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Song Saa is a luxury resort situated on two islands on the Koh Rong archipelago, 30km off the coast of Cambodia.  It has taken six years to develop and is the work of Rory Hunter and his wife Melita who has a background as a stylist specialising in organic installations, sculptures and set design.

It was Melita who oversaw the architecture and design of the hotel and she based her inspiration on the textures and colours of the fishing boats and wooden houses of the islands, and on the twisted vines, bamboo and driftwood on the deserted beaches. 

The local community were employed on the site making it also a conservation project.  Thai contractors re-taught the Cambodians construction skills that had been forgotten during decades of oppression and carpenters made floorboards and furniture from timber recovered from broken boats and abandoned houses.

The hotel now has nine over water villas, seven beach villas and 11 jungle villas on the larger island, while there are plans for tree house retreats on the second island which will be reached via a wooden walkway.

Song Saa means ‘the sweethearts’ in Cambodian and I couldn’t think of a more apt name.

You may remember that last year I stayed with the wonderful Maryam from My Marrakesh fame at her beautiful guest house Peacock Pavilions just outside of Marrekesh.

peacock pavilions,marrakesh,morocco,hotels

At the time I couldn’t post about the interior of Maryam’s amazing home because it was soon to be photographed for Elle Decor.  But the issue is out and so now I can!  So drink in all this gorgeousness and believe me when I say that the photographs, beautiful as they are, still don’t do it justice.

This is just a small corner of the main sitting room, looking through to the dining room.   The centre of the room has a large indoor fountain that is filled with roses.  This is where we sat as Maryam revealed the secrets of Moroccan design and shared the provenence of her collections. 

The terrace is where we had breakfast each day.  A feast of fruit, yoghurt and homemade tarts and bread.  A huge olive tree that was in situ before the house was built offers welcome shade.

Every single corner of the house is filled with treasures and objects of interest.  Every story is incredible and awe inspiring.

I like to dress the pieces (furniture) up with throws and belts and beads and sometimes a combination of everything,” she says. “I have a very fashiony approach to design.”

Isn’t this corridor striking?  It looks out onto the pool.

And this is Maryam’s bedroom, which we didn’t actually get to see but looks exactly as I would have imagined it.

And if you do decide to visit Peacock Pavilions, which I cannot recommend highly enough, you may get to sleep in the guestroom above.  If you don’t, worry not,  every guest room is equally stunning.

You can read the full story of how Maryam and Chris created this beautiful retreat over on Elle Decor and if you are craving more tips on Moroccan design Maryam has a book out coming out called  (Marrakesh by Design, published by Artisan Books, available mid-May).

Personally, I can’t wait to go back!

Blog Tour NYC – The Facts

January 30th, 2012 | Posted by deardesigner in Events - (8 Comments)

What is BlogTour? 

The brainchild of the super talented Veronika Miller from Modenus, which is a networking platform and resource catalogue for the interior design community.

BlogTour NYC is the second event.  Last September a group of bloggers from the US visited London during the Design Festival and I was very lucky to be invited to events and to get to meet them all.

“The mission of Blogtour is to further the understanding and awareness of design in the US, UK and Europe and support networking and information exchange between design bloggers, designers, artisans and manufacturers while providing more exposure for international design events.”

Where is it Taking Place? 

new york

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NEW YORK!  Of course. I can hardly believe it!

Why NYC Exactly?

  March 22-25th sees the 11th annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show and nearly 350 premium brands will be exhibiting.  Expect a lot of blogging, tweeting and facebook updates, not just from myself but from the other 14 bloggers attending BlogTour.

So Who’s going?

And here we all are.  In no particular order:

  1. Stacey Sheppard – Stacey Sheppards Blog
  2. Hannah Coleman – Dreamwall Style
  3. Arianna Trapani – Arianna Interiors
  4. Cecy Brooks – CECY j
  5. Will Taylor – Bright Bazaar
  6. Emily Peck – ACHICA Living
  7. Kelly Morisseau – Kelly’s Kitchen Sync
  8. Marilyn Russell-Grant – Design Magnifique
  9. Andrew Dunning – APD Interiors
  10. Katie Treggiden – Confessions of a Design Geek
  11. Kate Baxter – The Fabric Of My Life
  12. Pippa Jameson – Pippa Jameson Interiors
  13. Moi!
  14. Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva 

Who Else is Making this Possible?

None of this could be possible of course without the generosity of our amazing sponsors – Miele USABlanco America, Poggenpohl USModern-Aire, Scholtes,  Duverre Hardware, Spirit of Sports, Big Ass Fans, Samual Heath and Victoria and Albert Baths.

All that’s left for me to say is a big thank you to Veronika and the sponsors for inviting me to participate in this once in a lifetime experience.  I will blog my little heart out!

Every year at about this time I start to wonder why I’m not jetting off somewhere warm for Christmas?  I start to think that it would be nice to escape the frenzy of shopping and wrapping and cleaning and baking and just relax for two weeks instead.

It would have to be somewhere in the southern hemisphere naturally and when I say escape that’s exactly what I mean. 

This is just my cup of tea.  A safari type camp on 100 acres of bushland in New South Wales, Australia.  Not exactly luxurious but pure escapism of my favourite kind, getting up close to nature.

There is diving, hiking and sailing available but the desire to curl up on that bed with a good book or two might be too strong to resist.

Take me away now!

via Welcome Beyond

The past few weeks have been ever so slightly busy and I am so sorry for the lack of posts.

I guess I just didn’t realise when we started Heart Home magazine exactly how much work it was going to be and exactly how many hours it would take.  But boy do I love it! 

Once again we have been overwhelmed with the generosity of our contributors.  The photographers and the stylists and the writers have all been working their socks off and we hope they know just how grateful we are for their help.  They are such a talented bunch and you are in for a real treat when the next issue is published on the 8th December.

The last photo shoot took place at the weekend in Amsterdam and we have a very special lady to thank.  Mariska Meijers is not only an immensely talented artist but she is one of the nicest people you are ever likely to meet.

We had a lot of fun, and yes we indulged a little! 

So here are a few photo’s that I took on my i-phone, just as a taster.  You will have to read the magazine to see the full feature.

Arianna and I stayed at The College Hotel.

Located in possibly one of my favourite cities in the whole wide world…

Dar Darma is undeniably beautiful but it is also a little bit different.  Soaring, painted ceilings and decadent furnishings maybe, but it is also more like a private home than a hotel.  Guests are invited to take their meals at whatever time they choose and where ever they choose.  “We are able to serve the meals in the suites or on the terraces, anywhere we can set up a table and make it special.”

When the heat gets too much there is a rooftop pool and beauty treatments can be taken in the hammam.

I think I might find it hard to leave.

via Welcome Beyond

Thank God it’s Friday.

Would anyone care to join me?

Sources: Image,Lucyina Moodie. blue check tablecloth, Amazon.  Stiped cushion, Black. Jug, House of Fraser. Blue glasses, Amazon. Bowl, Blue Rose Pottery.  Oil drizzler, David Mellor. Driftwood door stop, Velvet Brown. Glass bell votive, The Handpicked Collection.

I love Africa.  I’ve been a few times now.  I’ve travelled through Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.  I’ve been to countless game reserves, seen all of the big five and had the time of my life where ever I’ve been.

But I’ve never ‘done’ Africa in luxury.  Chance would be a fine thing!  So when I win the lottery, this is where I’m going.

The Ulusabe Game Reserve, part of Virgin Limited Edition, Sir Richard Branson’s portfolio of
unique retreats and set in the heart of the Sabi Sand reserve on the
border of the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Who’s coming with me?

Found on Adelto

I haven’t visited India yet but it’s right there at the top of my wish list.

And although I want to visit Delhi and Agra and all of the destinations in the Golden Triangle, I also want to visit Kerala.  I want to totally relax in the sleepy backwaters, enjoy a massage or two and gorge on the food.

And then I saw this little gem on the Mr & Mrs Smith site…

A small boutique hotel consisting of just four rooms spread over two bungalows…

I can almost feel that cool polished wood beneath my feet…

and I’m certain I can hear the silence.  Apart from the sounds of the insects that is.

And with so few guests I could catch up with my reading without interruptions.

Oh, and did I mention there is also a one-bed houseboat?

Where dinner can be served by candlelight on the top deck.

And daytime cruises can be booked to take in the wildlife.

One of these days. *sigh*

The weekend started grey and wet but spirits were not dampened at the Meet the Blogger event in Amsterdam.  For some pictures and links pop over to the Heart Home magazine blog.

And then it was Sunday. 

The clouds parted…slowly at first…just enough for a leisurely breakfast, canal side…

and then the day turned into one of those idyllic summer days…a slow cruise on the waterways…the glistening of sun on water…

followed by a long lunch…a stroll…a little window shopping…too hot to do too much…

an ice cream…and then dinner with friends…a sultry evening…laughter and conversation. 

A perfect Sunday.

 

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