23 hours at Phum Baitang, Siem Reap 

4pm.  It’s a clear, big sky, tall clouds late afternoon in Siem Reap and jovial yet consummately polite staff in the pared down reception shelter is much needed refreshment in the punishing heat. Staff in all white linen lounge top and wide-legged pants gracefully sweep the timer flooring and hands you a cold, jasmine scentedContinue reading “23 hours at Phum Baitang, Siem Reap “

Hotel Kanra, Kyoto

Entering Hotel Kanra is a light and airy affair. Gentle steps down the narrow corridor with slender bamboo stalks on either side swinging gracefully, pass through the sliding wood panels into the sparse reception area and the seasonally curated Ikebana (flower arrangement) awaits.  This time it’s unusually sweltering early summer and wisteria arrangement is inContinue reading “Hotel Kanra, Kyoto”

The Naka Phuket

If pool villa was Banyan Tree Phuket’s gift to travelling civilisation, it’s been re-gifted countless times without any reinvention for almost twenty years. Considering Amanpuri’s open suite formula of ‘contiguous living-bedroom-bathroom’ hasn’t been innovated on for 30 years, you can’t blame the unimaginative hoteliers. What’s more Phuket, over the years, has taken the concept ofContinue reading “The Naka Phuket”

Hoshinoya Tokyo

What makes Tokyo a great city? That it’s a proper city. Where there’s proper crowding worthy of the superb public infrastructure, properly dressed and behaved people and the food, proper food. Hoshinoya Tokyo is the newest entry into the luxury sector in the already luxury Marunouchi banking and retail enclave. You’re kept outside the reachContinue reading “Hoshinoya Tokyo”

Satoyama Jujo

Hush conversations overheard through washi paper sliding doors, modest splashes of neighboring bather’s bucket water and faint simmering of freshly cooked rice as it reaches ‘niebana (flavourful al dente)’… all perfectly in tune with the rolling hills of Niigata landscape, disciplined attention to service and gentle yet confident design at Satoyama Jujo describe my twoContinue reading “Satoyama Jujo”

Nezu Museum and garden in Minami Aoyama

Nezu Museum sits on 20,000 sq.m. of sprawling site in Minami Aoyama and is home to Nezu Kaichiro’s collection of premodern Japanese and East Asian art. Nezu Kaichiro known as Railway King whose career included being president of the Tōbu Railway started his collection with tea ceremony artifacts and expanded into paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, lacquerwareContinue reading “Nezu Museum and garden in Minami Aoyama”

Castiglioni Studio, Milano

Can design whose chief objective is to solve everyday problems be beautiful? Particularly in today’s world where our aesthetics change rapidly as anything, from anywhere can be sought out anytime, can an object designed to function at one point in time be enduring?  Glitzy shop displays and industrial-strength banner adverts force feeding us elaborately beautiful, ornate and glamorous images remind us that utility-based design can hardly be enduringly beautiful.  Tour ofContinue reading “Castiglioni Studio, Milano”

Museo del Novecento Milano (& Ristorante Giacomo Arengario)

How does one who is terrified of large crowd enjoy what is arguably the most touristy destination in the city of Milan?  Museo 900 (Novencento) was my answer to the unhindered, spitting distance view of Milano Duomo without the hassle that you normally endure. Novencento is a museum of 20th century Italian art right at the footContinue reading “Museo del Novecento Milano (& Ristorante Giacomo Arengario)”

Berlin Tegel Airport

First thing that struck me when I entered Terminal A at Tegel was ‘why did taxi drop me off on arrival floor and where’s the escalator to departure and check in hall’? It then occurred to me that I’m at Berlin Tegel, apex of two things the world needs more of: mid-century modernist design andContinue reading “Berlin Tegel Airport”

MuCEM (Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée)

MuCEM, together with the renovation of the waterfront, was supposed to be the centerpiece of Marseille’s reboot into the new century when it was named European Capital of Culture for 2013.  The historically gritty port’s moment in the sun to look up … a transformation of sorts.  The museum is built on reclaimed land atContinue reading “MuCEM (Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée)”