Andaman dreaming on exclusive Langkawi

St Regis brings its signature grandeur and distinctive design to a new haven of relaxation.

By Michael Stahl 30/11/2016

You know you’re in a good place, literally and metaphorically, when the only concern that peripherally haunts your serenity is the prospect of seeing a small monkey. Even then, of the two main types that thrive on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, it’s only the light-brown Long-tailed Macaque that’s been known to abandon the legendary Langkawi hospitality at the sight of a food-bearing visitor.

The St Regis Langkawi, opened in April 2016, is the first luxury resort in more than a decade to grace the jewel-like island in the Andaman Sea, an hour’s flight north from Kuala Lumpur. It seems it’s a new beginning, as St Regis’s now sibling rival, Ritz-Carlton, will open later this year, on the opposite side of the island.

Few rivals can equal the St Regis brand’s romantic heritage, signature elements of which are here elegantly merged with local mythology and Middle Eastern design influences. John Jacob Astor, who founded New York’s original St Regis hotel in 1904 and tragically perished in the Titanic disaster, would smile at the maintaining of traditions like high tea, a signature artwork above the St Regis bar and candles scented with his mother’s favourite floral arrangement.

A 30-minute Bentley-ride from Langkawi Airport, the St Regis Langkawi resort backs onto lush rainforest and overlooks a secluded bay with a 600-metre-long white sand beach. The sizeable property comprises 85 suites – 20 of them with private courtyard pool/spas – and a cluster of four overwater villas. The latter have, as a backdrop, 450-million-year-old rock formations that helped Langkawi earn its designation in 2007 as a UNESCO Global Geopark.

The theme that guided the resort’s architects and designers was “Rainforest meets the Riviera”. It’s as good a description as any. A warmth and welcome emanates from the point of arrival, a porte cochere of overhanging ferns and large sculptures depicting a local legend of seven cursed generations. (The eighth has already arrived, so just worry about the monkeys.)

Beyond that paradise passage lies a grand lobby of Palladian crispness and scale, framing the water view beyond. Flanking the main body, with its imposingly high ceilings, is the sun-drenched l’Orangerie dining area with its adjacent Gourmand Deli, an expansive balcony for outdoor dining overlooking the ocean, and the St Regis Bar (above), with its intimate Decanter Wine Cellar boasting more than 1000 bottles.

The warmth and welcome oozes not only from the eager and effortless service – St Regis butlers are another cherished tradition – but from the very aesthetic of the architecture, interiors and appointments. Everywhere one looks, there is much to delight the eye and provoke thought. Various lamps, furnishings and artworks are quirky and completely uncontrived. Despite the scale, it has the authentic, eclectic feel of a private home.

The resort’s 85 suites begin with half a dozen Premier Rainforest Rooms, each of around 50 square metres. (These, theoretically, would be the first to fall to a Macaque invasion. In fact, the monkeys very rarely stray into the resort, so let’s finally lay that joke to rest.) The Andaman Sea Rooms are slightly larger and offer water views.

The bulk of the accommodations, some 40 suites, are the St Regis Suites, varying from 68 to 90 square metres and with furnished balconies providing views over the gorgeously landscaped Resort Pool, beach bar-bistro and the ocean beyond. Above these St Regis Suites, and typically twice as large, are two Panoramic Suites, two Penthouse Suites and the Presidential Suite.

The latter is at least Prime Ministerial, Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak having occupied it some 12 months before the resort was even completed.

The ground-level accommodations are devoted to 20 St Regis Pool Suites and it is these that perhaps best embody the Langkawi experience. Each of 70 to 139 square metres, the rooms themselves are appointed in a style that again blends luxury with seaside ambience, but perhaps the most impressive feature is their seamless opening onto a courtyard where one’s private pool is overhung with a wispy, sun-shielding cloth canopy, and framed by inviting lounges and a giant day-bed.

An antique wooden door at the base of the garden is within a few steps of the main Resort Pool and beach. Swimming in the shallow bay itself is best enjoyed at high tide, as the seabed at low tide can be somewhat muddy.

The perfect end to the day awaits at Kayuputi (“white wood”), the restaurant of which St Regis Langkawi is justly proud. Perched above the bay on pylons, resembling a beautiful private beach house, Kayuputi opens up through century-old doors that once graced the Dutch embassy in Yangon. Executive chef David Mottl delivers a fine-dining experience of local dishes (like Langkawi lobster) with contemporary European twists.

Kayuputi’s non-culinary treat, aside from its wonderfully eccentric décor, is the hammock-style seating suspended over the water. It’s perfect for enjoying a cocktail and watching the sun set over a distant shore. On returning to one’s room, there is likely to be found a tray of chocolates, or a scented bath scattered with rose petals.

The St Regis Langkawi also houses one of the brand’s most comprehensive Iridium Spa centres. The treatments, including one for couples, are not taken lightly. One enters the space – and not only physically – after a serene pause in the “departure lounge”, thereafter to be transported to another level of relaxation and contentment.

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Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille Just Dropped Another Watch Collab. Here’s Every One They’ve Made Together.

The duo has launched 11 models in less than 15 years, including the brand new RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon.

By Cait Bazemore 30/05/2024

Rafael Nadal really needs no introduction. He’s arguably one of the best tennis players of all time, notching 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, including a record 14 French Open titles. Thanks to 81 consecutive wins on clay (the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era), he’s more than earned his unofficial title as the King of Clay. His first major title came in 2005, and for more than 15 years, he never slowed down, clenching yet another French Open win in 2022. However, the tides turned for the star player last year when injury knocked him out of the second round of the Australian Open at the start of the 2023 season. As a result, he exited the Top 10 for the first time since 2005 and later declined to enter the French Open. After a year of recovery, the beloved Spanish player announced his triumphant return to the ATP tour at the end of 2023. However, after withdrawing from the season’s first major, the Australian Open, and losing in the first round at the French Open to Alexander Zverev, it looks like it may be Nadal’s final season before retirement.

Watches and tennis have long gone hand in hand ever since Rolex became the official timekeeper of Wimbledon back in 1978. Since then, countless players have landed partnerships with watchmakers or served as brand ambassadors. If you look closely, you’ll often notice one of the first things that players do upon exiting the court is strap on their favorite timepiece. But Nadal is one of the few pros who actually wears his watch during the match. Most timekeepers aren’t fit to withstand the force of a tennis swing, but Nadal teamed up with one of the few brands able to deliver a truly performance-driven timepiece that’s up for the challenge, Richard Mille. The duo has been developing watches together since 2010, resulting in 11 exceptional models including their latest collaboration, the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon, which just dropped over Memorial Day weekend. Here, we take a deeper look at the evolution of Nadal and Richard Mille’s partnership and the wild watches they’ve created.

Richard Mille

Richard Mille

Richard Mille created its debut model for Nadal in 2010 with the RM 027. This tourbillon thoughtfully optimizes both form and function for the court. It features a carbon composite case and flexible polycarbonate strap, keeping it ultra-lightweight. However, the real genius comes in the design of the movement, which is made of titanium and a unique alloy called LITAL. The combination of materials from the inside out results in a timepiece weighing less than 20 grams, including the strap, making it the lightest watch ever produced at the time.

Richard Mille

A year later, the duo switched things up with the launch of the RM 035. While the model lacks the tourbillon functionality, it’s anything but a simple timepiece. The initial RM 035 features a skeletonized dial with a similar lightweight build, this time thanks to a magnesium and aluminum alloy. In addition, it marked the first Richard Mille Chronofiable-certified timepiece, representing a new milestone in the quest for long-lasting performance under extreme conditions.

Richard Mille

We wouldn’t see the next collaboration for another two years. In 2013, the pair unveiled the second generation of the RM 027, and somehow, they managed to make it even lighter than the original, now weighing just 18.83 grams. In addition, the RM 27-01 features a new system that can withstand up to 5000 Gs of force.

Richard Mille

In 2014, Nadal and Richard Mille released the second generation of the RM 035. This model features more subtle updates from the original, with a more ornate case and dial design. Here you’ll note pops of Rafa’s signature colors, red and yellow, as an homage to the Spanish flag. In addition, the RM 35-01 gets an upgraded movement, replacing the original caliber RMUL1 with the RMUL3. The RMUL3 offers a slightly more lightweight build (a mere 4 grams down from 4.3 grams) and a power reserve of 55-hours provided by a double-barrel system.

Richard Mille

The following year, we got the next generation of the model that started it all. With the RM 27-02, the pair continued upping the ante on bolder styling with a red-clay colored strap. However, the major headline for the RM 27-02 was the introduction of the very first skeletonized baseplate known as the “unibody.” The idea is that the case and baseplate are fused into a single piece, resulting in greater impact resistance on the court.

Richard Mille

In 2016, Nadal and Richard Mille went back to developing the RM 035 line with the next evolution: the RM 35-02. The model comes in two variations, one in more classic black and one in bright red. The red iteration marked a major departure to the lineup, not only in its color scheme but also in its functionality. For the first time, we see an automatic caliber powering the model.

Richard Mille

A year later, the pair announced not one, not two, but three new additions within their partnership. The first was the fourth generation of the RM 027. With the RM 27-03, we see the loudest model yet in terms of styling with an attention-commanding yellow and red case and strap. The boldness of the model continues through its technical achievements thanks to a totally new tourbillon movement that can withstand shocks of up to 10,000 Gs, which marked an industry first.

Richard Mille

In addition to the RM 27-03, 2017 ushered in two models exclusively for the American market, perhaps in response to Nadal notching his third U.S. Open title that year. The RM 035 Black Toro and RM 035 Gold Toro both nod to another one of the player’s nicknames, “The Bull.” Stylistically, the Black Toro pays homage to the design of the original RM 035 with the upgrade of the new automatic caliber RMAL1 found in the RM 35-02. As the name suggests, the Gold Toro offers a new aesthetic to the lineup with an 18-karat rose gold case.

Richard Mille

The introduction of the RM 27-04 in 2020 marked the 10-year anniversary of Nadal’s partnership with Richard Mille. For the occasion, the duo debuted a brand new case material called TitaCarb, a carbon fiber reinforced polyamide with the strength of steel while remaining far more lightweight. The resulting design was totally unique with a dial featuring metal mesh “strings” reminiscent of those of a tennis racket. The RM 27-04 also boasts upgraded functionality with a new caliber able to absorb 12,000 Gs in shock.

Richard Mille

In December 2023, on the heels of Rafa’s announcement to return to the game, Richard Mille unveiled its next model for the King of Clay’s comeback: the RM 35-03. The all-new timepiece is available in three versions: one in blue Quartz TPT with a white Quartz TPT caseband, one in white Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT with a Carbon TPT caseband, and one in full Carbon TPT. Of course, the RM 35-03 also showcases new technical achievements with a butterfly rotor that allows the wearer to directly interact with the rotor’s geometry, controlling the movement’s winding speed based on lifestyle and activity levels.

This article was originally featured in Robb Report

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How To Make the Ultimate Hangover Cure

Is this the ultimate cocktail to know by heart?

By Belinda Aucott-christie 29/05/2024

The Savoy in London, a beacon of luxury and opulence, holds a significant place in British history as the nation’s first luxury hotel. It was a haven where the affluent sought to experience a taste of royalty. Interestingly, it was within these grand walls that the alleged liquid remedy for hangovers, The Corpse Reviver, was born.

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Due to its medicinal qualities, this cocktail has passed into drinking folklore, making its recipe a right of passage for any lush.

The Corpse Reviver is aptly named for its life-affirming qualities and claimed ability to knock a hangover on the head.

It’s reassuring to know that the dreaded hangover was such a cause of social consternation in the late 1940s, that it demanded a creative response from Savoy’s hotel bar staff. We’ll drink to that.

Adding to the Corpse Reviver’s allure is the mystery surrounding its creation. Was it the ingenious work of Savoy bartender Johnny Johnson or the creative genius of Joe Gilmore? The exact timeline of its inception between 1948 and 1954 remains a tantalising enigma. 

It’s a zesty, slightly sour hangover cure with a cheeky touch of absinthe shining through. If your hangover is very bad, add a little more syrup to the mix.

To make, take a cocktail shaker and add equal parts dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc (3/4 of a shot each). 

Add a tiny dash of sugar syrup and absinthe, shake all ingredients with ice until very cold, strain and pour into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a chic lemon twist and say cheerio to your hangover. 

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ThirdHome Arrives Down Under

The global home-swap club targeting Australia’s millionaires.

By Belinda Aucott 24/05/2024

Wayne Shealy made his name developing resorts from New England to the Caribbean, and shifting more than $3 billion in luxury real estate. In 2010 he started ThirdHome to let luxury homeowners leverage the empty parts of properties in their portfolio to enjoy better holidays. Billed as an exclusive community of ‘neighbours’, ThirdHome now facilitates swapping second and third homes for the super-wealthy.

Wade Shealy, CEO and Founder of ThirdHome, a luxury home-swapping membership program. THIRDHOME

While the glamorous international portfolio spans illustrious private residences, including castles, ranches and chalets, it has been extended to private islands, pieds-à-terre, safari camps, wineries, boutique hotels and yachts.

Turin Castle in Forfar, Scotland. THIRDHOME

Purpose-built for people who own at least two residences and have homes to spare valued at over $2 million, all applicants are vetted and assessed, before being allowed to join. With a global portfolio across 100 countries and 2500 destinations, Shealy is now focusing on Australia.

“We’re super excited for the next chapter of our Australian journey,” Shealy says, from his horse farm outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. 

“We know there’s an extremely healthy appetite for Australians with second homes wanting to become members, who love to travel and want to enjoy exclusive access to the world’s more exceptional stays for a fraction of the price,” he says of his motivation for extending the network Down Under.  He notes that by cleverly utilising the downtime in their own homes, they can fund extravagant trips they may have never dreamt possible. Doing so in a gated community that values trust and respect.

Château De Vézins in Loire Valley, France. THIRDHOME

The spirit of sharing drives the sservice, with ThirdHome members acquiring points in the system each time they open their doors to others. This makes it a self-regulating community backed by solid technology and vigilant management that keeps applicants A-grade.

“Our members are house proud and guest proud,” he adds. “They want the guests to have a great experience.”

Learn more about membership and the rules of engagement here

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Art for Investment

A new private gallery in Sydney helps collectors enter the secondary market.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 24/05/2024

When Art Basel opens next month in Switzerland, it will do so with fresh power under its wings. In 2022 the global art market totalled $67.8 billion, showing 3 percent year-on-year growth*. This year, art topped Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index, with prices rising by 11 percent over 2023. According to most reports, art is now a positively appreciating asset class. By comparison, the values of rare whisky, classic cars, handbags, and furniture fell.

This raises the question of how to invest wisely in art and ensure the sound provenance of your investment. Jesse Jack De Deyne and Boris Cornelissen from A Secondary Eye are here to help art collectors. Conceived as a private gallery with rotating exhibitions, the space is designed to help serious investors confidently buy and sell.

“We offer access to some of the finest works entering the secondary market in Australia and operate with a stringent provenance framework in place,” says Jess Jack De Deyne from the company’s top-floor space overlooking leafy Queen Street in Sydney’s Woollahra.

De Deyne and Cornelissen opened in May with a presentation of rare works by Rover Thomas, the late East Kimberly artist who represented Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Rover Thomas, Desert Meeting Place, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas.

De Deyne specialises in Indigenous Australian art and comes to Sydney with a background as a Director in an Aboriginal Arts Centre and working for a leading auction house. Cornelissen is a former contemporary art specialist from Sotheby’s in London and Hong Kong.

“We are most effective when a prospective client comes to us with a specific artwork in mind,” explains De Deyne. “They may have recently been to Canberra to visit the highly regarded exhibition of Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia and there is a specific period of the artist that they are drawn to. Through our contacts, we may be able to help source available related works that would not necessarily appear at auction.” 

Though A Secondary Eye was founded in 2020 in Brisbane, De Denye says the larger pool of collectors drew them down to Sydney. The new gallery’s private aspect seems to be a key selling point for the duo, who prize discretion and private sales. 

Rover Thomas, Lake Argyle, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas

“Whereas auctions are publicly advertised, a private dealer can offer a work discreetly to a handful of clients without over-exposing it. And we can also present works in a more considered way through curated, high-quality exhibitions that tell the story of each work.”

While some may be intimidated by entering the art market, these art dealers say exposure to the art world is key to unlocking its potential. “Take the time to attend art fairs, exhibitions and auction viewings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for advice. With time and experience, you will learn what you are drawn to and how the offered prices sit relative to other works in the market.”

In an art world overflowing with rules, customs, and jargon, De Deyne is quick to clarify the key difference between dealers and advisers for newbies. 

“An art dealer helps collectors buy and sell artworks and therefore has a commercial incentive in selling a work. The best art advisors work independently, often on a retainer, and don’t profit from the transaction, which means they can give their clients honest advice. 

De Deyne and Cornelissen are well-placed to help people get a foot in the market, no matter how experienced they are. Ultimately, they preach to the choir, appealing most to fine art collectors searching for a specific work. 

“We work in a niche area and ultimately attract people who share our interests. Art collectors, particularly on the secondary market, often follow the art, rather than the person selling it.”

Follow A Secondary Eye here for future exhibitions. 

*According to the 2023 Art Market 2023, authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics and published by Art Basel in partnership with UBS

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Watch of the Week: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph

Roger Dubuis unveils its innovative chronograph collection in Australia for the very first time.

By Josh Bozin 21/05/2024

When avant-garde Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis revealed its highly anticipated Chronograph Collection halfway through 2023, it was a testament to its haute horology department in creating such a technical marvel for everyday use. Long at the forefront of cutting-edge design and technological excellence, Roger Dubuis (pronounced Ro-ger Du-BWEE) is no stranger to such acclaim.

Now, fans down under will finally get a taste of the collection that made headlines, with the official Australian unveiling of its Chronograph Collection. Representing precision engineering, extraordinary craftsmanship, and audacious design, this collection, now in its fifth generation, continues to redefine the chronograph category.

Roger Dubuis Australia welcomes the Excalibur Spider Collection to the market, featuring the exquisite Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph, as well as the Excalibur Spider Revuelto Flyback Chronograph (a timepiece made in partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse). Each model speaks at lengths to the future of ‘Hyper Horology’—watchmaking, as Roger Dubuis puts it, that pushes the boundaries of traditional watchmaking.

Roger Dubuis

“Roger Dubuis proposes a unique blend of contemporary design and haute horlogerie and the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is the perfect illustration of this craft,” says Sadry Keiser, Chief Marketing Officer. “For its design, we took inspiration from the MonovortexTM Split-Seconds Chronograph, while we decided to power the timepiece with an iconic complication, the flyback chronograph, also marking its come back in the Maison’s collections.”

The Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is bold and flashy—a chronograph made to be seen, especially at its 45mm size. But Roger Dubuis wouldn’t have it any other way. The supercar-inspired watch is certainly captivating in the flesh. Its multi-dimensional design reveals different layers of technical genius as you spend time with it: from its case crafted from lightweight carbon to its hyper-resistant ceramic bezel, black DLC titanium crown, open case back with sapphire crystal, and elegant rubber strap to tie the watch together, it’s a sporty yet incredibly refined timepiece.

The new RD780 chronograph calibre powers the chronograph, a movement fully integrated with two patents: one linked to the second hand of the chronograph and the other to the display of the minute counter. The chronograph also features a flyback function.

The complete set is now available at the Sydney Boutique for those wishing to see the Roger Dubuis Chronograph Collection firsthand.

Roger-Dubuis

 

Roger-Dubuis

Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
Diameter: 45mm
Material: C-SMC Carbon case
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: RD780 calibre
Complication: Chronograph, date
Functions: hours, minutes, and central seconds
Power reserve: 72 hours

Bracelet: Black rubber strap

Availability: upon request
Price: $150,000


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