Category Archives: Hospitality

For The Love Of Klimt

Just yesterday Marica and I were discussing our love for the art of Gustav Klimt – Austrian symbolist painter. Today, his work is often seen as clichéd and cheesy (same happened to the work of poor Tretchikoff) however here at The Tabloid we still think it grand and romantic! We especially adore Klimt’s “Golden Phase” – many of his paintings from this period include the use of gold leaf – his famous “The Kiss” is an excellent example of this.

During the course of one of our Irish boutique hotel projects in Galway, I met a South African artist who works in a very different art medium. She would paint beautiful scenes on glass, cut the painted glass into puzzle-like pieces, and then tile it back together again in a mosaic-like fashion. The resulting artwork is absolutely stunning!

Through her I was introduced to the art work of Klimt – at the time she was creating some unbelievably beautiful Klimt tribute pieces in her shattered glass method. Well, needless to say I fell in love with his Klimt’s work right there and then. Naturally, we commissioned three big pieces of Klimt’s ladies from our glass artist to proudly display them in the reception area of the hotel.

There were a few unique art pieces in that hotel, but these three gorgeous ladies were the first the guests encountered. I always liked to think they were not only welcoming the guests, but also entertaining them and watching over them.

Now for your enjoyment, I’ve include our favourite works by Klimt below…

Truth HQ: Capetonian Steampunk

For a long time now we have wanted to feature one of Cape Town’s unique coffee venues, namely Truth Coffee HQ in Buitenkant Street. When we came across a recent video featured by VISI magazine, we were motivated to get out of the starting blocks.

Truth HQ Coffee Café - Steampunk Interior (1)

Quite a while back whilst exploring the The Fringe Design District we were introduced to the rather eccentric and dedicated coffee meister and owner of Truth Coffee, David Donde. At that stage Truth HQ was still a couple of days away from the grand opening and we were lucky enough to have the first look around. We also had the chance to chat with David (and his Victorian-styled moustache which I assume he cultivated especially for the HQ opening) and have a complementary brew of Truth’s delicious coffee. One thing was immediately apparent – David is extremely passionate about his craft.

steam-8

The task of creating an out-of-the-box interior to compliment the Truth brand fell to talented designer Haldane Martin. In a past interview with Visi Magazine, Haldane says “that it was David’s ‘mad cap, inventor’ personality that inspired him to suggest steampunk and that it was an immediate fit. David has certainly gone all out with bespoke head-to-toe costumes from the Little Hattery, and an upcycled and functionally enchanting interior design by Haldane. ‘You can’t just glue some gears on and call it steampunk,” admonishes David, “the Truth brand is based on authenticity.'”

steam-1

To those unfamiliar with the concept of Steampunk… it might be a little difficult to explain. You see, Steampunk is in essence a literary genre – a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that often includes social or technological facets of the 19th century (think of some the novels written by Jules Verne or H. G. Wells).

“Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.”Wikipedia on Steampunk

“It’s sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans.” – Caitlin Kittredge, author

Now if I had to explain Steampunk as an interior style to somebody who has never heard of it I would probably describe it as Victorian Industrial meets futuristic fantasy. It’s a combination of exposed industrial elements like gauges, cogs, gears, pipes and other nifty mechanisms – all in brass or copper, and the more luxurious and opulent aspects of the Victorian age like dark wood panelling and deep-buttoned furniture pieces in rich velvets or leather.

While you watch the video, bear in mind that we are being exposed to the art and craft of industrial design – something that not many of us are able to catch a glimpse of often.

{Are you rushing for that cuppa coffee yet? Truth HQ is a MUST visit!}

Images via: Visi & Colossal 

5-Star Mauritian Resorts

Eventually I will be able to shake that Island feeling off, but in the meantime, I thought that I should just share some images and information on some of the 5 Star Resort accommodations that I encountered while in Mauritius.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

The Island of Mauritius is not big at all.  In fact we drove from the north to the south and back in about 8 hours. But the coastline all around the island is littered with hotels and resorts. They come in all shapes and sizes, from your every day club type resort, to the luxury hotels. I could not even begin to go into all the activities that these resorts offer as it is vast, suffice to say – plenty-  all water sports (ski-ing, parachute surfing, tube riding, yachting, snorkelling and more) to kids activities, spa treatments and golfing.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

We decided to do the budget style (self-catering) and despite the fact that this did not include ‘on tap’ water sports and all, our accommodation was superb.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

However, just a spit away from our villa, fabulous 5 star resorts were to be found – two of the best in the north of the island. I managed to pop into the Le Cardinal Luxury Hotel and was ushered around their public areas, penthouse and deluxe rooms. It is only two years old and still in sparkling condition.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

The penthouse is spacious and very well decorated – very 5 star indeed. The finishes and features are dark wood – very luxury island style. There is of course the added bonus of having your own Jacuzzi and outdoor deck. The bathroom is totally oversized and fitted with dark marble – total sense of opulence, although a bit on the masculine side for me.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

The Hotel has been built in a tiered structure to facilitate the view of the ocean for each and every room. Naturally they are right on the beach (as is about 90% of them I think). But that has not stopped them from building a stunning swimming pool, which each room also looks down on. As I said – luxury.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

I must admit that I did find their public areas design and décor a little toned down for the luxury experience that they offer in the bedrooms and elsewhere, which is often the case in luxury accommodation. I feel that as you step in, you should be fully aware of the fact that this is a luxurious space – you are paying for that kinda treatment after all.

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

The other 5 star Resort and Spa is the ‘Trou Aux Biche Hotel and Spa Resort’. This is a very big resort, stretching for what seems forever along the beach. They have in the last year or so, added into their accommodation, the most awesome freestanding ‘bungalows’ (for want of a better description) – right on the beachfront.

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

Although the interiors are top class in terms of the quality of the finishes used, the furnishings are kept to a minimum – very contemporary island style. The luxury is translated to you the guest, by way of these top quality finishes and a sense of exclusivity. Solid wood found throughout. In fact, the coffee table bases are solid wooden tree trunks – extremely heavy to carry. While on the beach one day, we saw 6 men slowly but surely moving this ‘tree trunk table base’ from one bungalow to the next. Get the picture now!

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

This resort caters a great deal for families. If you have kiddies, believe me they will have the facilities to help keep the kids busy whether in the water or on land.

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

I must admit that I had a bit of a ‘negative’ experience with the staff of this resort when I tried to approach them for a ‘site inspection’. I wanted to interview either the PR person or a Manager just to get the load down on the hotel, especially since I heard that South African interior designers had been involved with the recent re-furbishing. Unlike Le Cardinal where the management were accessible, open, welcoming and informative, here at Trou Aux Biche Hotel I could not even get close to the Duty Manager. Or even get a call returned by whomever.  They adopted a cautious corporate approach and eventually I just gave up on it.  Such a pity. What if I was Donald Trump or Sol Kerzner (because of The One and Only Hotel, they all know of him) – do you think I would have had the same treatment? I wonder?

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

Hope you enjoyed a sneak peek into the luxury resorts. If you have had a trip to the island, tell us a little of your experience.

For more info and gorgeous images check out the Le Cardinal Resort’s website: here and Trou Aux Biches Resort’s website: here.

All images sourced from the establishments’ respective websites.

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