The buzz from Beirut
Lebanon's cosmopolitan capital is going all out to woo adventurous luxury lovers.
Strolling along the crescent-shaped esplanade of Zaitunay Bay in Beirut’s
Downtown area, it’s hard to imagine that this was once a rubbish dump – and the heartland of the country’s 15-year civil war.
The aquamarine water of the Mediterranean laps languidly at the hulls of multi-million dollar yachts, while Beirut’s beautiful people eat al fresco at the high-end restaurants that line the teak promenade.
Zaitunay Bay’s shiny new marina is the city’s latest effort to shake off its war-tainted reputation. And with a yacht club due to open next year, the city is going all out to recapture the glamour of its 1950s and 60s heyday when it was a playground for the international jet set. That was until 1975, when the city was divided into predominantly Christian and Muslim halves by the infamous Green Line.
Published in Luxury Travel magazine. Copyright Luxury Travel. Photo: Glen Pearson.
In pursuit of polo
A prestigious academy in Britain lets you experience the sport of kings. Lara Brunt takes the reins.
Horsemen thunder past in a blur of brilliant white breeches and polished riding boots. With an arching swing, the front runner brings his mallet down hard, and with a crack of wood sends the ball soaring through the goalposts.
For those seeking a quintessential English experience, the spectacle of a polo match played out on the verdant fields of Guards Polo Club near Ascot – a favourite with the Royal family – is difficult to beat.
Steeped in history, the aristocratic sport is not for the faint hearted. “It’s like rugby on horseback,” says professional polo player James White. “But when played well, polo is incredibly elegant and fluid.”
Published in South China Morning Post Style magazine. Copyright South China Morning Post. Photo: Glen Pearson.
Exploring France’s famous and luxurious champagne houses will seduce your senses. Lara Brunt raises a glass in style.
As one slowly descends the stone steps into the ghostly lit tunnel, the temperature noticeably drops. Your eyes adjust and fall upon rows of wooden A-frames holding thousands of dusty bottles of the world’s most celebrated drink.
The underground crayères (chalk pit cellars) of Champagne Taittinger in Reims, in the heart of northeastern France’s Champagne region, were originally carved out by the Gallo-Romans in the 4th century, and later used by the Benedictine monks of Saint Nicaise Abbey in the 13th century. They have lost none of their mystique over the centuries.
Synonymous with luxury and glamour, and coveted by royalty and rap stars alike, champagne seduces long before the cork is popped. Perhaps it’s the unyielding Gallic embrace of traditional techniques – machines are forbidden, with all grapes harvested by hand at a time dictated by the region’s Champagne Bureau – or the slick and sexy marketing campaigns of the world-famous brands such as Taittinger and Moët & Chandon.
Published in South China Morning Post Style magazine. Copyright South China Morning Post.
A look at Britain's tallest building and the world's other high achievers.
London's skyline is rapidly transforming as its latest landmark skyscraper, the Shard, takes the title of Britain's tallest building. Towering above London Bridge train station on the south bank of the Thames, the Shard has already outstripped Canary Wharf's One Canada Square, previously the city's tallest building at 235 metres.
It will eventually rise to 310 metres, making it the tallest building in the European Union when it is completed in May next year.
The pyramid-like, glass structure was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The Shard promises to be a ''vertical city'', with offices, restaurants, a five-star hotel, a spa and some of the swankiest apartments in the capital (shardlondonbridge.com). The 87-storey tower will also feature a public viewing platform on its 72nd floor, which is expected to attract more than a million visitors a year.
Published in The Age. Copyright Fairfax Media..
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