Re-opening news from The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia

Nestling in the heart of a 10-million-year-old rainforest, The Datai Langkawi is a captivating destination resort that blends into its natural surroundings. Situated on the mystical island of Langkawi, the resort’slush tropical rainforest offers the perfect escape. Datai Bay is rated as one of the top 10 beaches in theworld by National Geographic and together with the resort’s surrounding jungle, is host to a wealth of flora and fauna, some of which is endemic to the area.

A homage to the work of the visionary architect Kerry Hill, it all started with the discovery of the Datai Bay and a view so breathtaking that he fell instantly in love with the place on his first site visit with his fellow designer Didier Lefort. Since its inception in 1993, the iconic property has been featured in myriad lifestyle publications and coffee-table books. It received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2001, inspiring the work of fellow architects worldwide.

In September 2017, The Datai Langkawi embarked on an extensive renovation, the most substantial enhancement since its opening in 1993. To ensure the resort retains its much-loved ‘Datai DNA’, Didier Lefort of DL2A in France, was once again reappointed to lead the project.

“The vision was very clear from the start before renovations commenced, that we wanted to refresh the spaceswhilst maintaining the signature Datai DNA and keeping to the origins of the structure. We made sure local materials and inspiration from the environment, surroundings and culture were used so that our regular guestswill still feel very much at home when they return,” said Arnaud Girodon, General Manager.

At the core of its offering, the spectacular surrounding nature plays a significant role with unique experiences in the rainforest, sea and adjacent mangroves, led by our dedicated team of naturalists and marine biologists. This nature also forms the base of our spa and wellness programmes with specially crafted spa treatments and holistic activities.

To protect this unique natural habitat, sustainability is also a key component to the resort’s strategy witha strong commitment to using less energy, water and single-use plastic. Recycling and upcycling plants and organic gardens have been created where guests can be a part of. Further programmes are also tailor- made to protect the coral reef on the Datai Bay where again guests can play a role in.

The refreshed look and feel of the resort will offer guests nature and culture-based experiences, to promote Malaysian hospitality to the world and reaffirm The Datai Langkawi as an unparalleled luxury destination.

ACCOMMODATION

The resort has 121 rooms, suites and villas, all with enchanting views of the lush tropical rainforest, some with the breath-taking vista of the Andaman Sea with Tarutao Island on the horizon. Escape to the perfect seclusion of a private sanctuary with the resort’s Canopy, Rainforest or Beach Collection.

Canopy Collection – Situated in the main buildings, the Canopy Deluxe and the Canopy Premium are a delightful way to experience The Datai Langkawi and its stunning views and award-winning architecture. Perfect for guests who prefer to be near the spectacular main pool, The Dining Room and The Lobby Lounge. The Canopy Suites offers rare rainforest opulence from its spacious verandas. The king size bed is topped with crisp, white Egyptian cotton linen, complemented with a separate living room and dining area. At 378 square metres (approximately 4,068 sq ft), The Datai Suite is bathed in natural light, boasting unobstructed views of the rainforest and the Andaman Sea from an outdoor private veranda. The gracious indoor living space is furnished with neutral tones and elevated amenities.

Rainforest Collection – Tucked deep inside the lush tropical rainforest and the vegetation that covers The Datai Langkawi estate, the elegant Rainforest Collection villas, including pool villas, are architecturally designed to be naturally at one with Mother Nature. Standing proudly on stilts, The Rainforest Villa and Pool Villa will enjoy scenic views of dense jungle in abundance or tropical rivers flowing along a meandering course.

The Datai Estate – As part of the Rainforest Collection, The Datai Estate deserves a prominent introduction with its expansive five-bedroom facility, spanning 3,500 square metres (approximately 37,700 sq ft). The exclusive space features alluring neutral tones with modern furnishings, living rooms, game rooms, two 20 metre connected pools, 24-hour butler service as well as a private chef.

Beach Collection – Located directly on the pristine white-sand beach of Datai Bay, the One-Bedroom Beach Villa and the Two-Bedroom Beach Villa are fully enclosed with serene garden views and an inviting private swimming pool. The beach villas appeal to guests seeking privacy with personalised service from their butler.

DINING

Enjoy a diverse selection of cuisine, inspired by regional flavours. Dishes are centred around locally grown ingredients with a distinctive Malaysian and Asian flair.

The Gulai House – Serving authentic Malaysian cuisine, The Gulai House is an award winning restaurant tucked deep in the rainforest. The restaurant reminiscence a traditional Malay kampung (village) house where diners are welcome to bersila (sit on the floor) or at the rustic dining table to enjoy a Malaysian feast.

The Pavilion – The traditional Thai restaurant is overlooking the serene tropical atmosphere. Situated atop 30-metre stilts with far reaching views of the rainforest, Thai cuisine is celebrated with freshly harvested exotic herbs. The sight of the elusive flying colugo, a gliding mammal, will enhance your dining experience.

The Dining Room – A lavish spread for breakfast awaits diners with a juice bar, freshly made pastries and pass around breakfast specials. Lunch is served a la carte. The restaurant transitions into a romantic venue in the evening for a fine dining setting styled in the colonial era. Wine aficionados will delight inthe restaurant’s exclusive wine collection from its walk-in wine cellar.

The Beach Club and Beach Bar – A casual venue to enjoy convivial gatherings. Spend the day sipping signature cocktails and savouring fresh seafood, served from an outdoor show kitchen and an open grill, while sunset light up the horizon with red and orange. At dinner, the Beach Club Restaurant is transformed to an elevated seafood grill restaurant with tables set on the various decks where guests can listen to the soothing sounds of the waves as background music.

The Lobby Lounge – Overlooking the Andaman Sea and the rainforest, this open-air lounge is the ideal place to relax and take in the panoramic views. Delicious light snacks are available throughout the day and a premium selection of teas is served during the afternoon high tea. A splendid selection of cocktails, refined spirits and champagne are available in the evenings accompanied by a live jazz duo.

Special Dining – To celebrate a special occasion, the resort can create a personalised dinner, surrounded by lush rainforest as your backdrop or directly on the white sandy beach.

NATURE

Voted as one of the World’s top 10 beaches by National Geographic, The Datai Langkawi sits inextraordinary biodiversity and the 10 million-year-old rainforest is home to a wealth of flora and fauna. Against a backdrop of Southeast Asia’s oldest mountain, Machincang, its 750-hectare rainforest ‘back garden’ is every nature lover’s dream, just waiting to be discovered.

Find a deeper appreciation of biodiversity and reconnect with nature through The Datai Langkawi’snature activities, led by Irshad Mobarak and his team of passionate naturalists.

The Nature Centre – The design of this unique open-air structure is inspired by a tribal bamboo longhouse. There is a library full of references to the natural world of Langkawi and Malaysia, a lounge for guests to sit and listen to stories from the wild by Resident Naturalist, Irshad Mobarak, and team. There is also a Tea Corner serving specially curated teas, by Dr Ghani, Langkawi’s well known traditional Malay medicine guru using herbs and spices from plants native to the rainforest. These concoctions are not only delicious but good for one’s health.

Nature activities – In addition to the continued activities at The Datai Langkawi once it reopens, guests will experience a new Datai Observatory deck which includes a 15-metre-high canopy walk, rehabilitation exercise of coral reef and fish aggregation projects to sustain and increase fish supply. Explore off the beaten track nature trails, UNESCO Mangrove Cruise, Birdwatching, Kayak and swimming adventures.

SPA AND WELLNESS

In harmony with the resort’s unique natural surroundings, well-being at The Datai Langkawi embraces the ever-expanding healing found in the rainforest with its age-old traditions and philosophies of the Malay culture known a Ramuan. A unique Malay concept, Ramuan is referred to as the gathering of medicinal plants in its purest essence.

The Spa is situated along a small winding stream surrounded by the sounds and subtle aromatic scent of the rainforest. Focusing on aligning wellness with nature, The Spa has 5 treatment villas. The philosophy of beauty through health is complemented by the international expertise of Bastien Gonzalez and Phyto 5.

Bastian Gonzalez is renowned for his exceptional virtuosity and approach to hand and foot care, andPhyto 5’s innovative skincare delivers the ultimate holistic skincare experience.

EXPERIENCES AND FACILITIES

The Datai Bay is home to a pristine white-sandy beach and centuries-old rainforest. Enjoy a range of experiences from water sports, golfing to cooking and gardening.

The Els Club Teluk Datai – Golf legend and course designer, Ernie Els launched this spectacular scenic golf course in 2014. The 18-hole par 72 championship golf course elevates The Datai Langkawi experience by providing a world-class arena for golfers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Cookery Class – Learn Malay, Thai or Indian cuisine as they lead the cookery class at The Dapur (Malayfor kitchen). There’s an introduction by the chef about the recipe of the day, a visit to the herb garden, followed by the cooking session and lunch.

Permaculture – originally ‘permanent agriculture’, guests can learn gardening techniques by using free,sustainable energies and resources.

Water sports – The pristine beach and azure waters invites you to explore its intricate marine life by snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing or sailing.

Fitness Centre – Work a sweat with magnificent views of the Andaman Sea. The facility features a range of the latest equipment and outdoor sports equipment for tennis and cycling.

The Datai Boutique – An extensive collection of locally inspired merchandise crafted by Malaysian artisans and designers.

Special occasions – The Datai Langkawi is ideal for small to medium sized events; corporate retreats, personal celebration and of course boutique weddings.

Excursions around the island are available for guests to explore its unique paleo geological history, biodiversity and landscapes.

For more information or reservations, visit www.thedatai.com, email reservations@dataihotels.com or. call +60 4 9500 500.

Source:  The Datai


An OMG travel moment: Villa La Massa launches new 19th Century farmhouse villa

Villa La Massa, part of Villa d’Este Hotels has completed a full-scale restoration of Casa Colonica, a 19th-century farmhouse villa, never open to guests before and featuring four elegant suites.

 

Located 15 minutes outside of Florence and overlooking the Chianti Valley and the Arno River, beautiful Villa La Massa was built in the 16th-century for a member of the Medici family and is surrounded by 22 acres of gardens, olive and lemon groves.

Sitting at the entrance to the grounds, the 6500 square foot Casa Colonica features four new suites (including a Junior Suite), each with private bathrooms and decor classically Tuscan. The Villa’sowners worked on the year-long restoration under the guidance of local architects and artisans to create an authentic Florentine elegance, while integrating modern technology.

Inside, Casa Colonica houses two suites upstairs as well as an additional suite and junior suite on the ground floor that can be paired together and complete with a small private garden. The design throughout is that of a modern Tuscan country house, nodding to tradition with stone walls, wood-beamed ceilings, terracotta flooring, and hand-carved woods accented by custom hand-made silk rugs of vibrant colours.

A central kitchen is stocked with modern appliances and an eight-seat dining table, while a charming internal courtyard features plush lounges and fresh jasmine, creating an ideal place for guests to relax with a book in hand.

Guests who book the Casa exclusively will be treated to complimentary chef-led cooking classes in the kitchen including Tuscan bread making at the 16th-century bread oven, which was discovered and restored as part of the renovation process, and cocktail lessons under the stars in the courtyard.

“Villa La Massa has been enchanting guests for years and we’re delighted to introduce this stunning refurbished farmhouse, which reflects the magic and romance of Tuscany. We’ve seamlessly mixed timeless elegance with stylish colors and patterns to create serene and relaxed living spaces,” said Stefano Venturi, General Manager.

Prices start at Casa Colonica from 740Euros per night for a Junior Suite. For reservations or more information,Villa La Massa may be contacted directly at +39 055 62611 or via email at reservations@villalamassa.com.

Prices start at Casa Colonica from 740Euros per night for a Junior Suite. For reservations or more information,Villa La Massa may be contacted directly at +39 055 62611 or via email at reservations@villalamassa.com.

Source: Villa La Massa


W Brisbane Premiere Party: All That Glitters is Golden

W Brisbane has hosted the hottest event of 2018, the W Brisbane Premiere Party, ‘All that Glitters is Golden.’ Officially popping the bottle on W Hotels re-entry into Australia, guests with a ‘Golden Ticket’ were flown in for the memorable event.

The black carpet was rolled out for over 800 guests who were entertained throughout the evening with exclusive performances by ARIA Award winning pop powerhouse The Veronicas, Brisbane born Indie band Confidence Manand electro DJ duo,The Twins.

A star-studded line-up included Alli Simpson, Playing With Keeps star, Olympia Valanceand model and singer, Erin Holland. Along with local guests, Bianca Dye, The Voice’s Luke Kennedyand Naomi Price and bloggers Aicha Robertson(The Fashion Heist), Prudence Kate andChristie Sutherland.

W Brisbane’s Golden Pineapple Caravan made its last appearance, accompanied by uber fabulous Drag Queen Decoda Secretand larger than life performance artists that welcomed guests and amplified the party. The media wall sparkled gold with an iconic W sign, becoming the perfect back drop for the well-heeled guests and chic celebrities.

Champagne flowed all night, delectable grazing tables of cheese and local produce on the menu and Aussie favourites BBQ prawn skewers served later in the evening at WET Deck. The cocktails kept on coming, with the W Mezzo Mezzo Martini (Espresso martini) and mango daiquiri guest favourites throughout the evening.

A wall of golden streamers led guests into private themed rooms. Behind one door a Champagne Bubble Bath and behind another a Brisvegas Snow Dome filled with glitter and a Brisbane skyline backdrop – worthy of an Insta-snap.

To get even closer to the music, VIPs were treated to an exclusive, unplugged and intimate performance by The Veronicas in the Extreme-WOW suite on Level 33.

The party didn’t stop with guests fueled until 2am at the official after party held in Living Room Bar with killer tunes and pulsating beats by W Brisbane’s Music Creator, Kane Dignum.

W Hotels is known for hosting some of the hottest parties around the globe, and the W Hotel Premiere Party is renowned for putting the host city on the map. After opening in June, W Brisbane has fast become Australia’s most talked about hotel with the Premiere Party just one of many stellar events to come.

Source: W Hotels


Sheraton on the Park celebrates two wins at World Travel Awards

Sheraton on the Park has been recognised amongst the world’s best hotels, collecting two major accolades at the prestigious 25thannual World Travel Awards (WTA).

Sydney’s grand five-star hotel was awarded Australasia’s Leading Hotel and its Royal Suite named the best suite in Australia at a gala black-tie dinner in Hong Kong last night.

 The impressive honours highlight the hotel’s continued commitment to excellence, with each award voted for by travel and tourism professionals from across the globe, as well as guests.

 The recognition follows Sheraton on the Park being named Redeveloped/Refurbished Hotel of the Year at the 2018 Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW Awards for Excellence in July.

 “We are truly honoured by this prestigious award,” said David Fraser, General Manager. “The team has worked diligently to establish Sheraton on the Park as the premier luxury hotel in Sydney and these awards are the result of their tremendous work.”

The double win also comes as the hotel unveils its new-look dedicated events floor after a multi-million dollar renovation.

Long regarded as Sydney’s premier events address, the new design reflects the hotel’s sophisticated heritage.  Bold and elevated finishes bring a contemporary take on elegance to ensure Sheraton on the Park remains the ultimate preference for stunning events.

The renovation of the Grand Ballroom, Hyde Park Room, Phillip Room and pre-function area on the second floor follows the recently completed $45million refurbishment of the hotel’s 558 guest rooms, suites, bars and executive club lounge.

Established in 1993, the World Travel Awards acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the WTA brand is globally recognised as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Each year, WTA covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success. Regional winners will compete for the world’s best title at the grand final ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal in November.

For more information on Sheraton on the Park visit www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sydsi-sheraton-on-the-park/

Source: Sheraton


Chic Bali villa, Noku, opens on the beach in Seminyak

Inside the new Bali villa where food and function reign.

Sustainable, private, incredibly user-friendly and brilliant food.

AZBcreative has created NoKu Beach House; a breathtaking private sanctuary in Bali. It has taken two years to realise the dream space, but this is just the first in a series of bespoke NoKu-house projects to be design-directed by global award winning interior design director Alex Zabotto- Bentley and his interior design and interior architecture team, AZBcreative.

The name NoKu, is a cheeky take on Soho and comes from “North of Kuta” in Seminyak, offering privacy and sweeping Indian Ocean views, as the only beach front villa in Seminyak.

“I was privileged to work with a client who trusted me to take their wishes and inspirations and turn them into something unique,” says Alex.

In turn, the owner has described Alex’s work as creating it’s own design language; “Any one in any medium that does something that is truly their own, transcends the box… Alex Zabotto-Bentley has done just that.”

NoKu Beach House is a six-bedroom statement of avant-garde Zen design, with a cool and calm aesthetic. “The client wanted the residence to be imbued with the natural beauty and spiritual grace of Bali, but with a modern, timeless design,” says Alex;

“My team and I created a mood reminiscent of the mythical Shangri-La in James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon”: exotic overhanging greenery creates an otherworldly indoor-outdoor experience at this tropical ‘Avatar movie’ oasis.” The result is a super-premium escape pad, designed without compromise.

Initially, the project was to be a private villa, but as the interior concepts and architectural designs developed, they realised the huge potential of the space. It needed to be shared. The land was extended and what resulted is a sweeping resort space with six double bedrooms, two pools, extended gigantic living and dining areas, all with the AZBcreative signature custom elements showcasing their dedication to small-run makers, local craftsmen and the culture of regional villages.

AZB has an absolute commitment to low-impact development, sustainable design practices and community involvement/empowerment through transparent supply chains where growers, makers, producers and artisans are all supported within the project.

Alex says “This is the future of development and design in Bali – the only way that it can be something which improves and strengthens the local community and culture.”
NoKu Beach House accommodates large groups without losing its sense of space and privacy, while the fusion of design and nature inspires creativity and renews the senses.

With state-of-the art kitchens, 2 x large swimming pools (one infinity, one plunge), event spaces for up to 300 people, 5 different dining areas and 25 staff including chef, concierge and driver, the NoKu Beach House is a very special destination villa. The aim was to create a luxurious experience with the relaxed atmosphere of this natural paradise.

“Think luxe island, Jurassic Park vibes… That is NoKu. Everything from the second you walk through the 3 metre bespoke entry door, it is nothing like you could ever imagine! Oversized. Major. Custom… Start to finish this project was next level and of course every tiny detail was considered and drawn and drawn again, rendered, re-rendered, sampled to perfection and finally dreams came to life.” Jaimi-Lee Wheelwright, Interior Designer AZBcreative

Alex and his team scoured all the globe, to draw inspiration from amazing journeys… a narrative that speaks of luxury and ease in a palette that elicits calm and deep relaxation

A colour palette of navy, celadon and turquoise to evoke the changing moods of the sea, were mixed with classic AZBItaliano and a new colour: AZBFirenze. The palette was used throughout the interiors and branding to unify the concept. The team travelled extensively for inspiration, as Alex explains: “For this project, our travels focused on Asia to search out antique and age-old elements, to build a story and a sense of place.”

Up-cycling and renewable resources were key, and Alex’s personal philosophy of respecting made craft from ancient to modern and reimaging it follows the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi, where ancient broken pottery is repaired with gold, creating a more beautiful object.

Alex says “I love the notion of respecting the original maker but transforming that piece into
an object of art adds value and elevates it.” This principle evolved this luxe space with low environmental impact, where humble crafts are elevated. A case in point: the team sourced a 150 year old ironwood pier from Borneo, worn by the sea, which was going to be demolished, and converted into an incredible two level balé, with private siting areas and a custom-built bar. From the island of Kalimantan, they sourced five exquisite six-meter high Patung Pagar protective statues, hand-carved in iron wood.

They now stand in the garden to protect the villa and evoke the history of these beautiful islands. Inside, the team blended modernism with a touch of brutalism and luxe nomad collectibles, from the pedestals crafted from 20 million year old petrified wood blocks to the Papua New Guinea drums re-purposed as side tables. The seamless blend of antique artifacts, rough-hewn textures and modern innovations evokes the rich cultural heritage of the region while remaining serene and timeless.

“It is always our dream to work closely with a client and create bespoke items for a project. This was that project. Working with artisan suppliers all over Indonesia we designed and created beautiful pieces that bring the villa spaces to life.

We re-purposed antique village drums into coffee tables, created hand woven silk fabric from villages in Kintamani, and hand carved teak panels into textured bed heads. The client loves soccer so one of my favourite pieces are the marine rope woven soccer nets that flip to become sun beds!” Jenni Munster, Style Producer AZBcreative

Natural light infuses the space, as unnecessary walls were removed, replaced with natural screens of hanging greenery and locally made eight metre long teak screens carved in geometric shapes, to add texture and dappled light. Throughout the house and gardens, there are around 30,000 plants, creating a unique green hideaway. Even by night, the lighting features set a relaxed mood. The team installed new collection AZBcustom lighting designs from the 1960’s brutalist Italian- inspired solid bronze fittings in the living and dining rooms, through to every single bedside lamp and outdoor lighting.

One of the key attractions of any private beach house is the pool, and NoKu Beach House has two. AZB created an oasis pool, inspired by the classic Moroccan Riads with their private, tiled pools.
In case you feel so relaxed that you forget where you are, some of the tiles spell out NOKU, like a classic 1930’s lido. The colour palette is carried through to the professional sized tennis court, which custom designed as an enormous camo pattern.

“Did someone say custom tennis court, that doubles as a soccer field! This is a one of a kind in the world, over 4000 hand painted tiles on a surface made up of 2 layers of high impact copolymer developed in the USA. The custom camouflage design on the playing surface was designed and created especially for NoKu. We took inspiration from urban community playing courts and graffiti from around the world and using our signature colours created an art piece in the grounds of the villa.” Peter Harley, Interior Designer AZBcreative

The team also created a second pool in the garden, stretching towards the sea, with lush plantings and teak decking. Throughout the vast villa, there are plenty of private spaces, from hidden lounge areas and private balconies to a walled garden, private spa and even a rooftop, open-air shower. Stroll the almost Jurassic gardens with a waterfall and towering palms and jungle blooms or gaze out to sea from your room with organic dishes and endless chilled drinks… even with a large group of friends, there are plenty of opportunities to chill out and enjoy some private time. The large variety of spaces are also perfectly suited to events.

In this age of branding and social media, it was important to communicate the laid-back luxury of the project. Artwork was sourced from internationally renowned photographers Woody Gooch and Damea Dorsey, and Matt Neville who have created unforgettable images of Bali and locally made objects were curated to embellish the living spaces. From the custom NoKu surfboards, tennis rackets and soccer balls to the plates and even the in-house radio station with curated playlists, there are many fun reminders of place.

NoKu Beach House launches September 2018 and as Alex says, “It is the new exclusive luxury for the global citizen.”

NOKU BEACH HOUSE
Jalan Sarinande No. 22, , Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Seminyak, Bali

WEBSITE nokubeachhouse.com
VILLA MANAGER Elite Havens
INSTAGRAM @nokubeachhouse

By Melissa Hoyer

Photography by Marko Randelovic