Phum Baitang’s Siem Reap Oasis

 

Siem Reap Hotels and Spas - Phum Baitang

Phum Baitang – Siem Reap

 

Spread out across eight hectares of lush gardens and rice paddy fields on the outskirts of the mystical Siem Reap, Phum Baitang is a place to behold. A collection of 45 wood and stilted villas inspired by traditional local architecture, the property showcases the village aesthetic, a green oasis ecologically built with indigenous materials and Cambodian wisdom gleaned from centuries of construction.  There are 20 villas that feature private swimming pools and gardens, with the remaining 25 villas offering large terraces as stunning vantage points from which to take in the green scene. Each villa is adorned with elegant, handmade Cambodian wooden furniture, rough stone sinks and bathtubs, antiques and lantern-style lighting that only uses eco-friendly bulbs.

In-house Rice Cultivation Experience

Designed to respect the land it sits on, Phum Baitang has a unique connection to the paddy fields that weave through the retreat. The high quality rice, Sen Kro Ob, is cultivated at the resort and is renowned for its superior taste and tenderness. Guests dining in either of Phum Baitang’s two restaurants—Bay Phsar and Hang Bay—can savour authentic Cambodian recipes with a bowl of the resort’s own rice harvest. The paddies of rice also allow for numerous authentic interactions between locals and guests, with the opportunity for visitors to experience rice planting or harvesting included in their stay. Seasonal planting starts from February and happens bimonthly while harvesting happens in the remaining months. Through this, you can learn directly from local farmers how the rice paddies are grown and harvested.

 

Siem Reap Luxury Hotels and Spas

Your surroundings in Phum Baitang

 

We also love that sustainable practices are evident throughout the hotel. An autonomous water treatment facility provides clean drinking water in re-useable glass bottles that may be re-filled at several stations throughout the resort, and eradicates the need for plastic containers. Elsewhere, the use of electric buggies to transport guests and luggage is driven by an objective to eliminate the use of fueled vehicles around the property, while bicycles are proposed for local tours and available for guests to ride around the resort.

Gardens and Buffalo

Playing a part in preserving local endangered species, Phum Baitang has its own natively grown garden that uses a naturally produced mist to control pesticides, essentially reducing harm to the environment. The resort is also home to buffalo, which plough the rice paddies and keep the lawn areas trimmed, while their excrement—along with garden refuge—is used as fertilizer. Pretty neat, right?

And the perfect antidote to the hustle of Siem Reap…

The Spa Temple, inspired by the architecture of Angkor. In seven treatment rooms, a blend of Cambodian techniques and traditional products are incoporated to round out your natural Cambodian journey.  Finish up with a sauna, hammam, a visit to the fitness room, or a generous 50-metre swimming pool that overlooks paddy fields. You can’t really go wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to hitch a ride to Angkor.

Paddy fields never sounded so good.

www.designhotels.com/phum-baitang

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Hot Opening: Montage Los Cabos

 

MLC-Lifestyle-Santa Maria Bay Hero 3 (1)

Los Cabos, Mexico

 

When the much-anticipated Montage Los Cabos opens on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula this May, it could be the resort that helps transform an entire region into a luxury destination. Offering rare recreational opportunities courtesy of its prime beachfront location on Santa Maria Bay, it will also extend opening advantages exclusively for bookings made through an advisor affiliated with leading global luxury travel network Virtuoso®Virtuoso® is one of the leading international travel agency networks specializing in luxury and experiential travel. A by-invitation-only organization, it comprises over 1,000 travel agency partners with 17,500 elite travel advisors in more than 45 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

Guests who stay between June 1 and December 15, 2018 will receive a daily $100 USD resort credit as well as these complimentary benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival, if available
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests
  • Early check-in/late check-out, if available
  • One-way airport transfer for bookings in Beachfront Suites and above
  • WiFi
MLC-Lifestyle-Santa Maria Bay Hero 3 (1)

Santa Maria Bay

On 39 waterfront acres, Montage’s first property outside the U.S. will provide walk-in access to the region’s finest swimming, diving, and snorkeling. Located on the Golden Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, the resort will honor the destination’s tradition of indoor-outdoor living. Its public spaces and its 122 expansive guestrooms and suites will frame the surrounding Baja desert and serene waters of the Sea of Cortez. Montage Los Cabos will feature native materials and an earth-tone color scheme to blend with the striking setting. The resort will offer an enticing blend of recreation and relaxation, including two pools and two tennis courts, along with access to The Fred Couples Signature Golf Course. Guests can also take part in wellness programs and enjoy treatments at the 21,000-square-foot signature Spa Montage and fitness center. Younger visitors will enjoy Montage’s immersive children’s program, Paintbox.

002-Montage Baja-Guestroom LO (2)

Montage Los Cabos Guest Room

Montage Los Cabos will also feature an abundance of dining options where you can enjoy the region’s abundant seafood (our favorite!) and innovative use of fresh local ingredients. For you romantic types, the resort is aiming to be the perfect site for destination weddings with 5,100 square feet of indoor event space and more than 30,000 square feet of outdoor space.

So check out how to book the Montage Los Cabos through Virtuoso directly online or visit https://www.virtuoso.com/advisors# 

 

Naturally Beautiful Make Up For Travel

 

jane iredale Snap Happy Kit

Jane Iredale Snap Happy Make Up Kit

 

We’re big fans of looking naturally beautiful when we travel, so we wanted to share Jane Iredale’s new products ready to launch in April. Why do we like them? Because they’re minerally based and compact… perfect for travel mavens like us. Here they are, for your beauty loving consideration:

Snap Happy™ Makeup Kit: Gorgeous, on-the-go, never been easier. It’s a trio of long-wearing, universally flattering shades of matte finishing powder, shimmery blush, and mix-and-match eye shadows in a three-tiered compact: Pure Matte® Finish Powder (translucent), Whisper PurePressed® Blush (a shimmery peachy pink), and Brown Sugar PurePressed® Eye Shadow Triple (warm brown, shimmery peach, shimmery copper eggplant). Pretty much everything you need in one go!

$58

jane iredale Content LipFixation_OpenedContent Lip Fixation® Lip Stain/Gloss: This matte pink, nude, and clear shimmer duo gives double-duty beauty new meaning with a convenient lip stain and gloss all-in-one.

$32

www.janeiredale.com

New Hotel Offers: Belmond Hotels

Maroma (c) Rafa Garete

Belmond Maroma Resort

Belmond has just announced a limited-time offer that we had to share. We first stayed at Belmond properties in Bali and, since then, they’ve been a top pick for any exotic retreats where service, style, and cuisine are top of mind.

Perfect for those who resolved to travel more in 2018, the Our Wonderful World for Less promotion includes up to a 30% savings across the collection of 47 hotels, trains, safaris, and cruises.

Booking terms vary by location, with highlights including:

  • A 25% discount on stays four nights or more at Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, a dreamy retreat on the sunny, Caribbean shores of Riviera Maya
  • A 30% discount on two-night stays or longer at Belmond El Encanto, the historic property in the hills of Santa Barbara that will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018
  • A 25% discount on visits of three nights or longer at Belmond Charleston Place, an easy two-hour flight from NYC
  • A 25% discount on stays of three or more nights at Belmond Copacabana Palace, the iconic Rio resort with a newly reopened restaurant, Pergula

The full list of global offers can be found here:

www.belmond.com/offers

Our Wonderful World for Less is available for bookings made by January 16, 2018 for travel through May 7, 2018, so get on it!

What’s New in Africa

Phinda Photograph

andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge Game Reserve by dusk

These days, people are looking for a vacation with meaning. They’re also looking to depart from the standard locations of typical sun and sand for something truly memorable. So, with that in mind, we wanted to share with our readers what’s new in Africa from andBeyond and Belmond Mount Nelson to properties in Marrakech and trips to Dakar!

andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge reopened its redesigned suites and guest areas in May 2017. Dramatically set into a cliff face overlooking a deep valley, the lodge has restyled its areas with a combination of woven linens, hand-embroidered cotton, and oriental carpets. New French doors open to extended outdoor verandas and a rooftop terrace provides the ideal venue for dining beneath the stars.

Royal Mansour

Royal Mansour, Marrakech

With all eyes on Marrakech this year as the new YSL Museum opens in October, Royal Mansour recently completed a major property expansion that included an additional two acres of manicured gardens. Aptly named Le Jardin, the expanded grounds were designed using a number of traditional Moroccan reference points such as the grid of olive trees that stand at the center of the garden (a nod to the UNESCO World Heritage Agdal Gardens and palm trees).

Ahead of the upcoming release of Nelson Mandela’s new memoir “Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years” in October, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel also recently launched its first artist-in-residence program with Cyril Coetzee, Nelson Mandela’s portraitist. Guests can sit for Cyril, or leave a photograph behind to be transformed into an oil painting on canvas. For guests looking to hone their art skills, Coetzee is also available for group classes and private lessons.

Mark Williams

Belmond Mount Nelson’s famous pink facade 

Beginning in November, andBeyond Bateleur Camp will undergo a total refurbishment to be complete by 2018. The new look for this camp on the Maasai Mara will include new private verandas, deep bathtubs, al fresco showers, and fire pits, as well as the addition of two new swimming pools, a fitness center, a massage sala, and a coffee bar.

Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge will be closed for a complete refurbishment starting November 2017. Before its closure, Alexander McCall Smith, author of the popular “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” book series, returns to Botswana to host his second-annual Belmond safari. The six-night safari from September 20-26, 2017 is split evenly between Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge and Belmond Eagle Island Lodge. Alexander will regale guests with stories about his personal connections to Botswana and give an inside look to his newest books for the year ahead.

Ponant is offering a new itinerary from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain to Dakar, Africa, November 8-17, 2018. The ship ventures through the rugged, volcanic Canary Islands off Africa’s western coast and to Praia, Santiago, the largest island in the Cape Verde archipelago. Le Champlain, set to launch in 2018 and one of the new four PONANT EXPLORER ships, will also be equipped with a world’s first: an underwater multi-sensory lounge, called Blue Eye.

BLUE EYE 2 EXPLORERS (c) PONANT - JACQUES ROUGERIE ARCHITECTE 2

Pennant’s Explorer Impressive Interiors by Jacques Rougerie

Shop Like a Local

andBeyond’s Kenya lodges, Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp and Bateleur Camp neighbor a local Maasai village where guests can speak with locals and buy handmade jewelry and crafts, with all proceeds given back to the community.

Guests of Royal Mansour can enjoy guided shopping trips into the souk, including a culinary-themed trip featuring some of Chef Yannick Alleno’s favorite places. Some of his favorites items include lemon confits from Bab Ftouh, olive oil sourced from the middle and high Atlas in the surrounding valleys, and dried apricots from the Mellah, the popular Jewish quarter known for its hectic atmosphere at the Spice Market.

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is a short stroll from nearby Long Street, dotted with boutiques selling South African clothes and home goods. Guests can stop in Greenmarket Square to pick up some locally made crafts, such as malachite bowls, paintings of the Cape, or bone salad tongs.

Look to the stars

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge has an unobstructed and unpolluted view of the night sky in Namibia’s first Dark Sky Reserve. Resident astronomer is on hand to point out planets and constellations, and over-bed skylights provide the perfect locale for spotting shooting stars.

Each of the Belmond Safari lodges – Belmond Khwai River Lodge, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, and Belmond Eagle Island Lodge – allows guests the opportunity to experience the vast dome of Botswana’s uninterrupted night sky. Guests will learn how the local tribes used the stars to direct them.

Guests at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve can spend a magical night under the stars. After a leisurely afternoon game drive, guests arrive at a romantic setting in the middle of the bush – complete with comfortable beds with duvets and warm blankets draped with billowing mosquito nets, inviting chairs surrounding a blazing campfire, and twinkling lanterns hanging from the trees. (Secure in the knowledge that an armed guard will patrol the site throughout the night.)

At the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, guests of Royal Mansour can enjoy a starry night away from the busy lights of Marrakech. Following a private tour on 4×4 vehicles, guests can indulge in sunset cocktails and a gourmet dinner in their own private camp, served with just the glow of candles, torches, and a blanket of stars above.

Unique Island Escapes

And now… for Small Luxury Hotels unique island escapes!

Fiji Best Hotels

Kokomo Island: Kadavu Islands, Fiji

Kokomo Island: Kadavu Islands, Fiji

Combining luxury, sustainably and unspoilt beauty, Kokomo Island is Fiji’s newest and most exclusive private island resort, situated on the edge of the celestial Kadavu Island group. Kokomo Island opened in March 2017 and is the first SLH hotel in Fiji. The boutique property is encircled by the untouched Great Astrolabe Reef so ideal for diving enthusiasts (the hotel has its own Dive Centre for guests). The 21 villas, owner’s beachfront residence and five hilltop residences are designed for privacy and comfort, featuring sustainable design and traditional Fijian touches, all alive with character. Guests can enjoy fresh, sustainably-sourced produce at the resort’s three restaurants, as well as a number of dining experiences including a chef BBQ and private island picnic. The Kokomo Island spa blends world-class Sodashi products with rejuvenating indigenous Fijian beauty rituals to create signature treatments. The hotel is a personal passion project for Australian billionaire property developer, Lang Walker, who, together with his family, has brought his vision for an island paradise like no other to life.

SLH Insider Tip:  Visit the nearby manta ray cleaning station, where manta rays come to get freshened up by wrasse fish, and take the opportunity to swim with the rays.

Rates: $1,795/night

www.slh.com/kokomo

Greek villas

Naxian Collection Luxury Villas and Suites: Naxos, Greece

Naxian Collection Luxury Villas and Suites: Naxos, Greece

Rates: $288/night

www.slh.com/naxian

Situated on the lesser known Greek island of Naxos, Naxian Collection is a chic hill-top retreat with ten sugar cube white villas and suites providing a serene sanctuary. The cave-like rooms are decked out with minimalist interiors, cream walls, bamboo screens and giant bathtubs. Each room offers stunning views over landscaped gardens, lagoons and nearby Naxos town, which is just two miles away. Pretty Agios Prokopios beach is just a ten minute walk from the property and there are plenty of walking or horse-riding trails to keep outdoorsy guests busy. The hotel’s kitchen boasts plenty of local organic ingredients and traditional Naxian recipes from the property’s own organic field, free-range chicken coop, nearby olive groves and the family vineyards. It also has its own wine cellar which is home to a formidable selection of local wine.

SLH Insider Tip: Try and time your stay with a classical music concert or violin recital at the Venetian Museum of Naxos in the Kastro which offers live entertainment year round.

Sikelia Pantelleria, Italy

Sikelia: Pantelleria, Italy

Sikelia: Pantelleria, Italy

Known as the ‘Black pearl of the Mediterranean’, Pantelleria is a perfect escape for adventurous travellers willing to voyage a little further to be rewarded by natural volcanic hot springs, a rugged coastline, spectacular caves surrounded by the bluest of seas and warm volcanic waters to swim in. The enigmatic owner, Giulia Pazienz, ensures all the service is personal, friendly and sincere. Built out of an ancient dammuso, designed by the island’s most famous resident architect – Gabriella Guintoli, the wild beauty of the island is reflected in the hotel itself. Ancient pottery, glazed painted tiles and predominantly dark shades throughout lend an air of drama to the property. The 20 rooms are unique yet share a stylish design with meticulous attention to the finer details, with Frette linens and Hermés products in every bathroom. At the hotel’s restaurant, Themá, the chef combines fresh fish and shellfish with vegetables grown in Sikelia’s own garden, serving bold flavours from Arabia, Africa and Southern Italy. This is all served with intense, aromatic wine from the owner’s estate, made from the Zibibbo grape, indigenous of the island.

SLH Insider Tip: For a more informal dining experience, guests can head to the owner’s Coste Ghirlanda Wine Laboratory which is flooded with candles and offers a rustic cosy vibe where guests eat under the stars on communal kitchen tables.

Rates: $360/night

www.slh.com/sikelia

To make a booking visit www.slh.com or call 1-877-234-7033

Beautiful Beach Hair… without the Beach

beach hair

Aquis Waffle Luxe Hair Turban 

I’ve been meaning to write about this simple, yet amazing towel for drying hair that is my latest obsession. Say hello to…

AQUIS Lisse Luxe Hair Turban ($30) and the AQUIS Waffle Luxe Hair Turban (Price ($40) which are made with an innovative fabric woven from ultra-fine fibers called AQUITEX. Why is this important? Frizz, my friends. It helps to eliminate what drying your hair with a regular terry cloth towel produces. The lightweight material has superior water-wicking capabilities that is gentle on your hair. The Lisse is designed for delicate hair, while the Waffle is designed for thicker hair. Either one you choose, these turbans quickly and gently dry to a damp stage, with less friction, minimizing damage. I have curly hair so I love the fact that I can run my fingers through my hair to ‘comb’ it while in the shower, apply product and wrap. My hair has definitely been less frizzy and it’s so much easier than trying to tie a towel on my head.

For wavy beach hair without having to go to the beach, you can buy yours here:

Sephora