Travel

Cabo San Lucas

Santiago Travel December 10, 2017

By Anya Labonville

Cabo San Lucas thrives as a popular destination for many Californians who live in close proximity to San Diego, as well as many other beach goers from around the world. It’s easy to see why Cabo is a popular vacation spot. As one of Mexicos top five vacation destinations with its favorable climate, blue skies, clear, turquoise water, top resorts and festive atmosphere. One of the natural wonders of Cabo is El Arco, “The Arch.” These rock formations, with circular holes in the center, are majestic rock formations conceived from granite through which you can see a stunning gateway into the southern most tip of Baja California. Historically, it served as a landmark that was vital navigation for Spanish mariners. Today it serves as natural protection for the barrier reef making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

The Cabo San Lucas yachting Marina is one of the top tourist destinations. It can accommodate yachts up to 375 feet with a total of 370 slips available. This amenity makes it popular with those in love of a mega-yacht lifestyle, sailing, and sport fishing. The marina serves as a fully-operational boatyard with the necessary conveniences to appease vacationers such as water pump services, modern fuel docks with high speed pumps and a wide array of services for the disposable of owners, guests, crews and captains. The areas in and around Cabo offer some of the best deep sea fishing in the world and is home to very competitive sport fishing and tournaments. One of the biggest tournaments in Cabo is Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Tournament. This tournament has been around for 35 years now and has had the largest prize money payout in sport fishing history totalling over four million dollars.

If sport fishing isnt something of interest, however, Cabo also offers some of the most breathtaking sunsets, making sunset cruises a big attraction to indulge in. I was personally on one of these cruises with a group of friends for an exclusive event. As the sun melted away into stunning hues of pinks, oranges, and purples, we danced away while sipping on some of the best margaritas. If cruises and fishing arent of interest, there is an array of beautiful golf courses that surround the area to take advantage of too.

For something for the whole family to enjoy, hop on a panga fishing boat and head out to Cabo’s most famous natural feature, the Arch. “El Arco” is part of a formation known as the Three Friars, which make up the peninsula’s very southern tip, Land’s End. On one side you will experience the Pacific Ocean in all its grandeur and on the other side is the start of the Sea of Cortez. Expect to see crowds of people and cruise ships whilst enjoying the majestic rocks, keep your eyes peeled for pelicans and sea lions too. During early October through to late March, you may even be lucky enough to catch the annual migration of gray whales which bring thousands of these magical creatures to shallow lagoons around the Baja Peninsula. Some only go as far as Laguna Ojo de Liebre, far north, but many go all the way to the Sea of Cortez side and pass right by Cabo San Lucas.  There is also the Cabo Pulmo, a Mexican National Marine Park and home to the most breathtaking coral reefs. This would require a full day trip from Cabo, but certainly worth it!

 

 

 

The area surrounding the marina is bursting with vitality with amazing culinary offerings, shopping, and a vibrant nightlife and music scene as far as entertainment goes. Two of the most famous nightlife venues are Cabo Wabo and Squid Roe. Cabo Wabo’s festive atmosphere and live music make it a fun venue for spring breakers and regular vacationers alike to dance the night away and get a taste of the Mexican party scene. It encumbers a joie de vivre and an easy going vibe familiar to indigenous Mexicans. Squid Roe is also a local favorite that features live music and shows, and bottles of tequila with photos from the night are a souvenir available for purchase and make for funny souvenirs to bring home.

One of my personal favourite activities in Cabo is horseback riding on the beach and the horseback riding excursions that are available through the mountains. The tour begins on an operational Mexican Rancho, where the guide takes you up through the back trails where the apex is a heavenly view of Cabo and the ocean. You get to see a whole different view of Cabo in terms of scenery and vegetation with its sandy trails and an array of unique cactuses unlike anywhere else in the world.

As far as food goes, Cabo has an excellent array of tantalizing delicacies and flavours that accompany the dishes. One of the reasons the cuisine in Cabo is so rich with flavour is that Southern Baja happens to be one of the largest exporters of vegetables and herbs. One of my favourite foods that I think is a must for people to try is huitlacoche, which is dubbed the Mexican truffle. The flavour is bold and rich and deviates from regular truffle flavour. The fish tacos in Cabo are unlike any other tacos I’ve had, particularly at the restaurant Tacos Gardenias. Another is Almejas Chocolatas, known as Chocolate Clams in English this exquisite shellfish is cooked in a stone bed covered by a regional herb called “romerito.” In light of the aforementioned aspects of Cabo, what in fact keeps me coming back is the warm, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere of the Mexican people and their culture.

My St. Moritz

Santiago Travel December 10, 2017

By Alexandra Shishlova

 

St. Moritz is one of the most well-known and prestigious skiing resorts in the world. It is located in the Swiss Alps, in the valley called Engadin. It is the “Top of the World”, where the gleaming sun shines 322 days out of the year. From 1930, the emblem of St. Moritz has become the sun. The stable sunny weather, the immovable snow cover, which is 1800 metres above sea level, as well as the clear air, is comparable to dry champagne. This is one of the only holiday destinations which took part in the Winter Olympic Games not only in 1928, but again in 1948.

In my family, a tradition exists. On Christmas and New Year’s you will always find us in St. Moritz, a place which is able to amaze even those who find it challenging to be amazed. In this winter fairytale, I live in a palace, known as Badrutt’s Palace. It is a luxurious and splendid castle, which became the symbol of not only a prestigious resort, but also a symbol of a shocking grandeur of the Swiss Alps. The wooden ceilings are manually made and threaded. Gothic arches, marble floors, walls decorated with paintings made by famous artists, including Raphael. His work adorns one of the halls of the first floor, “Le Grand Hall”, which deserves a special mention. It is the heart of the hotel. The ample lobby is perfect for grabbing a coffee or having an appetising meal with friends after a long ski-day or a tiring walk around the fantastic lake.

During the winter season sounds of live music are heard from the hall every evening. The Chocolate Cult is the exhibition of all chocolate products which are on display to try. My favourite is to drink tea made from the Alpine herbs and enjoy one of the gorgeous chocolate creations. Whenever we arrive to this hotel, it gives us a sense of arriving home. Every year, the people that come here gather together like a substantial family because every year we all reunite, here at Badrutt Palace. This has become our family tradition for every Christmas and New Year’s Eve. St Moritz offers the best New Year’s Eve party that I have ever been to in my entire life. We are surprised with a different theme every year and the dress code is strict black tie, which makes the party seem like an unforgettable fairytale.

St. Moritz is celebrated for its exotic winter entertainment, the Golf Championship, which is on a frozen lake with red swords, skiing behind a horse. Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz is also one of the most sociable events of the calendar year. The most expensive type of equestrian sport is called The White Turf, which, for almost a hundred years now, annually gathers people of the highest class at the beginning of February. At this particular event, there are the best horses of Europe as well as the best jockeys.

 

St. Moritz has over a hundred restaurants and bars, where one can dine and delight in a variety of different cuisines from all around the world. I love La Marmite on the slopes of Corviglia – its owner is Reto Mathis, a man who does not stop surprising me with his unusual yet mouth-watering mix of foods. In his menu there are always dishes with truffles as well as a delicacy such as black caviar. Another cozy place is known as Chesa Veglia. It is a restaurant situated in a building from the 18th century, which is the former museum of a painter called Giovanni Segantini. It is a delicious and fashionable restaurant.

Shopping in St. Moritz is diverse as it includes brands from all over the world. After I finish shopping my friends and I love the Swiss fondue and raclette with a glass of red wine. I also love to go sledding along the route called Preda-Bergun with other friends on holiday. This route is 5 kilometres and passes the picturesque stone bridge Albula and is protected by UNESCO. At the end of the descent, a special scoreboard will inform you the speed you were racing at.

The atmosphere of St Moritz can be described as that of celebratory and chic. There is everything you could wish for and more. From the best spas to the best nightclubs, all varieties to suit your different tastes. What makes St Moritz particularly special is that, whilst there is an exciting nightlife, it is also a great place to spend time with your loving family. It is a traditional place, contradicting the atmosphere of Courchevel. In my opinion, there is not enough family-time experiences in Courchevel. I love the traditions and rituals that come with being in St Moritz. Leaving, I always buy traditional pies with nuts in the confectioner’s shop called Houser. Another delicacy I must not forget to mention is a red tangerine covered in sugar-icing, this is one of my favourite.

St. Moritz is often compared to Monaco, people say it is like Monaco if it was in the mountains. Instead of traditional wooden chalets, which are spotted all over Courchevel, St. Moritz amazes people with its palace architecture, classical Engadin houses and the famous works of Sir Norman Foster including the environmentally sensitive and unique residences of Chesa Futura and The Murezzan. Top of the World” is St. Moritz. To visit this place in Switzerland means to dip into a real winter paradise on Earth. My love for St. Moritz is forever ongoing. I surely do not see myself visiting any other ski resorts, apart from St. Moritz ever again for Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

From Sochi with Love

Santiago Travel December 10, 2017

By Ksenia Mezentseva

 

For centuries Sochi was Russia and the Soviet Union’s “hottest” resort and relaxation spot. Tsar Nicholas II came here for hunting trips and Stalin had a dacha (summer house) here and encouraged a massive construction of spa/wellness centers, many of which are still operating today. Its location makes it truly a unique place where, within 40 minutes, you can enjoy sunny beaches of the Black Sea and the newly built snowy ski slopes of Krasnaya Polyana (Red Valley) in the Caucasus Mountains.

 

Until 2007, Sochi has not attracted much of the globe-trotters attention, but once it got the Olympic bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympic games, things have changed. The nearly $12 billion investment put Sochi on the global map, making it Russia’s hot spot for summer and winter getaways.

Today Krasnaya Polyana area with almost 100km of ski slopes and several ski resorts, including the trendiest Roza Khutor, is the most popular winter destination in Russia. You can ski, wine, dine and party as well – sometimes even better than in many European resorts.

This winter on January 31st – February 3rd Sochi will host the 2nd IKRA Culinary Festival that is an exciting and delicious event to visit. The line-up of world-renowned chefs this year is quite impressive – Virgilio Martinez from Lima’s Central, Esben Holmboe Bang from Oslo’s Maaemo, Mauro Colagreco from Mirazur in Menton along with famous Russian chefs who will cook exclusive dinners, host master classes and lectures. The organisers are also promising exciting concerts, performances and parties.

#toSTAY

Roza Khutor Radisson in Red Valley

Mercury in Red Valley

Grand Hotel Polyana

 

 

#toEAT

Alaska. Located next to the Olympia lift, Alaska is a great spot for lunch. Juicy burgers, famous grilled chicken and shawarmas are accompanied by a great wine list and even the occasional dancing on tables.

Baran – Rapan. One of Sochi’s main gastronomic meccas. The chef collects local unique recipes and presents them with a modern twist. Worth the trip to Sochi if you are staying in the mountains.

Chicha Bar. A second location of the trendy Peruvian spot in Moscow. Come for a great vibe, delicious cocktails, beautiful crowd and great food.

Che-Kharcho. Caucasian cuisine with all its main hits. Make sure to try desserts – “oreshek” (little walnut) – it is to die for.

Old Boys Pub & Guesthouse. This unique guest house and pub is located in the middle of Caucasus National reserve. No TVs, 3G connection and stores around. To get there in the winter you need to be picked up by their car – a regular taxi or car service cannot drive on the narrow snowy road.

Red Fox. Red Fox is by the White Rabbit Group which put the eponymous restaurant in Best Restaurants of the World list. Red Fox is considered to be the younger brother of White Rabbit – chef Mukhin mastered the blend of native ingredients with an impeccable preparation and presentation of each dish.

Sakhalin. Located just above Red Fox, Sakhalin is a fish-lover’s paradise. The menu features a seafood bar and a variety of fresh fish of Sakhalin region.

White nights. Come here for khinkali (big juicy Caucasian dumplings) and some vodka shots. A classic (not to be mistaken with “classy”) spot that has been around for ages and is a must visit.

 

#toRELAX

British Banya. Located in Red Valley, the banya was opened 9 years ago by a Brit, who studied different banya rituals and brought the best ones here. Not only it is very pretty visually but supposedly it has the best steam.

Espas. This beautiful spa and banya complex is located in Roza Khutor. Breathtaking landscape and 3 different banya houses (Russian, Alpes style and Japanese) will guarantee you a relaxing time.

A Spontaneous Trip to Marbella

Santiago Travel July 2, 2017

By Ksenia Mezentseva

I am usually one who takes the time to research my travel destinations before the trip, with particular attention paid to my main interests of dining and unique
sightseeing experiences.

My latest trip, a spontaneous getaway to Marbella, was unplanned and therefore it was up to my well-informed friends, who have spent many sunny days in Marbella, to provide me with recommendations.

 

 

It is probably important to mention that when one says «Marbella», what he or she really means is that you are flying to Malaga and then staying in Puerto Banus. At least this is what I would strongly advise you to do. Malaga airport is a major hub for Spain’s southern destinations. It is one of the bigger and more efficient airports, with many direct daily flights from various destinations. Marbella is located about 60km south of Malaga which makes it a very convenient commute from the airport. The town itself is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Andalucia – bustling with busy cafes, gift shops and crowds of people. I can immediately recommend a day trip to the Salvador Dali permanent sculpture exhibition, set just by the port, as well as the fish market and a gentle stroll through the quiet streets of the old town.

The place to find your hotel would have to be in the Puerto Banus area – located just 10km south of Marbella and a 40-minute drive from the Malaga airport. A luxury marina and a shopping paradise which was designed by Noldi Schreck, the architect who participated in the design and construction of Beverly Hills as well as a local developer, Jose Banus, from the late 1960s. The lavish opening of the construction was held in May of 1970 and was attended, among others, by Prince Rainier, Princess Grace of Monaco, Aga Khan, Hugh Hefner and Roman Polanski. The party itself, which included 1700 of the world’s fabulously elite, was the most extravagant event, including a private concert by the young Julio Iglesias. It was even reported that guests had consumed over 22 kilos of caviar. Today, Puerto Banus is one of the hottest European destinations for international jetsetters, celebrities and
young trendsetters.

Surprisingly, there is only one luxury 5-star hotel in Puerto Banus itself, The Gran Hotel Guadalpin Banus, which is located on the waterfront just outside the main marina area. The two other hotels which I would highly recommend are situated between Marbella and Puerto Banus, and are the Marbella Club and the Puente Romano Hotel and Luxury Apartment complex. Once belonging to the same owner, they are the most luxurious spots along the coast.

The scarcity of the luxury lodging in the area is explained by the high density of premium apartment buildings and beautiful villas set along the coast, which are available for rent.

Shopping is a must do in the Puerto Banus area. Split between the large El Corte Ingles – where one can find a range of options from makeup, toys, top designer clothing to sports gear, and on the other side – the luxury, well curated boutiques, set in the Banus Marina. The latter option will indulge any fashionista with Dolce and Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Tods, Valentino, Gucci and many more designer boutiques set along the promenade for you
to enjoy.

 

Beach Clubs are a popular daytime destination in Puerto Banus. Often, but not always, located on an actual beach. Most clubs come with their own swimming pools and offer sunbeds, cocktails and light snacks along with a glamorous crowd and uplifting party vibes.

Ocean Club – is one of Europe’s largest beachside venues and is located right outside Puerto Banus. One could definitely define this spot as a ‘party place,’ particularly the Opening party which is not to be missed.

Nikki Beach – if you are a fan of this chain, the Marbella location will not disappoint, with glamorous people, the finest food and exceptional service all guaranteed.

La Sala by the Sea – a place to see and to be seen. Just like its original restaurant, La Sala is a vibrant place with delicious cocktails, a trendy crowd and great food.

El Ancla Restaurant and Beach Club – is located in San Pedro, minutes outside Puerto Banus. The restaurant’s terrace is set right on the waterfront creating this magical illusion of dining out at sea. The menu includes a variety of fresh seafood and the beach has one of the most awesome atmospheres on the coast.

Another favourite excursion is the much anticipated day trip destinations, with Marbella providing a host of exciting sites. If you want a change of pace and do not mind a bit of a drive, there are many things to see. Benahavis is a miniature “white” village situated in the beautiful Spanish mountains, 7km from the coast. It is a 15 to 20 minute drive from Puerto Banus and is the perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon. Meander along the tiny streets and have lunch at Los Abanicos – a traditional feel with the most delicious food guaranteed. Make sure to pre-book as this is a popular spot.

Ronda is a charming mountain town and has become one of the main Andalucian places to visit. Enjoy a scenic drive for about 40 minutes to see the dramatic escarpments, the Arabic walls and city gates, and enjoy a walk along the 18th century Puente Nuevo – a “new” bridge that took over 40 years to build. A visit to Plaza de Toros – one of the oldest bullrings in Spain, is quite a sight, take in the immensity of the space which was known to hold up to 5000 spectators. While in Ronda have lunch at the famous Pedro Romero restaurant, located just across the bullring, a place to dine for over 45 years.

If you drive for another 20 km you can visit the old Roman settlement of Acinipo – a large theatre dating from the 1st century AD and enjoy the rare sites of several old homes. This was one of the few cities the in Roman Empire to produce wine and export it to Rome. A further 40 minutes down the coast and you will arrive to Gibraltar, where you will see the dramatic Rock of Gibraltar, a 426m-high limestone ridge, and enjoy some cheeky duty free shopping.

Seville is the capital of the Andalucia region and is only 200km away from Puerto Banus, which makes it a great one or two-day trip. In recent years, Seville’s old historical town has received an influx of contemporary art, food and fashion. Today, it is not only the incredible ancient sights that attracts people from all over the world, but the street fashion, East-West tapas and enjoyable nightlife. The city is famous for flamenco dancing, so make sure to visit one of the many clubs in the Triana neighborhood. The main things to look out for include the 18th century bullring – Plaza de Torros de la Maestranza, the ornamental Alcazar castle and the Gothic Seville cathedral, where Christopher Columbus is buried. If you decide to spend a night or two in Seville, stay at the classic Hotel Alfonso XII – rightfully one of Spain’s grandest hotels. Before I forget, if you are in Seville for the evening, make sure to have the delicious tapas at Yebra or at El Rinconcillo, which been around for over 350 years and are clearly doing something right. As the night goes on, I would recommend dinner at No-Lugar or at the city’s latest trendy gastrobar, La Perona.

Dinning

Upon my arrival to Puerto Banus, I was told that all the best restaurants were actually located outside Puerto Banus port and it was recommended that I get a car. This certainly proved to be somewhat true, but there are, nonetheless, great places to eat in the port itself. If you are spending the day shopping, checking-out the boats or simply enjoying the beach, a good lunch spot in the port is A1 Aretusa – a stunning Italian restaurant with traditional dishes, some with a modern twist, in a contemporary setting overlooking the mega yachts docked just 10 meters away.

My other favorite places in the area are:

Los Bandidos – located in the port and is the place where one can spot celebrities who come to wine and dine. The walls are covered with photos of every famous person that has ever visited, and trust me, there are a few, the food is great and the service is impeccable.

La Sala – a 10-minute walk from the port will get you to this restaurant come bar come lounge. Every night one can expect a live concert with a bubbling, busy vibe. The food is not bad either with a great variety, serving international classics from all over the world.

Sinatra café – is a famous bar located in the port. If you are looking for a good drink or some people watching, this is your place.

Magna Café – is a short drive from Puerto Banus up the hills to one of the many golf-course areas of Marbella. Magna is located in the hills and along with delicious food, offers a beautiful view of the area and the Rock of Gibraltar.

D-Wine – is a relatively new addition to the local scene and is the mecca for wine lovers. Originally a wine boutique and now a large sophisticated restaurant, it has an extensive menu, an endless wine list of the finest wines and live music every night.

Paella y mas – is your home-style Spanish restaurant, attracting local and international celebrities to this traditional, cosy restaurant. According to a recent interview, Lady Gaga favors Paella y mas the most when she is visiting the area.

Takumi – probably one of the best Japanese restaurants on the coast serves the freshest ingredients with a menu presenting both traditional and innovative dishes.

Puente Romano restaurants

I am putting these spots in a separate category as it is very unusual for a hotel to have more than one amazing dining option.

Dani Garcia – is a two-Michelin starred restaurant named after chef Dani. Come for a special occasion and prepare to be swept away by the elegant setting and the most creative and delicious meal.

Bibo – is another restaurant on the property, also by Dani Garcia, and is your bustling and happening restaurant where prior reservations are a must. Enjoy the originality of the food presentation which is truly spectacular.

Celicioso bakery – for something to ease the guilt of all the indulging is a great spot at the Puerto Romano complex. It is a lively gluten free café with an extensive juice bar, lots of healthy salads, burgers and of course divine gluten free pastries.

St Barts Gustavia Yacht Club launched on the “Jewel of the Caribbean”

Santiago Travel July 1, 2017

By Simon Piggott

The St Barts experience starts immediately as you fly across from St Martin (SXM) and touch down on the island at Gustaf III Airport (SBH); this reminds the newcomer of some of its historical origins, when the island was a free port under the Swedish Crown.

 

You fly in over spectacular views of the Port of Gustavia, the island’s capital, which also takes its name from King Gustav III. The short airstrip is at the base of a gentle slope which ends directly on the beach. Considered the third most tricky airport in the world to approach, the descent to the runway is extremely steep, passing straight over a hilltop roundabout. Departing planes take off right over the heads of sunbathers, as at St Martin, although signs advise sunbathers not to lie on the beach at the end of the runway: a barrier has been put up to discourage bathers walking across the beach at that point. Anyway only specially licensed pilots are allowed to land at St Barts so do not worry!

 

 

The island’s original name was Ouanalao, Amerindian for pelican. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and renamed by him after his brother Bartolomeo. French settlers arriving in 1663 called it Saint-Barthélemy. In 1784 France ceded the island to Sweden in exchange for trading rights at the port of Gothenburg. The Swedes then sold it back to France nearly a century later in 1878.

At 25 sq.kms, the island is small and was not conducive to plantations, such as sugar, due to its being dry and rocky. It thus became a centre for buccaneers before and during the colonial wars, when bounties could be exchanged without paying tax. Over the years the inhabitants, while retaining their free port status, converted to trading, fishing and farming.

In 1957 David Rockefeller, who died earlier this year at the venerable age of 101, bought a plot of land and built a property at Colombier, one of the most beautiful bays on St Barts. Slowly the dormant island, which had become a département of France in 1946 (a similar status to Hawaii in the US) emerged onto the map of an eccentric collection of characters, who settled on the island in search of its privacy and seclusion vis-a-vis better known spots frequented by the international jet set. A good read is Randy West’s book of tales “A Sunny Place for Shady Characters” about his encounters over the past 40 years at Le Select, the island’s only Caribbean-style bar, located in the centre of Gustavia.

 

 

Over the past 20 years, the island has developed into a hub for discreet luxury tourism under the savvy guidance of Bruno Magras, first as mayor from 1995 and then as Président de la Collectivité, following its independence from Guadaloupe in 2007. The original settlers and even the sailors who visited the island in the early 1980s would hardly recognize St Barts today!

Christmas and New Year’s Eve now attract an international crowd, with superyacht spotting becoming a “national sport” – 2016 saw the likes of the 162.5m “Eclipse” whose owner also has a property on the island, the 115m “Luna”,  the 113m Le “Grand Bleu”, 101.5m “Symphony”, 96.25m “Limitless”, 92m “Aquarius” SY 88m “Maltese Falcon”, 85.6m “Aquila” and many more anchoring off Gustavia Port, which berths its largest yacht “Excellence V” at 60m. The owners are a mixture of European and American billionaires and friends, who appreciate the beauty and safety of the island, many of whom are members of Cercle.

 

 

It is within this growing international context that the Gustavia Yacht Club was established in 2016 by its Commodore, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, and a number of founding members, who have fallen in love with the island and its human dimension, but lacked a place in which visitors and inhabitants alike could come together to enjoy the island’s beauty and its fascinating nautical past
and present.

Over a short period of time since September 2016 GYC has gathered in its Clubhouse on the Port of Gustavia over 280 members (many of whom have made St Barts their winter residence) including Benefactors, Founding and Ordinary Members in a cosy atmosphere reminiscent of a home within a home, with members active in sailing, motor yachting and all the other activities that the island offers Club members have started to take part in sailing events held on the island, starting with the New Year’s Eve Regatta round the island, which saw Donald in his W Class “White Horses” among others. This was followed by the coveted Bucket Regatta, which this year celebrated its 30th Anniversary.

In the Club’s first Role of Honour we congratulate GYC member Kim and his crew for winning the Les Gazelles des Mers class on the 33m Baltic “Win Win”, and Elena on her 88m Perini “Maltese Falcon” entering into the true spirit of the Les Grandes Dames des Mers class, which was won by the 56m Perini “Rosehearty” with Paul Cayard of America’s Cup fame as tactician.

 

 

 

 

“Koo”, the 43m Vitters won Les Voiles Blanches, racing under the new Corinthian Spirit Class ORCcs handicap , while “Wisp”, the Royal Huisman 48m sloop, took the Les Mademoiselles des Mers class.

“Spiip”, the 34m German Frers designed and Royal Huisman built sloop won the Les Elegantes des Mers class and was crowned overall winner of the Bucket! Add in the return of the mighty
J Class, Le retour des legendes being won by “Hanuman”, a Royal Huisman built in 2009, and the 2017 St Barts Bucket was really an unforgettable trentennial celebration!

Next on the sailing agenda was the Voiles de St. Barths in April, which saw a number of members and friends competing. This will be followed by the America’s Cup rendezvous in Bermuda in June, at which many GYC members will be present.

Fair winds to you all and looking forward to seeing you in the Med for the season and at the Monaco Yacht Show at the end of September, where the Club will have a stand on the port.

For more information about the Gustavia Yacht Club, its activities and how to join up, go to www.gustaviayachtclub.org and also contact the authors at piggotts@gmail.com for details about sponsorship.

A WESTERN GIRL IN A JAPANESE WORLD

Santiago Travel December 5, 2016

By Bee Beardsworth

f1290035

Three years ago, I fell utterly and irrevocably in love when I took my first trip to Tokyo. Wandering wide-eyed through an alien city, my eyes dazzled by neon kanji on every building; spine-chillingly tranquil shrines in alcoves of each neighbourhood; exquisite food and the considerate and charming demeanours of each encounter. Japan is a truly exotic and enchanting place, where there’s always another mystery to uncover, and I’m hooked!

f1290005Sights

There seems to be an ever growing  multitude of places to see or be at in the sprawling Tokyo metropolis, but a few of my favourite experiences were the Tokyo Tower (the Japanese Eiffel Tower), Shibuya (the quintessential Tokyo area), Zozo-ji and Senso-ji temples (both equally regal and memorising), Tsukiji (the world’s largest and busiest fish market, and home of the freshest sushi).

f1290032Shopping

Ranging from traditional to hyper-modern, Japanese fashion and style is an art form in itself. For impeccably dressed Tokyoites, obsession with aesthetics stretches into every aspect of their life, so this city is ideal for satisfying all your shopping needs.

• Omotesando is one of the best shopping areas for designer stores and boutiques. Along with designer brands, the Spiral is a wonderful concept store, and Cat Street has a plethora of boutiques and hidden gems.

• Ginza is Tokyo’s answer to 5th Avenue. Dover Street Market is a firm fashion favourite, but here you’ll be able to find the best quality in all traditional crafts, food, perfumery, and clothing.

• Department stores are an essential part of the Japanese shopping experience. Go to Shinjuku and get lost in the mazes of Isetan, Seibu, and Mitsukoshi, amongst others.

f1140007Nature

• Famed for its fusion between nature and man, the concept of wabi-sabi influences all aspects of Japanese life, so try to find your own zen in this bustling city by visiting these sanctuaries:

• Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens will enchant anyone, with Japanese, French, and English gardens, and a tropical, orchid-filled greenhouse.

• Visit a traditional tea house for a tea ceremony, drinking whisked matcha and eating tiny mochi while sitting cross-legged.

• Yoyogi Park is a tranquil place to have a picnic and observe Tokyoites doing everything from yoga to band practice, and is also the home of the Meiji-Shrine.

• Try to visit an onsen (Japanese bath house) for a day of relaxation and replenishment.

f1290031Eating & Drinking

Tokyo is a foodie’s dream, with more Michelin starred restaurants than anywhere in the world. It has an exceptional array of bars and hidden old school hot spots. You cannot leave Japan without trying the ‘real’ ramen, sushi, tempura, yakisoba and sake.

• For the Kill Bill experience, have dinner at Gonpachi, the restaurant where the infamous fight scene was set in.

• Head to Shinjuku’s Golden Gai for a night out tasting beers and sake in hundreds of tiny izakaya (standing bars)

• Have a tipple in the Park Hyatt’s New York Bar for the Lost In Translation experience and breathtaking views.

• The Shangri-la’s Nadaman is an exceptional Japanese traditional restaurant catering for Westerners too.

Like anywhere, Tokyo has numerous events and seasonal activities constantly springing up and taking place throughout the year. Be sure to show your respect when visiting this gem of a place by doing some research into the polite and fascinating culture and city.

A CALIFORNIAN ROADTRIP

Santiago Travel December 5, 2016

By Ksenia Mezentseva

California is a great travel destination almost the whole year round, but my personal favourite is doing a road trip in the fall. If you are adventurous and enjoy active travelling, moving from one place to another, I highly recommend to spend a few days driving along the Pacific coast from San Diego to Napa Valley. The journey will offer breathtaking views as well as delicious dining and luxury lodging experiences.

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Start in San Diego and spend a day or two in this lovely city with its famous satellites: La Jolla, Del Mar, and Rancho Santa Fe. Rated as one of the top places in the world for its attractive climate, San Diego is surely worth a visit. Checkout the famous San Diego Zoo, a pioneer in cage less exhibits, it is a home to over 3000 different animals and over 650 species. Spread over 100 acres it is divided into themed areas representing different parts of the world. The Zoo is located in Balboa Park, an urban cultural park that hosts many beautiful gardens, museums and walking paths. A must do is the San Diego Museum of Art, the oldest and largest art museum in the region. The collection features work by Matisse, El Greco, Francisco de Goya, Diego Riviera. Walk the glorious Park’s gardens: Japanese Friendship garden, Spanish style garden and Palm Canyon are among my favorites.

If you like hiking, Torrey Pines Natural Reserve is one not to be missed. The 8 miles of trails offer a breathtaking view of the cliffs and the sandy beach. To rest in peace after an exciting day, stay at the Loge at Torrey Pines or the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. If you feel like being extra glamorous, check out Hotel Del Coronado, where Marilyn Monroe starred in Some Like It Hot.

For fine dining book a table at the Marine Room, the beautiful La Jolla restaurant has been around for 70 years and is considered a true landmark. The dining room has huge windows facing the ocean. If you so happen to be dining during high tide you may enjoy an outstanding view of the powerful ocean waves splashing against the window panes.

For another iconic spot visit Bertrands at Mr A’s, open for 50 years, with its original essence still very prominent. Bertrands is located on the roof of an office building offering sophisticated cuisine with a panoramic view of the city and San Diego bay. The Market is definitely a unique dining experience, not perhaps for those who love outdoor dining. This trendy restaurant is located in a shopping plaza in Del Mar. Although it does lack a terrace, it compensates by offering a very chic contemporary setting, a very famous chef and an inventive Californian cuisine. If you are looking for the freshest and finest sushi in the area go to Sushi Ota. The restaurant is noisy, crowded and the setting simplistic but the sushi speaks for itself. Discover creative rolls and fresh sashimi that will delight your taste buds.

To continue on the active adventuring, start your drive north towards Los Angeles through Orange County, a place that deserves a separate article entirely just to describe its vibrant little beach towns. Newport Beach and Costa Mesa certainly have plenty gourmet hot spots, but if you are passing by and want to stop for a quick lunch, walk or a coffee, then go to the picturesque Laguna Beach, well known for its artistic community. For delicious seafood enjoy the fresh tastes of the sea at Slapfish or a super creative Wednesday-to-Sunday brunch at Break of Dawn.

Soon you will arrive in the land of angels, Los Angeles. Spend a night or a few days in the entertainment capital of the world, surrounded by its beautiful landscapes and people. Stay at the classic Beverly Wilshire, the recently renovated Hotel Bel-Air or the scandalous Chateau Marmont. Attempting to narrow down restaurant recommendations for LA is certainly a challenge. With an abundance of beautiful, delicious and trendy places, I am going to only mention a few of my own picks but be warned there are many more to find. Stop by the Ivy for a great lunch and a spot of people watching. Make sure to book on the terrace and be prepared to face the celebrity crowd. The North Robertson Boulevard is a nice place to shop afterwards for funky and contemporary designers. For dinner, Il Pastaio, a classic Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills will not disappoint. While it seems like a simple choice, reservations are key as this understated gem is a must with authentic, delicious food.

For a more experimental cuisine experience, book a table at Cleo or Katsuya Brentwood. The former is a creative Lebanese setting with a bustling atmosphere, and the latter is my favourite alternative to Nobu that will leave you feeling fully satisfied. During the day walk the beach from Santa Monica to Venice and have lunch at Gdjalina before you head off to the Getty Centre. The late afternoons are my personal favourite as you witness the gorgeous views. Enjoy mesmerizing sunsets accompanied by a crisp glass of local Pinot Noir.

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Come morning and it is time to get back in the car, driving on Route 1 towards Malibu. Enjoy the stunning beach with a hearty breakfast or an early lunch at Geoffrey’s. Drive north to Santa Barbara. If you happen to come there on a first Thursday of the month you can participate in Art and Culture celebration. Galleries, museums, shops and other art related venues open their doors to customers with live music performances, exhibits and other enriching entertainment. Spend the night at the Four Seasons Hotel and in the morning visit the Coronado Butterfly Preserve, a truly special place. From October to March, monarch butterflies migrate to spend their winter at this magical park. Have lunch at the Harbor and then head towards Big Sur. On the way there you may want to stop by the Hearst Castle, the publishing magnate’s estate of mixed historical European styles, now housing an art and antiques museum.

Head north towards Big Sur and be prepared for spectacular scenery. Named as one of the most stunning meetings of land and sea in the world by The New York Times, Big Sur is a nature’s wonder that attracts visitors from around the world. Spend the night at the magnificent Post Ranch Inn or at the Ventana Inn. The Big Sur offers an abundance of wild and wonderful hiking trails. If time is limited two hikes you do not want to miss are the McWay Waterfall trail and Ewoldsen trail.

When your feet are tired and eyes are dazzled by the great natural beauty, head towards Napa Valley. Make sure to stop by Carmel-by-the-sea just one hour north of your hotel for a nice lunch and walk along the harbour. Then, via Pebble Beach 17-mile drive, а nice scenic road will take you through famous mansions, golf courses and local attractions.

You are then going to pass by Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the world and an opportunity to experience the innovation centre first hand. It is only really worth doing it if you are lucky enough to have friends who can give you access into the infamous Apple, Google and other tech giants’ campuses.

Arrive to Napa Valley in the evening. Choose your lodging from one of the several wonderful hotels like Auberge du Soleil, Carneros Inn or the Bardessono. Spend the next few days tasting fine Californian wines at the world’s famous wineries such as the Silver Oak, Caymus, Mondavi, Quintessa, Blackbird, Frog’s Leap and many others. If you get tired of tasting wines and want to taste something else stop by Napa Smith or Bear Republic Breweries for some local beer, Kollar Chocolates and Round Pond Estate for olive oil.

While in the area, visit Di Rosa: the 200 acre estate that offers visitors several indoor and outdoor exhibits of contemporary Northern Californian art. The outdoor grounds are open for guests without prior reservations while for the main indoor collection it is wise to book a tour. In the afternoon more local wines may tickle your fancy or perhaps some unique art and decoration pieces can be browsed at the exclusive South-of-France inspired Maisonry: a contemporary gallery with an intimate garden lounge.

Golfers should visit the semi-private Chardonnay Golf Club and the Eagle Vines Golf Club that are open throughout the year and offer beautifully set 18-hole courses set through the acres of scenic vineyards. If you prefer something with a bit more of an adrenaline kick, the Sonoma Raceway is the place for you.

Completing Napa Valley’s highly hedonistic experience are its world-class restaurants. For lunch, the famous Farmstead. This not-to-be-missed farm-to-table restaurant is set in a former barn and has a charming atmosphere revolving around the open kitchen, with fresh organic ingredients and friendly staff. Another great lunch venue is Bouchon Bakery: Thomas Keller’s traditional French bistro (open from lunch through dinner). It features a seasonal menu with a raw bar which will greatly satisfy the health conscious.

In the evening, if you were not able to get a table at the legendary French Laundry, dine at the trendy Japanese Marimoto or at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc with a four course pre-fixed chalkboard menu that changes daily. And the next day, before you head home, do wake up bright and early to explore the Valley at a bird’s eye view with the Balloons above the valley sunrise ride. Don’t worry, they will provide plenty of freshly brewed coffee with a pastry to wake you up before the flight and finish your wonderful Napa experience with a champagne brunch celebration!

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