Garden Life Bespoke Tour to Sri Lanka

Few islands in the world offer the diversity that exists in Sri Lanka.  This unique tour itinerary has been put together by Sydney garden designer, Richard Unsworth of Garden Life and renowned architectural and landscape photographer Nicholas Watt.  Explore its highlights and delve deep into the world of Sri Lanka’s deeply revered and celebrated architect Geoffrey Bawa.

For 8 days and 9 nights, we will be driven (and flown) in comfort, staying at the best hotels, exploring the amazing food and cultural highlights.  We explore Bawa’s projects; his homes and gardens, as well as unique properties of his friends, family and clients.  Every last detail is organised for you and included in this very special trip.

Highlights include:

  • Exploring eleven Bawa designed properties
  • Private lunch at Lunuganga, his country retreat, hosted by a former apprentice of Bawa
  • Personal tour of the enchanting “Brief Garden”, created by Geoffrey’s brother Bevis ‘Brief’ Bawa
  • Explore Bawa designed house of renowned textile designer Ena da Silva, recently relocated to the Lunuganga estate.
  • Visit enchanting and eccentric Bawa property Number 87 in Bentota for high tea and have lunch in his old offices in Colombo.
  • Visit to Sigiriya, the ancient rock fortress and UNESCO world heritage site

All-inclusive bespoke tour

  • All internal transit in AC comfort private bus (also private domestic charter flight)
  • 8 nights’ accommodation in boutique hotels (with option for 9th night in Colombo)
  • Our personal guide for the entire duration
  • All meals included
  • Talks with experts, all admission fees, all tipping included
  • Limited edition ibook documenting the trip – produced by Nicholas Watt (dependent on numbers)

Cost: $9,500 per person based on twin share (single room supplement $1,200)

Numbers are strictly limited to 12 people

Tour excludes:   Flights to and from Sri Lanka

Source: Garden Life

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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, email 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

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

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

Source: Sheraton