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28Isea&iIWINTER 2012where in the[sea&ibrings you the latest luxury travel newsworld.]Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is onceagain spreading its wings with theaddition of two new hotels. In North Africa,the group now manages the Taj PalaceMarrakech in Morocco, which offers 161guest rooms, including 26 suites, withpanoramic views of the Atlas Mountains,along with a spa, fitness centre and severalrestaurants and bars. US artist, designer and'Orientalist' Stuart Church has infused thedecor with a mix of Berber, Ottoman,Oriental and Indian accents to ensure thatthe inside of the hotel is as impressive as thecity that surrounds it. Under its Vivanta banner (hotels designedfor work-hard, play-hard travellers), the Tajgroup is also opening a property in Bekal inIndia, set on the beautiful meanderingbackwaters of Kerala. Inspired by the region's charmingKettuvallam houseboats, the Vivanta by TajBekal resort comprises 73 villas and rooms,32 of which come with pools. www.tajhotels.comTAJ ON A ROLL IN ASIA AND AFRICA

The Calamian Islands in the westPhilippines welcome a new retreat thiswinter, but this one is a departure from theusual island resort. Ariara is the realiseddream of a British couple who wanted tocreate an escape for travellers likethemselves; that is, people who dislike therestrictions and lack of seclusion associatedwith many hotels. The private island retreat took abackbreaking six years to create but now its125 acres accommodate 18 guests inluxuriously appointed and impeccablymanaged beach-front villas. The privacy ofthis island, one of 7,000 in the Calamiangroup, is truly exceptional as guests can hirethe resort for the exclusive use of their party,adapting their daily schedule to suitthemselves and thus ensuring a bespokehospitality experience in what is consideredto be one of the last untouched frontiers ofthis region. www.ariaraisland.comAN ENTICING TASTE OF THE PHILIPPINEStravelnewsWINTER 2012I sea&iI29