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Sapphire Panning, Ranches & Wildlife in Montana

Certain high-adrenalin sports are meant to be addictive, but surely nothing is as addictive as sapphire panning. Certainly high adrenalin plays no part, but once you have found that first sapphire amongst the thousands of pieces of gravel, dust and stone, there’s no going back. You will be hooked forever with an addiction that no amount of psychiatry or counselling will cure!

Jamaica’s New Style

In V.S. Naipaul’s 1962 account of Jamaica in Middle Passage he describes himself as being swept up by the voices of the inhabitants. Describing the island a taxi driver tells him “when you live here as long as me… you know the sort of animal it is.” Understanding what sort of animal Jamaica is, lies at the heart of this month’s Man Booker winning novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, in which Jamaican born author Marlon James takes the reader back to 1967, when Reggae is the hottest new sound around, Marley is on the edge of universal fame and the Rolling Stones are on island recording their Black & Blue album, but the music of the island is far from harmonious…

When Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe opened the iconic Marbella Club in Spain just over sixty years ago, he defined luxury as ‘a blend of privacy and gardens’.  Over the last half century the concept of luxury has been hijacked by the big brands and turned into a prized saleable asset.  Many of us are now suspicious of this ubiquitous label, used freely to describe anything from a hotel that provides a flat screen television and a modicum of service to a bottle of champagne or a new watch.  Increasingly, with so many publications dedicated to ‘luxury’ brands, we are wondering what the word really means and questioning its value.   So how refreshing to discover Cugó Gran, a small, discreet, brand new villa in Menorca, offering privacy in a spectacular garden setting and perfectly encapsulating Prince Alfonso’s enduring definition.

Tendai Moyo is a ranger and guide at Samara Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Great Karoo, a reserve that boasts an extensive wildlife population whilst adhering to outstanding conservation credentials. This month we interviewed Tendai about his work, his aspirations and his inspiration.

Alternative Christmas Holidays

Whether you have a perfect family gathering in mind or an escape from seasonal obligations, the Christmas holiday period offers a wealth of opportunity from bucket list adventures to a relaxing dose of winter sunshine. How about New Year with the Maharajah of Jodhpur or waking up in a private Omani desert camp or a beautiful log cabin in the Rockies? Our destination specialists have a myriad suggestions for a Christmas and New Year  to remember, not a turkey in sight.

It’s not often that one sheds a tear when saying goodbye to people who were strangers only four days earlier, but when leaving Clayoquot Wilderness Retreat on Vancouver Island I found myself doing just that.  The strangers (both staff and fellow guests) had become like family instantly and whilst four days at this incredible resort feels like a lifetime, it flew by all too quickly.

Not many people need a reason to travel to Vietnam, but for those who are still deliberating two big changes have occurred that make it even more accessible:

  • Citizens of U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy no longer need a visa to visit Vietnam if staying for less than 15 days.
  • Vietnam Airlines has introduced direct flights on certain days of the week from London to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). This is the only airline that flies direct from the UK and the prices are extremely competitive.

The Best Family Water Sports Holidays

Messing about on the water – in it, under it, on top of it, riding rapids, catching waves, cutting through it or gently bobbing along under peaceful azure blue skies… No matter what your age, there is something about the call of the sea when it comes to summer holidays. Here are just a few of the best places in the world for family water sports holidays, for water babes and those just wishing to dip a toe…

The Great Outdoors – Walking Holidays in Australia

The great outdoors is central to Australia’s attraction, with splendid vistas ranging from volcanic plateaux, rainforests and glorious coastline to the vast swathes of the Outback. The best way to explore the stunning scenery and its heritage is on foot and a range of options are possible for multi-day walking experiences ranging from leisurely coastal walks such as the Great Coastal Walk in Victoria and the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk in Tasmania to challenging treks such as the Larapinta Trail in Northern Territory or the Overland Trek across Cradle Mountain and the Lake St Clair National Park.

An Ambassador of La Dolce Vita in Tuscany

Years of curating villas in Tuscany and countless trips to the region has led to many encounters with knowledgeable, warm locals eager to promote la dolce vita of their little corner of Italy. The singing butcher of Panzano immediately springs to mind, but so does my introduction last year to Anna Lisa Tempestini. I recall Filippo, our Regional Manager in Italy, extolling the many talents of this lady – a wine-maker-come-yoga teacher-come-cookery teacher. And so our collaboration began…