Usually at this time of year, most of us start to get itchy feet for a change of scene and we’re sure you’ll agree that nothing quite beats the excitement of discovery and adventure of a trip to far-flung lands.
But with long-haul travel often comes the sort climate in which many men let their sartorial standards slip. After all, how are you supposed to maintain your style credence when the mercury is pushing 35˚c and the humidity off the chart? As the intrepid explorers of yesteryear will attest, earthy-hued linen garments lend themselves well to the muggy, steamy climes of the tropics and will ensure you look the part, without (hopefully) breaking a sweat.
So, in the spirit of the great summer escape, we thought we’d offer up some travel and style inspiration in one conveniently neat package. You’re most welcome.
Hollywood legend Gregory Peck shows how to pull of earthy tones with aplomb,
on the set of The Macomber Affair, 1947
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
For anyone hankering for the romance of the British Raj, Udaipur is a destination that ought to be at the top of their travel bucket list. The Rajasthani city can trace its origins back to 1559, when the then ruler – Maharana Udai Singh II – decided this particular location in the Girwa Valley would be a fine spot to found a new dynastic capital befitting his status.
'Visit India' poster, depicting the Golden Temple at Amritsar, issued by Indian State Railways, c.1934
Assisted by successive monarchs, a city of architectural wonder was built up over the next four centuries, the highlight of which are undoubtedly the former royal residences – the most spectacular being the City Palace and the Lake Palace, which sits in the centre of a man-made body of water created under express instructions of the king. The regal, cupola-topped residence seems to float on the water’s surface in a mirage-like fashion – it’s no wonder Udaipur earned itself the nickname ‘The Venice of the East’.
And, if you’ve the yearning to experience what it would have been like to be the ruler of a Princely State, the Lake Palace is now a luxury hotel, where you can happily play at being a Maharana (for a day or two, at least).
The Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur. Image courtesy of Taj Hotels
Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, Burma
Anyone who has the good fortune to visit Burma, may think they’ve stumbled across El Dorado, for it is a country which quite literarily, shimmers with the glint of gold. From the gold dust-like cosmetic powder – known as Thanaka – which men, women and children use to paint their skin, to the abundant jewellery shops and gilded temples, the Burmese obsession with gold left a marked impression on some of the world’s most prolific writers, including W. Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell.
'Burma Railways' poster depicting a gold-clad pagoda, c.1933
The Shwedagon Pagoda, just outside Rangoon city centre, has drawn visitors to Burma for more centuries than anyone can remember and is a sight that can’t fail to impress even the most hardened atheist. The centre piece of the 114-acre site is the 325ft central stupa, which is clad with 21841 gold ingots and 5448 diamonds. It is believed to contain eight strands of hair from Siddhartha Gautama – the founding father of Buddhism – making it one of the most revered sites of pilgrimage for the faith. Our tip? Plan your visit to arrive in the late afternoon, so you can see the glittering pagoda in both daylight and after dark.
Shwedagon Pagoda at dusk. Photo courtesy of Sean Pavone/Alamy
Borana Conservancy, Laikipia County, Kenya, East Africa
It might seem like safari has been done to death, but in recent years, there’s been a marked movement towards a more considered, ethical approach to savannah expeditions, that dispels all notions of roughing it in dusty tents, battling a plague of mosquitos.
‘Africa by Air’ poster by artist Brian James, c.1937
One of the establishments that has significantly raised the bar in this regard, is the Arijiju lodge, located in the Borana Conservancy, in the highlands of Laikipia County, Kenya. In a deliberate move away from the typical wood and thatch construction of most East African lodges, the architecture of the house draws inspiration from the ancient rock-hewn churches of neighbouring Ethiopia and the 12th-century Cistercian monastery of Thoronet Abbey, in Provence, France. The overarching brief for the design was to make it with the landscape, as though it has always been there, so it works in harmony with the natural surroundings.
The reserve recently offered refuge to 22 black rhinos – the most endangered of the species – meaning that outings on the estate offer sightings of a truly rare animal that is seldom seen in the wild. In addition to the classic game drive experience, guests can also embark on helicopter expeditions to explore the 32,000 acre reserve and the peaks of Mount Kenya, or try fly fishing in the usually inaccessible Lake Michaelson. And it’s not all about self-indulgence either – you can enjoy yourself in the knowledge that your stay is helping raise funds to preserve the ecology of the savannah, as the lodge actively supports local conservation projects. This is sustainable tourism at its best.
A suite at the Arijiju lodge. Image courtesy of Crookes & Jackson