Eye Candy Friday: Bamboo Stiletto Escape, Chile

Summer’s last hurrah is here, Stiletto-istas!
This week’s missive from The Bamboo Stiletto’s aspirational style bible, Architectural Digest, caught our wandering eye and we knew we just had to share it with you. Before the August heat completely dissipates, let our Eye Candy Friday tempt you on a final summer fling and flirt with our personal favourite from AD‘s selection of dream-worthy eco-luxury escapes successfully combining stylish design with impactful sustainability.

Who says green and glamour can’t go together? So what say you, girls & gays, are you ready??? (all images below courtesy of Tierra Patagonia, Chile):

Back in the ’90s, when we realized that Patagonia was more than just an outdoor apparel company that we were extremely fond of, we dreamed of visiting the region & its pristine mountains, lakes, glaciers, forests & rivers (while wearing colour-coordinated, climate-appropriate Patagonia outfits, of course:) We did make it to Chile’s capital of Santiago, we did see some pampas (love that word! brings us right back to Latin America) & moseyed all the way down south to Valparaiso, paying homage to its most famous son, poet Pablo Neruda. Fond, fun memories of Chile but we never made it to Patagonia. Not yet anyway. Who knows, instead of that random person out there chewing the scenery…maybe someday, that could be moi? Dreamy gentleman companion optional:)
The intimate 40-room Tierra Patagonia was designed by a trio of awardwinning Chilean architects: Cazú Zegers, Roberto Benavente, and Rodrigo Ferrer. Its look is deliberately rustic-sleek & low-key, awash in neutral hues with pale woods & lush, comfy textures – the better to set off the jaw-dropping outdoor scenery. This cozy-chic living area is where we can totally imagine lounging around after switching outfits, from our Patagonia outdoor kit to Ralph Lauren cable knits & cords!
Sitting on the shores of Lake Sarmiento at the edge of Torres Paine National Park & the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, surrounded by dramatic vistas of windswept dunes, lake & mountains, Tierra Patagonia is an eco-luxury traveler’s wet dream. Interiors, with furnishings sourced locally, are designed by Alexandra Edwards & Carolina Delpiano to take advantage of the amazing views. So, grab a swing, stay calm and…chill. (High heels & glass of Chilean shiraz optional)
Of course one of our fave images is of the library! This resort has even provided chic little daybeds just in case all the fresh air (and your book) lull you to sleep. No worries that reading lots of books during your holiday might spoil your eco-travel cred, Tierra Patagonia uses low-energy LED lighting. Also, proper insulation and design has made heating and airconditioning less of a necessity. So, INHALE that fresh air, people! (and don’t forget to exhale).
Now if you really can’t keep your eyes open, after all that lounging, relaxing, chilling with wine, reading books…hehe, just kidding, we know you’d be out there on the dunes, baby! trekking, hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing & all kinds of exhausting outdoor stuff in all that pure fresh air…so at night? You’ll be happy to know this is what your crib looks like. I don’t know about you but I’d probably zonk out right on that furry white rug on the floor right there.

So, are we ready to pack our bags, viajemos y hablamos Espanol, Stiletto-istas queridas??? If you are, make your ressies now by checking out www.tierrapatagonia.com and be sure to share your Tierra Patagonia stories with us afterwards. If you’d like to browse through the entire selection of Architectural Digest’s glamorous sustainable stays, read the original article here.

We’ve got some  major saving up to do before we can jet off to the other side of the world…but  meantime, a girl can dream, can’t she? We’re already saving up for a trip to the World Cup (soccer) in Brazil by 2014 anyway and guess what’s only a skip, hop, plane ride away from Rio de Janeiro...andale, viva Patagoniaaaaaa!!!

Happy Eye Candy Friday dreams & a fantastic weekend ahead to y’all & your loved ones! 🙂

Eye Candy Friday: Batangas Beauty

Happy Eye Candy Friday, Stiletto-istas!

This week, we had to take a short trip back to the Philippines for the renewal of our Chinese visa. The necessity for this trip initially confounded me. We have been living in China for 9 years and the ONLY time that I had to apply for a Chinese visa from the Philippines was 9 years ago.  Each time my visa was up for renewal while living in Beijing, all I had to do was hand in my passport to my company’s HR department. And in the blink of an eye, my passport would be handed back with a new visa stamped within its pages. Incredibly super easy-peasy! Then, later on, while living in Shanghai, I experienced a slight, subtle shift in the process. In order to actually claim my passport with its new visa stamp, each year I had to accompany an HR staffer to the immigration office where all I did each time was basically show my face – probably to show that I still existed?  This time in Guangzhou, to renew our visas, we were informed that we actually had to exit China and return to our home countries, Herr Hubby back to Germany and little ol’ moi back to the Philippines. So, mini-vacay, yay!

Anyhoo, being back in the Phils brings us to our Eye Candy Friday focus, a charming, rustic holiday home which I like to call a true Batangas Beauty in the hills of Lipa, a couple hours’ drive south of the Philippine capital of Manila.

This 2-storey, 3-bedroom hillside hideaway was built by the dad of The Bamboo Stiletto’s Shanghai BFF…let’s call her Moccachino…whose dad wanted a quiet, relaxing, pollution-free place in the countryside, away from Manila’s hustle and bustle, where the family could gather on long weekends, holidays and festive occasions. Extensive gardens at the front and back of the house have been planted with a myriad of verdant tropical fruit trees, vegetables and flowers. Whenever they’re back in the Philippines, Moccachino and her hubby, the Great Dane, always look forward to rambunctious family gatherings, nourishing meals frequently accompanied by veggies and fruits freshly picked from the gardens, at this lovely house in the hills. What’s disingenuous and what we SO love about this house is that Moccachino’s dad used a lot of reclaimed wood, windows, furnishings and other materials from another family home which was being torn down. The result is a lovely patchwork of nostalgic memories embedded into a house built to sustain more joyous family moments. Here’s a peek:

Because of its elevated location on a hill surrounded by mountain vistas, the house is blessed with fresh air cool enough that airconditioning in the Philippines’ tropical clime is no longer a necessity. The house’s semi-outdoor first floor serves as a refreshing venue for dining and entertaining.
Lovingly landscaped gardens planted with a host of blossoming flowers and fruit and vegetable-bearing foliage yield enough veggies and fruits for homemade salads and desserts!
Lots of furnishings and materials in the house are vintage, lovingly sourced from Moccachino’s great-grandparents’ old ancestral house.
The house was designed with lots of little nooks for socializing or merely sitting solo with a drink while enjoying the solitude of the surrounding countryside.

There you have it, Stiletto-istas…wouldn’t you just LOVE to have a little hillside hideaway like this to escape to on weekends? We know WE would!

Moccachino certainly knows what a lucky duck she is, especially now that she’s uber-busy juggling identities, that of a corporate suit AND an entrepreneur (besides being a wife and mom, I might add). Always the accessories queen, our entrepreneurial BFF recently launched an online business specializing in the most divine, stylish necklaces, bracelets, rings as well as must-have trendy clutches & other go-to fashion accessories to please the most demanding divas out there. And take it from moi, this chick’s style is super-fly…her stuff is constantly selling out!  Stylistas – check out her sites Olivia’s Charms and Moppet Enterprises (including how to order!) by clicking here. STAT.

We just get so inspired when our gal pals start launching their own businessess, don’t you??? Run the world, GIRLS, yeah, run this mother! Until our next Eye Candy Friday, Stiletto-istas, have a terrif weekend!!!

It’s Boracay Bliss on Eye Candy Friday!

sun, sea, sky…and the purest white sand you’ll ever see: Boracay

It may be Friday the 13th but we’ve only got good vibes for you lucky ducks out there because it’s our 3rd edition of Eye Candy Friday…welcome! Where The Bamboo Stiletto takes you to visit beach houses/holiday homes by real people, or resorts and other holiday escapes, so that you and I can have some dreamy holiday fantasies over the weekend.

Now call me completely biased but one of our most favourite beach destinations in the world is the tiny island of Boracay in central Philippines, a speck of a gem lined with a seven-kilometre beach of the purest fine, white sand that’s rapidly becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. We still remember our first visit to this island, in all its rough, rustic charm, with no electricity, when the only resort of note was Friday’s, the only place to hang out was Jonah’s (the place for ice cold fresh mango shakes) and the only bar to hit at night was Cocomangas. These days, Boracay has acquired a sheen of Makati sophistication (with prices to match) but somehow, despite the burgeoning tourist traffic and commercialization, the island’s allure is still there. We hope that success won’t spoil this little island paradise and will be properly sustained as we hope to keep coming back year after year.

Back in the day, it used to be that if you couldn’t get a room at Friday’s, you had no choice but to somehow “rough” it on the island…now, that’s no longer the case. You are spoilt for choice in Boracay as long as you are willing to splurge because, according to one of our closest girlfriends and one of the island’s permanent residents, Boracay “no longer has a slow season”. So just take a deep breath, pull out that credit card and you may just want to make this particular five-star luxury resort – a Bamboo Stiletto favourite – your address on your next Boracay holiday:

private white sand beach
an enticing pool beckons…
lots of little nooks designed to get you horizontal
a quick look at the Filipino art installations – is that a spear & shield??? – in the guestroom
nice recessed area on the stone wall to make the flat screen tv unobtrusive…and we like the matching stone patterns on the cabinets below
seashell clusters on sand…an innovatively beautiful way to bring the outdoors in. isn’t it cute???
plush & comfy daybeds on the balcony…get off your feet & grab a margarita!
grab someone…anyone!…and hold hands during the loveliest sunset on the planet

This resort was so incredibly photogenic – talk about eye candy – that if I post all my photos of its exteriors and interiors, we’ll be here until Sunday, so I’m forced to edit down to the ones you are right now viewing. You know what this means, dontcha, means you’ve gotta go and see it for YO self!

When you’re staying at this particular resort, somehow you just lose the inclination to leave it, even though Boracay’s main strip is renowned for its nightlife. What for??? Everything that you could possibly want to do on an island beach holiday…the beach, the pool, the spa, dining & drinking and re-charging one’s batteries in peace and solitude and serenity, it’s all in one place, right here. And that could only be the Shangri-La Boracay.

of course stay at the Shangri-La Boracay…no other place will do!

For your next island beach holiday, just do yourself a favour. Book your stay at the Shangri-La Boracay right here and let them handle everything. Just pack a bikini, a camera, bring sun protection and your favourite weekend arm candy. You won’t regret it!

Where do you want to go on your next island beach holiday, Stiletto-istas? DO share!!!

Eye Candy Friday, 2nd Edition: Cozy High at the Carmel Highlands, California

Welcome to our second edition of Eye Candy Fridays! Where The Bamboo Stiletto features real beach houses owned by real people and real holiday places at terrific destinations by the sea or up in the mountains we’d all love to visit – and not just the fantasy places that exist in the make-believe worlds of TV & the movies. So that we can all have something to dream about over the weekend!

Last week on Eye Candy Friday, we visited the beautiful cliffside beach home, a genuine labour of love, by a lovely Australian-Filipino couple in Bali, Indonesia. Today, let’s venture north all the way to northern California, over two hours’ drive from San Francisco and just a little way past the postcard-perfect, picturesque town of Carmel, to a cozy oceanfront cabin up in the dense, rugged hills of the Carmel Highlands, with staggering, jaw-dropping views of the coast of Big Sur.

I do love the uniquely northern California vibe of utilizing lots of natural wood and stones organic to the area, that palette of browns and greys so different from the tropical whites and bright colours that I’m used to – and also love – in Asia. There’s also something very soothing about that northern California palette and the roaring thunder of ocean waves nearby makes a nice rhythmic soundtrack.

After a delayed flight out of Shanghai, a missed trans-Pacific flight in Hong Kong followed by a sleepless night in San Francisco (that’s a whole another story altogether…), we were just dogbone-tired and weary. A real kick-ass, extra chilled vacation stay at this serene sanctuary of a cabin in a five-star resort overlooking the Pacific was exactly what we needed:

the cabin’s rustic-chic exterior
here it is from another angle, peeking out from the treetops
the private little pathway leading to the cabin

The cabin is part of the Park Hyatt Highlands Inn, Carmel and the one we stayed in – officially known as a One Bedroom Oceanfront – has two storeys. Accommodation is very residential in style (which we love) but also, as befitting a Park Hyatt, luxurious (we can’t complain!) Upon entering the cabin, one is immediately greeted by the kitchen to the side and a living area/dining area in front, with doors opening out to an oceanfront balcony.

the living area, awash in warm browns, apricot and honey hues and accents of blues which match the colour of the ocean outside the balcony windows…
that sun-bleached driftwood art installation in the cozy living area is pretty neat, isn’t it?
sweet loveseat…cuddle up!
really like the bleached wood nesting tables & the clear glass base lamp

A quick look at the compact yet functional kitchen:

confession: the kitchen didn’t see any action at all during our stay, with two award-winning gourmet restaurants within the resort and what with the sheer number of world-class restaurants in nearby Carmel as well as in Pebble Beach. we just couldn’t be persuaded to stay in.

And the staircase leading to the bedroom and bath downstairs:

The entire lower floor is devoted to a spacious bedroom and equally spacious adjoining bath – loved it!!! Tall windows on one side of the bedroom face the ocean. At night, all you can hear is the peaceful sound of ocean waves crashing against the cliffs, lulling you to blissful sleep:

sea, sky & sleep…what’s not to love?
wood paneled sliding doors can be closed to afford more privacy to the bathroom
a simple, elegant vanity & sink in the bathroom
the spacious bath & jacuzzi, wide enough for two

In the evenings, after one of those incredible dinners that seem to just proliferate in this part of the world, with the abundance of fresh, organic ingredients, amazing seafood and the California people’s inherent pride in and appreciation for good eating – it was always delightful to come back home to the cabin by the ocean and snuggle up to the warmth of this:

life’s simple pleasures

And simply glorious to wake up to the sight of this:

when nature just makes you catch your breath…

To book your own dream vacation at the Park Hyatt Highlands Inn, Carmel, browse the resort’s site here. Make sure to tell us about it!

The Monterey area of California remains one of The Bamboo Stiletto’s most favourite places in the world and from these photos, you can see one of the reasons why. Doesn’t this make you just want to hop onto a flight to San Francisco and drive to Carmel…like, NOW???

Thank God It’s Eye Candy Friday, everyone!

Thank God It’s Eye Candy Friday: A Labour of Love in Bali

Welcome to our first edition of Eye Candy Fridays! Where The Bamboo Stiletto features real beach houses owned by real people (as opposed to those production sets that appear in the movies/TV), so that we all have something to fantasize about over the weekend!

Our Eye Candy Friday debut takes us to the mythical Island of the Gods – Bali, Indonesia – where a young AustralianFilipino couple, let’s call them “Tuan” and “Ibu”, has succeeded in living an idyllic island lifestyle that most of us can only dream about.  Previous residents of Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta and of Thailand’s holiday island of Phuket, Tuan and Ibu fell hard for the charms of Bali and eventually decided to move there. Most recently, the entrepreneurial Ibu, with her keen eye for style and design, launched her own line of handcrafted artisan leather bags. Bag aficionados out there (yes, you know who you are!) check out her quality products here  – http://www.kingsburybags.com – and note that the bags can be delivered to your home, in any corner of the globe!

Feast your eyes on the couple’s swoon-worthy villa, a genuine labour of love as the couple was very hands-on and involved in every step of construction and home decorating. The result is a modern Balinese interpretation utilizing lots of natural granite, sandstone and teak, perched on the cliffs of Jimbaran with majestic sea views.

Tell me you’re not groaning with envy right now in front of your computer:

The villa was designed by German architect Walter Wagner of Habitat Architects. Many thanks to Ibu and Tuan for their awesome generosity in sharing the photos of their gorgeous abode and for allowing us to have such sweet Bali dreams tonight!

Where would you like to have your dream beach house? Will you be dreaming about it tonight? I know I will!