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.”

Jalan Sarinande No. 22, , Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Seminyak, Bali

INSTAGRAM @nokubeachhouse

By Melissa Hoyer

Photography by Marko Randelovic

Singapore Airlines best for international airline customer satisfaction

Singapore Airlines has won the Roy Morgan July International Airlines Customer Satisfaction Award with a customer satisfaction rating of 88% ahead of key rivals Cathay Pacific and Emirates both on 84%.

Singapore Airlines has now won a number of monthly awards so far in 2018 although rival Asia-Pacific airline Cathay Pacific started off the year with a victory in January.

Air New Zealand, which won the Annual 2017 Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Award, came in equal fourth with Etihad Airways in July with a customer satisfaction rating of 82%.

Qantas is the leading Australian international airline with a customer satisfaction rating of 80% just in front of main rival Virgin Australia on 78%. Qantas has also performed well in the latest Roy Morgan domestic airlines customer satisfaction results are available to view here.

Source: Roy Morgan

New Special Series Ferrari 488 Pista Spider unveiled

The Prancing Horse’s new Special Series model, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider, has been unveiled during the world-famous Concours d’Elegance® at Pebble Beach in California.

The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider is the 50th drop-top model from the Prancing Horse and a premiere in the US was a natural choice given that, ever since the 1950s, North American clients have always been keen connoisseurs of high-performance convertibles.

The new car sets a new benchmark for Ferrari for spider performance with an unprecedented weight-power ratio of 1.92 kg/cv. A result made possible by the adoption of the most powerful Ferrari V8 engine ever, which was recently named Best Engine in the world for the third consecutive year at the 2018 International Engine of the Year Awards.

The 3902cc twin-turbo V8 unleashes 720 cv and combines that power with increasing torque at all engine speeds for continuous and unending acceleration all the way to the red line. The unique engine sound is now even more riveting thanks to the open-top configuration.

The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider represents the natural development of the defining design of the coupé version. The Ferrari designers’ primary objective was to maintain unaltered the perfect marriage of aerodynamic efficiency, purity of form and racing spirit.

This concept is underlined by the characteristic central livery which runs the whole length of the car, expanding towards the rear where it finishes at the end of the rear wing next to the spoiler. This continual expansion of the stripe recalls the movement of the airflow and exalts the lines of the car.

The philosophy that imposed an uncompromising choice of materials for the bodywork is also revisited in the interior solutions, with weight being saved by the use of lightweight, pared-back components. As well as the generous use of carbon-fibre and Alcantara® throughout, the carpets have been replaced by patterned aluminium foot plates and the driver’s-side door handle is now a simple strap.

In terms of engineering, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider is directly derived from the 488 Pista which encapsulates all the racing experience gathered on world’s circuits with the 488 Challenge and the 488 GTE. As a result, the new Spider offers the highest level yet of technological transfer from the track to a road-legal drop-top car.

The vehicle dynamics honed for this Special Series 8-cylinder convertible deliver a seamless combination of razor-sharp acceleration, braking efficiency, lightning-fast gear shifting, precision steering, grip, stability and superb handling. The result? A completely captivating and unprecedented driving experience. This was achieved thanks partly to the new lateral dynamics control system, the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE), which makes on-the-limit driving more intuitive, controllable and predictable.

The car features new diamond-finish 20” alloy wheels with a novel 10-spoke star-effect interpretation of Ferrari’s traditional mid-rear engine berlinetta-style rims.  Also available are the optional one-piece carbon-fibre wheels which offer a 20% weight reduction over the standard forged alloys.

Source:  Ferrari

Hotelesque - a chic way to travel - unveiled in Sydney

In the continuously expanding home sharing economy play a selection of local Australian businesses that are delivering high quality luxury accommodation, to local and international guests. Today, disrupting the mix by launching deeper into the home-rental market is emerging business, Hotelesque.

The Hotel unveiling was hosted by the incomparable Neale Whitaker, who introduced co-founders Steve Keir and Monique Eyles to guests at the gorgeous Cliff House, a private residence recently completed in Coogee, by Renato D’Ettorre Architects.

Guests enjoyed the sublime views of Gordon’s Bay, lunched on delectable catering by Savva Savas of Plated, and some were lucky enough to take a tour of the envy inducing property.

Guests included lifestyle, design, broadcast and fashion media, with some notable friends of the Hotelesque family faces including Emma Spon-Smith (looking delectable in yellow Rachel Gilbert!), Terry Biviano, Jo Casamento and Skye Leckie also in attendance.

Operating since 2005 and headed up by finance and property specialists Steve Keir andMonique Eyles, Hotelesque is grounded in market leading expertise and experience. It is this expertise and foresight that led Keir and Eyles to re-brand their business from Your Home Away from Home to Hotelesque in August 2018 with the intention to further establish its brand positioning and offering in the luxury hospitality industry.

Offering a curated selection of Sydney’s most prestigious and luxury homes, Hotelesque holds a portfolio of 120 investment and lifestyle properties and is continuing to grow in the competitive landscape.

Service and experience is what distinguishes this business as a differentiated offering to its competitors, delivering superior service to property owners and a unique premium experience to guests through a deep understanding of the long-stay traveller. Each property is carefully hand selected to ensure a consistent level of premium properties, with the in-house team working closely with each home owner at the outset to ensure the property is styled impeccably to have instant appeal to prospective guests, to ensure long-term financial return on the property.

The in-house team provide key interior solutions spanning furniture, appliance and kitchen fit-out packages, with suppliers such as Coco Republic, to ensure the portfolio of homes are consistent in premium styling. Typically, homes styled by the in-house design team on average attract higher occupancy levels.

“Through our turn-key solutions, we are providing another platform for property owners and investors to generate a consistent high-return revenue stream,” says CEO Steve Keir. “Internally, we are prototyping technology that enable us to record property information for more seamless property management, further enabling future bookings through steady high ratings and reviews,” Keir adds.

For guests, the locally based concierge is a service provided that elevates Hotelesque from the likes of Airbnb. For a fee, guests are able to request a grocery pick up, car transfer, bed hire, special dining experience and more. Guests are serviced whilst in house to ensure they have the perfect stay, with all amenities provided at no additional cost.

“All of our concierges are locally based, so you can always rely on seven day a week support, as well as local knowledge and expertise,” says Director Monique Eyles. “Whether it is organising replacement clothing to counter lost luggage, our team will work to satisfy every need of our guests, ” Eyles adds.

While already well established in Sydney, where the number of properties under management is set to triple to 300 by 2019-20, Hotelesque is on the cusp of expansion interstate into Victoria and Queensland and overseas to New Zealand.

Source: Hotelesque

Princess reveals name of fifth Royal-Class ship

As Princess Cruises’ fleet expansion continues, the premium international cruise line revealed the name of the ship it will launch in 2020 – Enchanted Princess.


Enchanted Princess is scheduled to debut on June 15, 2020 sailing on a series of European voyages. Bookings for her maiden season, Summer 2020, will open on November 8, 2018.

“The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising,” said Jan Swartz president of Princess Cruises. “We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise holiday.”

Ms Swartz said Princess has the strongest pipeline of premium new ship builds in the world. The arrival of Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of the sixth Royal-Class vessel for Princess Cruises in 2022. The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.

Construction of the 143,700-ton, 3,660-passenger Enchanted Princess will take place in the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard with the ship set to feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s previous Royal-Class ships.

Princess Cruises currently operates a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, sailing voyages around the globe. Enchanted Princess is a sister ship to four other Royal-Class ships in thecruise line’s fleet – Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess (joining the fleet in October 2019).

Source: Princess Cruises