Queen of Retreats visits Constance Halaveli

Queen of Retreats, Caroline Sylger Jones, visited Constance Halaveli last month.

Spa at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Spa at Constance Halaveli

After a week of  fresh food, rejuvenating spa treatments from Valmont and Ila, snorkelling, star gazing and wandering barefoot, she returned home feeling ‘far more serene. Reconnected. Happy.’

In her Diary of a Maldivian Retreat

‘I am treated to a divine four handed massage with Ayu and Yulia in the spa, which they call the Meditative Indulgence – it’s an hour, but they add on an extra 20 minutes for heads and feet.

What is about these Asian therapists – their hands make the treatment feel like it goes on forever and forever, whereas in the UK an hour and a half goes so quickly. Is it their hands, the heat, the fact I’m already relaxed? They also have real power, no matter how slim or slight they are.’

And what of Halaveli itself?

‘We lie in a white rope hammock for ages together under the trees, legs entwined, and remember what it felt like to be together before we had our child. There are others about, but it doesn’t feel like it – we feel cocooned and undisturbed in our own little world. There 57 water villas here, and 29 beach villas, but really you wouldn’t know it.’

Read the full review of Caroline’s stay at Constance Halaveli on her website: Queen of Retreats

Visit our website to find out more about the deluxe Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Constance hot list: The best of what’s on in Europe this weekend

Make the most of the long Easter weekend with our list of hot tickets across Europe.

Inside British Museum, London

Inside British Museum, London

London

The Boat Race 2013: Sunday, March 31
It may be cold outside but don’t be put off, the excitement generated by this annual race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities’ rowing teams will warm you up. The entire route is lined with stylish pubs and eateries.

Find out more about the boat race from Time Out London

The Easter Film Hop: March 29 – March 31
If you’re looking for an edgier weekend experience head to London’s hip Shoreditch and enjoy a very different style of movie watching. Retro musicals including Grease and Purple Rain are shown on a massive screen and the audience are given wireless headphones so they can drink, dance and party along with the film. Screenings are followed by a headphone disco.

For full details visit Experience Cinema.

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
Opening at The British Museum this weekend, this fascinating exhibition features a collection of over 250 artefacts from the ill-fated towns. Pompeii and Herculaneum were both buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 and many of these items have never been seen before outside of Italy. The exhibition focuses on the lives of ordinary people and their homes.

For details or to book online visit the website for British Museum.

Pompidou Centre, Paris

Pompidou Centre, Paris

Paris

Festival Cinéma du Réel: Until 31 March
The acclaimed documentary festival traditionally hosted at the Centre Pompidou has this year extended to include venues across the city. With filmmakers from across the world gathering to show their work there is something for everyone.

For details of screenings visit Cinéma du Réel

Julio Le Parc exhibition at Palais de Tokyo
Having snubbed the Musée d’Art Moderne’s proposals for a retrospective back in 1972, founder of the op art movement, Le Parc has remained relatively obscure. But now the Palais de Tokyo has succeeded in persuading the 84-year-old painter and sculptor to allow an exhibition of his work from 1950 to today. Alongside his classic op art pieces are a series of huge installations, paintings, sculptures. A rare treat.

More info from website Palais de Tokyo

Le Festival de l’Imaginaire: 27 March – 13 April
This renowned festival celebrating all forms of dance from around the world kicks off this week with Hayachine Take Kagura, Japanese masked dancing, at the Maison des Cultures du Monde.

Full details on the website Festival de l’Imaginaire

St Peter's Square, Rome

St Peter’s Square, Rome

Rome

Good Friday and Easter Sunday celebrations
Whatever your religious persuasion seize the chance to watch history in the making this weekend as the Vatican celebrates Easter with a new pope. Events include an evening procession and ritual of the Via Crucis on Good Friday in which a huge cross with burning torches lights the sky and Easter Sunday Holy Mass held in St Peter’s Square.

Helmut Newton. White Women/Sleepless Nights/Big Nudes: 6 March – 21 July
A collection of over 200 photographs make up this exhibition at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni with highlights from the prolific photogrpaher’s three volumes of photographs from 1976 to 1981. The exhibition features Newton’s provocative stylish black and white shots.

Find out more from Palazzo delle Esposizion

Tiziano: Until 16 June
The Italian name for the artist Titian, this exhibition at the Scuderie Del Quirinal traces the Italian’s work from his early days in Venice to his great commissions by Charles V. With loans from galleries across Europe this is a rare chance to see the progression of Titian’s work. There’s also an app to download so you can use your phone as an audio-guide.

More info at Scuderie Del Quirinal

Berlin

Auch Heute: until 11 April
The Kunstsaele gallery brings together the work of contemporary artists from around the world to examine the dialogue between different styles. Auch Heute, meaning today, aims to invite the viewer to see similarities in works by artists including Stephen Antonakos, Donald Judd, Sandra Peters and Dieter Kieg.

Full details on the Kunstsaele gallery website.

Dummy – Varieté 2.0: until 21 July
Billed as a futuristic variety show this cutting edge production at the Chamäleon Theatre features a fusion of modern dance, music and technology. A tilting stage, robotic puppetry and video projections by self proclaimed ‘light magician’, Frieder Weiss, this show is truly out of this world. This weekend enjoy a celebration of spring with ice-tea cocktails at the theatre bar.

Find out more at Chamaeleon Berlin

Sergej Jensen: until 17 June
An exhibition at the Berlinsche Galerie (Museum of Modern Art) celebrating the work of this year’s winner of the Fred Thieler Prize for Painting. Jensen uses materials including linen, coarse cotton and jute sacks to paint on to add texture and depth to his prize-winning work. Well worth checking out.

More info on the Berlinsche Galerie website.

Tsarabanjina sets the pace for barefoot luxury resorts

Tsarabanjina is set to reinvent barefoot luxury when it reopens after a multi-million pound revamp on 1 April.

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

An idyllic retreat, Tsarabanjina is a secluded, private island far off the tourist trail. No dress-code, no formalities, just laidback luxury and friendly Malagasy charm.

Elegant thatched beachside villas
Part of the lure of this resort is its size. There are just 25 beach villas, spread across two of the island’s beautiful white sand beaches, making it an intimate and secluded hideaway.

Each boutique-style villa is nestled close to the shore. Made from rosewood and thatch, we’ve added air-conditioning and large private terraces – ideal for late-night, jaw-dropping stargazing or simply lying back and watching the sun set over the ocean.

Escape the pressure of modern life
This is one of those rare corners of the world where you can truly let the pressures of daily life slip away. Take a mental break and enjoy a digital detox – mobile phone and wifi connections are limited to the main building only.

Beachside villas at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Beachside villa

Spa at Tsarabanjina
Recharge your body and mind at our newly revamped spa. The massage room comes with beach views and an outside shower carved into the island rock. Our spa therapists use many local ingredients including oils of Ravintsara (similar to eucalyptus), Ylang Ylang and Coconut.

All-inclusive Cristal package
To make the castaway experience even more complete, we offer the all-inclusive Cristal package at Tsarabanjina. This means that once you arrive, you don’t have to worry about paying for anything. It’s all included. And when we say all-included, we really mean it.

This is a place where the food tastes of sunshine – the menu changes daily depending on what the Mitsio fishermen catch, and the fruits and vegetables available at Nosy Be market on the mainland.

Each afternoon we serve tea in the main restaurant and cocktails at sunset. Or you can simply grab a perfectly chilled bottle of wine from your mini bar, stroll a few paces to the beach and watch the sun set into the ocean.

Ocean view at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Ocean view at Tsarabanjina

Breathe in an island intimately connected with nature
Discover the unique biodiversity Madagascar has to offer on a nature walk with one of our guides. Or join our dive team and be the first to swim in magical reefs which remain largely unexplored.

Tsarabanjina is a hidden gem that will blow your mind. Awe-inspiring natural beauty and a laidback vibe reminiscent of travelling days, combine with a generous splash of luxury to make this one of the most romantic resorts you can find.

Read more

Visit our website to find out more about Constance Tsarabanjina and check booking availability

The Sunday Times recently included Tsarabanjina in its ‘Guide to the 100 best holidays on the planet’. Subscribers to The Sunday Times online can read the article in full.

Discover why Susan D’Arcy of The Sunday Times rates Constance’s Cristal package as one of the world’s best all-inclusive deals.

Winners of 2013 Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau announced

After an exciting festival week in Mauritius, the winners of this year’s Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau are Luc Mobihan from Le Saint Placide restaurant in St Malo, France and Hem Pulami from Constance Halaveli, Maldives.

Hem Pulami and Luc Mobihan

Hem Pulami and Luc Mobihan

The winning menu

Starter

Vegetables and fruits from Mauritius, leaf after leaf

Leaf after leaf, discover the flavours and textures from Mauritius, with greens purée and the lemongrass, coconut and combava sauce.

Main course

Loin of lamb with taro purée and crispy vegetables, & spiced jus.

Under a crust of spices and seeds, discover the lamb… serve it with a root purée, a sweet potato chip and slightly spiced juice.

 

2nd Prize:

Loin of lamb - winning dish at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013

Loin of lamb – winning dish at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013

Robert Speth (Chesery, Switzerland) & Sampath Mariyadasa (Constance Moofushi)

3rd Prize

Anita Klemensen (Den Rode Cottage, Denmark) & Elodie Oudeuil (Constance Belle Mare Plage)

 

More highlights from the festival

Visit our Facebook page to see more photos from the event – Constance Hotels & Resorts Facebook

Competition day at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013

Competition day has arrived at this year’s Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau, and the air is filled with tension, drama and excitement.

Competition day at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013

Competition day at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013

The European Michelin star chefs have spent the last few days with our Island chefs, teaching, sharing knowledge and encouraging. Now, the lessons learned are being put into practice and our judges will have to decide on a winner.

Take a look at who is on this year’s judging panel. Winners will be announced at a special dinner on Saturday 23 March.

One of our judges, celebrity chef Nick Nairn, is tweeting – follow him on Twitter @NickNairn (#CFBL13)

 

Constance Festival Charity Auction

To celebrate this year’s festival, we are offering the chance to enjoy an exclusive dinner for 2 at one of 3 Michelin star restaurants in the UK, France and Switzerland.

All proceeds from the auction go to the school Etoile de Mer in Mauritius, helping young people aged 12+ to learn vocational and life skills, and discover new opportunities in their lives ahead.

You can place a bid at any time until Friday 22 March at 9pm. Find out more and start bidding in our Constance Festival Charity Auction.

Photo highlights from the festival so far – visit our  Constance Hotels & Resorts Facebook page

 

Your chance to dine at Chez Bruce, London, UK

Chef Bruce Poole  has generously donated to our online charity auction, offering an exclusive dinner for 2 at his restaurant Chez Bruce, London.

Chez Bruce, London, UK

Chez Bruce, London, UK

The charity auction runs from Monday 18 January, and it’s your chance to bid to dine at one of three Michelin star restaurants in Europe, while supporting our charity – the ground-breaking school for disadvantaged teenagers in Mauritius, Etoile de Mer.

Chef Bruce Poole

The eponymous chef-patron of Chez Bruce, Bruce Poole, has a very simple recipe for restaurant success.

When he first opened the restaurant in Wandsworth, London in 1995 he created a menu based on the kind of food he thought local people eating out would like. Nothing pretentious, no gimmicks, just good food.

As Chef Bruce explains ‘From the outset it was our intention to serve the very best food and drink but within a relaxed informal yet thoroughly professionally orchestrated environment… Restaurants are not about celebrity chefs, managers, owners or design; they are about customers.’

The menu at Chez Bruce

Inside Chez Bruce

Inside Chez Bruce

It is Poole’s reading of customer tastes over the years which has cemented the restaurant’s prestigious reputation. Its exquisite menu of classic modern food based on regional French and Mediterranean cuisine has never gone out of style.

Poole describes how he and Head Chef Matt Christmas set about creating the Chez Bruce menu, ‘We only ever produce dishes which we ourselves love to eat and one can’t really say fairer than that.’

And this simple, customer-focused approach to food has garnered Chez Bruce a loyal customer base and numerous prestigious awards, including the coveted Michelin star.

All these plaudits, however, have come as something of a surprise to Poole who only began his professional cooking career in his mid-twenties. It was only after receiving a degree in history, training in hotel management and working front-of-house in several restaurants that he discovered his true passion. He found himself lured by the excitement and energy of the kitchens and began writing to several leading restaurants looking for a job.

Chez Bruce cheese board

Chez Bruce cheese board

It was Bibendum which finally responded and Poole worked his way up through the kitchen there before moving on to The Square and then Chez Max in Fulham.

When restaurateur Nigel Platts-Martin offered him a share in his own restaurant – what would become Chez Bruce – in 1995 he seized the opportunity to do things his own way.

Local to Wandsworth himself, Poole wanted to create the very best local restaurant he could while also indulging his passion for wine.

The team at Chez Bruce are self-proclaimed fanatical wine-lovers searching the globe for the very best old and new. As a result the restaurant now has an extensive wine cellar with a wine list featuring many rare wines during their perfect drinking window.

From the first it has been Poole’s passion for the food, the wine, the friendly local service which has set him and his team apart from other restaurants in the capital. A passion which he shares and passes on to his customers, a passion which keeps them coming back.

Bid in our online charity auction

Constance guests have the chance to share the passion with a dinner for two at Chez Bruce in our online charity auction.

Bid in the Constance Festival charity auction for your chance to dine at Chez Bruce.

Find out more

Visit the website to read more about Chez Bruce.