K House

Southern Sri Lanka / Architecture / Holiday Home Way beyond Galle and past Ahangama and Matara in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka is K House, a secluded beach front property surrounded by lush Indian Ocean flora and open ocean views. It is where minimalist architecture of two villas effortlessly blend into nature and standContinue reading “K House”

Belitung EcoBeach and surrounding islands

Sumatra / People & Culture / Retreat When Davide (pseudonym) first made an appearance in my office with an hour notice and announced he owned one-tenth of Belitung Island and that he’s wanting advice for developing that area as socially and environmentally responsible project, I only had two questions – first, where in the heckContinue reading “Belitung EcoBeach and surrounding islands”

Hotel KOO – collection of seven rehabilitated machiya’s in Ootsu

KOO is a collection of seven rehabilitated machiya’s (traditional Japanese townhouses) refurbished with modern furnishings, some as private villas and others with two or three separate guest bedrooms creating 13 units in total. Japanese machiya’s are small – typically around 1,000 sq. ft – and split into two levels.  Insisting on key features such as […]

Tsingpu Retreat – The Walled, Yangzhou

Sun sets and the contours of this horizontal modernist compound come to life.  Architectural up-lights raise lit columns along the perimeter, down lights flush the layered brick walls and guest rooms and dining hall become punctuating light boxes.  I don’t know quite how to describe Tsingpu Retreat The Walled as a hotel. It’s certainly a modernist architecturalContinue reading “Tsingpu Retreat – The Walled, Yangzhou”

Trunk Hotel, Shibuya

It’s a common misconception for would be travellers to Tokyo that this city of super abundant creativity and modernity has numerous well-designed, boutique hotels.  Well … there aren’t.  There’s probably many reasons and this blog isn’t meant to be for real-estate finance mundane so I’ll curb it to a couple of inter-related reasons: prohibitive land/developmentContinue reading “Trunk Hotel, Shibuya”

House of Finn Juhl, Hakuba Hotel

It’s a wet late fall day in Hakuba and rain drizzles as the temperature falls in the valley. Hakuba, the site for 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, is not known for beautiful lodging options – in fact far from it – so I’m particularly delighted that a new, design minded lodge quietly opened its doors. HouseContinue reading “House of Finn Juhl, Hakuba Hotel”

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”