April 21st 2013 – There is something about a body of water, small or large, that instinctively beckons for our bodies to jump in. Most of us start as splashers, but over time we grow to be relaxers, making a hotel pool an essential tool for any mind-mellowing getaway. We went ahead and hunted down the coolest and most current hotel pools around the globe so you can make and educated decision about the future of your next swan dive.
Normally when you think of tropical hotels, palm leaf ceilings, shabby-chic wood huts, or bamboo constructed walls come to mind, but the Cassa De La Flora is Khoa Lak’s first modernist hideaway. VaSlab Architecture took a risk when they started going down a different path and designed cutting edge architecture and it mixed with stunning tropical landscaping. Not only does each villa have it’s own private pool here, a large pool is sits snug on the rooftop and stairs directly into the turquoise waters.
The Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa is located between Positano and Amalfi is a historic Monastery fully transformed into a boutique hotel. The hotel is considered to be one of only 39 castle hotels in all of Italy, originally converted from a monastery into a hotel in 1924 where it was run for three generations by Roman hotelier Mr. Marcucci. The Santa Rosa is filled with four levels of gardens, an infinity pool, and views of the Gulf of Salerno right in it’s backyard.
Singapore-based Guz Architects are well known for creating bona fide tropical fortresses’ throughout southeast Asia. The firms latest project comes in the form of Coco Privé, a secluded resort on the Kuda Hithi Island in the Maldives. On the island, Guz Wilkinson, founder and principal architect at Guz Architects, designed on master residence, the Palm Residence, and five other private villas. The architecture reflects the natural charms of its surroundings, an elegant blend of modern and natural materials, where craft and attention to detail combine to achieve a spacious, elegant and intimate haven.
Cue Villa Egerton, one of the French Riviera’s most iconic villa estates. For the last century the villa has remained a fiercely-guarded secret summer residence, historically frequented by the world’s glitterati. But six years and several million euros later, the restored property is being brought to the rental market, billed as the Côte d’Azur’s most desirable holiday retreat. The villa now boasts one of the largest outdoor entertaining spaces in the region, complete with heated swimming pool, hot tub Jacuzzi, outdoor cooking and dining facilities, and a pool terrace bar. The existing mature trees were retained throughout the property, to protect the privacy of guests.
Grace Santorini is an exclusive boutique hotel located in the beautiful setting of Imerovigli in the northwest of the island, high above the Caldera, the Grace Santorini is the perfect vantage point from which to view the famed Santorini sunsets that envelop. This photograph is the view from the personal plunge pool in their honeymoon suite, but the hotel also offers guests access to a few other supremely stunning pools overlooking the ocean.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on Singaore’s PARKROYAL on Pickering ever since WOHA Architects released their architectural renderings of a lush four-story hotel full of tall sky-gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces and cascading vertical greenery, a few years back. Recently completed, the hotel’s greenery flourishes throughout the entire complex, and the trees and gardens of the hotel appears to merge with those of the adjoining park as one continuous sweep of urban parkland. Massive curvaceous sky-gardens, draped with tropical plants and supporting swathes of frangipani and palm trees, are cantilevered at every fourth level between the blocks of guest rooms.
Situated amid the pristine scenery of the Swiss Alps, and with stunning mountain views in every direction, The Cambrian offers the kind of location that tense desk huggers all over the world over spend their days dreaming about. Designed by Peter Silling & Associates, the establishment Includes heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the hotel offers a lifted experience, amongst the Swiss mountain tops.
Off the northeast coast of Taveuni lies this tiny private island hideaway, Laucala Island Resort, where they capture the best tropical ambiance, the beauty of the scenery, and the exotic flavours of Fiji. In this world you can find the ultimate in luxury, romance, privacy and seclusion. The property has a series of lagoon like pools mixed with modern architectural elements, like rectangular pools with see-through glass sides.
We could not make this list without including the rooftop pool at Singapore’s Marina Sands Bay. The super structure, which was designed by Moshe Safdie is the world’s most expensive standalone casino property, with a budget of a staggering $6 billion. Towering over Singapore is the infinity pool that stretches the length of the elongated pod-like structure at the top of the building.
Six Senses Yao Noi was built on the site of a former rubber plantation. Many of the rubber trees were kept to create shade from the sun as well as keeping soil from eroding. In addition, the landscape and gardens have been improved with the philosophy of re-generating the tropical flora as it would have been if the area was left untouched. Enjoy wonderful panoramic ocean views from this villa, with a private pool and terrace for lounging and alfresco dining. There is a separate bedroom, a bathroom with outside shower and a sitting room.
Velassaru Maldives is a distinct Maldives Island hotel inspired by local architecture. Minimal chic revealed in teak, stone, thatch. Simple colour tones with a dash of bright green, vivid turquoise, refreshing yellow. Four premium Maldives water villas come with your own infinity pool overlooking the turquoise ocean. Sun-bathe in utter privacy. Warm natural light caressing your skin. Slipping into the shade for a nap. Indulge in a long, relaxing bath in the free-standing tub at our exclusive water villas in Maldives.
Nestled into the Santorini mountainside, along the main thoroughfare of central Oia, sits Katikies Hotel. The luxury boutique hotel, which has been one of the hottest places to vacation in the village, has recently been renovated. The new contemporary decor mixed with the preserved Aegean architecture gives Katikie visitors the best of both worlds. The hotel blends fantastical landscape with endless stairs and a jaw dropping infinity pool tucked into the white mountain.
The Viceroy Bali, a villa resort in Ubud with 5-star hotel service, consists of 25 luxury pool villas. It is majestically standing in Bali’s “Valley of the Kings”, a name given by locals for the generations of Balinese royalty who resided in nearby villages. The photograph above was taken at dawn over the hotel’s Lembah Spa.
May 2nd, 2013 – 10 years after the opening of Barcelona’s Hotel Amrey Sant Pau, the Spanish-based hospitality group is opening the doors to it’s second establishment, Room Mate Pau. The hotel, which was designed by renowned architect and interior designer Teresa Sapey, is decked out with vibrant color pallets, charismatic graphics, and cosmopolitan decor.
The 66-suite hotel is located in the center of Barcelona, steps from Plaza Catalunya, and La Rambla; the most famous pedestrian street of the city.
Sapey’s reputation of using bright colors and bold objects in her designs is what made her a perfect choice for the lively Room Mate Pau Hotel. The Italian architect was called upon by the owners to create a hotel that is both friendly and stylish.
The building, which has just undergone a full restoration, now has an atrium full of piercing eye balls, and an elevator shaft outfitted with a huge mural of a ambiguous person wearing a houndstooth patterned dress coat. Spacey transformed large wall patterns into cool backdrops to unique and minimalistic furniture pieces that create a one of a kind experience for hotel guests.
Photography By Room Mate Pau
April 25th, 2013 – We’ve been keeping a close eye on Singaore’s PARKROYAL on Pickering ever since WOHA Architects released their architectural renderings of a lush four-story hotel full of tall sky-gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces and cascading vertical greenery, a few years back. The initial renderings of the hotel looked like a botanical wonder-world, leaving us curious to know if WOHA’s principals Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell could vividly translate their rendering art into reality.
The recent unveiling of the property is proof enough that creatives at WOHA, whom have have long been advocates of the ultimate ‘green city’, were able to execute the creation of the garden hotel, that actually doubled the green-growing potential of its site. At the PARKROYAL greenery flourishes throughout the entire complex, and the trees and gardens of the hotel appears to merge with those of the adjoining park as one continuous sweep of urban parkland. Massive curvaceous sky-gardens, draped with tropical plants and supporting swathes of frangipani and palm trees, are cantilevered at every fourth level between the blocks of guest rooms.
The hotel breaks new ground by introducing the state’s first solar-powered sky-gardens. Amongst its other energy conservation features are the use of automatic light, rain and motion sensors, rain harvesting and NEWater (recycled water). Nature-inspired materials and textures such as light and dark wood, pebbles, water, and glass are used throughout the design of the hotel. The 367 elegantly furnished guestrooms and suites offer spectacular views of the city and the hotel’s sky-gardens. A soothing color palette of calm greens and natural wood, accented with abundant light, provides a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere for the guests throughout their stay
Set outdoors amidst landscaping and waterfalls, the fifth floor is a dedicated wellness space which incorporates fitness and recreational facilities including an infinity pool overlooking the city, jacuzzi, fitness center, outdoor terrace and a 300-metre garden walk. Colorful birdcage-shaped cabanas are positioned around the pool area, providing comfortable chill-out spaces. The award-winning St. Gregory spa, which will be launched in March, offers signature therapies and a wide range of luxurious body and beauty treatments.
One of the PARKROYAL’s feature establishments is the Orchid Club Lounge, located at the top level of the hotel, commands 360-degree views of the city skyline. Equipped with private meeting spaces and dedicated Club Concierge service, guests staying on the handsomely furnished Club floors will also enjoy a host of privileges such as champagne breakfast, evening cocktails and canapés, all-day refreshments as well as priority check-in and check-out service.
For its innovative and sustainable design, PARKROYAL on Pickering has been awarded the BCA (Building and Construction Authority) Green Mark Platinum, the highest rating for green buildings in Singapore. It is also the recipient of the Solar Pioneer Award as one of the first in the country’s hospitality sector to use a solar energy system.
WOHA’s desire to restore a feeling of community to Asian cities is crucial to their architecture, and reciprocity is intrinsic to their vision of the city at large and to their projects in particular. The PARKROYAL on Pickering is a very public and very Singaporean hotel. The scale of the architecture responds to the intricacies of the city: the height of the ubiquitous tree canopies, the size and orientation of the adjoining tower blocks, and the proportions of the historic streetscapes.
The over-riding concept was that of a building-as-garden for an idealised green city. As WOHA say… “We wanted to recreate an urban street scale, so that people walking and driving could pick up interesting details. And we wanted to work with the building’s mass and appearance, so we could avoid the usual city scale of building-as-silhouette, and so we could implement a garden-themed aesthetic.”
Photography By Patrick Bingham-Hall
March 9th, 2013 – A fallen South Beach landmark is now upright and back to life. On a sleeping lot at the southwest corner of 17th Street and Collins Avenue, Miami hospitality group Menin Hotels boldly reinvented a Tropical Art Deco treasure through the lens of modernist luxury. The Gale South Beach, which is originally The Regent hotel from 1941, was designed by the creatives over at ADD Inc. The new establishment juxtaposes terrazzo floors, exacting light fixture replicas, stucco accents, and existing porthole windows with plush, contemporary flourishes such as silk wall coverings, dark wood paneling, and hand-woven area rugs.
The 1940′s structure has been reconstructed to house the 87 room establishment. When Menin purchased the property, it had been left dormant for so many years, much of the original structures had to be demolished, but the renovation promised to preserve the vintage luxury of Tropical Art Deco, integrating elements of contemporary opulence with tones of an Italian-themed escape.
A stroll through the lobby reveals a first glimpse of the ‘40s replica, rich with deep wooden-hued floors and panels from imported oak. A balance of light pours from classic chandeliers and ‘40s sconces, along with natural sunlight outlined by white marble window frames. Art Deco-inspired loungers transport company back to the famous era, which continues to translate throughout.
To celebrate the Gale’s history, the hotel houses The Regent Cocktail Club, a wood stricken libations tribute with a permanent and approachable home for the cocktail culture in South Beach. Just steps beneath Gale Hotel’s first floor, is the Rec Room, a subterranean lounge is anything but ordinary, offering an upscale yet approachable environment, reminiscent of a friend’s 1970’s basement.
The white and blue suites are covered in Russet wood, silver silk curtains and and crisp linens. The Gale adorns five different room selections boasting a 40′s South Beach glamor aesthetic with a complement of contemporary tranquility. Designed to cater to every type of retreat, from overnight to extended vacation, guest rooms vary in size, while still maintaining mutual design themes and elements.
Bedroom walls are clad in a black photo frame collage depicting the splendor of the ‘40s. Cozy beds and modish furniture are the main focus of the lengthy room, laced with Italian accents, marble bathroom.
On top the old Regent is a lengthy infinity pool that peeks onto the shore line and Miami’s signature white stucco structures.
Photography Courtesy of Gale South Beach Hotel
April 2nd, 2013 – If overly crowded nightclubs, vomit stained hotel carpets, and half coherent collegiates is not really your spring break cuppa tea – you’re not alone. It’s time to hang up your beads and head to some destinations full of cool eclectic shops, mind-soothing beaches, and drool worthy brunches. Spring Break For Design Lovers is an alternative guide to nifty products, design savvy shops, and sensational cities booming with charm and creativity.
April 2nd, 2013 – Nothing captures the essence of an exotic retreat quite like a tree house. The boutique Balinese resort of Alila Ubud has just put the final touches on four new Terrace Tree Villas, which will let visitors truly experience the lush natural landscape.
Located high above the Ayung River, the hotel has been laid out as a Balinese hillside village complete with its own community centre and pedestrian lanes. The resort’s rooms and villas stand above a ravine on stilts and are set into the banks of the river valley.
Architectural firm Kerry Hill Architects has made use of traditional Balinese design, but transforming it into modern geometry in the exotic creation of our Ubud villa hotel. Smooth plaster walls and concrete meet thatched roofs; terrazzo tiles meet gravel or crushed rock; wood meets glass, making for one of the most uniquely designed boutique hotels Ubud has seen.
The architects devised and open-plan interior layout that is inspired by the natural setting combining the warmth of wood and recycled teak with elegant furnishings to create a relaxing, magical hideaway. Stunning views are available from every corner of the villa with the opportunity to wake up with the sun and take in the views from the bathtub that seemingly floats above the valley.
From their lofty hillside perch on the sunrise side of the resort, the 120 sqm tree houses allow guests to systematically unwind in the lap of nature high above the valley. Guests can enjoy serenity and relaxation out on the spacious wood-decked terrace, surrounded by soothing views of lush plantations and rice paddies on the banks of the valley. Delight in glimpses of Ubud wildlife.
Below the tree house like villas a signature emerald green infinity pool is cantilevered over the valley below, blends the best of contemporary style with traditional Balinese architecture.
Photography by Ubud Villa Resort
March 20th, 2013 – On the shores of Corsica’s Porto-Vecchio, La Plage Casadelmar, a 15-suite boutique hotel will soon be opening its doors. Beloved French architect Jean-François Bodin, also responsible for creating the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, took an old stone structure then used natural materials and simple lines to add a contemporary blend to the coastal surroundings.
To Gian Luca Bertilaccio, General Manager of La Plage Casadelmar, “Good design is about bringing out the best in your materials.” The hotelier continued to explain that he feels blessed to be in Corsica “because what is at hand is marvelous. The light here is pure and crisp. The elements, the colors, the food, the warmth you get from the people, these are all our raw ingredients. Our passion is to make these raw ingredients inspire us to create a hotel that has a genuine goodness about it. That is what this project is really about.” Bertilaccio uplifting design philosophy is what paved the way for Bodin’s architectural concept.
Bertilaccio used the natural treasures of the island of Corsica as inspiration. Corsica is well-known as a chic, seaside holiday destination. Set directly on a private, white sand beach in the bay of Porto-Vecchio, the hotel has uninterrupted views of the surrounding bay. Within easy reach is the charming old town, teeming with glitzy boutiques, international dining, lively bars and quaint architecture, all topped off by a laid-back seaside vibe. Just south of Porto-Vecchio are two of Corsica’s most famous beaches, Palombaggia and Santa Guilia, and in the summer, the modern harbor is flooded with luxury yachts and ferries.
An establishment that is privileged enough to have ocean front property is destined to showcase it. Bertilaccio added a series of twisted triangular tents over teak wood terraces to enhance the contemporary aesthetic. An arrangement of comfy conversational furnishings constructed out of earthy materials allows for hotel guests to eat, drink, and enjoy the views.
Inside and out, old stone has been blended with volcanic rock, resin, glass and 300 year-old oak, while the color scheme draws from the Corsican shoreline, with moss and olive couches, bright turquoise cushions, sandy browns, white and cream. The rooms follow a similar color palette and are decorated with lush plants and plush furnishings.
Everything here is inspired by life on the beach, from the outdoor day beds to the natural woven fibers and pastel colors. To add artistic depth to the property, the design team introduced decorative pieces collected from world travels, and the casual, savoir-vivre lifestyle of Porto-Vecchio.
March 7th, 2013 – Less than an hour away from Lisbon, the Areias Do Seixo Charm Hotel is nestled deep into the dunes of Portugal’s shoreline. Algrave-based architect Vasco Vieira dreamed up a magical place where originality, comfort, and sophistication move in perfect synthesis with the land. The eclectic hotel is full of an array of charming decorative accents and maintains an environmental conscience philosophy. When the owners purchased the property to build the Areias Do Seixo, they found that the land was riddled with the ruins of an old aviary. In an eco-minded response, Vieira made sure that the rubble and ruins from the old aviary were recycled into the foundation of the new hotel.
The 14 dreamy rooms are extraordinarily unique, taking the bold colors and designs of exotic destinations like India and Morocco as a starting point, and blending them with modern minimalism and imagination to create beautiful color pallets, earthy aesthetics, and irresistible bathrooms. Beds are framed with driftwood; warm gold Chinese cabinets; pod-like woodburners suspended from the ceilings, and burnished silver lamps. For those wanting privacy, there are 4 self-catering villas, each sleeping up to 7.
The overall experience that the hotel wants to give to its guests is a a trip filled with smells, tastes, and colors – a chance to reconnect with earth. The upmarket eco design doesn’t just come in the form of bed sheets and recycling, the food served at the hotel comes fresh from the hotel’s garden each day. The insulation of the building was conducted using cork on the wall cavity. The heating and cooling of water is done through the use of Geothermia, an ecological system that allows the efficient usage of the temperature existent within the earth. Circuit of compost transforming the organic matter produced in the unit into natural fertilizer for application to agricultural land to explore in the unit. To top it all off, the company is being completely transparent with their consumption data as they have implemented an Eco Clock on their website where anyone can check how much water, gas, and energy the hotel is using at the moment.
March 4th, 2013 – Singapore-based Guz Architects are well known for creating bona fide tropical fortresses’ throughout southeast Asia. The firms latest project comes in the form of Coco Privé, a secluded resort on the Kuda Hithi Island in the Maldives. On the island, Guz Wilkinson, founder and principal architect at Guz Architects, designed on master residence, the Palm Residence, and five other private villas. The architecture reflects the natural charms of its surroundings, an elegant blend of modern and natural materials, where craft and attention to detail combine to achieve a spacious, elegant and intimate haven.
As soon as guests get off the boat they are greeted by a long wood dock that is decorated with oil lanterns, large vases, and crisp white furniture. The dock leads guests straight down a jungle path into a modern oasis that is the lobby. Just like it’s waters, it’s crystal clear that this destination is designed for the discerning few, where privacy and exclusivity extend far beyond the expectations of the ordinary. The Palm residence has an open plan, free-flowing design coupled with a palette of natural earthy hues and sweeping views of the ocean. The first floor of the residence has a fully stocked library, cocktail bar and wine room, and an expansive living room filled with bespoke pieces to the mirrored ceiling of the large dining room that hosts up to eight of your family and friends. Above, on the second floor is the master bedroom, a second living room, and an infinity pool where a king-size sun lounger sits inside the water.
There are five other villas on the Island, the Starfish Villa, Heron Villa, Trurtle Villa, Manta Villa, and the Gecko Villa. Each of the villas are situated in different parts of the island to allow for maximum privacy and relaxation. All of the villas come with a private pool and are very spacious. Among the facilities are a library, cocktail bar, gym, and steam room, as well as a personal chef for those out-of-hours cravings. Activities on the island go from feeding stingrays to exploring the chef’s garden. With unparalleled beauty and wondrous coastal scenery, a tapestry of 1192 pristine islands lay like emeralds amidst the azure blue of a crystal clear sea and an abundance of natural sea life make their home in the vivid turquoise coral reef.
February 27th 2013 – Before the Casa De Flora Hotel & Resort opened its doors last year, KNSTRCT reported on the new resort. Now, a year and change into the opening we’re going back to see if the modernist meets tropical aesthetic is working out. A telling sign of success is the hotel was just voted one of the best new hotels by Conde Nast Traveller’s Hot List 2012 and won the Travelers’ Choice 2013 Award – not a bad welcoming into the hospitality world.
A Creative edit that captures the Casa De La Flora by Design Hotels
Normally when you think of tropical hotels, palm leaf ceilings, shabby-chic wood huts, or bamboo constructed walls come to mind, but the Cassa De La Flora is Khoa Lak’s first modernist hideaway. VaSlab Architecture took a risk when they started going down a different path and designed cutting edge architecture and it mixed with stunning tropical landscaping.
The risk turned out to be rewarding as the resort is being praised for putting Khoa Lak on the map as the new high profile, yet humble destination hotel in this beautiful town of the southern Thailand. The resort sits directly on the palm-fringed beach of Khao Lak, giving its guests stunning views of the Andaman Islands and a clean sandy beach to sink their toes into.
The owner of the new age hotel is Thai businessmen Sompong Dowpiset, who presented some challenges to that architects in the initial design phases. Dowpiset asked Vasu Virajsilp, principal architect at VaSlab, to create a unique resort that includes a series of pool villas with maximum ocean views possible. Facilities as reception lounge, swimming pool, pool bar, beachfront restaurant, spa, fitness, and library are the must-have programs in this hotel. The owner challenged Virajsilp to create a bold look of architecture that still yields to warmness and nature after its implied name, “flora”.
VaSLab’s metaphorical design manifested from the act of “arising flora”, where each concrete versus wood villa reflects as a flora form, emerges from the ground, and blooms to reach the daylight. Deviated walls and tilted roofs are characterized throughout the series of 36 cubic-form villas, where these tapered elements do not only recall the act of arising flora but they widen the rooms’ perspective frames when looking outward to the sea.
In addition to the unique suites, a reception lounge, swimming pool, pool bar, beachfront restaurant, spa, fitness, and library are all located on the property. On a side note, eco-friendly credentials come in the form of an ozone (low-chemical) purification system for the swimming pools and waste-water and rain water recycling, which was smartly integrated onto the angling architecture.
The continuity of the architectural lines can be seen also in interior space and with interior elements such as built-in beds, coffee tables, and built-in cabinets. Custom-made furniture designed by Anon Pairot Design Studio carries this thematic design as some of them represent organic form of a flora.
The landscaping and hardscaping work came from the talented designers at T.R.O.P., who extended the lines of architecture into a set of charming path ways, pavement blocks, green walls, as they act like its architecture’s root, stem, and branches.
It’s a tricky thing, trying to achieve a modernist look in paradise. Very rarely, will the harsh lines and minimalistic aesthetic of modern architecture mesh well with the traveler who is seeking an authentic tropical experience.
With that said, VaSlab managed to successfully achieve this rare juxtaposition by respecting the surrounding nature and allowing the architecture and vegetation to happily interact with one another.
Photography Courtesy of Casa De La Flora
February 20th, 2013 – To be perfectly honest, we didn’t really know what to expect when the master blenders at Chivas Regal requested we join them and the Chivas Brotherhood in Texas for a night of whiskey slinging. Turns out whiskey drinking isn’t just reserved for crotchety country club retirees who wear plaid golf pants and smoke stogies in leather-backed chairs. Upon arrival, our expectations of Elks Club members, kicking up their argyle socks, and telling stories from ‘Nam dwindled – fast. Instead we were embraced with a vibrant and all around cheerful group of gents in skinny suits and comb-overs… otherwise known as Chivas Brothernood members.
Said Brotherhood members have access to the Chivas 1801 Club, where the cult-like band of brothers share some commonalities; friendship, authenticity, and their love for good ol’ fashioned whiskey. In the 1801 Club members come together for exclusive, invite-only events at private venues in major US cities. We caught up with the pack in Houston and got schooled on their drink of choice.
Just because their whiskey is aged for decades, doesn’t mean the Chivas mentality is. The gathering had an old school, boy’s club feel with an approachable appeal – Think Mad Men meets The Hangover with an adventurous dash of Into The Wild. Glowing gold light fixtures hung over the custom branded pool table, a ferocious taxidermy bear head served as wall decor and regal dogs were painted in elaborate antique frames. Throughout the night bartenders presented a master mix of assorted cocktails. Chivas’ 12-Year was effortlessly blended into tasty drinks like the Gentlemen’s Pleasure Punch, laced with Lillet Rosé, Morello cherry Cordial, cranberry juice, and fresh lemon, topped with sparkling water.
We were privileged to sip on a variety of Chivas’ aged whiskeys. Chivas’ 12 year old is an expression of a unique tradition that has continued unbroken since the Chivas Brothers first introduced the world to the rich, smooth Scotch whisky. We learned that Chivas Regal’s 18 yr includes over 20 of Scotland’s rarest single malt whiskies, giving this well balanced whiskey a smooth touch of wood and spice, with a scent of vanilla. Chivas Regal 25 Year Old Original is a rare and exclusive blend of the finest Scotch whiskies, with aromas of stone fruit, creamy marzipan, nuts, and chocolate-orange.
Beyond sipping Chivas’ aged 12 yr, 18 yr, and 25 yr, we also were impressed by the delightful Gallantry Cocktail. Here’s how they whipped it up:
A rich and deserving reward for bravery in an uncertain world. Chivas 18 shaken with fresh lemon juice, a teaspoon of orange and ginger marmalade shaken with egg-white.
- Glass: Rocks
- Garnish: Whole Kumquat
- 50ml Chivas Regal 12yo
- 30ml Fresh lemon juice
- 15ml orange and ginger marmalade syrup
- 1 dash egg white
How to make:
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
Another tasting favorite was the Brother’s Keeper
Brings forth the classic Speyside style; honeyed richness tempered by soft fruity accents.
- Glass: Rocks
- Garnish: A chunk of crystallised honeycomb
- 30ml Chivas Regal 12yo
- 5ml Honey syrup
- 1 piece lemon peel
- 1 dash peach bitters
How to make:
Serve in a rocks glass with ice and stir well.
To cap off the night, partygoers were each handed a glass of Chivas’ limited 25-Year for a lively toast. It was the perfect end to a perfect evening. And with that we raise our glass – Cheers to the Chivas Brotherhood. Thanks for letting us run with the wolf pack for the night.
January 31st, 2013 – Architects Alexey Goryainov and Mikhail Crimea of Moscow-based firm Arch Group, took the industry by surprise a few years back when they built the first Sleepbox Pods, affordable white sleeping quarters for travelers to have a quick rest, at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. The resting pods helped reshape the traveling experience for people going in and out of Moscow, in a positive way. Because of its success, Arch Group has teamed up with businessman leonid chernikov to open the first SleepBox Hotel near the Belorussky Railway Station, in Moscow.
The Sleepbox Hotel consists of 46 double-unit wooden pods, and 10 single-unit pods constructed from aluminum and plastic. Arch Group designed a spacecraft-like environment for the interiors, with white panels, bending up from the wall to the ceiling and contrasting black accent pieces. The pods sit side-by-side and are spread out over four floors, each of the small rooms has a TV, bed, mirror, and storage space – the necessities. The restrooms and showers are located in a central area where they are to be shared amongst the guests, five on each floor. The hotel also features a community laundry area, and a smoking lounge.
The investor of the hotel, Leonid Chernikov, began to investigate the hostels in central Moscow, but there were not enough and most of them were not pleasant places to stay. Chernikov saw a need for an affordable and clean hotel which led him to Arch-group. The architects explained that it took nearly a year to find the perfect location. “For about a year it has taken to find a suitable space near one of the stations, where people come Aeroexpress. Their proximity is important because capsule hotel is designed mainly for people in the tourist sector of Moscow.”
On the ground floor there is the reception area, boxes for visitors and huge information booth – where tourist can find a map of the city subway and schedule Aeroexpresses. The reception also has three iPads, for hotel guests to go online and find interesting information. On the second and third floors are arranged wooden sleepboxes for two. Inside each of them – two beds, a shelf, dresser, mirror and wall outlet. Some of the sleepboxes have windows, but any of them can be closed curtain.
January 18th, 2013 – Any resort that lists their recreational activities as desert surfing, Camel riding, and sand skiing, is sure to perk some interest! The Desert Lotus Resort is located in the mystical Xiang Sha Wan, the “Sand Bay” of the Gobi Desert, in Inner Mongolia. Beijing-based PLaT Architects designed the concrete-less resort to work like a ship floating in deserted. The creatives at PLaT had to invent a new structural system that is fixed in the sands by panels and a prefabricated steel support skeleton. Free of tiles and bricks for construction, the resort is built with low carbon environment friendly materials to utilize solar, water and wind energy in the desert, reducing environmental pollution and strengthening ecology protection.
The architects use traditional Chinese idea of “Zhen”, which is, in simple words, the art of repetition of the same elements. Square white tent tops, rotated 45 degrees are connected together in a circular formation. The rotation of the squares in the same angle generates triangles. In consideration of the structure, shading, and wind, the architects integrated the function, form and landscape, resulting in a form of a lotus flower. The hotel aims to be an example of sustainable tourism in the desert, through networks that generate electricity and water in their own self-sufficient system for the provision and operation of the building.
The winters in Inner Mongolia are long, cold, and dry with frequent blizzards. But the spring, summer, and autumn are polar opposites to the winter, they are short, hot and arid, a time known for dangerous sandstorms. The adventure junkies who make the long trip to the stylish low carbon resort come to enjoy the mystical orange sand dunes, and the warm Hantai River, a branch of the Yellow River more than 200 kilometers wide. Stand and look into the distance here to see a vision of the colored sand hills that meet the charming glow under the sun as the breeze blows over the dunes making music.
January 15th, 2013 - In the Encanto Hotel, the potential for amazement is constant. Architect Miguel Angel Aragonés designed the hotel, which is settled on the cliff side of Acapulco, with complete concentration and relaxation in mind. Aragonés took every little detail into thought while he designed the stunning 44 suite hotel, specifically the spiritual details, physical details, and economic needs of the establishment.
This specific region of Mexico, at the Bay of Puerto Marqués, has a jungle that goes all the way to the shoreline, causing the hotel to light up in the midst of the natural greenery. The crisp white architecture feels like a freshly cleaned sheet blowing from the line as it dries in the sun. Aragonés says that the architecture of the Encanto is a sort of like a labyrinth, a method some use for meditation purposes, where all exits lead to the ocean.
The architect candidly explained that he intentionally designed very private spaces throughout the “labyrinth”, narrow at times, with corners where only two people will fit.
“Everything was playfully created to generate continual momentum from the sea” Aragonés explained “to compel those staying there to seek and find a way out.”
Encanto is home to three eateries including Flor de Mar 360°, the hotel’s signature restaurant, lead by Mexican Celebrity Chef Monica Patiño, who conceived a menu of local cuisine with intricate Asian flavors.
One wouldn’t expect that the The Encanto Hotel was actually built with few resources, economic materials, and local labor. Under these conditions, Aragonés took a less is more approach to the interior design, allowing much of the existing resources to funnel into the architecture. The approach complements the architects goal of having very little distractions in the design of the hotel, allowing guests to take in more of the natural surroundings.
Aragones Labyrinth consists of long exterior hallways covered in marble and teak wrap around the hotel and lead to ethereal vistas of the horizon.
A black bottom pool with infinity ledge on one side and teak deck on the other is outfitted in Balinese loungers, oversize sofas, and surrounded in palms.
In 20 suites, Aragones integrated nature into the architecture by creating very little visual and structural barriers between the interior of the room and the terrace. A nearly frame-less sliding glass door is all that separates the room from the terrace, where a maturing trees springs out from the concrete flooring.
January 7th, 2013 – Industrial designer turned interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon has been known to add her own personal touch in the spaces she designs. The designer, who has been traveling the world with her mother since she was a small child, recently created a wine bar in Saint-Germain where she literally sewed the pillow cushions with her own two hands. Perhaps, this is a creative medicine that Meilichzon prescribes to in effort to add an authentic element of depth to the spaces she dreams up. The new Hotel Paradis is no different.
Situated in the capital’s 10th Arrondissement, Hotel Paradis Paris is within easy reach of Galeries Lafayette and the large department stores on the boulevard Haussmann. Deceivingly so, the hotel, which has the look and feel of a posh Parisian establishment, is actually fairly affordable with rooms starting out at $85.00 per night!
Why stop at designing the interiors? Meilichzon and her team also designed the graphics for Hotel Paradis. A grouping of five different sarif and san sarif fonts make up the white graphics on the glass in the lobby, announcing the hotel to people passing by.
Meilichzon used a series of intricate large scale printed wallpapers above the wainscoting to create focal points at eye level.
Large birds, winded clouds, and other decorative arrangements are a consistent theme throughout the wallpaper in the hotel.
A small bistro exists adjacent to the lobby where guest can comfortably eat on custom upholstered banquets, marble tables, and stylish mid-century wood dining chairs.
The upholstered backing of the banquettes in the bistro are seen again in the hotel’s suites as headboards on the beds.
(Photography by Kristen Pelou)
December 11th, 2012 – Colonel Norman Macalister used to rule the roost at his beloved Macalister Mansion 100 years ago, when his small village of George Town, in Malaysia, was a tiny British shipping port. As time rolled on, the English left, and George Town has grown into a vibrant international metropolis that proudly displays its English, Chinese, Indian and native Malaysian influences. Here, the Colonel’s mansion has been transformed from a prim and proper estate, into a quirky and sophisticated lifestyle destination for art lovers and adventure seekers.
Owners of the Macalister, Dato Sean and Datin Karen, teamed up with Colin Seah, principal of Singapore-based design firm Ministry of Design, to re-work the mansion into an 8 suite boutique hotel with 5 unique hot spots to socialize and dine. The owners are proud locals, avid art collectors, and well-known investors in the local restaurant scene, which is why it comes to no surprise that the duo helped Seah in nearly every aspect – from the specially commissioned art on the walls, to the personalized and intimate service, to the unique combination of historic beauty and present-day dynamism that characterizes the hotel.
Regenerating the historic colonial building wasn’t easy. The owners wanted to reinvent the “hotel as a complete holistic concept, with all rooms, restaurants and lounge areas belonging to a single, unique vision.” Under this philosophy, each space of the mansion needed to have its own distinctive aesthetic and ambiance, but working synergistically. Upon Entry, a fractal bust of Colonel Norman Macalister welcomes guests as a bow to the Macalister’s history.
A turquoise scalloped canopy and ornate wooden doors open onto the reception area. There, the mansion’s original brick walls are exposed, reminding visitors of the building’s history while also showcasing contemporary art from local artists.
The Living Room Encompasses all day dining and provides a casual space to hang out, Seah restored and preserved the mansions original architectural features in this space, then added a playful color theme and an assortment of contemporary furnishing pieces.
Hanging plants reach their way down from the ceiling along with a collection of white and gold light fixtures to meet the artistic bistro-styled furnishings for hotel guests to enjoy herbal tea’s and an international cuisine.
Directly adjacent to the Living Room is a game room for some more day time activities. Here, guests can crack open a book, shoot a game of pool, or watch a movie.
The Den is an intimate hideout with a wide selection of cigars as well as blended and single-malt whiskies. The dimly lit space provides a night time atmosphere for hotel guests with its intricate tri-color tile floor pattern that runs up the walls, a central black leather poof, and a Gothic styled chandelier.
The Bagan Bar showcases some of the more striking aspects of the hotel’s original architecture: an ornate archway divides the room, and two columns frame a bay window nook. However, the dynamic copper-clad bar and lighting sculpture bring the room into the 21st century. The Den is a place to relax and unwind with a glass of quality whisky or cigar. Specialist in Single Cask and Single Malt whiskies which are sourced from renowned distilleries around the world!
Visitors can access the hotel’s eight suites directly from the reception! Each suite is different from the next, from a privately commissioned love sonnet in the Bridal Suite, to the spiral staircase and turret room in Room 4, to the Grace Tan textile piece in Room 7 that pays tribute to the tartan colors of the Macalister clan.
Room 3, for example, boasts a wrought-iron balcony as well as a fabric collage by Malaysian artist Lee Meiling, while Room 8 features exposed truss beams from the building’s original construction.
Wall art by Malaysia-based UK artist Thomas Powell examines the history of the mansion and commemorates the life and times of hotel namesake Sir Norman Macalister. A decedent pattern of tiny tiles help create a unique bathroom area which is provocatively open to the entire suite.
(Photography: Design Hotels & CI&A Photography)
December 3rd, 2012 – Hidden in an ancient valley on the western edge of Phuket, The Naka is Duangrit Bunnag’s most daring hotel to date. Not only because the Bangkok-based architect, Duangrit Bunnag, set out to redefine the idea of an indulgent island escape, but also because he single-mindedly followed a dream: one that would allow the hotel’s guests to float among the trees. The result is a discreet, tropical hideout, with 94 glass-built villas cantilevering out from the mountainside to give endless panoramas of the sparkling Andaman Sea.
With an outdoor pool attached to each of the secluded living spaces, guests have all the privacy they need to find their natural equilibrium. At the rooftop spa, which overlooks the forest and the ocean, cicadas provide the spellbinding soundtrack to soothing body scrubs and massages. Guests can also unwind in the hotel’s Olympic-sized infinity pool, or feel the powder-fine sand between their toes on the wave-lapped private beach. Fresh market produce is served at the hotel’s three restaurants, including The Nava, which sits along a natural watercourse that Bunnag integrated into his final design. Here, as with the rest of the hotel, there’s a sense of being cocooned in a secret valley. Design Hotels, the company who represents the Naka, walks us through the new property which will open it’s doors this spring.
Designing The Naka should have been easy. The 1,740-acre plot provided plenty of space, and the valley location – complete with a private beach on Phuket’s west coast – was already postcard pretty.
But Duangrit Bunnag, one of the best-known minimalist designers in Thailand, is a man who likes to challenge himself.
Instead of opting for traditional Thai bungalows or a blocky concrete high-rise, he created a forest of stone- and glass-built villas. Soaring away from the mountainside, these spacious and simplistic pods give guests 180-degree views of the sand-edged shoreline.
“I wanted to create something different, and nobody has ever dreamt of that in Thailand,” Bunnag said. “Actually nobody has done that in the whole world: a six-meter cantilever of the whole room.”
Rather than uprooting the valley’s trees to make way for his ambitious villas, Bunnag decided to use them as a guide. If his plans overlapped with a mature tree, he would either change the dimensions of the building, or move it to another part of the plot entirely.
The result is that the villas appear scattered across the valley, with well-established trees – many of them more than 50 years old – sprouting up from the gaps in between. In order to support the local population of cicadas and butterflies, indigenous plant species were also added during construction.
At the center of The Naka are four wooden pavilions. The pagoda-like lobby is built around a series of upright columns, making the most of natural ventilation, while the onsite wedding chapel, accented by glinting black marble, welcomes couples through its semi-transparent façade.
Both the sweet-smelling spa and The Meka (a rooftop café 40 meters above sea level) offer views as far as Patong. This notion of being close to town yet sheltered from its day-to-day bustle is key to Bunnag’s concept.
He wants guests to know that they are cocooned in a secret valley, with total privacy guaranteed until they choose to go out in search of excitement.
(Photography: Design Hotels)
November 30th 2012 – This month marked the opening to one of Zurich’s most anticipated hotel arrivals – the vibrant 25Hours Hotel. Sling away the old Swiss stereotypes, because in the former industrial neighborhood of Zurich West you’re more likely to spot independent cultural spaces and eclectic design stores than watchmakers or chocolate shops. Add jazz clubs, antique bookshops and graffiti-splattered streetscapes to the melting pot, and you have the perfect setting for the 25hours Hotel Zürich West, a property that places the local environment at the core of its design concept.
The tram from Zurich’s main train station will drop you by the hotel’s lobby, where flashes of raspberry and fuchsia furnishings light up the bar area, mirroring the area’s artistic buzz and colorful nightlife. As well as creating an energetic and joyous interior landscape, Zurich resident and award-winning interior designer Alfredo Häberli has scribbled his personal city recommendations on surfaces and objects throughout the hotel, encouraging guests to visit his favorite hotspots. Precious metals like gold, silver and platinum lend their names to the hotel’s 126 rooms. It is bronze, however, that recurs most frequently through the Living Room – an open-plan space for mingling with other like minds – the business facilities and the top-floor wellness area, which overlooks the city. Visible next door is the new campus for Zurich’s University of the Arts; an institution that attracts artists from across the globe and only amplifies the area’s creative energy as explained by Design Hotels.
Zurich resident Alfredo Häberli, the creative mind behind 25hours Hotel Zürich West. Since graduating from the Zurich School of Design, he has worked with names like Alias, Camper and Volvo to discover new ways of looking at everyday objects. His unmistakable signature style – a mixture of innovation and pure joyous energy – leaps out from every corner as soon as you step beyond the hotel’s seven-story facade.
Witty artistic and graphical interventions be found in each room and elsewhere in the property
The lobby is the beating heart of 25hours hotel zurich, and the lobby bar + restaurant contributes a great deal to the buzz. it’s where guests and visitors meet, relax and mingle over a drink and a bite, and in the evenings the mood here appropriately shifts into clubby gear.
Like many of the late 19th century factories nearby, the building looks square-edged, functional and gritty. Inside, things become more sophisticated, with the spacious ground floor reflecting Zurich’s old-fashioned reputation for sophistication, and its cheeky-bright walls and pillars echoing the free and easy vibe of Zurich West’s best nightclubs.
Custom-designed multifunctional furniture adorns the 126 rooms and suites, while splashes of vivid raspberry and fuchsia breathe life into the roomy public areas. Then there are the sightseeing recommendations from Häberli himself, which have been written onto surfaces around the building at seemingly random intervals – surprising guests and leading them on a kind of treasure hunt around the city’s most intriguing spots.
October 15, 2012 – Somewhere between the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea, high on the Datça Peninsula hillside, sits the chic new D-Hotel Maris. The dashingly modern hotel is the brainchild of Turkish architecture firm MIDEK/MINGÜ, who teamed up with the Singapore based architects at SCDA to create a minimalistic paradise for design loving travelers.
The 200 suite hotel room has been specifically designed for the “ultimate escape and relaxation.” To achieve this mantra, Hasan Mingu, founder of MIDEK/MINGU, used the finest materials throughout the design, calming wood tones, natural fibers, and calming symmetrical spaces – most rooms even have an over sized bath that faces a window overlooking the Aegean Sea. Mingu took such careful consideration in creating the D-Hotel Maris, that the hospitality company invited him and his team back to design their new hotel D-Hotel Marmaris, set to open in 2013.
Beyond being pampered up at the D’s soothing spa and suites, the hotel has an adventurous side too! Take out the luxury seaplane, private helicopter or chauffeured yachts, to catch a glimpse of the mind-blowing islands, luscious pine forests, and volcanic mountain ranges!
October 1st, 2012 - Chatter has been traveling around about the dramatic design Nic Graham has dreamed up at Sydney’s new QT Hotel, as their doors opened last week, we are getting a glimpse at what the fuss is all about. Located in the Central Business District – an area brimming with culture, art, fashion, cuisine and design. The QT is set within two of the city’s most iconic buildings – the historic Gowings department store and heritage-listed State Theater. While the facades have been restored to their former glory, inside there is a stunning mix of original features and curated digital art installations.
Original art deco and baroque details were carefully restored, then Graham introduced a mixture of eclectic artifacts and quirky design pieces inspired by the retail and theater history of the buildings. It’s quite possible to say that Graham’s color pallet, did not exclude any color at all. Each space at the hotel is filled with rich textures, dark color tones, and dramatic lighting effects.
The art work in the hotel has been exclusively selected by curator Amanda Love (who was voted Best Art Advisor 2010), where she selected a master mix of some of the city’s most talented creatives to spotlight. The lobby features an LED wall of digital art by Daniel Crooks. The visually stimulating space doesn’t just operate as a lounge, but as a new playground after dark.
Architect Shelly Indyk came on board the project to focus on the 200 rooms in the QT. A deep palette of reds, oranges, yellows and whites is featured throughout the 12 unique room styles. Retaining the original timber floors from 1929, the rooms in the Gowings Building are bright and airy with eccentric touches and embellishments.
The adjacent State Theater rooms boast exclusively designed Rothko-inspired carpets and rugs, along with light, playful touches like bowler hat lamps and light fittings.
Additionally, the hotel guest rooms feature works by artist Richard Blackwell from Adelaide, and Sydney sculptor Morgan Shimeld specially commissioned by guest room designer Shelly Indyk.
(Photography: Design Hotels)
Imagine nuns cloaked in traditional white wool and black cap attire busy baking delectable cream-filled pastries within the kitchen of a sky-swimming 17th-century monastery perched on the most dramatic promontory of Conca dei Marini. Such is how it all began…
Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa located between Positano and Amalfi is a historic Monastery fully transformed into a boutique hotel. The hotel is considered to be one of only 39 castle hotels in all of Italy, originally converted from a monastery into a hotel in 1924 where it was run for three generations by Roman hotelier Mr. Marcucci.
The property was eventually closed, then purchased in 2000 by Bianca Sharma who spent a decade turning the old structure into a true Italian paradise which opened this summer.
The Santa Rosa is filled with four levels of gardens, an infinity pool, and views of the Gulf of Salerno right in it’s backyard.
Twenty well tailored suites consume the old structure, each named for an herb that the nuns would have used in making their medicines from the Monastero Santa Rosa garden.
A local Neapolitan designer collaborated with the owner, Bianca, to create an elegant ambiance graced by timeless Italian antiques while making sure that each room has spellbinding sea view’s with large vaulted ceilings.
The original architectural elements of the castle were kept in tact and restored, then complemented by one of a kind decorative pieces, hand picked by the owner throughout her travels in Italy.
The owner’s admits that her “biggest pleasant surprise” in the entire 10-year renovation project, was the semi-tropical gardens. The enchanted Mediterranean garden is truly a place to experience sheer moments of pleasure; as each level presents stylish, comfortable areas to relax and soak the day away.
Everywhere the Santa Rosa gardens’ intoxicating perfume encircles brimming with the fragrant botanical wonders of bougainvillea, lavender, agapanthus, coreopsis, rosemary, roses, and local-origin lemon trees, just to name a few of the many botanical wonders that grace the grounds. Approximately 5,000 plants were imported for the gardens from 10 different countries to flourish in cycles throughout the year, growing in beauty season by season.
The Monastero Santa Rosa is extremely rich in history and passion. A place cared for by local townsman, and philanthropists – and now restored by an owner who has a deep appreciation for the Monastero’s past. To honor it’s past, Sharma started a special tradition, each year between August 23-30th during the Festival of Santa Rosa, where travelers can come to experience an authentic tribute to the history of the region.
(Photograohy: Monastero Santa Rosa)
Groundbreaking Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan has just put his final touches on the stunning L’AND Vineyards Hotel, located in the heart of Alentejo, the south-central region of Portugal. The 22 suite structure is engulfed in rows of grape vines, a stunning lake, and the historic Castle of Montemor, providing an atmosphere of understated luxury, natural beauty, peace and tranquility.
The angular white structure is known on site as the Reception Building; where Kogan created a contemporary reinterpretation of Roman and Arabic atrium architecture, in addition to a spacious living room, library, gift shop.
The building also houses the winery , spa, and restaurant. Kogan’s plush decoration of the suites creates an atmosphere of tasteful luxury striving to achieve beauty through simplicity and the small details; the décor makes use of wood and natural stone to provide a serene yet sumptuous living space.
The interiors are warm in color and rich in materials, a clever contrast to the crisp white exteriors.
Kogan designed two types of rooms; The Sky View Suites and the Land View Suites. In the Sky View Suites guests can sleep under the stars with a giant skylight over their bed, or guests can opt for the Land View Suites, which have breathtaking views of the lake.
(FG+SG fotografia de arquitectura | architectural photography)
High in the Rhône-Alpes, in the south-eastern region of France, you’ll find a small ski village called Megève. The village is known less for its quality of skiing, and more for having the hottest chalets in the region. New to Megève this season is the Chalet Brickell, which has it’s own nightclub, swimming pool, theater (with beds for seats), and one of the coolest car parks you’ll ever drive into!
The interiors walls, floors, and ceilings are lined with vintage wood planks which are glammed up with fine materials such as velvet, leather, and marble. The art on the walls are one of a kind, rare shots by well known photographers, only to be seen at the Brickell.
The hotel owes the beauty of the suites to the skills of Italian craftsman who are “specialized in the construction of yachts. The walls made of wood met by an oak floor covered with thick rugs, while shagreen leather frames the doorway. Cut-velvet panels line the wall and ceiling, like a canopy above the bed, which is covered with a fur bedspread.” The hotel explained. Sounds like the perfect place to cozy up with a book and hot tea, or to head over to the private club – you decide.
(Photography Credit: Gilles Pernet)