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

Beauty Ritual: Spa Natural,The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka

RITUAL: Pindasweda, 90 mins, USD 100 approx

LOCATION: The Fortress Resort and Spa, Galle, Sri Lanka

Massage- www.stylecity.in

Any trip to The Fortress Resort and Spa cannot be complete without visiting their Spa- Spa Natural, which offers a simple and holistic approach to well-being, with eastern and western treatments combined. From signature Ayurvedic treatments which begin with a consultation with the in-house Ayurveda Doctor; who finds out the body constitution (Prakrthi),the state of body humours (doshas) and formulates a personalised treatment, to western massages and body scrubs there is a whole lot of treatments you can experience.

I for one had a great consultation with Dr.Pushpika, where we discussed not only the type of treatment I should have but also things I should incorporate in my diet. According to Ayurveda the body consists of three Doshas i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kappha and each person’s nature, health and ailments depend on which Dosha is most prominent. In an ideal situation all three must be balanced, but that rarely happens with one being the most prominent and a second following close, my most prominent Dosha is Kappha followed by Pitta. After my consultation I learnt I need to increase intake of greens as well as some high pungent tastes to my diet like Black pepper, ginger, cumin so as to balance my Dosha. Also meditate and be more physically active so I don’t get too lethargic and depressed which is the negative side of having a higher Kapha Dosha. After this I was booked for an Ayurvedic treatment for the next day.

Spa, The Fortress Resort and Spa, Galle. www.stylecity.in

I enter the Spa Natural and am asked to wait in the relaxation room while the treatment room is given final touches for my therapy. The treatment set up for me by Dr.Pushpika is Pindasweda in which a special type of rice is cooked, tied into a cotton ball, dipped into an herbal mixture with warmed milk and then skillfully massaged into the body. These hot herbal bags(potalis) have herbs which are a great combination of correct herbs for all three Doshas and hence are great for balancing any Dosha missing in your body. The Potalis are heated to a high temperature to make the body sweat hence easier for the herbs to penetrate and heal the body. This treatment is excellent for muscle relaxation, improved blood circulation, remove joint stiffness and swelling.

I wont lie, when the treatment began I was extremely uncomfortable with the excess heat induced to make me perspire, but as the therapist worked on my back (which had come up as a problem area during my consultation) and down through my legs and thighs, I slowly started feeling the effects. By the time the therapist stopped using the Pinda’s, and started giving me a massage I was so relaxed I fell a sleep during the last 15 mins of my treatment. When she finally woke me up to tell me my treatment is over I could feel most of my bodies stiffness had gone and I feel lighter than I have in a long time. In fact I practically glide into my room to get changed and check out of the hotel.

I made a huge mistake by booking my treatment for the last day of my stay instead of taking up a package for all three days, which is also an option. So in case you visit Sri-Lanka and get a chance to go to or stay at The Fortress Resort and Spa I suggest you definitely get an Ayurvedic consultation and go in for the treatment suggested to you and if possible for a three-four day package. I promise you will thank me for recommending!

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

The Fortress Resort and Spa, Galle, Sri Lanka

On my recent Sri Lanka trip, I had a reservation for two days at The Fortress Resort and Spa thanks to Small Luxury Hotels of the World to review the property. Small Luxury hotels of the world, have tie-ups with some of the most beautiful boutique hotels around the world, so I always have really high expectations with the properties they are linked with and “The Fortress” did not disappoint.

THE Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

On our way from spending the day at Galle fort, we actually missed the property and drove past it, cause as the name suggests, The Fortress is like a fort next to the beach with high walls and solid wooden doors. When we did manage to turn around a find the place I was a little intimidated by the huge size of the wall, but once you enter the property that changes, for you are greeted by lush gardens and a view of the swimming pool over-looking the vast blue ocean and served with a cool welcome drink which is a refreshing welcome for The Fortress is 160 km from the airport (and Sri Lanka is really humid)

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

Inspired by the Dutch Fort Design, The Fortress has 53 rooms with six distinct styles of guest’s rooms and residences, each creating sensual living spaces with a naturally modern twist. The categories are the Fortress Room, The Beach Room, The Ocean Room, Splash rooms, The Ocean Lofts and The Fortress Residences. With a well-balanced design concept at the forefront, each room has been designed with either private courtyards or balconies with a view to either the gardens, water features or the Indian Ocean. We are shown to our Ocean View room, which is on the upper level and faces the Swimming Pool and the Ocean.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

The Fortress Rooms feature a superior King size bed (7ft x 7ft) dressed with Egyptian cotton with an open plan bathroom with rainfall shower and bath. A state of the art entertainment system including a plasma screen TV’s, Bose DVD and sound system and a private Bar are just some of the features.The Ocean Lofts are approximately 140m and the design of these split level rooms creates a one-of-a kind experience on each of its two separate floors. The largest of them all is the Fortress Residences which are 240m and creates the ultimate living space as it is on the upper level of the Fortress and each features two bedrooms and an outdoor dining deck. Guests staying in these residences are pampered by their 24 hour personal butler to cater to their every requirement.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

Each evening there is a different dining program varying from Sri Lankan food special to Sea Food barbecue, which is what was on the first night we got there. Chef Kumar made it even more special for us by arranging for us to sample various dishes from the ala carte menu so we can get an idea of the wide array of culinary delights are served at Pepper, the Central dining venue at the Fortress. A combination of international Cuisine and local flavours are offered to the guests and for those who prefer destination dining , private dining within the confines of the Fortress can be arranged. They also have a large selection of wines, which makes it every wine connoisseurs dream come true. You can have this large selection along with your in-room dining as well as at the Sea Lounge, which is the bar by the pool.

Spa , The Fortress, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

Spa, The Fortress, Galle, Sri lanka. www.stylecity.in

Another great offering of The Fortress Resort and Spa is its Spa Natural, which offers a simple a holistic approach to well-being with eastern and western treatments combined. From signature Ayurvedic treatments which begin with a consultation with the in-house Ayurveda Doctor, who finds out the body constitution and state of body humours, based on which a personalised treatment is formulated to western massages and body scrubs there is a whole lot of treatments you can experience. You can also have customised treatments and make a full Spa vacation of your stay. I for one had a great consultation with Dr.Pushpika, where we discussed not only the type of treatment I should have but also things I should incorporate in my diet. Details to follow soon.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

Finally, before I end this post earlier over here I had  spoken about The Fortress as one of the SLH properties you can choose for your Destination Wedding. Now after visiting the property I am more convinced than ever that it is a perfect property for a wedding. To begin with Sri Lanka has a warm tropical climate throughout the year, so if you avoid the monsoon season you should get clear skies (we only got rain one day through my 6 day stay at Sri Lanka). The Fortress Resort and Spa also has a variety of wedding packages for you to choose from, Moonstone, Star Ruby, Star Sapphire and Serendib Sapphire Package. Each of these packages has some basic items like wedding planners, decoration, Wedding cake, Floral decoration and a 24 colour photo wedding album. Of course, besides the above items each package are tailored to include certain other amenities. If you cannot manage your destination wedding at The Fortress, they also have great deals for Honeymoons and Anniversary’s.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

World Luxury Hotel award and Asia Pacific Hotel award winner The Fortress is a perfect destination if a serene place combined with luxury is your idea of an ideal vacation.
The Fortress Resort and Spa – PO Box 126 Galle. Sri Lanka. Tel:+94 777 743 750
Rate– The Rooms begin at USD 280* per night
Transport– International Airport: Colombo 140 km (transfers arranged by the resort). Local Airport: Koggala Lake (KCT) 2 km (transfers arranged by the resort) Train station: Galle 10 km. Pick up service: By resort at time of booking. Helipad: on-site & on request (please book via the resort)
Guests are met by resort staff at Koggala Airport. Seaplane comes direct from Colombo Airport. From Colombo Airport – Take main road into Colombo and then the Galle Road direct south to Koggala.

*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

Travel Diaries: Sri Lanka

Hello, so the reason my posts have been so erratic this month is cause I was off on a vacation with my bff from school who lives in Australia and we met in Sri Lanka for a few days after almost 5 years. My trip began on a horrible note thanks to AIR INDIA and them cancelling my flight, hence me missing my connecting flight at Chennai and almost having a heart attack about the fact that I may need to stay at Chennai Airport which may I add is the worst airport in the world. But all worked out, and I met this really sweet guy who had the same problem with AIR INDIA from Mumbai and totally helped me out.Fortunately, my ordeal in getting to Sri Lanka was not a reflection on the rest of my trip which was fabulous. To begin with five days is just too less, you need atleast fifteen to properly see Sri Lanka. I plan to go back in February hopefully, join me maybe? Well anyway starting with this photo-essay you can get an idea of my trip.

Dutch hospital Colombo. www.stylecity.in

Day one I landed at around 6pm and my friends picked me up and we went to a coffee shop,we had some Sri Lankan Chai and then headed to Colombo. There we chilled at Dutch Hospital, which was originally a hospital but now is a cool hang-out zone, with shops and restaurants and pubs all around a courtyard. Which as you can see has this amazing Christmas tree in the centre and is full on a Monday evening, party girl in me pleasantly surprised, 5/5 to the Sri Lankan youth.

Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

Day 2 we went of to Galle for the day to check out the fort and just have lunch out there. This is a panoramic view of the beach, taken from the light-house.

Amangalla, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

Pedlar's Inn, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

We first stopped to have a drink at Amangalla Hotel, which is a beautifully done up building, looks like an old Dutch house which has been restored. Unfortunately we did not realise it was Amangalla when we walked in (don’t judge, they don’t have any signs or board) else I would have definitely asked to see the whole property. From there we walked down the fort and went for lunch at Pedlar’s Inn. Which is so quirky and the food is absolutely delish!

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

After this we went to The Fortress Resort and Spa where I had a two-day stay booked  thanks to Small Luxury Hotels of the World to review the property. We actually missed the property and drove past it, cause as the name suggests it does look like a fort from outside and we did not think to look past the high walls. But once you enter those high walls, its like a small piece of heaven, with lush green gardens overlooking the ocean (More about the Fortress soon!)

Happy Banana *no pun intended", Unawatuna, Sri Lanka.www.stylecity.in

The next day after my meetings at The Fortress which included a long consultancy with the Ayurvedic doctor regarding my treatment the next day (details to follow) we went off to Unawatuna beach which is approximately 20 mins by car from where we were staying. Here we chilled at a shack called Happy Banana (*no pun intended* that is the name) and had a sea food barbecue in the evening.

Paradise Road Gallery Cafe, Colombo, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in Paradise road Gallery Cafe, Colombo, Sril Lanka. www.stylecity.in

The Commons, Colombo, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

Finally went back to Colombo and most day just went in traveling, but we did manage to visit Paradise Road Gallery Cafe’. This charming cafe opened in 1998 in a structure which was offices of world-renowned Sri Lankan architect the Late Geoffery Bawa. The art gallery constantly has exhibitions featuring renowned and upcoming Sri Lankan artists. After coffee here we checked into our service apartment, which is really well located and absolutely safe even for girl or single travellers called over11apartments. The owners live in the main building and this apartment is in the annexe above the garage. Finally we went to eat at “the Commons” a really nice and homely joint for a meal before crashing for the night.

Home Lunch with Fariz and family. www.stylecity.in

Silk, Colombo, Sri Lanka. www.stylecity.in

The next day and my final day in Sri Lanka started with a home cooked meal at my friends college friend Fariz’s place. Fariz needs a special mention because he was pretty much our tour guide in terms of where to go and what to do during our stay. He also let me know often enough I should have not come if I was only planning to come for 5 days since Sri Lanka has too much to offer to be covered in such a short span. Then we went off shopping, mostly souvenir and small gift shopping cause honestly Sri Lanka is by no means cheap shopping and finally as it was my last night wanted to check out a night club, which we did called SILK. Again, if you do go to Colombo do try this club out. Missed out on the Casino’s, but next trip hopefully!
P.S- Note how much I tanned, picture from beach on day two and night club n day five