By Dian Hasan | July 15, 2010
Fresh on the heels of FIFA World Cup 2010, everything African seem to be in vogue. The continent which offers so much natural beauty is finally getting the exposure it deserves, with travel getting the immediate boost. The continent that invented the safari, is now spearheading hospitality design and responsible tourism into a bold new direction: eco-friendly designers digs, whether in tents, more permanent accommodations, and now… even on water. Design is the new catchphrase!
Africa’s first luxury river safari has been launched: The 135-foot-long Zambezi Queen is the first eco-friendly, floating boutique hotel in Southern Africa. Its inaugural journey a few weeks ago in Botswana marks a major departure in high-end river experiences and a landmark event in African tourism.
The state-of-the-art ship takes guests along Botswana’s great Chobe River, which boasts one of the densest populations of wildlife on the African continent. The chic, contemporary design of the Zambezi Queen set against the backdrop of the African wilderness creates a unique experience. All fourteen suites are tastefully furnished with either a double or two single beds. Private balconies in all rooms offer unparalleled views of the African wildlife along the river.
By Dian Hasan | July 15, 2010
In the world of trends, green is the new black. And the fusion of latest design in portraying resorts that blend into their immediate surroundings, the results are stunning. Firmly placing “chic” in “eco”. The world’s latest crop of new eco-friendly designer hotels are so comfortable in their own skin, and are so place- and culture-specific, that one must wonder, why it took so long for the design community to realize the magical potential of designing with eco in mind. Singita Lebombo Lodge is Africa’s answer.
Singita Lebombo Lodge is situated in the Nwanetsi Concession Area in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Singita Lebombo rests lightly among the ancient boulders of the Lebombo Mountains overlooking the African plain where 2 rivers meet
It is a place where guests will be able to experience the real Africa, majestic, unfiltered and unadorned. From the sweeping wooden decks, you can watch the theatre that unfolds before you, while the lap pool beckons to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. The 15-suites feature contemporary finishes with beds done in high-thread Egyptian cotton and silky-soft throws.
Guests stay in luxurious suites elevated on stilts along the cliff side. Look out from your timber and glass suite and enjoy the breathtaking views over the African bush. The suites all have floor to ceiling glass walls, ideal for game viewing.
Dine indoors or out while watching game traverse the vast open grassland. Singita Lebombo’s dedicated Bush Spa offers a comprehensive activity and personal treatment program, while the African Trading Store showcases some of Africa’s finest and most exclusive clothing, artworks and decorative ware.
By Dian Hasan | July 8, 2010
Spread across the golden sand beach and turquoise-blue ocean of the Barra de São Miguel, barely 30 kilometres from Maceió, is a gem of a small beach hotel in the tropical beauty the Brazilian Northeast, The Kenoa Exclusive Beach Resort & Spa.
The construction of this resort was well planned and took into consideration the ecological concern of preserving native vegetation. The various spaces, inspired by the primitive forms and natural essences, absorb the surrounding landscape, offering plenty of style and refined details. Everything was designed to satisfy the desires of privacy, tranquility, luxury and comfort.
The harmonious interconnection with nature is also present in the suites and villas that offer magnificent panoramic views, some with an interior garden and private heated swimming pool, with an infinite border that extends towards the sea and horizon.
By Dian Hasan | July 8, 2010
What do you do after you’ve built a jewelry empire from scratch on the idyllic tropical isle of Bali? That is probably the question that John Hardy has pondered many times over in the past few decades he’s been living in Bali. A life’s journey that saw him build himself into a brand name synonymous with exquisite silver jewelry pieces inspired by daily life of culturally-rich Bali. Celebrating the craftsmanship if the Balinese people for whom exploring their artistic gift was as second-nature as their creations of ornate daily offerings to their Gods.
Over the years, John Hardy’s pieces have adorned real royalty and Hollywood royalty alike. And upscale consumerist palaces like Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s and Nieman Marcus have been his loyal customers.
John Hardy sold his jewelry business a few years ago, and has since focused most of his attention on education and the environment, a merging of two ideas that have resulted in the creation of the “out-of-this-world” Green School, Bali’s international school that is way ahead of its time, where man, nature and education become an inseparable bond! (check out my blog post about the Green School).
To take a peek into his extraordinary life, the stunning place he and his wife, Cynthia, calls home is an excellent start. A 110-foot-long traditional house, that overlooks Ayung River valley in Bali.
The upper house stands on stilts 59 feet high.
The main house was finished in 1997, and for their the Hardys who love to entertain, they’ve had to expand their kitchen. Continue reading
Filed under Bali, Indonesia
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.
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
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.