Jazz Night at Salon 10

13 03 2017

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Salon 10 is a bar unlike many others in Hong Kong. It is certainly chic, but also eccentric; not many places could pull off its Henri Rousseau-meets-ET wall mural and Stanley Kubrick-like curved lines. With plush wall banquettes, midcentury furnishings and a rounded ceiling, it feels a little bit like being in a groovy tunnel. Recently, I discovered that the bar is hosting a series of midweek jazz and Latin concerts with free entry, so we decided to go last week and check it out. It was a fun night.

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Dusit Thani bites the dust

9 03 2017

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A Bangkok landmark, the modernist Dusit Thai flagship hotel in Silom, will be demolished next year according to an announcement earlier this week.





Bangkok: design city

18 02 2017

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The Thai capital continues to blossom as a design force with this co-working space in the Habito mall recently awarded a prestigious prize from Archdaily magazine for “Best interior of 2017”.

Below, street art from Lisbon artist Vhils on the wall of the historic Portuguese embassy, marking the four hundred year old ties between Thailand and Portugal, one of its first Western traders, who left a now-almost-vanished expat community on the Thonburi side of the river for centuries.

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Subhashok The Art Centre, an impressive concrete structure in the leafy Sukhumvit hinterland, is another addition to the city’s growing and impressive art scene, with mural by Cece Nobre.

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And finally hair salon Klinsuwan reconnect with the city’s Southeast Asian roots, through walls of golden bamboo.

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Cholet!

12 02 2017

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Travel magazines are a guilty pleasure. Utterly disposable and laughably transparent, they are purely devices to stimulate spending. To this aim, everything always has to be “new!” – all the time. “The new Paris”, “The new New York”, “Hottest new destinations for 2017” (are they really going to be so different from the hottest destinations of 2016?), and so many “extraordinary” new hotel properties, yet all offering overpriced variations on a well-worn theme…a room and a swimming pool. Got it.

And yet, I like them. They are pure escapism and a very cheap way, for an hour or so, to feel rich, idly leafing through the pages and deciding which of these places I would (will?) go to.

Conde Naste Traveller, with its well-executed Instagram-inspired art direction (above) is a particular favourite.

This weekend I read an article in it on “South America’s New Hippest City” which was – to its credit, surprisingly – La Paz. But the article put a strong case and I learned something about the city I had never known before, namely that it has sparked a new architectural trend dubbed “cholet”, a portmanteau of “Chola” (Andean native) and “chalet”. Apparently a sign of greater indigenous affluence under President Evo Morales, the buildings have been commissioned by the indigenous nouveau riche from a riot of influences: art deco, street art, Transformers and traditional Aymara culture among them.

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You can read more about the cholet movement here.

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Melbourne cholet

12 02 2017

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Well, not quite. Still this “Lego Tower” apartment block is definitely a colourful break from Melbourne tradition – and I love it. I missed it on my recent trip and only learnt of its existence from a friend’s facebook pictures; when I asked where it was, I was surprised to hear her answer “St Kilda!”

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And meanwhile, there is also the jaunty “Hello” house in Richmond:

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Riding the back of the dragon

7 02 2017

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Bana Hills

7 02 2017

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Less than an hour from the Danang Beaches lies the starkly different – and noticeably cooler – Bana Hills, a fantasy resort made up of a fake French village, located atop a mountain. The resort is reached via the world’s longest cable car which glides up over spectacular jungle scenes – rushing mountain streams, enormous ferns and towering Tarzan-like rainforest trees, before entering the clouds and mists near the mountain’s summit.

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The “village” itself is mainly home to mediocre restaurants and shoving crowds of Vietnamese tourists, but the sheer scale and slickness of the operation came as a surprise to me (what else did Vietnam have up its sleeve?!), the beauty of the ride up is undeniable and the faux-Alpine village, wreathed in mist, is pleasingly surreal.

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