Category: Hotels

Hôtel Vernet

Sorry for the radio silence folks…we had a wonderful launch party for the magazine a few weeks back and then I flew down to Melbourne to catch up with friends and family and to get some much needed R&R.

I’m still getting through the glut that is my inbox, but in the meantime I thought I’d share some pics that I found of the newly renovated Hôtel Vernet in Paris by one of my favorite French designers, François Champsaur. Love it.

For more images of the rest of the hotel (this is just the restaurant) check out Yatzer

The Pottinger

I am so excited to be able to finally share some news and an update on some of the work I’ve been doing!

The Pottinger, which is opening very soon, is a luxurious 68-room hotel situated in the heart of central – on the corner of Queen’s Road and Pottinger Street – the first pebbled stepped street in the city, which was named after Sir Henry Pottinger, Hong Kong’s very first Governor.

The design of the hotel is all about celebrating Hong Kong’s heritage, and I’m very proud to have been associated with this wonderful project.

Check out the website and facebook page for activities that are happening leading up to the official opening, and check back here for more news!

Oh, and happy lunar new year everyone!


Still stuck in London this week, figuratively speaking anyway (maybe its the grey skies and bad weather in Hong Kong ?)  This time with UK based founding editor of Elle Decoration magazine, Ilse Crawford.  Her latest project, the Ett Hem hotel in Stockholm is just lovely.  Created with the mix of new and old that Crawford is known for, and infused with a sense of timelessness. Each of the 12 rooms is slightly different, the library is full of books and a piano, the kitchen is cosy and homely. All adding up to a hotel that looks and feels more like a home than a hotel, which I’m sure was the intention of the designer and hotelier.  It will definitely be high on my list of places to stay if I ever make it back to Stockholm.
How great does that bath tub look??


Speaking of Ilse Crawford, she herself will be speaking in Hong Kong next week at the annual Business of Design week, and I for one am looking forward to it.  I saw her speak in Australia just after she left Elle Decoration (must be more than 10yrs ago now?) and she was already talking about emotive design then, so it will be very interesting to hear how her design process and outlook has developed.  I’ll be going to BODW with a media pass this year for the first time and am hoping to interview a few of the speakers, so stay tuned!

Hotel Bel-Air

The Legendary Hotel Bel-Air is re-openining in October this year after 24 months of extensive redesign and refurbishment, and I am very excited to be able to share some images with you before it even opens!

The design of the hotel has been a collaborative effort between two design teams – Alexandra Champalimaud and Rockwell Group – both internationally renowned and responsible for some of the most amazing hospitality spaces.

Both firms have taken great care to keep much of the hotel’s originality, restoring the most beloved iconic elements while adding contemporary touches. The familiar Spanish Colonial architecture splashed in “Bel-Air Pink” is still present while a new Bel-Air aesthetic has been introduced in a fresh, youthful and elegant manner.

The Hotel will re-open with 12 new accomodations built into the hillside offering sweeping canyon views, expansive sliding glass walls, outdoor fireplaces and spacious decks with private infinity edge spa pools. The original 103 guest rooms will re-open with larger bathrooms and heated floors. In addition, seven specialty suites which have been individually designed – including the famous Grace Kelly suite and a new Presidential Suite compound with 6,775 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space. This suite will offer private dining for 10, a chef’s kitchen, a study, great room with grand piano, and a private pool located within a private Spanish courtyard. Sounds very Presidential indeed!
Lobby area

The Canyon-view Suite


Spa Loft

Relaxation Room


Presidential Suite


Presidential Suite Bathroom

In celebration of the opening, Hotel Bel-Air has launched a Facebook promotion and is giving away a three night stay, $500 dining credit, $500 La Prairie Spa credit AND an autographed Wolfgang Puck cookbook! All you have to do to enter the contest is become a fan of Hotel Bel-Air on Facebook before October 15th, 2011. Fingers crossed, and good luck to us all…(I wouldn’t mind a trip to LA!) 😉

All images care of Champalimaud Design

The House Hotel

Another cool looking hotel in Turkey that has recently opened is The House Hotel in the Nişantaşi district of Istanbul. Designed by more Turkish talent – Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çaglar of Autoban. You may already be familiar with their furniture and lighting collection available through De La Espada, however the dynamic duo has been very busy designing some very stylish interiors, including the 208 restaurant on Hollywood Road in Hong Kong.

I think this might also be on my accommodation wish list when I finally get to Istanbul…what do you think?

Edition Hotels – Istanbul

One of the cool new hotels I mentioned in my previous post is the newly opened Edition Hotel in Istanbul, designed by Gabbellini Sheppard & Associates (with the spa designed by Hirsch Bedner & Associates). The second project in the brand new Marriott/Schraeger portfolio (see my previous post on the Waikiki Edition), the Istanbul Edition is contemporary luxe hotel design at its best.

The lobby and public spaces are a breathtaking symphony of natural materials: different textured and organically veined stones perfectly offset the diamond-matched timber veneers.

“Espa”, the in-house spa is just stunning. It looks incredibly calming, and I love the combination of marble and bronze – a material I feel is very under used in interiors. The combination of geometric forms and timber inlays also helps to remind you where you are.

But, its the Guestrooms I’ve fallen for. Big time. I think I will definitely have to stay here if and when I get to Istanbul. Cocooned in either light or walnut timbers they look very restful.

With a few more hotels set to open in the near future (including Bangkok, a little closer to me) it seems Edition could be on a bit of a roll. I just hope they keep me in mind if they ever want to open a hotel in Hong Kong 😉


Spicers Balfour Hotel

Inner city Brisbane (capital city of Australia’s northern most state, Queensland) may not be the first on the list of your must see getaway destinations, especially after the recent floods. However, if you are headed to there for a business trip, or in Australia and looking for a weekend away that will help the local economy I’d stay at the new Spicers Balfour Hotel in New Farm.
Just minutes from theCBD of Brisbane, this nine-room boutique hotel has something to offer every kind of traveller. The design of the hotel and colour palette employed throughout is not typical of tropical Queensland, which I kinda like. The hotel is appropriately urban and looks to me like it would feel more like staying in a very chic friends city pad. Each room has a 50″ TV, Bose i-pod docking stations and a great mix of antique and modern furnishings. The rooftop bar is definitely a strong selling point, but its the Library that had me at hello. I wonder if this is where the nightlycanapés are served?Fantastically located within walking distance of the shopping district, art galleries and local gastronomy…I’ll definitely be staying here next time I’m in Brizzy.


The welcoming reception / check-in area

Great views of Brisbane city from the rooftop bar

The lovely looking library – very chic and cosy!
Another view of the library – I love the mix of colours in here

All day dining area

The meeting rooms – very chic

A view of a Balcony room

One of the Courtyard Rooms

All photos care of Spicers Group

The Green Leaf Niseko

Hong Kongers have endured the coldest January since 1977, and a pretty darn chilly February too! I can’t complain too much though, I know there are much colder places in the world. So I’m thinking if you can’t escape the cold and get to somewhere exotic like Waikiki, then embrace it and go to the snow!

Niseko village is a few hours out of Sapporo in the Northern most island of Japan, Hokkaido. A place famous for beer, crab and skiing, and a favorite haunt for some of my friends. I never did make it to Hokkaido when I lived in Japan, but I might just need to organise a trip soon….and The Green Leaf resort may just be the place to say.

Newly designed by Alexandra Champalimaud and her team, The Green Leaf in Niseko, a 200-room ski-in, ski-out resort has unobstructed views of nearby Mt Yotei. The resort has been designed in a style which incorporate traditional elements of European mountain lodges with touches of Japanese style and local art.

One of the great things about Niseko is that its just as beautiful all year round, with plenty to do when its not of ski season. Even during ski season at The Green Leaf there is plenty to do for non-skiers (such as myself), the natural onsen and spa look like a great place to stay warm and still enjoy the views.

What am I waiting for..?


Exterior – beautiful both at night and during the day

Looks like a nice place to sit around with some warm Sake I think…


The traditional onsen. trust me, there is nothing better on a cold day, and such an authentic Japanese experience

Above 3 images are the “Tomioka” Lounge


Above two images of the “Goshiki” Bar (check out the stunning views!)


Suite Bedroom
Suite Living Room

King Room

Twin Room

All photographs taken by Aaron Jamieson,
care of Champalimaud Design

the Waikiki Edition

Even Hong Kong’s mild winter has had me dreaming of far off places that are much warmer…of beaches and the smell of sand, surf and sunscreen. As I have no beach holiday planned in the near future I’ll just have to make do with these images of the new Yabu Pushelberg designed EDITION hotel in Waikiki.

EDITION hotels, the latest brand in the Marriott portfolio, is the brainchild of Mr Marriott himself and Ian Schrager, the entertainment and hospitality pioneer. The Waikiki Edition is the first (Istanbul is set to open early this year) of possibly 100 lifestyle hotels to be located in “24 hr gateway cities” around the world.

Chosen for their clean and simple aesthetic, Yabu Pushelberg looked to their own personal residences for inspiration when deciding on the design direction for the 353-room hotel, which lends an intimate, relaxed and ‘un-designed’ feel but with a sophisticated edge.

In keeping with the less is more concept, the firm opted for a fresh and airy design plan, a refined nod to 1960s Hawaiian nostalgia. All public spaces, guest rooms and even outdoor areas offer guests a beachy, eclectic, and effortless environment, which ties in well with the structure’s simple architecture. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with an intimate, low-ceiling lobby, where whitewashed woods, charcoal black floors, white and oatmeal furnishings, and natural fabrics like the massive woven rope rug are combined in direct contrast to the lush surrounding greenery. Key design features in this space include a massive sculptural carved-wood reception desk, which is mirrored by a similar carved lobby bar. An oversized pivoting bookshelf divides the reception area from the lobby bar and is similarly equipped with an eclectic mix of relaxed, neutral furnishings. Oh, and the surfboard sculptural installation behind the reception desk is pretty fun too.

Upstairs, the neutral color palette continues. Breezy guest rooms are done in crisp whites and oatmeals and are accented by massive teak louvered window panels and carpeted floors in natural shades. Tufted headboards and chaise lounges add a soft sexiness to the space, as do the clean white bedding choices. Fresh spa-like bathrooms were constructed with cast Terrazzo sinks, floor-to-ceiling off-white subway tiles, and teak louvers that divide this area from the bedroom. To die for, right?

Another amazing feature of the hotel are the two spectacular pool decks. The main pool deck, located on the second floor and looking out over the harbor, features Ipe wood decking with an upscale pool bar tucked off to the side. A series of planters have been implemented to create a shaded canopy alongside the pool deck. Just above the main deck is the upper pool deck, which doubles as the VIP pool area. Here the round central pool is surrounded by sand and palm trees, as is the more casual poolside bar. Beach mats with oversized cushions and low-slung sun loungers, all done in a neutral palette, make for an inviting poolside environment in both areas.

*SIGH* I’ll just add this to my ever growing list of destinations on my “must see” list….
All photographs taken by Evan Dion

Fullerton Bay

I’m rather enamoured with the recently opened Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore designed by Hong Kong based Andre Fu of AFSO. Not that I’ve ever needed an excuse to visit Singapore, but this place (especially the stunning check-in counter!) is certainly good motivation to book a flight sooner rather than later…

The Upper House

Last week I had the pleasure of checking out the fairly recently opened The Upper House establishment in Hong Kong- the second installment by Swire hotels (they opened The Opposite House in Beijing late last year). Designed by local rising star Andre Fu of AFSO (who will be speaking at BoDW later this week), the spaces are done in a modern Asian style that is simple, elegant and luxurious. I haven’t seen the guest rooms yet, but the public spaces are lovely. When I checked out Cafe Gray for both mid-afternoon coffee and a late night cocktail it was jam packed. News travels fast in this city. I have to say though I especially loved the Living Room….complete with an open fireplace (a bit of a rarity in this city) that might just have to be added to my favorites list, see previous post on fireplaces here. What you can’t see in this photo is during the day when the drapes are drawn there is an enviable view of green mountain side. What a great place to curl up with a book – any time of the day!

Photo taken by a fabulous photographer, and friend, Haf Saba (click to enlarge).

More Madrid style…

Good weather, great food and cutting edge design are all great reasons to visit Spain, but then who really needs an excuse? The next time I make it to Madrid I think I will have to try and stay at the Hotel Villa Magna. Designed by Spaniard Thomas Urquijo, the Villa Magna is beyond chic. Its contemporary, yet so classic and timeless – my kind of place.

Oh, and I am so in love with that blue sofa/bench in the lobby area I could just die.