Leaves with ball. Oh the joy of Autumn!
Leaves with ball. Oh the joy of Autumn!
PURE Thai Cookhouse is a genuine Thai shophouse style restaurant in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen that features homemade noodles from a prized family recipe. Pure also specializes in signature dishes you would find from the many vendors and shophouses from the farmlands of Phayao, in the North, to the floating markets of Ratchaburi in Central Thailand, to the oceans and fishing villages of Krabi in the South.
There are dozens of Thai restaurants in New York but, according to a Thai foodie friend of mine, PURE Thai Cookhouse reminds her of home.
Palais Selman, a new hotel in Marrakech, spoke to me. I am over Marrakech with its Disneyesque properties that all look vaguely the same – over the top glitz which, after you scratch the surface, looks decidedly less glam. Marrakech is an economic engine of the country and it has become a preeminent convention center. It works. The weather is marvelous, the properties are huge, and the possibilities to spin a “1001 nights” magic are endless. But, in my view, this has changed the character of the city, and I miss the old, pre-palatial days.
Palais Selman, though, has a soul to it that I liked. Located 7 minutes out of the city center on the non- Palmeraie – and therefore maybe not the preferred side of town – it is another huge palace recently constructed and decorated by Jacques Garcia who has put his stamp on the Mamounia and the Pearl among others. It is vintage Garcia – jewel colors, velvets, low, atmospheric light. But what I love about the property are two things: The brick facade (most hotels and mansions are plastered and painted red ochre) is earthy and tactile and beautiful; The horses; it is the horses that I loved and that I feel give the property its magic.
Palais Selman’s owner has a stable of 16 Arabian horses. They graze in individual paddocks around the swimming pool, in front of the hotel rooms, next door to the riads. They are magnificent and, I am told, worth more together than the entire property.
Their stables, perhaps the most beautiful building on the property, were also designed by Garcia. I have always loved the horizontal architecture of stables, and these 16 stalls, flanked by an area for horse massage, are divine. The horse theme is brought into the hotel itself with wonderful huge photographs lining the hallways, photographs of a whipped mane, a long lashed eye, a rippling muscle.
A sweet story.
As I wandered along the paddocks, a young employee came striding out from the stables followed by a small, wiry terrier. The white stallion who was grazing peacefully by the far fence looked up, cocked his ears and came trotting across, neighing delightedly. I asked the man who the horse was most fond of.
“The dog is his best friend,” he said.
Now that, in Morocco, is an unusual encounter…to find a pet dog, particularly on a hotel property…to find someone who, in a culture not prone to embracing its animals, understood and valued this relationship.
I enjoyed that and, along with its brick facades, it made this grand palace nicelydown to earth.
Creativity is so much fun!
Latest creation of designer Ashley Sutton, Maggie Choo’s is all set design and pure theatre. Taking you back to 1930′s Shanghai, you descend steep stairs (under the Novotel, no less) and into a chop shop that is tiny, authentic and aromatic. And then, through another set of doors, into the huge bar that features a languid beauty in cheongsam and Louise Brooks bangs on a swing.
It’s the details and the lighting that inspire – and the drinks are not bad either. You probably will not stay long but, as with any novel performance, it’s a talking point and, after a delicious Bangkok dinner (high or low), a fun coda to a night out.
Hot off the Press!
Yesterday evening at the close of the PURE Life Experience conference and meetings in Marrakech, LLTD won the award for Best Outbound Travel Designer as well as being named one of top three finalists for the Most Influential Pureist in Experiential Travel. It was a grand night!
Now in its 5th year, this is the first year that awards have been given out at the PURE conference. The process for selection went something like this: Nominees were submitted by industry professionals to any one of six, all-encompassing categories – Best Inbound Travel Designer, Best Outbound Travel Designer, Best High Emotion/Low Impact Experience, Most Life-Enriching Experience, Most Original Marketing Campaign and the supreme category, Most Influential Pureist in Experiential Travel; voting by the international attendees has been tabulated over these last months and the final selection was made by a group of 5 judges – Sylvia Earle, Colin Bell Edward Norton, German del Sol and Richard Bangs.
A short list of 6 finalists was announced per category (9 for Most Influential Purist) a month ago and, last night, that list was reduced to three finalists per category and a winner.
Lisa Lindblad Travel Design won Best Outbound Travel Designer and was one of three finalists for Most Influential Purist in Experiential Travel.
The other winners were Real Japan, Inkaterra, Great Plains Conservation, Orange Country Resort Hotels and Luke Bailes for Influential Purist.
Needless to say, we are very appreciative and very proud!