Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JAN-FEB 2018

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62 slmag.net Lounge chairs and cabanas dot the white sand crescent- shaped beach that rings the lagoon. Beach butlers are on hand to bring refreshments or assist with complimentary watersports and snorkeling gear. Spa services are available in a private beach gazebo or in-room. Serving three meals daily, Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant is under the direction of Chef Rene Koop. Reflecting the property's Far East bent, the menu is a melding of primarily French and Asian traditions, with a sprinkling of influences from other international cuisines. At dinner, both a la carte and chef 's tasting menus are offered; Sundays are designated as Asian Night, with fresh sushi and Asian bites. For an extra-special dining experience, book a private candlelit dinner in a beachfront gazebo. Renting a car is a must to fully explore everything the island has to offer. In nearby Willemstad, top sights include the floating Queen Emma Bridge that connects the Punda and Otrobanda neighborhoods. Near the waterfront, the 19th century Rif Fort is now a shopping center. Vendors sail 42 miles from Venezuela to hawk produce and fish at the floating market. Sanctioned street art is prevalent and adds to the colorful cityscape. Grab a drink at Luke's Bar (curacaotodo.com), the first establishment solely dedicated to craft cocktails, before heading to dinner and late- night dancing in the trendy Pietermaai Smal historic district. Further afoot, one of my favorite unexpected stops was a curious medicinal garden carefully cultivated in the arid environs by Dinah Veeris. Discouraged to see that herbal traditions were slowly disappearing on the island, she left her teaching job in the 1980s and devoted herself to herbal medicine, learning all that she could about local remedies and buying a one-acre parcel that is now home to 300 different plant species. The property was opened to the public in 1991 as Den Paradera, which means "the place where you feel at home." Dinah, whose smooth skin and enviable cheekbones belie her 70-somethingness, is now a highly sought-after expert who maintains a rigorous schedule of speaking engagements around the globe, so it is a treat if you're lucky enough to get a tour of the garden with her. A modern-day medicine woman, as we walked, she plucked off a leaf here or a twig there, while relaying stories of treating asthma or a toothache. Most interesting was her method of reviving ailing plants: she removes them from the earth and places them in a special hammock, where she will rock them while singing songs purported to nurse them back to health (dinahveeris.com). e UNESCO-protected waterfront in Willemstad

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