Sylt - Island of superlatives
Carpe Diem. Discover the lightness of being on the magnificent North Sea island of Syltby Johanna Helmberger
Sylt is a resounding name for a unique island, that crowns Germany’s northernmost geographical extension in more ways than one. Indeed, after just one week spent on the island, no less a luminary figure than Thomas Mann was drawn to admit: "I lived deeply at this sea“. Tucked between the sand flats of the Wadden Sea National Park to the east and the surging waters of its long North Sea flank to the west, Sylt is the first class destination for young and old. Wide sandy beaches, a fantastic dune landscape, clean salt-seasoned air, sumptuous dining, the swanky atmosphere of the island‘s local villages and the opportunity for endless recreational pursuits kindle a yearning for faraway places.
The island’s particular charm is particularly visible in the local villages of Kampen, Keitum, List or Rantum with their quaint thatch roof style houses nestled in heather-covered heathland. A rather different facet of the island can be seen in its luxury boutiques, world class hotels and a pulsating nightlife that caters to the who’s who of industry and entertainment. Following a quick visit to the Red Cliff – a spectacular promontory stretching along a 4-km long escarpment, which also bears witness to the steady erosion of the coastline – the elegant village of Kampen beckons with its unrivalled shopping. From the newly-opened Burberry store to Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Chopard and Cartier all the way to Montblanc and Wempe Jewelers, just about all of the well-known luxury brands have settled on the chic Strönwai.
The polo label La Martina actually has two store locations in Keitum, the venue for Sylt’s annual Polo Masters tournament. Strönwai’s numerous bars and clubs, such as the legendary Gogärtchen with its loyal international patronage, keep their doors open to the small hours of the morning. Even off the mainland, on this exquisite North Sea island, LUXOS is your exclusive arbiter of impeccable taste.
Sylt has a well-deserved reputation as an El Dorado for gourmets; six local venues have at least one of the coveted Michelin stars. On an area of just over 100 square kilometres, this makes for a stupefyingly high density of starred restaurants. Both the Dorint Hotel Söl'ring Hof, under the direction of Chef Johannes King, and the Fährhaus in Munkmarsch, enjoy 2-star status. And then there’s the cult beach establishment, Sansibar, which is also known well beyond Sylt’s shores. Snuggly fitted amongst the dunes of Rantum, it has become something of a pilgrimage destination for celebrities and tourists alike over the past 30 years. The enormous creativity of its kitchen staff and the fresh, regional ingredients used keep even the most discerning foodies coming back for more. Such typical fare as fish and seafood is an absolute must on the menu.
Gosch, the renowned specialist for maritime delicacies, has numerous eateries on Sylt but also has the ability to convey Sylt’s particular “island feeling” across to the mainland and into your home. But Sylt’s most exquisite ocean speciality – the Sylt oyster – should be enjoyed only in situ. Its outstanding quality and unmistakable taste truly warrants the name “Sylter Royal“. It is cultivated by the Dittmeyer oyster company exclusively in the sand flats, exposed and submerged by the tides of the Wadden Sea, off the coast of List. Enjoy them with a glass of champagne and an exhilarating breeze of North Sea air. What more could your heart desire?
Anyone hoping to soothe their soul - in addition to enjoying the culinary delights - can do so in its most glorious form on Sylt. The clean, invigorating North Sea air has natural healing powers to strengthen the immune system while also having a beneficial effect on the skin. Moreover, the island boasts a very extensive range of spa and wellness facilities that are strewn throughout the island. Hotel Budersand, for example, holds out the prospect of deep relaxation and serenity at its in-house spa, which serves as a refuge of deceleration for the body, spirit and soul. Saunas and steam baths, massages, beauty treatments and much more ensure unlimited wellbeing. The perfect “work-life-balance” - together with a view to the wide expanse of the ocean and unspoiled nature – is within easy reach here.
Beyond this, physical activity may also restore the balance between body and spirit. Sylt looks back on a long tradition of athletic activity stemming from its age-old connection to the sea; this is mirrored in the island’s many tournaments and water sports competitions. In the summer months, the Super Sail Sylt and the Sylt Sailing Week are held at the island’s southern tip. Visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of high-performance, ultra fast catamarans from the beach of Hörnum and, during the second event in August, witness an ocean of colourful sails as yachtsmen battle it out for top honours in the churning waters of the North Sea.
No less exciting are the top-class events held on land – or on horseback – which lure a large international crowd to Germany’s favourite island each summer. One of the season’s highlights is undoubtedly the Beach Polo World Cup sponsored by Julius Bär and held every Pentecost weekend at Hörnum. The international polo elite, snorting pedigree horses, and an audience of thousands against a stunning natural backdrop, equates to an extraordinary sporting event that stands head and shoulders above other competitions. At the German Polo Masters, the country’s most prestigious polo tournament, northern German character meets up with effervescent Argentine temperament. Excellent teams keep the spectators enthralled during the fast-paced matches, and the exciting tournament atmosphere also spills into the colourful side event programme where culinary delights also play a role.
Discovering the island in a Rolls Royce is the ultimate extravagance. The British cult carmaker’s newest models will be showcased on Sylt for potential clients from 20 July to 6 August 2012 by Rolls Royce Motor Cars Cologne. The “Rolls Royce Come Together“ at Hörnum during the last three days will round off this event on a very special note. By land, by water and by sea, exclusively invited guests will get first-hand experience to learn all about design, comfort and perfection of the highest order. This entails excur-sions with the English luxury car, aboard an Air Partner International private jet or a splendid yacht by the Drettmann yacht builders of Bremen. The programme also in-cludes a golf tournament on the greens of the 5-starred Hotel Budersand and irresistible culinary treasures to delight the palates of the invitees by Johannes King, a Michelin-starred chef. This “Rolls Royce Come Together” is yet another premium event that un-derscores this beautiful island’s exclusive character.
It is all but impossible to resist the fascination of Sylt, an island of superlatives whose culinary delights, luxury shopping, relaxation and wellness, art and culture, sports and first class nightlife captivate both young and old.
Julius Bär Beach Polo Open
26 – 27 May 2012, Hörnum/Sylt
Sal. Oppenheim Gold Cup - German Polo Masters
20 – 29 July 2012, Keitum/Sylt
Hörnumer Straße 80, Rantum/Sylt
Tel. +49 (0)4651 964 646
Heefwai 1, Munkmarsch/Sylt
Tel. +49 (0)4651 939 70
Boy-Nielsen-Straße 10, Tinnum/Sylt
Tel. +49 (0)4651 889 90
Weidemannweg 3, Keitum/Sylt
Tel. +49 (0)4651 321 50