Wines of Change

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Unveil the exceptional world of Belmond with our online magazine. Read on for great ideas, features, tips and more…

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Unveil the exceptional world of Belmond with our online magazine. Read on for great ideas, features, tips and more…

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Wines of Change

Food & Wine

Wines of Change

New Canal Cruises through France

Happenings

New Canal Cruises through France

Embark on Adventure

Travel

Embark on Adventure

Hats off to Florence

Lifestyle

Hats off to Florence

Super Duper Hats
Ceramic Art in Sicily

Community

Ceramic Art in Sicily

Marathon Madness in Cambodia

Lifestyle

Marathon Madness in Cambodia

Miró on show in Mallorca

Arts

Miró on show in Mallorca

Joan Miró exhibition
Cape Town Walks - Bree Street

Travel

Cape Town Walks - Bree Street

bree street, cape town
The Moonbow of Iguassu

Happenings

The Moonbow of Iguassu

Iguazu Falls
Peru in Action

Travel

Peru in Action

Beachfront Halloween

Happenings

Beachfront Halloween

Belmond La Samanna
Five Bars to Inspire

Food & Wine

Five Bars to Inspire

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa|Belmond Safaris|Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo|Bemond Road to Mandalay|Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
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Wines of Change

Wines of Change

As climate change transforms the world’s wine-making regions, wine producers are finding ever more inventive ways to adapt to the changes and keep the cellars stocked.

Sep/Oct 2016

I am standing in the shade of an olive tree. Sweating grape pickers race frantically up and down the sloping hill before me, in the scorching heat of Emilia-Romagna. This is Italy’s famed ‘fertile crescent’—its food basket—but the land beneath the vines is compacted and dry. Dust devils swirl between the gnarled roots. There is much shouting. The owner looks tense. The grapes need harvesting. Subito! But he has a problem: if the pickers cannot get the grapes in fast enough by hand, the vines will shut down from the heat and the grapes will die on the vine. The year’s crop will be lost.

What does climate change have to do with wine? Everything. Wine is made from grapes and grapes are a fruit—and so much more than that. They are the crop most susceptible to climate variations. They can anticipate Mother Nature’s every mood. In fact, climatologists adore the wine industry. What other type of farmers have painstakingly recorded every single climatic detail? The planet is warming and we can taste it.

vineyard

The New World wine regions of Western California, Australia, New Zealand and South America have been experiencing problems for much longer. These countries do not have indigenous grape varieties. The wine grape vine, Vitis vinifera, was brought to them from Europe. Purists are entitled to argue that trying to grow fruit in a non-indigenous climate was bound to end in tears. There is only so far we can manipulate a growing environment and just because Chardonnay can be grown everywhere doesn’t mean that it should be. Now, as crisis finally hits the cabernet-coloured heart of fine wine in Europe, the issue has become mainstream and is no longer the preserve of the scholarly few. France has suffered a loss of billions of euros and the world is paying attention.

Variable weather is good; extremes are bad. The challenge of working with, or overcoming, Mother Nature, is what the entire viticultural exercise is about. A great winemaker is one who can navigate the vagaries. New World wine regions were pooh-poohed for being lazy: wine-growing in a constantly sunny climate is considered easy work—too easy—and the wines reflect that. But it’s not just heat that is causing problems. What is happening is that there are more extreme cycles of weather within the larger cycle of an overall warming. Record cold winters are followed by record hot summers; droughts and the fire season give way to extreme rainfall and flooding—in one region, and during one growing season. Harvest variations used to be the guarantee of wines with character and personality, but too much variation means too much unpredictability and ruined crops. How much more variation can winemakers handle?

The world’s fine wines come from ‘cool-climate’ regions: Mosel, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Piedmont. A cooler climate allows the fruit a longer ‘hang-time’—in other words, a longer growing season. This produces fruit with greater elegance and the structure essential for ageing. The hotter a growing season, the shorter it is. The heat increases the sugar content of the fruit. And the higher the level of sugar at fermentation, the higher the level of alcohol of the resulting wine. High levels of alcohol unbalance a wine, erase all of the grape’s varietal character and compromise its ageing ability. Ever wonder why so many big, red wines taste the same? It’s the heat. Anything above 13.5% ABV and it can be hard to discern which grape you’re drinking. In fact, the legal definition of wine is between 8-14%.

Why should we care about climate change and wine? Because it is climate that determines whether a wine is a great wine or just a good wine. And the goalposts are changing. Also, in the same way that food crops are affected by provenance, quality, price and scarcity, so are our wines. We will have erratic wine supplies, production costs for wine producers will skyrocket and so, too, will prices.

Our favourite wines are already tasting different. Some of our regions will change wine grapes and wine styles, or cease wine production altogether. European appellation laws will fall by the wayside, as Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino may be made from ‘warmer’ grapes such as Nero d’Avola, rather than Sangiovese. Sancerre may not be Sauvignon blanc anymore. And Bordeaux is already replacing its increasingly unviable Merlot plantings with Carménère. How we drink, buy, store and invest in wine is changing.

This is where it starts to get interesting. It is not all doom and gloom—quite the contrary. As winemakers battle these changes on the front line, they are becoming global pioneers in eco-inventiveness. Their dedicated and creative efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change are contributing to a worldwide knowledge bank.

It also means that we are going to see more wines from newer regions. And while a lot of these newer fringe regions are considered too extreme at the moment, the general warming trend should have the effect of closing the temperature gap. We will see more wine grown in northern France, in Brittany and Normandy. In the UK, Christopher Trotter has just harvested his first vintage in Fife, in Scotland. Sweden is currently planting Pinot Noir.

Award-winning author and sommelier Andreas Kjörling says: “Over the past decade, more than 40 growers have started cultivating grapes well-suited for cold climates—such as Rondo, Solaris and Siegerrebe—commonly known as hybrids and unfortunately regarded as of lesser quality. However, Chardonnay and Müller-Thurgau, among other more traditional grapes, are also grown. I think we’ll need to accept a change of what are considered ‘noble’ varieties—Swedish wine has a prosperous future.”

Recently, China overtook France as the world’s second largest wine grower. Between 2010 and 2014, China’s total consumption increased by about 36%. The industry is unregulated and there are a lot of cowboy bulk wines out there. But Spain’s Torres family has teamed up with two of China’s best wineries—crucially, both family-owned—Silver Heights and Grace Vineyards.

Climate is low down the list of worries for Emma Gao of Silver Heights—she had to enlist the aid of the French ambassador to persuade the Chinese government to not requisition their vineyard in Ningxia for development. They managed to retain a portion, but residential tower blocks, as opposed to countryside, now dominate the landscape. “While we’re on the same latitude as Bordeaux, the climate here is continental,” she says. “We are in a very dry desert region. The advantage of such an environment is that none of the vine diseases can develop there so we don’t use any pesticide. But the temperature difference is great between summer and winter: 37°C to -25°C. It is therefore necessary to bury the vines in winter, which has the effect of reducing the growth cycle.”

At the other end of the world, Mario Pablo Silva of Casa Silva, Chile’s southernmost winery, nestled in the foothills of Patagonia, tells us: “As a winery, we are continually looking to broaden our horizons and challenge the parameters of what is possible within Chilean winemaking. Ranco is cooler than any other wine region and vintage variation is likely to be more dramatic, but the soils are ideal and we are delighted with our first harvest. The potential for the future is extremely exciting and we are delighted to be the first winery to carry out such a project.”

It is exciting. Cool-climate hunting is the new wine sport—who knows where our next Chablis region will be? Northern England? Exploring and experimenting will take a while. As adaptable as they are, grapes are not like the fashion industry and trends cannot be accommodated from season to season. Grapevines have a lifespan that continues into their 50s, 60s, and 70s, producing better fruit all the while. Wine producers are having a difficult time navigating their way through a quickly changing landscape with a product that has a built-in timeline dictated by nature.

Wine Grapes

Wine-future investors, too, are in for an interesting time. They need to know where to buy in the future and how to revalue their current stock. As the classic wine-investment regions continue to produce wines with 15.5% alcohol and higher, these wines will not have the ageing potential they once had. So the tenet on which their investment is based is no longer valid. Should investors start following cooler climate regions and buy wines that may turn out to be our future classics? Should they try to buy as much of the older vintages as possible? Or better still: start investing in new vineyards and the eco-technology that is the key to sustaining the wine industry in future? The game is changing and it will quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.

What does the future hold? For each wine region, the answer will be different. Some will be forced to abandon viticulture; others will adapt and improve, and more new areas will emerge. The wines from the classic regions, the fine wines, are most affected. Bulk, commercial wines that rely on technology rather than nature will continue to do so. We will not see a shortage of wine, just a shortage of fine wine, as we wait to see what the newer regions produce. Another silver lining is that during this period of re-shuffling, there will be more regions making wine than ever before. This might lead to a reduced demand for wine imports—and considering that wine’s biggest cost to the environment, after water, is transport, this is good news.

This is a pivotal era in the wine industry. The wines of the southern hemisphere will at first do better, due to their coastal influence and freedom from appellation laws. They will move south, closer to the pole, until they run out of space. This is something the Northern Hemisphere has more of, which means that they will ultimately house the majority of the world’s wine producers. Those regions in northern Europe will be the first to find our next classic terroirs. Europe will hang on for as long as it can to their current grape varieties, trading on established appellation brands until, with forced irrigation and heat, they become New World versions of their old selves. Full-scale replanting programmes will eventually be embraced, exploring first the forgotten indigenous grape varieties and then adopting varieties from other, warmer regions.

Many have already begun, while others are adopting a wait-and-see policy. But again, as the old regions lose production, the newer regions gain in production and balance will be restored. There will be wines that we will miss and wines that we will welcome. Just like with friends. So let’s drink to that.

by Linda Johnson-Bell

New Canal Cruises through France

New Canal Cruises through France

Two new Belmond Afloat in France barges are poised to explore the magical hidden waterways of northeast France.

Sep/Oct 2016

Imagine drifting along a sun-drenched canal through France’s Champagne vineyards, glass of bubbly in hand. Or cruising past the picturesque villages of Alsace while dining on coq au Riesling out on deck.

These are just some of the delights that await aboard two new luxury barges about to be launched in northeast France. Belmond Pivoine (Peony) and Belmond Lilas (Lilac) are set to join the Belmond Afloat in France fleet in summer 2017, taking the total number of craft to seven—and opening up two stunning new routes.

Belmond Pivoine

Belmond Pivoine

Belmond Lilas

Belmond Lilas

The two barges’ six-night itineraries will weave along quiet canals and grand rivers, stopping at spectacular locations from family-owned artisan breweries to spectacular châteaux. There can be no more inspiring and relaxing way to escape from the everyday, a chance to slow down and savour each moment as it unfolds.

Belmond Pivoine will ply the River Marne, cruising between Meaux and Châlons-en-Champagne. Passing hills terraced with vines and dramatic open landscapes, it will glide through history, mooring close to cultural landmarks from the cathedral of Reims to the celebrated gardens of Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. A highlight is the visit to Hautvillers Abbey where the monk Dom Pérignon is said to have created the first effervescent wine. A picnic reception overlooking the river valley completes the Champagne pilgrimage.

Belmond Lilas will cruise the Canal de la Marne au Rhin in the heart of the Alsace region, passing pine forests and castles with a backdrop of the Vosges Mountains. Its route leads past tiny villages and postcard-pretty farmsteads, contrasting with the cultural magnificence of the regional capital, Strasbourg and Michelin-starred dining at Villa René Lalique. Plus there’s the excitement of experiencing the famous Arzviller Boat Lift—the engineering marvel that replaced a flight of 17 locks.

Both barges are styled to reflect the flowers from which they take their names and to create the effect of bringing nature on board. Interior designer Inge Moore explains: “The designs embrace a love of life and all pure living forms”. Open decks with swimming pools surrounded by lush plants evoke the feel of secret, floating gardens. Each barge accommodates eight guests in four en-suite cabins.

The existing fleet of five Belmond Afloat in France barges currently offers destinations including Burgundy, Provence and the Canal du Midi in the Languedoc. The two newcomers extend the reach into distinctively different cultures—each with its own heritage, gourmet specialities and world-famous wines.

General manager Nigel Bealing picks his personal highlights of each of the two new barges’ routes:

Belmond Lilas – Alsace region

Lutzelbourg

Lutzelbourg

  • The region’s wealth of cultural treasures include Strasbourg’s Petite France and 142-metre-high Gothic cathedral
  • Lesser-known Alsatian wines are a real hidden delight. The current generation of winegrowers combine traditional family methods and modern technology—with superb results. Guests can explore grape varieties including Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir
  • Walking or cycling along the towpath through the pristine scenery along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and around the pretty village of Lutzelbourg
  • A private dinner at the Michelin-starred Villa René Lalique, former country home of the visionary art deco jeweller and glassmaker, among a display of hundreds of Lalique pieces
  • A tasting of local craft beers at family-owned Météor brewery
  • A stroll around the small town of Saverne, where the barge moors opposite the majestic Château des Rohan

Belmond Pivoine – Champagne region

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

  • Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, built by Louis XIV’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, offers a wonderful insight into France’s past glories
  • Where better to taste Champagne than in Champagne? Top quality tasting experiences are offered at small family-owned domaines such as Ployez-Jacquemart and Billecart-Salmon and famous Champagne houses such as Laurent-Perrier
  • Smaller towns of Chateau Thierry and Châlons-en-Champagne are ideal for local shopping or an after-dinner stroll
  • A visit to the Reims cathedral, where 34 French sovereigns were crowned

Discover more about the world of wines with Belmond. Tour the ancient wineries of the Venetian lagoon by private boat from Belmond Hotel Cipriani, follow the Cape Town Wineland trails from Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel and, for the true connoisseur, join Belmond Afloat in France's La Semaine des Grands Crus—and savour wines from France's 33 most celebrated domains as you drift through the vineyards that bear their names.

Embark on Adventure

Embark on Adventure

Experience the world from a unique vantage point—gazing through the window of a train or leaning on the rail of a river cruiser. The 2017 programme of journeys aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has now been launched, while the new season for exploring Myanmar’s great waterways has just begun.

Sep/Oct 2016

“Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance,” sang Paul Simon—but isn’t it much more fun more to be riding one? Nothing quite beats the thrill of speeding along the rails in a strange new country, looking out of the window at the changing landscapes and unfamiliar faces, thundering over mighty bridges, plunging into the sudden darkness of a tunnel, all to a rich soundtrack of hoots, whistles and rattles.

It only vaguely matters where you are heading—the very fact that you are simply going, escaping, doing something different seems enough to justify the journey. Embarking on an adventurous train ride lifts you out of the routine world and into an exciting new realm of possibilities and surprises.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

It helps, of course, if your train is glamorous and atmospheric, like the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which has been making romantic overnight trips between London and Venice since 1982. This undyingly popular jaunt is not just an excuse for some nostalgic partying in your best tuxedo or feather boa. Restored from original stock dating from the 1920s, complete with ornate marquetry and Lalique glass panels, its vintage carriages feel more like time travel.

A lot of the pleasure in this style of rail journey comes from the sociable atmosphere on board: everyone has chosen to be here, a conspiracy of fun-seekers eager to make the most of their time in a luxurious cocoon where the staff, dressed in period uniforms, are at the heart of the revels.

Added romance comes from the way trains follow their own secretive routes, wheeling away from roads to penetrate deep into nature’s hallowed places. “Would you like a pisco sour?” asks a smiling, white-jacketed waiter as you stand in the observation car at the rear of the Belmond Hiram Bingham as it weaves through the snow-capped Andes to the fabled Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Why not? Peru’s punchy national drink seems the perfect companion as the train’s gleaming blue-and-gold carriages run alongside the swirling, tea-coloured waters of the Urubamba River.

At times it feels like you’re riding on your own private snake, winding through a hidden world that throws up sudden glimpses the camera rarely catches but the mind always remembers. It might be the morning sun igniting the golden cornfields of the Sacred Valley, the steep hillsides staircased with centuries-old terraces, or a friendly wave from a cloaked and behatted herdswoman tending her llamas.

Belmond Orcaella

Belmond Orcaella

While railways are one of mankind’s greatest inventions, to get close to nature nothing rivals taking to the water. Gliding off on a long river cruise offers a different kind of satisfaction, one where you are forced to tune into the rhythms of life on the river bank. Few voyages do this better than those made in Myanmar by sister ships Belmond Road to Mandalay and Belmond Orcaella.

Cruises on board the latter, as you sail up the Chindwin River to Homalin or follow the Ayeyarwady River north to the gorges at Bhamo, give you time to appreciate the astonishing peace, beauty and spiritual richness of this gentle country, with its gilded stupas and picturesque rural scenes.

Every day brings another memorable encounter—a visit to a school, an extraordinary temple—and the gentler pace means you have time to enjoy the birdlife, watch the sun rise over waters speckled with fishermen in tiny canoes and savour the delights of sailing upriver on a starlit night.

At such moments you realise that, while the sightseeing scorecard is getting a healthy tally of big ticks, something deeper has occurred. Your holiday has flipped over into travel, from looking to feeling, and you are now in a pleasure zone of discovery and contentment that you could live in for weeks.

It’s a sensation the writer John Steinbeck dwelled on when he made a mammoth road tour around the United States in 1960. “People don’t take trips,” he mused in Travels with Charley: In Search of America, “trips take people.” And whether it’s rattling over railway bridges on the way to Venice or sailing past the gleaming spires of Mandalay, once you hit that spot you’ll know what it is that turns a journey into an adventure you’ll never forget.

by Nigel Tisdall

Hats off to Florence
Super Duper Hats

Sep/Oct 2016

Hats off to Florence

Matteo Gioli and sisters Ilaria and Veronica Cornacchini are the creators of a new trend emerging from Florence: hats for all seasons. The trio have formed Super Duper Hats, a 21st-century milliner’s with a taste for old-fashioned methods and handmade traditions. They take classic styles such as the fedora, top hat and homburg and give them a contemporary edge with their interpretation of the materials, colours and shapes.

SUPERDUPERHATS.COM

Ceramic Art in Sicily

Ceramic Art in Sicily

A riot of dazzling designs and intense colours, Sicily’s ceramics are a national treasure—as visitors to Taormina can discover first hand.

Sep/Oct 2016

Swirling designs, vibrant colours and intricate patterns: the ceramics of Sicily bring together enormous creativity and centuries of history. The finest hail from the hill town of Caltagirone, where pottery has been a way of life for more than a millennium.

Although beloved of visitors to Sicily, today this traditional craft is under pressure. Young people are moving away from old-established family businesses that demand years of training and into more modern industries. To help support this ancient art, Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina organized a Festival of Caltagirone Ceramics, inviting hotel guests and members of the local community. Two ceramicists, brothers Marco and Alessandro Iudici, came to the hotel from Caltagirone to showcase their creations and skills.

The brothers spent a day at the hotel, one sculpting the pieces and the other demonstrating painting techniques. They revealed the exceptional expertise demanded by their work and recounted the stories behind Sicily’s ceramic traditions. They also showed hotel guests how to make their own personalised ceramics, helping them to create some beautiful pieces.

The two men come from a distinguished line of potters dating back to the 1700s. They still use their ancestors’ ancient kilns to produce everything from tiny plates selling at just a few euros to giant anthropomorphic garden ornaments at prices ending in several zeros.

Sicily Ceramics

Guests of Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo and Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea can discover a wealth of Caltagirone ceramics on their doorstep in Taormina, at Manago, a family-run store in Piazza Santa Domenica.

Stepping inside the shop is like entering Aladdin’s Cave. Where will your eyes alight first? On the jugs aglow with brilliant oranges and lemons, plant pots with lizards scurrying across the bases, or on the bigger pieces—elaborate heads of Moors and Saracens, tall lamp-stands, clocks and tabletops.

Whatever takes your fancy, you can be confident that each piece has been expertly handcrafted by a local artisan and is therefore truly unique. Items can be shipped worldwide.

Or why not visit Caltagirone itself? At around one and a half hours’ drive southwest of Taormina it is the perfect add-on to a tour of Catania or Piazza Armerina. At its heart is La Scalinata di Santa Maria dei Monte, a dazzling 142-step staircase inlaid with ceramics and lined by lively ateliers and shops. Rare is the visitor who comes away without at least one of the town’s characteristic blue and yellow maiolica pieces to take home.

Marathon Madness in Cambodia

Copyright by Cambodia Event Organizer

Marathon Madness in Cambodia

Leave the gym treadmills firmly behind. Now is the perfect time to plan an unforgettable escape to Angkor Wat, and experience a half marathon with a difference.

Sep/Oct 2016

An unusual noise emanated from around the thousand-year-old temples of Angkor in Cambodia as dawn broke. The magnificent structure—built as a representation of the sacred Hindu Mount Meru, the symbol of heaven on earth—was silhouetted against a cloudless sky as the sun rose on another scorching hot December day. But the sound wasn’t the usual early morning chorus of birds nor motorised tuk-tuks bringing tourists to the site from nearby Siem Reap.

No, the noise was a muffled, dull, cushioned ‘thud, thud, thud’ as thousands of feet pounded away on roads and red dirt. The annual Angkor Wat half marathon was under way.

Angkor Wat half marathon

Copyright by Cambodia Event Organizer

When it comes to fitness, I always need a goal and something to aim for. Not for me endless hours on the treadmill at a gym watching pop videos on an overhead screen with no particular end in sight. So here I was, on my way around the course with thousands of other runners, raising money for local landmine relief charities, while rather blearily daydreaming of being back in bed.

The course is not particularly arduous—no horrendous uphill inclines, for example—and it starts early enough to avoid the worst of the heat. But still, 21km is 21km, so it’s hardly a walk in the archaeological park. My fellow participants, Cambodian and foreign, seemed a varied bunch, from the young and super fit to the more mature doing it for the experience at a slower pace. It’s certainly an unusual way of seeing the sites.

Angkor itself isn’t just one temple but hundreds, although Angkor Wat, with its 3,000 stone-carved apsaras (‘heavenly nymphs’) is certainly the star attraction. In its heyday, Angkor had a population of some three quarters of a million people. From the ninth century onwards, successive rulers of the Khmer Empire sought to outdo their predecessors by building increasingly lavish sites of worship. But in the 14th and 15th centuries, invasions and severe droughts saw the power of local rulers diminish. Eventually the seat of government shifted south to Phnom Penh while the jungle reclaimed its territory, leaving just pilgrims and holy men behind.

The complex of buildings is spread out and certainly a splendid backdrop for a run. The course partially encompasses the moat of Angkor Wat, then winds onwards to the temples of Prasat Kravan, Banteay Kdei, Ta Prohm, Ta Keo, Bayon, Baksei Chamkrong and Phnom Bakheng. School children smiled and ‘high-fived’ us as we passed through their villages, while their parents maintained a slightly quizzical look as they prepared to head into Siem Reap for the day or tend their fields.

The latter stages were somewhat tough going, due to my lack of preparation, but with such a photogenic location and plenty of water stops, there were ample opportunities to pause for a photo or a drink. Then I powered on before a glory sprint at the finish line and the chance to collect my medal. I won’t tell you my time—let’s just say I got round and wasn’t last.

If ever there was an excuse to then stretch out in the Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor spa (which is a short car ride from the temples), this was it. A breakfast of mysteriously juicy fruit that had to be explained to me—do I peel this or just eat it?—and then a warm soak followed by a gentle 90-minute pummelling at the hands of a local expert was absolute bliss. It also ensured my walk around Siem Reap that afternoon was just that, rather than a hobble, before collapsing by the seductively calm pool.

If the half marathon seems a bit much, but you’d still like to keep in shape while here, the hotel can arrange for a personal fitness trainer to give you a bootcamp-style workout with the temples as a backdrop. You might not come home looking like Angelina Jolie—who filmed the movie Tomb Raider at Ta Prohm—but it will certainly beat the spin class at your gym back home.

Before I arrived, I had imagined Siem Reap to be a sleepy backwater, but I was mistaken. In the centre, French women shopped for ceramics, while backpackers shared their exploits with friends back home via smartphones in the numerous cafés. I treated myself to a celebratory ice cream and then, as night fell, a lemongrass-infused cocktail beneath the lanterns of the Miss Wong bar.

The next day at dawn the hotel arranged for me to hire a bicycle. I set off for the path around the temple of Bayon—perhaps most famous for the large, serene stone faces that stare down from its ramparts. The whole place was a photographer’s dream as the light and shadows dappled through tree branches and on to the carvings. I was alone save for a few locals working to repair the walls.

I stopped frequently to take out my camera, or to lift my bike over a tree trunk that straddled the track. At last I came across a spot that I recognised from the run the day before. Yesterday, thousands of people had jogged past but now it was just my thoughts and me—history, nature and a rather large blister in perfect harmony.

New at Belmond La Résidence d'Angkor

Belmond La Résidence d'Angkor

Belmond La Résidence d'Angkor

The next Angkor Wat half marathon takes place on 4 December 2016. Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor offers a marathon package, which features unlimited pre- and post-run massages, coconut water and a carb-loading dinner for two.

Half marathon guests will be among the first to experience the new-look hotel: Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor reopens in November after extensive renovations, featuring lavish new guest rooms, refreshed restaurants and bars and a new conference facility. The beautiful tropical gardens that surround the pool are also being replanted to create a super-luxurious retreat at the heart of the hotel.

by Will Hide

Miró on show in Mallorca
Joan Miró exhibition

Miró on show in Mallorca

An exhibition of 33 original works by Joan Miró—accompanied by creative dining—is set to enhance Belmond La Residencia’s reputation as a showcase of the arts.

Sep/Oct 2016

Vibrant, poetic and a joyful celebration of life—the works of artist Joan Miró reflect the spirit of Mallorca, where many of them were created. The artist’s studio in the island’s capital, Palma, has long been a magnet for the master’s devotees. But now another must-see venue has emerged—Belmond La Residencia in Deià, the artists’ village on the island’s northwest coast.

Joan Miró

Archipel sauvage V, 1970

Following on from last year’s hugely successful exhibition of Miró engravings, this September sees the launch of a new show featuring 33 original Miró works. All are on private loan from the artist’s family and represent the largest exhibition of original pieces by the artist on display in a hotel.

The show includes such magical works as the lithograph Paysanne aux oiseaux, 1990 (above) and the etching and aquatint Archipel sauvage V, 1970 (right). Says Belmond La Residencia’s resident sculptor, Juan Waelder, who knew the artist personally: “Joan Miró illuminated the world of art, and the spirit of millions of people who, through his works, discovered different worlds that they had sometimes dreamed of. As an artist, he was immense, and as a person, he was the grandfather that everyone would love to have had.”

Miró Menu at El Olivo

To celebrate the exhibition, Belmond La Residencia’s Executive Chef, Guillermo Méndez, has created the Miró Menu for El Olivo restaurant. This culinary adventure is inspired by the artist’s appreciation of local produce as expressed in his writings and from information provided by his family.

Reflecting Miró’s comment “I work like a market gardener,” the menu features some of Mallorca’s finest delicacies, arranged to display their intense hues. Says Méndez: “Miró loved simple, fresh, Mediterranean food and the menu contains vegetables and fruit from our orchard such as ramallet tomatoes, local fish and meat, and country bread. It is directly inspired by Miró’s paintings, in all their colour and apparent disarray, but with a definite underlying meaning.”

Dishes such as Tramuntana mountain lamb with crispy carob and rosemary bread recall Miró’s habit of keeping a carob bean in his pocket to remind him never to lose touch with his roots. Lemon sorbet with virgin olive oil, rose salt petals and green apple combines ingredients sourced from the immediate vicinity of the hotel. Méndez notes: “The artist always kept his feet firmly on solid ground and maintained close contact with everyday life, those who toiled to make a living and the natural world.”

Tea with Miró

Café Miró

Café Miró

To accompany the exhibition, Waelder is collaborating with the Miró family to create a limited edition Tea with Miró porcelain service exclusive to the hotel’s Café Miró, where the 33 works will be displayed. In addition, Méndez has created a special afternoon tea featuring artistic pastries inspired by the works.

Belmond La Residencia sits in beautiful grounds that include a Sculpture Garden with Miró’s impressive bronze, Tête. Guests can enjoy a fully immersive art experience, blending many different elements, to truly step inside Miró’s world.

The new Miró exhibition at Belmond La Residencia’s Café Miro runs from 8 September until the end of 2017 and is open to non-resident guests. The Miró Menu is available until 30 September.

Cape Town Walks - Bree Street
bree street, cape town

Cape Town Walks - Bree Street

Cape Town has a rich gastronomic heritage, earning it the number one spot on Condé Nast Traveller’s most recent list of Best Food Cities in the World. Whether you’re on the hunt for some handmade chocolate, a gourmet burger or an innovative cocktail, you’ll find it all along Bree Street.

Sep/Oct 2016

As artistic pioneers join the growing population of visionary culinarians, Bree Street is now beginning to flourish as one of the city’s coolest avenues. There are countless things to do in Cape Town, so let us help you uncover the best of the bunch.

Culinary Hotspots

La Parada

La Parada

Find a taste of Italy at True Italic - Osteria del Capo. The brother and sister team of Luca and Natasha Di Pasquale have captured the convivial spirit and rich flavours of a traditional osteria. There’s a strong focus on regional specialities, mainly from Sicily and Emilia-Romagna. The menu changes daily, but you can always anticipate tempting homemade pastas, cured meats, cheeses and sausages, washed down with spectacular wines from a variety of Italian regions.

Continue along Bree Street and step into Villa 47. A bold, modern design sets the scene for a gastronomic journey that celebrates both Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. With a range of decadent breakfast options, inventive paninis and wraps served at lunch, and a dinner menu boasting choice meat and local seafood, Villa 47 is a good call any time of the day.

Heading further along you’ll spot La Parada, a tapas bar steeped in rustic charm. The menus are designed by Martin Senekal, an up-and-coming chef in the Cape Town foodie scene with a penchant for perfectly combining unique flavours. Savour salty serrano ham, expertly-seasoned black mussels and piquant gazpacho to start. Main dishes include authentic recipes of beef fillet, lamb shoulder and wild prawns. A great wine list, featuring a choice of champagne, is sure to round out your dining experience.

Raise a Glass

Not on the prowl for a full meal? Bree Street boasts a variety of exciting bars to enjoy some light refreshment. For a fun, hip and eclectic experience head to the Orphanage Cocktail Emporium. Opened on the corner of Orphan Street, the Emporium is an alchemical laboratory offering cocktails, potions and champagne that supports the St Francis Children’s Home in Athlone.

Continue down Bree Street and you’ll discover Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar. This cool and cosmopolitan watering hole boasts more than 90 varieties of gin from around the world; the stylish, knowledgeable staff are more than equipped to help guide you through your tasting journey.

For a true hidden gem, head further along and find the pocket-sized, Victorian-style The Gin Bar on the corner with Wale Street. They offer a stripped back menu consisting of only a handful of gin-based ‘remedies’, with elegant titles like ‘Hope’ to cure pessimism, ‘Head’ to ease melancholy and ‘Soul’ to purge hatred and jealousy.

Treats to Take Away

Honest Chocolate Cafe

Honest Chocolate Cafe

For those looking for a snack on the move, pick up a perfectly brewed coffee and a delicious pastry at Jason’s Bakery, mid-way along Bree Street. Whether you go for a classic, crisp croissant or one of the decadently inventive ‘doughssants’, the tempting selection is impossible to resist.

Craving something sweeter? Tucked away on the corner of Wale Street, the Honest Chocolate Cafe is a sophisticated raw, organic chocolaterie, offering indulgent treats that are still mindful about health and nutrition. Raw cacao means the bars and bonbons are higher in antioxidants, artificial additives and preservatives are completely foregone, and agave nectar is used in place of sugar. All the flavour, none of the sin.

Retail Therapy

Skinny laMinx

Skinny laMinx

Treat yourself to some gorgeous leather goods from Missibaba. The store is the vision of Cape Town local Chloe Townsend. She draws on a wide variety of inspirations, including nature, family and her travels around Africa, to create statement bags, jewellery and accessories.

Continue on and pick up a memento from Skinny laMinx, a beautiful design studio that sells an attractive array of homeware and accessories. From scarves and aprons to cushions and wallpaper, every lovingly-made product blends Scandinavian inspiration with bold, chic African colours.

A Timeless Base

When you’ve sated yourself on the many irresistible options, continue southeast and find Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel just ten minutes away. A verdant sanctuary, this iconic retreat is the perfect base for an indulgent city adventure. Unwind by the pool, or indulge with a treatment at Librisa Spa, to round out a perfect day.

by Daniel Hayden

The Moonbow of Iguassu
Iguazu Falls

Sep/Oct 2016

The Moonbow of Iguassu

Adventure into the Brazilian rainforest, miles away from city lights, and encounter one of nature’s most magical phenomena. An experience exclusive to guests at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, our resident biologist will guide you on a dusk walking tour through the Iguassu National Park. Here you’ll witness the lunar rainbow, an enchanting sight that appears as moonlight hits the tumbling falls. Plan your stay to coincide with the full moon, visible on 16 September and 16 October.

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Peru in Action

Peru in Action

A host of fun-packed new experiences for all ages awaits in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Time your trip for around October, when visitor numbers start to drop but the rains have yet to arrive.

Sep/Oct 2016

Set beside the rushing Urubamba River, Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado is the perfect launchpad for many adventures that head off the beaten track among farms and wild, mountain landscapes. But this tranquil hideaway, designed to resemble an Andean village, also has much to offer within its own leafy gardens.

SOAK UP THE HISTORY OF THE INCAS AT MORAY AND MARAS

Take a gentle hike around the impressive Inca site of Moray. It’s one of the Incas’ most innovative agricultural experiments: concentric terraces are carved into the earth to create a huge bowl, where each layer has its own microclimate according to its altitude. The nearby salt pans of Maras, with plots passed down through the generations, are another unforgettable sight, especially when the sun glints off the hundreds of dazzlingly white salt pools etched into the green hillside. For a more adrenalin-inducing adventure, bounce along mud and dirt roads to these ancient sites by quad bike.

RIDE THE RIVER RAPIDS

The twists and turns through the Andes of the Urubamba River helped to form the beautiful landscapes of the Sacred Valley. The gentle Class I and Class II rapids along the stretch of river near Ollantaytambo make it an ideal spot for beginners, while still packing a heady shot of adrenalin. Beyond the exhilarating whitewater roller-coaster ride and getting drenched in ice-cold spray, there are peaceful sections where you can savour the sunshine as you float between Inca agricultural terraces and buff-coloured canyons under a cobalt-blue sky. After the watery thrills and spills, there’s the opportunity to wind down with a delicious picnic along the riverbank.

SADDLE UP A PONY

Head off for a horseback adventure on a Peruvian Paso, a breed directly descended from the Spanish horses brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus and one of the world’s smoothest rides. Take a private car to a ranch in Huaran, just 20 minutes from the hotel, then—after a short lesson in how to handle your horse—set off on a scenic ride to Huaran’s small but stunning waterfall. The ride threads through fragrant eucalyptus forests and fields of red quinoa and purple lupins, across gentle streams and into age-old agricultural communities, all flanked by the majestic mountains of the Sacred Valley.

TAKE TO TWO WHEELS

Discover the spectacular Sacred Valley on two wheels: guests at Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado can borrow state-of-the-art mountain bikes and explore at their own pace. Get off the tourist trail, cycling along gently undulating dirt roads flanked by furrowed fields of time-honoured Inca crops—potatoes, quinoa and corn—and past adobe-and-thatch villages where the locals still wear the traditional, brightly coloured clothes of the Andes. Stop for regular breaks to take in the surroundings, including the dramatic peaks of the Urubamba mountain range and the jagged snow-capped cone of Mount Veronica.

DON A DISGUISE

Learn about an age-old Peruvian tradition at a mask-making workshop. Fearsome masks created from materials as diverse as wood, clay, leather and metal, depicted angels and demons were worn for hunting. The Incas sometimes even made them out of glittering gold studded with precious stones. Masks are still used today for celebrations and ceremonies, illustrating Peru’s rich mix of influences, from the highlands to Spain and Africa. After watching a film of flamboyant folk dances from Cusco, including the Capac Negro, which depicts liberated African slaves, younger guests can create their own papier-mâché wall art as a decorative and lasting memento.

GO FOR A PADDLE

Marvel at the snowy Andean peaks from a unique perspective—balancing on a stand-up paddleboard more than 3,500 metres above sea level. With no wind, current or waves, the mirror-flat surface of the Piuray Lagoon near Chinchero is perfect for novices. After a yoga-inspired warm-up and briefing on terra firma, there’ll be time to practise rowing techniques and spins on a relaxed paddle near the shoreline. Since Inca times, Chinchero has been providing Cusco with water through subterranean channels and every year its wetlands attract flocks of migratory birds, as well as jewel-coloured hummingbirds, rare reptiles and, if you’re lucky, elusive pumas.

SHOP AT PISAC'S SUNDAY MARKET

Pisac’s famous market is one of the liveliest in Peru, especially on Sundays when the textiles, ceramics, jewellery and handicraft stalls that spill down the side streets off the central plaza share the stage with fruit, vegetables and grains. Sellers travel from remote Andean villages from miles around, many in their typical dress. There’s also the chance to witness the Iglesia San Pedro Apóstol’s morning mass said in Quechua, followed by an elaborate costumed procession led by the mayor carrying his ceremonial staff. Follow this with a visit to the atmospheric Pisac ruins—part city, part ceremonial centre—which command spectacular views over the valley.

TRY YOUR HAND AT POTTERY

Peru’s ancient cultures have produced fine pottery for more than 3,500 years: the Chavíns fashioned ceramics based on mythical creatures, the Paracas culture used vivid geometric patterns and the Moche were masters of erotic realism in their ceremonial ceramics, while the Incas favoured utilitarian design. Now you can create your own work of art with the help of soft-spoken, grey-haired potter Pablo Seminario and his wife Marilú Behar at their tranquil workshop in Urubamba. Together, they’ve developed their own unique style, using ancient motifs and techniques and their ceramics have been displayed at the Museo de Arte Precolombino (MAP) in Cusco, as well as at The Field Museum in Chicago.

COOK WITH HOT STONES

Fledgling cooks can get their hands dirty in the kitchen after discovering some of Peru’s wild and wonderful ingredients with a visit to the hotel’s organic garden with the chef. Or enjoy a pachamanca, a unique Inca hot-stone cooking experience, in the garden overlooking the fast-flowing river. Meat and vegetables—including pork, chicken, sweet potatoes, beans and corn—are slow cooked for hours over hot stones in a hole in the garden. As well as a delicious dish, this centuries-old Andean ritual is a celebration and offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth), which locals believe brings good health and an abundant harvest.

JUST FOR CHILDREN

Budding Picassos can seek inspiration from the scenery on a painting class in the hotel’s flower-filled gardens. The lawns that reach down to the Urubamba River are also home to the hotel’s adorable baby alpacas; young guests can feed and pet these iconic Peruvian animals while learning about their lives and significance since ancient times.

Beachfront Halloween
Belmond La Samanna

Sep/Oct 2016

Beachfront Halloween

The setting sun, cool Caribbean breeze, a beckoning beach… Don your mask and take your place in this enchanting scene for a Halloween celebration unlike any other. A spirited evening is guaranteed at Belmond La Samanna, an indulgent garden paradise set beside one of the most pristine coastal stretches on St Martin. A sophisticated soiree is complete with a delicious dinner, drinks and entertainment. Book the exclusive Halloween Getaway package now to secure your tickets. No trick, all treat.

BELMOND.COM

Five Bars to Inspire

Five Bars to Inspire

The sound of a sea breeze at sunset, a misty mountain on the horizon, two pairs of eyes meeting across a candlelit room… Every great story began as a small spark of inspiration. Belmond boasts some of the best bars in the world, in visually stunning locations. We’ve picked five of our favourites—perfect spots to order a drink, soak up the atmosphere, and let the muses strike.

Sep/Oct 2016