A Luxury Travel Blog describes Tsarabanjina as an ‘idyllic castaway island’

Craig Burkinshaw recently discovered the charms of Tsarabanjina, writing on A Luxury Travel Blog this week that this Constance gem is a ‘particular favourite’.

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

In a piece in which Craig describes the resort as one of the few offering luxury accommodation and service in the beautiful setting of Madagascar, he goes on to celebrate the tiny private island’s stunning natural setting and exceptional diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Founder of Audley Travel, Craig praises the resort’s laidback charm:

‘A charming feature is that the island has its own time zone, Tsarabanjina time. An hour different to mainland Madagascar, this is done to make the most of the daylight and only adds to the remote feeling of the island and resort.’

Craig goes on to extol the virtues of the fresh, sumptuous food and indulgent spa treatments on offer. Describing the accommodation Craig admires the use of natural woods and Malagasy crafts to create a comfortable environment with ‘plenty of luxurious touches’.

Craig sums up, ‘Overall Constance Tsarabanjina has the perfect combination of Robinson Crusoe escapism and a healthy dose of luxury.’

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Top tips for food and wine pairing

Matching the perfect wine with the perfect food to bring out the subtle, distinctive flavours of both is a delicate skill.

Chablis, “Terroir de Courgis”

Chablis, “Terroir de Courgis”

Here Constance Halaveli sommelier Cedric Jacobs selects his favourite wines and, with the help of executive chef at Halaveli Holger Joost, pairs them with a selection of delectable dishes.

1. Chablis, “Terroir de Courgis”, Patrick Piuze, 2010, France, Burgundy

I will always remember the first time I tasted this wine, I was in Bordeaux in 2011 for a famous wine exposition and a friend of Jerome Faure brought a few bottles from this producer to be blind-tasted. When the results came back, it was like I was back in school with my lecturer warning me that Chablis can be confused with wine from the Loire Valley due to the proximity of Terroir.

Courgis is the western city of the Chablis appellation and very close to Pouilly Fumé – a total confusion, yet an incredible discovery.

100 per cent Chardonnay – The hint of gunflint, citrus & exotic fruit and minerality could confuse the drinker with a Sauvignon Blanc. Showing an amazing purity in the mouth, a juicy, rich mineral wine with a perfect respect of the fruit.

Food Pairing:

Some time ago, the executive chef prepared prawns in 3 textures (seared, sous vide and tartar) served with mango salsa for me to taste. This would have been the perfect wine to drink to respect both of the wine and dish.

Chef Pairing:

Tiger Prawns in 3 textures (seared, sous vide and tartar) with mango and palm heart salsa curry emulsion.

VDP des Bouches du Rhône, Villa Minna

VDP des Bouches du Rhône, Villa Minna

2. VDP des Bouches du Rhône, Villa Minna, Red, 2007, France, Provence

This wine comes from the commune of Saint Cannat, a few kilometres from Aix-en-Provence and neighbour of the small village I am from, Ventabren. I discovered the wine from Jean Paul Luc 8 years ago when I started my sommelier formation. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy to bring to the middle of the Indian Ocean. Eventually, the wines arrived and my love for them did not change at all.

A bold blend between Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Mourvèdre. The nose is crammed full of black cherry, almost kirsches, and dried fig aromas. After few minutes of aeration in the glass, violets, mixed Provençal herbs and spices are showing off. The mouth is fruitful and complex offering a beautiful freshness for a 2007 vintage showing that this wine still has guts to age even more.

Food Pairing:

Halaveli cheese selection – a selection of international cheeses with dried fruit, crackers & honey.

As a typical French man I cannot refuse a piece of cheese but being in the middle of the Indian ocean I do not have access to it that easily. I discovered here a Brie from Australia, the Jindi Triple Cream, battered more than a normal one and showing an incredible complexity. I could simply spend a whole night with friends pairing these two.

Waterkloof, Sauvignon Blanc

Waterkloof, Sauvignon Blanc

3. Waterkloof, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 – South Africa, Stellenbosh

I discovered this wine in October 2012 while visiting South Africa, more precisely the Cape Wine wine exposition in Cape Town. The first contact was with Paul Boutinot, the owner of the winery, and then his son Louis, who invited us to taste his wine.

The Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc is one of my ‘Coup de Coeur’ of the year for the purity that is present in this wine. A rich and complex Sauvignon Blanc offering citrus fruit, vegetal and fennel aromas on the nose for a mineral, salty, and long lasting finish – a great complexity for an easy drinking wine.

Food Pairing:

Halaveli Sushi and Sashimi selection with pickled ginger and soy.

Minerality and saltiness lead me directly to products from the sea and one of my first experiences with the Waterkloof, and the most memorable, was with Japanese Food: Sushi, Sashimi, Californian Roll… This unctuous wine matched perfectly these Japanese specialties.

4. Mullineux, “Granit”, Syrah, 2010 – South Africa, Swartland

Like the Waterkloof, this was a discovery that happened in South Africa during my last trip. We were welcomed by Andrea and Chris Mullineux in a restaurant called “French toast” in the city of Cape Town.

The cuvée Granit is, for me, majestic. The nose offers beautiful black berries, olive, spices and meaty aromas. On the palate, the wine is fresh, lively and spicy with an amazing fruit – the feeling of literally biting into berries. A feminine, yet complex Syrah which deserves to be aged for couple of years, but can be enjoyed right now.

Food Pairing:

Tuna steak and caramelized foie gras, warm salad of Shimeji, Edamame and tomato, celeriac puree.

Living in the Maldives for the past few years, tuna, the meatiest fish of the Indian Ocean, has become one of my favourite dishes. To complement this amazing fish, The Mullineux Syrah is a perfect match, especially when the tuna steak is served with a typical olive tapenade, grilled Mediterranean vegetables and a celeriac purée.

Barolo, Attilio Ghisolfi

Barolo, Attilio Ghisolfi

5. Barolo, Attilio Ghisolfi, 2005 – Italy, Piedmont

My most recent trip was to Italy where we visited mostly the north of the country seeking out small yet amazing winemakers. I had already worked with the wines from Attilio Ghisolfi for the last 2 years (in fact, Jerome Faure discovered them during a tasting in Italy a few years back) but I wanted to meet the man behind the superb bottle.

Cherry, balsamic, olive and chamomile all together coming to your nose for an amazing mouthful, this 100 per cent Nebbiolo is similar to a Pinot Noir but with firm Tannin – This wine from Attilio Ghisolfi, after a long and delicate aging in the cellar, shows beautiful and melted tannins, with impressive fruit – Can be kept for aging for another 10 to 15 years.

Food Pairing:
Angus beef tenderloin, Asian spiced spinach, truffle potato and horseradish crème.

Red meat is the first dish that comes to my mind when having a bottle of Barolo in front of me. More exactly, a nice, juicy Angus beef tenderloin, served in its own jus with a homemade truffle potato purée and horseradish cream.

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Top 7 luxury luggage must-haves

Luxury holidays and luxury luggage go hand-in-hand. Here is our selection of some of the finest luggage you could invest in.

Brics luxury travel trolley

Brics luxury travel trolley

1. Best hardcase holdall

The Rimowa Topas Titanium Multiwheel

This lightweight aluminium case is tough German engineering at its finest. The hard outer casing and TSA combination locks will ensure the safety of anything inside and the neat ‘add a bag’ clip mean you can combine Rimowa luggage into one item. Inside the multiple shoe, garment and laundry bags help keep clothes neatly separated.

2. Most stylish carry-on

Formal calf leather ‘country’ bag from Brunello Cucinelli

This beautiful calf leather carry on from Italian luxury brand Brunello Cucinelli is an instant classic echoing a Hemmingway age of travelling adventurers. Beautiful, tough and endlessly useful.

3. The hippest of holdalls

Brics 30” trolley with spinners

Toted by the likes of Halle Berry and Jennifer Aniston, high-end Italian luggage brand Brics is the current luggage of choice for Hollywood A-listers. This lightweight, large trolley will stylishly fit all your holiday luggage and, of course, comes with a range of matching accessories.

4. Ultimate luxury travel wallet

Noble Macmillan calfskin travel wallet

Noble Macmillan calfskin travel wallet

Noble Macmillan classic travel wallet

Available in a range of funky colours this soft calfskin leather travel wallet with a silk lining is hand made in Spain. The interior includes separate compartments marked with leather tabs for passport, travel documents etc. Noble Macmillan will even personalise it with your initials or a message of your choice.

5. Best hardcore carry-on

Victorinox Spectra extra-capacity carry-on

From the makers of the Swiss Army Knife comes the ultimate in hard case hand luggage guaranteed to keep all your possessions safe from knocks and drops at the airport. Available in a range of colours including Swiss Army red.

6. Most opulent toiletry case

Louis Vuitton Case with Mirror

There’s just something about Louis Vuitton luggage that exudes old-school glamour and this stunning, durable hard-shell case is no exception. With the traditional LV monogramed canvas and gold brass outside, and mirror and 14 bottle holder on the inside, this will keep all your lotions and creams safe for your journey and then look beautiful in your hotel bathroom throughout your holiday.

Mulberry adjustable iPad sleeve

Mulberry adjustable iPad sleeve

7. Best luxury iPad cover

Mulberry adjustable iPad sleeve

This stylish, functional leather iPad cover from Mulberry is made to house an iPad 2 or 3. The leather case can be flipped over to create a useful display stand, perfect for watching movies or making video calls. Classically unfussy the leather case is bare apart from the Mulberry tree logo. Available in a range of colours.

Going on honeymoon

Marine biologist journeys to the Arctic North

Marine biologist Robin Aiello visited Constance Halaveli earlier this year, where she ran a number of dive courses and talks. Currently in the Arctic North, Robin writes about her latest expedition.

Walrus' relaxing in the Arctic

Walrus’ relaxing in the Arctic

Greetings from the far north – the land of polar bears and walrus

I can assure you that right now, having just spent the past 8 hours driving a small rubber boat though thick sea ice in -1°C temperatures, I am dreaming of the warm tropical waters of Halaveli in the Maldives.

Expedition in Svalbard

I am up here in Svalbard, in the far North, above 79º latitude, working as the marine biologist on-board an expedition ship that is spending three months exploring the Arctic. So far, the season has been wonderful.

Polar bears and ice caps

The other day we started the morning with a male polar bear walking leisurely past our ship as we drifted in thick sea ice that spreads out as far as the eye can see. Polar bears are amazing animals with their huge paws, shaggy white coat of fur and piercing black eyes. They are just so regal and elegant – kings of the ice.

A Polar Bear

A Polar Bear

Later in the day we visited a beach with a dozen or so walrus hauled out. They are so funny – they lie for long periods of time doing absolutely nothing, then suddenly one will wiggle around, which starts a whole flurry of activity as they raise their heads, knock into one another with their tusks, until they slowly find a more comfortable position and settle back down to sleep some more.

As beautiful and dramatic as the scenery here is, I cannot wait to return to Halaveli in September to dive and snorkel the amazing reefs.

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Polar Bear

Up close and personal

 

Admiring the reflection

Admiring the reflection

 

A stroll on the ice

A stroll on the ice

Architecture and design at Tsarabanjina

The unique island hideaway of Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar is a place where barefoot chic sits comfortably beside the island’s distinctive biodiversity.

Beach Villa at Constance Tsarabanjina

Beach Villa at Constance Tsarabanjina

The seemingly effortless blending of traditional Malagasy building techniques with the comforts of a modern luxury hotel is part of a conscious effort to maintain Tsarabanjina’s natural Robinson Crusoe charm.

In Malagasy culture it is believed that the invisible spirit world is a part of our world, and it has been our mission in refurbishing the resort to protect the unique, invisible, free spirit of the island.

History of Tsarabanjina

Tsarabanjina was originally discovered in 1990 by a South African adventurer, Richard Walker, who fell in love with the island and wanted to share it with others.

In 1998 he built a small resort with eight bungalows which integrated with their natural environment so that guests could enjoy the island’s authentic charm.

In 2006 he handed over guardianship of the beautiful island and its resort to Constance. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously and one which was at the heart of our plans when we decided to refurbish the existing resort to introduce a little luxury for guests in this special place.

Beach Villa, Tsarabanjina

Beach Villa, Tsarabanjina

Architects behind Tsarabanjina

In an effort to protect the authenticity of Tsarabanjina we selected architects who understood our respect for the ecological integrity of the place. We then went further to embrace the local culture by introducing Malagasy arts and crafts into the design of the hotel.

When choosing the materials for the construction of the resort our first decision was easy, we banned all plastic. We then searched for locally sourced wood from the main island and used it in its raw form to give guests a sensory connection to the nature that surrounds them here.

Working with local crafts people

Throughout the refurbishment we have tried to use local crafts people who have traditions of construction, basketry, weaving, embroidery which have been handed down from generation to generation.

We believe that in employing local crafts people we are not just supporting a local economy but promoting a passing down of traditional, cultural skills.

The result is an island where luxury tourism sits comfortably alongside authentic Malagasy charm and tradition in such a way that the natural environment is added to rather than impacted.

Unlike other resorts our luxuries are discreet rather than ostentatious. We prefer to highlight the island’s natural beauty and relaxed pace so that guests can enjoy the same authentic experience here that they always have.

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The world’s most exclusive diving experience at Constance Halaveli

Visit Constance Halaveli and indulge in the most exclusive, deluxe dive experience ever conceived.

Diving at Constance

Diving at Constance

TGI Diving Maldives in collaboration with Constance Halaveli and Sultan’s of the Sea have created a diving experience that is second to none.

Step aboard the luxury 20-metre yacht for 24-hours of luxury living and incredible diving at some of the Maldives’ most exciting dive sites spread over several stunning atolls.

With up to four of you able to enjoy your stay onboard the Azimut yacht, there’ll be a personal chef, dive instructor, massage therapist and videographer to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime.

The Azimut yacht will be entirely yours for 24 hours so you can choose to sleep aboard in the sumptuous luxury of the yacht’s cabins, or return to your villa at Halaveli. To book the exclusive diving experience, email TGI Diving Maldives directly at Constance Halaveli: dive@halaveli.com

Step on board the Azimut yacht

Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by your own dive instructor, and a personal chef who will prepare a breakfast of fresh truffles, King of Kings Beluga Caviar, Alaskan King Crab Legs, smoked Wild Balik Salmon (fewer than 1,000 fillets are produced each year) and Manuka Honey.

Then it’s time to set sail and encounter the diverse marine life and stunning underwater world that surrounds Constance Halaveli. You can expect to encounter whale sharks, mantas, reef sharks, Pyramid Butterfly fish, moray eels, hawksbill turtles and more.

Visibility is excellent in the Maldives, making this a diver’s paradise whether you are experienced or just making your first foray into diving.

Post dive massage and champagne celebration

Spa at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Massage treatment

Take time out between dives as you cruise the atolls and enjoy a sumptuous massage from your onboard spa therapist or soak up the sunshine while enjoying canapés of caramelised foie gras, Waygu beef burgers, wild finger limes, wild strawberries and Fritz Knipschildt’s Chocopolagie.

Savour the memory of your dives with a glass or two of chilled Dom Perignon or Crystal Rose before a light snack of Golden Almla Caviar and oysters accompanied by a Francisco Gomez, Gold Edition Sauvignon Blanc as you cruise back towards Halaveli.

5* dinner on board or at your own desert island

Then watch the sun set while savouring a sumptuous 5* dinner prepared by your chef and served either aboard the yacht or at a table set up on Alikoi, your own private desert island under the stars.

Highlights of the six-course dinner menu will include:

  • Hand-dived Bay Scallops
  • Buda’s Hand Yuzu
  • Wild Bush limes
  • Kobe beef
  • Blue Maine Lobster
  • Dessert prepared with Hennessey XO
Diving at Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Diving in The Maldives

Wines including:

  • Pomerol, Château Petrus, 1997, the most expensive red wine in the world
  • Champagne Carbon, 2006, bottled in carbon and created by artisan sommelier Phillippe Jamesse, the best sommelier of champagne

Preparing your equipment before the trip

All diving equipment from Mare’s most exclusive premium range will be selected by you before your arrival in Maldives, and fitted to your exact size and then air freighted to the Maldives to await your arrival.

Fitted premium Mares dive equipment includes:

  • Regulator: Instinct 12S
  • BCD: Hybrid Pro Tec
  • Dive Computer: Matrix or the Matrix HD Air Integrated
  • Wetsuit: Mares Reef full or shorty
  • Mares Equator booties
  • Mares X-streams fins
  • Mares Liquid Skin mask
  • Mares Eos 10R dive torch
  • Mares Strobe Beam
  • Mares Cruise Backpack Pro
  • Mares Dry Bag
  • Mares Cruise Safety
  • Nautilus life line
Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

To book the world’s most exclusive diving experience

Email TGI Diving Maldives directly at Constance Halaveli: dive@halaveli.com

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