Capri on my mind

Capri has recently been on my mind. My first trip to the island was in 2017 to celebrate a big birthday. On the ferry over from Naples we ran into an old friend of my then-boyfriend (now-husband) who mentioned it was their 7th or 8th year returning. I wondered why anyone would do that with so many unexplored destinations out there. I got my answer after a week on the island and we returned the following year!

We’ve been grounded in Singapore since November last year. We had our parents visit us at the end of the year and my new job hasn’t require me to travel. Then this Covid-19 pandemic hit Asia, as soon as we started to think about a short trip away. It’s only June but feels like it’s been more than a year of staying still. I know many must be feeling this way. So reminiscing about past trips has been nice. I really do think we will be traveling again, perhaps with slightly different health and security measures.

Lounging at La Fontelina

Both times in Capri, we stayed at the Hotel Punta Tragara. It’s a unique hotel with a long design history and really needs a dedicated post. It was a private villa that expanded into a 38-rooms hotel with the help from the renown French-Swiss architect, Le Corbusier. It baffles me how different this hotel is from his typical modernist style but we all need a break from reality sometimes.

I’ll save my thoughts on the hotel till a future post: it is a good excuse for a return trip once this pandemic is under control and we can all travel again.

Il Melagrano

There are obvious reasons why Capri, and Italy in general, is a favorite vacation spot for many of us – the scenic views, world-class services, and unforgettable meals. But few smaller details really stood out to me. One of them being all the villa names and signages. Most villas had pictorial tiles by their entrance door with their names on it. “L’ippocampo” and “Il Gabbiano.” I love the idea of giving your home, or your summer villa, its own name and identity. There’s a sense of permanence that must come with this kind of emotional attachment.

These small details are why I know we will be traveling again. Even with new technologies and social media giving access to faraway destination, they can’t replicate these small moments. Rather they are these tiles, or the scent of lemon trees, or the lightness in your steps as you walk on the pebbled roads.

Until it’s safe to travel again, stay safe and be mindful.


Barefoot luxury at Six Senses Laamu, Maldives

If you’re looking for the perfect resort for your Maldives trip, Six Senses Laamu should be on your list. I can spend hours searching for the right hotel, restaurants, and activities for a trip. A great thing about Maldives is you only have to pick a resort! But maybe that makes your research that much more important.

Villas on water

My husband-to-be and I recently spent seven nights at Six Senses Laamu. We had originally booked for five nights but ended up extending our stay by two nights. We are fortunate to live not too far from Maldives so this was not so hard.

Villa 14 at Six Senses Laamu

We stayed in Villa 14, Sunset Laamu Water Villa. “Sunset” is a bit misleading ; you can see the sunset if you tilt your head awkwardly over to left. It does have an unobstructed view of the ocean. Adjacent villas are a short swim away but it can be as private as you want it to be.

Bed at Six Senses Laamu

Laamu Water Villa was very spacious. Each villa comes with a king-size bed, double vanity, outdoor shower and bathtub, private WC, and tons of seating areas.

View out from Villa 14

There are enough nooks and crannies to spend seven nights without running out of options. I could’ve easily spent the entire trip just staring out to the water.

On his bike looking out the water

Six Senses’ philosophy of authentic and “barefoot” luxury was thoroughly presented at Laamu. We took off our shoes on arrival and did not put them back on till our departure.

Maldivian roof structure

Beautifully weathered pine is the main building material. It’s an aesthetic that improves with years of wear. Curious what the resort would’ve looked like in 2011 when it first opened. Vernacular design and “Sense of Place” are descriptors that many hotel brands throw around. At Six Senses Laamu you really get to see and appreciate them.

Slug shaped handles

There’s nothing exuberant or ornate at the property. This doesn’t mean the resort is devoid of notable design elements. There are small things here and there like their slug-shaped handles. Six Senses isn’t a design-led brand and it’s refreshing to see it take a back-seat to nature.

Greenery at Six Senses Laamu

They have a wonderful landscape team at the resort. All the palms and coastal floras must love it here. Six Senses Laamu sits on a very small island in a Southern atoll . Despite being on a small island there’s richness and diversity of plants.

Scuba center and surf school at Six Senses Laamu

Seven nights was perfect for us. If you are worried being bored staying at a resort, you shouldn’t be. Most resorts in Maldives have plenty water activities for adults and children. Six Senses has a scuba diving centre, surfing school, a turtle conservation, organic farm, kids club, yoga centre, and an award winning spa.

Beachside at Six Senses Laamu

While HTB went diving every morning I went to yoga classes, went on a sustainability tour, enjoyed Ayurvedic spa sessions, gone snorkeling, and read by the beach. HTB raves about his diving sessions.

  • Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
  • Architecture and ID by Habita Architecture (they’ve worked on number of Six Senses projects)
  • Room rates vary during peak and off-peak seasons. Water Laamu Villa from USD1,058 per night during peak season, including half-board.

RYSE Hotel, Seoul : hip, artsy, perfect.

I finally got to check-in at RYSE Hotel on my recent trip to Seoul. It’s a hotel I’ve been pinteresting quite a bit this past year for its extremely photogenic design. Pink resin floors, raw concrete walls, and dichroic filmed glasses: recipe for super trendy hotel. But that’s not all. RYSE is so much more than these snapshot and recommend it for your next Seoul plan.

Tartine Coffee Bar at RYSE

RYSE is an Autograph Collection hotel from Marriott in Hongdae district of Seoul. Don’t be dissuaded by this if you’re not a Marriott fan; it has the charm and attitude of a thoughtful independent hotel. It’s designed by Michaelis Boyd, a renown London firm. The hotel has plenty of surprising design pairings: reflective and colorful flooring, warm textures of the steps, and raw concrete finish.

There’s the Tartine Coffee Bar, a San Francisco bakery, on the street level. I didn’t get a chance to try the bakery this time. Neither did I get to try out Long Chim, a Thai-restaurant, or Side Note Club, the hotel’s rooftop bar. I had made plans on other side of the city (Seoul is very large). I hear from a local friend that the bakery and Long Chim are both very good.

Guest room key card at RYSE

I was upgraded to Director Room! Who doesn’t get excited about upgrades? Room 1117 has amazing views of Hongdae, young and artistic district in the western part of Seoul.

Night view of Hongdae

Director Room is very spacious, with a proper 5-fixtures bathroom (His-and-Her sinks, toilet, rain shower, and a tub), a large chaise lounge, and a King-size bed. Terrazzo is the main material in the bathroom with colorful resin accent walls. I’m usually not a fan of the open-bathroom concept, physical or visual, but didn’t mind it here. Overall design is hip and artsy – not too trendy and perfect for a city stay.

King-side bed in Director Room
Director Room bathroom with his-and-her sinks

The little details during my RYSE Hotel stay won me over. It’s clear the owner and the team gave plenty of thought to designing this to reflect the creative and edgy attitude of Hongdae and Seoul. In the room, there’s a hotel magazine that introduce happenings around the hotel. There are face masks as bathroom amenities for guests to recover from travel fatigue. The wardrobe comes with bathrobes designed by IISE, a local fashion brand, and a cubicle for your shoes. And they serve cold RYSE-brewed beer and snack as a welcome treat. This list goes on!

Hongdae is always in my Seoul itinerary if I’m there for more than a long weekend. I will be staying here again next time