It is totally appropriate that the über-high-end Destinations of the World News magazine and website is based in Dubai, where nothing succeeds like excess. But amidst the conspicuous over-consumption and exuberant extravagance—check out Spend It—the mag’s cosmopolitan voice provides a refreshingly readable counterpoint.
Such as Michelle Wranik-Hicks’s account of travels to the south of Sri Lanka for what she described as “surfing, Ayurvedic wellness and a side order of spirituality”, which she might well have needed after a previous incarnation as food editor for QC Australia, with its “plenty of canapé munching and cocktail swilling”.
The magazine is found in First- and Business-Class airport lounges and five-star hotels throughout the Gulf and Middle East, so a certain reverence for the finer things of life—supercars, superyachts, supertech, supersuper—is entirely appropriate. In other words, it caters to “affluent and sophisticated travellers … the undisputed luxury travel authority in the region, offering a monthly insight into extraordinary travel experiences and destinations.”
Of which Sri Lanka is one, and of which Wranik-Hicks writes: “Even now, at home, the scent of cinnamon has me dreaming; a fragrant reminder of Sri Lanka, a gentle country that has left a lasting impression.” Perhaps dreaming of the luxury Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, and its “homage to the culture and heritage of Sri Lanka with traditional Dutch colonial furnishings, hand-loomed cotton textiles and hand-carved wood wall art created by local artisans”; and where Mother Nature is “blessing Sri Lanka with an utterly beautiful landscape, from the terraced tea plantations and estates in the highlands to the unspoilt stretches of tropical beaches and dense jungles where leopards and wild elephants roam”.
She writes of the last full moon in May, caught in the middle of a street procession of Buddhist worshippers celebrating Vesak, the most hallowed of all festivals celebrating the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. “It’s a wonderful glimpse into the joyful side of Sri Lanka, a remarkable contrast to the tragic news stories that have emerged from the country over the past few decades. The heartache and bloodshed of the 26-year civil war … the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.” But, she says, “there’s plenty to be optimistic about … these days, Sri Lanka seems to be on every travel hot-list”.