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WINTER 2010I sea& iI3 forconnoisseursofluxurytravel TRAVEL Island life The best of Antigua38 City guide Abu Dhabi: check in to the five- star emirate40 Top five Diving to new depths of discovery44 Aboard & ashore Cruising the British Virgin Islands46 Further afield Discover the islands of the Bahamas54 LIFESTYLE Glam Femme sea& i's favourite new fragrances34 Homme Splash out on the latest gadgets to take on board this winter36 Life afloat Lazy days aboard the new launch Hurricane Run58 In profile Sir Richard Branson's latest ventures64 Property focus Hot properties to rent, buy or invest in68 The last word Travel style with Sir Richard Branson88 40Isea& iIWINTER 2010WINTER 2010I sea& iI41 cityguide W ith a pleasing twist of fate, Abu Dhabi has, in a sense, come full circle. Originally a hub of the pearl industry, it is now the jewel of the Middle East - being the largest of the seven emirates and the most important cultural city in the UAE. It is to its credit that amid such acclaim, and while embracing enormous change, it still remains faithful to its roots. Traditional wooden dhows used for pearl fishing still line the harbour; only now they front a somewhat incongruous Manhattan- like skyline. But therein lies this city's charm - it is a place where anything is possible. Pillow talk The Abu Dhabi Emirates Palacestakes the heady claim of being one of the leading five- star hotels in the city, reassuring news for its investors as it is rumoured its build cost was a staggering US$ 4billion. It is not without competition, though. The new Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Berirecently opened ( sister to the existing, sumptuous Shangri- La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri), and a further 29 hotels with 7,000 rooms are planned for the Saadiyat Island development over the next few years. But for now it is Yas Hotelon Yas Island that is claiming the headlines. It has an 18- hole championship golf course and views of the Yas Marina and Yacht Club, a Crown Prince Court comprising 12 rooms, and a Ruler's Court with two presidential suites and 28 bedrooms. Further afield, the five- star resort Qasr Al Sarab opened only weeks ago in the Liwa desert. Opt for its royal villas. Eat, drink, dance Nightlife in Abu Dhabi is a cocktail of your own creation. You can take a stroll in a park, watch a rock band, dance in a nightclub, take in a concert, art exhibition or show, or hit the gaming centres and late- night shopping malls. Almost all pubs, nightclubs and bars are located inside the five- star hotels. EAT. Food ranges from Arabic to Far- Eastern, European, Latin and Continental. Buffets abound around the Breakwater, Sheikh Zayed Street, Corniche Road and Tourist Club area, where Abu Dhabi is an intriguing oasis of disparity, where east meets west and past meets present, making it one of the most dynamic cities on the globe ByKate Rigby abu dhabi ? Emirate of interest Opposite page: Shangri- La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri Below: Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri 64Isea& iIWINTER 2010 inprofile H aving been in the international travel market for 25 years, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin fame continues to take a hands- on role in the choice of properties he offers clients. His exclusive Virgin Limited Edition portfolio currently extends from his original Necker Island retreat in the British Virgin Islands, to Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, Ulusaba in South Africa, The Lodge in Verbier, Switzerland, Sa Terra Rotja near Palma, Mallorca, and ( for dining and events) The Roof Gardens in London, UK. Perhaps with the intention of providing his original Caribbean property with a little sister, Branson recently purchased and refitted a 32m ( 105') catamaran, Necker Belle, which is available to charter from February 2010. Here, the British entrepreneur talks about his ventures - including his new launch. Travel experts tend to specialise in one type of holiday - what is your inspiration behind offering seven very distinct/ individual properties? I think it all ties in with the way I approach any of my businesses. Distinction, soul and character are three very important qualities that define our retreats. We have been fortunate in finding hidden gems, with each having a fun story behind the inspiration. Take Kasbah Tamadot, for instance. I have my mum to thank for spotting this divine fortress from the side of the road while I was attempting a world record in a hot- air balloon. Necker Island. well, that was a ploy to win over Joan, now my loving wife. We aspire to inspire our guests and strive to keep our collection eclectic and a tempting alternative to cookie- cutter hotels. Necker Belle is a fine example of how we do not confine ourselves to land. He famously crossed the Atlantic and Pacific in a hot- air balloon, but with his latest venture entrepreneur Sir Richard Bransonis getting closer to the ocean with the launch of his new catamaran Necker Belle ByKate Rigby VIRGINTERRITORIES richard branson ? WINTER 2010I sea& iI65 Clockwise from top: Necker Island; Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco; the recently refitted charter yacht Necker Belle

4Isea& iIWINTER 2010 I nnovation is always exciting, not just for the creative minds behind a project, but also for the world at large that's waiting in the wings for every new life- changing experience and product. This issue, sea& icelebrates innovation in all its forms. We unveil the high- tech Panthalassa and discuss her unique design by Foster + Partners. Then, chatting to Sir Richard Branson, we reveal the entrepreneur's advances in the travel market, and ask him about his plans for his latest project, the catamaran Necker Belle. We also delve into the world of technology, where innovationhas never been more dynamic, and we take a behind- the- scenes look at the Italian yards and the latestinspirations to hit the headlines. Along with updates on new launches, worldwide hotel openings and fresh ideas for travel, sea& isets you up for an exceptional 2010. n EDI TO RIAL