Bath delights

Each time I am travelling I try to have a bath drawn out for me atleast one of the nights in my stay. It is the most relaxing feeling in the world, especially after a day of hectic meetings. I would so love to be able to do the same at my own home, don’t you? The Small Luxury hotels of the World (SLH) team has gotten us tips on just how we can do that

Chateau Mcely, Czech Republic

Hana Schwanzerbachova , Spa Manager, Chateau Mcley

“At Chateau Mcley, we have developed a range of organic products to showcasetraditional Bohemian herbal remedies, and Mcely Bouquet elixirs can be added to the bath for guests each night. At home, create a honey bath by dissolving one cup of honey, three spoons of virgin olive oil, two litres of unskimmed milk and one litre buttermilk into warm running bath water. Light candles and an aroma burner and relax in the bath for atleast 20mins. It was melt away your stress and leave your skin beautifully soft.”

Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

Jennie Teo, Spa village Manager, Pangkor Laut Resort

“We offer a bath menu is all the rooms at Pangkor Laut Resort, and the Spa therapists draw them  out for our guests. At home I recommend “Lovers dip”-a sensuous milk bath scented by fresh rose petals, kaffir lime and stimulating essential oils:

Mix fresh pandan leaf juice with kaffir lime juice in the tub and pour milk (about 3 ltrs). Pandan leaves are very beneficial for health, they are even used to treat several skin disorders. Kaffir lime acts as a great rejuvenator, alleviates colds and helps restore energy. Its also an excellent astringent and has anti-bacterial ingredients. Fresh milk helps hydrate, alleviate redness and prevent irritated skin.”

Well fresh milk is what kept Cleopatra look stunning all those many years ago so who are we to argue

Romantic Evening

This one is a sure winner. Besides the comfort and luxury of a hotel we do like to go for meals for our special occasions. And ofcourse all of us know that besides the expense sometime after a tiring day at work you just don’t want to get out of your home. Here Small Luxury Hotels of the World(SLH) help us to create a romantic meal for two at home complete with serving wine like a Sommelier

The Arch, London, UK 

Gemma Dean, F&B Manager, The ArchLondon

“It’s all about first impressions, get your table set correctly and have a wow factor element – whether it be a pot of fresh herbs on the table, a personal name card with secret message or a special bottle of well selected wine ready. Match it with soft background music and candlelight and you’re on to a winner!”

Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, USA

Mark Severs, Restaurant Manager,WentworthMansion

“I have many guests order a bottle of wine that they are familiar with and have enjoyed at home.  It is amazing how many times the guest will comment how much more pleasing the wine was here at the restaurant.  There is infinitely more that goes into the tasting of wine than just the actual flavour – it’s the temperature, the stemware that it is served in and the feel it has on your hand, the visual presentation of the wine, the food you are enjoying with the wine, the surroundings in which the wine is being consumed, and the company that you are sharing.

The first step in wine presentation is making sure your bottle of wine is at the correct temperature.  The temperature will be different for whites and reds, as well as for wines with different weights. Once the bottle is selected and you have the correct temperature, I like to present the bottle of wine.  Tell your guest which wine you are serving, including the year. When pouring, twist the bottle about 180 degrees and wipe against a napkin so that no wine is spilled.  For white wines I will typically ask whether they would like the bottle kept on ice or on the table.  Some of your heavier whites (chardonnay) will benefit from a little warmer temperature. Make sure you top up your guests’ glasses throughout the evening.”

To check out more tips on How to Create Hotel style in your home click here

Spa Magic at Home

Spas have become a big rage and trend around the world. Especially since our hectic lifestyles and travels leave our skins dehyderated and bodies absolutely tired. I for one try to fit in a Spa appointment atleast once a month, and especially if I am travelling I try to take time out to visit the hotel spa atleast for a massage if nothing else. I know alot of people who do the same and I am sure none of us would mind having such handy tips at home to soothe our senses once in a while. Here again the Small luxury Hotels of the Worl (SLH) team has put together a few tips on how we can create a Spa at Home.

Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux, France

Delphine Duffours, Spa Manager, Les Sources de Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa

“Relaxation is a question of atmosphere – even in the most ordinary bathroom, you can recreate the atmosphere of a luxury spa, thanks to some accessories and products. Here are my 4 tips to spa bliss in your own home – firstly put some scented candles around your bath. A soft light and fragrance will fill your bathroom, for an immediate sensation of well-being. Secondly, put on some soothing music. Classical, background music or natural sounds, choose what has the most relaxing effect on you. Then – take your time. Be sure that you won’t be interrupted during this “spa session”, give yourself some time to focus on your well being. Prepare yourself a cup of green tea and a plate of fresh fruits high in potassium, like banana, kiwi, or avocado, to help relieve stress and anxiety.Finally, choose new beauty products, with soft textures and delicate fragrances. Take care of your body with a scrub, take time for a facial mask, massage and moisturize your body and your face.”

 Huvafen Fushi, NIYAMA and Desert Palm, Per AQUUM Retreats, Maldives – 

Jason Sloan, Group Director of Spa, Per AQUUM Retreats

Home scrub for skin like velvet, it works! Mix up some medium coarse salt or sugar (sugar is milder in texture and better for sensitive skin), cover the sugar/salt in grape-seed oil and some lavender essential oil. After being in the warm to hot bath for five minutes the skin has softened enough for you to scrub your legs arms and body as you bathe, the scrubbing circular action will remove dead skin and the oils will nourish, soothe and heal. Use with a loofah or exfoliating gloves if you wish. After the bath, shower with warm water to remove excess oils and pat dry, moisturise if necessary.

For a very gentle effective face peel; wash your face with a mild PH balanced cleanser. Mix fresh lemon juice with live natural unsweetened yoghurt leave on your face for 15 minutes (avoid eye area) and gently wash your face. Use a gentle toner and apply moisturiser. Very deep cleansing – try this regime 3 times a week and see the difference.Bring your spa to your bed – try adding lavender/rosewood to the final rinse in your wash cycle for your sheets!”

To check out more tips on how to create Hotel style at your home click here

Choose your Art

Choosing Art work for the house can seem like a very daunting experience. Especially since art is an expensive investment and a very impactful one at that. Noone wants to make the wrong desicion. Here we have a few people from the team of Small luxury hotels of the World (SLH) give us tips on how we can choose the right art work for our house, particularly the living and bedroom.

Pudi Boutique Hotel, Shanghai, China

Janet Bao, General Manager, Pudi Boutique Hotel

“The moment they step into the lobby here at Pudi Boutique Hotel, guests feel as if they are staying in an art gallery. We mix oil paintings and sculpture from young Chinese artists with a modern style. Guests may purchase these art works and take them home to add to their own collection. A few tips I’d offer when choosing art for your own home – choose a painting the width of your mattress to hang over your bed for dramatic effect in the bedroom – pick out colours from the painting in your cushions and bedding too. It is well worth investing in special lighting to highlight your artwork. And I like to choose one colour as a central theme and select pieces incorporating this colour to draw my whole art collection together – at Pudi Boutique Hotel red copper is featured in most of our artwork to add a strongShanghai feel.”

The George, Christchurch, New Zealand

Bruce Garrett, General Manager, The George

“In the bedroom you can use symmetry for maximum impact with matching lamps and cushions and a bigger bed head or panel with a horizontal frame to create a dramatic and stylish effect. Use neutral colours throughout with a pop of colour in each piece of artwork to make it stand out. It’s also effective to use one theme (like a region, or era – here at The George our themes include iconic images of our city in the guest rooms and NZ artists throughout the hotel) and then have different types of artwork based on the same theme including photography and pieces from different artists throughout your home. Choose matching frames in a row to pull your artwork together and use spotlighting to highlight each piece.”

To check out more tips on how to create hotel style at your home click here

Flower Power

Ok, so obviously hotels spend a lot of attention to their flower displays. Beginning from the entrance lobby to the restaurants to the room, most hotels have elaborate displays. The thing I have learnt and been told by a lot of experts is, that most of these displays are not that difficult to achieve and can add a lot of panache to any room. Here again we have a few experts from Small Luxury hotels of the World  (SLH) giving us a few tips

Fleming Mayfair, London, UK

Yan Skates, Director, Bespoke Flowers, Fleming Mayfair

Image Courtesy- SLH,Flemings Hotel

“Our flower displays change in design from week to week, to keep up the wow factor for our regular visitors. So that would be my first tip- keep changing your displays every time you entertain. We take inspiration from new quirky venues in the city, study interior magazines religiously and keep up with current exhibitions in town or when travelling abroad. Inspiration can strike anyplace and anywhere so keep a lookout. Shop windows can be another great source. Another tip- if you pick from the garden or have a limited budget, a small number of blooms have more impact if they are put individually in vases. The vases could be the same or a variety depending on your theme and décor.”Hansar Bangkok, Thailand

Khun Surasak Jaijumpa, head florist, Hansar Bangkok shares his step by step technique to create a flower arrangement for your home.

You will need:

– Variety of flowers of various sizes.( I have used long stem roses, alstroemeria, lisianthus, amaryllis and tulips)

– Medium sized glass vase

– Bundle of twigs- (I have chosen red wood)

– Fresh water

Method

– Begin by cutting the wood sticks to the height of the glass vase. Next line the glass vase with smaller glass tubes*, if you do not have glass tubes at home you can use the wood sticks in place of this.

– After the glass tubes are positioned, put the red wood in between each tube to keep the over all display sturdy and provide a nice colour accent and texture to flowers

– After all the cut wood sticks are places, add some additional uncut red wood branches to give the arrangement some height

– Now fill the vase with water. You can use a syringe to squirt the water the keep the arrangement clean.

– Now, cut the flowers and begin placing them into the arrangement. Tip- start with the larger size flowers first and then fill in the empty areas with smaller ones. And you are done!

*These test tubes are easily available at any chemist or even some stationary stores.

Here is a DIY tip by me on how to create an interesting Flower arrangement

Photograph- Binaifer Bharucha

Instead of using just traditional vases, use various single pieces of sets. So these could include a few small vases as well as glasses and cups of various sizes. The thinner glasses/vases can be used for long single flowers and the wider ones for bunches of smaller flowers. Place these on a long tray and put them on a console or in a round tray on your round dining table. You can use ribbons and lace to wrap these vases/glasses. This is a perfect look for an outdoor party.  Add more quirky elements like colourful beads in the clear glasses. This looks funky and doesn’t cost much at all. So go ahead try it and let me know how it worked.

To check out more tips on how to create hotel style at home click here

Create Hotel style at home

I love staying in hotels. I do. For me that can be a major high or low point in my travel plan depending on how good or bad my accommodation is. I just love the attention to every small detail that is given from the welcoming way you are greeted at the door, to the perfectly made bed, to the beautifully arranged flowers. I can just go on and on.  Some of my exceptional experiences has been with properties under the Small Luxury hotels of the world (SLH) profile.  Small Luxury Hotels of the World has got some of the finest small independent hotels in their portfolio. From cutting edge design hotels to palatial 17th century mansion, city centre sanctuaries to remote private islands, SLH offers only the best. Well as luck would have it SLH team has gone behind the scene at a number of their properties and got us tricks on how to create the hotel experience at home. Here are a few of the tips they have shared with us;

Photograph Courtesy iStockphoto

1. How to create a stylish vase of flowers

2. How to draw the ultimate relaxing bath

3. How to mix a spot on Martini

4. How to choose art to compliment your space

5. How to create your own home Spa

6. Create a Romantic evening and serve wine like a Sommelier

Perfect Martini

Photograph-Kartikey Shiva Styled- Aparna Kaistha

“Shaken not stirred” the famous dialogue by Ian Flemmings iconic character James Bond made the classic drink so popular. Here we have the bartender at one of the Small Luxury hotels of the world property DUKES bar, where Mr. Flemming was a frequent visitor, gives us tips on how to make that perfect Martini to impress your guests at the next house partyDUKES ST JAMES, Mayfair, London

Alessandro Palazzi, Head Barman, DUKES ST JAMES

“Drinks at DUKES bar is something of an occasion. Mix your own Martini at home and serve it up in a frozen glass”

Method:

–          A few drops of Martini DUKES Special blend of Dry Vermouth

–          75ml of frozen Gin or Vodka

–          Squeeze oil from a sliver of organic amalfi lemon peel into the drink and ream the glass with lemon peel oil

–          Add this lemon peel and serve

Cheers!”

Try out other simple cocktails and Margaritas for the next dinner you host.

To find out more tips to create hotel style at your home click here

Review: Tamra, Shangri-La, New Delhi

Tamra, the new all-day dining at the Shangri-la, takes its inspiration from the early ages of culinary evolution when copper (tamra) vessels were key components. I think the concept and the visual appeal of Tamra is fabulous. Tamra brings a high level of creativity to the casual dining scenario with a large variety of food offerings from around the world. It successfully brings old world charm and presents it in a new avatar,as it borrows its decor inspiration from the early trading markets when Indian spices, jute, copper, silk, leather and other items were appreciated at shores all over the world. Even the interactive kitchens are a tribute to the early market place, where Chefs showed off their skills and produced culinary delights to sell to traders and visitors.

Tamra, Shangri-la, www.stylecity.in

Walking into Tamra was quite a pleasant surprise for me as I am not used to seeing Hotel coffee shops go through such creative ideas and style the space. Tamra has a unique five, live kitchen concept, along with an elegant wooden bar next to the entrance. Conceptualized by the renowned Dubai based Stickman Design, the restaurant is a visual depiction of culinary delights from around the world. From the wheat grass lined planter boxes that form the backdrop to the continental station to Copper hanging pots that are displayed over the two infinity tables where mirrored walls provide an exaggerated view,the space gets an overall warm and convivial character

Tamra, Shangri-la, www.stylecity.in

Led by the hotels Executive Chef Martin Bracker, Tamra’s open theatre stations are Asian, Indian and regional, Japanese and Teppanyaki, homemade gelatos and a Dessert Bar, Cold Cuts, Cheeses, Breads and a Salad Bar. However despite the large Designed with intimacy in mind, Tamra has pockets of privacy screened off by decorative floor to ceiling jute rope partitions. Hanging shelves at the back of the show kitchens display decorative culinary installations and provide a quirky backdrop for the interactive kitchens while the counter tops are lined with signature dishes to showcase the food. The food itself is amazing! The variety and amount of food offered here possibly surpasses that of any other Hotel coffee shop buffet. They also have a ‘ghar ka khana’ counter which is perfect for the traveler who is missing home cooked food. Finally at Rs.2100++ (w/o alcohol) the buffet is also extremely well-priced. Piece of advice, go starving if you really want to enjoy the vast selection!

Chic and Stylish: Aloft Hotel, Bengaluru

It seems it has been ages since I went out of town and enjoyed a holiday. Now the secret about me is that half my purpose of going out of town is the hotel stay, so imagine my joy when I got an opportunity to visit Aloft Bengaluru, a funky and quirky new Hotel.The second you enter the Hotel you are greeted by an airplane of the ceiling. This instantly piques your interest while the hotel’s stylish urban design, buzzing bar and vibrant social scene is set to make Aloft the hottest destination in this fast growing market.Front desk, Aloft Bengaluru, www.stylecity.in

Cessna on the ceiling, Aloft Bengaluru, www.stylecity.in

Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park boasts atmospheric public spaces where guests can mix and mingle, read, work or play a game of pool at the Re:mix lounge or grab a drink and enjoy “Live @ Aloft Hotels” that showcases live band performances by emerging artists at the signature wxyz bar.

Refuel, Aloft Bengaluru, www.stylecity.in

Spacious loft inspired guest rooms feature the brand’s signature 9 feet high ceilings, oversized windows, an ultra-comfortable platform bed and walk-in showers with Bliss Spa® bath amenities. Designed for the millennial traveler in mind, Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park offers fast and free WiFi throughout the hotel.  Each room is equipped with a unique plug-and-play connectivity solution that connects most electronic devices to the 42’’ LED TV, turning the room into a high-tech office as well as an entertainment centre.

Presidential suite- 3D paint on the walls, Aloft Bengaluru, www.stylecity.in

Bedroom, Aloft Bengaluru, www.stylecity.inRecreational facilities at the hotel include Re:charge fitness centre and Splash pool. You can get a quick foodie fix at Re:fuel by Aloft, a one-stop, 24-hour grab-and-go food and beverage area or enjoy a leisurely meal at the hotel’s urban cool café style restaurant, Nook.Nook, Aloft Bengaluru, www.stylecity.inThe hotel offers 10,050 square feet of meeting space with largest banquet hall being 411 square meters, 7 tactic meeting rooms equipped with the latest generation of audio-visual hardware and an outdoor terrace Backyard providing the perfect creative spaces for business meetings or social gatherings.Remix, Aloft Bengaluru, www.stylecity.inPrice starting from Rs 6499/- plus taxes inclusive of breakfast Sunday to Thursday and Rs 5489/- plus taxes inclusive of breakfast on Friday and Saturday. SPG members, Starwood Hotels’ award winning loyalty program earn double StarPoints on this offer.

For more information call 18002582516 or log on to www.alofthotels.com/cessnabusinesspark.

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Beauty Ritual: The Imperial Salon, New Delhi

Ritual: Elixir Ultime 24 Carats,90 minutes, Rs.3,200++
Location: The Imperial Salon, New Delhi

The Imperial Hotel, which in my opinion is the epitome of luxury, now introduces a large variety of luxurious skin and hair treatments at the Imperial Salon. These include Kerastase Ladies Hair and Nail treatments, Signature facials with Natura Bisse Products, Bridal Preparations, Nair Art and Nail Care along with OPI, Special treatments for male grooming needs and a retail shop for all Homecare products.

Ladies Salon entrance, Imperial Salon, www.stylecity.in

My love for the Imperial Hotel, its Old world charm and exclusive services is very well known, which is why I never turn down an invite from them and am never disappointed. This time was no different as I tried out their Elixir Ultime 24 Carats ritual. The idea behind this treatment is to provide shine, nourishment, protection and resistance for the hair. This ritual combines a customization of treatments and massage techniques that best suit you to make you feel relaxed and beautify your hair.

Elixir Ultime 24 Carats,Imperial Salon, www.stylecity.in Elixir Ultime 24 Carats,Imperial Salon, www.stylecity.in

The treatment begins with a Personalized Hair and Scalp Analysis with a Diagnostic Camera. This is to profile the thickness of hair shaft, sebum levels in hair, scalp sensitivity, any dandruff and hair loss. My results were that I have healthy roots but dry hair thanks to over use of chemicals and hence my treatment will focus more on my hair strands than the roots. The “Exilr Ultime” which was recommended for my hair starts with a shampoo and followed by the application of a Hair Booster and a beautifying oil masque, Oleo. Oleo – Complexe is precious luxury oil that contains Maize Oil for Nourishment, Pracaxi Oil for strengthening, Argan Oil for protection and Camellia Oil for smoothening. This is applied section by section across the hair and followed by a gentle massage.The in- depth massage has 7 steps that concentrate on enhancing hair growth, stimulating the scalp and encouraging circulating that provides long term hair beautification and also de stressing your crown chakra. These massage techniques which incorporates pressure point massage techniques, occipital work, push and pull and raking techniques from India, Bali and Thailand create a deep relaxation. After the oil massage, mask application ritual the hair is rinsed and a small amount of Elixir Ultime is run through the hair before a smoothing blow dry and style. And your hair looks a feels like a million bucks.