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AUTUMN 2009I sea& iI37 topfive VERTIGO 42, LONDON, UK High style and lofty views vie for attention at Vertigo 42 in London. You arrive to a striking display of mirrored corridors, vast windows and bright, colourful seating. As well as being a visual extravaganza in themselves, these are a great preparation for the piece de resistance: the aerial views of the London skyline. From the bar's location in Old Broad Street, you get a lofty perspective of the Millennium wheel, Tower Bridge and other famous bridges of the city, St Paul's Cathedral, The Houses of Parliament and the iconic OXO tower - to name a few. Also clamouring for your visual attention is the drinks menu, which has more than 30 types of Champagne including Laurent Perrier, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Bollinger. Vintage Champagnes range from a Louis Roederer Cristal, to the highly lauded 1990 Krug Clos Du Mesnil. But those wanting to celebrate in a big way should pre- order a nebuchadnezzars ( equivalent to 20 bottles, or 1,500cl) of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Yellow Label Brut and Moet et Chandon NV Brut Imperial. To accompany your bubbly and the view, take your pick from a selection of fresh Iranian caviar ( sevruga, oscietra and beluga) and a fantastic light- meal menu. For more information, visit www. vertigo42. co. uk SKYBAR, TRADERS HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA Asia has a thing for tall buildings. Towers and skyscrapers reign supreme, and Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur is high up among the leaders for the most dramatic structures. One such contender is the Traders Hotel, located in the very heart of the city centre. Gazing out over the vast Petronas Towers, Traders Hotel has ensured guests have the finest views of these two landmarks by stationing its SkyBar right opposite. The bar ticks boxes in many categories - the drinks are liquid heaven, the décor is chic, the atmosphere cosmopolitan and the views, if possible, even more intoxicating than the cocktail menu. Guests are compelled to relax and gaze at the illuminated twins tow-ering opposite as upbeat music beats in the background. Named Best Malaysian Bar by Malaysian Tatler, Traders SkyBar has serious style credentials, and this is reflected throughout the hotel. There are 571 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, including executive suites which have a separate sitting room for work or leisure and the option of a park or city skyline view. The hotel also has a fine showing of restaurants, including the elegant Gobo Upstairs Lounge & Grill, serving prime steaks, and Western and Asian fare imaginatively presented beneath an animated light show at the Gobo Chit Chat restaurant. For more information, visit www. shangri- la. com

F lying over St Lucia - the view largely consisting of rainforest - you may be forgiven for thinking that the island is simply a mass of trees. But skulking under this verdant blanket is a tropical island paradise, home to numerous volcanic and white sand beaches, hot springs, pretty coves, scented jasmine and wild orchids. One of the most naturally beautiful islands in the Caribbean, St Lucia also makes way for idyllic resorts. Sailing around the island gives you a chance to step ashore and discover both the natural wonders and the man- made variety, and you'll be in fine seafaring company. Over the years, St Lucia has attracted sailors of all types, from pirates nestling in the safety of the hurricane hole at Marigot Bay to French and English military in centuries past, to today's superyachts cruising the Caribbean's Windward Islands chain. NATURAL APPEAL Due to its volcanic origins, St Lucia has breathtaking mountains and a fabulous underwater world. As such it has great appeal for hikers, divers and nature lovers. From the rugged terrain of the south to the flatter, less volcanic north, the island has something for everyone. With the mountains comes rain, and thus lush rainforests where tropical birds find refuge among the acres of designated rainforest reserve. Towering here are the soaring Piton mountains, which have become a symbol of the nation. The twin volcanic peaks dominate the southwest of the island and appear more dramatic than they actually are due to the fact that they rise up from the sea in sheer, spectacular ascent. Gros Piton provides wonderful opportunities for ahike, while those with a greater head for heights can zip- wire through the rainforest or take the aerial tram that rides over the tree tops and provides spectacular views of the rainforest. Nearby Soufrière is the oldest town on the island. Named by the French, it is most famous for its stunning natural surroundings, including the sulphur springs which lend it its name. The town used to be the island's capital and it still has some original Creole wooden buildings. But for a real taste of St Lucia's past, the 19th century Fond Doux Estate has acres of orchards, cocoa trees, banana, coconut, coffee, nutmeg and cinnamon plantations, along with old sugar works and herb gardens. To the north lies Pigeon Island, a 44- acre national park that was formerly only accessible by sea but is now connected by a man- made causeway. Once the home of indigenous Opposite page: although much of the island is lush and green, there's plenty of space for stunning white sand beaches ( right) st lucia St Lucia is so desirable the British and French fought for possession of it 14 times in the 18th century. Today, the only haggling going on is in the local markets. sea& iexplores this Caribbean idyll By Miriam Cain 38Isea& iIAUTUMN 2009 Heaven- saint