As the pan began to bubble and beads of sweat formed on my hairline, I looked down doubtfully at the assembled ingredients bobbing around in creamy white suspension. With me at the helm, were these lentils and spices really going to turn into something resembling the rich, velvety dhals I’d been mopping up for breakfast with coconut roti the last few days?
Torrential rain greeted me in Verbier, Switzerland, in late January, at the launch of a new range of ski clothing boasting a flagship jacket for just £115 - perhaps appropriately, since a wave is at the very core of adventure-fashion brand Gandys. Gandys founders, Rob and Paul Forkan, together with a third brother, Mattie, and sister Rosie, then children aged eight to 17, were orphaned in the Boxing Day 2004 Asian tsunami while on holiday in Sri Lanka, and were themselves fortunate to survive. This ordeal ultimately inspired the brothers to set up Gandys. Pointing at the brand logo, embossed in gold foil on a leather patch on his ski jacket, Rob said, “Few people notice the wavy line crossing the A in the logo.” It’s a nod to the wave that changed the course of the Forkan family’s lives, and led to Rob and Paul (now 32 and 30 respectively) starting Gandys in 2012, both in memory of their years of family travels, and to benefit other orphans, which they do through their Orphans for Orphans charitable foundation. Gandys started with flip flops in 2012, and its ethically-focused range now includes clothing and travel accessories such as backpacks as well as the new Verbier Blue ski collection. In tandem with this the brothers have developed four Gandys Kids Campuses around the world, where orphans gain shelter, education, medication and nutrition – 10 per cent of all Gandys’ proceeds go to the project.
With the coronavirus outbreak showing little sign of slowing, cruise lines are abandoning Asia and sending their ships to different parts of the world. Some have even cancelled all trips in the region until the end of the year. Cruise Lines International Association – which represents around 90 per cent of global capacity – says 10 of its 272 member ships were due to be sailing around Japan and China as the outbreak took hold. This year, 10 per cent of ships worldwide were scheduled to be deployed in Asia, compared to 32 per cent in the Caribbean and 28 per cent in Europe. In the past week the two biggest cruise companies, Carnival Corporation (parent company of Princess Cruises, P Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Seabourn) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, and part owner of Silversea), offered warnings about the impact that coronavirus could have on their financial performances. Furthermore, Royal Caribbean Cruises said the impact was beginning to be felt beyond Asia. It said: “While the early impact due to concerns about the coronavirus is mainly related to Asia, recent bookings for our broader business have also been softer. If the travel restrictions and concerns over the outbreak continue for an extended period of time, they could materially impact the company’s overall financial performance.”
Entering into the spirit of things, I succumbed and let my ski butler help me squeeze into my ski boots. He had, after all, already brought a coffee with my helmet and gloves and placed my skis on the piste one storey above us, so refusing further assistance seemed churlish.
Investment in multi-million-pound lift systems, ambitions for extended ski areas and plans to become to the biggest and the best – these criteria might seem to be the top priorities when opening a brand new ski resort.
Copenhagen is ideal for a family city break, with lots of ways to keep children entertained, from funfair rides at Tivoli to wildlife at Copenhagen Zoo and the Blue Planet. Outdoors, there are beaches and harbour pools; indoors, museums have hands-on exhibits and dressing-up boxes. Many hotels are family-friendly, with connecting rooms, children’s menus and assorted activities, especially during the holidays when a number of them convert meeting rooms into temporary playrooms. Here’s our pick of the best family-friendly hotels in Copenhagen.
There were loud cheers from the packed sundeck as we cruised to a new world record in the Caribbean. We had just taken part in the largest multi-location marriage vow renewal and we had the Guinness World Record seal of approval to boot. On three love boats, 1,443 couples gathered together on February 11 to declare their enduring love. It might not have been the most intimate or even romantic ceremonies but it was filled with genuinely warm Caribbean joy and happiness. With young and old, straight and gay couples taking part, it was exactly the scenario that would qualify for Wet Wet Wet’s iconic ‘Love is All Around’ soundtrack. Gavin MacLeod – Captain Stubing on the 1970s and 1980s American TV show The Love Boat – officiated on Regal Princess with co-star Jill Whelan as maid of honour. First MacLeod read out lines for the men to say, then Jill read the women’s lines to recite in union as we stood on the deck. And it was hot! The 4pm ceremony took place simultaneously on Regal Princess, sister ships Royal Princess and Crown Princess, all at sea in the Caribbean as the sun beat down. My husband Nick and I were on Regal Princess with couples who have been married for decades and those like us with fewer years on the clock. We weren’t the only Brits onboard but we were heavily outnumbered by the mostly American passengers – although one Australian couple had only been married an hour before, in the ship’s wedding chapel, when they took their vows again.
Lucky Napoleon, who was born in Ajaccio in 1769, for his hometown is delightful, framed by low hills and sandy beaches, graced with a picture-perfect harbour, and full of quaint squares and streets dotted with tempting sights, shops and restaurants. Charming and easy-going, it mingles hints of Italy – the Genovese having ruled Corsica for four centuries – with a dash of France and plenty of the island’s own appealing flavour.
When passengers boarded Diamond Princess in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on January 20, they were looking forward to a two-week dream cruise to China, Vietnam, Taiwan and back to Japan. The ship is described as a “treasure trove of exceptional delights waiting to be discovered”. Guests were invited to “dine on freshly prepared sashimi in Kai Sushi, watch street performers in the dazzling atrium, or take in a lavish production show in our state-of-the-art theatre. And for a unique treat visit the Izumi Japanese Bath, the largest of its kind at sea.” The ship is “truly your home away from home”, according to Princess. But as the cruise is nearing its end, an 80-year-old guest who disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25 tests positive for coronavirus on February 1. Diamond Princess, carrying 2,666 guests – half of them from Japan – and 1,045 crew, returned to Yokohama a day early, on February 3. Here’s what happened next: Day 1: Tuesday February 4 The next eight-day sailing of Diamond Princess is cancelled after Japanese health inspectors ask for 24 hours to check all guests and crew.
Punta del Este has grown from tiny fishing village to somewhat obscure global conference town to major beach resort in the space of five decades. While the main centre and beaches are a sort of Brighton-meets-Nice for middle-class Argentines, out of town are the cooler spots of La Barra and José Ignacio, as well as some interesting galleries, estancias and other attractions.
The hotel scene in DC is slowly shaking off its staid, corporate image, thanks to a slew of interesting openings: first, there was The LINE DC, a hipster design hotel in trendy Adams Morgan. Eaton DC, an 'activist hotel' campaigning for social change, soon followed. The latest property to join the fold is Riggs Washington DC, a new boutique offering from the hospitality group behind Sea Containers London and The Pulitzer Amsterdam.
The heel and spur of the Italian boot is a region of extremes, of verdant valleys and windswept plains, of gentle hills and plunging ravines. Its 500-mile-long coastline is by turns rocky, marshy, sandy; its three seas turquoise, indigo, green. Equally varied are Puglia’s boutique hotels – intimate, exclusive, often family-run places that range from medieval castles and convents to contemporary design hotels, and from hacienda-style farms to Baroque palaces and elegant historic homes. The only constant is the warmth of southern-Italian hospitality. Here's our pick of the best boutique hotels in Italy.
Sandwiched between London and the Channel, Kent is rarely recognised as a destination in itself like Devon or Cornwall. However, the Garden of England offers bucolic countryside dotted with inviting medieval pubs, characterful seaside towns like Whitstable and Margate, and the historic city of Canterbury to boot. This blend of rural charm, coastal nostalgia and urban interest is bound together by Kent’s burgeoning reputation as a foodie epicentre and its eclectic spa offerings. Here, you can be massaged with organic products in a rustic potting shed, enjoy a romantic couples treatment in a seaside hotel or splash out on a wellness weekend in a grand destination spa hotel. Here's our pick of the best spa hotels in Kent.
Despite its grandiose architecture and relatively vast dimensions, the Russian capital is an engaging destination for family visits. The infrastructure has improved greatly in recent years, with restaurants offering family-friendly brunches, discounts at museums, and hotels improving their family amenities. As well as family rooms, the following hotels often also offer high chairs, children’s meals and extra beds, the occasional swimming pool, discounts, and concierge tips. Some are also well located, close to parks or other family-friendly locations. Here's our pick of the best family-friendly hotels in Moscow.
Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it? Having an eagle with a 2.5m wing span and razor-sharp beak, one of nature’s finest killing machines, follow you as you try to ski down a mountain.
Oh please. Not another hyena! Briefly, the cluster of vehicles raised your hopes. But now, as your safari guide pulls over to watch the scavenger tucking into an impala carcass, you lower your camera and sink back down with a sigh.
Modern goggles are superb, offering incredible clarity of vision and improved definition that unquestionably improves snow sports in the mountains. Developments in optics mean the lenses can make a big difference in challenging conditions, like those dreaded flat-light days.
It’s too far. Doesn’t it get really cold there? Why go all that way for a week when you could just go to the Alps? Just some of the comments and questions that came up whenever I said I wanted to ski in Canada.
The southern-Italian region of Puglia brags the most extensive coastline in all Italy and sweeping plains studded with some 60 million olive trees; many are said to date back to Antiquity when this area was part of Magna Graecia. With its sun-drenched climate and abundant natural resources, the area celebrates the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet, and its hotel Spas offer treatments and beauty products that exploit olive oil, sea water, and the fruits of its fertile land. Here's our pick of the best spa hotels in Puglia.
Rome has been around for almost three thousand years and yet carries all that weight of history with a dolce vita lightness of heart. Indeed, there are few cities so inextricably tied to a work of cinema as Rome is to Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic “La Dolce Vita”, which celebrates 60 years since its release on February 5th. Fellini both captured and defined the insouciant yet brooding atmosphere of the Eternal City in its post-war heydey, depicting its weary romance on screen and giving it a name that has become part of Rome’s identity.
This week brings a major milestone for Italian cinema. Wednesday (Feb 5) marks the 60th anniversary of La Dolce Vita, the most famous film of Federico Fellini, the country’s greatest director. How to salute this big-screen genius? Perhaps a long weekend in Rimini (visit-rimini.com). A four-night stay at the four-star Mercure Rimini Lungomare, flying from Stansted to Bologna on April 23, costs from £180pp (lastminute.com).
The uniform sandstone of the Haussmann buildings, the abundance of gilded historic monuments, and the glimmering Seine and its elegant bridges have arguably made Paris the most recognisable and romanticised cityscape in the world. But though the city wears its history – of monarchy, revolution, revolt and artistic innovation – with characteristic style, it is also increasingly looking to the future and outwards to the rest of the world.
This small, picturesque city is the main settlement on Chiloé, an archipelago of verdant, rolling topography that has its own distinctive history ever since colonial times. Population centres are few and far between south of the Chilean lake district and Castro is an opportunity to see one of the country’s oldest cities and enjoy a coffee/pisco sour, lunch and see a few sights – notably, the region’s churches.
Antigua is one of the world’s more accessible paradise islands – there are daily eight-hour flights from the UK. A lush verdant interior, scattered with colourful villages and churches, gives way to pristine sandy beaches and startling blue sea. When you tire of the sun lounger you can explore historical sites, such as Nelson’s Dockyard – the world’s only working Georgian dockyard – and Betty’s Hope, a picturesque restored sugar mill. Adrenaline junkies will enjoy zip-wiring through rainforest or taking kite-surfing lessons, while those looking for complete relaxation can enjoy sea-facing sunrise yoga, or gentle hikes on fragrant headlands. Relish the opportunity to swim with stingrays and snorkel with turtles, and when you get hungry you can eat conch fritters from roadside shacks or lobster salad at a gourmet restaurant. Whether you choose an high-end all-inclusive resort or a laid-back local b&b;, you’ll be sure to find a friendly welcome.