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Archive for January, 2012

Naked Stables – Moganshan, China

January 31st, 2012

In the Fall of last year I had the opportunity to travel to Naked Stables, a sister property of Naked Retreats, near Moganshan, a few hours outside of Shanghai, China.

And I was blown away.

The folks behind the concept and execution of the resort have created something pretty unique in China – certainly unlike any other properties that I have visited in the country. Some of the Banyan Tree properties in Yun’nan province have a similar feel to them, but this is on a much larger scale, and so close to Shanghai to boot.

The ‘Naked’ bit is to underscore the natural element of the place and ‘Stables’ to let you know that before long there will be horses there that you can take for trail rides through the bamboo forests. There were no horses when I was there but I expect that they can’t be long in arriving. Plus if you go in April you can watch the tea being harvested on the gorgeous manicured hills that surround the resort.

Moganshan has always been a country retreat from Shanghai – in the late 1800s and early 1900s the glitterati of Shanghai would retreat to the air-conditioned shade of the Moganshan bamboo forests. And today is no different.

In any case you can check out the piece in this month’s (Feb 2012) issue of Conde Nast Traveler USA: http://www.cntraveler.com/daily-traveler/2012/01/eco-resorts-in-moganshan-china-lodge-retreat#slide=1
You can also check out some the same photos below in the gallery. Enjoy!

Man oh man it’s Oman for Gourmet Traveller Australia

January 16th, 2012

In the Fall of 2011 I had the good fortune of accompanying the wonderful journalist, and delightful person, Jennifer Byrne on a photo feature trip to Oman. I had, perhaps not surprisingly, never been to Oman and was excited by the prospect of visiting a country with such a long and interesting history.

Oman did not disappoint.

I knew about the desert of course, but was not prepared for how verdant the South of the country was – in particular Salalah and its surrounding areas. In the North near Muscat you could head out into the Arabian Sea and find yourself surrounded by hundreds of dolphins. Or get up early to visit the fish market where tuna, swordfish, and all manner of creatures were being pulled out of the ocean.

But the physical beauty of the country is complimented by the incredible warmth of the people themselves. In many ways the country is the anti-Dubai of the region in how it is charting its development course. Slow and steady seems to be the mantra. And that more measured, less frenetic, push forward seems to mean that the whole community is benefiting from the progress – not just a privileged few.

As for tourists – where were they? Certainly not anywhere that I could see. Occasionally you would run into a couple tourists here and there in the souks, but by and large the country is empty of tourists. So that means for the traveller who decides to go now they will have the country all to themselves. I suspect that this will change in the near future.

In any case, enjoy the  photos and make sure to book your next trip to Oman. In the meantime, you can take a look at how the story ran here: Oman Travel PDF – Gourmet Traveller Australia – Andrew Rowat