Road Trip: Mallorca on the Move

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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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Road Trip: Mallorca on the Move

Travel

Road Trip: Mallorca on the Move

Pour over dice

Lifestyle

Pour over dice

A Taste of the Belmond Northern Belle

Food & Wine

A Taste of the Belmond Northern Belle

Be enchanted by Chatsworth

Happenings

Be enchanted by Chatsworth

From Monk to Manager

Community

From Monk to Manager

Learn to paint with Mandela's portraitist

Arts

Learn to paint with Mandela's portraitist

Ceramics of Cusco

Community

Ceramics of Cusco

The Showstopping Horses of Peru

Happenings

The Showstopping Horses of Peru

A Depth of Art in Venice

Arts

A Depth of Art in Venice

Hot 5: Hands-On Culinary Getaways

Food & Wine

Hot 5: Hands-On Culinary Getaways

All aboard Scotland's new spa

Travel

All aboard Scotland's new spa

Sailing the Chesapeake

Lifestyle

Sailing the Chesapeake

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Road Trip: Mallorca on the Move

Road Trip: Mallorca on the Move

Carve out your own adventure on wheels and discover the hidden highlights of Mallorca. Whether travelling by car, Vespa, bicycle or sidecar, follow one of our choice routes and embrace the freedom of the open road.

Mar/Apr 2017

Set in the western Mediterranean sea and settled for more than 3,000 years, Spain’s largest island boasts a rich history and a diverse ecology. From rugged coastlines and mysterious caves to charming mountain towns and world-class vineyards, there are endless riches waiting to be discovered. Stay at the luxurious Belmond Hotel La Residencia in Deià, and we’ll help you create an itinerary to set off on your own voyage.

A particularly stunning route takes you from Deià to Cap de Formentor and the lighthouse. Passing by the port town of Soller, the monastery of Lluc and the Cúber reservoir, head through the dramatic Tramuntana mountains towards Pollença. From there, wind your way along the serpentine road to be greeted by the Cap’s awe-inspiring views. We advise you leave early, ideally before 7am, to enjoy the vistas in peace. The hotel will pack a delicious breakfast to keep you going, or you can stop in the port of Pollença for a pick-me-up after your visit. For those on bicycle, transport can be arranged for the return journey.

The Cuevas del Drach, another island must, are also best enjoyed without the crowds. Make your way to the enchanting limestone caves near Porto Cristo, in the east, for an early-morning or late-afternoon private tour. Admire the phenomenal stalactites and enjoy an atmospheric boat ride on the crystalline lake as classical musicians demonstrate the caves’ astounding acoustics. As you leave, the beaches at nearby Calas de Mallorca beckon. Bathe in the emerald waters and relax on the soft sand.

Wine lovers, this one’s for you. Drive or ride to the acclaimed mountain winery, Es Verger, where tasting has been taken to another level. Classical or jazz tunes are played as you sample each of the vineyard’s six ecological labels. The music, it’s said, brings out the wine’s unique personality. Gastronomic Mallorcan specialities, including Es Verger’s famous olive oil, are also paired with the wines, creating an all-round sensory experience that will never be forgotten.

Other exciting trips, whether to the island’s remote beaches or an early-morning fishing expedition to catch the famous “gambas de Sóller”, can be arranged. Just have a chat with our concierge—they’ll help create your perfect itinerary.

Pour over dice

Pour over dice

Forget Monopoly and Scrabble; we’re living in the golden age of designer board games. Join us as we explore the rise of this curious trend, take a closer look at some of our favourite titles, and give you tips on cocktails that will turn your tabletop evening into a celebrated talking point.

Mar/Apr 2017

In an age of smartphones, cloud-based data storage and instant video streaming, the idea of gathering around a table to play a game made of cardboard and plastic may seem antiquated. For some it may be a relic of forced fun at awkward family gatherings, or a lacklustre pastime during a rainy holiday. 

It may be a surprise, then, to know that board game sales are rising consistently each year, becoming a billion dollar industry. More and more new titles are being produced. Crowd-funding websites are currently dominated by intrepid designers and creatives, inventing their own games and accompanying accessories with huge success. Across the globe, board game cafes and bars are springing up in vibrant cities, letting patrons pick and choose from vast game libraries with accompanying drinks and snacks. 

To those who have enjoyed their own ‘game night’ in the past few years, this will not be a surprise at all. Playing together with friends, face to face, is a deeply rewarding experience that can quickly become quite addictive.

A Timeless Tradition

Some speculate that in the digital age, physical human interaction has become a prized commodity. A quick instant message or a scroll through social media can be seen as ‘catching up’ with an acquaintance without any real connection. Inviting over some old friends, bonding over shared objectives, trading stories and jokes as you interact with something tangible and tactile has an almost primal appeal.

But more than that—board game designs have simply become better in the past decade or so. Aside from ancient strategy games like chess, checkers and go, many people may think board games have a limited scope in what they can accomplish. The mass market has, historically, been dominated by repetitive dice-throwing affairs, cash-in quiz games or nebulously-complicated, weekend-consuming roleplaying games. Today, a vast spectrum of titles have emerged to fill the gap there once was.

Forward-Thinking Design

European-style games like Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan were at the forefront of the resurgence, with a focus on resource management and diplomacy. These mechanics helped to keep everyone involved at all stages of play, rather than limiting their concentration to their turn at a dice roll.

Some games are notoriously complex for those who thrive on the struggle of strategy, with hundreds of intricate components and thick, beautiful rulebooks, like the grand space-opera game Twilight Imperium. Conversely, some titles can easily be explained in seconds and carried around in a pocket or purse, such as the quick card-game Love Letter or the storytelling-focussed Gloom. There are also abstract, social games that require you to really understand your gaming companions. The Resistance gives every player a secret role and tasks you to weed out imperial spies. The Czech-designed game Codenames is a more recent arrival that requires players to set up linguistic leaps of logic to band together seemingly random words.

But we’re here to help you get started. We’ve selected four of our favourite gateway games to kick-start your new hobby. We have also consulted with our best barmen to suggest some great cocktail pairings that’ll help convince your friends to join in too.

Ticket to Ride: Europe

Ticket to Ride: Europe

Step back into the golden age of steam train travel. The first step to setting up Ticket to Ride: Europe involves unfolding a beautiful, vintage-style game board map. Destinations like Dieppe, Venezia and Constantinople are connected by colourful, criss-crossed routes. The game conjures a wonderful sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of a journey aboard the famed Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

The objective is to outdo your opponents as you create a personal rail empire. Each turn players collect coloured carriage cards, which they can then exchange for matching lines on the board. The real strategy arrives in the secret ‘tickets’ you can also collect, each detailing a longer route that will award bonus points should you succeed in claiming it. You will have to keep an eye out for what your fellow entrepreneurs are collecting, and decide if you should pursue your own goals, or sabotage theirs.

To drink: 
A classic game deserves a classic cocktail, and where better to find inspiration that from the menu of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express itself? We recommend our ever-popular Pousse Café du Train, a variant on the classic Pousse Café that is typically served after coffee.

The layered colours reflect the vibrant routes available, and much like setting out your delicate carriages, preparing the cocktail requires a steady hand. Begin with 30ml of vivid green, herbal Coca Buton. Carefully layer with 30ml of purple, floral Parfait Amour. Finally top with 30ml of sweet, golden Galliano. It’s a timeless, elegant tipple for an entrepreneur on the rise.

Tsuro

Winning Dragon

Subtitled ‘The Game of the Path’, Tsuro is a classic strategy game whose beautiful simplicity is matched by its gorgeous design. The board is printed to look like an ancient Japanese wood carving, where rich reds, ochre and cream create a many-tailed phoenix soaring against the clouds.

Players select a coloured stone, embellished with the symbol of a dragon, and choose a starting point on the edge of a grid overlay. You then take turns laying tiles, each one patterned with sprawling white lines which become a path for your stone to follow. The object of the game is to create a path that keeps you on the board for longer than your companions. While some have argued the game is a metaphor for the quest to enlightenment, the truth is this is a very quick and easy abstract game, perfect for all ages. It could also double as decorative art.

To drink:
I Nengah Ladra, the Assistant Bar Manager at Belmond Jimbaran Puri in Bali, suggests his own colourful creation, Winning Dragon. The different shades in this layered drink are inspired by the colours of the stones. The gradient symbolises the levels of intensity as the game progresses, beginning with a tranquil green and ending with a chaotic red as you are left with fewer and fewer options to stay on the board.

To create the cocktail, you will need to layer 40ml of Bacardi with 30ml of Midori, 20ml of pineapple juice, 2ml of orange juice, a dash of lime juice and top it off with 80ml of red dragon fruit juice.

Tokaido

Tokaido

Tokaido asks its players a simple question: what makes a holiday special? Set in Edo-period Japan, Tokaido is named after the famed Great Sea Road that all manner of pilgrims once journeyed along. Each player takes on the role of a specific character, whether an aged priest or a wandering artist. The journey is split into four days, and you can use each day to pursue whatever interests you most. Unwind in hotsprings, with a chance to meet the local macaques. Take time to savour and paint the scenery. Pick up beautiful souvenirs from boutiques and make new friends along the way. The only inevitability is that you must all gather each evening for dinner at a local inn.

Both the gameplay and the visuals of Tokaido are incredibly peaceful and zen. The board and accompanying cards use a minimalist art style, rich in pastel colours with bright splashes of green and pink. It’s also easy to overlook the sense of competition the game fosters. On your first playthrough, you might not realise how many points you’ve been awarded until the very end as you get swept up in the beauty of the experience, finding avenues for tactical play only after repeated games. Ultimately though, Tokaido champions the importance of a journey well travelled, which is a notion we can all raise a glass to.

To drink:
In order to capture the tranquil spirit of the game, we turned to Rejane Kewano, the Sake Sommelier of MEE at Belmond Copacabana Palace. She worked with Rodrigo Mello, the Bar Supervisor, to create Cherry Fizz. It’s a very light, simple and fresh cocktail that uses the best Japanese ingredients to capture an authentic flavour.

Begin by mixing 50ml of Umenoyado Junmai Daiginjo sake with 30ml of strong, cold hibiscus tea. Layer this with 5ml of cherry syrup and top with 50ml of Ozeki Hana Awaka sparkling sake. Adding a final decorative flourish of edible flowers truly reflects the image of cherry blossom in bloom.

Pandemic

The Healer

Unlike our previous suggestions, Pandemic is a cooperative rather than a competitive experience. You’ll have to work together, talking through ideas and strategies, because you either collectively win or collectively fail. Removing the competitive edge from the game does not make it a sedate affair, however. Pandemic is one of the most challenging and high-octane experiences on the market, enjoying a great deal of popularity as a result.

The board showcases a map of the world, highlighting key cities. Four infectious diseases have broken out across the continents, and you must band together to work on containment and vaccine development. Each player has a role with certain specialities, from medic to operations expert, but ultimately each person only has a very limited number of moves they can make before more cities become infected. Luck and misfortune in equal measures can really turn the tide of the game, as there is are countless ways to lose and only one condition for victory. Forward thinking and contingency planning are key, which makes this a fantastic team building exercise that you cannot help but get caught up in.

To drink:
Sergey Prosvirkin, bartender at the Lobby Bar of Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, created a cocktail that captures the curative spirit of the game, aptly named The Healer. One of the most important discoveries of the 20th century was penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928, so Sergey put his own creative spin on a classic penicillin cocktail.

Mix 25ml of Bacardi Oakheart with 40ml of single malt Scottish whisky, ideally Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Lagavulin. Add in 15ml of honey, the egg white from one egg, 15ml of fresh lime and three slices of fresh ginger root. Dry shake, hard shake and strain. Serve in an old fashioned glass, and garnish with ginger chips. Even if you are unsuccessful in saving the world, this will surely cure what ails you.

by Daniel Hayden

A Taste of the Belmond Northern Belle

A Taste of the Belmond Northern Belle

Capture the classic flavours of spring with this tantalising recipe. Rich, earthy shoulder of lamb is elevated with creamy dauphinoise sweet potatoes and zesty tomato caponata.

Mar/Apr 2017

Whether cities brimming with history, celebrated national events, or inspiring round-trips through the countryside, the Belmond Northern Belle luxury train travels to some of the UK’s best destinations. On a journey where every moment becomes a memory to treasure, dining will always be among the highlights. It’s no surprise then that the cuisine also embraces a sense of national pride and celebrates the best of British. The shoulder of lamb is no exception.

The meat comes from the famed Rhug Estate in Wales. Organic lambs are born and bred on Lord Newborough’s farm, roaming across pastures rich with chicory, cocksfoot and red and white clover. The abundance of grasses and herbs enrich the flavour of the meat, earning it a reputation as some of the finest lamb in the world.

Head Chef Richie Cunningham, a champion of local produce and seasonality, knows the best way to bring out these subtle flavours. He de-bones and rolls the shoulder before roasting and braising it in his mix of herbs and stock. To accompany, he suggests creamy dauphinoise sweet potatoes, thinly sliced and baked in milk and cream. To offset the decadence he recommends a tangy vegetable caponata, and the freshness of nutrient-packed curly kale.

Follow along with Chef Richie’s video recipe. Capture and recreate the flavours of the train in your own home, and create something special for your nearest and dearest. Download the recipe >

Be enchanted by Chatsworth

Be enchanted by Chatsworth

This June, Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society launches its first-ever flower show at glorious Chatsworth House. A highlight of this inspiring event is the Belmond Enchanted Gardens. Journey to this wonderland aboard our luxury trains.

Mar/Apr 2017

Flourishing beech trees rise out of wildflower meadows surrounded by native hedging. Foxgloves intermingle with luxuriant cow parsley. From this lush, dreamy space, a spiral staircase beckons you into a world of imagination. Welcome to the Belmond Enchanted Gardens.

This immersive garden experience promises to be one of the highlights of the inaugural RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in Derbyshire. It follows on from Belmond’s appearance at RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year; its design encapsulates all that is great about Belmond’s legendary gardens worldwide.

Set in Britain’s ravishing Peak District, the show is generating a major buzz. Under the theme ‘Design Revolutionaries’, it will celebrate the genius of the past while embracing the ideas of the future.

Nick Mattingley, Director of RHS Shows explains: “Through the ages, Chatsworth has attracted revolutionary thinkers. William Talman, Joseph Paxton and ‘Capability’ Brown are among those who shaped the house, gardens and landscape. We want to uncover the design revolutionaries of the future. The show is a platform for the dreamers and innovators of tomorrow.”

Respect for both heritage and innovation is an ethos that sits well with Belmond. “Belmond gardens are renowned for being spectacular,” says the Belmond Enchanted Gardens’ designer, Butter Wakefield. “Some, like those at Belmond Reid’s Palace in Madeira and Cape Town’s Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, are attractions in their own right. They are spaces to unwind, disconnect and free the imagination. Like them, the show garden will be an ethereal retreat—a place of enchantment in a natural, uncontrived setting.”

Wakefield comes from long line of great gardeners in her native Baltimore. Having worked at Christie’s in New York, she moved to London with her British husband and became captivated by its gardens. She now runs a thriving garden design company with commissions around the city and southeast England.

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

Nature and nurture

The Belmond Enchanted Gardens are formed of two distinct parts. The naturalistic area, with its staircase, is designed to fuel the imagination. At spells throughout the show, invited speakers will tell their story from this lofty spot.

The second area celebrates sustainable, productive gardening. Sixteen plots are divided into four spaces. One is dedicated to mixed planting and another to gorgeous blooms perfect for cutting—roses, peonies, delphiniums.

The remaining two sections are devoted to herbs and vegetables—inspired by the gardens at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. “They reflect the idea of physically nourishing the body with freshly grown, organic produce. There will be fascinating tidbits, such as the specific heritage onions used to make Raymond Blanc’s French onion soup.” Wakefield spent time with M Blanc and head gardener Anne Marie Owens to glean inspiration.

Raymond Blanc is renowned for his own groundbreaking gardens at Belmond’s acclaimed Oxfordshire hotel. He says: “Belmond gardens are inviting escapes designed to enrich guests’ enjoyment. Beauty, art, productivity and sustainability all find space to exist in harmony.”

Dazzling displays

Photo: RHS

The new show itself takes full advantage of Chatsworth’s expansive grounds. A monumental, Joseph Paxton-inspired Great Conservatory will rise out of a natural curve in the landscape. This will be home to the fabulous RHS Floral Marquee.

“The scale of the show lends itself to large installations,” says Mattingley. “Take our new FreeForm category. It encourages freedom of expression and celebrates the connection between plants, sculpture, art and people. Our designers have really been able to push the boundaries of their imagination.”

FreeForm will include fantastically intriguing designs. The Wordless Cupboard is a cubed installation with a landslide of glacial boulders. Moveable Feast is a garden designed to be easily transferred from one rented home to another.

Floating bridges have been installed across the River Derwent to enable show-goers to move easily between features. One, Palladian in style, will house an unexpected floral display.

In fact, the unexpected is very much to be expected at this show. “It will offer a unique experience for visitors, inspired both by the grandeur and beauty of its setting and the Design Revolutionaries theme,” says Mattingley. “It’s stimulated by the people who influenced our industries. RHS Chatsworth will champion horticultural innovation and be bursting with exciting ideas. It’s set to be playful, fun and unforgettable from beginning to end.”

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, June 7-11. Belmond is offering guests the chance to travel to the show from London on Belmond British Pullman (June 7) or from Preston, Bolton and Manchester aboard Belmond Northern Belle (June 9).

From Monk to Manager

From Monk to Manager

Souk Suliyaphone of Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao in Laos has an extraordinary CV. This rice farmer’s son was ordained a monk before bringing his deep experience of Buddhism to the Luang Prabang hotel’s reception desk.

Mar/Apr 2017

Souk Suliyaphone is a gentle presence at the entrance to Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao in Laos. This genial host has travelled a long and fascinating journey from his childhood among the emerald rice terraces of a village near the northern border with China. Along the way he has swapped the challenges of one of nature’s most labour-intensive crops for those of Assistant Front Office Manager at this Luang Prabang hotel. But Mr Souk brings something even more exceptional to his role: before joining the hotel he was sub-abbot at the town’s major Buddhist monastery. Today, when guests relax on the hotel terrace, gazing at the golden temple atop a nearby hill, he is able to reveal fascinating aspects of the religion that it embraces.

Mr Souk, Front Desk Manager at Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao

A new life begins

One of 10 children born to a family of rice farmers, Mr Souk helped to supervise the water buffalo working the fields until he turned 13. “Then, my uncle built a new Buddhist temple and I was asked to become one its first novices. I asked my parents if I could go and luckily they agreed.”

Since the temple also had a school, it was the perfect chance for him to combine his new religious duties with the continuation of his studies.

Having shaved his head in the traditional way, he quickly embraced life as a monk, observing its many rituals. He admits that the first three weeks were hard: “I would wake up at 4am, go out barefoot every morning for alms collection (the winters were very cold!), kneel before the abbot every morning and evening for prayers and study for two hours until 10pm. We ate just two meals a day.”

Arrival in Luang Prabang

Mr Souk moved to Luang Prabang in 1985 in order to continue his Buddhist studies at the town’s largest and most important temple, Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham. This 18th-century edifice, with its sweeping, tiered roofs, is fabulously decorated with elaborate golden frieze-work on its exterior and an imposing statue of the Buddha inside. In addition to being a seat of local learning it attracts many visitors, who come to absorb its tranquil spirituality.

While there, Mr Souk attended an English class taught by a senior trainee. He barely spoke a word of English, but listened intently. When, later that day, a tourist came to the temple and spoke English to the monks, he was hooked—and started taking language lessons every day.

Ordination as Sub-Abbot

In 1998, at the age of 18, he became a monk, and began to follow an even stricter routine. He was later promoted to sub-abbot, responsible for 25 trainees, and continued to serve until 2005, when he felt that he had given sufficiently to the faith. As he says: “A monk is fed by other people’s donations. I came to feel ‘now I have to feed myself.’”

Having left the monastic life, he began work on an internationally funded project to preserve 400-year-old Buddhist texts inscribed on palm leaves. Part of his work was translating the ancient Pali script into contemporary Lao.

Bringing Buddhism to guests

Baci ceremony

Following the project’s completion in 2011, he decided to use his language skills to work in hospitality, and moved to join Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao. Now, as well as his front desk duties, he calls on lessons gleaned from his past to introduce guests to the rich local culture and Buddhist thought.

Mr Souk is the perfect companion on Mekong River meditation voyages, when guests drift along the wide, forest-lined waterway to arrive at a sacred cave. There, among statues of the Buddha illuminated by candles, he shares his profound knowledge of the faith.

He also takes part in and explains the subtle details of the Baci ceremony held at the hotel. This ancient ritual of welcome and blessing includes chants that date back to the pre-Buddhist era. A sacred thread is tied around the guest’s wrist and glasses of fiery home-brewed Lao whisky are shared.

The hotel has its own temple within its grounds, where Mr Souk also participates in evening ceremonies. There could be no greater fount of knowledge for both guests—and other staff—on the theory and practice of Buddhism and its role in Laotian life today.

Learn to paint with Mandela's portraitist

Learn to paint with Mandela's portraitist

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel has launched an exciting new artist-in-residence programme. Guests can master new skills or have their likeness captured by Nelson Mandela’s former portraitist. We talk to leading South African painter Cyril Coetzee to find out what he has in store.

Mar/Apr 2017

Within an airy room, flooded with light, a cluster of artists are busy at their easels. Through the window is glimpsed Cape Town’s majestic Lion’s Head mountain. In the foreground, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel’s rosy buildings, fringed by palm trees and bougainvillea. But the artists focus intently on the paintings taking shape before them. Some are favourite landscapes, others are portraits of loved ones. Blending colours on their palettes, the painters sweep or dab their brushes across the canvas. Then they step back to assess the effect.

Wandering among them, giving tips and encouragement, is Cyril Coetzee, the hotel’s new artist-in-residence. For 25 years Coetzee has been painting the great and the good of South Africa. His sitters range from boardroom giants and legal eagles to former President, Nelson Mandela. Aspiring artists could not be in better hands.

A life in art

Cyril Coetzee, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel's new artist-in-residence

A striking figure with thick, snowy-white hair and beard, Coetzee has always loved art. “I started drawing faces as soon as I could hold a pencil,” he recalls. He gained a Fine Art Masters degree at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, before becoming an art history lecturer. But he missed making art. In 1990, he took the plunge and became a self-employed artist.

Since then he has achieved great things. He has painted official portraits of South African dignitaries such as Richard Goldstone and Colin Bundy. He created a monumental 28 sq m narrative painting for Johannesburg’s William Cullen Library. He has been the subject of solo retrospectives and curated several major exhibitions. All the while he continues to write, lecture and publish art historical research. His paintings grace collections internationally and have earned him accolades, including the Vita Art Prize.

Mandela's gift

The Mandela commissions were, naturally, a career highlight. “I’d completed a portrait of the human rights lawyer George Bizos,” Coetzee explains. “He was a lifelong friend of Mandela’s. Afterwards he said to me, ‘I might commission you to paint the President. So I can give it to him as a gift’. I was only at Mandela’s house for three hours, doing sketches, taking photographs. But he was as gracious and charming as you can imagine. He had a gift for making ordinary people feel special.” The portrait was later reproduced as a limited-edition postage stamp commemorating Mandela’s 90th birthday. Coetzee also painted Mandela with Graça Machel for the couple’s wedding in 1998.

Discover hidden talents

Coetzee is available to teach classes of up to six guests at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. The three-hour sessions can be totally mixed. Individuals of any level of experience may work side by side on different subject matter. Coetzee’s role is to coax the best out of his students. “Participants can choose any style they like—tight, loose, abstract, realist. I’m here to help them unlock their hidden talent.” He continues: “Often people take to painting later in life, for example when their children grow up. It’s wonderful for them to discover skills they didn’t know they had.”

Oil is his medium of choice. “For a beginner it’s very forgiving as it wipes away easily. But it’s also fantastic for experienced artists as it has many subtleties.” Participants can either bring in their own reference material or he will supply it.

The marriage of Rama and Sita by Cyril Coetzee

Commission a portrait

The man who painted Mandela can also undertake portrait commissions from guests. Individual sitters, relaxed family groups, romantic couples are all within his canon. Choose from head-and-shoulders, half- or full-length portraits. He can also work from a selection of photographs for a surprise gift. He will add in the background of guests’ choice. Perhaps the hotel’s famous Table Mountain backdrop, or a coveted spot in the lush gardens.

His first portrait commission at the hotel was inspired by the love of three daughters. They were looking for the perfect Christmas gift for their mother, Joy Bryer. Mrs Bryer, co-founder of the European Union Youth Orchestra, sat for Coetzee for an hour. He sketched her and took photographs, then returned to his home studio to complete the likeness. She later told the artist she “couldn’t be happier” with the result.

Painting classes start at ZAR700 per person, a private one-on-one lesson is ZAR3,000 for three hours. Or have yourself or a loved one immortalised in paint from ZAR15,000.

Ceramics of Cusco

Ceramics of Cusco

Swirling patterns of Peru’s flora and fauna bring the Andean world to life on the ceramics of Belmond Palacio Nazarenas.

Mar/Apr 2017

Colourful ceramics enliven the rooms and colonnaded courtyards of Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, an ancient former convent in Cusco, Peru. Continuing a tradition spanning nearly three millennia, these contemporary works were specially commissioned for the hotel. Pieces range from vibrant tableware to decorative tiles, in pre-Inca, Inca and colonial styles.

The colonial-inspired pieces were created by master ceramicist Tater Camilo Vera at his Cusco workshop just steps from the hotel. Painstakingly crafted by hand, they include vases adorned with iconography featuring Andean flora and fauna. Filled with freshly cut flowers, they form a striking centrepiece of guests’ suites.

Master ceramicist Tater Camilo Vera

Vera explains: “I have been creating glazed ceramics for more than two decades, inspired by pieces in my mother’s collection from colonial times.” During the 1990s he embarked on his “adventure with pottery”, travelling to workshops around Peru to learn age-old techniques. He subsequently studied at Cusco’s school of fine arts where he began to evolve his own distinctive style.

Eight families in the Sacred Valley craft the vessels under the master’s watchful eye. The vases are then brought to the Cusco workshop where Vera adds the decoration, continually evolving his own fresh, vibrant designs. Favoured colours include cobalt blue, copper and manganese purple-brown. “I also use gold and platinum,” he says. “Not because they are precious metals but to add further colour and variation to the design.”

Guests can visit Vera’s workshops and discover exactly how this traditional pottery is made. They can view his gallery of lustrous pieces and even lend a hand in the process. As guests are bid farewell at the end of their hotel stay, they are given one of Vera’s vases as a gift. It is filled with a potpourri of local flowers to create a lasting memory.

The Showstopping Horses of Peru

Photo: ©Claire-lise Havet

Mar/Apr 2017

The Showstopping Horses of Peru

400 years of careful breeding have resulted in the Peruvian Paso, one of the most graceful and elegant horses in the world and a treasured symbol of Peruvian culture. Their unique four-beat gait makes them excellent dancers, and they can even perform the famous ‘Marinera’ dance of Peru. Stay at Belmond Miraflores Park and witness a show, including lunch, at nearby Hacienda Mamacona. Alternatively head to the National Peruvian Paso Horse Competition in Lima, held from 23-30 April, and be part of one of the country’s most important cultural events.

BELMOND.COM

A Depth of Art in Venice

A Depth of Art in Venice

"Whale" (2010) by Marco Rizzo

Discover the mind-bending works of Marco Rizzo in an otherworldly underwater setting at Belmond Hotel Cipriani.

Mar/Apr 2017

The Venice Art Biennale sees intriguing artwork appear all across the city. This year, Belmond Hotel Cipriani welcomes its own installation that is overflowing with originality.

Belmond Hotel Cipriani

Throughout the year, the hotel’s Olympic-size swimming pool will play host to various works from artist Marco Rizzo. The artist is well-known for his surreal monochrome photographs, depicting haunting scenes of Venice underwater.

Hotel guests will be provided with goggles so they can dive beneath the water and admire the works up close.

Pieces include “Whale” (2010), in which the majestic basilica in Piazza San Marco is dominated by the eponymous scene-stealing marine mammal. “Under Attack” (2012), showcases a scene in Venice where the city has been commandeered by hammerhead sharks. “The Bends” (2011) imagines a scene in which a diver heads swiftly to the surface, passing a submerged Church of San Zaccaria.

The 57th Venice Art Biennale takes place from 13 May–26 November 2017. Belmond Hotel Cipriani reopens for the season on 20 March.

Hot 5: Hands-On Culinary Getaways

Hot 5: Hands-On Culinary Getaways

Forget the typical souvenir. Explore a new destination, and bring home an expanded kitchen repertoire. Sample some of our most unique hands-on cookery experiences below, and anticipate an unforgettable culinary vacation.

Mar/Apr 2017

All aboard Scotland's new spa

All aboard Scotland's new spa

A fabulous spa carriage—a first for Belmond and a British train—is set to bring a further touch of luxury to Belmond Royal Scotsman.

Mar/Apr 2017

Imagine the indulgence of travelling through pristine Highland scenery while reclining in a spa aboard a luxury train. Outside, beyond the picture windows, landscapes of brilliant wildflowers, mirror-calm lochs and misty mountains pass by. Within, guests are cocooned in fragrance as they enjoy a massage or sumptuous body scrub.

This is the unique experience to be offered by Belmond Royal Scotsman as it debuts the Bamford Haybarn Spa this year. The only spa carriage to feature in Belmond’s worldwide portfolio of iconic trains, it is also a first on any overnight rail journey in Britain.

Crafted in natural woods and with pure white furnishings, the new spa carriage is a diminutive but faithful replica of the flagship Haybarn Spa at Bamford’s Daylesford farm. There, in England’s Cotswolds countryside, guests are enfolded in the softest robes and sumptuous scents such as the geranium, lavender and peppermint that feature on the train.

Haybarn founder Carole Bamford explains that her growing collection of spas offer natural, sustainable products crafted by artisans.

The treatments themselves are inspired by ancient wellness rituals and Ayurvedic principles including shiatsu, reiki and yoga. She tells us more about her exciting new “joint adventure” with the train…

What brought Bamford and Belmond Royal Scotsman together?

I have always loved travelling and am inspired by all the beautiful sights, sounds and scents along the way—so much so that they often find their way into our Bamford range of products. It was very exciting to take the Bamford Haybarn Spa on board a train that is synonymous with luxury, relaxation and innovation; Belmond Royal Scotsman shares our philosophy and so many of our values.

How are your visits to Scotland brought to life in the new spa carriage?

When I think of Scotland, walks in the Highlands, fresh air, rushing streams and beautiful heather-covered hillsides come to mind. At Bamford, nature is our greatest inspiration with its seasonally changing hues, scents and textures. These natural elements feature in the interiors of each of our Haybarn Spas and all our body and skincare ranges.

What distinguishes the Bamford Haybarn Spa experience?

At the Bamford Haybarn Spa, we offer a holistic approach based on our heartfelt connection with nature, and this is no exception on board the Belmond Royal Scotsman. I love the idea that as you travel through the beautiful Scottish countryside, you feel a part of the surroundings while enjoying a treatment using our organic botanical products.

We hope that after a day of exploring the Highlands, guests will enjoy a deeply relaxing experience in the calm and tranquillity of the spa. The two treatment rooms have been designed using sustainable wood from Scotland and the Cotswolds, inset with our signature heart motif. They are spaces for reflection and rejuvenation.

Why did you create the body and skincare ranges and how have the products evolved to fit within the Bamford brand?

Haybarn founder, Carole Bamford

 I always say that what goes onto the body is as important as what goes inside. We make all our products for the Haybarn Spa at Daylesford organic farm in the Cotswolds, using natural fragrances and ingredients. We work hard to ensure that the majority of our products are certified as organic by the Soil Association, the most rigorous testing of its kind in the UK.

Could you tell us about some of the treatments that will feature on the train?

We are delighted to offer guests on board the Belmond Royal Scotsman all the treatments we created for our original Haybarn Spa, with some slightly adapted for the train environment. It is very important that guests enjoy the full experience, and therefore all the therapists have had extensive training at the Haybarn Spa. Guests can choose from de-stress and deep tissue massages, rejuvenating facials using our award-winning skincare products, as well as manicures and pedicures.

Starting this spring, the Bamford Haybarn Spa will feature on Belmond Royal Scotsman’s two seven-night itineraries departing from Edinburgh and travelling past sweeping glens and towering peaks to landmarks such as the Kyle of Lochalsh and Cairngorms National Park.

Sailing the Chesapeake

Sailing the Chesapeake

The Chesapeake Bay has captured the hearts and minds of countless travellers who have sailed along its waters. Head out from picturesque St. Michaels and discover what life is like along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a serene stretch barely touched by time.

Mar/Apr 2017

The Chesapeake Bay brims with diversity and beauty, boasting more coastline than California. From the northern entry point where it meets with the mighty Susquehanna River to the remote open stretches in the south, more than 150 rivers and streams flow into it. Ever since settlers first arrived in the late 16th century, it has exuded a certain magnetism for those seeking new adventures.

Alerion Sport 33, The Wild Island in the background

After the formation of Jamestown in 1607, more and more groups saw a world of opportunity and promise in the beautiful landscape. Fishing and farming communities sprung up along its shores.

The Eastern Shore wasn’t easily accessible until the construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the 1950s. As such life has stayed tranquil and largely rural this side of the Bay. The flora and fauna thrive, the air remains crystal clear, and the sprawling spaces are punctuated by postcard-perfect nautical towns.

One such town is St. Michaels. Originally a 17th-century trading post and a pivotal site during the War of 1812 (where it earned the nickname ‘the town that fooled the British’), St. Michaels built its economy on shipbuilding and seafood. Echoes of this rich history can still be felt today, in the pristine colonial and Victorian architecture and the many award-winning restaurants.

Nowhere in town quite captures the timeless spirit of nostalgia quite like the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond. It’s fitting, then, that the luxury hotel honours the region’s nautical ancestry by housing one of the best Maryland sailing schools. The Sailing Academy offers ASA-accredited courses and boasts three beautiful yachts; an Alerion Express 38, an Alerion Sport 33 and a Tadorne 26.

“There isn’t a sailing school in the country that can match the quality of our boats,” Captain Jason Pinter, the Director of Waterfront Activities and the Sailing Academy, explains. “They’re high-end and high-performance but also extremely comfortable. They’re ideal for beginners who want to pick up the basics, but also technical enough to offer a real challenge to those with a lot of experience.”

“I’ve been on the water since I started walking,” Captain Jason says of his impressive 18-year career. He has been a teacher, a general manager, worked for sailing magazines, and served in the US Coast Guard.

He cites the school’s unique location as a reason many people choose the Sailing Academy: “The waters around St. Michaels are very isolated and protected. The river is big enough that you can go around the waves and very often not see a single other vessel around. You have a unique area to yourself, to learn and practice.”

Captain Jason Pinter

“The whole river is beautiful,” Jason tells us. “Right outside St. Michaels there’s this beautiful island that sits in the middle of the Miles River. We sail up and around and there’s nobody there. Sometimes there will be ospreys or bald eagles flying around, you really get to connect with nature. Once we even had a group of bottlenose dolphins swim by.”

If you’ve never sailed before, Captain Jason firmly believes you should give it a go, and you could be hooked for life. “The best thing about my job is introducing people to sailing. They’re often apprehensive and don’t feel in control. But you set out, pull the sails up, turn the engine off, and there’s just the sound of the boat against the water and the wind howling by. And they smile. They feel they’ve harnessed the power of Mother Nature and are using it to their own advantage. After that it’s very common for people to keep coming back,” he grins. “It’s addictive.”

by Daniel Hayden

Embark on the ultimate learn to sail vacation with our exclusive Sailing Academy packages, combining ASA-accredited courses with luxury accommodation and a delicious breakfast each day.