Monthly Archives: May 2010

Sleek & Chic | Alila Villas Hadahaa, The Maldives

By Dian Hasan | May 29, 2010

The wait is over! The Maldives proudly welcomes another addition to its basket of splendid resort offerings. It seems that new hotel openings out-dazzling each other. It seems that each new hotel brings something different to this atoll paradise.

And different it is! Alila Villas Hadahaa have arrived, the living embodiment of this Singapore-based hospitality company’s motto: “Surprisingly Different”.

As I reported my September 2009 blog post when only pictures of the mock up villa were available, the real Alila – in flesh – is even more striking and stunning than its blueprint. Opulent design with expected tropical touches, with a golden bathroom fixtures and heavy drapes here and there… are nowhere in sight (Amen, to that!). Instead clean lines, that visibly scream “Bauhaus” are infused into the tropical vegetation on the island. While Villas on the water take on a decidedly geometric look.

One of the most striking designs is the capsized boat, with the hull sticking out like some sort of Bedouin cap. This overturned boat houses the resort’s lounge. A apt move from the creative minds of Singapore-based SCDA Architects. Continue reading

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Indo ~ on every global surfer dude’s travel wish list…

By Dian Hasan | May 16, 2010

Among the global surfing community (the real surfers that is, NOT the web surfers!), Indonesia has long been known as the ultimate surfer’s destination, with the greatest variety and most consistent waves to delight any surfer. And “Goin’ surfin’ to Indo” is a common phrase that translates well within the surfing community.

Comfortably accommodating surfers of any level of proficiency, but it is for the intermediate and advanced surfers where Indonesia and her abundant islands – each with their own surf characteristic – truly beckons.


Padang Padang, Bali, Indonesia. Photo: Jason Childs

With its dramatic scenery of high-rising limestone cliffs overlooking a turquoise ocean of pumping barrels, Padang Padang was voted one of the world’s top-ten waves.

Padang in two words: power and fear. It’s one of Bali’s most dangerous and hollowest wave. The final bowl is an obligatory tube. In short: Tube at the take-off, then speed, speed, speed and the ledgey final tube section.

Inspiration: Surf Music

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Ace New York, the utterly “un-boutique” hotel

By Dian Hasan | May 16, 2010

Going against the grain of boutique hotels seems to be the basic premise of Seattle-based Ace Hotels, which has gone eastward and planted their first brand of new cool in the Big Apple. This is after a series of successfully acing hotels by the same name in Seattle (obviously), Portland and Palm Springs.

After all, what boutique hotel could claim having bunk beds, turntables and SMEG fridges in the guest rooms, an industrial-style elevator, and mix and match vintage furniture so unique, it feels as if New York’s famous ABC Carpet & Home furnishing has decided to start allowing stay over night in the store.


Ace New York City, a reincarnation of the 1904 edifice that housed the former Breslin Hotel, and what a sumptuous reincarnation at that!  Ace defies classification, it’s as if you’ve entered an old aunt’s living room in Prague, Berlin or Paris.

From the 18-foot-high ceiling that adorns the lobby, to the original mosaic tile floor and carved plaster ceiling in the public areas, to the vintage faucets and blackboards for scribbling your thoughts in the guest rooms, Ace is uniquely different.

Ace , positions itself impeccably against Gotham City’s plethora of hotels with personality. For this one’s shines through.

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Exquisite Villas | Royal Santrian Villas & Spa, Tanjung Benoa, Bali

By Dian Hasan | May 16, 2010

Bali is synonymous with world-class resorts, luxurious villas and even quaint traditional losmen guesthouses.

Regardless of choice of accommodation, you can be assured that it comes with the personal level of service from the warm-hearted Balinese people with their intoxicating culture and distinctive style. The grace in which they extend their hospitality is of course legendary across the world.

The last decade has seen a mushrooming of luxury villa offerings across the island. Each villa with its look and feel, but share in common the Bali Design Style that has evolved into a recognizable style that is emulated around the world.

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Sleek & Chic | Hotel Parco dei Principi, Sorrento, Italy

By Dian Hasan | May 16, 2010

Designed in 1964 by iconic Italian architect Gio Ponti, the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Sorrento, overlooking the Gulf of Naples, is an essential stop for architecture and design aficionadoes, who come to experience the all-encompassing Ponti aesthetic. Born in Milan and trained as an architect, the prolific Ponti designed buildings, interiors, furniture, and lighting, and founded the magazine Domus.

Ponti’s refined sensibility is on view at the Parco dei Principi; he designed every detail of the hotel, from the furniture to the lighting to the 30 different geometric-patterned blue and white tiles used in different combinations throughout the interior. The hotel underwent a meticulous three-year renovation from 1999 to 2002, and still captures Ponti’s original vision.

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Chic & Sleek | Axel Hotel Guldsmeden, Copenhagen, Denmark

By Dian Hasan | May 16, 2010

What happens when Bali meets a Scandinavian city in Northern Europe?  If that place is Copenhagen, home to Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, and a city renowned for its clean design flair, the result is a pleasant exercise in mix and match.

That special hotel is Axel Hotel Guldsmeden, and the location befits a hotel that defies categorization, in Vesterbro, Copenhagen hippest neighborhood.

Axel is casual and laid back, with furnishing that is part Balinese, part vintage local finds. The adjoining organic Bakery Cafe gives it the home appeal it screams out so comfortably.

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Chic & Sleek | Mosquito Beach, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

By Dian Hasan | May 16, 2010

Mosquito Blue, a quintessential boutique hotel in what is arguably Mexico’s best-kept secret, Playa del Carmen. This bohemian beach town is a perfect home for Mosquito Blue, a unique blend of traditional Yucatan look with Balinese and Mediterranean touches, resulting in an eclectic fusion of styles.

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