Showing posts from February, 2016

The Souk Brunch at Olea - Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

How do you create a high-end brunch that stands out from many other brunches in the highly competitive Dubai market? Draw on the region's influences and offer an authentic experience that takes you beyond the usual burrata, foie gras, seared scallops, and wagyu stations that characterise most brunches. Admittedly, I camp at those respective stations, but then a brunch like the Souk brunch emerges and you realise the limitations of your own appreciation for brunches. 


Stepping through the door at the Olea brunch is like travelling to a different time; a time when life was simple and regions were bounded by their commonalities and not divided by their differences. The contrast is felt even more keenly because of that transition from the modern opulence of the Kempinski hotel, to a brunch that resembles a souk - spices, fruit and vegetables on display and items on sale as well. 

The first 30 minutes take me back to my best experience of a souk I have had in my time in this regio…

Saturday picnic at Shades - The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa

We are so spoiled for choice in Abu Dhabi. I am one of the biggest fans of the Lemon & Lime Saturday Martini brunch at the Westin, but they recently launched  a new concept that could offer guests even more choice when it comes to Saturdays - a picnic on the grass. Four weeks into this newest addition to the Abu Dhabi food and beverage scene, I had the chance to give it a try. 

A perfect venue

This is not a brunch. There are no walls. No chairs. It is outdoors, connecting one to the earth, something that is dear to the Westin's wellness philosophy. We live in a city of shopping malls and air conditioning. This was a welcome change. The hotel has beautiful landscaping, we all know that, but the location of this picnic was in a  less obvious part of the hotel, but still green and with trees - adjacent to the swimming pool. Mums and dads bare feet, running after their kids, playing catch. This is not a brunch. This is in a city but not of the city. 

A real picnic

What is a picnic wit…

Spa treatment at So Spa - Sofitel on the Corniche, Abu Dhabi

More and more men in the UAE are starting to embrace pampering themselves in a way that has stereotypically been the woman's domain. It seems the 90's Men's Health popularising of the metrosexual male is finally taking off here. What better platform for me to embrace it myself than to visit a spa? In fairness, I have always enjoyed the invigorating experience that spas can be, but this would be my first visit to So Spa at Sofitel on the corniche in Abu Dhabi. 

The entrance is brighly lit with white and earthy colours combining to create a fairly clinical atmosphere that is immediately warmed when I am greeted by staff and offered a cup of ginger, honey and lemongrass tea, a balanced tea that immediately adds to the spa feeling.  Also, a peppermint scented moist towel provides relief after a surprisingly warm day. Yes, I am at the spa. As a first time visitor, I wait as the staff create my profile, before I am lead to the treatment room by my therapist, Sum Lee, from Thailan…

A picture blog of a beautiful city and its people - Yangon, Burma

Last year I fulfilled a dream that was born 20 years ago when I read a biography on Aung San Suu Kyi, the inspirational leader of Burma. I felt so drawn to the country after reading her words. I remember reading it at a time when there was a debate as to whether people should visit a country that was then ruled by an illegitimate military regime. The issue was that money spent on tourism would simply prop up the government while the Burmese people remained poor. Aung San Suu Kyi, though, felt we should visit but should travel wisely - spend money on people in the streets. That money went straight to them.

Rangoon or Yangon became my dream city. A place I had to visit. So, in July last year that dream came true. This is a picture blog. No context for the pictures. But I know that people in Yangon will be able to relate to many of the images. It may even bring laughter or sadness to those Burmese forced to live outside their beautiful country, trying to make a living. I have had the plea…