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

Hotel Guide to Romance

When one is in love, they want every moment to perfect, from the first official date to the first official kiss to the first official vacation. I am saying official cause while you are dating it is nice and all but nothing like when you fall in love and you realise you actually want to spend time planning each special moment. (Sigh! I don’t even know why I talk about all this, I think I am just too romantic and optimistic and a wee bit dramatic). Anyway back to planning those special moments, the most taxing among all has to be the vacation. I mean come on, you don’t want to end up in a place where both of you have nothing to do and hence are fighting the whole time. So well, coming to our rescue is SLH (Small Luxury hotels of the World) to plan your vacations for each of those moments. Even if you are single like me, it is a great start to plan those trips with your lovely ladies, who knows who you meet and what that might lead to (told you I am optimistic). Plus with summer vacation coming up you could do with some help there as well.So here is a bit about few of their properties. See if they catch your fancy or suit your purpose, else go through their site and chose out of the 520 other properties. Let me know how your vacation went.

Hotelde Tuilerieën, Belgium– www.slh.com/tuilerieen 
The Hotel de Tuilerieënin the picture-perfect city of Bruges in Belgium exudes old-school romance with period décor, four-poster beds and daily champagne breakfasts. Walk hand in hand down cobbled alley ways, enjoy candlelit dinners at the hotel’s legendary Le Menu Belge restaurant or a relaxing couples’ massage to end the day. So what better way to show to the world that you have found that someone special?
Night rates at Hotel de Tuilerieën from USD 259* per room based on double occupancy.

Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort, Greece– www.slh.com/mykonos 
GREECE! I mean if you have not read my earlier post about my desire to visit here or how hot the Greek men are please do, and really there is no argument here that this is the ultimate destination to declare your love against a crystal blue backdrop of sea and sky. Enjoy proposal perfect settings on the white sand beach at sunset, in the privacy of a candlelit suite at Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort or on the nearby temple island of Delos. And to my lovely single ladies, really aren’t you sold?
Night rates at Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort from USD 228* per room based on double occupancy.

The Fortress Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka– www.slh.com/fortress
This is an ideal place for a destination wedding. Buck the white wedding trend with a truly unique celebration at the entrancing Fortress Resort & Spa.Enclosed within landscaped gardens, this ultra stylish 53-room resort offers the perfect party paradise with drummers,dancers and elephants as wedding regulars! Newly weds and guests alike will delight in the 24-hour butler service, private plunge pools and renowned SriLankan cuisine to make it a wedding day that everyone will remember for a lifetime.Night rates at The Fortress Resort & Spa from USD 257* per room based on double occupancy.

Velassaru,Maldives – www.slh.com/velassaru
When deciding where to go for the most important and most romantic holiday of your life, whether is the proposal or the honeymoon it doesn’t get much better than the unsurpassable beauty and luxury at the Velassaru hotel in the Maldives. After the stress and strain leading upto the big day, newly weds can spend their days lazing within the sanctuary oftheir water villa with nothing but ocean as far as the eye can see.Night rates at Velassaru from USD 282* per room based on double occupancy.

Hotel Punta Tragara, Italy– www.slh.com/puntatragara
This celebration is for when you have crossed a few years and real life has begun to be just that “Real Life”. Celebrate your years together with all its ups and downs and rekindle that honeymoon romance with a stay at the irresistible Hotel Punta Tragara perched on the cliffs of Capri, overlooking the rocks of Faraglioni and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. Full of charming Italian character and charisma, couples will delight in the stylish décor,decadent cuisine and intimate ambience of one of Italy’s finest hotels. Night rates at Hotel Punta Tragara from USD 475* per room based on double occupancy.

Sivory Punta Cana Boutique Hotel, Dominican Republic – www.slh.com/sivory
If not Sri Lanka for your wedding day then there’s always the option of the beautiful tropical paradise getaway, Dominican Republic. So have a beautiful destination wedding here or renew those all important, life-long vows. Sivory Punta Cana Boutique Hotel is what dreams are made of with exquisite gourmet food, suites with private plunge pools and an incredible holistic spa – the perfectsetting to say “I do”. Night rate at Sivory Punta Cana Boutique Hotel from USD 369* per room based on double occupancy.

The Betsy, Florida– www.slh.com/betsyhotel
And finally for all my lovely single ladies the iconic Betsy hotel on Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive is the answer to all those holiday dilemmas. If you’re newly single, or single since the last decade, there’s no better place to enjoy a day of selfish pampering followed by dinner at the hotel’s famous BLT steakhouse restaurant and then a night out in Miami’s fantastic Art Deco District.Night rates at The Betsy USD 400* per room based on double occupancy.

*These rates are approximate rates and could vary.Reservationsfor any Small Luxury Hotels of the World property can be made by calling 000800 650 1456 (India), online at www.slh.com or via the SLH iPhone app. Travel agents need only remember the GDS code LX for LuXury.  To receivespecial benefits including a complimentary breakfast, upgrade (subject to availability)and late check-out, join The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World at www.slh.com/club  Membership is offered on acomplimentary basis