, a bar, and a spa.

► Close to the Gir National Park, The Fern is an eco-friendly resort with two restaurants, a spa, and simply decorated cottages and villas that bring you closer to nature.

lapita-dubai

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.

sir-bani-yas-island

Be Spoilt For Choice at Anantara’s trio of Sir Bani Yas Island Resorts

Feel at one with nature and discover a different way to experience all the UAE has to offer, with an island sojourn that combines Anantara luxury and Emirati culture. Established by the late ruler and founder of the UAE, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as a royal nature reserve, Sir Bani Yas lies off the coast of Abu Dhabi’s emerging Western Region and is Arabia’s largest wildlife sanctuary.

The instant you step onto the island with its picture perfect white sand beach, wandering wildlife and scenic landscape, you’ll feel an immediate sense of relaxation. The only difficult choice you need to make is which of the three resorts dotted across the island to stay at.

Live out the ultimate wildlife adventure at Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort, for an ultra-private African lodge-style experience; enjoy contemporary design and traditional heritage elements at the beachfront Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort, reminiscent of the pearl fishing villages of the past; or relax with the family from the comfort of Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara where Emirati cultural motifs blend with 21st-century facilities.

Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort

Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort

Upscale your summer experience and plump for one of the exclusive Al Sahel villas with private plunge pool and the occasional roaming gazelle for company ; spoil yourself with beach and private pool luxury at Al Yamm; or sequester yourself away in a two-bedroom family pool villa at the main Desert Islands resort.

Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort

Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort

When you manage to tear yourself away from your temperature- controlled swimming pool, the 87-square-kilometre island offers a diverse collection of nature and cultural activities to enjoy.

Get an up close view of the island’s 15,000 protected animals and birds and take the opportunity to learn about Sheikh Zayed’s conservation programme as you spot giraffes, gazelles, Arabian oryx, cheetahs and sea turtles on a guided wildlife drive.

Culture mavens can explore the island’s 42 archaeological sites with an expert guide, complete with a lesson in traditional qahwa (coffee) drinking etiquette and chance to leave your own conservation legacy by planting a mangrove seedling.

Re-energise body and mind after an outdoor excursion with a time- honoured Arabian or Eastern ritual at the Anantara Spa, including couples-only options, for signature top-to-toe relaxation.

 Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara

Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara

Culinary satisfaction is never far away with five restaurants serving world-class cuisine ; but the resort’s Dining by Design experience is the gourmet piece de resistance with your choice of tailor-made menu, prepared by a personal chef and enjoyed on the beach in a Bedouin setting or at a secret African bush-inspired location.