Classic Elegance – Luxury at every turn at Villa Magna, Madrid

By Shereen Shabnam

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On the way to my Spanish home recently, a stop in Madrid led me and my family to discover the luxury Villa Magna in Madrid where the ambience celebrates the old and new in a space that only be described as classically elegant.

In the last century, where this modern building stands today on the Paseo de la Castellana, was the Palace of Anglada which was demolished in the 1960`s. The hotel on the same site shows the same sophistication and after an extensive renovation, the luxury hotel has become a home to regular visitors who love the Bauhaus concepts and Chinese screens that combine to create a welcoming and luxurious atmosphere.

From the moment we were picked at the airport by a private chauffeur to the moment we left, the experience we had was more than amazing. The Concierge led us to the most interesting exhibitions and fashionable boutiques in Madrid but the highlight of the excursions was our teenage daughter experiencing the VIP shopper experience at El Corte Ingles…a must for all GCC visitors.

The hotel lobby is warm and welcoming with a large window offering a marvelous view to the Magnum Patio. To add a sophisticated touch the walls were adorned with Bauhaus and Vienna Secession designs. Different styles also combine among the furnishings: Louis XVI rosewood consoles, exotic screens and rugs with their geometric shapes give warmth to the marble floors.

The Restaurante Villa Magna has beautiful natural light, complimented by the choice of light colours and a large framed mirror that reflects the space as a painting. The beauty of the carpentry work and the relaxing upholstery combine to make a perfect ambience relaxing.

The Lounge, off the Lobby of the Villa Magna, is the ideal setting to meet friends, discuss business or enjoy a relaxing meal at any time of the day. We spent our lunchtime mainly there with a selection of snacks, light lunch dishes whilst enjoying views onto the Lounge Terrace and Paseo de la Castellana beyond.

The room we stayed in was spacious, comfortable and washed with soft lighting, bright colours and warm fabrics. It was tastefully done and every detail was taken care of…from attending to my love for chocolates to the availability of prayer mats in the cupboard.

 Our day excursions meant revisiting our favourite Madrid attractions starting from the “Art Triangle” the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, the Mercado and the Reina Sofia Museum to walking through Plaza Mayor and retail streets dotted with local and international brands.

The Villa Magna´s Fitness Club is equipped with the latest Technogym equipment and a team of fitness experts to provide a personalized fitness programme. The Wellness Club is a quiet area to be pampered with luxurious body treatments and skincare in a retreat of tranquility and naturally I opted for a massage on arrival.

Withthe city’s main shopping streets and attractions at the doorstep, the Villa Magna offers the most exclusive and ideal place to stay while visiting Madrid.

 

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Rose Park Hotel – Al Barsha

By Shereen Shabnam

Inspired from past success in hospitality and the enviable reputation for delivering excellence in guest service over the last 10 years, the award-winning Rose International Hotels Management recently introduced us to the Rose Park Hotel in Al Barsha.

Over a sumptuous lunch, Thameem Razick, Director of Sales & Marketing at Rose Hotels & Hotel Apartments tells us that the 4 Star hotel is the newest addition to the growing portfolio managed by Rose International Hotels Management.

Located close to Mall of the Emirates and only a metro ride away from Dubai’s tourist attractions and business centers such as the Dubai World Trade & Exhibition Centre, the hotel is the ideal base from which to explore the surrounding areas. Rose Park Hotel – Al Barsha gives guests a 360 degree access of Dubai. The cozy new hotel is easily accessible to the Ski Dubai, the largest Ski zone at Mall of the Emirates, one of the iconic shopping malls in Dubai, the Jumeirah Beach and to Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City.

Thameem hopes that locals, hotel guests and visiting tourists will enjoy the hotel’s exceptional hospitality services and feel at home during their stay in the city. The hotel’s target market includes travelers and tourists from GCC, Asia, Europe and CIS and fast growing markets such as Eastern Europe, Far East and Latin America who visit UAE for business or pleasure.

Combining fully equipped business space with luxurious rooms and premium facilities, the hotel meets the needs of those travelling for work as well as leisure. The 4 Star hotel comprises of 168 contemporary bedrooms with a choice of deluxe rooms, including 24 suites, all equipped with high speed internet and 49”inch LED TVs. Dining options include the ‘Bombay Urban Cafe’ restaurant with its lavish, fine dining ambiance. There is also a business lounge for busy executives.

A well-appointed meeting room with a capacity up to 20 – 25 guests ensures all business meetings can be handled with ease. Guests can benefit from complimentary access to the hotel’s health and leisure facilities, take a dip in the swimming pool on the deck while sipping fresh juices amidst Dubai’s panoramic skyline view. Accessible 7 days a week, guests can keep fit with gym equipment, weights, sauna and steam room.

Centrally located in Al Barsha, across the street and a minute away from Sharaf DG Metro station, and adjacent to Sheikh Zayed Road, guests can have a warm and relaxing haven to stay in. With its calming ambiance mixed with intriguing design elements, guests are in for a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Rose International Hotels Management continues to strengthen its portfolio with a focus on acquiring and managing properties. Since 2006, the group has been in the forefront of the development of luxurious commercial properties across key locations in UAE & Oman. The group has about six more hotel properties in the pipeline with around 687 keys, which will be delivered before Dubai Expo 2020. These are being developed in Science Park, Al Barsha, Sheikh Zayed Road, Jaddaf, Bur Dubai and in Oman – Ruwi.

 

#travel #hospitality #TravelJunkie #TravelTheWorld #wanderlust #globalista #wanderer #explore #discover #travel addict #destinations #adventure #GoingPlaces #aircraft #ShereenShabnam #Tourist #LuxuryTravel #Planespotters #TravellingIslander #TravelDiary #Fijian #AmazingPlaces #TravellingFijian #Globetrotter #SeeTheWorld #flight #Traveller#OffTheBeatenTrack #Shereen_Shabnam

 

Pearl of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik, Croatia

By Shereen Shabnam

Dubrovnik in Croatia is a city for all seasons and one of the world’s most prominent tourist destinations. Surrounded by unique medieval ramparts, Dubrovnik attracts visitors for its rich history, mild climate, traditional hospitality and its many festivals, open-air events and architectural treasures.

I explored Dubrovnik, a UNESCO registered protected world heritage site during the evening and in the day taking in the charm of bustling streets, art and different cultural events.

Walking along the promenade during the day meant coming across various art and artefacts on sale as well as live music performances. The open air performances add character to the different areas of the old town classical and jazz music and brings rhythm and charm into an already dazzling atmosphere.

While wandering through the markets, we toured the filming location of the ‘Game of Thrones’ television series and enjoyed some retail therapy of the related merchandise for fans back in the UAE.

The best part of Dubrovnik was exploring the old city, which had interesting markets, art galleries and city walls with fortresses offering beautiful views of the city, the open sea and the Island of Lokrum.

For panoramic views of Dubrovnik, visitors can take the cable car and set out on a scenic adventure that includes breathtaking views of the old town and enjoy the sunset. Make time to head to the Island of Lokrum and Elaphiti Islands or visit the Trsteno Arboretum, which is a protected monument of nature.

Dubrovnik is a great destination for adventure sports or active tourists who enjoy horse riding, hiking, cycling or sailing. A jeep safari or a canoe tour is also an interesting way to explore the area.

Dubrovnik was a gastronomic delight with an abundance of fresh and delectable food, often seasoned with olive oil. Try the naturally grown vegetables like courgettes, cabbage, aubergines tomatoes as well as seafood prepared in a simple way.

I had a full day exploring the old town and came across a Salvador Dali exhibition, which was an unexpected delight. Visitors who enjoy experience centres will enjoy The Cultural History Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Archeological Museum exhibition at Fortress Revelin, the Dubrovnik Natural Science Museum and the Dubrovnik State Archives.

The natural scenery in the area and panoramic views of the coast on the way to the old town in Dubrovnik were definitely some of the most memorable moments in Croatia.  I am already planning my next venture into the land of fortresses and medieval architecture.

Turkish Airlines recently added Dubrovnik, Croatia to its expanding network with three weekly flights for visitors intending to explore this beautiful city.

 

#travel #hospitality #TravelJunkie #TravelTheWorld #wanderlust #globalista #wanderer #explore #discover #travel addict #destinations #adventure #GoingPlaces #aircraft #ShereenShabnam #Tourist #LuxuryTravel #Planespotters #TravellingIslander #TravelDiary #Fijian #AmazingPlaces #TravellingFijian #Globetrotter #SeeTheWorld #flight #Traveller#OffTheBeatenTrack #Shereen_Shabnam

 

Buckle Up with Burberry

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Introducing The Buckle Eyewear Collection – the new collection of Burberry sunglasses and optical frames, detailed with a distinctive gold- tone buckle, inspired by design elements from our signature trench coat.

Featuring a distinctive gold-tone buckle, The Buckle Eyewear Collection is available in a colour palette that references the many shades and textures of The Patchwork by juxtaposing solid colours with different coloured tortoiseshells. The Collection features sunglasses in square, cat-eye and round shapes, with opticals in square and round, both with the distinct buckle as the focal point of design.

DIESEL FALL/WINTER 2017 MAIN COLLECTION

The raw energy of 90s alternative rock heads upstate this season for a camping trip with a difference.

“Fall Winter is about the energy of grunge in the forest at night time,” explains Diesel Artistic Director Nicola Formichetti. “The spirit of rock ’n’ roll is nocturnal and being surrounded by nature after dark can be a strange experience. A lot of crazy things can happen.”

Styled in a mismatched way, plastic raincoats are worn with silky dresses, whilst stripes and checks are clashed with polka dots and flower prints. The shiny and new is paired with the well-loved – and perfectly ‘destroyed’ denim.

Blue is the key colour for jeans. There are six new washes for men and eleven for women, from the premium Slow Indigo, crafted using artisan techniques to super soft JoggJeans.

Iconic striped grunge knits are transformed by incorporating lace, an element of the precious, whilst characteristic rock leathers, signature zips and knit beanies appear throughout the collection.

The feel of American vintage is present through trucker style, from shearling trimmed jackets to classic red-and-black plaid, alongside elements of uniform and utility.

Patches on classic military bombers, parkas and capes are taken from the Diesel archive, reworking codes of the past and paying tribute to Diesel heritage.

Slip-on style S-KBY footwear is lightweight, flexible and breathable, with a camo-knit upper in both men’s and women’s variations.

Iconic Lisa Corti

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Lisa Corti designs things that she experiences and feels during her many trips around the world: the connection with India, which has been with her forever, her memories of Africa, but also her eastern fascination with China and Japan and her love for Milan and Italian Renaissance art, a passion she has always worn on her sleeve.

Her home collection Spring Summer 2017 is a nod to China, a vintage feel and timeless classicism in perfect Lisa Corti style. Floral and geometric designs create worlds built on stories of lands that are far away but instantly recognisable.

The colours are intense and remain vivid in the memory. They speak of Lisa Corti, but also capture the essence of contemporary style in her Home collection for spring summer 2017.

The new collection offers four new designs, in line with her best tradition, in a myriad of multi-coloured, ultra-fine textile solutions for the home, all hand-printed.

The Damask design has been a must in many collections: Lisa Corti has presented a new take on its faraway origins that date back to ancient China and reach as far as Italy in the sixteenth century, giving it a light feel by adding stylised flowers and endowing it with a chromatic contrast created between the lines and the background.

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For the new collection it goes back to its roots and in the design Chinese Spring, in the two versions Geranio and Mustard, it creates a trait d’union between East and West, between damask fabrics and velvety, multi-coloured silks.

The Camelia design is inspired by a water lily, decorated with spiral shapes that bring movement to the composition. Another flower, with a strong Oriental taste and a sacred symbol for Hinduism and Buddhism, is presented in Ninphea.

Geometric, a vintage print, kept in the brand’s archives up until now gets a new lease of life. The ethereal aquatic flower is set alongside a series of rhombuses that define the fields of colour.

Instead, the Acanto Escher design combines two drawings of the garment collection into one, causing fragile acanthus and geometric patterns inspired by contemporary graphics to interact in perfect harmony – in the best Lisa Corti tradition.

The best-selling pieces by the Milanese designer, including her mezzeri, mandalas, quilts, curtains and canvases, are joined by a new limited edition summer gudri, made of organza, which is lighter and cooler, a fine, shiny fabric ideal for the summer season. An even more prestigious double-faced version juxtaposes a plain edge with the floral print in the centre.

The new ideas for spring summer 2017 also include an accessory for the table. The Camelia design is back, printed on an American mat in masonite enhanced by a gold leaf applied by hand. The new Lisa Corti Spring Summer Home collection represents tradition and also a new style – one that is always timeless and iconic, as only Lisa Corti can be.

British Polo Day celebrates its 9th event in Dubai at the Al Habtoor Polo Club & Resort

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Friday 24th March 2017: British Polo Day, presented by RJI Capital, returned to Dubai for its 9th event. The British Polo Day 2017 Series was launched in style with Bear Grylls throwing the first ball of 2017, but British Polo Day began in Dubai in 2009, in partnership with Habtoor Polo. This was the first time that the event was held at the fabulous new St. Regis Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. Some 450 guests and VIPs including Khalaf Al Habtoor, Mohammed Habtoor, Mr Ghazi Al Madani Paddy Meade, 8th Earl of Clanwilliam , and Randle Siddeley, 4th Baron Kenilworth came together to celebrate the best of UAE and British traditions.

The UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and HRH The Prince of Wales in October 2016, with the aims of increasing the visibility of the UK in the UAE and vice versa in order to give greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance to the long-standing relationship between the two nations. The unique cultural programme has been initiated to strengthen existing relationships and broker new ones between people, institutions and businesses.

The British Polo Days in the UAE provide such a platform, with the best of British and the UAE on display, with Harrods, Bentley, Royal Salute and Hackett all supporting. There was also a chance to introduce the new British Polo Day global partner, Chelsea Barracks, the exceptional new neighborhood development incorporating 5 new garden squares in Belgravia, London, to the guests. Other new partners included VistaJet and YPI Luxury Yachts, further cementing the British Polo Day community.

The event kicked off with a Cavalry v Guards Camel Polo display, a sport that has its biggest annual showcase at British Polo Day. Next followed a bicycle polo demonstration, a sport played in the Olympics over 100 years ago, with players from the regiments of Cavalry and Guards competing in Bentley and St. Regis Dubai Polo Resort and Club Teams respectively for The Thesiger Trophy.

Mohammed Al Habtoor, Chairman of the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club said: “It is wonderful to see British Polo Day here at our Polo resort and Club. I was very happy to take part in the forming of this event back in 2009 with my Habtoor Polo organization. I am always glad to see the British Polo Day team come back to Dubai and now I am especially honored to welcome them to our brand new and excellent facilities.

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At 3.15 pm, Stuart Wrigley captained the Oxbridge team, sponsored by Chelsea Barracks, against the Gulf team, sponsored by Vista Jet. RJI Gulf beat Chelsea Barracks with 8 ½ goals to 6.

British Polo Day Dubai’s official prize giving ceremony saw the winning teams collecting the bespoke-commissioned British Silverware British Polo Day trophies presented by Richard Oakes from Chelsea Barracks, James Houghton of British Silverware, and Mr Ghazi Al Madani. The agile Don Juan, ridden by Guillermo Cuitino, was named Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Best Playing Pony’ by Marc de Panafieu, Brand Director for Middle East.

This completed the British Polo Day UAE events, and everyone is eagerly awaiting the 10th British Polo Day Dubai in 2018.

*British Polo Day Abu Dhabi took place on

Saturday 18th March at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club

The event is presented by RJI Capital, and partnered with Royal Salute, Harrods, Bentley, Chelsea Barracks, VistaJet, YPI Yachts, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Hackett London, Justerini & Brooks, Charles Russell Speechlys, Nyetimber, British Silverware, True Luxury Travel, InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Clinova, Taylor Morris Eyewear, DR Harris, Floris, Cassabo and Brompton.

 

The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club to Host British Polo Day

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The recently-opened St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club will play host to British Polo Day on Friday 24 March 2017. The hotel, which has just opened will welcome 500+ polo enthusiasts at the event.

The Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, located in the heart of Dubailand is a luxury lifestyle destination which is devoted to equine sports. There are stables for more than 500 horses, a veterinary clinic, a polo club and academy, and a riding school offering multiples disciplines including polo, dressage, show jumping and traditional horseback riding.

The centerpiece of the resort is the five-star St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, an Andalusian-style hotel, comprising of 151 guest rooms including 30 suites and 25 St. Regis branded villas. The hotel features an exquisite range of culinary experiences inspired by global themes and influences. There are a range of indoor and al fresco dining options including Andalucia – offering flavours of the Mediterranean, The Grill Pit steakhouse, Taperia – a Tapas bar and restaurant overlooking the polo fields, St. Regis Polo Bar – a sports bar, Equestrian Lounge and the soon-to-open Oasis pool side restaurant.

The hotel marks the legendary brand’s first ever equestrian-inspired resort worldwide – reinforcing Dubai’s standing within the global polo circuit and the St. Regis’s rich polo history, which dates back to the Astor period. The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club is ideally placed within close proximity to Dubai’s main touristic attractions. The resort is designed around four international-standard polo fields.

This weekend also marks an exclusive invitation to the resorts neighbours to a Neighbourhood Cocktail & Canapé Event on Thursday 23 March 2017. Nearby residents will get the chance to view the facilities and experience the St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club’s bespoke hospitality while enjoying the Sport of Kings.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Founding Chairman, Al Habtoor Group – the developer of luxury lifestyle destinations in Dubai, said, “We welcome the local community with open arms. This event will give them the opportunity to experience our latest luxury development in Dubai. The resort exudes relaxation and elegance, while at the same time it showcases some of the world’s best polo.”

The Neighbourhood Cocktail & Canapé Event will take place on Thursday 22 March 2017 from 4:40-7pm.

Residents from nearby communities should RSVP to:

Tel: (04) 435 4414

Email: joanne.madriaga@stregis.com

Picturesque landscapes – New Zealand

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New Zealand has to be one of my top five destinations not because it is on the way home for me when I travel back to Fiji Islands but the terrain truly is breathtaking. From spectacular glaciers, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hillsides, subtropical forests, volcanic plateaus to miles of coastline with beautiful sandy beaches.

New Zealand has two main islands, the North Island and the South Island and many smaller islands lie offshore. The country enjoys varied landscape and dramatic geographical features and is a popular location for tourists as well as the production of TV programmes and films, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

Maori Culture is an integral part of New Zealand society. Perhaps the most well known piece of Maori culture is the Haka, a Maori war dance that is performed at many important events, including before each All Blacks game of rugby. It is captivating and one of the things we look forward to during the Dubai Rugby 7s.

Like Fiji, Maori culture has roots in the Polynesian islands but Maori natives have their own particular style developed over centuries. Maori people still consider family and community to be paramount and aspects of this can be found in their art, music, dance and dress. Maori men and women are known to tattoo their faces and bodies with beautiful intricate patterns throughout history.

Nature has blessed New Zealand with some spectacular geothermal areas and relaxing hot springs, as well as providing electricity and heating in some areas. Rotorua is the centre of geothermal tourist activity, with plenty of mud pools, geysers, and hot springs in its active thermal areas–not to mention its trademark ‘Sulphur City’ smell.

First settled by Maori who used the hot springs for cooking and bathing, Rotorua soon attracted European residents. The reputed health benefits of its hot pools quickly earned the area the name of ‘Cureland’.

In addition to Rotorua, you can enjoy hot springs and other thermal activity in most regions of the North Island north of Turangi, as well as in Hanmer Springs and the West Coast in the South Island. The sandy beaches on the coast are perfect for swimming, surfing and sunbathing.

If you love nature, visit the Abel Tasman National Park to explore the most beautiful beaches, bays and lush forests NZ has to offer.  The Abel Tasman is quite like paradise and New Zealand’s only coastal national park. Enjoy long stretches of deserted golden beaches, turquoise clear waters with a fantastic variety of adventure activities.

For extreme adventure, adrenaline attractions are plenty in New Zealand. You can leap from an airplane for a sky diving experience, get dropped off by a helicopter on unique and rugged terrain and ski the slopes at a dizzying altitude, jump off a bridge or suspension pod attached only by a bungy cord to your ankles, or ride the Nelson Fly by Wire reaching speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour.

New Zealand’s Southern Alps have a number of glaciers, the largest being Tasman glacier, which you can view by taking a short walk from Mount Cook village. New Zealand’s most famous glaciers are the Franz Josef and Fox on the South Island’s west coast.

Health resorts and spas are ideal for spiritual retreats, rejuvenation, beauty treatments or as a getaway to improve your health and well being and New Zealand has plenty of these on both main islands.

If you are in Auckland, drive or take the ferry from Auckland City to historic Devonport, explore the naval caves at North Head, and admire the city view. Spend some time at Cheltenham or Devonport Beach. Browse through the boutique shops and cafes and visit the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, the official museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

If you have kids, they may enjoy the Kelly Tarltons SEALIFE Aquarium. An all-weather visitor attraction, you can see the world’s largest penguin colony, over 30 exhibits and more than 80 different marine species.

For a self-guided tour of Auckland City, visit the Aotea Square, which is used for a myriad of activities including festivals, parades and community events. Auckland’s newest waterfront neighbourhood Wynyard Quarter provides free activities for families in the weekends and school holidays as well.

Weather in New Zealand can change unexpectedly. As New Zealand observes daylight saving, during summer months daylight can last up until 9.30pm. Which can be a good thing, as you do need more hours in the day to explore the many attractions New Zealand has to offer.