The new taste of Asia brings spice to Beirut

JAI

The hottest thing to pop up in Beirut’s Clemenceau district is a new delivery and catering kitchen called JAI. The blood, sweat and tears of Beiruti-born Chef Wael Lazkani, Jai offers a little taste of South East Asia in the heart of Beirut. It officially launched in February 2013 and has fast become a firm favourite for locals looking for a fresh, unique (and well-priced) alternative to the usual Lebanese fare. The rare restaurant concept of a large, one-room kitchen open to the street allows passers-by to experience first-hand Asian cooking at its finest. Open from 11am to 11pm, JAI will deliver anywhere in the Beirut Municipal Area within 45 min. But for a really special experience call and reserve the chef’s table.

After working in Michelin star restaurants in Montreal, London and Geneva, Chef Lazkani returned to Lebanon to realize his dream of introducing a new culinary experience to the Lebanese community with a special emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and genuine flavours. After 3 years of intensive South East Asian recipe studies and ingredient research Jai Kitchen was born. JAI’s menu takes you on a tour of Asia, tantalizing your taste buds with dishes from India, Thailand, Vietnam and China. And Chef Lazkani has made sure to include all of the Asian favourites.

This Summer’s most popular dishes are: the Raita and poppadoms – crispy poppadoms with a fresh chickpea, cucumber and mint raita; three shrimp summer rolls – rice wraps with shrimp, noodles, lettuce and herbs served with sweet chilli sauce; spicy Thai beef salad – grilled beef fillet with lettuce, green onions, herbs and a spicy vinaigrette; and Singapore noodles – classic thin rice noodle dish with dry mild curry, shrimp and chicken.

So if you’re looking for a little something different when visiting Beirut, make sure you give JAI a call. If the locals have JAI’s number on speed-dial, than any discerning traveller should as well.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

Spice up 2013 with 5 great Argentine Festivals

Carlos Gardell

With the first six months of the year spent working hard and meeting deadlines, it’s time for a little passion to be added to your life. Why not escape to the southern hemisphere and add a dash of sexy rhythm to your Latin getaway? Although celebrations like the International Festival of Independent Cinema and the South American Music Conference (SAMC) have come and gone, you have yet to miss out on many of Argentina’s cultural dips and turns. Take a look at these 5 great Argentine Festivals:

The Anniversary of Carlos Gardel’s Death (June)

Possibly the most prominent figure in the history of Tango, Carlos Gardel made a strong impact on Argentina’s performing arts. Although he led a legendary life, it was sadly short-lived when he passed away at the young age of 45 in 1935. For a week in June, locals unite and dance the tango in various venues in honor of Gardel – a vibrant experience you will not want to miss.

Argentina’s Independence Day (9th July)

Transform from tourist to local and celebrate in the busy streets of Buenos Aires where parades and barbecues take over. Food, family and friends are the key to this special day of celebration and conversation, so be sure to chat with the natives to learn about their culture and how their country’s independence affects them – an insider’s tour of Argentine life.

Buenos Aires Tango Festival (August)

This nine-day fiesta makes its mark as one of the biggest festivals in Buenos Aires as it awakens the city with the sensual tango. It is home to endless dancing, free classes, concerts, shows and exhibitions. So if you want a true taste of South America’s inspiring traditions, this event is a vital part of your trip.

International Video-Dance Festival (September)

Held at the Ricardo Rojas Cultural Center, this fun and unique festival has been entertaining Argentinians and tourists alike for some 22 years. From the 24th until the 29th of September, this five-day affair hosts screenings, lectures and workshops about dancing as an art form and video-dance specifically – a modern twist on an ancient tradition.

International Festival of Buenos Aires (September)

Every two years, this renowned festival takes place at various venues all across the city with master classes, special talks and even performances from international artists. Yet another event filled with zest, skills and customs to unite residents and travellers.

5 reasons not to miss Ibiza’s Summer party season

Ushuaia Party

There are few places in the world that epitomize sea, sex and sun (or is that ‘sin’) better than the stunning Balearic island of Ibiza. The official birthplace of the ‘rave’, it is not surprising that it has the reputation of being the quintessential clubbing island of the Mediterranean. Ibiza has the beautiful people, the beautiful beaches and plenty of fun to go around year-round. But if you are looking for the ultimate in decadence and debauchery then Ibiza’s Summer party season is when you must go and many of the island’s clubs and venues have special events running right through to the end of August.

And for those that can’t be convinced, here are 5 reasons why a last-minute Ibiza getaway may just be unavoidable.

Experimental Beach Ibiza

Having just opened on 1st May 2013, be one of the first to trial the newest venture from the guys behind the likes of Experimental Cocktail Club Chinatown in London and New York’s Experimental Cocktail Club Lower East Side. Given its patrimony you can be pretty confident that this one is going to be a success. Open from 10am to 1am for drinks, food or just a lazy day at the beach.

Bomba Ibiza

Another new Ibiza venue with a promising pedigree is Cipriani’s latest club Bomba Ibiza. Last year saw the opening of their Ibiza restaurant Downtown Ibiza. And this year’s club opening is certain to offer the glitz and glamour that we have come to expect from the Italian group. The club was to debut on opening weekend, but it has been announced that it will be delayed (date to be revealed soon). But in true Ibiza spirit, to make up for the last-minute postponement, Cipriani’s Downtown Ibiza will be hosting a number of one-off parties over the next few weeks. And they’ve set the standard by kicking off the season with an exclusive set from Disclosure and Fatboy Slim.

Ushuaia Party

Perfectly placed in the 5* Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel, the Ushuaia party is renowned for being one of the best outdoor summer events. The opening party, with its stellar international DJ line-up, was touted as the hip and happening place to see and be seen and certainly attracted the island’s VIPs. And with parties held throughout the summer season there will be plenty of opportunities to check out the breathtaking views from the newly built Ushuaia Tower or lounge poolside, sipping your cocktail, while the DJs take to the decks and spin the ultimate Ibiza summer soundtrack.

Ibiza Rocks

Nothing says ‘summer party’ like live music. And Ibiza Rocks, running from 5th June to 18th Aug 2013, always draws the cream of the Rock ‘n’ Roll crop. It is one of the few venues not to launch on opening weekend. So if you haven’t already booked your Ibiza getaway and you needed one more reason to head to the island this year – this is it. Lap up the sun while enjoying an eclectic line-up including Franz Ferdinand, Aluna George, Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding, there’s a little something for everyone.

Nikki Beach Ibiza 

The Nikki Beach Group doesn’t need much of an introduction, much thanks to its notorious St Tropez location that attracts the rich and famous from June to September. But now Nikki Beaches seem to be popping up in every popular sundrenched destination: Koh Samui, Cabo San Lucas, Mallorca, Marbella, Miami, St Barth, and now the buzzing town of Ibiza (launching this summer) – an obvious choice for their newest spot. Located on the East coast of the island on a stunning beachfront property overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Nikki Beach Ibiza will showcase its signature beach club, a restaurant and boutique.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

5 beautiful hot springs from around the world

Nea Kameni

Picture this: a cool summer evening, starry sky, achy feet from a long day of sightseeing and the buzzing feeling of a holiday high. A nighttime swim in an ordinary pool just isn’t cutting it for you, so why not go for something a little more au naturel? Uncover the secrets of a luxurious hot spring hidden in the depths of trees and earth. With wild thermal pools all around the world, your options for a sizzling dip are endless.

Colorado, United States

The state nestled between the mountains is filled with heated waterholes perfect for a summer afternoon or a wintery escape from the snowy slopes. Take Conundrum Hot Springs in Aspen for example. You can hike through 8.5 miles of grand scenery to find yourself immersed in the comforting warmth of this magical hot spring.

New Zealand

This secluded country could be renamed ‘hot pool heaven’ with thermal springs of all varieties popping up from north to south. For starters, a slightly more rustic option is the cloudy hot springs at Ngawha. Sworn by the locals to offer healing benefits, these natural baths have been used to relieve skin rashes and joint pain for centuries. But if you’re not staying up north and prefer a more lush and picturesque experience, The Lost Spring near Whitianga offers waterfalls, forests and a hot spring flowing in from 600 metres below the earth’s surface.

Santorini, Greece

All over the world, people inevitably think of sun, sea and sand when talking about Greece. Its organically lavish ways cease to amaze even the natives. So call me crazy, but I find it hard to be surprised that Santorini offers an experience such as this: a balmy mud bath-hot spring in Nea Kameni. A perfect place to relax and enjoy the calming atmosphere under the blue skies.

Costa Rica

With tour groups guiding you along the Arenal Volcano hike, you can’t help but wonder what treasure awaits you at the end of the trail. And trust us, you will not be disappointed with the final prize: beautiful hot pools surrounded by forest, fresh air and flowers – these warm waterholes are mother earth’s pot of gold.

South of France

For the fifth and final, hot springs may not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking of France, but there are wonderful choices for a cozy experience in the great outdoors. Rich with history and extravagant valley views, thermal baths in Bains de Dorres date all the way back to the Roman times. Best history lesson I can think of.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com