Art’s Movers and Sheikhas

Twenty years ago, you would never have imagined that Dubai would one day possess a booming contemporary art scene attracting the world’s biggest players. Yet today, the annual Art Dubai gathering has become one of the most important events on the international art calendar.


It’s not just the scale of the event that has grown but also the number of women involved: nearly half the artists exhibited are now female, as are many of the Middle Eastern gallery owners and curators. Although in the business world men rule, according to her Highness Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, president of the Sharjah Art Foundation, who organizes a biennial in her emirate of neighboring Dubai, “as sons take over their fathers’ business interests, women are free to work in an industry they’re passionate about”.


Events at Art Dubai and the Sharjah Biennial have attracted well-informed and deep-pocketed audiences. This year at Art Dubai, 94 galleries representing 500 artists from 40 countries attended, as well as 95 museums. And during the week of Dubai Art Fair in 2015, more than $35 million changed hands for artworks from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, ranging from $10,000 to over $300,000.


Dubai is now an ideal spot to buy works by local and international artists, as well as to find talent for future exhibitions. Today, Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s Flying Carpets, a steel grid sculpture suspended by rubber threads at Art Dubai in 2011, hangs in the Guggenheim in New York. The Qatari-American filmmaker Sophia Al Maria has a show at the Whitney Museum of American Art until October 2016; the 92-year-old Turkish poet and artist Etel Adnan is exhibiting at the Galerie Lelong in Paris and Dubai; and the late Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi’s solo show opened the new Met Breuer exhibition space in New York this year.


Here we profile four leading women who have put Middle Eastern art into the frame.


Myrna Ayad

The Fair Director


Art Dubai’s new fair director is an important player in the Middle Eastern contemporary art world. Born in Beirut in 1977, she has lived in the UAE for 30 years, editing the art magazine Canvas and publishing daily newspapers during Art Dubai that introduced the Western art world to some of the most exciting conceptual art in the Middle East.


Unsurprisingly, Ayad has an address book that reads like a Who’s Who of the art world. The royal families in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have all opened up their private art collections for her to write about, and before joining Art Dubai in 2016, she consulted on cultural strategy for luxury labels from Bulgari and Chanel to Mercedes.


Art Dubai, she says, is “a pulsating power-house... and a gathering of people who rarely have a chance to meet. Saleh Barakat of Beirut’s Agial Art Gallery once told me, ‘Coming here, I see everybody’ and I very much identify with that.” This year she met artists, curators, collectors and heads of galleries and museums from all over the world, from Princess Wijdan Al Hashemi of Jordan who founded the Jordan National Gallery in 1980 to Germano Celant, who is curating the Kienholz: Five Car Stud show at the Prada Foundation in Milan.


Although the number of women running galleries has increased, they have always been influential in the Arab art world, she says. Pioneers included Mouna Atassi and her late sister Mayla, who opened a library/gallery in Homs in Syria in the 1980s, Farida Sultan, whose eponymous gallery was established in Kuwait in 1969, and Princess Jawaher Bint Majid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who established Jeddah’s Al Mansouria Foundation for the Arts in 1988. She concedes, though, that the interest in the region’s art has increased substantially, partly as a result of the displacement of people, and the growth of the Arab diaspora. “Art in the region is highly prized but historically there have been, and still are, spells when conflict halts artistic and cultural activity. Living in the diaspora means that people are attuned to other cultures and generally have greater sense of community and collective vision, as well as more emotional attachment and pride in the creative output of their respective communities.”



Myrna Ayad, director of Art Dubai, has an address book that reads like a Who’s Who of the art world



Dubai’s El Marsa gallery presents Tunisian artist Nja Mahdaoui’s Trance


Diana Al-Hadid

The Artist


Born in Aleppo, Syria, Diana al-Hadid moved with her parents to Cleveland, Ohio when she was seven and used art, she explains, to make sense of her new world. “I was a real immigrant kid and didn’t speak English, and couldn’t read or write. My grandmother told me to draw hands and people and soon I became known as the weird kid who was always drawing.”

Fast forward a few decades, and the 34-year-old U.S.-art-college-educated, Brooklyn-based sculptor, who creates works using everyday materials from polymer and fiberglass to wood and steel, has become one of the most sought-after of her generation, and among the youngest to be represented by New York art dealer Marianne Boesky. During Art Dubai this year, Boesky sold seven of Al-Hadid’s sculptures to Middle Eastern collectors before the artist’s first major solo show, entitled Phantom Limb, took place at the New York University in Abu Dhabi.

Her punchy titles accompany powerful images. Phantom Limb – the phrase used to describe the sensation amputees sometimes feel of still having their lost limb – consists of white paint and gypsum dripping from formal plinths like stalactites, supporting a limbless and headless torso. Another, Fool’s Gold, features a reflective pool of shattered mirror atop three stacked blocks, from which dribbles of gold run out before reaching the floor. Both sculptures reveal an ultimate fragility and sense of loss, as the paint, canvas or gold just melts or trickles away.

Maya Allison, curator of Phantom Limb, believes Al-Hadid’s sculptures have “a visceral presence that channels some ancient, shared artistic memory. This mix of historical references and creative immediacy brings many different audiences into dialogue with her.”


Her vision clearly resonates all over the world. The David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, is showing a selection of her works until October 30, 2016; the city of Nara in Japan has commissioned her to make an artwork for their temple; and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London has a maquette for her sculpture planned for the main courtyard.

Isabelle van den Eynde

The Gallery Owner


In 2006, Isabelle van den Eynde was one of the first people in Dubai to show contemporary art, and in 2010, when a new art district started to grow in the gritty industrial Al Quoz site, she immediately moved her eponymous gallery there. Today, the warehouses and marble-cutting factories have been colonized by artists, designers and gallerists, and the burgeoning loft scene recalls New York’s SoHo in the 1970s and 80s.

She specializes in Middle Eastern art that represents, she says, “the voice of our region”. For Art Basel Hong Kong in 2015, she featured Hassan Sharif, who uses discarded materials to create artworks. His Cotton Rope No. 7 (2012), an Arab dictionary tightly bound with rope, was bought for the permanent collection of the M+ museum when it opens in Hong Kong in 2019.

She also represents two of the 17 artists represented in But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise at the Guggenheim in New York until October 5, 2016. Rokni Haerizadeh’s 2014 artwork, which lends its name to the exhibition, uses news clips overlaid with ink, watercolor and gesso to transform humans into animal hybrids, while Mohammed Kazem’s Scratches on Paper visually represents sounds by scratching and gouging paper with scissors. To van den Eynde, these works represent many of the social and political concerns facing the Middle East: “They make a permanent statement that goes beyond our lives.”

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi

The Curator


Royal mover and shaker Hoor Al Qasimi is an international force in the art world as president of the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), set up by her ruling father, Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. A graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art in London, with a further MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, she speaks an impressive seven languages (English, Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin and Russian) and curated the UAE pavilion to showcase Emirati artists at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

At home, Sheikha Hoor shows contemporary art in the most extraordinary places restored by SAF, including the Ice Factory in the coastal fishing town of Kalba, an abandoned 1970s cinema nearby, and a UFO-shaped building in Sharjah called the Flying Saucer, which was first opened in 1978. An old Arabic house in the center, made from silky white coral-stone, has been turned into the Bait Al Serkal gallery.

Unlike many curators, Sheikha Hoor sees herself primarily as an artist, and then as a curator, which is why her exhibitions tend to be more emotive experiences than archival. “I look at the role through the eyes of a painter,” she says. “When a person enters the space, something has to lead the eye. Composing the room, in the same way that you would compose a photograph, is very important.”

The 11th edition of Art Dubai ( runs from March 15-18, 2017, and the 13th edition of the Sharjah Biennial ( starts in March 2017
Your address: The St. Regis Dubai

Images: Abbi Kemp, Juliet Dunne, Corbis via Getty Images, Getty Images


Pioneering gallery owner Isabelle van den Eynde poses in front of Hassan Sharif’s White Knots



Diana Al-Hadid’s All The Stops, part of Unveiled: New Art From The Middle East at London’s Saatchi Gallery

Brand Ambitions

It was the late brilliant retailer Joseph Ettedgui who opened our eyes to the charms of interspersing some arresting, avant-garde furniture in among the fashion at his eponymous shop in London’s Fulham Road. The sight of one of André Dubreuil’s whimsical chairs lurking right next to the ball gowns seemed at the time to be shockingly adventurous, but it had the interesting effect of each enhancing the allure of the other.


These days, combinations of this sort are everywhere – from Carla Sozzani’s 10 Corso Como in Milan to fashion designer Margaret Howell’s collection of mid-century furniture, which she dots between her signature shirts and gymslips. But many of the big fashion brands have taken the notion even further and have diversified into designing their own ranges of chairs and sofas, tableware and fragrance, as well as applying their imprint to such things as hotels, yachts and almost anything else that seems to take their fancy. Brand extension is what they call it – and most of them are at it. The cynical explanation for why it has become so ubiquitous is that it seems the logical way to sell more things to more people. If he/she likes the clothes, chances are they’ll like the sofa, the lamp, the cushion, even the chess set. Many of the great brands, run by some of the canniest businessmen and women in the world, have further observed that the word “lifestyle” is on an awful lot of lips. The woman who buys, for example, an Armani dress is tapping into a very precise aesthetic and – so the thinking goes – if she is sympathetic to the Armani world she is more than likely to want to surround herself with everything else the great man designs.


Key to the success of this approach is what industry observers refer to as “authenticity”. It’s not enough to slap a name on a product; it should encapsulate the essential DNA of the brand. For example, when St. Regis decided to create a Bentley Suite on the 15th floor of the hotel, they went to enormous lengths to make sure it wasn’t just a name that was added but the craftsmanship for which the legendary carmaker is renowned. The seductive lines of the Bentley Continental are echoed in the curved, veneered walls of the living room; the mirrored ceiling and marble floors remind visitors of the interior of a car wheel, and a light installation subtly recalls the car’s headlights. Further Bentley Suites have followed at The St. Regis Dubai and The St. Regis Istanbul, while The St. Regis New York now also boasts an exquisite Tiffany Suite.


Here we see a brand extension with a shared aesthetic and most importantly, a genuine connection between the name and the end product. Bentley has extended this careful attention to the core values of its motor cars to a whole range of luxury products, from soft leather driving gloves to cashmere throws and leather weekend bags, all of which reflect what it calls “the design language of our cars”.


On the whole, though, the designers who have been keenest to extend their brand into home furniture and accessories have been the fashion designers. At this year’s Salone del Mobile furniture show in Milan, many of the big names displayed their home collections with the same enthusiasm and panache as their annual fashion shows. For instance, Hermès produces a small collection of finely honed pieces usually using exquisite leather, often combined with wood, from a calfskin-topped desk made from walnut to its vast range of fine china, many patterned with the equestrian themes that lie at the heart of the Hermès heritage.


At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier has carefully managed the brand’s extraordinary expansion based on what he calls “the four cornerstones: fine-quality materials, extraordinary craftsmanship, contemporary functionality, and timeless design”. His venture into furniture started in 2006 with a solitary bench. Today, in the splendid surroundings of Palazzo Gallarati Scotti, an 18th-century palazzo in the heart of Milan, there is a complete and very haute collection of everything from sofas to accessories, which he has sourced from an extensive range of ateliers and factories: glass artists in Murano, the fine porcelain manufacturer Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, and Poltrona Frau for seating. He, too, has created an affinity with St. Regis Hotels: in Rome and Florence guests can check into one-of-a-kind Bottega Veneta suites and enjoy the charms of both brands simultaneously.


Christian Lacroix has transferred his fascination with the rich imagery of the Camargue (the famous salt marshes that lie just south of Arles in the south of France) and his interest in ancient cultures and folklore that infused his fashion line onto a range of homeware that bears the distinctive Lacroix imprint. At Dolce & Gabbana the designers teamed up with Smeg, the celebrated Italian manufacturer of upmarket appliances, to come up with some extraordinary limited-edition fridges with historical medieval scenes hand-painted by local Sicilian artists, each of which took around 200 hours to complete and cost upwards of $40,000. And Swarovski, that maker of brilliant crystals, has corralled some of the biggest names in the world of design and architecture – Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid, Ron Arad, Fredrikson Stallard to name just a few – to launch what it calls Atelier Swarovski Home.


The Italian house of Missoni was one of the earliest to see that the Missoni aesthetic could be happily transferred from fashion into home accessories. Anybody who knows anything about the brand can’t fail to see the deep and genuine connection between its fashion and the home line that Rosita Missoni, wife of the late Tai with whom she founded the brand way back in the 1960s, developed. She took the patterns she always loved – the stripes and zigzags, the waves, squares and tartans – and put them on to sheets and rugs, plates and towels. The home line is infused with the same joyousness, warmth and love of color that was the basis of their success in fashion.


Suite dreams

The Dior Suite at The St. Regis New York, where hospitality and fashion merge



After a fashion

Cushions by fashion house Christian Lacroix, which has created products for the home

Fendi is a more recent player in the game and it turned to that iconic Paris-based designer Maria Pergay to come up with seriously original and often quite challenging limited-edition pieces. The notion behind the collection, as Silvia Fendi put it, was to “highlight the bond between leather and fur workmanship, iconic Fendi materials, and Pergay’s steel design”. This translated into some extraordinary pieces such as her Cabinet Pétales, a polychrome stainless steel and lacquered wood cabinet finished with embossed leather that resembles a giant exploded flower, as well as a chair made from stainless steel with gold-plated bronze and leopard-pattern marquetry: all very Fendi.


Roberto Cavalli, another of Italy’s best-known fashion designers, also very recently decided that those who liked his frocks might like to surround themselves with a whole Cavalli look. Today, he offers a whole world of opulence: of gold-rimmed serving platters, of faux leopard-skin throws, of richly patterned linens, of sumptuous padded upholstery and highly decorated tableware.


Jonathan Anderson, Loewe’s creative director, has just launched some 15 pieces of furniture all linked to the Loewe world by the craft that goes into their making. His approach might perhaps be considered more curatorial than original design, in that he took a series of vintage 1930s pieces and then he applied leather marquetry to refresh or revive their forms. And finally, the latest to announce a foray into expanding its universe is one of the grandest of all names in fashion. The house of Dior, no less, opened its first Dior Homme Boutique in London, designed by superstar architect Peter Marino, with a collection of home objects made by 11 different designers ranging from Lucie de la Falaise and Yann Debelle de Montby to Michaël Cailloux and Marino himself. The great M. Dior himself was fond of saying that “living in a house that doesn’t reflect who you are is akin to wearing someone else’s clothes”.

While clearly at the core of all this activity there is a very simple and straightforward commercial aim – that of expanding the brand’s customer base and persuading more of those customers to buy more things – it seems that something more profound lies behind this thinking. Creating a whole world around a brand seems not only to be a powerful way to create new energy around the name but to subtly change the way the brand is viewed. It gives far greater depth to the company’s narrative and it helps explain why they are busy devising ever more enterprising ways to get their story across to that modern phenomenon: the affluent, sophisticated and super-served global customer.

Your address: The St. Regis New YorkThe St. Regis Florence; The St. Regis Istanbul; The St. Regis Rome; The St. Regis Dubai



Pink glass by Giberto Arrivabene for Dior Home



Magazine rack from the Equilibre d’Hermès collection.



A pair of “Fireworks” chaises longues from iconic Italian brand Missoni, one of the first of the major fashion houses to extend its range into textiles, furniture and homewares


Home Game

In ancient times, the men of the Balearic islands were famed for their skills with a sling, which they tied around their forehead. It was their only weapon, so they honed their skills relentlessly and, legend has it, rarely missed their mark. The modern-day equivalent is Rafael Nadal, whose finely honed technique has allowed him to spend much of his 15-year professional tennis career hitting all his targets – and becoming, in the process, the youngest player ever to win all four Grand Slams.


Nadal’s birthplace, on June 3, 1986, was Manacor, a bustling town five miles from the east coast of the Spanish island of Mallorca, an hour’s drive from the capital city Palma. Although the island’s population has swelled substantially since he was a boy – thanks to its pretty coastline, perfect climate and sweet mountain air – for someone who knows it as Nadal does, there is plenty of space in which to retreat from the summer crowds.


The 30-year-old still lives a short distance from his birthplace, as do his parents and grandparents, whose three homes not only overlook each other but also the quaint fishing harbor of Porto Cristo. Other than a few small, unpretentious shops and local hotels, plus a handful of cafés and local seafood restaurants, there’s not much to see. But it’s here, when he’s not on the tennis circuit, or swimming and fishing with his friends, that Nadal can be found relaxing and eating grilled fish (one of his favorite places is the nearby Sa Punta restaurant in Son Servera, which he describes as “a perfect spot, given the combination of the sea view, the service and the food”, and where his grandfather, a piano teacher, often entertained the diners).


It’s not just the relaxed atmosphere of Manacor that keeps drawing him back, but the weather. Although in winter the town is often enveloped in eerie, hill-hugging fogs, in summer it’s almost always sunny, which the player loves. “Sun is energy,” Nadal told me once, when I asked why he seemed to be fretting about having to play another indoor tournament. There’s nothing he hates more than the sense of being cooped up.


Like many others on the island, Nadal’s is a family business. His father Sebastiàn runs his son’s affairs – having encouraged him to play when he was three years old – and his mother, Ana Maria, helms his charitable foundation, the heart and soul of his future. The other people surrounding him have been in his life for years, and are like brothers: his agent, the former Spanish professional, Carlos Costa; his perennial public relations guru, Benito Perez-Barbadillo; and his physiotherapist, Rafael Maymo.


Not that he is the only Rafael Nadal, as his eightysomething grandmother, Isabel, pointed out in a delightful interview for El Partido de las 12. “The true Rafael Nadal is my husband,” she said. “As well as him, we have my son, and two grandsons, all of whom are called Rafael Nadal. We call this Rafael ‘The Tennis Player’. And my husband is ‘The Old’.”


The handsome white contemporary home of “The Tennis Player”, which he had built in 2013, is just up the road from two of his uncles: Toni, who is also his tennis coach, and Miguel Ángel, the former Barcelona central defender, who played for Spain in the 1996 European Football Championship. It is also near several of Mallorca’s 20 golf courses, which delights the tennis player, who plays off a handicap of four. He is as meticulous about his preparations for golf as he is with tennis, right down to the plasters on the tips of his fingers. I’ve watched him play at Vall D’Or in Porto Colom so late into the December twilight that he could hardly follow the path of the ball – but he kept going, such is his love for the game.


Not that the star lives only for sport. Unlike many international players, who emigrate to tax havens or gated communities once their careers wane, Nadal has invested much of his wealth in trying to make the lives of the people around him richer, too. From his successes – the 69 singles titles, 14 of them in Grand Slam tournaments, helping his country to the Davis Cup, winning an Olympic Gold medal – the tennis star has made enough of a personal fortune to set up the Rafa Nadal Foundation. In its eighth year, it offers educational programs to deprived children with what it calls “a single common denominator: sport”.


This summer, the first six graduates will also start their training in the Rafa Nadal Academy: a center, equipped with 26 courts, that he hopes will become one of the world’s top training facilities and help sustain Spain’s position as a pre-eminent tennis nation. The idea, he says, is not just to make Mallorca a center for sporting excellence, but a place where local children can learn that the relative isolation of island living does not limit prospects nor potential prosperity. Educational facilities include a brand new American International School.


Although the tennis player admits he wasn’t much of a scholar himself, he is proud to have completed his schooling. “At art, I was completely terrible,” he tells me. “I didn’t even know how to paint a house. I was a disaster. I was only ever ‘efficient and borderline’ with music and the other things. But at physical things, I was always good.” The problem, he says, was finding the time to do everything. After five hours a day of schooling, he had almost five hours of tennis practice – from noon to 3pm, then 7pm to 8.30pm – plus 90 minutes of football. “I would arrive home completely destroyed,” he says.


Sitting with him in a café overlooking the sea in Porto Cristo, he tells me his reasons for starting the project. “I can’t say that being me is difficult,” he says. “What is difficult is the people who are suffering, trying to find work every week and trying to survive. That’s difficult. Not being Rafa Nadal. It’s a dream for me. I’m lucky and I want to say thanks for my life. If I can help anyone else to achieve their dreams, that will make me very happy. The Academy, the Foundation, they are all a part of that. My career will not be forever, but I hope my inspiration will last for a long time.”


With that, as the conversation comes to an end, Nadal and his small entourage clamber back into their cars and drive a couple of miles up into the hills to his sanctuary – where he will spend another night with his family, in the place where he would always rather be.


Your address: The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort


Images: Cordon Press/C. Anton Goiri/Camera Press, Alamy, Getty, INF Photo



Rafael Nadal in Mallorca



Nadal still lives a short distance from his birthplace, the Mallorcan town of Manacor, famed for its pretty neo-Gothic church and vibrant street market



The tennis star can often be found unwinding with his family on the local beach at Porto Cristo


Another Fine Romance

The classic honeymoon

It seemed to Franz and Samantha that all their friends went to The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort on honeymoon. Thus, they reasoned, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort in the French Polynesian Islands would be something different to Instagram home about. They’re not disappointed. From the moment Sam’s Bottega Veneta-shod feet alight from the hotel boat on to the private jetty, the couple are equally charmed and seduced. They’ve decided to do it in style, booking the Royal Overwater Villa with its plunge pool and steps down to the ocean, from which Franz, who needs to recover from his 12-hour-a-day job as an Asian currency trader, launches himself daily on a three-mile swim. Sam really doesn’t mind. She’s already thinking about ordering her first Bora Mary of the day (the St. Regis hotel first created the Bloody Mary, aka the Red Snapper, in 1934, so they know what they’re doing) and wondering which sushi to eat for her lunch on the Taki Terrace. She slips into her flimsiest Marysia bikini and heads for her private cabana at the Oasis pool. “No children allowed”, reads the sign. Just how she likes it, thinks Sam – for the moment.
St. Regis destinations, other than The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, that Samantha and Franz considered for their honeymoon: The St. Regis Mauritius Resort, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

The baby-moon

With the final months of pregnancy approaching, Dylan and Sacha have taken time out to enjoy a pre-baby celebration in Mallorca. For a couple who adore art and worship the tennis racket, the Spanish island is ideal. Their hotel, The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, happens to be located near Rafael Nadal’s home town – not that Dylan or Sacha ever spot the handsome Spanish tennis god. But knowing he’s around is enough. Luckily for Dylan, there’s plenty for his pregnant wife to do, including massages at the Arabella spa and viewing the art galleries in Deià. Because, alongside tennis coaching, which the hotel organizes for him, he has rediscovered another passion: cycling. “I’d forgotten how much I love it,” he says, as Sacha eyes his Lycra shorts dubiously. “Enjoy it,” she says, “because once the baby comes, there won’t be time for long bike rides.” Dylan, like all advertising types, can read between the lines. “I won’t be too long,” he says. “Excellent,” says Sacha, with a triumphant smile. “Because I’ve booked a table at Simply Fosh for an early supper, then I thought we could talk nursery colors.” As he pedals away, Dylan sees his life flashing before him.
St. Regis destinations, other than The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, that Dylan and Sacha considered for their baby-moon: The St. Regis San Francisco and The St. Regis Bali Resort

The mini-moon

Jed and Susan had been just too busy for a proper honeymoon with all the stress of launching their digital startup. But, six months into their marriage, tempers are frayed. “We’ve just gotta get away,” Jed says to Susan. Well, he doesn’t actually say it. During the day, he and Susan communicate via SMS from consecutive floors of the tiny office building they rent. Susan’s response is as effusive as one might expect from a woman running a website: “OK.” And then, as an afterthought: “X.” San Francisco is the natural choice: confirmed urbanites, they’ve long cast themselves as Silicon Valley-philes, and now they’re going to party like them. Strolling out from The St. Regis San Francisco, they launch themselves into the hip Mission district for tacos at La Taqueria, ogle art at SFMOMA, and in Haight-Ashbury, discover a shop, The Booksmith, that sells ancient artefacts from days gone by: books. “Remember this?” says Jed, picking up a copy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. Susan fishes her iPhone from her Céline Trio bag to Instagram her husband holding the book. “Honey,” Jed says, “Yosemite is only a drive away. Maybe we need to get back to nature?”
St. Regis destinations, other than The St. Regis San Francisco, that Jed and Susan considered for their mini-moon: The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, The St. Regis Dubai and The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

The adventure-moon

Lisa can’t really call herself a Buddhist because, well, she’s not 100 per cent sure about reincarnation and she likes a good rare steak. But ever since she saw the Dalai Lama speak at Radio City Music Hall, she’s felt a deep connection. She and her partner Ronald are what they like to call “Big Travelers”. They’ve done the Rajasthan “triangle”, the cherry blossom in Kyoto and salmon spawning in Alaska. But to reaffirm their vows they really want to do something Spiritual with a big S – and what could be more spiritual than visiting the DL’s hometown of Lhasa? That is, if they venture out of The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, with its Gold Energy Spa Pool, its view of the DL’s former home and its fabulous Si Zi Kang restaurant. Dressed in their travel uniform of Banana Republic khaki combats, crisp white Ralph Lauren shirts and Tod’s loafers, the couple take in the sights – a trip to the Rongbuk Monastery at the foot of Everest and the 1,300-year-old Jokhang Temple – before bartering for Buddha statues, joss sticks and prayer beads in Barkhor Street market nearby. Almost as good for the soul as the full-body massage at the hotel spa. “Now, that,” they murmur, post-massage, as they float dreamily in the Golden Energy Pool, “was truly spiritual.”
St. Regis destinations, other than The St. Regis Lhasa Resort that Lisa and Ronald considered for their adventure-moon: The St. Regis Princeville Resort and The St. Regis Cairo

The second-moon

James and Sunita first honeymooned 20 years ago in Los Angeles – and remember it well. Both film buffs, they toured Hollywood studios, trekked up to The Sign, and even strolled together on The Walk of Fame. When, two (adult) children later, the couple want to “do it over” and celebrate the fact they’ve made it this far (unlike most of their friends), they want somewhere with a similar feel, but more exotic – like Bollywood. If in Hollywood they felt energetic, in Mumbai they’re positively on fire. This really is a city that never sleeps, and at The St. Regis Mumbai the couple really feel in the thick of it. Having toured the Bollywood film studios and taken a trip out to the 5th-century caves on Elephanta Island, they feel entitled just to hang out in their Gucci outfits in the hotel’s 40th-floor Asilo bar, sipping Aperol spritzes and gazing appreciatively out at the view. Tomorrow they’ll visit the famous Spice Market in the morning, with a synchronized full-body massage at the Four Senses spa in the afternoon. If this isn’t utter New India-style luxury, then they don’t know what is.
St. Regis destinations, other than The St. Regis Mumbai, that James and Sunita considered for their second moon: The St. Regis Langkawi and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort



The classic honeymoon



The baby-moon



The adventure-moon


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