Monthly Archives: June 2010

Green & Chic ~ Juvet Landscape Hotel, Norway

By Dian Hasan | June 10, 2010

When you think of Scandinavian Design you tend to think about an urban setting, with the clean and modern cities that celebrate egalitarianism, civic order, and a perfect blend of old and new design & architecture.

There’s of course the great outdoors where all the raw material and inspiration for the wonderful design comes from. One place where both elements come together in perfect sync is the Juvet Landscape Hotel & Spa in Geirangerfjord, Norway.

Juvet comprises an existing quaint farmhouse, a barn, and seven separate cabin structures scattered in a virgin scenery. Each cabin features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, overlooking the craggy Norwegian setting, with a view of either the farm, river, valley, mountains or the ravine.

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Chic & Sleek | The Majlis, Lamu Island, Kenya

By Dian Hasan | May 29, 2010

The Majlis Lamu is a small, luxury beach resort located on the exclusive Manda Island facing the world-renowned Lamu archipelago on Kenya’s North Coast (East Africa). The Majlis combines 25 superbly-appointed suites in 4 villas, in understated elegance reflecting Lamu’s rich local tradition and style. All villas boast large bedrooms with a king-size bed draped in netting, generous en-suite bathrooms, private veranda, air-conditioning, electric fans, safe, and internet key connection (available upon request). Each villa opens onto the white sand beach and boasts a private veranda with panoramic sea views.

Accessible only by boat, a 10-minute ride from Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Majlis feels more like a private villa in Bali, what with the swaying palm trees, the smell of fresh ocean air and the tropical breeze. A wonderful ambience matched by an equally captivating people with their age-old and deeply-rooted culture of hospitality.

Rooms are spacious with traditionally high, beamed ceilings, large windows and terraces with spectacular views of the beach, garden, swimming pools and Indian Ocean. Each villa was constructed making use of the archipelago’s natural resources, combining white coral blocks with hand-carved timber. Particular attention was paid to integrating the villas among the indigenous trees and plants, to enhance the preserve the beauty of the local surroundings.

The Majlis offers everything needed for a perfectly relaxing and peaceful holiday, from the open-sided restaurant serving outstanding international cuisine, to the bar, the beautiful pools and the Spa treatments.

Over a thousand years of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian, Portuguese and Victorian British influences have all left their mark on Lamu Island, in the architecture, the language and the very essence of the place. In bustling Lamu, winding alleys lead past the intricate carved doorways of white stone houses –some of which are truly majestic and still home to the very wealthy. And, because the alleys are too narrow to be negotiated by cars, the modern world has had little visible impact on this historic town.

Life appears little changed since Lamu was a busy port town in the 14th century, donkeys remain the preferred local mode of transport, and the streets are lit by lanterns after nightfall. Spices and the smell of grilled food scent the air around the markets, mosques, museums, fort and ancient houses, and exploring Lamu on foot – or donkey – is a treat for all the sense. Continue reading

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Time-lapse wonderworld: Japan in the Fall

Some of the audio visual work I come across, especially those involving far away lands, are so interesting that I’m compelled to re-post them. Here’s a look of photographer Sam Cockedey‘s work. Japan during Fall.

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Time-lapse wonderworld: Tokyo

Some of the audio visual work I come across, especially those involving far away lands,  are so interesting that I’m compelled to re-post them. Here’s a look of photographer Sam Cockedey‘s work.

Bright light big city Tokyo, a city that never seems to slow down, turn off or tune out. Tokyo’s power button seems to be in an eternal “On”!

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A retreat with a true green heart ~ Isla Verde Hotel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

By Dian Hasan | May 29, 2010

In our modern world of today, where trends come and go, there are some trends that we’ll unanimously agree are here to stay. The green movement! The eco-oriented approach to our immediate environment and communities that we can potentially touch. And in the world of travel and tourism, this is best embodied through eco hotels and resorts.

And there are those hotels that position themselves as eco hotels, but only a few have green hearts to the core. Isla Verde Hotel that embraces the stunning Lake Atitlan in Guatemala is one such hotel. Minimal carbon footprint and optimum local sourcing seem to be the two strongest traits in its stance against what a little hotel can do.

The hotel was built virtually from all locally sourced building materials, some of them recycled. Alternative energy are utilized wherever possible, all hotel food is made from scratch. Don’t expect to find TVs in your room, for entertainment comes from socializing with fellow hotel guests in the common areas, overlooking the serene beauty of volcanoes that seem to rise from the lake.

It is also where I came across novel ideas I’ve never heard about: Eco-Weddings and Eco-Meetings, celebrations and gatherings that attempt to do more for the environment and communities for travelers who seek to give more than they take.

Isla Verde Hotel provides the perfect retreat for the weary urban mind and soul, and rejuvenates it through eco knowledge, as well as Yoga, and Spa Treatments that are inspired by the local people’s healing traditions. Other activities include hiking, kayaking, exploring the lake’s beauty, cultural excursions and immersion in the local customs.

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