Asia – ‘Hotel inspired interiors and gardens’, Luxury Hotels
Holidays or business trips spent at luxury hotels and resorts can provide superb inspiration and creative ideas that can be incorporated into residential projects – energising you to replicate back home that luxurious, ‘Five Star’ look.
Asian influences in interiors and garden design are nothing new. Yet, despite different and new trends appearing all the time, from Africa, Latin America and beyond, Asia remains one of the most inspirational destinations.
Shangri La is probably one of the most esteemed hotel groups in the world, with each of its properties aiming to reflect the magic of the legendary land featured in James Hilton’s novel, ‘Lost Horizon’. This is no less true at their Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei, the energetic and ever changing capital of Taiwan.
A visit here used to be more for business, but now the island is rightly also being recognised for its exceptional natural environment and the great cuisine to be enjoyed. The place to stay at Shangri La’s 43 story tower of luxury is on one of the prestigious Horizon Club floors. Immaculate guest rooms and a VIP lounge make sure you feel special. The exclusive club uses exquisite fabrics, bespoke furniture, classic prints and large coffee table art books to create a welcoming ambiance; whilst the hotel’s sleek Marco Polo Restaurant is a great place to see how bold use of vibrant colour with imaginative lighting can really make a space feel decadently rich.
In the guest rooms the Shangri La Far Eastern Hotel cleverly combines classic design with high quality materials and linens. This is a real design secret; choose the best you can afford, as layered fabrics and textures create a warm, welcoming, luxurious look. Staying in a beautiful guest room here helps you understand what makes a room five star; it is the attention to detail that takes the space from attractive, to seductive and luxurious.
The rooms are made even more stunning with superb views of Taipei’s 101 Tower. The interior designers have made the most of these views with clean and elegant window treatments. Take inspiration from the Shangri La, making the most of your views with tailor made blinds or high quality voiles; go for clean lines, uncluttered design, and neutral tones. Complete the sensory seduction with fresh flowers and scented candles; and you too can capture some of the magic of Shangri La.
Take a trip to Thailand’s extraordinary capital Bangkok and there is really only one place to stay, at the iconic Oriental Hotel. The property’s rich history permeates its walls, and within moments of arrival, greeted by handmade, scented garlands of orchids, you know you are somewhere unique. Since the merger of Hong Kong’s unrivalled Mandarin Hotel with Bangkok’s exceptional Oriental Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental hotel group has gone on to create some of the finest properties in the world.
For garden lovers, the established palms, lush plants and delicate orchids of The Oriental’s riverside grounds combine to create a wonderful exotic environment; one that could be recreated in part at home, with the use of striking architectural plants and seasonal flowers to add colour and interest.
The hotel’s secluded infinity pool has rich green and black tiles, lending it a sophisticated appeal, which perfectly complements its tropical garden setting. Deep bowls filled with floating flower petals are a simple but beautiful additional touch to the gardens.
Thailand is well known for its luxurious hardwoods and flawless silk, and there is no better place to see how these materials can be used to stunning effect than in one of the hotel’s amazing suites. ‘The Author’s Suite’ for example is a haven of tranquillity, show casing how silk wall coverings can really transform a space. Hardwood floors are perfectly complemented by oriental rugs, whilst vintage ceramics and antique artisan pieces complete the look. The craftsmanship is wonderful, and again here one sees that investment in great quality materials and finishing makes a room look and feel extraordinary.
Without doubt Bali is one of the most inspirational destinations in Asia. For decades it has defined the best in design and craftsmanship, marrying exquisite aesthetics with robust and luxurious materials. The Luxury Collection by Starwood has amongst its portfolio two exceptional properties on the Indonesian island that are truly inspirational; The St Regis and The Laguna. Both are very different in style, yet both offer plenty of ideas to fire up one’s creativity.
One enters the St Regis through its ‘Rain Forest Gate’, a huge arch-like structure, covered in tropical vines, and edged with palms and exotic plants; its striking design confirms that one is entering a refined and special place. This is again confirmed as one is greeted in the expansive lobby, with its architectural features, superb chandeliers and the impressive staircase sculpture that is filled daily with fresh flower petals.
The resort is a triumph of exquisite design, from the lush gardens with elaborate pools and lagoons, to the guest suites and villas. The property boasts some extra special private villas, known as the Strand Residences, offering the privileged few unrivalled privacy and a superb front line beach location. These residences have a wealth of features and design touches, where polished hardwoods and hard finished furnishings combine to create an exclusive feel. A contemporary twist on plantation shutters adds interest to the huge windows, and the welcoming, calming ambiance is enhanced with books, scented candles and authentic Asian artefacts.
The bedroom suite is a perfect example of a private sanctuary. Its classic contemporary style four poster, draped generously with voiles, and made up with crisp white linens with perfect detailing make the bed totally five star.
Outside the compact walled garden of the villa has bespoke water features and eye catching sculptures, meaning that even the smallest of spaces is rich in interest; although little can compete with the hypnotic beauty of the azure Indian Ocean and the clear blue sky.
The Laguna, also in the exclusive enclave of Bali’s Nusa Dua is a larger hotel, but no less inspirational. The property is defined by its crystal clear swimmable lagoons that surround the guest rooms and villas. The ultimate in luxury and privacy is to be found at one of its Ratu Villas, with polished teak floors, hand woven carpets, and walls featuring hand carved detailing.
The bathrooms are places to both relax and reinvigorate oneself. Warm fine marble and hardwood accents convey quality whilst plenty of thick, fluffy white towels complete the exclusive hotel style. By incorporating locally carved stone and wood artefacts, the space is made extra special, a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing bath. Why not steal these style secrets, adding some interesting art or sculpture and investing in a few spa quality features, like a rainforest shower?
The power of lighting to change a space is clearly evident at The Laguna. Lighting is exquisite, from the use of candles in the distinctive Balinese gazebos, called ‘bale bengong’, to strategic accent and mood lighting. At night, lanterns hang from the trees along the beach, whilst architectural plants and features are highlighted with spots.
So, next time you are staying away from home, take a closer look at what makes your hotel special and see how you can steal the style and enjoy it at home.
The Far Eastern Hotel, Taipei
The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
The Laguna, Bali
The St Regis, Bali
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