Daily Archives: July 8, 2010

Green & Chic | Blancaneaux Lodge, Belize, Central America

By Dian Hasan | July 8, 2010

In a natural reserve of Central America, Francis Ford Coppola has created a place that exude more magic than all his Hollywood cinematographic creations. Surrounded by almost 500 square kilometers of pristine jungle, the Blancaneaux Lodge preserves water and energy and uses natural materials for its cabanas.

Francis Ford Coppola is of course internationally known for his movies and particularly for Apocalypse Now, covered with awards. It is by the way because of (or thanks to) this movie that he became an hotelier. He created Blancaneaux Lodge in the jungle of Belize as he was trying to create a paradise in the jungle that resembled the hotel in which his crew stayed in during the shooting of Apocalypse Now in the Philippines.

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Green & Chic | Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand

By Dian Hasan | July 6, 2010

As a traveler, when eco-consciousness influences your travel destination and accommodation decision, you are assured of doing something good, by giving back to either the immediate community or environment. And when eco-consciousness meets good design, the end result is: ABSOLUTE BLISS!

As green-, eco-, and sustainable- related travel grows in popularity, architects and designers are taking notice. Conceiving better edifices that combine all the above, use of natural material, use of local produce, organic amenities, alternative energy, reduced carbon footprint, engaging and empowering local communities, and… the good list goes on.

Such efforts aren’t always easy, they’re not always economically feasible, but when done correctly, the fusion of man, built environment, and nature bring compelling result.

Such is the result of one such effort: the Soneva Kiri Resort in on Kood Island in Thailand. Conceived by Oxford-educated Sonu Shivdasani and his Swedish spouse, Eva, this dynamic Bangkok-based husband and wife team behind Six Senses have had eco-consciousness from the onset. Underlying all hotel concepts from their early days on the drawing board.

The hospitality company’s brand – Soneva – is a fusion of Sonu and Eva, and today the growing portfolio includes two resorts in The Maldives (Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili) and their latest baby, Soneva Kiri in Thailand. Continue reading

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Calling all goofy-footers! Meet T-Land, G-Land’s cousin on Timor Island.

By Dian Hasan | July 6, 2010


Avid surfers the world over have managed to put a lid on the world’s best-kept surfing destination secret, Indonesia. But with the explosive spread of of social media, Indo’s secret is out on the internet.

As home to the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia is spoilt for choice for surfing destinations, and new surf spots are still being discovered, as surfers venture further afield, exploring outer-lying islands along Indonesia’s western and southern islands.

Timor Island, east of Bali, is one of the new finds, home to the famed T-Land that is fast gaining the accolade as among the world’s best left-hander.


Goofy-footers rejoice! Your perfect wave awaits at T-Land (known to locals as Besialu)

Until recently, Timor was far too remote, with limited infrastructure and lodging. This has now changed with the opening of Australian-managed Nemberala Beach Resort has made the trek more palpable. Attracting a new crop of surfers, pioneered by the Aussies and closely followed by surfer dudes and dudettes from other countries.

Indisputably the crown jewel of Roti, Nemberala’s “T-Land” was actually named after G-Land, although T-Land is much more user-friendly than its famous Javanese cousin. T-Land is similar in that the long, flat reef is broken into four sections: the Point, the Steeple, Magic Mountain, and Inner Tubes. Because of this, T-Land has a huge take-off area, able to accommodate several surfers. When big the wave can get fairly top-to-bottom, but generally it is a very long, steep, wally face, with the barrel being more “top-to-middle” or almond-shaped or a top-to-middle wave. T-Land is just as epic as anything else in Indo. Goofy-footers rejoice!  ~ Michael Kew




Although Nemberala’s main break , “T-Land”, known by locals by the name of Besialu, has been surfed since 1979, it remains uncrowded, it is a top world class lefthander comparable to a softer G-land that holds up to a very manageable 15ft faces, and it can handle as big as gets (the bigger the more perfect it gets.)
It breaks with great shape at any size of swell and on all tides, making it very consistent and enjoyable for all levels of surfing. Continue reading

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Eco Rustic | Seraya Island Huts, Off Komodo Island, East Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 6, 2010

When an area’s primary inhabitant is the world’s largest monitor lizard that is touted as the dinosaur’s last descendent, you know that this must be a very unique destination indeed. Rugged and remote, to say the least, with untouched natural beauty that belies its picture postcard image. For intrepid adventure travelers who are game for a true Robinson Crusoe-like experience, this setting can be enjoyed even further with a stay in traditional thatch-roof huts that sit on the beachfront.

Welcome to your own paradise isle: Seraya Island, just off of the famed Komodo Island, east of Bali, Indonesia. A true escape from the ordinary!

Seraya Island - Pano
Seraya Island – aerial view from the hill overlooking the peninsula.

Seraya Island is located off West Flores, 11km from the small port of Labuanbajo, and takes approximately one  hour to reach by boat. Accommodation and transport to the island can be booked through the Gardena Hotel in Labuanbajo.

The collection of just 10 huts built on the beachfront with unrestricted views of the sea… and your neighbors, though everyone tends to keep to themselves. Each hut has a bed wrapped with mosquito netting, a cupboard to store any belongings and an attached bathroom. Since water is only available when the generator is turned on in the evening, you’ll have to make do with using a bucket (and a quick trip to the sea!) to flush the loo. There’s only one restaurant on the island, managed by a small family who also take care of the island. You’ll need to order your dinner earlier on in the day and for certain items, at least one day in advance. It couldn’t get any more adventurous than that!

Seraya Island - Huts
Seraya Island – Huts

Seraya Island - Beachfront
Seraya Island – Beachfront

The entire island can be explored just under two hours. For the best views, simply trek uphill to the small peak behind the huts for a stunning view of the entire island. And a favorite spot to watch sunsets.

Seraya Island - Sunset
A landscape that is more akin to Greece’s, with manicured tall grass billowing in the wind.

The crystal, clear water and shallow reef stretching 60m around Seraya is ideal for snorkeling. At any given time, you’re guaranteed to see some starfish, silver dollars or even sea snakes! Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten your gear, you can rent out fins, mask and snorkel directly from the restaurant. Continue reading

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