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COVER PHOTO © Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA / MACAAL Marrakesh

NEWS

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ORIENT EXPRESS

PHARRELL WILLIAMS

OMAR SY

JR

WITH NO MURDER

PARIS - VENICE

No blood on the seats, the Simplon-Orient Express with historic carriages run from London to Venice via Paris, or through Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and annually to Istanbul. The train has now five new destinations: Rome, Florence, Geneva, Brussels and Amsterdam, that allow passengers to discover more of European culture while enjoying the train’s luxurious atmosphere and timeless glamour.

The BELMOND Hotel Group, which offers 46 luxury destinations around the world including the mythical Venice-Simplon Orient-Express, received international stars and artists for an extraordinary trip.

For the test drive, on the world’s most prestigious train service, French actor and Netflix star of Lupin, Omar Sy escaped Paris for a few days with a group of friends to celebrate his wife’s birthday in Venice, including American musician, art collector and new Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton Pharrell Williams, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and contemporary French artist JR.

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Photos © Simplon-Orient Express

 

 

 

Omar Sy is the first French actor to have signed such a lucrative contract with the online entertainment giant Netflix, to produce films for the streaming service, through his production company.

It was a golden-age travel on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, the most wonderful of journeys, on the most legendary of trains. A perfect occasion for artists and craftsmen to celebrate Art Deco craftsmanship, delicate woods, sumptuous hand-embroidered fabrics, marquetry with antique lighting, and good food, of course. The guests were treated to extraordinary meals concocted by star chef Jean Imbert of the legendary Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris.

The Orient Express has a rich history. It was first created in 1883 as an international train service, which started in Paris and didn’t actually reach Istanbul – passengers had to take two ferries and another train from Romania. In the 1930s, the Orient Express got a reputation for luxury: many rich and famous people started using it.

 

The train was also immortalised when Agatha Christie published her famous detective novel Murder on the Orient Express (1934). The train service was discontinued in the 1970s, then several private companies took over its name.

The current Orient Express has two original carriages bought at an auction in 1977, and has now 17 carriages in total, all from the 1920s and 30s. Besides the sleeping cabins, the train has six grand suites, which are nothing less than high-luxury hotel rooms on wheels, fully restored in sumptuous style.

At midnight we have supper, and continue the night over lobster rolls and champagne in the Bar Car nº3674, alongside with pianist Peter Consigliere who has been entertaining guests for some two decades. 'Ah … les bon vivants!' Quite a sumptuous affair as we criss-cross through the night.”

/ The Instigator

 

"Live life with no excuses,

                  travel with no regretOscar Wilde

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Photo © Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA

THE BEST RIADS OF MARRAKESH

PART I

DAR RBAA LAROUB

RIAD JEAN-NOËL

MARRAKESH

Beside numerous giant hotels in Marrakesh such as the world-famous La Mamounia, there are several small-scale luxury riads that need to be explored. Just a few meters behind the Jardin Secret, in the heart of the Medina, there is a magical riad, the Dar Rbaa Laroub / Behind a Simple Door. One has to get lost in the maze of the narrow alleys going left and right, and right and left again to find it, as only a tiny number plate nº61 indicates the entrance, but isn’t it part of the adventure?

 

Throughout the past 25 years, French owner Jean Noël Shoeffler bought several buildings next to each other, and constructed a luxury palace for his guests, friends, artists, writers and professionals from the fashion and luxury world.

 

As the windows and balconies face inwards towards the courtyard, Dar Rbaa Laroub creates a haven of privacy hidden from the outside world, with its sumptuous terrace going from one rooftop to another. When you enter the place, the Medina’s craziness fades away, and all you hear is birds singing, and the occasional Muezzin.  


The riad has seven comfortable rooms, ranging in various sizes, from a studio for a lonesome cowboy from a Warhol movie to the Oriental Suite going around the courtyard on the first floor that could easily accommodate five people. The interior of all the rooms has the special touch of Jean Noël who decorated his place with impeccable style, local art, lights and exotic pieces, making the place very cosy and familiar.


Breakfast can also be served in the rooftop garden, or downstairs, sitting around at a large dining table. The riad serves an evening meal that needs to be ordered the day before, a normal practice for small-scale hotels.

 

Comfort and beauty at its best. Dar Rbaa Laroub is definitely a rare discovery, and a must-stay riad.

/ Zoltan Alexander

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SOON

WE WILL SOON

BE REPORTING ON

UGANDA

HOW DID I FIND MYSELF IN AFRICA?

“Oscar Wilde said once: ‘There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.’ So, I said to myself, Judit, be careful what you wish for, you will probably get it at the end.”

 

Our contributing writer Judit Taraczky has just returned from Africa, and her amazing photographic work of Uganda and excerpts from her personal travel book will be published shorty.

 

/ Stay connected

SOON

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WE WILL SOON

BE REPORTING ON

DJANET

DESERT

ALGERIA

Our dear friend and contributing writer Oadassy lives half way in Bern, Switzerland, and in the desert of Djanet, in Algeria. His amazing stories will be published shorty.

/ Stay connected

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LATEST

/LATEST REVIEW

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SAUDI

ARABIA 

THE EDGE OF

THE WORLD

RIYADH

Are you on the edge of your nerves?

Perfect.

Now imagine to be on the Edge of The World.

 

We are in Saudi Arabia. The Edge of The World (Jebel Fihrayn) earned its name through an uninterrupted view of the horizon. The 1.000feet (300m) heigh cliff is an unexpected and dramatic geological wonder that lies some 100km from the northwest of Riyadh.

 

Continued...

/ Zoltan Alexander

ALL REVIEWS

/ALL TRAVEL REVIEWS

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