Metropolitan Bangkok

The Thai capital has never really been known for stylish places to stay.

Everything about the Metropolitan Bangkok – from its graphic, post-modern exterior to its sleek and eyecatching lobby – exudes a cool, contemporary aura. A hip and happening hotel set back in a quiet part of South Sathorn Road in the heart of Bangkok’s CBD (it’s just behind the French Embassy), the Metropolitan is everything it promises to be and much, much more. The minute you arrive, smartly dressed staff (their uniforms are designed by Yohji Yamamoto) efficiently register you with minimal hassle and escort you to your room. A warm pot of Mulberry tea is then brought to you while you are unpacking your suitcase; a nice touch in this busy, harried world where homogeneity in services has become the norm. The guestrooms are clean and calming, not to mention soothing, for the senses. Dark-wood flooring contrasts with the spare aesthetic of the interior. Modern lighting gives the rooms a very seductive ambience. Beige slate bathrooms have a luxurious feel, even though it is stripped of any clutter and embellishments, testimony to the skill of interior designer Kathryn Kng. A Chinese meditation chair and a yoga mat add to the new-age element that would be appreciated by those who can tell the difference. The brainchild of Singaporean style maven, Christina Ong, the Metropolitan Bangkok is a sister to the hotel of the same name in London – a property already deeply entrenched in the psyche of Europe’s smartest set.

The swimming pool deserves a special mention for the clever way it is partially concealed from the view of the entrance and lobby, yet visible enough to impart a cooling effect on a hot Bangkok day. A separate entrance and the Thai capital has never really been known for stylish places to stay. Sure, there’s the Oriental and the Peninsula but they don’t exactly rate high on the cool scale. But in Bangkok, things don’t stay still for long, writes Ong Chin Huat exteriorprivate lift transports guests to the pool, an ingenious solution for guests who prefer to keep a lower profile in their swim suits. But the jewel in the Metropolitan crown must be its spa, Shambhala. Developed in line with the group’s flagship retreat at Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the massages and facials are reason alone to warrant a stay. Therapists honed by experience gathered from Parrot Cay transport you to Cloud 9. Shambhala also make their own bath and body products that utilise essential oils like geranium, lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus. The Metropolitan boasts 2 restaurants that are already making waves in culinary circles. Cy’an is a Mediterranean seafood restaurant with major influences coming from Moorish cuisine. Overseen by Australian chef Amanda Gale, the food is light and innovative. Glow, appropriately located adjacent to the spa, serves healthy, fresh organic food with an emphasis on energising juices rich in living enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Those wanting a detox or are recovering from a hangover could do worse than try their wheatgrass juice shot – freshly squeezed juice from actual crops grown on the premises. And finally there’s the Met Bar – the bar that shoots up the mercury on A-list in London – replicated for fans here in Bangkok. Sexy and stylish, it’s a members-only club (luckily hotel guests are allowed too) where the sleek and chic are in their element. Try the Tom-yam martinis because, like everything else in the Metropolitan, they are unique, unforgettable and leave you wanting more!

Metropolitan, Bangkok, 27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Tel 662 625 3333


Review by AK


Huile a la Lavande

Christophe Robin

As the new season approaches, you may like to refresh your appearance by changing your hair color to a light one. However, coloring and highlight will damage and weaken our hair, causing dryness and split ends. Together with sun exposure, sea and swimming pool water, hair condition will even get worse.  To provide your hair, use Christophe Robin Huile à la lavande as a protective treatment! It contains high cencentration of plant oils to nourish, moisturize hair and preserve its color, leaving your hair shiny and healthy! 

Huile à la lavande  (Lavender oil) HK$ 340 / 100ml

Christophe Robin is now available exculsively at Lane Crawford Times Square.?Telephone: (852) 3485 7432

Chinatown Entertainment

CHINATOWN Entertainment Emporium a Hot Ticket for Shanghai World Expo Corporate Hospitality
Exclusive VIP boxes for 4-12 Guests with champagne and whiskey for RMB 8,888
Exclusive VIP booths at Gosney & Kallman's CHINATOWN with a grandstand view of the fun and fantasy of Shanghai’s high-kicking 1930s heyday are hot tickets for corporate hospitality at this year’s World Expo. CHINATOWN’s second level booths can host between 4 to 12 guests and offer a private bar and bathrooms at the entertainment emporium, as well as VIP waitress services. It is the perfect venue for entertaining business clients or for meetings, incentives and conference events (MICE).  Themed booths such as the Absinthe Booth and Lovers Booth are also available and options can incorporate cigar and caviar packages, in collaboration with sponsors Don Cervantes Cigars and Black Pearl Caviar.
The entire second floor can also be booked for exclusive birthdays or special events catering for up to 70 guests.
?In anticipation of a particularly great demand during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the private booths are currently being promoted until May at just RMB 8,888.
The package also includes two complimentary bottles of Laurent Perrier Champagne and two bottles of fine Scotch whiskey, plus a refreshing fruit platter.
With all public venues in Shanghai becoming non-smoking from March 1 onwards, CHINATOWN’s third floor is being converted into a dedicated private ‘Smoking Bar’.
Says General Manager Anna Patterson, “We appreciate the global trend for public areas to be smoke-free, but also respect the rights of our guests to smoke in private if they wish, just as smoking rooms are provided in airports.”  Reviving the glamour of bygone Shanghai, CHINATOWN presents an intoxicating mix of cabaret, vaudeville and Broadway live variety floorshows with stunning showgirls and extravagant costumes.
It has become a must-see Shanghai attraction and one of the most memorable nightlife and event venues in the world.
CHINATOWN is open from Wednesday-Saturday from 8pm-2am.
Tel: +86 21 6258 2078
Address: 471 Zha Pu Lu, crossroad Wujin Lu

12 March 2010

Renaissance Harbour View Hotel

A Taste of Spring at Scala Restaurant

Scent of flowers in bloom and the cheery sunny days remind us that spring has arrived. To celebrate this season of new beginnings, Head Chef of Scala Restaurant, Chef Man has delicately prepared exquisite lobster dishes to refresh the palates.

Masterpieces include the Lobster bisque (HK$105*). The traditional method of making the soup is through blending the lobster head as well as lobster shell together then sieved before adding the ingredient to the soup. However Chef Man observed that by doing so, the lobster shell leaves a bitter taste alongside a relatively coarse texture. Hence he further perfected the process by eliminating the step of blending the lobster shell, and instead undertakes a more lengthy process of brewing the soup for five to six hours daily to slowly unleashing the essence of the lobster for a velvet finish before adding chunks of succulent lobster meat.

Another commendable choice is the Roasted scampi with baby spinach salad and black truffle dressing (HK$180*) which is well-suited to health conscious guest. Scampi contains rich taurine that helps to lower blood cholesterol, making it an ideal choice for guests who indulged in rounds of scrumptious food tasting during the Chinese New Year. Ingredient wise, Chef Man adopted scampi from New Zealand and fried the seafood with high heat so that the scampi is succulent and tender to the core with a curvy outline that corresponds to the leafy spinach to impress both the taste buds and the eyes.

Spaghetti lovers will be enticed by Angel hair with Boston lobster and tomato lobster sauce (HK$225). Generally, spaghetti sauces are thick and filling, hence Chef Man specially devised a special homemade tomato sauce, freshly-made daily with the perfect blend of tomato and mixture of herbs, with the zingy tomato highlighting the flavour of lobster’s sweetness, at the same time, light and easy to enjoy from beginning till the end of the dining experience. Aside from the aforementioned delights, do-not-miss the Mussels with saffron cream sauce with fresh herbs (HK$145*) and Spaghetti with clams and crispy bacon (HK$175*). The fine saffron and cream sauce are also best accompaniment of freshly baked bread for an alternative indulgence, while the clams imported from Manila are temptingly luscious to enjoy.

Scala Restaurant is open on Mondays to Fridays (except public holidays) from noon until 3:00pm for lunch, and Mondays to Saturdays for dinner from 6:30pm to 11:00pm. Closed on Sundays. 

For more information or reservations, please call the Scala Restaurant on 852 2802 8888 ext. 6363.

14 March 2010

Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort


Guests at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives, will be able to enjoy a moonlit massage as tribute to Earth Hour on March 27.
The moonlit massage treatment will only be available on Earth Hour Day, starting at 7 p.m. local time at CHI, The Spa. The 90-minute intuitive massage will be tailored to each guest, focussing on specific needs and using an organic virgin coconut oil specially made for the resort by the local community of an island near Villingili. This oil helps reduce the carbon footprint (because it is produced locally) and it supports the local community’s economy.

The treatment, available only for couples, will take place in the garden area of the couple treatment villas. Each couple will be offered a bottle of coconut oil and a complimentary candle-lit bath after the treatment as a thank-you for supporting this initiative.?Price of the massage per person is 200 USD (+10% service charge).





For more information about the massage or to make a reservation, please contact the resort directly at telephone (960) 689 7888 or e-mail  Alternatively, bookings can be made online at or through your preferred travel agent.

14 March 2010

Le Meridien Beach Resort, Thailand

"One of the loveliest things about Le Méridien is the air of peace and tranquility that pervades the entire resort.

A 5am start is never a welcome occurrence in my household. Regardless of my unconfined excitement at the prospect of a 5-day break in Thailand to attend the wedding of some very good friends, when the alarm clock does its job I immediately feel the nausea rising in my throat – a palpable sense of reluctance towards leave my cosy nest, regardless of the treasures awaiting me just a short plane ride away. A somewhat unimpressive breakfast at Chep Lap Lok airport – actually the breakfast was fine, I just don’t think humans are designed to eat at that time of day – did little to improve my fatigued, slightly affronted demeanour, which demanded answers as to why we had ever decided to get so early a flight in the first place. My questions were deftly rebuffed by my ever-patient man, whose facial expression suggested I get a grip on myself, pronto, if I wanted to avoid his wrath – fair play really. Three hours of sleep on a half-empty plane later and of course I was a different person, skipping giddily down the umbilical into Phuket airport and gliding into the back seat of the air-conditioned limousine waiting to whisk us off to our destination. This, as I pointed out to my man, is what it’s all about when doing a long weekend – convenience and luxury. No hanging about in the sweltering heat for a bus full of chickens – just a seamless hour-and-a-quarter zoom to Khao Lak whilst sipping chilled mineral water and feeling rather smug. On stepping into the spacious, airy lobby it was instantly clear why our friends had chosen Le Méridien as the venue for their celebration. We were greeted by immaculately turned out, smiling staff who escorted us to a relaxed seating area and gave us some very welcome, cool, lavender compresses for our weary brows and a refreshing, iced fruit drink. Before us lay the property’s beautifully landscaped, lush, tropical grounds, an enormous pool, and the inviting turquoise waters of the Andaman sea beyond.

We had arrived in paradise. The agenda for our trip, besides the wedding of course, was pretty simple – a) lie in sun b) swim in sea c) float in pool d) eat nice food e) drink nice wine f ) get good sleep g) frolic, decadently in luxuriously appointed accommodation. By the end of our first day we had already achieved all of the above, and in grand style. Our Lagoon Villa was simply beautiful, the décor throughout contemporary Thai – plenty of wood and stone, and a natural to neutral colour palette of olive greens, golds, taupes and beiges. A huge wooden bed took centre stage and my goodness, what a bed! After our first night of heavenly slumber, it was clear that this must jump straight to the top two of my “best beds ever slept in” register, (yes, I do have a register and the other bed, by the way, was at Babington House, Somerset, England). The villa boasted a sumptuous mini bar – not ‘mini’ at all, in fact, wi-fi, a plasma screen television and DVD player (very nice but who would watch television when staying somewhere like this?). The roomy wardrobes were complete with white waffle robes and matching slippers, white satin padded coat hangers for her (or his) delicates – a very nice touch – and a stylish wicker beach bag in which to carry your gubbins around the resort. Double doors opened from the sleeping area into the bathroom. A secluded outdoor rainfall shower was simply divine, particularly as it was in addition to the already luxurious indoor shower and separate plunge Jacuzzi, all of which were surrounded by piles of freshly laundered, plump white towels, wicker laundry baskets and aromatherapy toiletries. Plus the bathroom had two basins, one for him and one for her.

There’s many a couple who attribute the success of their relationship to having a basin to call their own. I’d never particularly subscribed to this school of thought, surmising that the couple that brushes (teeth) together, stays together. But, as I scattered my lotions and potions around my basin whilst my boyfriend scattered his stubble shavings and unfathomable quantities of water round his own, I began to see what they were driving at. Doors opened out from the villa onto our own little lagoon-front patio complete with cushion-covered, wooden loungers – a great place for an early evening cocktail, we thought, had it not been for the extremely protective daddy swan patrolling up and down day and night, taking care of his wife and baby signet. Several guests were terrorized by this beautiful yet ferocious beast but we just thought it was cute that he was doing such a good job of being a Dad. Dining is a highlight here. Options include the Bangsak Grill – great for lunch (we loved the parma ham and feta sandwich on toasted pesto focaccia with shoe string fries, complimented by a couple of glasses of crisp, Australian sauvignon blanc); the Baan Thai – home of the finest shrimp cakes we’ve ever tasted and an exceptionally good Thai green curry; Café Lilawadee – the place to be for a fantastic breakfast buffet each morning (the best croissants I’ve tasted outside of Paris) and the beachfront Bamboo Bar, a great venue for grabbing a lunchtime Singha or a few cheeky sun-downers before your evening shower.

Décor, tableware, menus and service throughout were first-class. Water-babies need look no further – the property has two pools, both of which are vast. The Main Pool – the largest one I’ve ever seen at a resort – is well landscaped and the perfect place for bobbing along on a lilo or just gently splashing around. The second, Spa Pool, is for adults only and ideal for a few pre-breakfast l Should you be feeling particularly energetic (some of our party were; I had a date with my i-pod and a stack of trashy mags), a daily programme of events is provided including water polo, kayaking, diving instruction, tennis, volleyball, sailing and tonnes more besides. For those not wishing to participate, rest easy – most activities take place well away from the main lounging areas so you won’t be disturbed… Indeed those looking for nothing but some well-earned rest and relaxation couldn’t choose a better place – adjacent to the second pool and just round the corner from the Bahn Thai lies Le Spa. A range of treatments to pamper both body and mind are administered in private spa villas, surrounded by the lush tropical gardens. Signature treatments include the Crushed Guava Seed Scrub, Lotus Blossom Milk Wrap and 90 minute ‘Nuad’ Thai Pan Boran massage, which involves stretching, yoga techniques and deep pressure along the body’s meridians. The only place I wanted to be after this treatment was back in that fabulous bed for a crafty mid-afternoon snooze. One of the loveliest things about Le Méridien is the air of peace and tranquility that pervades the entire resort; loungers are so plentiful there is never any need for the 7am dash, staff are relaxed and friendly and bars take last orders at 10.30pm, ensuring no disruption for those wishing to hit the hay early before another day on cloud nine. The tables in the Bangsak Grill have coasters which read “I eat well, and I drink well and I sleep well – but that’s all”, a quote from the playwright Thomas Norton. Indeed Le Méridien succeeds in ensuring each guest enjoys the very best of these, life’s simplest pleasures.

" Before us lay the property’s beautifully
landscaped, lush, tropical grounds,
an enormous pool, and the inviting
turquoise waters of the Andaman sea
beyond. We had arrived in paradise."

4th Floor, Muang Mai Building, 9/17 Moo 6, Thepkasattri Road, T. Rasda, A. Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand Tel 66 76 236-55

Review by Ellie Oreidy

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Connaught road is the newest refurbish hotel within the central area of Hong Kong. Millions have been invested into re-decorating this an iconic hotel into an even bigger attraction. Now with an enclosed balcony, the average room size is bigger and modernized.

I have always enjoyed my stay with the Mandarin Oriental hotels. It is always a welcoming experiencing like no others. One of the Mandarin's attribute is that it sells itself on impeccable service but not over the top kind. Wonderful staffs are always at hand to assist you. Meticulously decorated, the hotel always looks and smells good.

We stayed at the gorgeous Oriental Suite. Seriously hi-tech, sublimely kool and easy to managed. I am certain some of you at various stages have stayed in hotels and when it’s bedtime, you are at a lost to know which switches are which? Well, none of that here, even my kids could figure it out.

The showers are just awesome. The bathroom is incredibly spacious with an enormous “looks can be deceiving” very deep bathtub. Great for chilling with your bubbly champagne.

The hotel has a fantastic sauna room and one of the best compact steam room in town for you to unwind and relax.

Breakfast at the clipper lounge is amazing. It has a great variety of food and is extremely fresh . The seafood congee is a must!

Unfortunately that is all the details I can provide in a 24hr stay at this irresistable hotel untill my next check in date.

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel 852 2820 4202

Please visit:

Review by AK
20 December 2009

Cavalieri, Rome

“When in Rome…”

With the 13th FINA World Championships making a splash in Rome this summer, the most famous hotel in Rome took the opportunity to revamp itself for its 50th Anniversary by announcing its corporation into the Waldorf Astoria brand- making it the first European hotel of the hotel chain. Chic-modern is mixed in with art, history and extravagance after the thorough refurbishments. Andy Warhol pieces and Karl Lagerfeld designed furniture are displayed along with massive and impressive works by Giambattista Tiepolo and Nicolo’ Bambini, in suites and all over the hotel. Scattered around the hotel are also one-off furniture pieces that once belonged to royalty or dignitaries, all adding to the hotel’s ever-growing art collection donated by the patrons. It’s 3 Michelin Star Chef Wolfgang Puck has also reignited the restaurants name by recently serving the Obamas, and having been praised by Michelle for his famous Carbonara. It never felt so luxurious experiencing what the Roman’s do best.

Rome Cavalieri, The Waldorf Astoria Collection, Via Alberto Cadlolo 101, 00136 Rome, ItalyTel 39 06 3509 1
For more history in the making go to:

Review by Rebecca Gabbai